Ramblings are up early tonight. I'll update Friday's action on Saturday morning, and I'll also have some good stuff from the CHL and AHL. Comment away. Lots of rumours and speculation to comment on in the meantime.
Call me crazy, but I like the Hemsky signing (two years, $10 million total) for Edmonton. A few reasons:
1. The shorter term is great. Doesn't have any effect on long-term situations for Nugent-Hopkins, Hall, or Eberle. The team could have likely gone four years at $4 million per (just a guess, of course).
2. When healthy, Hemsky is a really good player. He's also a right winger, a position the Oilers are very thin at.
3. The Oilers weren't getting a better player via trade or free agency for comparable money.
I mentioned yesterday how Andrei Loktionov is the loser in the Carter trade – the Kings have to find a way to get the kid some ice time before he thinks about leaving to go back to Russia. He's really skilled and doesn't have much left to prove at the AHL level. He's been tried on the wing, but he is better up the middle. It will be interesting to see how they handle him – one would think a team starved for goals would give a skilled young player a long look after he showed some initial success.
Some minor news to pass along – Nashville traded depth forward Jerred Smithson to Florida for a 6th round draft pick. Smithson is a gritty checking line forward who has absolutely no fantasy relevance.
The Kings re-signed Willie Mitchell to a two-year extension (cap hit of $3.5 million). He's a rock defensively and has shown no effects of the serious concussion he suffered in Vancouver a few years ago.
Is America's best college hockey player from Texas? Find out here. Austin Smith is a 23-year-old senior at Colgate (the Dallas Stars hold his rights after drafting him late back in 2007, of course). He has 33 goals in 32 games to lead the entire country in scoring – 10 more goals than any other player. Pretty impressive stuff.
Copper and Blue's title of their latest piece says it all – 'Jack Johnson is Not Good.'
Some interesting quotes… this is from Kings GM Dean Lombardi from back in early 2010:
“Jack was a thoroughbred out there. But he was all over the place. He was awful as a hockey player. As an athlete, you're going, wow! Look at the way he skates, shoots, he can pass. But he had no idea where he was going. At times, he was playing forward at Michigan. You had no idea what position he was playing. But he had always been the star and he always got his numbers. Then he turns pro and for the first time, we're telling him 'whoa, just make the first pass and learn to play in your own end.' How about making a read in your own end about the right guy to pick up? He was awful.”
"So there you have it. Jack Johnson has some power play ability and a big reputation. He’s a black hole who drags down his teammates at even strength."
I'd give the piece a read. Obviously Johnson may thrive in a new situation, but pretty telling statistical evidence is offered.
Pierre Lebrun put together a really good piece for ESPN on PK Subban a few days ago. I forgot to pass it along… until now. I really like PK – he's great for the game. He has some maturing to do, obviously, but a 22 year old with his skill set and personality is going to have some ups and downs in a magnified market like Montreal.
“I want to be one of the best defensemen that’s ever played in the NHL,” Subban said. “I want to be like Nic