June 20, 2014

steve laidlaw


A few signings to report on from yesterday – let's dive right in…


It looks like the Red Wings have hammered out a one-year deal with Jonas Gustavsson. This doesn't have a whole lot of impact on Gustavsson himself. He's a backup without much upside beyond that. What it does do is push Petr Mrazek back to the minors for another year.


That's not necessarily a bad thing. He'll get more reps down in Grand Rapids and we did see him get some starts when Jimmy Howard was injured. But Gustavsson was the go-to option when Howard was hurt. If the pecking order stays the same then Mrazek needs an injury AND a slump to get a meaningful shot. That means two breaks instead of one. Small difference but it could be the difference between being next year's Martin Jones or not.


Read more on Mrazek here.




Alex Killorn has signed a bridge contract with the Lightning for two more years. No surprise here as he was an RFA who had played reasonably well in Tampa but not so well that a team would realistically try and poach him.


Killorn is interesting because he has logged quite a bit of time alongside Steven Stamkos at even strength and has seen some second unit PP time. That he isn't a factor on the top unit limits his upside to like Pascal Dupuis/Brad Marchand levels but that's nothing to shake your fist at.




Jamie McGinn was also re-signed by his home club, re-upping with the Avalanche for two years. Like Killorn he sees a lot of top-six minutes with some stellar forwards but is on the outside looking in when it comes to top power play minutes. McGinn is solid in leagues that count hits though so he'd be even more intriguing depending on your league's setup.




Ducks GM Bob Murray has stated that the team will move on from UFAs Jonas Hiller, Saku Koivu and Daniel Winnik.


Hiller is the big name here but after these playoffs it's not surprising to see him on the move. Honestly, Hiller could find himself without a job at all. I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if he signed a lucrative KHL deal for a year or two. The goalie market is saturated.


Neither Koivu nor Winnik is particularly fantasy relevant except for in the deepest of leagues but I still wonder where Koivu catches on. Between Koivu and Teemu Selanne (retired) that's a lot of veteran years to be losing. The Ducks were an extremely young team otherwise and unless some new vets are coming in even more pressure is going to come down on Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.




The Hurricanes have hired former Detroit assistant Bill Peters as their new head coach. It's a bit difficult to assess this hire as Peters has no NHL head-coaching experience. However, we can mine that article I've linked to for some intriguing excerpts:

It’s the first big hire for new general manager Ron Francis, who took over in April during a reshuffling of the organization.

The 48-year-old Peters spent the past three years working primarily with the Red Wings’ defencemen and penalty-killers.


This could bode well for a Hurricanes club that was young on the blue line and middle of the pack on the penalty kill.

Before joining the Red Wings’ staff, he coached Rockford of the AHL from 2008-11 and guiding that team to consecutive 40-win seasons. Eight of his Rockford players, including goalies Antti Niemi and Corey Crawford, won the Cup with Chicago in either 2010 or 2013.


More good news for a Hurricanes team that skews young. Hopefully he can help develop some of their young talent like Elias Lindholm and Ryan Murphy.


I find it interesting that this is the second straight first-time head coach the Hurricanes have hired. Often teams will seek out the opposite of the coach they just canned but in this case it's almost like a blank slate. The Hurricanes have a new GM and thus a completely new vision.




A nice look on how the Matt Niskanen bubble is likely to burst:

Put it all together, and his PDO (the sum of his 5-on-5 on-ice shooting and save percentages) during the 2013-14 season was an astronomical 1031, fifth-highest among all defensemen (minimum 62 games played) in the NHL and the highest of his career. That is almost sure to drop next season, and probably drop significantly. Just consider that between 2009-10 and 2011-12, 29 different defensemen finished with a PDO of 1031 or better. Those same players averaged a 997 mark the following season.


Sell high and don't buy!




The Bruins are facing some stiff cap penalties for bonuses earned by players last season. Fortunately the cap is set to increase but this still leaves the Bruins behind the eight ball.




Really interesting read on how the Blue Jackets use a value chart to make decisions on draft pick trades:

The value chart used by the Blue Jackets is born from a complex system that uses data compiled from a dozen years of NHL drafts – dating back to when the draft was nine rounds deep – and from that data, Flynn developed a rubric of grading picks on a 1-10 scale (for example, picks 1-210 in a seven-round draft) based on what they produced over time.




Cool perspective on the path to the NHL from Justin Bourne.




You can follow me on Twitter @SteveLaidlaw.


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