My thoughts on a boatload of prospect signings, some good hockey reads; and more…
Update: Not so far apart after all. Smith and the Preds came to an agreement on a five-year deal with AAV of $4.25 million. An excellent deal that pushes Smith into many more first line opportunities. I think 55 points is achievable this season.
Craig Smith and the Preds are far apart in contract talks. He’s going to arbitration and apparently the team is asking $3 million while he is asking for $4.75. There is a really good column on the situation here at Puck Daddy, with Lambert making some great points in Smith’s defense. I know in fantasy hockey we rate Gustav Nyquist far, far ahead of Smith … but the comparable so far is actually quite close.
If he gets that kind of money, you can bet he’ll get improved ice time and PP time to match. Anything over $4 million would help his production improve simply from the added opportunities such a contract will bring. Coaches tend to feel some pressure to play the guy they’re paying more. All things being equal in a situation that could use either player, if the coach was deciding on playing either Player X who makes $3 million, or Smith – he’ll go with Smith.
Some signings of interest over the last couple of days…
Vladislav Namestnikov signed a one-year contract with the Lightning. He showed us last year that whenever one of the members of the Triplets line is injured, he can slide in pretty much seamlessly. Last season’s numbers were low, but he did have a run of seven points in seven games. The problem here is, as it was with Panik before him – the team is too deep with that skill set to properly accommodate Namestnikov. Barring an injury to a scoring-line player, he’ll be limited this season. But beyond this season, he’s far too talented to be held back by simple numbers. He’ll force the matter and they’ll either have to make room or trade him.
Daniil Tarasov is a middling San Jose prospect. But in fantasy hockey, prior to the past two drafts, he was the only offensively gifted player in this organization. Anyway, the 24-year-old signed to play in the KHL.
Louis Leblanc, former Hab and Duck, has signed on with the Islanders. He used to have some fans around fantasy hockey circles, but he pretty much has no defenders now. Not after just 29 points and minus-19.
Calle Jarnkrok signed for $735,000 over one year. A fair deal, though not nearly big enough to give him any Golden Boy treatment. I don’t foresee any jumps in production from him this year. Too many Nashville forwards ahead of him.