Ramblings: Max Domi for Alex Galchenyuk, & If Tavares Leaves, Who Suffers the Most?
Please excuse any glaring errors tonight. My mind is nearly mush from the release of my Final Top-130 2018 NHL Draft Rankings on Thursday night. The time that goes into these rankings is astronomical. Fortunately, it’s a labour of love.
The MAJOR NEWS of the evening was another one-for-one deal done by the Canadiens. Boy, do the Habs ever love a straight up trade.
Fun fact: It was one year to the day that the Habs dealt Sergachev for Drouin.
The Canadiens have acquired forward Max Domi from the Arizona Coyotes tonight, in return for Alex Galchenyuk. #GoHabsGo— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) June 16, 2018
At first glance, it sure looks like Montreal paid an awfully steep price for a player coming off a nine-goal season – four of which came via the empty-net variety. However, it had become increasingly more clear that Galchenyuk was not in the long-term plans for the Canadiens. His inability to play the middle of the ice resulted in the organization overpaying to land Jonathan Drouin a year ago (another player who can't play the middle of the ice).
Domi and Galchenyuk are comparable in many ways. Galchenyuk is 24. Domi is 23. The two of them have played at virtually the same production levels in their young careers – both clicking at 0.61 points-per-game.
One thing is certain though, Montreal gave up the more dangerous goal-scorer. Domi has 36 career goals over 222 NHL contests – 0.16 goals-per-game. Galchenyuk has 108 in 408 games – 0.26 goals-per-game. Both players saw their shooting percentages dip last season, but Domi has never been much of a goal-scoring threat in the NHL. Meanwhile, Galchenyuk clicked at just 8.9 percent last season – between four and eight percent lower than any time in the prior three campaigns.
The other major difference comes via the cap implications. Galchenyuk has two more seasons at 4.9 million before hitting unrestricted free-agency. Domi, on the other hand, is an RFA without arbitration rights. Coming off a down season, his cost will surely be low. The Habs will very likely offer him a shorter-range deal at a reasonable number to control the costs and keep him as an RFA. Look for a two-year bridge deal.
It sure looks like Galchenyuk will continue to get looks in the middle of the ice in the desert too.
Chayka on Galchenyuk: "He's has success playing the center position. … I don't think we'd make this trade if we didn't think he had the ability to play center."— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) June 16, 2018
The first thing that came to my mind when I read those comments from Chayka was, "What does this mean for Dylan Strome and Clayton Keller?"
If the Coyotes plan to line Gally up at centre, we'd have to assume it's in the top six. Derek Stepan seems like a lock to get the other top six pivot position in the short term. Keller played primarily on the wing next to Stepan last season but has long projected as a pivot. Strome played his season in the AHL, but has played the middle of the ice exclusively for years.
One of Galchenyuk, Keller or Strome won't be centres long-term. Could be beneficial for their fantasy value in leagues that count positions.
Regardless, I like this deal for Arizona and I love the direction they're trending. It's not a horrific deal for Montreal which has to be considered a step in the right direction. Right?
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On top of the blockbuster, the Arizona Coyotes have made a couple of minor trades the last few days. Both deals saw them send a defender in exchange for a forward.
Kyle Wood looked as if he might have some fantasy potential down the line after scoring 14 goals and 43 points in 68 AHL games as a rookie defenseman in 2016-17. He took a sizable step back last season for the Roadrunners though.
At 6’7 and 235lbs, the massive right-shot blueliner is a worthy gamble for the Sharks at just 22 years of age. Despite his size, however, he’s not even a boon in PIM leagues. He has just 34 penalty minutes in 119 AHL contests.
The other player who may have relevancy here is Hudson Fasching. The power winger has a history of piling up points at the NCAA-level but has bounced between the NHL and AHL the past two seasons never really finding his footing. He turns 23 this summer and is in need of an RFA contract.
He may be a player who needed a change of scenery and Buffalo facilitated it for him.
Fun fact: Brandon Hickey heads to Buffalo in the exchange and reunites with his former Boston University teammate, Jack Eichel.
The Senators actually did something right? I can hardly believe it. The team announced on Friday that Assistant GM, Randy Lee has been suspended effective immediately until his court ruling on harassment charges.
Lee has been charged with second-degree harassment of a 19-year-old hotel shuttle driver in Buffalo during the NHL combine weekend. He is due in court on July 6.
P-A Parenteau announced his retirement from hockey on Thursday. The feisty winger was a personified motivational speech for anyone who ever thought about giving up. Here’s a player who was drafted in the ninth round back in 2001. There isn’t even a ninth round anymore!
He scratched and clawed his way through 450 AHL games before finally securing a full-time NHL gig as a 27-year-old. His time next to John Tavares from 2010-2012 produced 38 goals and 130 points in 161 games. It’s amazing what chemistry next to an all-world talent can do for a guy.
Parenteau ended up accumulating over 19 million in career earnings. You’ve got to think he bought JT a dinner or two for helping bump that number up.
All the best in retirement, P-A.
Speaking of Tavares and his ability to elevate players around him. How devasting will his potential departure be for rest of the forwards on the Island?
The answer: Greatly.
Now, obviously, the loss of a franchise centre will hit his former wingers hardest of all. Anders Lee has been climbing the ranks of elite goal-scorers the last two seasons. His 74 goals over that span sit tied for fifth most with Auston Matthews. He trails only Alex Ovechkin (82), Patrik Laine (80), Nikita Kucherov (79), and Evgeni Malkin (75).
Lee’s evolution has been a carbon-copy of what everyone says of power-wingers –don’t give up on them too early as they take longer to develop. Having one of the best pivots in the game dishing you the puck in all-situations surely doesn’t hurt either.
Meanwhile, Josh Bailey has been slowly marinated for years, living in the 0.4-0.59 point-per-game range between 2008-2016. He then took a sizable step forward with 56 points in 82 contests in 2016-17 before exploding for 71 points in 75 contests last season.
That evolution coincides directly with his contact with Tavares. Up until 2014-15, Bailey saw virtually no ice-time next to the Islanders’ captain. In 2014-15, he earned 60% of his even-strength ice with Tavares and set a then career-high for goals (15) and points (41) in 70 contests. He spent most of his power play time on the second unit though– recording just four power-play points.
In 2015-16, he saw his five-on-five time next to Tavares dip to 30 percent and continued second unit power play time. The result: A dip back down to 32 points in 81 games.
2016-17 is when things started to heat up. Bailey played 75 percent of his shifts next to JT and saw 2:50 of top power play deployment. He set new career-highs in goals (13), assists (43), points (56) and PPPs (12).
At 28 years old, last season was another for milestones. Bailey played 73 percent of his even-strength ice next to Tavares, saw three minutes a night on the top unit and once again recorded career-highs in goals (18), assists (53), points (71), and PPPs (31).
Suffice to say, Bailey has only been viable as a fantasy option next to Tavares thus far in his career. It's difficult to imagine him replicating anywhere near his 2017-18 totals if JT leaves.
The Isles are blessed to have a replacement top line centre waiting in the weeds. Being able to slide Mathew Barzal up the depth chart won't make losing Tavares any easier, but it's a luxury that very few teams have.
I was asked recently how Tavares’ decision will impact Barzal. If he leaves, does the elevation up the lineup push the 20-year-old soon-to-be Calder Trophy winner into superstar status or does it hurt to lose out on playing with such a great talent?
The answer is layered. Tavares leaving will indeed force the upcoming sophomore into a top line role. He’ll be afforded the pick of the winger bunch. But does that mean he simply inherits Lee and Bailey?
It seems safe to assume will be Lee on the left side. His style is unique on the team and remains unchallenged for the foreseeable future. The right side is a little hazier. Jordan Eberle lined up next to Barzal for over 70 percent of his even-strength ice time last season and bore strong results. Barzal was on the ice for 41 or Eberle’s 49 even-strength points.
Maybe it’s Eberle bumping Josh Bailey down the depth chart next season. And that would coincide with Bailey’s need for Tavares to prop him up.
Back to the question at hand. If Tavares leaves, Barzal will become the number one priority for opposing defensive schemes. The kid is an amazing talent, so that focus was bound to come sooner or later, but the insulation Tavares provides at even-strength was massive in Barzal ripping it up as a rookie.
The second season can be daunting for some players, and losing the team’s best player and captain won’t help that out in any way for Barzal. For that matter, it won’t be too helpful for anyone on the Islanders.
Who knows, maybe we won’t even have to worry about all this.
More on Insider Trading. Tavares is now focusing on negotiations with the Islanders on an extension. Daily discussions last two weeks…
More on Insider Trading. Tavares is now focusing on negotiations with the Islanders on an extension. Daily discussions last two weeks…— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 14, 2018
I was on Sportsnet650 earlier this week talking about Olli Juolevi’s back surgery, Canucks’ prospects and the upcoming 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
I took to Twitter for a couple questions to round out today’s ramblings.
Top three coolest names in the 2018 draft.— Colin Cudmore (@CudmoreColin) June 14, 2018
- Blade Jenkins
- Nando Eggenberger
- Jett Woo
HM: Sampo Ranta
Non 18 draft related: can only build your team around one of the following Russian goaltenders: Samsonov, Sorokin or Shesterkin. Who would it be and then who would rank 2 and 3?— Core Four of 94 (@mcohen29) June 14, 2018
I’m taking Ilya Samsonov here.
Shestyorkin second and Sorokin third. It’s pretty close amongst the three though.
Who are the best fantasy prospects outside the top 30 in the 2018 draft?— Mike Karschti (@mikekarschti) June 14, 2018
Depends on whose board you're looking at. The 20-40 range is an absolute blender this year. That said, from the “consensus” boards, you’re looking at:
- Jake Wise
- Ryan Merkley
- Niklas Nordgren
- Ruslan Iskhakov
- Logan Hutsko
- Jan Jenik
- Kristian Tanus
Some deeper dives in there, but you get the idea.
Koneckny vs Zadina…. who provides the higher ceiling in goals over the next 3yrs?— Ryan Crowells (@rcrowells) June 14, 2018
Usually, I’d say let’s wait and see where Zadina ends up, and that will play a role. However, I’m taking the talented Czech kid here. Zadina’s upside is very high. That’s not a knock on Konecny either. He’s a good player in a decent position.
That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading and feel free to follow me on Twitter @CrazyJoeDavola3
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