Ramblings: Wrapping Up Bubble Keeper Week

Ian Gooding

2018-07-29

Before putting a wrap on Bubble Keeper Week, let’s start with some news items:

The Rangers have signed Brady Skjei to a six-year contract worth $5.25 million per season. Skjei receives a significant raise from the $925,000 that he was receiving on his entry-level contract the past three seasons, so this represents a major jump for his salary cap keeper owners.

After a 39-point season in 2016-17, Skjei dipped to just 25 points and a minus-27 in 2017-18. With that output, salary cap keeper owners would be justified in not keeping him. In fact, Skjei meets our criteria for being a bubble keeper. There is 40-plus point upside for Skjei, so an argument could be made about keeping him. Skjei’s power-play minutes also increased after the first quarter of the season. But remember that Kevin Shattenkirk will be back from injury, so Skjei will probably be back on the second unit. Coincidentally, Shattenkirk was Skjei’s most common defensive partner last season.  

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Quinn Hughes (Dobber Prospects profile here) won’t suit up for the Canucks in 2018-19, deciding to return to the University of Michigan instead. Although a tiny part of me would love to see him in a Canucks’ uniform this coming season, this is logically and completely the right move for both Hughes and the Canucks in the long run.

Bringing a teenager into the NHL can be risky. That risk is elevated when the player happens to be a defenseman, and the team happens to be a rebuilding one like the Canucks. Hughes was no guarantee to make the Canucks out of training camp, as the team already has eight defensemen under contract. Hughes will be in a much better position to make the squad in 2019-20, as both Alex Edler and Michael Del Zotto will be UFAs, and Chris Tanev could be traded by then. Ben Hutton and Derrick Pouliot will also be RFAs, and the Canucks could easily decide to move on from either if they do not take a step forward this coming season.

I just hope that the reportedly messy breakup between Trevor L