Ramblings: Thoughts on some of the latest moves around the NHL (June 17)
There have been lots of moves over the past few days worthy of discussion. Let’s get to it.
Carl Hagelin re-signed with the Caps for four years at $2.75 million AAV. Kudos to his agent. I think this was a worthy cap price. He’ll be 31 in the fall and 34 in the final year of his deal. I’m not the biggest Hagelin fan out there and I don’t think he’ll be more than a fringe NHLer by the last year of this contract, but I think this was actually a good signing. The Caps need cheap experienced bodies filling their depth lines and he slots in there nicely and adds speed. If the Caps re-sign Brett Connolly, they can keep that third line together of Connolly, Lars Eller and Hagelin.
That being said, I think Connolly could sign for big bucks, get thrust into a bigger role than his ability, and that would act as a drag upwards on his production, pushing him into the low-50s for the first time in his career. That’s where I see Connolly. He’s 27, is a former sixth-overall pick, and with almost zero power-play help he had 22 goals and 46 points. It will be slightly less than that if he stays in Washington, but as I said already – on a new team with a juicy contract he tops 50. This is one case (maybe the only case this year?) where a ‘contract year’ boost isn’t an illusion.
The Caps traded Matt Niskanen to Philly for Radko Gudas. The move saves them some cap space and gets them tougher and younger.
Columbus is in one of the best spots in terms of cap space right now, and they just signed a 25-year-old Swedish free agent named Jakob Lilja to an entry-level contract. Jokke spoke of Lilja here back in January, suggesting he could find a home on a third line at some point. The SHL is a low-scoring league, so Lilja’s 37 points in 52 games led Djurgardens in scoring. His linemate, Blue Jackets prospect Emil Bemstrom, is obviously the big reason why he caught the eye of Columbus scouts. Not draftable, just notable. We have a scouting profile on Bemstrom here.
While I think the Chicago Blackhawks u