Ramblings – How the NHL’s ‘No New Contracts That Include 2019-20’ Rule Gives Some Teams an Edge (June 1)
Announcement: The Fantasy Prospects Report (13th Edition) will be released on Friday June 12. I have decided to go ahead and release this on that date because I didn't want to delay the announcement any longer. If the Draft is on June 26 then you will be able to use this with plenty of time to prep. If the Draft is in October after the 24-team playoffs that is forthcoming, then instead of posting an update on June 19 with a Mock Draft, I will post this update in October. Basically whenever the draft order is set, then we will update the Fantasy Prospects Report. I will have the Packs and this Guide up for pre-sale in a few days.
Announcement II: I also plan to launch subscription plans for the first time. Watch for that this week. Platinum, Gold and Silver plans, or you can just by the Guide or the Packages as per usual. Up to you!
As you know, the NHL has officially ended the season and announced plans for playoff hockey involving 24 teams. Ian wrote up an article digging into how commissioners should handle things in fantasy leagues.
There will be a new twist on playoff drafts this year. And I don't just mean due to the format (although I should touch on that, and will further down). I am referring to the player options.
In a given year, NHL teams will sign their college players or their European players after their particular season ends and those players join the team for the very end of the campaign and into the playoffs. Alexander Radulov did that with Nashville once, jumping on board for their playoff run in 2011-12. Chris Kreider played meaningful playoff games for the Rangers in 2012 after finishing up with Boston College, despite not playing a single regular season game.
You won't see that this year. Players signed after the season was canceled on March 12 cannot be signed for this year. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly referred to them as "ringers", saying it would not be fair for teams to bring in ringers like that. So no Kirill Kaprizov to help the Wild. No Alexander Romanov to help the Habs. No Ilya Sorokin to help the Islanders. Two of those three haven't signed yet (only Romanov has signed so far), and they may not sign at all if it means not being able to play until the end of December. I'm hearing strong rumors of Sorokin staying in the KHL for at least another year because of this.
This means the following players, who may have gotten into a playoff game or two, won't be able to:
Grigori Denisenko (Florida – profile here)
Max Gildon (Florida – profile here)
K'Andre Miller (NY Rangers – profile here)
Wade Allison (Philadelphia – profile here)
Scott Perunovich (St. Louis – profile here)
Jack Dugan (Vegas – profile here)
These are all great players, very promising prospects. I am pretty sure that one or two of them would have had an impact on the playoffs had the season run smoothly and the postseason began on schedule. Maybe a "Kreider" or a "Radulov" impact is asking too much, but a couple of these guys would have done something. But they aren't eligible. From what I could dig up, correct me if I'm wrong, but the player needed to be under contract before the 'pause'.
Instead, the teams can and will turn to a different type of player. I'm talking about the junior players who were already signed to entry-level deals. These players would normally still be playing in the CHL playoffs, or they would be deemed as not yet ready for an NHL audition – especially for the rigors of the postseason. But now some of these guys will be in the Hub cities as Black Aces, and some of the better ones could see limited roles. Offensive, power-play roles. Here are the players who may get an opportunity when normally they would not:
Jakob Pelletier (Calgary – profile here)
Bowen Byram (Colorado – profile here)
Liam Foudy (Columbus – profile here)
Ty Dellandrea (Dallas – profile here)
Thomas Harley (Dallas – profile here)
Alexander Khovanov (Minnesota – profile here) Kaprizov may not be eligible, but Khovanov certainly is as he signed over 18 months ago.
Philip Tomasino (Nashville – profile here)
Samuel Poulin (Pittsburgh – profile here)
Cal Foote (Tampa Bay – profile here)
Nicholas Robertson (Toronto – profile here)
Connor McMichael (Washington – profile here)
Foudy is almost certainly a shoe-in for getting into the Columbus lineup, and I’ve already heard rumblings that Robertson will at least get a long look. Colorado and Dallas would be crazy not to give those stud prospects a long look as well. And with Pittsburgh now missing both Nick Bjugstad and Dominik Simon (note below), I wonder if Poulin gets consideration…
If you notice – this rule completely shifts the advantage to different teams! Instead of the Habs getting Romanov, Florida getting those two players, the Blues getting Perunovich – those teams get nobody of consequence! But Colorado, Dallas and Toronto (for example) weren't getting anyone…and now they each get a legit option or two. The pendulum swings!
Some lesser news, but notable…
Lukas Radil played 50 games for the Sharks between this season and last, and 43 games with the Barracuda. An older free agent who tried his hand at the NHL at the age of 27, he has still been battling to stick. Now 29, he decided to sign in the KHL. The added incentive of (likely) starting in September no doubt played a role in his decision.
The KHL, in case you missed it, announced that they will (probably) begin their season on September 2. Barring any Covid setbacks, of course.
Rangers' prospect Sean Day was one of the rare players to be given 'exceptional status' by the OHL back in 2013. Only John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, Connor McDavid and last year Shane Wright have been given this (and a couple of months ago Connor Bedard was added to this exclusive list). This status makes a player eligible to play in that league at the age of 15. Day, who spent this year in the ECHL, was placed on unconditional waivers by the Rangers and released from his contract. Exceptional status is certainly no guarantee of success.
Mikkel Boedker and Brian Gibbons have each signed to play for in the Swiss League. For years I've been saying that's what I would do, if I were an NHL player who had faded to the fringes – good pay, good taxes, and a quality country from what I hear. And the fact that they wouldn't play in the NHL anyway until late in the year is a further nudge to make this move – i.e. it's an added three or four months of pay.
News I missed from two weeks ago – Pittsburgh forward Dominik Simon underwent shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum. He is sidelined until late November, which wipes out the playoffs (likely) for him.
You may have missed this a couple of days ago, but word is that the seven non-playoff teams are now allowed to make trades with each other. Detroit, Ottawa, New Jersey, Los Angeles, San Jose, Buffalo and Anaheim can start doing deals right now!
See you next Monday. Be safe. Thanks for continuing to support the website, and if you're bored and need a fantasy hockey fix – visit the gang in the forum here.
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