Ramblings: Terry Signs, Boeser Trade Rumours, Rathbone leaves Harvard, & Playoff Darkhorses (July 15)

Cam Robinson

2020-07-14

After a five-week summer vacation, I'm back in the Ramblings saddle and ready to gear up for some fantasy hockey talk. The timing couldn't be better either. With training camps firing up this week, the storylines are once again plentiful. 

Let's dive in. 

 

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A couple of signings happened on Tuesday. The first was upcoming Ducks RFA, Troy Terry. The soon-to-be 23-year-old was coming off a stagnating second 'half' season in the league. Anaheim obviously used that leverage to get him at a very reasonable 1.45M per for three seasons.

Terry saw his shooting percentage fall from 16 percent as a rookie to a disgustingly low five percent this past season. This is a talented player, so let's go ahead and assume he finds a way back into the middle ground of 10-12 percent. 

Look for him to find some consistency with a set of linemates next season rather than bomb around the roster as he did in 2019-20. I like him to jump into a half-point-per-game realm next year with room to blossom further.

This is the type of contract you look back on as a steal of a deal in the final year of it. He'll be one of those fun 10.2C players at the conclusion too. Meaning he'll have no arbitration or offer sheet options. Tidy piece of business by the Ducks. 

 

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Meanwhile, the Canucks inked their top defensive prospect in Jack Rathbone. The 21-year-old decided to leave Harvard as the NCAA club had already cancelled their fall schedule. The offer to burn a year off of the ELC without playing NHL games this summer turned out to be the sweetener needed to get it done. Rathbone led all college defenders in shots-per-game (3.36) and was third in points-per-game (1.11). He is a dynamic transitional blueliner with pro-plus skating and a wicked shot.

 

The 5'11 190lbs lefty could conceivably step into the NHL lineup to begin 2020-21. The left-side on the third-pairing is wide open. Jordie Benn underwhelmed. Oscar Fantanberg is a UFA. Ollie Juolevi will likely be his greatest challenge.

Look for Rathbone to develop into something similar to what Sam Girard is to Colorado. While Cale Makar steals the spotlight and the top power-play billing, Girard is quietly very effective in a secondary role. Quinn Hughes will not be supplemented, but Rathbone can carve himself a nice role with the next class of players. 

 

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Speaking of Vancouver, there was some fun chatter the past few days out West. Despite the trade deadline long passed, the rumour mill began churning recently when TSN1040's Matt Sekeres reported that the Canucks have been exploring a Brock Boeser trade. Local insider, Thomas Drance echoed that sentiment and felt that internally, the executive branch view soon-to-be UFA, Tyler Toffoli as the better asset.

Just a quick note, there are two logical reasons why Vancouver would entertain trading a 23-year-old, first-line winger who is best friends with the team's superstar centre. 

 

  1. There is a very real need for a high-end, right-shot defender on the roster

 

Tyler Myers is not a top-pair calibre. Hell, you could argue he's not even a second-pair type, but we'll save the ink. Troy Stecher may not even be qualified because of the cap issues (see #2). Chris Tanev is an upcoming UFA and has witnessed his impact steadily decrease. As such, if you can acquire a young(ish), cost-controlled, top-four defender who has room to blossom into a top-pairing type then you go ahead and do it. If it's on the right side, then you move quickly.



     2. You're attempting to alleviate a cap crunch and the only pieces worth moving are the ones of value. 

 

This is a team anchored with 13.4M sitting on their fourth line or in the press box. They're paying Myers 6M per. They have made bad decision after bad decision on July 1st and the result is being handcuffed with bloated cap hits on untradable deals. 

You're not moving Elias Pettersson. You're not moving Quinn Hughes. Bo Horvat has the C. J.T. Miller is on a sweetheart contract for three more years. Toffoli is on an expiring contract. 

That leaves Brock. 

The issue here is that he's younger, better and an in-house developed asset who brings untapped potential compared to a completed project in Toffoli. 

 

 

From a fantasy perspective, this decision will hold immense implications. For Boeser, if he moves, he'll be put into a top spot on the receiving team. Likely to see a downgrade from Pettersson. But still, he'll be good. However, if he stays and is left to work with Horvat on L2 and is knocked off of that top power-play unit than the 0.8 per-game producer will fall way down.

The story is a bit different for the 28-year-old. Toffoli was a hot ticket to grab after his move from LA to Vancouver ahead of the deadline. He did not disappoint. He supplemented Boeser on the team's top line while the former was on the shelf and produced 10 points in as many games. He was seeing more power-play time than ever before, skating next to two point-per-game players. 

It was a best-case scenario.

What happens next will be telling. From line rushes early in camp, Toffoli looks to be holding onto his spot on the first line. Boeser remains with Horvat on L2. That's reason enough to lean Toffoli in playoff pools, but if they're skating together at evens, odds are they're skating together on that top PP unit as well. 

Boeser on L2 and PP2 is not ideal. He had been a productive bumper player in college, but it's unlikely he pushes Horvat out of that spot. 

If Toffoli can keep the numbers high, he may be able to push management over the edge to give him a long term extension that will run right out of his prime years. That will mean a career-season is likely on the horizon. However, if Boeser sticks around, then Toffoli's spot on that line and unit will forever be tenuous.

Keeping them both means one if off of PP1, but the team's top six would be amongst the best in the game. 

No easy answers here. 

 

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In a strange piece of news, apparently Johnny Gaudreau was removed from the main grouping at Flames’ camp today due to concerns over his fitness levels. This is clearly a warning shot at the star winger who suffered through a down season by his standards.

Just watch Calgary sell low on him this offseason.

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Call me crazy, but I’m ready to take an extra-long look at some young players in playoff pools this summer. The youth factor cannot be overstated in this bizarre world we’re living in. The young kids maintain their fitness easier. They’re less likely to pull groins, hamstrings, or abdominal walls. They’re bouncy and full of unbridled enthusiasm. They haven’t been burdened with all of life’s bumps in the road.

So, some of the players that we’d normally look at to breakout next season, should have a decent chance of pushing that timeline up a tad.

I’m talking about Anthony Cirelli, Jake DeBrusk, Denis Gurianov, Adam Gaudette, Alex DeBrincat if Chicago can get hot. Players who won’t necessarily waltz into top line, top PP roles, but who have the talent and pop in their step to maybe find a way as the rounds move along. Hell, I’d even watch out for a kid like Noah Dobson or Adam Boqvist to snake a top PP gig on the blueline.

Respect the youth this spin around the Cup.

 

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@Hockey_Robinson

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25.7% LAWSON CROUSE CLAYTON KELLER DEREK STEPAN
19.9% TAYLOR HALL VINNIE HINOSTROZA CARL SODERBERG
17.7% CHRISTIAN DVORAK BARRETT HAYTON PHIL KESSEL

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