Ramblings: A Not So Busy Day of Free Agency, Remaining Free Agents, Entry Draft Results on Zoom (Oct 13)

Grant Campbell

2020-10-14

It is my privilege to be making my Ramblings debut pinch-hitting for Cam Robinson, but I've been told by my children that I'm very good at rambling on.

A Busy Day 4 of Free Agency, Not So Much on Day 5

Not much happened Tuesday (Aaron Dell signed in Toronto), but Monday was certainly a busy day for free agent signings, as some big names finally committed to new teams—Alex Pietrangelo to Vegas, Tyler Toffoli to Montreal, and Erik Gustafsson to Philadelphia.

There were two trades on Monday as well, with Vegas sending Nate Schmidt to Vancouver for a 3rd round draft pick, and Colorado acquiring Devon Toews from the NY Islanders for two 2nd round draft picks.

I had come across this post from ESPN's Greg Wyshynski early on Saturday afternoon and thought to myself maybe Jim Benning does have a bit of a plan—not believing that he actually did. Vancouver couldn't quite get Vegas to take on Antoine Roussel or Jay Beagle, but beggars can't be choosers.

From all reports, Nate Schmidt will slot in as the Canucks' second-best defenceman right away and should see second-unit power play time as well as penalty killing. He more than makes up for the loss of Chris Tanev, but the Canucks are still lacking a suitable replacement for Troy Stecher. It looks like salary cap constraints will force the team to dress one of Jalen Chatfield, Brogan Rafferty, or Olli Juolevi.

I had mentioned in my column yesterday that Colorado would be looking to replace Nikita Zadorov in their lineup unless they thought that Bowen Byram would be ready or recently acquired Dennis Gilbert could fill this role. I didn't think that this question would be answered so quickly with a trade for Devon Toews a few hours later.

Toews should give the Avalanche the option to play him in the top four with some limited power-play time, which is an upgrade on Zadorov who was averaging just over 17 minutes per game as a sixth defenceman. Colorado will miss Zadorov's physicality but are getting a much better all-around defender.

Maybe Wednesday will be a busy day of trades and free agent signings?

Remaining Free Agents

I wrote a recent article about my top 20 unrestricted free agents and the only remaining free agents from that list are Mike Hoffman at #5, Evgenii Dadonov at #6, Mikael Granlund at #9, Alex Galchenyuk at #18, and Erik Haula at #20.

Erik Haula will probably need to sign a one-year deal and prove himself as a 20-goal scorer once again. He will have to stay healthy for 70+ games to do that, which is easier said than done when you've only played 63 games over the past two seasons. It's a gamble worth taking for a team like Arizona or Ottawa that might need help scoring.

Alex Galchenyuk has very little bargaining power after an eight-goal season split between Pittsburgh and Minnesota, where he struggled mightily in both stops. As one of the few 26-year-old unrestricted free agents, he can either sign a one-year show-me deal with a team that he believes will allow him to re-find his career, or he can sign a two- or three-year contract at a lower dollar amount for more stability. I'm guessing he chooses the show-me option.

Mikael Granlund is likely attracting a few teams' interest still, even after five days of free agency. After years in Minnesota and Nashville, will Granlund want to be part of a rebuilding team in, say, Los Angeles, Detroit, New Jersey, or Ottawa? Or would he rather be in a more competitive market? He's probably getting offers from both situations, so the choice should be his.

Evgenii Dadonov is rumored to be re-signing with Florida, but after five days, one would figure that if the Panthers were intent on bringing him and Mike Hoffman back, a deal would have been struck already—unless they are still negotiating term and money. I think Dadonov deserves more money than he will probably get on the open market.

Mike Hoffman has 65 goals over the past two years and I can't help but think of what Jeff Skinner signed for after scoring 64 goals in the two seasons prior to signing with Buffalo. Hoffman won't get anywhere close to what Skinner got but there should be a four or five-year payday out there for him.

Now, on to things we can control… sort of.

Hockey Pools in the Age of Zoom

Every year, the entry draft in my keeper pool has been set in stone and subject to the luck of the draw. We have 25 teams and use a lottery system for the top nine picks, below which it goes in the order of finishing the previous year.

In the past, the pick a team drew was automatically tied in with the actual player picked in the NHL draft. For example, in 2010, I had the third overall pick and was allocated Erik Gudbranson, and I'm shocked that I didn't change the rule right then and there.

This year, someone in my pool suggested that we use Zoom and give people the option of making live picks or submitting a list, and I agreed. I'd never used Zoom before in my life, but was able to figure it out pretty quickly and send an invitation to the pool members. We had eight people join the call, and another ten people submitted written lists.

It took us about 45 minutes and worked out great. We will be doing it this way from now on.

Here is the draft order that was picked:

1st – Alexis Lafreniere (NY Rangers)

2nd – Quinton Byfield (Los Angeles)

3rd – Tim Stutzle (Ottawa)

4th – Marco Rossi (Minnesota)

5th – Lucas Raymond (Detroit)

6th – Alexander Holtz (New Jersey)

7th – Yaroslav Askarov (Nashville)

8th – Cole Perfetti (Winnipeg)

9th – Jamie Drysdale (Anaheim)

10th – Jake Sanderson (Ottawa)

11th – Anton Lundell (Florida) – my pick!

12th – Jack Quinn (Buffalo)

13th – Seth Jarvis (Carolina)

14th – Dylan Holloway (Edmonton)

15th – Rodion Amirov (Toronto)

16th – Hendrix Lapierre (Washington)

17th – Dawson Mercer (New Jersey)

18th – Jacob Perreault (Anaheim)

19th – Noel Gunler (Carolina)

20th – Lukas Reichel (Chicago)

21st – Kaiden Guhle (Montreal)

22nd – Connor Zary (Calgary)

23rd – Braden Schneider (NY Rangers)

24th – Mavrik Bourque (Dallas)

25th – Shakir Mukhamadullin (New Jersey)

Big risers were Rossi (from 9th in the real NHL draft to 4th in our draft), Askarov (from 11th to 7th), and Gunler (from the second round, 41st overall, to 19th).

Big sinkers were Jake Sanderson (falling from 5th in the real NHL draft to 10th in our draft), Jack Quinn (from 8th to 12th), and Yegor Chinakhov (from 21st to not being drafted).

The pool picks solidify the consensus that there is a top-12 tier, and outside of that, there are more individual opinions and assessments.

I hope someone enjoyed this rambling as much as I did.

UPCOMING GAMES

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HOT PLAYERS

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LINE COMBOS

  Frequency FLA Players
17.7% NOEL ACCIARI ALEKSANDER BARKOV JONATHAN HUBERDEAU
11.7% ALEKSANDER BARKOV EVGENII DADONOV JONATHAN HUBERDEAU
8.3% EVGENII DADONOV MIKE HOFFMAN LUCAS WALLMARK

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