Ramblings: Cam Ward is a terrible signing (June 20)

by Dobber on June 20, 2016

Ramblings: Thoughts on Cam Ward, Shea Theodore, Nick Schmaltz, Ian McCoshen, Strombo and more…

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If you didn’t already pick up the Keeper League Fantasy Pack, you can do so here. The Fantasy Prospects Report is already out, and the Fantasy Guide will be out in about six weeks. It works out to about 400 pages of gold for eight or nine bucks per magazine.

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I’m going to offer up my take on some recent events in case you’re interested. Firstly, the one that bothers me the most and that’s Cam Ward. I don’t know how his agent pulled it off but kudos to him. How could he convince GM Ron Francis that if left to free agency, another team would offer him close to $4 million? Ward is getting $3.3 million. This for a goaltender that has been one of the worst in the league for three years running. And he makes more than Eddie Lack! The Hurricanes needed to do one of two things: 1) Roll with Lack and give him a de facto backup goaltender. No controversy, not challenge, just let Lack take the reins. Or 2) sign or trade for a top starter. One that would be clearly ‘the man’ and so Lack would be clearly a backup. And there are no shortage of available starters right now.

But no. Instead they sign a guy who will cannibalize Lack’s starts. Not only will Ward perform worse than Lack (as he proved last year), but he will make Lack perform worse (as he did last year). My Tweet summarized this point:

Lack isn’t a one game here, one game there, kind of goalie. He needs to get lots of starts. So far, this Ward signing is the worst NHL move of the offseason. That’s a real shame, because one of the best moves of the offseason was done by Carolina just a day earlier.

If Ward went to free agency, I would have been shocked – shocked! – if he signed for over $2 million anywhere. I would not have been shocked if all he got was a training camp invite.

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Also, writing “GM Ron Francis” is really, really weird. It seems like half the league is now run by players I used to own in my fantasy leagues.

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Another quick thought is on Anton Forsberg. He signed a one-year, two-way extension with Columbus after a brilliant AHL playoff performance. No big surprise, but certainly notable. In the unlikely event that he had signed a one-way deal (or a two-year contract in which the second year is one-way) then it would have been interesting. His NHL salary would be $650,000 while Joonas Korpisalo’s would be $742,500. Curtis McElhinney is still signed for next year, but he was horrible in 2015-16 and if Sergei Bobrovsky gets hurt the team will turn to one of Forsberg or Korpisalo. Tough to pick a favorite here, but…gun to my head I’d probably take Korpisalo.

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And the last ‘older news’ I’ll weigh in on is the Sami Vatanen signing. It certainly puts to rest the trade rumors, but not surprisingly the Shea Theodore questions have sprung up all over my Twitter feed. Vatanen becomes the highest paid blueliner on the team at $4.475M per season. Will Hampus Lindholm beat that? I think so – he was drafted higher, his production is about 20% lower but he’s bigger and he’s far more important defensively. So the Ducks will then have six defensemen making $3.25M per season or more. They would have about $8 million left to sign about six forwards plus Frederik Andersen. So a trade will have to happen, probably involving Andersen. And another trade involving a defenseman. If paying another team to take a big contract (such as Kevin Bieksa or Clayton Stoner) is needed, then they’ll do it. Think – Chicago using Teravainen to ‘pay’ the other team to take a big contract. If trading a Cam Fowler needs to happen, they’ll do that. But they won’t move a Golden Boy like Hampus Lindholm and I rarely see teams sign-and-trade players, so Vatanen is safe. Fowler is also a Golden Boy, but that status slips a little behind Lindholm (younger, drafted higher) and Vatanen (bigger contract, newly-signed).

At any rate, Shea Theodore is ready for the NHL and I think he’ll be a 40-point player if Fowler is traded. But he’ll be a 25-point player if it’s Stoner or Bieksa who go. That power-play time is key

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Rob Klinkhammer has signed to play with Dynamo Minsk of the KHL.

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Those of you who think the Red Wings can trade the Pavel Datsyuk contract: Ken Holland is “not overly optimistic” that it can happen.

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Nick Schmaltz has turned pro. The 20th overall pick in 2014 is leaving North Dakota so that he can try out for the Blackhawks. I tend to think that he’ll play a season in the AHL this year, but with Chicago’s cap problems I wonder if he’ll get rushed. The Blackhawks didn’t seem to mind rushing Saad or Teravainen, so this is not a team that will season the best prospects for three years in the AHL. Read more on Schmaltz here.

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Another player turning pro is Florida rearguard Ian McCoshen. A former teammate of Mike Matheson, McCoshen was the defensive conscience of the two. He is extensively profiled in the Prospects Report (as are Matheson and Schmaltz, for that matter) and the lowdown on him is basically – draft him if your league counts the physical categories such as hits and PIM. I doubt he gets much of a look this year, but next season I think he’ll be close. More McCoshen here.

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Well, last week I reported that FanDuel and DraftKings are investigating a merger. That could still happen (I think it will). But in the meantime, it looks as though New York will pass a bill into law that will state that daily fantasy sports are games of skill. If that gets signed into law, it will happen on July 1. And at that point, DraftKings and FanDuel will be able to operate in New York once more.

My own opinion: keeper leagues boil down to about 80% skill and 20% luck. One-year leagues it probably slips to 60% skill and 40% luck. For monthly leagues, this is probably 40% skill and 60% luck. And when we get to daily leagues, we’re talking about 20% skill and 80% luck. The smaller the sample size, the smaller the chance of things happening the way they ‘should’ happen.

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Rogers Sportsnet is reportedly replacing Hockey Night in Canada host George Stroumboulopoulos with former host Ron MacLean. The latter shouldn’t have been removed in the first place. Kudos to Rogers for trying to rebrand and refocus when they bought the NHL rights two years ago. But some of their changes needed to be done gradually. If you want to impress the majority of a large group of people, then rarely does a major change work when it’s done all at once. I think CBC had a good plan of going with Ron for another decade, and gradually phasing in Elliotte Friedman. Making a sudden switch to a perceived non-hockey guy was too much for the system.

I actually don’t mind Strombo and I’ve grown used to the change. I don’t think changing back is going to fix ratings. You know what will fix ratings? Having Canadian hockey teams do well. And we’re on the cusp of seeing that. I think all the Canadian teams will have a better season (except Vancouver, I’m so sorry guys…I feel for you), with a couple of them primed to do well for years to come. If four Canadian teams make the playoffs, will Sportsnet attribute their sudden ratings increase to the fact that Ron MacLean is back in as host?

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Here is an interesting article breaking down drafted players by total minutes played. The players who were drafted between 2001 and 2013 were included in the study. Buffalo finished on top – their drafted players played a combined total of 219,583 minutes. Chicago, Washington, Los Angeles, Montreal, Nashville and Pittsburgh finished second through seventh. The goalies are given too much weight, since they play the full 60 minutes, so I would have divided each goaltender’s minutes by three. Curious to see how that would impact the results. For example, Tuukka Rask was by far Toronto’s ‘most played’ draft pick, seeing 18,921 – more than 5000 minutes over the next player (Alex Steen).

Dead last? No surprise here. New Jersey Devils: 78,958. What is a surprise is the fact that Tampa Bay finished 29th at 95,622. They have so many draft picks on the team now with many more on the way, so I’d expect that number to be drastically different if we look at this three years from now.

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The latest DobberProspects Ramblings, Hayden goes over a selection of NHL players who played in the KHL, and who played in the NCAA and delves into their production from one league to the next.