Ramblings: Giordano and the Over-36 Crowd, Draft Helpers, & RFAs Turned UFAs (June 26)

by Cam Robinson on June 25, 2019
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Giordano and the Over-36 Crowd, Draft Helpers, & RFAs Turned UFAs (June 26)



I survived another draft weekend! The damage was limited to a gravely voice and a very early bedtime on Monday evening. Not bad for a couple of bumpy prop plane rides, five days of crazy hockey coverage, and a few pops. We’ll dig into a great many things today but I know you all just want to hear about that time I popped out the wrong end of the rink and ended up chatting with Scotty Bowman for a bit. No? Ok, I’ll save that one for next time I guess.


The main storylines on Tuesday surround Restricted Free Agents and whether or not they would receive qualifying offers. For the majority of these players, we don’t really care about where they play next season. They are of interest to the very deepest of leagues. However, there were a couple of interesting non-qualified guys.


Ben Hutton

The Canucks were reported to be working the phone lines with ferocity in an attempt to move the 26-year-old defender before qualifying him at 2.85 million. That number didn’t scare the team as much as the likely arbitrator result. Anything below 4.4 million and Vancouver would have to pay him. Hutton posted some decent multicat numbers last season. 20 points, 100+ blocks, 114 shots, and a few hits in 69 games. All while skating over 22 minutes a night. It is unlikely Hutton receives anywhere near that level of deployment again wherever he lands – even Vancouver if he opts to sign there as a UFA.


If you’re holding in a deep league, its time to move along.


Ryan Hartman

Hartman was dealt from Philly to Dallas on Monday and then failed to receive a QF from the Stars on Tuesday. All the while, he’s been out in wilderness probably having a great time. People are out here laughing at him for not knowing which NHL club will be paying his seven-figure salary next season, but I think the kid is a genius. Why sweat the stuff you can’t control? Just get outside and breathe.



The 24-year-old is another multicategory type. After scoring 19 goals and 31 points as a rookie with the Blackhawks in 2016-17, he has failed to meet or improve on either category the last two seasons. He does bring 100+ hits, a couple of shots per game, and 70 penalty minutes. The difference between him and Hutton is that he was doing that with just 13 minutes of ice. Where he lands could play a substantial role in his fantasy relevancy. If he can become a complementary piece on a top-six line, or a regularly used energy line player who sees an increase in ice, those numbers could rise.



DobberHockey has a brand new Shop! It's pretty snazzy. Take this opportunity to check it out and purchase the most recent Fantasy Prospect Report. It continues to be the crown jewel of intel on hockey prospects in the fantasy world. More updates will be coming soon as well. 



There were a few prospects who improved their fantasy stock by landing in a good spot after draft weekend. I’ll slide these in throughout the summer. The first up is  Ze German.


Mortiz Seider

The Red Wings pulled off the ‘gasp’ moment of round one by selecting the big German defender. Detroit was rumoured to be very interested in Seider ahead of the pick but wanted to slide back to provide value on the choice. When they couldn’t get that done, they just went ahead and took their guy.


Seider has all the raw tools to be a very intriguing fantasy asset. Landing in Detroit – a club that is quickly building an impressive stable of high-end prospects will do wonders in him fulfilling that potential. The right side of the blueline in Detroit is light. They have the ghost of Mike Green and a collection of misfit toys up there on a full-time basis. They recently signed Oliwer Kaski –the top offensive defender in the Liiga last season, and have Filip Hronek banging the door down. Now they have the top right-shot prospect from the 2019 class.


Seider is in a unique situation to play almost anywhere in the world next season. He can return to the DEL, or head over to a different Euro top league like the SHL or Liiga. He can try his luck in the CHL via the Import Draft, or go take the AHL for a spin. The only league that he can’t go to is the NCAA. I feel like the best spot for him is to slide over to the SHL or Liiga and play big minutes against quality competition. Follow that up with a touch of AHL seasoning and he could be ready to go. 


I speak more about Seider and some other draft day fantasy nuggets on Ep. 56 of DobberProspect Radio


I’m not going to be shy here, I like Seider a lot. I had him as the second-best D on my list and see him being a big upside guy. Clearly, Stevie Y agrees. He’s a player that may slide down draft boards this year because he’s a perceived reach. But if you’re willing to take a little bit of a risk on a somewhat raw player, the payoff could be big.



What the hell are we going to do with Mark Giordano?


The reigning, and well-deserved Norris Trophy winner is causing more than a few owners some sleepless nights. The Flames captain will turn 36 before the puck drops on 2019-20 and history indicates that replication of anywhere near his 74 points from last season is not likely.


In the last 30 years, there have been 15 examples of 36-year-old or older defenders who have crested the 50-point mark. Nicklas Lidstrom did it four times. Ray Bourque accomplished the feat three times. Larry Murphy and Al MacInnis did it twice. That leaves Mathieu Schnieder and Sergei Zubov as the remaining players.



I'm not going to pencil him in for 70-plus points again, but there are a lot of reasons to like him to push his way into that elite list above.


The top thing being is that Gio’s metrics weren’t way out of whack last season. The left-shot skater put his usual three shots on net per game. His 7.7 percent conversion rate was right in line with his career average. He saw a few seconds extra on the power play, but nothing major. His IPP of 51.7 percent was significantly higher than the previous two seasons, but just the third highest of his career. His deployment is very likely to remain stable. The surrounding talent should be consistent.


Additionally, most 36-year-olds have a TON of games under their belt and the incredible wear-and-tear that comes with them. Giordano has suited up for 833 NHL games thus far. Not an insignificant number, but compared to most guys his age, it’s decent.  Zdeno Chara had over 1150 NHL games at age 36. Chris Chelios had nearly 1100 games to his resume at the same age. That's the equivalent of 2-3 seasons of extra wear. 


In a keeper league – especially a limited one, it'll be difficult to use a spot on a 36-year-old. That said, if you're looking to legitimately compete for a championship next season, it seems equally difficult to let him go to hold onto a younger – but likely less valuable, asset. Be sure you know what you're doing because I fully expect Gio to click at over a 50-point-pace next season. That would look pretty darn good on your back end, Tim. 



Vegas has some explaining to do. We all know that teams are afforded a 10 percent cap buffer in the summer, but after extending William Karlsson for eight years and 5.9 million per, the Golden Knights are sitting at just over 89 million on their roster. That's 7.5 million over the 81.5 cap set for next season. They also still have to sign RFA, Nikita Gusev, nab a seventh defenseman, and a backup goaltender. 


All this adds up to one thing. Someone is going to pry Colin Miller out of Vegas and reap the benefits. The 26-year-old, right-shot defender fell out of favour in Sin City to end the season. He was a healthy scratch down the stretch and at times during the playoffs. This despite playing at a 37-point pace with his shooting percentage dipping significantly.



Miller is scheduled to make 3.875 million for the next three seasons. He's a quality-skating, point-producing, right-shot defender in a market nearly void of such an asset. Vegas will want to clear the room. Teams will want to take a stab. This sounds like a good opportunity to me. Where he lands will dictate the offensive upside, but he's a player who needs sheltering – as his 60 percent ozone start times display. That means the purchasing club should know that and deploy him appropriately. 


Sure sounds better than tossing Tyler Myers seven years and eight million per.