Rambling about Huberdeau, Dvorak, Setoguchi, Tortorella, Kane and more …
Last Fantasy Guide update was Thursday and it included my Top Calder Candidates article. Next update will be later today, though the notes will be minor. Updates start coming fast and furious (daily or even multiple times per day) when camp opens and there are lots of changes.
Well this is interesting. A blast from the past, Marc-Andre Bergeron, has signed a professional tryout agreement with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Bergeron was a very talented offensive defenseman. Completely one dimensional, but that dimension was offense. And I think he would have been a very successful fantasy player too, were it not for one thing: injuries. In his last six seasons his high games played was 72. Generally he played 55 games or so. After his first two relatively healthy seasons (35 points and 46 points), he couldn’t stay healthy. One-dimensional, and can’t stay in the lineup. Not only did that add up to teams giving up on him, but the injuries took a toll. His skilled eroded a little.
Anyway, he played the last three seasons in the Swiss League and, wouldn’t you know it, he stayed healthy over there. If it weren’t for the fact that he’ll be 36 in October, I’d actually take his NHL comeback seriously. But given his age, I have to think that his odds of success are practically nil. But great on him for giving the dream one more shot.
And just to keep you in a nostalgic mood, another blast from the past has signed a PTO. Devin Setoguchi will give the Los Angeles Kings a shot. He, too, was in the Swiss League last season. I’m guessing he’ll go back there if and when he gets cut. He had 24 points in 30 games for Davos, getting suspended for five games for a hit to the head. I don’t see any improvement here. He’s 29 years old, should be his prime, but if he’s seventh on a Swiss League team in scoring (fifth in points-per game) and his forte is scoring…then how is that going to translate well to the NHL? Last year Setoguchi was cut from the Leafs after a tryout there. I admire him for not giving up, but I don’t think any of us sees it happening.
Here was Setoguchi’s hit to the head that got him suspended:
And now to the real news. Jonathan Huberdeau signed a six-year contract extension worth $5.9 million per season. That deal was signed far earlier than it needed to be, for a number that is pretty high. And that speaks volumes as to what Florida’s expectations of him are for this season. That cap hit places him 64th in the league (tied with Kari Lehtonen (!) and Patrick Sharp). I have him penciled in for 65 points this season, a career high and a number that would place him in the Top 25 in the league. So the Panthers are probably right to gamble on this.
I was just looking at the UFA’s that are left, just glancing the chart from the corner of my eye when I was on Cap Friendly, and I suddenly noticed the dollars that these players made last season. Wow. Notables:
James Wisniewski made $5.5 million last year
Tuomo Ruutu $4.75
RJ Umberger $4.6
Nikita Nikitin $4.5
Kyle Quincey $4.25
David Jones $4.25
Nearly $30 million went to six players who hardly played. And I think every one of those contracts we knew were bad as soon as they were signed! Lockout, here we come…
We finally have some fantastic, in-depth background on the thinking behind the PK Subban – Shea Weber trade, as well as the Taylor Hall – Adam Larsson trade. I’ve been pretty vocal about both being not that bad (not the ‘sky is falling’ that so many out there think). And Elliotte Friedman’s piece I believe brings some sanity to the table. Well worth the read, and on top of that he gives insight on the tough decision that Steven Stamkos had to make on that same day.
The Arizona Coyotes blog – Five for Howling – rank Christian Dvorak the top player in the organization under the age of 21. Even over Dylan Strome. This is reinforcing this sneaking, growing gut feeling that I have that he’s going to surprise and impress us more than Strome is. But as they state in that article, Dvorak is eligible to play in the AHL whereas Strome is not. Strome would have to go back to the OHL if he gets cut. And since, I’m sure, the Coyotes don’t want to do that (but they wouldn’t mind a top prospect going to the AHL), you’ll probably see Strome in and Dvorak out. But in the long term, I suspect Dvorak could be the better fantasy own. And if he does get sent down, you shouldn’t take that as a statement of Strome being better than he is. But instead, understand that hockey politics played a role. His demotion would actually be an opportunity for you to make a pitch for him in your keeper league.
Columbus has extended the contract of GM Jarmo Kekalainen, locking him in through the 2018-19 season. I’d say that he has a good drafting track record, but then he went and ruined it by passing on Jesse Puljujarvi in June.
The NHL Network ‘experts’ have named Patrick Kane the best player in hockey. The NHL Network experts would be wrong. And in fact, I would rather have anyone else in their Top 8 (other than Holtby) over Kane. And add McDavid in there too. So I guess that means I’d have Kane eighth. You?
John Tortorella isn’t sure which of his three goalies he will roll with at the World Cup. It’s a close call, but for me I’d go with Ben Bishop – even though Jonathan Quick has the resume that he does. The problem with these short tournaments, with everyone coming in cold, is that you don’t have time to change your mind. If the goalie you pick bombs out, you better hope he does it in the first game. Any later, and it becomes a controversy. It becomes ‘the story’. And then the goalie you replace him with comes in cold and not at his best. And you certainly can’t change your mind a second time.
Speaking of Torts, here is what he said he would do if one of his players sat down during the national anthem a la Kaepernick:
“If any of my players sit on the bench for the national anthem, they will sit there the rest of the game.”
As one would expect at this time of year from Mike Sullivan, he’s not tipping his hand as to which way he’s leaning when it comes to the goaltending duty split. But I think Marc-Andre Fleury will start five out of every eight games up until he is traded. If that doesn’t happen, then it’s a 50-32 split. If it happens early, then both Fleury and Matt Murray will get 60 starts. Just adjust the dial from there as you see fit, depending on which week and month the trade happens.
Also in that linked article – more praise for Derrick Pouliot’s offseason and the team’s expectations.
In case you missed it – some exciting changes to the reporting tools on DobberHockey’s Frozen Pool section. I outline them here. I’ve also received about 10 more suggestions from you guys and I think we can put in most of them (also adding things to the player profiles). I now have Frozen Pool set up so that all of my statistical research for running my fantasy leagues and writing articles for this site can be done without going to another site. Mission accomplished. Other than minor league stats. Who knows? Maybe we’ll get that added in one day too.
Keep sending in your suggestions (best way – use the comment section of that article)
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