Ramblings: Thoughts on Pacioretty, Tavares, the Draft, Carlson, Wideman and more (June 25)
Hope you enjoyed draft weekend, even if the trade action was a bit of a lull. I believe that this year the quality defensemen were in abundance and the forwards were lacking in terms of high-end talent. At least, compared to other years. Obviously these guys are talented so I’m speaking in relative terms. But the salary cap era has teams in such desperate need of cheap help sooner rather than later, you saw many of them take a B-type forward ahead of an A-type defenseman. We had four defensemen ranked in the Top 7 and yet just two actually went in the Top 7. You saw Montreal reach ahead and take the top-ranked center (Jesperi Kotkaniemi) two or three spots above his overall ranking. You saw the Senators grab a forward in Brady Tkachuk who will likely join the team by 2019-20 at the latest, even though they are in serious danger of losing their franchise defenseman. You even saw Arizona grab a forward many outlets had ranked out of the Top 10 – at No.5. I find it curious, because in real hockey as it is in fantasy, defensemen are valued more. This obviously wasn’t about trade value but to me was about getting a guy on their roster within two or three years (forwards) as opposed to three or four years (defensemen).
On the plus side, this allowed some very deserving teams to get their hands on real good quality defensemen. Kudos to Vancouver on getting Quinn Hughes at 7 and to Edmonton for Evan Bouchard at 10. Then again, it also allowed other teams to get quality defensemen as well – such as Chicago getting Adam Boqvist. The Hawks have won enough Cups lately, shouldn’t they suffer for a bit now? I kid.
I’m sure you’ve read all the articles giving Detroit pats on the back for the players that landed in their lap much later than expected. Filip Zadina was ranked third on a lot of lists (including our own in the Fantasy Prospects Report), yet Detroit got him sixth. Joe Veleno was ranked 11th on our list and Detroit got him 30th. But here is the Devil’s Advocate point of view – they got a couple of players who sank for a reason. I don’t question Zadina’s talent. I think that one was luck in that Montreal wanted a center and Ottawa wanted a sure-fire scoring-line player who can help very soon. But now I question Veleno, who has seen his stock fall for almost an entire year now. Reminds me of us celebrating the Penguins for drafting Angelo Esposito back in the day. There was a reason Esposito fell, is there a reason Veleno fell? I’ll let someone else take a chance on Veleno for now in my league.
My favorite pick of the first round: Edmonton taking Evan Bouchard
My favorite dark horse pick of the first round: Dallas taking Ty Dellandrea
These are from fantasy standpoints. That’s just how I always think.
The big news of the weekend may not have even come from the draft, or from a player moving at all, but rather from a player staying. John Carlson signed with the Capitals for eight years at $8 million per season. On the open market he would have been capped at seven years, unless Washington traded him. But my guess is he would have gotten $8.5 million per. This way he gets that extra season. This deal was made possible, and happened quickly, once the team got Brooks Orpik off the books in the Grubauer trade.
Just a thought, but why wouldn’t a superstar sign for one year at a time? Make $10 million next year, $11 the year after, and $12 the year after. If you’re the top UFA available, you’ll always make the most in the league, right? Then at 31 or 32 you sign your six or seven year deal. Three years from now, Carlson will be 15th or 20th among defensemen for salary and yet he still might be Top 10 in talent. Just thinking aloud here…”rambling”, if you will.
Speaking of UFAs, John Tavares has reportedly cut his list down to the following teams: Toronto, San Jose, Dallas, NY Islanders and “possibly” Boston as well as one of Tampa Bay and/or Nashville. Vegas now off the list.
How hard is Lou Lamoriello working to keep Tavares an Islander? Well, he’s following Tavares around California as he interviews with teams. I guess the next step is to start sticking bananas into the exhaust pipe of Doug Wilson’s car to make sure Wilson is late. I love the dedication here – he clearly knows what is riding on this and is acting accordingly. Leave zero to chance.
The NHL buyout window ends June 30, which this year is Saturday. Here are the players who are going to be bought out:
Brooks Orpik, COL; Xavier Ouellet, DET;
And here are the players who have agreed to be released from their contracts unconditionally:
I don’t know why the above players are allowed to just be released. I understand that they have to also agree to it – but what’s to prevent a team from strong-arming them? Or bribing them with head office jobs? I thought the CBA protected players from this stuff, even at their own detriment at times.
Minor trade yesterday – Vancouver traded Michael Chaput to Chicago for Tanner Kero. The latter is signed for the season ahead whereas the former is not, but both are depth players playing in a depth role.
Another minor trade – the Red Wings traded Robbie Russo to the Coyotes for a conditional seventh-round draft pick. That’s about as low a return as possible. Russo is all about offense, so to me he’s the quick replacement in case Trevor Murphy fails to pick up where he left off to end last season. Either way, we’re talking about the No.6 or 7 defenseman with secondary PP time and a bit of upside to move higher. Not unlike what Kevin Connauton brought to the table last season.
You’re seeing an interesting power swing this year when it comes to coaches, and this is the domino effect of Mike Babcock leaving the Red Wings on his own terms and making a big pile of money with the Maple Leafs. This past season, unless I’m having a brain fart, saw zero coaches fired. Yes, the two New York teams fired their coaches after the season. But in-season there were zero firings. And in the offseason, two coaches resigned and then signed elsewhere for big money. Now instead of coaches making $500,000 the good ones are starting to make $5 million. And this is happening without a union! Good for them, well deserved. Looks like organizations are thinking twice before firing a coach now.
Nikita Soshnikov signed a one-year, one-way deal with the Blues. It’s worth $800,000 so the contract can easily be buried, though he’d have to clear waivers. Playing down the stretch he was only seeing about 10 minutes of ice time per game, his hit totals were disappointing and his linemates were nobody of note.
Chris Wideman was enjoying a great start to his season with eight points in 16 games, with two of those on the power play. But then he suffered a hamstring injury that required season-ending surgery. The 28-year-old was set to become an unrestricted free agent but instead signed with the Senators for $1 million. Not really the defenseman Sens fans were hoping to get signed. The background numbers, based on limited data since he only played 16 games, indicates that his 0.50 points-per-game average was too high for him. But we already knew that. Still, if he can remain healthy he’ll be a 30-point guy. He once had 19 goals and 61 points in the AHL.
The Max Pacioretty situation is getting complicated. We all know that he’s on the trade block, and you probably heard that he switched agents on the weekend – Allan Walsh is his new guy. And Friday Pierre LeBrun reported that the Habs had a deal done with the Kings but it hinged on Pacioretty signing an extension and he didn’t so the deal fell through. So perhaps Pacioretty stays now and gets an extension from Montreal. But with Evander Kane getting a ludicrous $49 million deal, that pretty much makes Pacioretty worth a hell of a lot more. Had Kane signed a contract that better reflected his value, then perhaps Pacioretty could have been had for $6.5 million per season. Now the Habs are either forced to trade their captain, or overpay him. There’s really no way for Marc Bergevin to look good here, but at this point his reputation as a GM can’t get any worse.
I think Phillip Grubauer will be the starter for the Avs in a year. But this season? It will be messy. I’d expect Semyon Varlamov to get 40-45 starts, Grubauer to get 35-40 and Pavel Francouz to get a couple. That breakdown is a nightmare for fantasy owners. So expect a rough season for owners of the 26-year-old before you finally get stability a year from now.
DobberProspects team pages and player profiles have a new look. We’re still fixing the team prospect depth charts to fit different screen sizes, but if you’re on a PC you can check out the teams here. From there you can choose a team and click a player profile. You can see where we’re going with it, even if it’s not 100% ready just yet.
At the draft, here is our own Peter Harling (left), Cam Robinson (right) and former Dobber Nation host Andrew Walker (now with the FAN 650)
See you next week
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- Wild West: Worth Keeping? In-Depth Look at Craig Smith, Paul Stastny and Dustin Byfuglien
- Lining Up: Bubble Keeper Week and Potential Linemates
- Eastern Edge: Bubble Keeper Week with Tatar and DeBrusk
- Ramblings: Bubble Week Rolls On - Trouba, Kyrou, Fox, Buchnevich, & Sissons Re-Signs (July 24)