Thursday, December 17, 2009
Tanguay signing with Tampa for $2.5 million (17 pts in 32 games),
Prospal having signed with the Rangers for $1.1 million (27 pts in 32 games),
Robert Lang in Phoenix for $1 million (18 pts in 33 games),
Max Afinogenov in Atlanta, making $800k (26 pts in 31 games),
Todd Bertuzzi in Detroit, $1.5 million (17 pts in 33 games)
Mike Comrie in Edmonton, $1.25 million (8 pts in 16 games before injury)
Rob Niedermayer in New Jersey, $1 million (10 pts in 20 games)
All these guys are providing quality secondary scoring, and in the case of Afinogenov and Prospal, their teams are getting two of the best bargains in the league and no one else wanted these guys.
So who are some veterans having "okay" years that could be bargains in the offseason?
- Paul Kariya 15 in 31
- Matt Cullen 16 in 32
- John Madden 10 in 30
- Pavol Demitra (injured no stats)
- Keith Tkachuk 16 in 30
- Todd Bertuzzi 17 in 33
- Fred Modin 0 in 3 (25 in 50 in 2009)
- Ruslan Fedotanko 13 in 34 (career high only 41)
- Alex Tanguay 17 in 32
- Raffi Torres 16 in 31
- Chris Higgins 10 in 31
- Lee Stempniak 16 in 33
- Colby Armstrong 12 in 30
- Kyle Wellwood 7 in 27
Any of these guys could be (depending on the player) either a safe, affordable signing, or a guy worth taking a gamble on. Demitra and Modin could be next years Afinogenov and Prospal.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Debateable. Do we have a legit 1st line? If we're going to start considering this Leafs team a playoff team, then do we have a legit top line? I don't know that we do, but a major reason why the Leafs have been so succesful lately is because we've had essentially two solid 2nd lines.
Alex Ponikarovsky - Matt Stajan - Phil Kessel
These guys have been really good, all of them have been productive. You expect Kessel to be good, but Ponikarovsky, typically a reliable 20 goal guy could hit 30 this year. He's still inconsistent, some games he makes a real impact and others he's invisible, but has been a quality support player for the Phil Kessel line and rarely gets caught out of position. Matt Stajan meanwhile is enjoying a career year. I think most people had Stajan pegged for 50-60 points, and he should be up around there, if he can maintain his current pace he could even hit 65-70 range.
Jason Blake - Mikhail Grabovski - Niklas Hagman
Our "2nd line" has been as good as our top line at 5 on 5 and is a big reason why the Leafs have been so hard to play against. A lot can be contributed to the fact that opposing teams will match their top D pairing out against Kessel which has given the Grabovski an oppurtunity to play against 2nd pairings, and so far they have really been taking advantage of that (knock on wood). Hagman is another guy who could reach 30 goals, and Grabovski is quietly chipping in offensively on a consistant basis. The enigmatic Jason Blake is on pace to put up around 50-55 points which would be a step back from last year but not terrible. If he can start to find the back of the net that would be great, but he brings a lot more to the table with his speed, aggressive forecheck, and work along the boards which has allowed Grabovski and Hagman to flourish.
Lee Stempniak - Wayne Primeau - Nikolai Kulemin
The "Checking Line". I love these guys, and they have been crucial in turning around the season. The injury to Johnny Mitchell, and inability for Rickard Wallin to score was a blessing in disguise because it gave Wayne Primeau an oppurtunity to play 3rd line, where he has been so solid. Nikolai Kulemin is probably the best defensive forward on the team, he backchecks like a madman, is constantly back clogging up the pass lanes in the neutral zone, he hits, he covers guys in front of his net and in the slot, basically he does everything you want a defensive specialist to do, and he does it to a T. Lee Stempniak has been really solid in this role too, and his speed and forecheck, along with the lethal shot of Nikolai Kulemin has made this line pretty good for secondary scoring, as they contribute every couple games or so with some offense too.
Jamal Mayers - Rickard Wallin/Christian Hanson - Colton Orr
Mayers has taken on a new role at this point in his career. Once a celebrated defensive winger, he's now almost a pure enforcer. Orr and Mayers have been good, and tough as 4th liners as the Leafs have come on, and I don't mind the way Jamal has been playing at all. The team is finally resembling the classic Brian Burke format: Top 6 - Bottom 6, and we've been really good.
The defense has been great as well, as Beauchemin and Komisarek have turned into absolute studs. With these two playing great, White playing consistantly well, and of course Kaberle leading the way our top 4 defensmen are so rock solid, and it really makes the Leafs tough to play against. Exelby and Finger have been pretty good too, no complaints from the bottom of the line up.
And a huge difference from the beginning of the year to now would have to be Vesa Toskala. He's been amazing and I owe him an apology for suggesting his NHL career was done. Vesa and Gustavsson have both proven to be solid recently, and if Monster can come back healthy then we should have the quality tandem that I envisioned going into this season when I picked the Leafs to finish in the top 8 in the eastern conference.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Nik Lidstrom has 1 goal
Jon Eriksson is -7 (and now he's hurt)
Jason Williams, disapointment has 2 goals and -5 rating
The much anticipated debut season for playoff hero Darren Helm.... 3 goals and 5 assists, +1. Pretty underwhealming midseason numbers.
Ditto for Justin Abdelkador, 3 goals and 3 assists only
Everyone loves to hate Chris Osgood, and although he hasn't been great in the last couple years, he is not the problem.
Jimmy Howard - 10-6-1, GAA 2.40, SV% 9.15
Chris Osgood - 7-5-4, GAA 2.70, SV% .900, 1 SO
Not bad numbers. All of the amateur GM's would have you believe that Martin Biron is the answer, but would he really be an upgrade on Ozzie and Howard?
Martin Biron - 2-9-2, GAA 3.33, SV% .898, 1 SO
Dwayne Roloson - 10-5-5, GAA 2.90, SV% .911
Now if you want to keep throwing out the garbage response that Biron's numbers aren't as good as Ozzie's because Detroit is so much better than the Islanders, then how come Roloson is able post respectable numbers with those same Islanders?
Anyway's the real problem in Detroit is offense. Datsyuk has only 7 goals, and the only Red Wings who have been really good are Zetterberg and Holmstrom. Cleary and Bertuzzi have been contributing offensively but have -8, and -6 ratings respectively.
Basically everyone needs to pick it up, and Johan Franzen can't get healthy soon enough for this team.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
1. Peter Mueller available?
21 year old Coyote player scored about 80 pts in 50 games in his last year of junior, then busted out a 54 point rookie year as a 19 year old. I'd say he's got some amazing value, I don't know why his name has been in so many rumours? Last year he had a sophomore slump and dipped to 36 point, and this year he's off to a terrible start with only 4 points 22 games. So he's struggling, and although I still think he has potential to be a really good player, I guess Phoenix has enough young talent that they could afford to deal him for something else that could help them more now and get them into the playoffs.
2. Blackhawks looking to move Sopel and a pick/prospect:
This one makes perfect sense, since they need to get someone salary off the books from next year to get Keith, Toews, and Kane under contract. The Hawks are pretty deep on the blueline so Brent Sopel is pretty expendable, I think they'll be able to get something done, its just up to whats the least they'll have to give with Sopel to get rid of him, so they'll shop around. Leafs linked to this one, and Hawks scouts were at the last Leafs game.
3. Lee Stempniak being shopped?
Well this is a new one. I like Lee a lot, but for all the talent he appears to have a lot of the time, his production really isn't that great. He doesn't seem to have a ton of finish, he drives to the net, he gets loose pucks in the corners, he throws the odd big hit, and finishes his check regularly, but his production is just so-so, he should be like a 40 point guy (give or take). Since he's UFA in the offseason I could see there being a couple teams interested in him as a rental maybe closer to the deadline. He is a pretty good player.
4. Bobby Ryan?
Whats the deal here? Something about his contract extension talks not going well, he's a pending RFA, and the Ducks are near the bottom, so I can see some validity to this rumour. On the other hand, Ryan is an amazing guy to build a winner with, and still so young, he's a keeper. If negotiations get to the point where its just obvious that Ryan wants out, then maybe something might happen, but I think more likely in the offseason, if anything.
5. Oveckin for depth at centre, solid 3-4 defensman, and secondary scoring?
Yep. This rumour is really heating up, after having reported it here first a few weeks ago, I've received several comments.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
JS Giguere - cap reasons
Todd Marchant - role player in exchange for scoring depth
Kari Lehtinen - RFA next suummer, pushed out by Pavelec
Ray Whitney - ? He could become a deadline rental if Canes keep struggling.
Patrick Sharp or Kris Versteeg - might not move one until next summer, cap reasons
Brian Campbell - cap
Cristobal Huet - cap
Fabian Brunnstrom - for a puck moving d-man?
Nathan Horton - rumour that hes been unhappy in Florida, wants out
Alex Frolov - could be a rental at deadline, rumour: not getting along with Terry Murray
PM Bouchard - injured/inconsistency, Chuck Fletcher could be shopping him
Derek Boogaard - partially replaced by Clutterbuck, Fletch is looking to make changes
Josh Harding - Could be a starter, maybe? Backstrom is the man in Minny
Carey Price or Jaro Halak - Just some rumours floating around out there
Marty Biron or Dwayne Roloson - once Dipietro gets healthy, although I'm hearing Biron more likely to be dealt
Chris Higgins - struggling, UFA in the summer
Ed Jovonovski or Ilya Bryzgalov - Salary reasons (not cap, just salary for the Coyotes)
Martin St.Louis or Ryan Malone - same deal, TBay is losing $
Vesa Toskala - just not playing well enough.
Michael Nylander - cap move
Alex Ovechkin - in exchange for depth centre, secondary scoring, and solid #3-4 dman.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Here are the hard facts for you. First of all, admittidly plus/minus can be a very misleading stat, but it can also be a very telling stat. Especially when the same guy is at the top of his team, year in, year out:
2010 - 5 games in the Leafs are winless, Poni leads the team in goals (3), points (4) and plus minus at +4 (Only other player in the plus is Ian White).
2009 - Poni was 2nd on the team in goals (23), 2nd in points (61) and was 1st @ +6, on a team full of minus's
2008 - 18 goals in 66 games and 6th on the team in plus minus at +3 (only 7 player had a + rating)
2007 - Poni ranked 4th on the team in scoring with 45 points (21 goals), 3rd on the team with a +8
2006 - 3rd on the team with 21 goals (behind Sundin and Tucker only), posted 38 points, and ranked first on the team in plus-minus at +15 (Antropov 2nd +13, Sundin a distant 3rd was +7). There were only 4 regulars with a plus rating that year (Stajan +5). Everyone else was minus, some of the guys brutally minus (Tucker -12, O'Neil -19)
2004 - Just 28 points in his rookie season, but 3rd on the team with a +14 rating (behind only McCabe and Kaberle)
2003 - As a call up, Poni played 13 games spread throughout the year and had 3 assists and a plus 4 rating.
Looking through the Leafs since Ponikarovsky joined the team, the one constant statistic is Ponikarovsky's plus-minus, always on top.
Monday, September 21, 2009
So who's in, who's out. Here is some speculation:
(Kessel on IR to start the year)
These 9 veterans feel like a lock:
Mikhail Grabovski (not a veteran but a lock anyways)
Lee Stempniak (I don't want him, but I think the veteran will get a spot)
That leaves 4 spots. If you figure Johnny Mitchell and Nikolai Kulemin are coming off fairly impressive rookie years and listen to the comments made by Ron Wilson then you have to figure they will make it.
Which leaves 2 roster spots. Here is who is still fighting for it, in order of most to least likely:
1. Tyler Bozak - I like his 2-way game and his speed. He seems like a really smart player, and he looks NHL ready. Might have to play unfirmiliar position at wing to make it though.
2. Rickard Wallin - veteran is supposed to be a real character guy. Kills penalties, backchecks hard, plays a physical game, and did I mention defenively aware? Feels like a Ron Wilson type 3rd line centre.
3. Christian Hanson - Big guy, built like a power forward. Likes to go to the trouble area's, in front of the net, in the corners, digs for rebounds, hits. Not an amazing skater, which could hurt him, but he looks quicker than he did at the end of last season.
3. Victor Stalberg - Speedster, looks faster than Jason Blake out there. Known in college for his defensive abilities as well as his offense, and has been given a lot looks by Wilson, being the only guy to have dressed in all of the first 3 exhibition games. That 3 is not a typo, I think its a tossup between Stalberg and Hanson, both guys bring different things to the table.
5. Jason Allison - long shot to make it, but has been producing some pts in pre-season. Allison looks rusty to me and has been stripped a couple times trying to beat another player with simple dekes. But his play in the corners and some of the passes he's made is vintage Allison. At this point I'm still not ruling him out.
6. Jiri Tlusty - I had such high hopes for Jiri Tlusty after his monster January with the Marlies, but he has been underwhealming in camp. Maybe another year in the AHL wouldn't hurt him. I still consider him a monster prospect and a guy who could become a 30 goal man in the NHL some day. Don't forget, most Red Wings don't make the big club until they're 22-26 range. Extra time at the American level won't hurt Tlusty's development. Another good example is Bobby Ryan!
7. Nazem Kadri - Fancy guy, I like the looks of him and I like the way he plays. Ron Wilson hasn't cut him yet, but I really see him as a long shot. Wilson has made comments that Kadri might be a little bit too small/light at this point.
8. Jay Rosehill - I think he's a big surprise in camp. This guy came out of nowhere, at least to me. I didnt have him on my radar coming into Leafs training camp but he has been an absolute beast. Look out for this underdog because Wilson likes him too.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Now, there are still rumours that to trade for Kessel, the Leafs would need to include Tomas Kaberle and he'd have to waive his NTC. I want to keep Kaberle. There was a suggestion that the Leafs could flip Luke Schenn in a deal for Kessel. Both guys are 5th overall picks in the last couple years and are really valuable and it would be the cheaper player going to Boston. I want to keep Schenn.
Best route is the offer sheet. The risk of course is that Chiarelli would just match the Leafs offer and deal with his cap situation when he has to. A lot of people have suggested that Burke could make an offer sheet to Kessel on September 30, because on October 1st all teams MUST be under the cap, making it impossible (in theory) for Boston to match.
Here's the problem with that theory. Kessel is injured right now and could be placed on LTIR since he's out until November or possibly December. His salary would not go on the books until then and it would give the Bruins an extra month to move salaries around by trade or demoting players to the minors.
So the bottom line is, Chiarelli has got some options and keeping Kessel is completely up to him right now. Which is why Burke may have to make a trade. Although, if he offers up enough $ (and stays within the 1st, 2nd, 3rd round draft pick compensation) he could make life really difficult for the Bruins.
Go Leafs Go! And read my predictions for the season below.
Scott's picks (aka Dr.hockey, aka Mojo19) Beside my picks are THN's placement of each team.
1. Detroit Red Wings (4)
2. Vancouver Canucks (3)
3. San Jose Sharks (1)
4. Chicago Blackhawks (2)
5. Calgary Flames (5)
6. Los Angelas Kings (12*)
7. Edmonton Oilers (11*)
8. St.Louis Blues (9*)
9. Minnesota Wild (13)
10. Anaheim Ducks (6*)
11. Phoenix Coyotes (15)
12. Columbus Blue Jackets (8*)
13. Dallas Stars (7*)
14. Nashville Predators (10)
15. Colorado Avalanche (14)
1. Philadelphia Flyers (4)
2. Boston Bruins (1)
3. Washington Capitals (2)
4. Carolina Hurricanes (6)
5. Pittsburgh Penguins (3)
6. Toronto Maple Leafs (11*)
7. New Jersey Devils (5)
8. Tampa Bay Lightning (10*)
9. Ottawa Senators (9)
10. New York Rangers (13)
11. Atlanta Thrashers (14)
12. Montreal Canadiens (8*)
13. New York Islanders (15)
14. Buffalo Sabres (7*)
15. Florida Panthers (12)
Okay, I just want to comment on a couple of my picks that some of you may find a bit crazy.
Los Angelas - Playoffs?
Ya, I like the make up of their team. I know they only really added Ryan Smyth and he's not a 70 point man anymore, but he will be a good addition. But mostly I like the young group they have and the team leaders (Kopitar, Brown, etc.) are all pretty young. I think they'll be an improved team just 'cause.
I don't think there are any other real surpises in the West from my picks. But let's look at the wild, wild East.
Flyers first place?
Yep. Emery is a question mark, that's true. But I'm jelous of the make up of this team. Lots of weapons, lots of good two-way players, and a good mix of vets and young guns. Pronger really solidifies the back end, which was already very solid.
Champs in 5th?
Well, I could interchange the Pens and 'Canes but I think those two teams will be 4-5. Besides, I already feel that the Flyers will have a stronger season so that automatically puts Pittsburgh at 4th at best. They are a strong team, don't get me wrong. I think the top 5 teams in the East are pretty much set.
Leafs and Bolts over Habs and Rangers?
Ya, its a tough call. As always the the East has that mushy middle and it will be wide open. The difference from 6th to 11th is usually only a few wins. If you look at what Tampa and Toronto have done with their defense, you have to give them a look this year. Everyone knows I am a Leafs fan and I may be bias, and I'll admit to that. However, listening to the comments made by Burke and Wilson, the goal for Toronto is to make the playoffs and I think this could be an underrated, well coached, team that will make it. Tampa adding Ohlund and Kurtis Foster gives them some legit defense that they lacked last year, and the probability of Hedman coming in really solidifies them and gives them potential. I like their forward group on paper but they need to be organized. Also a breakout year from Steven Stamkos could be huge.
As for the Rangers, I don't like the looks of their team on paper, losing their top 3 scorers from last year (Antropov UFA, Zherdev released, and Gomez traded for Higgins. Drury was 4th in scoring then Naslund at 5th is now retired). That's a lot of weapons. I'm a huge Gaborik fan, and Kotalik will bring some secondary scoring but I think Gaborik needs to have a healthy year at his best and Lunqvist needs to do what he does best nightly to give the Rangers a chance. I can't count them out but couldn't write them in there right now. Montreal I think has a pretty solid team on paper too, and could make it. They'll be in the mix but I don't see them being better than Tampa, New Jersey, and Toronto.
Phil's picks (aka King-Canada)
1. Calgary Flames
2. Chicago Blackhawks
3. San Jose Sharks
4. Detroit Red Wings
5. Vancouver Canucks
6. St. Louis Blues
7. Columbus Blue Jackets
8. Anaheim Ducks
9. Dallas Stars
10. Edmonton Oilers
11. Los Angeles Kings
12. Colorado Avalanche
13. Minnesota Wild
14. Nashville Predators
15. Phoenix Coyotes
"The Calgary Flames got a huge boost on defense with J-BO so they are the western champs since San Jose in my opinion isn't will slightly decline due to shattered confidence. The Blackhawks will finally overtake the Red Wings as division champs with Hossa switching teams. 5-8 made it last year and I believe will make it again (good young teams, solid overall). Dallas will improve but with a weak defense corp they will miss the playoffs. LA and Colorado will improve but not enough to play in the spring. Phoenix I think everyone has been pegged by everyone to finish 30th overall...and Balsillie is willing to pay 242.5 million to buy em haha wow..some would call that charity. Bettman your an idiot!"
1. Philadelphia Flyers
2. Washington Capitals
3. Boston Bruins
4. Pittsburg Penguins
5. New Jersey Devils
6. Carolina Hurricanes
7. Florida Panthers
8. Tampa Bay Lightning
9. New York Rangers
10. Montreal Canadiens
11. Toronto Maple Leafs
12. Atlanta Thrashers
13. Ottawa Senators
14. Buffalo Sabres
15. New York Islanders
"The Flyers were nasty last year, this year they got the nastiest defenseman out there in Pronger so watch out for these guys. Not to mention full seasons from Briere and Giroux will cement them as the crème of the crop out East. Boston moves down because they will be without Kessel AND Krejci for 1-2 months beginning the season. This will cost them points but fortunate for them the North East division sucks. Pittsburg could have the 2nd most points overall but with Phily in their division they get shafted to 4th. Florida towards the end of the season were one of the hottest teams and I believe they will improve enough to make the post-season with a healthy Vokoun. Tampa Bay vastly improved their defence and will have a concussion free season for Mike Smith who holds the fort just enough to squeeze in. The Rangers discover that Gaborik is actually as fragile as advertised. The Habs totally revamped the roster but overpaid in the off-season for a smaller team (werent they small already?). Finally the Islanders still remain on the bottom because not even John Tavares can help this horrible team."
Friday, August 28, 2009
I like this a lot! Allison is 34, and he will help the PP. He hangs out on the half boards, uses his big body and playmaking ability to either walk out front, or start to walk out front, draw defenders in, and then make a good pass.
The knock on him is his -14 or whatever it was the last time he played. Granted, that is not the type of guy Burke and Wilson have been interested in lately, but I like the idea of getting a PP specialist and a legitmate offensive talent. Say he plays 2nd-3rd line minutes and runs the PP, that would be solid.
Possible power play units with Jason Allison:
Allison - half boards/down low
Ponikarovski/or Jason Blake - in front of the net/working the boards
Stajan/0r Grabovski - Centre, zipping around, finding openings
Kaberle - QB at the point
White/Van Ryn - Hammer time on the other point (Wilson also likes to use Stempniak in this spot but I do not!)
Here are some line combos (I don't feel they'll have a 'First' and 'Second' line etc. but roll all lines)
Jason Blake - Jason Allison - Alex Ponikarovsky
Niklas Hagman - Mikhail Grabovski - Nikolai Kulemin
Lee Stempniak - Matt Stajan - Tyler Bozak
Jamal Mayers - Wayne Primeau - Colton Orr
I would like to see Johnny Mitchell and Jiri Tlusty make the team too, and Christian Hanson I wouldn't mind. So we'll see what happens at camp. Wouldn't mind seeing Stempniak sent down, if you can't tell, not a fan of the Stemper.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
A couple people I was talking to mentioned that they don't think the Wings will be the same power house next year that they have been in previous years. Ya well, I've heard that before and believe me, they will be a force!
Yes losing Hossa and Samuelsson to free agency hurts, and Hudler bolting for Russia makes them thinner up front as well. But I think the addition of Jason Williams is kind of underrated. This guy was a 58 point man with Detroit a few years back, and the season before last he scored 36 points in 43 games with Chicago. Even last year he finished he season with 47 points. Pretty decent production and certainly enough to help forget the loss of Samuelsson.
The Wings have some other guys who can fill in too:
Consider that last season Darren Helm was a playoff stud and played no part in the regular season. This is the year for the young guy to take on a role with the team regular season, and I firmly believe that Helm is a player.
Ville Leino. This guy was a solid call up last year, he's 25 and I can't remember where I read this but I believe he was the MVP of the Finnish elite league a year or two ago.
Justin Abdelkader. Like Helm, this guy made an impact in the playoffs and this could be the year he joins the team as more of a regular as well.
The other thing to remember is that the core of this team is still solid with the likes of Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Franzen leading the way up front. Those 3 guys, I don't know if there is a team out there with a better top 3. And some great support wingers to spread around them including Dan Cleary, Tomas Holmstrom, Kirk Maltby etc. Kris Draper in for character and leadership and you got a damn good team.
Their defense will still run the show with Lidstrom, Rafalski, Kronwall, Stuart as a top 4 and Ericsson, Lilja and Lebda to fill it out. Chris Osgood and Jimmy Howard will be in goal. I've always been a huge Osgood advocator and have called him one of the game's all time most underrated players. Last season was the worst of his career although he did play outstanding in the playoffs, I dont know how much he has left and I don't know much about Howard. Every year people say the Red Wings achilles heel will be in goal and they are wrong but there could be something to it this year. I doubt it, but its possible.
One other key player, I'm calling for a breakout year. I took him in the playoff pool because he's so fancy, I'm predicting a 60+ point year from Valterri Fillpula. He is a stud in the making.
So in conclusion, Red Wings good. Presidents trophy candidates and as always Cup contenders and a team to watch out for.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Wallin posted an impressive 18 goals and 27 assists for 45 pts in 55 games in the SEL (keeping in mind point totals are lower in the SEL since they only award 1 assist per goal). Big Wallin is 6'3" and just under 200 lbs seems to fit the Burke mold, especially since he's considered to be a great defensive player.
Brian Burke said that he expects the 29 year old to be a great guy to have in the dressing room. I haven't seen the guy play, but judging by his penalty totals (pretty high), I'd say he's the big feisty type of Swede. I definitely see him as a possible candidate to take over that third line centre, defensive role as Burke likes to build his team "top 6 - bottom 6".
Anyway's the team will look something like this as of right now. Depth chart:
Monday, July 6, 2009
So now you figure he's got to make some moves. Look at the glut of defense he has:
Tomas Kaberle - could be traded, but only if the return is substantial
Mike Komisarek - not going anywhere
Francois Beauchemin - not going anywhere
Luke Schenn - not going anywhere
Ian White - could be traded
Mike VanRyn - could be traded
Garnett Exelby - could be flipped but I hear they were big on him, hence the Kubina trade
Jeff Finger - could be demoted, maybe traded but not likely
Jonas Frogren - could be demoted/traded
Anton Stralman - could start the year off in the minors
Phil Oreskovich - will probably start off in the minors.
So there's 11 NHL worthy d-men.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
1. Jiri Tlusty, LW, 21 - Has got a bit of time in the NHL, the slowly developping Tlusty could be poised to make that big move. He was player of the month in the AHL in January and posted some big stats with the Marlies, posting 66 points in 66 games, a lot of them coming in the latter half of the season where Tlusty really heated up.
2. Nik Kulemin, RW, 22 - Pretty good shooter scored 15 goals in his rookie season with the Leafs. 31 pts is not a bad rookie campaign, and that was with a few dry spells and a brief stint in the minors. Kulemin could build on his rookie year and develop into a solid top 6 forward.
3. Nazem Kadri, C, 18 - Lots of skill, good hands, plays tough even though he doesn't have tremendous size (6 ft. 170). Kadri was not a pick I was thrilled about at the draft 7th overall, but the more I read about him and watch the highlights, the more my mind is at ease. 78 pts in 56 games in the OHL is pretty damn good. He could definitely develop into a top 6 forward and most importantly he plays a strong two-way game.4. Mikhail Stefanovich, C, 20 - 4th round pick by the great Cliff Fletcher at last years draft, could be a huge steal. Stefanovich posted a wopping 49 goals in 56 games and 76 points. He's a big body and a sniper. Signed to an entry level deal he could see playing time with the Leafs as soon as next season.
5. Kenny Ryan, RW, 18 - 2nd round pick 5oth overall by Burkey. American kid is 6'0 and 205 lbs. Plays with an edge. His favourite player as a kid was Darren McCarty. When asked who he'd rather have dinner with between Obama, Maria Sharapova or Sean Avery, he said Avery. When asked what he would choose if he could be anything for a day, he said "soldier at war". Ryan is known for playing mean and playing a strong two-way game. Any wonder he was drafted by Brian Burke?
6. Victor Stalberg, LW, 23 - Nominated for the Hobey Baker Award this past season in NCAA for University of Vermont, Stalberg was considered a top 10 player in college hockey. Drafted a few years ago, he's considered to be one of only a few good picks by JFJ. At 6'3" 210 lbs, Stalberg combines size and strength posting 24 goals and 22 assists in 39 games. Burke likes his two way game and awarded Stalberg with an entry level deal and is likely to see at least some time with the big club next season.
7. Tyler Bozak, C, 23 - The highly sought after, undrafted, UFA was like getting a free 2nd round pick when Burke signed him a few month's ago. He would have already been up with the Leafs if not for an injury. 6' 170 lbs, not overwealming in size, but posted 23 pts in 19 games with the University of Denver and impressed every GM in the NHL with his two-way abilities.
8. Robert Slaney, LW, 21 - Another undrafted UFA signed by Burke recently, this guy was kind of under the radar. I have high hopes for him. Slaney is a late bloomer, in his first season in the QMJHL he posted just 7 pts in 57 games, then in his draft year he posted 25 pts, then in '08 he posted 55 pts and last year as an overager he scored a wopping 81 pts in 63 games. This is a guy who just keeps improving and at 6'2" 205 lbs, and averaging well over a penalty minute per game he seems like a real Brian Burke type of player.
9. Johnny Mitchell, C, 24 - John was a late developer, coming off his rookie season he can't really be considered too young anymore. I don't see him as a guy who can be a star but definitely a solid 3rd line centre. He needs to work on the defensive side of his game but has all the tools to remain a regular in the NHL. Size, speed, hands, Johnny's got it. I'd like to see him learn under Ron Wilson and become a good two-way player, maybe be like a John Madden for us.
10. Christian Hanson, C, 23 - At 6'3" 210 lbs, Hanson is a big body and he uses his size. No wonder he's the 3rd undrafted UFA on this list, 2nd out of NCAA. Hanson had 16 goals and 15 assists in 37 games with Notre Dame and played in the Leafs last 5 games, where he didn't look out of place. His size was used well and he didn't look nervous although skating was a problem. Still he scored 1 goal and 1 assist and had 1 minor penalty in his 5 games. Barring a bad training camp I would expect Hanson to keep his roster spot for next season.
11. Chris DiDomenico, C, 20 - Chris is a small player which could hold him back (6ft. 170 lbs) Height not an issue but he'll need to fill out a bit. Still he posted 59 pts in 51 games in the QMJHL last year, and before injuries had an incredible 35 pts in 15 playoff games! In fact in his last two seasons his playoff totals combine for 54 pts in 29 games. And this is a guy who is basically point per game regular season. Talk about stepping it up! He also played on a line with Esposito and Tavares at the WJC's. He looks really skilled, if he bulks up he could be a top line forward potentially.
12. Greg Scott, RW, 21 - Greg was an undrafted free agent signed last summer by Cliff Fletcher. Greg is 6' 180 lbs, and has posted 75 and 76 pts in each of his last two seasons in the WHL, averaging over a point per game in each season. Greg needs to play with men and a move to the AHL Marlies next year will be a big test. If he can continue to excel at that level he could earn a callup with the big club.
13. Dale Mitchell, RW, 20 - 68 pts in 66 games with Windsor of the OHL, and 29 pts in 20 playoff games including a hat trick in the finals. Mitchell had an awesome playoff for the Spitfires. He looks like he could be a star if not for his 5'9" height. Still he's beefy at 205 lbs. Could be a wild card to make the big club in the next couple of seasons.
14. Jamie Devane, LW, 18 - Mississauga native is a huge fighter. He's 6'4, 215 lbs, and he loves to fight. When I went to one site right after he was picked by Burke in the 3rd round to look up info on him, there was no bio just video's of him fighting. He scored at a point every 4 games rate, and supposedly plays a strong positional game. I see him as an enforcer with this team in the future, but maybe he could develop into an enforcer who plays solid positional hockey and can be a regular in the line up and contribute like what Domi once was for Toronto.
15. Jimmy Hayes, RW, 19 - Huge Jimmy Hayes is 6'5, 210 lbs. Once considered a great two-way prospect, he dropped from a projected top 10 pick in his draft year (2008) and slipped late into the 2nd round where Fletcher took him for Toronto. Jimmy is a big physical defensive forward who managed just 8 goals and 5 assists in 36 games with Boston College (11th on his team in scoring). Jimmy seems to be a prospect on the decline and may amount to nothing but don't be fooled - He is skilled and he is big! If he can harness his talent and size he could still develop into an NHL'er although I see him more as a big 3rd line type of shut down forward. But if you look at Brian Burke's mold for a team (top 6 - bottom 6) he could be a perfect fit in the system.
Monday, June 22, 2009
1. NYI - John Tavares CORRECT
2. TBay - Victor Hedman CORRECT
3. Avs - Matt Duchene CORRECT
4. Atla - Evander Kane CORRECT
5. LA - Brayden Schenn CORRECT
6. Phx - Jared Cowan WRONG (9)
7. Tor - Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson WRONG (10)
8. Dal - Nazim Kadri CLOSE (7)
9. Ott - Scott Glennie CLOSE (8)
10. Edm - Ryan Ellis CLOSE (11)
11. Nas - Oliver Ekman-Larsson WRONG (6)
12. Min - John Moore WRONG (21)
13. Buf - Dimitri Kulikov FLIPPED (14)
14. Fla - Zack Kassian FLIPPED (13)
15. Ana - Jordan Schroeder WRONG (22)
16. CBJ - David Rundblad CLOSE (17)
17. St.L - Dylan Olsen WRONG (28)
18. Mont - Louie Leblanc CORRECT!
19. NYR - Chris Kreider CORRECT!
20. Cal - Simon Despres WRONG (30)
21. Phi -Matt Hackett WRONG (77)
22. Van -Jacob Josefsson CLOSE (20)
23. NJ - Stefan Elliot WRONG (49)
24. Was - Calvin DeHaan WRGON (12!)
25. Bos -Carter Ashton WRONG (29)
26. NYI - Peter Holland WRONG (15)
27. Car -Tayler Doherty WRONG (58)
28. Chi -Landon Ferraro WRONG (32)
29. Det - Tomas Tatar WRONG (60th, but was drafted by Detroit!)
30. Pit -Richard Panik WRONG (52)
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Dany Heatley, Ottawa - 5 years left @ $7.5 million, Heatley has asked Ottawa for a trade. I'm starting the Heatley for Marleau rumour right now.
Joe Thornton or Patrick Marleau, San Jose - The most recent rumours on the internet are that the Sharks could move one of Thornton and Marleau. GM Wilson said that 'Thornton and Boyle' are his only untouchables, which leaves speculation about Marleau. I could write a lot of names down from the Sharks but no other specifics have popped up (except Cheechoo). But GM Wilson said changes will come after what he calls their most dissapointing playoffs yet.
Phil Kessel, Boston - RFA. Apparently he's looking for a multi year $5 million deal. Boston is thinking more along the lines of $3.75 million which is what Krejci got. If Kessel's side won't budge he could be moved.
Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay - Don't know if you've heard but he might be on the block. He's been in a lot of trade rumours, most common destinations have been Montreal and LA. The Kings are rumored to be offering up 21 year old d-man Jack Johnson. I imagine they'd have to throw in a little more with that. But these rumours could be true, especially if Tampa drafts Tavares at the #2 spot and decides to go with JT and Stamkos as their centres.
JS Giguere, Anaheim - Makes sense. With the rise of Jonas Hiller, the Ducks might feel that they don't necessarily need the $6 million starter.
Marco Sturm, Boston - missed last year with injuries. The Bruins did pretty great without him. With Thomas' new contract, Kreijci's raise, Phil Kessel still without a contract, Sturm's $3.5 million cap hit could save some space.
Nathan Horton, Florida - I don't know why but his name has popped up all year. Earns $4 million If you believe where there's smoke there's fire then he could move. I remember lots of rumours all last year about Jokinen and Cammalleri and sure enough both were moved on draft day, so who knows.
Alex Frolov, Los Angelas - Here's another guy, like Horton. I don't see the reasoning but his name has been persistant in trade rumours, so watch out for this one as the Kings continue to shuffle their line up that has already dealt big names Visnovski, Cammalleri, and O'Sullivan within the last year. Frolov makes $4 million, but is a $2.9 cap hit, one year left on his deal and has been a pretty solid scorer for the Kings. Maybe they figure he's going to want way too much after this season, or fear he's going to test UFA waters next summer. Could be involved in a Lecavalier trade too as LA is heavily rumoured to be involved there. Jack Johnson's name is also in the Vinny rumours, but he's not on the block.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Minnesota - Going onto year two of a 5 year deal that pays him a little over $4 million per season (cap hit). Chuck Fletcher made comments about making some changes and Bouchard's name has come up, but I think the price would be steep.
Jason Spezza, Ottawa Senators - These reports have all been denied by Ottawa. Given their struggles I'm not too surprised, but don't forget they were on a tear at the end of last season, I think Heatley and Spezza will stay put.
Scott Gomez, New York Rangers - Any intelligent fan reading this knows he's overpaid and that the Rangers are most likely stuck with him. Gomez to LA rumours have been floating around recently (If LA can't land Lecavalier or Gaborik). I would imagine the Kings would want New York to take back Handzus and his $4 million in a deal for Gomez.
Daniel Briere, Philadelphia - His name has been off and on in rumours for a while. He'll probably stay put, but you never know. Philly is not a team with a ton of cap space and they played well without Briere. If they could move his $6.5 million salary for a young, affordable player/prospect and use the cap space to get better in other area's then maybe they will.
Josh Harding, Minnesota - Like I've stated in previous posts on my blog, Harding is an RFA and will want more money then Minnesota will be willing to spend on a back up, considering Backstrom's extension. He could be a great pick up, or not, we'll see but I'd like to see him get a chance as a starter somewhere.
Ben Eager, Chicago - With so many RFA's, goaltending situation to take
care of, and lots of guys due for raises, speculation is that this RFA could be
moved depending on his salary demands.
Wade Redden, New York Rangers - Uhhh, good luck. Redden's outrageoud $6.5 million contract won't go anywhere but I recently read somewhere that they could move him to the minors this season to free up room to land a big name in this summers free agency. Sorry to sound so down on the Rangers but they'll probably end up moving Redden down and then giving a big contract to a guy like Gionta or something, and overpay again then be in real trouble next year as a player who is sent down can only be taken off the books for one season, unless they are on LTIR.
Tomas Kaberle, Toronto - According to rumours he has been offered along with the 7th overall pick to Tampa Bay and the New York Islanders for either of their top picks (1st or 2nd overall). Could take a bit more to land those picks, but Kaberle is a good player and would help Tampa's team a lot.
Derek Boogaard, Minnesota - Ya, love him! Boogie man is on the block, his name has been in the paper and on the internet. So what's the price you pay for a top end enforcer? I'm really curious.
Frantisek Kaberle, Carolina - Not sure there will be interest for the
vet d-man. He did clear waivers last year and makes $2.2 million. But maybe a
team with cap space could acquire him and move up the draft, doing Carolina a
favour for the salary.
Brent Sopel, Chicago - Same deal as F.Kaberle. $2.33 million cap hit.
Dan Cleary, $2.8 million/
Tomas Holmstrom, $2.25 million/
Kris Draper, $1.6 million/
Brad Stuart, $3.5 million
- The thinking here is *if* Hossa is re-signed by Detroit to a big money deal, they'll have to move a peice or two to start freeing up some room and give up one or two of these players, then replace them with younger, cheaper players to fill those roles. Draper and Holmstrom haven't been mentioned as much as Cleary and Stuart because of Red Wing loyalty to the two guys who have been there forever (ditto Maltby but he earns under $1 mil so why trade him?)
Mike Fisher, Ottawa - $4.2 million checking centre could be moved to free up cap space for more scoring. There's a belief out there that Ottawa will try to bring in some secondary scoring in free agency with someone like Gaborik or bringing back Havlatt. Moving Mike Fisher to make the room could be a good change for the Sens.
Benoit Pouliot, Minnesota - The Wild might be getting tired of waiting for the former 4th overall pick. He had huge potential but hasn't made a dent in the NHL yet. I would compare any deal being made involving Pouliot with Gilbert Brule of Columbus last year. Brule was also a slumping prospect with high expectations and he was flipped to Edmonton for immediate help in Raffi Torres. If Minnesota could get a Torres calibre player they'd probably move Pouliot.
Okay, that's it for now. I'll keep looking for more and I'm sure more rumours will surface after the Cup final and leading up to the draft.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
1. Tomas Kaberle, Nik Hagman, Chris DiDomenico, 1st rounder (2010)
For Vincent Lecavalier.
Suppose Tampa decides to use their pick and take Tavares, go with him and Stamkos down the middle and move Vinny to save some $ right now and change the face of the team. This is a thick package which could be tough to match. Next.
2. Pavel Kubina, Alex Ponikarovsky, 1st rounder (2009)
For Joe Thornton
Overpaying for him? I think despite Wilson's comments, Joe Thornton is in play and a fat package like that is hard to say no to. Poni posted 61 pts this season, Kubina would replace 39 year old Rob Blake and the 7th overall pick is hard to turn down.
3. Jason Blake, Justin Pogge
For JS Giguere, 4th round pick
This is a legit rumour out there that Anaheim would deal Jiggy and a pick so they can save some $. They would want a goalie and a forward back. Done.
4. Vesa Toskala
To Colorado for their 2nd rounder (2009), 33rd overall.
Waivers/Demote To Minors/Trade for picks if possible
Jeff Finger (don't try to trade, just send him down, he's on a 2-way contract but his salary would come off the cap)
1. Jay Bouwmeester - 12 years, $78 million. $6.5 million cap hit, front load it
2. Mats Sundin - 1 year, $750K
3. Brad May - 1 year, $700K
4. Jonas Gustavsson - 3 year entry level (with bonuses, $2 mil cap hit approx.)
5. Noah Welch - 3 years, $2.7 million. $0.9 million cap hit
Mikhail Grabovski - 4 years, $8.4 million ($2.1 cap hit)
Ryan Hollweg - 2 years, $1.2 million ($600K per) 2-way deal only, or walk.
Jeremy Williams - let him walk
Grabovski - Lecavalier 'A' - Kulemin
Stajan - Thornton - Tlusty
Stalberg - Sundin 'C' - Bozak
Hanson - J.Mitchell - May 'A' X - Hollweg, Stefanovich, D.Mitchell
Bouwmeester - Van Ryn
White - Schenn
Frogren - Stralman X - Oreskovich, Welch, Harrison
With that kind of strength down the middle and improved play by the younger support players this is a playoff team and a good team going forward. They'd fit under the cap, with the Raycroft and Tucker buyouts this would be a $53 million team roughly. A legit top line winger, or top 6 forward may have to be added before the deadline but I like it. How crazy are those trades? Let me know cuz I actually believe they are reasonable.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Anyway's for fun here are some RFA's I would like to see targeted:
Josh Harding, 25 - $2.2 million offer. Minnesota just gave Backstrom a $6 million per season extension, so I'm not sure they'd want a $2 million dollar back up. The compensation would be a 2nd round pick which would be well worth it for the talented, young goalie. If we get that monster out of Sweden scratch this idea.
Dave Bolland, 23 - $2.2 million offer. I like that number because you don't have to compensate with a 1st round pick. Chicago will definitely match this offer, but who knows, they have other pirorities like RFA's Versteeg, Barker, Brouwer, and Eager. Bolland might be more of a priority than the latter, in this case I would offer up Ben Eager $2 million. You're overpaying and giving up a 2nd rounder but getting a Brian Burke type of player.
Ville Leino, 25 - $1.1 million. Suppose Hossa is re-signed and Huddler, Leino could be a cap casualty. $1.1 million isn't a lot but it might be too much for the Red Wings, and for a 3rd round pick we could grab a pretty good 25 year old player for our roster.
Matt Hunwick, 24 - $2.2 million. Depending on what happens with Boston's other guys, Kessel and Kreijci, they could be really pressed. Hunwick is a good young d-man, and could be a nice steal.
Adam Pardy, 25 - Young defensman played really well for Calgary. Adding a 25 year old free agent for the right price is a no risk- potential high reward scenario.
Jason Williams, 28 - There's something funny about this guy. Look at his stats, he has had a 60+ point season and a year in Chicago where he played half the year but was just under a point per game. So why has he bounced from Detroit to Philly to Chicago to Atlanta to Columbus in the last couple of years? Still he's a capable offensive guy and could be worth taking a look at.
Max Afinogenov, 29 - I think he's going to Russia. I doubt there will be much interest in the NHL for Max, but if I were a GM in a place like say Atlanta, I would throw a 1 or 2 year offer at him for around $1.5 million per season.
Chad LaRose, 27 - Had a great playoff that he should cash in on. (Beware Fernando Pisani, but I think LaRose is legit and he won't get a crazy contract, but we'll see.)
Jaro Spacek, 35 - Really solid defensman. Good with the puck.
Mike Samuelsson, 32 - Could be a cap casualty of the Red Wings and that would make him available. Sammy's great at protecting the puck and uses size, speed, and skill to really control the play at times. He's no star player, but a great support winger, with a killer shot.
M-A Bergeron, 28 - Here's another flake. This guy has bounced around a ton, but still just 28 years old and really skilled. He's got the puck skills and speed to be an awesome puck moving d-man, but lack of consistency makes him a #4 guy at best. Still I would take a chance on his skill and hope he can elevate his game a bit more.
Johnny Oduya, 27 - This guy is at the top of my list. As a Leafs fan, I hope we sign him. Johnny was the Devils best defensman in the playoffs, and I would go as far as saying their best player ahead of Parise and Elias who were underwhealming in the post-season. Johnny-O is great with the puck and has that ability to walk out of traffic and not panic in his own end, then make a killer outlet pass.
Noah Welch, 26 - Harvard grad. Not a bad player, its amazing that the former 2nd round pick has been up and down and has only played 73 career games despite being labelled as a huge prospect. Still this could be another situation where you could steal a good, younger player at a low price. Maybe he'll be nothing but maybe he'll develop into a top 4, and at less than $1 million he would be worth the risk.
Friday, May 1, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
One school of thought is that the Red Wings will call up some kids and give the ice time to players like Helm and Leino, and see who turns into the next Fillpula, or Hudler, or Zetterberg, etc. Another thought process is that the Red Wings could move a couple contracts out like Stuart and Cleary to free up around $5-6 million and give the money to Hossa for a long term deal. Well that's a nice thought but don't forget Zetterberg and Franzen have extensions kicking in.
Here's a look at who the Red Wings have under contract for next year and what they're making. (we don't know what the salary cap will be set at next season but its expected to be relatively the same as it is now) All the money is in terms of millions obviously.
So that's $52.4 million committed to 9 forwards, 8 defensman, and 1 goalie. At least 4 forwards are needed and 1 goalie to fill out the required 22 man roster (assuming Meech is sent to the minors and the Wings carry 7 and not 8 d-men) So going with what they've got, they have roughly $4 million dollars to spend on 5 roster spots.
Notable RFA's -
The Red Wings have two key restricted free agents they will most likely try to keep in the fold. First off Jiri Hudler, who posted 57 points and has developed into a really terrific player, and 2nd is Ville Leino, who has been impressive in his callups. He could be a cap casualty and get a 2-way deal to keep him off the books when he is in the minors.
Notable UFA's -
Besides the aforementioned Hossa, the Red Wings will probably be forced to let Mike Samuelsson walk, and possibly back up goalie Ty Conklin.
My guess is that the Red Wings offer Hudler a long term deal similar to that of Filppula and save some cash on him in a way that only the Red Wings seem to do. This will leave the Wings with somewhere around $1 million in cap space, and the only way I could see them keeping Hossa is by moving a lot of pieces around. Overall it doesn't make sense and logic dictates that with the Red Wings incredible track record at the draft they probably let Hossa go to free agency.
For fun here's a crazy way they could keep the superstar, involving the Toronto Maple Leafs:
First their roster if they let Hossa walk...
Hudler - Datsyuk - Holmstrom
Franzen - Zetterberg - Cleary
Leino - Filppula - (UFA or draftee)
Maltby - Draper - Helm/UFA or draftee
defense if fine. Now let's see if they make some moves with Toronto (for fun, if anyone rips into me you're an idiot)
Dan Cleary $2.8
Jiri Hudler (RFA seeking $3 mil)
Brad Stuart $3.7
to Toronto for
Matt Stajan $1.7
Nik Kulemin $1.5
Ian White $0.8
Detroit is getting some servicable players back and the trade breaks down like this. Cleary is moved for Stajan (Stajan posted over 50 points for Toronto this season). Although Stajan was slightly more productive, Dan Cleary is the gritty Red Wing with a little more value. Cleary is a typical 20-20 player.
Hudler for Kulemin. Hudler has been developing into a star and this is the tough part for the Red Wings. However Kulemin has been praised by everyone and was one of the bright spots on the Leafs roster. He is a 21 year old, potential sniper with a lot of upside. The Red Wings save some money for now and get a guy with lots of potential moving forward.
Stuart for Ian White. This part of the deal the Red Wings are dumping salary and getting a guy back who is a decent d-man. The Wings can still role Lidstrom-Rafalski-Kronwall as their big minute guys and use the feisty Ian White in the 4-6 role, all the while saving close to $3 million.
In total here the Red Wings save around $5.5 million, and could use the extra space to negotiate a spot for Hossa. Also in this situation the Wings would have around $4 million cap space already. Suppose they give Hossa around $6.5 million per season, they would have around $3 million to fill out 5 roster spots which is very doable.
Red Wings post Leafs trade:
Hossa - Datsyuk - Holmstrom
Franzen - Zetterberg - Kulemin
Stajan - Filppula - Leino
Maltby - Draper - Helm
Lidstrom - Rafalski
Kronwall - Ericsson
Lebda - White
Hope y'all enjoyed
Sunday, April 26, 2009
1. Alexander Ovechkin
AO combines size, speed, agility, toughness, scoring touch, and playmaking ability, making him the obvious number 1. I doubt anyone out there would disagree with this pick. What I like about Ovechkin is that he has the soft hands and creativity to beat a defensman one on one, but he's so hard to play because his preference is to typically freeze the defensman and take a shot. His shot is unreal. He can also skate right through an opposing player, a la Eric Lindros circa 1994.
2. Jarome Iginla
Might have put him a bit lower before these playoffs, but he's reminded me of how great he is. I didn't get a chance to watch a lot of Iggy this season, but when you watch a Flames game you realize how truly unbelievable this man is. He, like Ovechkin can change a game with a big hit or a big goal. He's rugged, but also has the speed and soft hands to walk out of the corner. Jarome Iginla has the make up of a blue collar kind of grinder, who scraps, with the talent of an NHL scoring champ. I love Jarome Iginla.
3. Niklas Lidstrom
Who should win the Norris trophy this year? Well a lot of people would argue Mike Green of Washington deserves it with his 30+ goals and 70+ points. But come playoff time, Green has been almost a non factor in the New York series, while the always amazing Niklas Lidstrom continues to run the show and control every game he plays in. Lidstrom could be argued as the #1 most valuable player in the league. His instincts are something that can't be taught and his skill is world class.
4. Roberto Luongo
First off, this guy is amazing. Second, he is consistant. There are lots of NHL goalies who have the ability to steal a game, but Luongo can do it almost nightly. Don't kid yourself, he is the reason Vancouver went on that unlikely run from playoff fringe team, to division champs. When he's on his game, which is pretty much always, he only gives up tip ins, or cross ice one-timers. His rebounds are controlled, and he blocks a lot of passes. He is a game changer.
5. Pavel Datsyuk
Consistant 90-100 point player. Consistant nominee for the Selke trophy as the games best defensive forward. How valuable is Datsyuk? Skill wise I would argue that he is the #1 most skilled player in the NHL. His hands and creativity are unmatched. And remarkably, for all his fanciness, he throws big hits! Unbelievable talent and unreal player, with the heart and drive of a champion. Who ever said Russian's don't care like Canadians do, hasn't seen Datsyuk.
6. Evgeni Malkin
Another Russian snipe show. When you lead the NHL in scoring, a year after finishing 2nd, its kind of hard to not be considered a top 10 guy in the league. Malkin combines size, speed, and skill to make him a threat to score all the time. To become a champion we'll need to see his compete level stay up when the going gets tough, as last year the defensive abilities of Datsyuk and Zetterberg turned Malkin into a non-factor in the Stanley Cup final. This years playoff will be a big test for the Russian, who has all the tools to be a champion.
7. Henrik Zetterberg
I can't believe I have to put him as low as 7th. This guy won the Conn Smythe trophy last year, and most people agree that even if Pittsburgh would have come back to beat Detroit, Zetterberg still would have been the playoffs MVP, he was just that much better than everyone else. Zetts had an off-year offensively this season (73 points, most players would kill to have that be an "off year"), and like his brother Datsyuk, Zetterberg is an elite defensive forward and Selke trophy winner, and consistant Selke nominee every year. He might just be the games best all around forward.
8. Sidney Crosby
Unreal playmaker and puck control guy. Crosby uses his speed, quick hands, and vision to accumulate points. He is a stats machine and is tough on the puck. He's a threat to score whenever he's on the ice. To become a champion he'll need to take a page out of the Steve Yzerman book and become a more complete player (see Zetterberg and Datsyuk). Crosby has all the tools to do it.
9. Henrik Lunqvist
Lunqvist doesn't buckle under pressure and makes unreal saves on a nightly basis. He's a human highlight reel in goal, and is steady as a rock. He gives a New York team a chance to win every night, despite the fact that they didn't have even one player reach 60 points this season (shout out to NYR's leading scorer Nik Antropov with 59 points). Lunqvist alone makes the Rangers a Stanley Cup dark horse this year.
10. Zdeno Chara
The big man! Zdeno's Bruins finished at the top of the Eastern conference and were nearly impossible to beat all season long. Chara logs huge minutes and combines offensive ability and great passing with sound defensive positioning and pure force on the back end. Hard to argue Zdeno Chara's place among the NHL elite has he leads his team deeper into the playoffs.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Here are your most rumoured names in order of the likelihood of them being dealt. Followed by potential suitors with a "?" I left out some of the lesser names:
1. Bill Guerin - 99% Washington/Montreal?
2. Derik Morris - 96% Boston/Philly?
3. Nik Antropov - 95% Colombus/Chicago/Pittsburgh?
4. Gary Roberts - 90% Calgary/San Jose/Pittsburght? (placed on waivers)
5. Mark Rechhi - 90% Montreal/Chicago/Vancouver?
6. Chris Neil - 87% Detroit/Calgary/New Jersey?
7. Dominic Moore - 85% Buffalo/Detroit/Dallas?
8. Doug Weight - 80% Chicago/Florida/Colombus?
9. Filip Kuba - 75% Calgary/Dallas/Boston?
10. Michael Nylander - 70% Chicago/Montreal?
11. Olli Jokinen - 67% Montreal/Calgary/NYR?
12. Miro Satan - 60% Vancouver/Montreal/Carolina? (placed on waivers)
13. Milan Hejduk - 50% Pittsburgh/Florida/Minnesota?
14. Pavel Kubina - 25% Colombus/Boston/Minnesota?
15. Ryan Smyth - 20% Vancouver/Montreal/Pittsburgh?
16. Chris Pronger - 18% St.Louis/Boston
17. Jay Bouwmeester - 15% Philly/
18. Tomas Kaberle - 10% Boston/Washington/New Jersey?
19. Jason Blake - 8% Dallas/Minnesota?
20. Martin St.Louis - 5% Pittsburgh/ Montreal/Vancouver?
21. Jason Spezza - 4% Colombus/Chicago?
22. Ilya Kovalchuck - 3% Edmonton?
23. Lecavalier - 2% - Montreal?
24. Brodeur - 0% ;)
25. Ovechkin - 0% ;)
Had to round out 25, so good enough.
Moore is a really good 3rd line centre. He's put up 41 pts through 3/4's of the season so far. So he's on pace for about 50-55 points. Moore has been playing all year with the teams top scorer, Jason Blake (50 pts on the season), and the two of them have been playing their 5 on 5 time for the most part against other teams 2nd and 3rd lines, as the Antropov-Stajan line has been up against the top lines. This is something people don't consider when they look at Moore's production. Antropov is the one matched against Vinny and St.Louis, while Moore faces Malone and Recchi. Antropov is the one matched up against Ovechkin while Moore gets Victor Kozlov etc. Not to take away from Moore's accomplishments this season, his grit and leadership have been a big asset to the team, but his salary demands are making him a little delusional.
How many 3rd line centres make up around $3 million per season? How many players who play that role are really worth it? Who are the "best" 3rd line centres in the league? You look at guys like Madden, Draper, and Pahlsson as the cream of checking line centres and these are the only guys worth $3 million per year in a checking role. Bobby Holik and Mike Peca once were in that category too, and there might be a couple others I'm overlooking but that's it. Dominic Moore is good but he's not Kris Draper. Period. And if Drapes and Pahlsson, and Madden are the best at what these types of players do and they're making that money, what's Moore really worth?
I think a fair offer for Moore would be 4 years, $7 million ($1.75 million per season). Brian Burke's price range is about right. And memo to Dominic Moore, you are not Kris Draper. The end.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Top Line Forwards:
Marion Gaborik - It's been said by Doug Riseborough recently that he'd probably sooner hold onto Gaborik even if it means losing him to free agency, rather than deal him for the terrible offers he's receiving. The hope is that Gaborik can come back from injury and help the Wild down the stretch and ideally in the playoffs.
Martin Havlatt - He's been in rumours all year but the Hawks are apperently now trying to sign him to an extension. But we'll see...
Keith Tkachuk - What can you say? He's still got it. Big Keith is the King of St.Louis but they'll trade him.
Nik Antropov - Have you heard? He's available. Big body Nik can score goals and he's a solid two-way player. He's also considered to be one of the best players in the NHL for standing in front of the net so any team who's lacking that element on the PP can look for Antropov.
Steve Sullivan - Personally I love Sully, he's really fast and a heads up player. He was hurt for a whole year but now he's back and his game seems to be coming along. Could be a good fit for Crosby's wing or any other team looking at renting a guy who can skate and play with top line guys.
Eric Cole - Not playing like a top line guy this year with the Oil, but he has been throughout his career and a change of scenary could be good for him and the team that acquires him.
Jay Bouwmeester - I don't think its been reported anywhere but he may be available. Joking aside I hate to say it but I'm betting on him staying a Panther until the end of the season. They look like they could make some noise heading into the playoffs.
Scott Niedermyer - Don't know if he's being shopped but with the Whitney deal and all the Pronger rumours it could be possible. Of course he'd have to waive the NTC.
Mattias Ohlund - Since Vancouver is in a good spot right now they'll keep him, but there have been reports suggesting he'll test the free agent waters. I would guess any deal involving Ohlund would have to include a player coming back who could make an immediate impact.
2nd-3rd line/Depth Centres:
Doug Weight - This guy can still play, he still has the hands and is a tremendous passer. He would be a great boost to any playoff bound team.
Ian Laperriere - Tons of interest apparently in the gritty 3rd line centre. Could bring exactly what a lot of teams are looking for heading into the playoffs
Sammy Pahlsson - I think the Ducks want him re-signed but we'll see
Steve Reinprecht - Under rated guy, good player for Phoenix. For a team really thin down the middle I would even say he'd be a capable 2nd line centre.
Dominic Moore - He's posted up over 40 pts in his best year ever so far. Could be a solid 3rd liner on a good team.
Radek Bonk - Defensive specialist could be a good boost down the middle as a 3rd line centre to a playoff team
Mike Comrie - I know he was just traded but if Ottawa is selling he could be moved again
Tyler Arnason - Talented 30 year old is flakey but skilled.
Brendan Morrison - Could be a useful 3rd line centre
Mike Sillinger - the king of trade deadline day has played for 13 different teams
Derek Armstrong - 4th line centre, takes draws, kills penalties etc.
Andy Hilbert - Quietly having a decent year on long Island. Depth forward.
Todd Marchant - Doubt there'd be interest but could move
Marty Reasoner - 4th liner at this point, but reliable guy
Bill Guerin - According to some sources he's already been traded and they're just hammering out the details. So its almost a guarantee he'll be moved and he's still playing a high level of hockey. Could play any role on a strong team, whether its 1st line or even 3rd.
Chris Neil - He's either available or Ottawa wants to re-sign him, I guess we'll find out which. I imagine lots of teams will be interested especially if Laperierre is dealt, Neil could be a back up option for teams looking for a tough guy.
Jere Lehtinen - I don't think the Stars are sellers but Lehtinen's name has come up in rumours. He's a former Selke guy so you know he's reliable, even though he's lost his scoring touch in his twighlight years.
Max Afinogenov - He's supposedly being shopped by Buffalo. The only reason I could see anyone wanting him is the fact that he's a UFA in the summer. But as a streaky player, if the price wasn't too steep why not deal for him and hope he can get hot down the stretch.
Gary Roberts - Warrior on his last leg. Could be a boost though to some teams, even if he doesn't play every day consider that Lanny MacDonald was a scratch in a handful of games in the playoffs of 1989 and was a last second addition to the line up for game 6 in Montreal where he made history. Why couldn't Gary (possibly also with Calgary) be a guy you put in the line up here and there and have him when you need him?
Joel Ward - Like you I only heard of this guy this year, but the 28 year old his playing really good hockey for Nashville. The price would likely not be steep and he could be a guy worth renting for a lot of teams.
Mark Recchi - He can still play, could be a reliable 3rd line guy and provide some skill and grit.
Dean McAmmond - great speed for a 36 year old, although only 4 goals this year...
Travis Moen - solid grinder
Matt Pettinger - decent skater, smart player, depth guy.
Scott Parker - Enforcer. Someone could pick up the tough guy.
Depth @ D:
Francois Beauchemin - Good player, capable of being even a top pairing guy.
Nic Havelid - Solid defensive d-man. I think Atlanta will move him and lots of teams will have interest
Filip Kuba - Could be a top pairing guy in a few teams, easily a top 4 but reports indicate he won't waive his NTC to leave Ottawa
Jordan Leopold - Tier 2 puck moving d-man could be plan B for teams not able to land Pronger, Bouwmeester, Kaberle.
Nick Boynton - Falling out with coach DeBoers has put him in the trade rumours. Decent depth d-man, big body.
Denis Gauthier - Kings hitting machine is 32 years old and I think would be an underrated pick up. He sometimes gives up odd man rushes, but always makes huge hits. He could be what a lot of teams are looking for.
Greg Zanon - Great trash talker. One thing I remember about his guy in last years playoffs is: "Five hole, five hole! Hasek you old F*#!"
Top 10 Available Goalies:
1. Nik Backstrom - Wild Stud will probably stay put, but he's been in rumours and if contract talks aren't going well he could be dealt. Riseborough obviously realizes that the possibility of losing Gaborik and Backstrom to free agency this summer after having lost Demitra and Rolston last year could set this franchise back to basically being an expansion team with Mikko Koivu.
2. Manny Fernandez - Timmy Thomas is the starter but Fernandez is a great insurance policy. However, if Boston gets a deal that could help them, they could move Manny.
3. Nik Khabiboulan - Not in the rumours as much as earlier in the year, but with his recent (minor) injury and Huet's great play, the Hawks could comfortably move Nik if they could get value back (2nd line centre maybe?)
4. Dwayne Roloson - Oilers goalie is hot right now and the Oilers need him, but if they decide to sell he would be valuable.
5. Marty Biron - Only will be moved if there's an upgrade out there for the Flyers (Backstrom?)
6. Scott Clemmensson - Has shown himself to be a reliable backup during Brodeurs injury. Now he could be a valuable trade commodity.
7. Manny Legace - If you think he's worthless just because he cleared waivers, then you don't get it. That was a salary cap issue. (see Jussi Jokinen who cleared waivers a few weeks ago with Tampa only to be dealt for a draft pick and 2 players the following day). Manny has trade value for a team looking for a veteran back up.
8. Brent Johnson - Caps could be looking for an upgrade in goal and if Theodore is unmoveable, Johnson becomes the 3rd wheel.
9. Joey MacDonald - Joey's been good this year in DP's absence. The Islanders may try to sign him to an extension, but on the other hand there could be interest in him as an insurance policy for a team needing a back up upgrade (Calgary?)
10. Andrew Raycroft - As a rental, maybe a team will bite and pick him up heading into the playoffs. Only as a backup though.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Precedent: Brad Stuart last year to Detroit for a 2nd and 4th. Similar calibre, Stuart maybe a bit better but was a rental, MVR has another year. Or Hal Gill last year for a 2nd and 5th, with a year remaining on his contract, MVR is more effective than Gill.
Rumours? No there are no rumours of Mike Van Ryn being dealt. You could replace his name with Ian White who was involved in some trade rumours earlier this year. A Mike Van Ryn trade is pure speculation on my part. A deal involving MVR would also be dependant on his getting healthy before the deadline.
Antropov to Columbus for a 1st and a decent player under 26, ie Alexandre Picard
Precedent: Dani Zubrus from Washington to Buffalo at deadline for a 1st and Novotny. Zubrus was coming off a 57 pt season and posted 60 that year, Antropov is coming off a 56 pt season and is on pace to post 65ish. Novotny was a Buffalo 1st round pick who was 22 at the time of that trade and not developing into a star, just a decent forward. Picard is a former 1st round pick who is now 22 and not producing like a star in the making, but should be a decent forward. The Zubrus deal was made 2 years ago and Dani is 2 years older than Nik.
Rumours? Yes, there has been a lot of speculation that Columbus is interested in a big centre/winger like Nik Antropov. Columbus has been scouting the Leafs lately, and Ken Hitchcock has gone on record saying he’s a fan of Nik Antropov. Columbus is also a bubble team right now and there is reason to believe they will be a buyer at the deadline.
Ponikarovsky for a 2nd (to Vancouver? Or wherever there's a fit)
Precident: In 2007 Phoenix traded Oleg Saprykin to Ottawa for their 2nd rounder. Also, in 2006 Washington traded Jeff Friesen to Anaheim for their 2nd round pick. If you don't think much of Poni I know some people don't, he has 14 goals in 41 games this year, he's scoring at a decent pace and without a Mats Sundin or Joe Nieuwendyk to centre him his production has not gone down. He is not the most skilled forward available but a big body, decent speed, heavy shot, and decent nose for the net. In his previous 3 seasons he has posted 20, 22, and 18 goals, so consistantly around 20 goals and 40 points, $2.1 million cap hit good through 2010, and top 5 +/- rating on the team almost every year in the NHL.
Rumours? Yes there have been rumours that one of the players Burke is shopping is Poni. As of right now your guess is as good as mine for who Burke keeps and trades, but Poni is one of the more valuable trade commodities and a very moveable player.
Tomas Kaberle to New Jersey for Tedenby, Clarkson, 1st
I like Tedenby's skill, I think he's a good prospect, he's a late 1st round pick from the '08 draft. Clarkson is just 24, and although he's not expected to be a star he is a decent young guy who could be the type of role player Burke is looking for, and could be part of this young rebuilding team. Clarkson’s rookie year he posted 22 pts but 183 pims. This year he’s on pace for around 30 pts and 160 pims. The 1st rounder is key.
Rumours? Yes there are rumours all over the internet of Tomas Kaberle being traded and he has gone on record as saying he would agree to waive his NTC. Why New Jersey? This is a team that is lacking a PP quarterback, Kaberle fits the bill. If you don't think its a fit with New Jersey then look for a similar deal to this one (Kaberle for a 1st rounder, a solid prospect, and a decent younger roster player.) This trade is just a good example of what to expect.
Dominic Moore to (virtually anyone) for a 2nd
Precedent: Dominic Moore was traded at the deadline of ’07 from Pittsburgh to Minnesota for a 3rd. Moore had 15 points in 59 games that year for Pittsburgh. So far this season Moore has 21 pts in 42 games and is playing the best hockey of his career, often being counted on for important draws and being matched up against higher end centre’s such as Spezza. He’s 27 years old and UFA in the summer.
That's it for now, essentially we pick up a bunch of draft picks (Two 1st's, three 2nd’s, a 4th). Two decent younger players in this example its Clarkson (24) and Picard (22), and a higher end prospect in Tedenby (so not Filatov, not Cody Hodgson, not Drew Doughty etc. You get the point).
So we get a chance to really get the rebuild kicked into high gear.I think this type of return is reasonable and realistic. A lot of fantasy GM's out there believe the Leafs will acquire a lot at this deadline, I think its more reasonable to believe they will acquire a number of draft picks and maybe only a few players. Other deals that may transpire could include some roster players coming back too, but these will be minor deals like the May trade last week.
Just to recap I'll do an "in - out" thing in order of value:
1st round pick
1st round pick
2nd round pick
2nd round pick
2nd round pick
4th round pick
Mike Van Ryn
Kubina could be moved in the summer too don't forget. I didn't forget about him. But if you're Burke, you can wait to see which teams don't land 'that guy' during free agency and move Kubina while his NTC has its summer window. This way he can't say no to any trade and more teams become available to trade him to. Or keep him, whatever, maybe he's a drawing factor for a UFA like Bouwmeester?
Also having 3 first round picks and 3 second round picks gives the Leafs flexibility on draft day. They have a oppurtunity to draft 6 times in the top 60 selections, or they can maneuver these picks a bit to move up in the draft. Either way it replenishes the farm system. A true rebuild is a few years away from being complete and having a draft like this would be key. I know this is just in my example and we may not get that many picks in the first two rounds, but I would not be surprised to see something like this happen as Burke has gone on record saying he wants draft picks and has mentioned that he has no 2nd round pick in '09 or '10.
The team post deadline. If Burke moves the players I expect him to and is able to get returns similar to what I expect, I think the team could look something like this post deadline. For arguements sake I'll use the players I said he would acquire in my examples.
Blake – Stajan – Stempniak
Hagman – Grabovski – Kulemin
Picard – Mitchell – J.Williams
Clarkson – Mayers – May
Kubina – Schenn
Frogren – White
Sifers - Finger
Scratch/spare/minors: Hollweg, Deveaux, Stralman, Tlusty, Kronvall
Thanks hope you enjoyed.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Now, onto the KHL. Last night on Sportsnet they were talking about how the KHL is in a bad financial situation and they may be asking their players to all take a 40% salary cutback to keep the league alive. Well if this happens its safe to say a lot of these players will be bolting for the NHL. The K does have a bunch of star players who could easily come (back) to the NHL and be big time performers.
Here are a few of the bigger names and top performers. When looking at the stats keep in mind that over there they don't give out 2nd assists so points totals tend to look small sometimes. See how many of these names you recognize. I'll keep the teammates altogether.
Player, (Age), Gp G - A - PTS
From Salavat Yulayev (1st place)
Alex Tereshenko (28), 28 21 - 25 - 46
Alex Perezhogin (25), 40 25 - 16 - 41
Alex Radulov (22), 40 18 - 22 - 40
Oleg Tverdovsky (32), 33 7 - 15 - 22
other notables from this team are:
Well no one really, remember Konstantin Koltsov? Ya he's playing there but he's not producing at all.
From Mytischi Atlant (2nd place)
Sergei Mozyakin (27), 41 21 - 30 - 51
other notables from thsi team are Alexander Koralyuk (31 pts), ex-Leaf Igor Korelev, Yan Bulis, Denis Arkipov and goalie Ray Emery.
From Kazan Akbars (3rd place)
Alexei Morozov (31), 34 23 - 29 - 52
Denis Zaripov (27), 41 25- 25 - 50
other notables from this team are:
Niko Kapanen, Oleg Petrov, Nikita Alexeev, Goalies Wade Dubliewicz and Freddy Norrena
From Yaroslav Locomotiv (4th place)
Alexei Yashin (35), 40 14 - 20 - 34
other notables from YL are:
Rugged blueliner Vitali Vishnevski, Josef Vasicek,
From the rest of the league here are your better known names:
Stanislav Chistov, Karel Pilar, Nils Ekman, Sergei Brylin, Andrei Zyuzin, Darius Kasparitus, Robert Esche (.912 Sv%, 18-9-2, 1.82 GAA, wow Esche), Oleg Saprykin, Petr Shastlivy, Alex Suglobov, Maxim Kondratiev, Jussi Markenen (back up, bad numbers), Andrei Nikolashin (remember him? He's leading his team in scoring 34 pts in 40 games), Oleg Kvasha, Branko Radevojevic (remember him? tops on his team 37 pts in 40 games), Ladislav Nagy (What happened? 14 pts in 34 games, just 3 goals), Joel Kwiatkowski, Jaromir Jagr (20 and 23 for 43 pts in 40 games. But you know he's dominating the play), Jakub Klepis.
Now that's just players from the teams who are in the top half of the league in standings. Its pretty clear making this list that the NHL could not house a lot of these NHL calibre guys. I think its good that there's another kind of high end league out there. Just look at the part of the roster of Moscow Dynamo:
Petr Cajanek, Dmitry Afanasankov, Karel Rachunek, Alexei Zhitnik, Matthias Weinhandl, Vitali Yachmenev, Dimitri Shitikov (okay I don't know him either but great name), and Danny Markov.
I bet out of the entire list there are a dozen guys NHL teams would still really want. Anyway's that's it for now.