- Hockey Rambling
- Written by Michael Amato
If you’re in the Greater Toronto Area come check out the Dobber Hockey event happening this Tuesday night. Details here.
The Toronto Maple Leafs and goaltender James Reimer avoided arbitration by agreeing to terms on a two-year deal worth a reported $2.3 million per season. That doesn’t necessarily mean all is well in Toronto for Reimer. He’s clearly the number two behind Jonathan Bernier and he could still very well be traded. The Winnipeg Jets come to mind.
If you are looking for some under the radar forwards to steal in your draft next year, the Arizona Coyotes may be a good place to look. With Mike Ribeiro and Radim Vrbata departed, that’s going to leave some opportunities in the top six to capitalize on. Of course Sam Gagner has joined the team and will fill one of the spots, but there is a chance for someone to step up and grab maybe a second line winger role.
If we assume the line of Shane Doan, Antoine Vermette, and Mikkel Boedker will stay together, then that leaves Gagner and Martin Hanzal as the other centers.
Perhaps Martin Erat recaptures his 20-goal form playing with Gagner or Hanzal, or maybe Joe Vitale and Lauri Korpikoski get a look on the second line. If Vitale could ever become a 40-point player he would be a solid option because of his PIM, but that’s probably wishful thinking at this point and his lack of offensive production is likely going to keep him in the bottom six. However, Korpikoski isn’t too far removed from 19 and 17-goal campaigns, so if he gets a chance with Gagner and Erat let’s say, there might be some upside to consider.
There was an interesting story recently on Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock and looking at the possibility that some free agents may want to avoid the organization because of his coaching style. This time around Babcock is chiming in on the topic of advanced stats and how he is warming up to them.
"I've seen so many analytics presentations it's not even funny," Babcock said. "Some of them have been very impressive and some of them I wasn't as impressed with, but I love the information. I absolutely love the information. We're in the information business, so how do you get it? And then you have to use your expertise to sort it out."
I found this interesting because for whatever reason, Babcock doesn’t strike me as a guy who would be into advanced stats. I’m not the biggest hockey advanced stats guy there is by any stretch of the imagination, but I agree with Babcock’s assessment that the more information the better. If there is a ton of extra information about players available, it would be crazy not to look at it.
Defenseman Marc Methot would like to sign a contract extension with the Ottawa Senators. The blue liner isn’t the worst fantasy option for the bottom of your roster. He plays almost exclusively with Erik Karlsson, meaning he’s going to get well over 20 minutes a night and probably get 25 points just because of his partner alone. He doesn’t see much power play time, though. His even rating last year was actually pretty impressive when you consider Karlsson was minus-15, but because of the Swedes free-flowing style rushing up the ice, it’s naturally going to leave Methot exposed defensively and probably prevent him from ever having a solid plus rating.
Nice piece here looking at if you can win by allocating a large chunk of your cap to just two players.
“But since '05, the results haven't been as conclusive when it comes to "Big 2s." For teams that have delegated least a quarter of their annual salary cap to only two players, success in the form of a championship has been hard to come by.”
It may be difficult to fill out the rest of your roster when you go about things this way, but from a fantasy perspective it usually has benefits for secondary players. If the big two are split up like Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, then it gives multiple players a huge boost in the top six. Chris Kunitz and James Neal for example in Pittsburgh.
When the two play together you can put just about anyone with them and they will have success. Much like Patrick Maroon did for a stretch this year in Anaheim playing with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf.
It’s amazing how quickly the media can turn nothing into a story about the chances that Steven Stamkos comes to Toronto in 2016. That same media presence is a big reason why players don’t want to come to Toronto in my opinion. The pressure for a hometown player to bring a Stanley Cup back to Toronto would be astronomical and their lives would constantly be under a microscope. Somebody like Stamkos could play in a non-hockey market like Tampa with far less pressure, and head to the beach on his off days where he’ll hardly be recognized. Not to mention the fact that the organization has been horribly mismanaged over the years. Unless things drastically change in a short amount of time, don’t expect big name free agents that were raised in the vicinity of the city to view the Leafs as a preferred landing spot.
The Red Wings signed forward Landon Ferraro to a one-year, two-way $550,000 deal. Expect the 2009 second-round pick to stay down in the AHL next season as the Wings have a dozen forwards already signed to one-way deals with Tomas Tatar and Daniel Alfredsson still needing to be taken care of. Ferraro’s played just four NHL games since being drafted but showed some decent success with Grand Rapids, scoring 24 goals two seasons ago.
Speaking of Detroit forwards. Here is Tomas Jurco displaying some fancy stickwork.