I hate to kick off the ramblings this week with mention of the disgusting, senseless act in the Colorado area, but I feel I must. Seeing the picture of the six-year-old girl shook me to the core, and I was already pretty effected by this. I won’t dwell on the heart-wrenching negatives, but rather simply say that I’m glad to be a part of the hockey community. We’re a pretty tight-knit group when we come together like this for a member. The columns, blogs and social media notes about Jessica Ghawi (Redfield) were very touching. Jessica will be honored by the Avalanche.
Shea Weber – the Predators need to walk away from this one, or turn those four first rounders into quality players. And I’m not talking about Jakub Voracek and Matt Read. More than that is needed, and Voracek strikes me as a player who is thrown into every trade offer – almost as if GMs (or rumor mongers) have no faith in him ever breaking out.
Anyway, we probably shouldn’t pressure Preds management to match this offer one day, and then the next day blame the owners for not being fiscally responsible. We can’t get down on a GM for not signing the flavor of the summer one year, and then a few months later blame GMs for reckless spending. Your team didn’t sign Brad Richards? Fell short on Zach Parise? Good, they showed restraint. It’s up to the GM to set a price, and know enough to walk away when the price is too high. Salaries are out of control because of a handful of careless moves by a handful of GMs – that may or may not have been the result of higher ups (which in turn would have been influenced by fan/media pressure).
A year ago, Nashville arguably had the best defensemen depth chart from one through 10. Now d-man No.1 is gone with No.2 to follow soon (yes, I’m saying Suter is better – I’ve believed that for a year now). So now we’ll get to see if d-men three through 10 can fill the hype. It’s not the end of the world if Ryan Ellis becomes the star he should, Jonathan Blum rebounds from a terrible year, Roman Josi takes the next step and Mattias Ekholm shows he’s NHL ready. Maybe these youngsters take another year to mature, but I have a feeling this well-coached team will be okay.
Jonathon Blum Joonas Jarvinen
Mattias Ekholm Victor Barley
Tons of potential, very little proven. But I make it smart policy to not bet against Barry Trotz.
Brenden Dillon should make the Dallas opening roster – so say the Dallas bloggers. Myself, in the Fantasy Guide I have him playing half a season this year. I think the Stars add another blueliner this summer. If not, then I’ll have to adjust the Dillon forecast.
A fantastic look at successful and unsuccessful RFA offer sheets here over at The Hockey Writers, including a great YouTube clip of Brian Burke talking about his anger with Kevin Lowe. I’ll toss that clip on the bottom of the ramblings.
I don’t really get the Casey Wellman trade for Florida, other than adding another good asset. But as it is the club is deep up front, and there are only so many rookies you can add in a given year without suffering team-wide growing pains. Once again, Wellman is in an organization that will be tough to crack. Great careers – that never happened – we’ll never know about because of ‘the numbers game’. I’m talking hundreds. Often times, a ‘bust’ on your keeper roster of whom you had high expectations aren’t reflective of your drafting skills, but just plain bad luck.
My prediction – Bobby Ryan goes to the Leafs. The Ducks and Leafs have traded, probably, more than any two teams over the past three years. And I think that’s a trend that can’t be ignored. He’s an asset Brian Burke drafted, loves, and will get. The price? If it’s just prospects, then it will be a lot of them. Gardiner is untouchable (ditto for Rielly) and Connolly is untradeable so get those names out of your head immediately. I don’t think Nazem Kadri interests teams otherwise he would have been traded by now. So you’re looking at Joe Colborne, Carter Ashton, Jesse Blacker, Stuart Percy, Jerry D’Amigo and Brad Ross as available prospects, and Clarke MacArthur as the only available roster player with any kind of appeal. The cost would be three of those names and a couple of high draft picks (not firsts, or perhaps one first). And if I’m right, I’m starting a Twitter account called HockeyyyyyyInsiderrrrr and you can all follow me and play along.
Prediction – if not Phoenix, then Shane Doan signs with Pittsburgh.
New Jersey’s top prospect defenseman Jon Merrill is still deciding whether or not to turn pro. If he does, expect a season in the AHL before making the jump. But the future is very bright for him.
Part of my analysis for the Fantasy Guide – in the last 19 games that Nik Kronwall played without Lidstrom in the lineup, he had 17 points. This is dating back five years. But that’s the gold that you get put into every player I analyze for the fantasy hockey guide, and why my guide is the best one. By the way, as I dig up things I occasionally Tweet them – but I assume you follow me on Twitter already, right?
I’m giving away 50% off coupons for the DobberFootball guides that are released Monday night. Watch for a Tweet asking you to “RT”, or else go to the Dobber Sports Facebook page and “like” the status over there. These guides are already cheap, as an introduction to fantasy football players – but cut the price in half and the cost is down to just a couple of bucks.
Brian Burke great story…
Jessica Ghawi's first interview with a pro hockey player. Phoenix prospect Chris Summers, who came to a contract agreement with the 'Yotes yesterday. Just to give those of us who didn't know Jessica, a little bit of insight into her - by all accounts - cheerful personality.