San Jose's major upgrade, Smyth returns home, the slow burn in Calgary, and some free agency predictions.

1. The winner of the draft day trades – San Jose. They did the best to improve their biggest weakness – mobility and offense from the back end. I tweeted this same thought and had numerous replies stating that Burns was a poor defensive defenseman and the Sharks failed to address their defensive play with the trade. To me, a good defensive team is one that has the puck a lot (Detroit, Vancouver).


Burns is a fantastic skating defenseman and he moves the puck very well. San Jose, aside from Dan Boyle, lacked a true puck moving defenseman this past season (Jason Demers and Justin Braun aren't there yet). As any NHL forward (heck, any forward at any level) – there is a considerable difference between receiving the puck on the tape compared to trying to pick it up off the boards. Burns will boost San Jose’s offense in a big, big way. He’s also playing for a new contract after the 2011-12 season.


I made the reference a few years ago with the Edmonton Oilers. Would you fill a Ferrari (a talented forward group that San Jose has) with the cheap gas (Kent Huskins, Niclas Wallin, and so on)?


2. I enjoyed reading Dobber’s take on the upheaval in Philadelphia. It changed my opinion a bit, which doesn’t happen often. The Flyers traded away the best player in each deal, but they did get great value in return. There is a lot of pressure on Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk to emerge as the offensive leaders – Giroux is definitely ready, and van Riemsdyk had a coming out party in the postseason. Danny Briere is also extremely underrated as an NHL star.


3. Interesting to note that the four “old city” boys are all gone – Richards, Carter, Scottie Upshall, and Joffrey Lupul (five, if you include Luca Sbisa). No player (even Richards, who bled Orange and Black) is bigger than the Flyer organization.


4. I feel for Calgary fans – Jay Feaster showed promise last season with some solid trades, but his two big moves at the draft were both duds. Alex Tanguay is definitely a $3.5 million player, but for the next five years? Calgary will have another overpaid forward to deal with. The Robyn Regehr trade was horrid asset mismanagement. I understand that Ales Kotalik had to be traded away to gain some cap flexibility. I also understand that Regehr has lost a step or two since the lockout, but he is still a physical, top-four defenseman who can bring a lot to the table.


As it stands right now, Calgary’s defense after Mark Giordano and Jay Bouwmeester is Cory Sarich, Chris Butler, Brett Carson, and TJ Brodie. Ouch. Dion Phaneuf may not be worth the money he is making, but Calgary managed to turn him (and Keith Aulie) into an overpaid Matt Stajan.


5. If I am a contending team looking for secondary scoring, my first choice is Simon Gagne. Injury prone, sure, but after a poor start to the season (five points through the first quarter of the season), he was close to the point-per-game pace for the rest of it, both regular season and playoffs. He’s injury prone and the concussion history is a bit worrisome, but he is still relatively young, and is a proven scorer in big situations.


6. Big week ahead for Winnipeg. Not only do they have to unveil a new logo and jersey, but they have some important free agents to deal with. Captain Andrew Ladd should be the top priority. Zach Bogosian has been involved in just about every trade rumor for the past six months, and a fresh start in Winnipeg may do him good. The Jets (damn, I love writing that) have a pretty good foundation in place, but they need at least one forward and defenseman to take a big step forward in 2011-12 in order to leap into playoff contention (my hunch – Bryan Little).


7. Devin Setoguchi will get every opportunity to earn the top line right wing spot. His competition includes the likes of Antti Miettinen and Cal Clutterbuck – I think he should be fine. Martin Havlat is also a right wing, but he has never clicked with Mikko Koivu. In terms of salary, no team in the league currently does less with more than Minnesota. At $3 million, Setoguchi is a good value if he plays like Minnesota is hoping/expecting – 30+ goals.


8. Loved the Ryan Strome pick at five – his best attribute is his hockey sense. Rarely do skilled prospects with an abundance of hockey sense flop. Strome is probably a year away, as he could stand to get a bit bigger and stronger, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him stick around with a strong training camp.


9. The comparison has been made already – the Ducks stole Cam Fowler at pick 12 last summer, and the Hurricanes likely did the same thing with Ryan Murphy this year. Murphy isn’t as physically mature as Fowler was, and the Hurricanes are already incredibly young on defense. With a potential future top four featuring Murphy, Jamie McBain, Brian Dumoulin and Justin Faulk, it’s a shame that there will only be so much power play time to go around.


10. Don’t get wrapped up in the hoopla of the NHL draft. At the end of the day, a significant majority of the players selected don’t make any sort of fantasy impact for three or four years. Now is the time to use the hype from the draft to turn your prospect into a tangible, proven NHL asset.


11. Florida is a team to watch for in free agency – they have to spend some money, and Dale Tallon knows how to build a team. I like the Campbell trade (overpaid, but still a fantastic defenseman who fills a huge need for that team). They need to add a few forwards, and a starting goaltender if/when Tomas Vokoun signs elsewhere.


12. I find it funny to read how the Devils “stole” Adam Larsson at pick four. How the heck is the fourth pick a steal?


13. Three under the radar free agents to watch for – Scottie Upshall (proven goal scorer with injury issues), Tomas Fleischmann (was on fire after trade to Colorado before scary injury), and James Wisniewski (50 points and his peripheral numbers make him a valuable fantasy defenseman).


14. Both Joel Ward and Sean Bergenheim are looking to cash in after strong postseason performances. Fernando Pisani all over again?


15. Ryan Smyth back to Edmonton is a great move for obvious reasons. Smyth will bring experience, leadership, and most importantly offense to a team in need of all three. Look for him to form the top unit along with Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Oilers try to add another veteran top-six forward to play with Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle.


Jeff Angus has been writing at DobberHockey since 2007. His monthly 15 Points to Consider column was inspired by Elliotte Friedman’s weekly 30 Thoughts column on the CBC website –  the best read in hockey. Friedman is insightful, articulate, knowledgeable, fair, and most importantly, interesting. He has sources and contacts in the hockey world that most could only dream of. Most importantly, Friedman has an ability which is rare in this day and age - providing a balanced and reasonable opinion on the league, the players, and all 30 of the clubs.

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Jeff said:

Two Quick Comments... 7. Setoguchi might also have some competition from Latendresse in MIN, who's a RW too. It's probably also worth noting that this cements Couture's spot in SJ's top 6. Before this deal, it was looking like Couture might stick on the 3rd line since he's a natural C.

15. Edmonton does still have Shawn "The 5.5 Million Dollar Man" Horcoff. My guess is that he'll center Hall & Eberle. If EDM is going to be a buyer, it had better be for the puck-moving defenseman that they sorely need.
June 29, 2011
Votes: +0

Anthony Lancione said:

More in depth Philly thoughts Great bonus article Jeff!

- I totally concur that Holmgren's bold moves last week have set the Flyers up for a much wider window to consistently contend....even if their very short term chances have been minimized.

- With the 2nd deal creating surplus cap room beyond the means necessary to simply accommodate the Bryzgalov signing, they should definitely have enough flexibility to re-sign Leino and obviously pen newcomers Simmonds & Voracek as well.

- IMO Its absolutely essential that Philly keep together the Briere-Hartnell-Leino trio to retain a certain level of seamless continuity from their 2010 cup run, despite the relative overhaul/re-loading of their forward core.(Line 2--which in my eyes were the Flyers top line for the more crucial portions of their journey to the finals)

- Not many are mentioning that the Flyers are still deeper than most(assuming the Leino extension gets hammered out)

- Plus, adding the oft-perceived best prospect outside of the NHL(Schenn) + the QMJHL MVP/only draft-eligible player to make Team Canada's 2011 WJC team isn't too shabby to boot, of course!

- However, I'm not totally jumping gangbusters into the whole Flyers "Youth Movement" side to the trade post-mortems. Afterall, they did move out two still quite young superstars just entering their primes(mid 20's) for three late teen/early 20-somethings. Surely a youth injection by letter of the law, but only to a small tangible extent in my books. Had it been (almost) 37 yr old Chris Pronger, or 36 yr old Kimmo Timmonen shipped out for McBain, Runblad(to be a bit more positionally relavent)+ top d-man prospect-Dougie Hamilton, then one could run with the "getting younger element of the trade". This especially holds true since proven players were given up for unprovens at the end of the day--blue chippers or not!

- I couldn't agree more that A) The Old City clique never really extinguished itself & B) Old man Pronger had enough of the boys refusing to act like professionals off the ice, to ensure their efforts on the ice were fully maximized.

- Moreover, I also strongly agree with consensus that the absence of the 2 all-stars shipped out of town will undoubtedly provide much more room for Giroux, JVR, Briere, Leino* to move closer to their respective ceilings.

- Finally, the still-potent offense in Philly will surely insulate Simmonds with enough talent to get back to his 09-10 levels of production, and then some. Good deals by Holmgren to extend his franchise's window of opportunity........ 1 step back, 2 steps forward perhaps??
June 28, 2011
Votes: +0

Ron Burgundy said:

Ron Burgundy
Oilers My gut feel is the Oil will continue to build from within, so I don't think there will be any radical free agent signings (still hoping for a radical Hemsky deal but that will depend on Omark's progress this year I think).

Here's how I see the top 9 shaking out:

Hall - Horcoff - Eberle
MPS/Smyth - Gagner - Hemsky
Smyth/MPS - [center] - Omark

We may see Lander or Hartikainen in that empty C spot, and while the Nuge is also a candidate (and probably flips with Horc by the end of the year if he gets it), I think another year of junior/bulking up would do everyone good to avoid Turris Syndrome. What is really needed is someone who can win faceoffs on a regular basis. Marty Reasoner for the 3rd go-round is not inconceivable. Konopka would be another interesting one but I'm not sure if he's better as a 4C.
June 27, 2011
Votes: +0

TheRook said:

... To expand on Angus. There were a few flyers over the years who could be seen in Old City in Philly on any given night throughout the season partying it up. For this reason they got named the Old City Crew.
June 27, 2011
Votes: +0

Jeff Angus said:

... Generally known around Philly as party boys.
June 27, 2011
Votes: +0

Larry said:

old city crew? can anyone enlighten me as to what this is? never heard the term before.
June 27, 2011
Votes: +1

Jeff Angus said:

... Setoguchi's ice time is going to skyrocket. More TOI = more SOG = more goals. I'm interested in seeing how he does.

Sbisa - I read in a few places that he was. My mistake. Still a very interesting point.

Re: San Jose - not sure. Does Pavelski move to RW? I could see that.
June 27, 2011
Votes: +0

Rob Myatt said:

Beaulieu I think the habs had a a genuine "Steal" with the 17th pick. They got a guy who same had ranked as 5th overall for NA skaters. Strong, gritty and tons of offensive upside. Probably didn't need all those blueliners but he was just too good to pass up. I can't wait to see this kid play.
June 27, 2011 | url
Votes: +1

TheRook said:

... Great write up Angus.

Hartnell is the last of the OCC crew still in town. Sbisa wasnt part of it. It is interesting almost all of these players have been shipped out. First Upshall, then Lupul, then Richards and Carter. I think they started breaking it up hoping the rest would get the hint but realized they needed to get rid of the source (richards and carter).
June 27, 2011
Votes: +0

Jason said:

Setoguchi You (and anyone else) are out of your mind if you think Setoguchi is going to score 30+ goals especially in Minny of all places.
June 27, 2011
Votes: -1


Sbisa Sbisa, was never a part of Carter, Richards, etc.. and in my opinion not fair to draw that conclusion. He first lived with Riley and Holly Cote in Sicklerville NJ and Cote said he was a "low Maintenance" kid and like a little brother, after that the Flyers found a home for Sbisa with a school principle, Allison Staffin in Voorhees NJ, that was also where Maxime Ouellet, Justin Williams and Todd Fedoruk lived when they were kids coming up. The other four I 100% agree with, but please don't assume because a young kid was traded he HAD to be moved, Sbisa was strictly a HOCKEY MOVE.
June 27, 2011
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Super 15 This was a very good 15 points. I really enjoyed them. Nice job. A+.

I would love to see somebody go deeper into forecasting how the trickle-through of San Jose's move. They had 7 "top six" forwards and smartly reduced that number to 6 by trading Setoguchi. This brings up several questions:

1. Seto played mostly RW on Line 1 with Marleau-Thornton. Does Heatley get shifted back to that line? (it would be just what Heatley owners need)

2. Line 2 & Line 3 centers were Couture & Pavelski. Does one shift to wing?

3. PP1 consisted of Boyle & Pavelski on the points. Both RH. Add Burns, but he is also RH. Does SJ run two RH players on PP1? And will Burns get a chance to rip shots from the point... or will SJ prefer to move the puck through Boyle?
June 27, 2011
Votes: +1

Mabus said:

... Good Article again,

That said, I remember thinking that Jagr was a steal for Pittsburgh when he was taken 5th overall, so I think it's possible to view someone as a steal even if they go fourth. In hindsight, I'm sure Anaheim thought they stole Kariya when he went fourth (after both Daigle and Gratton).

I don't have a clue how good Larsson will be, but I think it's possible to view someone as steal there. He would need to turn into the next Lidstrom and have the guys above him max out at less than 80 points before I'd say he was a steal. Only time will tell.

About the only thing I'm sure of when it comes to drafting is that day after the draft analysis is useless at best.
June 27, 2011
Votes: +1

tGr said:

... word out of calgary is that iggy played a big part in the tanguay signing. basically said if you want me past the 2 remaining years on my contract, you better have a top line playmaker for me to line up with. tanguay meeting that need at 3.5 is not out of this world - especially if it helps iggy stay in town down the road. have to wait to see what happens with the extra 7 +million cap space that feaster generated before assessing the regehr trade -getting kotalik off the books was almost as impressive as CHI moving campbell... if you assess things at the moment, it would be easy to say the flames lost the deal, but, like the flyers' deals earlier in the week, you have to include the whole picture to make a fair assessment - without the freed up cap space, philly couldn't have signed bryz nor improved their team as they did... lets give feaster until october to let this whole thing play out...
June 27, 2011
Votes: -1

Michal Sk said:

Adam Larsson How people came to "steal" word?
Easy explanation - he is one of two players ready to play with big guys (Landeskog is the other one). Dman has been exactly what they needed the most and there is a huge chance they have really drafted franchise guy in Larsson. We will obviously know in 10 years, not now. The other thing is they have won draft lottery and moved up from no.8

June 27, 2011
Votes: +0

Shoeless said:

@Casey on Tanguay Exactly! What the heck is Feaster going to do with a 32 year old LW who puts up 69 points in 79 games and clicks with his star player? Tell him to take a hike on his demands? It's kinda like folks saying the Flyers should have traded Briere instead of Richards - well the Kings didn't want Briere and they would not have received the same return. even if they did.

Armchair GM's seem to dismiss some critical chunks of reality in their critiques.

3M for a guy who put up 70 points - look around the league and tell me how bad a deal that is - 5 years isn't a long time and the cap keeps rising - I think Feaster did the right thing here and should get some credit.

As far as the Regehr move - let's wait for all the shoes to fall shall we.
June 27, 2011
Votes: -1

Casey said:

... Feaster is cleaning up Sutter's mess when it came to Kotalik. Sounds like ownership wasn't content to just ditch him in the AHL again and eat his $3M. I think that it is far too early to judge this trade. If Butler turns into a top 4 defender, or Byron makes an impact then the return won't be half bad.

As far as Tanguay is concerned, it was salary or term. He would have got north of $4m/year and at least 4 years as a UFA. Yes, I would have liked to see a shorter deal, but Iggy needs somebody to play with, and the potential replacements for Tanguay on the UFA market this summer are not proven or plentiful.
June 27, 2011
Votes: -1

angelofharlem said:

... I was a little surprised to see the Canes pick Murphy, just because of the presence already of McBain and Faulk. How do you see it shaking out long term? If they all develop as expected, are we likely to see one of them moved elsewhere? Or do you have a hunch as to which one will wind up as third man on the totem pole and have his numbers diminished as a result?
June 27, 2011
Votes: +1
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