Angus here - wrote an extensive analysis of Alexander Semin's tenure with the Capitals. Lots of interesting stuff was dug up - check it out here.
When the Leafs grabbed van Riemsdyk I thought – “Hey, I wonder if he’ll get a look at center?” And then I figured that sure, it would be silly to not at least try him there. After all, he was a center in college and it’s not like that was twenty years ago. But I never heard anything about it in Leafland. So I was glad to see the TSN article reporting that it is exactly what the Leafs will do. And if his faceoff win percentage is anything above 46%, then they should keep him there. Faceoffs you can work on.
The Leafs would have JVR, Grabovski, Bozak, Steckel, McClement, Connolly and Lombardi. I think you buy Connolly out, move Lombardi and Bozak to the wing.
Connolly was a good, low-risk signing that failed miserably. That’s why he was signed for low risk – because you knew he was a risk. There was upside and there was downside. The wool was over nobody’s eyes here. The Leafs didn’t get the point-per-game player that he could have been, were it not for injury after injury. They did not get the talented 60-game player who could post second-line numbers either, which is what we saw his last couple of years in Buffalo. No, he stunk. They got the ‘downside’. But he was signed for two years – his buyout would cost $2 million this year and $1.3 million next year. I say do it and move on.
Zach Parise and Ryan Suter have top-heavy deals. We all rightfully assume that the players get the big contracts they want and the team gets around the salary cap a little. Suter’s final two years are for $1 million each. He’ll be 38 and 39. Did he destroy the end of his career? Consider this – look at what Daniel Alfredsson is doing. He signed a similar front-loaded deal that sees him getting paid $1 million next season. So now he’s thinking about retiring. Would he think about retiring if his deal wasn’t front-loaded and he made $5.5 million next season? Of course not. But for a million bucks, to a guy who has trouble shutting his walk-in closet door because it’s stuffed to the ceiling with neatly-stacked $100 bills?
Now imagine Ryan Suter, who at 38 could very well still be putting up 45 points and plus-25 numbers. Factor in inflation and the salary-cap rise. In 2023, the market for him could be $12 million per year. But he still has two years left. At $1 million each. So does he retire when he’s still a productive player? And with technology and breakthroughs in training techniques, etc – players playing when they’re 40 could be pretty common. It’s not something that Suter and Parise thought about, but who could blame them – I’d still be jumping off the diving board into a swimming pool filled with bills.
Listen - I know they got their money now. So did Alfredsson early in his contract. But if the average salary more than doubles what it is today 12 years from now - Suter could be worth $12 million per year. Those last three years he's set to make $4 million. Forget all the "front pay" that he received. That's already in the bank. When he's 37, under this scenario, all he'll see is that equivalent players are making $30 to $40 million over those three years while he makes $4 million. Long-term, front-loaded contracts hurt players too. They just won't know it until it happens.
In the meantime, I can see Alfredsson negotiating an over-priced one-year extension. He knows he's worth $5 million on a one-year deal, so why should he play for $1 million? So instead, perhaps he gets extended for $6.5 million ... with the understanding that $2.5 million of that is backpay for 2012-13. Even though he already got paid for 2012-13 as part of the front-load. Selective memory, right?
If the Panthers get Roberto Luongo, he’ll be in the exact same situation in 2014-15. Fans and media will be pressuring the team to get rid of him in favor of his young upstart backup. Why would he want to go through that again?
Gary Roberts. A legend for fitness. Surely anyone who trains in his fitness camp must have had a strong year. I assumed this very thing, and went to do an analysis of it for my Fantasy Guide. You tell me. Here are the results from last year’s camp:
Strong years: Tyler Seguin, David Clarkson, Brendan Smith, Nail Yakupov (but he got hurt), Alex Galchenyuk (but he got hurt), Steven Stamkos, James Neal, Steve Downie, Cody Hodgson, Spencer Abbott, Peter Holland
I was nice putting Galchenyuk in the “strong years” section, but what choice did I have given his draft spot – he missed most of the season. Not saying it’s the fault of this camp at all. I’m just pointing out the fact. Needless to say, I dropped the article.
It’s looking more and more like KHL for Alex Semin. Just my opinion, but I’m getting the feeling that there is a gap of $2- to $3 million between what an NHL team is offering (per season) and what a KHL team is offering. I don’t know which team, I’m just generalizing based on the chatter out there. He’d have to really want to play in the NHL badly to stay. And does Semin really want to do anything?
Here’s some camp observations for the Dallas Stars. Of note, a quote on Scott Glennie: nothing but good things were said about Scott Glennie. I talked to several people with the Stars organization who all said he's come a long way since last summer, both physically and mentally, and it's clear the Stars are going to be ready to give him a shot at the NHL -- possibly as soon as training camp.
Alexander Semin highlights: