Couple of late signings/moves - analysis coming soon-ish:
Ballard to the Wild - two years, $1.5 million per year.
Horcoff to Dallas - Jim Nill is showing us how it is done. Rebuilding his center depth in one day!
Edmonton's center depth is... interesting.
Confirmed: Briere to MTL for two years at $4 million per. I'll have analysis up soon.
Free agency primer for Canucks.com - Part II Depth Centers.
MONSTER trade alert - Loui Eriksson + ? to Boston for Tyler Seguin + ?
More analysis will follow. I love this move for both sides on the surface. Bruins get a legit top line two-way winger. Dallas gets a future 1C, allowing them to move Benn back to the LW.
Bobby Mac reporting it is a five player trade.
The Leafs are buying out Mikhail Grabovski. Ok then.... Grabovski's lack of production in 2013 was due to playing crazy tough defensive minutes. He's a really talented two-way center and isn't overpaid at $5.5 million. Unless the Leafs have something big planned (see: not Tyler Bozak) - this confuses me a lot.
An opportunity in the top six/nine for Joe Colborne, perhaps?
Happy July 4th to our friends south of the border!
The Blue Jackets hosted Nathan Horton on Wednesday. He is believed to want to play in a non-insane hockey market (a "quieter life" as Pierre LeBrun put it). Horton probably had a few offers to go check a city out - the fact he chose Columbus is telling. In typical (non-lockout) years, teams will have five days to woo free agents. Because of the shortened schedule this year, they only have two. Makes it tough to do much in-person selling to the players.
Where would Horton fit in if he does go to Columbus? How about Gaborik and Horton centered by Anisimov? Or if Gaborik wants to play RW, you could slide up Umberger or Dubinsky for a really gritty two-way unit.
Lots of options.
Danny Briere's list of potential destinations is down to three - Montreal, Nashville, and New Jersey. The Predators may be a bit of a surprise on there, but Nashville is a draw for a lot of UFAs. No state tax, fun city, and a hockey team that is constantly on the lookout for any and all offensive help.
Briere can play C and RW. He may be better suited to RW at this point in his career, but I imagine he'd be used a lot in different capacities if he signed with any of the above three teams.
There is a reason Hunter Shinkaruk dropped at the draft on Sunday. His defensive game is bad. He isn't big or strong. It is really hard (impossible) to make a claim that teams made a mistake by passing on him. Way too early. Outside of a handful of people, you won't find anyone who has seen all (or most) of the 2013 prospects play a lot. When I give advice to pick Nichushkin in a fantasy league over Horvat or Monahan, I am doing that based on limitied viewings of the three.
And that becomes even harder to do when you go down the draft list.
Shinkaruk could be the next Zach Parise, who dropped for size-related reasons. Or he could be the next Angelo Esposito, who also dropped down the list in his respective draft year. My point - it is simply way too early to say teams made a mistake by passing on him. He is among the few players I have actually seen from this draft class, and I really liked what I saw. But I can't compare him to many of the guys who were taken immediately before him, as I haven't seen them enough to really offer a full and complete opinion.
He has yet to prove much at the NHL level - will Zac Dalpe take the next step?
A couple of players who appear to be pretty big disappointments are Zach Boychuk and Zac Dalpe, both of whom were expect to be good top-six forwards at one point in their careers. Boychuk's future in the NHL is probably in limbo right now with him failing to make a lasting impression with three different teams but Dalpe is a more interesting case.
He has made the team out of camp for three years in a row and each time, he ended up being sent down before playing 20 games. I'll agree that Dalpe wasn't impressive in his first two seasons, but I thought he made improvements this year and should have gotten more than 10 games.
Vincent Lecavalier will wear #40 with the Flyers, as his #4 is retired by the team. Not fantasy relevant in the slightest, but a huge downgrade in numbers for Vinny. The single digit is/was a classic.
Some UFA scoring options to consider (this is written for Canucks.com, but it is relevant to any NHL team that could use a solid second line scorer. So.... all of them).
Although there is no hockey being played right now, July is probably the busiest month of the year for both Dobber and I for hockey writing/coverage. The draft, free agency, and most importantly, preparing for the Fantasy Guide, which is out in less than a month. You will hear a lot more about the Guide in the coming days and weeks, and this will continue our annual trend of being our best one yet.
More content, more unique content – I have listened to a lot of the feedback received and there will be some great additions in the 2013-14 Guide.
The DobberHockey community has raised over $1200 to help bring medicine to those in need in Cambodia. Thanks again to Shoeless for spearheading this endeavour, and thanks to all of you for your support. It is pretty cool that a fantasy hockey site is able to make such a difference.
Potential lines from Broad Street Hockey:
Hartnell / Giroux / Voracek
Schenn / Lecavalier / Simmonds
Read / Couturier / McGinn
Talbot / Laughton / Rinaldo
Schenn is much better at center, and Couturier is better than a third line player (and he needs to play more). But those are minor problems – this is actually a pretty nice top nine of forwards. It hurts Matt Read’s fantasy value if he ends up on line three, obviously.
I don’t think the Flyers are done making moves, but I can’t figure out which forward they would move. So much good young talent here.
Who will back up Luongo in Vancouver this season? My money is on Joacim Ericsson – Eddie Lack will have been off for almost a year after hip surgery. The upside and talent is there, but he will be rusty. Lack probably has the advantage with contracts though, as he is on a one-way while Ericsson is on a two-way deal.
Eriksson, meanwhile, was just signed out of Sweden in June and was touted as the best European goalie available. At age 23, he posted a .932 save percentage in 30 SEL games, following up a .932 season. Those numbers speak to his obvious potential. But he’s on a two-way contract, which puts him at a slight disadvantage – it would save the team money to have him in the AHL and his NHL salary is higher than Lack's at $925,000.
The Capitals believe that Kuznetsov may be their long term solution at center behind Backstrom. However, he may be better suited to the wing in the NHL.
Regardless of what position Kuznetsov ends up playing for the Caps, the good news is that he has committed to playing in the NHL. “He really wants to play [here],” McPhee said. “That’s the next challenge for him.”
We just all need to keep our expectations in check. Kuznetsov has a bunch of talent, but he also has a lot to learn.
Ken Holland is a fan of the new UFA system (you can talk to free agents a few days before the market officially opens) and so am I. It cuts down on the tampering (since it is allowed… to a degree), and it makes the first day of free agency a bit less crazy (or at least I am speculating that it does).
It also gives players more time to weigh their options before making a decision.
Two years at just over $2 million per for Jordan Leopold. A solid signing as he is a capable top four defenseman for the Blues. Their defense looks pretty set to me:
Pietrangelo and Bouwmeester on pairing one, Shattenkirk and Leopold on pairing two, and Jackman and Polak on pairing three with Ian Cole as the seventh defenseman.
Here are few interesting reads for today (some hockey, some fantasy hockey):
From Fobres.com – compliance buyouts are changing the NHL landscape
Where did the hockey millions go? An interesting read on a guy who swindled a number of NHL players out of a lot of money.
From Backhand Shelf – Which teams went the furthest off the board at the 2013 draft?
From CBC Sports – Friedman’s latest 30 thoughts post.
My round one recap for Canucks.com – a look at the Horvat/Shinkaruk selections (as well as the ridiculousness of Pierre McGuire).
The good and bad of signing bought out players – from Backhand Shelf.
Latest fitness post - how to build a home gym (on the cheap and with all of the goodies - some different options). I know a lot of people don't have access to or enjoy going to the gym. That shouldn't stop you from exercising.