Time for a weekly Evgeni Kuznetsov update – and it isn’t a good one this time.
Although I’m not sure if this is any new news? Did we not know this a few weeks ago? Correct me if I am mistaken. Essentially the Caps don’t expect to get Kuznetsov over until April at the very earliest, and likely next season.
“He’s 20-years-old, they gave him ten million dollars to play for two more seasons,” McPhee said. “It’s a 13-percent tax rate over there and even with that, most of the money is under the table. It’s probably no tax. He’s playing in his hometown. He grew up there. He’s the face of the league over there so I understand how that works.”
The Matt D’Agostini signing in Pittsburgh (one year at $550k) – does anyone still have hope for D’Agostini to be a scoring line forward? At the league minimum, he will be a great depth scoring option for the Pens (along with the likes of Andrew Ebbett). However, if a few injuries strike… you never know.
Doug Wilson isn’t sure if Martin Havlat will be back in San Jose (the team couldn’t buy him out because he was hurt… surprise, surprise).
His surgery sounds extremely painful:
“Marty Havlat had a pretty extensive procedure done, a bilateral pelvic reconstruction,” Wilson said. “He is an important player to us and we missed him when he wasn’t in there. There is no timeline for a return, so I don’t have an answer for that one.”
Calvin De Haan and Brock Nelson are ready to break through, writes NHL.com. Don’t forget about Matt Donovan either.
And de Haan somehow has discovered superhuman powers:
"I feel better than 100 percent," said de Haan, who has been plagued with injuries since the Islanders traded up twice to select him 11 picks after taking John Tavares with the No. 1 pick. "Obviously, last year was a drag. It happens to some young players and they bounce back. Hopefully I'm one of those guys. There are no problems with my shoulder."
I’d say Donovan has a better shot at making the roster than de Haan does, but they both are in the mix.
Karl Alzner re-signed to a steal of a contract (from a Caps perspective). Four years at less than $3 million per? The Capitals now have Carlson and Alzner signed through 2017 for less than $7 million combined. Impressive cap work.
Is there any room in New Jersey this season for a young defenseman?
How about Jon Merrill?
While Merrill doesn't have the same amount of professional experience as both Urbom and Gelinas, his potential is through the roof. He is often listed as one of the Devils' top prospects, and this season could be the one in which he breaks through and proves himself. While I think he could use some time in the AHL to give him a chance to develop more and learn from the pros, he does have the natural talent and offensive ability the Devils could use immediately.
Another defenseman to watch for – Damon Severson. The Devils are really, really high on him and he has a lot of upside.
A very early look at Vancouver’s potential forward lineup under Tortorella this season.
According to Jason Botchford, John Tortorella wants to reunite Kesler and Burrows on the second line. This will work out if Zack Kassian can play like a top six forward for more than eight or nine games in a row. He has a ton of talent and is still young, but the Canucks simply need more consistency from him.
Tortorella is a lot more hands-on with his young players than Alain Vigneault is/was, and Glen Gulutzan is known as a great teacher of the game, too.
Thoughts on the Tuukka Rask contract (eight years and $56 million total) – it was something the Bruins had to do. The goaltending market is always interesting in hockey, and that is because there are probably more capable goalies than there are opening spots (60).
But Rask has proven to be one of the best goaltenders in hockey. The Bruins, even though they still had Rask’s rights as an RFA, were kind of over a barrel on these negotiations. They gave him a one-year deal last summer and said “go prove your worth.” And he did exactly that with a phenomenal 2013 season.
According to CapGeek (here is a link to their Twitter feed) – the Bruins don’t need to shed any salary to get under the cap, even though they are technically over it right now.
According to Kirk Luedeke – one of the best Boston writers around – this was a necessary risk for the Bruins to take. I think that’s a good way of putting it.
Curtis McKenzie had a very strong development camp for the Stars and may push for a roster spot this fall. He’d start in a bottom six capacity but has top six upside. Keep an eye on him. He has limited offensive upside but could be a solid 10-15 goal scorer with good peripherals.
And it’s probably too early to peg him that low. So many times these young guys just need an opportunity.
Thoughts on the Heritage Game rosters for Ottawa and Vancouver? Somehow I don’t see Mark Messier or Mats Sundin suiting up for the Canucks in this one….
Here is a potential Ottawa roster sent to me from Anthony Lancione:
Dominik Hasek and Patrick Lalime (no Damian Rhodes!?)
Alexei Yashin, Alexei Kovalev, Radek Bonk (Still playing in Czech-may not be able to get over), Peter Bondra, Martin Straka (Still playing in Czech-may not be able to get over), Magnus Arvedsson, Shawn McEachern, Rob Zamuner, Joey Juneau, Vaclav Varada (Still playing in Czech-may not be able to get over), Peter Schaefer, Brian Smolinski.
Jason York, Sean Hill, Steve Duschene, Greg Devries, Brian Pothier, Tom Preissing.
Ottawa fans, who would you pick for the Heritage Classic? How about Canucks fans? The all-mustache pairing with Harold Snepsts and Dave Babych has to be in the mix somewhere.
Brock Otten’s 30 teams in 30 days look at the best OHL prospects – yesterday he looked at some potential future Sabres playing in the OHL.
Nikita Zadorov - London Knights
A very smart selection where Buffalo nabbed him this year (16th). Tons of potential as a strong-way defender. He improved greatly over the course of this OHL year, in particular offensively. He was a physical and demonstrative shutdown defender from day one, but as the season went on, he began to take more chances with the puck. By the time the Memorial Cup came around, Zadorov was aggressive in jumping up or leading the attack.
And for the million dollar question – how much sleep is enough? I’d say at the very minimum, seven or eight hours. And if that seems impossible, go to bed earlier. I know, I know, that is impossible. But if you really want to give yourself the best opportunity to stay healthy and get in great shape, neglecting sleep is a losing proposition.
Darren Helm is back skating, and that is great news for everyone in Detroit. Helm anchoring the third line will make life a lot easier for Datsyuk and Weiss on lines one and two (that 'indirect' fantasy value).
An insightful post on how the ‘Jagr division’ teams are spending their cap dollars.
Ryan Sproul is getting set to join the Grand Rapids Griffins this season.
Big fan of his game – talented two-way defenseman who could buck the Detroit trend of spending at least two or three years in the AHL developing.
Matt Cooke – signing with the Wild was “kind of weird.”
Over 20 NHL players filed for arbitration this year. I doubt most of them make it that far - it's mostly used as a deadline for negotiations nowadays.
I was lucky enough to get a behind-the scenes look at the arbitration process last month – check that out here if this kind of stuff interests you.
A good read on the tough childhood faced by Chris and Anthony Stewart – from ESPN.com.
Even their lack of wealth gave them an advantage they might never have had otherwise. Their strength and aggression came naturally, but they learned finesse because they had to. When their sticks broke, they couldn't afford replacements. Norman would simply duct-tape them back together and then tell the boys, "No more slap shots."
One-year, one-way deal for Joe Colborne - $600k. Fair contract, and I was really impressed with his performance against the B’s in Round 1.
As a reminder, Steve Laidlaw and Mike Amato will be taking over my Saturday ramblings (and eventually the rest of them, too) - have a great weekend!