Not a lot of breaking news today, but still lots of hockey to get to. Read on for some thoughts on the Ducks, Luongo, Edmonton’s center situation, paying Pietrangelo, and more.
An interesting look at Roberto Luongo – perhaps the silence from his camp isn’t golden? And it was announced yesterday that he switched agents, joining JP Barry and Pat Brisson of CAA.
Why would a player with almost 10 years left on his contract switch agents? Engineering a trade, perhaps?
GM Mike Gillis said his meetings in Florida with Luongo went well. He didn’t confirm or deny anything else, though.
The drama in Vancouver continues….
A good read from Justin Bourne on why the big ice changes how countries are going to select their Olympic rosters.
Advanced stats NEVER tell the whole story. But they can help fill in the gaps. Case in point, Bryan Little. To some, his term and cap hit seemed a tad high. But when you take a closer look…
Little has played much tougher minutes than Sam Gagner recently (especially in 2013). He received a very similar cap hit, and the Jets were able to buy up more UFA years (which costs money).
Little essentially played the toughest minutes (by far)of any Jets forward – he was up against superstar/star players every night, and he was buried in the defensive zone to start shifts. And he was still productive.
As for Little’s offensive upside, it depends on his role. With Jokinen and Scheifele in the mix, I see Little playing at least one more year of really tough minutes. Jokinen is a defensive liability and the Jets won’t want Scheifele to step in to a shutdown role.
If you are Doug Armstrong, are you willing to give Alex Pietrangelo $7 million per season? Do you even have a choice?
Well, it comes down to Armstrong’s appetite for risk. It is … limited. He’s learned from the mistakes he made in Dallas. This is not a GM who throws money at a player simply because someone else could and did. He’s a live-within-your-means type of guy in a world where everyone else is trying to keep up the neighbors.
And right now, he’s not ready to handcuff himself to a player who has flirted with superstardom, but isn’t yet at that level. In fact, after putting together a breakthrough campaign in 2011-12 that earned him recognition as a Norris Trophy finalist, the 23-year-old’s play slipped last season, which forces Armstrong to think long and hard about what kind of player Pietrangelo really is before deciding how to handle the restricted free agent.
Nugent-Hopkins, Gagner, Gordon, Lander, Arcobello, Acton, Miller
Everyone on the chart fits nicely into their slot, and seems more or less capable of handling their assigned role. The trouble for the Oilers is the lack of players who can move up the roster in the event that injuries strike (which they will). We already know that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is not going to start the season thanks to the recovery from shoulder surgery. If Nugent-Hopkins misses the month of October, the Oilers will play 14 games without him, or around 17% of the season.
There is a great opportunity to scoop up an early-season sleeper pick on Edmonton. I like Miller the most out of the guys on the above list (outside of the proven NHL players, of course).
I’m surprised that the Oilers haven’t brought in another center. Even if everyone is healthy, their depth is thin. You could say this about a lot of teams, but if an injury strikes to one of their top two forwards… there isn’t really anyone capable of stepping in.
Working my way through my own projections (I try and get them finished before I see Dobber’s so I am not influenced at all). A few tidbits from the first few teams:
I see Dustin Penner having a strong bounce back in Anaheim. It’s a perfect fit for him, both at even strength and on the PP.
Don’t sleep on Sami Vatanen. The Ducks have a few defensive studs – they can afford to dress a rookie with defensive issues. He’s a special talent offensively.
I love Emerson Etem, but I don’t see any ice time for him right now. Even with his strong postseason, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him start the year off in the AHL.
Could Justin Abdelkader be the next Holmstrom in Detroit? I’m not sure he has Holmstrom’s net-front ability, but that was something that took years to develop.
Abdelkader’s new role is quite a shift from where the Wings envisioned he’d play when he joined them for most of the 2009-10 season. He was expected to be a fourth-line center, maybe evolve into a third-line middleman. At times, he showed he could be useful as a winger in the bottom-six group. This past season, he showed the upside to what can happen when a team is decimated by injuries:
Another player pleasantly surprises.
With the Stars re-signing Nilstorp to a one-year contract and then signing veteran Dan Ellis to a two-year deal to backup Kari Lehtonen, Campbell appears to be No. 4 on the Stars’ goaltending depth chart heading into next season. That means he’ll be battling for playing time in Texas again, and the Stars see that as a positive.
“It’s part of the process. Healthy competition is good,” said Stars GM Jim Nill. “It doesn’t mean we are brushing off his development. We’re very conscious that he needs to play, he needs to play a certain amount of games. But that can’t be given to him, he needs to earn it. We’ve talked to him. We’re conscious of where he is and he’s in a good spot. He’ll be just fine.”
Campbell is still a ways away, but it appears that his development is on track once again.
Jordan Schroeder has a good shot at playing a big role in Vancouver this year. He signed a one-year, one-way deal for $600k yesterday.
Schroeder took a small cap hit with the one-way guarantee – he wins as he gets the same money even if he’s in the AHL, and the Canucks win because they get a potential forward locked up at only $50k above the league minimum.
A look at the top LA prospects in the OHL, from Brock Otten.
A look at the top Minnesota prospects in the OHL, from Brock Otten.
A Q & A with Matthew Berry, who recently published a book on his experiences in fantasy sports.
He mentions a league in the States that made the last place person get a tattoo after the season ended. Yikes!
Nashville’s top 10 prospects, from Corey Pronman.
A good follow up read on the Perron situation – a Blues perspective.
The Canucks announced that Pavel Bure’s #10 will be retired this season. Long overdue in my opinion, but of course I grew up watching Bure dazzle with his skill and speed. Whatever your opinion on him, there is no denying his talent/ability: