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Phil Kessel signed an eight-year extension with the Leafs Tuesday at a reported $8M per season. The deal also has a limited no-trade clause. For anyone that thinks it's steep, consider this: Kessel has finished in the top 10 in scoring the past two seasons and only three players (Stamkos, Perry, and Ovechkin) have more goals than the Leaf winger over the past three campaigns. Welcome to market value in the NHL.

 

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Some real hockey games will finally be starting tonight and that’s a relief after a preseason that was way too long. I’m thankful it will be another full year until we have to hear the term “split squad” again.

 

The first month of the season is always slightly scrambled where fantasy hockey is concerned because of injuries carrying over from the offseason, and a suspension or two during exhibition games. October can be a make or break month for fantasy owners, and there are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of in the first few weeks of 2013-14.

 

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It didn’t take long for Ryan Whitney to find work after being released from his professional tryout contract last week with the St. Louis Blues. The Florida Panthers signed him to a one-year deal worth $900,000 on Sunday. The Panthers were busy over the weekend as they also inked Tom Gilbert and Brady Boyes to deals. The signing of Whitney hurts Gilbert’s value, and vice versa as well.

 

Florida likely made these moves to provide some insurance for Ed Jovanovski, as he continues to recover from a hip injury. The organization is reporting that the best case scenario for a return from the big the blueliner is 3-4 weeks, so Whitney and Gilbert could see some decent ice-time and power play minutes at least for the first month of the campaign.

 

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The Vancouver Canucks signed Jannik Hansen to a four-year contract extension worth $10M on Sunday. Hansen is another guy that will have a chance to make an impact early in the year thanks to the suspension of Zack Kassian. If Hansen plays his cards right he could be getting second line minutes if he can beat out either Chris Higgins or David Booth, while Kassian is sidelined. Booth may be the easier target as he is just returning to action from an ankle injury suffered last March. The speedy Hansen could average some decent power play time as well in this scenario.

 

Any of these players getting an opportunity have a chance to keep their new found spot if they play well enough. Just ask Drew Bledsoe when Tom Brady replaced him back in the day. And yes, I somehow just compared Hansen to Brady in a bizarre roundabout way.

 

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Max Domi was already making headlines one day after returning to the London Knights from the Phoenix Coyotes. Domi was channelling some of his father’s aggression when he threw a flying elbow/forearm that Lex Luger would have been proud of on Guelph’s Brock McGinn. Domi was ejected from the game and will now wait on word about a potential suspension. Knights’ fans can take some solace in the fact that Bo Horvat will be arriving shortly after being sent down by the Canucks.

 

The Coyotes felt if Domi wasn’t good enough to play on their first two lines this season he would be better off to return to junior, which is a smart move. Skilled players like Domi aren’t used to playing depth or checking roles, so having them play third or fourth line minutes does nothing for their development, even at the NHL level.

 

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Morgan Rielly looks to have earned a spot on the Toronto Maple Leafs opening day roster for now. It will be interesting to see if he lasts more than nine games though, as it wouldn’t be wise to use him as a seventh defenseman playing sparingly. If Rielly plans to get into the lineup regularly he is going to likely have to beat out Mark Fraser for minutes, which won’t be an easy task since Fraser is fairly reliable defensively and has the physicality that Randy Carlyle likes.

 

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Sticking with the Leafs for a minute, the Joe Colborne deal was another move made because of a top-six scenario. Toronto views Colborne as a skilled guy who needs to play on either the first or second line, much like the aforementioned Domi. This can actually hinder your chances of making an NHL roster as the Leafs shipped Colborne to Calgary in favour of using Carter Ashton. Colborne is more skilled than Ashton, but the rugged winger fits in the bottom six better than Colborne, so he gets the nod. Colborne actually showed some glimpses of strong play in the few playoff games he got into against Boston last spring, but he has a better chance of playing more regularly in Calgary.

 

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I’m slightly perturbed with Yahoo’s autodrafting selection process. Last night theScore had its draft for a 20 team league and my internet went down inexplicably with about five picks left. At that point I needed a defenseman or two to round out my blueline and they decided to autodraft me Sheldon Souray, who is likely out until Christmas at the earliest, and Joni Pitkanen, who is done for the season. You think with all the technology at our disposal these days there would be a system of sorts to prevent this. Sadly, games spent on injured reserve is not an applicable category in our league.

 

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The Detroit Red Wings sent Gustav Nyquist down to Grand Rapids, essentially because of an overcrowded forward group after the Daniel Cleary signing earlier in the month. Nyquist actually had a strong playoffs last year for Detroit picking up five points in 14 games. The Wings have a veteran group up front, and that means injuries are almost certain during the season, so you will probably see him back at some point during the campaign.

 

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Montreal defenseman Douglas Murray looks to be out 4-6 weeks with an upper-body injury. The Canadiens blue line is really banged up right now, so look for Raphael Diaz and Jarred Tinordi to play featured roles for the time being.

 

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Ottawa sent Mika Zibanejad to Binghamton in a surprise/foolish move. Zibanejad has NHL level talent and posted 20 points in 42 games last year while barely averaging 13 minutes a night. The only logical reason for this is Bryan Murray has gone completely insane, or the fact that Zibanejad didn’t have to clear waivers going down to the AHL and Stephane Da Costa did, who they don’t want to lose. Either way, get it together Ottawa.

 

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Here are a few reasons this Zibanejad move is crazy.

 

 

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There are rumblings that the Pittsburgh Penguins have some mild interest in Ilya Bryzgalov to replace the injured Tomas Vokoun in a backup role. The only reason this makes sense is the fact that the Pens are trying to upgrade their lineup at the annual October team comedy show, which has seen ratings drop in each of the last two years.

 

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Boone Jenner will start the season on Columbus’ top line with Marian Gaborik and Brandon Dubinsky. Jenner performed well in the preseason and this is a great reason to add him to your fantasy squad, besides the fact you could tell people you have a guy named Boone on your team.

 

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Brad Richards looks to be on the Rangers top line to start the year with Derek Stepan and Rick Nash. That’s great news for a guy that was relegated to the fourth line in last year’s playoffs. 

 

 

 Michael Amato is an Associate Editor for DobberHockey and a News Editor for theScore. You can follow him on Twitter at @amato_mike


Write comment
Comments (7)add comment

coldsquad2002 said:

coldsquad2002
... Never thought I would live to see the name Domi and highly skilled in the same sentence smilies/shocked.gif
October 01, 2013
Votes: +1

MurphysxLawyer said:

MurphysxLawyer
Here's a suggestion for the ramblings... For all of the new blood doing these ramblings, I have a suggestion for you to consider. I think everybody here would appreciate it if you made it a point to focus your attention on daily news and notes on under-owned players that are being given great opportunities like Top-6 minutes or PP time (i.e. Chiasson in DAL). After that, back-fill with your musings on the more high profile player news and notes.

I think most of the daily readers of these ramblings are looking for low-profile, high-upside opportunities when they come here. If it's being covered by TSN or THN, make sure you're adding something to that news and not just repeating. I appreciate the insight or opinion on these pieces of news but the under-reported story lines should be the focus of these ramblings. Lastly, there are 30 teams in the league, the Leafs coverage has been annoyingly heavy lately.
October 01, 2013
Votes: +9

Dakkster said:

Dakkster
... Also, Domi is just doing what a Domi does best: Cheap shots.
October 01, 2013
Votes: -3

Dakkster said:

Dakkster
... Hockey players and their boring quotes...

“If it works, that means we’re staying,” Richards said of his partnership with Stepan and Nash. “And if we’re staying, that means it’s working.”
October 01, 2013
Votes: -4

rataylor22 said:

rataylor22
... Ev I'll agree with Toffoli in LA, even Drouin in Tampa. But Nyquist in Detroit was just poor player management. Nyquist got sent down because he's waiver exempt. Guaranteed Detroit wishes they didn't have those Bertuzzi and Samuelsson contracts, and guaranteed Nyquist doesn't need any more development time in the A
October 01, 2013
Votes: +2

Shoeless said:

Shoeless
Autodraft issue Unfortunate that you were off the net for a critical part of your draft, but in some ways you got what you deserved for not spending 5 minutes on pre-ranking in yahoo. It is a simple matter and just good practice to go into yahoo prerank, load up 500 players and simply skim through the list and move those you know you don't want to draft out of the list.
October 01, 2013
Votes: +2

Big Ev said:

Big Ev
... How is sending Zibanejad down foolish when is a) still unproven/only played 50 some games in the NHL, b) got outplayed by 2 rookies and another young player at camp, and c) is 20 years old. They want to keep Da Costa up in order to not lose him via waivers (as you said) and to reward his play. Pageau had to stay because he is simply the better player right now. It was down to Pageau or Zibby, and Pageau won. You want Zibanejad to be kept up to sit in the press box or would you rather him play top minutes in the AH: and get called up soon. No brainer.

This move lights a fire under his ass and makes him work ward. They won't reward you unless you work hard. That's the message here.

Pretty sure Bryan Murray and the Jack Adams winning coach know a little something about hockey and player development. Same thing happened in Detroit with Nyquist, same thing with Toffoli in LA.
October 01, 2013
Votes: +3
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