Archive for Around the League
I was thinking the other day just how solid an offseason Jeff Gorton had been having (despite not being able to significantly improve the blueline) and it got me thinking about where Gorton ranked amongst his peers. Taking that one step further it got me thinking about General Manager’s around the league, who’s doing well and who’s not. All this made me spitball about a power ranking of the NHL General Managers.
Everyone loves a pecking order, no? There’s been some significant change throughout the NHL recently and some GM’s will be hard to judge given their shallow bodies of work but it doesn’t mean we can’t try. Split into three posts over the couple weeks (starting at 30 and working our way up), here’s a brief insight into how I think the NHL’s key decision makers stack up against each other and where I think Jeff Gorton fits as he enters his second season in charge of the Rangers.
GM Ray Shero pulled off the coup of the offseason when he landed Taylor Hall from the Oilers in exchange for Adam Larsson. Hall gives New Jersey the top offensive talent to build around its been lacking for years – and with Kyle Palmieri and Adam Henrique’s continued emergence, plus 2015 first-rounder Pavel Zacha and 2016 top pick Michael McLeod on the way, there are finally some pieces up front. The Devils are set in goal with Cory Schneider firmly entrenched among the league’s best netminders, but New Jersey’s defense was weakened with the departure of Larsson. The Devils signed Ben Lovejoy – who should play major minutes – but they are still waiting for some of their other blueline prospects to emerge. New Jersey won’t be easy to play against, but the Devils are still likely a couple years away from being serious contenders in the division.
There have been plenty of moves around the league since Friday to keep us chattering for the next few weeks, but the real craziness occurred on Wednesday with trades after trade. It started with Seth Jones signing an extension, then the Hall-Larsson trade, then the PK Subban – Shea Weber trade, finalized with the Steven Stamkos extension.
While any of these transactions could be the topic of a blog post, let’s focus on the state of Montreal here. The trade was shocking; after hearing that he’s on the market at the draft, it was assumed that Canadiens’ GM Marc Bergevin was simply making waves. We’ve discussed here how a GM’s role is to hear out all possibilities coming from anywhere, for anyone. So for Bergevin to say it is one thing, but to act on it was shocking. Read More→
NHL free agency is upon us. Players are free to sign wherever they want as of noon today. The trade madness went down on Wednesday, with a few moves affecting the Rangers. Bob McKenzie is predicting that Milan Lucic goes to Edmonton, Andrew Ladd to the Islanders, Frans Nielsen to Detroit, Loui Eriksson to Vancouver, and Troy Brouwer to Calgary. Let’s see how much of that he gets right. Personally, I think all that sounds right, plus I think Eric Staal goes to the Isles. They are getting gutted right now and need to replace them.
I’d like to see the Rangers target Brandon Pirri and Michael Latta. Both are going to come cheap as unqualified RFAs. Latta would be a great fit for the fourth line, and is tremendous in his own zone. Pirri can be a low budget 20-30 point guy in the right situation/deployment. I’d also like to see Viktor Stalberg back. Of course, this is on the right deal.
I will be live blogging the frenzy. So check back early and often. Expect GMs to lose their minds, and all of us to laugh at a few deals. It’s inevitable, as Justin said this morning.
The storm before the calm? It’s fair to say that the free agency ‘frenzy’ that opens on Friday will be a lot less exciting following the handful of moves that shook the league on Wednesday. However, did PK Subban going west affect the Rangers? What does Taylor Hall in Jersey mean to the Rangers? Let’s take a look at some of Wednesday’s goings on.
PK Subban traded to Nashville for Shea Weber
One Norris trophy winner traded for a perennial Norris trophy contender. Everyone knew PK Subban was on borrowed time in Montreal. However most people assumed that if the Habs would move their (by far) best skater, it would be for young players, blue chip prospects and/or quality draft picks. In Shea Weber the Habs appear to have made change for changes sake. While Weber is slightly less mobile, not quite as dynamic but a monster with a monster shot and no doubt a quality defender, like Subban he too brings with him an onerous price tag for the long term.
So how does this influence the Rangers? It doesn’t really. The Habs still own an elite goaltender in Carey Price and they still have a bonafide number one defenseman patrolling their blueline. It will be other changes that the Habs make that will tell us how they measure up in relation to the Rangers. It will be interesting however to see how Weber acclimatises to the East.
The 4pm hour was one of the most active hours in the NHL I’ve ever seen on a non-major day (draft, free agency, trade deadline). The first hammer fell when Taylor Hall was shipped to New Jersey for Adam Larsson. Larsson is a solid defenseman, but worth Taylor Hall, straight up? Not a chance. Edmonton got fleeced in this deal, and now the Rangers get to see him in the division. Lovely.
Then P.K. Subban went to Nashville for Shea Weber. Weber carries the big shot and goal totals, but Subban is easily the better defenseman. Subban drive possession and suppresses shots infinitely better than Weber. If you’re looking for your purely offensive defensemen, then Weber is your man. Subban plays a more complete game and still puts up the same point (not goal) totals as Weber. Also, David Poile turned Seth Jones and Shea Weber into Ryan Johansen and P.K. Subban. Wow.
Then Steven Stamkos re-upped in Tampa Bay for eight years at an $8.5 million cap hit. That is a big time home town discount for Stamkos. And luckily for the Rangers, it takes him off the market, meaning they won’t make bad trades to fit him in. Phew.
The Florida Panthers, who traded for Keith Yandle’s rights just this week, have signed their man to a seven-year deal worth $6.35 million annually. The deal has a no-move through the first six years, and a limited no-trade in the seventh year. To put things in perspective, Yandle makes $635k more than Marc Staal.
Seven years is a lot for a 29 year old defenseman, but Yandle isn’t showing signs of decline yet. The Panthers might have issues with the deal in a few years, but as long as Jaromir Jagr continues to defy the laws of science and aging while signing cheap one-year deals, they might be fine.
With the signing, the Rangers get Florida’s fourth round pick in the 2017 draft, in addition to the sixth rounder they received in this year’s draft.
The worst kept secret has been confirmed, as the NHL will expand to 31 teams in the 2017-2018 season. Las Vegas is the destination, as has been rumored/basically confirmed for the past few months. The team will play in the Pacific Division. The team paid a record $500 million in expansion fees to the 30 NHL owners, none of which needs to be shared with the players.
More importantly, the expansion draft rules have been finalized. The major points we know: The Rangers can protect 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, and 1 goalie, or 8 skaters and 1 goalie. They can only lose one player to the draft as well. As rumored, any player with a no-move clause must be protected and counts towards the protection list. Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, and Henrik Lundqvist are the players with no-moves. First and second year pros (Brady Skjei, Pavel Buchnevich) are exempt, as are unsigned draft picks.
NHL expansion to Quebec City has been deferred as the city works things out.
With the NHL formally announcing its decision to expand into Las Vegas, Nevada for the 2017-2018 season, there has rightfully been much discussion of the direction the league is taking. Opinions have varied greatly on the viability or lack thereof of an NHL franchise in Sin City, so I thought I’d weigh in. After doing some research on the matter, I’ve decided that an NHL team in Las Vegas is a bad idea.
Now, to be clear, I’m not saying this is going to be an abject failure. I’m certainly not saying it would be on par with putting a hockey team in Atlanta (twice!). I’m just saying that if we were to re-examine this decision a decade from now, it’s probably one the league wishes they did not make. Here are my reasons Las Vegas expansion is a mistake…
Well the Rangers’ season is over, but there’s still plenty of good hockey to be viewed. Most eyes will be on that Washington/Pittsburgh series, as that may produce your eventual Cup winner, but don’t discount either series in the West. There’s a reason why that conference has won the majority of the recent Stanley Cups.
Here on the blog, we’ve previewed each of the four upcoming series, broken down by series and by each writer. Share yours in the comments and let us know how spot on / awful our predictions are.
Just a note: We wrote these after Wednesday night’s games because of the weird schedule. So, don’t think that the predictions are skewed by prior results.