Archive for Offseason
Welcome to the 4th Annual Top-30 Goaltenders List. This has been a very interesting year for goaltending analysis. From a research standpoint, this was far and away the toughest edition of the list yet. I had my draft list down to about forty goaltenders before I had to start making the tough decisions. I’m not big into spoiling the list before it even starts, but the fact that I had to leave Mike Smith, Petr Mrazek, Michael Hutchinson and Andrei Vasilevskiy off the list is a testament to the incredible depth of goaltending talent in the NHL right now.
Additionally, I feel the need to qualify criteria for selection. In the past, I have gambled on prospects who have yet to really get their feet wet at the NHL level. This year, the pool was just too large, so I’m limiting the field to goalies who have played at least ten NHL games. The likes of Connor Hellebyuck or Malcolm Subban, who I may have been tempted to include, aren’t going to be eligible. If prospects are your thing, I would recommend heading over to InGoal Magazine and checking out their Top 50 Goaltending Prospects list. Read More→
Cheering on the Blackhawks this past Cup Final series was a very strange one for a plethora of reasons. First, as a casual Blues fan and an avid David Backes fan, I practically need to hate every ounce of the Blackhawks as if they killed my family. I even had a small speech ready if ever had the pleasure of meeting Brent Seabrook. Secondly, I blame Patrick Kane for the cluster-eff that was the 2014 Bronze Medal game in Sochi. I mean, to miss two penalty shots? I don’t hate the photo of him crying that may or may not be saved as a favorite in my phone.
Of course, these two notes paled in comparison to the fact that I’m not big enough of a person to cheer for the team that eliminated mine, especially when their coach makes my skin crawl. And when the Hawks did raise the Cup, I was very happy for people like Kimmo Timonen and Dan Carcillo (if you haven’t seen his Player’s Tribune submission, go now. Seriously, put this post on hold and go. Grab some tissues, too), and got choked upon seeing Carcillo’s fiancee in a Steve Montador jersey. But I was never super enthused for Kane, and I shall explain why. Read More→
Happy Friday, BSB faithful. As promised, Hatrick Swayze has run the gauntlet and earned the right to contribute his learned thoughts in the form of a guest post. Thanks, Hatrick, for a seriously comprehensive piece of work. I hope you all enjoy. Ladies and gentlemen, Hatrick Swayze…
Enter Emerson Etem. [Alliteration. Capitalization. What more could you want? Oh, Carl Hagelin? Too bad for you.] While many are sour over Hagelin’s departure, and for good reason, what’s done is done. All too often in a league with hard cap restrictions, a player’s hard work, dedication and a growth under a franchise ultimately is what forces management’s hand and prices that player out. We’ve seen it with Callahan. Hagelin is the latest victim. Quite honestly, it is a good problem to have. Consider the alternatives: bad draft pedigree, players underperforming expectations, a team meandering in mediocrity. Personally, I’m very content to avoid all of the above. For better or worse, player turnover is the reality of operating in a league governed by a hard salary cap. Read More→
October is coming. Here we are, eager fans just waiting for some hockey to watch on a nice fall or winter night. With Derek Stepan now signed longterm we are getting closer to hockey on the TV. The question is; Are the New York Rangers done making moves?
The Rangers currently have 48 contracts signed (50 is the limit) and while there are still some questions surrounding how the Rangers replace the goals lost from Martin St. Louis’ retirement there are some quality unrestricted free agents still on the market such as; Right handed center Mike Santorelli, right wingers Brad Boyes and Steve Bernier, as well as quality winger Jiri Tlusty. Of course the Rangers are up against the salary cap with just under a million dollars left in cap space, so these are all players that would be interesting adds to the team if they want another forward either on a cheap contract or maybe even a pre-season tryout deal.
That said, I am not going to talk about the remaining possible additions to the New York Rangers’ roster, instead I will discuss other possible organizational adds.
With Derek Stepan signed, the Rangers don’t have much left to do this offseason. All their key bodies are signed, the roster is filled out, and the only thing remaining is proper training camp evaluation. In the one month since he has taken over, Gorton has made one trade and 15 signings. Let’s break them down in chronological order.
Conor Allen (was not offered QO) – This is a move that seemed to surprise a lot of people, but when you take a step back and look at the full picture, it made sense. The Rangers needed to make room for younger prospects like Calle Andersson, and the 25-year-old Allen just wasn’t doing enough to show he belonged. He may be a tweener, but he’s good enough that he should be given a look by a team that is short on defense.
Trade for Magnus Hellberg – Gorton sent a 2016 6th round pick to Nashville for the goaltender, who will likely serve as the starter in Hartford when the season starts. Mackenzie Skapski (hip) and Cedrick Desjardins (knee) will both miss the start of the year. Hellberg is young, and will be working with Benoit Allaire. It’s never a bad thing to have options.
Derek Stepan signed yesterday, as new GM Jeff Gorton fit the final piece of the offseason puzzle into place. Stepan’s deal came in at six years, $39 million ($6.5 million cap hit). The deal has a full no trade for the first four years, and then a limited no trade for the final two (I believe). Stepan has a no-move clause throughout, meaning he can’t be sent to the AHL.
- This is a solid deal for both sides. There is no doubt that Stepan left money on the table, probably about $300k per year, or $1.8 million total. That’s no small amount. The deal fits under the cap for this year and in the future, and locks up their 1C through age 31. As for Stepan, he ensures he gets at least one more big payday when this contract expires.
- A few folks have issues with the length of the deal, but I don’t quite understand that. If Stepan were 30, then I would understand. But the kid is 25, and this deal locks up his prime years. The decline starts in the mid-30s, not the mid-20s.
Just a quick update on the Derek Stepan arbitration process: The Rangers have elected a one-year arbitration award for Stepan. If this goes to arbitration, Stepan will get a one-year deal, meaning he will be an RFA next year as well. This isn’t all that surprising, as it ensures the Rangers get one more crack at a long term deal.
Again, this likely isn’t getting to arbitration. I’m expecting both sides to come to terms this afternoon. The Rangers submitted a $5.2 million offer, while Stepan submitted $7.25 million. Since the numbers are pretty close in arbitration, it’s a fair assumption that both sides are close.
Derek Stepan’s arbitration date is tomorrow, and he will be the talk of Rangerland until the day he signs. So here are some things to expect to hear over the next two days.
1. Everyone will flip out over Stepan’s asking price.
Stepan is asking for $7.25 million in arbitration. Insert rage here.
In reality, Stepan’s asking price is actually reasonable. He’s worth more than that on the open market, but for some reason people have an aversion to signing homegrown players to large contracts. The kid is 25 years old and was on a 66 point pace over a full 82 games. He did this while dragging around a 41-year-old and clearly lost it Martin St. Louis on his line.
2. No one will have an issue with the Rangers’ price.
The Edmonton Oilers have announced that they will raise a banner at Rexall Place to honour current Rangers President and now former Rangers general manager Glen Sather. Sather was, of course, the architect behind the Oilers dynasty in the 80’s.
The ceremony will take place on Dec. 11 before the game the same night against the Rangers. Sather coached the Oilers to four Stanley Cup championships. Sather has obviously been a polarizing figure for Rangers fans but no one can deny the impact he had on the Oilers so the banner raising is certainly well deserved.
The Rangers appear to be done for the summer, with just Derek Stepan the lone remaining checkbox on new GM Jeff Gorton’s list of to-dos. But there are always little moves that can be done to improve the roster, and one of those moves could be bringing in free agent winger Alex Semin on the cheap.
Semin was just bought out of the last three years of his deal in Carolina, a deal that paid him $7 million a year. The buyout will pay him $2.3 million until 2021. Due to this, folks are assuming Semin may be more willing to accept a one-year deal for under $2 million. While this may or may not be true, there is no denying that Semin’s talent at that cost could be a steal.