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Tracking the Erik Karlsson Rumors

When all of this first came out, it seemed harmless enough.  It was the candor that we’ve become used to seeing and hearing from Drew Doughty.  To be frank, it is always more refreshing to hear honesty than placating clichés and rhetoric,

Again, with no real idea as to what got Erik Karlsson motivated to join in on the UFA salary expectations and all, this was doomed to go south in a hurry, and we are left un-disappointed..  There was nothing direct at him, nor any derogatory sub-current that would implicate Karlsson was some money hungry hog looking for more at the trough.

Even validating that he would go and seek out his ideal contract would have washed over the entire thing.  But here is where Karlsson really blew it with his choice of words.  A real blunder in the court of public opinion that could only result in some form of destabilization.

“When I go to market, I’m going to get what I’m worth, and it’s going to be no less, no matter where I’m going,”

“I like it here, I’m comfortable here, I’ve been here my whole career,” Karlsson said. “It’s something that I invested all my time in and something I would like to see all the way through. But at the end of the day, when it comes down to it, if it’s not the right fit and it’s not going to work out business-wise, then you’re going to have to look elsewhere because that’s what [owners] are going to do, as well.”

Now, intentions aside, what has ensued is the proliferation of a rumor wave that hasn’t been seen since the Eric Lindros saga against the then Québec Nordiques!  Here we take a look at some proposed starting points for a potential Erik Karlsson trade that have been posted on various outlets.

Edmonton Oilers:  The Oilers, especially considering the start they have had to the 2017-18 campaign, have got to figure out something defensively.  You can score all the goals in the world, but if you can’t stop the other guys from matching you, you will still lose!  The unexpectedly bad play of Oscar Klefbom, injury to Adam Larsson along with spotty play, and the known element coming into this season – Andrej Sekera’s recovery that is still ongoing, all combine to make Karlsson the potential “Holy Grail” in terms of a true difference-maker.  

Pretty much every realistic offer starts with newly-signed Leon Draisaitl or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

This simply fills one pocket from the other, leaving more elements required to make it work both financially and positionally.

I view this as a non-starter in terms of trade partners for THIS particular player (Karlsson), but the two teams could manage to make a deal that actually helps both out. Mike Hoffman for Nugent-Hopkins.  Edmonton would have to add a secondary scoring piece like Caggiula or something, and the Senators would have to throw in a pick or prospect, but it gives Ottawa a needed center, and the Oilers a scoring right-winger to play with McDavid (or Draisaitl).

 

Different goalie, different results?

Sep 23, 2017
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Goaltending is a premium position in hockey.  At the final buzzer, no matter how well a team plays in front of him/her, if the goalie isn’t solid, a loss will be the outcome.  That’s why teams make every effort to have a high level tandem in between the pipes, and they’re willing to pay dearly for it.  This year there were some big names shifting about, mostly via free agency, but also through trade, and it stands to reason that the acquiring teams believe they improved at the position by making their transaction.  Let’s break it down:

Ben Bishop | TB to DAL | UFA – 6yrs | $29.5m | $4.92m/yr cap

NHLFans.ca:  Things certainly are bigger in Texas these days!  Ben Bishop comes in on a nice deal that will see him through to retirement.  Dallas desperately needed an upgrade over last year’s duo of Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen.  Although blame for Dallas’ terrible season can’t be squarely excused away by blaming the Finnish red light re-treads, they weren’t singlehandedly winning any games either.

Bishop buys the team time to grow a prospect into a position to take over after the then 37-year old Bishop retires.  I see his injury history stopping him from playing beyond that.  Now, I believe the Stars would have been much better even without this move, but it won’t hurt them!  I believe the Stars are a top-3 team in the Western Conference this season, having made a fistful of significant additions (Bishop, Hanzal, Radulov).  Bishop won’t be winning any Vezinas, but he may enter the top-5 in voting!

GRADE: B+

Scott Darling | CHI to CAR | UFA – 4yrs | $16.6m | $4.15m/yr cap

NHLFans.ca:  The Hurricanes had a past-prime Cam Ward and a disaster aptly named Eddie Lack tending net for them last year.  Scott Darling earned his step up to a starting job in the NHL with repeatedly solid performances stepping in for Corey Crawford in Chicago.  This seems like almost a perfect fit!

Carolina will provide Darling with a pretty good, young defence, so he can ease into the heavier workload with a little more confidence.  Despite this addition, I believe Carolina will be a long way from making the playoffs, and think a better landing spot for Darling may have been the Arizona Coyotes, but alas, revisionist history…  Good value signing for the Canes, and a good start for Darling to showcase himself for his next big payday.

GRADE: B

Mike Smith | Trade – ARI | 2yrs. rem. | $5.67m/yr cap

NHLFans.ca:  Calgary gave up a lot to acquire the veteran out of the desert.  Chad Johnson (who played well enough last season, but not elite starter level), prospect Brandon Hickey and a third-round pick (cond.) were the parts sent to Arizona, and Calgary thinks they have the missing piece to get them deep into the postseason.  I have a really hard time putting my finger on this one, because Arizona is one of the toughest teams to figure out.

You can bet that Smith will face fewer shots per game, which can be good or bad, depending on the goalie.  Dominik Hasek was lights-out when he faced 40+ in a game, but was fairly pedestrian when he was facing 20-25 per game in Detroit.  How will Smith be with one of the most airtight defences in the NHL in front of him?

My belief is that the expectations are too high, and that the Flames will be fighting for wild card positioning from the word “go”.  Smith won’t be the reason if they do end up in the playoffs, it will be improved scoring (should that happen).

GRADE: C- (I believe this is the most likely to be a non-difference-maker)

Marc-André Fleury | Drafted – VGK | 2yrs. rem. | $5.75m/yr cap

NHLFans.ca:  The Vegas Golden Knights actually have a very good goaltending duo in Fleury and Calvin Pickard.  Well drafted by GM George McPhee, Fleury will be the reason the Golden Knights win on most nights when they do.  Fleury wasn’t left exposed by Pittsburgh because he is not a good goalie.  He was left available because they had too much money tied up in Fleury to let him be their backup to upstart Matt Murray.  Vegas is not the worst team at this position by any stretch, and I think Fleury will have a very good year (skewed to the talent in front of him).

GRADE: A

 

That’s all for now!

DR

 

Panthers send Demers to Arizona for McGinn

Do the chainsaw!

Training camps are underway, and teams are starting to sort out what they have and what they still need.  Early into preseason, the Florida Panthers and Arizona Coyotes made a deal they hope will help their fate in 2017-18’s quest for the Cup.

The Panthers have sent defenceman Jason Demers to the desert in exchange for left winger Jamie McGinn.

A native of Dorval, Que., the 29-year-old Demers appeared in 81 games for the Panthers a season ago, scoring nine times and adding 19 assists. Demers was heading into the second year of a five-year, $22.5 million deal signed with the Panthers in the summer of 2016. TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reports the Panthers will retain 12.5 per cent of Demers’ salary.

Demers has played in 504 career NHL games over eight seasons with the San Jose Sharks, Dallas Stars and Panthers.

McGinn, 29, joins his sixth organization. A veteran of nine NHL seasons, McGinn appeared in 72 games for the Coyotes last year, scoring nine times and adding eight assists.

A native of Fergus, Ont., McGinn has appeared in 522 NHL contests for the Sharks, Colorado Avalanche, Buffalo Sabres, Anaheim Ducks and Coyotes.

He has two years remaining on his current deal.

NHLFans.ca:  I really don’t know what the Panthers are doing.  Starting with the unceremonious dumping of Jaromir Jagr, to the odd move of leaving a 30-goal scorer (Marchessault) exposed for the expansion draft, to cleaning house behind the bench and in the front office, to thinking that Jamie McGinn is going to provide more offence than even Demers!  I sincerely hope they are setting up for a major move (Duchene?) or something.

It seems like last season’s high expectations turned into such a let-down that the bar is now being buried in the sand.  

As for Arizona, I believe they won this deal in spades.  Demers isn’t flashy, but he outscored McGinn nine to eight, and that tells me all I need to know.  For some reason, the Panthers are eating 12.5% of the cap hit Demers has, which is a reasonable $4.5 million for another three seasons.  Looking at their depth chart, I’d say he slots in at the four or five position and I believe his salary is in line with players of the same role.

 
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