Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Redden to Start in the Minors?

Four years left, $6.5 million against the cap per year... this is what is staring the New York Rangers in the face going into the 2011 season. In theory, this doesn't look like a terrible deal for what was a pretty good defenseman in Ottawa, right?  Well, his 2010 numbers were horrible, 2 goals and 12 assists in 75 games is not going to cut it for a $6.5 million player. 

So, now there is rumblings that Redden and his massive cap hit may end up down in the minors to start the season, saving the Rangers from his cap hit, but not his actual salary.  Redden will be paid in full whatever part of his $6.5 million salary he earns in the AHL, but for salary cap purposes, the Rangers would save the math there, giving them a little more flexibility in the marketplace.

With Redden on the active roster, the Rangers currently have 12 players signed on for $43.4 million against the cap, with no buyouts or other penalties on the go at the moment.  That leaves $16 million for 11 players and we all know how much the Rangers like to spend, don't we?

At age 33, this will likely be a huge slap in the face to Redden, but he can't say he didn't have this coming to him.  His play has not been of the high calibre that the Rangers expected of him when he signed as a free agent in 2008.  In 156 games with the Rangers, he has 5 goals and 35 assists for 40 points and only a +3 plus/minus rating.  If Redden finds his way down to the minors, I would almost be amazed to see him back up with the club, unless there was some depth issues on the blueline, like injuries, because his cap hit would probably bump him down the depth chart little by little.

I'm going to keep a close eye on this, but for now, it's still labelled as a rumour, so I'll keep it on this blog for now.  Once he actually drops down, I'll post something on the hockey pool blog, reminding everyone to stay away from Redden in their hockey pool draft.  Actually, I will say it right now... until further notice, stay away from Redden in your hockey pool drafts.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Thinking Out Loud: Savard and Thomas

In some regards, I find it somewhat puzzling that the Boston Bruins are going to try and move a couple of their long-term assets in both Marc Savard and Tim Thomas. I'm sure signing these long-term deals with these players were good ideas at the time, a 7-year contract extension in December for Savard and a 4-year deal in April 2009 for Thomas. On the other hand, both players are already into their mid-30's and haven't had the best track records beyond some really good flashes, some longer than others, in each player's career.

With Savard, the Bruins have his entire contract extension looming over him, his head was knocked three ways from Sunday during the regular season on a massive hit, their depth at centre is getting to be something else after drafting Tyler Seguin and the team does have its fair share of cap issues, so the long-term prognosis on Marc Savard is not good staying with the Bruins.  The reports coming out after the Entry Draft concluded was that Savard, who has a no-trade clause at the moment in his deal, has said that he would waive the clause, but only if it was a deal that would land him either in Toronto or in Ottawa, two of the Bruins' division rivals.

Well, isn't this a fine pickle jar that the Bruins have backed themselves into?  Really, I'm going to stick this one on the Bruins management bowing down to the demands of Savard and company, who obviously wanted some security in a 7-year deal, just to get the deal done and questions lifted for the remainder of the year.  If your team's blueprint is to include centres and by December 1st, you already had a feeling you were going to get a very good pick out of Toronto from the Phil Kessel deal, then why would you sign Savard to a longer, very long-term deal like this?  That's poor foresight.  On top of all of that, Savard will only okay a deal to go to a team that could potentially screw the Bruins, strict use of the word potentially, which also looks pretty bad on this situation.  Both the Maple Leafs and the Senators are the two teams that Savard would okay a deal to, but we all know what their situations are like at the moment and it might be a while before they do a lot of damage to the Bruins in the regular season.

At $4.2 million a season against the cap, Savard has almost a Rick DiPietro-like deal... a long-term deal with a cap hit that can either look like a bargain when the player is healthy all year and performing to his highest level or an anchor around the team's neck, if the player cannot stay consistently healthy and can't perform at the highest level.  It's all quite relative, to be honest.  Both the Maple Leafs and the Senators are in good cap positions to take on a guy like Savard, even if the Bruins shuffle him off for next to nothing, now that they are in selling mode and everything (or all things Savard) must go.

If a deal is to go down with Savard leaving Boston, I would be awfully surprised if it positively impacts the Bruins in the end.

Tim Thomas is not as curious of a case as Savard is, especially since the Bruins gave the veteran netminder his new deal after he won the Vezina Trophy for being voted the best goaltender in the entire league.  The best thing for any team taking on Thomas would be that the Bruins only signed him to a 4-year deal and that he was Tuukka Rask's back-up for the better part of the first year of that deal. 

The only reason Thomas is out the door is really because of Rask and his play through the season and into the playoffs, the Bruins don't really want to keep a back-up with a starter's contract in their organization and it's hard to blame them. I wouldn't say that the contract that Thomas received before free agency is bad business, they had to hedge their bets against Rask being the goaltender he was in 2010, especially with a Vezina Trophy winner already getting the reps in net.

With three years left and a cap hit of $5 million per season, Thomas is on the more expensive end of the salary cap scale, but fortunately for the Bruins, there are a number of teams that should be interested in Thomas' abilities, despite the contract.  My goaltending holes in the NHL post would see to that.  The Bruins could just as easily use one of these team's need for a top end goaltender to their advantage, especially since most of them have the cap room to spare. 

Thomas does have a no-trade and no-movement clause in his deal, but since the Bruins are already pointing at Rask for being their number one guy going forward, Thomas can look at this situation, say that he wants more minutes and a number one job and gladly accept a trade to somewhere else.  That's a very plausible situation.

The rumour mill has a number of teams interested in Thomas, but the Bruins may not be able to figure out a trade until the market value has been set on a few other goalenders in the league, or the demand level for a starting goalie for that matter.  The chances of Thomas getting dealt look pretty good to me from where I'm sitting.

Nabokov Heading to Philly?

One of the bigger stories of the second day of the Entry Draft was that of the alleged verbal deal that sees the Philadelphia Flyers get the negotiating rights to potential unrestricted free agent goaltender, Evgeni Nabokov.

Clearly, Nabokov should be considered one of the top unrestricted free agents this Summer, even if he is only known as a good regular season goalie and a sub-par playoff goalie in his career playing for the Sharks. Regular season success is worth a lot of money to teams, since it lasts the longest part of the hockey year and Nabokov is a guy who can put in 70 appearances a year.

In his time with San Jose, Nabokov has been a guy that has needed to pull some games out of the fire and steal from time to time, but of course, that really only applies to the regular season. Nevertheless, if the Flyers can get themselves a goalie that can steal some more games in the regular season, they might be on the right track with their thinking, applying a good goalie behind a big defense and a more-than-capable offense.

What is Nabokov going to be worth to the open market?  In some designs, Nabokov should have the ability to write his own number down and be able to stick to it.  That's something that the Flyers would hope to slip away from in some early negotiations, but being surrounded by Martin Brodeur ($5.2 million), Ilya Bryzgalov ($4.25 million), Ryan Miller ($6.25 million) and Roberto Luongo ($5.3 million), you would have to think that Nabokov has dollar signs in his eyes, when determining his cap hit.  Even if Nabokov agreed to the average cap hit of those four goalies (and their current cap hits), he would be looking at $5.25 million against the cap and it's hard to say that he isn't worth it... in the regular season.

As the Flyers know, all they need is to get to the playoffs and they can let the team do the rest, in front of any goalie that is ready to go.  What the may want is a guy that can get the team to the Stanley Cup Playoffs and hopefully impose some dominance over their Eastern Conference rivals, but they will need to pay for it.

Salary CapAs of Saturday night, the Flyers have 10 forwards, 3 defense and Brian Boucher signed on for the 2011 season for an approximate cap hit of $47.2 million.  With the salary cap number rising to $59.4 million, that leaves the Flyers with $12.2 million.  Let's say Nabokov can sign for $5.2 million (for a nice round number and easier to work the math out with), that would leave $7 million to sign the remaining eight players for the 23-man roster.  We can take into account that they don't need all 23 players all season long, but it's just good to keep in mind when doing the math.

I don't think this signing is out of the question, by any means, but I think the Flyers would have to get awfully creative with their youth, their AHL team and possibly some more transactions after the fact to make everything work.  Boy, it's a good thing they didn't sign Dan Hamhuis, eh?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Penguins and Flames to Deal?

RUMOUR2009-2010 NHL Statistics2011 Cap Info
To CalgaryPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Jordan StaalForward21822128493$4 million
To PittsburghPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Eric NystromForward2782118190UFA
Robyn RegehrDefense3081215173$4 million

I'm not sure where this rumour came from, but I've now seen it three times on Twitter and thought I would have a go with it, since it does have some juicy names on it.  The Flames would acquire Jordan Staal from the Penguins for the rights to Eric Nystrom and defenseman Robyn Regehr

Well, as it stands, this deal would have to hinge on the ability that the Penguins would sign Nystrom in just over a week's time and that they also highly regard him enough to do so.  The Flames, who are in a bit of cap trouble are likely going to lose Nystrom for nothing to free agency, while Regehr has not had a lot of great press in Calgary over the last little while.  The Penguins are going to be going into a new era, likely moving on without Sergei Gonchar for the 2011 season, a move for a defensive defenseman would surely help out both Kristopher Letang and Alex Goligoski.

In return, the Flames would get a very good centre, who has been playing much of the defensive centre role for the Penguins, but would get a chance to prove himself as a premier centre with the likes of Jarome Iginla, if this move were to happen.  It would be another experiment that has some potential, but an experiment nonetheless.  Furthermore, the elimination of Regehr from the roster would then make Jay Bouwmeester top dog in Calgary on the blueline, while Marc Giordano would likely be his partner in grime, so there is a positive there for most Flames fans.

Salary CapThe Flames would not necessarily be dropping any cap weight with this new deal, but they would be in a bit better shape with the proposed/rumoured 5% increase that could be on the books, plus they would have a number one centre in their line-up for a $4 million hit.  Not bad.

The Penguins definitely have room for Nystrom after the straight swap of Regehr and Staal, plus Nystrom's potential market value should only touch $2 million, barring some over-spending or a bidding war (which seems unlikely on either side).  So, for both sides, this deal does have some potential, cap-wise.

Too much hinges on this deal, especially the Nystrom signing.  The Penguins will likely keep their strength down the middle, as that is starting to become its own little trend among high-spending clubs.  The Penguins don't have the depth at centre to necessarily replace Staal, so I don't bank on this one happening, no matter how much the Flames or Penguins would benefit from this move.  If anything like this were to come to happening, I would expect some more elements to fall into place, just for security measures.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Columbus in on Spezza?

RUMOUR2009-2010 NHL Statistics2011 Cap Info
To ColumbusPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Jason SpezzaForward27602334575$7 million
To OttawaPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Kristian HuseliusForward31742340632$4.75 million
Derrick BrassardForward2279927364$3.25 million
2010 1st Round Pick (4th overall)

An interesting rumour starting to fly around on Monday night sees the oft-mentioned Jason Spezza heading down across the border and down into Ohio, where he would join the Blue Jackets for playmaking forward Kristian Huselius, Derrick Brassard and the 4th overall pick on Friday night. This is a pretty hefty rumour with the backing of two teams looking to make some changes and some names that constantly swirl around the rumour mill.

Of course, it wasn't too long before news came down that it hasn't been done (and here too), but it's definitely a good one to look at.

The Senators, at first glance, would be getting a lot for Spezza in this incarnation of the rumour, so I think it might be a little too weighted to one side, but I could see another pick and a prospect going back to Columbus on the other side, just to sort of comb it out.  Otherwise, this could have some legs to it.

Salary CapThe Senators are a bit on the high side of the salary cap numbers before this deal goes down, but adding an extra player, plus a million or so does make things a little easier to swallow for Ottawa. The Blue Jackets would bring the average cap hit per roster player up a bit with the acquisition of Spezza, but the potential combination of Spezza and Rick Nash has to be appealing to the Columbus faithful.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Thinking Out Loud: Horton

We're now a week until the Entry Draft and the Florida Panthers keep coming up as the team with the most to move and a laundry list of trades to make.  The name really making headlines again is Nathan Horton, who I had singled out because of some rumours last September, including one interesting rumour that would have seen him move to Vancouver.  Not surprisingly, that didn't work out and he played the entire season with the Panthers and had a decent season, despite missing 17 games to a fractured leg.

So, now the Panthers have some new management in Dale Tallon and he has the ability to shape the team the way he wants and he has a track record of great success and great patience, just look at the Chicago Blackhawks and all the good work he did there.

Reading the rumours this morning, Horton has links to Boston, but Boston has links to just about everywhere for all sorts of re-tooling.  It's almost like the Bruins are in panic mode after giving up the 3-0 series lead to the Flyers in the 2nd round of the playoffs.  I've seen some thoughts about Horton moving West again, with a possibility of Calgary making a pitch for him, sorry I don't have any links to it here right away.

Horton has been a curious case to say the least though.  As the 3rd overall pick in 2003, he hasn't quite lived up to the billing of being such a high draft pick, but there are plenty of valid arguments that the Panthers have not been able to give him the right talent or help around him to get him to flourish.  Horton has topped out at only 62 points (twice) and in 2010 would have likely beaten that at his scoring pace, if it wasn't for his injury, so there is still some potential left in him to be a top end player.  With a salary cap hit of $4 million over each of the next three seasons, if he does start to score at a reasonable pace, he could end up being a bargain.

Remarkably, according to my spreadsheet, which is somewhat incomplete, but should be good enough for this statement, there are 13 players in Horton's draft year (2003) that have earned bigger contracts than him, including the two that were taken above him.  11 players drafted after Horton, have earned bigger deals, including Thomas Vanek, Dion Phaneuf, Mike Richards, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Jeff Carter, Ryan Kesler, Patrice Bergeron, Shea Weber, Milan Michalek and Loui Eriksson.  I think in this case, Horton might be considered a bit of a bust.

Don't get me wrong though, the Florida Panthers talent argument should be in play to a certain degree, since a number of those player have had some help in their career to achieve some pretty good goals, so if Horton was to move to an NHL city with some more scoring punch, I think we could measure him a little more soundly.  For now though, his price tag is kind of low and I would wager that there are a number of teams that wouldn't mind a 2nd-line centre like Horton, take the pressure off and possibly turn him into a real scoring threat.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Proposed Boston & Columbus Blockbuster?

RUMOUR2009-2010 NHL Statistics2011 Cap Info
To ColumbusPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Marc SavardForward32411023337$4.2 million
Blake WheelerForward23821820380RFA
To BostonPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
2010 1st round pick (4th overall)

Not sure where this rumour came from exactly, but I saw it in this tweet this morning and thought I would post it.

In essence, what this trade looks to accomplish is that Columbus would want to win right away, adding talent for Rick Nash to play with in Marc Savard, while the Bruins would then have two of the top four picks in the Entry Draft, making a rebuild far faster with two top end blue chip prospects.

belt and dealing the 4th overall pick gives them a good chance to do just that. The Jackets have a top end goal scorer in Nash and they need to get him some servicable playmaking so he can regain his 50-goal touch and Savard is definitely that kind of talent. Wheeler is an interesting addition to the deal, likely there to help pad the cost of giving up on a potential franchise player from the 4th pick.

With the 2nd and 4th overall picks, the Bruins can then add Tyler Seguin, a possible franchise centre and then add a Cam Fowler or Erik Gudbranson, both of which can help pivot from the blueline with a Zdeno Chara or a Dennis Wideman, but what this does is it hurts the Bruins chances of drawing into the playoffs in 2011, even though they didn't really have Marc Savard for a good portion of the season due to the concussion and Wheeler was not the impact player that really decides whether or not a team makes or breaks the playoffs.

Both teams have decent reason to make a deal like this and it would be really interesting if the Bruins could get their 2nd and 4th overall picks to make their opening night roster and give the team some added punch, but I think there would have to be a bit more to this deal for it to go through, possibly some more picks going either way. It's a fairly savvy move, but even the scope of how big this deal is might make these teams hesitate to pull the trigger.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Spezza to Edmonton?

One rumour floating around HockeyBuzz today that I think has some serious merit to it is the Jason Spezza to Edmonton suggestions, which has him being moved at the Draft.  First of all, I would like to reiterate that I'm all over these Spezza rumours, because I think Bryan Murray has done a terrible job in Ottawa and has made some of his best players not want to play for the team anymore, which has got to be frustrating as a Senators fan. 

Today's post sees Spezza head West for a nice package in return, which includes either Sam Gagner or Andrew Cogliano, a couple of prospects (one being NHL ready) and a mid-round pick.  Since there was very few details, I didn't want to draw up the trade table, because I save that for some good mock-ups.

Nevertheless, the rumour does stand on it's own, especially since the Oilers are in desperate need of a quality centre (not to say that the Senators should be giving away one) and it would then justify drafting Tayor Hall with their number one overall pick in a week's time, possibly forming a formidable pairing.

Oh, okay... let's draw up something.  But let's be clear, this is me just playing around.  I am not trying to start a rumour here, I'm just drawing up what I think would be an alright deal... thinking out loud, if you will.

RUMOUR2009-2010 NHL Statistics2011 Cap Info
To EdmontonPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Jason SpezzaForward27602334575$7 million
To OttawaPositionAgeGP/MING/WA/SOPYearsCap Hit
Sam GagnerForward20681526410RFA
Alex PlanteDefense2140112$1.075 million
Devan DubnykGoalie241,0754080RFA
2010 4th Round Pick (91st overall)

The price for Spezza is going to be steep, no matter which way you look at it and I think this deal looks about right for what the Oilers will have to pay for him. The Senators can help fill some voids with this deal, getting Gagner to replace Spezza, Plante to replace Volchenkov and give Dubnyk a shot at earning a place against Brian Elliot and Pascal Leclaire.

The Senators are also going to be shedding a lot of payroll and cap space with this deal sending Spezza out of town, so that should make them pretty big players in the free agency market.  It's all quite relevant, but who's really to say it would happen?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Brodeur for Semin? Really?

RUMOUR2009-2010 NHL Statistics2011 Cap Info
To WashingtonPositionAgeMINWSOPYearsCap Hit
Martin BrodeurGoalie384,4994591112$5.2 million
To New JerseyPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Alexander SeminForward26734044841$6 million

I think we can consider this rumour to be the Mother-of-all-rumours and there should be no surprise where it has come from, but that won't stop me from playing with it.  It's just way too juicy to pass up.

I suppose by now, you've seen the proposed deal above and probably laughed like many have already.  In this deal, it is suggested that the Capitals would look after their goaltending woes by going out and acquiring one of the greatest goalies of all time, Martin Brodeur, working in his twilight years in the NHL.  In exchange, the Capitals would send oft-maligned forward, Alex Semin, in order to sway Ilya Kovalchuk back into the fold in New Jersey... or so the rumour states.  In theory, the motive could be justified by either side, but could it really work out?

Actually, I'd like to look at the points that Eklund has in his post, just to see how much footing he has here.

1. The Devils want to keep Kovalchuk.  No surprise here.  Who wouldn't want to keep one of the premier snipers in the game?

2. Martin Brodeur is not a given to keep playing much longer, and will be hired the second he retires to work in the Devils front office.  True, he isn't a given to play much longer... and it does seem likely that he will get a job with the Devils, making him a "career Devil."  I think the quotation marks really speak for themselves here.

3. Kovalchuk would consider staying if the Devils would go out and get Semin to play with him.  I don't doubt this, since Atlanta bent over backwards to bring in Antropov, Kubina and Afinogenov, all in the hopes they would keep him happy.  Very plausible.

4. Brodeur would agree to play one (possibly 2) years in Washington. Firming up their goaltending situation and making the Caps the HUGE favorite to win a Stanley Cup. Then he could return to work for the Devils, who would be in a much better situation.  If this trade does go down, Brodeur would HAVE TO agree to play one or two (which is the remainder of his current deal) more seasons and then play in the quotation marks of "career Devil."  This isn't a reason, it's a product of the the rumoured situation happening.

5. Semin is a great player, but the Caps are not opposed to moving him for Brodeur. Interestingly, the Caps signed him to a very short deal.  Semin is a ticking time-bomb, looking forward to unrestricted free agency and the opportunity to be the big fish, even if it's in a small pond (which is my understanding).  Semin would again be the smaller fish against Kovalchuk, but at least he'll go unrestricted next July, so he could be as greedy as he wants.

Salary CapOkay, so the salary cap is a pretty big factor when it comes to just about anything these days, but with these cap hits being fairly similar for the 2011 season, the only thing that really comes into play is what each team would need beyond this deal.  The Capitals, in theory, would be set with a good pack of forwards, maybe an underwhelming defense corps, but at least they will have a reliable keeper for a playoff run.  The Capitals could spend the extra cap space on improving the depth they'll need to sign.  With Semin going to the Devils and taking away Brodeur, this means that the Devils would have to both improve their defense, which has been underwhelming in its own right and actually replace one of the best goalies of all-time.  The Devils would have to greatly improve both while taking on an extra $800,000 hit on the cap space, in order to get back into the division race in the Atlantic.  To me, this is a no-brainer to say no to.

Besides the salary cap issues, which are huge and would make so much more work for Devils management, the term "career Devil" just lingers as something that has to happen.  Brodeur is not a player in the twilight of his career looking for a last gasp to win a Stanley Cup.  Brodeur has his name etched on the Cup, three times, and probably doesn't "need" another one before his career ends.  He has all of the clutch NHL records, a few championships, numerous awards and international accolades.  All Brodeur is doing is playing for the love of the game, you would have to believe and another Cup, which would be awesome no matter which way you look at it, would likely be sweetest in the Swamp.

Also, why would Lou Lamoriello want to make the Capitals a better Cup contender, just to keep Ilya Kovalchuk?  Doesn't make much sense to me.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Looking at the Goaltending Holes in the NHL

I thought I would climb through the roster tables that I've put together for my Pool Outlook pages on my Hockey Pool Blog and I thought I would look at the goaltending holes I could find, especially when it comes to starting goalies. There are a few goalies on the market that will make the offseason awfully interesting. All of these holes will need to be filled or some positions could also be upgraded. Here's where I think those positions are and possibly how they might look to fill them.

The Thrashers don't have a goalie with many minutes signed on to their roster this Summer as of yet and they will be in the market for a goalie this year. Ondrej Pavelec is a restricted free agent and he'll be looking for a starting job, but it's unclear how much ice-time the team wants to give him at this point. The Thrashers have the ability to be in on an unrestricted free agent goalie, so that will likely determine a lot about Pavelec's role come October.

I wouldn't say that the Blackhawks have many holes to fill, as they could keep Cristobel Huet, who is signed on for a couple seasons more, while Antti Niemi could find himself out of the picture, but after winning the Cup, that does seem unlikely.  It isn't a good bet that the Blackhawks will be testing the unrestricted free agent market, but their crease is right in the middle of the rumour mill gears.  There's plenty of speculation and it's only a matter of time before we see some movement.

It does sound like that the Oilers are comfortable giving Nikolai Khabibulin a second chance with the team, after an injury-plagued year and some legal troubles away from the rink, so the number one spot is his to lose (for a while). The Oilers have a couple of restricted free agent goalies that saw plenty of time in 2010 in Jeff Deslauriers and Devan Dubnyk, who might be able to fetch a decent enough return via trade. Khabibulin still has a few years left on his current deal with the Oilers and if he stays healthy, one of those two young goalies will get some itchy feet to move on.

Who is it going to be? Is it Jaroslav Halak or Carey Price as the number one guy for the Canadiens? Maybe the question should be, do they only keep one or do they keep both, as they are both restricted free agents, both hungry for number one minutes. If they only decide to keep one, the Canadiens will likely deal the other away, flooding the goalie market a little bit more and possibly bringing in a talented veteran to help the chosen one through the 2011 season.

How comfortable are the Flyers going forward with Brian Boucher and Johan Backlund going forward? If I had to guess, it would be... not very. Boucher was a solid replacement for some much needed minutes, when there was no one else. Backlund shouldn't be immature at age 28 (29 in July), but reliability at the NHL level does pop up as a reasonable question. I would imagine that the Flyers are going to be players in the startin goalie marketplace, but what can they afford or what are they willing to spend?

With some interesting talent potentially available on the open market, can the Sharks gamble their future on what they can afford on the open market or do they use the last couple weeks of June to try and give a new deal to Evgeni Nabokov, while they still have his exclusive rights? Personally, as of June 15th, I would have thought that if they wanted to keep with Nabokov, they'd have signed him already, but that's just me. They have some negotiating power with a good offense in front of whoever takes the crease, so maybe they'll be looking to try a fresh face in the crease in 2011.

I have seen word on Twitter from some of the Blues sources that talks are open between themselves and potential UFA Chris Mason, which would solve their goaltending issue, in terms of their number one guy. If I remember correctly, they have been going for over a week or so, which suggests that this is not a slam dunk. The Blues are a team that has plenty of flexibility around the cap and probably doesn't want to pay too much for Mason, but may open the purse strings for a big UFA goalie that has a better reputation in the league as a winner. I'm expecting the Blues to drive prices up on UFA goalies.

If you ask me, I think the Lightning are in a solid position to upgrade their goaltending, after giving a solid shot to Mike Smith to be their number one, but he might just fit better as the back-up there in Tampa Bay.  That isn't to say that Smith won't be the number one guy on opening night, but with a new General Manager in town, he might have some good ideas on how to help brace the crease for plenty of shots against in the 2011 season.  The Lightning are another team with cap room, so I expect them to be in the market to spend some money in the crease.

The Capitals have a situation not unlike the Montreal Canadiens, but with the likely departure of Jose Theodore to unrestricted free agency, the Capitals do have a couple of restricted free agents in Semyon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth, who may be good enough to platoon the number one job, but with the Summer quickly approaching, they might weigh their options, flash some superstars in the direction of a highly rated unrestricted free agent and then go from there.

Oilers Shopping Their Veterans?

After a Twitter discussion with @Forcheck this morning, interest was sparked to see what the Oilers were rumoured to be doing this Summer and I eventually found this article from the the Edmonton Journal website suggesting that the Oilers are looking to rid themselves of some unappealing contracts that they have on the books.  That's definitely more than enough to perk up the ears over here and have a quick look at what is being suggested.

The names in trouble, according to the article, are Ethan Moreau, Patrick O'Sullivan and Robert Nilsson, thanks in large part to some underachieving in recent years.  None of the three players listed are huge weights upon the club as salary cap hits, O'Sullivan topping out at just under $3 million for just one more season, while the other two have a cap hit of $2 million each.  The article suggests that if these players cannot be moved in trades before the end of June, that there is a good chance that they will fall victim to the buyout period of the NHL, but frankly, with only one more year left on their current deals and the team's likelihood of making the playoffs, having an extra season of a cap hit (although discounted) seems somewhat unreasonable for making roster spots for their youth.

Nevertheless, the talent that underachieved in 2010 in those three players does still have some upside to them, which I think will make them marketable, if they are actually available.  If the Oilers are desperate to get rid of these guys at the Draft, they might be able to re-stock their youth system with a bunch of new picks, making themselves very flexible to the Jordan Eberle's and Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson's that are coming up through the system in 2011.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hodgson for Hall or Seguin?

RUMOUR2009-2010 NHL Statistics2011 Cap Info
To BostonPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Michael GrabnerForward222056111$843,000
Cody HodgsonForward2000002$1.6 million
To VancouverPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Milan LucicForward2250911203$4.1 million
2010 1st Round Pick (2nd overall)
2010 2nd Round Pick (32nd overall)

Well, when I saw this one on Twitter this morning, I had to laugh, as there doesn't seem to be too much rhyme or reason for this one.  Between the two teams, there is a lot being thrown around and for what going to Vancouver, to me, the Bruins are banking on way too much of a gamble with Cody Hodgson.

What this rumour is suggesting is that to the Bruins, Hodgson is worth more to the Bruins than either Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin, depending on who the Oilers choose, of course.  Hodgson, dealing with back injuries and attitude problems, should be discounted straight away, unless the Bruins have some inside scouting information that the Canucks may only know in secret.  With Hall and/or Seguin preparing to be franchise players in the league, it's hard to believe that it would be the deal this year, but the Bruins have said that the pick is in play.

Next, is the salary cap issue.  Yes, the Bruins would probably love to dump a salary like Lucic's, since it is fairly big, especially for a borderline 2nd line player, better suited as a 3rd line player.  If the Bruins could dump that deal, they would definitely be happy campers going into the Summer, without a doubt.  Unfortunately, the way this deal works out, the Canucks really are not giving up definite cap hits in either Grabner or Hodgson and then taking on a lump of salary, that would affect the team's chances of adding some more veteran experience or defensive help.

At best, there would have to be some cap space going the other way to Boston, if this trade was to go anywhere near reality, in my opinion.  Hodgson instead of Hall or Seguin, is mildly believable, Hodgson had his share of honours in juniors, even after he was drafted, but there would have to be some assurances to Boston that he'd be good to go right away.  A salary dump on a team that is already relatively high in their cap situation seems rather unlikely, no matter how much of a reception that Lucic would receive, returning to the city that he won a Memorial Cup with.  In another possible scenario, there would have to be another deal brewing that would see a pick and a salary dump by the Canucks to go out of town to fit this in, but speculating on anymore deals past one rumour, is just nonsense.  This rumour has too many ways to fail, it's ludicrous.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Jersey In Play for Kaberle?

The buzz is building around New Jersey making a play for Tomas KaberleTSN says they have their sources confirming interest from New Jersey for the Czech blueliner, which adds up to me.  The Devils haven't really been the same without a good puck moving defenseman and Kaberle fits that bill to a tee.

The consistent word about Kaberle is that he would prefer to stay in the Eastern Conference, if at all possible, and the Devils have been a pretty good team over the past number of years, so I would have to believe that if there was a list of teams that Kaberle would okay a deal to, New Jersey would be one of them.  I can easily be wrong about that, Kaberle might have something against the Devils, who am I to really say?

The asking price that was quoted in the last Kaberle post I had on here had Burke asking for a 1st round pick or an NHL-ready young player.  The Devils do not have their 2010 1st round pick, so you would have to comb through their youth program to find someone appropriate in return.  I would suggest a player like Matt Halischuk, Adam Henrique or Nick Palmieri, who are developed mid-round picks or a higher price of either Jacob Josefson or Mattias Tedenby, who are former 1st round picks. 

The Devils do have some assets that the Maple Leafs could easily use in their line-up next season, it would be interesting to see what the end product is of all these rumours, if anything.  There is some real meat to this situation, I like the odds of something like this going down.