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remkin

The Blog Spot: Long Article-Blog Length Posts

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Some posts on our boards are long, or really long, frankly more blog-like, or opinion articles, attempting to cover a broader area.

 

Yours truly is responsible for many of these longer posts.

 

Some don't really want to read them, some do.

 

This is an area for anyone who might want to post longer analysis and or opinion, or read them.

 

This is a trial balloon. It may or may not take.

 

There is no requirement to put long posts here. There is, as of the start of it at least, no exact length either.

If a post is running more than 4-5 paragraphs, or taking up more than 3/4 of your screen, it's probably long enough to consider putting it here.

 

Since these posts may relate to discussions in other threads, my intention is to briefly mention what it's about in the appropriate other thread and just point out that it is here.

 

Feel free to respond to these long posts, but please keep it to the specific issues in the post. 

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Thoughts on players mentioned as possibly available. Not as much on what it would take to get them. I am not saying we can get them, just that they've been rumored at some point as possibly available. This first group are clear first liner's.

 

Best: First line numbers in points per game. Clear First line numbers last year:

 

My take, anyone on this list would push us straight into the playoffs this year.

 

Toronto:

 

Nazem Kadri: 26: Center. 4 more years at 4.5 million. Struggled to get his game here, but now #32 in points and similar in ppg. 32 G. 4.5 million 4 more years: a steal at that number. Highly doubt Toronto still wants to move him now. But absolutely worth trying to get. Would not come cheap though.

 

James Van Riemsdyk: 28. LW. 0.76 ppg (.73 last year) #31 forward in points, #49 forward in ppg. Only one year left on contract $4.25 million. Also a steal at that price. Really would need to have some assurance he'd sign another deal, but looking at rich UFA in one year, not sure why he would.

 

Both of these guys have been rumored. But It's hard to imagine Kadri being available, or Francis taking JVR for just one year.

 

Minnestota:

 

Nino Niederreiter: 24. Winger. .70 ppg. #75 forward in league in ppg, #50 in points. Career year, but only 24 yo. 20-25 goals last 3 years. RFA now, arbitration eligible. This would be a fantastic pick up. Even if he goes to and wins arbitration. Just hitting his peak, is becoming a legit first line winger. Big guy too. I think he does not come cheap either.

 

Tampa:

 

Jonathan Drouin: 22. Winger. .73 ppg. #58 forward in ppg. 21 G, 51 points. RFA now, but not arbitration eligible. This could be a brilliant pick up. I wanted him when his stock was seemingly down during his refusal to report to the AHL debacle. and I know for a fact Francis made a strong move to try to get him. He is already in undeniable first line production, but is only 22 years old, far from his peak. #3 overall pick.

 

Montreal:

 

Alex Galchenyuk: 23. Center. .72 ppg. #60 forward in ppg. Missed a bunch of games so only put up 17G and 44 pts. RFA now, arbitration eligible. Like everyone on this list, I don't get teams willing to trade any forward in the top 90, let alone a young center. But his name has come up several times. In short, yes. Please. He's only 23 years old. He plays center, and put up .72 ppg. He put up 30 goals the season before last. Please give up on him Montreal.

 

UFA:

 

TJ Oshie. 30. Winger. .82 ppg. #36 in the league in points per game. #52 in points. 33 goals. Big. Hits. High skilled. Good at shootout. UFA. Best UFA on the market. Will draw a juicy, long term deal.

 

The upside. It's only money and term. Francis does not have to give up a single player, pick or prospect to add a guy who is like adding another Skinner in points per game and was #13 in goals in the NHL despite playing only 68 games. The gap in goals needed for playoffs is closed instantly. Add TJ Oshie to this team and playoffs are here.

 

The downside. Term and money. The conventional wisdom is that he will get a long deal and that some team will be carrying a bad contract at the end of that deal. Francis has and admitted sensitivity to that downside, listing the type of bidding war likely to break out over Oshie as something to avoid. Also, there are 30 other teams, including his current team, that would love to have him, and a good number will make a play for him. Even if we offer to "overpay" him, he may well go elsewhere.

 

My take. I'm a bit tired of always fighting yesterday's battle and assuming that Semin's and Staal's bad contracts mean there is no value in Oshie. When you sign a UFA to a "too long, too big" deal, you are paying in contract what you don't give up in players. When you are trying to build a team up without the advantage of picking top 2 in the draft a few times, you might just need to buy your way into at least ONE guy. LA added Carter, Chicago added Hossa. Pittsburgh added Kessell. Carolina added Oshie. Let's worry about the last two years of his contract four years from now. This team needs some splash NOW. He'd also generate a ton of interest and sell tickets.

 

Further, as time goes on, and guys like Fleury and Bean round into full form, we could trade them for prime prospects or top picks, allowing us to build a future with entry level stars that will make up for the bad deal on Oshie. Also, if Oshie will at least allow a modied NTC, we could dump the salary at the end in return for prospects.

 

And finally, he may not be worth the money at 35, but he may well still contributing, a la Justin Williams this year.

 

 

The next post will be second liners or below.

Edited by remkin

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Second Line Producers:

 

J. Eberle: 27 years old. 20 G/51 points. .62 ppg. Had a down year. Diddly squat in playoffs. Has fist line production potential and has done it in the past. 2 years left at $6 million/year. Intrigue that maybe he could be had for a bargain. Overpaid, but only 2 years on deal would work for us. Overpaying him for points and goals for a couple of years could be a great bridge to our yutes stepping up, or being worth more in trade (Fleury, Bean, McKeown, etc). My take. He would work if we don't have to give up much: ie no Gauthier, Roy or current core roster player, or first rounder. Might be tough to get him for that though.

 

Matt Duchene: 26 years old. Center. Off year was #152 in ppg. but in previous 3 seasons averaged .78 ppg. Bounce back year gives us a first line center. 2 years around $6 million/year. The two years works in leaving him out when Skinner needs to be reuppped. By then can make choice. I still like him for us. Bumps Rask to line 3 where he will excel because we will be 3 lines deep. He will rebound when he gets out of Colorado I think.

 

Duchene really has consistently put up first line numbers prior to this, and with new life could be a really nice first line center. Not top 20, but still dangerous and would add to our group. I'd be glad to have him. Just a matter of trade price. We can handle his contract for only 2 more years.

 

RNH. 24 yo. #156 in ppg. .52 ppg. In seventh season, is at best a 2C-3C. A historically minus player relative to team and over many years. 4 more years of BAD contract. He is owed $6 million/year for 4 more years. The only way I'd take him is if he were a salary dump, which in many ways he is. But 4 years of that is a lot to take on. I'd pass.

 

Landeskog. 24 yo. 33 points. 4 straight years of declining production. #173 in ppg is THIRD line production. Like RNH has 4 more years of big salary. If his game never rebounds that's 4 years of bad overpay. TJ Oshie, at worst probably ends up having 3 years of bad overpay at the end of his deal, after 3-4 years of major production. Like RNH, taking Landesgkog after the year he put up, should be seen as almost a salary dump. So, like with RNH, if his team wants to let him go for, say a couple of second round picks and a b level prospect, then fine. Otherwise, pass.

 

Jakob Silferberg. 26 yo. .62 ppg. 23G 44 points. 2 more years at $3.75 million. This was a career year though. His deal is very fair and he would be a very nice addition, though more of a second line guy, probably playing at or near peak.

 

UFA:

 

J Willy. 35. .60 ppg. #124 in ppg. #98 in points. J Willy is not the guy. But he put up clear top 6 numbers. If the deal where right and we added him to one of the guys above, he could be a really nice pick up.

Edited by remkin

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I think responses can be put on here to long posts but should be limited to the issue of the post, then hopefully fizzle out.

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Thx rem. I have stated this many times, but I think Landeskog is exactly what this team needs.  A gritty forward in need of a change of scenery.  I think he could be had for not too much, because of the production trend and contract.  I watched him closely at the IIHF tournament.  He still can skate and will definitely give us some sandpaper.  And were we to acquire him, I would see if the chemsitry with Rask and Lindholm remains. That would be a very difficult line to play against.

 

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I just worry about Landeskog's sequential drop in points, and fall off this year weighed against how much term and money is still on his contract. What if he is just not the same guy he used to be? We give up something good to get him, then get stuck with that salary. At least if we don't give up much, the risk is just the money. 

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They have to be able to figure out why he is declining (skating, nagging injury, crappy teammates, etc..).  But, he is still only 24 years old.  Unlike a declining 33 year old, he still has a decent chance to reverse that trend.  Perhaps their scouting department knows something I don't that would steer our team away from him.  I agree about not giving up too much for him.  It could be a change of scenery situation for him.  Who knows.  

Edited by ironman87

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48 minutes ago, ironman87 said:

They have to be able to figure out why he is declining (skating, nagging injury, crappy teammates, etc..).  But, he is still only 24 years old.  Unlike a declining 33 year old, he still has a decent chance to reverse that trend.  Perhaps their scouting department knows something I don't that would steer our team away from him.  I agree about not giving up too much for him.  It could be a change of scenery situation for him.  Who knows.  

I do agree, but the problem is the risk. It is widely professed here and elsewhere that signing a top UFA like, say Oshie, is at best risky at worst stupid due mainly to the length of term on an older player (I disagree).  If a guy like Oshie gets a 6 year deal for instance, at 30 years old, there may be 4 good years and they we're stuck with 2 years paying a guy huge bucks whose game at 35 is not worth it. Well the risk on Landeskog is 4 years at $6 million/year. Even though he is younger, he has put up two subpar and one awful season, in succession. Oshie just killed it. 

 

I am not that familiar with the particulars on Landeskog. I read an article two years ago that asked if he was in a slump, or a fundamentally different player two years ago. He had a bad concussion and it was postulated that it might have changed his game. That was before last year's debacle.

 

Thus Landeskog is now a project, with a relatively high risk taking on 4 more years of contract. This should not cost us alot in return. The problem I see is Sakic not wanting to trade Landeskog for what he is, but for what he was. So, to me, I'm all for taking a chance on a guy who could return to form once he gets off the train wreck in Colorado, but IMO, he needs to be a bargain, and I'm not sure we can get him as a bargain. The one upside is that he does not (I think) have any kind of NTC. Thus we could do a salary dump if he had any game.

Edited by remkin

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I read on an Avs fan forum recently that they just learned that Landeskog has some kind of skeletal imbalance that requires him to wear an orthotic device in one skate to maximize skating efficiency.  Haven't been able to find anything more about it online, or have any idea whether it's possible that it might have a role in his declining play (if it's even true).  But they seemed concerned about it. 

Edited by LakeLivin
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Interesting, considering almost all athletes wear custom orthotics.  I watched his skating closely at the IIHF, and he looked OK to me.  But then again I do not see him every day like the Avs fans so they would know better than I.

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17 hours ago, ironman87 said:

Interesting, considering almost all athletes wear custom orthotics.  I watched his skating closely at the IIHF, and he looked OK to me.  But then again I do not see him every day like the Avs fans so they would know better than I.

It was something along the lines of his hips not being level with each other, which didn't allow maximum efficiency skating.  The orthotics are supposed to correct that, which might explain why you wouldn't notice anything, (if it's even true; I try to take stuff I read on the internet with a grain of salt until I get pretty good confirmation).

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OK, here's another longer one:

 

Two Guys who might fall and why we might want to take them.

 

So, I'm on record as wanting to trade up. I always like the idea of trading a bunch of 1st graders for a 5th grader, and especially when we have a system full of promising 1st graders already. If we moved up to #5 we could probably get Vilardi or Glass. If we moved up to #7 we could probably get Mittlestadt. And if we moved up to number 9 we could get Necas or Petterson (though they might drop).

 

I would disagree that this is a bad year to move up, because there just seems to be more high end talent than people are saying. Sure, there is probably not a generational guy at the very top, but there are some dang good players, and especially forwards in the top 15 of this draft, and the guys in the 4-7 slots are uniformly ranked above everyone else (there is tight grouping, unlike lower guys). Vilardi, Glass, and Mittelsdat are basically never ranked outside the top 7. Those three could be worth moving up for.

 

But the reason this is a Tolstoy post is that it really isn't about those guys, or trading up. It is about a guy previously uniformly in the top 7 who some rankings drop alot. And a guy who has produced in a major way but is not ranked accordingly.

 

Those guys are Owen Tippett, and Nick Suzuki.

 

Owen Tippett is a fascinating pre draft topic because he has dropped, in some rankings similar to our own Julien Gauthier, and for similarly difficult reasons to understand. Early mocks and rankings had Tippett mostly in or near the top 5.

 

He a big 6-2 (200 lbs) RW and uses his size. He has been described as a power forward with speed and the draft's best shot. He put up 44 G and 31 A in 60 games, and another 10/9 in 20 playoff games. He plays with pace. He goes to the net. He was #2 in the OHL in goals per game and second in PPG (ironcially second to the other guy I'm writing about). Again, while points in juniors do not always translate to NHL, they are the single best indicator. He has an "elite" shot. He plays an NHL game. He is a natural goal scorer, and while he hasn't racked up total assists, he has a lot of primary assists (#9 in OHL). He plays hard and is physical. He wins battles.

 

The reading I'm doing is finding it hard to explain his drop in some rankings. Writers fiddle around the idea of selfish or slight drop off in playoffs, but then back track on both of those. The most notable drops are Craig Button and Hockey Prospects. I have yet to hear their explanations (I'm sure they're out there, just haven't yet found them). The worst I have heard, and I suspect the issue is that he is listed as "lazy at times" in the defensive end. This could be a legit problem, but is not uncommon of Junior scoring studs, and can be overcome.

 

One might think skating to be an issue with a big guy, but his skating is described as above average, and strong. I'm wary of power forwards with size just for size's sake, where guys did not produce much in juniors, but that is not Tippett. This is a power forward who scored in bunches at the Junior level. That's my kind of power forward.

 

It's ironic, but in many ways Tippett seems similar to Gauthier. Big, strong, elite shot, power forward, skates well. Like Gauthier, he is shoot-first, and may lose a few notches for that. Gauthier fell in most rankings and mocks though, while Tippett is still ranked top 6 by 3/5 rankings. So Tippett will not fall as far as Gauthier, but he doesn't have to to get to #12.

 

It is weird that those ranking services have him: 4, 5, 6, and then 22, 23. That is a monumental gap. Button dances to his own drummer, and likes to be contrarian on a few guys, but Hockey Prospects also has him low.

 

Anyway, I doubt that he drops to #12, but if he does, it increase the likelihood that guys like Necas and Petterson went in his place, so if Tippett drops, he would be a very attractive pick.

 

I'm going to discuss Suzuki in detail later, but he's a guy on the other end of the size spectrum who is dynamic and scored a lot. Like a lot more than anyone (even Tippett).  His size likely still has him there at #11, and he has "small speedy NHL scorer" written all over him.

 

Lastly on this Tolstoy post: If Tippett falls to us, we have to really consider taking him. But more likely he does not.

 

If he does not fall, that could very possibly push Suzuki to us now that Petterson and Necas seem to be climbing.

 

The order would go something like:

 

Patrick, Hirschier, Vilardi, Hesikanen, Glass, Mittelsdadt, Maker, Necas, Tippett, Petterson, Liljegren: 1-11

 

This would leave us to pick from:

 

Suzuki, Rassmusen, Tolvanen, Kostin or Poehling

 

IMO worst case would be Suzuki goes and Liljegren is still there.  Best case Rasmussen and Liljegren go ahead of us. This would likely leave at least two of: Necas, Tippett, Petterson, and Suzuki.

 

Edited by remkin

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And now for Nick Suzuki.

 

Going back and reading scouting and articles from early last season and mid season, one article after another seems to say, "I don't know why this kid isn't ranked higher, he will be by the end". And man were they right. Suzuki started the season as a second or even third round prospect by many. By the early mid season he was 2nd - bottom 1st, and by mid season he was ranked low first round. And he hasn't stopped rising. In my compilation of final pre-draft rankings he has moved all the way up to, ironically for Cane's fans, #12 overall. He is the #9 ranked forward, at the moment.

 

If I was forced to wager a few bucks on who the Canes end up picking if they stay at #12, Suzuki would be my bet.

 

This is really more a process of elimination than it is saying Suzuki is the best player in the draft, more likely the best player left at #12. But he could end up being a steal.

 

I like Necas and Petterson at tad more, but if the draft goes the way I think, at #12 we'll pick from Suzuki, Tolvanen, Rassmusen, and Poehling. To me the wild cards are where the D man Lilgeren goes, and if Rasmussen gets more love in the draft than his rankings (which have him at #15). If Rassumsen and Lilgegren go above us, that likey moves Necas or Petterson to #12, and it would be hard to pass on them.

 

Anyway, while Suzuki might keep rising and go ahead of us, I think there is a decent chance that he is still there, due to his only real negative....

 

Suzuki is not big. He is listed as 5'11" on most write ups, but 5'10" on others. He is, however, "hard-nosed" and "stong on the puck".

 

In fact when I scour write ups for a weakness, outside of size issues, it's hard to find any. One guy said he had a tendency to seem to take some plays off, but that doesn't really jibe with an overall consensus that he is very consistent on both ends of the ice.

 

Watching highlights, the skill is very much there. He can toe drag, hit the top shelf over and over, feather passes, and all that. He is also a center.

 

I haven't actually read comparisons, but I wonder if his upside might not be similar to Matt Duchene. Both smaller, dynamic centers who can score. And looking at their junior hockey numbers, they are very similar with Suzuki actually better. (1.47 ppg vs. 1.38 ppg). This gave me a crazy notion. Trade for Duchenne and then, in two year when his deal is up, just move Suzuki in there. Suzuki also put up 23 points in 17 playoff games (1.35 ppg).

 

The more I read on him, the more I tend to agree with assertions that his is a "real sleeper pick" and "criminally underrated."

 

So here are bullet points taken from scouting reports:

 

Crafty, High hockey IQ, "extremely intelligent hockey player, spots openings others don't see". The Canes have been drafting hockey IQ. See SeaBass, and others lower down.

Dynamic. This came up again and again. Oh, like, Duchenne?

hard-nosed, plays in the dirty areas, battles.

Good two way center, back checks reliably

High end vision

Great passer

Hard to knock off the puck

Non stop motor, lots of hustle

Excellent skater

NHL hands, and feet

Skill to burn

 

And here is the final piece. He is at the extreme end of young. He will be 17 for two months after he is drafted. He has an August birthday, the latest month for his draft year. The thing pointed out about this is that a smaller guy, he can still grow, and he has "longer" to develop his skill:

 

ESPN’s Corey Pronman – who is one of the biggest proponents of the theory – wrote about it during last year’s draft cycle:

Since I started doing work in the hockey prospect arena, the issue of late-birthdate prospects confounded me. After years of dealing with prospects, and doing recent research on the matter, I am convinced it is one of the most important quantitative factors that can go into prospect evaluations.

To me though, it also means that he put up the numbers and climbed the draft rankings a full year younger than guys with an October birthday. It could be argued that whatever he does in Juniors this upcoming year would be comparable in some ways to this year's draft class's numbers. But even underaged, he put up the 5th most points in the entire OHL (including players 3 years older), and second most of any one in this draft.

 

Looking at Mitch Marner and Matt Duchenne, size is not critical. At #12, something has to give. This guy with size would go top 5.

 

I still have a leaning to Necas or Petterson, but if Frances, et all have the chance and pick Suzuki, I will be happy.

Edited by remkin

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Why I'd sign TJ Oshie:

 

The player. One of the fears is that we'd be paying a guy for a banner year. To be sure. And that IS a fair argument, and probably true to some extent. While it is possible that things get just crazy on Oshie (then I would back out), mostly things get "crazy". By that I mean maybe $1 million/year more than anyone thought. TJ Oshie isn't going to get Patrick Kane money. He will be overpaid. But so what? You're underpaying in player assets. As in zero. Another way of putting that: things will get "crazy" but not truly insane. But even if Oshie falls back from last year's high-elite numbers, he is pretty much a lock for 20 goals. Even if he is an  overpaid piece, he will help us win for at least 4-5 years.

 

Last year was nuts. He was on a 40 goal pace, and right there in terms of goals and points per game with Backstrom and Ovechkin. But he will not be paid like Ovechkin. Still, this he did. It is a possible upside. Can he do that without Ovechkin and Backstrom? Who knows? We've got some talent too. Probably not 40 goals (his shooting % was unreal last year, that won't continue), but 25 gets it done. Also, shootout goals aren't counted, and goodness knows we could use a few of those. Finally, the eyeball test. Oshie is a big, slick-skilled winger, not afraid of contact. He looks the part of a 60 point guy.

 

In terms of assets, we get without giving. Yes, we pick up a contract (we of the most el cheapo team north of Arizona). Yes, a 36 year old TJ Oshie making $7 million/year will be a bad contract, probably. But we get at least 4-5 good years too probably. So front load the contract. Whatever. I know that this is a tough one to contemplate because it goes against everything we've seen from Francis so far. We are still smarting from the last UFA contracsky from hell. But as much as you have to learn from past mistakes, you also have to be able to avoid always fighting the last battle instead of the current one. And not avoid seeing the actual mistake that was made. The mistake with Semin, was that he was actually the guy people warned about. He was the lazy Russian coach-killer. If Semin had lived up to his potential, that deal would have made sense. Semin was the main problem. He made that a disaster.

 

It is true that there is some risk that just giving a guy that big deal leads to lack of motivation. But that's only one possibility. For ever Semin there's a Carter, or Hossa. Plus, that's also true when you give your own guy a huge deal, cough Eric Staal cough.

 

But the main thing I see is the value of not giving up a piece of our player pie. So long as Oshie's NTC is limited, we have so many assets that if we play our cards right, and Oshie doesn't pan out, we can move him along with assets if we have to. That mitigates the long term risk, while keeping the upside. Further, the moves that Francis can and will make with Fleury, Bean, Kuokkanen, Roy, Gauthier and way more guys coming into play will allow him to flex the team as needed. If Oshie's great, but Lindholm faulters, if Hanifin never quite becomes elite, but is very good as is Fleury, there are moves to be made by having all of those other guys in the fold.

 

Further, signing Oshie now, thus not losing a Hanifin, Bean or Fleury now, lets those guys develop into the kind of player that bring back a top center. Trading any of those D men now necessitates getting low value on those prospects that Francis holds most dear. The cost of Oshie is at least partially offset by letting our prospects become much more valuable trade chips.

 

What about signing our up and comers? They will need to be paid at some point. Well this could be it's own Tolstoy post. I have glanced at the cap numbers and there are a lot of moving parts. This year we could sign anyone x 2. Next year would be a pinch. Next year we need to sign Hanifin, Pesce, Slavin and Lindholm mainly. (Nordstrom ant TVR also, but if they get too pricey, we may have yutes to slot, so probably not huge cap issue). That is a lot to do, but they are all RFA's still and only Lindy has arbitration rights. Also, $3.0 million plus $2.7 million can be converted to say $1.5 as we re-adjust our back up goalies from Cam/Lack to "properly paid back up guy", and Wiz's $1 million buyout is gone.

 

My back of the envelope calculations come to us having $25 million to sign Oshie, and sign Hanifin, Slavin, Pesce, Lindholm. Take Oshie's $7 million out. That leaves $18 million, but add back in what those guys currently make and we have 24-25 million to sign them AFTER Oshie. If Lindy breaks out, he will get paid. Slavin next. I see Hanifin and Pesce getting a bit less this go around. If Lindholm gets $5.5 million, Slavin $4.5 million - $5 million, Pesce $3.0 million, and Hanifin $3.0 million, that still leaves $7 million.

 

The following year we have to deal with Aho (RFA), TT (RFA), and Skinner (UFA). But that's two full seasons away. Even then, remember, Skinner already makes $5.7 million, and Aho and TT are still both RFA's. Even if we bump Skinner to $7 million, that only costs 1.3 million in cap space. That could leaver around $5.7 million to bridge Aho, and TT assuming the cap doesn't go up. If the cap goes up, we can easily get them both in.

 

In year three, 2020, Faulk's deal comes up. But that's after 3 full seasons and keeping everyone except Stempniak. Trying to go out past that is nuts because there are entry level yutes coming up, that could change everything for the better. We could almost certainly trade one contract away if we had to, and use entry level talent. If we keep this year's pick, young Suzuki will be contributing by then.

 

But mainly, signing Oshie means we win now. We stop the death spiral. We sell tickets. We make the playoffs and get even more buzz. I'd rather let whoever buys this team and keeps them here worry about 36 year old Oshie 6 years from now, than watch Gauthier and Roy putting up points in Quebec 3 years from now.

 

In terms of players, we get without giving. Yes, we pick up a contract (we of the most el cheapo team north of Arizona). Yes, a 36 year old TJ Oshie making $7 million/year will be a bad contract, probably. But we get at least 5 good years probably. So front load the contract. Whatever. I know that this is s tough one to contemplate because it goes against everything we've seen from Francis so far. We are still stung by the last UFA contracsky from hell, and over paying Ward/Eric. But as much as you have to learn from past mistakes, you also have to be able to avoid seeing the actual mistake. The mistake with Semin, was that he was actually the guy people warned about. He was the lazy Russian coach-killer. If Semin had lived up to his potential, that deal would have made sense. Semin was the main problem.

 

Now one could say that just giving a guy that big deal leads to lack of motivation. But that's only one possibility. For ever Semin there's a Carter, or Hossa.

 

But the main thing, I don't think people consider is the value of not giving up a piece of our player pie. So long as Oshie's NTC is limited, we have so many assets that if we play our cards right, and Oshie doesn't pan out, we can move him along with assets if we have to. Further, the moves that Francis can and will make with Fleury, Bean, Kuokkanen, Roy, Gauthier and way more guys coming into play will allow him to flex the team as needed. If Oshie's great, but Linholm faulters, if Hanifin never quite becomes elite, but is very good as is Fleury, there are moves to be made by having those guys still.

 

Further, signing Oshie now, thus not losing a Hanifin, Bean or Fleury now, lets those guys develop into the kind of player that bring back a top center. Trading any of those D men now necessitates getting low value on those prospects that Francis holds most dear. The cost of Oshie is at least partially offset by letting our prospects become much more valuable trade chips.

 

But mainly, signing Oshie means we win now. We stop the death spiral. We sell tickets. We make the playoffs and get even more buzz. I'd rather let whoever buys this team and keeps them here worry about 36 year old Oshie 6 years from now, than watch Gauthier and Roy putting up points in Quebec.

 

Is this un Francis-like? In terms of picking up a contract that could hurt in the long run? Yes. In terms of his past quotes about being afraid of the "crazy time" of early UFA bidding? Yes. BUT in terms of not giving up anyone from his brood of closely held prospects? Oh that is very Francis-like.


If Francis makes the splash though a trade, he has to lose a major prospect and picks, or a major current player.  And just as Francis has never taken on a huge UFA contract, he has also never traded away a big time player or prospect, or a first round pick. So, either way, he has to make a move outside of his historic comfort zone.

 

Do we sign Oshie? Highly unlikely. Not only might Francis not agree with any of this, but even if he did, he'd still would have to actually win the Oshie race. Not a good bet.

 

Should we though? Oh yes.

Edited by remkin

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I'm not against signing Oshie and if we were able to do it I would be happy. I although think he would be an overpriced addition to the team. Most of Oshie's career he has been more of an assist man with the exception of the last two years with Ovechkin and Backstrom. I'm guessing he would fall back to 20-25 goals with the Canes. 6.5 to 7 mil for that goal total? I don't think PK makes that kind of investment. There are some aged veterans out there that could probably be signed to a one or two year contract for the cheap that would buy us some time for Yute development (Williams,Vrbata,Vanek,Hanzel,Eaves), They are also in the 20 goal category. Yes they are aged and do not fit into the RF youth movement but they do bring some veteran experience. What are the Pens going to do with Nick Bonino?

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The thing is Slap, most of those guys you list are either much closer to falling off the age curve, or come with serious flags.

 

Eaves left here reportedly with a snide attitude about us, but mainly last year was a freakish outlier, before that he was a role player.  Vrbata plays no defense and is much older. Williams, I like, but he is also already at the age that we would be worried about the Oshie contract's ending.  Vanek is super hot and cold, and older and doesn't play a ton of defense, and Hanzel is 30 just like Oshie and his 20 goals last year was by far his career year so far, before that, his best year was 16 goals.

 

I hope that if we don't get Oshie, we make a trade for someone better than any of those guys.

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OK time to blog again. WARNING!!! Read on at your own risk!!! This is a LOOOONG post.

But at the end it shows why we should make the playoffs with the team we are icing now.

 

I have maintained that there is a certain minimum number of goals needed to reach the playoffs. Clearly the exact number will vary year to year and team to team. From team to team, teams with outstanding goalies, or defenses, or lock-down systems will generally need fewer goals to get in.

 

As a rule though the higher scoring teams win the cup nearly every year now. Ottawa made a nice run, but they barely got in.

 

So, what is that number?

 

Last year Ottawa was the outlier in that they got in with the fewest goals for: 212. The only team that got in with less goals (-3) than us.

 But....They barely made it. They had about the #3 goalie in the NHL, and they played a lock down game, #11 overall D, and got lucky.

 

FOR REFERENCE WE HAD 215 goals.

 

The more traditional teams that made it with lowish goal totals:

 

MTL: #3 Defense. Carey Price 226 goals for.

ANA: #4 Defense, 223 goals for

San Jose: #5 defense, 221 goals for

 

So, you can get in with 220 ish goals if you have a top 5 defense and/or a world class goalie. I like our defense, but that's not a good plan.

 

On the flipside, the only teams that missed the playoffs with over 240 goals for?

 

Winnipeg: 249 goals for: #27 defense, (also last team in West to miss cut line)

NYI: 241 goals for: #23 defense, (also, last team in East to miss cut)

 

So, assuming we have a decent defense, 240 is just about a lock for playoffs. But do we need 240? Probably not...

 

The Canes had the #19 goals against last year despite almost the worst goaltending in the NHL.

The Hanifin/Faulk combo is likely to be better, so I think the D will at least hold serve, and Darling almost has to be an improvement on Lack.

 

Really, to peg us at least at the #15 defense is pretty safe with our upgrades. That alone, puts us on the inside track. The only team with a top 15 in goals against not to make the playoffs was LA. They had the #6 defense. Yikes. But they only put up 203 goals for. Terrible.  So if we get to the #15 defense and keep our goals for the same? Good shot at the playoffs. The cautionary tale here is Tampa. They had the #16 defense, and put up 234 goals for.

 

Looking at that, Tampa was the most unlucky team in the league last year. Basically the best team to miss the playoffs. But they did miss with the #16 D and 234 goals for, somehow.

 

So the goal to almost assuredly make the playoffs: 240 goals for, and at least the #14-15 defense.

 

I think we are very close to that as we stand. If we added Duchene? We'd blow past it.

 

How many goals can we project onto this team? Well this is pure guess work, but what I believe is a conservative estimate: 236.

 

236 goals plus the #15 defense gives us a very high probability of making the playoffs. Add more goals, or get even better D, and we're in for sure.

 

How do I get 236 goals? Skip if you don't want the details:

 

Skinner 30, Aho 25, Rask 18, J Staal 18, Lindholm 18, TT 18, Stempniak 15, J Willy 17, McGinn 10, Ryan 11, collective lower guys: 16 combined.

Faulk 15, Slavin 8, Hanifin 8, Pesce 3, TVR 4, Fleury/Dahlbeck: 2

 

I really think this is a conservative estimate for each guy. Faulk, Skinner, Stempniak I've dropped back. J Willy one less than his low for the past 4 years.

 

If I'm adding right that's 236.

 

I really think we hit 240. Which would be a lock with the #15 D.

 

 

YES there are all kinds of limitations with this kind of prediction. Injury being the big one. We lose Slavin or Skinner for a long stretch, for instance. Aho could regress. But the flip side is that a guy could also break out. TT or Lindholm could pot 25. Fluery might do 6, etc.

 

I think we have 236 goals in these guys at minimum, and Darling and D improvements push us to at least #15 D (probably higher), and while there are always the outliers that just miss the cut, that should be enough to get us in.

 

Add Duchene, and you add 10 goals minimum (20 - 10 from the 9 spot), possibly up to 20 (Duchene has put up 30). That gets us to 246 goals and basically a lock with our defense.

 

Top has pointed out the idea of guys playing better as a unit also increasing numbers. To me guys like TT for instance, now familiar with the system, could well bump a lot next year. Also D men, Hanifin but even maybe Pesce and Slavin could score more goals as they naturally improve their games.

 

I think Francis should make that final move if it's there, but this team, as it is, has improved enough that it should get in.

 

Goalie has improved hugely. Defense will improve with Hanifin and Faulk playing well together, and TVR. And forwards will improve as the base team grows, and Williams adds not only 18 goals, but grit and work ethic and leadership.

 

It's definitely tough when you look at the East. Tampa and Florida should be back, so who do we push out? But that type of analysis is too hard with too many variables. The youngest team in the NHL has a bunch of young roster players who should be better next year even with no upgrades. But the upgrades are real and will be enough.

 

A lot of pundits are noticing us, but many will still be surprised as we make it this year.

 

Edited by remkin

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Fix some of this and we are golden:  1-goal games. Carolina has lost 25 of these in each of the last 2 seasons — 31 in OT/SO and 19 in regulation. In both years, that means 25 points left on the table, and in both years those 25 points were the difference between were we finished and second in the entire league.

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4 hours ago, remkin said:

Skinner 30, Aho 25, Rask 18, J Staal 18, Lindholm 18, TT 18, Stempniak 15, J Willy 17, McGinn 10, Ryan 11, collective lower guys: 16 combined.

Faulk 15, Slavin 8, Hanifin 8, Pesce 3, TVR 4, Fleury/Dahlbeck: 2

 

I really think this is a conservative estimate for each guy.

 

Really?!? What is your idea of conservative? Mine doesn't include totals a guy has never achieved.

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2 hours ago, MinJaBen said:

 

Really?!? What is your idea of conservative? Mine doesn't include totals a guy has never achieved.

 

Overall conservative. Only a few guys are projected career highs, and then by a few goals at most. Most guys are projected under their highs or even what they did last year.

 

Which one gave you the most issue? I offer my defense of the guys over their historical maxes below.

 

Guys projected for over career highs and why:

 

Aho: +1 one more goal. Aho had 3 goals in his first 25 games and none in his first 13 games. After game 25 he went on a better than 30 goal pace over the last 57 consecutive games. As a 19 year old rookie. I think 25 is conservative.

 

Lindholm: +1 than his career year, when he was 19. This one may not be conservative given his goal totals of the past two year, but I am expecting a big year from Lindholm. But even still, one goal more than his 19 yo self seems pretty conservative to me, and it's my list.

 

McGinn: +3 (10). But McGinn only played 57 games. If he'd have played 82? 10 goals. But also, I expect him to improve by at least a touch.

 

Slavin: +3 (8). Eight goals from Slavin doesn't seem crazy to me. D men often get offense, especially goals, last. Admittedly this one may not be conservative, but probably not unrealistic.

 

Pesce: +1 (3). Really? 3 goals?

 

Hanifin: +4 (8). I guess this isn't totally conservative. I think he has more offense in him, and is going to produce more goals this year. Also, if he's middle pair he'll get more ice time. Maybe 6 would be a safer bet.

Edited by remkin

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2 hours ago, remkin said:

Overall conservative.

 

Well, I'm not sure I agree with that, but never the less, you said conservative estimate for each guy in your original post. That is quite a bit different when multiple guys are projected to have career highs.

 

Quote

Which one gave you the most issue?

 

I have no issue with Aho or Lindholm, but all three defenders you've nearly doubled their career highs. Yes, short careers so far, but still, that is not insignificant. Look at Slavin...of his five goals he got last year, he got three in one game. Three out of five! That is not a regular rate that you can just expect a small uptick to add a few more goals. He might get one all next year if the same swing occurs in the opposite direction. 

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17 hours ago, remkin said:

OK time to blog again. WARNING!!! Read on at your own risk!!! This is a LOOOONG post.

But at the end it shows why we should make the playoffs with the team we are icing now.

 

 

Welcome back, remkin!  When I heard about that brand new island off the NC coast, I thought you might be behind it.  :)

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11 hours ago, MinJaBen said:

 

Well, I'm not sure I agree with that, but never the less, you said conservative estimate for each guy in your original post. That is quite a bit different when multiple guys are projected to have career highs.

 

 

I have no issue with Aho or Lindholm, but all three defenders you've nearly doubled their career highs. Yes, short careers so far, but still, that is not insignificant. Look at Slavin...of his five goals he got last year, he got three in one game. Three out of five! That is not a regular rate that you can just expect a small uptick to add a few more goals. He might get one all next year if the same swing occurs in the opposite direction. 

 

Hey, fair enough. I really do want to have discussion and appreciate that you read that long thing.

 

I think you're concerns are fair. My thoughts were that I cut the projections on what some guys did last year and way less than their career years, and so the number for each guy seemed pretty doable. I guess by conservative, I really meant that guy should be able to hit that number without breaking out, so the total number, which is the real goal in my thesis, is very doable, if not conservative. I only have two guys breaking 20 goals for instance.

 

But probably the non Faulk, TVR D men providing 9 more goals, Skinner hitting 30, despite last year, and Aho at 25 are more fair targets than conservative.

 

Interstingly TVR did put up 5 goals in 58 games last year which projects to 7 for a full season, so 4 is probably not a stretch for him.

 

I guess I'd just say that I think my targets are at least very achievable by each guy, and there is as good a chance that guys exceed it as miss it.

 

BUT this is just my opinion. I completely open to other opinions.

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