Monday, October 12, 2020

Vegas signs Pietrangelo, trades Schmidt to Vancouver


       The Vegas Golden Knights have signed defenseman Alex Pietrangelo to a seven year deal with an AAV of $8.8 million dollars. To make room for Pietrangelo, they traded defenseman Nate Schmidt to the Vancouver Canucks for a 2022 3rd round pick. 

       The Golden Knights signing Pietrangelo seemed inevitable after he reportedly took a trip to Vegas. While he has never been a Norris finalist, he finished 4th in 2019-20, and has scored double digit goals in each of the last four seasons. While Schmidt was a fan-favorite, he is a top-4 defenseman, while Pietrangelo is easily a top-pairing guy. A big concern with him is that he is 30 years old, turning 31 next January. Seven years is a lot for a guy who is not exactly young. But Vegas definitely needed a right-handed defenseman, with Zach Whitecloud currently being their next best righty. They could move Shea Theodore to the right side, and have defensive pairings of Alec Martinez and Pietrangelo, Brayden McNabb and Theodore, and Nick Holden and Whitecloud. That will definitely do. Schmidt is good, but his contract looks like it could soon be a nightmare. Pietrangelo is a leader, who was the captain of the Blues when they won the 2019 Stanley Cup. 

         Pietrangelo, 30, scored 16 goals with 36 assists for 52 points in 70 games for the St. Louis Blues in 2019-20. In his NHL career, all in St. Louis, Pietrangelo has 109 goals with 341 assists for 450 points in 758 games. 

          The Canucks get a good player in Schmidt. He can play either the right or left side, and play on the first or second pairing. However, he is at the tail-end of his prime, and his contract does not look good. Schmidt has a $5.95 million cap hit, running for the next five seasons. While it might be better than the Tyler Myers deal (although it is only $50k less for one extra season), that is not good by any means. But the production that Schmidt will give them for the next 2-3 years will likely be better than anything a third round pick can give you, unless Vegas really hits the jackpot. 

           Schmidt, 29, scored seven goals with 24 assists for 31 points in 59 games for the Golden Knights in 2019-20. In his NHL career for Vegas and the Washington Capitals, Schmidt has 29 goals with 111 assists for 40 points in 396 games. 

NHL Trade Review: Avalanche acquire Toews


       The Colorado Avalanche have acquired defenseman Devon Toews from the New York Islanders in exchange for a 2021 second round pick and a 2022 second round pick. 

       Toews is a two-way defenseman on the verge of a breakout, but he is also an RFA. With under $9 million in cap space, the Islanders could not afford Toews when they also need to sign Mat Barzal and Ryan Pulock. Despite just finishing his second NHL season, Toews is not young, and a short term deal was expected, which would send him into unrestricted free agency. While he has shown that he can be a contributor both offensively and defensively, a weak playoff run followed by an arbitration case that the Islanders weren't confident in persuaded them to go with the trade route. While he can be a very valuable player, two second round picks is a good return, although the team's last impact second rounder was Scott Mayfield in 2011, and before that, Mikko Koskinen (who is just making a difference in the league now) in 2009 and Travis Hamonic in 2008. One or both of the picks could go to unloading salary to sign Barzal and Pulock.

        The Avalanche get a pretty good deal here. After trading Nikita Zadorov to Chicago they were looking for an upgrade, and they certainly get one here in Toews. They have the cap space to sign him, and he will be a good second pairing defenseman for them. They needed a right-hander, but they could move Ian Cole to the right side, maybe to play with Toews, and have the recently-extended Ryan Graves play with Erik Johnson on the third pairing, with Cale Makar and Sam Girard up top. Judging by last year's Brady Skjei trade and the amount of teams looking for a top-4 defenseman, not giving up a first rounder is good. 

         Toews, 26, scored six goals with 22 assists for 28 points in 68 games for the Islanders in 2019-20. In his NHL career, all in New York, Toews has 11 goals with 35 assists for 46 points in 116 games. 

COLUMN: Trying to Make Sense out of Taylor Hall Signing with the Sabres

     NHL free agency has gotten off to a slow start, as only one of the biggest players on the board signed on day one, with Torey Krug going to St. Louis. But between the big two free agents, Taylor Hall and Alex Pietrangelo, it took until the night of day three for one of them to make their decision. That was Hall, one of the premier left wingers in the game, who has played for lowly franchises in Edmonton and New Jersey for most of his career. Hall, who just experienced a first round exit with the Coyotes, was expected to go to a legitimate contender for the first time in his career. Instead, he went to one of the seven teams that did not make the expanded playoffs, the Buffalo Sabres. 

        Even though it was known that Hall would sign a short-term deal with Buffalo, it was a weird signing. In the end, he agreed to a one year deal worth $8 million, which is something that other teams could probably top. Even if you evaluate the other six teams that didn't make the playoffs, Buffalo doesn't have the history of Detroit, the lovely weather like any of the California teams, the familiarity of New Jersey, or even Ottawa, which isn't close to Hall's hometown of Calgary but is at least in the same country. All of this, plus New York's high state tax, makes for a confusing decision by a 28 year old. But, there are some upsides. 

          Hall, a scoring winger who is also a great playmaker, is coming off of an injured season, and a down year. In 2019-20, he scored 16 goals with 52 total points in 65 games. His 0.25 goals per game was the lowest of his career, and this is a guy that was 19 in his rookie season. His 0.80 points per game was also his lowest since 2016-17, and this is coming off of two seasons with a points per game well over 1.00. The former Hart winner has always had one issue: being on teams with a lack of star power. In New Jersey, he played with Nico Hischier and Kyle Palmieri, who are good, but not exceptional. In Arizona, he wasn't a top line guy, playing with Conor Garland and Christian Dvorak. In Buffalo, Hall will finally have a linemate that will bring his stats up, and not the other-way-around. 

          So far, the Sabres have completely wasted Jack Eichel's career. As the soon-to-be 24 year old enters his prime, he has not played in a playoff game. He is coming off of a season with a career high 36 goals in only 68 games. For most of the year his wingers were Sam Reinhart and Victor Olofsson. While both can be consistent 20 goal scorers, they are not on the level of Hall. Eichel has shown that he can boost a player's stats, as when Jeff Skinner came to Buffalo in 2018-19, he scored 40 goals on Eichel's wing after a 24 goal campaign. When Eichel had new linemates, Skinner's production dipped, down to 14 goals. 

         Hall's plan seems to be to follow Skinner's path, but without the year two struggles. Playing with Eichel, both forwards could get to 100 points, even in a 70 game season. He could definitely eclipse his career high 39 goals and 93 points set in his Hart winning 2017-18. He also has a full no-move and no-trade clause, which means that if the Sabres struggle like they are expected to, he can control who he is traded to. If Hall has a strong year, then he can bait a team like the Sabres to give him a deal similar to the eight year, $72 million contract they gave Skinner after his 40 goal season. He also has familiarity with Buffalo Head Coach Ralph Krueger, who coached Hall with Edmonton in 2012-13. 

         However, there is a bit of a risk involved here. If Hall is injured, or doesn't perform with Eichel, then he isn't going to get the money he wants long-term. But even if he does score around 40 goals, then teams have an excuse to balk at a price that Hall would want, since he probably won't want another 1-2 year deal. Skinner's success with Eichel followed by a sudden downfall after being paid shows a sign of caution around doing it all again with Hall. While Hall still has a pedigree that Skinner doesn't, keep in mind that he will be 30 in November of 2021, the first year on his new contract. When Skinner signed his eight year extension, he had just turned 27. Whether it would be an eight year deal with the Sabres or a seven year deal with someone else, it is unlikely that a smart team would go the max distance with Hall. If the salary cap stays flat, that makes it even more unlikely. The Seattle expansion draft can help a team, as the Kraken would be a franchise that would take an unwanted contract for draft picks. 

          This deal is a no-brainer for the Sabres. They increase popularity with a former MVP, and they can see an increase in ticket sales (if that is a thing in 2020-21) thanks to Hall. The increased publicity leads to more money all-around. While Hall might be using them, they can ship him off for a first round pick and more like the Devils did last year. This also gives Eichel another star to help improve the team, and keep Eichel's morale up, as there were trade rumors weeks ago surrounding the center. 

          Overall, for Hall, this deal still raises question marks. But if Hall gets a Skinner-like deal next year, whether it is with the Sabres or another team that currently had interest in him, then everything about his tenure in Buffalo is worth it. If he gets injured or underperforms, this could be the mistake of a lifetime. 

Saturday, October 10, 2020

NHL Trade Review: Devils acquire Johnsson


       The New Jersey Devils have acquired forward Andreas Johnsson from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for forward Joey Anderson. 

       The Maple Leafs' salary cap issues are no secret, and they got just a little bit worse when they gave Wayne Simmonds and TJ Brodie a combined $6.5 million in free agency. Johnsson being traded was inevitable, as he is a player that can be replaced, and he has a $3.4 million cap hit. The Maple Leafs decided not to trade two decent RFAs last year in Kasperi Kapanen and Johnsson when they had cap issues, and now both are in the Metropolitan division, as Kapanen is a Penguin. In return, they get Anderson, who can be a defensive forward on the right wing. Anderson had a successful AHL season last year, scoring 15 goals with 34 points in 44 games. The former 3rd rounder played in some NHL games over the past two seasons. He is currently an RFA, but his next deal likely won't eclipse $1 million and might be a two-way deal. 

        Anderson, 22, scored four goals with two assists for six points in 18 games for the Devils in 2019-20. In his NHL career, all in New Jersey, Anderson has eight goals with five assists for 13 points in 52 games. 

        The Devils are taking advantage of the Maple Leafs' salary cap situation, and they get pretty good value for Johnsson, who is signed for three more years. He scored 20 goals in 2018-19, but knee injuries hurt his 2019-20. He is a young left wing option for Lindy Ruff's squad. Their next order of business should be to get a defenseman. They have five NHL defenseman, and Damon Severson is the only signed past 2021-22 (he is a free agent after 2022-23). 

         Johnsson, 25, scored eight goals with 13 assists for 21 points in 43 games for the Maple Leafs in 2019-20. In his NHL career, all for Toronto, Johnsson has 30 goals with 37 assists for 67 points in 125 games. 

NHL Trade Review: Avalanche acquire Saad

From Getty Images

       The Colorado Avalanche have acquired forward Brandon Saad and defenseman Dennis Gilbert from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for defenseman Nikita Zadorov and defenseman Anton Lindholm. The Blackhawks retained $1 million of Saad's contract.

        With a lot of cap space and a want for more scoring, the Avalanche were rumored to be in the Taylor Hall sweepstakes. They could still make a push for him, but Saad is a solid middle-six winger. After Chicago retained some salary, Colorado faces a $5 million cap hit, with Saad becoming a UFA after 20-21. Saad has scored at least 20 goals in five of the past six seasons, and won a pair of Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks. Saad had two great seasons in Columbus (2015-16 and 2016-17), before returning to Chicago in a really bad trade for Artemi Panarin, but he has fallen off a little bit since. With the Avalanche, Saad will have a better team around him, which means a chance to score more goals. Zadorov is an RFA that the Avs don't need, with Sam Girard, Ian Cole, Ryan Graves and top prospect Bowen Byram on the left side, although they could use a right-handed defenseman (Cole can also play both sides). If they need depth, they get that in Gilbert, who played in over a quarter of Chicago's games last season.

         Saad, who will be 28 later this month, scored 21 goals with 12 assists for 33 points in 58 games for the Blackhawks in 2019-20. In his NHL career for Chicago and the Columbus Blue Jackets, Saad has 169 goals with 178 assists for 347 points in 588 games.

         Gilbert, 23 (who's birthday is just three days after Saad's), scored one goal with two assists for three points in 21 games for the Blackhawks in 2019-20, and has one extra NHL game, coming in 2018-19. For the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL last year, Gilbert had one goal with six assists for seven points in 30 games. 

        Even though they (somehow) made the playoffs in 2019-20, the Blackhawks don't look great going into 2020-21, especially with Collin Delia and Malcolm Subban in goal. In this trade, they clear some cap space, although not too much, as immediately afterwards the Blackhawks announced that Zadorov accepted his qualifying offer of one year, worth $3.2 million. The Blackhawks still have Duncan Keith, and Calvin de Haan is solid as well, but behind them the left side is weak, so Zadorov is an improvement over Nick Seeler. That being said, the Blackhawks could use a left winger, even before this trade. Dominik Kubalik is great, but now with Saad gone, there isn't much behind him. Alex DeBrincat could be on his off-side, but the next best pure left winger is either Brandon Pirri or John Quenneville. That is a position that I could see the Blackhawks look to upgrade with their remaining cap space, as well as in goal. Lindholm played in 48 games in 2017-18, but hasn't come close to that total since. He is older than Gilbert, and probably has a little bit less value.

         Zadorov, 25, scored four goals with nine assists for 13 points in 64 games for the Avalanche in 2019-20. In his NHL career for the Avs and Buffalo Sabres, Zadorov has 22 goals with 53 assists for 75 points in 356 games. 

         Lindholm, also 25, had one assist in four game for the Avalanche in 2019-20. In his NHL career, all in Colorado, the 2014 5th rounder has five points, all assists, in 66 games. In 45 games in 2019-20 for the AHL's Colorado Eagles, Lindholm had one goal with two assists for three points. 

NHL Trade Review: Senators get Watson


       The Ottawa Senators have acquired forward Austin Watson from the Nashville Predators in exchange for a 2021 4th round draft pick.

       On Halloween of last year, the Predators signed Watson to a three year extension with a cap hit of $1.5 million. Unfortunately, he will play in zero games for them under that deal, as it just has kicked in this season. The Predators essentially replaced Watson yesterday when they signed Nick Cousins to a two year deal with the same cap hit. Since the Predators lack in depth, having Cousins, a lefty, and Watson, a righty, on the same line could have helped, as Cousins can play left wing and center while Watson can play both sides. Trading Watson doesn't make much sense, unless the Predators have something big in mind. They do have $14.66 million in cap space, so they could go after Taylor Hall or Mike Hoffman. The return for Watson is about what you would expect.

         The Senators are having a pretty good offseason, and while Watson isn't anything special, he is a decent addition. A six-four winger who was a first rounder in 2010, Watson is now the 21st player from the first round of that draft to be traded. He is a physical player, eclipsing 100 hits in each of the last four seasons, including his 37 game 2018-19. 

          Watson, 28, scored six goals with eight assists for 14 points in 53 games for the Predators in 2019-20. In his NHL career, all in Nashville, Watson has 36 goals with 41 assists for 77 points in 306 games. 

Friday, October 9, 2020

The 2020 NHL Free Agency Tracker


       It is October 9th, which is 2020 means that it is the start of NHL free agency. Here is the official free agency tracker, starting with October 9 signings, and updating when new deals are announced. 

       Anaheim Ducks

F Derek Grant, three years, $1.5 million (AAV)

D Kevin Shattenkirk, three years, $3.9 million

F Vinni Lettieri (two-way), one year, $750k

F Andrew Poturalaki (two-way), one year, $700k

D Andy Welinski, one year, $750k

      Arizona Coyotes

F Tyler Pitlick, two years, $1.75 million

F John Hayden, one year, $750k

F Johan Larsson, two years, $1.4 million

F Dryden Hunt (two-way), one year, $700k

D Jordan Gross (two-way), one year, $750k

F Christian Fischer (RFA), two years, $1 million

       Boston Bruins

D Kevan Miller, one year, $1.25 million

F Craig Smith, three years, $3.1 million

F Greg McKegg (two-way), one year, $700k

G Callum Booth (two-way), one year, $700k

D Jakub Zboril (RFA), two years, $725k

D Matt Grzelcyk (RFA), four years, $3.69 million

F Karson Kuhlman (RFA, two-way), two years, $725k

F Zach Senyshyn (RFA, two-way), one year, $700k

       Buffalo Sabres

F Tobias Rieder, one year, $700k

D Matt Irwin, one year, $700k

D Brandon Davidson, one year, $700k

F Cody Eakin, two years, $2.25 million

D Brandon Montour (RFA), one year, $3.85

F Taylor Hall, one year, $8 million

F Steven Fogarty (two-way), one year, $700k

D Casey Nelson, one year, $700k

F Sam Reinhart (RFA), one year, $5.2 million

G Linus Ullmark (RFA), one year, $2.6 million

       Calgary Flames

F Buddy Robinson, one year, $700k

D Alex Petrovic, one year, $700k

G Jacob Markstrom, six years, $6 million

F Zac Rinaldo (two-way), one year, $700k

F Byron Froese (two-way), one year, $725k

D Chris Tanev, four years, $4.5 million

G Louis Domingue (two-way), one year, $700k

F Glenn Gawdin (RFA, two-way), one year, $700k

G Tyler Parsons (RFA, two-way), one year, $735k

F Andrew Mangiapane (RFA), two years, $2.43 million

F Joakim Nordstrom, one year, $700k

F Dominik Simon, one year, $700k

D Nikita Nesterov, one year, $700k

F Josh Leivo, one year, $875k

       Carolina Hurricanes

F Jesper Fast, three years, $2 million

D Joakim Ryan (two-way), one year, $700k

F Clark Bishop (two-way), one year, $700k

F Vasili Ponomarev (entry level), three years, $818k

F Spencer Smallman (two-way), one year, $700k

F Steven Lorentz (two-way), two years, $725k

F Jeremy Bracco (two-way), one year, $700k

F David Gust (two-way), one year, $700k

F Sheldon Rempal (two-way), one year, $700k

F Drew Shore (two-way), one year, $700k

G Antoine Bibeau (two-way), one year, $700k

D Gustav Forsling (two-way), one year, $700k

D Haydn Fleury (RFA), two years, $1.3 million

       Chicago Blackhawks

F Dominik Kubalik (RFA), two years, $3.7 million

G Malcolm Subban, two years, $850k

D Nikita Zadorov (RFA), one year, $3.2 million

F Mattis Janmark, one year, $2.25 million

F Lucas Wallmark, one year, $950k

       Colorado Avalanche

F Miikka Salomaki (two-way), one year, $700k

F Mike Vecchione (two-way), one year, $700k

F Sheldon Dries (two-way), one year, $771,750 

F Kiefer Sherwood (two-way), one year, $700k

F Andre Burakovsky (RFA), two years, $4.9 million

F Jayson Megna (two-way), one year, $700k 

F Valeri Nichuskin (RFA), two years, $2.5 million

D Ryan Graves (RFA), three years, $3.16 million

F Tyson Jost (RFA), one year, $874k

G Hunter Miska (RFA, two-way), two years, $725k

D Devon Toews (RFA), four years, $4.1 million

       Columbus Blue Jackets

D Gavin Bayreuther (two-way), one year, $710k 

F Mikko Koivu, one year, $1.5 million

D Gabriel Carlson (RFA, two-way), two years, $725k

F Calvin Thurkauf (RFA, two-way), one year, $700k

       Dallas Stars

G Anton Khudobin, three years, $3.33 million

D Mark Pysyk, one year, $750k

F Joel L'Esperance (two-way), two years, $725k

F Radek Faksa (RFA), five years, $3.25 million

F Denis Gurianov (RFA), two years, $2.55 million

G Landon Bow (two-way), one year, $700k

       Detroit Red Wings

F Bobby Ryan, one year, $1 million

D Jon Merrill, one year, $925k

F Riley Barber (two-way), two years, $725k

G Kevin Boyle (two-way), one year, $700k

F Kyle Criscuolo (two-way), one year, $700k

G Thomas Greiss, two years, $3.6 million

D Troy Stetcher, two years, $1.7 million

F Vladislav Namestnikov, two years, $2 million

F Tyler Bertuzzi (RFA), one year, $3.5 million

       Edmonton Oilers

F Kyle Turris, two years, $1.65 million

F Alan Quine, one year, $750k

F Tyler Ennis, one year, $1 million

G Anton Forsberg (two-way), one year, $700k

F Seth Griffith (two-way), two years, $725k

D Tyson Barrie, one year, $3.75 million

G Mike Smith, one year, $2 million

D Kris Russell (extension), one year, $1.25 million

         Florida Panthers

D Radko Gudas, three years, $2.5 million

F Carter Verhaeghe, two years, $1 million

F Alex Wennberg, one year, $2.25 million

F Ryan Lomberg, two years, $725k

F Vinnie Hinostroza, one year, $1 million

G Philippe Desrosiers (two-way), one year, $700k

F Scott Wilson (two-way), one year, $700k

           Los Angeles Kings

D Mark Alt (two-way), one year, $700k

G Troy Grosenick (two-way), one year, $700k

D Austin Strand (two-way), two years, $725k

F Bokondji Imama (RFA, two-way), one year, $735k

F Quinton Byfield (entry level), three years, $925k

          Minnesota Wild

G Cam Talbot, three years, $3.66 million

F Joseph Cramarossa (two-way), one year, $700k

D Dakota Mermis (two-way), one year, $700k

F Jordan Greenway (RFA), two years, $2.1 million

G Kaapo Kahkonen (RFA, two-way), two years, $725k

D Ian McCoshen (two-way), one year, $700k

D Louis Belpedio (RFA, two-way), one year, $700k

F Marcus Rossi (entry level), three years, $925k

           Montreal Canadiens

D Victor Mete (RFA), one year, $735k

F Brandon Baddock (two-way), one year, $700k

D Xavier Ouellet (two-way), 2 years, $737.5k

F Tyler Toffoli, four years, $4.25 million

G Jake Allen (extension), two years, $2.875 million

F Brendan Gallagher (extension), six years, $6.5 million

D Kaiden Guhle (entry level), three years, $925k

          Nashville Predators

D Matt Benning, two years, $1 million

D Mark Borowiecki, two years, $2 million

F Nick Cousins, two years, $1.5 million

F Brad Richardson, one year, $1 million

G Kasimir Kaskisuo (two-way), one year, $700k

D Tyler Lewington (two-way), one year, $700k

F Rem Pitlick (RFA, two-way), one year, $874k

          New Jersey Devils

G Corey Crawford, two years, $3.9 million

G Scott Wedgewood (two-way), one year, $700k

F Nick Merkley (RFA, two-way), one year, $874k

D Dmitry Kulikov, one year, $1.15 million

          New York Islanders

D Grant Hutton (RFA, two-way), two years, $725k

F Austin Czarnik (two-way), two years, $725k

D Mitch Vande Sompel (RFA, two-way), two years, $725k

D Parker Wotherspoon (RFA, two-way), two years, $725k

F AJ Greer (RFA, two-way), one year, $700k

F Josh Ho-Sang (RFA, two-way), one year, $700k

          New York Rangers

F Kevin Rooney, two years, $750k

F Colin Blackwell (two-way), two years, $725k

G Keith Kinkaid, two years, $875k

D Jack Johnson, one year, $1.15 million

D Anthony Bitetto (two-way), two years, $737.5k

F Jonny Brodzinski (two-way), one year, $700k

D Brandon Crawley (two-way), one year, $700k

F Anthony Greco (two-way), two years, $737.5k

F Alex Lafreniere (entry level), three years, $925k

F Philip Di Giuseppe (two-way), one year, $700k

G Alex Georgiev (RFA), two years, $2.43 million

D Tony DeAngelo (RFA), two years, $4.8 million

F Gabriel Fontaine (two-way), one year, $700k

D Darren Raddish (RFA, two-way), one year, $700k

           Ottawa Senators

G Matt Murray (RFA), four years, $6.25 million

F Logan Shaw (two-way), two years, $725k

F Matthew Peca (two-way), one year, $700k

F Nicholas Paul (RFA), two years, $1.35 million

F Evgenii Dadonov, three years, $5 million

F Rudolfs Balcers (RFA, two-way), one year, $735k

G Joey Daccord (RFA, two-way), three years, $750k

F JC Beaudin (RFA, two-way), one year, $700k

F Connor Brown (RFA), three years, $3.6 million

F Chris Tierney (RFA), two years, $3.5 million

F Filip Chlapik (RFA, two-way), one year, $735k

           Philadelphia Flyers

D Derrick Pouliot (two-way), one year, $700k

F Zayde Wisdom (entry level), three years, $825k

D Erik Gustafsson, one year, $3 million

F Tyson Foerster (entry level), three years, $925k

F Nolan Patrick (RFA), one year, $874k

           Pittsburgh Penguins

F Evan Rodrigues, one year, $700k

F Mark Jankowski, one year, $700k

F Josh Currie (two-way), one year, $700k

F Frederick Gaudreau (two-way), one year, $700k

G Maxime Lagace (two-way), one year, $700k

F Anthony Angello (RFA, two-way), two years, $725k

F Sam Miletic (2-way), one year, $700k

D Cody Ceci, one year, $1.25 million

            San Jose Sharks

F Stefan Noesen, one year, $925k

F Kevin LaBanc, four years, $4.725 million

F Matt Nieto (two-way), one year, $700k

F Patrick Marleau (two-way), one year, $700k

F Ozzy Wiesblatt (entry level), three years, $898k

            St. Louis Blues

G Jon Gillies (two-way), one year $700k

D Torey Krug, seven years, $6.5 million

D Steven Santini (two-way), one year, $700k

F Curtis McKenzie (two-way), one year, $700k

F Sam Anas (two-way), two years, $725k

F Kyle Clifford, two years, $1 million

F Jake Neigbbours (entry level), three years, $898k

D Mitch Reinke (RFA, two-way), one year, $750k

F Austin Poganski (two-way), one year, $700k

            Tampa Bay Lightning

F Patrick Maroon, two years, $900k

D Luke Schenn, one year, $800k

G Chris Gibson (two-way), one year, $700k

D Andreas Borgman (two-way), one year, $700k

F Ross Colton (two-way), one year, $700k

D Ben Thomas (two-way), one year, $700k

             Toronto Maple Leafs

F Wayne Simmonds, one year, $1.5 million

D TJ Brodie, four years, $5 million

F Travis Boyd, one year, $700k

D Zach Bogosian, one year, $1 million

F Jimmy Vesey, one year, $900k

G Aaron Dell, one year, $800k

F Joe Thornton, one year, $700k

F Ilya Mikehev (RFA), two years, $1.645 million

D Travis Dermott (RFA), one year, $874k

             Vancouver Canucks

G Braden Holtby, two years, $4.3 million

F Tyler Motte (RFA), two years, $1.225 million

D Ashton Sautner (two-way), one year, $700k

G Jake Kielly (two-way), one year, $700k

F Jayce Hawryluk (two-way), one year, $800k

F Adam Gaudette (RFA), one year, $950k

F Jake Virtanen (RFA), two years, $2.55 million

             Vegas Golden Knights

F Tomas Nosek, one year, $1.25 million

F Tomas Jurco, one year, $700k

F Danny O'Regan (two-way), one year, $700k

D Alex Pietrangelo, seven years, $8.8 million

F Keegan Kolesar (RFA), two years, $725k

             Washington Capitals

G Henrik Lundqvist, one year, $1.5 million

D Justin Schultz, two years, $4 million

D Cameron Schilling (two-way), one year, $700k

D Trevor van Riemsdyk, one year, $800k

D Paul LaDue, one year, $700k

F Dan Carr (two-way), one year, $700k

F Shane Gersich (RFA, two-way), one year, $700k

D Jonas Siegenthaler (RFA), one year, $800k

F Hendrix Lapierre (entry-level), three years, $925k

             Winnipeg Jets

D Nathan Beaulieu, two years, $1.25 million

D Luca Sbisa, one year, $800k

F Mason Appleton (RFA), two years, $900k

F Nate Thompson, one year, $750k

F CJ Suess (two-way), two years, $725k

F Dominic Toninato (two-way), one year, $700k

D Derek Forbort, one year, $1 million

D Nelson Nogier (RFA, two-way), two years, $725k

F Jansen Harkins (RFA), two years, $725k

Thursday, October 8, 2020

NHL Trade Review: Devils get Murray


       The New Jersey Devils have acquired defenseman Ryan Murray from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a 2021 5th round draft pick. 

       Even though this trade can be seen as a salary dump, the Devils get really good value here for Murray.  The 2nd overall pick in 2012, Murray has always been hampered by injuries, as the last time he played in more than 60 games in a season was 2015-16. In a 59 game season in 2018-19, Murray showed promise as a defensive defenseman, and earned himself a two year extension with an AAV of $4.6 million. The Blue Jackets have been shedding salary all day, clearing up $11.8 million in cap space by trading away Murray and Markus Nutivaara, and buying-out Alex Wennberg. Even if it is a dump, Murray is worth more than a 5th round pick with just one year left and a somewhat reasonable salary if he is healthy. Erik Gudbranson, who has a cap hit just $600k less than Murray, got the same return in a trade to Ottawa today, while Murray is a much more valuable player. If Murray is healthy (a really big if), then the Devils might have found themselves a partner for PK Subban and a steal. 

        Murray, 27, scored two goals with seven assists for nine points in 27 games for the Blue Jackets in 2019-20. In his NHL career, all in Columbus, Murray has 15 goals with 95 assists for 110 points in 347 games. 

NHL Trade Review: Panthers acquire Nutivaara


       The Florida Panthers have acquired defenseman Marcus Nutivaara from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for forward Cliff Pu. 

        For the past four seasons Nutivaara has been a big part of the Blue Jackets defense. But 2019-20 was his weakest, as he dealt with injuries and was frequently a healthy scratch, including in some playoff games. As the Blue Jackets look to clear up cap space to sign Pierre-Luc Dubois and get more improvements, trading Nutivaara is something that probably needed to happen, along with buying-out Alex Wennberg, which they did just before the trade. Florida gets a solid bottom pairing defenseman, and new GM Bill Zito just came from Columbus, so he obviously likes Nutivaara. Since they only have six NHL forwards signed for next year, it is a little odd that they would take on Nutivaara's $2.7 million cap hit for two seasons, but that is a manageable number. They give up almost nothing in return, because Pu, a 2016 3rd rounder, is a fringe AHL player who they acquired for future considerations in 2019. 

         Nutivaara, 26, scored three goals with six assists for nine points in 37 games played for the Blue Jackets in 2019-20. In his NHL career, all in Columbus, Nutivaara has 17 goals with 43 assists for 60 points in 244 games. 

         Pu, 22, had two points (both assists) in 10 games for the AHL's Springfield Thunderbirds last year. He also had one goal with five assists for six points in four games for the ECHL's Greenville Swamp Rabbits. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

NHL Trade Review: Wild and Predators swap Bonino and Kunin


       The Minnesota Wild have acquired forward Nick Bonino, a 2020 2nd round pick (37th overall, used to select Marat Khusnutdinov) and a 2020 3rd round pick (70th overall) from the Nashville Predators in exchange for forward Luke Kunin and a 2020 4th round pick (101st overall). 

       The Predators need some major upgrades, and they've been clearing cap space today, buying-out Kyle Turris and Steven Santini, and making this trade. They could afford to keep Bonino's $4.1 million salary for one more year, and not give up two quality picks. Bonino has shown that he can be an effective third line center, and Wild GM Bill Guerin knows that, as he was Pittsburgh's assistant GM when Bonino helped them win a pair of Stanley Cups. Coming back, they move down about a round, and trade an extra 2nd for Kunin. While he is still young, the 2016 1st rounder has not shown that he can be much more than the third line center that Bonino is now. Kunin is an RFA, so Nashville will get to negotiate their own deal. The two things that really set the two players apart is defense, with the veteran Bonino crushing Kunin, although the latter still has some time to develop. On the Predators roster, Kunin could take Bonino's spot, but the Predators will very likely shake things up when free agency starts, so his exact spot isn't guaranteed. 

       Kunin, 22, scored 15 goals with 16 assists for 31 points in 63 games for the Wild this past season. In his NHL career, all in Minnesota, Kunin has 23 goals with 29 assists for 52 points in 131 games. 

       While the Wild seem far from being competitive in 2020-21, Bonino is a good addition. He can be on the penalty kill, play well at 5-on-5 and even participate on the power play if they want him to. Their cap situation needs to get straightened out, but Bonino only has one year left. An extension could easily have an AAV under the $4.1 million he currently has. The Wild could only hope that Kunin would develop into a Bonino-type, and value of the picks is great, especially since the 37th overall slot can sometimes be a borderline first rounder. 

       Bonino, 32, scored 18 goals with 17 assists for 35 points in 67 games for the Predators this past season. In his NHL career for the Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vancouver Canucks and Anaheim Ducks, Bonino has scored 122 goals with 160 assists for 282 points in 626 games. 

NHL Trade Review: Senators get their goalie in Murray


       The Ottawa Senators have acquired goalie Matt Murray from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for forward Jon Gruden and a 2020 2nd round pick (52nd overall). 

       After the best GAA for a Senators goalie was 3.12 last year, the Senators were in the market for a new starter. While Murray had a rough 2019-20, he had a .919 save percentage in 2018-19, so he can still recover. The Senators will be the team signing Murray's new deal, as he is an RFA. The two-time Cup winner will become Ottawa's starter immediately, and is primed for a comeback season, although being traded to a bottom-five team in the league won't help. Giving up the second round pick (originally from Columbus, acquired in the Ryan Dzingel deal of 2019) plus Gruden is a high price, but with the Senators' insane amount of picks in this year's draft, it is worth it. 

        Murray, 26, had an .899 save percentage with a 2.87 GAA in 38 games for the Penguins in 2019-20. In his NHL career, all in Pittsburgh, Murray has a .914 save percentage with a 2.67 GAA in 199 games.

       With the Penguins' cap issues and Tristan Jarry's emergence, one of either Jarry and Murray, both RFAs, were going to go. It was confirmed to be Murray when Jarry signed a three year extension on October 3rd. Murray has won Pittsburgh a pair of Stanley Cups, but it was time to move on. They get a really good deal for a 26 year old RFA coming off of career worsts. A 2018 4th round pick, Gruden put up impressive numbers in the OHL this past season. Their prospect pool is thin, so adding Gruden and whoever they draft later today (UPDATE: Pittsburgh selected G Joel Blomqvist) is a big bonus.

       Gruden, 20, scored 30 goals with 36 assists for 66 points in 59 games for the London Knights of the OHL in 2019-20. The season before for the University of Miami (Ohio), Gruden scored three goals with 12 assists for 15 points in 38 games. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

NHL Trade Review: Blue Jackets get Domi, give up Anderson


       The Columbus Blue Jackets have acquired forward Max Domi and a 2020 3rd round pick (78th overall) from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for forward Josh Anderson.

       The Blue Jackets needed a center, and the Canadiens needed a winger, so it makes sense why these teams would have interest in the players that they got. However, their values don't line up. Domi is more valuable than Anderson, and throwing in the third rounder is the icing on the cake. While Pierre-Luc Dubois has become a top line center for Columbus, Domi can slot in on the second line, and he can also play the wing. The only problem is that both are RFAs, and with limited cap space, the Blue Jackets offseason will get more interesting. They can create cap space by putting Brandon Dubinsky on LTIR, and buying out Alexander Wennberg, a move that they were rumored to be considering. In his two years with the Habs, Domi has succeeded, especially in 2018-19, when he scored a career high 28 goals with 72 points. Anderson is a decent middle-six scorer, and had a very good 2018-19 as well, but he has had disputes with the Blue Jackets. In 2017 he requested a trade before signing a three year deal, and there were rumors that he did not want to be in Columbus this time around. If that is true, then the Blue Jackets did very well with not much leverage, getting a big need in a center, and adding a pick for tomorrow's portion of the draft.

       Domi, 25, scored 17 goals with 27 assists for 44 points in 71 games for the Canadiens in 2019-20, with three assists in 10 playoff games. In his NHL career for Montreal and the Arizona Coyotes, Domi has 81 goals with 170 assists for 251 points in 375 games. 

       No one is surprised that the Canadiens would have interest in Anderson, even after his rough year. His 27 goal 2018-19 campaign was a breakout season, and we didn't get to see if he could rebound the next year because of injuries. He missed a lot of time thanks to knee surgery, and did not play in the playoffs because of his shoulder. When healthy, Anderson can be a second line winger, and play on the penalty kill and power play, and is a big body, standing six feet and three inches tall. The Habs will try to sign the RFA long-term.

       Anderson, 26, scored one goal with three assists for four points in 26 games for the Blue Jackets in 2019-20. In his NHL career, all for Columbus, the former 4th rounder has 65 goals with 50 assists for 115 points in 267 games. 

Monday, October 5, 2020

NHL Trade Review: Sharks get Dubnyk in second trade between two teams


       The San Jose Sharks have acquired goalie Devan Dubnyk and a 2022 7th rounder from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a 2022 5th round pick. The Wild also retained 50% of Dubnyk's contract.

       Once a Vezina finalist, Dubnyk completely crashed in 2019-20. It was arguably the worst year of his career, or at the very least the worst since before he came to Minnesota in his awful 2013-14 season. The 2004 first rounder has had a weird career, and he is currently a top three goalie in Wild history. Only Nicklas Backstrom has played in more games, and Dwayne Roloson is the only guy with a better save percentage and GAA in a Wild uniform. In the play-in round, Alex Stalock started instead of Dubnyk, who has one year left on his contract. Retaining half of it means that the Wild will face a $2.16 million cap hit. For Minnesota, Stalock, a former Shark, has two more years left on his deal, and top goaltending prospect Kaapo Kahkonen debuted last year after a strong AHL season. He is currently an RFA. While they only move up a few rounds in a future draft, shedding salary and looking to the future is always a good thing. This is a better trade for the Wild than the previous deal between these two teams today, when Ryan Donato went to San Jose.

       For the Sharks, goaltending was a big issue for them last year, as Martin Jones and Aaron Dell both had a GAA of at least 3.00. While Dubnyk's was worse, he has the experience and he could turn things around if guided correctly. He will start the season likely as a 1B to Jones as Dell leaves as a UFA, but I wouldn't be surprised if Dubnyk becomes the 1A by the season's end. Thanks to the salary retainment, this is a very manageable deal for San Jose.

       Dubnyk, 34, had a .890 SV% and a 3.35 GAA in 30 games for the Wild in 2019-20. In his NHL career for the Wild, Edmonton Oilers, Nashville Predators and Arizona Coyotes, Dubnyk has a .915 SV% and a GAA of 2.58 in 520 games. 

NHL Trade Review: Sharks acquire Donato


       The San Jose Sharks have acquired forward Ryan Donato from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a 2021 3rd round pick (via Pittsburgh, acquired in the Patrick Marleau trade).

       Donato is still young, and his contract situation is fine with one year left with an AAV of $1.9 million, and he will be an RFA afterwards. While he isn't going to be a top-six winger, he has shown that he can score at the NHL level, and he has seen limited ice time. Even though he has 18 goals in 84 games with the Wild, Donato has averaged just 11 minutes and 55 seconds per game with Minnesota. The Sharks lack scoring depth, and Donato will give them that, especially if he sees more ice time than he did with the Wild. The former second round pick has showed promise at times, but he should be treated more like a 3rd liner, and less like a 4th liner. The Wild are giving up on him way too early, especially after he had 16 points in 22 games for them in 2018-19. If Donato can show production somewhat close to that, this has the makings of a robbery. 

       Donato, 24, scored 14 goals with nine assists for 23 points in 62 games for the Wild this past season. In his NHL career for Minnesota and the Boston Bruins, Donato has 29 goals with 28 assists for 57 points in 130 games. 

Sunday, October 4, 2020

NHL Trade Review: Kings acquire Maatta


       The Los Angeles Kings have acquired defenseman Olli Maatta from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for forward Brad Morrison.

       A former first round pick, Maatta's career has taken a dip, and a lot of it is thanks to injuries. Maatta has played in 82 games just once (2017-18), and the only other season that he appeared in at least 70 games was his rookie year of 2013-14. A two-time Stanley Cup champion, Maatta was in danger of being bought out by the Blackhawks because of his $4.083 million cap hit, and the Blackhawks facing a goaltending issue, plus Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome's expiring contract with little cap space. Chicago does retain about $750k from Maatta's contract, but having a cap hit of $750k is better than a $4.083 million hit. Maatta is still a quality player, but when you are desperate, a team can take advantage of you. That is what the Kings are doing. They have a weak defense, especially on the left side after trading away Jake Muzzin and Alec Martinez in recent seasons. Getting Maatta, who has a manageable $3.33 million cap hit (after the Blackhawks retained salary) for two more seasons is worth it. In return, they give up Morrison, an ECHL player who was a 4th rounder in 2015 by the Rangers, but didn't sign. It would be a surprise if he makes the NHL. Maatta's stock also increased after a strong playoff run, scoring three goals with three assists in nine games, with only one less goal than his regular season total. 

       Maatta, 26, scored four goals with 13 assists for 17 points in 65 games for the Blackhawks in 2019-20. In his NHL career for Chicago and the Pittsburgh Penguins, Maatta has 29 goals with 95 assists for 124 points in 427 games. 

       Morrison, 23, scored six goals with 13 assists for 19 points in 17 games for the ECHL's Fort Wayne Komets this past season. In 2018-19 for the AHL's Ontario Reign, Morrison had 10 goals with 10 assists for 20 points in 50 games. 

Friday, October 2, 2020

NHL Trade Review: Senators get Brown


       The Ottawa Senators have acquired defenseman Josh Brown from the Florida Panthers in exchange for a 2020 4th round pick (95th overall).

       The Senators have a need for a right-handed defenseman. While Brown isn't a game changer, Nikita Zaitsev is the only right-hander on the roster with more experience. It wouldn't be a surprise if the Senators signed a depth defenseman, or if they let top prospect Erik Brannstrom play on the right side. Unless that happens or 2019 first round pick Lassi Thomson makes the roster, then Christian Jaros would be the bottom pairing defenseman. Standing six feet and five inches tall, Brown has played for the Panthers over the past two seasons, playing in a decent amount of games. Brown is going to be an RFA, and it isn't guaranteed that he would be back with the Panthers anyway if this trade wasn't made. Brown can be a bigger version of Dylan DeMelo, the defensive defenseman the Sens traded to Winnipeg in February. The Senators don't have a fourth round pick after this trade, but they have 9 picks in the first three rounds, so they will be fine. For the Panthers, Brown was being passed on the depth chart by MacKenzie Weegar and Brady Keeper. They could either upgrade on the right side, but most likely they will look for an improvement on the left side after trading away Mike Matheson to Pittsburgh. Getting a 4th round pick for Brown, a 2013 6th rounder who hasn't shown much in the NHL is good value.

       Brown, 26, scored three goals with five assists for eight points in 56 games for the Panthers in 2019-20. In his NHL career, Brown has four goals with six assists for 10 points in 93 games.