Friday, June 23, 2017

Oshie Gets Max Term in DC

Well, as if the entry draft day needed any more intrigue and/or excitement, the Washington Capitals did their best, throwing their hat into the ring, signing forward T.J. Oshie to a new 8-year contract extension on Friday.  If you're new around here, this is the maximum amount of term allowed by the CBA and it is accompanied by an annual cap hit of $5.75 million, a $46 million total.

The 30-year old forward was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next weekend, but is now locked in with the Capitals, where he has made himself a decent fit, but has still yet to really wow anyone in the US capital.

Last season, Oshie scored 33 goals and 56 points in only 68 games for Washington, which was good enough for 75th overall in pool scoring, 52nd among all forwards and if he could string together a full season, those numbers could look much better.

Forwards Cap Defense Cap Goalies Cap
Alex Ovechkin 9.538 Matt Niskanen 5.750 Braden Holtby 5.100
Nicklas Backstrom 6.700 John Carlson 3.967 Vitek Vanecek 0.714
T.J. Oshie 5.750 Brooks Orpik 5.500
Marcus Johansson 4.583 Taylor Chorney 0.800
Lars Eller 3.500 Kristofers Bindulis 0.793
Tom Wilson 2.000 Madison Bowey 0.695
Jay Beagle 1.750 Aaron Ness 0.613
Riley Barber 0.925
Jakub Vrana 0.863
Garrett Pilon 0.776
Nathan Walker 0.650
Tyler Graovac 0.625
Zach Sill 0.613

Salary CapSo, it's a rough looking preliminary roster, well before the draft and the free agency window opening, but the Capitals are not in terrible shape, even with the Oshie deal under wraps.  Certainly, giving the player term helped with the cap number, but with this current 22-man roster above, subject to change mightily before opening night, it has $12.8 million in cap space to work with.  The Capitals still have Evgeny Kuznetsov, Andre Burakovsky, Dmitry Orlov and Philipp Grubauer still to sign, so it probably isn't a lot of money to work with, but with the way trades have been working this summer, anything is possible.

Fringe Signings (Jun 23)

The Edmonton Oilers opted to use some of their new found cap space after the Jordan Eberle/Ryan Strome deal to re-sign defenseman Kris Russell, giving him a new 4-year deal, reportedly worth $4 million per season.

Russell, normally a good hockey pool option, had his 2017 season interrupted a few times to injury, missing out on 14 games in total and that hampered his scoring numbers, leaving him with only 1 goal and 13 points in total.  If he can get his health together and find some consistency in the Oilers' lineup, he should have some real hockey pool value.

Rangers Acquire Another 1st for Stepan

2017 Season July 1st Status
To Arizona Pos Age GP G/W Points Years Cap
Derek Stepan F 27 81 17 55 4 $6.5m
Antti Raanta G 28 30 16 41 1 $1m
To New York Pos Age GP Goals Points Years Cap
Anthony DeAngelo D 21 39 5 14 2 $863k
2017 1st Round Draft Pick

The New York Rangers made a big splash as well on draft day, sending forward Derek Stepan and back-up goalie Antti Raanta to the Coyotes for the 7th overall pick tonight and defenseman Anthony DeAngelo.

The Rangers reportedly were not keen on Stepan's scoring numbers for another four years and they were obviously keen to take advantage of another solid pick in this year's draft, now occupying the 7th and 21st overall picks tonight.  New York is also operating with far more cap space than we normally see them with, projected to be around $19 million with a 21-man roster.

The Coyotes, on the other hand, get an experienced scoring forward and an experienced goalie on their roster, which goes well with Niklas Hjalmarsson, who they acquired in a deal earlier this morning.  All of a sudden, the Coyotes are a little harder to play against and they might be able to find the net a little more with Stepan in tow.

The Coyotes are going all kinds of crazy, making changes, adding players and parting ways with their coaches.  This add gives them a little bit more scoring, in theory, assuming they can find someone to play with him.  Arizona is still a little ways away from being competitive in the Pacific Division, but these moves are at least a commitment to making the changes in that direction.

The Rangers are going to be big players again in the free agent market with all this cap space, so making any assumptions on what they are going to do next season is a little premature, but for their long-term plans, you have to be pleased with the direction they're going in there.

Now, is it worth while going back to the mock draft?  Hmmmm...

Blackhawks Ship Panarin to Columbus for Saad

2017 Season July 1st Status
To Columbus Pos Age GP Goals Points Years Cap
Artemi Panarin F 25 82 31 74 2 $6m
Tyler Motte F 22 33 4 7 2 $925k
To Chicago Pos Age GP G/W Points Years Cap
Brandon Saad F 24 80 24 53 4 $6m
Anton Forsberg G 24 1 0 0 0 RFA

The Chicago Blackhawks continue to roll on this entry draft day, as they are apparently wanting to change their culture back to how they may have had it during their Stanley Cup runs, reacquiring Brandon Saad and sending a fellow $6 million man, scoring forward Artemi Panarin the other way.

In both deals that Chicago had made today, the reports are suggesting that the Blackhawks wanted more long-term stability in the deals that they have acquired, while still managing to get a little bit younger.  The familiarity of Saad was a big selling point, especially to the core of the team already and they do get to add a little bit more goaltending depth in Anton Forsberg, who has plenty of AHL experience already.

The Blue Jackets add some significant scoring, not only in Panarin, who is a top 10 forward in the pool rankings, but they get a very good quality prospect in Tyler Motte, who was likely penciled in to make the Blackhawks' lineup in 2018, as a full-time skater.  This sort of scoring depth doesn't just land in your lap everyday and it is no surprise that the Blue Jackets may have jumped on this deal, since Saad didn't feel like the right fit in their playoff run.

This is a bit of a game changing deal, one could say. as the Metropolitan Division adds another top end scorer to the mix, the Central Division may get a little harder to play in, as the Blackhawks added some serious grit to their side.  I don't think anyone saw this deal coming on draft day, but it certainly makes the hockey world a little more intriguing this summer, as we speculate what this could do to both teams going forward.

Hjalmarsson for Murphy

2017 Season July 1st Status
To Arizona Pos Age GP Goals Points Years Cap
Niklas Hjalmarsson D 30 73 5 18 2 $4.1m
To Chicago Pos Age GP Goals Points Years Cap
Connor Murphy D 24 77 2 17 5 $3.85m
Laurent Dauphin F 22 24 2 3 0 RFA

The Chicago Blackhawks have made a sizable effort to try and get younger, ahead of tonight's entry draft, acquiring defenseman Connor Murphy and forward Laurent Dauphin for defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson.  The Coyotes, on the other hand, add a little bit more veteran experience to their roster with their half of the acquisition, but it is pretty much a wash, when it comes to scoring, as both defenders were considered pool worthy, albeit on the back end, in the defenseman spectrum.

The Blackhawks are aiming to get a bit younger and a little bit more flexible underneath the salary cap ceiling, given that it didn't move up too much in this off-season, but this is only the tip of the iceberg.

The Coyotes do add a presence in this deal and it sounds like they are far from done as well on this draft day.  We shall see!

My Mock Entry Draft, Version 2

With the expansion draft now passed us, we did see a few 1st round picks get shifted on Wednesday night, which means there will need to be an adjustment to the mock draft, with picks moving to and fro, back and forth and so on and so on.

Upon further reading, I think a couple of opinions needed to shift, especially since I was doing the mock draft without a lot of materials and scouting reports early on and the more one reads, the more informed they may be.  So, with that being said, here is the updated list I want to go with, heading into the weekend's fun.  Of course, we could still see picks shift, but if I don't get to this list now, I probably won't have a shot at a decent result.

Team Player Name POS Pick
Nolan Patrick F 1
Nico Hischier F 2
Miro Heiskanen D 3
Gabriel Vilardi F 4
Casey Mittelstadt F 5
Michael Rasmussen F 6
Cale Makar D 7
Cody Glass F 8
Timothy Liljegren D 9
Kristian Vesalainen F 10
Owen Tippett F 11
Ryan Poehling F 12
Eeli Tolvanen F 13
Lias Andersson F 14
Callan Foote D 15
Juuso Valimaki D 16
Pierre-Oliver Joseph D 17
Martin Necas F 18
Robert Thomas F 19
Nicolas Hague D 20
Nick Suzuki F 21
Urho Vaakanainen D 22
Elias Pettersson F 23
Connor Timmins D 24
Klim Kostin F 25
Isaac Ratcliffe F 26
Jesper Boqvist F 27
Kailer Yamamoto F 28
Erik Brannstrom D 29
Josh Brook D 30
Shane Bowers F 31

I still think Vegas, who now has three picks in this round, is still going to look for some sexy picks and picking up a sniper, like Tolvanen and a hulking defenseman like Foote has a lot of upside for this franchise, which is going to take the express elevator to the top of competitive balance.