Sunday, January 31, 2010

A small delay...

Newsletter is going to be delayed this week... numbers are fully-updated though. Will write Monday evening...

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Giguere Re-Joins Burke

2009/2010 NHL Statistics
To TorontoPositionAgeMINWinsPoints2010 Cap Hit2011 Cap Hit
J-S GiguereGoaltender321,108410$6 million$6 million
To AnaheimPositionAgeGP/MINGoals/WinsPoints2010 Cap Hit2011 Cap Hit
Jason BlakeForward36561026$4 million$4 million
Vesa ToskalaGoaltender321,392716$4 millionUFA

As mentioned in the previous post, the Leafs were not done wheeling and dealing on Sunday, as they managed to off-load another two assets that were rumoured to be on the block in Jason Blake and Vesa Toskala and in return, J-S Giguere has been reunited with former GM Brian Burke.

Without a doubt, this is a deal that again solves problems that both teams were going to encounter through the stretch run and possibly into the summer. The Leafs get a desired number one goalie that has a reputation and the Ducks get some complimenting scoring and a back-up to play behind Jonas Hiller, who signed a new deal on Saturday.

The Ducks are only 5 points out of a playoff spot and the scoring depth that Blake brings to the table might shore up some of their concerns going forward. Blake is a speedy forward that might be able to gel well with Bobby Ryan and Saku Koivu.

Salary CapAs you can see above, this is a deal, which sees the Leafs clear up $2 million in annual cap space, which will be helpful in their plan to rebuild in the summer. The Ducks will only have to carry Blake forward into 2011, which likely sits well with management there, as Toskala isn't considered to be worthy of giving Hiller a good run for the number one job. That does seem to be win-win on both sides of the ledger.

In terms of annual numbers, which doesn't have much bearing as of today, the Leafs are still rubbing some cap ceiling issues with a 23-man roster (which includes Mikhail Grabovski, who is injured, and Viktor Stalberg, who may see some time now that Blake is gone) at an annual hit of $56.4 million. Some maths would offer discounts to that number, like the time that Tyler Bozak and Stalberg spent in the minors, Mike Komisarek nearing qualification for the Long Term Injured Reserve, Grabovski's injury and such. For the 2011 season, I can safely qualify the Leafs at $42.5 million for 12 players signed. Free agency should allow some breathing space for the Leafs.

The Ducks have also seen their fair share of injury time and players up and down from the minors, so their discounts should be pretty good on their overall cap number. The 23-man roster I have down for them at the moment has an annual cap hit of $54.1 million, but Joffrey Lupul and Teemu Selanne should do well enough to take that number down, not to mention the discount of the first 50+ games that Blake and Toskala were paid for in Toronto.

ImplicationsOkay, in the Draft, John P.'s team has been touched again, as Blake is one of his players this season. John is not anywhere near the money race this year, so this doesn't have any large bearing on that race at all. Blake wasn't taken at all in Box 17 of the Sheet, so he has no effect there either. Coincidentally, both Giguere and Toskala were both dropped from the Draft in the first round of the first Waiver Draft this year, so they have done their damage in the pool this year. Only Giguere has any sort of selections of note on the Sheet, as he has 8 picks, that still haven't been changed to Craig Anderson of the Avalanche.

The Ducks are going to struggle to even make the playoffs, but this deal only helps them in the end. The Leafs were doing their best to off-load more trouble and in doing so, they got a goalie that their GM really likes. I don't think this is enough for Anaheim to make the playoffs in the end, but it won't hurt them, especially since Hiller is already known as the number one guy there. The Leafs are looking forward to July 2010 with much anxiousness...

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Leafs Land Phaneuf

2009/2010 NHL Statistics
To TorontoPositionAgeGPGoalsPoints2010 Cap Hit2011 Cap Hit
Dion PhaneufDefenseman24551022$6.5 million$6.5 million
Fredrik SjostromForward264616$750,000$750,000
Keith AulieDefenseman20000$758,000$758,000
To CalgaryPositionAgeGPGoalsPoints2010 Cap Hit2011 Cap Hit
Matt StajanForward26551641$1.75 millionUFA
Niklas HagmanForward30552033$3 million$3 million
Jamal MayersForward354428$1.333 millionUFA
Ian WhiteDefenseman2556926$850,000RFA

Well, there is only one potential trade that could be bigger than this one, but for now this is a pretty big deal. The Flames shipped out Dion Phaneuf in a package to the Leafs in exchange for a package of four players, which includes Matt Stajan and Niklas Hagman. In short, the Flames are parting with one of their superstar defensemen, who has been rumoured to be problem in the room, while the Leafs are shifting four players in part of their restructuring plan, including a pair of decent offensive talents.

The Leafs will definitely get an upgrade in offense from the blueline with Phaneuf and will get a little extra speed and grit with the acquisition of Fredrik Sjostrom. Sjostrom should fit in well with some of the speed that already exists on the team. Keith Aulie is a very good compliment for the Leafs in this deal, as he's projected to be a good solid defenseman as well, likely making a good pairing with a guy like Luke Schenn down the road.

As for the Flames, they will get some desperately needed help up front with the addition of Stajan and Hagman, who are having decent seasons, taking into account what kind of team they've been playing on all year. The coach & system shouldn't differ too much from Toronto, which should make the transition easier in the end. Stajan will likely get his hand at centering Jarome Iginla, while Hagman will try and compliment Olli Jokinen, in an attempt to spread out the offense and get more from two lines. Jamal Mayers will give a little bit more veteran presence to the third or fourth line, while Ian White is the lesser role defenseman, who will likely slot behind Jay Bouwmeester, Marc Giordano and Robyn Regehr.

Salary CapIn this deal, there is plenty of cap space shifted around, including the massive cap hit that Dion carries with him, $6.5 million per year for another four seasons after this. The overall cap hit that the Flames have to take on for the remainder of this season is much less than what they were just going to pay Phaneuf, so there is a huge bonus there. Assuming that Mikael Backlund and Jamie Lundmark go down to the minors, the Flames would then have an annual cap hit of $55 million, but there is a lot more math to go into this equation than just that. The Flames are likely still rather close to the $56.8 million cap, especially when you take in the difference of having Phaneuf in your line-up for 55 games, instead of the four players in return.

The Leafs, on the other hand, are not done on Sunday, so I will hold off on their actual cap numbers until I have finished up with their other deal.

ImplicationsSo, let's go down the line, shall we? Dion Phaneuf moves to Toronto, which could very well be an improvement without all the trade distractions and rumoured locker room issues. He has a clean slate, which John B. will likely appreciate in the Draft. Phaneuf was also taken 14 times in the Sheet pool, which might have a big impact on the pool, depending on if any of the money teams have him. Matt Stajan is a pick of John P.'s this season, which doesn't have much of an effect on the money in the Draft. Stajan was also taken once in the Sheet pool, so little movement should happen with his move. Niklas Hagman wasn't taken in the Draft, but was taken four times in the Sheet pool. Ian White was a top available defenseman at the second Waiver Draft, but everyone passed on him, but he does have one selection to his name on the Sheet. Sjostrom, Aulie & Mayers were all not fantasy worthy this year.

As much as the Leafs have landed a top-level defenseman (when he is on his game) in Phaneuf, the Flames have picked up two rent-to-own UFA's, a possible un-qualified RFA and Niklas Hagman, who is a solid two-way player with a contract past 2010, so they have plenty of things to smile about in this deal. I would say that the Flames did well enough to call it a win off the hop, especially with cap flexibility next season, which is huge. Whether or not its enough to turn their season around, that's another story. It is, however, a good start.

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hiller Extends in Anaheim

The Ducks have made a statement on Saturday afternoon by signing goaltender, Jonas Hiller, to a new 4-year deal worth $18 million over the duration of the deal. Hiller has gained a lot of confidence among the Ducks brass and he has been rewarded with his efforts with this new deal. Now this deal revs up the rumour mill, as the J-S Giguere possible destinations are being marked out on the map.

Hiller has appeared in 39 games for the Ducks this season, amassing a record of 21-15-2 with one shutout this season, plus he has an assist to his name, which has lifted his point totals to 45 points in the 2010 season, which ranks him 52nd, unofficially, at the time of when this post is written. Hiller has earned himself the number one job there in Anaheim and with those numbers, you can see why.

Salary CapSo, now its down to the salary cap numbers. Here's what we do know for sure... the new deal for Hiller will be worth $4.5 million against the cap starting next season and that means with Giguere's current deal, that would mean there is a cap hit of $10.5 million between the two keepers. Even with the two goalies, the Ducks are in a position of some flexibility, having only 12 players signed for a total of $34.4 million against the cap. This already includes the goalies, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Whitney, Joffrey Lupul, Dan Sexton and Steve Eminger, which isn't a bad core of players. They will need to work on their depth and build around what they have to succeed.

The assumption is that Giguere is going to be out the door, either via trade or by a buyout, but since they have the flexibility in their potential roster space and cap room, a deal for Giguere would be likely when dealing with a team that is looking to make sure they off-load enough of a cap hit in order to take on the big lump, which is Giguere.

The Ducks have also made a great move by decided on Hiller, especially when it comes to age, as Hiller is 4 years younger and has matured well. Giguere should be an attractive pick-up as a goalie, but only for a team that can eat his $6 million cap hit next year.

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3-Game Suspension for Green

The NHL came down on Mike Green of the Washington Capitals on Saturday morning, giving him a 3-game suspension for the elbow that he gave to Michal Frolik of the Florida Panthers on Friday night. You can see the elbow below in the embedded video.

It's really bad timing for Green's indiscretion, as it comes shortly after the nasty elbow and season-ending suspension of Patrice Cormier in the QMJHL. Frolik did bounce back up from the nasty elbow to the chops, which likely lightened the suspension levied to Green, but as an emerging superstar, the suspension was still handed down and the echoes of a double-standard cease for now.

ImplicationsGreen is a member of Larry's Draft team this year and he's currently sitting in 5th spot in the standings going into the weekend's action. Missing out on the offense that Green brings could hurt his shot of staying that high by Monday morning.

On the Sheet, its no surprise that he was the most popular guy in Box 26, but since he's so popular, almost everyone has him, so there really shouldn't be too much of a change in the standings because of this suspension.

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Lesson For Bergfors

The New Jersey Devils needed to send a message to their rookie sensation on Friday night, as Niclas Bergfors was made a healthy scratch against the Maple Leafs. The young Swede has been having a marvelous season with the Devils, having 27 points in 52 games, but unfortunately, hasn't had a point in his last 5 games and has been a -4 in the process. I would imagine that the trip up to the press box is a short-term solution and should be back in the line-up right away.

ImplicationsIn the Draft, Bergfors was taken in the second Waiver Draft by Dale C. and he hasn't been able to collect any points since activating him allmost two weeks ago. A kick in the pants like a scratch should get him going again, which is what Dale needs to keep himself in the money spots.

On the Sheet, Bergfors was passed over every time in Box 25, where the likes of John Tavares reigns supreme. Tavares leads in selections and points this year, plus he isn't being scratched, so there shouldn't be any trades here.

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Abdelkader Demoted

The Red Wings are making room! Detroit should have both Tomas Holmstrom and Jason Williams back in their line-up on Friday night and to make room for these players, they have decided to send Box 9 forward, Justin Abdelkader, down to Grand Rapids of the AHL for the time being.

To put this in perspective, Abdelkader is a young player that doesn't have to clear waivers in order to be sent down to the minors, whereas a player like Ville Leino, who has been benched and scratched normally lately, would have to clear waivers and the Wings would likely not want to risk that.

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Johnson Sits Out One

A minor upper-body injury kept Erik Johnson out of the St. Louis line-up on Thursday night, but by the sounds of things, that's all the time he was going to miss. Johnson reportedly took part in the pre-game skate and was made a scratch after that, likely deeming himself not 100% for the game. He is considered day-to-day at the moment, but does seem to be probable for Saturday's match against Columbus.

ImplicationsStuart has Johnson in the Draft this season and he's holding onto a slim margin over 12th place Chris, but is closing the gap on 10th place, Ryan with a big week so far. It's almost like he's not even missing Johnson this week, with 17 points this week.

On the Sheet, Johnson was not popular at all in Box 10... taken zero times.

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Oilers Getting Healthy

With the return of both Mike Comrie and Gilbert Brule to the Oilers line-up on Thursday night, it meant that players had to come out of the line-up to accommodate them. Surprisingly enough, it was both Patrick O'Sullivan and Zach Stortini that came out. I suppose O'Sullivan is the bigger surprise of the two, since he's considered to be one of the scoring forwards on the team, but since he isn't doing his job well of late, he was in need of a quick kick in the pants by the coaching staff.

The coaching staff did remark that the scratches are only temporary, so we should expect to see O'Sullivan back in the line-up on Saturday, but its hard to say about Stortini.

ImplicationsIn the Draft, O'Sullivan is the only player of note for any implications and he was taken by Allan this year. Allan is in a battle with Ryan for 9th spot, but still has a 14-point gap up to 8th spot, so a healthy scratch like that wasn't going to help. His return will be greatly appreciated though.

On the Sheet, O'Sullivan wasn't taken at all, but there are eight teams in the pool that were happy that Comrie came back. So, there's more of a positive than a negative there.

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No Spacek For Montreal

It was reported that Jaroslav Spacek missed Wednesday's game with a bout of the flu, but now it sounds like it's something more. Spacek is expected to miss Saturday's tilt against the Senators with an upper-body injury. Of course, you could probably consider the flu to be more of an upper-body issue, but at the moment, it doesn't sound like the flu. He is still considered day-to-day though, so it must not be too serious.

ImplicationsSpacek is a member of John P.'s Draft team this season, a team that has suffered mightily again, falling back down into last place in the middle of Week Eighteen. Granted, a defenseman isn't really going to help too many scoring woes, but another body in an active line-up is always helpful.

On the Sheet, Spacek was taken six times in Box 27, but certainly wasn't the most popular pick of the box. His 16 points doesn't exactly rank him well in the box either, as Joni Pitkanen leads that category with 30 points. The most popular defenseman in that box, Dennis Wideman, only has 15 points... for argument's sake.

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Sheet Concerns for Friday

It appears that Petr Sykora's time with the Minnesota Wild is over. On Thursday, he cleared unconditional waivers meaning that the team could release Sykora from his contract on a mutual basis, which then makes Sykora an unrestricted free agent effective immediately. It hasn't been a good fit in Minnesota for the veteran winger, as he only has 3 points this season on very limited ice-time. There is a buzz that he might get picked up soon, but I don't really see him having too much fantasy value.

On Friday morning, it was announced that the Coyotes have called up Mikael Boedker again to the big club from the AHL. Boedker already has a few games under his belt this season in the NHL, but has been refining his game with the minor league club in San Antonio, trying to become a better professional. His fantasy value is limited at best to the number of games he'll play with the Coyotes. I don't expect it to be very many.

Another undisclosed injury from Pittsburgh. What a shock! Tyler Kennedy becomes another player to have his current injury status shrouded in mystery, as the Penguins move along this season. We can only consider him being out on a day-to-day basis.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Backstrom Gets Rest

The Minnesota Wild look to be doing a wise thing and resting their number one goaltender, Niklas Backstrom, who is dealing with a sore back. The Wild say that they are going to give him a couple days off, including Wednesday night against Detroit and Thursday night against Colorado. In his stead, Josh Harding is getting the nod again tonight, which is good news, since he beat Detroit last night, but tonight, his back-up will be Wade Dubielewicz, who was called up from the minors.

ImplicationsThe season just gets worse for Trevor in the Draft. He's already in last place in the pool and the loss of Backstrom just adds to his loss of Semyon Varlamov earlier this season. Amazingly, Trevor doesn't have the worst goaltending team in the pool this year and its going to be a bit of a longshot that he does. Going into Thursday's action, Trevor has the 9th ranked goaltending team this year, with 75 points, which is 31 points better than Ryan, who ranks last.

Another start for Harding means absolutely nothing in the Sheet pool, as no one has Harding or Backstrom this year, so this has no real implication.

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Theodore Misses a Start

A bit of a goaltending scare for the Washington Capitals this week, when the team had to recall Braden Holtby from the AHL, because Jose Theodore had to leave Tuesday night's game with a lower-body injury after the second period. The team was already without Semyon Varlamov to a lower-body injury and hasn't seen any action from him so far in 2010, but the loss of Theodore was just making a few people a tad uncomfortable. On Wednesday night, it was third-string keeper, Michal Neuvirth, who took to the crease against the Anaheim Ducks, performing admirably in a 5-1 win.

Word out of Caps camp on Thursday morning is that the injury to Theodore was indeed minor and the keeper has deemed himself fit for Friday's contest, barring any rebuttal from the medical staff saying otherwise.

ImplicationsSo, all in all, it does look like Theodore missed out on one start, a start he may not have had anyways, especially on a back-to-back night situation. Let's call it little or no effect on John B.'s team in the Draft, as he currently sits in 15th spot in the standings.

On the Sheet, missing only one start shouldn't have too much of an effect on the most popular goalie in Box 32. Theodore, taken 12 times this year, ranks 4th in the box with 33 points his season, but there shouldn't be too much concern, if he's ready to start on Friday night.

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