6. The doubters
Two or three of the first takes I saw last week when it was announced that Jarome Iginla would retire as a Calgary Flame were like, “What do you think folks? Is he a Hall of Famer?”
And it’s like: Get a grip.
If you think anything other than “Jarome Iginla is a first-ballot Hall of Famer” when you look at his resume, I honestly have to question whether your brain is functioning properly.
Two Olympic golds. Two Memorial Cups. Gold at Worlds, gold at World Junior, gold at the World Cup. Two Rockets, an Art Ross, a Ted Lindsay, a King Clancy and a Mark Messier (which, okay who cares, but also capital-L Leadership is usually a big deal to the kind of freaks who would argue against his candidacy at all). Dragging a crap team kicking and screaming to a Cup Final that his team frankly got screwed out of.
That’s to go with 625 goals and 1,300 points, despite losing a season and a half of his career to owner lockouts, 82 games of which were when he was still pretty close to his prime (his age-27 season). That’s to go with 10 goals in the Olympics. That’s to go with a prime in which he scored at least 28 goals in 15 — FIFTEEN!!!!!! — consecutive 82-game seasons.
Every 82 games he played, he averaged about 33 goals. It’s crazy.
This guy scored 52 goals on a line with Dean McAmmond and Craig Conroy and got totally screwed out of an MVP award because some dumbass writer left him out of the top five despite him having 96 points on a garbage team.
Any idea that he’s somehow not one of the biggest slam dunks in the history of Hall of Fame voting is rooted in the insidious idea that he should have willed one of those awful Calgary teams to a Stanley Cup all by himself.
Imagine this being your internal life. Imagine living your day-to-day thinking this way. Yikes.
5. The Rangers
The Hayes contract is maybe just about right for him, but the “one year” thing is concerning, because it’s led a lot of people to say, “Ah, maybe they should trade him.” Which, if he’s not in their long-term plans, what would be the point of keeping him? New assistant coach Greg Brown coached him at Boston College and undoubtedly knows his game well. So does purge-surviving assistant coach Lindy Ruff. They can probably get a little more out of him than last season would indicate.
But again, if not, yeah you gotta trade him. Which would be a bad move for most teams but if you’re rebuilding, well, why not get a pick and a prospect for him sooner than later?
As for Skjei, well, it’s a lot of money. He had 25 points last season, coming down off a career high of 39 the year before. Obviously the Rangers will be looking to increase his participation in games now that Ryan McDonagh is in Tampa, but he was already third on the team in minutes behind McDonagh and Neal Pionk (what the…?). If you’re playing that many minutes and only scoring 25 points, I dunno.
Obviously he has room to grow since he’s barely 24 at this point, but can he grow into a top-pairing guy? I dunno. That’s what they’re paying him to be, more or less. Maybe it doesn’t really matter because they’re rebuilding and you gotta pay guys for the roles they’re being given, but this contract seems like a not-too-egregious reach.
4. Crying about the rules
So the Caps signed Brooks Orpik last week after they traded him and Colorado bought him out. People were, for some reason, upset about this.
To which my response is: Even if this were somehow a worked-out plan all along, which it may very well have been, who cares? Brooks Orpik stinks. He makes the Capitals much, much, much worse. It’s not like they traded Ovechkin, who then got bought out, so he could be re-signed at a fraction of the price. If you think it would be onerous for the Caps to continue carrying Orpik’s cap hit, that’s fine, but they spent the extra money on Tom Wilson and still brought Orpik back.
That’s a win-win if you don’t like the Caps! Who cares!
3. Waiting on trades
Yet another week has passed, and neither Max Pacioretty nor Erik Karlsson have been traded. At this point, the whole thing screams, “The week before training camp.” Which is fine, I guess, but it’s also no fun having to wait around.
2. David Poile
Here are the Predators’ last three contracts they signed: Ryan Hartman for one year at just $875,000, Juusse Saaros for three years at an AAV of only $1.5 million, Dan Hamhuis for two years at an AAV of $2.5 million, and Miikka Salomaki for two years at an AAV of $750,000.
Hartman could do some serious damage for that price. It’s a bargain. Saaros is their goalie of the future with elite minor-league numbers and strong appearances at the NHL level, and he might get a ton of starts as soon as this season. Hamhuis, well, there’s reason to be skeptical of his underlyings in Dallas but if he’s your No. 5/6 defenseman you’re in great shape. Salomaki is a solid depth forward who isn’t going to score a lot but will rarely hurt you.
All for the low, low combined cap hit of $5.625 million. How does Poile keep doing this?
1. Jarome Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis Iginla
There goes one of the best players of his generation, who could have done so much more if the Calgary Flames gave him almost any help (or if Daymond Langkow hadn’t broken his neck).
I love you!!!!!!!
(Not ranked this week: Believing in the Canucks.
Jim Benning’s pronouncement that the Vancouver Canucks have between six and eight “Grade A” prospects is just about the funniest thing I have ever heard.
I’ve been really puzzling over this. I can get to six good-to-great prospects real easy IF we’re counting a couple guys who are already NHLers.
Brock Boeser (not a prospect after his phenomenal rookie season)
Bo Horvat (who’s got four full seasons of NHL hockey under his belt)
Quinn Hughes (actual elite prospect)
Elias Petterson (actual elite prospect)
Adam Gaudette (actual decent prospect but he’s not Grade-A)
Olli Juolevi (actual decent prospect but he’s not Grade-A and people were apparently worried he plays too much Fortnite)
That’s six U-22 players who will be in the NHL for a while, for sure. I don’t know how you come up with the other two, except maybe Thatcher Demko and MAYBE Jonathan Dahlen, neither of whom are close to being Grade A but are perfectly good prospects.
Anyway, great take from Benning.)
(All statistics via Corsica unless otherwise noted.)