6 – Being unreasonable
Hold on here folks, I’m gonna crunch some numbers here and… yeah, no I was right about this: The second deal is actually a lot worse and very dumb for the Bruins to even bother with. Why on earth would a player who’s worth about $7.5 million for a max-term contract in today’s market, at a minimum, say, “Well I won’t take six years at that price, but I for sure will take seven.”
Look, clearly this is the Bruins misunderstanding, on a fundamental level, what the player is worth and what the market for him would bear if it were at all fair for players. He’s not gonna get offer-sheeted. Not now, not if he just goes without a contract as training camp or even the season starts. Maybe they want to give him a bridge deal, but all indications are to the contrary. Why offer six or seven years at a laughable AAV when you could offer one or two at the same price, or even a slight discount? I don’t think it would be a good idea to do that, mind you, but there’s a certain kind of logic to it, in theory.
The Bruins have some mid-sized dumb money (including buyouts for Dennis Seidenberg and Jimmy Hayes) coming off the books over the next two or three seasons so if you can finagle something short-term with Pastrnak maybe that’s the play. But as I said a few weeks ago: They have more than $10.1 million in cap space to play with here, so why futz around with it?
I mean, the answer is probably, “Because it’s the Bruins.” Can’t wait to hear, when he’s been traded to Carolina for Noah Hanifin before the season starts, how Pastrnak was Actually A Problem in the room.
5 – The whole Tavares thing
Yeah of course it’s not about money. Any team is going to give John Tavares a Toews-and-Kane kind of deal, or a Malkin kind of deal at the very least.
Everything about the Islanders is a mess right now. No rink, no particularly good depth. No defense. Maybe no goaltending (certainly, no guarantee of stable goaltending). So why would a player want to stick around for that?
The good news is that there’s a fairly large amount of cap space long-term Tavares and Calvin De Haan need new deals that will probably get a little pricy, but other than that you’re saying maybe Brock Nelson and that’s about it for big-time commitments? That gives Garth Snow the flexibility to actually fix whatever’s going on with this team, at least to some extent.
Of course, this is the guy who’s paying Andrew Ladd, Cal Clutterbuck, Casey Cizikas and Johnny Boychuk a combined $19.95 million against the cap through 2021(!), so the idea that all the budgetary flexibility they’re about to have is going to be apportioned in a reasonable manner is specious.
If I’m Tavares, obviously I want assurances that Snow has a plan and the team has a rink. If not, yeah, I can get whatever money I want just about anywhere in the league. Line around the block and all that.
Question for the Isles is simple: Can they reasonably promise anything at all in either of these regards? Tough to see that right now.
4 – Being reasonable
Okay folks so Will Butcher has a landing spot and — maybe — an outside shot of making the NHL roster this season. If not, he would almost certainly be the first call-up from Binghamton in the event of an injury.
But as with all other UFA college signings, please don’t get it into your head that, because the kid said he’s sorta like Duncan Keith, he is in fact sorta like Duncan Keith.
It’s like any other comparable you see in the draft. “Oh this kid has a game like Ron Francis.” Cool, well he’s probably not gonna score almost 1,800 points, be a Hall of Famer, or even come close. Y’know, odds aren’t great.
But people love to get themselves all worked up for these kinds of players. Your Justin Schultzes. They don’t live up to the hype because the hype is ridiclous. But if people in New Jersey keep it in their head that this kid’s probably an okay third-pairing guy right now, boy won’t it be nice if he turns out to be that, or maybe a little better? Wow, think of how fulfilled you would be!
3 – Being very reasonable
Danis Zaripov, huh?
A guy who just failed a drug test (okay, and it was for Sudafed). Who has exactly one season of experience playing in North America (with Swift Current of the WHL… in 1998-99). Who is also 36 years old (two days younger than Ron Hainsey, and instantly the 33rd-oldest player in the NHL). Who finished last season as fourth in scoring on his own KHL team mostly because his linemate led the league in goals (he had 16 goals and 29 assists; Sergei Mozyakin had 48-37-85).
So why are all these NHL teams about to line up for him? He scored one fewer goal in 18 playoff games as he did in 56 regular-season games. And on only 90 fewer shots!
This is some caveat emptor stuff. He’s got a ton of points in the last four KHL seasons, but he went from 64 in 53, to 64 in 60, to 54 in 60, to 56 in 45. Mozyakin was on his line the whole time, so that looks an awful lot like an ugly aging curve (he’ll be 36 most of next season) and not really a guy who drives the bus offensively. Throw in the learning curve of the smaller rink with less time to make decisions, etc. etc., and I’m not optimistic this guy is gonna make a big difference despite whatever amount of money he’d be able to pull.
Of course, sign him, put him with a guy who can play a bit, maybe something happens for you. If he could be an effective enough passenger with Mozyakin he probably doesn’t suck or anything, but if you think he’s gonna be a big difference-maker, I have a heavily-used Russian who just failed a drug test to sell you.
2 – Pro tryout season!
Ah yeah baby, everyone’s signing these PTOs now! My personal favorite? You know it’s Tanner Glass to Calgary, because of course it’s Tanner Glass to Calgary. I bet he makes the roster ha ha ha.
As for the ones that might actually work out? Well, that’s a little harder to say. I think Brandon Pirri in Florida looks like a potentially very solid addition, and Jimmy Hayes to New Jersey could go okay too, simply because Hayes isn’t nearly as bad as he looked last season (probably).
I think maybe even Eric Gelinas in Montreal is a decent gamble, not that I think he’s necessarily going to make their roster.
The absolute worst tryout, though, is RJ Umberger to Dallas. Why on earth do this?
Anyway, the thing to remember about PTOs is that they’re most often a way for teams to pretend to kick the tires on veteran players who aren’t really NHLers any more, but use them to meet league standards related to how many actual NHL players have to play in preseason games at any one time. LA has Brandon Prust, Andrei Loktionov, and Chris Lee coming in for these things.
That means three guys who will actually make the roster don’t have to play like two extra preseason games. Not bad for the teams. Very bad for the fans who are paying regular-season prices to see Chris Lee play 15 minutes.
1 – Getting antsy
We’re like two weeks away from training camps opening. I’m losing it, gang!
(Not ranked this week: Not signing Jagr.
Man, Tanner Glass can get a call from the Flames but Jagr can’t. What a world.)
(All statistics via Corsica unless otherwise noted.)
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