#NSHLKyper on the Gaudreau Deal
Tuesday, November 14th
GAUDREAU DEAL BETTER WORK FOR CALGARY
"Draft schmaft." Where have I heard that one before?
Who needs future draft picks? Prospects? The Flames need to win NOW.
The question is: is Johnny "Hockey" the answer to get the Calgary Flames respectable and into the post-season? You know what, in my opinion he very well could be.
After losing Nicklas Backstrom in free agency, the Flames re-grouped and used what assets they had to go into "win now" mode and find a top line forward. Well, they couldn't have done much better than a 23 year-old stud like Gaudreau. Combine him with the addition of Drew Doughty thanks to "Expansion by Contraction" this off-season and Calgary could really be on to something.
Of course, like any other team it could all go to waste really quickly and we may be sitting here a year from now having finished "Expansion by Bankruptcy" in at least one western Canadian city.
A new-ish GM asked me today if I thought the Gaudreau deal, combined with the start of the pre-season would open the door to a flood of other moves. While I think there are teams out there looking to fill gaps they either missed out on in free agency, or they're seeing weaknesses in the armour they had not noticed before, I think GMs will wait it out for the most part.
Look, any player that was signed this off-season cannot be traded until after Opening Day Waivers. That's a fact. That takes a bunch of assets off the table.
GMs are now in the process of sending players for conditioning in Training Camp. Using up those valuable TC points takes a whole other load of players off the potential market as its very rare a GM wants to use their points only to deal the player a week later.
Add to that Opening Day Waivers themselves. Everyone 25 or older that teams want on the farm have to clear waivers. For some teams that means a bit of roster juggling to try and "protect" certain assets.
So what good is an "NSHL Insider" if they have no inside scoop?
Fine. Point taken. Here's your "insider information":
The expansion Los Angeles Kings have realized after two games that the Hutchinson-Markstrom duo between the pipes will be a big area of weakness for them this season. While it is still really early, I'm hearing reports that they've sent out feelers to a few teams, with Corey Crawford's name popping up out of Quebec as a prime candidate to be moving to Hollywood. The three year deal Marc-Andre Fleury signed this off-season makes him the man of the future in Quebec, while Crawford's expiring contract make him an interesting target for the Kings.
While they've only played one game, defensive troubles once again seem to be haunting the San Jose Sharks with Brayden McNabb and Brent Seabrook both putting up minus performances in Game #1. According to a few of my sources, the Sharks actively pursued a number of defensemen in free agency, including Alexander Edler and Torey Krug who both ended up in Toronto. A name that keeps popping up in relation to the Sharks as well is Chicago's Keaton Ellerby who will soon be the odd man out once Rasmus Ristolainen makes the jump.
Finally, it's about that time of year again where a team is unhappy with Jordan Staal and his name runs around the rumour mill. Here we are again, this time the Detroit Red Wings have been faxing teams to see if anyone's interested in the 28 year-old's services. I'm hearing the Montreal Canadiens kicked the tires and made an informal offer that included Dwight King and a pick heading to Hockeytown. Not sure what the Red Wings' response was to be exact, but I wouldn't put those talks to bed just yet.
Me however, bed is exactly where I'm headed. G'night!
Malkin's Philly Rich
Tuesday, October 17th
Former Two-Time MVP Taking Off For Philadelphia
"So tell me Nick, did Evgeni Malkin get more or less than you expected in free agency?"
You know what, he got less. Why?
The Flyers played it smart and went short-term and offered up the No Movement Clause, a Signing Bonus and a Player Option. The NSHLPA assigns a lot of value to those add-ons and they hit the mark on all three. So you know what? They didn't have to get into what I thought in salary - I was seriously expecting to see a $17 or $18 M base salary and we didn't get it.
But Malkin got PAID. I'm hearing there were 7 or 8 or even 9 teams in on him in the first UFA wave - including all the deep wallet clubs: Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, Pittsburgh. I heard a few in the know suggest one of the expansion clubs even dipped their toes in the water. He's a stud and he has a new home with the Flyers.
Guess what that means for their former top centre Ryan Kesler? Pack your bags, sell your house. You're done.
The good news there is the same teams that were interested in Malkin can reset and focus on Kesler and likely save a few bucks in the process. I've gotta believe the Blackhawks are done with the UFA centre chasing though, they'll run with Zibanejad and Kuznetsov and instead likely turn their focus on the other big name Russian on the open market: Alex Ovechkin.
I know Chicago really wanted Malkin to come back, but at the end of the day they took a gamble and it didn't pay off. Literally.
Spoiler alert now, OK? Cover your eyes if you hate these things.
The Philadelphia Flyers are not done. They're going to be in on Ovechkin too. GM Brad Rippberger has the cash and he's going to spend it and he's going to fix what hasn't been working.
I would not be surprised in the least to see Malkin, Ovechkin, Kris Letang and Shea Weber introduced at a Flyers' press-conference at the end of the week.
Another big spender as indicated by their Olli Maatta "all the chips in the centre of the table please" offer - the New York Rangers. By the way, if I'm honest here I sort of miss all the bickering and handbagging that used to go on when an offer-sheet was tabled. How do we get those guys back? That was classic!
I think the Rangers are in on Kesler. I think they're in on Ovechkin. I think they'll cautiously look at Letang and Marc Staal and see if they can get one of those two at a reasonable rate.
I'm also hearing they're in talks with the expansion Los Angeles Kings to move goalie Eddie Lack - a player Los Angeles has considered offer-sheeting but has opened trade talks instead. Seems like Kings' GM Tower doesn't want to ruffle feathers in his first off-season in the league.
Judging by how that worked out for that other jabroni: Good. Call.
The next wave ends tomorrow - should be more money spent. LOVE IT.
#NSHLKyper: Expect More Offer-Sheets
Sunday, October 15th
"Hamonic & Trouba Are Only The Beginning.."
We have officially entered a whole new wave of free agency. This is it folks, offer-sheets are here to stay.
Yes, offer-sheets have been a thing of the past and have been contentious to say the least. Now that the table has been assigned to "adults only" everyone is moving forward, accepting the #NSHLOS as a form of strategy. No children allowed.
The recent league changes forcing restricted free agency on all players of age, as well as forcing all those players to test the market changed the game.
How do I know?
For one, look at the quality of restricted free agents still on the market. Solid players, veteran stars in our game that go without an offer-sheet. Brad Marchand, Nicklas Backstrom, Claude Giroux, Marcus Foligno, Jakub Voracek. Would we have seen these guys even hit the market in years past?
Teams are now so far on board with offer-sheets and the compensation involved that they're holding onto playersin hopes of an offer-sheet. GMs are saying "Hey, please offer-sheet my player, I'll take the compensation."
Think on that for just a second.
A couple of seasons ago there were wars of words between the Brian Burkes and Kevin Lowes of the NSHL world. One was vastly opposed to an offer-sheet and one used it as a tool to attempt to improve their squad.
The market is over-saturated and there's too much talent available for the picks teams have. The offer-sheet has become a cordial part of NSHL society and this season at least has over-shadowed the start of a UFA period with stars the likes of Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin and Ryan Kesler.
The Travis Hamonic and Jacob Trouba offer-sheets are only the beginning. The market has dropped to a more affordable level at $5,500,000 and above and there are more than a handful of players available that would have signed for at least that much when the negotiation market was offline.
The Rangers and Lightning took back impressive hauls for high-end free agents. The Blackhawks and Maple Leafs seem content with their exchange and sources tell me may not be done just yet either.
Maybe that Florida Panthers character was on to something way back when?
Re-Signings: No Surprises.. Yet
Saturday, September 30th
NSHL Insider Nick Kypreos
Carey Price is off the market.
Brayden Schenn? Off. The. Market.
Jonathan Toews? 29 and re-signed to a four year deal. Also, off the market.
This year's restricted free agent market took a major blow on Saturday with the announcments of this year's ELC Bridge Contract signings and uses of the first ever RFA Tags.
What's really interesting to me is a few names that will hit the market whose GMs could have locked them up already, but elected not to.
Vladimir Tarasenko, Jacob Trouba and Sami Vatanen are names I expected to earn a "bridge" deal but instead will go to market. Brad Marchand and Claude Giroux I somewhat expected to earn RFA "tags" given they're 29 and can take a deal into their unrestricted years.
My sources tell me the Canadiens and Tigers who hold their respective rights are actually looking forward to restricted free agency and would strongly entertain having those players "walk" and take the compensation. Don't forget that when the Panthers and Predators were around Marchand and Giroux had homes elsewhere, so there's no loyalty.
Speaking of no loyalty, also hitting the market is Quebec's former Norris Trophy winner Alex Pietrangelo who also did not get tagged. Now there's no secret that Logan Couture's deal is up after this season, so the Nordiques might just prefer to let Alex get what he gets in RFA and use the tag on a 29 year old Couture and lock him up into his 30s.
On the subject of the RFA Market.. I was asked recently whether or not I felt this year's "Offer-Sheet Season" would be as testy as in years past. Honestly, I don't think the "bad blood" that existed between the likes of former Panthers' GM Jamie Mitchell and the old Jets' GM will exist again, but I'm sure you'll see the offer-sheets presented. There's a lot of talent on the market and with the new system in place, it's too tempting for GMs to not make an offer, if even just to drive up market value.
And no ladies and gentlemen, driving up market value isn't a crime (anymore).