Which team has had the worst off-season to date?
By: The NHL Nosebleed Team
Peter Bolt- New York Islanders
Hands down the New York Islanders. Not only did the Islanders lose John Tavares and Calvin de Haan, but to make matters worse by signing Tom Kuhnackl, Valtteri Filppula, and Leo Komarov who are all on the decline. Just when it looked like they were about to piece it all together by hiring Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello it all falls apart. I’m not sure what Lou Lamoriello was thinking offering out these contracts but maybe his age is getting to him…
(Jack Fenty Comment)
On the other hand, the team did add Lou, Trotz, and former Caps goalie coach, Mitch Korn. Losing Tavares is a huge loss, but it looks like the team is heading in the right direction with the moves up top. Plus they needed bottom 6 forwards, they signed way too many of them but at least they got them.
Colin Noonan- Ottawa Senators
Conventional wisdom would suggest the Islanders, but they still have the best center from last year on the team in Mat Barzal and had a home run of a draft getting Oliver Wahlstrom and Noah Dobson. The answer for me is the Ottawa Senators. They’re still stuck with the worst contract in the league, they saw the Sharks flip one of their former assets to a division rival in Mike Hoffman, they passed on Filip Zadina for Brady Tkachuk, and their two biggest trade chips, Matt Duchene and Erik Karlsson, get less and less valuable by the day. Everything Ottawa handled this offseason, they handled wrong.
Jack Fenty- Ottawa Senators
No one thought going into this offseason that it was going to be a pretty one for the Ottawa Senators. The team had to deal with owner, Eugene Melnyk’s comments regarding relocating the Sens, which occured back in the regular season. Now onto the offseason itself, one of the biggest stories of the offseason was the controversy between Sens forward Mike Hoffman’s girlfriend and star defenseman Erik Karlsson’s wife. News had broke that after Karlsson’s unborn child died Hoffman’s girlfriend sent harassing and inappropriate text to Karlsson’s wife. This led to Hoffman being traded, which is actually a huge loss in terms talent on this team. Not only did they lose a talented player, the organization was in the spotlight once again for the wrong reasons. After this the draft rolled around and General Manager, Pierre Dorion, let other GMs know that Erik Karlsson and Matt Duchene were available for trade. Both were not traded, but it looks like both eventually will be due to Karlsson not yet resigning with the team. Regarding the draft itself I have no problem with the Sens drafting Brady Tkachuk, Brady will be a star power forward for years to come in this league. Due to the lack of moves made this offseason this team will follow bottom three in the league.
Mike Moss- Ottawa Senators
With Erik Karlsson most likely not going to resign, Mike Hoffman getting sent back to their own division, and talks for relocation the Senators have been a dumpster fire all summer. The only move that I like was drafting Brady Tkachuk (even if he may go play for London this year). They are early front runners for future #1 pick Jack Hughes and don’t even own their own first round draft pick.
Chris Yackel- Ottawa Senators
It's unbelievable that just 15 months ago the Ottawa Senators were one goal away from going to the Stanley Cup Final. Since then the Sens haven’t had anything seem to go right. Most of it is their own doing. Erik Karlsson is still an Ottawa Senator as there is no indication he has any interest to re-sign with the organization. Karlsson should have been dealt at the draft and everyday he remains a Senator, his trade return becomes less valuable. Pierre Dorian also screwed himself with the Mike Hoffman situation. Hoffman’s time in San Jose only lasted an hour as the Sharks flipped him back to the Atlantic Division with the Florida Panthers. Talk about a backfire.
Photo Courtesy of ET Canada
It’s an age old argument, but one that will always live on. Breaking down the top 4 hockey ever.
By Chris Yackel
Now that it is summertime not much is happening around the NHL. Barring a major trade or anything else, major news won’t be occurring until before training camp. So, with the offseason in full swing I think its time to open up a debate. An NHL Mount Rushmore if you will. Who are the four best hockey players ever? Before we dive into that though, lets give some honorable mentions to legends who didn’t make my top 4, but were strongly considered.
Sidney Crosby, C (Active Player)
Stats: GP: 864, G: 411, A: 705, P: 1,116
Crosby has been the best hockey player in the world for the past decade plus. He’s a playmaking center that is a very underrated goal scorer and makes anyone on his line instantly better. He has dominated the NHL as his resume speaks for itself. He’s captained the Penguins to three Stanley Cups two of them in consecutive years, a feat that is incredible in the salary cap era.
Individually he’s won two Conn Smythe Trophies for playoffs MVP, two Hart Trophies, three Ted Lindsey Trophies, two Maurice Richard Trophies and two Art Ross Trophies. He simply is the best player of this generation and he may eventually be on my Mount Rushmore when his career is all said and done.
Alex Ovechkin, LW (Active Player)
Stats: GP: 1,003, G: 607, A: 515, P: 1,122
Ovechkin may be the greatest goal scorer of not just this generation, but of all time. He has won the Maurice Richard Trophy for most goals in the regular season a record SEVEN times. He’s scored 50 or more goals seven times. He has won three Hart Trophies, three Ted Lindsay Trophies, a Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year) and Ovechkin this past June finally won his first Stanley Cup.
Along with that cup he won the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoffs MVP. If Crosby is the greatest player of this generation, Ovechkin is for sure a close second. He is also another player like Crosby that if he continues doing what he’s doing, he will be on my Mount Rushmore.
Maurice “The Rocket” Richard, RW
Stats: GP: 978, G: 544, A: 422, P: 966
He is one of the most dominant goal scorers of all time. He played in an era in which being only 5’10, 170 lbs was extremely hard to do. He took punishment, he felt pain, but he managed to be one of the greatest goal scorers ever and did it with pure grit and talent. He is an absolute legend across Montreal as helped the Canadiens to EIGHT Stanley Cup Champions.
Mike Bossy, RW
Stats: GP: 752, G: 573, A: 553, P: 1,126
Bossy just like Ovechkin and Richard is one of the greatest goal scorers ever if not the best one. He was a key to the Islanders dynasty in the 1980’s as he helped the Islander win four consecutive Stanley Cups. Many people seem to forget the fact that Bossy only played 10 seasons as he retired at the young age of 30. He still managed to score 573 goals by the time he was 30.
Imagine if he played until he was 35 or 40. His numbers may have declined gradually, but 900 goals are not out of the question. He averaged for his career 0.762 goals per game. That is the best of all time. Better then Gretzky, better than Lemieux. He probably would be a lock on the Mount Rushmore if he continued playing.
NHL’s Mount Rushmore:
Wayne Gretzky, C
Stats: GP: 1,487, G: 894, A: 1,963, P: 2,857
He is the greatest hockey player of all time. With the nickname “The Great One” there is no question on that. In total he holds SIXTY-ONE NHL records. SIXTY-ONE!!! This includes being the all time leader in goals, assists and points. Gretzky has captained four Edmonton Oilers teams to win the Stanley Cup. He revolutionized the game and made hockey popular in California. He was the consummate professional and is a great ambassador to the game. Gretzky being on the Mount Rushmore is a no brainer.
Mario Lemieux, C
Stats: GP: 915, G: 690, A: 1,003, P: 1,723
Mario Lemieux has done it all. I mean how many players are elected into the Hall of Fame, come out of retirement and become an active player in the Hall of Fame? Lemieux did. How many active players own the team they play for? Lemieux did. How many people win back to back Stanley Cups as both a player and an owner? Lemieux has. If he didn’t suffer so many injuries during his career his on ice achievements could have been even greater.
Maybe even better than “The Great One”. That however takes nothing away from what he did as a player and in my opinion is the second best to ever do it. As an owner the guy even saved the Penguins from bankruptcy, moving from Pittsburgh and has drove this second wave of hockey renaissance in Pittsburgh. Lemieux may belong on this Mount Rushmore more than anyone else.
Bobby Orr, D
Stats: GP: 657, G: 270, A: 646, P: 915
Number 4, Bobby Orr. The greatest defenseman ever to live. He completely revolutionized the position as he made it normal for defenseman to contribute offensively. Orr was like a forward playing defense. His skating was unrivaled and unlike anything ever seen in the NHL. He won a record EIGHT Norris Trophies for the league’s best defensemen. He won two Stanley Cups, two Conn Smythe trophies and probably has the most famous goal in the history of the NHL. Bobby Orr is a lock for my Mount Rushmore.
Gordie Howe, RW
Stats: GP: 1,767, G: 801, A: 1,049, P: 1,850
He played the most games in NHL History. He was nicknamed, “Mr. Hockey”. Captained the Detroit Red Wings to four Stanley Cups. Howe won six Hart Memorial, Trophies and six Art Ross Trophies. He transcended the game and was even Wayne Gretzky’s idol growing up. He is another player that revolutionized the game with his toughness and ability to hold his own ground, but also be a star on the score sheet.
Howe made having a fight, goal and an assist in a game a great feat. His “Gordie Howe Hat-trick” has been a legendary part of the game for years now. In addition to his time in the NHL, Howe also played 419 games in the upstart WHA hockey league of the 1970’s. Howe would play all the way to the age of 51 after retiring at age 42 and returning at 45. Just truly incredible from a truly incredible guy. Although Howe past away just two years ago, his legacy will live forever.
Photo Courtesy of Sportsnet.ca
A complete breakdown on why the NHL’s “hard” salary cap is stunting the growth of the league.
By Chris Yackel
The NHL’s current salary cap system has been around since the 2005-06 NHL season. It was implemented after the 2004-05 full season lockout that hurt the game of hockey immensely. However, since that lockout the NHL has increased revenues as the health of the league has never been better for the most part. The league’s financial success has continued even with a half season lockout for the 2012-13 season. This financial growth has seen the leagues salary cap rise from $39 million in the 2005-06 season to $79.5 million for this upcoming season.
The salary cap in theory I think is great for the NHL, but I also think it is holding back the growth of the league and the game. It also is holding back the players from making more money. Take Connor McDavid for example. The 21-year-old Oilers star who is arguably the best hockey player on the planet.
Last summer McDavid signed a massive deal for 8 years and $100 million dollars. The deal has a cap hit of $12.5 million dollars. Although that is a lot of money, McDavid could easily make more with a softer cap. He was originally going to make $14 million a year (at the time the most possible money McDavid could have made based on cap percentage) on that massive extension, but once the news of the deal came out, McDavid allegedly took less money to not seem selfish.
It was a great gesture by a great player, but one that I think is prosperous. The salary cap forced McDavid to take less money so it didn’t hurt the rest of his team. I believe if the NHL switched to a softer salary cap system like we see in the NBA this would no longer occur.
Limits on how much money a player can make is ridiculous. McDavid in reality should make $20 million dollars a year. However, the salary cap and contract limits strip the players of maximizing full financial potential. This occurs as many owners still reap the benefits of revenue sharing.
Many will defend the salary cap’s place in the game for various reasons. Ultimately, the system has been useful, but I don’t think it’s the most effective as far as growing the game. This doesn’t mean all arguments for the “hard” salary cap make sense.
You will hear the word parity a lot in the defense of the salary cap. The beauty of a hard salary cap is it keeps a good completive balance in the league. Any team can make the playoffs any given year. We saw this last year with both the Colorado Avalanche and the New Jersey Devils making the playoffs after finishing last in their conference during the 2016-17 season.
This sounds great on paper and is a great argument, however I don’t think this parity is great for the growth of the game. You see in the NBA how Golden State has won 3 titles in 4 years. Some may say that’s a bad thing, but since Golden State’s dominance in the NBA began the league’s financial success has been seismic.
People talk about it over all sports media networks and sites. You see people all over the place with Golden State gear and Steph Curry jerseys all over not only the country, but the world. Dynasty’s grow the game globally and financially. Love it or hate it, it sells.
All of this occurs under a salary cap. It is a much softer salary cap, but its one that has been working in the NBA for not only the league, but for the players as well. Their deals are amazingly large. Numbers like of $200 million over 5 years are given to players such as Steph Curry. Now I’m not saying the NHL are at that level financially as the NBA clearly they are not, but the deals given out now in the NHL are not even close to what players can potentially make.
You will hear the argument that if the NHL didn’t have a strict, “hard” salary cap all the rich teams (pretty much all the original six teams) would sign all the star players. I disagree completely. This is something I think would happen more with no salary cap at all. I by no means am saying in this article that their shouldn’t be a salary cap, there should absolutely be one. All I’m saying is it should be a lot softer than it is now.
Ultimately, we will not see the NHL implement a soft salary cap anytime soon as Gary Bettman and company are obsessed with having a parity driven league. However, if the NHL seriously wants to grow the game and make it more popular having a softer cap will do that.
Photo Courtesy of The Buffalo News
Ryan O’Reilly is now a member of the St. Louis Blues, but how will this trade effect both the Blues and the Sabres.
By Chris Yackel
The St. Louis Blues had a massive first day of free agency on Sunday. They signed David Perron and Tyler Bozak to solid deals and dealt for center Ryan O’Reilly from the Buffalo Sabres. Although the Blues have improved tremendously with these moves, the price to get O’Reilly was certainly high. St. Louis gave the Sabres a 2019 1st round pick, a 2nd round pick, Vladimir Sobotka, Patrik Bergland and top prospect and former first round pick Tage Thompson.
Blues Vantage Point
The St. Louis Blues have consistently been one of the better teams in the Western Conference over the past decade. However, this past season saw something quite different. The Blues missed the playoffs for the first time since the 2010-11 season. They started this past season really well as they seemed to be a team destined to make the playoffs.
The Blues instantly cover a hole at center ice left by Stastny with this move. They now become a great team up the middle with the signing of Tyler Bozak and the trade for O’Reilly. O’Reilly is a character guy that will mesh will in a very cohesive and professional Blues locker room. He will also bring a lot of production, as last year he had 61 points, (24 goals, 37 assists) with the Sabres. This is the type of the move the Blues needed in order to get back into the playoffs and become a threat in the Western Conference again. The cost may be very high and may bite the
Blues down the road, for now though the Blues are a much better team now than they were before July 1st.
Sabres Vantage Point
This was an absolute haul for the Sabres who have been trying to deal O’Reilly for quite some time now. The 27-year-old center was due $7.5 million dollars of bonus money by the end of the day on Sunday. That put pressure on the Sabres to move O’Reilly before they had to pay him that bonus. They did a tremendous job of doing that and getting great value for O’Reilly.
The Sabres were very weak in their forward depth and they’ve done a lot the past several days to change that. This trade puts 3 good players in their lineup and if you include adding Conor Sheary in a previous trade that’s 4. The Sabres already look like a team that will be much improved going into this year, especially with the addition of 1st overall pick Rasmus Dahlin. This trade for 3 good to great roster players and great draft picks over the next several years looks like more than a win for the Sabres, even if they lose a great centerand leader like O’Reilly.
Its hard to label a winner and loser in this trades, as I believe both sides overall improve greatly in this trade, but in much different ways. O’Reilly really is a great fit for the Blues and will put them back into contention. The Sabres really needed forward depth and got three of them in this trade. They are all good forwards too and certainly are not scrubs. On top of this the Sabres get a 1st round pick next year and a 2nd round pick in 2 years.
Overall, I think this trade will work out for both sides, but if I had to pick one winner I would pick the Sabres. O’Reilly is a good player, maybe even a great player, but the Blues gave up way too much for him. We’ll see who really won this trade as time goes along.
By: Colin Noonan
The Los Angeles Kings and Tampa Bay Lightning were of the same mind at the start of free agency. LA locked down their perpetual Norris finalist in Drew Doughty with an 8 year/$88 million contract extension while Tampa signed former New York Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh to a 7 year/$47.25 million deal. Both defensemen are fantastic in their own right, but simply put, one team can afford their deal while remaining competitive and the other can’t.
Let’s start with Tampa because Steve Yzerman must have sold his soul to the devil in order to have this much elite talent on below market value contracts. It’s almost unfair having a team run this well in the state of Florida because they can offer less than most teams while still offering more net money on account of Florida not having a state income tax. What that gets you is deals like Stamkos for $8.5 million a year, Nikita Kucherov for $4.76 million, and Anton Stralman for $4.5 million.
Players are already inclined to take a pay cut to go to a contender like the Lightning. Pay cuts are also a lot easier to take when you could actually end up with more cash. As much as anything else, this savvy cap navigation is what makes Tampa one of the best teams year-in and year-out.
The Los Angeles Kings, on the other hand, find themselves in a very different position. A fringe playoff team a year ago, they needed a significant influx of talent if they were to get back to the levels they reached in the early 2010’s where they were consistent Cup contenders. The only problem is, it’s very hard to do that when you have over $43 million tied up into 7 guys who, with the exception of Doughty at 28, are all at least 30. They’re paying Ilya Kovalchuk $6.25 million and he hasn’t played an NHL game since 2013.
If you think they’re anywhere near getting out of this, you’re wrong. Dustin Brown, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Dion Phaneuf all have some variation of no-trade clause in their contracts so the earliest the Kings could get rid of all these deals is the summer of 2021 for Kovalchuk and Phaneuf and summer of 2022 for Brown. As bitter of a pill as it would be to swallow, LA probably would be better off long term if they traded Doughty for a boatload of prospects and picks, rather than clinging to the treadmill of mediocrity they’re on now.
The case of Drew Doughty and Ryan McDonagh highlights a larger point on how critical cap management is to remaining competitive in today’s NHL. Savvy deals like McDonagh and Stralman can ensure your club remains a contender for the foreseeable future while saddling yourself with contracts like Jeff Carter and Dustin Brown can kill and Cup ambitions your team has.
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The New York Islanders are Back (This aged well)
By: Jack Fenty
July 1st, 2018 will go down as one of the worst days in New York Islanders history, the day that John Tavares decided to sign with his hometown team, the Toronto Maple Leafs over the New York Islanders. After the announcement was made that JT was going to the Leafs for 7 years you could almost smell the burning JT 91 Islander jerseys burning across Long Island. You could also see the rage, hate, and disappointment across Islanders twitter. Now that some of the smoke has cleared and the rage has reduced I am here to give my opinion on the whole situation that played out.
As of midnight, Saturday night, John Tavares had not signed with the New York Islanders, which meant he would not be able to sign an 8-year extension with the team. As the hours rapidly approached midnight the more Islanders fans grew furious and rightfully so after they had checked twitter 1,000,000 times over the course of the day for any news to break. If Tavares did not sign by 12 A.M. there was just about no shot that he was going to sign at all with the Isles. Another reason people were furious at the former captain was he had not contacted the team that they were out. Now, fast forwarding to Sunday David Pagnotta tweeted out “Confirmed: John Tavares has agreed to terms with the Toronto Maple Leafs”. Well this historic tweet sent Isles fans including myself into disbelief and then followed with once again rage. The common theme so far is a lot of angry Isles fans! Then Tavares tweets out a picture of him as a child sleeping under a Toronto Maple Leafs blanket and captions it “Not everyday you can live a childhood dream.” Following that tweet he sent out a six sentence iPhone notes message addressing the Islanders. Okay so there’s the story so why is it such a big deal he left a team that only won one playoff series since he got there you may ask?
At midnight last light I was in disbelief that John Tavares had not signed yet. Just two-weeks ago I was very confident he was going to stay with the Islanders. Even before Lou and Barry Trotz were hired I thought he was staying and I had good reason to believe it. To begin with, at this year’s trade-deadline Tavares told Garth Snow he did not want to be traded causing the Islanders to miss trading Tavares for assets instead of losing him for nothing. Secondly, when the season was over Tavares pretty much said he loved it on Long Island and wanted to stay if everything worked out right. It is hard to see these actions from Tavares indicating that he is going to stay and then at literally the last second flip on the Isles and join the Leafs. John Tavares had ghosted the Islanders, not letting them know he would not be joining them only hours before free-agency opened. Stan Fischler, long time, and much respected reporter for the MSG Networks asked the former Isles captain the question all Isles fans were wondering:
Look I have no idea if Tavares really took up to last night to decide if he wanted to go to Leafs or Isles, but it is very hard to give him the benefit of the doubt at this time. Could he have blatantly lied to the Islanders organization and fans? The part that makes the less sense to me and probably infuriates me the most is the picture of Tavares laying in bed as a kid with the caption being “Not everyday you can live a childhood dream.” After seeing this tweet, it is very hard to not believe that Tavares through his 9-seasons playing on Long Island has not had the thought in the back of his head to play for his hometown team.
At the end of the day though I am not that mad that Tavares did not sign with the Isles. Do not get me wrong Tavares is a great player but the way he was being valued around the league made it seem like he was a top 10 players in this league…which I am sorry to say Leafs fans he is not. At 32 years old, only 4 years from now, I bet he won’t even be a top 30 player in the league. Now readers this sounds as if I am just a crybaby and I totally understand if you think that right now, but I have had these thoughts about Tavares for years. For starters I never found him a great captain let alone a good captain and at times during a game or stretch of the season I found him to be totally absent.
Look at the end of the day this lack of signing sets the Islanders back, but the future is bright with young players such as Barzal, Beauviller, Bellows, Dobson, Wahlstrom, and Toews just to name a few. And with Lou and Barry Trotz calling the shots success will hopefully come in the near future. This is a dark dark day for Isles nation, here’s to better times. Let’s Go Islanders!
By: The NHL Nosebleed Crew
It’s that time of the year again, the beginning of free agent frenzy on July 1st. In this blog our writers will predict where the top unrestricted free agents may go. Remember that between now and July 1st players can sign with the team they are already on.
There is a good group of free agents forwards this year that will definitely garner a lot of interest and cost a lot of $$$. Tavares is the franchise changer and clearly is the best name available. However, there are several big names on this list that have great resumes and a lot to offer to wherever they sign.
John Tavares, C, 27
Paul Stastny, C, 32
James Neal, RW, 30
Joe Thornton, C, 38
David Perron, LW, 30
Rick Nash, LW, 30
Tyler Bozak, C, 32
Riley Nash, C, 29
Patrick Maroon, LW, 30
Michael Grabner, RW, 30
Tomas Plekanec, C, 35
Talk about slim pickings, now that John Carlsson was re-signed by the Caps this group is super weak and most of these players will be highly overpaid.
Mike Green, D, 32
Calvin De Haan, D, 27
Ian Cole, D, 29
John Moore, D, 27
Brooks Orpik, D, 37
Carter Hutton, G, 32
Robin Lehner, G, 26
Jaro Halak, G, 33
Kari Lehtonen, G, 34
Petr Mrazek, G, 26
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