Author: JJ Santagata

Contact information: santagatajay@gmail.com Twitter: @santageetee

New Jersey Devils F Marcus Johansson Is A Name To Watch At The Trade Deadline

It has been a bit of a rough stretch in New Jersey for the once hopeful and highly sought out forward. But Johansson played just 29 games last season due to injuries and has missed 12 games this season. Johansson spent 6.5 years in Washington where he recorded five 40+ point seasons and never really lived up to that expectation in New Jersey. Now as the Devils go from a playoff team to a re-tooling situation, Johansson is one of those players that has not been spoken about much this trade deadline. He is a UFA (unrestricted free agent) at the end of this year, on a 4.8 million dollar deal and probably will not get much more than that due to his lack of production/presence in New Jersey. Plus he is 28-years-old and definitely a player that can be very valuable on a contending playoff team.

Although the price for Johansson may not be as much as Ray Shero and Devils fans except they can still receive a 2nd round pick and prospect for Johansson, or possibly a borderline top-four defenseman and pick. The price will vary depending on how desperate a team is.

Johansson is showing his worth more now as he continues to stay healthy and produce. In his last 11 games he has 5 goals and 5 assists, and in his last 25 games he has 8 goals and 9 assists. Johansson has 25 points in 46 games (11G, 14A, 9PPP, 94 SOG). He is not a name we have heard thrown around much but Ray Shero is at a cross road, re-sign the unpredictable and injury prone forward or trade him to a contending team to at least get something in return. I would have to guess if Johansson does not get traded this deadline he will not re-sign in New Jersey. Shero is not the type of GM to wait until the last second to make a deal either. I would not be surprised to see Johansson’s name thrown around more so over the next 3-4 days.

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Ottawa Senators Actively Shopping Matt Duchene & Make Last Push To Sign Back Mark Stone

The Ottawa Senators cap concerns are here, and the Senators management need to deal with them as soon as possible. They have about a week to move either Duchene or Stone. And as reports form Pierre Lebrun report the Senators are most likely moving on from Duchene and trying to sign back Stone.

The news has been out regarding Duchene for nearly the full season we all knew he was on the move but we also thought their was a chance for him to re-sign in Ottawa. The Senators have now begun to really shop Duchene though. Some teams interested in him have been Winnipeg, Columbus, Nashville as of late. I would predict Duchene goes to a contender and a possible Stanley Cup team but as of now. Teams have just being inquiring about the superstar forward.

As far as Stone goes the news that the Senators are making one last big push for the forward is concerning. Stone seems like he wants to get paid and receive a long term deal therefore if the Senators are not offering that he is going to move on. What I do wonder is what the Senators offers have been that Stone has turned down? If Stone is on the fence between leaving and staying and has already been offered something an turned it down. I am a concerned Senators fans. The whole notion between “making one last push” clearly means that Stone is thinking about going elsewhere…

 

Rob Schremp Shares Bold Take About Ex-Teammate John Tavares

It is pretty obvious that the Islanders have been quite the surprise this year, losing a generational talent and leader like John Tavares and then coming out to be the first team in the Metropolitan division. Is not something ANYONE predicted. Former Islander and ex-teammate of John Tavares, Rob Schremp came out to share a rather bold remark about Tavares after a graphic appeared online showing the Islanders record with and without Tavares.

Schremp went onto say that Tavares is “I did my job superstar” someone who “collects his points and awards and moves on”. This remark much like the Islanders 2018-19 campaign caught a lot of us off-guard.

Schremp’s full comment was as follows: 

“The ultimate I did my job superstar. He wins when he goes to play for his country as they are loaded with players mostly equal or better. Other than that he just collects his points and awards.”

I am so confused as to why Schremp said this? Did Tavares do something to him personally? Are Islanders fans still hung up on the Tavares situation it’s been half a year and they are still upset? I also can guarantee if the Islanders traded Tavares and they received a first round pick and more for Tavares no one would be saying this nor would many of them have the same animosity built up from this situation.

Either way, Schremp was definitely out of line for this comment. Tavares stuck out so many hard years with the Islanders did everything he could to make them a good franchise, won one of their only playoff series in nearly 20 years. He put in his time and years and did not feel like the management was giving back to him, so why not at 28-years-old you know your window is closing and you hold the same goal as any hockey player. To win a Stanley Cup. So, why not go somewhere to try and do it?

Plus if Tavares does not leave the Islanders probably cannot sign Leo Komarov, Robin Lehner this year. They probably cannot afford to sign back Brock Nelson, Jordan Eberle, Anders Lee and Mat Barzal back in the following years. Hockey is a business and Tavares knew his best opportunity to get paid and win was somewhere else. It seems as if Schremp was not fully thinking about the situation and type of player Tavares is. By no means does he come off as a selfish player. To me it is even less selfish to go to Toronto to be in the shadows of Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews and all this young talent in Toronto then stay in New York and be the star.

NHL Trades: Edmonton Oilers send Cam Talbot To Philadelphia, Oilers re-acquire Sam Gagner

Nothing major in the hockey world but as the trade deadline nears there two somewhat minor deals. Edmonton made two of these deals, one of them involved re-acquiring Sam Gagner and the other was receiving back up goalie Anthony Stolarz.

Flyers swap back up goalies

The Flyers sent Anthony Stolarz to Edmonton for goalie Cam Talbot. Stolarz was the Flyers 2nd round 45th overall pick in the 2012 draft. He played 19 games with the Flyers going 6-4-4 with a 2.86 GAA and .911 save percentage. The Flyers pick up veteran goaltender Cam Talbot who spent his first two seasons in New York and then was sent to Edmonton in 2015 where he has been since.

This move was more of a move for Carter Hart I think, they know that Hart is going to be their number one and they know Stolarz could possibly be a number one too. Therefore instead of causing any controversy, they add a goalie who is at the end of his prime time, can be a 25-30 game goalie therefore when Hart is 22-23-years-old he will be in a perfect situation to be a true #1 and Talbot can mentor and guide him for these next two years. The only issue with this now is that the Flyers are paying 10+ million dollars in goaltending. With still Brian Elliott and Michael Neuvirth on pay roll their 5.2 million is useless basically. Plus Talbot is a UFA in the off-season so the Flyers will need to decide what to do with Talbot come the end of this season. Overall I believe Edmonton wins this deal due to the young age and potential of Stolarz.

Spooner on the move again…

Ryan Spooner was sent to the Rangers at the middle of last trade deadline. Stayed with the Rangers for a bit then was sent to Edmonton earlier this season and now to Vancouver. He’s been bounced around to three teams within less than a year . Spooner played 25 games on Edmonton scoring  2 goals and 1 assist. This season he has 3 goals and 2 assists in 41 games. The Oilers do re-acquire their 2007 1st round selection in Sam Gagner. Gagner played 481 games with Edmonton scoring 101 goals collecting 194 assists. Gagner knows the Edmonton area very well and they know him therefore the transition should be easy for the veteran forward. As far as Vancouver they really risk nothing getting Ryan Spooner, he will be a third to fourth line guy that mixes well into their younger style of play.

 

 

Thursday Night Live In The Stands Gambling Corner Best NHL Picks

Ottawa Senators vs Detroit Red Wings

The Senators are a little under looked tonight, Detroit is 11-13-1 at home, coming into tonight off a win and 5-5-0 in their last ten. The Senators are equally as bad when they play on the road 7-18-1 with a 4-6-0 record in their last ten coming off a loss. Still even so, I like Ottawa tonight. The Red Wings took the last game they played 2-0 but Ottawa has edged them out two times already this season and I like the season series win for Ottawa here tonight. They won the first two meetings 2-1 in Ottawa and 4-2 in Detroit. The Senators are going with Anders Nilsson tonight who is 3-2 in his last five starts allowing 12 goals in that span. Red Wings go with Jimmy Howard (probable) who is 2-3 in his last five starts allowing 15 goals in that span. Although the Senators are not great right now, I like them vs a team they have been successful against in the past.

New York Islanders vs Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets are on a four-game win streak, gaining some traction in the Metro right now and 5-5-0 in their last ten games. They also have a 15-11-2 home record. As the Islanders are coming off an unexpected loss to Buffalo, 6-2-2 in their last ten and 16-10-2 on the road. The Islanders lead the Blue Jackets by five points, therefore a loss would not kill them but they only lead the Capitals by two points and the Capitals play a tough San Jose team which means perfect chance for the Islanders to gain a four point lead. The Islanders won the first game of the season series 3-2 and this is only the second of four meetings between the two. The Islanders are probably going with Thomas Greiss as Robin Lehner started last game. Greiss is 4-0-1 in his last five games allowing three goals in this five game span. The Blue Jackets go with Sergei Bobrovsky who is coming off a shutout win vs Washington but is 4-1 in his last five starts allowing 12 goals in that span. This is a very tough match up and call to make, I like the Islanders on the road for the sole reason it is a divisional rivalry, the Blue Jackets coming off a win and Islanders coming off a tough loss. Going Islanders.

Colorado Avalanche vs Winnipeg Jets

This seems like it is a shoe-in and the Avalanche are out before it started. The Jets are on a two-game win streak, 5-4-1 in their last ten and 21-6-3 at home. As the Avalanche look to be the old Avalanche we knew from a couple of seasons ago. They are on a 8-game skid, 1-6-3 in their last ten and 12-12-6 on the road. Versus one of the best home teams in the NHL it will be nearly impossible for the struggling Avalanche to come into this building and take a win. The Jets go with Connor Hellebuyck who is 3-1-1 in his last five games allowing 15 goals in that span. Varlamov is obviously winless in his last five games and has allowed 19 goals in his last five games and 3 of his last five losses have come in overtime. The Avalanche have a tough road ahead of them right now with Winnipeg, Vegas, Winnipeg, Chicago in their next five games. Going Winnipeg tonight.

New Jersey Devils vs Chicago Blackhawks

The Devils are full on fold mode. They are not making a run for the playoffs and are juts getting through the season. They are coming off a terrible loss to St. Louis, are 3-6-1 in their last ten and 7-18-3 on the road. The Blackhawks are coming off a tough loss to Boston but head back home. Where they are 12-10-6 but also are 7-3-0 in their last ten games. The Blackhawks are 5-2-3 in their last ten home games though and have been playing well at home recently. The Devils are 4-6-0 in their last ten road games. The Devils seem to be going with Corey Schneider in net as the Hawks go with Cam Ward. Schneider is 0-6-2 with a 4.12 goals against on the year, while Ward has won his last four starts allowing 9 goals in that span. Going Blackhawks tonight.

Vancouver Canucks vs Los Angeles Kings

The Canucks are coming off a tough loss to Anaheim where they got blanked by rookie goaltender Kevin Boyle. The Ducks snapped a 7-game skid vs the Canucks and that is not going to sit well for them tonight. The Canucks are 12-15-4 on the road, with a 4-5-1 record in their last ten. As the Kings come into this one off back to back losses and are 5-3-2 in their last ten games with a 12-13-1 record at home. The Canucks give their newly acquired goaltender Marek Mazanec the start. Mazanec has played in 25 NHL games with a 8-13-4 record, 2.98 goals against and .895 save percentage. The Kings go with Jonathan Quick who is 2-2-1 in his last five starts allowing 19 goals in that span and 5+ in his last two starts. Going Canucks here tonight, they want to be a playoff team and have any shot at contending a back to back game with the odds stacked against you. This is how you make the playoffs. Also except a good game from the new goaltender Mazanec who has been shuffled around the NHL his entire career.

Recap of picks: 

  • Senators
  • Islanders
  • Jets
  • Blackhawks
  • Canucks

 

 

Fantasy Hockey Buy Low, High Reward Players As The Trade Deadline Nears

The NHL trade deadline is nearing in but so is the Fantasy Hockey trade deadline. Which means if you are a contending team looking to make a run at the holy grail of Fantasy Hockey trophies. You need to start thinking about re-vamping your roster a bit for that playoff push.

The Fantasy Hockey regular season has three weeks left until playoffs (for most leagues) therefore the clock is ticking peeps! Here are my top five options for players you can buy at a low price right now that can provide some big dividends to your roster come playoff time.

Buy Low, High Reward Fantasy Players: 

  • Pierre Luc-Dubois: A guy that is not well known around the league just yet therefore if you do not already have him the person who does have him probably does not value his worth so much and could be willing to sell for a relatively low price. Luc-Dubois is already the Blue Jackets #2 center, in-front of the net power play threat and has been a consistent forward all year. He 21 goals and 28 assists on the year. With the talk of Artemi Panarin possibly on the move, Luc-Dubois will be even more valuable if Panarin does leave.
  • David Krejci: The Bruins #2 center, power play option and always the guy to be used when that line one is broken up. Krejci has filled in on the power pay for Pastrnak since he is out and picked up a par of points already. With Pastrnak out for the next 2 weeks it will be useful to have Krejci. On the year he has 14 goals nd 32 assists.
  • Chris Kreider: For the sole reason that 80% of the Rangers goals and points come from the line this guy is on I’d say he is a good buy. Kreider is having one of his best years to date and it seems as if he is not slowing down. On the year he has 24 goals and 19 assists. He is not a big name and even if other teams do know of Kreider they probably do not value him as much as he could be worth. Definitely a solid buy low option.
  • Sam Reinhart: With the Sabres making a push for the playoffs these next couple of weeks for them are going to be important. Reinhart plays a big role in their offense and when he is scoring and producing the Sabres are successful. Due to Jack Eichel, Jeff Skinner, Rasmus Dahlin, Rasmus Ristolainen Reinhart fly’s a little under the radar. A team may be willing to sell this guy for a low price.
  • William Nylander: After Nylander signed his big contract he went in a bit of a slump and some owners may ready to sell this guy or are even fed up with him. But he has been a lot better in his most recent games collecting 7 assists and 2 goals in his last 11 games. He has 8 assists and 3 goals on the year in 28 games. A player you could possibly say “look he has not been good all year, he is just hot right now” to convince the other owner, throw in a second round pick even too. Nylander is just catching fire and could be a great buy for owners.

 

Kyler Murray Picks NFL Over MLB: What Team Fits Him Best?

Kyler Murray, the Heisman trophy winner, the first round overall MLB draftee, and soon to be first-round NFL draftee has been in the news for his decision to go the NFL route over the MLB route. But the MLB route is not out of consideration. By Murray declaring for the draft this allows him to be scouted, drafted and still have the option of football. Either way I think Murry sticks the NFL route throughout his professional career.

A lot of fans find this to be the wrong decision as the NFL has a shorter career expectancy for most athletes than the MLB does. But with the way game has transitioned to protect the QB’s Murray will be fine. Plus the MLB is no slump to make, going through the A, AA, AAA ranks to hopefully and finally get a shot at the MLB is a lot harder than going to the NFL Combine putting up solid numbers and letting time do its part. Murray is going to have a QB job in the NFL at some point. I don’t think he will come in and be a starter right away, but it does depend on the team who drafts him.

Speaking of teams drafting him. Who will take the very athletic, versatile, Oklahoma Sooners QB this draft? We saw the concern and love over Baker Mayfield last year. Mayfield came from the same program, relatively the same height (Murray is two inches shorter), has a better arm and a better football IQ but Murray ranks up similar to Mayfield. Murray although did throw 4,361 yards last year with a 69.0 completion percentage, 42 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. The kid can run the ball too which makes him a very valuable QB much like a Lamar Jackson but with a better arm. Murray had 140 attempts for 1001 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns last season.

Where does he land?

  • Oakland Raiders: The Raiders QB concerns are no secret. David Carr was not happy, Jon Gruden was not happy with Carr and the Raiders need a fix. If they do not land Nick Foles. Murray could possibly be an option but at #7 it may be too high for the Raiders to draft Murray as they have many other concerns to address right now.
  • New York Giants: If Dwayne Haskins the Giants projected first round pick either gets drafted earlier or some other team like the Jaguars trade up to take Haskins the Giants could be left with the decision to go after Murray or get an o-lineman.
  • Jacksonville Jaguars: If the Jaguars do not land Nick Foles this off-season, they do not trade up in the draft it could make sense to draft Murray. Maurice Jones-Drew former Jags running back did a mock draft with Murray landing in Jacksonville. The Jaguars seem to be moving on from Blake Bortles therefore they need a QB.
  • Cincinnati Bengals: The most possible landing spot at #11 this is right around the spot Murray is projected to go in many mock drafts. The Bengals have Andy Dalton aging and they will need a new QB to step in as Dalton only continues to age and regress. Having Murray sit on the bench and watch Dalton for 1-2 years could be very beneficial for his development like a Patrick Mahomes situation.
  • Miami Dolphins: With the uncertainty of Ryan Tannehill every season the Dolphins cannot call in Jay Cutler once again or Brock Osweiler to come in fix the damage. They can draft Murray let him get a year of NFL play under his belt and be ready for the following year more experienced and tenured.