Tag: NHL Free Agents

The San Jose Sharks Should NOT Sign Erik Karlsson Long-Term

You have read the title correctly. The Sharks are in deed in no need of Erik Karlsson. And before you start dismantling this article and being a butt-hurt fan, or knee jerk reaction Sharks or Karlsson fan. Think about if for a second.

Are you ready for the article now?

Let’s get into this now. The Sharks traded for Karlsson this off-season as their big off-season acquisition and it was assumed that they were going to be Stanley Cup favorites and that Karlsson made them that MUCH better.

Which is completely understandable. Erik Karlsson is a Norris trophy winner and elite defenseman, pair him with Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Brendan Dillon, Joakim Ryan and you have yourself a solid d-core. Just Burns and Karlsson alone would make for a solid 1-2 punch.

Right now the Sharks are sitting 2nd in the Pacific division with 94 points, five points behind the Flames. They are 2nd in the Western Conference and 4th in the NHL. They have had a successful season without a doubt.

BUT, the Sharks have allowed 230 goals for this season (still eight games left) the most (tied with Washington) among any playoff team. Along with 3.11 goals against per game. The Sharks have not been a great team defensively and that comes with having a defensive core that is heavily offensive minded in Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson, Tim Heed, Joakim Ryan. Which is not a bad thing but the point of this article is to dispute the fact the Sharks need Erik Karlsson long-term.

The Sharks do not need Erik Karlsson long-term by any measure. I myself as well as you should believe that Erik Karlsson does not makes this Sharks team that much better and a future Stanley Cup team.

The Sharks success this season has come off the back of their offense. They have five 25+ goal scorers, two 15+ goal scorers, seven 49+ point scorers and eleven players with 20+ assists on the year. Without this offense the Sharks are no where as good as they have been this year. Their defense has not been any, not one bit of a reason they are successful this season and a top-5 NHL team it has come off the backs of players like Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski, Tomas Hertl, Logan Couture, Evander Kane, Kevin Lebanc, Timo Meier, and Joonas Donskoi all having amazing offensive seasons. Players like Meier, Donskoi, Hertl and Lebanc well exceeding expectations this season, Pavelski scoring 30+ goals again and Burns being the lead man all year.

The Sharks sit third in goals for (263), 3rd in goals for per game (3.55), 6th in power play percentage (23.8), 4th in shots on goal per game (33.4)

Not once have I mentioned Erik Karlsson in that success because he has 42 assists and 45 points on the year, of those 45 points, 20 of them came on the power play leaving him with 25 five on five points. And I do understand that yes while it may come on the power play his majority of points. A lot of other defenseman for A LOT cheaper can get you 20 power play points a season. Is a 9.5 million dollar a year defenseman really worth just power play points? No. Matt Dumba gets 6 million a year and can do the same thing on the power play. Roman Josi gets paid 4 million a year and can do everything Karlsson does. Torey Krug gets 5.25 million a year and is a power play machine. My point is you do not need to pay someone that much money for power play purposes. Be realistic people…

Karlsson has played in only 42 games and it is apparent to anyone with half a brain that Karlsson’s injury that he induced during the Stanley Cup run in 2016-17 is clearly still affecting him and his health is a major question.

Therefore with the success the Sharks have had without Karlsson, seeing Meier, Lebanc, Donskoi and Hertl have great seasons along with the potential of Marcus Sorensen is it smart for the Sharks to invest around 57-70 million dollars in Erik Karlsson? Probably not.

Joe Pavelski contract needs to be renewed, Joe Thornton if he continues needs a contract, Joonas Donskoi, Timo Meier need contracts, Tim Heed and Joakim Ryan need contracts. Justin Braun, Brenden Dillon need contracts at the end of the 2019-2020 season. Are the Sharks really going to risk the long-term success of their franchise for one player who played 42 regular season games, did not bring much or anything at all to the table and realistically does not guarantee this team a cup now or in the coming years.

I’d hope Sharks management can see the big picture here and look at this realistically. Especially with the play of Brent Burns being as good as it has been and also only being paid 8 million a year to be the top-scoring defenseman in the league for the last three or so years…

The Sharks have a number one and two defenseman in Brent Burns. And it clearly shows that you can stack your blue line all you want but without solid goal tending and consistent offense you are not going to win a championship(Nashville). Look at the Penguins d-core in their cup runs, Washington’s last season?

It is evident to me that the Sharks do not need Erik Karlsson. Burns does a fine job sailing the ship. Plus investing a lot of money into Karlsson with his injury concerns and cap-room issues it would cause the Sharks. The Sharks would be better off letting him walk and adding more scoring and better plug-in players on their back end.

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What Could The New York Islanders Rental Options Be At The Trade Deadline?

The New York Islanders have exceeded well above their expectations this season. They are currently first place in the Metropolitan division, 29-15-4, 62 points and fifth in the NHL as well. They are currently on a five-game winning streak, 8-2-0 in their last ten and 14-3-0 since December 15th, 2018. They have a slew of players chipping in from Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizkas to Michael Dal Colle to Jordan Eberle to Matt Barzal to every one in between, on the back end and a two-goalie tandem that is playing unbelievable. It has been an all-team effort for the Islanders, Barry Trotz has made this team a well oiled machine from line one to line four on the front end and a defense that is playing well above their expectations.

But still, the Islanders and Lou Lamoirello believe they can be better and they want to improve. Right now the Islanders have a pretty tough line up to crack with Barzal centering Josh Bailey and Anthony Beauvillier, Brock Nelson centering Lee and Eberle, Filppula centering Leo Komarov and Michael Del Colle and the fourth line that won’t be touched. Therefore where and who would the Islanders get to fill in on the front end? As far as the back end, Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk have been together for quite sometime now, Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech then Scott Mayfield and Devon Toews as the third line. I can see a veteran defenseman sliding in for Pelech maybe, but right now Mayfield and Toews are playing too well to ruin their confidence and game with a veteran defenseman to help add some experience. It has to be a forward in my opinion but who? These five forwards are rentals I can see the Islanders going after.

1. Derick Brassard: He provides some center depth, can play either the bottom six or top six, does not cost a whole lot and the Penguins really are looking to get rid of him. My only concern is that he is a little cold right now and if the Islanders go out and get a cold forward to bring into this hot team it may not work out well. Like the Bruins and Nash last season.

2. Kevin Hayes: This may be the last thing to ever be done a Rangers-Islanders trade but Hayes would be a perfect fit for the Islanders can play the wing or center, is having an expectational year, almost plays like a Komarov just better and younger. Would be a good play-making winger to slide with Bailey and Barzal.

3. Gustav Nyquist: The Islanders could use a player of Nyquist’s caliber, experienced in the playoffs, can be a play-maker/goal scorer, can play the wing well and can really be slotted with any of these Islanders top three lines. Nyquist is used to playing with younger guys therefore a Nyquist-Barzal-Bailey does not sound all that bad.

4. Wayne Simmonds: The Islanders have one player like this a Cal Clutterbuck type of guy but Simmonds can play really well below the goal-line, plays a strong, physical game that the Islanders could use a little more of from their top two lines. Would fit well with Trotz’s system and is on the market.

5. Ryan Dzingel: The situation in Ottawa is pretty clear they have to sign Matt Duchene and Mark Stone if they do not sign both then it makes sense to keep Dzingel but if both sign there is no room for Dzingel on the cap. Therefore he becomes a trade piece. A player that is young, with a ton of potential who would benefit greatly from a good young team. This is a shot in the dark but my final option as to guys who would fall as rentals with some possibility to sign back after the year.

Top-15 UFA Players This 2019 NHL Off-Season

This has to be one of the better UFA off-season’s upcoming. There are a ton of solid players along with a handful of superstar UFA’s this off-season. Just for clarification a UFA means unrestricted free-agent. Meaning that any team can offer them a contract where as a RFA is restricted and their current team gets first bid then if they decline their is a period where the player is available to any team.

1. Erik Karlsson: San Jose Sharks have a very difficult choice, let their captain Joe Pavelski go or re-sign Erik Karlsson… Karlsson is 28-years-old coming off a 6.5 million dollar cap hit, probably looking for 9.5-10.5 million.

2. Artemi Panarin: A BIG conversation surrounding this play-making star. Panarin is looking for around 9 million I’d assume and if the Blue Jackets do shed Sergei Bobrovsky, Panarin may return to Columbus.

3. Jeff Skinner: At only 5.75 million a year Skinner is producing like a 8.5+ million type player right now. Skinner has 29 goals and 42 points in 43 games this season. It will be a BIG topic for Buffalo on what to do with Skinner come the deadline/free agency.

4. Matt Duchene: The 27-year-old forward has been unbelievable this season. Due to his speed, goal-scoring, play-making ability, Duchene will be a highly sought after forward. He has 42 points in 37 games this season (18G, 24A).

5. Mark Stone: Another Senator, Stone is probably going to be making the same he is now just a long term deal. It seems likely he will stay with Ottawa though, depending on Duchene.

6. Joe Pavelski: The 33-year-old veteran forward seems like he is not aging with currently 25 goals and 38 points in 46 games. Pavelski will probably cost 7-7.5 million a year.

7. Sergei Bobrovsky: This is based on Panarin really but I think we see Bob walk from Columbus after this season or possibly soon. Either way whoever gets Bob will need to sign him to a 4-5 year deal for 7 million a year.

8. Jordan Eberle: Eberle did produce 59 points (25G, 34A) in 81 games last season and currently has 19 points (9G, 10A) in 38 games this season. Eberle will cost around 6 million per year, also looking for a long term deal.

9. Jacob Trouba: At 24-years-old, a righty defenseman, a proven top-four defenseman the Jets will have to re-address this situation one more time now. Trouba is on a 5.5 million dollar deal and will look for as much as he can get honestly.

10. William Karlsson: At 5.25 million the Vegas tested Karlsson to see if he could do what he did last year one more time and see if he was worth a big contract. Well, Karlsson has 15 goals and 15 assists in 47 games. He will probably end with around 28 goals this season which may reduce his contract amount but he will see a long term deal.

11. Semyon Varlamov: At 30-years-old this seems to be the age that makes or breaks goaltenders. A lot of teams could use a number one and the Avalanche have to sign a lot of players off their entry level contracts and Mikko Rantanen, what will happen with Varlamov is unknown.

12. Tyler Myers: A big right handed, top-four defenseman is very valuable in this league. The Jets have to choose between Myers or Trouba really.

13. Kevin Hayes: Likely a trade target for many teams this deadline and it is said the Rangers are looking to move him before the deadline but Hayes is making his case for 6 million a year at 5-6 years with 33 points in 39 games this season.

14. Gustav Nyquist: The Red Wings will most likely trade or let Nyquist walk this off-season but to a contending team Nyquist is a valuable experienced, play-making forward. He has 37 points in 45 games this season.

15. Brock Nelson & Anders Lee: Most likely both are going to stay with the Islanders but Nelson is a pure-goal scorer, plays a lot like the other person on this list, Anders Lee. Both of them have a knack for the front of the net. Nelson has 29 points in 42 games this season and Lee has 33 points in 42 games. Combined these two will cost the Islanders around 12.5 million a year.

 

Artemi Panarin to sit down with agent and talk future with Blue Jackets come All-Star break

It is no surprise here that the Blue Jackets and Panarin are coming to an end in their contract. Panarin is on a 6 million dollar deal and becomes a UFA (unrestricted free agent) at the end of the 2018-2019 season. Panarin is leading the Blue Jackets with 6 goals and 20 assists on the year and seems to be enjoying his time right now in Columbus as they are 2nd in the Metropolitan division, one point behind Washington for the lead with a 14-8-2 record. 

Dan Milstein, Panarin’s agent said come the All-Star break January 20th- January 24th he will sit down with Panarin and discuss Panarin’s future with Columbus. 

Milstein also reported to the Columbus Dispatch that Panarin “is genuinely happy with the way things are going this season,” Milstein said. “We will talk business during his break (in January).”

Panarin is a 27-year-old super star right now, he has been in the league for 3.5 years, playing in 266 games recording 259 points (94G, 165A). It would be an absolute tragedy in Columbus if the Blue Jackets allow this kid to walk for nothing and do not end up trading him by the time his contract expires or re-sign him. There were reports that Panarin would be open to hearing offers from the Blackhawks but other than that tiny rumor, there has been no movement in terms of contract talks between Panarin and Columbus. 

Ottawa Senators: What is the plan for Stone, Karlsson and Duchene heading into the 2018-19 season

By now we all know Ottawa is a dumpster fire. After the whole Mike Hoffman and Erik Karlsson tirade, the Mark Stone signing and signing of Cody Ceci to 4.3 mil a year for one-year, just shows everything is out of sorts over there.

The bigger question though, it seems Karlsson is not going anywhere as of yet? It’s been nearly two months since we heard Karlsson rumors so it is fair to say with training camp approaching soon Karlsson will be on the Senators to start the season. Second, what is this Mark Stone deal? Stone is now the 35th highest paid player in the NHL with his contract comparing to players whose numbers reach in the upwards of 80 points year in and year out. Duchene, they have for 6 mil until next year.

Ok, we have not even mentioned the fact Ottawa has Bobby Ryan locked up until 2021-22 for 7.25 mil a year, Marian Gabriok for another three years at 4.875 mil a year, and Clarke MacArthur for 4.6 mil for two years. These are just some of the awful contracts in Ottawa. There is a zero percent chance they can afford Duchene, Stone, Karlsson at the end of 2019.

Here is my take on this and what I think will happen…

What I think Ottawa will do is trade Stone mid way through the year to a desperate playoff contending team, have them swallow some if not all of his contract, receive a mid-level prospect and high draft pick. Probably do the same with Duchene come trade deadline time and receive a first and some third or later round picks and some NHL ready players for Duchene. As well as Karlsson who will be dealt for a first, high level prospect and more. Therefore Ottawa will just walk into the 2019 NHL draft with a ton of first-round picks, a boat load of cap space and a totally different outlet on their team. Pushing youth development and trusting the process. Why? Well Stone, Duchene and Karlsson are all UFA(unrestricted free agents) therefore if Ottawa were to just let these guys walk for nothing that would potentially be the worst decision in Ottawa history since signing Bobby Ryan for 7.25 mil a year.

 

Unrestricted free agents yet to be signed…

Calvin De Haan: The Islanders have yet to resign De Haan and right now he is rumored to be talking with the Rangers and Devils. De Haan a 27-year-old defenseman who has spent the last 8 years with the Islanders. De Haan’s best season came in 2016-17 when he collected 20 assists and 25 points in 82 games. The Islanders only signed him to a 1-year deal after that season and due to injuries De Haan only played in 33 games making him a free agent now.

Patrick Maroon: Maroon was sent over to the Devils during the trade deadline, tallying 13 points in 19 games with New Jersey Maroon has not been rumored to be getting much interest from the Devils. Maroon, 30-year-old power forward saw his most successful years alongside Connor McDavid in Edmonton, collecting 26 goals and 43 points. Last year Maroon tallied 43 points in 73 games. Maroon could be a top six forward for many teams or an even better depth forward for all teams.

Brooks Orpik: Orpik has probably been going through a wild string of emotions as of late. Winning a Stanley Cup to being traded to being bought out and now a free agent at 37-years-old is probably not easy to handle. Orpik is a two time Stanley Cup champion and has been a proven durable and reliable number 5, 6 defenseman. As he gets older clearly his value decreased a bit but still Orpik can be a great depth defenseman on any NHL team. Has been rumored to be in talks with Washington.

 

Rick Nash: Nash after not being resigned by Boston and talks seem to be falling south with Columbus has been said to be considering retirement. Nash at 34-years-old in a game that is transitioning to a younger, quicker and more skill based league has not found himself a home yet, nor a successful last couple of years. After not living up to the exact expectations many had for him in New York, Nash was dealt to Boston at the trade deadline, collecting 3 points in 11 games. The once 40 goal scoring winger may be finding his way out of the league…

Toby Enstrom: After failing to be a reliable option on the Winnipeg blueline it seems Enstrom is not going back to Winnipeg. After spending the last 11 years with Atlanta/Winnipeg the 33 year old defenseman is still trying to find that home on an NHL team’s blue line. Enstrom is not a flashy defenseman who will score 50 plus points a year, but when healthy and on a top four role he could be a reliable penalty killer, eat up minutes and play against other teams top lines. While he may be aging he still can play at a high level if healthy. Enstrom has not been rumored to moving anywhere as of now, but we’ll see.

Andrej Sustr: The 27-year-old Czech Republic defenseman who towers over many NHL players seems to be an option for many NHL teams. Sustr emerged in the league during the Lightning’s first Stanley Cup run in 2014-15 season. Standing at a solid 6’7 220 lb stature a lot of NHL teams would be missing out a very reliable and strong number five, six defenseman. Sustr 63 points in his 318 career NHL games his best year coming in 2015-16 when he collected 21 points 77 games. at 27 years old Sustr may be looking for a long term deal, worth around 2-3.5 mil AAV based on the market right now.

Other notable free agents…

Mark Letestu: Based on the market and Letesu’s age and best year coming in 2016-17 tallying 35 points, he could be a solid fourth liner, or borderline 3rd liner. Worth about 1.5-2 mil AAV, short term deal.

Anthony Duclair: With Duclair having yet to establish himself he is looking at a 1-2 year prove it to me contract type thing. He has spent now 3 years in the NHL on 3 different teams. Best year coming in 2015-16 when he tallied 44 points. A ton of upside but consistency has been the issue with Duclair.

Dan Hamhuis: Right now you are looking at about 2.5-3 mil AAV for Hamhuis based on the market and other defenseman signing around that deal Hamhuis is a solid dumber five borderline four defnesmean. Adds depthand the ability to play against other top lines. He can bring about 20-25 points to the blueline.

Robin Lehner: He is a 1-2 year, prove it to me type goalie as well. As other goalies around his value have been signed, right now Lehner may be jobless until a starting role or back up role pops up. You are looking at around 1.5-3 mil for Lehner.

Scott Hartnell: Hartnell is nearing the end of his career, he’s probably worth 1 year 1 mil, would not be surprised to see him return to Philadelphia to end his career.

 

 

Cam Ward, Jonathan Bernier, Carter Hutton signing news as July 1st approaches

Cam Ward is said to be signing with Chicago soon. The Blackhawks have reportedly been in constant contact with Ward. After Corey Crawford dealt with some major injuries and the Blackhawks missed the playoffs due to goaltending issues and some poor defensive depth. At least the Blackhawks have at least addressed one area of concern. Crawford is set to also be a UFA (unrestricted free agent) in 2019-20. Ward is now 34-years-old probably looking for a 2-3 year deal. The terms and conditions have not come out yet but it is Ward is set to be a Blackhawk soon.

Jonathan Brenier is set to be a Detroit Red Wing upon free agency. Brenier is 29-years-old emerging in the NHL on the Los Angeles Kings, and then bouncing around between Toronto, Anaheim and now Colorado. Brenier is probably coming in to compete with Jimmy Howard for the starting job. Brenier is coming off a playoff appearing season and one of his best years with a 19-13-3 with a 2.85 GAA and .913 SV percentage. Bernier’s best year came in 2013-14 starting in 49 games with 26-19-7 record a 2.69 GAA and .923 SV percentage. Again terms and conditions have not come out yet but it is said he will be a Detroit Red Wing soon.

Carter Hutton is said to be rumored to Buffalo soon. Buffalo is going after Hutton for their starting goalie role. Hutton at 32-years-old now gets his first staring job. Hutton played for St. Louis as the back up for 2 years, before that he was a back up in Nashville for 3 years. Hutton is coming off his best season starting in 26 games posting a 17-7-3 a 2.09 GAA and .931 SV percentage. Hutton will now be another Buffalo test, Robin Lehner failed, so let’s see if Hutton can be the savior in Buffalo…