NHL Trade Scenarios, Shedding Cap and More (Jun 21) – DobberHockey

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I went to my Twitter followers for topic suggestions this week. Here we go!

I was surprised to see that 180 players fit this description. Wow – 180 players hit their team’s cap space by at least $5M. And that’s just the ones signed for next year! We still have this year’s crop of free agents to add to that tally…

I think two or three of them are bound to go somewhere new. Especially with Seattle open for business and ready to capitalize on their cap space. I think the Lightning are bound to move Tyler Johnson (three years left at $5M AAV). And that would just get them to the limit! So Yanni Gourde is probably also going to be moved.

The Islanders need to clear up room to sign Anthony Beauvillier, but the player or players they move to enable them to do this would probably make below $5M AAV… The Sharks need to do something, but their two big defensemen are untradeable (contracts) and their high-money forwards are untouchable. Which leaves just one guy to speculate on, in my opinion: Marc-Edouard Vlasic…. Toronto is in their usual summer spot of stubbornly keeping their high-paid core and shaving off a $3M player or two.

Washington will do something. They need to if they want to keep Alex Ovechkin and re-sign Ilya Samsonov. Which they do. Something will happen. Will it be as much as a $5M+ player? That’s the question. If they do, then it would be Evgeny Kuznetsov, TJ Oshie or Anthony Mantha. But I suspect they’ll explore the players of lesser importance first, such as Carl Hagelin or Justin Schultz.

And then there are the popular trade rumors that are everywhere. I think Seth Jones finds a new home somewhere. I think if he agrees in advance to an extension with his future team, then Columbus could get a huge return for him. I’d love to see a move involving Mitch Marner, as I think that would be a great fit for both teams, with them adding fluff and criteria as needed to get it done. But I’d bet a million dollars it never happens because trades that make sense to everyone else on earth never make sense to the NHL GMs…. Jack Eichel is also probably on the move. I hope, for Buffalo’s sake, that they get an Eric Lindros-type return for him. They need some good bounces… And while Oliver Ekman-Larsson is being shopped around, he ranks 33rd in AAV and has six (six!) seasons left. Even if Arizona eats $2M of that, I still think moving him will be difficult.

It’s hard to believe that Jeff Skinner, a player that nobody expects to get 35 points next season, still has six years left on his deal that pays him $9M AAV. This is the biggest player heist since Bobby Holik took the Rangers for a ride after his career year. Skinner picked the right time to score 40 goals and tie his career high in points (63).

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I would love to see Toronto trade Mitch Marner for Seth Jones, on the condition that they agree to a six-year deal with Jones beforehand. Columbus gets the 90-point stud and elite setup man they need to take advantage of Oliver Bjorkstrand’s and/or Patrik Laine’s tremendous upsides. You can’t put these guys alongside a Boone Jenner and Alex Texier. The domino effect of a Marner would be massive. And for the Leafs, Kyle Dubas rants about his core players…but Jones would be his core player. And Jones is exactly what Toronto lacked in the playoffs.

This one is even less likely to happen, but I would love to see Evgeni Malkin go to another team. But I don’t know where it would make sense, given that he has one year left on his deal and would basically be a rental. Any team in the rental market are all strapped for cap space.

For this idea, it requires a lot of imagination between the teams. Edmonton buys out Mikko Koskinen, and then trades James Neal to Florida in exchange for solving their Sergei Bobrovsky problem. For getting Edmonton to take that albatross of a contract, the Panthers have to take a big contract on their own. Florida takes a chunk of Bob’s salary, and they also buy out Neal. They also give up Vladislav Koyachonok, a great two-way prospect rearguard who is steadier on the defensive side of things, and either Serron Noel or Logan Hutsko. Edmonton’s cupboard is still quite bare when it comes to prospects. After their first-round picks, their drafting has been pretty crappy over the years. They need more wingers and homegrown steady defensemen. This solves all those problems. Bobrovsky is floundering under Joel Quenneville’s system. Will he do better under a different coaching system? That’s the risk that Edmonton takes, but are well compensated for that risk. Florida gets out of the untradeable contract. Then Spencer Knight can ascend to the throne and they can re-sign Chris Driedger as a more experienced guy in case Knight needs a bit more time.

I’d like to see Jack Eichel go to the Wild. Zach Parise would have to go the other way to make the money work. Minnesota still takes on more cap space, and still get an elite player. So they’ll have to pay up. Parise isn’t paying up. In fact giving him to Buffalo makes the deal even worse for Buffalo. But it’s necessary, so that the money works. They would have to add a high-caliber prospect plus more. So Matt Boldy would be included I’m sure. And then another mid-level prospect such as defenseman Ryan O’Rourke.

I’d like to see Buffalo trade for a goalie. A deal with Seattle in that the Kraken draft five goalies and move one to Buffalo, in exchange for picks and/or prospects. And this may or may not include salary moving to Seattle as well.

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I heard that he may be traded, so perhaps this signing is a pre-cursor to that. But the 21-year-old Kirk was a lower-level prospect (drafted in the seventh round) and scouts and most of us haven’t seen much of him since the pandemic. He was in the OHL, but then returned to England to play in that league. And competition in that league is more difficult to gauge, as he plays against mostly undrafted players. But then the World Hockey Championships happened and he scored seven goals in seven games, for a team that wasn’t expected to score much at all…and with teammates who combined to score six goals besides his. That got all the NHL teams interested (and fantasy owners). I think he plays next season in the AHL while getting in several games with the big club to get a taste. He strikes me as a hard-worker who over-achieves, so don’t be surprised if he rockets up the fantasy prospect ratings. I had him 312th prior to the Worlds… and then overlooked adjusting him after the Worlds. But when I adjusted him last week in my own files, he moved into the Top 140 for fantasy prospect forwards.

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Matthew Boldy. I know he’s already highly regarded, but his impact after turning pro really won me over. Shane Pinto (Ottawa) is another one. And underrated dark horse – Arttu Ruotsalainen (Buffalo). These players and more will be profiled with upside, certainty, wait time and overall outlook in the upcoming (15th annual) Fantasy Prospects Report. You can pre-order it now, and it’s out July 10.

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While the PIM gives Bennett a 15-point bonus, and after the way he produced in Florida he sure is tempting, it’s best to play it safe and go with Nick Suzuki.

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More of the same this season. And then a breakout in 2022-23 that sees close to 30 goals and 60 points, give or take.

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And we did have a game Sunday of course. I believed after Game 3 Pete DeBoer would turn to Robin Lehner, and I was right. It just made sense. Lehner is as good as Marc-Andre Fleury under normal circumstances. Fleury has just been a beast. But why not give Fleury a rest? Shake it up, throw the Habs off their game. If Lehner gives some up early, Fleury is back in to play inspired hockey. He’s at his best when he’s challenged like that. And if Lehner plays the way Lehner can play, then Vegas gets the win. And while the downside is that the team goes down three games to one, I think if that happened and Fleury returned well rested and quite inspired – that lead dissipates in a hurry.

Montreal had 19 BLKS, Vegas had 15.

Josh Anderson led both teams with 10 Hits. Next was Tomas Nosek with six.

Nicolas Roy became the 11th Quebec-born player to score a playoff OT goal against the Canadiens.

This game was generally considered one of the worst in terms of refereeing. The refs let everything go… until they didn’t. Players didn’t know what the hell to do. Again, I reiterate from last week – call the games the same as in the regular season.

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Eleven players in NHL history have scored 35 goals in their first 60 career playoff games. Mario Lemieux leads that list with 52 after 60. He’s followed by Wayne Gretzky (46). If Brayden Point scores on Monday night, he will become the 12th.

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See you next Monday.



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