- Hockey Rambling
- Written by Michael Amato
The moment you all have been waiting for has arrived. Dobber’s 2014-15 Fantasy Hockey Guide is now available. Grab it now!
Montreal reached a long-term agreement with P.K. Subban before the arbitration ruling on an eight-year, $72-million deal.
So the Montreal Canadiens and defenseman P.K. Subban couldn’t come to terms on a deal and the case went to arbitration. The ruling is supposed to be released in the next 48 hours but it’s likely going to be for a large figure. Players of Subban’s caliber rarely land in arbitration and it will interesting to see what the outcome does to Montreal’s cap situation in the short-term, as the Canadiens obviously can’t walk away from the deal.
The Ottawa Senators inked goaltender Robin Lehner to a three-year contract extension this week at around $2.2 million annually. That’s a good deal for a Sens team that figures to be counting on Lehner to be their starter for years to come.
What was puzzling, though, was a report that they were also in discussions with Craig Anderson about an extension. One would have thought he would have been expendable given Lehner’s new deal and the fact that he is 33. Anderson’s numbers last year were far from the sparkling pace he was on during the lockout shortened campaign, but his skill set could certainly still benefit a number of teams.
This almost becomes like a James Reimer situation in Toronto where you don’t want to be paying a backup goalie more than $2 million, whether it’s Lehner or Anderson playing second fiddle next year. I still say Winnipeg can’t be happy with Ondrej Pavelec and if I were Ottawa or Toronto I would be dangling Anderson or Reimer, obviously along with a few other pieces, to see if I could acquire the services of Evander Kane.
So Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason broke a finger playing ball hockey and will miss about two weeks of training. It looks to be nothing serious, but I always wondered why organizations weren’t more stringent about what players can and cannot do in the offseason. Many NHLers enjoy ball hockey in the summer, with a handful playing in organized leagues, so it wouldn’t be farfetched to see a significant injury here and there. Teams need to protect their investment.
In what should be an emotional moment, the Anaheim Ducks will retire Teemu Selanne’s No. 8 on January 11 next season. To make it even more special, the Ducks’ opponent that night is the Winnipeg Jets.
I enjoyed this piece from Adam Gretz of SB Nation on the James Neal/Patric Hornqvist deal. He raises some good points on how the loss of Evgeni Malkin will hurt Neal.
Other than Sidney Crosby (and maybe the Penguins should consider using them together a little more often given that sort of production)nobodywas as productive alongside Malkin as Neal has been, at least when it came to generating shots and scoring goals. (Kunitz, who regularly played alongside Malkin and Neal during the 2011-12, season had a slight edge in total points.) It was a combination that clearly worked and was as dominant as any center-wing duo in the league.
And consequently how the loss of Neal will impact the Penguins power play.
This is where the major differences come in. While Neal is more of a sniper who overpowers goalies with his shot, Hornqvist is more of a crease crasher who gets in front of the net and scores a bunch of dirty goals. He's going to get the deflections and the rebounds and score from a couple of feet away.
He adds that Chris Kunitz plays a similar role, so either one of them is going to have to fill Neal’s responsibilities, or risk losing minutes with the man advantage. That’s something good to monitor if you own either of those two.
Personally, I think Hornqvist’s totals are going to take a significant bump. If he was challenging 30 goals with the talent pool in Nashville, I wouldn’t be shocked if he hit 40 playing with Malkin.
The Minnesota Wild brought defenseman Justin Falk back on a one-year, two-way deal. Looking at their depth chart, it’s hard to imagine he earns enough minutes with the Wild this year to be fantasy relevant. He’s a career minus-33 and was a healthy scratch for much of last year with the New York Rangers.
T.J. Galiardi also inked a one-year, two-way contract with the Winnipeg Jets. Don’t expect a return to his 15-goal form from 2009-10, but given his experience and Winnipeg’s forward depth, he’ll have a shot to earn a bottom-six spot.
The Ottawa Senators are having talks with Bobby Ryan and Clarke MacArthur about contract extensions. I’m still frustrated the Leafs let MacArthur walk last year and allocated his money to David Clarkson. They could have had so much more production for much cheaper, but anyway, that’s another story.
Ryan is interesting because he somewhat disappointed in Ottawa, netting just 23 goals. Granted, he was apparently dealing with a hernia issue. Still, I’m not sure Ryan is going to reach the 40-goal mark in Ottawa, though. Obviously leaving Ryan Getzlaf who boasts a bit more talent than Kyle Turris at the center position hurts, but their style of play is also different.
Turris has more of a shoot first mentality than Getzlaf, which could hinder a sniper like Ryan’s goal totals. For instance, over the last three seasons on average Getzlaf produced just 40% of his points via goals, where Turris was all the way up at 74%. Ryan could still have success there, but I don’t foresee him making a leap in goals.
Just pay the man already.