Ramblings: Thoughts on Vegas, some Euro UFA signings, Penguin injuries, top GMs and more (May 17)

by Dobber on May 16, 2017 | (4 Comments)
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Thoughts on Vegas, some Euro UFA signings, Penguin injuries, top GMs and more (May 17)

Ramblings: Thoughts on Vegas, some Euro UFA signings, Penguin injuries, top GMs and more (May 17)

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We’re on the new server! But, there are some issues as you’ve probably seen. Dobbernomics is down. I’m so sorry for that one, I’m hoping it will be back up today. And Frozen Pool is tough to navigate – most of the site’s links won’t work anymore. Just bear with us…

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The Vegas Golden Knights announced that the Chicago Wolves will be their AHL affiliate. This, after previously stating that they would share an affiliate this year because they wouldn’t have enough players to fill an AHL team that quickly. The Wolves were the affiliate of the St. Louis Blues last season, and from what I gather the Blues are saying that they will share affiliates with another team now. I was under the impression that teams ‘needed’ their own affiliate because to share an affiliate would mean losing some of your sway as to how a prospect is developed. And the Blues don’t mind this? Looks like Vegas scooped Chicago out from under the Blues. At least, that’s how I see it. Do you think there’s a bit of wink-wink, nudge-nudge payola involved? For the record, Vegas is 1750 miles from Chicago – a 26 hour drive or 3.5 hour flight. St. Louis to Chicago is 297 miles.

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The Coyotes signed 28-year-old free agent Mario Kempe to a one-year, two-way deal. He was an average KHL player (34 points in 56 games, fifth on his team behind players like Maxim Afinogenov) and was originally drafted in 2007 by the Flyers (122nd overall). The Flyers never gave him a contract and he has since played in the KHL and Sweden (where he is from). I don’t expect any surprises here.

The Leafs signed undrafted 21-year-old defenseman Andreas Borgman to a two-year entry-level contract. Borgman brings nothing special to the table – not another Zaitsev at all – but he was HV71’s second highest scoring defenseman though with just 15 points in 45 games. He doesn’t offer much in the way of size either (6-0, 205).

The Leafs also signed another undrafted defenseman – 23-year-old Calle Rosen. He had just 19 points in 41 games for Vaxjo Lakers HC, which was the top points-per-game average on the team (over former NHLer Cory Murphy). I don’t have any expectations in fantasy for either of Toronto’s defensemen, though both could possibly work their way up to a bottom pairing. It shores things up for the Marlies, anyway.

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There was a free agent signing from yesterday that actually looks a little promising, though. No big superstar Panarin by any stretch, but someone who could possible pan out into a second liner, like a Freddie Modin in a couple of years. Victor Ejdsell was signed by the Preds. He’s only 21 and he’s 6-5, 215 pounds. He led the Allsvenskan (Sweden’s second league) in scoring with 57 points in 50 games. He’s two-and-a-half years older than Vancouver prospect Jonathan Dahlen, who had 44 points in 45 games. The difference here being similar to the difference in a 21-year-old OHL player out-scoring a 19-year-old OHL player, to give some perspective, though that league in Sweden has men playing in it. But beating a teen is expected. However, Ejdsell’s size and the fact that he outscored everyone in his league is still promising. How he transitions to the AHL next season will be interesting.

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Can someone explain the fake media hype about Kessel and Malkin “bickering”? Just fake media hype? They weren’t seriously fighting, any more than my buddy and I would argue over which is the better beer. Are clicks that hard to come by? Just stirring up shit in hopes that one or both would accidentally say the wrong thing in reaction to it, so that the “story” blows up further. Move along.

Speaking of the Penguins, Patric Hornqvist, Justin Schultz and Bryan Rust will all be with the team in Ottawa, but nobody will say if they will be in the lineup. This is, of course, not unexpected given the time of year. If I were to guess based on zero personal knowledge of the situation – I’d say Hornqvist will be in and Mark Streit will replace Schultz. Tom Kuhnhackl will replace Rust. The Schultz injury looked pretty bad to me:

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Boy, you just know that Nashville wants it so badly. I know the Ducks are keeping the series close but I’ll be completely shocked if they sneak past the Preds. Nashville is just so deep, and I love how they are using back-end skill and mobility to go deep. This being a copycat league, this is something that I’ve been hoping to see for several years. Not so much Nashville going deep, but rather a successful team built around skilled, mobile defense.

With six more shots on goal last night, Filip Forsberg has 11 in his last two games. The Preds outshot the Ducks 40-20.

Further to my Ramblings on Monday – Shea Theodore saw just 12:45 while Brandon Montour saw 16:45. And this time Montour saw bit more PP time than Theodore.

Ryan Ellis has nine shots on goal. Last game he had zero. The game prior he had seven. So that’s a weird trend, other than it coinciding with Nashville wins. Just something I noticed when messing around with some player stats. His season high was five – so he beat his season high twice in the last three games.

Craig Smith is still not ready to return, but David Poile thinks “really soon”.

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Peter Chiarelli, Pierre Dorion and David Poile were nominated for this year’s GM of the Year. I’ll reiterate my usual stance that the GM of the Year should be voted on three years later. So we should be voting on GM of the Year for 2014-15.

Anyway, since the vote is for this past season, let’s take a look at the candidates. Chiarelli was great because he drafted Conner McDavid two years ago. Good job! Naw, actually he did well in the Taylor Hall trade (told you so!), acquiring Cam Talbot two years ago, and beefing up three lines by adding Lucic, Maroon and Kassian. Dorion did well in, uh…drafting, uh…trading for, uh…Derrick Brassard? Seriously though, his Mike Condon move was very savvy and he obviously made a good coach hire. But I think he got the votes because his team made the playoffs and it wasn’t expected. David Poile made two huge and ballsy trades in acquiring Ryan Johansson and PK Subban.

My vote would go to Doug Armstrong, Poile and Chuck Fletcher. Armstrong for one reason – he traded Shattenkirk and yet his team still went to the second round. I love that. But he also pulled the trigger on the coach firing and that worked like gangbusters. Fletcher because he signed Eric Staal for a steal of a deal, and tripped over his own mother in order to sign Bruce Boudreau before anyone else could. I would have Steve Yzerman here instead of Fletcher except for the fact that Yzerman held onto Jon Cooper and I don’t think that was wise. I think it cost TB the playoffs. But Yzerman did well in signing three of his key players long term, as well as getting good assets for Bishop and Boyle (and still nearly making the playoffs).

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Top 10 scorers at the World Championships:

Artemi Panarin, RUS, 6-3-10-13

Nathan MacKinnon, CAN, 7-5-7-12

Vadim Shipachyov, RUS, 7-2-10-12

Johnny Gaudreau, USA, 7-6-5-11

Nikita Kucherov, RUS, 7-5-6-11

Stephane da Costa, FRA, 6-6-4-10

William Nylander, SWE, 7-5-5-10

Nikita Gusev, RUS, 7-4-6-10

Mitch Marner, CAN, 7-4-6-10

Dylan Larkin, USA, 7-2-8-10

Of note, da  Costa is an unrestricted free agent this summer – finally free of Ottawa’s grasp (if that’s what he was trying to escape from). I’d think some NHL teams would be interested…

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The player links won’t work yet, but I changed them to what they will be when we fix. Should be fixed by tomorrow… You can still access them manually by going to Frozen Pool player profiles here.

 

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  • Jason Richards

    St. Louis doesn’t own Chicago, so they have not been in charge of how the team has been run since they began affiliation with the Wolves. The Wolves gain nothing from Blues prospects development but as St. Louis has a tight budget, this is a cost saving measure.

    When asked about the situation, Blues GM Armstrong was asked about the situation he seemed to be of the opinion that LV wouldn’t have too many prospects vying for full time duty in the AHL next season and he also suggested that he has always had a good relationship with Knights GM McPhee. Should either team have players they are not happy with getting the right amount of playing time, they are also free to lend those players to other teams.

    Armstrong expects it to be a short term situation.

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/hockey/professional/morning-skate/blues-will-share-ahl-team-with-expansion-vegas-club/article_cbc46eec-fc46-5bc7-90c6-8002c5916a0e.html

  • MarkRM16

    Boll may be out for a while with a suspension – he was way off the ice on that hit.

  • number54

    I don’t think Cooper was the problem in Tampa, but the rash of injuries that really caught up with them over time; losing Stamkos can’t have been easy on them, and then there were stretches without Johnson, Kucherov, Drouin, Stralman and Callahan. In fact, not a single Lightning player suited up for 82 games, and only 3 players played over 80: Coburn, Sustr & Killorn — not exactly the cream of the crop. Any coach juggling lines as much as Cooper had to was bound to struggle.

  • wholi

    As a newish fan to the AHL and their associations to the NHL, it never made sense to me that the St. Louis Blues AHL team was in Chicago. The cities are natural rivals. Why root for a team that feeds your rival? The Wolves attendance was strong – 7th in the league – so that should not have been an issue.
    I was hoping the Knights would create another team in the west (Salt Lake City?) in a couple of years after sharing with another team for a season or two.
    Maybe the Blues will go back to Peoria?!