Alex Semin Signs in Carolina

Alexander Semin signed a 1-year deal worth $7 million with the Carolina Hurricanes. No doubt about this: I don’t think there is any team that has gotten better, especially on offense, than the Hurricanes. Further, they’ve got a full compliment of top-6 forwards. In addition to Semin they’ve got two guys named Staal, Jeff Skinner, Tuomo Ruutu, and can pick their final piece from guys like Chad LaRose, Jiri Tlusty, and Jussi Jokinen. Good for them. I mean they’re looking for answers on defense, but that seems like a problem for at least one other really good team…

The one year deal is safe, but the $7 million price tag is high. Really, the price is not too high for Semin, one of only six players in the league to average more than 30 goals per season over the last six years, but I don’t mind the Penguins walking away from this one. Look at it this way, $7 million, even for the opportunity to sign a former 40 goal scorer, would really put a dent in the Penguins cap space to find a stud top-4 defenseman, which still needs to be the team’s top priority.

Breaking down what it means for the Pens, Jakub Voracek’s new deal in Philly, and some other stuff after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »


Oh Wow the Rangers Traded for a Guy that Scored Three More Points than Pascal Dupuis, Weber Staying in Nashville

So the Rangers finally made the deal to bring in Rick Nash. I’ll give them credit for getting great value in the trade. They gave up Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tom Erixon, and a first round pick and they got a dominant scoring forward, plus an AHL defenseman, and a third round pick in next year’s draft. Wow. The Blue Jackets screwed this one up pretty bad. I was pretty sure they were asking for way more than that, and now to hear what the Rangers give up is almost sad. I mean the Pens could have offered two third-liners, a defensive prospect, and a first round pick. Oh well, c’est la vie. You can’t tell me that this is that epic of a signing for the Rangers.

From NHL.com

Nash is a great player, but he’s never really come close to living up to the hype that he is reported to have. His career best production is 79 points in a season, his greatest goal total, even with most of his games played after the “Dead Puck Era” is 41. I understand that he’s never played on a great team, but that’s not really an excuse. A very large percentage of media types have said that Nash is the “best power forward” in the NHL. If Nash counts as a power forward then I’m sure that his new rivals James Neal (81 points in 80 games) and Scott Hartnell (67 in 82) will have a lot to say about that. Not counting guys like Milan Lucic, Chris Stewart, Shane Doan, and others who are more “pure-bred” in that role.

Nash put up 59 points last year, that’s uninspired honestly. I mean it’s not like he was having health issues, he played in all 82 games last year give him a PPG output of .72. I mean his team wasn’t very good, but he didn’t exactly lift up the team’s burden on his own as a proper captain should. I understand that he also won’t have to be Captain of the Rangers, but so what. After James Neal came to the Penguins people said that he was going to be a 25-30 goal guy because he had played with Brad Richards in Dallas and Richards was about as good of a puck distributer as there is in the NHL. With a full season alongside Evgeni Malkin Neal became a 40 goal scorer and increased his career best point production by 26 points. So what does that mean? Is Malkin that much better than Richards? Yes, he is. Is Richards overrated? Yes, he is. Is Brad Richards going to make Rick Nash that much better again? I really doubt it.

Are the Rangers better now? Yes. They cut out Dubinsky who can be as destructive to his own team as he can to opposing players, and they cut out Artem Anisimov who can be an absolute game-breaker or completely invisible for an entire game. They’re replacing all of that with a game-changing winger with untapped potential. That means they’re better, but this was already an incredible team last year, they led the Eastern Conference from November until the end of the season. They went to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Penguins were 5-0-1 against them this year. That’s still the story as far as I’m concerned.

In other news, the Predators announced today that they have officially matched the Flyers’ offer sheet on Shea Weber and he will be playing at least all of next year in Nashville. The Preds can’t trade him next year, but after that he’s fair game. The only disincentive to trading him is that after the Preds pay him $26 million over the next one calendar year between 2 bonuses and his $14 million salary, they probably won’t need to trade him as much. To me this isn’t a big surprise. If anything the Preds get a better contract on Weber than they would have independently—he’s signed for 14 years. That’s ridiculous. I don’t care if the Flyers had “promised” to trade away roster players to the Preds in order to get their first round picks back, if the Preds decide that they don’t want to keep him, they will get a much better return on investment to actually trade the player than to trade draft picks.

Just saying, but you have to assume the Flyers are going to come back even more angry now. Expect something like a ludicrous, $6 million a season, offer to Shane Doan or a renewed interest in Bobby Ryan. Personally I hope it will be a trade for Ryan. It would likely have to include a defenseman and either Brayden Schenn or Matt Read, or in other words, a gross overpayment. Here’s to hoping.

Mike pointed this article out to me yesterday and I think it is very topical. Yes, it mostly attacks the Flyers, which I love to do, but they definitely aren’t the only villains like this. It isn’t fair for the small market owners who legitimately aren’t making a lot of money to be punished by the big market owners with deeper pockets. It especially isn’t fair for big market owners to pretend to care about the same cuts that small market owners need in order to be competitive. Will anything be done about it though? Probably not.

I think the thing that deserves mentioning is just the way that the Penguins don’t do that. They offer normal contracts, they don’t front load every player on their roster, the first and only time it’s been done is in Sid’s new contract, and you even get the sense that they may not do it again even with Evgeni Malkin. I mean is there a reason to? If Malkin is dominant again next year, he’s going to be the highest paid player in the league anyway; do you have a reason to cheat on that? Probably not. On the flip side, is there a reason why the Penguins shouldn’t be following the form of the Flyers or the Wild and trying to cheat the best players away from their small market teams? I mean the Penguins have a ton of cash assets (250 consecutive sellouts), they’re owned by a billionaire (well Ron Burkle is). I don’t know what the right answer is, I respect the Penguins for not doing it, but I don’t want to see us drop in competitiveness because of morals that don’t matter.


Oh My Word the World is Ending Again

I don’t mean to post this title as any slight against the truly horrific and maddening events that took place in Colorado for The Dark Knight Rises premiere. Further, I really hope that anyone who looks at this post today this weekend or whenever, will only do so after extending thoughts, prayers, or whatever you believe in to the victims of this senseless act.

from ESPN

So Shea Weber signed an offer sheet with the Flyers, it’s for 14 years and $110 million. That’s a lot of money there’s no doubt, but it doesn’t mean anything yet. It won’t mean anything until next Thursday at the very least. The Predators will now have the opportunity to match the offer, and if they do, they keep Weber, point blank. I would be pretty much amazed if the Preds don’t match the offer. Weber is the Nashville franchise and in this most recent offseason where Alexander Radulov and Ryan Suter have already flown the coop and GM David Poile, a hero of the modern NHL, has been left holding the bag, there should be no contract too great for the Predators to pay for Weber.

Yes I understand that the Predators only have a franchise value about half that of the Flyers, and yes the Flyers are owned by a mega-billionaire while the Predators are publicly owned, and yes someone’s been floating a statistic that just this past year the Flyers doubled the ticket revenues of the Predators, but it doesn’t really matter. The Preds have “spending” money, they promised to make offers on Pekka Rinne, Ryan Suter, Alex Radulov, and Shea Weber, and their going to have to use a lot of it to even get above the cap floor at this time ($14 million to be exact).

Yes I also understand that there have been “confirmed rumors,” (that just sounds silly to say doesn’t it) of the Predators considering trades for Weber, and maybe that means that they don’t think he’s irreplaceable (he isn’t but we’ll get there). Here’s the difference. If the Preds let Weber leave they will receive 4 first round picks as compensation. Assuming that things were to go exactly the same as they did this year, and the Flyers lose in the second round of the playoffs in each of the next four years, that would only give the Preds a mid-20s draft pick in each of those years. In the NHL, players picked around that point are about as likely to succeed in the NHL as guys drafted way later (I don’t know this for a fact, but there is reasonable cause for it).

This would differ a lot from the Predators commanding a top-4 defenseman, a borderline top-6 winger, a can’t miss prospect, and a first round pick in a trade for Weber. In many ways, Nashville with Weber is in fact similar to Columbus with Rick Nash. Weber hasn’t “demanded” a trade, however, as with Nash, moving the one player could help to create a better and deeper future for the team, but while that one player remains in the team’s locker room they won’t actively cause a disruption (they’re both captains and they know how to act). Again, both teams can wait for the offer to be made on their terms rather than dumping the guy for whatever they can get. Also, let’s consider this, even without Weber (and Suter) Nashville is still a sick defensive team. Read the rest of this entry »


Recap: Draftday #2: Fundamental Changes, Admitting I Was Wrong

I guess I need to fess up and say that everything that I hoped and predicted was completely wrong on the Jordan Staal issue. Also, because of a lack of close fact checking, I have finally realized that I screwed up the contract situations for Ryan Suter and Shea Weber. As it turns out, Suter is an unrestricted free agent this; Weber will be a restricted free agent. What it ultimately comes down to though is that they are both physically intimidating defensemen with offensive upside, they both play for the same team, and they’ve both expressed the same interest to leave that team because it’s located in Nashville. What is also true, and what I correctly identified, is that the future of said defenseman was inextricably linked to one of two things: the desire to pick up the mantle left behind by Nick Lidstrom in Detroit, or if the Penguins could dump the high salaries of their underperforming defensemen. According to a major stream of tweets (which of course may or may not be true) Suter is only allowed to sign a contract with the team called Detroit or the team called Pittsburgh. I honestly don’t like to brag every time I make a random prediction that ends up coming true or is supported, at a later date, by official commentary from the “pros,” and as I said, I totally got the Staal case wrong, but the simple fact is that as I build this blog and attempt to form a core of dedicated readers I need to show that the trust you place in me is justified. I’m not an expert, I haven’t even played competitive hockey since I was in eighth grade, but as I’ve tried to demonstrate, when properly guided I can hit the mark a lot. Get more by clicking on the HyperText Markup Language link. Read the rest of this entry »