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Death From Above

NHL Offseason Part 2

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He cut out most of his antics but that's also part of what made him effective.  Otherwise, he's a fourth line guy who will disappear for large portions of the season. 

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He cut out most of his antics but that's also part of what made him effective.  Otherwise, he's a fourth line guy who will disappear for large portions of the season.

Boo. Hopefully having to compete with Sobe and various CPR members will wake him up.

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He's half the player Sobotka is but an improvement on Nichol. As Charlie said, removing his antagonizing qualities is akin to neutering him. Without trolling, he's a below average 4th line centre most of the time.

 

Hitch is smart enough to recognize this and will unleash the Lap Trollface.

 

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He's half the player Sobotka is but an improvement on Nichol. As Charlie said, removing his antagonizing qualities is akin to neutering him. Without trolling, he's a below average 4th line centre most of the time.

 

Hitch is smart enough to recognize this and will unleash the Lap Trollface.

 

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Excellent.

 

Since I'm finally on my laptop and not a mobile for the moment, I can give actual thoughts from the Blues moves since the Board has been down

 

St. Louis Blues re-sign Jordan Leopold, trade Kris Russel to Calgary: Do not like it one bit. It looked like Leo was done to me, and if Hitchcock keeps pairing Leo with Shattenkirk, the pairing will continue to be not only bring Kirk down, but bring Polak and Jackman down since bother clearly play better next to a player maker. Kirk/Jackman and Leopold/Polak is fine, but I'm not convinced Leo isn't done.

 

Blues sign Keith Aucoin: If the goal is "center Rattie and Jaskin for the Wolves", I like it. I have no clue how it could be anything else.

 

Blues sign Maxim Lapierre: If he becomes the troll we need him to be, awesome. He has no lock on the 4th line, due to the fact that Porter, Cracknell, and Reaves are going to be hungry to get in the lineup, so if his play isn't good enough, he'll sit. And if playing next to Sobotka doesn't make you up your effort level, then you shouldn't be in the league anyway.

 

Blues sign Derek Roy: I did not want him, and rolled my eyes at the signing... till I saw the terms. 1 year, 4 mill, when centers even more mediocre were getting 5 at 5? Deal. I would have preferred Grabo, but I can't turn down that contract, though it solidified that we had to trade someone to keep Petro and Stewart. Which leads to

 

Blues trade David Perron for Magnus Paajarvi and a 2nd rounder: Here's the thing. I like David Perron, and wish him all the success in the world. But he went into last year 2nd on the Blues depth chart. The only guy ahead of him was Andy McDonald, who was terrible, and is now retired. And instead of becoming a guy who was gonna challenge for the 1st, he was out played by both Alex Steen AND rookie Jaden Schwartz. And he was clearly 3rd on the depth chart at LW going in. Problem is, David Perron cannot be counted on to play a defensive role. In this trade, we A: Got a pure prototypical 3rd line LW then Perron B: Saved some money and C: Got a young player who can certainly grow into a really solid player. He's either a career 3rd liner, or he grows into a solid 2nd liner. I can argue that's what we traded, and got a 2nd out of it.

 

All in all, I'm fine with our movements.

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Isn't Pajaarvi a guy that's top 6 or bust?

 

Keith Aucoin was awesome for the Isles last season and will definitely see some time with the Blues one way or another.

 

Also, holy shit New Jersey... Trade package for Kovalchuk, sign Kovalchuk to stupid deal, get punished for said contract but don't forfeit the first rounder when picking 29th, trade this year's 1st rounder for young goalie, sit young goalie behind fading star, Kovalchuk leaves for more colourful currency, team will likely finish in the bottom 10 if not 5, have no pick for their troubles, and Cory leaves in another year.

 

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Isn't Pajaarvi a guy that's top 6 or bust?

 

Keith Aucoin was awesome for the Isles last season and will definitely see some time with the Blues one way or another.

 

Also, holy shit New Jersey... Trade package for Kovalchuk, sign Kovalchuk to stupid deal, get punished for said contract but don't forfeit the first rounder when picking 29th, trade this year's 1st rounder for young goalie, sit young goalie behind fading star, Kovalchuk leaves for more colourful currency, team will likely finish in the bottom 10 if not 5, have no pick for their troubles, and Cory leaves in another year.

 

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Most Edmonton fans have said Magnus was the best defensively out of their young guns by a pretty solid margin, he's just not physical.

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I think what you're seeing in NJ is the direct results of the ownership issues.  They wanted Kovalchuk no matter what it cost and a few years later, they couldn't afford to put up a fight to keep him because they're bleeding money.

 

They're reverting back to a mickey mouse organization. 

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Mike Gillis' master plan is to get two useful years out of Luongo, use the compliance buyout on him and bring back Schneider as a UFA.  Sneaky rebuild/reload while pretending to compete.

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Except he'd have to buy Luongo out next summer. Only buyout periods were the accelerated buyout period at the beginning of the year (which wasn't actually originally scheduled but put forth to solve the Redden/Gomez, thx Slats, issues), late June/early July of this year, and a similar period before next summer's free agency period begins. 

 

I think teams will fall so in love with the idea of "get out of jail mostly free" cards, they'll mandate one buyout a year for every team when the next CBA is negotiated. Players won't mind too much because they get their money (mostly) and sign new deals coming out richer. Only costs them their pride.

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Vancouver does officially have the league's funniest goalie combo with Luongo & Lack.  Jokes-a-plenty. 

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It should make for an interesting season if nothing else. There's not much saying for our chances when they rest on both David Booth and Ryan Kesler staying healthy.

 

Still interested in seeing where Grabovski ends up. If I ruled the world, I'd move that Bieska there for futures and sign Grabo and one of the quality D-men on the market (Lydman, Gilbert, Kostka).

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I'll pass on all three.  Grabovski would wind up playing bottom six on a healthy Canucks team and that would piss him off.

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I think you could make a line of Burrows-Grabovski-Kesler work pretty darn well and ride the top two lines into dust as Tortorella does. Gilbert had a horrible year partly down to luck. His possession numbers were very good, his on-ice SV% terrible. He'll bounce back and should be had on the cheap. Kostka is underrated and Lydman still is useful but not as good as the previous two.

 

You could also have the Sedins, then a Kesler line and Grabo line as 2A-2B and play the 4th 5-8 minutes a game.

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I never liked him before so he'd be bouncing back to something I don't like.  And I don't think you're ever getting Kesler or a coach to buy into the Kesler as a winger experiment.

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The whole Kovalchuk thing was always ridiculous because it reeked of the kind of situation where Lamoriello was "instructed" on what to do by his owners. The only reason he's never raised a stink about it is that isn't his style.

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Amonte was just under PPG as a rookie and Weight was a solid prospect putting up good numbers in the A and NHL prior to the proposed trade. That's not mentioning the $15 or $20 million included in both offers. Ridiculous value but Lindros was supposed to be the best player of all time. I'm pumped for FHM '14. It's still in the beta stage but it's getting fairly close to playable and they're going to be adding online support after release. Early '90s online league would be soooo amazing. Another nice nostalgia trip: NHLnumbers.com is doing a review of the NHL draft from the first entry draft in '79 all the way to '09. Really cool. Who's your favourite '90s bust? Double O Tverdovsky was bad ass for a while but certainly didn't live up to the hype. Yashin had a better career than I remembered and even Daigle had a few useful years.

I'd say Patrick Stefan easily takes the cake as the biggest #1 bust of all time, if only for this:

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Pavel Brendl was a huge bust too.  I still remember Bret Hart wearing his Brendl Calgary Hitmen jersey.

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http://nhlnumbers.com/2013/7/10/reviewing-the-nhl-entry-draft-1990-to-1999

 

Nedved wasn't a bust but that jerk changed teams more often than a confused Christian homosexual. Quinn's Canucks followed that beauty up with the Stojanov pick in '91.

 

Pat Falloon was an awesome bust too. Sweet hair, though. Drafted in-between Lindros and Niedermayer. Also, can't help but laugh at the Jets taking Aaron Ward at 5, one spot ahead of Peter Forsberg. I can't really blame Bonsignore for not meeting expectations when he was supposed to replace Gretzky and Messier.

 

More fun than busts are the guys that went really high and had huge expectations but turned out to be only average NHLers, like Mike Rathje or Trevor Kidd.

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The waste pile of goaltenders is pretty huge but I'm a little more forgiving on goalie busts.  You have so little to go on and they don't even really come into their own until their mid-20's.

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My favourite Busts:

 

-Nikita Filatov, Columbus: 6th overall in 2008 (taken ahead of Colin Wilson, Cody Hodgson, Tyler Myers, and Erik Karlsson): It's funny because he actually slid a bit because of the Russian factor, some outlets had him as high as #2 which puts him ahead of Luke Schenn, Alex Pietrangelo, Zach Bogosian and Drew Doughty but he slid because of the "Russian Factor" and Columbus was thrilled when they got him under contract right away and brought him over to apprentice in the AHL and he looked like a real find at first, putting up 32 points in 39 games in the AHL as an 18-year-old and then 4 goals in 8 games with Columbus.  And then the warning bells started to go off the following year when he had just 2 goals in 13 games in the NHL and wanted to go back to Russia rather than play in the AHL.  And then he came back and played for Ken Hitchcock which went about as badly as to be expected and got traded to Ottawa for a 3rd round pick and Filatov apologists the world over talked about how Columbus got ripped off, but Filatov just was...terrible.  But the reason he's one of my favourite busts is for the story out of Columbus after he left (I know, I know, beat writers always release these stories after a player leaves, see Seguin, Tyler) that a coach took him aside and said "You've got to drive to the net and get rebounds, you'll pick up a lot of goals that way" and Filatov supposedly responded "Filly don't do rebounds"!  So awesome. 

 

-Alexandre Volchkov, Washington: 4th overall in 1996 (taken ahead of Ruslan Salei, Derek Morris, Dainus Zubrus and Daniel Briere): For a supposed sniper, he was a spectacularly unproductive player once he turned pro (56 points in 146 AHL/IHL games and 0 points in 3 games) which isn't surprising as he was supposed to have attitude issues, even during junior.  Once he turned pro, he continued his attitude issues (supposedly even walking out on a team during a playoff game in the AHL!) but he's still one of my favourites for, also a nickname-related story.  Supposedly, after Edmoton acquired him for a 4th round pick, he told Edmonton coach Kevin Lowe that he only wanted to be referred to as The Volchinator.  The Volchinator then went back to Russia where he played for another 11 years.

 

and a big bust discussion wouldn't be complete without mention of

 

-Hugh Jessiman, NY Rangers: 12th overall in 2003 (taken ahead of Dustin Brown, Brent Seabrook, Zach Parise, Ryan Getzlaf, Brent Burns, *take a breath*, Mike Richards, Ryan Kesler, Corey Perry and that's not taking into account the other rounds including Loui Eriksson, Patrice Bergeron, Shea Weber, Joe Pavelski, Dustin Byfuglien etc.): What's funny about Jessiman, is if you look around, there's a number of scouts who claimed they had him as No-Draft that year, that they just didn't see enough talent/ability to warrant taking him, though I suspect a lot of that is revisionist history (I think Tom Renney eventually took ownership for this pick, but don't quote me on that).  But the biggest factor going for him was his size (6'6, 213 lbs hence the nickname Huge Specimen) and New York took what was only 1 of 2 players in that historic first round to not play more than 20 games in the NHL.  I believe Jessiman is playing in the KHL this season.

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I will always remember that draft as "that time we took Shaun Bell 3 picks ahead of Loui Ericksson"

Course we got Backes in the second and Stepniak in the 5th, but still.

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There are some huge busts at the top in the old days but scouting was awful then by comparison.

 

Patrik Stefan didn't just bomb out of the NHL he quit all pro hockey before he turned 30 so I'd say in modern terms he takes the cake. He never even threatened to be a good player really. Alexander Daigle at least hung around a while.

 

On Filatov: Doug Maclean on Sportsnet tells the story now and again that his scouting staff was split pretty much 50/50 down the middle. Half were adamant they should take Filatov, the other half were adamant they should take Anze Kopitar (who because he was from Slovenia was considered a riskier pick). Oh, hindsight, you make things so easy.

 

There's also the whole Rick DiPietro debacle, although he did look like an ok goalie for a while before injuries took him apart. But even so... the Islanders moved Luongo along for that guy? Come on.

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