Daily Archives: November 3, 2013

Daily Archives: November 3, 2013

NHL Blog Beat – November 3, 2013.

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Check out the weekend’s collection of notable posts from around the NHL blogosphere. 

GRANTLAND: Sean McIndoe examines if the eight NHL teams currently off to horrible starts can overcome the odds, and opens his weekly grab bag to look at some of the notable and weird happenings of late around the NHL. Over at his blog DOWN GOES BROWN, he takes a humorous look at some NHL GMs and coaches on the hot seat.

Pekka Rinne is facing a whole new world of hurt.

Pekka Rinne faces a whole new world of hurt.

BACKHAND SHELF: Dave Lozo takes his weekly “bag skate” to offer up observations of the opening month of this NHL season. Jo Innes examines in gory detail how a bacterial infection in a surgically repaired hip will affect Predators goalie Pekka Rinne.

PUCK DADDY: Ryan Lambert with his take on Teemu Selanne and watching your favorite player.

FIVE MINUTES FOR FIGHTING: Why $7 million per season is a fair deal for Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf.

HABS EYES ON THE PRIZE: Andrew Berkshire looks at who are Alexei Emelin’s true salary comparables.

FEAR THE FIN: Can you burn out a goaltender with too much regular season play?

PUCK DRUNK LOVE: Steve Lepore looks at the potential playoff chaos the NHL divisional realignment could wreak.

THE SPORTS BANK: Ed Cmar with reaction to Columbus being awarded the 2015 NHL All-Star Game.

No Morning Coffee Headlines or Canadian Corner for November 3, 2013.

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Due to technical difficulties with my internet provider there won’t be an NHL Morning Coffee Headlines or Canadian Corner for Sunday, November 3, 2013. My apologies. Regular updates will commence November 4, 2013. Your patience and understanding is appreciated.

The Vanek Trade Isn’t The Start Of A Trend.

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The Buffalo Sabres shipping star left wing Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders for winger Matt Moulson and draft picks caught many NHL observers off-guard.

It was the timing of the deal which was so surprising. Vanek was widely expected to be moved at some point this season. The rebuilding Sabres were off to a horrible start and Vanek (eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer) wasn’t expected to re-sign.

Since the implementation of the salary cap in 2005, a trade of such an expensive ($6.4 million in real dollars, $7.142 in cap hit) talent rarely occurs early in the the season. One must go back to November 2005 – when the Boston Bruins dealt Joe Thornton to the San Jose Sharks – to find a similar early-season trade.

The trade of Thomas Vanek (l) to the Isles for Matt Moulson was the first major early season trade under this CBA.

The trade of Thomas Vanek (l) to the Isles for Matt Moulson was the first major early season trade under this CBA.

The Vanek trade, however, was the first to occur in the season’s opening month.

Under a salary cap, it’s very difficult to move a high-salaried star like Vanek. To make the deal happen required not just a general manager desperate to sell (in this case, Buffalo’s Darcy Regier) and a GM with sufficient cap space willing to gamble (the Islanders Garth Snow), but also for the selling GM to absorb part of the salary of the player being shopped to make it work.

Thanks to the new collective bargaining agreement, teams are allowed to retain up to 50 percent of a player’s salary to facilitate a trade.

Regier didn’t have to retain that much of Vanek’s cap hit, but it took absorbing a sizeable chunk (20 percent, or $1.4 million) to entice Snow to make the deal.

It’s unlikely, however, the ability to retain salary will spark a significant increase of early-season trades involving expensive stars.

One reason is most teams have used up the bulk of their payrolls when the season opens in October. That significantly reduces the number of potential trade partners for a desperate GM looking to sell early in the season, especially when shopping players carrying very expensive contracts.

A factor in the Vanek trade was his contract expires at the end of this season. A GM looking to sell is more willing to retain salary on an expiring contract than a multi-year deal.

Not every GM will be desperate enough to retain more than what Regier did with Vanek’s salary. He only agreed on 20 percent. As desperate as Regier was to move Vanek, even he wouldn’t agree to take on half.

The player’s free agent status is also a factor. Snow, in this case, is gambling Vanek will enjoy playing alongside superstar John Tavares and agree to re-sign rather than test next summer’s free agent market.

Most NHL GMs, however, don’t like to part with assets on such a gamble, except near the trade deadline,when most of the player’s remaining salary has already been paid out. Even then, it depends upon where teams are positioned in the standings, and if their GMs feel it’s worth the gamble for a shot at a championship.

If the salary cap steadily rises over the course of this CBA, as it did throughout the previous one, it can be argued such deals will become more commonplace.

It would be foolhardy to entirely dismiss that theory, especially if more teams have available cap space at their disposal, or a willingness to absorb a portion of a player’s salary in order to move him.

The circumstances surrounding the Vanek trade, however, are rare. That’s not to say we’ll never see another early-season trade involving an NHL star over the remainder of this CBA. Just don’t expect it to become a regular occurrence.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 3, 2013

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The latest on the Flyers, Rangers, Sabres, Senators, Stars, Canadiens and more.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Flyers GM Paul Holmgren is willing to discuss anyone on his roster, while the struggling Rangers might be prepared to move as well, with defenseman Michael Del Zotto mentioned….It’s believed Steve Ott, Christian Ehrhoff, Drew Stafford, Patrick Kaleta and Ryan Miller are among the Sabres who could be moved next…The Jets have been shopping for help at forward,but not enough teams are out of the race yet…Garrioch expects Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau to re-sign with the Sharks…The Oilers are seeking a top end defenseman but there’s not many available and rival clubs would want the Oilers young players…With Rick DiPietro failing to impress with the Hurricanes farm team, they’re calling around for a goalie…Don’t expect Matt Moulson (a UFA next summer) to finish the season with the Sabres…The Canadiens may be willing to move David Desharnais but he has another four years at $3.5 million per on his contract.

 Garrioch also reported Senators GM Bryan Murray has held talks with a couple of teams seeking an upgrade on defense. He could try to shore up the blueline if the Senators fail to improve over the next couple of games. Garrioch lists the Flyers Hal Gill, the Maple Leafs John-Michael Liles, the Canucks Yanick Weber, the Kings Alec Martinez and the Panthers Tom Gilbert among the list of available blueliners.

 SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s the problem for teams seeking upgrades. Not much available talent this early in the season, and too many teams (24) have too little cap space to take on additional salary…The Sabres will have an easier time moving Ott, Miller and Moulson, who are slated for UFA status next summer…Wouldn’t surprise me if Thornton and Marleau re-up with the Sharks…If the Oilers aren’t willing to move one of their good young players, they can forget about landing a quality first-pairing defenseman. Even then, the asking price could be too high…A Canadiens blogger recently suggested Desharnais could be the latest version of Scott Gomez for the Habs.

 TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons noted Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf has his faults, but the club cannot afford to lose him to free agency next summer. He’s expecting a six-year deal worth $42 million.

 SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos speculated seven years at $50 million. Simmons is one year shorter but is worth $7 million per season. Ultimately this comes down to Phaneuf’s willingness to remain a Leaf. If the team continues to improve, he could wish to remain a part of it and accept less than what he’d get on the open market, but I still believe it’ll come in around $7 million per.

 DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika reports the Stars have too much money tied up in underperforming players, singling out Shawn Horcoff ($5.5 million), Sergei Gonchar ($5 million), Alex Goligoski ($4.6 million), Ray Whitney ($4.5 million) and Erik Cole ($4.5 million). The Stars currently have around $3.4 million in cap space, leaving Stars fans wondering if there’s enough to fix the club’s problem areas, such as their defense. GM Jim Nill, however, isn’t concerned, preaching patience with his younger players, while believing he has sufficient cap space to make a major trade by mid-season if an opportunity arises.

 SPECTOR’S NOTE: Considering what little is available in the trade market right now, patience is pretty much the watchword. Heika raises a good point about the amount the Stars have tied up in players who aren’t performing well, but there’s little that can be done about that now.

 NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks wonders why a team in such dire need of goaltending help as the Edmonton Oilers won’t sign UFA Ilya Bryzgalov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I get the concern about Bryzgalov’s reputation as a flake, but the Oilers season is already slipping away and they need help between the pipes and on the blueline. It won’t cost much to take a chance on Bryzgalov. It’s not like he can make a bad situation worse, Oilers fans. Your club is not just at rock bottom right now, it’s burrowing into the crust.

 THE BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl recently speculated off-season rumors linking the Colorado Avalanche to Sabres goalie Ryan Miller could resurface if Avs start Semyon Varlamov is sentenced to jail on domestic violance charges. Vogl also noted the Washington Capitals are desperate for blueline help, while the Sabres have eight defensemen.