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Jul 12, 2018
Toronto Maple Leafs
2nd Favourite Team
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Boston wins big here in terms of value compared to what other teams spent 1sts on. This is a big swing for the fences season for an aging roster who is more vulnerable than they have been, and a 2nd is a very reasonable price to try and edge their chances a little higher while Bergeron is still an effective 1C.
I think this is very much a boom or bust in terms of Hall working out. He will likely get slotted in next to Krejci, which isn't going to fix what ails him in Buffalo. Hall should finish better than he has, but he isn't a high end goal scorer, he is a very strong playmaker and strong in transition, and I think building a 2nd line around him and Krejci could be tough versus expectations. I think they will be a good 2nd line, but I think Hall will get scrutinized for his offensive production very quickly if it's anything substantially less than a point per game, and Boston is going into the playoffs as a likely first round underdog for the first time in quite a number of years. There are a lot of scenarios that are not far fetched where Hall plays decently, but isn't enough to get the Bruins out of the first round, and doesn't put up the easy to defend offensive numbers, and that will make for some interesting revisionist history when it's all said and done.
I feel like this is a fair deal, leaning toward Calgary's favor, but it's such a big need and weird year, hard to Knock the Leafs for it.
Rittich not having to quarantine is definitely a bonus, he's hovered between perfectly average, maybe a little above at his best, to below average and not awful. Overall he's been consistently in that range, which likely makes him a solid but unspectacular back up. A 3rd is a lot of that, but given the quarantine issues with going outside of the division, the Leafs near desperate need for goalie insulation, and salary retention being a forgone conclusion in trades this year, I feel like it's just on the high side of fair rather than clear overpay.
Again, I honestly think the Leafs got a little tunnel vision, as Rittich stood on his head against them a couple times this year. I feel like they liked that Rittich sometimes seems like a guy who can come up with a huge game during important times, but if you could have gotten Forsberg for a little less, and he already costs much less against the cap, then that may have been a wise decision given the draft capital they have now given up.
I think the Leafs galaxy brained this trade into existence.
I could see an argument that Foligno is a better fit, that he won't bring as much immediate scrutiny, and he will be able to help the team, and the only thing that he will be judged on is helping the team win. Hall on the other hand will be scrutinized quickly if he doesn't start to score, teammates will be asked about him constantly, and after the year they had last year, I think they wanted a quiet addition. So if you pursued Foligno at a lesser cost, and thought it was a better fit for what was actually needed, that would make sense.
However if you could have had Hall for a 2nd, likely add the same 4th to get salary retained a 2nd time, and a warm body, then I think they just talked themselves into Foligno being the better fit and got tunnel vision.
The curious thing to me is that Colorado was in on Foligno for a similar price, but didn't pay more than a 2nd for Hall, but either way, it feels like Toronto really decided they wanted the guy they determined was the best "fit" and overpaid pretty large to get him.
Columbus wins the deal hands down, you will never be able to argue they didnt' get max value. Toronto gets a useful player, the argument isn't that they acquired a player who isn't helpful, or that people won't like, but that was a heavy cost. Overall they have traded away a full drafts worth of picks over the next 2 years, including a 1st.
The thing that will mitigate this is that this is a uncertain draft, and this was a good year to target as a year you really went for it, but given that you can't get this aggressive too often, does Foligno feel like enough of a difference maker to be the net result of one of those big swings?
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>exo2769</b></div><div>I'm just saying, I'm curious is Lehtonen feels the same. It's the player that chose to go to TOR. I'm clearly not Lehtonen, but I find it hard to believe he doesn't regret that decision. The team Point of View means quite a bit less than the players because it's the player that chose to go to TOR. All I've ever said...is that for a pending UFA coming over...it's a factor. Put 1% or 99% or anywhere in between. It's a non zero%</div></div>
It's absolutely a factor, the reality is as a team has fewer holes to fill, it means less guarantees for playing time, which is going to impact the ability to lure top free agents. I think the Leafs salvage their rep a little by moving him rather than letting him rot. Not sure there is anything else they should do, but not pursuing free agents at a potential area of need isn't the right move, and I don't think it's a systemic thing in their organization that was at fault. Unless the Leafs lose some depth on D quickly, I doubt they will be a top destination for an incoming free agent next time around. All they can continue to do is treat the guys that come over as fairly as possible, and keep a good relationship with agents. After that, you can't do a whole lot.
Columbus likely has the better chance of getting some real value out of this deal, so I would say they win it, but the Leafs don't really lose anything here. Lehtonen currently was not stepping in and improving them team when he played over Dermott, and he was taking ice time away from guys like Liljegren and Sandin. He would not have returned next year, and not giving him a chance to go play somewhere likely avoids doing too much damage to the Leafs reputation as a desirable landing spot for European UFAs. They get a wildcard goalie prospect, which is a developmental need, but more likely than not, he's AHL depth in the long run. Goalie prospects often feel like lottery tickets, and there the age at when they start to really come into their own really varies, so more definitely doesn't hurt.
If Lehtonen thrives in Columbus, it doesn't change anything for how you evaluate this deal for the Leafs, as there are just 28 games left to figure out what Lehtonen is before he can walk away, so keeping him likely just gets you nothing and damages the reputation they have built about how they treat overseas players.
This trade is hard to evaluate because of how obvious these two teams as trade partners seemed, and how hard it would be for either team to win the deal.
I think Dubois gets overrated quite a bit, he's far closer to being around Kadri level then he is an elite #1, which isn't bad, but he seems to get a lot of brownie points for being big and a center. He seems to generate offense pretty well, but not elite, and he's not great defensively. He draws penalties, mostly through being a bit of a sneaky dirty player, and the fact that retaliation gets called far more consistently then initial infractions, and he's a good center, I just don't know that he ever becomes the player some people think he already is.
Laine is a pure weapon, doesn't seem capable of creating a lot of chances himself, but he finishes at a rate that is just bonkers, and can singlehandedly transform a PP. He has a reputation as being bad defensively, which I find funny because he and Dubois are very similar in that regard, but Dubois seems to be thought of as a two-way center while Laine is considered a liability. Reality is they are both just relatively young players who are weaker than average defensively.
Overall, I think Jarmo wins the deal because of the fact that he managed to get a reasonable prospect back in the deal, and got Winnipeg to hold back salary making it so the Jackets can continue to accrue cap space. With how bad Dubois was playing and him almost forcing his way out, I think Jarmo literally did as well as you could hope. That being said, I think given the apparent "perception" about Laine, Chevy managed to get a young center, which is what he wanted, so he probably did as well as he could have given the market conditions, and it helps that he got the position they felt they needed the most help with (aside from D).
I think Columbus wins the deal overall, but it's hard to really fault Winnipeg here.
For an RFA deal, this is fair, nothing to write home about, but definitely not an overpayment. In terms of the value the player will bring over the term, this deal is excellent, as most RFA deals are. Barzal has a lot of leverage at the end of this term, he will essentially just negotiate for UFA money with term, or take his QO or arbitration number and walk himself to UFA status in 4 or 5 years, but NYI likely gets him underpaid for 3 years, then if things are working, he's young enough that UFA money on an 8 year term shouldn't be a risky bet, and if it's obvious he wants out, you an probably still get a decent return. I love this gamble for Pittsburgh. Marino succeeded last year at a level you couldn't anticipate, basically playing like a high end #2 defensemen, but the way he did it seemed very much rooted in skill and hockey IQ, which tends to be more repeatable. His underlying numbers matched up extremely closely to his actual results, which is typically a good sign that it wasn't a fluke, and at this price, he's being paid more like a decent #3, excellent #4 then he is a top pairing guy, so there is room for him to decline quite considerably, without making this an overpay. I also like that they get this price essentially right through his entire prime, without having to pay for any 30+ seasons, which again, lowers the chances of this going south.
It's a bit of a gamble, but if he plays at the same level next season, they will have 6 more years of a guy making about $2M less than he should, which is the type of thing that can really help keep the window open as long as possible.
It's hard to call it a "bad" deal, I don't see Pulock failing to live up to it, it's more that some bad cap management put the Islanders in a position where they couldn't offer the AAV necessary to get some term. They can likely make an appropriate offer to Pulock at the end of this deal, but they took on a significant risk of the player walking away all to save a few dollars now, which is not a good look.
Overall, I still would say this is a "good contract". The Islanders are going to get more than $5M worth of defensemen from Pulock over the next two years, and if a player doesn't want to sign for longer than his RFA term, teams don't have a lot of recourse, so if this was what Pulock wanted, Lou didn't really mess up. That being said, the reality is the Islanders weren't in a position to offer more term and AAV to get him locked up, and putting the team in that position with other bad deals is the real problem here.
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>BCAPP</b></div><div>I'd argue most of the league is in cap trouble because of the unexpected flat cap from covid which has given those with cap a very valuable commodity.
We had to dump Johnsson for no value (that's ****ty asset management no matter how you put it) and frankly there was talk of weegar but we can't acquire him now for cap reasons.
Our cap situation isn't terrible but it isn't good. And Marner just makes too much. That and the stupid Kessel retention that's still on the books</div></div>
Marner got too much for an RFA contract, but it's about $1.5M more than he should have gotten for that term. As a UFA he easily gets that deal, and given that the years purchased, he likely delivers strong value on that deal versus a similar UFA (as they would have been signed from 27-33 instead of 22-28). So overall, it still doesn't make his contract "bad" as in they would still get value in a trade for it, and having it is better than not having it. Obviously you would rather have Rantanen at his price, but Marner's contract doesn't do near the damage to Toronto's cap situation that people seem to think.
Going back to the Johnsson trade, while that trade is definitely trading at a loss, that wasn't just because of cap alone, they were trading a depressed asset, as he was coming off a down year. But the fact remains, they got positive value, if a team just had the space but didn't have the player to trade to get even some value back, that is actually a weaker position from an asset management standpoint.
I think what you are seeing is the landscape shifting. Before, teams just circumvented the cap, management didn't really have as strong a grasp on it, so they didnt' like to be too "tight" to it, so instead they just came up with ways to get around it. They basically created an RFA market where it was expected that an RFA would get paid well below market value, then stars would get massive length deals that would likely see the player retire, or become another GMs problem, all of which created this middle teir UFA pool for 28-32 year olds had to get paid to make up for the lesser amounts they got as RFAs, and we saw decent players get paid massive contracts with big term. Teams were able to have overpaid 30+ year olds in the middle of their roster by having superstars on front loaded cam circumventing deals and RFAs on massively underpaid deals, and agencies were fine going along with this as long as that mushy middle part of the market was rolling in.
A few years back UFAs started getting squeezed more as more and more teams started avoiding these massive UFA mistakes, which slowly dried up that market, but RFAs and agents started taking note, and RFAs started demanding closer and closer to fair market contracts. Throw in an 8 year cap on contracts, recapture rules, and more front offices having a deeper knowledge of the cap, and the market shifts dramatically. Teams are less afraid of running with less than a 23 man roster, they are more comfortable using waiver rules (also the removal of re-entry waivers had a bigger impact than people realize) to create and accrue cap space over the course of a season.
The landscape today has shifted dramatically. Just this offseason some of the biggest contracts we have seen were for RFAs. Anderson got more money committed to him than any UFA forward, and Matt Murray got the highest AAV of any goalie signed. Neither one of those players is even close in terms of being the most skilled at their position, Anderson has only 22 more points in his career than Hall had in his best season. Pietrangelo got a big contract, but even that isn't far above what recent RFA defensemen have signed (Trouba and Chabot, who aren't close to as good as Pietrangelo).
My point is, that while teams are spending closer to the cap, it doesn't mean they are in trouble. Bad contracts cause trouble, good contracts don't. Just because things are different, if it's happening right accross the market, it doesn't create a competitive disadvantage, in fact, trying to manage the cap the way it used to be would likely cause more of a disadvantage.
We may even be seeing the start of that type of shift. Vancouver and NYI are two teams that seem set on doing it the way it used to be done, overpaying UFAs to add veteran experience in the middle/bottom of the line up, and expecting to squeeze RFAs in order to make it work. So far, both teams have lost a young top 4 D because of not leaving sufficient cap space for their best players. Both teams have taken a step back this off season explicitly because of cap concerns. It will be interesting to see how that shakes out in the coming months.
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>BCAPP</b></div><div>I guess this getting into semantics they sold low on Johnsson because they couldn't afford his cap. They're having aess than full roster. You can accurately point out that others have it worse but they are not in great shape.</div></div>
It's not really semantics though. Over half of the teams in the league will be carrying a 22 or fewer player roster. Approximately 91% of all of the leagues cap space is currently in use, and there are some truly awful teams that don't have much cap space.
Arizona, San Jose, Anaheim, and Minnesota are weak teams with little to no cap space.
Winnipeg, Calgary, and Montreal will all have to ice a 21 or 22 player roster to be cap compliant, and none of those teams are better than Toronto with Montreal and Calgary having some very ugly contracts that make their future cap situation not look nearly as clear.
There are some bad teams that won't be spending to the cap like Ottawa, Florida, LA, and New Jersey, but those teams are essentially rebuilding and waiting out some awful contracts (well Florida is just a tire fire).
There are definitely teams with a far better cap scenario than Toronto, but there cap situation is better than at least half of the league, they don't have any terrible contracts, and they have a competitive roster. It's hard to see a rationale where you think their cap situation creates a barrier to being competitive.
Space alone doesn't make a team have a well managed cap as it often means teams just don't have assets. The point is, if you can look at every player on the roster and think "I would rather have that player than just have the cap space they use up" that team doesn't really have a cap problem.
This signing isn't that bad on it's own, I mean Ceci is a bottom pairing caliber D signed for bottom pairing money so it's not awful. He is viewed as awful because he is a bottom pair talent who can kill some penalties who has played, and been paid like, a top 4 option.
That being said, the fact that this move is probably the best move GMJR made all summer is pretty disheartening.
Pittsburgh spent a lot of longer term assets and didn't get any better. Kapanen is younger than Hornqvist, but he hasn't been as effective. Matheson is a worse contract than Johnson, maybe he's an improvement, but it doesn't move the needle considering how much term and dollars they took on. Ceci is a bottom pair D, but he again, does not move the needle.
So all in all, their cap situation got worse long term (Matheson plus Johnson's buyout will commit roughly $6M annually, and for that money they basically have a bottom pair D), they traded a 1st and decent prospect, so their prospect cupboard is basically empty, and they really aren't any better.
They literally could have done nothing else, and signed Craig Smith, and a depth D, and they would have improved more without complicating their future cap or giving up assets for the long term.
That's an ugly offseason.
This deal seems like a solid value, and not committing term can be very important for a D who is purely offensive. It isn't a steal but it's probably a solid value.
The thing that seems strange to me is that UFAs have been heavily squeezed, as well as RFAs who haven't been overly consistent, but RFAs with good upside and prior success seem to be getting paid pretty much full value. Highest goalie salary goes to Murray instead of Lehner or Markstrom, Josh Anderson gets more term and money then Smith, Toffoli, Dadonov, and most certainly Hoffman. DeAngelo is now getting more than Shattenkirk or Barrie. This is all without any of the biggest RFAs signing yet this offseason. It seems to be a bit of switch.
I wonder if RFAs have a little bit more ammo than they usually did with the pandemic. With the high escrow and holdback, taking a low bridge deal can't be very appealing, so if a team is trying to squeeze you, maybe holding out and playing overseas just doesn't seem like as much of a risk as it did previously.
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>HabsForEver</b></div><div>We paid a 3rd round pick and still had 8 picks in this draft. It's not like we needed that 3rd round pick. It's never good to give up assets, but Bergevin has proven he can get draft picks quite easy so losing one isn't a concern. Allen's cap space this year doesn't matter as our team is already set.
Bergevin did all of his moves early because he wasn't sure how the offseason would've went. Obviously hindsight is great, but Bergevin doesn't have that. He accomplished what he wanted too early so he didn't have to get into bidding wars. We also don't know who wants to play in Montreal so you can check half of those goalies off the list before even making an offer.
I don't agree with you whatsoever. We traded a 3rd round pick for a very good back up goalie, Domi played on the 4th line in the playoffs and clearly didn't have a spot on the team so I don't know what kind of value he truly had. Guys like Anderson aren't available for trade very often so you give up whatever you have to and you sign him to whatever is fair. If Anderson can put up 25+ goals and 40+ points, this contract is a steal all day long. There's risk to the signing, but when you miss the playoffs 3/5 years, you have to take some risks. Edmundson had a bad year on Carolina, but that's because he wasn't given the opportunity and was forced to play a defined role, If you ignore his season on Carolina and was judging him based on how he played on St.Louis, this contract would be a steal. Again, it's another risk, but if you want to become good, you have to take chances.
You're acting like these guys can't be traded, if it comes down to somebody like Ylonen becoming a top player in the league, you can easily trade somebody for nothing and a spot (and cap space) open up.</div></div>
Banking on being able to just trade away awful contracts is an absolutely terrible plan right now.
Also, it didn't take hindsight to see there were going to be opportunities created by a flat cap and upcoming expansion draft. It is literally why I hated the Allen trade from day one, and my wording was even that it's not just the pick, it's the strategy it implies.
Bergevin is rushing a rebuild before his team even showed it was a near playoff team. They probably are now, but they aren't a contender as currently constructed, and now they have a lot of money tied up to players who probably aren't going to be worth their contracts right when young players are going to need new ones. Ask the Canucks and Islanders how that feels.
So Gallagher goes from being one of the most underpaid wingers in the league to ... a very reasonable salary and term. That's a good deal for Montreal. Gallagher plays a style that has him taking abuse, so there is always a bit of risk, but if you are going to take that risk, Gallagher is the type of player you take it on. He is one of the best even strength wingers in the NHL, full stop. He loses some value for not being a PP driver, but there are a lot of wingers in the league who aren't really any better, but get the advantage of playing on a stacked PP.
If Gallagher stays healthy as the younger players develop, it would not shock me if he has his best statistical seasons ahead of him. Not because he will get better, but if he gets complimented with some higher skilled players, he can likely pick up some additional points (especially on the PP), that he isn't getting right now. He's like Zach Hyman, except he's also capable of creating a lot of chances for himself out of nothing.