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Jul 12, 2018
Toronto Maple Leafs
2nd Favourite Team
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<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>SevenLeg</b></div><div>Hopefully he continues to improve and this year's was not his peak because... it's gonna age badly.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Another very expensive contract for a defenceman that carries a lot of risk.With that being said, if Nurse plays like he did last year – for every season going forward – he has the potential to live up to his new contract. <a href="https://t.co/hdwgTvdAVQ" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">pic.twitter.com/hdwgTvdAVQ</a></p>— dom at the athletic (@domluszczyszyn) <a href="https://twitter.com/domluszczyszyn/status/1423701325007790083?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">August 6, 2021</a></blockquote>
I think the problem here with the way it will age is that Nurse is unlikely to be the best shooting D in the NHL. Elite goal scoring D (Hamilton, Chycrun) who shoot a lot likely finish with a career 6-7% shooting percentage. They may have the odd season up around 10%, but it's not repeatable and you don't want to pay based on that. Nurse either needs to improve significantly in his offensive game, defensive game, or continue to shoot 10% in order to justify this contract, and even then, it's no steal. That's one hell of a gamble.
I think the worst part about the cap is how it kind of warps our perception of what a player is if they are over paid. Nurse is Edmonton's best D, and any team would be happy to have him as part of their core for the right price. There is no argument that he is outright bad. However he will now likely have a lot of years as a guy who fails to outperform his contract, and players actual value does relate heavily to their cap hit, so it's likely going to change the perception of him quickly.
I really like this deal. Pelech is extremely good defensively, and at this clip, he isn't being paid to be a number 1, so it softens the blow to a point where it makes it likely he lives up to this deal more often than not.
D often are not rated on their defensive game very accurately, and I feel like some of the best values right now are when you can get an actually good defensive defensemen signed. Some of the problem can be that players who drive good defensive results aren't often universally agreed upon (Lindell, Jones), but Pelech has very quietly and consistently been between well above average to elite defensively for a few years, and he does so without seeming to hinder his team offensively. I'd rather have a few guys like that driving the D core then overpay for a guy like Jones because he "looks" like a more "complete" D. Problem with me for Jones is that he has always been consistently overrated because he looks smooth, and isn't bad at anything, but that obscures the simple fact he isn't close to elite at anything either, yet he gets talked about as if the sum of his parts still are.
Anyway, Lou has quietly had a great summer. He managed to almost break even on moving out Ladd and Leddy, sounds like he likely has signed some key vet forwards likely at reasonable terms and rates, didn't overpay in expansion (didn't love his choice of players on his list, but it likely made little difference, he was losing a $5M forward like Bailey or Eberle regardless so no harm done). I even like the Panik part of dealing out Leddy.
I think he managed to manage his future assets decently, cleaned up the cap a little, keep a strong team together. He's probably not quite as deserving of the GM of the year title he has, but he certainly hasn't had a bad summer (unless we find out he gave Palmieri an insane deal).
Solid bet. AAV is high enough it's not a steal, but Ritchie is a decent physical player with the ability to score some goals. He takes too many penalties, but as long as even up calls are a real thing in the NHL, I don't think it harms his value as much as it's given credit for in most analytics model (different models seem to weight it differently).
I think Tatar is a better player, but likely costs what Toronto paid for Kase and Ritchie combined. Nice thing about splitting it is that it's easier to manage from a cap perspective, and there is a chance both deliver their full value, and less of a chance of missing completely on both.
Toronto isn't having as bad a summer as some think, but it really depends on how you rate their current group. If you look at last season on it's own, the Leafs were much better defensively, still strong offensively, very strong analytically, and really outplayed Montreal but ran into an extremely hot goalie. Toronto looked better against Montreal than Vegas did. Other top teams took more of a step back than Toronto did, and they did make some nice bets to counter one of their biggest weaknesses last year, which was depth scoring. It's fine for fans to overreact, it's why we watch sports, but I am glad management isn't. It's actually refreshing to see a GM with some conviction when on the hot seat. No big changes just for the sake of it, no mortgaging the entire future to save a job. Most GMs enter this sort of season with a swing for the fences mentality, knowing that if they gamble and win, they look good, but if they lose, it won't be their problem. If Dubas doesn't make it to next season, someone new won't really inherit a big mess of an organization with newly added bad contracts and lost assets to terrible desperation trades.
This isn't to say he's made no mistakes, there are plenty of good and bad moves, but it's nice to see he had a plan, and he's willing to just stick to it and either prove that it can work, or get fired if it doesn't.
I don't dislike the player or the term, but this is that middle AAV that goes to middle 6 wingers where it's either an overpayment for a clear bottom 6 guy (Kerfoot, Kassian, Goodrow), or an excellent value deal for a guy who is clearly a top 6 winger (Donskoi, Toffoli, Danault).
A salary in the mid 3's to low 4's never seems just right, it just always seems off in one direction or the other, and if I had to guess in this case it's an overpayment going forward. I don't think Armia has some extra gear to make it a steal, and while he is good enough to make it not awful, I think you can get similar value on much less expensive contracts, and the problem ends up becoming having a player in this salary range who is overpaid by $1M often hurts your roster more than say a $8M player overpaid by a similar amount.
This offseason just seems like GMs were cooped up too long and went nuts. I remember at the Vegas draft there were rumors of top 4 RHD being expensive, but they didn't move because teams wanted too much, this summer they seem expensive but GMs are just throwing assets at them like crazy.
This trade is just bad for Chicago no matter how you look at it. Jones isn't the level of defender they just paid for in terms of assets or cap hit, and you are likely buying most of his decline. To make matters worse, even if Jones is a top 5 NHL defensemen, this team isn't at a stage where adding that player would have been a good move anyway. So basically paid for an asset they didn't really get, and even if they do get that level of performance, they likely wasted the assets simply because they misjudged how close their team is to contention.
I think Jones has always been a little overrated, and while he is probably better than he looked last year, it's unlikely he lives up to that contract or trade, and I wouldn't be shocked if in 2-3 years Boqvist is more valuable than Jones on his own.
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.