Jan 8, 2017
2nd Favourite Team
Toronto Maple Leafs
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I like it. It's practical and fits within the plan that seems to be developing. Is this a Cup contender though? I don't think it is. I hope I'm wrong.
Hoping so hard the Blackhawks win the draft lottery and get Rasmus Dahlin. Barring that, they'll still end up with a good 1st round defenseman from this draft. Henri Jokiharju will be ready in two seasons. Blake Hillman is about to sign and Ian Mitchell will likely sign in a year or two and could reform their top Denver pairing. Joni Tuulola looks interesting. Forsling should round into shape in the next season or so. All of this bodes well for the current weakness of a thin/poor defense becoming a deep strength about the end of the 2019-20 season. The problem with that is that's the last year of Crawford's contract and the last year of Quenneville's contract. It's essentially the end of the "window" with this core. I doubt Crawford or Quenneville stay after that if they're still around then. Seabrook will be 34 and Keith will be 36 and they'll still be on the books for 4 and 3 more years. Plus, that's when the expansion draft and the lockout are expected to happen. Will there even be a season? If this was a team in full rebuild mode, I'd feel fine about all of the moves to build the next wave for a Cup run in a couple of years. I feel like Bowman is of two minds that aren't serving either purpose well - the future and trying to compete now. Just about the time the young D is ready to compete for a Cup, the expansion draft happens and you lose one of them and your core (Toews, Kane, Keith, Seabrook, Crawford) basically ages out in a lockout shortened season. I have a hard time imagining they'll be ready to be a true Cup contender again until 2020. I think Bowman knows what he's doing with the young players but I'm not convinced that Quenneville understands what to do with them and how the game is changing. DeBrincat could have competed for the Calder if he'd been paired with Kane and been a Top 6 forward for more of the season. Why can't we see a skill line like DeBrincat, Schmaltz, and Kane play a few games and see what happens? Yes, they're small but speed and skill is the way the league is going. Part of me is patient and sees the youth movement plan and part of me thinks they should trade future assets and aim for win now provided Crawford returns as himself from earlier this season (trade Keith because he'll waive his NMC to go to a contender, trade Anisimov, pursue Tavares, put Seabrook on waivers or whatever needs to happen, trade for Karlsson, sign Carlson, all the crazy, unsustainable stuff to chase the Cup for 2-3 more seasons.) I just can't see how they're going to reconcile the undeveloped youth with the aging core. They lost those team drafted/developed prospect pieces in the middle to salary cap dumps/bad contracts that they probably needed to make it work: Teravainen, Danault, Leddy, Johns, Raanta.
I like the Dahlin idea. I'm really hoping the Blackhawks lose a lot of games between now and the end of the season, get as low in the standings as possible, and end up with a top 3 pick in the draft lottery that, if it's not #1, can be traded with the Preds 1st round pick (adding a prospect if necessary) for the overall #1 pick so they can take Dahlin. It'd solve a world of problems with the salary cap and the D for at least the next 3 seasons.
I also like Faulk but I think it's unlikely that the Canes part with their captain and leave a hole in their D to fill their need at center. I don't know their D that well though. Do they have all of their future Top 4 in the younger defenseman? I think the 2020 first rounder, while a good idea to save the 2019 first rounder for the trade deadline and a Cup push, is probably too far in the future to be dealt for both teams.
JVR for 6 seasons from age 28-34 (on the decline) at $6.5m a season would be tough to do with the needs on D, the young forwards they have for cheap that need to play, and cap management. While I think they sign Duclair, Hinostroza, and Hayden to reasonably modest bridge deals around $4m combined this off season, they going to have bigger contracts due for Schmaltz and Sikura in 2 years and DeBrincat the year after that. I think they'll try to keep all 3 of those guys through their next contracts.
The only unrealistic move is the Seabrook trade. No one is ever going to take that contract for 6 more seasons at nearly $7m a season without the Blackhawks retaining at least half the salary. It doesn't make sense for a team rebuilding that's trying to get to the cap floor until a couple more years have passed - it's too long. Plus, Seabrook has a NMC and isn't going to accept a trade to a non-contender. The only hopes to make the Seabrook contract go away are: the Seattle expansion draft in 2020 allows you to expose 1 player with a NMC, early retirement by Seabrook, or an owner's lockout and a new deal with the NHLPA that includes another compliance buyout or two. A regular buyout is even unrealistic because the Blackhawks would be on the hook for 2/3 of the contract anyway and the remaining years double against the cap, so even 4 years from now, Seabrook's contract would be counting against the cap for 8 more seasons. It's better to let him decline and retire on his own. The way he's playing, I suspect he might retire by age 36 anyway. Hopefully, he works hard this offseason and comes back a better player.
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>Hockeyplayer1</b></div><div>Idk what people expect Karlsson to be traded for but almost no team is going to throw elite players at Ottowa for a rental. That just not how it works with rentals. Now if a team had the means to resign him next year and also thought they could win the cup this year a big trade may happen where Ottowa gets an elite player in return. But there are almost no teams in that situation.
If Ottowa expects to get more than a middle 6 guy, a 2nd pairing defenseman, a 3rd pairing defenseman, a B+ prospect, and THREE first rounders they are absolutely delusional.</div></div>
That's my feeling too. The teams that could trade for Karlsson as a rental for this season and next season, before he commands $12m a season, aren't going to give up their best current roster talent to do it or they're going to miss their Cup chances for the next two playoff seasons. However, I could see throwing 3 first round picks and enough secondary talent and minor league prospects at the Sens to make up the salary cap hit for Karlsson. The Hawks need Schmaltz and DeBrincat for a Cup run. A team that wants to trade for Karlsson to resign him long term definitely would give up current roster high end talent but, if you're doing that, why would the Sens trade Karlsson in the first place? He's the best defenseman in the league. You don't trade the thing that every team covets and few teams get, a true number 1 Norris Trophy winning dman, for other other current NHL stars, you only do it with an eye for the future.
If I'm the Sens owner and I'm not planning to resign Karlsson long term at $12m a season, I'd do a full tear down and rebuild of the team at this stage. Find a downtown location for your new stadium and start building it on your own dime. Tear down your team and get a ton of picks and prospects in return, get low in the standings and high in the draft for several seasons, and retool for a youth movement so the new team could be ready to compete for a Cup in 4 or 5 years in your new stadium.