Thursday, October 31, 2013

Steve Downie Back On Flyers After Trade With Avalanche

Steve Downie has been with the Philadelphia Flyers before this recent trade with the Colorado Avalanche.  In fact, he was drafted by the Flyers in the first round of the 2005 NHL entry draft.  So, they know the player they are getting in return for trading Maxime Talbot.   They know he is a hard-nosed forward who can cause havoc for other teams.

The 26 year-old veteran comes at a bit higher price tag than Talbot, but the Flyers are willing to take on his salary to gain his competitive nature as an asset for their team in the near-term.  They will likely need to make some moves to get in compliance with the salary cap and retain Downie at the same time.

Although Downie's cap hit is $2.65 million for this season, the investment is not necessarily long-term for the Flyers, because he will become an unrestricted free agent after 2013-14 unless traded or re-signed prior to that time.

Scoring Stats Goals Ice Time
Season Age Tm GP G A PTS GC +/- PIM EV PP SH GW S S% TOI ATOI
2007-08 20 PHI 32 6 6 12 5 2 73 5 0 1 1 25 24.0 315 9:51
2008-09 21 TOT 29 3 3 6 2 -2 65 3 0 0 1 26 11.5 244 8:26
2008-09 21 PHI 6 0 0 0 0 -4 11 0 0 0 0 1 0.0 36 5:57
2008-09 21 TBL 23 3 3 6 2 2 54 3 0 0 1 25 12.0 209 9:04
2009-10 22 TBL 79 22 24 46 18 14 208 15 7 0 1 116 19.0 1162 14:43
2010-11 23 TBL 57 10 22 32 11 8 171 8 2 0 1 83 12.0 828 14:31
2011-12 24 TOT 75 14 27 41 15 -6 137 12 2 0 2 140 10.0 1195 15:56
2011-12 24 TBL 55 12 16 28 11 -15 121 10 2 0 1 99 12.1 853 15:30
2011-12 24 COL 20 2 11 13 4 9 16 2 0 0 1 41 4.9 342 17:06
2012-13 25 COL 2 0 1 1 0 1 6 0 0 0 0 2 0.0 18 8:54
2013-14 26 COL 11 1 6 7 2 4 36 0 1 0 1 26 3.8 184 16:43
Career 285 56 89 145 54 21 696 43 12 1 7 418 13.4 3946 13:51
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/31/2013.

The Newmarket, Ontario native, in addition to his strong physical presence, has proven that he can put the puck in the net, garnering a career-high 22 goals while with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2009-10.

The Flyers will take on the Washington Capitals on Friday, November 1, when Downie will get a chance to show his mettle in front of the hometown crowd.   According to a recent article by Tim Panaccio on csnphilly.com, Downie may play on the same line with Claude Giroux, clearing space for him to put more pucks in the net:
"I'm definitely thinking about that," head coach Craig Berube said of playing Downie on Giroux's line, "but there are some other things we can use [Downie] for as well." 
More to come on the Talbot / Avalanche perspective of this trade.............

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

2014 NHL Free Agents - Paul Stastny

Paul Stastny, the second round draft selection of the Colorado Avalanche in the 2005 NHL entry draft, is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2013-14 NHL season.  The centerman is finishing up a five-year deal carrying a cap hit of $6.6 million annually.

Stastny has been a solid offensive producer for the Avalanche.  He regularly hovers around 0.75 point per game, even peaking above a point-per-game earlier in his NHL career.  Given those impressive statistics however, it is certainly not a fait d'accompli that he will remain with Colorado beyond this season.

There has been some speculation that Stastny would be traded before the end of the current season.  The Avalanche have a glut of talent at center, with young Matt Duchene and recent number one overall draft pick Nathan MacKinnon, which is not necessarily a bad problem to have.  

Outlook
The Avs have gotten off to a hot start, one that not many would have predicted, and Stastny has been key to the team's performance.   That being said, the Avalanche will most likely not sign him at a salary comparable to his current rate.  If he want to stay in Colorado, his annual salary will need to come down from it's current level.  Otherwise, if Colorado gets the sense that he is looking for more than his current $6.6 million per year, they will likely trade him or let him hit the open market after the season.  

Monday, October 28, 2013

Vanek Trade Follow-up

As Thomas Vanek begins his time with the New York Islanders, he's been paired immediately with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo, which should come as no surprise.
Some have indicated the Islanders might have given up too much for Vanek, considering the draft picks added to the high quality of player in Matt Moulson.  But there is also the argument that Vanek has not yet had a center with the skill level of John Tavares to fully showcase his goal-scoring talents.

There is also some concern that this could be a short-term move.  But, as Arthur Staple writes, Garth Snow likely has designs on a longer-term commitment with Vanek.
Snow also never, ever makes a move with just an eye on right now. He’s hoping to have Vanek for a whole season to convince his new top winger to stay longer in addition to helping the Isles out of their win-one, lose-one malaise. 
When Mark Streit moved from the Island to the Philadelphia Flyers over the summer, prior to becoming an unrestricted free agent, he signed a four-year deal about seven days before he would have hit the open market.  So there is recent precedence for a player signing after being traded.

The speculation, and concern of Islander fans, is that Vanek would want to go to Minnesota.  But could Minnesota afford to take on a big contract like he will garner, after recently inking Zach Parise and Ryan Suter?  

And who knows, Vanek and Tavares might click better than anyone even expects.  It would be hard for him to leave New York if he's racking up goals, winning, and, if the Islanders are willing to pay him the going rate for a player of his caliber.   

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Vanek Traded to Islanders for Moulson, Picks

The Buffalo Sabres have traded Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders for Matt Moulson, a first round draft pick in 2014 and a second round pick in 2015 according to TSN.

The 29 year-old winger and former fifth overall pick of the Sabres, Vanek has not scored less than 20 goals in any NHL season, including last season, shortened by the lockout.  The Austrian All-Star had made it clear that he was not ready to partake in a rebuilding effort.  In the New York Islanders, Vanek will find a team that made the playoffs last season, and is on the rise with young sniper John Tavares.

The Buffalo Sabres meanwhile, receive not only two early draft picks for the next two years, but also a goal-producing winger in Matt Moulson, who has not scored less than 30 goals in each of his three full 82-game NHL seasons (he notched 15 in last season's lockout-shortened campaign).

A move by the Sabres was expected for Thomas Vanek this season.  It wasn't clear where he would go, but most thought that he would go.  With Buffalo's very slow start, his move was hastened.

The Islanders meanwhile, get a top-notch goal-scorer through the end of this season, at a cap hit of $7.142 million, after which Vanek's current contract expires.  He could very well help push the Islanders far into the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season though, and wind up signing an extension with New York.

Moulson also could wind up being a rental for the Buffalo Sabres as his contract expires at the end of the current season.  His cap hit is much more manageable however, at $3.13 million.

Vanek and Moulson both wear 26 ironically, so they will be switching uniforms, including numbers.  

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Calgary Flames Trade Inquiries

The Calgary Flames have reportedly received inquiries about some of their veteran players as potential trade targets.Jiri Hudler, who leads the flames in both assists with eight, and points with 12, is a likely target.

The 29-year-old, left shooting centerman, originally hailing from Czechoslovakia, has 2 1/2 years left on his contract at an annual average value of $4 million according to capgeek.com.

Teams that have the cap space to take on a player with an annual average value of $4 million and also need the offensive assistance would include the New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

2014 NHL Free Agents - Joni Pitkanen

Joni Pitkanen, currently with the Carolina Hurricanes, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2013-14 NHL season.  The big Finnish defenseman has spent the last five NHL seasons with the Hurricanes, establishing himself as one of the best blue line set up men in the league.  Over his NHL regular season career, he has put up 282 points, most of which have been helpers, in 535 contests.

Unfortunately, Pitkanen has suffered injuries to his heel over the last two seasons and he is expected to miss all of 2013-14 with his injury.

Outlook
Given his recent injuries, the Hurricanes will not be quick to re-sign Pitkanen to a long-term deal.  He will most likely hit the open market in 2014 and need to prove that he is fully recovered from his injury.  His price tag will almost assuredly be lower than his current AAV of $4.5 million.  Look for the tough defenseman to come out swinging and prove to all that he can and will rebound as an even better player than he was before the injury.

Monahan to Stay With Calgary Flames

According to Pro Hockey Talk, the Calgary Flames have made a decision to keep 19-year-old Sean Monahan on their squad, rather than return him to his junior team, the Ottawa 67's.  The young forward has scored nine points in nine games for Calgary as of this post.

Monahan has been a key component of the Flames resurgence to-date.  The sixth overall pick in the 2013 NHL draft has impressed Calgary's management in a very short time period, and will, I'm sure they hope, remain a Flame for a very long time.  

2014 NHL Free Agents - Brooks Orpik

Brooks Orpik, currently with the Pittsburgh Penguins, will become an unrestricted free agent after his contract expires in 2014, if not re-signed by Pittsburgh prior to the deadline, or traded.  The big defenseman, originally from California, has spent his entire NHL career, which began with the 2002-03 season, as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

He has been a physical presence on the blue line for the Penguins, while also finding a way to contribute offensively over the years.

Scoring Stats Goals Ice Time
Season Age Tm GP G A PTS GC +/- PIM EV PP SH GW S S% ATOI
2002-03 22 PIT 6 0 0 0 0 -5 2 0 0 0 0 2 0.0 18:19
2003-04 23 PIT 79 1 9 10 3 -36 127 1 0 0 0 56 1.8 18:25
2005-06 25 PIT 64 2 7 9 3 -3 124 2 0 0 0 32 6.3 18:50
2006-07 26 PIT 70 0 6 6 2 4 82 0 0 0 0 59 0.0 16:37
2007-08 27 PIT 78 1 10 11 3 11 57 1 0 0 0 50 2.0 16:58
2008-09 28 PIT 79 2 17 19 6 10 73 1 1 0 0 39 5.1 20:20
2009-10 29 PIT 73 2 23 25 7 6 64 2 0 0 0 61 3.3 20:06
2010-11 30 PIT 63 1 12 13 4 12 66 1 0 0 0 56 1.8 20:53
2011-12 31 PIT 73 2 16 18 5 19 61 2 0 0 0 44 4.5 22:33
2012-13 32 PIT 46 0 8 8 2 17 32 0 0 0 0 32 0.0 22:17
2013-14 33 PIT 9 1 1 2 1 0 4 1 0 0 0 8 12.5 22:56
Career 640 12 109 121 36 35 692 11 1 0 0 439 2.7 19:34
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/23/2013.

Outlook
Orpik will be finishing up a six-year contract valued at $22.5 million according to capgeek.com.  General Manager Ray Shero has re-signed most of his key players before they became free agents, recently.  I would expect the same thing to happen with Brooks Orpik.  He will remain a Penguin, at an AAV close to what he has in his current contract, prior to hitting the free agent market.

Snap Shots: Red Wings, Maple Leafs, Bakersfield Condors

According to TSN, the Detroit Red Wings may be looking to make a move soon.  Detroit needs to clear cap space, and Jordin Tootoo may be considered for a possible trade.  Tootoo currently has a $1.9 million cap hit applied to the Red Wings roster.  According to capgeek.com, Detroit is roughly $2 million over the current salary cap.

The Toronto Maple Leafs may keep a significant portion of John Michael-Liles salary in any potential trade, according to cbssports.com.  

There is speculation that the Leafs may be looking at the Florida Panthers' Dmitry Kulikov according to cbssports.com.  The first round pick of the Panthers' in the 2009 NHL draft, the defenseman has seen parts of five NHL regular seasons with Florida, putting up 81 points in 242 games.

ECHL Transaction

Defenseman George Hughes was traded from the Orlando Solar Bears to the Bakersfield Condors in exchange for future considerations.  Hughes played four seasons with St. Lawrence University, notching 37 points in 38 games in his final campaign.  

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mike Brown Traded to San Jose Sharks

Mike Brown has been traded by the Edmonton Oilers to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a fourth round draft pick in 2014 according to the Edmonton Journal.  The veteran winger, who by the way has one of the best mustaches in the league, was traded by the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Oilers in March of 2013. He has played 35 games with Edmonton, notching a point and 72 penalty minutes, since joining the squad last season.

Prior to the Maple Leafs, Brown spent time with the Anaheim Ducks who received him in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks in 2009.  The Canucks drafted Brown in the fifth round of the 2004 NHL entry draft.  
Over his NHL regular season career, started in 2007-08 with Vancouver, Brown has amassed 591 penalty minutes and 26 points.  His physical play has made him an asset to each team he has joined during his pro career.  

As quoted in the Edmonton Journal, Brown seems to have enjoyed being a part of the Oilers, but is excited to join a Cup-contending team on the West Coast:
“You never want to leave, but I certainly can’t complain about going to a team that is as competitive as San Jose.”

Friday, October 18, 2013

Miller and Vanek to Oilers?

There has been much speculation about Ryan Miller being traded to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Nail Yakupov. Miller has a limited no trade clause however, which includes eight teams. Listed among those eight teams is the Edmonton Oilers. It is doubtful that Ryan Miller would accept any trade to the Edmonton Oilers. So we can probably scratch this trade off the list.

Thomas Vanek has also been mentioned as a potential trade target of the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Nail Yakupov. But Vanek stated previously that he does not want to be part of any rebuilding efforts. And the Edmonton Oilers certainly seem to be in a rebuilding mode.

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