Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Edmonton Oilers - 2009 Off-Season

I started writing this post a few months ago (end of March or so) and updated to today JUST SHORT of the whole Heatley 'thing'. We know changes are coming so take this post for what it is worth.

Funny thing though - anyone but me notice that NONE of Moreau, Staios or Pisani was involved in that trade?

In some ways this team is quite predictable.

Immediate Notes

The chart shows that Edmonton has, in 2009/10, ~ $45.89 mill of next years Cap space allocated to 11 forwards, 4 defensemen and 1 goalie. This leaves 3 forwards, 3 defensemen and 1 goalie to be signed.

The 2009/10 Cap has been set at $56.80; the difference being ~ $10.91 mill.

The RFA's

Brule, Reddox, Grebeshkov and Smid

Brodziak, ostensibly, was moved to make space on the roster. Brule is one of the guys who should benefit from that. Given that he couldn't even dominate the AHL I think he should, and does, get a paycut - a 2 year deal in the mill-a-year club would be more than enough.

Without MacT to champion his cause, Reddox is on the bubble. Depending on his remaining waiver eligibility we will be looking at a Roy-type deal where the second year is one-way (~ $650k).

Grebeshkov got the contract he wanted last year (the one I feared) and will get a big raise now. With any luck he is okay with getting less than what Gilbert did but I still don't see a smart agent letting him sign long-term. All signs point to a 3 year deal for $3.5+ million.

Smid is turning into a decent #5 and looks to have #4 upside. If Burrows is willing to sign for 4 years and $8 million there is no reason why Lowe can't try to get Smid into the same kind of deal - maybe even longer. I expect, however, a shorter deal and $1.65 million a year for two years sounds about right.

As with last year, one of the keys for Tambellini will be to keep inflationary effects out of the contracts he signs the players to. For example, a contract for Smid at 1.65 / 1.65 is much better for the Oilers than one at 1.30 / 2.00.

The UFA's

Kotalik, Strudwick and Roloson

Kotalik is a situation player. I'm not sold on him and neither are the Oilers (as they never made an offer apparently) but I expect he gets proffered a contract somewhere. While I do think that Kotalik is a useful player and would have signed him if he was willing to take a paycut (say $2.0 million) he isn't THAT important a player that he can't be replaced fairly easily*.

As it stands I will put a low-level replacement salary in that spot for now.

* However, if Souray is traded then the team would be well-advised to get a big shooter for the powerplay... oh... wait

I like Strudwick (more as a 4th line winger than a 7th defenseman though) but with Tambellini running the show now it isn't a sure thing as to whether or not he gets picked up again. If so, I have him down for another year at the same rate as before.

Roloson probably earned himself an extra contract. Won't be for what he made before however. Sounds like Edmonton has offered something in the $3.0 million range so I will go with that - this franchise has a history of rewarding its veterans.

Cap Flex and Maneuvers

Add it all up and the Oilers sit at ~ $56.84 million in Cap salary next year. The team is over the Cap by some $40k (way to save that 10%).

In terms of Cap flex, as with prior year, I don't see a lot. The easiest thing to do is drop a player or two into the minors and do the old up-n-down trick until waivers become an issue. That should take care of a $1 million or so and allow the team to make Cap.

More probable is that some combination of Penner, Pouliot and Nilsson is traded and the salaries coming back are low enough to allow the team to slide just under the Cap.

Apparently we are an option for Bouwmeester [Editor's Note: Not anymore apparently]? That'll be interesting.

Finally, don't expect to see any of the veteran core of Staios, Moreau and Pisani get traded. I think at least one should go but I don't see it happening. Loyalty trumps all in Oilerville.

For The Defense

With Grebs new contract incoming the defensive core is getting a bit pricey. This is okay if the names are spelled P-r-o-n-g-e-r and N-e-i-d-e-r-m-a-y-e-r or L-i-d-s-t-r-o-m and A-n-y-o-n-e-h-e-p-l-a-y-s-w-i-t-h but that is not the case here. Visnovsky and Souray are both injury prone and neither is elite level so at some point the law of diminishing returns will kick in.

Best case scenario for a Souray trade has San Jose getting booted early** and them being interested in a Souray-type to give them a better bomb option on the powerplay (they already have the puck-movers and passers). I wouldn't expect a miraculous return but moving the Cap hit is the main objective regardless.

** Really, I did write that before the play-offs, now if only I had mentioned how Souray would be willing to do to be closer to his family. At least then I would have been right.

Moving Visnovsky presents some of the same problems (big salary, aging player, injury filled past) as moving Souray but moving either of them is preferable to moving Gilbert imo (FTR, I would hate to drop Visnovsky from this defense core).

That leaves Staios and Smid. Staios is the obvious option and I remain in favor of trading him. Fat chance of that. Smid is, to me, the next Scuderi***. As long as he remains cheap why, excepting in a clear upgrade for an on-ice player, move him?

*** To whit, a long time ago I said that one should scout Pittsburgh to see who was the guy to target - Scuderi or Melichar. The reasoning being that both were starting to show decent results and it is always a good thing to get players who other teams have spent time and money molding them into useful players.

Going Forward

The forward group needs to be blown up real good. Or given a hug. Just too many players need to be hidden for this to form a cohesive group.

Horcoff, Hemsky, Gagner and Stortini are about it on my list of untouchables while O'Sullivan and Cogliano populate the list of mostly useful and probably keepable.

Note, if Cogliano doesn't have markedly improved face-off numbers next year he either moves to the wing or gets moved.

Moreau and Pisani are probably overpaid for what they deliver but at least, when playing the minutes and position God made them for, they do deliver the goods. Reddox is cut from their mold but it is hard to say whether or not he makes the grade on a non-MacT team.

Penner's asset value has never been lower but with a new coach coming in it is hard to say whether or not he gets moved. I have been one of those who have always thought Penner was a great building block towards a Kovalchuk type deal but after MacT threw him under the bus (multiple times) there is nothing there left to trade.

Right now the better move is to keep him.

Nilsson is inconsistent yet too far down the veterans road to think bright lights await while Pouliot, apparently has decide whether or not he should be a goalie.

Think about all of those players for a second.

Of those listed I see only three that don't require sheltering or special treatment (Horcoff, Hemsky and O'Sullivan), one that is on the cusp (Gagner) and four that are good at what they do (Moreau, Pisani and Stortini). The last group of names belong to players who are 3rd or 4th line guys (at best) and of the rest only one (Hemsky) could qualify as having elite level skill.

Quite a few spots to fill and most of what is filling those spots is questionable (to some degree). And small. Can't ever forget how small this team is.

Except for doughnut boy anyways.

Some of those pieces have to be blowed up. My guess would be that it will start with Pouliot and Nilsson. Penner is an outside shot but again - for what? That said, Tambellini will never be safer than now in trading Penner so you never know.

Going Back

Goaltending remains an issue. Fernandez is out there but once that name gets dropped then real money is on the table. Tyler likes the idea of a Harding offer sheet and I can't say that I'm opposed. I have a feeling we are looking at a higher number than proffered however.

Hard to believe that the Oilers are now wandering the goalie barrenlands on full-time basis. All this time I had hoped we were only visiting.


Last year I said a lot of good, smart decisions needed to be made to lock in the gains made 2007-08. So much for that.

Yes, MacT misplayed what had been mismanaged and so he, quite rightly, took the fall... I learned a lot from watching Lowe operate the last few years.

I like how Hemsky started to speak up, I like how Gagner grew his game, I like how Peckham emerged I liked how Smid showed some jam more often than not and I like that the team is now, possibly undisputably, Tambellini's.


Overpriced contracts remain a huge issue and how Tambellini resolves that issue is the big ?. He has more flex than many give him credit for but wholesale change will remain difficult.

New coach has his work cut out for him.

Here's hoping.


Have a great evening everyone.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Calgary - Kudos

Calgary picked up the rights to negotiate with Bouwmeester for a 3rd round pick.

Is it a big price to pay given the odds of signing a guy committed to UFA? Yes.

Is it a big price to pay if they do sign him? No.

And for all who think the salary is an issue (I expect 6.75 and a retirement contract) I give these 3 words:


Vandermeer is already gone so that is $2.3 million in Cap. Primeau is another $1.4 million and Jokinen is $5.25 million. That is, in total, $8.95 million. More than enough for Bouwmeester and a couple of fillers for the other spots. If they pick up Malhotra they score this off-season big time.

Now if only they can solve the Kiprusoff problem.

When you have a chance to get a difference making talent like Bouwmeester - you do it. If Brent Sutter can turn Phaneuf around Calgary will be a scary team for years to come.


Have a great evening everyone.

Friday, 26 June 2009

NHL Entry Draft (2009) - Review

Very deep draft. Could be 2003 all over again. One big trade came early (affecting draft order):

TRADE: Philadelphia trades Lupul, Sbisa, the #21 pick, their 1st round pick from 2010 and a conditional 3rd round pick from 2010 (or 2011) to Anaheim for Pronger and Dingle. Anaheim now has the #15 and the #21 while Philadelphia is out of the 1st round.

01 ... NYI ... Tavares
02 ... TAM ... Hedman
03 ... COL ... Duchene
04 ... ATL ... Kane

The first 4 picks are all as advertised. As much as I can appreciate the talent this draft has all the drama of a day-old Timbit. If it wasn't for the trade of Pronger... nuthin'.

As with every year there is one team, picking early, that I think should trade down and this year, for the 2nd time in the last 3 years, that team is the LA Kings. Not because their pick was a reach (like Hickey was) but because this team HAS to be competitive and getting a play-now asset for the 5th was a better way to go (imo).

Schenn was next on the board and that is where the LA Kings go. [Editor's note: Burke... not happy. YKOil... happy. I'm cheap that way.]

05 ... LAK ... Schenn
06 ... PHO ... Ekman-Larsson

A quick look at the aggregate scoring list shows that Phoenix is the first team to take a guy out of order - leapfrogging Paajarvi-Svensson and Cowen to take Ekman-Larsson. Great pick imo, just outside the 10 point jump rule but really, how could they go wrong at this spot in this draft?

TRADE: Howson continues to show us what he can do as a GM: Columbus trades the #16 and #77 to the NY Islanders for the #26, 37, 62 and 92. For a drop of 10 spots the Jackets get 2 extra picks; of which one is really high quality. That said, if the Isalnders get what they want they do well here as well.

This is what I said in my aggregated ranking post: If anyone ranked below Schroeder is chosen in the top-8 it SHOULD be a major surprise and if anyone ranked below Kadri is taken in the top-9, the team making that call probably just made a big mistake

Well. Okay then.

07 ... TOR ... Kadri
08 ... DAL ... Glennie

Kadri was ranked 11th (23 pts), Glennie was ranked 15th (10 pts) and they both jumped Paarjarvi-Svensson (6th w/ 48 pts), Cowen (7th w/ 40 pts), Kulikov (9th w/ 27 pts) and Schroeder (10th w/ 26 pts). If the Kadri pick is a surprise, the Glennie pick is BIG surprise. I like Glennie but... wow.

Maybe the Oilers get Kulikov? Will they risk the Russian steppes?

09 ... OTT ... Cowen
10 ... EDM ... Paarjarvi-Svensson
11 ... NAS ... Ellis

Ottawa gets back on script so Edmonton had an interesting choice to make. Kulikov is still my choice but Paarjarvi-Svensson is tempting in a Jani Rita sort of way; they take the Swede (who is half-Finn apparently; its a twofer!). Too bad in a way, Cowen would have been a no brainer.

I like the pick. Kulikov is the better player but Paajarvi isn't chopped liver either. Speculation is that Kulikov will drop because of the 'Russian' factor - be interesting to see how far. Nashville takes Ellis and it's a little funny isn't it? No one is mentioning how far Schroeder is dropping.

TRADE: Minnesota trades the #12 to the New York Islanders for the #16, 77 and 182. Nice trade by both teams as Minnesota gets a bounty of picks and the Islanders get aggressive.

12 ... NYI ... DeHaan
13 ... BUF ... Kassian
14 ... FLO ... Kulikov
15 ... ANA ... Holland
16 ... MIN ... Leddy

Well. Okay. A good trade for Minnesota. Islanders take DeHaan too early but I suspect they were spooked by the Ellis pick (and Kulikov drop) and figured they would get their d-man while they could. Big stretch by the Islanders.

Buffalo stretches a bit in taking Kassian (let's face it - they needed the size and grit) and then Florida, soon to be down a J-Bo, takes Kulikov. Great pick by Florida. Great pick.

Anaheim takes Holland and Minnesota takes Leddy (teams are all over the map now)... who the H%LL is Leddy? They couldn't trade down any further? Leddy might turn out but this is a horrible use of the pick by Minnesota. Schroeder continues to drop.

17 ... STL ... Rundblad
18 ... MON ... LeBlanc
19 ... NYR ... Kreider

St. Louis and Montreal help get the top-15 lists back on track but then the NY Rangers take Kreider. Fastest skater in the draft apparently... Barry... is that you?

TRADE: Calgary trades the #20 to New Jersey for the #23 and 84. Calgary pulls one out of the Kevin Lowe hat. Good trade for New Jersey.

20 ... NJD ... Josefson

TRADE: Anaheim trades the #21 to Columbus for the #26 and 37. Howson stays frisky. Should have been talking to Calgary apparently. It's a room full of gnats and Lou has a newspaper.

21 ... CLB ... Moore
22 ... VAN ... Schroeder
23 ... CAL ... Erixon

Moore is a solid pick even if the price is high and Vancouver gets Christmas a little early as Schroeder falls all the way to the 22nd. Luck is blind. Calgary picks up decent talent in Erixon.

24 ... CLB ... Johansson
25 ... VAN ... Caron
26 ... ANA ... Palmieri
27 ... CAR ... Paradis
28 ... CHI ... Olsen

A whole whack of picks that jump ahead of three guys who actually made a top-15 list: Despres, Roussel and Morin. Despres is the surprise here.

TRADE: Detroit trades the #29 to Tampa Bay for the #32 and 75. For a team on the verge of falling apart it is nice to see Tampa make a move.

29 ... TAM ... Ashton
30 ... PIT ... Despres

I like Tampa's draft day but I can't help but wonder how Pittsburgh got Despres this late in the draft. Great value for Pittsburgh at the #30.


The winners are (in order):

-- Philadelphia (CFP),
-- Anaheim (How to Get Value for an Asset 101),
-- Tampa Bay (a franchise d-man and a decent wing),
-- Columbus (built depth and got a highly rated player),
-- Florida, Vancouver and Pittsburgh (great value picks),
-- Despres
-- New York Islanders (great maneuvers but De Haan?),
-- Minnesota (great maneuvers but Leddy?),

The losers are (in order):

-- Anaheim (Lupul?),
-- Toronto (all that air wasted),
-- Los Angeles (team needs real players)

Philadelphia, in getting Pronger, does really well here. Good thing for the rest of the East that Philly can't secure solid goaltending to save their life.

As for the Oilers:

I like Paarjarvi-Svensson. Nothing wrong with that pick at all. I do get tired of the tire-kicking though. If you are going to move up then do so; quit dicking around.


Have a great evening everyone.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Not a Hockey Post

Had to be another out there somewhere.

Been following the NBA a little more lately. Fascinating league where BPA is a fantasy for all but the best GM's (Spurs). Now, and I say this honestly - NOT EVERY TEAM NEEDS A REBUILD - but boy oh boy do the Raptors ever need some help.

From Garbajosa's injury to the ill-fated trades for TJ Ford and O'Neal* the team is in dire shape and there is no way they are going to win with Bosh given that the Raps won't be a luxury tax team**.

Trade Bosh to one of Miami (Beasley) or Golden State (Randolph) and pick up some draft picks while you are at it. Get the 29th from LA (who are willing to sell) and trade down in this draft because no one will be worth it at the 9th spot (though I do like Holiday if there) and a decent - for this draft - guy will be available later.

Anyways - first day of two big draft days for me upcoming... sweet!


* which goes to show what star-shopping-because-stars-will-fix-everything can get you (Heatley)
** if the team was willing to pay significant luxury tax they could eventually build a contender around Bosh imo


Have a great evening everyone.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Tampa Bay - Too Fast For Me

Honest. I had hoped to do a full write up on a Tampa Bay rebuild in conjunction with a post on "Rebuilds - On Steroids" (finally) and "Edmonton Oilers - After the Prong".

Given that things are moving so fast there right now I have believe that anything I write wouldn't be anywhere near prescient, or even intelligent (don't wait for it), if I waited any longer so consider this the (very) short-form.


Otherwise known as players I like for the long haul.

G - Smith
D - Ranger, Meszaros, Smaby
W - nada, zippo and out of here
C - Stamkos

From the 2009 Draft, picks of note include: #2, #32 and #52.

Prospects of interest include (in order): Szczechura, Wishart, Lashoff and (maybe) Tyrell.

Trade Assets

(in order of value)

St. Louis
Prospal (too many years left)


Try to send Lecavalier to the Kings for their 1st overall (the #5), one of Teubert/Hickey (probably not Hickey), one of Purcell/Moller (you want Moller) and some lesser draft pick(s) and prospect(s). In an amazing world maybe the 1st, Frolov (on a salary equalization basis) and one of Teubert/Purcell/1st rounder 2010 is obtained.

Frolov would, of course, have to be extended. Pay the man.

If Montreal is willing to play then some combination of: 18th pick overall (2009 draft), 1st round pick in 2010, Gorges, Higgins, Plekanec, Pacioretty and McDonagh. Maxwell, Subban and Fischer are also options. Gorges, Higgins and one of Pacioretty/McDonagh form the minimum requirements. Of course, as we know, any 5 assets will do.

Try to send St. Louis to Colorado.

Colorado may be willing to forego a rebuild if St. Louis comes their way. If so, don't be afraid to entice them by taking Tucker and one other short-term salary dump off their hands. The main target(s) is the #3 overall pick in this years draft and Shattenkirk. St. Louis and the #32 for Tucker, the #3 and Shattenkirk may be doable. If not Shattenkirk then Nigel Williams. Pay the price.

Prospal and Malone have a lot of years left on their deals but, at least in the case of Malone, there may be a fanboi GM out there so check it out.

Halpern should be an easy trade - someone will give up a 2nd (trade deadline) or 3rd (draft) for him.

Pay The Price

As mentioned - pay the price. The goal is to get at least one, and if aggressive, both of those high quality draft picks. Final price to pay - find out what Snow would want to NOT pick Hedman and bail if it gets ridiculous..

Do all that and the 'Keepers' roster looks like so (assuming decent but not amazing trades in those two scenarios):

G - Smith
D - Ranger, Meszaros, Gorges, Smaby, Hedman, Williams
W - Plekanec, Ashton**
C - Stamkos, Higgins, Duchene, Schenn/Kane

** If going by Mackenzie's listing and drafting for need

THAT is a sweet up-n-coming roster. Tonnes of upside and it still sucks for next year when more draft assets can be added and maybe Malone and Prospal can be traded. And all of that would come before other asset building strategies are employed.

This is the kind of year when a struggling team can remake their future by being sure and aggressive. Be interesting to see who wins that power struggle (though, to be honest, I don't credit Koules or Lawton with the skills to get it done right).


Have a great evening everyone.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Rebuilds - Old School

The Process

Prior to the new CBA the General Manager's blueprint for the full rebuild of an NHL team was fairly straight forward:

Step 1 - Suck.

Be really, really bad for a very long time and wait for transformational players to make their way to the team via the draft and/or trade markets.

Step 2 - Stick with Step 1.

Players had to wait until they were 31 to become an unrestricted free agent so the time was available.

The Pitfalls

Given the wait (directly above), the only real pitfalls were these:

a. coming out of the rebuild too soon;
b. having really bad timing;
c. having really bad drafting*;
d. having really bad management; and
e. never being bad enough to make a difference

Of the pitfalls listed, the only debilitating ones were/are 'c' and 'd'; get those two in combination and the next Islanders dynasty (Milbury Edition) is locked and loaded.

The other three pitfalls can maim but the wounds should not be fatal; good management can overcome a lot of obstacles.

* A team can make good no-brainer picks in the 1st round and still have a bad drafting record (see also: Atlanta Thrashers).


A properly done rebuild has three distinct stages:

The Slide

So it begins. The team, as assembled, just doesn't have the horses. In all probability the horses are also: a) getting old and b) getting expensive.

The trick here was to maximize asset sales on the way down. Draft picks and prospects preferred (see also: Calgary Flames/Jarome Iginla) .

Balancing fan expectations vs. rebuild requirements plays a key role in the 'Slide'. Poor teams with big aspirations could spend a single year on the 'Slide' (they were just that bad anyways) while semi-good teams could spend a three or four years dismantling the old order of things.

The Wallow

Once the team is bad the next step is to wallow in it. There should be 2 to 4 years worth of top-5 draft picks in a good 'Wallow' and it is those picks that will make it all worth it.

Rule of Thumb: the more time is spent on the 'Slide', the less time should be spent on the 'Wallow'.

Given the need to field a roster, the idea here was to churn assets. One way to do this would be to bring in scoring wingers who can't defend air and let them gorge on 1st unit power-play time - then trade said point producer for more draft picks.

If the goal was/is to keep the team down in the rankings the very best method is just to get really bad goaltending.

The 'Wallow' doesn't last nearly as long as one might think. By year 2 the team will be 3 to 6 years into the ugliness and the fan base, even a patient one, will start to get restless.

The Build

This is where it all comes together.

Think about player development for a second. Your typical NHL player starts to hit their stride in their 3rd or 4th year in the NHL (see graphic). If your 'Slide' started 6 or 7 years ago your first batch of prospects and draft picks should now be 2+ yrs into their NHL career.

More importantly, those draft picks made during the 'Wallow' should be good enough that they skipped the minors and they should be hitting their sophomore years (NHL) right about the same time as the first batch.

So the 'Build' is about adding the right veterans in the skating ranks and making sure the goaltending is covered. A properly done 'Build' takes 2 to 3 years.

End Game

Thus, under the old NHL framework, a properly executed rebuild should take anywhere from 5 to 11 years (yikes!); after that it was just a matter of staying the course (exercising good management to remain competitive; see also: Detroit Red Wings).

Think of a three year 'Slide', a three year 'Wallow' and a 2 year 'Build'. Just from the draft picks (those originating with the team and those brought in via trade during the 'Slide' and 'Wallow'... hrmmm... great bar name) such a team SHOULD have:

- a certified all-star on the roster;
- another one just waiting to be certified;
- a 1st or 2nd line guy who is good-but-not-great;
- at least 1 stalwart for the 3rd/4th lines;
- two top-4 defensemen locked in;
- another who can play the 3rd pairing
- a few nice prospects on the farm team

Please note: that list doesn't figure for 'luck' (i.e. having the team's worst years coincide with great draft years; see also: Quebec Nordiques and Pittsburgh Penguins).

The list also doesn't figure in gains made from trades or unrestricted free agent signings - purely draft pick returns.

(And that 18 year old kid drafted in year 1... would then be 29 years old and still a restricted free agent... it really was to laugh wasn't it?)


And there you go - a basic primer for what an NHL rebuild would/should have looked like under the old CBA. It is important to remember, however, that history proves that rebuilds are harder than they look.

But, I'll write more on that another day. As with many other posts I write the purpose of this one has been to set up future ones.

For the record - this post was also about having fun AND establishing a theoretical process. Luckily, in both those respects it was successful: I had fun and the rebuild process (oft named but never quantified) is now baselined (hrmmm... I think baseline be the wrong word but nevertheless, ah well).


Have a great evening everyone.

Friday, 19 June 2009


Daum as headcoach in Springfield = good.

$4 million for Roloson = bad.

Sedins for a Cap hit of $5.25/yr each = awesome. Do that deal in a heartbeat.

Mathesons' rumours on the deals for Heatley (starting with Gilbert and O'Sullivan) = could be very bad.

I remain... unimpressed with the Oilers team management. They still have time.



Have a great evening everyone.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

NHL Entry Draft (2009)

For archive purposes I am compiling my NHL Entry Draft (2009) stuff here. As with last year's NHL Entry Draft (2008) archive, this first post acts as a primer that contains the set-up info of interest going into the draft.

Links to the other two articles in this series:

NHL Entry Draft 2009 - First Round Review

NHL Entry Draft 2009 - Oiler Picks (to come)


Personal Thoughts

What an incredible draft group. There are, from what I can discern, 8 picks that 'should' turn into all-stars and of those there are a few who could be Hall of Fame candidates.

Crazy year. Pass the kool-aid.

-- Tavares - given the hype this is a risky pick; to take or to pass, that is the question
-- Hedman - stud pick with no question marks
-- Duchene - see Hedman
-- Cowen - despite injury concerns he still makes the top-7; wow
-- Schenn - best 'safe' bet after the top-3; will he justify the pick?
-- Kadri, Josefson, Leblanc, Ellis, Glennie - all notable for only making 3 of 5 lists (top-15)
-- Ekman-Larsson and Kulikov - one of two I would hope for at #10

As opposed to last year this is NOT the kind of draft where trading into the top-14 will net best value on the dollar. The depth of the draft justifies the hype but that means the prices will be high, really high. Think about it - who will want to be the guy who trades the next Jordan Stall (Schenn in this draft)?

Where there will be action is in the top-5. As I have noted elsewhere, Colorado and Los Angeles are two teams that are in a position to trade their picks in exchange for a better play-off push next year - that means their picks may be in play; either by themself or as part of a push by another team (say Toronto) to secure a top-2 pick.

The Islanders and the Lighting may just swap picks but, from where I sit, both teams have the assets to make major plays this year. I expect, however, whimpers from both teams.

Tambellini does have the assets to snag a second 1st rounder this draft but that pick won't be until late in the round and at that point, well, whoopee-de-do-da.

i.e. the price point would be high and the 40th + Nilsson won't net you much

What do I expect? I expect we shall see Tambellini stand pat or trade spare parts for extra picks in later rounds. I half-expect to see a lot of Cap-unloading action, by all teams, taking place.

Miracles would include coming out of this draft with two of Ekman-Larsson, Kulikov and Glennie. Happiness means getting one of Ekman-Larsson or Kulikov at 10 or trading down to get one of Ellis or Glennie in the 12 to 15 range.

Without further ado...


Oiler Draft Picks (for use or trade)

01 -- _10
02 -- _40
03 -- _71
03 -- _82 ... Trade with Philadelphia
04 -- 101
05 -- 130
06 -- 160
07 -- 190

Remember to adjust for compensation picks.

Team Order - 1st Round

01.. NY Islanders
02.. Tampa Bay
03.. Colorado
04.. Atlanta
05.. Los Angeles
06.. Phoenix
07.. Toronto
08.. Dallas
09.. Ottawa
10.. Edmonton
11.. Nashville
12.. Minnesota
13.. Buffalo
14.. Florida
15.. Anaheim
16.. Columbus
17.. St. Louis
18.. Montreal
19.. NY Rangers
20.. Calgary
21.. Philadelphia
22.. Vancouver
23.. New Jersey
24.. Washington
25.. Boston
26.. NY Islanders ... via ... San Jose
27.. Carolina
28.. Chicago
29.. Detroit
30.. Pittsburgh

Top-15 Player Rankings (aggregated)

Below are the listings of the top-15 picks of each of the different, and independent, scouting bureau's. They are: McKeen's, ISS (International Scouting Service), Redline (Woodlief), The Hockey News and the CSB (Central Scouting Bureau).

Below that is an aggregated listing of those datasets after they have been fed through a scoring system. The scoring system simply reverses the order on the list (i.e. a player ranked #1 on the list scores 15 points while a player ranked #15 scores 1 point) and then adds ALL the points that player generates from the different lists.

Note that I counted the number of times a draftee made the top-10 of a list. This is to help add perspective. Prospect 'A' may have fewer points than prospect 'B' but if prospect 'A' shows up top-10 on all 5 lists then prospect 'A' may be seen as a safer pick to make.

The Scouts Recommend (Final Lists)

... McKeens* .... ISS ......... Redline* .... Hockey News . CSB**

1.. Hedman ...... Tavares ..... Hedman ...... Tavares ..... Tavares
2.. Tavares ..... Duchene ..... Duchene ..... Hedman ...... Hedman
3.. Duchene ..... Hedman ...... Tavares ..... Duchene ..... Duchene
4.. Ek-Larsson .. Pa-Svensson . Schenn ...... Cowen ....... Kane
5.. Kane ........ Kane ........ Kane ........ Kane ........ Pa-Svensson
6.. Schenn ...... Schenn ...... Pa-Svensson . Schenn ...... Schenn
7.. Kulikov ..... Cowen ....... Ek-Larsson .. Pa-Svensson . Schroeder
8.. Cowen ....... Kadri ....... Cowen ....... Kadri ....... Josefson
9.. Kadri ....... Ek-Larsson .. Kulikov ..... Schroeder ... Moore
10. Pa-Svensson . Kulikov ..... Leblanc ..... Rundblad .... Glennie
11. Ellis ....... Josefson .... Schroeder ... Kulikov ..... Ek-Larsson
12. Moore ....... Leblanc ..... Rundblad .... Depres ...... Depres
13. Schroeder ... Ellis ....... Ellis ....... Ek-Larsson .. Cowen
14. Glennie ..... Schroeder ... Roussel ..... Glennie ..... Erixon
15. Leblanc ..... Holland ..... Morin ....... Josefson .... Kassian

Graded Rankings

.................... Top-10 . Scoring

Tavares ............... 5 ___ 14 + 15 + 13 + 15 + 15 = 72
Hedman ................ 5 ___ 15 + 13 + 15 + 14 + 14 = 71
Duchene ............... 5 ___ 13 + 14 + 14 + 13 + 13 = 67
Kane .................. 5 ___ 11 + 11 + 11 + 11 + 12 = 56
Schenn ................ 5 ___ 10 + 10 + 12 + 10 + 10 = 52
Paajarvi-Svensson ..... 5 ___ 06 + 12 + 10 + 09 + 11 = 48
Cowen ................. 4 ___ 08 + 09 + 08 + 12 + 03 = 40
Ekman-Larsson ......... 3 ___ 12 + 07 + 09 + 03 + 05 = 36
Kulikov ............... 3 ___ 09 + 06 + 07 + 05 + 00 = 27
Schroeder ............. 2 ___ 03 + 02 + 05 + 07 + 09 = 26
Kadri ................. 3 ___ 07 + 08 + 00 + 08 + 00 = 23
Josefson .............. 1 ___ 00 + 05 + 00 + 01 + 08 = 14
Leblanc ............... 1 ___ 01 + 04 + 06 + 00 + 00 = 11
Ellis ................. 0 ___ 05 + 03 + 03 + 00 + 00 = 11
Glennie ............... 1 ___ 02 + 00 + 00 + 02 + 06 = 10
Rundblad .............. 1 ___ 00 + 00 + 04 + 00 + 06 = 10
Moore ................. 1 ___ 04 + 00 + 00 + 00 + 06 = 10
Despres ......... ..... 0 ___ 00 + 00 + 00 + 04 + 04 = 08
Roussel, Erixon, Holland, Morin, Kassian (all 2 pts or less).

The big 3: Tavares, Hedman, Duchesne
Next best thing: Kane, Schenn
Should be Good: Paajarvi-Svensson, Cowen, Ekman-Larsson
Consolation Prizes: Kulikov, Schroeder, Kadri
Afterthoughts: Josefson, Leblanc, Ellis, Glennie and everyone else

A Rule Of Thumb

When looking at the list I tend to apply an arbitrary rule of thumb: any draftee within 10 points of another draftee is at threat to be picked ahead or behind that draftee. This is to recognize, in part, the modestly random (to me) aspect of what teams prefer in their players. It is also a measure of reasonableness.

Kulikov has 27 pts - it would not be a big surprise to see him preferred over Ekman-Larsson by any number of teams. It would also, however, be a surprise to see him picked ahead of Cowen or Paajarvi-Svensson.

Using that rule of thumb I can expect that:

-- Excepting that the Islanders have signalled Tavares, Hedman or Duchene could go #1
-- Cowen could overtake Paajarvi-Svensson and, maybe, even Schenn but not Kane
-- If anyone ranked below Schroeder is chosen in the top-8 it SHOULD be a major surprise
-- If anyone ranked below Kadri is taken in the top-9, the team making that call probably just made a big mistake


* McKeen's and Redline only release, for free, their top-10. I found the other 5 names using various, legal, websites but cannot completely verify for accuracy. If you have the goods please feel free to self-correct while you read.

I will update as the information becomes public.

** CSB does not aggregate their European and North American lists. So I did it. Given the weakness of the Old World's offerings this year I started the highest CSS ranked Euro two spots behind and followed on from there.


Have a great evening everyone, and enjoy the draft.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Congratulations to the Penguins

One of Two

I can't claim to have been here since the beginning - that honor belongs to guys like LT and MJ and the like - but I have been around a long, long time (it was soon after I moved up here, 1997 or so I guess). One of the things I remember, in the course of time, was the development of the mind-set, now prevalent in the Oilogosphere, of 'what-the-f%ck-is-really-going-on?'.

It started with +/- and TOI (still one of my all time favorite stats) and general observation and then grew with the discussions that followed. Some intrepid soul would dig into something that had struck them as worthy of investigation and then it would be 'out there' to be tested and torn and tried and, maybe, if worthy, true.

One of the things I remember, impact(fully), was the discovery - it seemed like a discovery, given that it flew full in the face of conventional wisdom at the time - was that Sergei Gonchar and Zigmund Palffy were great ALL AROUND talents.

Somewhere along the way someone(s) did the work and pointed out that those two weren't just point machines. They were, truly, great players in their own right.

From that moment on the gulf between the Oilogosphere-types and the HF fanboy's became self-evident and, despite a golden run put in by LT and Cerebral and others (as mods at HF) it was only a matter of time before the Tyler Dellows and Vic Ferrari's of the world left HF behind.

Of course, now there is Behind the Net (and the great Gabriel Desjardins) and the Oilogosphere and all this type of stuff is easier to see, understand and tabulate BUT, way back when, there was a time when that kind of knowledge was, almost, mini-revolutionary.

Just a few hours ago Sergei Gonchar won the Stanley Cup. He is, quite probably, the 5th best defenseman playing in the NHL today. You wouldn't know it. He still doesn't get the respect he deserves but at least now he has claim to the Stanley Cup.

About f&*king time.

I called the Wings but sometimes I am perfectly happy being wrong.

You quit too soon Ziggy. Sorry man.


On Heatley

Matheson references the cost for Heatley as being a talented puck-moving d-man, a top-6 (young) forward and a top-10 draft pick. That is a stupid trade to make. Tambellini makes that trade and he has done something stupid. I cannot say it plainer. Even IF Ottawa sends a pick back with Heatley.

Too damn much to give up.

A winning trade for Edmonton, one that takes into account the Cap-hit barrel that Heatley's contract tosses Bryan Murray over, is:

Penner, Staios and Eberle

Murray saves a LOT of money, a little bit of Cap space in the short term ($550k), gets a contract MUCH easier to trade than Heatley's and a highly regarded prospect at the same time.

That is enough for me to give up (though I could be persuaded to throw in a prospect like Chorney and/or a middle rounds draft pick). If Murray can get better elsewhere then good on him.

My advice: focus on getting Bouwmeester, and if you really need a better LW (and we do) scoop Malone out of Tampa Bay.


On Tampa Bay

Speaking of Tampa Bay. Sending Vinny to LA for Johnson, the #5 and a guy like Handzus just makes too much sense. Anything more is bonus.

Stamkos (whom I was wrong about), Hedman and Schenn make for a pretty sweet rebuild starter-kit.

Of course, at one point in time, Johnson and the #5 were headed to Anaheim for Pronger (not a horrible trade actually).


Have a great evening everyone.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009


Sticking with Detroit in the final


Very impressed with the judge, guy worked the angles and found an intelligent way to split the difference; sorry Phoenix


I do not like the packages that are being pitched if the Oilers are to get Heatley. His Cap hit is too big to ignore and, more importantly, the only guy you are really bidding against is yourself and, possibly, LA. Also, Heatley has some ability to dictate so don't look for him to okay a trade that cripples the team he is heading to.

Penner is probably too toxic for Ottawa management to sell and Cogliano doesn't cover the salary spread. I have to admit - this is a hard trade to match because Edmonton doesn't have spare quality that Ottawa would want (i.e. no d-man past Gilbert and Grebs that could play a role in Ottawa).


The more I look at it the problem is Ottawa's dire need for a puck-moving/power-play d-man and Edmonton's inability to freely give one up. Even a mediocre one.

Visnovsky, Nilsson & a 2nd rounder works but now Edmonton needs a (GOOD) d-man. Gilbert, Cogliano and ? (Nilsson is my pick here as well) also works but now Edmonton has given too much up.

Look. Mr. Tambellini; go get yourself another d-man in trade and THEN look at getting Heatley. Otherwise, just say no.


Have a great evening everyone.

NHL CBA - Revenue Sharing and Salary Cap

Some items in this post are cribbed from this post at Hockeys Future; which cribs from an August 2005 article in the Sports Business Journal. I'm just filling in holes, organizing a bit, supplying extra context/info and then whacking in some thoughts/observations. Irish Blues at NHLSCAP is much closer to pro when it comes to the cba so please feel free to go to his site for more/differently said information.

This post deals with the Cap calculations and revenue sharing. I am writing so as to archive and provide myself reference material for future posts.

Basic Cap Calculation

Hockey Related Revenues = HRR
Negotiated Player % of HRR = A
Maximum Player Share of Revenues = HRR*A = MPS

Club Average Revenue = HRR/30 = CAR
Team Salary Cap = CAR*A or MPS/30 = Cap

Salary Budget Target = CAP - $ 8 million = SBT

So if HRR = $ 2.586 billion then:

A = 56.5% and MPS = $ 1.461 billion

CAR = $ 86.2 million
Cap = $ 56.7 million
SBT = $ 48.7 million

There is a lot of play in the calculations (inflation escalator, a player benefits number, etc) but, for the most part, that is how it works.

Basic Escrow Math

As many clubs will spend beyond SBT the odds are good the players will get paid more than their overall share, hence there is an escrow holdback system in place.

Actual Salary Expenditures = ASE
Escrow Holding Account = ASE - MPS = EHA

So if every team spent full Cap then:

ASE = $ 1.701 billion and
EHA = $ 240.0 million

Interestingly enough, the EHA will never total more than $ 240 million. Escrow funds are first paid out per the two revenue sharing plans and then split evenly among the clubs.

As there are two identified revenue sharing plans this creates a situation where there are actually three possible revenue sharing payouts that any one team can receive.

i.e. remaining escrow dollars are "split evenly among the clubs".

Basic Revenue Sharing Rules

1. Clubs start with 54% of their own revenues (presumably HRR) for payroll calculation and revenue sharing purposes.

2. Clubs in markets with more than 2.5 million TV households are ineligible for revenue sharing.

3. By the third year of the deal, clubs have to grow revenues faster than the league average and have attendance of 75% of capacity to be eligible for their full revenue-sharing allotment.

4. By the fourth year, the required attendance capacity increases to 80%. That number then holds at 80%.

Revenue Sharing Pool 'A' (RSPA)

Comprised of league media revenue, play-off gate receipts, escrow funds and funds from top-grossing teams this pool of funds totals ~ 4.5% of HRR. The purpose of the RSPA distribution is to bring clubs to within $ 4 million of SBT.

Any club in the bottom half of league revenues, regardless of payroll, is eligible to receive funds from RSPA.

To continue the example, Team TRY:

RSPA = 4.5% * HRR = $ 116.4 million

TRY HRR = $ 70.0 million
TRY MPS = $ 39.5 million

$ 48.7 million - $ 39.5 million = $ 9.2 million

$ 9.2 million - $ 4.0 million = $ 5.2 million

Team TRY would, presumably, be able to draw as much as $ 5.2 million from RSPA.

One interesting thing to note here - if escrow is high enough then, presumably, the entire RSPA pot could be funded from escrow dollars. Which would mean that this revenue sharing pot would then be entirely player funded.

Which isn't exactly what one might call 'in the spirit' of revenue sharing. Dollar sharing: 'yes'; revenue sharing: 'no'.

The critical factor here would be: how much of RSPA is comprised of escrow dollars? To be honest, I haven't dug deep enough into the CBA to get that info.

Revenue Sharing Pool 'B' (RSPB)

Comprised entirely of escrow funds, if available, not used up by RSPA. The purpose of the RSPB distribution is to bring clubs to, but not over, the SBT. Any club spending over the midpoint on player salaries is not eligible for the second batch (obviously).

Team TRY would, presumably, be able to draw as much as $ 4.0 million from RSPB.

Again, it is interesting to note that, if escrow is high enough, player salary holdbacks have paid for all of the revenue sharing efforts of the NHL teams.

Using 2008-09

Cap = $ 56.7 million
SBT = $ 48.7 million

Teams spending over SBT = 24 (25*)
(* Toronto was under SBT but, probably, doesn't qualify for Revenue Sharing)

Total Salaries (including LTIR) = $ 1.613 billion
Average = $ 53.77 million
Teams above average = 19
Teams below average = 11
EHA (estimated) = $ 152.23 million

Total Salaries (without LTIR) = $ 1.580 billion
Average = $ 52.67 million
Teams above average = 20
Teams below average = 10
EHA (estimated) = $ 119.05 million

RSPA = $ 116.4 million

RSPB (inc LTIR) = $ 2.65 million
RSPB (w/o LTIR) = $ 35.83 million

Depending on how much of the escrow is used up in RSPA (as mentioned) it looks like the revenue sharing could have been entirely escrow funded in 2008-09; regardless of scenario.

A Chart

According to the CBA the players are guaranteed a % of leaguewide Hockey Related Revenues (HRR). That % changes as HRR shrinks or grows but can never fall below 54% (at $ 2.2 billion in HRR) and never go above 57% (at $ 2.7 billion in HRR).

Salary Cap # per team based on the estimated leaguewide HRR.

$b ........ Player%

2.200 ....... 54.0
2.300 ....... 55.5
2.400 ....... 56.0
2.500 ....... 56.3
2.550 ....... 56.5
2.600 ....... 56.7
2.700 ....... 57.0
2.800 ....... 57.0
2.900 ....... 57.0
3.000 ....... 57.0


Have a great evening everyone.