Success drafting in the first round tends to be a sure-fire way to achieve success (unless you’re the Edmonton Oilers) in the NHL. Sure, the Tampa Bay Lightning have top picks like Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, and Andrei Vasilevskiy lead the way, but it’s been the unbeatable late-round drafting in the Steve Yzerman era that has made up for some terrible first-round choices. That being said, here is a list of all those terrible first-round choices. [Raw Charge]
This one goes a little bit against my significant upgrade criteria as Connolly has played in 346 career games and has established himself with the Washington Capitals. I also recognize that most fans are probably expecting me to put Connolly in here since he is something of a bust from more recent memory. This is also a good opportunity to highlight two potential picks that could have been significant additions for the team instead: Jeff Skinner and Mikael Granlund.
Birthday parties are the best!
Another baseball-related thought: walk-up songs for batters. Marc Andre Fleury provided some humor when he chose the Frozen song “Let it Go” during the goalie challenge at the All-Star game. Some Lightning players have their own goal songs, which I don’t think they picked, but most don’t have one. Sustr’s “Oops, I Did It Again” was a funny one. I hope he gets to hear it in Anaheim. Maybe Kuch could use Magic Man (by Heart). He does have the magic hands. Just ask Braden Holtby.
Jannik Hansen is a dependable fourth-line winger who is strong on the penalty kill and is usually good for 15-20 points in a season. The player once traded for Nikolay Goldobin and a 2017 4th round pick is surprisingly not signed as of today. Could he be the glue that fixes the Lightning’s horrendous penalty kill next year? [The hockey Writers]
It wasn’t until last season in San Jose where everything fell off the rails for Hansen. He was constantly a healthy scratch, making it into the lineup for only 46 games last season. Hansen never found a spot in the lineup, with his most common linemates being Chris Tierney and Mikkel Boedker. As a line, the trio bled scoring chances at even-strength, with a scoring-chances-for percentage that was below 43 per cent.
Okay, maybe not.
Keep your eyes open for another week of Top 25 Under 25! There are a few Syracuse Crunch players to keep an eye on next that we have featured and evaluated.
But in terms of anything new? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The Winnipeg Jets went all the way to the conclusion of Arbitration and settled on one-year salaries for two of it’s restricted free agents.
Jacob Trouba has been awarded a $5.5 million salary (and cap hit) for the 2018-19 season. As the Jets inch ever closer to losing their prized possession to free agency, rumors of a trade heat up as talks of a long-term extension sputter out. [Arctic Ice Hockey]
Trouba has been awarded a 1 year, $5.5M contract.— Murat (@WPGMurat) July 22, 2018
WPG has 48 hrs to accept it (which they almost certainly will) or walk away, rendering him UFA.
1 year left to find the long term deal they couldn't sort out this summer and the spectre of a Trouba trade begins now.
The Jets also agree to terms with Brandon Tanev through the means of Arbitration. $1.15 million for one season makes the 26-year-old Tanev an unrestricted free agent by the end of the season. [Arctic Ice Hockey]
Tanev, 26, had eight goals and 10 assists in 61 games for the Jets last season, his second full season with the club after signing with Winnipeg in 2016. Tanev had four goals and two assists in 17 playoff games, and avoids and arbitration hearing that was scheduled for July 25. Tanev made 700k last year with Winnipeg.
The Oilers suck at development. If that sentence bring you joy, here’s a lovely rant from the fine people over at Copper n Blue about the utter incompetence by the Oilers management group to put together a program that develops players beyond first-overall. [Copper n Blue]
Regardless of the reason, last week the gears were turning pretty hard. As we all know, the Oilersdrafted Evan Bouchard 10th overall in the most recent NHL Entry Draft. It was quite a steal, actually. He was expected to be gone by this point, and the Oilers allegedly considered trading up to get him. That trade — like most other Oilers trades — likely would have been a disaster given recent history. Luckily, it wasn’t necessary, and the Oilers hope to have the top pairing, right-handed defencemen they’ve been craving since some time before electricity.
In Buffalo, we cheered when Phil Housley came in talking about a fast-paced, attacking 5-man transition game. But over the course of the season, we grew disappointed as the Sabres lapsed into a slightly-looser version of Disco Dan Bylsma’s rigid, dull ‘defend the castle’ system. Some of that was due to injuries, some due to a lack of smarts, some due to a lack of talent. But to revert to that after you had the fandom envisioning high-octane offense unleashing Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart, and company left a bad taste in a lot of mouths.