With Adam Proteau on vacation this week, we turn to other members of The Hockey News staff to answer your questions.
A hopefully well-rested Adam will return to regular duty next Friday, so keep those questions coming by sending them through this form.
When the Coyotes acquired Olli Jokinen from the Panthers they traded away two good defensemen, now they have a couple of holes to fill on defense. Which defensemen do you see the Coyotes signing on the free agent market to fill these holes?
Cameron Paul, Winnipeg
Hi Cameron. There are a handful of quality free agent blueliners on the market. The question is, which ones best fit in Phoenix – both from depth chart and salary cap perspectives – and which ones want to play in Arizona. A high-end puck-mover such as Brian Campbell is unlikely, but perhaps a No. 3 or 4 defenseman such as Brad Stuart or Ron Hainsey could be in the mix.
Other names to consider are John-Michael Liles and Andrej Meszaros. The Coyotes will also count on Keith Yandle moving up the depth chart and munching more minutes while 2007 pick Nick Ross, a 19-year-old prospect who finished this season in San Antonio of the American League, will get the chance to make the big club out of training camp. – JK
Why were so few college players drafted? Is U.S. college hockey that poor talent-wise?
Richard Savage, Bainbridge, Ga.
Hi Richard. The reason college players were not taken has to do with the age of eligibility in the draft.
That is to say, many of the draftees will be playing college hockey next season. Colin Wilson may have been the only first-rounder with college experience (Boston U.), but Joe Colborne, Jake Gardiner and Daultan Leveille are all scheduled to play NCAA next year, while John Carlson recently broke a commitment to UMass to play major junior instead.
Nine second-rounders, including Zac Dalpe, Aaron Ness and Corey Trivino are also NCAA recruits, while Cody Goloubef just completed his freshman year with the Wisconsin Badgers.
While the recruiting war between college and major junior has been a brutal one, it’s fair to say the NCAA is still fostering some pretty high-end talent; they just need to graduate high school before they get there. – RK
If an RFA decides he no longer wants to play for his current team but his team wants to sign him, does he become a UFA or does his current team still get compensation picks? How exactly does that work?
Brian Giles, Windstor, Ont.
Hi Brian, RFAs (a.k.a. Group 2 free agents) don’t have the ability to walk away as long as their team still wants them. If the team qualifies the player (offering him a contract at least equal to the amount he made last season) he’s stuck with his current team.
If the two parties can’t agree on a contract – and the player or team has the option – the impasse could end up in arbitration, should one of the two parties elect to do so.
Qualifying a player also gives his team the right to match any offer sheet the player signs with another club. The only way the team gets compensatory draft picks is if the player inks an offer sheet and his team decides not to match, as the Ducks did with current Oiler Dustin Penner last off-season.
It won’t be official until the financials are released, but here are the ballpark compensation packages, based on average yearly salary:
$863,156 or less – None
$863,156 – $1,307,811 – 3rd round pick
$1,307,811 – $2,615,623 – 2nd round pick
$2,615,623 – $3,923,434 – 1st and 3rd round picks
$3,923,434 – $5,231,246 – 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round picks
$5,231,246 – $6,539,061 – Two 1st’s, one 2nd, one 3rd round picks
$6,539,061 or more – Four 1st round picks
For a more in-depth explanation, read player agent Rand Simon’s blog on Group 2 free agency. – EF
Do the players who win the Stanley Cup and Presidents’ Trophy receive additional money on top of their salary?
Trevor Wilson, Winnipeg
Hi Trevor, according to the last information published, the Stanley Cup champions received $2.5 million as a team in 2003-04, while the finalists got $1.713 million. The players on each team determine how the money is divvied up. If the Cup winners divided the money equally among 25 players that would be $100,000 apiece after two months work in the playoffs.
That certainly sounds generous to most of us, but consider the top-paid players in the game receive about $100,000 per game during the regular season (players stop receiving paychecks during the playoffs). The two semifinalists each received $1.053 million as a team, while the four losing quarterfinalists received $481,525 as a team. The eight losing teams in the first round received $276,575 as a team. The total playoff payout in 2003-04 was $10.46 million.
Compared to previous published breakdowns, the purse increased five to 10 percent most seasons. In 1989-90, for example, the total playoff award money was $2.373 million.
The team winning the Presidents’ Trophy in 2003-04 received $100,000, while the players’ share was $250,000. First place in the conference received $500,000 per team, second place $375,000, third place $250,000 and fourth place in the conference got $125,000 per team.
Individual award winners received $10,000 in 2003-04, while runners-up got $6,000 and second runners-up $4,000. First team all-stars received $10,000 per players while second-teamers got $5,000. – BC
I ‘d like to know who had the lowest GAA and best save percentage in the history of the Stanley Cup?
Stephanie Henklein, Lawrenceville, Ga.
Lorne Chabot, one of the best players not honored in the Hockey Hall of Fame, holds the best goals-against average all-time in the Stanley Cup playoffs with a 1.54 mark.
Chabot won two Cups, one in his sophomore campaign with the Rangers in 1927-28 and another with the Maple Leafs in 1931-32, Toronto’s first championship season under Conn Smythe’s new team nickname.
Of note, Chabot was involved in hockey’s two longest games. In 1933 with Toronto, he was on the winning side of a sixth overtime, 1-0 triumph over the Boston Bruins. In 1936 with the Montreal Maroons, Chabot allowed Mud Bruneteau’s game-winner slip past him in the sixth overtime of what remains the longest game in NHL history.
We don’t have to go far back to discover the unlikely all-time leader in save percentage.
With one appearance in the Cup final, Olaf Kolzig’s .927 percentage is a few points clear of Patrik Lalime, Miikka Kiprusoff and Dominik Hasek.
It’s interesting when looking at the top 10 in each category; the save percentage list is dominated by modern tenders of the “dead puck” era and the GAA list is owned by goalies of old – Dave Kerr, Clint Benedict, Tiny Thompson, George Hainsworth. -RB
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