By Ryan Lambert
Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.
In the past week or so, there have been more than a few reports that teams around the league would love to make moves but cannot do so yet because the market is stagnant.
The Red Wings, Flames, Rangers, and more have all expressed a desire to make more things happen in their offseasons, but none have been able to do so largely because there is too much uncertainty still kicking around out there. There are, of course, a number of things affecting this, such as Rick Nash and Bobby Ryan being available on the trade market; Shea Weber's week-long, Ross-and-Rachel, will-he-or-won't-he courtship with Philadelphia and Nashville (can't he see they're perfect for each other!?); Alex Semin's baffling continued availability, and of course, Shane Doan not really knowing whether he wants to leave Phoenix.
(Coming Up: Saku Koivu at the Olympics; Milan Lucic trade rumors; Jordan Staal > Eric Staal; offer sheets are underutilized; Preds chairman talks big; New Jersey needs to trade a defenseman; How a work stoppage might affect Daniel Alfredsson's future; Pittsburgh gets all new doctors; Canucks wanted Weber.)
The more strings you pull on this, though, the more it seems everything is contingent on both the Flyers and Doan. If the Flyers do successfully sign Weber to that gigantic offer sheet without Nashville opting to match, then things change a lot, but this is, by definition, something with a very definitive end date. It's Wednesday. So by then, we will know Weber goes to Philly, and we also know what that means. There will very likely be an arms race in the already competitive Atlantic Division to add top-end talent, and certainly the Rangers have the greatest stated appetite for doing so, either with Rick Nash or Bobby Ryan.
And at the same time, that will be a very interesting situation for Philadelphia, which has reportedly pursued Doan heavily. People have pointed out that the Weber contract they offered would push the Flyers right up against the cap, necessitating that the team move out someone, probably on the blue line, to give them a little flexibility once again. Unless they do that on a grand scale, that all but prices them out of the Doan hunt despite the rumored silly contract they may or may not have offered him (potentially four years, at a Weber-like price point).
But Doan has been linked with literally like 80 percent of the league at this point, and has already met with the Rangers and Flyers at least, and reportedly has similar arrangements with a number of other teams in the coming days as well. Having the ability to sign him and stay anywhere under the salary cap, therefore, is on the minds of a lot of general managers league-wide, and is holding up everything.
Why, for instance, would you trade a lot of really helpful things that you like about your organization like roster players, prospects, or picks, when you could just sign a perennial 50-plus-point guy and have it cost you nothing but the game checks? A really easy solution that, according to Don Maloney, won't be resolved any time soon. "Weeks" is a long time to leave more or less the entire league hanging.
Not that it's hard to understand Doan's position: He's as much stuck between his career-long franchise and other teams as it is between its ownership situation and who-knows-what.
There has been a little bit of speculation that the Coyotes' ownership situation (such as Greg Jamison's ability to attract investors) is at least somewhat contingent on the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, and perhaps Doan is hoping to glean something from negotiations — on which he recently sat in — while trying to seek assurances that the sale will actually go through.
What happens with Weber will inform a lot of decisions, but the second Doan signs, though, all uncertainty is out the window. One team will have its man, and the rest will scramble for help. Alex Semin will sign quickly. That slow market Scott Howson is always bemoaning for Rick Nash will speed up in a hurry. Bobby Ryan will probably get his wish to go elsewhere fulfilled as if by magic.
And when all that happens, we can get on with our lives and start worrying about a work stoppage, like normal sports fans.
What We Learned
Anaheim Ducks: Saku Koivu is one of three Winter Olympic athletes who will carry the torch before things get under way in London. The others are Chinese speed skater Yang Yang and skeleton racer Adam Pengilly, who is from England. Wait a minute. Skeleton racer? Look out Saku!
Boston Bruins: Indeterminate trade rumors involving Milan Lucic started circulating late last week and it doesn't make much sense. Mediocre playoff performances, I guess? Hey, how are Bobby Ryan and Rick Nash in the playoffs?
Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres are still in for the Shane Doan sweepstakes (along with about 20 other teams, one assumes). Buffalo makes sense on the player's end, though, because who wouldn't want to play with Ville Leino?
Calgary Flames: Jay Feaster would still like to make his team a little bit tougher, and become harder to play against. He'd like to acquire a little more grit as a consequence. You know what makes a team tough to play against? Having good players on the roster.
Carolina Hurricanes: The Hurricanes hosted a "FunFest" for fans and apparently all Jim Rutherford did was talk about how great Jordan Staal is going to be. Meanwhile, Eric was back in Thunder Bay walking around with his hands in his pockets, kicking at rocks.
Chicago Blackhawks: Niklas Hjalmarsson is really happy with how the Blackhawks roster looks right now, which is funny because he might be traded before the season starts.
Colorado Avalanche: Looks like local writers expect Ryan O'Reilly to get a four-year contract worth around $16 million. That could be a steal as early as, say, next season.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Buried deep in these musings about how the Shea Weber offer sheet affects the entire NHL free agent and trade market, is the revelation that the team is expected to sign Ryan Murray soon, but might choose to wait for a new collective bargaining agreement instead.
Dallas Stars: Mark Fistric re-upped in Dallas, and for reasonable money. The Stars spent a lot of money on a lot of old guys up front but CapGeek says they have just $16.1 million invested in the blue line.
Detroit Red Wings presented by Amway: If the Red Wings strike out on any free agent forwards, they're willing to start the season with what they have now. Let's not forget, they wrangled Mikael Samuelsson with a two-year deal so it's all gonna be fine.
Edmonton Oilers: How good can the Oilers be next year given that they've turned over exactly one player on the roster, apart from drafting (and probably playing) Nail Yakupov? Justin Schultz in, Cam Barker out. That's the only change from a team that finished 29th in the league last season.
Florida Panthers: Really good reason to think Roberto Luongo will get traded to Florida before the start of the season: How likely is it that Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen can be as effective (note I didn't say "good") as they were last season?
Los Angeles Kings: Darryl Sutter had his days with the Cup over the weekend and said this: "In Calgary, we could have won it every year, and I might never get the chance again." LA's just lucky he's not the GM too.
Minnesota Wild: The only news for the Wild of late is that they signed first-round pick Matt Dumba, who will get the standard chance to make the team this fall, then go back to juniors if he doesn't. Signing two guys to $100-plus million contracts tends to limit other offseason options.
Montreal Canadiens: No one has extended an offer sheet to P.K. Subban. Not even any contact with other teams. Just shows how ridiculous most general managers are in not giving out these things. It's in the CBA. It's a great way to improve your team while giving up relatively little.
Nashville Predators: Lots of tough talk from Preds chairman Tom Cigarran earlier this summer. "[W]e're not going to lose players because of money," he said. "The only way we'll lose them is if there's some chemistry issue, or their grandmother lives in Montreal or something, the intangibles. But they know we're competitive, and they know we're committed after this season, so we're in a really good place." This is perhaps not working out so much now.
New Jersey Devils: So Mark Fayne re-signed late Friday night, giving the team eight under-contract defensemen for next season. Gotta think someone gets moved. Someone named Marek Zidlicky.
New York Islanders: John Tavares coached a bantam team in the Allstate Mentorship Cup on Saturday night against Taylor Hall and won 9-8 in a shootout. His team blew a four-goal third-period lead, including allowing the game-tying goal with 0.7 seconds left. He should never have gone with Rick DiPietro between the pipes.
New York Rangers: The most stunning thing about this New York Daily News report on the Rangers meeting with Shane Doan is the final line. "Doan's agent, Terry Bross, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment."
Ottawa Senators: If the start of the NHL season is pushed back, will that prompt Daniel Alfredsson to retire instead of waiting the extra few months? That's a scary thought.
Philadelphia Flyers: Wow did Larry Brooks ever tear into Ed Snider. Ouch.
Phoenix Coyotes: While all this Shane Doan stuff has gone on, the Coyotes also re-signed potential No. 6 defenseman Chris Summers to his qualifying offer, so this offseason hasn't been a total wash. No I'm just kidding it will be devastating if Doan signs elsewhere because they have no way to replace him.
Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins fired their entire medical staff in a decision that they say had nothing to do with the ongoing issues for Sidney Crosby, presumably while they winked a lot.
San Jose Sharks: Really cool infographic on how the Sharks' 2012-13 roster came together. You, too, can learn how 1992 fifth-rounder Marcus Ragnarasson connects to Logan Couture.
St. Louis Blues: T.J. Oshie was happy to avoid arbitration and get a big, long-term deal because now no one has to tell an arbitrator mean things about him. Oh and also, the money.
Tampa Bay Lightning: B.J. Crombeen says it's not yet time to start worrying about the CBA. Sounds like pretty reasonable advice. "We're trying to break down why they made that proposal and where it's coming from." Ooooo. Oooooooooo. Let me guess. It's because they're greedy to the point of being unreasonable.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Brian Burke is letting Toronto down by not paying an arm and a leg for Roberto Luongo and Rick Nash, both of whom would have to sign off on going there, and neither of whom seem likely to want to do such a thing. Got it.
Vancouver Canucks: The Canucks thought about giving an offer sheet to Shea Weber but did not do so because they figured Nashville would match. Oh, if only they had frontloaded theirs as absurdly as Philadelphia did.
Washington Capitals: John Carlson recently did some yardwork around a D.C.-area arena and somewhere in Canada, Jake Allen let a bunch of mulch beat him high blocker side.
Winnipeg Jets: Give Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian a pair of 10-year deals? Okay, Winnipeg media!
Gold Star Award
Good to hear Marian Hossa is recovering well from getting his head taken off by Raffi Torres. He's still not skating, but he's getting better.
Minus of the Weekend
Also in the Blue Jackets link above, Aaron Portzline says that if they were to trade for Jonathan Bernier, they might have to send back the first-round pick they got from LA in the Jeff Carter deal, in addition to another piece. If that happens, the end result of the two Jeff Carter trades will be Jake Voracek, Sean Couturier, Nick Cousins (88 OHL points last season), and something else, in exchange for 39 games of Jeff Carter at his absolute worst, Jack Johnson and Jonathan Bernier. Asset management. Scott Howson.
Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week
User "Paladin2799" knows what's up.
You've got a deal, buddy.
…Something you don't know.