Hall and 'Yotes

NEWARK, NJ – DECEMBER 06: New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) during the second period of the National Hockey League game between the New Jersey Devils nd the Chicago Blackhawks on December 6, 2019 at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

We all knew Taylor Hall was going to be traded this year, we didn’t know it’d be to Arizona of all places. Not only that, but the Devils didn’t get too much to help them in the short-term and some people thinking Ray Shero got a little fleeced in this one.

But in all honesty, the match could be a great fit overall. The Coyotes needed someone like Hall in their line-up to be an offense creator. The Coyotes are 24th in the NHL in goals-for and while their power-play is in the top-10, you can’t go wrong getting a former MVP onto the roster. More over, this is a move that could help spark Phil Kessel’s output, which has been lacking a little due to no playmakers being up to the Kessel caliber of play. The Coyotes are surprising enough this season being third in the west and getting solid performances from Darcy Kuemper in net and Conor Garland being their offensive dynamo; but adding Hall just ups the value of this team– especially at this point in the season where there’s still time for Hall to adjust to Rick Tocchet’s style in Arizona.

Yet, looking at the Devils…this was not a great deal. You know they had to move Hall to get something for the future; but you’d also like to get something for today, too. Not many people think the return will be much of anything outside of the draft picks, but you never know how the picks and players will turn out. This move really doesn’t address the bigger issue of the Devils, which is their goaltending. Sure, MacKenzie Blackwood has been better than some of the options the Devils have, but that doesn’t say much overall.

This does, however, open the way for the younger Devils to really show their muster. Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes are now the face of the team more than ever, while the older crew up front in Wayne Simmonds, Kyle Palmieri, and Blake Coleman are going to have to be offensive mentors to these talented players. But wouldn’t you have liked to have Hall be with these former top picks and guide them through the peaks and valleys through his first-hand experiences??

There will be instant results in Arizona because they have a known commodity in Taylor Hall; they got a piece that could be the big thing missing not only for their team, but for their other acquired star player, and they are making a push to be a desirable spot outside of the climate to be. For New Jersey– it’ll take some years, if it ever happens for them when it comes to the results of this deal. But they’ll always have that one year, they’ll always have 2017-18.

Pacioretty Dealt in Middle of Night to the Knights

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Marc Bergevin either traded Max Pacioretty in the middle of the night to avoid the onslaught of opinion pieces that are going to come out when people start to wake up or he did it because he wanted people to talk about that to overshadow the Laval Rocket coach calling out prospects for not standing up for their teammates. Late Sunday/early Monday, the Habs traded Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights for Tomas Tatar, Nick Suzuki, and a draft pick.

A lot of the contention comes from Pacioretty not wanting to negotiate a contract extension during the season, while Bergevin shuffled his feet for some reason to get his captain under a new contract. Pacioretty said he wanted to stay in Montreal, but it seemed the feeling wasn’t mutual. Injuries hassled Pacioretty last year– which was a down year all around for the Habs, but you can’t discount his four 30+ goals in the previous four season and hitting that mark five times during his ten seasons in Montreal.

For his return, Tatar provides the ability to be a consistent 20-goal scorer, though he was moved from Detroit to Vegas last season and was a scratch during much of the playoffs for the Golden Knights on their miraculous run to the Cup Final. Suzuki is a highly-touted prospect, who has put up 87 goals and 196 points in the last two seasons in the OHL– which means he’ll have people put too much pressure on him to succeed immediately with the Canadiens franchise; which leads for ultimate let-down in the end.

If Suzuki doesn’t come up as a big part of the Habs rebuild and Pacioretty becomes a bigger star in Vegas, it’ll just add to the shot-sheet of Bergevin’s demise as a GM. While he’s trying to get a fresh start with his team– he hasn’t gotten much a return on investment for what he’s already given away. You can bet that the people will be even more up in arms if Carey Price were to get traded from the Habs, which will take a lot of doing because Price holds a no-move clause now in his $10.5M deal for the next eight seasons. With already trading their old core of youth in PK Subban, Alex Galchenyuk, and Lars Eller; the Habs faithful are split between if this is ultimately good or bad….though the outside looking in seems to be the it’s not the best thing in the world for the Canadiens unless their return on investment gets them back to Cup contender quick.

For George McPhee, he continues to build up the Golden Knights– adding another solid center for their line-up. On top of picking up Paul Statsny and extending Jonathan Marchessault, the Golden Knights are going to stay complacent after their amazing first season. William Karlsson is probably the only one they wanted to get re-signed to an extension that they haven’t, but with his core of players going forward– they seem pretty damn solid for their second season.

While this is a deal for a 5 PM Friday news dump, it’ll create plenty to talk about in the hockey world as we lead up to the opening of training camp and the opening of new hope for a season. Though the return in the short-term wasn’t the best for the Habs, it could pay off for the long-term. However, there’s not a guarantee that Bergevin will be around to see the fruits of his labor. The fans haven’t been too impressed with what Bergevin has done, but Geoff Molson still sees something in him. While a lot of the prospects haven’t turned out; Molson still sees some kind of progress in what Bergevin’s  doing or else he wouldn’t be there. And if Suzuki doesn’t turn out and Pacioretty gets a bump by moving out of Montreal– it could be the last straw…if it isn’t something else first to get Bergevin out of there.

The Deal That May or May Not Happen Ever

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Wouldn’t it be like the Ottawa Senators to not trade Erik Karlsson?? With all the turmoil, all the stuff behind the scenes, the tire fire that continues to rise, the model organization for relocation because their owner is one who should have his franchise taken away from him….this is the thing that would be the most Senators things ever.

Last week, it seems like the wheels were in motion for Karlsson to go to the Lone Star State and become Sheriff Erik for the Stars. Then later in the week, the Tampa Bay Lightning looked to be a late entry into this ordeal, join by a New York Metro team in order to get the deal done and the money to equal itself.

Yet, according to Lightning GM’s Steve Yzerman– there’s no deal to be done. Nothing is imminent and with the long-term signing of Nikita Kucherov– it may not be. With the Kucherov signing, it ties up $65M for 12 contracts in 2019-20, which would be Karlsson’s free agent year and would need a major trade/salary dump to get the long-term deal of Karlsson’s under the Bolts’ cap.

So…are the Stars still in it, because it’s been pretty radio silence since the Tampa deal came out late last week, but you have to think they’re back to the front-runners, no??

It’s eerily quiet on Karlsson. Like that awkward quiet after you haphazardly confess your love to your 10th Grade History teacher after learning about Lewis and Clark….or something that may or may not have happened.

While it’s something that could just be the money people crunching numbers to make sure it works on the contract side of things, this almost seems like it won’t get cured by training camp. Don’t ask me why I think that, but you’d think that teams would be stumbling over themselves to get Karlsson sooner rather than later in order to start their pitch to keep him around on an eight-year extension.

I don’t think this is something even Pierre Dorian and the Senators can fuck up. Sure, it’s your franchise player, sure he’s the only think keeping people in the stands at Canadian Tire Centre, and it’s something you need to be gentle about in terms of not rushing to trading a guy for a subpar return that won’t help this rebuild or whatever the hell it is that the Senators are doing. Let’s be honest, Karlsson is the tip of the iceberg, as Craig Anderson has requested a trade, Bobby Ryan’s contract is an albatross, and there’s not much to be hyped about– even if Matt Duchene plays better and gets to scoring at any kind of responsible clip.

If they don’t trade him by the start of the season, it could be some kind of silver lining and maybe give some hope to a re-signing after a summer/start-of-season-long reconciliation. However, it’s not looking that way. You can assume that Karlsson is packed up, ready to move to wherever he’s getting dealt next and thinking Ottawa is an afterthought for the beginning of the season.

It’s a very lose-lose situation for the Senators overall, but for Karlsson– it’d be a new start in a new place. And a place that hopefully has some direction.

Does Domingue Desertion Signal Some Worse Happening in Arizona Personnel Wise??

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Louis Domingue/Photo via Syracuse.com

The on-ice product for the Arizona Coyotes isn’t the best. We all know that and the numbers can attest to that. However, with the story the Louis Domingue shared with the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Power Play Podcast shows that maybe they’re failing more off-the-ice than people want to admit– not just in community relations and all of that, but with the handling of players overall.

Raw Charge on SBNation did a great job of recapping the episode hosted by Matt Sammon with clips from Brian Engeblom interviewing Domingue. It was a great tale of his time in the QMJHL with Patrick Roy, to him in constant Coyotes’ limbo, to him almost quitting hockey at 25. Yet, one thing stood out amongst the horrors of the Arizona experience for the young netminder:

For a good week and a half, I was left without ice or a gym or any support from the team. I was just home waiting for a call. They told me to rent my own ice [chuckles]. I was there – I gave call to my old friend Shane Doan. He came out with me on the ice in the afternoon with his son.

I rented the ice at midnight just to shoot pucks and skate around because I was tired of being at home.

Listen– it’s one thing to hang a guy in limbo by not sending him down to the minors right off the waiver wire, but to not even give him access to the team facilities when he’s STILL UNDER CONTRACT TO THE TEAM seems a little bit insane to me. Sure, I get it if you don’t want to send him to Tucson and throw a wrench in the solid season they’ve been having thus far with Hunter Miska in net and Adin Hill coming back around again. But why not loan him out somewhere. Obviously, he wasn’t in the plans, so do something like what Buffalo did with Matt Moulson and send him somewhere that needs/wants him.

Goaltending is a fickle thing made up of “What have you done for me lately??” around every turn, especially when it comes to teams that don’t have a proven starter who deserves the tenured leeway in order to succeed as a whole. Domingue had a rough go and with rough goes in Arizona overall– the goaltending will be the focus. Looking at his stats since getting into the Tampa Bay organization (11-4-0, 2.07GAA, .921Sv% in Syracuse), it just takes actual guidance and solid coaching in order to make a goalie who’s on the edge of oblivion to become an above-average goalie.

On the flip side– what the hell Coyotes’ organization?? There are problems all over the place with this team as a whole, then you hear this stuff and wonder if they do this with everyone. You look at how this situation and how the situation with Anthony Duclair went down and you wonder how there’s not more of an exodus or even worse stories coming from this team….and I’m sure there’s going to be more horror coming out as people start to set sail from there.

Now, I don’t know what the NHL can do with team business, but it seems insane to me that a CONTRACTED PLAYER is locked out of his team’s rink or gym because he was put on waivers and they didn’t want to send him to the NHL. Yes, they didn’t want him to get hurt because he’d be untradeable, but at the same time– how do you expect him to be desireable to other teams when he’s not playing ANYWHERE– AHL, ECHL, SPHL– to be displayed for anyone.

There seems to be something just not right with the Coyotes’ front office when it comes to dealing with their players. The way they set it up has been dragged every which way, especially with the analytics vs. non-analytics debate and the youth/inexperience of John Chayka when it comes to building said team. Whether it was Domingue and Duclair being ruined by a system that didn’t care to help make them better or if they just didn’t fit into the team’s plans– these stories and the hearsay coming from it makes you wonder what’s left to come out of the desert when it comes to player personnel.

Age of Superstar Trade Rumors

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Remember when the “Face of the Franchise” was untouchable and the only way you would get rid of him would be in a Ray Bourque kind of fashion?? Blame the salary cap, extremely long-term contracts, or just knee-jerk reactions, but the idea of teams trading away their most valuable asset has been a very vocal part of the off-season for some fans and pundits alike.

Firstly, the Alex Ovechkin rumors and the ideas of trading the face of the Capitals comes more and more to the forefront after the Caps still haven’t been able to get out of the second round in Ovechkin’s tenure. This is definitely a hard-sell now considering this past season, Ovechkin had a personal-worst season in goals and points for his career during a full-season. Of course, he had only 32 goals during the shortened season of 2012-13, but that was just one-less goal than he had last season. Ovechkin turn 32 when training camps open up and this past season, you could see he was a bit human as his breakaway speed seemed to not be as it once was. For a player who may be starting to trend downward, it’s obvious some people think the Caps would be best to cut their superstar and see what they can get for him.

Name value alone would intrigue some fan bases, sure, but when you look at the long and short of it– I don’t know how much Ovechkin to truly bring back from another team given that the Caps may know something in his attitude or what-have-you off the ice that would make some teams leary. Plus, in a salary cap world, would you want to trade away some of your blue-chip prospects for an aging superstar who could be bottoming out on his career and still has four years (at $9.5M per) on his contract?? Unless you need the boost at the box office, I don’t think it’d be a smart move for the long-term.

Another name that has come up is John Tavares. Granted, Tavares’ situation is much different than Ovechkin. Tavares is on a team that seems to be getting worse before getting better. Couple that with the front office not getting him much support on the ice and his contract coming up at the end of next season, the young sniper will have his name amongst the trade bait heading into next season if a deal is not done with the Islanders before then.

Not only that, but former Islanders star Mike Bossy said that he could see Tavares going to Montreal for a big bunch of young players going the other way to the Islanders. While it is a big lot to get rid of, especially when you look at what Alex Galchenyuk, Mikhail Sergachev and Charlie Lindgren could become; but it does fill the void that the Islanders need for their future. Yet, how productive could he be in the Montreal system and limelight. That said, he does have many years left, as Tavares is on the cusp of his 27th birthday and does have some years left to give.

It’s an interesting time we live in for hockey players being dealt. It used to be that if Wayne Gretzky could get traded, anyone could. However, that adage could morph into, if PK Subban can get traded for Shea Weber– no star player is safe….or something much less clunky.