From his first AJHL game to taking the ice in his NHL debut with a stint in Denmark mixed in there as well. Tyler Yaremchuk and Cody Kunyk touched on just about everything.
From his first AJHL game to taking the ice in his NHL debut with a stint in Denmark mixed in there as well. Tyler Yaremchuk and Cody Kunyk touched on just about everything.
“Taking this much money means he doesn’t want to win”
“He’s leaving no money for them to build a —”
“This is just a selfish move by —”
Shut up. Please, shut up.
If you have said any of the above in the past week. Stop talking.
Connor McDavid has played in 127 NHL games to this point in his career. He has scored 148 points and won an Art Ross, Hart Trophy, and Ted Lindsay Award. He guided a franchise out of the darkness and helped them win a playoff round in their first year back in the big dance.
He deserves $12.5 million. He deserved $13.250 million. He deserves $20 million. This franchise was gifted him via a fricken’ lottery. He owes them absolutely nothing.
As far as I’m concerned it is their responsibility to ensure they take whatever money is left and give Connor McDavid the resources he needs to bring multiple Stanley Cups to Edmonton. It is not the job of a young superstar to make life easier on management.
It’s a problem that has existed for a while now in hockey, the idea that a superstar must take less so that the supporting cast around him is better. I see the mindset behind that argument, of course, everyone loves a good team player. Someone who puts themselves second.
But consider it from the other perspective.
Is it Connors fault that he Oilers paid Milan Lucic $6m? No.
Who’s fault is it that they had to buy out Benoit Pouliot? Hardly #97’s.
So why should he have to sell himself short to cater to the mistakes of others?
It’s something that hockey has an extreme problem with, that other sports frankly do not.
Look at the NBA, in most cases when a support player wants to join a super team and win, he takes less money. The majority of the cap is spent on the superstars.
I know the cap levels and rules are different in every league, but let’s throw McDavid’s salary up against the other 3 major leagues:
If McDavid were to hold a $12.5 AAV in the MLB, he would rank just inside the top 100.
Yup, hockey’s best young star has an annual salary that is in the same breath as players like Ricky Nolasco and Matt Garza.
Ignore the bargain that Chris Sale is on because he IS a truly special talent on a great deal. But the best young player that hockey has seen in arguably 25 years got a shiny brand new deal… that’s worth the same as a few sub-par starting pitchers.
No different in the NBA where McDavid would sit in a tie for 88th… with Miles Plumlee.
Tell me, when was the last time you heard someone say “Wow, did you see what Miles Plumlee did last night? We GOTTA find a way to watch him live!”.
Or maybe next time you walk into a sports retail store, ask if they have any Miles Plumlee gear left, or maybe it’s all sold out!
McDavid brings value to a franchise that no other player can. It’s absurd that in today’s hockey world, he’s unable to chase what he financially deserves and if he was allowed to, he would be scrutinized for doing so.
(Also just for fun, here’s the NFL salaries… seriously, he’s 63rd. WHO THE HELL IS ANDREW WHITWORTH)
James Duthie brought up a great point on TSN 1260 the other week. Give each team one exemption. Whoever the teams highest paid player is, simply comes off the cap.
It’s so simple, yet so effective. The Oilers give Connor McDavid the $25 million a year he deserves. The team doesn’t suffer. Old man hockey culture can’t say McDavid is a selfish spoiled kid.
In works for other teams as well. If you pay Player A $12 million a year, he’s exempt, but as soon as you give another player $13 million, Player A counts towards your cap again. It’s a brilliant way of keeping the parity that the NHL loves to create, while not handcuffing teams who have great players. It also allows players to earn what they are truly worth to their franchises without facing public scrutiny.
Of course, there are more layers to it, but that’s for another blog. For now, I leave you with this:
Connor McDavid deserves whatever the hell he wants, and it’s a shame hockey culture gets in the way of their stars earning what they deserve.
photo via The Edmonton Sun
We’re now in the second week of NHL free agency and one of the greatest players to ever play the game is still available: Jaromir Jagr. He is coming off a 46-point season, whilst playing all 82 games for the first time since 2014 when he was with the New Jersey Devils.
The Florida Panthers announced that they do not want to bring Jagr back to the organization, and according to Jagr, neither does any other organization.
Despite the apparent lack of interest, Jagr is no rookie when it comes to moving teams. Since returning to the NHL, after three years in the KHL, the 45-year-old has played for five different teams in six years.
Regardless of his age, Jagr’s numbers indicate one thing: he still knows how to score points.
Jagr has totaled 159 points in his last three seasons with both New Jersey and Florida – more points in fewer games than Patrick Marleau (151), who just signed a three-year $18M contract with Toronto.
Last Tuesday, another top free agent, Alex Radulov, just went off the board to one of Jagr’s former teams, the Dallas Stars. Radulov signed a deal worth $31.25M, $6.25M per year, over the next five years. In 2017 against even strength opponents, Radulov scored 31 points (goals, 23 assists) whilst Jagr scored 33 points (eight goals, 25 assists).
Numbers don’t lie. Scoring wise, Jagr can still compete with the top free agents on this year’s market yet he is still unsigned. Take away the age and your team will be getting a scoring winger, which plenty of NHL teams need.
Jagr has proven year after year that age will not define him. People can complain about his speed as much as they want, but if he keeps scoring points does it really matter?
With the list of free agents getting smaller each day, the Czech is becoming the top free agent available.
Jagr is obviously in search for another Stanley Cup ring to add to his collection, however, a team in the lower half of the standings should show interest in him as a mentor. A team like the Arizona Coyotes could be one of those teams. During his time in Florida, Jagr was a major part of the success the Panthers experienced from both Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau. The Coyotes are in a similar stage of their rebuild much like the Panthers were. The future Hall of Famer could do the same in Arizona but this time with the likes of Dylan Strome, Maxi Domi, Clayton Keller. The list of young talent is really endless in the Copper State. As previously mentioned, Jagr is in pursuit of a Stanley Cup ring, however, he would be waiting a long time in Arizona for that ring, making an Arizona unlikely destination. On the other hand, most old people eventually move to Arizona later in life so why wait till then?
Until the last few days, the Dallas Stars would’ve been a great destination for the 45-year-old. Over the summer, GM Jim Nill has made some huge moves in order to not only get his team back in the playoffs but to go all the way. Trading for Ben Bishop and signing two of the biggest names on the free-agent market, Martin Hanzel and Alex Radulov, would attract any player at the back end of their career. The Stars did lose offense at the trade deadline in Patrick Eaves, and then Patrick Sharp, Ales Hemsky, and Jiri Hudler to free agency. Jagr seems like a great fit. However, with the Stars resigning both Radek Faska and Brett Ritchie it now leaves no room for the future Hall of Famer.
Another talked about destination for him is in Western Canada with the Edmonton Oilers or Calgary Flames. The Flames seem like the more likely stop in this situation, now that the Oilers have signed Jussi Jokinen. Edmonton will likely want to give Jesse Puljajarvi another chance in Alberta’s capital after spending the second half of the season in Bakersfield.
Now as for the Flames they’ve been busy bringing in defense, resigning Mark Stone, signing Travis Hamonic, and trading for Mike Smith. Last season, the Flames ranked in the lower half of the league in goals for, meaning it is probably time for them to invest in some offense. Jagr could slide perfectly on the top line complementing Calgary’s two stars Monahan and Gaudreau.
Over in the East, the Columbus Blue Jackets emerged last season as one of the best teams in the NHL. On draft day, they bolstered their offense with the addition of Artemi Panarin in exchange for Brandon Saad. Their only real loss this off season has been Sam Gagner who left to join the Vancouver Canucks. Jagr could easily come in and fill the void left by Gagner: he’s a much better player. They are a young team on the rise with only one player over the age of 30 on the offensive side of the puck, Brandon Dubinsky. With the current Vezina winner and one of the best defensive cores in the league, Columbus is ready to go on a deep playoff run and win the cup, just what Jagr wants.
Other teams that could be potential new homes for Jagr are the Montreal Canadiens who are looking for more offense, or the Carolina Hurricanes who want to take that next step.
Personally, I would love to see Jagr back in the black and white of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The right side of their offense may be crowded with Phil Kessel, Patric Hornqvist, and Bryan Rust but that could work in Jagr’s favour. He won’t be forced to play in every game and with him being the age he is it may actually extend his career to 50 like he believes. Also, with the talent on the Penguins roster, he would have a great shot at hitting the 60 point mark, again. The Penguins have just won back-to-back cups, I wouldn’t put it past them to win it again and obviously, Jagr wants another shot before he hangs up the skates.
I could easily make a case for every team and why Jagr would be a good fit, but ultimately we won’t know what will work best until we see him skating next season with his new team.
After Thursday’s bombshell blockbuster that saw veteran Jordan Eberle shipped to Long Island, many Oilers fans are still reeling, scratching their heads and questioning the underwhelming return.
Thursday was a whirlwind of a day for Oilers fans. With the announcement that Jordan Eberle had been traded to the New York Islanders for 23-year-old Ryan Strome, the Oilers’ “old core”, consisting of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Justin Schultz, Nail Yakupov and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, lost its penultimate piece. Many Oilers fans were immediately outraged, pointing out the clear difference in value between the struggling Strome and perennial fan-favourite Eberle in a one-for-one deal.
The Golden Knights big reveal is coming! A huge night in the NHL! The intrigue is outstand—
It’s been leaked.
Just like the big jersey unveiling, the team Vegas will announce tonight has been reported on Twitter by the elite group of NHL Insiders.
So I’ll take advantage of this and fire off some names that the Oilers could target when Vegas decides to flip some skilled vets.
There are probably a few more, but I’m doing this on the fly.
He can play either wing, loves to shoot the puck and is one of an elite group of NHLers who have scored 20 goals or more in each of their first 9 seasons.
He can contribute on the powerplay, which the Oilers could use. But he’s no slouch 5v5 either with a 0.86 goals/60 and a his 9.04 shots/60 cracks the top 40 amongst regular NHLers.
Currently has one more year @ $5million.
He isn’t as proven as James Neal, but a value contract (750k next year, then a UFA) and a player who’s coming off a break-out 30 goal season. He plays RW and his only 26 years old, which potentially lines up nicely with the Oilers core.
Will he be able to score 30 goals consistently? Doubt it. But he shouldnt cost too much and if anyone can keep him at a 30 goal pace, it’s Connor McDavid.
This would be a dream fit in my eyes. Rumors are the Leafs are heavily pursuing Miller as well, but in my eyes, Colin Miller is a top 4 d-man right now and will stay in an NHL top 4 for a long time. I know the price would be high, but if I’m Chia, I’m paying that price.
Would just a first rounder do it? What would the sweetener be? All viable questions. But expect Miller to be pursued hard by many different GM’s.
Right handed d-man? Check. Young? Check. NHL experience? TVR has over 150 game under his belt. He checks a lot of the boxes Chia will be looking for.
He has tremendous upside, although still a little raw. Could he be a viable option to step in and replace Andrej Sekera for a good chunk of the year then stay on the 3rd pair? I like his game, I’m not sure if Vegas will want to trade a right shot with his kind of upside. The price may be high.
I don’t think Vegas will be shopping their centerman, but if there is one to move, it may be Eakin. 26 years old and is due $3.875mil over the next 3 years, Eakin is really nothing more than a 3rd line center.
I wouldn’t be going after him if I was Chiarelli, as I think he’s overpaid for what he actually brings. But this is a PC type of guy, rugged, energy, bit of offensive upside (although he scored 3 goals in 60 games last year) *pause* THIS GUY ONLY SCORED 3 GOALS IN 60 GAMES LAST YEAR.
He made over a million per goal last year. That’s horrendous. If the Oil get him at salary retained or dirt cheap, then maybe I wouldn’t be too mad. But please Peter, don’t trade Eberle for this guy.
William Karlsson: Watched him a lot in CBJ, might fit well on Edmonton’s bottom 6. Doesn’t do anything too special.
Brayden McNabb: I really like him, but he’s a left shot, so unless Kris Russell isn’t back, there isn’t room for him. On the other hand, I think he’s a great chance to upgrade on Kris Russell.
Jason Garrison: Same as McNabb in that he would be an upgrade on the left side over Russell. But Garrison brings a cannon of a shot, which Edmonton needs and he has shown the ability to quarterback a PP. A veteran presence may ease the loss of Sekera, especially if it’s Matt Benning on that 2nd pair.
Tons of activity expected, it should be a fun 3 days for hockey fans, and a busy day for insiders.
On March 13th, the buzzer sounded and the Crusaders were eliminated from the AJHL playoffs in first round for the first time since 2011. They went down to one of their biggest rivals, the Bonnyville Pontiacs, 3 to 1 after leading the series.
It was definitely a difficult lose for the team, with all the talent they had on the roster many people expected them to last longer.
Image courtesy of Vice.com
Heading into Game 5, the Stanley Cup not only rested in the balance squared at two’s waiting for some team to take the proverbial “stranglehold” in the series – the Conn Smythe Trophy also sat waiting for some player (a star center, rookie sensation, or Finnish goaltender) to poach the award from still, likely, undecided voters.
The Pittsburgh Penguins dismantled, utterly sliced and diced the puck around Nashville skates at will in the offensive zone to the tune of a six nil drubbing to tighten their palms around the Predator’s necks 3-2 in the series. With the decisive victory, the Smythe race on Pittsburgh’s end narrowed to two players. Two players we’ve heard plenty about in the past decade.
Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby are one of the best duos in NHL history. That might appear sensational in the tone of vast-exaggeration-after-a-monster-blowout but a loss at this point wouldn’t take that distinction away. The top two NHL playoff scorers are also the two favourites for playoff MVP in my mind; both commanding multi-dimensional lines that swing the biscuit around like the puck will melt the tape off their sticks if it lingers too long on the blade, both historically excellent centers with major pedigree and accolades and adulation.
Sidney Crosby has never played angrier than in Game 5. Crosby’s picking spots more than ever before, taking the big hit and not reacting, wrestling with Subban and likely overreacting. Crosby has always been chippy, sometimes to his detriment, just ask Marc Methot’s digits, but he’s never played like a bully before. Game 5 was a bully performance that championship teams have earned or found themselves acting as when they’ve been through the rigors of long series before; in this case Sidney Crosby’s fourth Stanley Cup Final appearance.
Combined with his grace in nearly scoring the game’s first goal, splitting between Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi not thirty seconds into the contest and his wonderful backhand dish to Conor Sheary rattling the backup Saros, it was a different Sidney Crosby with many of the same features. Perhaps a player with legacy on his mind. Or just the pleasure of knowing, affirming, that his team is the best in the world. Certainly, Crosby is angry. If nothing else than in the Ray Lewis “pissed-off-for-greatness” sense.
It’s easy to forget Crosby was again in career peril after a meeting with Matt Niskanen’s bludgeoning elbow in the second round. Since then, he’s been same old Sid as Jim Hughson might say.
With Evgeni Malkin, I think you get the favourite for the MVP. However, Geno could fall victim to the success syndrome of the Penguins. The most consistent forward during the postseason, his elite skill and size seems unphased by another deep playoff run. Maybe it he benefitted sitting out twenty contests with injury.
Regardless, questions were raised (while he still was the playoffs leading scorer) that he would have to pick up the load offensively with Crosby, apparently, concussed. The Pens won that Game 4 against Washington, Geno quiet, and as you know the Penguins survived the rest of the way against the Capitals. While I’m sure the absent Crosby was noticed, the Penguins are as well equipped to handle the loss of a superstar as any team. Like when Malkin won the Art Ross in 2011-12 in Crosby’s absence, things were tickety-boo despite the difficult situation.
In Malkin’s personal agenda – the same agenda Crosby could subconsciously be after even though it’s frankly ridiculous – another Stanley Cup topped off with another Conn Smythe would prove to anyone in charge of the “Top 100 NHL Players of Ever” list that he, #71, belongs in that group, more so than many others who played before. It was silly he wasn’t included in the first place. If Pittsburgh wins, the tandem of Geno and Sid would have two Art Ross Trophy’s each, three Stanley Cups, three Hart’s, and a litany of international awards. Their personal and team successes draw natural comparisons to Pittsburgh’s other dynamic duo – Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr.
Though the verisimilitude of the four players isn’t close, the essence of how they are controlling the game is. And while there are several categories when comparing the two’s against each other that Lemieux/Jagr outgun them, the fact that Crosby/Malkin success had championships seven seasons apart with a repeat looming, is more than those stars or yesteryear mustered in their heyday.
So the Penguins win the game 6-0, one of the crux’s to another title and Crosby has three assists and Malkin a goal and an assist in easily the best game Pittsburgh’s played in weeks and the series has clarity for a moment and now you can run the stories about Nashville backs against the wall and how will they handle the pressure of elimination and all the rest (hopefully a think piece about Pekka Rinne’s mental state in regards to, well, whatever ails him in specific situations) but I’m very curious about Crosby and Malkin.
Obviously, it’s a home ice series. And, obviously, that has no bearing on this game unless the Predators win. But a waxing like that against the best defence corps in the league, home ice or not, is excellent. Excellent in ways makng your opponent go 37 minutes without a shot is excellent as well, bu you still have to win the game. Nashville has missed their chance and everything from here on in will be unchartered territory combined with having to do it against a poised Penguins squad. Pittsburgh won the cup in San Jose in Game 6 last season 3-1, I feel inclined to predict the same result in the 2017 Stanley Cup Final.
Crosby won the Conn Smythe last season (Phil Kessel seemed equally deserving) but this season I hope it returns to Evgeni Malkin a player we have trouble reconciling outside of the shadow of the best player in the world.
And if Nashville comes back in sensational style to win the drink then I don’t know what the hell you’re going to do. Give it to Erik Karlsson I suppose.
A few days ago I wrote about what a new deal for 22-year-old Darnell Nurse could potentially look like.
Now I’d like to shift the focus of contract discussion to Matt Benning. Like Nurse, Benning will need a new deal after next season and is eligible for an extension.
Now, with only one year under his belt, you would imagine that both sides would wait until the year is at least half way done, but when the time comes for the ink to meet paper, what could Matt Benning’s new deal look like?
Benning is a unique case because he’s 23 years old, but he’s only played 62 NHL games. In those 62 games, he’s managed to impress those close to the Oilers and most have penciled him into this team’s long-term top 6.
In his first season, he logged decent minutes in every scenario. He was 5th on the team in 5v5 TOI, 3rd in PP TOI and played 41 minutes shorthanded (although that’s the lowest number among their regular defenders). When it came to the playoffs and injuries hit this team, Benning not only stayed healthy, he played over 20 minutes a night in each of their final 3 games vs The Ducks. He also never registered a negative plus/minus in any of those games.
He’s a solid player at both ends of the rink, and it’s completely fair to assume he’s only going to get better as he continues to gain more pro hockey experience.
Of course, it’d be easy for both sides to agree to a 2 year deal around $2million like we’ve seen in the past with Ryan Murray, Tyson Barrie, Danny Dekeyser and more. But if the Oilers like what they’ve seen and are confident he could be an impact defenseman for a long time, why not sign him to a deal with some term?
This could be a chance for the Oilers to set themselves up for a real bargain contract in 3 or 4 years. It could also be a chance for Benning to be apart of a championship team in his own hometown.
Finding comparables is difficult because of how unique this situation is, but I’ve managed to dig up a few thanks to Cap Friendly.
In 2006, Kronwall was 25, so slightly older than Benning, but had only played 66 games which is very close to Benning’s 62. At that point the Wings were confident giving the Swedish blueliner 5 years @ $3million.
In 2013, the Senators gave the 22-year old a 3 year deal worth $2million after watching him for just 50 games. This is a deal I think is the closest comparable to the Benning situation and might be pretty close to what we could see the former Spruce Grove Saints defender get when the time comes for a new deal.
At the age of 25, and after playing 155 NHL Games, the Predators inked Ekholm to a 6-year contract worth $3.75 million. If Matt Benning gets a full NHL season in, he will be 24 and have a similar number of games played.
Matt Benning is an incredible talent, bringing him in is going to go down as Peter Chiarelli’s best move in my eyes.
Matt Benning is also not stupid, and I’m sure he can see his potential to be a top 4 d-man down the road, but I also think he knows how fast things can change in pro sports.
I could see these two sides agreeing to a deal close to the one Ekholm got. I think $3.75m isn’t a horrible overpayment now, and a 6-year term means the Oilers could be getting a real bargain in the final 3 years of the deal.
It’ll be interesting to see how things play out this next season. Benning could dip-off like Brandon Davidson did, or he could break through like Oscar Klefbom did this past season. Either way, an extension is likely coming for Benning, and it’s another piece of the puzzle that GM Peter Chiarelli needs to carefully consider.
If he plays this right, there’s a chance the Oilers have their future top 4 of Larson, Klefbom, Benning and Nurse all locked up long term for around $15million. Which give them tremendous flexibility when it comes to signing their core forwards.