NHL Rumor Mill – August 20, 2018

by | Aug 20, 2018 | Rumors | 69 comments

Latest on the Winnipeg Jets and Minnesota Wild in your NHL rumor mill. 

SHOULD THE JETS INVEST MORE IN THEIR FORWARDS?

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Paul Wiecek recently wondered if a coming salary-cap crunch for the Winnipeg Jets and the uncertainty surrounding the contract statuses of defensemen Jacob Trouba and Josh Morrisey might lead to a change in how they prioritize their spending. Instead of a team built like the Nashville Predators, he suggests emulating the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals, who invested more in their forwards than their defensemen. He points out the Pittsburgh Penguins were also top-heavy when they won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017. 

If the Winnipeg Jets re-sign Jacob Trouba next season, they could have difficulty retaining some of their top forwards (Photo via NHL Images).

If the Jets follow the same pattern, they could be investing heavily in wingers Patrik Laine, Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor at the end of 2018-19. With the Jets unable to sign Trouba to a long-term deal and facing UFA status in 2020, there’s little incentive for the blueliner to remain in Winnipeg long-term. Re-signing him to a lengthy deal could also make it difficult to keep those forwards under contract. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring a collapse that knocks the Jets out of playoff contention this season, Trouba won’t be going anywhere. However, I don’t see how they can afford to keep him, Morrissey, Laine, Wheeler and Connor next summer.

Something’s gotta give and it’ll likely be Trouba sometime next summer, perhaps dealt during the NHL Draft weekend in late-June. Parting ways with him should give the Jets sufficient cap room to re-sign those other key players.

COULD THE WILD FACE BLOWING UP THEIR ROSTER?

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien wonders if the time is drawing near for the Minnesota Wild to consider shedding some aging players in favor of retooling with younger ones. He notes Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, Eric Staal, Ryan Suter and Devan Dubnyk are 32-or-older. Given Parise’s health issues, moving his hefty contract probably isn’t feasible but the time could be ideal to consider shopping some of the others.

It might be wise to move Staal, a pending free agent next July, as he’s coming off a 42-goal campaign. Suter’s perceived value remains high but his heavy workload could start catching up with him. A savvy club could see Koivu as worth the risk though the extra year on his contract could be difficult to sell. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wild general manager Paul Fenton appears more interested in tweaking his current roster than overhauling it. However, that could change if the Wild fall out of playoff contention before the trade deadline or once again become first-round road kill. Besides, moving some of those veterans will be difficult.

Suter’s has a $7.53 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 with a full no-movement clause. Koivu also has a full no-move and a $5.5-million cap hit through 2019-20. Staal ($3.5 million) and Dubnyk ($4.33 million through 2020-21) have modified no-trades and more affordable cap hits, making them easier to peddle. 

 








69 Comments

  1. Interesting take on Jets. Opinions over last few years about importance of elite goalies same. If following this line of thinking, maybe the Leafs are in a good place, and upgrading defense isn’t really that important.

    • Slick62

      Yes Pens and Wash spent heavier on Fwds; but their D was (and is) better than what Leafs have.

      Leafs will have absolutely no problem in the Reg. season. Could win Div or even Conf.

      Playoffs is a different game and IMO— Leafs D just not good enough to get to ECF let alone SCF or winning SC.

      I’ve been waiting 50+ years, so I hope I’m wrong— LEAFS please prove me wrong—- but IMO Leafs must do something w.r.t. the D.

    • Slick62

      Yes Pens and Wash spent heavier on Fwds; but their D was (and is) better than what Leafs have.

      Leafs will have absolutely no problem in the Reg. season. Could win Div or even Conf.

      Playoffs is a different game and IMO— Leafs D just not good enough to get to ECF let alone SCF or winning SC.

      I’ve been waiting 50+ years, so I hope I’m wrong— LEAFS please prove me wrong—- but IMO Leafs must do something w.r.t. the D.

      • When the Pens last won the cup, current Leaf Ron Hainsey was their big minute munching defensemen that playoff. If you recall Letang was out completely and Schultz was injured. So I’d say the Leafs D core now is much better than the injury plagued Penguins D that last won the cup.

      • I’m not a Leafs fan, but just adding Tavares to that offense is scary. I’d say they have as good a chance as anyone.

      • Dumo and maatta better than any leaf d cept maybe Reilly.

      • Mst,

        Hainsey may have put in better than avg. minutes on the ’17 Cup team…. but I would say that he was “solid” at best; more than “above average” or “good” and his play has steadily declined since and he’s long in the tooth now.

        Concur with Chrisms— Reilly would likely slot in 4th D on Pens right now.

        IMO (in no particular order): Bos, TB, FLA and at least 3 Metro teams have a considerably better D core than Leafs.

        Leafs MUST IMO make a move to improve the D.

        It has been 50+ years and I think the time to make a move for a solid top pairing D is this year.

        Don’t get me wrong— IMO Leafs will shoot out the lights in the reg. season— but IMO will fall short again in the playoffs due to the mediocrity on the Blue Line.

      • I think the League is trending toward Forwards getting a bigger slice of the overall pie, but that doesn’t mean D aren’t important, just more a function of how D-cores are built versus forward groups.

        High end forwards are typically require a high draft pick, and forwards typically show you what they are far earlier in their career forcing you to pay to retain them. If you are a team that is starting to get good, meaning you are now fighting for playoff spots, it’s hard to let a forward go because it’s going to be very hard to replace them if you aren’t drafting in the top 10.

        For defense, the best defensemen in most drafts are rarely the first one taken, and great D are often taken outside the top 15 picks. Also, there are more good value D that slip through the cracks and sometimes available for a great price.

        Looking specifically at some cup winners/finalists – Pittsbrugh got Shultz after Edmonton gave up on him, Washington got Kempny for a steal, and even re-signed him cheaply, LA has Muzzin who was released by Pittsburgh, Boston had Seidenberg who bounced around the league before playing a massive role in their cup win, and Vegas’ entire D were guys that other teams pretty much gave up on.

        Those are guys that were acquired through unconventional means, but even aside from that, if you look at the most Valuable D on most cup winning teams (with the exception of LA), they were typically picked outside of the top 15 in their draft.

        So the D are important, but when building a team, you really need to hit on your forward picks while you are really bad, because it’s much easier to get very high end D later in drafts, and solid players through unconventional means that it is with offensive forwards.

        For the Leafs in particular, I wouldn’t agree that the D aren’t important, as I do think they would be greatly improved by patching up that right side, it’s just that it’s easier to do that now that they won’t be picking in the top 10 of the draft than it would be if they were still missing a #1 C or dynamic winger.

      • Slick, Tavares indeed is an offensive threat added to a team that, last season, had a solid offensive corps. But how much more can he contribute over and above the 47 goals 50 assists and 97 points they’ll no longer have from Bozak and Van Riemsdyk. Also his faceoff % of 52.9 is no better than Bozak’s 53.6 so there’d no great gain there either.

      • @George, Tavares brings a much MUCH better defensive game. It’s a lot easier to defend when your centers commit to defense.
        I see Kapanen + Tavares as the full 2-2 replacement for Bozak & JvR, which means more points and much better 2 way games.

      • George you have to add another player to the equation to balance out that statement… for example how much of an improvement will Tavares and Kapanen or Johnsson give you vs Bozak and van rim.

      • While those are valid points chrisms and taz, the facts so far are that Tavares has averaged 34 goals and 43 assists for 77 points a season. Bozak has averaged 19 goals and 32 assists for 51 points a season and Van Riemsdyk 27 goals and 26 assists for 53 points – a combination totaling 46 goals 58 assists and 104 points. To exceed that combination, and if Tavares holds true to his career average, all either Kapanen or Johnson has to do is score 12 goals 15 assists for 27 points to match that lost combination. Doable I guess, although neither has yet proven anything at the NHL level. We’ll soon see.

      • It gets even more complicated… does Tavares ice time in center cost kadri and/or Mathews ice time and does that effect their points? Tavares was a great signing but leafs may need some touching up. That center depth will allow them some really interesting options such as moving nylander or Marner (blasphemy I know) for a d man as wings surrounding that center depth are replaceable

      • Tavares isn’t solely replacing all players lost nor does he have to. Matthews, Tavares & Kadri was Matthews, Kadri & Bozak. That’s significantly improved.

        Johansson & Kapanen replace JvR & Komorov. Hyman, Brown, Matthews, Nylander, & Marner all have far more offensive abilities than they have shown in their 1st 2 full seasons in the NHL.

        Toronto scored 270 goals last season tied with Pit at 3rd, 3 goals behind the Jets at 2nd & 23 behind league leader TB. I have them scoring close to 300 this season give or take 5. For goals against they were in the top 1/2 of the league for not allowing goals with 230. On offensive possession alone that # drops by at least 10 with the added development of Zaitsev, Reilly & the addition of Dermott I would say at least another 10 fewer goals defensively dropping them to about 210 give or take 5 putting them potentially in the top 5 for goals against.

        I assume before the puck drops on Oct 3rd Tor is adding a D to the 3rd pairing to play with Dermott and help shelter & mentor him. That can still be addressed in the UFA market today. Enstrom, Bieksa, Sbisa, Emelin, etc. would suffice as a shutdown partner playing 3rd pairing minutes in or around 14 mins a night.

        Better yet trade for a better option moving out a player potentially lost on waivers Gauthier, Lievo with a decent pick to find a better option. McQuaid from Bos would make a great partner for Dermott & should come cheap really. Would Bos trade him to Tor though?

      • chrisms’ analysis makes more sense since Tavares WILL affect the ice-time of both Kadri and Matthews. And you can toss names around all you like but in the end, since Hyman, Brown and Komorov were already regulars in the line-up their stats don’t have to be “replaced” – those of Bozak and Van Riemsdyk do – so they still have to hope the likes of Kapanen and Johanssen can pick up that slack. However, Leafs fans can take great solace in the knowledge that you believe everything will be hunky-dory. I still saw we’ll see, with an element of doubt.

    • Honestly, looking at Jets success in spite of long absences of Trouba…. and the spark they received from Statsny addition… wouldn’t it make sense to look to deal Trouba now to make up for the loss of Statsny? Or at the least at the deadline? Jets are a playoff team, but probably have taken a step back this offseason to other teams in west. Jets pretty deep at RD… Would be cheaper to extend Myers. Don’t see Trouba in their future

      • Slick 62,

        Concur. Trouba very valuable in a trade and return would be greater than the differential value of team production loss (playing value of Trouba over Myers). So yes— better to extend Myers and trade Trouba and get a great return.

        What the return is and when should they trade????

        I think Winn will be in hunt next year and would want to go as far as possible in SC so IMO unlikely to trade Trouba at deadline.

        At or just before draft might be the most appropriate time to trade Trouba.

      • Penguin, I agree. I can see them making playoffs no problem. Come deadline, I can see a repeat of last season. I’m a Ranger fan and Trouba would be perfect add for where they’re at. There were strong rumors last deadline out of Winn they had interest in Zuccarello. If all goes the way most assume, Rangers will be sellers again. Zuc and Hayes could both be available.

      • Penguin, that should’ve been disagree! I think they’ll need to do something at deadline.

      • Slick 62

        No worries. I knew you meant “disagree” 🙂

      • “I’m not a Leafs fan, but just adding Tavares to that offense is scary. I’d say they have as good a chance as anyone.”

        But that didn’t just add Tavares to the offense. They lost van Riemsdyck who scored 36. They also lost Bozak. Yeah, the offense probably will be better with Tavares, but not drastically better.

        They also depended heavily last year on Andersen, who was great. He may or may not be able to repeat that performance. If he doesn’t they are going to find it very very difficult to keep the puck out of their own net. It really isn’t clear whether the Leafs will be any better at all this year.

      • Little just slides back to the #2 C spot. The vast majority of their established youth is far from fully developed nor peaked offensively. Ehlers, Laine, Lowry, Copp, Connor, Morrisey, Trouba & Hellebuyck & just added Roslovic all have more to give many far more. Roslovic will eventually take over as the #2 C from Little. Another stud Win prospect who really is a rookie but not officially as he has exceeded the 25 regular season game limit by 6 NHL games.

        If you haven’t jumped on Roslovic in your keeper leagues yet you should consider doing so as soon as possible.

  2. Re: Minn,

    Staal would IMO, be the most valuable in return via a trade. Great hands, proven performance last year, size, great team player; and at a very very reasonable Cap hit.

    Duby has reasonable contract and there would be suitors for his services.

    Koivu is a great leader but is 35 and on the decline— full NM and $5.5M cap— IMO very very little chance on moving him.

    Parise at 34 with 7 more years Cap at $7.5M and actual pay $9M (next 2 yrs) then $8M…. I can’t see any team at all taking him unless at a minimum 1/3rd take back….. so IMO… not happening.

    Suter (6 months younger than Parise) has a contract that appears almost identical. Much more marketable but a heavy Cap hit through until almost 40 years of age. Easier to move than Parise— but could Minn really want to move him? Return might not be in line with value to keep him. So small chance of moving Suter.

    • It’ amusing that is Trouba supposedly such a valuable player while Letang supposedly has low value because he is so injury prone. Yet, they have missed almost exactly the same number of games in the last four years!

      If Trouba misses a lot of games again this year, his value will plummmit. He is also very difficult to negotiate with and there are questions whether his offense merits the kind of money he looking for. If I’m Winnipeg, I’d deal he right now. Keeping him for another year carries major risks for getting a high return.

  3. Jets will wait until next offseason to move Trouba. But with then a year left to UFA, teams will be wanting reassurance of an extension before giving up too much.

    • Gally Hab,

      Yep— do you think Winn will allow permission for other teams to discuss terms with Trouba’s agent? I would.

      • They should. But players seem to be more set on pick one or two places they want to play and limit the current team trading the asset. Being a year out from UFA seems to almost equate to a full NMC in player has to agree to destination as the acquiring teams don’t want to invest heavily without a longer term commitment.

        Panarin, Karlsson, Pacioretty are a few examples…. Trouba could be similiar case next summer.

      • When the time comes yes Win will as it’s in their interest to do so to maximise the potential return.

        I posted a thought the other day that suggested Trouba wishes to play in Det & is simply going to force the issue signing there in the summer of 2020 as a UFA. Curious to see if this weird premonition plays out, if it does it will limit the return to Win. If not Det then with 1 year to UFA status; like all other players being bandied about in the same situation, for the team to maximise the players return they need to try & trade said players to the team they want to go to or accepting less if teams only get said players for 1 year.

    • If Jets wait till next off season, then I’m sure they’ll at least discuss a long term deal. A lot will depend on what he does this year. He has missed a ton of games last 2 seasons and Jets will have to figure out how high they’re willing to go as far as salary. Buff has 3 years left and Poolman is an option. Have to decide either Trouba or Myers isn’t back after season. If they’re comfortable with Poolman, Trouba can bring back a nice haul at deadline.

      • Let’s not forget Trouba missed the 1st 22 games of the 2016-17 season due to a contract holdout not injury.

      • Trouba is nothing! He wasn’t an impact player in playoffs, ditch him and his quest to make 8 million or more per year. The guy has a screw loose.

      • Eichel is set to make 10 million and has yet to sniff the playoffs.

      • Matt.

        You’re a riot. Do you realise these statements make you look foolish? Why not go troll on Eklund’s site. You’ll fit right in.

      • So … basically … he’s not entitled to his opinion. Clearly he’s at the opposite end of the spectrum from where you stand on Trouba, something about which we are reminded daily. Several times a day. He states his opinion once (as far as I know) and he’s “foolish” and a “roll”. Wow

  4. I think Paul Wiecek under values Letang and John Carlson. If anything he points out the need for a high caliber point shot for a cup run. (Leafs should take a note)
    At the end of the day, whatever team is on paper;for any club..they will have to develop into this years champion by overcoming adversity and rising to seemingly impossible challenge.
    Winning teams aren’t built during the summer.

  5. Too bad Parise and Suter didn’t sign with Detroit in 2012. If they had, and played with Datsyuk and Zetterburg in 2013 – 2-15, they would already have their names on the Stanley Cup at least once.

    • There are no such guarantees. Having the best players & roster assures nothing especially in this ridiculous bracket formula the NHL has chosen to use since coming out of the 2012-13 lockout.

      To win the 2-month grind that is the NHL playoffs requires a ton of things not the least of which is some luck. Det having Parise & Suter assured no such result. It would have improved their chances but not assured such.

      • A few Leaf injuries & can still make the PO’s in a weak division. Thats not a ridiculous bracket unless a whiney Kadri has forgotten the journey he took to make the PO’s. You conveniently ignore the Leafs good fortune in injuries.

    • That would have been great! Then Detroit could of had 6 guys signed until they are 40 something.

  6. Why Trouba and not Myers ? There has to be a comparable trade market for him unless they think he is better than Trouba. Shouldn’t be much cheaper.

    Praise and Suter are Wild for life

  7. I don’t see Trouba moving until the off season, i’m sure by now Chevy knows how much and term Trouba wants or if he wants to stay in Winnipeg or not.
    It’s always interesting when a team wins a cup the league starts to trend to that style; Boston and LA won on size and grit, teams started to build that way, Pitts won on skill and built their bottom six on the cheap but fast and skilled.
    Washington won with size and skill, so maybe we see a trend back that way.
    See lots of debate on here that you don’t need elite goaltending. Yet LA with Quick; Boston with Thomas; Pittsburg with Murray, Chicago with Crawford and Washington with Holtby all had elite goaltending.
    I think Winnipeg lineup is more in line with Chicago, who had the top forwards, elite defense and strong goaltending. That group had some success.

    • I think there is a difference between getting elite goaltending and having an elite goaltender.

      You need a goalie who can play at an elite level for an extended period of time, but there are so many good goalies in the league now, that it’s hard to justify paying a guy who is has been a top 3-5 guy as much more as it normally costs than a guy who is more like a top 10-15.

      The difference between a league average starter (~.915 sv%), and Carey Price (Career .918 Sv%) isn’t worth over $4-5M in cap hit.

      You are starting to see that reflected in goalie salaries. Despite the fact that Helleybuck and Gibson are young goalies coming off great years where the cap increased quite a bit, neither got over $7M AAV, despite their being plenty of goalies currently with more than that.. I think in general you will just see the league trend toward not committing as much of their cap to starting goalies as they might other positions, simply because there is so much competition for those jobs, and the gap between the top 15-20 is now so small.

      • I essentially agree. The quality of NHL goaltending is so good today & getting better that the difference between a good goalie & a great 1 is the team in front of him, not the least of which is the D, if you can ice a respectable to solid top 4, not elite or even top 10 but just above average & your forwards do their jobs defensively a good goalie can look exceptional, and a bad 1 good.

        What ailed Price last season was the D & team in front of him. Same for Schneider in NJ the season prior. I make the same argument for Anderson in Ott last season, Lehner in Buf, Lehtonen in Dal, etc.. Their D’s was brutal the teams in front of them worse.

        You watch Lehner playing for a Trots based team. He will have an exceptional season for a bubble team but NYI will be sound defensively even with their young D.

      • @Striker,

        Yeah, a good goalie can easily have a bad year, and it not be their fault. They can just get plain unlucky as well.

        I think you are right in saying there are so many good goalies. When people refer to NHL players as elite, we really mean relative to their peers. Goalies have gotten so good, that it’s hard for any goalie to be that much better than the middle of the pack guys.

        It’s kind of unfortunate for goalies, but strategically speaking, it’s hard to ever justify paying a goalie as much as you would another superstar player, since the difference in pay will not equate to the difference in play in the long run.

    • Danny, Connor Helleybuck has 3 season in the NHL 918, 907 and 924 sv% and just signed a 6yr deal paying him $6.166 per season I believe that is an excellent deal for a player with one above average season regardless of position.

  8. I doubt Mine will ever be able to rid themselves of Sutter/Parise contracts. Their window i believe has closed unless the have a great playoff run in next 2 years. If they had a Line or Mathews type in their roster, might be different. Albeit a few decent pieces, not enough imo to go all the way. I see a steady downward spiral unless Fenton can inject more youth.

    • Vincois

      I agree that it looks like window is lost. I’m not so much in your camp w.r.t. a continued downward spiral. I see them more as a continued bubble team than a spiraling team heading into (recent) Buffalo kind of territory.

      Youth needed; absolutely.

      Tough moves to make.

      I still believe that the best valued move (greatest return values) would be Staal or Duby.

      IMO (unless changes are made) Minn will continue to be in that tight 6th – 10th place WC position for a couple of more years.

      I would not be surprised if 8th place in West has 5 or 6 teams within 3 points either side come horn blowing on last game of season.

      IMO —(in no particular order) Winn, Nsh, St L make top 3 in central.

      Minn therefore will battle with Col, Dal (and outside chance even Chi) and 2 possibly 3 teams from Pacific div for the final 2 Western WC spots… so odds are not favourable for a playoff position

      IMO— if Minn makes the playoffs, at best they have a first round massive upset and get to the second round; definitely not past that tho— youth movement must come.

      • Min may well have to play Nas or Win to get out of the 1st round due to this stupid bracket formula. No shame in losing to 1 of the best teams in the NHL in the 1st round due to such. Making the playoffs having to play in the Central by far the strongest division in the NHL for regular season play sucks for any & all teams in that Div.

        Who wants to have to play these teams more than any others twice as many times minimum as teams in the east. Nas, Win, Min, Stl, Chi, Dal & Col.

        “7 team Division. 5 games vs. five teams (3 Home/2 Away vs. two teams, 2 Home/3 Away vs. three teams) AND 4 games vs. one team (2 Home/2 Away). Teams rotated on a yearly basis.”

        That’s brutal. I’d much prefer to be padding my wins against Mon, Ott, Buf & Det in the Atlantic the weakest even though the top 3 are exceptional & Flo a solid bubble team or the next worst the Pacific although better overall than the Atlantic.

      • Striker,

        Right you are again

        toughest Div by far— makes for exciting reg season finishes.

        Remember— that div had the 17/18 Pres. cup winner and if not for a missed off-side call in the last (I think it was the last) Nsh/Winn game; the president’s trophy would have been flipped to Winn (if Winn had won that game in reg– as they should have — they have 116 pts to Nsh’s then 115). So basically a tie for Pres trophy from the same Div.

        Add to that the moves of St. L in off season; and you have one hell of a tough div.

        It is the only division that as at right now, IMO, you can’t rule out a particular team from making the playoffs like you can in the other divs (basically IMO — as at now, almost impossible for Ottw, Buff, Mon, Det, NYI, NYR ,Van to make the playoffs. Slim chance for Van).

        However in the Central IMO , even Cap strapped and aging Chi has a chance to get in to the final WC spot

        Exciting games in Central!!!

    • Youth is being served. Granlund 26, Zucker 26, Niederreiter 25, Coyle 26, Eriksson-Ek 21, Greenway 21, Dumba 24, Brodin 25, Seeler 25 & Olfosson 23, all in Minny full time this season, that’s 10 players out of their 23 allowable with almost 1/2 being kids.

      Parise is heading to LTIR very soon. His back is shot, no way he even completes 2 more seasons before heading LTIR permanently.

      Nor is the prospect kitty bare. In Greenway, Kunin & Kaprisov they have 3 elite level prospects. Greenway is staying now, Kunin just needs time to overcome last seasons injury issues & Parise to be lost to long-term injury & his NHL career starts.

      • Parise another example of a player done at early 30s

  9. Minnesota’s roster will take care of its self & their prospects will replace the players lost to injury & or UFA status.

    There is not a hope Parise will ever finish his current contract. His back will never hold up. No worse career-threatening injury for a hockey player than repetitive back injuries. You just can’t play hockey with a degenerative back. He will be put on LTIR at some point possibly even this year permanently.

    E. Stall will be allowed to walk unless he’s willing to sign an extension for in or around 2 years at 5 mil per as a UFA this summer. If he walks Coyle moves from RW to C on the 2nd line. The same will potentially happen with Koivu the year following but I’m not predicting Minnesota’s playoff hopes into the 2019-20 season if they aren’t he will be moved at the trade deadline that season.

    I don’t see Suter going anywhere any time soon, years his game was never built on speed, he will follow the Chara model & move to far more defensive deployments as he moves into his mid to late 30’s. With his NMC he will still be in Minny post-Seattle expansion draft.

    Minnesota has a better chance of winning the Central than missing the playoffs for me next season.

    • Nor is 32 old for a good goaltender. It still has them in their prime.

    • Hi Striker

      I most often agree with your opinions.

      However, Re: Minn: I differ on your point “Minnesota has a better chance of winning the Central than missing the playoffs for me next season.”

      IMO, I believe in the opposite— Minn more likely to miss than they are to finish first.

      IMO they have no chance of finishing ahead of Nsh or Winn (no particular order inferred) and much lesser than average chance of finishing ahead of St L (St L year end status rides heavily on how well/poorly their goaltending is for them this year).

      However,

      I see them (Minn) in a very tight battle for that last WC spot (see my post above).

      With my logic of at best finishing in the WC spot— they’d be then matched against Pac 1 or Central 1 in first round and IMO it would take a massive upset to win those match-ups and if they do, I can’t see them doing another massive upset in round 2

      Just my opinion as at now.

      We’ll see as season progresses. I’ve been wrong (and waaaay wrong) before— so if they do in fact finish first in Central — Kudos to you— humble apologies from me

      • Minny finished 4th in the West last season, 8th overall & battled significant injury issues. The youth on this roster is still not fully developed. I have them better this season than last but their div is also improved as are numerous teams in the west all of whom they have to play at least 3 times.

        I have them competing for the division & as a playoff team but the div may be settled by as little as 1/2 a point between 1st & 2nd & 3rd may only be 2 or 3 points back. The 1st wildcard spot coming out of the west a Central team maybe 4 points back of the Div winner.

        I have 4 teams from the Central making the playoffs currently but won’t make my final determinations until opening day. In no particular order Nas, Win, Min & Stl. I also have Dal right there but need to see what else shakes out for all teams this summer especially Dal on the Karlsson front.

        As always time will tell who’s right. It could just as easily be you as me.

      • Striker,

        with you on Nas, Win, & Stl making the playoffs.

        With you that 1-3 points could separate 1st/2nd if not 1st-3rd.

        However, after that I still think it is a bunch vying for last WC spots— 1 or 2 Pac teams at least, plus (in no particular order) Minn, Dal, Col, Chi.

        I’ll buy Minn with a slight edge as at now— but IMO can’t put them in the “locked” playoff column yet.

        As you’ve said — time will tell.

        I’m not as bold as you (to make predictions) and I hate making definitive predictions (‘cuz I had being continuously proved wrong)— but I will make one prediction that I’m confident in— no SC for Leafs unless upgrade to D is made…. Leafs prove me wrong — would love to eat crow w.r.t. that prediction!

        My gut— not predictions but my gut feeling as at current roster make-ups:

        East: (again in no particular order): TB, Bos, Leafs, Pens, Wsh

        vying for 3rd in Metro and/or final EC WC: Clb, Phi, NJ plus vying from Atl Div for final EC WC: FLA

        West: only teams I can in good conscience have a gut lock on for playoffs: (again in no order) Nsh, Winn, St. L

        I’ve got no gut w.r.t. Pac Div— any of LA, An, SJ, VGK could finish 1st or 4th in that Div and I would not be overly surprised. Cgy has made some great off-season moves. Ed’s finish is as predictable as LottoMax IMO.

        So— no bold predictions—other than Leafs 🙂 — just gut feelings.

        Yours
        The non-committal Pengy

      • Pengy.

        I participate in a standings pool for big money, I wager on teams making the playoffs, winning divisions & or conferences as well as who will make the conference final & win the cup. All just a question of odds in relation to risk. They are assumptions granted but big money involved so as educated a guess as I can make but luck certainly is as big a factor as anything else.

        I have never lost money but I do hedge & some years barely break even but some years do very well.

  10. I have to concur with Caper on this matter. It makes zero sense for the Jets to trade Trouba this year, unless someone massively overpays for his services. He is the kind of piece everyone tries to add at the deadline with Cup aspirations, and unless the Jets have a perfect storm of a season, they’ll be in the thick of the race in the Western Conference. Keeping Trouba, trading him at the draft for a 1st, and top prospect, plus another pieceis probably what will happen. Just look what shattenkirk got as a rental, and make your comparables for a full season. Worst case scenario Trouba gets another 5.5 to 6 mil in Arbitration and they have him for another season, extend Myers prior to, and he walks as a UFA in 2020. Oh well. Risk worth the reward if Jets win a cup. Wild if not in the running have a ton of pieces they can flip to accelerate a rebuild in a very deep draft this year. Everyone is focused on Jack Hughes (hopefully to the Canucks) but there is a plethora of talent deep into the 2nd round this year. The Wild have it tough in the Central, but still look to be better than the Blues, Avs, Hawks, and Stars.

    • My replies where in line with topic of valuing offense over defense. Sure Trouba is a guy everyone wants, but… weighing his future with team and his value in a cup run vs adding offense? If they felt it necessary to add Statsny last deadline, what makes anyone think they won’t be in same position this year? I would think with improvements that Calgary, St Louis and L A have made, West is much more competitive this year. SJ is also better, especially if they can have Thornton in playoffs. I’m also on side of Minnesota not making playoffs.

    • Almost 1/2 of Minny’s roster heading into this season 10 of 23 players are 26 or younger. They have no needs to accelerate a rebuild they are extremely well positioned to compete for years. The veterans on the roster will be phased out as they age even walking as UFA’s if necessary to be replaced from within the current system.

      Minnesota is again in a terrible position facing expansion in 2 summers as they have more than 3 solid D to retain & way more than 4 forwards to allow them to protect 4 D.

  11. I had assumed since Trouba was forced to take the contract Win forced on him coming out of his ELC that he was a goner as soon as able, no later than the summer of 2020 Then I bought the report that posted early this summer that he wanted to stay, that was apparently BS. Trouba will be gone next summer or he would have been locked up long-term as opposed to being low balled in arbitration.

    I bridge Morrisey Winnipeg needs to buy time on this cap hit to get these contracts staggered properly as if Trouba’s leaving Win needs to work to possibly lock Myers. I also seriously consider letting Wheeler go if the contract is too onerous. Wheeler will be 33 years old when he starts the 2019-20 season. How much money & term do should want to commit to a 33-year-old? 5 years at 6 would be my limit but Wheeler could get significantly more on the open market as a UFA. Would he accept that to stay in Win? They have enough tallent to potential let him go this summer as a UFA & may have no choice but to do so. Ifhe wants 8+ how do you justify that deal at his age?

    • Striker

      Back on board with you here

      I just can’t buy justification in signing Wheeler at 33 for 5 or more years at $8M or more. To me— it just does not warrant it.

      Chevy will have to hone his negotiating skills and hope for a favourable positioning by the Wheeler camp — but as you have stated— Other teams will be willing to give him $8M+ over at least 5 years

      $7.0M AAV for 5 would have to be the limit for Chevy IMO

      I’d have to look at Chevy’s history to see how he is w.r.t. SB laden contracts????

      Would a $1M/$8M (Sal/SB) for 3 followed by $2M/$2M for the final two years; and MNTC (8 team preferred) work?

    • Statsny got 6.5, only 3 years. Not sure at 33 Wheeler will do much better. Had 68 assists on one of the best offensive teams in league. … not sure he can repeat last seasons point totals anywhere else. Both sides should be happy with a 3 year deal, for market value. You can then handle year to year like Sharks and Thornton. Will also have to consider expansion?

  12. Hes worth 8 to be honest,just based on stats alone. With another performance similar to the last 2 seasons with Scheifele how can you justify letting him walk? He also played top line center for a period of the season when Jets had a slew of injuries at center and performed admirably. As a Jets fan I would embrace seeing Wheeler back for another 3 or 4 years at 8 million per season. Players tossing up 90 points, while playing primarily against the top lines other teams have are virtually impossible to find.

    • DC

      3 years at $8M— no problem… I’d never let him walk if he’d accept $8M*3

      He’ll want a 5 or 6 year deal tho and that is why I am taking the stance that a contract that would have him playing in his late 30’s cannot be in the $8M range— risk too high

      $7M at 5 IMO — would be the limit

      Who knows what a season he will have tho

    • It’s not that I disagree with you but I don’t see Wheeler excepting such a short-term deal. The min I see him accepting is 5 years & at that term, the cap hit on the open market could easily hit 9 mil per. Do you want Win to pay that? Anything more than 5 years at 7 & I walk due to age. He would be 37 years old a couple of months from his 38th birthday when that 5-year deal expires. Some teams might even be willing to give longer term at similar monies. Can Win afford to?

  13. Period of the season does not mean just one period either lol. My bad for using that terminology. It was like 6 or 7 games when they were in dire straights. He’s the Jets MVP, and unless you’re an asshat you don’t let those guys walk out the door for nothing. No doubt he wants to win a cup after having to suffer through a rebuild upon relocating from a horribly mismanaged Atlanta franchise, and his best opportunity is probably with the Jets. Perhaps he takes a discount to stay.

    • Let’s hope so as that’s the only way I see him staying. Nor do teams get nothing. They get the cap space losing said player. I’m not entering the final season of contract with this type of asset unless a cup contender.

      I’m not losing a Suter, Tavares type asset for nothing if not a cup contender which neither Nas nor NYI were but Win is so what choice do they have but to head down this road & potentially have such happen.

  14. Going on & on about the bracket formula is cherry picking. Nobody out West whined as much as some here do. The West has beaten itself up for many years to the reach the SCF & now its an Eastern phenomenom thats gotten their attention. Symptoms of curfews & no clue about what goes on after beddy bye time.