Hey hockey fans! Welcome to “Michael’s Musings” where I look at the past week in the hockey world and give my takes on them. Kinda like Elliotte Friedman’s “31 Thoughts” blog, but with some more snark to it. Also with some discombobulation as I start some parts early in the week and then finsih them near the end of the week.
I would first like to thank Frank Seravalli for bringing the violence to the Seattle Expansion Draft. Revealing the picks before the 8p Expansion Draft was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing for writers as we could get our articles prepped so when it was officially over we could get the articles published faster, but a curse at the same time because that Expansion Draft special was BORING!!!!
Outside of a few players like Brandon Tanev, Mark Giordano, and Chris Dreidger, this is a more lacking roster compared to Vegas a few years ago.
One pick that I’m really upset about is that of Vitek Vanecek. He’s the goalie the Washington Capitals should have protected, and as we learned it would have been in the Caps best interests to protect him too over Ilya Samsonov. We learned that Seattle GM Ron Francis was looking for lower salaries, especially for goaltenders. With Samsonov an RFA this summer, and due to earn a raise, that would of made him more undesirable compared to Vanecek who is still under $800k. You know who is also under $800k? Minnesota Wild goaltender Kappo Kahkonen. You know who they lost? Carson Soucy, the best defender the Wild had on their roster.
Now imagine if Samsonov was left unprotected instead. Odds are the Kraken would have taken Kahkonen instead, which would have left Soucy in Minnesota, and then a defenseman from the Caps would have been taken instead, and that would have been so much better for the Caps. But I’ll talk about them in a bit.
Overall, Seattle will be a playoff contender in a very weak Pacific Division, but I don’t see them on the same level as Vegas.
So here’s a kid that did something and was convicted of a sexual offense in Sweden, requested to not be drafted, but was taken with the 31st overall pick of the first round by the Montreal Canadiens. There is just so much to take in here.
For one, when news broke that Mailloux, who was a projected second or third round pick, was convicted for a sexual offense for sharing nude photos of a woman he slept with his teammates that became a huge red flag. Then when you learn that the woman had no knowledge of the pictures it just made matters even worse. Now I know many have already stepped in to defend this kid, but no, we shouldn’t be.
Looking back at the events surrounding Mailloux this past week or two one thing has become evident. This was the plan. Have the Sweden news break, make a statement to renounce his eligibility for the 2021 NHL Draft, then get selected by Montreal in the first round. It went all according to plan. I don’t buy the sincerity of his apology when doing his first media appearance for the Habs, and this kid has a lot of work to do to make things right, and one of those is to disappear for a good while and truly take the time to really understand the level of how wrong he is, and how much he hurt that woman when he did what he did.
When free agency kicked off owner Geoff Molson put out a statement on the selection of Mailloux where he apologized for the selection, and put in a three part plan for Mailloux. Good statement with a good plan, but lets see how it’s really implemented.
This week Commissioner Gary Bettman was asked about the situation and here is what he said:
Now I want to start off with one talking point right off the bat and that while I agree what everyone is saying in regards to Bettman using his daughters and granddaughters as a reason for his comments not being acceptable, I also understand why he said what he said. I have two sisters, but they aren’t the sole reason for how I view things, and Bettman shouldn’t use his daughters as his sole reason for his thoughts. However, I do agree with things that he did say afterwards. It’s true that there is no true mechanism in place that can allow a player to withdraw from the draft. Unlike the NBA and NFL where players announce that they are entering their respective drafts, in the NHL it’s based on your birth year. For instance, in 2004 I was eligible to be drafted into the NHL. I was never scouted and I was wasn’t the most consistent player, but I was still eligible to be selected if a team chose to waste a pick on me. That is the one thing that needs to change. The NHL should, with the NHLPA, create a new system that allows for players to announce their entry or withdraw from the draft. Can it be done? Yes. Will it? Probably not.
So I talked about Vanecek and my disappointment in his lack of protection and eventual selection, but that means the Caps still have salary cap issues with some players needing to be signed, like one Alex Ovechkin. On Monday night the Caps traded defenseman Brenden Dillon, who I had projected to go to Seattle, to the Winnipeg Jets for a 2nd Round Pick in 2022 and 2023. Good trade for the Caps as they get back much needed second round picks, and they shed $3.9 million in cap space which is needed.
Now on Wednesday night the Caps flipped one of those picks to Seattle to re-acquire Vanecek. That’s one big headache that could have been avoided with smarter decision making.
Outside of these moves, the Caps have been rather quiet, and I’m ok with that.
Not gonna lie, but I was surprised with the term on this one. I had Alex Ovechkin pegged for a four year deal so his and Nicklas Backstrom’s deals would expire at the same time. Instead Ovi signed for five years which leads you to believe that he really wants to reach Wayne Gretzky and take the goal scoring title from The Great One.
Ovi currently sits at 730 goals and needs 165 goals to pass Gretzky. If Ovechkin can average 42 goals a season the next four years, he’ll pass Gretzky in four years time. If he averages 33 goals per season for the full five years, then he would pass Gretzky in his fifth year of the deal.
Now a funny note. In Ovi’s press conference he joked that he wanted to sign for three years, but Brian MacLellan wanted him to sign for five. Ovi would need to score an average of 55 goals a season to pass Gretzky in a three year time span. Is Alex telling us something? Would be fun to watch especially if he can hit 1000 goals before he calls it a career.
Have fun with Ryan Suter Dallas. Man that is a brutal signing. One year would have probably been ok, but four? That’s a buyout waiting to happen.
The Stars also acquired several depth players through free agency. Aside from Suter, the Stars also signed Alexander Petrovic, Andreas Borgman, and Jani Hakanpaa on defense. Plus the signing of goaltender Braden Holtby adds to their already crowded net scene. Luke Glendening and Michael Raffl are two good signings for the offensive depth chart.
Goalies was a huge theme for this year. The biggest surprise being Philipp Grubauer signing with Seattle for six years at $5.9 million per season. Though this did help the Caps get back Vanecek, so that is a plus for the Caps.
Carolina has a new look in net as they signed Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta to two year deals. The Hurricanes also traded forward Warren Foegele to Edmonton for defenseman Ethan Bear (and I just got his jersey with the Oilers too lol), but despite this great move, they did a really horrible move by signing Tony DeAngelo. Just putting his name into this blog upsets me. He doesn’t deserve anymore chances.
Last thought on free agency. It’s good to see Dmitrij Jaskin back in the League and getting a fresh start in Arizona with the Coyotes. I liked him when he was with St. Louis and here in DC. Wish he got more of a chance in DC.
Might As Well…
So the New York Rangers traded for Ryan Reaves. Ok. Have fun with that. When it comes to crunch time he’s a healthy scratch in favor for someone who can play the game.
Now I know people see me making light of the trade, but I also understand why this trade was done. The Rangers needed to add more grit to their lineup. Barclay Goodrow was a great addition for something like that. Reaves, not so much. I know people will go on to say that this was the Rangers way of solving their “Tom Wilson problem”, but in reality it doesn’t. Wilson can actually play the game. Reaves isn’t even on the same level as Wilson as a player. Reaves isn’t going to stop Alex Ovechkin or Nicklas Backstrom. He isn’t going to stop guys like Anders Lee, Sean Couturier, Taylor Hall, Jack Hughes, or any other high end player in the east. That was proven when he was briefly with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2017-18.
The only thing I see Reaves really becoming is more of a deterrent to on ice shenanigans. Especially with the Islanders. What they were doing, and allowed to get away with, in the playoffs was disgusting. Nobody is going to openly want to fight him, and it’s not because he’s one of the top fighters in the league. It’s because guys like Wilson and Matt Martin are more valuable on the ice than in the penalty box.
Krejci Going Home
Boston Bruins forward David Krejci announced that he was ending his NHL career and heading home to the Czech Republic to finish his playing career.
I’ve always liked Krejci as a player. Great two way forward, and a proven asset when in clutch scenarios. This is also a massive blow to the Bruins as now they are without Tuukka Rask (hip surgery and UFA) and Krejci. This could be a difficult season for the Bs. I wish nothing but the best for Krejci back home in the Czech Republic.