The trade winds have picked up in a major way around the Toronto Maple Leafs and it appears general manager Brad Treliving is working the phones trying to land a defenceman. There’s even been some talks he’s already tried to land two, as Kevin Weekes reported the Leafs GM made an offer to the Calgary Flames with interest in acquiring both Nikita Zadorov and Chris Tanev.
Zadorov ended up in Vancouver, meanwhile Tanev remains a possibility. So do many blueliners around the league, as it’s been noted that Treliving is ideally trying to find at least one defenceman who is right-handed and plays with an edge.
While talent arriving means talent departs and with the Maple Leafs being tight to the salary cap, there’s no doubt someone off their roster is getting shipped out in any trade. Treliving doesn’t have a ton in the cupboards, but he does have several assets to dangle to interested teams. For today’s Countdown, here’s four trade assets the Maple Leafs could move for a defenseman:
Yes, there’s a chance Samsonov gets moved this season. Is it ‘likely’? Very hard to say at this point. At $3.5 million against the cap, there is some value there for Treliving to add him into a trade to create the necessary cap space to land a big-ticket defenceman. The best ones normally get paid the most.
Samsonov hasn’t stood on his head this season and there’s no certainty that the Maple Leafs feel he’s in their long term plans. Reminds yourselves this is Treliving’s first season at the helm and he’s not necessarily tied to a lot of the current Maple Leafs because most of them were brought in by Dubas. Treliving did sign Samsonov for this season, but he could have signed him to a long-term deal and decided against it. So far this season, the Russian netminder has appeared in 10 games, posting a 4-1-3 record to go along with a 3.58 GAA and .878 Sv.%. Last season was a career year in all aspects of Samsonov’s game and there’s lots of upside still left in the 26-year-old to pique the interest of onlooking teams.
The Maple Leafs have Joseph Woll signed next season for pennies. Woll’s set to make $766,667 in 2024-25 and will be one of the best value contracts in the entire NHL. He already is this season. And with Martin Jones as a potential veteran replacement, who won 27 games last season in Seattle, there’s also youngster Dennis Hildeby. In eight appearances this season with the Toronto Marlies, Hildeby’s posted a stellar 1.63 GAA and .935 Sv.%. He’s looking NHL ready sooner than later.
Is moving Samsonov and giving the ball to Woll risky? Of course, but there’s risk and there’s reward and if it means Treliving has the capacity to add an expensive defenceman that fits exactly what the Maple Leafs need on their blue line, who’s to say he doesn’t use some depth in their crease to make it happen.
Robertson turned some heads at training camp after he was rather candid with the media, saying how he understands his ‘name’ doesn’t hold the same value as a prospect because of his history with injuries. All he’s done since is raise his stock as the shifty winger worked his butt off to start the season and earned a callup. Robertson hasn’t looked back. The 22-year-old former second-round pick has appeared in 11 games with the Maple Leafs, recording three goals and six points. He only has two points in his last seven games, however he’s fit in nicely with Max Domi and Calle Jarnkrok on the team’s third line.
Robertson only makes $796,667 against the cap so he’s likely a piece that would be packaged with another player as moving just him wouldn’t provide the cap space Treliving will need to acquire an impact defenceman who would move the needle for the Maple Leafs. Treliving will likely be on the hunt for veteran blueliners with some Stanley Cup Playoff experience, but time will tell.
2024 First-Round Pick
Kyle Dubas loved moved top picks and has surprisingly left Treliving with one first rounder to dangle in trades. There’s no doubt adding the pick could lead to a game-changer coming back to Toronto and personally, I could see him only make a trade if it means it’s a major splash. The Flames trade talks were the perfect sign of how the Leafs GM is going to operate and he’s swinging for the fences.
If Treliving is trying to hit a home run before March’s trade deadline, the first-round pick is likely very much in play. Given Toronto’s regular season success, the pick will likely be somewhere late in the first round and likely in the 20’s. Still lots of value there.
Toronto has only selected two first-round picks in the past five seasons so it won’t be unfamiliar territory for the organization. Dubas and company were able to find gems in the second round including Robertson, Matthew Knies and Fraser Minten. If Treliving wants to acquire a d-man who moves the needle for the Maple Leafs and can push them deep into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, he’ll likely have to part ways with his top draft pick.
While the Maple Leafs are looking to add to their back end, it doesn’t necessarily mean every defenceman on the roster is currently safe. Treliving is looking to add more sandpaper to his blue line and could move on from Timmins in the deal. The 25-year-old holds some value with his reasonable $1.1 million contract for next season, and after looking like Bobby Orr during the preseason, Timmins has been just ‘ok’ since returning from injury. With just one assist in five games, he’d like to be more effective on the offensive side of the puck, meanwhile Treliving would probably like him to be more physical when the oppourtunity presents itself.
At 25-years-old, with some offensive upside and a very reasonable cap hit for the 2024-25 season, Timmins could certainly be in play for Treliving to add to any trade package.
Regardless of who the Maple Leafs part with, it does sound like trading for a defenceman is at the top of Treliving’s priorities. While top prospects like Easton Cowan and Fraser Minten are likely untouchable at this point, never say never, as the Leafs GM has been known to make some extremely bold deals in his past life. For now, it’s much more likely one of the four assets mentioned above is a part of the deal before Treliving gives up on his two most talented prospects.
Our picks went two for three on Sunday on a quiet night of NHL play. Monday features six games including a Battle of Pennsylvania, Tampa Bay seeking revenge on Dallas from their rout on Saturday, and the St. Louis Blues visiting T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Primary Bet – Sidney Crosby anytime goal (+110)
A $1 bet pays out $2.10 – The Penguins are slight favourites to beat the Flyers, and who better to rely on in that game than one of the most prolific goal-scorers in Penguins history? Plus, Sid the Kid has had a lot of success against his state rivals and has been a consistent shot and chance generator for the Penguins this season.
Secondary Bet – Nikita Kucherov over 4.5 shots (+110)
A $1 bet pays out $2.10 – Tampa Bay is hosting Dallas just 48 hours after losing to them by a 8-1 score back in Texas. You have to believe that the Lightning will be motivated to get revenge, and their success will be dependent on how well their biggest gun operates. Kucherov has 117 shots over 24 games, so he’s averaging over 4.8 shots per game. On a team that will be cranky about their last outing, this seems like a decent wager.
Tertiary Bet – Jack Eichel (+130) or Jonathan Marchessault (+130) anytime goalscorer
A $1 bet pays out $2.30 (for either) – Of all the games on Monday night, Vegas’ -190 is the largest margin any time is favoured to win. If that’s going to come to fruition, Vegas will need some goals. So perhaps take a flyer on either of the two most-favoured Golden Knights goal-scorers.
On today’s episode of Canucks Conversation, David Quadrelli and Harman Dayal discussed Nikita Zadorov’s Canucks debut against his former team on Saturday night and took a broader look at the Canucks’ prospect pool.
Defenceman Nikita Zadorov was acquired by the Canucks last week from the Flames and played his first game against his former club on Saturday. Calgary fans filled the arena with boos every time he touched the puck, as the 28-year-old left some turmoil by requesting a trade away from the team earlier this season.
“It was a quiet, efficient, effective performance by him,” Harm said. “They were handily outplaying Calgary in the five-on-five minutes with him on the ice. He’s really aggressive at pinching in the offensive zone; there’s no space in the middle when he uses his skating and gaps up well. He didn’t make many mistakes, which is key, and it allowed the Canucks to manage the rest of the blue line’s minutes and ease everyone’s workload.”
Quads noted the performance by Ian Cole, who, with a lighter workload, played one of his best games as a Canuck. Vancouver out-chanced the Flames 7-2 with Cole on the ice, and the 34-year-old excelled in a refined role. Zadorov’s presence seems to be paying dividends just one game in.
“He isn’t just always in the right position, but as a defensive defenseman, he makes sound decisions,” said Harm. “Savvy with and without the puck. Before the Zadorov trade, he was averaging over twenty minutes a game for the first time in his career at the age of 34, so it’s going to be nice to be able to keep him fresh.”
The guys then recapped the game as a whole, with Elias Pettersson looking more like the player we saw earlier this year with a goal and an assist.
“A fantastic bounce-back game, the kind of game you’re hoping can springboard a player’s confidence,” said Quads. “Elias Pettersson looked like the best player on the ice, which I don’t think he has at any point in December; his best game in a month.”
“That line as a whole took over that game,” Harm replied. “Lafferty and Mikheyev were incredible. It was nice to see the Pettersson line playing the way we’ve been wanting them to play five on five, which is pummeling the opposition.”
The Canucks begin a 5-game homestand tomorrow night against the struggling New Jersey Devils, with all 3 Hughes brothers looking to play in the same game for the first time.
The guys moved on to talk about the Canucks’ prospects, notably 2023 3rd-round pick Hunter Brzustewicz, who, despite lighting up the OHL with the Kitchener Rangers, wasn’t picked for Team USA’s preliminary roster for the 2024 World Junior Championship. The 19-year-old defenseman has 46 points in 28 games, tied for second in the OHL.
“He’s a late riser,” Harm said. “Sometimes when you’re trying to make an international team, you don’t get the recognition you deserve. If you were mapping out a World Junior team in the summer, you wouldn’t have had him on the roster. You really have to account for the last two months to change your mind, and when it’s that recent, decision-makers can be slow to respond.”
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The soup de jour in Oil Country these days is trade talks. After a sluggish start to the season, the Oilers are in a position where they should be active in the trade market. That inspired me to look back at some of the biggest in-season trades in Edmonton Oilers history.
Starting the series at number five are both of the Bill Guerin trades.
When Guerin is talked about in Edmonton, it’s often about his play with the team, where he roared up and down the Oilers’ wings with a ferocious tenacity, or about how the team traded him away in 2000.
But his start in Edmonton had come years prior, when on January 4th, 1998, the Oilers traded away Jason Arnott and Bryan Muir to the New Jersey Devils, bringing in Guerin and Valeri Zelepukin.
The Oilers, who nearly traded Arnott to the Islanders for two first-round draft picks at the prior annual selection of rookie, pulled the trigger when they did after a sluggish start for the young centre iceman. Arnott had just five goals and 18 points through the first 35 games of the season, a significant decrease from the 95 goals and 221 points he put up in his first four years.
Guerin, four years Arnott’s senior at 27, had been stuck in a bitter contract dispute with Devils GM Lou Lamoriello, that spilled over to a rabid fanbase pouring down boos. He only inked a deal on Nov. 21 of that season, shortly after demanding a trade when the season started.
“Even though I pushed for it, I’m shocked,” Guerin told the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson after the deal. “Call me stupid for wanting it or asking for it. But that’s just the way I felt. It’s happened, so I’ll live by it. I think it will be good for me at this point of my career.
“I needed a fresh start.”
He took advantage of it, enjoying some of the most successful years of his career. He would quickly wear an “A” in Edmonton and was a beloved figure on some scrappy Oilers squads famous for playoff battles with the Dallas Stars.
He and linemate Doug Weight would become close friends, still inseparable to the day, with both continuing to speak fondly of their brief, memorable times in Oil Country.
But as was the case for the Oilers at the time, the books were tight, and they couldn’t afford to keep him in town. The Oilers, like they did acquiring him, made a sharp trade, setting them up for years.
On November 15th, 2000, the Oilers traded Guerin to the Boston Bruins for forward Anson Carter and first and second-round picks in the 2001 draft, later used to select Ales Hemsky and Doug Lynch.
Carter would enjoy three years in Edmonton before similar financial woes forced him out in a trade to the New York Rangers. Hemsky would enjoy nearly a full decade in Edmonton, before riding out the final years of his career in Ottawa, Dallas and Montreal. Lynch, meanwhile, was a key piece in the Oilers’ 2005 acquisition of Chris Pronger.
We all know how that went.
All in all, both Guerin swaps helped make the Oilers better not just in the short-term, but in the big picture, too.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at email@example.com.
When you go to the Maple Leafs Capfriendly page you are greeted by two numbers that you may know pretty well already. The first amount is $0. That amount is how much the Maple Leafs have to spend without Long Term Injury Relief. That number is grim, and nobody likes it.
The second number (as of Sunday December 3rd) is $1,459,999. This number represents the current state of the Maple Leafs including what they have in injury relief dollars. This number has Bobby McMann, Max Lajoie, and Martin Jones all on the roster in addition to Mark Giordano being on the injured reserve (the one that allows for roster space but not cap relief). This number includes Klingberg, Murray, Muzzin, and Liljegren all being on the long term injured reserve and most notably it provides enough space for Timothy Liljegren to be activated. There is still no timeline for when Liljegren is back nor is there any certainty that Mark Giordano won’t be moved to the LTIR depending on the length of his injury, but it’s a comfortable status quo.
Those first two numbers are the very basic numbers but offer little insight into what the Maple Leafs could potentially do as far as spend from now until the trade deadline. As much as the Leafs are in far from an ideal cap situation, with salary retention from other teams, the Leafs are capable of doing a lot of things before we even get around to talking about Toronto shipping out bad contracts elsewhere. Here are a few examples of potential cap situations.
Toronto could have up to $5,843,550 to use as LTIR cap relief. This includes some temporary allocations that would need to be sorted out as it includes both Mark Giordano and Timothy Liljegren on the LTIR as well. This is also using a 20-player roster, so that $5.84M would all be spent on that opening in the lineup. This also has Ryan Reaves demoted to the Marlies, something it doesn’t seem that the Leafs are ready to do. So that’s the extreme version of if the Leafs wanted to spend like mad right now and figure out how to activate players off the LTIR later, there is a lot of money to burn.
If you want to look at the toned-down version of the above approach, with Liljegren, Giordano, activated, and Ryan Reaves still a Leaf, you’d have Lagesson and McMann on the Marlies in addition to Benoit. In this scenario if you are also going with the 20-player roster, you’d need to waive Conor Timmins and as a result the Leafs would have $5,131,050 in cap relief. The reality is the Leafs probably do not want to waive Conor TImmins, so at minimum we’re looking at a 21 player that leaves Toronto with $4,031,050 in cap relief. Still not a bad number.
That brings us around to the realistic, assuming everyone is healthy but Klingberg number. The Leafs probably want seven defencemen in their lineup and with Ryan Reaves as part of the forward equation, it is very likely Toronto wants to stick with 13 forwards on their roster as well. That probably means that Bobby McMann sticks too, and the Leafs have $3,268,550 in cap relief to use. As a pure addition number that isn’t a bad place for the Maple Leafs to be in and with up to 50% salary retention the Leafs are looking at $6.5M players as potential options before even sending a dollar the other way. If you start talking double retention (which I personally don’t think is a great idea and will save that topic for another day), the Leafs could be looking at the $9.75M range.
Now consider that there is always a chance that the Leafs try to send salary out from their roster as well. If a seller is willing to take David Kampf back to have someone under contract for the next few seasons of their rebuild, that’s a win for the Leafs. Ditto if someone is willing to be the retirement home for Ryan Reaves. And while the Leafs are still figuring out what exactly Ilya Samsonov is this year, he too is some salary that could be shed to give the Leafs even more flexibility, although with the condition that the Leafs would absolutely need to find another goaltender along the way.
Given that Brad Treliving’s history doesn’t support him making a number of significant deals between now and the deadline, it is probably best to assume that the cap space the Leafs currently have will be about finding one or two defencemen that best meet the Leafs needs in that price point. I’d argue that putting as much of it as possible towards one really good defenceman is the answer but that too is a debate for another day.
The point is not only do the Maple Leafs have the flexibility to add a significant player they also don’t need to sacrifice depth along the way.
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On morning of December 4th we would get the news that Winnipeg Jets forward Nino Niederreiter would sign a contract extension for three years earning four million dollars a year. The new contract starts next season and Niederreiter won’t notice a difference in his paycheque.
The Jets traded for Niederreiter with the Nashville Predators last season ahead of the trade deadline for just a second round pick. The Swiss born forward has played 45 games for the club scoring 12 goals and 27 points.
Niederreiter was drafted fifth overall by the New York Islanders in 2010. He has 211 goals and 423 points over 13 seasons with the New York Islanders, Minnesota Wild, Carolina Hurricanes, Predators and Hurricanes.
If you’ve been reading FlamesNation for any length of time, it’s probably no secret that we love the annual NHL Draft around here. Heck, I’m such a draft nerd that I wrote a book about the Calgary Flames’ history at the event.
But one thing that fascinates me about the draft is that, fundamentally, everybody has the same number of kicks at the can. Every NHL club is given one pick per round and get to decide what they want to do with them. Some teams use them to draft players. Some use them for trades.
Using Brad Treliving’s nine years as GM as a lens of analysis, let’s take a look at how the Flames used their seven allocated draft picks per year.
So we’re looking at two things: what the Flames did with their original allocation of seven draft selections, and what those selections turned into (in terms of following them to the end of their particular asset chains). Current Flames reserve list players are bolded.
We’re primarily concerned with NHL games here. In terms of trades, we’re making the arbitrary decision to allocate the NHL games to the highest pick or largest asset sent the other way in the trade. It’s admittedly a fuzzy distinction, but otherwise we’d have to figure out how to split NHL games across multiple assets or picks (and figuring out how to do that in a clean way is just a gigantic hassle). When there are NHL games to give a draft class credit for, we’ll mention them in the draft year where the most significant trade asset originated.
1st round – 4th overall
Pick was kept and used to select OHL forward Sam Bennett. Bennett played 402 games with the Flames before being traded to Florida (with a 2022 7th-round pick) in exchange for a 2022 2nd-rounder and Finnish prospect Emil Heineman. The 2022 2nd-rounder was sent to Seattle as the largest piece of a package (along with a 2023 3rd-round pick and a 2024 7th-round pick) that landed the Flames 17 games worth of Calle Jarnkrok. (Heineman was sent to Montreal in the Tyler Toffoli trade, along with a 2022 1st-rounder, 2023 5th-rounder and Tyler Pitlick.)
2nd round – 34th overall
Pick was kept and used to select QMJHL goaltender Mason McDonald.
3rd round – 64th overall
Pick was kept and used to select AJHL defenceman Brandon Hickey. Hickey was later traded to Arizona as part of a package (along with goalie Chad Johnson and a 2018 3rd-rounder) in exchange for goaltender Mike Smith.
4th round – 94th overall
This pick was traded before Treliving became GM, being sent to Toronto in exchange for forward Joe Colborne. Colborne played 217 games for the Flames.
5th round – 124th overall
This pick was traded before Treliving became GM, being sent to St. Louis in exchange for defenceman Kris Russell. Russell played 198 games for the Flames, then was traded to Dallas in exchange for a 2016 2nd-rounder (used to select Dillon Dube), defenceman Jyrki Jokipakka and forward Brett Pollock. Dube has played 305+ games for the Flames, while Jokipakka played 56 games before being traded to Ottawa (with a 2017 2nd-round pick) in exchange for Mike Kostka and Curtis Lazar.
6th round – 154th overall
This pick was traded before Treliving became GM, being sent to Dallas in exchange for forward Lane MacDermid, who played one game for the Flames.
7th round – 184th overall
Pick was kept and used to select WHL forward Austin Carroll.
1st round – 15th overall
2nd round – 45th overall
These two picks were traded to Boston (along with a 2015 2nd-round pick acquired from Washington) in exchange for Dougie Hamilton. Hamilton played 245 games with the Flames, then was traded to Carolina along with college prospect Adam Fox and forward Micheal Ferland in exchange for current roster players Elias Lindholm (393 games) and Noah Hanifin (383 games).
3rd round – 76th overall
This pick was traded to Arizona (along with a 2015 3rd-round pick acquired from Washington) to allow the Flames to move up to 60th overall to select Oliver Kylington. So far, Kylington has played 168 games for the Flames.
4th round – 106th overall
This pick was traded before Treliving became GM, being sent to Colorado in exchange for T.J. Galiardi, who played 62 games for the Flames.
5th round – 136th overall
Pick was kept and used to select WHL import forward Pavel Karnaukhov.
6th round – 166th overall
Pick was kept and used to select OHL forward Andrew Mangiapane, who has played 365 games for the Flames.
7th round – 196th overall
Pick was kept and used to select OHL defenceman Riley Bruce.
1st round – 6th overall
Pick was kept and used to select OHL forward Matthew Tkachuk. Tkachuk played 431 games for the Flames, then was traded to Florida in exchange for Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, Cole Schwindt and a conditional 2015 1st-round pick. Huberdeau has played 103 games for the Flames, Weegar 105 games, and the 1st-rounder could be traded to Montreal due to convoluted trade conditions related to the Sean Monahan trade to Montreal.
2nd round – 35th overall
This pick was traded to St. Louis in exchange for 49 games of goaltender Brian Elliott.
3rd round – 66th overall
Pick was kept and used to select USHL defenceman Adam Fox. Fox was traded to Carolina (along with Dougie Hamilton and Micheal Ferland) in exchange for Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin.
4th round – 96th overall
Pick was kept and used to select Swedish forward Linus Lindstrom.
5th round – 126th overall
Pick was kept and used to select USHL forward Mitchell Mattson.
6th round – 156th overall
Pick was kept and used to select Finnish forward Eetu Tuulola.
7th round – 186th overall
Pick was kept and used to select OHL import defenceman Stepan Falkovsky.
1st round – 16th overall
Pick was kept and used to select WHL import defenceman Juuso Valimaki, who played 82 games for the Flames.
2nd round – 47th overall
This pick was traded to Ottawa (along with Jyrki Jokipakka) in exchange for defenceman Mike Kostka and forward Curtis Lazar. Lazar played 70 games for the Flames.
3rd round – 78th overall
This pick was traded to Arizona (along with a 2018 5th-round pick) in exchange for defenceman Michael Stone. Stone played 228 games for the Flames, but played just 115 games before he was bought out in 2019 (and then another 113 on a series of contracts after that).
4th round – 109th overall
Pick was kept and used to select OHL import forward Adam Ruzicka, who has played 94 games with the Flames.
5th round – 140th overall
Pick was kept and used to select WHL forward Zach Fischer.
6th round – 171st overall
Pick was kept and used to select QMJHL forward D’Artagnan Joly.
7th round – 202nd overall
Pick was kept and used to select Swedish forward Filip Sveningsson.
1st round – 12th overall
2nd round – 43rd overall
These picks were traded (along with a 2019 2nd-round pick) to the New York Islanders for defenceman Travis Hamonic, who played 193 games for the Flames.
3rd round – 74th overall
This pick was traded (along with goalie Chad Johnson and prospect Brandon Hickey) to Arizona in exchange for 97 games of goaltender Mike Smith.
4th round – 105th overall
Pick was kept and used to select USHL import forward Martin Pospisil, who’s played 14 games for the Flames.
5th round – 136th overall
This pick was traded to Arizona (along with a 2017 3rd-round pick) for Michael Stone.
6th round – 167th overall
Pick was kept and used to select USHL import forward Emilio Pettersen.
7th round – 198th overall
Pick was kept and used to select QMJHL import forward Dmitry Zavgorodniy.
1st round – 26th overall
Pick was kept and used to select QMJHL forward Jakob Pelletier, who’s played 24 games with the Flames so far.
2nd round – 57th overall
This pick was traded to the Islanders (along with 2018 1st and 2nd-round picks) for Travis Hamonic.
3rd round – 88th overall
Pick was kept and used to select Russian forward Ilya Nikolaev.
4th round – 119th overall
This pick was traded to Montreal in exchange for a 2018 4th-round pick (122nd overall), which the Flames used to select WHL import forward Milos Roman.
5th round – 150th overall
Pick was kept and used to select USHL forward Josh Nodler.
6th round – 181st overall
This pick was traded, along with prospect Keegan Kanzig, to Carolina in exchange for goalie Eddie Lack, defenceman Ryan Murphy and a 2019 7th-round pick (which was used to select WHL goalie Dustin Wolf). Lack played four games and was traded to New Jersey in exchange for defenceman Dalton Prout, who played 20 games for the Flames. Wolf has played two games for the Flames.
7th round – 212th overall
This pick was traded to Ottawa in exchange for nine games of forward Nick Shore.
1st round – 19th overall
The Flames traded down from 19th to 22nd in a trade with the New York Rangers, acquiring a 2020 3rd-round pick used to select QMJHL defenceman Jeremie Poirier. They traded down again from 22nd to 24th in a trade with Washington, acquiring a 2020 3rd-round pick used to select USHL defenceman Jake Boltmann. They used 24th overall to select WHL forward Connor Zary, who has played 14 games so far.
2nd round – 49th overall
Pick was kept and used to select NCAA defenceman Yan Kuznetsov.
3rd round – 80th overall
This pick was traded to Chicago for seven games of defenceman Erik Gustafsson.
4th round – 111th overall
This pick was traded to Los Angeles for 15 games of defenceman Oscar Fantenberg.
5th round – 142nd overall
Pick was kept and used to select QMJHL forward Ryan Francis.
6th round – 173rd overall
Pick was kept and used to select OHL forward Rory Kerins.
7th round – 204th overall
Pick was kept and used to select OHL import defenceman Ilya Solovyov, who’s played two games so far.
1st round – 12th overall
Pick was kept and used to select USHL forward Matt Coronato, who’s played 11 games so far.
2nd round – 44th overall
Pick was kept and used to select Swedish forward William Strömgren.
3rd round – 76th overall
Pick was kept and used to select QMJHL forward Cole Huckins.
4th round – 108th overall
This pick was traded to Los Angeles for seven games of defenceman Derek Forbort.
5th round – 140th overall
Pick was kept and used to select WHL defenceman Cole Jordan.
6th round – 172nd overall
Pick was kept and used to select WHL forward Lucas Ciona.
7th round – 204th overall
Pick was kept and used to select NAHL import goaltender Arsenii Sergeev.
1st round – 26th overall
This pick was traded to Montreal (along with Tyler Pitlick, Emil Heineman and a 2023 5th-round pick) in exchange for Tyler Toffoli. Toffoli played 119 games for the Flames, then was traded to New Jersey for a 2023 3rd-round pick (used to select BCHL forward Aydar Suniev) and forward Yegor Sharangovich. Sharangovich has played 24 games so far.
2nd round – 59th overall
Pick was kept and used to select Finnish forward Topi Rönni.
3rd round – 91st overall
This pick was traded to Boston in exchange for goaltender Dan Vladar, who’s played 57 games so far.
4th round – 123rd overall
This pick was traded to Seattle in exchange for forward Tyler Pitlick. Pitlick played 25 games before being traded to Montreal in the aforementioned Toffoli trade.
5th round – 155th overall
Pick was kept and used to select WHL forward Parker Bell.
6th round – 187th overall
This pick was traded to Florida (along with forward Sam Bennett) in exchange for Emil Heineman and a 2022 2nd-round pick. Heineman was traded to Montreal in the Toffoli trade, while the 2nd-round pick was packaged (along with a 2023 3rd-round pick and 2024 7th-round pick) to Seattle for Calle Jarnkrok.
7th round – 219th overall
Pick was kept and used to select BCHL forward Cade Littler.
Which years did you think the Flames used their draft pick allocation well? Which years weren’t quite as good? What do you think the right balance is between selecting players and trading picks to bolster the NHL roster? Let us know in the comments!
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Something, something preamble about the Canucks’ iffy last few weeks.
Something, something, “But, haha, the Calgary Flames, am I right!?”
Something something positive!
With that, let’s get into today’s questions!
What is going on with Zach Sawchenko and Dmitry Zlodeyev?
What’s going on with Zawchenko and Zlodeyev?
— Geordie (@geordiedent) December 3, 2023
Zach Sawchenko is currently suffering from what’s called “third-goalie syndrome.”
Devotees will remember that Spencer Martin once suffered from said syndrome when he began his Canucks tenure slotted behind Michael DiPietro and Arturs Silovs during the Abbotsford Canucks’ debut season.
Despite having the most experience of the trio, Martin started just two games in the first three months of the season. It took a run of sub-.900 save percentages from DiPietro and Silovs for Martin to take the starter’s position away from the Canucks’ young tandem and run away with it.
During the 2022-23 season, the Canucks ran a trio of Collin Delia, DiPietro, and Silovs. DiPietro struggled to earn reps and was then traded to Boston for Jack Studnicka when it was clear he was no longer a piece of the organization’s goalie plans.
Both Silovs and Nikita Tolopilo are playing very well for Abbotsford after some early hiccups. At this point, it’ll take a dramatic shift in performance or a callup of Silovs or Tolopilo to get Sawhchenko a game. Through 12 starts, Silovs has a .912 save percentage, including a .913 save percentage at 5-on-5. Rookie netminder Tolopilo has a .907 save percentage, including a .904 save percentage at 5-on-5.
Unfortunately for Sawchenko, that’s how she goes as a third-stringer in the AHL. Reps are really tough to come by, and it takes a lot to steal the crease.
As for Dmitry Zlodeyev, I’ve heard that he’s practicing with the team in the regular white practice jersey. The pre-game reports from Abbotsford play-by-play man Brandon Astle consistently refer to Dmitry Zlodeyev as a healthy scratch, so it’s reasonable to believe it is not injury keeping him out of the lineup.
The team is winning and winning a lot. Like Sawchenko and the goalie trio situation, it’s just tough to crack the lineup for a first-year pro making his debut on North American ice.
Is there anyone of note from Abbotsford’s penalty kill that could fill a slot in Vancouver if called up?
It’s tough for AHL callups with little experience to crack NHL special teams, especially the penalty kill. Typical NHL coaches get set with their guys at the start of the season and rarely stray from the path. It’s a reason why so many coaches fail, because they are creatures of habit and unwavering trust in their system. Travis Green put his NHL coaching career on the line over not wanting players like Elias Pettersson or Quinn Hughes on the penalty kill. If you recall, the penalty kill during his final year was one of the worst in NHL history.
The Abbotsford Canucks’ penalty kill ranks as the 10th-best in the AHL, and they sit in a three-way tie for the league lead in shorthanded goals, with six total.
I would like to see Linus Karlsson get a look with the Canucks’ PK, purely because Abbotsford holds a positive goal differential with Karlsson on the ice during his reps in Abbotsford. Same with Arshdeep Bains, who has outscored opposing power plays 3 to 2 while on the PK.
What happens to Zadorov when Pius Suter and Carson Soucy are healthy? Does he get moved up or down on the defensive pairings?
what happens to zadorov when suter and soucy are healthy? does he get moved up or down on the defense pairings?
— AZURE_CHIEF (@AZURE_CHIEF) December 3, 2023
As I understand it, the team only needs to subtract one of their sub-million-dollar cap-hit players from the NHL roster. The easiest solution is sending Linus Karlsson back to Abbotsford, as he does not require waivers to be sent back down. Nils Åman requires waivers to be sent down, so it’s safe to say he’s here to stay. Rick Tocchet likes Phil Di Giuseppe, Mark Friedman, and Noah Juulsen, so Karlsson to Abbotsford is the likeliest option here.
Pius Suter is on IR, not LTIR, so his cap hit is already factored into the team’s cap room.
Ignore the line combos and d-pairings below; the image illustrates how one transaction is enough to create the cap space necessary to activate Suter and Soucy.
What area should Allvin & co be looking at to improve: the right side of the defence, or a forward for the top six?
What options should Alvin and company be looking at to improve the right side of the D? Or should they focus on a top 6 forward?
— Josh Haggstrom (@JoshHaggstrom) December 3, 2023
I think the team’s defence got significantly boosted by adding Nikita Zadorov to the fold. When Carson Soucy returns, that then becomes a pretty legit defensive group. Moreso if they add Ethan Bear to the fold.
Rick Tocchet really liked Ethan Bear’s game and has cited his return from injury as a potential boost for the club. Theoretically, there’s a world where Tyler Myers ends up as this club’s 7th defenceman, depending on whether the club signs Bear and how NHL-ready he is after such a long recovery from surgery.
I think this club would be wise to explore an upgrade for the top six. Not just a one-dimensional offensive-minded top-six forward but a guy who contributes defensively. I have to think Andrei Kuzmenko has made himself the odd man out with Rick Tocchet. Heck, Kuzmenko was signed to a two-year extension just four days into Tocchet’s tenure; not a long rope for his new head coach to figure out if he’s a guy he’ll gel with.
Selling low on Kuzmenko would be brutal, considering how much he could have gone for last season when the Canucks were clearly out of playoff contention. That being said, this management group doesn’t care about the optics of opportunity cost lost.
One team sticks out to me as having a potential top-six option for the Canucks: the Ottawa Senators and Mathieu Joseph.
This one’s a long shot, but it’s based on the fact that the Senators were desperate to shed Joseph’s cap hit as they waited for clarity on the Shane Pinto situation. The Senators season has been off the rails since Michael Andlauer took ownership, and sit dead last in the Eastern Conference. They’ve scored the 4th-fewest goals in the league but have scored the 12th most goals per game. The Sens have made it clear that Joseph is not a future fit, despite him being a key contributor to their penalty kill and at even strength while carrying an extremely affordable $2.96-million-dollar cap hit.
I doubt Kuzmenko has Ottawa on his list of teams he’d waive for, but if the Canucks can somehow turn the $5.5-million-dollar offensively-minded forward into a 26-year-old winger, locked up to a cheaper cap hit (for longer) who can play up and down the lineup AND kill penalties, they should do it.
Even if the Canucks have to retain, I think it’s a worthwhile venture. A rising tide lifts all boats, and swapping one-dimensional forwards for better two-way contributors would help this team rebound from its November struggles.
Is a 5th-round pick for Sam Lafferty still a steep price to pay?
This still steep 🤔 pic.twitter.com/J5nvp1lcv9
— Annoying Canucks Fan 🏒 (@JCog88) December 3, 2023
Alright, I’ll own the L on this one. Lafferty has been a fantastic addition to the Vancouver Canucks, especially since getting bumped up to a line with Elias Pettersson and Ilya Mikheyev.
That being said, now that we know Patrik Allvin is capable of grabbing legit contributors like Nikita Zadorov for 5th-round picks, it almost feels like a wasted opportunity to be shedding late-round picks the way he has! Apparently, Allvin can cook when teams are desperate. Something that I don’t think any Canuck fan thought was possible of their favourite organization, given the previous decade of near-perpetual Ls on the trade market.
Why hasn’t Mark Friedman been given ice time? He seems to be a better option than Noah Juulsen overall?
Two simple reasons: lack of size and lack of penalty-killing prowess.
For all of the defensive warts of Juulsen’s game that are currently under the microscope, being a reliable penalty-killer (relative to this team’s current penalty-killing ability) isn’t one of them.
Juulsen logs over a minute of ice time shorthanded, and during those minutes with him on the ice, the Canucks are conceding the fourth-least goals against per 60 minutes of ice time (5.83 goals against/60 minutes). Only with Carson Soucy on the ice shorthanded are the Canucks getting a better rate of goal allowed per 60 minutes of ice time. Juulsen also leads all Canucks skaters on the penalty kill with the most blocked shots per 60 minutes of shorthanded ice time.
Sure, at even strength, Juulsen has struggled, but he is a net positive on the penalty kill. As the Canucks PK struggles in the minutes without Juulsen on the ice, he’ll still have a place under Rick Tocchet for his ability to eat minutes shorthanded.
Twofer: How does Jeremy Colliton’s coaching style and systems relate to Tocchets? What Similarities do they both share that allow for callups to have a smoother transition?
Aatu Räty update, please!
Jeremy Colliton was on with the Halford & Brough morning show last week where he spoke about this. According to Colliton, he and Tocchet speak quite frequently about play style, but more specifically, what is expected of players when they get to the NHL. A lot of the messaging was boilerplate stuff. When players from Abbotsford get to the NHL, they’re asked to finish their checks, move their feet, skate hard, know when to change, and when to commit to offence.
It all sounds very boring and simple, but the truth is communication was not a strong suit of this organization in the past. For example, Kole Lind spent his entire AHL career on the wing, having never played on the penalty kill before the club decided to play him at center and on the penalty kill in the final year of his entry-level contract because they had next to no center depth. Then, when Lind got to the NHL, they played him back on the wing.
Aatu Räty has played a mix of center and right wing for Abbotsford with little reps on the power play and plenty on the penalty kill. The result? He’s presently 6th in all situation points and leads the team in 5v5 production with 11 points in 19 games played, the third-best 5v5 points per game on the team. Additionally, his skills as a two-way center have allowed him to dominate his minutes. At 5-on-5, the Canucks have outscored opponents 13 to 7 with Räty on the ice.
Should Räty earn an NHL callup, which would be well-deserved at this point, Rick Tocchet can trust that he can flex him to the wing or centre. Folks would be surprised at how many teams and players do not communicate expectations of players ahead of the season. Or, don’t communicate specific expectations.
At the end of last season, Jeremy Colliton made it expressly clear that Bains would need to add lower-body strength to improve his game. Sure enough, that’s exactly what Bains targeted in the offseason, resulting in him being the first player to reach 20 points this past weekend, with four assists against the Laval Rocket over two games.
Happy Monday, fair Internet friends, and welcome to a fresh edition of the Mailbag to help get your week started and keep you updated on all things Edmonton Oilers. This week, we’re discussing Kris Knoblauch’s stamp on the team, Stuart Skinner’s workload, Jack Campbell, and much more. If you’ve got a question you’d like to ask, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk , and I’ll get to you as soon as we can.
1) @ElPinto24 asks – This upcoming six-day break is Coach Knoblauch’s first real chance to put his stamp on the team. What system or other changes might we see coming out of the break? Thanks.
Jason Gregor: I don’t see any significant changes. He will work on fine tuning what he’s already put in place. He likely will drill down more on limiting rush chances, which has already been a priority. He and Coffey have really emphasized moving the puck quickly, moving your feet and having fun. I think they sensed the players were maybe putting too much pressure on themselves. I do wonder if we see some drills about going to the net. That is something that doesn’t come natural to some of their forwards.
Robin Brownlee: Changes? They’ve won four straight games. I imagine a decision on whether to bring Jack Campbell up from Bakersfield could play into things, but I don’t know if there’s been a decision made on that yet. I don’t see that Knoblach has to put any stamp on the team at this point aside from accentuating what has worked so far — moving the puck, cutting down on prime scoring chances.
Baggedmilk: I don’t expect him to change a whole lot, but I would absolutely that he’ll be reinforcing the tactics they’ve discussed in the limited practice time he’s had available to him.
2) James in Peterborough asks – Evan Bouchard has moved into the Top 5 in NHL Defenceman scoring and is at a point-per-game pace. When do you think critics will start to focus on his upside rather than the deficiencies?
Jason Gregor: Why worry about critics? What about those who have written about his strengths? I’ve had a balanced approach on Bouchard, and will continue to. His offence is his best asset, and when he is focused defensively he is a fine defender. I don’t need him to be Jason Smith defensively. No one should. Since the coaching change, I haven’t seen any glaring giveaways from any of the D-men. They’ve bought into Coffey’s message of being aware of where you are on ice and what is happening. Make the simple play has really helped the entire D corps.
Robin Brownlee: Mentioning defensive deficiencies doesn’t necessarily mean focusing on them, even if that’s your interpretation. Bouchard can be absolutely ghastly defensively and there’s no getting around that, but he’s been significantly better under Knoblauch and Coffey. He’s a talented offensive player who still needs to learn the other half of the game.
Baggedmilk: Bouchard is like many offensive minded defencemen before him: offensive minded. The defensive side of his game is always going to be a battle, but there’s plenty of upside here, and that’s what I’m focusing on. In an ideal scenario, Bouchard would play fewer 5v5 minutes and more on the power play, but the Oilers’ depth chart just isn’t stacked up to make that happen right now.
3) Brenden asks – How many games is too many games for Stuart Skinner? He’s played 14 of the last 16, and we’re only 22 games into the season.
Jason Gregor: He is young, and they have a five-day break. He has made 16 starts. There are 17 goalies in the NHL with 15+ starts and eight have 18+. He won’t start 14 of the next 16, but you are correct his total number of starts will need to be monitored. If he finishes with 55 that will be fine, meaning he can start 39 of the final 60 games. They need a backup (s) to start 21 of them.
Robin Brownlee: There isn’t a set number for me. Depends on days between games, rest and travel. It’s a situation you must judge in real time. I thought a fairly even split between Skinner and Campbell — say 45-37 or so — made sense before the season started but we know that’s out the window.
Baggedmilk: We talked about this on Friday’s episode of Oilersnation Radio, and I agree with you. I know he’s young and there are some extended breaks that come in December, but it would be very nice to get some balance for the guy so he can catch a breather.
4) @PoppaRusty asks – Do you think Jack Campbell needs more time in Bako before he comes back up? I feel like he should stay until Christmas to make sure he’s confident in his game.
Jason Gregor: He has had really strong moments down there, and then he’s allowed a few goals that have no business going in. He needs to be more efficient with him movement. He will practice there all week, likely play Friday, and if he is solid we might see him come up. He is much more proven NHL goalie than Calvin Pickard at this point, and I understand the trepidation to play him. He actually had a higher Sv% than Skinner when he was sent down. Better team defence in front of him will help him when he returns. I don’t expect him to be great, and they don’t need that. He just needs to be reliable and consistent. I just don’t know if he will be and I’m not sure if two or four more AHL games will change that.
Robin Brownlee: Confidence isn’t about setting a date. Campbell was getting lit up when he first went down and has been much better since then. That can flip-flop in a hurry — history shows that’s especially true with Campbell. So no, I don’t think it’ about “more time.” It’s about performance.
Baggedmilk: Let Jack Campbell be in Bakersfield until he can string together more than a few quality games. Remember, he SHOULD be dominating that league, so to see him give up some of the stinkers that have gone in lately tells me that he’s nowhere near ready to rejoin an Oilers team that doesn’t have the luxury of giving him the time to work on his game. The Oilers need wins, and right now, it seems doubtful that he’d be the one to provide them.
5) @dangledump94 asks – If you could see the Oilers play in any Canadian city besides Edmonton, what would it be? I went to the Canadians/Knights game a few weeks ago, and I wouldn’t have picked MTL in my top four, but now it’s easily #1.
Jason Gregor: Montreal is a fantastic place to watch a game. Great atmosphere. But right now I might pick Vancouver, because they are good so the crowd will be into more than they usually are. When they aren’t competitive, Vancouver is near the bottom of places I’d want to go, but when they are good it is a good place to watch, plus there is more of a rivalry between Oilers and Canucks than the Oilers and Canadiens.
Robin Brownlee: Been to every NHL rink in Canada multiple times. I always enjoyed games in Montreal the best. Great city to visit. Fabulous restaurants and night life. Terrific rink steeped in tradition. Toronto (when it was Maple Leaf Gardens) and Vancouver a distant second and third.
Baggedmilk: I’ve been to Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, and the Heritage Classic in Winnipeg. Of those, Edmonton has the best rink and best atmosphere (I’m thinking playoffs specifically), but I would absolutely love to go to a game in Montreal. Habs fans get into it in a way that’s almost European soccer style, and I think that would be a lot of fun to experience.
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