The Blackhawks and other NHL tank teams will pay the price in the long run
The abysmal Chicago organization now becomes the first major revenue generator in the professional sports market to unapologetically embrace tanking. It may be a while before the NHL’s favorite nation franchise returns to the Winter Classic.
Trading Alex DeBrincat, 24, from his second 41-goal season in the past five years in order to perform a rebuild due to impending future contract obligations – or at least that was the excuse – would have been equivalent to this that Rangers then move 24-year-old Mika Zibanejad in 2018.
The fact that the Blackhawks only received the relatively paltry return of the seventh and 39th overall picks this year, plus Ottawa’s third round in 2024, doesn’t make this organizational decision, made by general manager Kyle Davidson, much better.
In fact, the only thing that makes this look any better is the fact that the deal the Blackhawks agreed to shortly after – to remove Toronto goalie obstacle Petr Mrazek from the hands of the Leafs in exchange for a mere move of 13 places in the repechage – was somehow worse.
The Blackhawks are selling parts. The Penguins – another of the league’s historically favored nations, and one that not once, but twice, perfected the art of tanking – were able to win Cups by hitting rock bottom, so now that’s how organizations think they should proceed when reconstructions are appropriate. It is cosmically wrong. Bottom-feeding teams typically sleep with the fish for a decade or more. Right, Arizona and Buffalo?
We’re told in good faith that Carolina owner Tom Dundon is basically short of impending free agents Vincent Trocheck and Nino Niederreiter out of town after already doing it to Tony DeAngelo, which is an interesting way for a winning operation now to operate.
Our intel is that DeAngelo, who was an impending restricted free agent, was willing to accept a one-year contract with the ‘Canes for far less than the $5 million AAV he eventually received on his contract. two years with the Flyers after being traded to Philadelphia. But in vain.
If Rangers look to free agency to fill their hole at second center, they’ll be on Trocheck, but the price is likely to rise beyond the Blueshirts’ cap means.
So, three or four years from now, we’ll know if Shane Wright’s gaze on the Montreal draft table was a sign of A) high competitiveness and self-confidence, or B) self-proclaimed immaturity.
A bit of how it went in retrospect a few years after Lias Andersson threw his World Juniors silver medal into the crowd in Buffalo in 2018 after Team Sweden was defeated in the Tag Team title match Canada.
First: fiery competitor.
Later: imperfect character.
I don’t think legacy is reason enough for the Penguins, who haven’t won a playoff round since 2018, to give Evgeni Malkin four years.
If that is his end result, then surely another team will fulfill that requirement if the No. 71 becomes a free agent at 36.
As you can see, about half the league believes that Kirby Dach is no longer a third-line center, and if that’s the case, the Canadiens may have paid too much by sending the 13th overall to Chicago for the third overall pick of 2019.
Rangers had focused on Kaapo Kakko with the second overall selection following their lottery win, but there was quite a debate over whether it would make more sense to take Dach, given the organizational vacuum at the center . Then GM Jeff Gorton voiced the majority opinion and went with Kakko. Now Gorton has Dach in Montreal.
The Devils got a rather pedestrian goalie when they acquired Vitek Vanecek from the Capitals, but as Desiderius Erasmus once observed after watching Hardy Astrom play, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
It still wouldn’t be surprising if New Jersey were still on the hunt for Toronto’s impending free agent Jack Campbell if the Devils could find a landing spot for Mackenzie Blackwood.
Moving Mrazek’s $3.8 million cap — for the next two years — creates options for the Maple Leafs, who could most likely try their luck against Anaheim’s John Gibson if Campbell comes to the open market.
Edmonton, desperate for a goaltender, would most definitely be on Campbell, if not Cup winner Darcy Kuemper, who the Oilers tried to get last year. Washington would also be interested in talking with Kuemper.
And while Minnesota general manager Billy Guerin certainly won’t be pushed to his limits by Cam Talbot, who may not be keen on becoming Marc-André Fleury’s junior partner, he there is no advantage in keeping a goalkeeper unhappy with his role.
Alex Georgiev was once an excellent substitute whose greatest quality was his ability to perform after long spells on the bench behind Henrik Lundqvist – until he convinced himself he couldn’t play with so much time between exits.
Talbot could therefore certainly become an option for the Caps, who currently have no apparent support for Ilya Samsonov.
The offensive reverence for Alex Ovechkin seemingly never ends when it comes to the NHL and its heirs.
Perhaps ESPN’s John Buccigross would like to expand on what exactly, « Ovechkin went through last year, » as he said during the network’s generally top-notch coverage of the opening round.
Finally, consider this my official offer to act as marriage counselor for DeAngelo and John Tortorella.