Yes, offer sheets to RFA's have become something taboo the past few years. Which makes no sense. maybe it is time for the RW's to be bold. There are several reasons for this train of thought. 1. The UFA market is garbage the past few years and looks to continue that way. 2. Trades are very expensive. 3. we are not drafting at a high enough position to get the truely premier talent very often-if ever.
Now this is just an example but follow me here. What is our biggest need? A RHed top pair Dman. The most premier position in the game. To trade for that type of player would cost us Nyquist, tatar, and Smith just to get the conversation started. Very expensive. But what about a RFA? we could offer a guy like Hamilton a 7 year 51.8 million contract and only have to give up a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round draft picks. Chances are only one of those 3 picks will ever turn out anyway, it would take several years for those guys to make an impact, and we are only talking about an age difference of 3 years.
So what would we gain? we get a 6-5/215 Rhed Dman that is 21 years old. he joins Dekeyser as our top D pair for the next 10+ years. 10 years from now they are 33 and 31 respectively, so should have time left. 51.8 million over 7 years is a 7.4 million per year cap hit, so not out of line. we also weaken a division rival that is in cap hell and may not be able to match the offer.
as for the picks, not a big deal at all. we lose 3 guys that are 18 years old and have never played a pro hockey game, but gain a guy that is already becoming a star in the NHL. 5 years from now paying hamilton 7.4 million per year will be considered a huge bargain.
There is no down side here. The worst thing that can happen is the B's find a way to match the offer. That is it.
The past couple of years we have struggled in 5 on 5 hockey. We have had a pretty good power play and not bad on the PK. We have been in the desired 110+ when you combine the 2 %'s together. But in 5 on 5 we haven't been very good.
Using the advanced metrics (I am not the biggest fan of such things, but they do help rank things) here are our forwards and how they rank amoung all F with 750 mins of 5 on 5 time:
Now the question is why? Then the follow up is, how do we improve? The why of course is opinion. Mine is we don't have anyone with super skills. IE No one with the speed that scares and burns, or no one with the power and strength to scare. Both work.
Now Cole is gone. That is why I added Sheahan as the 6th. One of the ways to improve is to not have him as a top 6 forward. Same with Helm. Both have played in the top 6 at times this year. Heck I still don't think Abby should be in our top 6.
We also don't get enough out of our D. Using the same standards, here is how our Dmen rank for 1000 mins played of 5 on 5 time:
Now in simple math there should be 180 top 6 forwards and 120 top 4 Dmen. Of course many teams don't really have 6 real top 6 forwards or 4 true top 4 Dmen. A few teams have more than 6 F's and/or 4 top 4 D's.
Just using these numbers one could say we have no #1 Dman, a #2 in Dekeyser, a #3 in Kronwall, and a #4 in Ericsson. That isn't horrible. Of course finding a true #1 is very hard to do.
The F group is in some ways worse. Only Datsyuk is a clear top line F, when healthy. Tatar is a second line guy. Nyquist, Z, and Abby are more borderline guys for a second line. Sheahan really is a 3rd line guy.
The plus side is these guys are very good on the PP. Datsyuk was 2nd in the NHL on the PP. Z was 16, Nyquist 22, Tatar 35, Abby 88th, and Sheahan was 133. This tells me that at best we have 4 guys that are legit top 6 forwards on the team. Not a real surprise. many of us have wondered why Abby is playing in the top 6. This then means we need 2 top 6 forwards. Either prospects that step up or UFA/trades.
This means we need 3 primetime players that are very costly to pick up. Yikes. The good news is, we don't have to do it all at once. We do have to do it by the time the 2017/18 season starts. That is the season after Datsyuk's contract expires. Of course by then Z and Kronwall will be about done as well. That makes 6 big time players needed over the next 3 off summers. 2 Dmen and 4 forwards.
Yup. It is that time of year. Still a fuzz early to know where we will pick, but most of us would be safe saying between 20-30. We have 6 picks IIRC: a 1,3,4,5,6,7. No second.
As an organization we are still the weakest at F, but we are back to where there isn't a pressing need to go with a F in the 1st. That being said the talent from 20-30 kinda lends us to taking one.
So some names to watch once we are on the clock:
Jordan Greenway 6-5/225 LW He is big, strong, tough, has good skill and soft hands.
Alexander Dergechev 6-4/200 C Known for his vision, oft hands, and he uses his size to bull his way around the offensive zone.
Thomas Novek 6-1/180 C Great 2 way player, who plays with great speed and enegy. Very good play maker-average shot.
Filip Ahl 6-4/215 LW. Big hulking Swede with good skating ability and a cannon for a shot. Needs to work on his intensity and urgency on the ice.
Mackenzie Blackwood 6-4/205 G. Very athletic big G. Needs to work on his puck handling, but other than that should be a very good NHL G in about 5 years.
Those are the guys that I would be thinking about. in fact I would even go so far is to focus on Novek as the 1A with Greenway as a 1B. The RW's have shown great love for puck controlling 2 way players, and he is very good at those things. he is a guy that 3-5 years from now would be in the same range size wise as Sheehan and Larkin. 3 C's all 6-2/205 or so. Not a bad group. No true #1's but 3 guys that all could be legit #2's. Guys that also are good at getting the puck to our wingers who are/could be, very pretty good snipers: Nyquist, tatar, Pulk, mantha, etc....
I know some are going to love Ahl-the whole Swedish thing and all, but he reminds me of Franzen. What of course none of us know is, what size is his heart? No idea.
Will work my way through some other names of interest later on.