Posts Tagged ‘Maple Leafs’

The NHL is issuing a roster freeze for the Olympic break, starting on Friday. Many people are considering this to be a quasi-trade deadline, and GM’s are looking to make moves to help their team toward the playoffs, or rebuilding mode. Let’s take a look at the top trade targets, and see if they are going to be moved or not.

Marian Gaborik, Columbus: Gaborik has serious talent, scoring at least 60 points 6 times over his career with Minnesota, New York, and Columbus. He has an expiring contract, and we aren’t quite sure if he’s gonna stick around in Columbus. The news on him has been more from the injury front, as he’s recovering from a broken collarbone. But when he is healthy, he’s an asset that many teams can look to for offense. I would expect teams like Montreal, New Jersey, Minnesota, or Los Angeles to consider a deal for him.

Thomas Vanek, N.Y. Islanders: He already has been traded this season, but recent news suggest that there may be another deal in Vanek’s future. He was offered a long term deal from the Isles’ front office, and turned it down in favor of his impending free agency. He’s in all likelihood the top offensive target on the trade market. However, considering that teams know he would be testing free agency, it may be a deterrent to trade for him, when they can simply offer him a contract this summer. The Isles would want to trade him, but finding a partner may be a challenge. Minnesota is a top destination for him, according to rumors.

Matt Moulson, Buffalo: The other portion of the Vanek trade, Moulson, is in a very similar position as Vanek. They are the same age, and set to be an unrestricted free agent come July. He is very good offensively, and is responsible in the defensive side as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if he decides to stay with Buffalo, and give them some veteran presence up front among all the up-and-coming youngsters. But it would be less of a shock if he decides to test free agency, and sign elsewhere. The Sabres would be well off to trade Moulson to a contender, and continue to build to the future.

Ryan Miller, Buffalo: Miller is the glue to the Sabres’ roster, as of now, due to him stopping more pucks than counterpart Jhonas Enroth, and providing the Sabres’ offense a chance to score enough to win. However, the landscape in the front office in Buffalo has been in flux since the beginning of the year, and Miller said recently that he doesn’t know what’s going to happen. He has a no-trade clause, meaning he can pick and choose 8 teams to not be traded to. No word on who those 8 are. But Miller will be a highly sought after asset, and teams in need of goaltending will inquire about him, such as Toronto, Philadelphia, Washington, or Winnipeg.

Steve Ott, Buffalo: Yet another Sabre on the list, because he’s a valuable commodity and expiring contract. Ott brings a grinder presence and much needed leadership to any team, and isn’t very expensive. Teams in need of playoff-ready forwards should be hunting after this guy, much like San Jose or Washington. However, he has a steady position with the Sabres, and they would likely want to keep him around. Don’t be shocked if he stays put this season.

Michael Cammalleri, Calgary: One of the few bright spots on the Flames’ offense, Cammalleri is having a tough season, with only 21 points in 39 games. But he has the speed and offensive talent to be able to get things done on offense. His contract expires this off-season, and the Flames are attempting to extend the 31 year old, and keep him around. In all likelihood, if he doesn’t agree to terms by the trade deadline, he would likely be traded to a team who needs offense. The New Jersey Devils have been rumored to have serious interest in Cammalleri, in lieu of an offensive struggle.

Ales Hemsky, Edmonton: He’s been on and off the trade market for quite a while now, but the Oilers have kept him around with shorter deals. Now, the 30 year old is mentioning that he wouldn’t be shocked if he was traded before the deadline. We have heard that before from Hemsky’s camp, but he’s still in Edmonton. But considering the wave of offensive talent that the Oil possess, and having a defensive sieve behind them, it wouldn’t shock anyone if the Oilers dealt Hemsky for a good defensive defenseman. There aren’t any rumors swirling yet, but look for teams to think about trading defense for Hemsky come deadline time.

Martin Brodeur, New Jersey: His presence on this list is near blasphemous, but it’s there because Marty’s talked about it. Marty recently has been relegated to second banana guarding the Devils’ goal behind Cory Schneider, and obviously isn’t terribly happy about playing less. He has mentioned that he would consider a trade to a place where he’d play more, but in all seriousness, he won’t be traded anywhere. He’ll be 42 during the playoffs, and has started to show his age, with his save percentage dipping under .900 for the first time, well, ever. But I doubt he’ll get traded anywhere.

Jaromir Jagr, New Jersey: He’s slightly older than Brodeur, but significantly more useful. He’s the leading scorer for the Devils, and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. His veteran presence has been invaluable to the Devils, who are grooming younger players for the long run, and would be good for any contender as well. However, the Devils are still very much in the hunt, despite being further out than most teams, and Lou isn’t one to be a seller come deadline time. Expect Jagr to remain with New Jersey at least until after this season.

Ryan Callahan, N.Y. Rangers: We’ve taken a look at Callahan’s situation earlier on the site, and not much has changed since then. It still seems unlikely that the Rangers would give Callahan the massive extension he wants. GM Glen Sather has mentioned that they would likely have a decision on him before the roster freeze for the Olympics. We shouldn’t be surprised if he gets dealt, or if he doesn’t. The team most likely to move on him is Buffalo, his hometown team, or Columbus, who has been rumored to have talked to the Rangers about Callahan.

Last week, we reviewed the top 10 free agent signings and how they are doing halfway through their first season with their new teams. This week, we’ll take a look at the 10 biggest trades, and see who won each deal.

Los Angeles Kings trade G Jonathan Bernier to Toronto Maple Leafs for G Ben Scrivens, F Matt Frattin, and 2014/15 2nd round pick: The first big trade of the offseason led to a big goalie swap between the Kings and Leafs. The Leafs got Bernier, who came in and took over the starting job from James Reimer, and has performed well at times, with a 15-14-4 record, and a GAA of 2.58. He also looked spectacular in the Winter Classic. Meanwhile, Scrivens has far fewer games played this year, thanks to Jonathan Quick and Martin Jones, and has a 7-5-4 record, but a GAA of just 1.97. His numbers are slightly better on average, but hasn’t played much because he’s not the number 1 guy like Bernier. Frattin hasn’t added much to this deal, not playing particularly well in Los Angeles, and the Kings do get a pick out of this. But overall, the trade got Bernier a starting job, and the Kings could have gotten more out of Bernier. Winner: Toronto

Vancouver Canucks trade G Cory Schneider to New Jersey Devils for 2013 1st round pick (Bo Horvat): This trade turned boos for Commish Gary Bettman at the Prudential Center on draft day into cheers. It also shocked everyone in the hockey world, especially Schneider and the Devils. Schneider immediately became the heir-apparent to living legend Martin Brodeur, who may retire this offseason (or never). Schneider and Brodeur have split the load so far, and Schneider has a 7-9-6 record, and 1.96 GAA. He’s been impressive for the Devils, and a bright spot for the future, should he sign an extension with the team. Bo Horvat was picked with the 9th overall pick by Vancouver, and still is in the CHL, but has a bright future ahead of him. We can’t tell now how he’ll be, but Hockey’s Future rates him as a 7.5 prospect (take it how you like). But Vancouver could have gotten way more out of Schneider. Winner: New Jersey.

New York Islanders trade F Nino Niederreiter to Minnesota Wild for F Cal Clutterbuck and 2013 3rd round pick (Eamon McAdam): Nino never quite fit in the Islanders’ system, always wondering when he’d get his chance with the big club. He never did. With Minnesota, he’s stepped up his game and performed well, with 9 goals and 16 assists, and a decent +/- of +9. He’s been part of the lead pack with the team, who is suffering from injuries to Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu up front. Clutterbuck, however, hasn’t quite found his groove, seemingly. in 42 games, he just has 8 points, and a +/- of -7, and even though those stats are just under par for his career, he needs to show he has more value. Winner: Minnesota

Buffalo Sabres trade D Andrej Sekera to Carolina Hurricanes for D Jamie McBain and 2013 2nd round pick (J.T. Compher): The Hurricanes weren’t very deep in defensemen, and still aren’t. But they felt the need to upgrade, and did. Sekera is having a good season so far, with 7 goals and 17 assists from the blue line, which is tops for Canes’ d-men. He’s proven valuable, while McBain has been struggling a bit. Though he is with Buffalo, his numbers are far worse, with just 3 goals and 6 assists. J.T. Compher remains in college, but the Sabres hope for big things down the road. Winner: Carolina

Boston Bruins trade F Tyler Seguin, F Rich Peverly, and D Ryan Button to Dallas Stars for F Loui Eriksson, D Joseph Morrow, F Reilly Smith, and F Matt Fraser: The Stars got the top guy in this deal by far, a 21 year old point per game player in Seguin. He’s leading the way alongside Jamie Benn, with 42 points in 44 games, and has been playing unreal since the trade. Peverly has been serviceable, just 21 points in 45 games, but has been doing what the team needs to succeed. Will the B’s regret this trade? Doubtful. Though Eriksson has had trouble staying on the ice, just 26 games, he’s been decent in those games played, with a +/- of +9, and 15 points. Reilly Smith has been a pleasant surprise, at 22 years old, and with 33 points so far in his first full season, he’s a bright spot for the Bruins’ future. The other pieces in the trade are just barely getting NHL action, but immediately, this trade benefits both sides. Winner: Dallas

Edmonton Oilers trade F Shawn Horcoff to Dallas for D Philip Larsen and a 2016 7th round pick: This is a pretty minor deal, but the significance is that the Oilers traded one of their longtime guys for another young, unproven defenseman. Horcoff has been okay for the Stars, just 13 points in 45 games. But he’s 35 and obviously won’t put up numbers like he used to. Edmonton got Larsen, who hasn’t shown he’s got the goods yet, but still has upside at age 24. Winner: Edmonton, I guess

Anaheim Ducks trade F Bobby Ryan to Ottawa Senators for F Jakob Silfverberg, F Stefan Noesen and a 2014 1st round pick: People had a feeling Bobby Ryan would be unloaded from the Ducks, for cap reasons, and it happened this summer. Ryan this year for Ottawa, has 37 points in 47 games, and is second on the team in that stat. He’s the top go-to guy for  the Sens on offense, alongside Kyle Turris. But the cost for him was huge. Silfverberg is one of the top up and comers in the league, and despite an injury early in the year, he’s been valuable to the Ducks, with 12 points in the 26 games he’s played. The Ducks also picked up a prospect and the Sens’ first rounder next year, which would probably be between 10 and 20. This trade was huge, but came at big costs for both sides. Winner: Anaheim

St. Louis Blues trade F David Perron to Edmonton Oilers for F Magnus Paajarvi and 2014 2nd round pick: Perron was part of the future with the Blues, with good upside, but the Blues didn’t have room for him, and shipped him to Edmonton. He’s had a great year so far, with 34 points in 45 games, and has been valuable to the team’s offense. Paajarvi, however, has just 5 points in 26 games, and has been hampered with injuries. It’s not like the Blues are depending on him, but they could have kept Perron and had much more value, despite the upside Paajarvi brings. Winner: Edmonton

Buffalo Sabres trade F Thomas Vanek to New York Islanders for F Matt Moulson, 2014 1st round pick and 2015 2nd round pick: The Islanders began the year in win now mode, but seem to have hit a wall when G Evgeni Nabakov went down. Vanek is having another point per game campaign, though, and has started to gel with John Tavares, which is dangerous for anyone. Lately, the Isles have been picking it up, so they might not be out of it yet. Buffalo is out of it, but building toward the future. Moulson on his own wouldn’t be worth it. He’s played well, 28 points in 43 games with both the Isles and Sabres, but the picks to Buffalo are the kicker in this trade. Both will be free agents next season, so the picks tell the winner, with both likely leaving for greener pastures. Winner: Buffalo

Philadelphia Flyers trade F Maxime Talbot to Colorado Avalanche for F Steve Downie: The last trade we are looking at involves two rugged grinders switching teams. Downie is more of a playmaker, with just 3 goals and 16 assists, while Talbot has the more well-rounded game. Downie is a bit younger, but has has injuries in the past, playing in just 2 games last season for the Avs. Winner: Push

yank

Now that we’ve seen all of the negatives of the Alex Rodriguez story, lets look at the positive to come out of this ruling. The New York Yankees have reclaimed the $25 million salary that they were supposed to pay Rodriguez and are now free to spend it however they please. With that in mind, here are three ways the Yankees could decide to use that money that would benefit them.

 

It is no secret that Yankees are well below the championship caliber team that fans expect. They (officially) no longer have a starting third baseman, Mark Texeira is returning after missing the entire 2013 season, and Derek Jeter is a shell of his former self.  With all that being said, the number one thing the Yankees need right now is starting pitching. CC Sabathia struggled mightily last year, finishing with a 14-13 record and a career high ERA of 4.78. In addition, Ivan Nova was up and down all of last year and Hiroki Kuroda is 38 and also lost some of his momentum in the second half of last year. To make matters worse, the Yankees don’t even have a set #4 and #5 pitcher right now. Now they can look at this two ways.

The first way to look at this is to go for the big splash (in true George fashion) and sign Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. In 28 starts last season, the former Rakuten Golden Eagle went an astounding 24-0 with and ERA of 1.27. At only 24 years old, Tanaka has the potential to be the Yankees number one starter going forward. However, Tanaka does not come without risk. As the Yankees know, a lot of Japanese pitchers have struggled with their transition to the MLB. Daisuke Matzusaka, Hideki Irabu, and Kei Igawa are all perfect examples of that. Of course that doesn’t mean that Tanaka will not be the next Yu Darvish, it just means that he could also be the next Hideki Irabu.

If the Yankees decide against the Japanese star, they definitely have other things they can do with that money. One hypothetical scenario would be bringing in a solid starting pitcher with a solid relief pitcher for a total of less money than Tanaka would cost. Two starters that are immediately available are Matt Garza and Ubaldo Jimenez. Both have struggled in the past couple of years and are both likely to command no longer than two-year contracts. Garza in particular, with a career ERA of 3.84, but past AL east experience with his time with the Rays, would cost only around 8-12 million on a year for a short amount of time. With no need for commitment, either of these pitchers can be a good temporary fix to the starting pitcher problem.

As far as the relief pitchers, there is once again a decent crop of short contract players available. Grant Balfour, Fernando Rodney, and Fransisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez could all be had on 1-2 year contracts for about $12 million. These would all be good temporary players for the Yankees to have if they want to make a chase for the playoffs.

Now this third option may scare most Yankee fans. I is a terrifying notion that will be a new concept to those who love the pinstripes. Save the money. The 2015 free agent market is going to be filled with significantly better crops. Asdrubal Cabrera, Chase Headley, Max Scherzer, and James Shield will be highly coveted players who would fit the Yankees perfectly. Not spending money this year will all but guarantee no playoffs this year, but it may be worth it in the long hall.

What should the Yankees do? Go after Tanaka? Get some short-term player? Maybe save the Money? Let us know what you think it s comments.

Jonas Hiller

This week in hockey, goalies get hot, some teams are not, and a coach was fired for the first time in a team’s short history. A-Rod asks for his case to be heard, in this week’s Week in Review

Anaheim [Mighty] Ducks (3-0-0) – Jonas Hiller has now won 14 straight starts. The record, for you curious few, is 17 by Gilles Gilbert of the Boston Bruins in 1975-76. Also, the Ducks are approaching the record for points in consecutive home games to start the year.

Boston Bruins (1-2-0) – This week was the California swing for the B’s, taking just the game against the Sharks, a 1-0 affair. They became the only team this season to keep the Sharks from scoring at the Tank.

Buffalo Sabres (1-0-1) – Mikhail Grigerenko is refusing to go back to his junior team, after being demoted by the Sabres. Buffalo isn’t getting that year back on his entry-level contract, thus making this another thing that went wrong for the Sabres.

Calgary Flames (1-3-0) – They scored 5 goals this week. 4 of them came in one game, against the Avalanche. Guess which game they won.

Carolina Hurricanes (1-1-0) – Skinner-mania is back, to stay. Since December, he’s been more than a point-per-game player. He’s also one of two Canes near point-per-game status. They need secondary scoring bad.

Chicago Blackhawks (1-1-1) – Chalk this up as a pedestrian week for the reigning champs, who are now looking over their shoulder at the Blues, who are right behind them.

Colorado Avalanche (2-1-1) – They seemed to have played to the level of their competition this week, losing to Calgary and the Islanders, but beating the heating-up Senators and Wild. Seems to make sense.

Columbus Blue Jackets (3-0-0) – Don’t count the Jackets out of anything. 7th place in the Metro, but 5 points out of 2nd. That’s gonna get interesting in March.

Dallas Stars (0-4-0) – They laid a goose egg in their New York swing, and just when they thought they had seen enough of those 3, they lose to the Islanders again. So much for that surge…

Detroit Red Wings (1-2-0) – Tomas Tatar scored a goal the day after his father’s passing Saturday night in Los Angeles. I send some love out to him and his family.

Edmonton Oilers (1-2-0) – It’s not for a lack of offense that they aren’t winning. It’s goaltending woes. Right Bryz?

Florida Panthers (1-1-1) – Man, that game in New Jersey had a breakneck pace to it. Very exciting to watch firewagon hockey like that. Now imagine if they had actually spent more to be competitive…

Los Angeles Kings (1-1-1) – All of the sudden, the Kings’ offense isn’t tearing it up anymore. Quick gets back, and now you rely on the poor guy to win every game? Man they are spoiled in Lala-land.

Minnesota Wild (3-1-0) – 3 wins this week takes good advantage of Dallas hating New York teams. Too bad their only loss was to a team they are chasing, in Colorado.

Montreal Canadiens (2-1-0) – The losing team in each Habs game this week scored exactly 1 goal. Can’t win if you don’t score, I suppose.

Nashville Predators (1-2-1) – Busy week for the Preds, and it included hopping over the Jets, leaving them in the Central cellar. No wonder Claude Noel is out of a job.

New Jersey Devils (2-0-2) – The Ryder-Henrique-Clowe line is heating up, just as the Zajac-Jagr-Zubrus line is cooling down. Also, Schneider is stepping up as Brodeur is winding it down. Why can’t everything work at the same time for these guys?

New York Islanders (4-0-0) – Hold the phone. The Islanders are 7 points back from a playoff spot. Talk about playing inspired.

New York Rangers (3-0-0) – This concludes the first week in forever that none of the 3 New York teams recorded 0 regulation losses. No one thought this would happen ever this year.

Ottawa Senators (1-0-1) – They were ahead of the Leafs entering action on Sunday night. Man this race is getting packed with everyone.

Philadelphia Flyers (2-2-0) – Just when you thought they were the team to beat, they put up 2 duds against Tampa and the Rangers. This proves that they too are just as ready for a playoff spot as any team in this wide open race.

Phoenix Coyotes (1-2-0) – So the Avs’ play to the level of competition, the ‘Yotes don’t. They beat up on the Flames and lost to the Wild and Ducks. I guess they are that team that people play as expected against.

Pittsburgh Penguins (2-0-1) – This just in: The Penguins have (pretty much) clinched the Metropolitan division.

San Jose Sharks (1-2-0) – The only team with fewer home regulation losses, happens to be the only team ahead of the Sharks in the Pacific. Coincidence?

St. Louis Blues (2-1-0) – They finally lost a game, 2-1 in Vancouver. They can score with Chicago and be as stingy as Boston. They are a scary team.

Tampa Bay Lightning (2-1-0) – 5 goals on just 17 shots against Flyers goalie Steve Mason. That says something about the Bolts’ offense or the Flyers’ chronic goaltending issues.

Toronto Maple Leafs (1-3-0) – Coach Randy Carlyle was given a vote of confidence by GM Dave Nonis. The countdown begins.

Vancouver Canucks (1-0-1) – A win against the Blues is a big thing these days, because they are hard to come by. Now they can try and catch the Kings again.

Washington Capitals (2-0-1) – They reclaimed their spot in 2nd in the Metro, but that could change at any given moment, given the team we have in it.

Winnipeg Jets (0-2-0) – Paul Maurice is the new head coach in the ‘Peg after Claude Noel had his term as first Jets coach terminated. It may help, but the Jets are likely still a few moves away from looking any better.

Goal of the Week: Fast-forward to the 1:32 mark of this video to see a beauty by [Mighty] Ducks’ Ryan Getzlaf:

 

In the box this week: Bruins’ Dougie Hamilton was actually exiting the box Thursday night in Los Angeles, when he played the puck from inside the penalty box. Take a look:

The ref said, “If you want to play from inside the box, then you can sit there another 2 minutes.” The Kings scored on the ensuing power play.

That is all for this week. Tune in next week for some more hockey. Till then, puck-heads!

clarkson-130922-620-thumb-620xauto-331575

I’ve always been behind the theory that free agent signings can only help a team so much, but they can break that trend. This off-season, there were many free agent signings that may have panned out, and also those that didn’t quite come close yet. Halfway through their first season with their new teams, let’s see how the 10 biggest free agent signings are doing:

Jarome Iginla (Boston, 1 year, $6M) – Sure, he’s older and a bit slower, but he still manages to find the back of the net without problems, this year through 43 games he’s got 13 goals and 29 points. However, those numbers are a bit underwhelming, coming from a man who carried a franchise on his shoulders for so long. Though the Bruins are a defensive team, and they can afford guys like this, as long as they can produce. Verdict: Pretty good deal

Mike Ribeiro (Phoenix, 4 years, $22M) – One of the better play-making centers, Mickey-Ribs has always been crafty and piles up many assists, as well as scoring every now and again. Though his defense could be better, he is an offensive spark on a team in need of one. He’s right around his career pace this year, with 21 assists through 42 games, but the ‘Yotes can ask for more out of this guy, who’s 33 years old and has reached 70 points 3 times in his career. Verdict: Good deal

Daniel Alfredsson (Detroit, 1 year, $5.5M) – This was one of the first signings this off-season, and created shockwaves through the hockey world, mostly because Alfie was playing somewhere that isn’t Ottawa. The Red Wings gave him a 1 year deal, similar to that of Mike Modano, at the end of his career, but that doesn’t mean Alfie can’t play. He’s totalled 30 points in 37 games, which is right around the pace he was scoring almost anywhere outside his prime years. He was well worth the flier Detroit gave him. Verdict: Good deal

Nathan Horton (Columbus, 7 years, $37.1M) – Horton just returned from a major shoulder injury that has sidelined him since the playoffs last season. Columbus didn’t really care about the injury, and paid him anyway, in hopes of him boosting the offense when he returns. He’s played in 3 games, garnering a goal and an assist, but it’s way too early to tell if it was worth the big contract or not. Verdict: ???

David Clarkson (Toronto, 7 years, $36.75M) – For the first 10 games of his Maple Leafs career, he sat in a press box, suspended without pay due to leaving the bench in a pre-season brawl. Along with another suspension, he’s missed 12 due to Shanabans. In the 31 games he has played, he’s racked up 8 points, 47 penalty minutes, and a -2 plus/minus. Let’s be real here, the only time Clarkson eclipsed 35 points was in 2011-12, where he scored 30 goals and 16 assists. 7 years for that? Verdict: Bust

Valtteri Filppula (Tampa Bay, 5 years, $25M) – Throughout his career with the Red Wings, Filppula has been a solid 2nd line guy who can score, and play responsibly in his own end. He has had a little bit of an injury history, but that didn’t stop the Bolts from making this signing. This year, he has 17 goals and 17 assists in 43 games, and has been playing well to try and help the team out in the absence of their number 1 guy in Steven Stamkos. Verdict: Great signing

Stephen Weiss (Detroit, 5 years, $24.5M) – Weiss was one of the top guys in Florida while he was there, and though that isn’t saying much, originally one would think that it made sense to give this contract to this guy. Halfway through the season, however, he’s played just 26 games, racking up a staggering 4 points, and 1 sports hernia surgery. So far, the Wings are paying him over $1M per point. He will return after the Olympics. Verdict: Bust

Ryane Clowe (New Jersey, 5 years, $24.25M) – There is reason to believe he’s lost his scoring touch from San Jose. He scored 3 goals last year for the Rangers, and has only 3 assists in the 12 games he’s played for the Devils. After missing a huge chunk of the season with his concussion, he’s become a bit of an offensive liability for New Jersey, as if they could afford having another one around. Verdict: Bust

Vincent Lecavalier (Philadelphia, 5 years, $22.5M) – If the Flyers were going to pay him for his good years in Tampa, he’d be getting more than $4.5M per year. But at that money, he should be scoring a bit more than a point every 2 games, with 16 points in 30 games. He also has been fighting an injury bug, something the Flyers can ill afford. Fortunately, the Flyers have other guys who can carry the scoring. Verdict: Close to bust

Jaromir Jagr (New Jersey, 1 year, $4M) – At first, I was apprehensive to call this a good signing, but Lou Lamoriello always has a plan. Jagr has been a cornerstone of this year’s offense in Newark, with 35 points in his 44 games with the Devils, and a +/- of +12. The offense seems to siphon through him when he’s on the ice, dominating puck control, and he knows what to do with the puck wherever he his. Verdict: Great signing

Some other wild card signings that have worked out, like Michael Ryder (NJ, 2 years, $7M), Mason Raymond (TOR, 1 year, $1M) or Mikhail Grabovski (WAS, 1 year, $3M), and some busted, like Matt Cullen (NSH, 2 years, $7M) or Daniel Briere (MTL, 2 years, $8M).

Team building isn’t all on free agents. But some acquisitions can be huge for your team, while others don’t quite work out. Next week, we’ll take a look at the trades from this season so far, and judge who won the deal. Till next time, puckheads!

frtr

Now that we are approaching the playoffs, its about the time where players are having there fantasy seasons evaluated. Instead of going player by player, the team here at The Fifth Quarter decided to make things a little more interesting. We present

                                                        The Fantasy Awards.

Rookie of The Year

1.    Giovani Bernard- The 2nd round pick out of Notre Dame has flourished in the Cincinnati Bengals offense. Despite splitting carries with Benjarvus Green Ellis, He was top 10 in fantasy points for RB’s going into the Bengals bye week. He has been even more valuable in PPR leagues. Even though he cooled off a bit toward the end of the year, Bernard will definitely be a RB2 going into next year.

2.    Eddie Lacy- Even with the injury problems and handcuff back James Starks, Eddie Lacy has put up fantastic numbers this year. Since returning from a concussion, he has put up double-digit fantasy points in all but 2 games. The Alabama bruiser will be a top 10 pick next year without hesitation.

3.    Julius Thomas- As if the Denver Broncos didn’t have enough weapons, they draft a 6’7 former basketball player to play TE. Thomas is 2nd in points among TE only trailing Jimmy Graham. He has become an elite fantasy option and will stay this way as long as Peyton Manning is at QB.

                                                Injury Replacement of The Year

1.    Fred Jackson- Fantasy owners enraged by CJ Spiller (more on him later) have at least found a silver lining in the whole situation. Fred Jackson took the role of feature back and has cherished every minute. He has rushed for 896 YDs, rushed for 9 TDS and added 387 YDs in the passing game. He finished a top 11 running back this year, but don’t expect similar numbers next year.

2.    Harry Douglas- Ever since fantasy owners suffered the heartbreaking loss of Julio Jones, many wondered if anyone would be able to replace him. In walks Harry Douglas. Douglas has been extremely impressive in his four games as a starting WR for the Atlanta Falcons. Douglas has put up 42 points in those four games. He isn’t a viable starter going forward, but he provided some good value for this year.

3.    Keenan Allen- When 6’5 receiver Malcolm Floyd suffered his season ending injury in week 3, people once again wondered who would be the fill in. Initially it seemed it would be journeyman Eddie Royal. However, after a few weeks, it was clear the 2nd round pick out of Cal was going to be the guy. Since week 4, Allen has put up 1,046 receiving yards and 8 TD. His value is based on the play of QB Phillip Rivers, but he should be a safe pick in next years draft.

Waiver Wire Pick Up of The Year

1.    Julius Thomas– Up for his second nomination, Thomas has been a gods send for fantasy owners. In a particularly week year for TEs, Thomas has proven to be a true gem for whoever was lucky enough to get him. With Peyton throwing to him, Orange Julius had 788 Rec Yards and 12 TDs. Thomas value will be put into question when a new QB steps in, but until then count on him as a top 3 TE fantasy.

2.    Zac Stacy- While he hasn’t proven himself entirely yet, all signs point up for the rookie 5th round pick out of Vanderbilt. Since his first carry in week 5, Stacy has put his foot on the gas and hasn’t let up. He ran for 973 yards with 7 touchdowns and has added an extra 100 yards and a touchdown through the air. Stacy ended the year in RB1 conversation and could be a first round pick come next year.

3.    Nick Foles- After Foles suffered a concussion against Dallas in week 7, a lot of people threw Nick Foles to the waiver wire and continued playing their every week quarterback. That move could have very easily cost many people a championship. The Eagles signal caller was electrifying in his return, scoring over 20 points in six straight weeks.  In the exhilarating Chip Kelly offense, Foles will easily be a top five quarterback next year.

 

Bust Of The Year (Injury Related)

1.     C.J. Spiller- Oh what could have been. Had Spiller sat out a couple of weeks and let his ankle heal, he could have ended being worthy of his first round pick status (e.g. Roddy White). Instead Spiller insisted on playing and killed his value in the process. Despite a bit of resurgence towards the end of the season, Spiller only finished with 927 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Spiller will fall to the third or fourth round next year, but he will have tremendous upside.

2.     Steven Jackson- Coming into the season, many thought that long time Rams running back would have a rejuvenation year in a much better Atlanta Offense. They weren’t totally wrong. Jackson had a nice stretch to end the year with three straight double-digit games. The problem is a little stretch isn’t acceptable for someone you spent a second round pick on. Jackson suffered a thigh injury in week 2 and was held out for six weeks. When he came back he just couldn’t put it together. S-Jax finished the year with 543 yards and 6 touchdowns. Not the production expected from a RB2

3.     David Wilson. The hype was endless. The New York Giants speed back started off as the biggest sleeper of the year and ended up being ranked as high as 14 on pre draft rankings. Out of the gate, he looked like a disaster, scoring negative two points against the Cowboys. He finally showed a little promise four and scored his first touchdown in week five. However, the excitement was shortlived. Wilson left the same game with a neck injury and was later ruled out for the game with a neck injury. Low and behold it was much worse. Wilson was ruled out for the year and his entire career may be over. Wilson has vowed to play again but there is serious doubt behind that. As far as fantasy, he shouldn’t even be in your thought process going forward.

Bust Of The Year

1.             Ray (Fried) Rice- The wheels just fell off the bus this year. The number six ranked player (according to Yahoo) was just miserable this entire year. With a lack of a passing game, opposing defenses focused on Rice and absolutely destroyed him and his handcuff back Bernard Pierce. Rice finished the year with 660 yards and 4 touchdowns. If the Ravens don’t improve in the passing game and on the offensive line, Rice should be no more than a flex player come next year.

2.             Hakeem Nicks- Now no one expected Nicks to be an MVP for your team, but he was expected to be a solid WR2 and a possible difference maker. Instead, Nicks fell into complete oblivion. With a dysfunctional offense and contract issues Nicks pretty much fell behind Ruben Randle in terms of targets. He wasn’t playing with his all and frustrations with his coach showed when he was randomly benched in week 12. Nicks put up a total of three games with over 100 yards and scored no touchdowns all year. Being on a new team may help him, but don’t trust Nicks immediately as anything more than a WR3

3.             Trent Richardson- Seems like he was too busy making sextapes to learn the Colts playbook. After being traded after week 2 from the Cleveland Browns to the Indianapolis Colts, growing pains were expected, as he had to learn a whole new offensive system. However, no one expected growing pains like these. In 14 games with the Colts, the 2012 number three overall pick ran for 468 yards, 3 touchdowns and 5 fumbles. This was just simply unacceptable. Richardson ended up being benched at the end of the year for backup Donald Brown. Richardsons season high rushing yards was 64. This is just insane for a player ranked 10th overall. With Donald Brown likely leaving in free agency and having the whole offseason to learn the playbook properly, all hope isn’t lost for the Alabama bruiser. In terms of next years draft though, he shouldn’t be any higher than a 10th round pick.

Most Valuable Player

1.                      Peyton Manning- With questions coming into the season about his health, Manning silenced all critics with one of the greatest seasons ever. Finishing with an overall number one ranking, Peyton threw for 5,477 (a new record) and 55 touchdowns (also a new record). In terms of fantasy, Manning scored 419 points in standard leagues, which is 50 points better than second place finisher Drew Brees. The Broncos captain also had five games of over 30 points, which is the most by any quarterback this year. It is undeniable that Peyton had one of the greatest seasons ever on the field and the computer.

2.                      Jamaal Charles- What a breakout year. The already established star running back catapulted himself into superstardom this year with his incredible season. The Kansas City running back ended the year with 1,287 yards on the ground with 12 touchdowns. Charles wasn’t done as he added 693 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns. The former Texas back stamped his season off with an exclamation point game that destroyed all projections. In a 56-31 thrashing of the Raiders, Charles rushed the ball 8 times for 20 yards and 1 touchdown. That seems like an ok fantasy day, until you look at the rest of the box score. Charles added 8 receptions for 195 yards and 4 touchdowns for a grand total of 51 fantasy points. As long as Andy Reid is the head coach, expect Charles to be a top 3 overall pick every year.

3.                      LeSean McCoy- the same that was said about Jamaal Charles, can be said about Shady McCoy. Putting on absolute clinic, McCoy led the league in rushing with 1,607 yards and added 9 touchdowns. Furthermore, McCoy also benefited from the passing game, adding 539 yards on 53 receptions and 2 touchdowns.  Additionally, when the quarterback wasn’t Matt Barkley, Shady never scored under 10 points in a game. The former Pitt running back proved that he wasn’t going to let his bad 2012 season deter him from greatness. Expect just that going into further seasons.

We will announce the winner of each category in the coming weeks. Disagree with our picks? Feel someone was left out? Let us know in the comments!

winter classic 2014

Greetings, hockey fans! This week, we changed calendars, and witnessed a shining example of hockey’s beauty. More suspension talk and some massive standings shake-ups are included, in this week’s Week in Review.

Anaheim [Mighty] Ducks (3-0-0) – Winners of 9 of their last 10 games, the Ducks are arguably the hottest team in the NHL, and still have yet to be beaten in regulation on the Pond. In case you are wondering the record, it’s 26 games set by the 79-80 Flyers.

Boston Bruins (2-1-0) – A rough loss to the Islanders puts a small mark on this otherwise smooth-sailing week for the B’s.

Buffalo Sabres (1-2-0) – Tyler Myers is getting a hearing from NHL Dept. of Player Safety about his hit on Devils’ Dainius Zubrus, yet it only cost his team a minor penalty. How do you explain that?

Calgary Flames (0-2-0) – They have 1 goal in their last 4 games. That’s bordering on pathetic.

Carolina Hurricanes (4-0-0) – Just when you think you can count them out, they win 4 in a row. That’s the story of the Metropolitan this year.

Chicago Blackhawks (2-0-2) – Patrick Sharp seems to pull hat-tricks out of anywhere. That makes 2 in the last month. Of course he plays for Chicago.

Colorado Avalanche (3-0-0) – 6 points behind the Blues, 7 ahead of the Wild, I think the Avalanche are now safely in third in the Central. But who knows what could happen here on out?

Columbus Blue Jackets (1-2-0) – Nathan Horton returned and scored the first goal of the game in Phoenix, and it was a game-winner. The next game? They lose 6-2 to the Blues.

Dallas Stars (1-2-0) – They may have cooled a bit, thanks to Montreal’s PK Subban, but with 3 games at hand on the streaky Wild, they should feel just fine.

Detroit Red Wings (1-1-1) – The Winter Classic was awesome, yes, but the game itself was crappy and cold. And now they have to travel a ton. Yay for scheduling snafus!

Edmonton Oilers (1-2-1) – I think I might take every Oilers’ post in Week in Reviews from here on out just to make fun of Ilya Bryzgalov. Until they fire sale, at least.

Florida Panthers (1-0-1) – Splitting 2 shootouts this week. Splitting head-aches for upper management this season. Coincidence?

Los Angeles Kings (1-3-0) – They are thanking their lucky celebrity stars that Jonathan Quick is back. First game, lets in just 1 in a win against Vancouver. Them and the USOC.

Minnesota Wild (2-1-0) – 5 goals on 11 shots vs. Washington, including 3 goals on 3 power play shots. Braden Holtby was either in net or somewhere else, we couldn’t tell.

Montreal Canadiens (1-0-2) – A bat made it’s way into the Bell Centre without a ticket. Either it snuck in, or the Habs were trying to scare their opponent. Or they signed Dracula. Or [insert joke here].

Nashville Predators (1-1-2) – Still ways away from seeing Pekka Rinne in net. Also ways away from a chance at the playoffs. Coincidence?

New Jersey Devils (1-2-0) – After an emotional win against the Penguins, they let the Blackhawks be the Blackhawks for about 5 minutes, costing them the game, and had an ugly loss to the Sabres (which New Jersey is blaming on the referees).

New York Islanders (2-1-0) – They managed to beat Chicago. Maybe there is life in this team.

New York Rangers (2-1-0) – They forgot to show up against the Penguins, then blasted the Leafs, and traded for tough guy Dan Carcillo. Why can’t this team make up their minds?

Ottawa Senators (3-0-0) – They are heating up, and now just 2 points back of the Leafs. Sure, why not throw another contender into the Eastern wild-card mess?

Philadelphia Flyers (3-1-0) – They unseeded Washington as the #2 team in the Metropolitan. Remember when they were a joke?

Phoenix Coyotes (1-2-0) – Winning just 2 of their last 10 will not help them in the standings or on their bottom line. That 5th year opt out clause on the ownership contract is looking tasty right now.

Pittsburgh Penguins (2-1-0) – For some reason, they have a very difficult time with winning in the Prudential Center. They don’t play them again this year, and are very thankful for it.

San Jose Sharks (2-2-0) – Alex Stalock looked great in a shootout win in Chicago. That’s a good sign for the future, considering everyone saying their window is closing soon.

St. Louis Blues (3-0-0) – They smacked the Kings 5-0 and the Jackets 6-2. Still have the fewest losses in the league too. Why is no one else lauding their regular season dominance? Oh right, the playoffs count too.

Tampa Bay Lightning (2-1-0) – Who would have thought that their only loss in Western Canada was to Ilya Bryzgalov and the Oilers? Yeah, I joke about Bryz with other teams too.

Toronto Maple Leafs (1-1-0) – After a win on the big stage in the Big House, they triumphantly return home, and gut-checked by the Rangers, 7-1. They might just fall behind Ottawa this week.

Vancouver Canucks (0-2-2) – So much for Roberto Luongo coming back. They can still trade him, right?

Washington Capitals (0-2-1) – They got passed by Philadelphia this week. Ovechkin can’t do it on his own, people. Looking your way, Braden Holtby (see Minnesota Wild).

Winnipeg Jets (1-3-0) – They held the lead in Pittsburgh, which isn’t something many teams can say. But did they win? Hahahaha no.

Goal of the Week: Thomas Tatar of the Detroit Red Wings cut through the Stars like a hot knife through butter:

 

In the box this week: Some dumb Red Wings fan tried to video-bomb a field reporter by the Winter Classic:

Ice – 1. Red Wings fan – 0. Karma – 1,000,000.

Next week, we will have some more fun in the NHL. Happy hockey, puck-heads!