Archives for July 2013

Kovalchuk Retires… Wait, WHAT???!!!

Kovalchuk

Ilya Kovalchuk announces his retirement from the NHL. He leaves $77 million on the table and heads back to Russia, where one can only assume he will play in the KHL. No one leaves the NHL to go play in the KHL because the hockey is better, it always comes down to $$.

Clarkson Inks 7-Year Deal With Toronto

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At one point this weekend I was a little sad for the NHL and then at another point of the weekend I was smiling because all I could imagine was Brian Burke laughing his ass off.

I’m not going to argue that David Clarkson isn’t a stand-up guy or that he doesn’t do a lot for the people in his community because he does. He still has a charitable organization in Kitchner where he played his minor league hockey and there are countless organizations he gave his time to while in New Jersey but he’s being paid to play hockey, not run charities. And while he’s a decent hockey player, I do question the amount of money he is now being paid to play hockey.

Clarkson is going to get $5.25 million per year for the next 7 years. Nathan Horton also signed a 7-year deal for a cap hit of $5.3 million per but many thought that was too much but then seemed ok with the Clarkson deal. Horton has six seasons with 20 or more goals, a Stanley Cup ring and a  0.84 points-per-game average in the postseason. Clarkson has one 30-goal season, no ring and a 0.32 PPG average in the postseason.

I don’t want to take too much away from Clarkson because he does serve some good out on the ice. He’s a tough guy to get off the puck which creates opportunities for him and his teammates, he knows how to forecheck, isn’t afraid to drop the gloves and can deliver a big check from time to time. But at $5.25 million, I would expect to be getting a guy that would stay a top 6 foreward, something he wasn’t always in NJ. He’s also been known to be undisciplined at times and wildly inconsistent with his goal scoring. In 2013, he had one goal in 17 games; in 2012, he had one goal in 10 games; and in 2011, he had one goal in 19 games.  In my opinion, David Clarkson had failed to play up to his potential until Peter DeBoer, who coached him in Kitchner, got to NJ.

I also must take into account that Clarkson is coming from a team that has missed the playoffs 2 out of the last 3 years. Yes, NJ made it to the Stanley Cup Final in 2012 but that wasn’t because of the play from David Clarkson. If David Clarkson is such a powerhouse of offensive talent to bring in the kind of contract that Toronto has given him, then why wasn’t he able to carry the Devils to the playoff this year while Ilya Kovalchuk was out of the lineup? In the final month of the season, which was a very critical time for NJ, Clarkson found the net only 3 times (1 of which came after the Devils had been eliminated from the playoff race).

The bottom line is that David Clarkson is a good player and can be an asset to many teams but I question the amount of money and the length of the contract.  Hopefully for Toronto’s sake I am wrong and David Clarkson can prove he’s a power forward worthy of such a big pay day.

Devils Light Some Fireworks on the Fourth

The New Jersey Devils lit some fireworks of their own on the 4th of July by taking care of a number of in-house free agents.

According to ESPN, center Patrik Elias is going to become a lifetime New Jersey Devil after agreeing on a three-year deal worth $16.5 million.

With that kind of money, he may just do some college football betting.

The 37 year-old is the Devil’s all time franchise leader in goals (375) and assists (555). He is also third in games played with 1090 over his 17 year career.

“To [general manager] Lou [Lamoriello], all my teammates and Devils fans, I’m excited to sign a new contract and be back with New Jersey,” Elias said in a statement released through his agent. “This year marks my 17th year with the Devils, and it’s very special to be a member of one organization for my entire career. We’ve shared some great moments together, and I look forward to working with everyone to create new ones. Go Devils!”

Elias has won two Stanley cups with the Devils after being drafted in the second round of the 1995 draft. He said at the end of last season, which he scored 14 goals with 22 assists in 48 games, that he wanted to come back to Newark.

Also returning to the Rock is veteran forward Dairnius Zubras, who inked a three-year,  $9.3 million contract. A person familiar with the deal revealed the terms to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the Devils didn’t release those numbers.

Zubrus is a 16-year NHL veteran, who has spent the past six seasons with New Jersey.

Of course, the Devils may still lose a number of unrestricted free agents. David Clarkson will test the market when it opens on Friday, while forwards, Steve Sullivan, Alexei Ponikarovsky and defenseman Marek Zidlicky are also eligible to become unrestricted free agents.

Also not returning to Newark will be goalie Johan Hedberg, who was bought out of the final season of his contact, which was set to count as $1.4 million against the salary cap, according to the Newark Star Ledger.

The 40 year-old was expendable after the Devils acquired Cory Schneider from the Vancouver Canucks on draft day. Hedberg spent the last three seasons backing up Marty Brodeur.

 

What We Learned: Quick Thoughts on the 2013 NHL Entry Draft

Schneider gone, Luongo’s the man for Torts

What We Learned will be a weekly Monday Morning feature to cover the things that happened over the weekend in hockey. Of course, with this being the off-season, you might not see a ton of what we learned posts until training camp.

The Draft, it was an interesting one. A few unexpected plot twists happened. Here are a few of my thoughts on the things that happened.

Chicago – Hey, thanks for putting home that goal that brought us the cup but we think that’s probably the pinnacle of your career so have fun in Toronto. They traded Michael Frolik as well and did so to overpay Bryan Bickell which is kind of a head scratcher.

Columbus – Tides are turning in Columbus and I thought Jarmo Kekalainen did very well. It’s about time, really would like to see Columbus turn the corner a bit. I say that while cringing as they move into my division but still, they’ve been horrible for so long.

Dallas – I can’t believe Valeri Nichushkin dropped to them. Maybe the biggest shock of the draft for outside of Seth Jones going No. 4.

Nashville – THE winner of the day because Seth Jones dropped to #4 and they scooped him up. What a team/organization for Jones to end up on. It’s the equivalent of NFL running backs ending up in Mike Shanahan’s hands.

New Jersey – The Cory Schneider deal was incredible and this Santini kid could turn out to be something as well. Devils fans love Marty but finally Lou is realizing he needs to address the future. The Marty drafting Anthony moment was nice moment but it certainly meant more if your last name was Brodeur.

New York Rangers – Didn’t have a pick until #65 and they pick Adam Tambellini?? Was John Tortorella in charge of scouting because the Rangers just seemed unprepared to me.

Pittsburgh – More signs that Marc-Andre Fluery is on the way out as they drafted a goalie.

Vancouver – Traded Schneider to NJ for the 9th pick which they used to pick Bo Horvat so this was basically a Schneider for Horvat trade. Maybe Torts already pissed off Gillis already so Gillis decided to start tanking this team? Awful day for the Canucks.

What did you think about yesterday? Any huge surprises on your end?