The Bleacher Report’s Adrian Dater answered Twitter questions today, and when asked which team won the off-season, he went with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Dater’s reasoning is popular, that GM Steve Yzerman managed to convince his biggest name player, Steven Stamkos, to stay at a price lower than many expected, he was able to re-sign Victor Hedman a year before free agency, and extended Alex Killorn as well, while leaving more than enough cap space to re-sign Nikita Kucherov long-term.
With respect to Dater, and he’s far from alone in saying this, it’s not really as thrilling as the names involved would imply. Yzerman carries a sort of reverence through the hockey world, and will be praised profusely with little effort, despite the fact that his accomplishments this off-season are mostly things contending team GMs do with little problem. Dallas Stars’ forward Jamie Benn also signed a long term contract a year out from free agency, and the Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have never really come close to the open market. Stamkos getting as far as speaking to other teams is an anomaly itself. After Yzerman’s messy situation with Stamkos’ mentor Martin St. Louis, his re-upping of a coach who Stamkos reportedly dislikes, and who played him out of position, his offer which was well below what others were willing to pay, and the trade demand by the team’s best young player in Jonathan Drouin, it’s fair to wonder if this was really a wooing by Yzerman, or if he Stamkos signed because he looked around at the other options and couldn’t find a fit. Yzerman has done some great work in Tampa, but Stamkos staying rather than taking more money from his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs, or close to home Detroit Red Wings or Buffalo Sabres, is likely the result of the work Yzerman did years ago in making the Lightning a team a player wouldn’t want to leave to begin with. Yzerman’s best move of 2016 may just be not giving into Drouin’s trade demand, understanding the leverage he held, the attractiveness of the Lightning situation, and the fickleness of the typical 21 year old.
More snapshots from around the hockey world:
- NHL.com has some quotes on PK Subban today from around the Predators’ organization. Subban touches on the lack of distraction in Nasvhille, and GM David Poile responds to talk about Subban’s personality saying that while some would prefer a more homogeneous group, the Predators “don’t want that. We can’t win with 20 players that are exactly the same, either skill-wise or personality-wise. I want different types of players, and I want different personalities.”
- James O’Brien at NBC Pro Hockey Talk profiles the Brandon Wheat Kings’ Nolan Patrick today. Patrick, the son of former NHLer Steve Patrick, and newphew of former NHLer James Patrick, is expected to be taken with the first pick in the 2017 NHL entry draft.
- Craig Morgan of Arizona Sports quotes on Twitter Coyotes GM Jonathan Chayka suggesting that today’s signing of former Kings’ defenseman Luke Schenn could open up room for the team to offload an extra defenseman.