The 2019 IIHF World Championship will begin next month, and Hockey Canada has finally announced their roster for the tournament. 22 players were named to the group (that could be increased to 25), including many that have represented the team at international events in the past. The full roster is as follows:
The Athletic’s NHL Draft and prospects guru Scott Wheeler has released the first definitive list of candidates for the Calder Trophy in 2018-19, and the order may surprise some people. Admittedly, the list is in the context of fantasy hockey, but Wheeler’s rankings are true to how he thinks Calder voting will unfold if each rookie hits their stat projections. As such, it’s not this year’s first overall pick, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, at the top of the list, but presumptive top-six center for the Vancouver Canucks, Elias Pettersson. Pettersson will be put in a much better position to rack up points than will Dahlin, the next-best candidate, as potentially one of the three best scoring forwards for the Canucks and traditionally productive forwards have a better shot at the Calder than (relatively) equally productive defensemen.
Coming in at number three is Boston Bruins forward Ryan Donato, who led both the NCAA and Olympics in goals last season and will look to win a top-six role for Boston and continue to find the back of the net at an alarming rate. Playing alongside either Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron or David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk is an easy way for Donato to quickly become an elite scorer at the NHL level. The fourth-ranked candidate is second overall pick Andrei Svechnikov of the Carolina Hurricanes, who – like Pettersson – will be given an immense amount of responsibility right away as a top-six winger who is arguably already one of the three most skilled forwards on the team. However, Svechnikov is one of three Hurricanes rookies on Wheeler’s list, which could take away from his case. Rounding out the top five is Dahlin’s fellow rookie in Buffalo, center Casey Mittelstadt, who scored at nearly a point-per-game pace in the college ranks and in a brief stint with the Sabres to end the year. Mittelstadt should face favorable match-ups this season with the lines anchored by Jack Eichel and Patrik Berglund drawing considerable attention from the opposition.
Wheeler’s top twenty Calder Trophy candidates are as follows:
- C Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks
- D Rasmus Dahlin, Buffalo Sabres
- RW Ryan Donato, Boston Bruins
- RW Andrei Svechnikov, Carolina Hurricanes
- C Casey Mittelstadt, Buffalo Sabres
- RW Filip Zadina, Detroit Red Wings
- C Dylan Strome, Arizona Coyotes
- C Henrik Borgstrom, Florida Panthers
- C Martin Necas, Carolina Hurricanes
- D Miro Heiskanen, Dallas Stars
- RW Dylan Sikura, Chicago Blackhawks
- RW Eeli Tolvanen, Nashville Predators
- C Filip Chytil, New York Rangers
- LW Brady Tkachuk, Ottawa Senators
- LW Valentin Zykov, Carolina Hurricanes
- RW Kailer Yamamoto, Edmonton Oilers
- C Anthony Cirelli, Tampa Bay Lightning
- LW Kristian Vesalainen, Winnipeg Jets
- C Sam Steel, Anaheim Ducks
- RW Vitaly Abramov, Columbus Blue Jackets
Honorable Mentions: C Vladislav Kamenev, Colorado Avalanche; LW Jordan Greenway, Minnesota Wild; C Robert Thomas, St. Louis Blues; LW Andreas Johnsson, Toronto Maple Leafs; C Michael Rasmussen, Detroit Red Wings; C Lias Andersson, New York Rangers; D Sami Niku, Winnipeg Jets; D Evan Bouchard, Edmonton Oilers; RW Daniel Sprong, Pittsburgh Penguins
What do you think? Who will be the NHL’s Rookie of the Year and take home the Calder Trophy at the end of the season? The favorite? The first overall pick? Another top candidate? Or a name not even mentioned here?
Navigating the Salary Cap is probably one of the more important tasks for any general manager to have. Teams that can avert total cap chaos by walking the tightrope of inking players to deals that match their value (or compensate for future value without breaking the bank) remain successful. Those that don’t see struggles and front office changes.
PHR will look at every NHL team and give a thorough look at their cap situation heading into the 2018-19 season. This will focus more on those players who are integral parts of the roster versus those who may find themselves shuttling between the AHL and NHL. All cap figures are courtesy of CapFriendly.
Current Projected Cap Hit: $76,853,780 (under the $79.5MM Upper Limit)
Entry Level Contracts
After a impressive rookie campaign, the Lightning knew they had a special player in Point, who proceeded to have a breakout year as the team’s second-line center. Point, who is good enough to be a No. 1 center, provided the team with a 32-goal, 66-point season. Now in his third year, Point could really walk away with a huge payday if he can equal or even better on that performance this year. Cirelli looks to have the third-line center spot locked down after the 21-year-old had a successful, but short stint, last season. He posted five goals and 11 points in 18 games last season and played in all 17 games of the playoffs, adding a pair of goals.
Sergachev has two years remaining on his contract and the 20-year-old defenseman had an up and down season, but still posted a nine-goal, 40-point season. He did have trouble getting regular minutes as the team often lost faith in his defensive play along with some immaturity issues. Regardless, the left-handed shot actually proved to head coach Jon Cooper that he can play on the right side, solving their depth issues on the right side. Sergachev should continue to develop his skills and also be in line for a big payday in two years.
One Year Remaining, Non-Entry Level
D Anton Stralman ($4.5MM, UFA)
D Braydon Coburn ($3.7MM, UFA)
D Dan Girardi ($3MM, UFA)
F Yanni Gourde ($1MM, UFA)
F Cedric Paquette ($1MM, RFA)
D Slater Koekkoek ($865K, RFA)
D Jake Dotchin ($813K, RFA)
F Adam Erne ($800K, RFA)
F Andy Andreoff ($678K, UFA)
F Cory Conacher ($650K, UFA)
For a team known for its defensive depth on its defense, it’s a little shocking to see that they only have three players signed after the 2018-19 season. Almost all of the team’s defense become free agents, restricted or otherwise, including Stralman, Coburn, Girardi, Koekkoek and Dotchin. With the team heavily laden in long-term deals, the team might be willing to allow Stralman, Coburn and Girardi to walk at the end of the year. All three are solid players, but there might not be any cap room to extend any of them, especially if the team has to give long-term deals to both Sergachev and Point. Stralman’s situation will be the most interesting as he’s a solid defenseman that complements his partner quite well and was the veteran who mentored Sergachev last season. Coburn and Girardi are likely expendable. Koekkoek and Dotchin will only be restricted free agents, but neither got a lot of playing time with the team, especially after the team added defensive talent at the trade deadline. However, both could play bigger roles this year, or within two years.
Another interesting decision the team will have to make is Gourde, who posted a breakout season in his first full season. The 26-year-old spent many years working on his game in the AHL before finally catching on with the Syracuse Crunch in 2014. From there he worked his way up before catching the team’s eye in training camp to win a spot. The result was a 25-goal, 64-point performance and now he has to prove he can duplicate that performance this season to get a big boost in his pay. For $1MM, Gourde may be the best bargain on the team, but he could get pricey quickly.Read more
Evander Kane has found a new home, at least for the rest of this year. While it’s too early to know whether he will stay in San Jose for the foreseeable future, the Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington writes that the Sharks might be the best fit for the 26-year-old personality. In a 10-point notebook on Kane, Harrington writes that what Kane really needs is to be on a veteran team who will tell him how things work, something that he did not have in Buffalo.
The Sharks, who are loaded in veterans such as Joe Thornton, Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski, Joel Ward and Marc-Edouard Vlasic, should be able to have some controlling effect on Kane. Thornton already proved that when the veteran picked Kane up from the airport in a limousine after the trade. He also writes that Kane already is showing off his speed with San Jose as he’s tallied up three assists in two games with the Sharks. That speed was not very apparent over the past couple of months in Buffalo, but the scribe writes that Kane was well aware Buffalo management wanted to move on from him and may have lost interest in sacrificing himself for the Sabres.
Harrington also adds that general manager Jason Botterill should have made a trade earlier when Kane was hot. Knowing his reputation, which only got worse in the last couple of months with his teammates, they never were likely to get the asking price that Botterill was demanding. In the end, it was quite obvious that only veteran teams showed interest in Kane as the runner-up at the deadline was the Anaheim Ducks.
Due to his reputation, Harrington wonders whether Kane will be forced to take a lesser deal this offseason. Players at his age and skill should be getting a long-term deals at $6-7MM, but Kane may be forced to accept something closer to a four-year term if teams continue to worry about his ability to co-exist with his teammates.
- Tampa Bay Times’ Joe Smith tweets that Tampa Bay Lightning backup goalie Peter Budaj, who hasn’t played since Dec. 29, is really close to returning to the team. The team could have a decision to make, however, as emergency backup Louis Domingue has won four of his six starts and has played well for Tampa Bay. Domingue, who has a 3.29 GAA and a .905 save percentage would have to be officially recalled, however, if they want to keep the 25-year-old. The team has already used two of their four allotted recalls on Anthony Cirelli and Adam Erne, so the team may not want to use a third recall yet and might stick with Budaj. The 35-year-old has struggled with Tampa Bay this year, however, with a 3.80 GAA and a .878 save percentage.
- John Boruk of NBC Sports Philadelphia writes that the Philadelphia Flyers talked to the Ottawa Senators right before the trade deadline about acquiring winger Mike Hoffman. The scribe writes that sources have said the Senators asked for a package that included defenseman Travis Sanheim and a first-round pick as a starting point. While a first-rounder (they have two of them this year) might have been a possibility, Sanheim proved to be the deal-breaker.
- Providence Journal’s Mark Divver tweets that he spoke to a pro scout who believes the Pittsburgh Penguins made a mistake when they traded enforcer Ryan Reaves to the Vegas Golden Knights last week. While Reaves took a lot of criticism for his lack of offense with the Penguins, he provided the team with leadership and a physicality the team really needed. The scribe writes that the Penguins struggled when things got tough Thursday when they played the Boston Bruins.
One might think that after trading away so much young talent on Monday, that the Tampa Bay Lightning prospect cupboards could look a little bare. After all, they dealt both Brett Howden and Libor Hajek, two prospects who would be considered among the best of most teams around the league. Those assuming an empty cupboard though, would be mistaken.
Today, the Lightning have recalled Anthony Cirelli from the Syracuse Crunch and he is expected to make his NHL debut tonight against the Dallas Stars. Cirelli is leading the Crunch—one of the AHL’s best teams—in scoring this season with 37 points through 51 games, his first (full-season) taste of the professional level. The 20-year old is extremely polished, and looks ready to take the next step and contribute at the NHL level.
Cirelli was selected 72nd-overall in 2015 after just a single season in the OHL, but quickly showed that he should have been taken much higher. In his second season for the Oshawa Generals, he was named captain after Islanders’ prospect Michael Dal Colle was traded midseason, and last year he was a big part of the silver medal-winning World Junior squad for Canada. Cirelli was tasked with a checking role for the squad, but still managed to contribute seven points in seven games.
Now, the Lightning will give him his first taste of NHL hockey where he can start to make an impact as a two-way presence in the bottom of their lineup. Though his game still has some growing to do, he’s a rare prospect that is expected to be as reliable defensively as they are exciting offensively. For the Lightning, who are trying to fend off the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs for top spot in the Atlantic Division, an injection of young talent could be just what the doctor ordered.
Michael Bournival has been returned to Syracuse, and Cirelli’s call-up is under emergency conditions. That means he won’t count towards Tampa Bay’s four post-deadline recalls, unless they decide to keep him after players come back from injury.