Now that the biggest part of NHL free-agency action is over, it’s time to decide who made out, who crapped out, and how the Dallas Stars figure into it all. ESPN hockey mavens Emily Kaplan and Grey Wyshynski have put their heads together to decode this year’s deals.
For starters, Wysh just comes out and says it: There are no biggest losers among the latest teams to get robbed by Joe Sakic, because they’re all the biggest loser in their own way.
What compels these NHL general managers to keep making trades with Joe Sakic and the Colorado Avalanche when they know it’s going to end in grand larceny?
The Avs turned Anton Lindholm and Nikita Zadorov into Blackhawks left wing Brandon Saad — and had Chicago retain salary. They traded two second-round picks to the Islanders for defenseman Devon Toews. In both cases, the Avalanche used their considerable cap space to take on financial obligations that other teams didn’t want to fulfill.
This year, entire groups of player were among the biggest winners and losers. High-performing goalies, among them Anton Khudobin, cashed in with major new contracts. But forwards at all levels suffered from the flat cap:
The forwards seemed most affected by the flat cap and the internal budget constraints from teams. In the first five days of free agency, only four unrestricted forwards signed for three or more years: Tyler Toffoli (four years, Canadiens), Craig Smith (three years, Bruins), Jesper Fast (three years, Hurricanes) and Zemgus Girgensons (three years, Sabres). By the end of last offseason, there were 14 contracts of three or more years for forwards. Although this was a down year for free-agent forwards, especially at the center spot, there’s a clear economic impact on that middle class: Noel Acciari, Ryan Carpenter, Richard Panik and Brett Connolly all got three or more years last year, and that kind of player wasn’t getting term or money this year.
There’s much more under the link. [ESPN]
Around The Leagues
Cue the 2000-Year-Old Man jokes. One sportscaster has even come up with a plug-and-play response.
Noticing a lot of “Joe Thornton is old” jokes. Please keep in mind:— Sid Seixeiro (@Sid_Seixeiro) October 16, 2020
He’s the only guy to win both the Hart and Art Ross in the same season he was traded.
He won two World Cups of Hockey.
He won Olympic Gold.
He’s going to the Hall of Fame.
Put some respect on his name please.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Kings have secured an entry-level deal with their new top prospect, No. 2 overall Quinton Byfield.
Kings sign Quinton Byfield to entry-level contract https://t.co/mYVuX7YqY9— Jewels from the Crown (@JFTC_Kings) October 17, 2020
“I’ve been in this  years. I don’t think I’d put 10 guys on a list of people I never want to see again.” Doc Emrick, in his own words.
"There’s a lot of words I like. It’s like having a number of clubs in your golf bag — lots to choose from."— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 19, 2020
Mike "Doc" Emerick spoke to @lukefoxjukebox back in 2015 about his process and his favourite hockey words.#ThankYouDochttps://t.co/NYUE1DWySz
NBC Sports benefited from Doc’s services for many years, and he plans to continue doing video essays for them – not unlike this one.
After 3,750+ Professional and Olympic hockey games, 100 different verbs used to describe a pass or shot, and 22 Stanley Cup Finals, the legendary Mike "Doc" Emrick has announced his retirement from broadcasting.— #ThankYouDoc (@NHLonNBCSports) October 19, 2020
From hockey fans around the world, we say #ThankYouDoc! pic.twitter.com/Pt27Dp63TW
Remember this call from the 2020 Winter Classic? Of course you do.
See you, legend: Olympic gold medalist Meghan Duggan, who led or helped lead the U.S. Women’s National Team to seven world championships, is calling it a career.
Now here’s a thought exercise for Stars fans, who can carry torches for underloved players for decades. Discuss.
Name your favorite player that didn't get enough love from your team's fanbase.— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) October 19, 2020