Where Do The Wild Go From Here?

Sometimes you make the gamble and it pays off, sometimes you end up like the Wild. The Wild took a gamble, signed Eric Staal to a three year deal in the off-season, They took another gamble and traded a 1st Round pick (amongst others) to the Arizona Coyotes for Martin Hanzal. As much flack as he received he scored 13 points in 20 games played. Comparatively speaking, his 20 games played resulted in a 0.65 PPG is the highest in his career. His CF% was the highest of his career at 58.6%. Yes, a lot of this is on a very small sample size, and yes, his teammates were much better than with the Wild than when he was a Coyote. But the season is done and Hanzal is a UFA. Using the CapFriendly cap comparable tool, Hanzal should get a slight raise, with my personal guess being approximately a $3.5-4M a year contract. The Wild may not be able to keep a player at that cost, as they only had to absorb $1.55M of Hanzal’s contract this year and players such as Granlund, Niederreiter, and Haula all expecting to get raises from their current RFA deals.

Looking at their draft picks, the Wild do not have their 1st and 2nd round picks, as they traded their 1st for Martin Hanzal and their 2nd for Chris Stewart. Looking at their prospects, there’s a few interesting prospects. Krill Kaprizov, Joel Eriksson-Ek, and Luke Kunin did very well in the World Juniors, and could be the core for the future. But what do they do now?

Kaprizov will remain the KHL for the next little while and Kunin and Greenway will need some time to develop. Joel Eriksson-Ek is an intriguing prospect will have to be seasoned in the AHL. The Wild are in an intriguing position. Their free agency situation will be rather predictable, with Mikael Granlund, Erik Haula, Jordan Schroeder and Nino Niederreiter all expected to earn hefty raises. With approximately $11,441,409 cap space expected, their moves will be limited to mostly depth moves.

So what’s next? The experts are unsure. The Wild came into the 2016-2017 NHL season at 30-1 odds. Our friends over at www.CanadaCasino.net have pegged the 2017-2018 NHL season odds for the Minnesota Wild at approximately 20-1 by the time the season starts. How about you though? What do you think? Think that the odds are a steal? Let us know!

Editor’s note: This article was sponsored by www.CanadaCasino.net

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Are The Sedins Hurting The Canucks?

Just call me the king of hot takes. I AM THE STEPHEN A. SMITH of hockey. Put all your pitchforks away you Canucks fans and hear me out. I promise it won’t be too long.

I think most people agree that the Sedins are productive NHL players. 60-70 points each doesn’t seem too out of reach. They also make a lot of money. At $7M a year, you could consider them slightly overpaid, but not grossly overpaid to the point of Rick Nash and his almost $8M contract with 36 points last year. At 36 years old, the decline has been coming, with his lower point totals and CF%.

The Canucks need a rebuild. The good news is that most of their older veterans will be off the books by the 2018-2019 season. Accordingly to CapFriendly, they will have $43M to play with by then. But here come’s the bad news. The Canucks think they have a winning team, and have been trying to add pieces to make it a cup contender. Loui Eriksson’s contract is a prime example of that. A $6M contract for 5 more years after this one? That’s tough. In the short term, there is some relief. Derek Dorsett is out for the year, and in theory, can help with LTIR relief. Yet, that’s not something that is sustainable. So what does this all have to do with the Sedins?

What if the Canucks trade the Sedins to expedite the rebuild? We’re operating on the fact that they are willing to waive their NMC. It seems unlikely, but could be possible. At age 36, their window to win a cup is closing fast. Like I mentioned before, they’re good for 60-70 points, and even with a decline rate of 10%, 45-52 points in their age 39 season, is nothing to be ashamed about. There are a bunch of team who would love to add a guy like that for a playoff run. But there’s one big issue. $7M is a lot of money, and who would acquire one, but not both of the twins? A trade like that would definitely be veto’d by the twins. In theory, it is possible for the Canucks to retain the max 50% on both the twins to make it a more attractive target, but that still leaves the other team with a $7M cap hit. There aren’t that many teams with the cap space to take on both of them even at the discounted $7M cap hit. Take out the teams who are not in play off contention and there are possibly only a few teams with the type of players the Canucks could use.

Is it impossible? No. Unlikely? Probably. The Aquilinis have wanted to sell the Canucks for a while and it’s much easier to sell a winner than a loser. Could they be holding them back? It’s possible, but until the Canucks can clear the older, heavier contracts, the team will be perpetually stuck adding pieces to a broken machine.

Open Letter To Auston Matthews

Dear Auston,

Can I call you Auston? I feel like we’re on a first name basis now. Congrats on your NHL regular season debut. Also congrats on your first goal. I hope you got to keep the puck. Also congrats on your second goal.  That’s great! Wait stop. You’re scoring your third goal? What are you doing? This is insane. Goal number four? Why are you doing this? Stop, stop, stop! Oh good four is enough for you.

Remember the fact you play in Toronto, aka center of the hockey universe. The media hype around you doesn’t go away. Remember Tyler Biggs? The next big thing? Well that didn’t go so well. But the hype train doesn’t stop. In the words of 2004, the hype train “Won’t Stop, Can’t Stop“.  Now do I think you’ll be a bust? No. I think you’ll be an All-Star. But after one game, you would believe that he is a combination of Crosby, Messier, Orr, and Gretzky into one.  (Maybe it’s true, I’ll find out.)

But what now? How do you even follow up on that? Do you score 5 goals? Do you get a shutout? Do you do a hat trick of a Gordie Howe Hat Trick? I have a few ideas, and if you use them, just make sure to send me a shoutout on Twitter alright?

  • Score a goal while not having a stick
  • Score with only one skate
  • Assist on every goal in the game while also not playing a single minute
  • Shoot a puck over boards and balance it on Carlton The Bear’s nose
  • Buy everyone a beer in the stands (pop for the kids. Come on now.)

Let me know if you would like to collaborate for more ideas. I would love to help. Make sure to let me know on Twitter. My Twitter account is @hkyblogger. Also one thing Auston. This is all a joke. Keep on going man, but if you use one of my suggestions and don’t give me credit, that would be really disappointing. I won’t be angry, just disappointed.

Yours Truly,

@hkyblogger

Advice From An Agent and Advisor: Scott Deady!

So we’ve done many, many interviews with players, but every now and then we like to switch it up and interview hockey-related people like scouts, and we’ve done that once again! This time we have an interview with Momentum Hockey Player Agent/Advisor Scott Deady! Although agents are often overlooked in importance, ask any player and they’ll tell you right away how important having an agent is. Momentum Hockey provides services from Athlete Marketing to Tax Planning and everything in between. To learn more about Momentum Hockey check out their website here. To learn more about Scott, make sure to follow him on Twitter. He doesn’t exclusively talk about his clients and is a fun follow! If you enjoy what we do, you can follow us or like us. Without any more of my rambling, here is our interview with Scott Deady!

Editor’s note: Comments have been edited for clarity. We are in bold.

So according to your Twitter bio, you’re a Player Agent/Advisor for Momentum Hockey. Is there a difference between an agent and an advisor?

Yes there’s a big difference. Agents represent pros while advisors represent amateurs. Agents also act as advisors but it’s important to differentiate between the two because each comes with different responsibilities and, more importantly, restrictions. Some of the things we do for our pro clients as agents would be in violation of NCAA regulations when dealing with an amateur player. You have to be very careful to stay within the confines of the regulations and act only in an “advisory” capacity to ensure no chances are being taken with the players’ amateur status.

What’s a day in the life of a Player Agent/Advisor?

There really isn’t a “typical” day in my job. It all depends on what’s going on in hockey or with clients.

If it’s a weekday, I start my morning off with a cup of coffee, hop online, and check out any news from the previous day/night I may have missed. Player signings, trades, industry business…really anything pertaining to the world of hockey. Then I go through my reminders I set the day before. Emailing coaches and scouts, checking in with clients and their families, reaching out to potential and current marketing partners. Taking new calls…all depends on what happened the day(s) before.

If it’s a weekend, I’m at the rink. Usually start off early in the day with some of the younger kids. Might have to shuffle around to a couple of arenas. By 5 or 6 it’s usually time to focus on the older clients. Might be heading to a Junior game or college game, might mean watching a game online, might mean heading to the UC or watching one of our NHL guys on TV. All depends.

People often only hear about the flashy parts of being an agent/advisor, such as the contract negotiations and trade requests. What are some less flashy parts of being an agent/advisor?

Most of it haha. Best way I can describe it is with a story. A few years back I was in Detroit for a AAA showcase. At the same time, I had a client playing in the OHL who had a Saturday night game in Windsor and a Sunday afternoon game in Sarnia. So I spent Saturday in Detroit, drove across the border to Ontario that night and went to the game. On my way back to Detroit that night, there was a huge blizzard. I pulled up to the border and was the only person on the road let alone crossing the border at 2am. The border patrol guard asked me the usual questions…”Where are you heading?” “Detroit.” “And you’re staying there?” “Well no, I’ll be back in the morning.” “For what?” “The same client who I saw tonight has another game tomorrow.” “And how long will you be staying in Canada then?” “Only for a couple of hours…I’ll be coming back to the States tomorrow afternoon.” “I’m assuming you’re an agent?” “ Yeah.” “Well (as she looks around at the barren road…) I suppose it really isn’t like Jerry Maguire eh?”

Many agents have a specialty, what’s yours?

Well I’m a lawyer so I suppose I’d have to say contracts would be my specialty. Not so much the playing contracts – those are standard boilerplate, fill in the blank deals. But in order to be creative and structure deals within the confines of the CBA, you have to understand the CBA. And the CBA is a legal document just like any contract. Obviously part of law school is being able to read and interpret legal documents. It’s probably the area where my law degree comes in handy the most.

How do you as a Player Player Agent/Advisor market yourself so potential clients choose Momentum Hockey instead of other firms?

It’s all about personal relationships and your reputation. We focus on being selective with who we recruit so that each player is a person to us, not just a number on a balance sheet. Sorry I can’t give you more than that but our specific recruiting methods are kept internal.

Most people don’t grow up wanting to be an agent/advisor. How did you decide that you wanted to be in a Player Agent/Advisor?

I actually probably came as close to growing up wanting to become an agent as anyone has. Playing in the Tretiak Cup, which evolved into the Bauer Invite, we were asked to house Russian players. At the time, I was smart enough to know I wasn’t going to the NHL. But I wanted to stay involved in the sport and some of the kids who stayed with my family did have that potential. I had a slight urge to pursue a legal career and parents from my teams growing up would back me up when I say I always had a knack for sales. So I decided to skip Junior hockey, head straight to college at 18, and direct the focus of my undergraduate and law school work to put me in the best position to help other hockey players achieve their dream of playing in the NHL.

Most exciting thing you’ve done as a Player Agent/Advisor?

It’s all relative. Most of the things that I thought were “exciting” happened earlier in my career – before I was established. Meeting with the Russian Olympic Committee in Moscow was probably one of them. In undergrad I took Russian for three years and kept in touch with my Russian friends. So when I travelled to Moscow to visit some clients I was able to get a meeting with the Olympic Committee. One other notable “shake yourself” moment was the first time i received a call from a former NHLer, who now works for the same NHL team he played for. He was calling about a client of mine. As a Chicago native and Blackhawks fan, my entire childhood was ruined by him tormenting the team I loved most. I’m sure there are plenty of things I do on a daily basis now that years ago I would’ve considered exciting. Spend enough time in the industry and you realize we’re all just people working in the same industry.

Most painstaking thing you do as a Player Agent/Advisor?

I don’t know if this fits the description, but once I flew to Columbus, OH to see a goaltender I’m advising. I flew in, checked in at my hotel, showered, changed, drove to the rink, only to see that the coach decided to play the other goaltender since it was only a preliminary game of their District Tournament. I have way too many other stories about brutal travel schedules but the best stories are from when I first started out and didn’t have the resources to fly everywhere I wanted. Don’t get me wrong, I still drive a ton…and they’re boring drives. But I’d never make the Chicago-Toronto-New Haven-New York City-Chicago drive, like I did five years ago, at this point in my career.

If you’re referring to more of an emotional drain, the worst part is hearing about players being taken advantage of by “advisors” trying to get rich quick. I’ve seen emails from “advisors” (and yes i’m intentionally including the quotation marks) to coaches about players they’ve never even personally seen play. What coach is going to take that seriously? And then to hear that a family paid that “advisor” thousands of dollars? It makes me sick. Hockey is a very small and tight circle. If you’re a parent or player being approached by an advisor, make sure to do your homework and ask around about them first.

The trend is moving towards agents approaching players younger and younger, what is your stance on it and why do you believe this is happening?

It’s happening because everyone wants to win the race. If you’re the only one at the table, you have a better shot of landing a kid than a scenario where there are five other groups talking to them. There are different timelines in the U.S. and Canada. Kids are getting recruited much earlier north of the border. In the U.S., there’s a general understanding about when we start approaching players and their families. I think for the most part the more competent agencies know that the younger you recruit, the harder it is to project pro potential. So many factors come into play. Every year I pick up one or two 17 year olds who were “late bloomers.” And every year you see a kid who was “the next best thing” at age 13 fade away. Those “advising” companies I referred to before who are just looking to make a quick dollar don’t care as much about long-term potential so they might not care. That’s what makes us different.

Who should we interview next?

It’s too bad you can’t interview my car. She knows all the best stories.

Advice for people wanting to enter the business?

Don’t try to get into the industry with one foot in and one foot out. You’ll fade away like I’ve seen so many “new faces” at the rink do. Unless your next-door neighbor or best friend is on the doorstep of the NHL and wants you to represent him, be prepared for a very long road of tough hours and very little income. I spent the weekend nights of my 20’s in ice rinks watching Bantam and Midget hockey while my friends were out at the bars. I don’t regret it one bit, but it’s still a major sacrifice.

I remember a conversation I had with the guys running the first agency I worked with right out of law school. After offering me a job they told me that after meeting with me a couple of times over the course of several days, they said to each other, “this kid is dumb enough to succeed in this industry with or without us…we’d better hire him.” Even then I didn’t really know how tough of a road it would be. But today I’m glad I was that stupid at the time. To me, it was worth it to be able to do what I love for the rest of my life.

At the same time be leery of potential “opportunities.” I’ve heard too many stories of firms bringing a kid on to scout for them only to have that same company steal the scouts “clients” and push him to the side. Don’t think that getting in with an agency is your golden ticket. Surround yourself with good people and put in the work. This isn’t a “normal” industry to work in…and in a lot of ways I’m glad it’s not.

Thanks for your time.

Let’s Chat With Zachary Yuen!

As China gets ready to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, a focus is being put on their national hockey team to improve from their current men’s ice hockey ranking of 37. One of the ways they have begun that process is by partnering up with the Czech Ice Hockey Federation to improve the level of coaching that is available in China. However, another important step to improving the national team is to develop interest in the sport, and the KHL has step up to the plate. Earlier this year, the KHL announced the expansion into China with the introduction of HC Kunlun Red Star. One of Kunlun’s first signings was a defenseman from Vancouver named Zachary Yuen. This 6’0, 196lb defenseman also happens to be the first ever Chinese-Canadian defenseman ever selected in the NHL Draft, going in the 4th Round to the Winnipeg Jets in 2011. We’re lucky enough to have him here today to have a little chat about HC Kunlun Red Star, China, and what he wants from a care package.

Without further to do, here is our interview with Zachary Yuen!

As per usual, we are in bold.

Thanks for taking time to do this interview! I appreciate it!
My pleasure.

Why did you decide to join the KHL’s Beijing Kunlun Red Star?
I joined the Redstars because it is a great opportunity. Not only for my hockey career as I further my development as a player, but most importantly for the development of Chinese hockey. Hockey in China is really starting to grow, and I would love to be a part of it and hopefully contribute in any way that I can.

How do you find the facilities in Beijing so far?
The team has yet to go to Beijing. We started training camp in Finland for 2-3 weeks, now we are in Moscow, heading to Astana, Kazakhstan for a preseason tournament. We won’t be in Beijing until the end of August.

So what has your whole experience at Beijing Kunlun Red Star been like so far?
It’s been a very cool, yet extremely unique experience so far. This might be the only professional sports team in the world that speaks 6 different languages in the locker room. English, Russian, Finnish, Slovak, Chinese, and French.

How did you end up being the de facto spokesman for the team, doing things such as revealing the team logo and team jerseys?
Haha I just try to share all of the team news with all of the fans out there as soon as I hear about it because I know a lot of people are interested in the new team. Just trying to get the fans the latest scoop.

For players who are considering a contract offer from the Kunlun Red Stars, what’s your pitch like?
This is a very big deal in the world of hockey, in China and globally. This is opening a door to many opportunities for the sport of hockey. If you want to be a part of something historic, then this would be the place to play.

You’re going to get a care package from Canada during the season. What do you want in it?
My mom’s homemade meals!

Final question: Who should we interview next?
Depends what you’re looking for. Too diverse of a group haha.

Thanks for your time.

Make sure to follow Zachary on Twitter. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Final Mock Draft

With the draft rapidly approaching, here is our final draft rankings:

  1. Toronto Maple Leafs – Auston Matthews
  2. Winnipeg Jets – Patrik Laine
  3. Columbus Blue Jackets -Jesse Puljujarvi
  4. Edmonton Oilers – Matthew Tkachuk
  5. Vancouver Canucks -Pierre-Luc Dubois
  6. Calgary Flames – Olli Juolevi
  7. Arizona Coyotes – Mikhail Sergachev
  8. Buffalo Sabres – Alex Nylander
  9. Montreal Canadiens – Logan Brown
  10. Colorado Avalanche – Clayton Keller
  11. New Jersey Devils – Tyson Jost
  12. Ottawa Senators – Max Jones
  13. Carolina Hurricanes – Michael McLeod
  14. Boston Bruins – Jacob Chychrun
  15. Minnesota Wild – Charlie McAvoy
  16. Detroit Red Wings – Julien Gauthier
  17. Nashville Predators – Kieffer Bellows
  18. Philadelphia Flyers – Luke Kunin
  19. New York Islanders – German Rubstov
  20. Arizona Coyotes – Riley Tufte
  21. Carolina Hurricanes – Dante Fabbro
  22. Winnipeg Jets – Brett Howden
  23. Florida Panthers – Jake Bean
  24. Anaheim Ducks -Rasmus Asplund
  25. Dallas Stars – Samuel Girard
  26. Washington Capitals – Libor Hajek
  27. Tampa Bay Lightning – Pascal Laberge
  28. St. Louis Blues – Tage Thompson
  29. Boston Bruins – Alex DeBrincat
  30. Anaheim Ducks – Logan Stanley

 

Updated Lottery Mock Draft!

It’s that time of the year, the lottery’s done, and the dust has been settled. So given the knowledge we have, here’s our updated mock draft. We have a few explanations below, so tell us what you think!

  1. Toronto Maple Leafs – Auston Matthews
  2. Winnipeg Jets – Patrik Laine
  3. Columbus Blue Jackets -Jesse Puljujarvi
  4. Edmonton Oilers – Jacob Chychrun
  5. Vancouver Canucks – Pierre-Luc Dubois
  6. Calgary Flames – Matthew Tkachuk
  7. Arizona Coyotes – Mikhail Sergachev
  8. Buffalo Sabres – Alex Nylander
  9. Montreal Canadiens – Logan Brown
  10. Colorado Avalanche – Olli Juolevi
  11. New Jersey Devils – Tyson Jost
  12. Ottawa Senators – Max Jones
  13. Carolina Hurricanes – Michael McLeod
  14. Boston Bruins – Clayton Keller

 

Analysis:

The whole Matthews vs Laine debate is just media hype in my opinion. It’s not really close, and Laine’s hype comes from a handful of games. Every year there’s always a scenario pitting the  established guy versus this hotshot underdog! Who’s going to be picked first?! At the end of the day, it brings in views. I’m not saying that Laine will be a ECHL player for his entire career, but at this point Matthews is a clear #1 selection for me. All of that is my opinion and there’s a pretty good chance I’m wrong.

Look for the Edmonton Oilers to trade down. Possibly with the Montreal Canadiens. The best players available are all forwards (Tkachuk, Nylander, Dubois), and the best defenseman are all available lower down (Chychrun, Sergachev, Juolevi). The Oilers are full of young wingers, and the Habs would love to get their hands on Pierre Luc Dubois. If a trade doesn’t happen, the trade talks for players such as Eberle, Hall, and Yakupov to heat up. But for simplicity’s sake, we’re assuming no trades happen.

We also know that the Canucks are planning to draft a forward so that removes a few defenseman, off our list. For us it’s a coin flip between Dubois and Tkachuk but Dubios’ offensive talent gives him a little edge over Tkachuk.

The Sabres could use a little more talent on the wings, so they take the best wing available left in Alex Nylander.

The Montreal Canadiens need a bigger center and choose the 6’6 Logan Brown. His game is a bit more polished and could possibly slot in at the 3C position next year. Well this is as long as Michel Therrien doesn’t play him on the wing à la Galchenyuk.

 

Agree? Disagree? Let us know! Comment below or “like” us on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/NotYourAverageHockeyBlog/ or by tweeting us at @hkyblogger!