Monday, September 30, 2013

Liles & Brennan Dropped to the Marlies

The salary cap crunch really hit the Maple Leafs blueline hard, as they have announced on Monday that John-Michael Liles cleared waivers this morning and he was on his way to the Marlies of the AHL.  According to the lines at practice this morning, it appears that T.J. Brennan was also re-assigned on roster deadline day as well.

These moves will make way for both Paul Ranger and Morgan Rielly to open the season with the big club.  Rielly has a pretty nice sized entry-level deal, which made it increasingly difficult to keep a contract like Liles' around.

ImplicationsThere is no guarantee how long Rielly will last, but he will likely get his 9-game tryout at this point.  After the nine games, then it will be up to the management team to decide whether or not Rielly heads back to junior for more development, which could open the door to either Liles or Brennan, the latter being more likely, due to a lesser cap hit.  Nevertheless, Brenda, who has Liles, and Wes, who has Brennan, will be without a blueliner for likely a few weeks.  Not exactly the start they were looking for.

Injury Updates (Sep 30)

The Anaheim Ducks have a number of injury concerns going on, as they finalize their roster for opening night, Wednesday in Colorado.  Getting put on the Injured Reserve on Monday, retroactively, included a couple of pool players, forward Jakob Silfverberg and defenseman Luca Sbisa.  Both players are eligible to come off the IR when they are healthy, but neither may be available for opening night, as they are both questionable.

Silfverberg has been skating with the team, while Sbisa has not and both of them are dealing with lower-body injuries.  More will be known, likely on Wednesday.  They should still be considered day-to-day, since there is no actual timetable, so there is some positives in there somewhere.

Silfverberg was drafted by Stacey M. in the 12th round, 270th overall, while Sbisa was taken by Ryan V., 14th round, 315th overall.  Neither were very high picks, but both were likely looked upon as reasonable sleeper picks late.

The New Jersey Devils' roster was set this afternoon and the team has decided to designate their captain, Patrik Elias, to the Injured Reserve to start the year, as he is dealing with a nagging undisclosed injury.

Elias has been put on the IR retroactively, so he will be eligible to come off the list, when the team opens up their season, Thursday in Pittsburgh.

Chris M. took Elias in the 4th round, so there is a lot riding on this injury in the early part of the season.  There is a belief that Elias should be ready for Thursday night, but all the mystery that surrounds his injury really is making everyone skeptical.  Stay tuned!

In the final preseason games on the schedule on Sunday night, there were reports that Travis Hamonic suffered an injury in one of the Islanders/Senators split squad games.  There was no mention of what kind of injury it was, all that was said was that he would be re-evaluated on Monday.

Hamonic was Clayton's 13th round pick, finishing up his defensemen, so there is very little expectation on his season, but given where the Islanders are and how they are shaping up, he could be in line for a pretty good season.

Looks like Grant Clitsome will be starting the season on the Injured Reserve, retroactive to the 26th, with an undisclosed injury. Clitsome will be eligible to come off the list on Thursday, which means he'll miss opening night against the Oilers, but he'll be eligible for their home opener against the Kings on Friday.

No word on the extent of the injury, so there is very little to speak on.

It looks like Stacey C. will have to be patient on this one, but on the plus side, it looks like Zach Bogosian, who he also has, should be ready to go for tomorrow night in Edmonton.  Clitsome was Stacey's 14th round pick, so there are very few expectations as a whole, but will be looked upon as a sleeper.

Islanders Demote Strome

The New York Islanders made all of their final cuts on Monday and when the dust settled, pool pick forward Ryan Strome was one of the players sent down to Bridgeport of the AHL.

Strome was one of the bubble players with a good shot at a roster spot this year on the island, but it appears that he was beaten out by a bit more veteran help, like Peter Regin or a younger player in the organization, Brock Nelson.  I don't think this means that Strome is very far away and he'll be in the mix for a call-up before too long.  Strome will need some NHL time this season to prove that he is worthy of a regular roster spot, by the look of things.

ImplicationsStrome was picked by Ryan M. this year, taken in the 11th round, 247th overall and still has a shot at picking up some points, but it is really hard to say when that'll happen.  Right now, he is looking at a bunk pick and this will cost him some man-games played.  Heading into Week One, Miller only expects to have 27 games played, which is now tied for 21st.

Temporary Demotions

Just a small tidbit here, as the Carolina Hurricanes sent rookie defenseman Ryan Murphy down to Charlotte of the AHL this afternoon, with the intention of doing some cap space magic before the team's season opener, Friday, home to the Red Wings.

Murphy is a top end pick with some entry-level bonuses and higher end base salary, something the Hurricanes can work around, since Murphy  oesn't have to go through waivers at any point this season.  The team can demote and promote, as they wish.  All indications are that Murphy  ill be on the opening night line-up sheet.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have also joined the temporary bandwagon, as they shuffle some cap space around for their team going forward. Since the Penguins will not play until Thursday, Beau Bennett will be spending some time in the ECHL with the Penguins' affiliate, but it is expected that the team will call him up before their opening game.

Bennett is expected to be on the team's second line with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal this season, so there is a lot riding on his season.  If everything goes to plan, Bennett could have a pretty big year.

ImplicationsThis will likely put a small, quick scare into Allan, who has Murphy and Scott G., who has Bennett, as they are both key sleeper picks this year, but there should be no reason to worry right now.

Preseason Waiver Action in the Draft (Sep 30)

Today is the deadline to get your preseason waiver picks done, if you're going to. There are a few picks out there that could likely use a waiver pick, like Tomas Vokoun or Sam Gagner, but for those who do not wish to do anything about it, that's fine by me.  If anyone is looking to make a move for one of their injured players, they have until 5pm MT to submit their picks (with some give or take there), but I would like to see claims by sometime today, if they are going to come.

We did have a second waiver claim on Sunday, which actually corrects a mistake made on the first waiver claim, as Kristy and Don have dropped Carl Hagelin of the Rangers, who is destined for the Long Term Injury Reserve, for Pierre-Marc Bouchard, who is now with the Islanders.

Hagelin was thought to be getting closer to a return to the Rangers, since he has been on the ice for practice, albeit with a non-contact jersey.  Reports surfaced on Sunday, that the team could use some LTIR time on him, claim some extra cap space for those 10 games and then move on.

Bouchard, signed with the Islanders during the off-season, definitely has some offensive upside with his new club.  I have Bouchard projected at 40 points on the island this year, which is about what I had Viktor Stalberg at, the duo's original pick.  This should be a good lateral move for the pool team.

Senators Squeeze Out Zibanejad

The Ottawa Senators have cut down their roster to 22 players on Monday and one of the unfortunate appears to be centre Mika Zibanejad.

The Senators have been blessed with some up and coming players that are giving them some significant depth and if I had to guess, it would be that the team was eyeing Zibanejad for a 2nd line centre role or bust this season.  If he wasn't going to get top six minutes with the big club, he is likely better off to get those minutes in the AHL and that appears to be the plan.

ImplicationsYou've got to think that Stacey M. was also thinking that Zibanejad was going to be a solid top six centre for the Senators, seeing as though she spotted him in the mix for her pool team.  She likely also thought she got a good bargain, taking the young pivot in the 13th round, 307th overall.  This will likely be put on hold for the time being, while she waits for his return, via call-up.

Stacey wasn't really expecting a big opening week, due to the schedule and how her team fits into it, but with the loss of Zibanejad, she now drops to a tie for 23rd in games to be played this week, with 25, and so it might be a bit of a slow start for her side.

Nyquist Sent to Grand Rapids

The Detroit Red Wings, one of the cap ceiling teams in the NHL, have busy moving around bodies on and off their roster, in order to have a compliant opening day roster, which has to be in this afternoon to the NHL head office.  One of the cuts this morning saw Gustav Nyquist get his marching orders to Grand Rapids of the AHL, which will play in the pool early on.

Nyquist, who carries a cap hit of $950,000, wasn't cutting it through the preseason and with a more-than-minimum cap hit, he was going to be the odd-man out before too long.  Even with the injuries that the Wings have suffered, it wasn't enough to save Nyquist's job early on this season.

Last season, Nyquist had 6 points (3 goals & 3 assists) in 22 games with the Red Wings.

ImplicationsNyquist was the last pick in the draft this year, 336th overall in the 14th round to Benson, who was looking for another good sleeper pick. Unfortunately, not starting in the NHL is going to smart a little bit, especially since he has Tuomo Ruutu likely starting on the shelf with a lower-body injury as well.

In the Week One games to be played standings, Benson dropped down to a tie for 20th, now sitting at 28 games for his skaters and goalies to start the season.  Allan, the leader going into the week, has 35 games to be played, which could open up some points early on.

Nyquist will not be eligible for the waiver period, but Ruutu is.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Avs Finalize, Wilson to the IR

The Colorado Avalanche finalized their roster on Sunday, which kept 24 names on their list, one above the 23-man limited and to finish off the roster, they will place defenseman Ryan Wilson on the Injured Reserve, retroactive to earlier in camp, due to a knee injury.  Wilson is eligible to come off the IR whenever he is deemed healthy, but it sounds like he won't be ready to go for the team's opening night, home to the Ducks on Wednesday.

Wilson only played 12 games for the Avalanche in the shortened 2013 season, limiting his scoring to only 3 assists.  There is some hope that he can bounce back from that season and with some of the weapons that Colorado has going into this season, Wilson should find some points by default.

ImplicationsGiven his situation, Wilson will only be considered as out day-to-day right now, which is okay news, considering the injury, for Dale C., who picked him in the 14th round, 314th overall.  If the games lost is kept to a minimum, Wilson should still turn out to be a pretty good pick, especially in the last round of the draft.

Toffoli Returned to Manchester

The Los Angeles Kings surprised a few people on Sunday with the demotion of forward Tyler Toffoli, in order to finish up their line-up for Monday's roster deadline and the start of the NHL regular season. Toffoli was being penciled in as a top six forward heading into camp and saw some top six time, due to some key injuries in camp, but the coaching staff and management have decided that heading back to the AHL will be better for him.

Toffoli played in 10 games in the shortened 2013 season, scoring 2 goals and 3 assists, but was getting some rave reviews through scouting staffs and through the Kings own organization.  He really didn't seem like he would be too risky of a pick, but of course, there was going to be a little bit of risk, given the limited amount of games he's played in the regular season.

On the plus side, one of the last players to be cut usually means he'll be one of the first to get called-up.

ImplicationsJust because he might be one of the first call-ups, doesn't mean it will make John very happy that one of his sleeper picks is going to start the season in the AHL.  John picked Toffoli in the 14th round, 329th overall, his last forward, but the sleeper may have to hit the snooze button a few times before he is effective in the pool.

Minor-league demotions are not eligible for the preseason waiver program.

Bolts Return Drouin

The Tampa Bay Lightning gave Jonathan Drouin a lot of looks in training camp over the last couple of weeks, but through that process, they have decided to exercise some patience with the smaller offensive forward, sending him back to Halifax of the QMJHL for another season of development, instead of rushing him into the NHL.

Drouin was the 3rd overall pick in this past Summer's entry draft and there was some belief that he was going to crack the Tampa Bay line-up for opening night and play all year, if not get his 9-game trial period, but the team has decided against both those options and give Drouin a little bit more time.

ImplicationsThe loss of Drouin is pretty well for the whole season, unless the Mooseheads were to fall out of the playoff picture before the end of the season, but the reigning Memorial Cup champions are likely going to contend again, especially with Drouin in the line-up.  This hurts Doug pretty badly, who has already lost Sam Gagner to a broken jaw and Drouin does not qualify for the preseason waivers, because he wasn't injured.

There is a risk of taking kids who were taken that Summer, even if they are taken in the top 10 of the draft.  Now Doug will have to wait until the first waiver draft, eight weeks from now, before he has the chance to move Drouin.

Capitals Cut Orlov

The Washington Capitals have made their final cuts to their roster and one player of note was among those sent down on Sunday morning, defenseman Dimitri Orlov.

It appears that Orlov, who has 65 NHL games of experience over the last two seasons, lost his spot to rookie Connor Carrick, who had an impressive camp, including some good preseason games.  Orlov will likely be the earliest call-up from Hershey of the AHL, which could just as easily be after Carrick's 9-game tryout as a young player.

ImplicationsOrlov was poised to be the sleeper blueline pick for Chris in the draft, who took him with his last pick in the 14th round, 320th overall.  The demotion will put a dent on Chris' blueline picks, which were saved to the end of the draft and may not be the most dynamic in the pool.  More fingers will be crossed and hope will be spent on the forwards and goalies, to make up for this loss.

Orlov is not eligible for the preseason waiver process, due to being sent down to the minors.

Callahan & Hagelin Prepare For the IR

The New York Rangers tweeted their opening night roster and as much as it did include forwards Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin, both players are on the upswing from off-season shoulder surgeries and are not far away from re-joining the team.  It does sound like both players will not be ready for opening night and both may be placed on the Injured Reserve, retroactive to the start of camp, so they will be eligible to come off as soon as they're ready to go.

From what I've read this morning, Callahan has been cleared for contact, while a week ago, Hagelin still had yet to have himself cleared, so Callahan appears to be closer, but both are practicing and should be close.

ImplicationsCallahan currently belongs to Cindy and Hagelin was Kristy & Don's pick-up for the injured Viktor Stalberg. Cindy has a healthy team, beyond Callahan, so she should be good to go when the season starts and then will get Callahan back before too long.  The duo was hoping to get an injury upgrade on their preseason waiver pick, to which they did, one will be out significantly longer than the other, but by how much now becomes the question.

Ruutu Downgraded in Carolina

As we near the start of the regular season, the injury updates are also coming with the waiver list additions and other cuts and things are not sounding too rosy in Carolina. Both forward Tuomo Ruutu and defenseman Tim Gleason were both believed to be on the shelf day-to-day with their current injuries, but now the team has downgraded the two of them to week-to-week.

Ruutu has been dealing with a lower-body injury over the last week or so and the only thing that the team would confirm was that it wasn't a hip injury that has him on the shelf.  If this is a week-to-week thing, I could see Ruutu and Gleason starting on the Injured Reserve to start the year, but it would be retroactive to inside the preseason, so they would both be eligible to come off any time.

Ruutu was hoping to come off an unhealthy season, playing only 17 of 48 games last season, scoring only 4 goals and 5 assists.

ImplicationsThis is not good news for Benson, who has Ruutu, took him in the 13th round, 289th overall, as a pretty solid sleeper pick, despite this new injury news.  In his last two picks, Benson was trying to hit some home runs, but if Ruutu is now on the shelf for an extended period of time, he'll be lucky to draw a walk.

Ruutu is eligible for the preseason waivers, but he does pose an interesting argument, especially due to the unclear amount of time he's scheduled to miss.  If Ruutu can come back 100% from this injury in a week or maybe two, would Benson be able to find anyone that would be better for the remaining weeks of the season's first segment?

Pirri Re-Assigned to Rockford

The Chicago Blackhawks have been able to keep an impressive stable of young players in behind their roster for the big club, so impressive, in fact, that the young players are even cycling around. Unfortunately for Brandon Pirri, that was one of the reasons why he was cut from the opening night roster on Saturday, having been assigned to Rockford of the AHL.

Pirri was one of the young players to watch, heading into camp this year, but with still a few cuts left to go, it looks like a disappointing finish for the youngster.

ImplicationsPirri did have sleeper written all over him, heading into camp and Dale C. saw that, taking him in the 12th round, 266th overall and as his last forward.  Unfortunately, taking a sleeper and seeing them sent to the minors was not part of the qualification process for the preseason waivers, so Pirri will have to wait until the first waiver draft, unless he makes good on a call-up from the minors, to which I think he would be one of the first forwards the Blackhawks would call to the team this season.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Preseason Waiver Action in the Draft (Sep 28)

Since the draft was so far in advance of the regular season starting, I did allow the teams to make changes to their roster, in a waiver format, to make sure they have a healthy line-up, come Tuesday, October 1st.  The rules are (since they are still in effect), the player that you are dropping has to be injured and the player that you are replacing with is of the same position (forward, defenseman or goalie).

On Friday, we saw the first waiver claim of the preseason for the draft, as Kristy and Don made the first move, dropping Viktor Stalberg of the Nashville Predators and picking up Carl Hagelin of the New York Rangers to take his place.  When the claim was made on Friday, it had to remain active until Noon on Saturday, just in case someone else wanted him on the same day.  No other claim was made, so Hagelin became property of the draft's duo.

Stalberg has been listed as out 3-to-4 weeks with a strained muscle in his shoulder and would miss a good portion of the first third of the season, before the first waiver draft of the regular season.  Stalberg was the duo's final pick in the 14th round and was projected for 40 points, according to my list and has now been replaced by a player that is projected to pick up 35 points.