I’ve written about the good and the bad. Here is the Chia.
‘The price you pay’. This is what Chia said about acquiring Larson for Hall. We have to do a ‘hockey trade’ and lose a good NHL player to get another NHL player. Yet when we traded Eberle, we did not get back anything close to his value. Did you see what the Sharks gave up for Karlsson? Or what the Knights gave up to get Pacioretty? Both those trades made our division rivals, arguably, stronger without touching the core of their roster.
We don’t have a Top 4 NHL D by any playoff teams standards. In Chia’s third year we are up to the cap and only have 3 guys (Klefbom, Larsson and Nurse). A healthy and back in form Sekera (which we may never see again) would’ve made a big difference as then we would’ve had a real Top 4 (albeit, an average one) but instead Matt Benning gets moved up, Kris Russel gets moved up and on it goes. Ironically, Russel is already hurt to start the season.
Today our Top 4 is Klefbom, Larsson (who is also dealing with injuries), Nurse and Benning. Did I mention our division rivals, the Sharks, have Karlson, Vlasic and Burns? Or that the Coyotes have OEL? Flames have a stronger Top 4 as well. Anaheim has a beautiful D core that is better than ours too. The Kings have Doughty back there. Shea Theodore is all locked up for Vegas.
Just looking solely at the Pacific Division, I’m not even sure we have a Top 10 Dman in the 8 team division?
Here are 21 random D from just our Pacific Division Rivals (don’t even get me started on the rest of the NHL).
Doughty, Vlasic, Karlson, Burns, Fowler, Lindholm, Giordano, OEL, Hannifin, Hamonic, Brodie, Muzzin, Phaneuf, Miller, Theodore, Chychrum, MacNabb, Engelland, Del Zotto, Edler and Juolevi.
- Where would you rank Klefbom, Nurse and Larson in that group? I have at least Doughty, Vlasic, Karlson, Burns and OEL ahead of them. More realistically, I have them between 10 and 15 in this group of rival D.
- Where would you rank Benning and Russel among this group? I have neither guy beating anyone in this group including Dion.
- Gravel, Bear and Garrison? Didn’t our rivals LA let Gravel walk?
If Klefbom, Nurse or Larsson get hurt... then what?
We also don’t have a Top 6 of NHL forwards. We have 3 legit Top 6 NHL forwards and they are all Centres (this is a GM’s dream!). We don’t have a Legit Top 6 NHL winger. I know that RNH will be an exceptional LW but he is also a great centre. We certainly have some promising wingers but, as of this writing, they have almost no points at the NHL level nor have they completed a full 82 game schedule as a Top 6 option.
Chia did not sign Rattie, Koskinen, Rieder, Brodziak and Caggiula to have them sit in pressboxes and the AHL. A lot of these guys are blocking the way of more talented and younger players with higher ceilings.
For the record, I did not want to see Patrick Maroon signed for long term and money but he signed for 1 year and 1.75 million in St. Louis. I would’ve been thrilled with him for that for one more season here.
We signed Jason Garrison for the season. This is a player that is 33 years old and clearly on the decline with no future potential, not very fast and is not much of a passer. Garrison has 21 points in the last 3 seasons (going back to 2015/16). Of course, he spent his most recent season in the AHL which doesn’t help.
This was a rare offseason where there were a lot of good goalies available as backups for cheap (Mrazek and Khudobin were my personal favourites). Calvin Pickard was availabe for free 2 days ago. Ironically, Carolina now has 2 of those guys now.
Instead we have Mikko Koskinen for about triple the market value with a No Movement Clause. I have never heard of a European goalie signing their first contract in the NHL and getting a no movement clause. Anyone?
Again, Chia has said that is the price you pay because he turned down a ‘tonne of money’ and ‘6 to 7 clubs wanted him’. I believe this statement is true but not sincere:
- He probably could’ve made around the same 2.5 million in the KHL tax free (that’s the money he left on the table).
- 6 or 7 NHL clubs did want him but were offering 2 way contracts or 1 way contracts for around 700k to 1 million a season.
To make the playoffs we need a lot of things to go right and a few miracles:
- Cam Talbot and Mikko Koskinen around .920
- Connor needs 164 points
- Leon needs 82 points on a line completely separate of Connor
- RNH needs 60 points and a full season
- Klefbom needs to play the full season and get about 40 points (or someone else on D has to step up and do that)
- 3 of Ty Rattie, Milan Lucic, Drake Caggiula,
Pontus Aberg, Steve Chiason, Ryan Strome, Juhjar Khaira, Kailer Yamamoto, Jesse Pullijarvi and Zack Kassian need 40 to 50 point seasons. None of these guys have ever done that other than Milan Lucic consistently and Ryan Strome once. Which 3 you picking? I’ll be honest, I see more Spengler Cup future All Stars then I do NHL All Stars. If I had to pick I’d say Milan, Ty and Jesse. Boy is that a strong bet by Chia.
Alternative success. Chia needs to package together some pieces and picks and land a Real Top 4 NHL Dman (not an elite one but a real Top 4 one because we only have 3 Top 4 Dmen right now). He needs to do what Vegas and SJ did and add a stud without hurting the lineup. So Klefbom for Krug is not the solution. Nor is Nurse for Faulk. We need to ADD a Top 4 guy to our Group. Get a solid D and the goalies and forwards will be better. Who trusts Chia to make that trade?