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The Good, the Bad and the Holland Season Preview Part 2

Nashville Predators v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Welcome back to Part 2 of my season preview. We’ve done the good. We’ve done the bad. Now it’s time for the Ugly. If you are hoping to read an article that is saying how good we will be and directions to the parade. I’d stop reading now. If your counter is that Hyman, Ryan and Foegele are excellent additions then I agree. That was covered in Part 1.

The Holland

When I started reading about Keith while on vacation all the comments were on what sweetener Chicago would give us and how much they’d have to retain. I was feeling like we should get a 2nd rounder and they should retain at least 50%. I was also feeling like we should avoid this altogether as I saw no fit for Keith at any dollar price.

I almost fell out of my chair when I saw that we actually gave up a player, a draft pick and took on the full salary for a player well past his expiry date. I’m so tired of being told to wait and see. I’m so tired of hearing about intangibles. If Duncan Keith were a free agent this summer he would’ve signed for 1 year and 2 million dollars. Something similar to Chara (who I think is a more effective Dman today). Then he’d be in the Kris Russel role of third pair and pressbox. Somehow he is being paid the same as Nurse and is guaranteed a spot on our second pair? We also get him back next year? This isn’t the equivalent to the Wing’s having Lidstrom and Chelios. This is the equivalent to them picking up Jiri Slegr at the trade deadline that one year. This has to be the worst move of the offseason.

On a funny to me note. Chicago picked up MAF in net. Got Seth Jones (mostly because of us freeing up their cap and giving them his brother) and got Toews back. If Chicago wins the cup then I feel Holland should get an honorable mention as an MVP. He is to Chicago what Chia was to the Islanders.

Are we seriously going back to Smith and Koskinen? These 2 will never win a cup. You do not get to say the Oiler’s are in ‘win now mode’ with those 2 as our goalies. Smith had a lovely season, I’m sure Koskinen rebounds a little. This is not a Stanley Cup duo of goalies. Help me understand why we signed Smith for 2 years? Fun fact about Smith: Since the 2012/2013 season he has 1 victory and 8 losses in the playoffs. Read that again, 1 playoff win since the summer of 2012 (not for us).

Did I really read we have Cody Ceci for 4 years? I understand he had a decent 2 months in Pittsburgh but he is a downgrade from Larsson and he will drive us all absolutely nuts for the next 4 years. I know, I know. ‘Give it a chance’... ‘wait and see’... HOPE! Kris Russel 2.0 incoming.

When Keith and Ceci get injured or flounder, who’s stepping up? I see our D like this:

Nurse is a perfect compliment to a 1D but he’s the top guy.

Barrie is a perfect third pair playing on the first pair.

Bouchard is a future top pair but currently a third pair since Tipp loves to bench his young guys (and has already called Bouchard out in preseason). He is blocked by Barrie. His best chance is 2nd pair with Keith. That is grim.

The rest are an interchangeable group of bottom pair D guys on a Stanley Cup contender. It is a Jenga game and we are already down to the final block before the season has begun.

One question I have is this? Are Nurse, Barrie, Keith, Ceci, Bouchard and KK/Russel that much better than Nurse, Barrie, Larsson, Bear, Jones, KK, Lageson/Russel?

I do know they are considerably older and considerably more expensive. I don’t think we improved at all on D. Yes, I will be following what Bear and Jones do all season.

Remember when we all thought this was the offseason where Holland would make us great? All the Cap space coming in? Here is some food for thought if you blame Chia and think there was nothing Holland could do:

Holland ‘win now’ guys (bold is 30 or over):

Kassian (3.2), Turris (1.6), Ryan (1.25), Shore (.85), Keith (5.5), Barrie (4.5), Ceci (3.25), Russel (1.25), Smith (2.2), Archi (1.5), Stalock (.75) and Neal/Sekera/Lucic buyouts (5).

That is over 27 million dollars in cap space! Returning next season will be Kassian, Ryan, Shore, Keith, Barrie, Ceci, Smith and Neal/Sekera/Lucic buyouts.

I can fully accept there are about 40 guys over 30 years old in the NHL who can win a cup and be a meaningful contributor. However, I don’t see one on our roster right now. We are in McDavid/Drai’s prime and still have an awfully imbalanced team.

The only really bad contract we have from Chia is Koskinen and that expires this season (unless Holland extends him of course). This is very much the team that Holland built.

We have no cap space!!!!

Using Holland math. We had 10 nice vaccuum cleaners and 10 shitty new ones. Now we have 12 nice vaccuums and 8 shittier used ones. We are paying considerably more for the used vaccuums.

This is not Win Now mode. We are back to HOPE. Same as it ever was.

Offseason grades:

Forwards and PP went from an A to an A+

Defence went from a B to a D (not much better, definitely older, definitely more expensive)

Goalies went from a D to a D- (I cannot think of one Cup contender that would even have Smith as a backup and Koskinen in the NHL).

Enjoy the regular season, it should be fun and we should be near 100 points barring no major injuries. We have 2 of the best 5 players in the game and a weak division to go through. That part will be fun. We are not a cup contender and not really close. Our PP and Top 6 will mask a lot of our problems. We will be exposed badly in Spring.

Amazing top 6, great PP, generational talent, Ceci, Barrie and Hyman. We are the 2019 Leafs with a weaker goalie.

Fire them all to be safe.