Spinorama Hockey

The Trade Deadline Match Game

With the NHL Trade Deadline less than three weeks away, the race for a playoff spot is closer than ever with only a few teams out of playoff contention. This is what would typically be called a seller’s market. However, as we get closer to the deadline more teams will drop off and turn their focus on turning players they have on expiring contracts into draft picks and/or prospects. Buyers will be looking for that difference maker that may get them closer to the Stanley Cup, as all it might take is a minor deal to put a contending team over the top..

Here are my predictions the destination of players who have been rumored to be traded and match them up with the teams who I think will be the buyers:


The Ghost could use a fresh start


The Coyotes dove in early and got a head start on the trade deadline by acquiring Taylor Hall. They have slipped recently, putting them back in the tight race in the Pacific. They may need some more help if they want to secure a playoff berth down the stretch.

Possible Match: Michael Frolik (BUF), Patrick Marleau (SJS)

Long Shot: Tyler Toffoli (LAK), Craig Smith (NSH)


The Flames are in a dog fight in the congested Pacific Division. They have been rumored to be interested in a top six forward heading into the deadline. However, with the recent injury to Mark Giordano, who may be out for an extended period, they will also need to try to acquire a defenceman.

Possible Match: Tyler Toffoli (LAK), Ilya Kovalchuk (MTL), Sami Vatanen (NJD)

Long Shot: Jean-Gabriel Pageau (OTT), Matt Dumba (MIN), Jeff Petry (MTL)


The Blackhawks surprisingly find themselves in the playoff hunt, thanks to a strong second half of the season. GM Stan Bowman may not be a big player in the trade market though, and have been rumored to be listening to offers for Brandon Saad and upcoming UFA D Erik Gustafsson.

Possible Match: Melker Karlsson (SJS), Vladimir Namestnikov (OTT)

Long Shot:  Ryan Donato (MIN), Kasperi Kapanen (TOR)


GM of the Year candidate, Joe Sakic, did his trade deadline shopping this past offseason with the acquisitions of Nazem Kadri, Joonas Donskoi, and Andrei Burakovsky. Look for Super Joe to focus on trying and shore things up on the back end heading into the post season.

Possible Match: Brendon Dillon (SJS), Craig Anderson (OTT)

Long Shot: Derek Forbort (LAK), Henrik Lundqvist (NYR)

Dillon could add much needed depth


The Stars have continued their strong play after the surprise firing of Jim Montgomery. Likely in the market for some depth scoring at forward.

Possible Match: Wayne Simmonds (NJD), Chris Kreider (NYR)

Long Shot: Patrick Marleau (SJS), Mikael Granlund (NSH)


The Oilers have a new lease on life this season after Dave Tippett has taken over and so have McDavid and Draisatl. They have been rumored to be in the market for a top six forward.

Possible Match: Andreas Athanasiou (DET), Jesper Fast (NYR)

Long Shot: Conor Sheary (BUF), Mike Hoffman (FLA)


The Preds have been a big disappointment thus far, after finally believing they solved their centre issue with the signing of Matt Duchene. Duchene has had a forgettable season and so has Kyle Turris, who they recently extended. Injury to Ryan Ellis, who has been sidelined since early January doesn’t help. Preds could turn out to be seller. 

Possible Match: Jesper Fast (NYR), Ryan Donato (MIN)

Long Shot: Melker Karlsson (SJS), 

St. Louis

The defending Stanley Cup Champions are looking for some scoring punch after losing Vladmir Tarasenko early in the season, and there is no guarantee he will be available come playoff time. 

Possible Match: Chris Kreider (NYR), Conor Sheary (BUF)

Long Shot: Jason Zucker (MIN)


It’s been a tough year in Sin City as the 3yr expansion team find themselves in unfamiliar territory. Only thing more surprising than the firing of Gerard Gallant was not a huge shocker, was the hiring of Peter DeBeor.

Possible Match: Sami Vatanen (NJD), Alec Martinez (LAK)

Long Shot: Jeff Petry (MTL), Erik Gustaffson (CHI)


One of the surprising teams in the West find themselves fighting for 1st place in their division. Young team likely looking for some experience and grit going into the playoffs.

Possible Match: Craig Smith (NSH), Trevor Lewis (LAK)

Long Shot: Gabriel Bourque (WPG), Melker Karlsson (SJS)


The hometown bubble team is currently on the outside looking in and could be both buyers, if they can find a defenceman to help them next season, and sellers as they have a few players who are scheduled to be UFAs by the end of the season. 

Possible Match: Shayne Gostisbehere (PHI), Matt Dumba (MIN), David Savard (CLB)

Long Shot: Josh Manson (ANA), Jeff Petry (MTL)


Jeff Petry of the Habs


The Bruins are looking to get back to the Stanley Cup Final after falling a little short last season. If they want to get past the likes of Lightning and Capitals, they will likely need add some scoring depth.

Possible Match: Jason Zucker (MIN), Tyler Toffoli (LAK)

Long Shot: Chris Kreider (NYR)


The Bunch of Jerks are in a fight for a playoff spot and after losing Dougie Hamilton, it won’t get any easier. Looking for some depth on defence. 

Possible Match: Alec Martinez (LAK), Derek Forbort (LAK)

Long Shot: Ron Hainsey (OTT), Matt Dumba (MIN)


Surprise team of East. Coach John Tortorella is getting the most out of his players and they are the hottest team in the second half of the season.   

Possible Options: Michael Frolik (BUF), Wayne Simmonds (NJD)

Longshot: Jimmy Vesey (BUF), Jesper Fast (NYR)


First year for Coach Q and he has the Panthers surging for a playoff spot in the crowded Metro Division. Dale Tallon has let it be known 

Possible Match: Shayne Gostisbehere (PHI), Erik Gustaffson (CHI)

Long Shot: Alec Martinez (LAK), Marco Scandella (MTL)

New York Islanders

After a hot start to the season, the Isles have cooled off and are on the edge of a playoff spot. Scoring has dried up and that’s what they will be targeting at the deadline.

Possible Match: Mikael Granlund (NSH), J-G Pageau (OTT)

Long Shot: Jason Zucker (MIN), Mike Hoffman (FLA)


The Flyers have remained in the hunt for a in the ultra-competitive Metro division. They have been rumored to be offering Shayne Gostisbehere for some scoring up front.

Possible Match: Mike Hoffman (FLA), Ilya Kovalchuk (MTL)

Long Shot: Andreas Athanasiou (DET), Jimmy Vesey (BUF)


You never know what Jim Rutherford has up his sleeve as he is not scared of making a big move. Sid and Geno are not getting any younger and like he did in the beginning of the season, Rutherford may want to kick-start the Pens again as they are fighting for a playoff spot.

Possible Match:  Jason Zucker (MIN), Chris Kreider (NYR)

Long Shot: Brandon Saad (CHI)

Tampa Bay

After an early exit in last year’s playoffs and a slow start this season, the Lightning appear to be back on track. They also added Pat Maroon and Kevin Shattenkirk in the offseason, so don’t expect them to be very busy as the trade deadline approaches.

Possible Match: Mark Borowiecki (OTT), Derek Forbort (LAK)

Long Shot: Dylan DeMelo (OTT)


The Leafs got the trade deadline started by addressing their need for a backup goalie, mainly due to the injury to Freddie Andersen, by acquiring G Jack Campbell and LW Kyle Clifford from the LA Kings. They have slid in the standings and will need to turn things around quickly if they are going to make the postseason. Defensive depth might be what they focus on now.

Possible Match: Marco Scandella (MTL), Luca Sbisa (WPG)

Long Shot: Erik Gustafsson (CHI), Dylan DeMelo (OTT)


The Caps appear on the verge of another Stanley Cup run as Alex Ovechkin roars up the all-time goal scoring chart. This could also be their last run with Braden Holtby. Probably looking for some depth on the back end.

Possible Match: Brendon Dillon (SJS), Dylan DeMelo (OTT)

Long Shot: Dimitri Kulikov (WPG), Luca Sbisa (WPG)

@Mass_insight or @spinohockey

NHL Trade Deadline – Winnipeg Jets Possible Targets

Kyle Clifford could add some much need grit to the Jets line up

With less than two months left until the trade deadline, the Winnipeg Jets find themselves in unfamiliar territory. Unlike the last two seasons where the team position in the standings left them quite comfortable that they would make it into the postseason, it’s a different story this year as they ain a dog fight for a playoff spot. 

Unlike the past two seasons, a second line center is no longer their biggest need. With Blake Wheeler moving to center (as we have been promoting for the past 2.5 seasons), the defence needs some help even if Dustin Byfuglien returns. Also some grit/depth to the bottom lines wouldn’t hurt either.

Brendan Dillon is big tough and plays the left side on Defence

The following players are scheduled to become UFAs at the end of this season and should, for the most part, cost the team no more than a 2nd round pick and/or prospect which is very palatable just in case the fall short of the playoffs…

1)  Kyle Clifford, LW (LAK) – Clifford is tough-as-nails forward that can help with the PK and has Stanley Cup winning experience with the LA Kings. He would bring much needed energy and grit to the 4th line.

2) Alec Martinez, D (LAK) – Martinez will always be remembered for scoring the dramatic Stanley Cup GWG for the Kings in 2014.  He is a stay-at-home defenceman, who would bring much needed stability to the blue line for the Jets. A Martinez-Byfuglien pairing would look really good going into the playoffs.

3) Wayne Simmonds, RW (NJD) – The Jets were rumored to have been interested in Simmonds at last year’s trade deadline, who instead went to Nashville. While Simmonds has lost a step or two, he could still be a valuable depth forward, with a nose for the net and can help on the PP, and may not cost as much.

4) Erik Gustafsson, D (CHI) – Gustafsson scored 17 goals last season for the Black Hawks. He would provide some much needed offence and puck moving ability on the left side of the defence for the Jets. A player like this could come at a premium cost, even for a rental. Maybe Chevy can pull some strings with his old team.

5) Jesper Fast, RW (NYR) – Just as his last name alludes, Fast is a speedy, versatile forward who can play all three forward positions. He could help some of the void left after the departure of Brandon Tanev. TFC line, anyone?

6) Brendon Dillon, D (SJS) – At 6’4, Dillon would add some toughness and size on the bank end for the Jets. He is a defensive defenceman, who led the Sharks in hits last season and can log some big minutes.

7) Vladislav Namestnikov RW (OTT) – A solid two-way forward, who can score goals and could really help the Jets on the PK. Had 20 goals with Tampa Bay two seasons ago.

8) Trevor Lewis LW (LAK) – A hard working, energy player, Lewis would fit in well on the 4thline and has valuable playoff experience, having played for and won the Stanley Cup. Could be backup option if the price for Clifford is too high.

Massimo DiGeronimo


Byfuglien suspended? Jets are about to sign a player…

The suspension of Dustin Byfuglien has raised many eyebrows around the league but few have noticed that the move essentially guarantees that the Jets will be signing someone soon.
With about 15.5M in cap space(thanks Cap Friendly!), the Jets are in tight to sign star wingers Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine.  The problem however is that they need to sign both at the same time.  If for example they sign Connor to a 7.5M deal for 8 years they would only have 8M left in cap space for Laine, enough in most peoples’ eyes to sign the sharp shooter, but not enough to protect against a 9.5 M offer sheet.
With Byfuglein’s salary not on the books at the start of the season even if they were to sign Connor to a lucrative 8 year deal, they would have plenty of cap space to fend off any offer sheet from Ottawa or Anaheim (Columbus is likely out of the picture, not having their own second and third round picks).
That sure works out well, but what if both Connor and Laine hold out past the opening day puck drop?  In that situation, with Connor, Laine and Byfuglein’s salaries all not on the books, the Jets are below the minimum salary cap expenditure.  Which means they would probably need to sign someone.  Even with Gabriel Bourque, Mark Letestu and Logan Stanley playing in the big club, they would still be below the minimum.
In essence, why would the Jets take Dustin Byfuglien’s salary off the books unless they were planing on signing a player imminently.  Byfuglien wears an ‘A’ for a reason.  We may end up owing a lot to him as Jets fans in the end.  
I expect the Jets to sign someone soon.

James McLellan


Time for the Jets to Bring Ducky Back in the Fold

by Massimo DiGeronimo

Dale Hawerchuk loves Winnipeg and Winnipeg loves him

Before we get into this, we need to first admit that the staff at Spinorama Hockey are HUGE Dale Hawerchuk fans, so forgive us for any pro-Ducky bias that you read from here-on-in. But if you have been Jets fans for as long as we have, it’s hard not to be big Hawerchuk supporter.

As the first and arguably the most popular Jet from the 1.0 era, it is always great to see Hawerchuk when he visits the city and attends Jets games, whether it is for the Heritage Classic, a team anniversary, or his golf tournament which raises money for local charities. Each time he does, I wait for the announcement that he has been hired by the team, in some capacity.  And each time, it hasn’t happened, and he has gone back to coaching the Barrie Colts of the OHL. A job he has held since 2010

Ducky’s ties with the current 2.0 Jets started back in 2011 when the team made Mark Scheifele the first player drafted since their return to the league in 2011. Dale was instrumental in convincing the Jets scouts and management that Scheifele was the player they should take in the 1stround. The advice paid off, as Scheifele is now considered one of the top 10 centres in the NHL. 

Hawerchuk coached Scheifele in Barrie

For a few years now, Hawerchuk has been tagged as a likely candidate to make the jump to the NHL coaching ranks, but he indicated that he felt it wasn’t the right time and he is happy continuing to be Barrie’s head coach. Part of the reason was that his son Ben was on the team. He just completed his 9thseason behind the bench, which includes record of 305-269-38 over 612 games and he just signed a 4-year extension this past April. While that does provide him with some well-deserved job security, it would not prevent him from pursuing an opportunity in the NHL. Enter, the Winnipeg Jets.

If the Jets were to bring Ducky on board, what position should they offer him? The first thing that comes to mind is an assistant coach under Paul Maurice. The issue with that is twofold. First, Maurice will be entering his 6thfull season as the Jets’ Head Coach, which is the second longest current tenure behind Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning. This means, barring an impressive season by the team, this could be the last season for PoMo. Bringing in a new assistant now may not make sense. Secondly, PoMo would very likely find it difficult to be looking over his shoulder at Ducky, thinking he was hired to be the Head Coach in-waiting.

While there might be some apprehension by the team in hiring Hawerchuk as their new Head Coach, due to not having any professional coaching experience, I am sure Ducky can convince the Jets he is ready for the challenge, the same way he convinced the team to take a chance at an unproven Mark Scheifele. The hiring of an experienced assistant coach could also help him with the transition. Also, the Jets have already gone down the route of hiring a ‘recycled coach’. Hiring another one would not guarantee success. Ducky would also provide valuable assistance with the special teams by bringing his experience as a former top PP producer. This could be Ducky’s long-awaited first step back to the city in which he started his NHL career with back in 1981. 

Bench boss Hawerchuk with Colts

This would also bring Hawerchuk full circle with the Jets and Mark Scheifele, who he can help get to the next step in his career and helping the Jets get to a Stanley Cup win. This is especially important, as if you remember back to the disappointing end to last season, something was off with Scheifele. Whether it was a personal matter, an issue with players on the team, or maybe lack of confidence in the team’s current structure (stopped listening to Maurice), it’s not something you want to see one of your top players go through again if you expect him and the team to have any success in the future.

I’m pretty sure the majority of Jets fans will be ecstatic to finally being able to welcome home arguably the greatest and most popular player (Teemu is a close 2nd) in franchise history, and lead the team once again.

Comments are welcome:

@spinohockey or @Mass_insight

The Elephant in the NHL Room

by James McLellan

RFA Patrik Laine

There is a lot of buzz going on throughout the NHL about the new cadre of RFA’s and the salaries they are demanding.  But what difference does paying the upcoming RFA class higher salaries really make?  And who does it really affect?
With the NHLPA revenue sharing agreement, the RFA’s are not squeezing more money from the owners.  The profit sharing between the NHLPA and the NHL has already been established at 50%.  The RFA’s are asking for more money from their fellow players.  It seems like neither the agents or the RFA’s are looking or talking about the elephant in the room: total NHL cap space.
As of writing this post and subject to some future creative cap maneuvering, there is approximately $190M in NHL cap space.  The top 3 cap teams (Toronto, Washington and Pittsburgh) have $4 M in salary that must be shed so we are left with $186M.
That seems like a lot of cap space but we have to remember a few things.  
First, contender teams like to leave some cap space to add players at the trade deadline for their post-season run.  Most would like to have between $1-2M in space.  Near the end of the season that cap room builds up and can equate to a high priced player for the last 20 games and the post season push.  There are about 6-8 contender teams each year at the start of the season.  
Second, lottery teams are reluctant to spend to the cap if they know they will not be playing in late April.  This makes sense, as with no playoff revenue forthcoming and the need to stock up on talent at the draft, the best money plan is to lay low if you are unlikely to have an impactful season.  These teams tend to keep more cap space, and if possible, weaponize it at opportune moments.  Often such teams will retain in excess of $8M in cap space.  In any given season there are about 3-6 teams like this.
The remaining teams fall somewhere in-between $1M and $6M in cap space throughout the season.  What this means is the there is about $100M in cap space that will not get used by September.  In fact, often more.  Last year there was about $140M in unused cap space at the conclusion of the NHL season.
Regardless, we will be conservative here and say teams keep $80M in cap space for flexibility and financial reasons.  This leaves us with $106M to sign all RFA’s and UFA’s on the market for September.
Hmm.  Let’s think about that.  $106M to sign the 2019 crop of RFA’s and any other UFA’s.  Let’s take a look at a sampling of this years’ RFA class.  I have included a conservative estimate of their contract AAV.  If I am way high please comment and correct me:

Zack Werenski($7M) Joel Edmunson($2.5M) Kyle Connor($7M)Patrick Laine($7M)Matthew Tkachuk($7M)Jesse Puljujarvi($1.5M)Brock Boeser($6.5M)Colin White($4M)Charlie McAvoy($7M)Adrian Kempe($3M)Ivan Provorov($4M)Mikko Rantanen($8M)Joel Eriksson EK($1.5M)Travis konecny($4M)Mitch Marner($9M)Pavel Zacha($2.5M)Anthony Beauvillier($2.5M)Kevin Fiala($3.5M)Nik Goldobin($3.5M)Brendan Perlini($1.5)Anthony Deangelo($4.5M)Brendan Lemieux($1.5M)Adam Erne($1.5M)Marcus Pettersson($3M)Ivan Barbashev($2M)Andrew Mangiapane($1.5M)Denis Malgin($1.5M)Brayden Point($7M)

RFA Zach Werenski

This is not an extensive list of RFA’s.  There are another 26 lower profile RFA’s beyond this list. Looking just at these 28 players however is revealing.  My current estimate lies around $115M.  If you include the remaining 26 RFA’s at league minimum we are at $130M.  Without any UFA’s signed.  That would leave about $56M in cap space or roughly $1.8M per team starting in September.  Historically the league has about $10M in players placed on LTIR. That would bring us up to an average of 2.1M per team. A super-naturally low number.
$2.1M in cap space per team would be a problem for the league.  Essentially there would be no liquidity, no flexibility, no mobility.  Teams would not be able to trade or sign anyone out of the fear and realization that there are no teams with enough cap room to get a team out of cap trouble.  That kind of cap lock up could cause cap non-compliant teams to border on forfeiting games or buy out recent signings just to free up breathing room.
What we are likely to see is a massive drop off in salaries and potential release of capable RFA’s.  UFA’s like Jake Gardiner, Ben Hutton, Brian Boyle, Derik Brassard and Jason Pominville may need to take a lot less $ and less term to get a job.  Unfortunately, the cap will get tighter and tighter as the signings progress with the last players to sign left with little to no leverage. On the other hand, those teams that have held on to their cap space will enjoy a true talent firesale.  If, as rumoured we see the RFA class hold out into training camp, expect to see a large class of UFA’s hanging around waiting for contracts as well.  Possibly into the season if the RFA’s holdout further.
It is going to be an interesting August.

at @spinohockey



Here is a list of some recognizable last names who, along with their older relatives, may soon become household names in the NHL, what the scouting reports say about them, along with some predictions as to where they might land:

As we head into the upcoming NHL Draft in Vancouver on June 21-22, we take our annual look at second and sometimes third generation draft prospects, which has become more common as each year goes by.

Alex Turcotte (C)  (US National – USDP)

Son of former 1st round draft pick Alfie Turcotte, who played with Montreal, Winnipeg, and Washington from 1983-90. Alex is ranked the 4th North America Skater and is projected to be a top 10 pick in this year’s draft. At 5’11 he is not big but his biggest strength is his skating and quickness which he uses to his advantage. Alex exceeds at both ends of the ice, which is what teams are looking for in a star centre. Possesses both an excellent slap and snap shot.  

Possibly Selected by: CHI, LAK, DET

Samuel Poulin (RW) (Sherbrooke – QMJHL)

Samuel is the son of former Hartford Whaler 9th overall draft pick Patrick Poulin, who played over 600 games in the NHL. He is ranked 22nd for North American Skaters and is expected to be a late 1st round draft pick. Samuel, who is 6’2, is projected to be a top power forward with his shooting ability and offensive skill. 

Possibly Selected by: NAS, TBL, SJS

Nolan Foote (LW)  (Kelowna – WHL)


For the second time in three years, a Foote will be drafted into the NHL. In 2017, it was his brother Cal Foote who was selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 1st round. Unlike his brother and his dad, Adam, Nolan is a forward. At 6’3, he is uses his size to his advantage to go along with one of his biggest strengths, which is his wrist shot and quick release. He is also reliable in his own end. Ranked the 37th North American skater, he will likely be drafted in the 2nd round.

Possibly Selected by: COL, DET, NJD

Alex Vlasic (D)(US National Team – U18)

Alex is the cousin of Sharks defenceman Marc-Edouard Vlasic. At 6’6, he is a towering defenceman who, like his cousin, plays a strong defensive game and uses his size to his advantage. He has minimal offensive upside, but has good puck handling and passing skills. Alex is ranked the 38th North American skater who is also projected to be selected in the 2nd round.

Possibly selected by: ANA, EDM, OTT

Alexander Lundqvist (D)(Leksands – SHL)

With a last name like that, you’d think for sure he is related to King Henrik. However, he is actually the nephew of former Red Wing legend Niklas Lidstrom. Alexander is a 6’2 defenceman, who had 5 goals and 12 assists for Leksands in the Swedish League. He is ranked the 58th European skater.

Possibly selected by: PIT, STL, VAN

Rhett Pitlick (LW)  (Chaska – USHS)

Son of former NHL defenceman Lance Pitlick, who spent his 8 seasons playing for Ottawa and Florida, Rhett is ranked the 98th North American skater. He has great overall skill and hockey sense, while continuing to improve. He put up some big numbers (28G 33A 61PTS) while playing for Chaska, MN in the US High School League. Rhett is projected to be chosen in about the 3rd round of the NHL Draft.

Possibly Selected by: BUF, NSH, WSH

Mason Primeau (C) (North Bay – OHL)


At 6’5, you might think Mason would be Keith Primeau’s son, but his dad is actually Wayne Primeau and Keith is his uncle. His dad spent 19 seasons with 7 different NHL teams as key defensive forward. Mason has climbed quickly up the NHL Central Scouting rankings, going from 142 in the mid-term rankings to 113 in the final rankings. A solid two-way centre, he may end up playing a similar checking role that his dad did during his career. He should selected in and around the 4th round.

Possibly Selected by: BOS, TOR, WPG

Nathan Staios (D) (Windsor – OHL)

Nathan plays the same position that his dad, Steve, did while playing in his 1001 NHL games. Despite being only 5’9, his high-end skills make up for his lack of size. He is a smart player in both ends of the ice, due to his great vision and transition game. Nathan is ranked the 182nd North American skater and could be a nice steal in the late round of the draft.

Possibly Selected by: NYI, OTT, PHI

Other notable names who are not ranked:

  • Daniel Antropov (RW) (Oshawa Generals – OHL) – Nikolai (father)
  • Tag Bertuzzi (LW) (Guelph Storm – OHL) – Todd (father)
  • Landon Langenbrunner (C) (Minnesota Wilderness – NAHL) – Jamie (father)
  • Chase Sakic (F)  (Pursuit of Excellence 18U) – Joe (father)
  • Tyler Young (F) (Neponset Valley River Rats U18) – Scott (father)