Spinorama Hockey

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)

Will the Jets be singing the Blues? Are the AVS for real?

Hellebuyck will need to be the difference in this series

This NHL playoffs are so unpredictable. Every year their is an upset in the first round. Not to mention its rare feat for many to pick the eventual Stanley Cup Champion. See Washington last year. We love making predictions so here we go again…

First Round:


Will the Winnipeg Jets be singing the Blues? As many are picking the Blues to keep on trucking through their opponents with their spectacular 2019 (they have the second most wins in the league since January). Can Winnipeg overcome their locker room issues and stop the Blues machine as they did in the season series in which they won 3 out of the 4 games? We realize the last game was played in December. We just think that the Jets are too deep, have some playoff experience and clearly the better goaltender. Not to mention big Buff and Josh Morrissey healthy (if that’s indeed the case) will make all the difference in this series. Can St Louis continue their winning ways? Even though they are only 2 wins better than the Jets after that incredible 11 game winning streak that ended in February that turned their season around. I know they finished the season strong but just a few short months ago rumours were going on that a fire sale was about to happen. Can Craig Berube out coach Paul Maurice? Can Jordan Binnington outduel Connor Hellebuyck? Will Vlad Tarasenko disappear in the payoffs like playoff’s of past? Will the Winnipeg Jets top line actually outplay another line this year? Stay tuned. Besides the eventual Stanley Cup champion nearly always has to overcome huge obstacles or some sort of near death experience before they go on to win the Stanley Cup. Playing this team in the first round is may be what the doctor ordered. Jets in 7


Let’s start off by saying the good news is the Preds never won the President’s trophy. The bad news, their offence seems to have disappeared. Can anyone tell me what league Kyle Turris is playing in? The Preds are 19th in the league in goals for but 3rd in goals against. Their top offensive players of Ryan Johansson and Filip Forsberg have been underwhelming at best. To top this off the playoffs are coming for Pekka Rinne which is never a good thing. Who knows maybe that backing into first place by the Jets collapse will give them confidence. On the other hand, the Dallas Stars and their stifling defence and their brick wall named Ben Bishop are 2nd in the league in goals against. Can this mark the end of Pekka Rinne in Smashville? Back to the Stars. Is there a better collection of big game, emotionally gifted offensive players that we find in Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Alex Radulov and the not much talked about Matt Zucarello? It’s about time that Dallas finally wins a playoff series. They must be due finally! Stars in 6


So Colorado didn’t get that first overall draft pick in the NHL draft lottery. Pierre Dorion is rejoicing. Instead they get the first place Calgary Flames and their mediocre goaltending. The Avs going down the stretch have been one of the hottest teams in the league. We like Calgary’s depth at forward and especially on defence. It really seems like they are full of playoff type players starting with Matthew Tkachuk, Sean Monahan, Mark Giordano and some guy named “Johny Hockey”. Goaltending is another question entirely. As much as we like what the Flames have done this year. We really like the pace that this energetic, young crop of players bring to the Rockies. In Nate & Mikko we trust… Colorado in 7


Probably the toughest series to pick. Vegas seems like the obvious choice. The Sharks are slumping. Martin Jones has been average at best. The Knights added many new veteran players to a team that had already went to the Stanley Cup Final in 2018. They have an endless list of big game players in Marchessault, Karlsson, Smith, Stastny, Stone and Tuch. But no bigger than the game’s biggest “big game” goalie in Marc-Andre Fleury. The Sharks are deep, well coached, driven by a good crop of veterans that have been there before. Many players including Pavelski, Couture, Burns and maybe the biggest game changer in Erik Karlsson is quietly in the background. When a series is truly a coin toss, I usually go with the goalie I like more and Marc Andre Fleury would be the certain choice. Strange hunch but for some reason I think the Knights will not survive in Shark infested waters. Or maybe I was remembering how dominant the Sharks had been before the last 10-15 games of the season when they really were not playing for anything. San Jose in 7


How can anyone upset the mighty Tampa Bay Lightning? Clearly the leagues best team and the winner of the dreaded President’s Trophy. No team is deeper and they are facing a team that was basically put together at the NHL trade deadline. The Jackets do have star power, Panarin, Duchene, Jones, Bobrovsky and who can forget John Tortorella (Tampa’s ex-coach). It would be a shocker if the Jackets won this series but we don’t see it as lopsided as much as the league standings would show. The way Colombus lost last year, up 2 games and in OT with the eventual Stanley Cup champion could provide motivation. We just think this team that seemingly has no weaknesses will be too much for the Jackets. Lightning in 6


Just on principle I can not pick the Maple Leafs to win this series. But let me tell you something, when everyone in the NHL world is picking the Bruins this is when the upset happens. The Leafs can score with the best of them and for this writer this is the route to win this series. Deep at center they will need to overpower and open up this series and try to surprise the stingy veteran Bruins squad. Freddie Andersen will need to stand on his head or at least carries this team on his shoulders. As much as we are tempted to take the Leafs we will stick with Bergeron, Marchand, Chara and Rask to do them in again. But for some reason I am picking with my head and not my queasy stomach. Bruins in 7


It’s about time that someone takes these bunch of jerks and put them out of their misery as Don Cherry will be sure to say. This magical season has to come to an end and no one better to put an end to it than the brash and off season boozers found in the nations capital. I really like what Rod Brind’amour has done with this Nascar loving state but really, how much more can the frozen pond traditionalist take. Post game celebrations? Hockey is not fun people. It especially won’t be fun agains the hi tempo bruising defending Stanley Cup champions. This is all I need is to see Ovi jumping up and down putting away one timers against the “great to be here” Hurricanes. Caps in 5


Is anyone picking the Islanders in their hockey drafts?  I guess anything is possible but you got to love what the Islanders have done this year with sweet Lou and Trotz at the helm. But I have a few names that will never let this happen. Crosby, Malkin, Kessel and a playoff Matt Murray. Enough said.Penguins in 5 

Second Round Winners:

Winnipeg over Dallas in 7, San Jose over Colorado in 6, Pittsburgh over Washington in 7, Tampa Bay over Boston in 5

Third Round Winners:

Winnipeg over San Jose in 7, Tampa Bay over Pittsburgh in 6

Stanley Cup Champion: Winnipeg over Tampa Bay in 6

by Frank Zappia @frankzappia1 @Spinohockey

The following are Picks by @Mass_Insight

TB over CLB 5, WSH over CAR in 6, PIT over NYI in 7, BOS over TOR in 6

NSH over DAL in 7, COL over CGY in 7, WPG over STL in 6, SJS over VGK in 6

Round 2: TB over BOS in 6, PIT over WSH in 6, COL over SJS in 6, NSH over WPG in 7

Round 3: COL over NSH in 7, TB over PIT in 6

Stanley Cup Champion: TB over COL in 6

Your comments are welcome @spinohockey, @frankzappia1 and @Mass_Insight