Sharks restricted free agents: Big money for 'The Big Pavelski'?

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payvelski.jpgNote: This post continues a series that studies the San Jose Sharks’ cap situation. Check out a “big picture” view here and an outlook on the team’s unrestricted free agents here.

Restricted free agency is a funny thing in all sports, including the NHL. To simplify the process: a player is given a chance to make some money by garnering offer sheets from other teams, but his current franchise can match any offer. Of course, the interesting wrinkle comes when an interested party throws out an offer that’s a little too rich for the host team’s liking. It’s what happened when the Edmonton Oilers (hysterically) infuriated then-Ducks GM Brian Burke by snatching Dustin Penner and kind-of-didn’t happen when Burke traded for Phil Kessel and then signed him to a new deal.

The Sharks have two rather large restricted free agent situations, but for the sake of completion, here’s a list of all of their RFAs.

Pavelski, Joe
Karlsson, Henrik
Setoguchi, Devin
MacIntyre, Cameron
Jones, Matthew
Zalewski, Steven
Rahimi, Daniel
Desjardins, Andrew
Joslin, Derek
Staubitz, Brad

After the jump, I’ll try to get a general idea of the value of their two big RFAs: Joe “The Big” Pavelski and Devin Setoguchi.


setoguchi.jpgIt’s wise to look at precedent when judging a player’s value, especially in situations like these. So here are four players who can serve as rather interesting “measuring sticks.”

Kris Versteeg ($3.08 million cap hit)
Jordan Staal (4)
Kessel (5.4)
Nicklas Backstrom (6.7)

Joe Pavelski

2009-10 season stats: 25 goals, 26 assists for 51 points in 67 games

2009-10 playoff stats: 9 goals, 8 assists for 17 points

From the middle of the Colorado series through most of the tussle with Detroit, Pavelski was one of the hottest players in the NHL. He was the first player to put together three multi-goal games since Mario Lemieux, for goodness sakes. Unfortunately for his contract situation, he simmered down quite a bit toward the end, collecting two assists in the last two games after being blanked for five consecutive games.

Even so, he finished the playoffs with a point-per-game pace and 25 goals in 67 games is pretty nice for a player who can win faceoffs, play a gritty game and do just about everything else. To me, he’s a rich man’s Jordan Staal but it remains to be seen if he can make Kessel-type money.

My wild guess: More than Staal, less than Kessel. Perhaps $5 million per year? Don’t count out a team thinking he has the stuff to be a No. 1 center, though.

Devin Setoguchi

2009-10 season stats: 20 goals, 16 assists for 36 points in 70 games

2009-10 playoff stats: 5 goals, 4 assists for 9 points

Before Dany Heatley stole his spot running shotgun with Joe Thornton, Setoguchi looked like he was going to make serious bank after scoring 31 goals in his first full season with the Sharks. Now, putting up 20 tallies isn’t half-bad, but the right-handed winger’s price tag had to take a tumble after losing the Jumbo Joe effect. You think he feels a little jealous that Jonathan Cheechoo was able to rob the bank before people realized how much his success depended on Thornton’s genius passing?

Setoguchi could still be a very valuable asset since the Sharks will probably be quite a bit less loaded next season, though. While I think it’s possible that Pavelski could get snatched up for a bevy of picks, Setoguchi’s solid-but-unspectacular season will keep him in teal for a semi-reasonable price.

My wild guess: Slightly more than Versteeg, less than Staal. Perhaps something in the $3.5-$3.75 million range?

Again, the big wild card is Pavelski. His masterful first two playoff rounds could make things awfully interesting. Do you think someone will summon the “ghost” of Kevin Lowe and overpay “The Big Pavelski” this off-season?

Raanta rewards Rangers for starts over Lundqvist by blanking Blackhawks

VANCOUVER, BC - NOVEMBER 15: Goalie Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers shares a laugh with teammate Antti Raanta #32 after defeating the Vancouver Canucks 7-2 in NHL action on November 15, 2016 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
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If someone told you that the New York Rangers started a goalie on back-to-back nights, and that goalie wasn’t Henrik Lundqvist, you’d probably wonder if he was hurt or retired.

Nope. It just so happens that Antti Raanta is playing at an incredibly high level, Alain Vigneault noticed, and that decision paid dividends on Friday night. Raanta won both nights of a back-to-back, allowing a single goal (with the Rangers protecting him, being that he only needed to stop 43 of 44 shots during that span).

Raanta and the Rangers blanked the Chicago Blackhawks with a 1-0 overtime win, at least briefly climbing to first place in the massively competitive Metro Division:

1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP

Nick Holden ended up scoring the only goal of the game:

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks lost but at least salvaged a standings point and it seems like Patrick Kane is OK after this injury scare:

Raanta improved to 7-1-0 on the season, allowing two goals or less in all but one of his appearances so far this season. That’s the kind of work you’d expect to see if you’re going sit a guy who’s, you know, a living legend.

Blue Jackets remain in thick of things in Metro on tough night for Red Wings

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 01:  Boone Jenner #38 of the Columbus Blue Jackets is congratulated by his teammates after scoring the go ahead goal against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on December 1, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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As the Columbus Blue Jackets keep rolling, the Detroit Red Wings are probably just happy to get Friday behind them.

For the second straight game, the Blue Jackets beat their opponent 4-1.

They’re now on a five-game winning streak, and like the climbing St. Louis Blues, things look great if you go back a little further. They’re 10-1-2 in their last 13 games and 13-2-3 since November began.

Columbus is now at 16-5-4, giving them 36 standings points. They’re once again in breathing distance of leading the Metro Division when you consider games in hand.

Update: Here’s how the standings look after the Rangers beat the Blackhawks 1-0 in overtime:

1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP

That’s a stout division, and the Blue Jackets remain shockingly effective. Then again, with results like these over and over again, it might be time to merely expect such impressive work.

***

For Detroit, it was a rough night. Jonathan Ericsson couldn’t play, Mike Green was a little banged up and Petr Mrazek was pulled for Jimmy Howard. This goal summarized some of their struggles:

Blues blaze through Devils, even in New Jersey

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 09: (L-R) Brad Hunt #77, Robby Fabbri #15 and Vladimir Tarasenko #91 of the St. Louis Blues celebrate Fabri's first period goal against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on December 9, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The New Jersey Devils have been incredibly difficult to beat at home. Lately, the St. Louis Blues have been on a roll just about anywhere.

On Friday night, the Blues were the hotter team, handing the Devils their first home loss in regulation in 2016-17. And it wasn’t particularly close, with St. Louis winning 4-1.

It’s a convenient time to note that the Blues rank among the hottest teams in the NHL. Most recently, they’re 5-1-1 in their last seven games, but they’ve been especially impressive since they flirted with .500 at 7-6-3. Beginning with a 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 15, the Blues are on a 8-2-1 tear.

This leaves them second in the Central with a 16-8-4 record.

That’s impressive stuff.

This 4-1 win was quite the showcase for Robby Fabbri and Vladimir Tarasenko, in particular. Tarasenko collected three assists while Fabbri scored two goals on Friday night. His second goal was particularly slick:

The Blues are right in saying that this was a pretty fitting opportunity to drop a “Holy Jumpin.”

Oh yeah, don’t forget about Jake Allen, either.

Leon Draisaitl continues hot streak with silky smooth goal (Video)

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Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”

Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).

Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.

Read more about his rise here.

Update: The Wild were able to shake off that goal, ultimately beating the Oilers 3-2 via a shootout.