Vancouver Canucks v Atlanta Thrashers

Bogosian and Jets still negotiating, difficulty will be finding fair market value

Rewind back to the 2008 Draft. Steven Stamkos was the consensus #1 pick and was expected to be followed by four promising defenseman. Drew Doughty, Zach Bogosian, Alex Pietrangelo, and Luke Schenn were all expected to be top-notch defensemen for any club lucky enough to draft them. Doughty, Schenn, and Bogosian all earned spots on the respective NHL teams only months after taking the draft stage Scotiabank Place in Ottawa. They’ve all had their individual ups-and-downs as professionals, but they share another trait that their organizations wish to remedy: they’re all restricted free agents in the middle of contract disputes.

The major difference between the Bogosian contract negotiations and that of Doughty and Schenn is how much quieter the talk has been. Part of it is because Winnipeg isn’t the same type of media market that Los Angeles or Toronto can be. Part of it is that Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff isn’t known for the same types of quotes that Leafs GM Brian Burke and Kings GM Dean Lombardi are known to drop to the media. But mostly, it’s because Bogosian isn’t quite the same type of player that Doughty and Schenn have been over the course of their first three NHL seasons.

Bogosian did his part to keep the talks out of the limelight as he was mum on the subject of his contract negotiations:

“Things are good. We’re talking. That’s about all I will say. You’ve just got to sit back and let the agents and GM deal with all that kind of stuff.”

While he’s at it, he might as well say that he plans on “taking it one day at a time” and “he’s just hoping he can help out the team any way he can.” Regardless, it looks like Bogosian is toeing the company line with the team and his agent Bob Murray as all sides are keeping the negotiations out of the media.

Bogosian is an interesting case-study in NHL economics because of the potential he possesses vs. production on the ice. Coming out of the draft, most scouting services had Doughty and Bogosian ranked neck-and-neck with Pietrangelo having a high-ceiling (but needing more time in the OHL) and Schenn being the best stay-at-home defenseman. Today, Bogosian still has the most question marks surrounding his game. Doughty has already been a Norris Trophy finalist and won an Olympic Gold Medal with Team Canada. Alex Pietrangelo is showing signs that he could become a Norris candidate in the next few years and Luke Schenn has already made a name for himself as a nasty defenseman with the Maple Leafs.

Gary Lawless from the Winnipeg Free Press spoke to an NHL executive about the three restricted free agents:

“They were comparable players in junior but haven’t been to date as pros. It’s difficult to know what Winnipeg has in Bogosian at this point. He may very well turn into a fine player but that has only been demonstrated in flashes so far.”

Bogosian is a different deal all together. He’ll show flashes of the talent that made him one of the most sought-after prospects in a great draft; then he’ll regress and look lost on the ice. It certainly didn’t help that he and defensive partner Johnny Oduya were buried with defensive zone starts more than anyone else on the Thrashers, but his points per 60 was the second worst among Atlanta blueliners. Not exactly the kind of statistic a player wants going into a contract negotiation. Going further with advanced stats, Bogosian’s zone finish was the worst Thrashers defenseman as well.

What does all of this mean? Former coach Craig Ramsay had Bogosian starting in his own defensive zone a lot and he finished his shift in his own zone more than anyone else.  He spent a ton of time in his own zone and he scored less than every defenseman on the Thrashers NOT named than Mark Stuart.

There are two ways to look at it—either one can look at it that Bogosian was never put in the position to succeed; or Bogosian hasn’t blossomed into the type of top-tier defenseman that can bail his team out of trouble. The best defensemen in the league can start anywhere on the ice and help their team generate scoring chances. Clearly, Bogosian isn’t at that level yet—and it’s unfair to expect him to be.

The troubling part for Atlanta’s Winnipeg’s management is how to pay the player who could be a very good defenseman down the road, but is currently just an average blueliner. Do they want to gamble on a long-term contract hoping to lock him at a reasonable cap hit? Do they want to sign him to a short-term contract to see how he develops over the next season or two? As much as money is a factor in the negotiations, the term can be just as crucial in a negotiation like Bogosian’s.

Once someone starts talking, we’ll have an idea which way each side is leaning. Of course, we’ll keep you updated with any developments.

Flames’ Bennett, Tkachuk accused of slew-footing in loss to Leafs

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The Calgary Flames dropped an ugly 4-0 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday, not exactly rebounding from an embarrassing 7-3 defeat at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers.

Things were ugly in a different way toward the end, especially if you ask Maple Leafs fans, as Sam Bennett and Matthew Tkachuk may or may not be guilty of “slew-footing” late in the contest. In each case, they were whistled for roughing.

Bennett was guilty of the first incident on Connor Carrick:

Meanwhile, around the time of the final whistle, Tkachuk’s “roughing” of Martin Marincin drew quite a bit of ire. You can see for yourself in the video above the post’s headline.

More than a few people believe that Tkachuk will be on the Department of Player Safety’s radar thanks to this moment.

There’s no doubt that he’s been making waves as a pest – really, from his first game in the NHL – but some believe he went over the line this time. He’s second in the NHL with 92 penalty minutes, by the way.

Patrick Marleau’s magical third period secures Sharks win vs. Avalanche

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At 37 years old and nearing 500 career goals, there aren’t a ton of things Patrick Marleau has failed to accomplish.* Still, he did something he’s never done – and few players have managed to do – in the San Jose Sharks’ 5-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night.

The amusing thing is that it was a mundane night for Marleau and the Sharks heading into the third period.

They carried a 2-1 lead against the Avs before Marleau’s magical period really kicked into gear. In less than eight minutes of game time, Marleau managed an out-of-left-field natural hat trick:

He didn’t stop there, either, as he also hit the four-goal mark for the first time in his career … and again, it was in the same period.

That’s his first four-goal game (and period, naturally). It’s been a long, long time since someone enjoyed a period like Marleau did:

Speaking of history, this massive night indeed places Marleau close to another impressive feat. He’s now at 497 career goals, three away from the elusive 500 mark.

To underscore how unexpected this outburst was, consider this: Marleau generated zero goals and one assist in his previous seven games.

As the Sharks enjoy an era fueled by the ascent of Brent Burns and the passing of the torch from the likes of Marleau and Joe Thornton to a group including Logan Couture and Martin Jones, it seems fitting that Marleau – a player receding from the team’s spotlight – totally stole the spotlight on Monday.

The Sharks probably won’t complain, either. He helped them seal their fifth consecutive win, putting San Jose in a strong position to regain the lead in the Pacific Division.

Pretty good stuff from a guy who rapidly faded from relevance after being stripped of the Sharks captaincy.

* – How dare you make Stanley Cup jokes on a happy occasion for Sharks fans?

Capitals assert their dominance once again, this time clobbering Hurricanes

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 03: Dmitry Orlov #9 of the Washington Capitals celebrates with teammates after assisting Justin Williams #14 on a goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the first period at Verizon Center on January 3, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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The Washington Capitals lead the league in standings points … and maybe in swagger. At least, it feels that way lately.

Monday presented their latest display of power as the Carolina Hurricanes had no answer for the Capitals machine. Washington clobbered Carolina by a score of 6-1, but at least the Hurricanes can take comfort in joining a rather large group of teams who’ve been humbled by Braden Holtby & Co.

This makes the Capitals 11-0-1 during a dominant run; they’ve scored at least a point in all but one game since Dec. 21.

Honestly, you can dice up their hot streak in a variety of ways, as Washington’s been outstanding since at least early December. Margin of victory might be the most jaw-dropping way to illustrate Washington’s dominant run:

Yep, that’s something else.

Dmitry Orlov was one of the standouts of this latest win, scoring two goals. His strong night and flashes of brilliance prompted Alex Ovechkin to … maybe go a little over the top.

Hey, when you’re on fire like the Capitals have been lately, it’s probably tough to make some pretty bold comparisons.

Things might be turning around for Lundqvist (not so much for the Kings)

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 13:  Marian Gaborik #12 of the Los Angeles Kings shakes hands with Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers after the Kings 3-2 double-overtime victory during Game Five of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center on June 13, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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As you likely know, the 2017 NHL All-Star Game is coming to Los Angeles this weekend. If the Kings don’t get it together, that might be the biggest hockey event for some time, as they’re currently on the outside looking in at the playoffs.

Monday presented what felt like a story of one cold streak continuing to fade away while the other only seems to get icier.

The positive side: Henrik Lundqvist might just be working through that slump.

The New York Rangers beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Monday, and it wasn’t a walk in the park for Lundqvist. He made 36 out of 38 stops, giving him a personal three-game winning streak in which he’s allowed just four total goals.

Some of those stops were pretty impressive, too:

(He also shut down a Jeff Carter breakaway, which is obviously no easy task.)

While Lundqvist is getting it together, the Kings might just be a little worried after dropping their fourth straight loss.

They’re at 48 points in 47 games, leaving them three points behind the West’s two wild card teams and two behind the Canucks.

The Kings have experience fighting through challenges like these, but they’ve also fallen short of getting into the West’s top eight, and their schedule is awfully road-heavy:

Tuesday: at Devils
Thursday: at Hurricanes
Tuesday, Jan. 31: at Coyotes
Wednesday, Feb. 1: vs. Avalanche
Saturday, Feb. 4: at Flyers
Sunday, Feb. 5: at Capitals
Tuesday, Feb. 7: at Lightning
Thursday, Feb. 9: at Panthers

Some of those opponents are struggling and the All-Star break might allow for a breather, but that could still be a problematic stretch, especially if the Kings are in a fragile state.

Then again, if they look at Lundqvist’s upward trend, they can note that fortunes can change pretty quickly in 2016-17.