When it comes to the projected rookie class of 2015-16, Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel have naturally been getting the most attention by a wide margin, but there are a lot of great prospects that are in position to make their mark on the NHL this season.
Max Domi is a prime example of that. Taken with the 12th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Domi has the potential to provide the Arizona Coyotes with a valuable combination of skill and grit for years to come. He has more modest goals right now though.
“I just want to make the team,” Domi said, per the Coyotes’ official website. “I’m not looking too far ahead. There’s a lot of young guys here that are trying to come in and earn a spot too.”
He came close to earning a spot last year, but ultimately fell just short of making the cut. He responded by recording 32 goals, 102 points, and 66 penalty minutes in 57 games with the OHL’s London Knights.
The expectation is that he will make the team in 2015-16 though and even as a rookie perhaps he can provide a meaningful boost to the Coyotes after they finished the 2014-15 campaign with the second worst offense in the league.
A lot of people have a number they think Connor McDavid will reach during his rookie campaign, but he doesn’t want to go down that road.
“It’s something I don’t really know how to answer,” he admitted when asked by NHL.com what it would take for him to personally consider his rookie campaign a success. “I just have to do the best that I can do. There are no real numbers that I have in my mind. I just want to have as good a year as possible.”
Part of the reason McDavid doesn’t have a specific number in mind is because he thinks imposing those types of goals “can really mess with you.” Beyond that though, he wants to judge himself on more than just how many goals he scores or points he collects.
“Numbers are one thing, but some of the best games I have ever played have been games in which I didn’t get a point or maybe had one point,” McDavid said. “You don’t necessarily have to put up a lot of points to be impactful. There are lots of ways you can impact a game, and that is something I take a lot of pride in, trying to impact the game in any way possible.”
While everything he does with or without the puck is worthy of note, it of course won’t change the fact that the numbers he puts up will influence how other people view his campaign. In some cases the benchmarks people are looking for might be unfair given his age and level of experience, but his billing as a generational talent combined with his stellar work in the OHL have led to that scenario. On top of that, he’ll be compared against Jack Eichel, who will be under similar scrutiny during his first season in Buffalo.
None of that information is likely news to McDavid, who has had to live with the hype surrounding him for quite some time now. He’s aware that the attention he gets is only going to grow as he starts his rookie campaign, but he’s confident in his abilities.
“More anxious to get things going,” he added when asked if he’s nervous about training camp. “I have been talking about it for so long and I have been waiting so long to get going, I don’t think nervous is the right word. Just anxious.”
In Chicago, conversation about the cost of keeping the team together never really ends.
Having just come off a summer in which Brandon Saad, Brad Richards, Johnny Oduya and Patrick Sharp all exited due to financial constraints, the ‘Hawks can now begin looking ahead to next July, when another prized player could go unrestricted:
Seabrook, 30, is heading into the last of a five-year, $29 million deal with a $5.8M cap hit. His resume is loaded — three Stanley Cups, Olympic gold, a ’15 All-Star Game appearance — and he’s coming off a postseason in which he led all defensemen in goals (seven), the same number that Tampa Bay captain Steve Stamkos potted.
So needless to say, he’d be coveted on the open market.
There are two sides to this discussion. The first is why Seabrook would want to stay in Chicago, and it’s a fairly easy sell — it’s the only team he’s ever known, having been drafted by the ‘Hawks in the first round in ’03. He’s since appeared in over 800 games in a ‘Hawks sweater during his 10-year career, and developed a dynamic pairing with fellow blueliner (and one of his best friends) Duncan Keith.
Seabrook also has, as mentioned above, achieved a boatload of success with the ‘Hawks.
But there are reasons why he’d leave.
Well, one big reason — the money.
Per war-on-ice.com, the ‘Hawks already have close to $60 million committed to 16 players after this season. While there aren’t many other noteworthy contracts on the horizon — Andrew Shaw will require a new deal in ’16-17, Teuvo Teravainen and Marko Dano the year after — there is a question of how much Chicago can pay Seabrook.
Do consider that, a few weeks ago, Calgary gave Mark Giordano — who’s a year older than Seabrook — a six year, $40.5 million extension that carries a $6.75M cap hit. Earlier this summer, TSN speculated that Seabrook “is due to earn at least Dion Phaneuf-type money, in the neighborhood of seven years and $49 million.”
Those are both pretty steep AAVs but, given the dearth of quality UFA defensemen that usually hit the market, they could be in Seabrook’s wheelhouse. Remember that Mike Green got $6M per from Detroit this summer, while Andrej Sekera got $33 million over five years from the Oilers.
If Seabrook doesn’t sign an extension prior to the season starting, you can expect this conversation to pick up steam as the year progresses.
But why wait for that? Let’s vote and discuss now.