Murray was beside himself in drafting Jack Eichel while trading for Robin Lehner, Ryan O’Reilly and Evander Kane.*
When you combine those acquisitions with possible developmental gains for the likes of Sam Reinhart, the Sabres’ outlook gets awfully interesting. Of course, it’s also valid to note that this team has a lot of room for improvement. The Sabres weren’t even close to competitive in 2014-15, after all.
That actually leads us to Buffalo’s poll question: how long will it take for the Sabres to return to the postseason?
If you need a push either way, consider some of the posts from PHT’s Buffalo Sabres Day extravaganza.
The Carolina Hurricanes have missed the playoffs for five straight seasons, yet they have the bloated core contracts of a perennial contender.
The combined salary cap hits of Eric Staal ($8.25 million), Alexander Semin ($7 million), Cam Ward ($6.3 million), Jordan Staal ($6 million), Jeff Skinner ($5.725 million) and Justin Faulk ($4.83 million) make up a whopping $38.1 million in cap payroll for six players. Again, it would be easier to swallow that bitter pill if the Hurricanes were getting what they’re paying for, yet a good chunk of that money seems ill-placed … at least at the moment.
Carolina’s new management team seems comfortable with sticking with the status quo for now … but should they?
For the sake of fun, let’s ponder this question: who should the Hurricanes get rid of? In the interest of brevity, let’s eliminate Ward (who’d probably be a unanimous choice and carries negligible trade value) and Faulk (too early to really judge his contract compared to other options) from the equation and focus on the forwards.
Feel free to add nuance in the comments, but here’s an abbreviated case for/against moving each guy before you get voting:
Eric Staal – For: He’s really expensive and not quite worth the money. He’s failed to come through for “his team” for long enough that it might be time to part ways, much like Rick Nash with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Against: His trade value is at or around its all-time low.
Jordan Staal – For: The two-way center doesn’t score like most $6 million players are expected to. Against: He tilts the ice in Carolina’s favor quite a bit and might not grab value because of those aforementioned modest point totals.
Semin – For: Even his strongest proponents will admit that he hasn’t been able to stay healthy. There are certainly a lot of people who seem to sour on the guy. Against: He still owns one of the deadliest shots in the game and the advanced stats tend to smile upon him, which would likely surprise his biggest detractors.
Skinner – For: He’s had some concussion issues and seems to leave a lot to be desired defensively. Against: His blazing offensive skills could leave the Hurricanes with post-trade regret (see: Seguin, Tyler).
Blow it up – Let’s consider this the “hit rebuild” option, in case you think Carolina should remove three or more prominent players (counting Ward and Faulk, if you feel that’s appropriate).
Stay put – If you agree with new GM Ron Francis that a major makeover isn’t necessary.
OK, that’s the quick version for and against each option, so have at it and feel free to discuss things further in the comments:
After two rounds of upset-filled playoff hockey, the East’s Stanley Cup finals representative will come from the Atlantic Division while the West’s answer will be a Pacific Division squad. On paper, the East’s No. 1 seed New York Rangers seem like they’d be the favorite, yet their opponents (No. 6 New Jersey Devils) and the West reps (No. 3 Phoenix Coyotes and No. 8 Los Angeles Kings) seem like their on top of their respective games.
So who takes the cake, then? Here’s a more visual look at the “final four” before you vote:
No. 1 New York Rangers vs. No. 6 New Jersey Devils