Mailbag: Robertson’s future, Islanders’ offseason, better of Metropolitan

If you got the keys to an enlargement workforce, the place wouldn’t it be and the way would you construct the workforce? Flashy like Vegas? A sluggish and methodical building like Seattle? Or someplace in between? — @Rob_Oswald

The NHL will not be including a thirty third franchise within the close to future. However my first thought for the situation of my fictional workforce:

Cleveland.

It is a good sports activities market with the NFL, NBA and Main League Baseball thriving there. It was already an NHL hometown with the Cleveland Barons (1976-78). It’s now an American Hockey League metropolis with the Cleveland Monsters, the Columbus Blue Jackets affiliate. There’s a prepared made enviornment, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, which is the home of monsters. Its predominant tenant is the Cleveland Cavaliers of the NBA. An NHL workforce in Cleveland would immediately grow to be a geographic rival to the Blue Jackets. The Battle of Ohio might be a variety of enjoyable.

I’d construct the workforce extra according to how the Seattle Kraken is constructed. This isn’t to disrespect the Vegas Golden Knights. How can I? They have been a hit. However they weren’t anticipated to grow to be an prompt hit on ice. Their success of their inaugural season (2017-18), going to the Stanley Cup Finals and dropping to the Washington Capitals, made them one of the vital recognizable groups within the League, but in addition made them placed on an accelerated monitor for the Stanley Cup that left them in a troublesome wage cap scenario. In two consecutive offseasons, they traded the goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and ahead Max Pacioretty for “future concerns”, which is tantamount to transferring them for zero return simply to clear the wage cap house. The Golden Knights aren’t any nearer to being Stanley Cup champions as we speak than they have been final season, once they did not make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I believe they’ll make the playoffs this season if a variety of issues go proper, together with the goalie Robin Lehner being at their greatest, however they do not have the depth on the NHL degree proper now to resist huge accidents like they did final season.

The Kraken handle expectations as they construct. They chose Shane Wright and Matty Beniers within the high 4 in every of the final two NHL Drafts and so they have an opportunity to be their high two facilities for greater than a decade. They have been capable of signal unrestricted free brokers, together with a goalie Philippe Grubauer final summer season and earlier than Andre Burakovsky this summer season. I just like the acquisition of the entrance Olivier Bjorkstrand of the Blue Jackets. He might be a 30-goal scorer for the Kraken. They’ve a variety of work to do, particularly on protection (they do not have a #1 defender), however the Kraken might be improved in 12 months 2 from what they have been in 12 months 1 and so they observe up effectively with manageable expectations. And it actually looks as if their robust fan base is on board as effectively. Seattle is a superb sports activities metropolis.

Would the Dallas Stars commerce Jason Robertson if an settlement can’t be reached by the beginning of the season? What a couple of cope with Chicago to Patrick Kane? — @im_that_dude20

I might be shocked if the Stars did not get Robertson signed earlier than he hits the ice for coaching camp subsequent month. They know the way worthwhile he’s to them, a 23-year-old ahead who simply completed a season wherein he had 79 factors (41 objectives, 38 assists) in 74 video games, constructing on his rookie season of 2020-21, when he had 45 factors (17 objectives, 28 assists) in 51 video games. It is in Dallas’ greatest pursuits to signal Robertson to a long-term contract, one thing like eight years with a mean annual worth of round $7.5 or $8 million. That buys the Stars three years of his unrestricted free agent years. He can be eligible to grow to be UFA in the summertime of 2027 underneath the phrases of the present collective settlement. However Robertson could not need to signal for greater than 5 years due to the UFA issue. It is a sticking level the Stars and Robertson can work round. He is not the one who ought to cease them from signing him earlier than the beginning of the season.

I would not contemplate buying and selling Robertson for Kane due to what I discussed above. But when the Stars have been to commerce Robertson, they would want to get greater than Kane in return. You are speaking a couple of 23-year-old who scored 41 objectives final season and has simply entered his greatest years towards a 33-year-old who’s coming into the ultimate 12 months of his contract. Kane continues to be the most effective gamers within the NHL, however Robertson’s worth together with his age, manufacturing and future outweighs Kane’s short-term achieve.

Assuming there isn’t any handshake deal for Nazem Kadri, are there any practical methods the New York Islanders can enhance this summer season? — @Tom_Verde

Kadri to the Islanders is smart in the truth that they’ve the ceiling house and want extra offense. He had 87 factors with the Colorado Avalanche final season. They might be loaded within the center with Mathieu BarzalKadri, Brock Nelson, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Casey Cizikas. One in all them ought to go to the wing. If I needed to enterprise a guess it could be Kadri or Nelson since they’re each left-handed and will play down a line with right-handed Barzal taking matchups on their robust sides. Barzal received 46.3 p.c of his faceoffs final season, the bottom amongst Islanders facilities.

But when Kadri does not come to New York, the Islanders can nonetheless enhance through the use of the cap house they’ve to amass one other ahead in a commerce. Possibly they’re swinging for the fences and attempting to get Kane from the Blackhawks or Vladimir Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues (though, as I wrote within the mailbag final week, I do not assume he is traded). They might additionally profit from buying a left-handed defender that they might play in entrance. Sebastien Aho and Robin Salo. Left-handed defenders nonetheless out there as UFAs embrace Danny DeKeyser, Calvin de Haan, Ryan Murray and Kris Russell.

Are there any gamers you already suspect might be moved on the 2023 NHL Commerce Deadline? –@phruitloops420

Trying on the checklist of potential UFAs in the summertime of 2023, I’d place the next eight on the high of the checklist of prone to be traded earlier than the deadline this season:

Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks, F

John KlingbergAnaheim Geese, D

James van RiemsdykPhiladelphia Flyers, F

Yevgeny DadonovMontreal Canadiens, F

Shayne GostisbehereArizona Coyotes, D

Max Domi, Chicago Blackhawks, F

Nick BoninoSharks of San José, F

Damon SeversonNew Jersey Devils, D

The Blackhawks are rebuilding, so Kane and Domi and, doubtlessly, Jonathan Toews, are all high-level targets. Toews might be if he is wholesome and enjoying effectively. I am unsure the Blackhawks would commerce the 2 franchise icons, Kane and Toews, however with the route they’re headed, it actually is smart to get what they’ll if the plan is to not reassign them. -sign. That continues to be to be seen.

The Geese signed Klingberg to a one-year contract. He’ll keep in the event that they like him and signal him for an extension or if they are a professional playoff menace. Within the absence of 1 or the opposite, will probably be moved. I am additionally struggling to see how a 33-year-old van Riemsdyk matches into Philadelphia’s future plans, however once more, it is about the place the Flyers are on the deadline and what affect it should have. has.

The Devils are in an attention-grabbing place with Severson. I can see them attempting to signal him for an extension, but when they cannot do this, they will be seeking to transfer him as effectively. They’re in the identical place because the defender Ryan Gravesand ahead Erik Haula, Miles Wooden, Andreas Johnson and Tomas Tatar. If the Devils are within the playoff combine, I’d anticipate them to go.

I do not anticipate the Canadiens, Coyotes and Sharks to be playoff contenders this season, so conserving their UFAs on maintain previous the deadline does not make a lot sense.

Proper now, what are your high three groups within the Metropolitan Division? — @KREIDERMAN20

1. New York Rangers

2. Carolina Hurricanes

3. Pittsburgh Penguins

It is the identical three as final season, simply with Rangers and Hurricanes switching locations, New York transferring to No. 1 and Carolina transferring to No. 2. I’ve to provide Rangers the lead due to Igor Shesterkin, who received the Vézina Trophy because the NHL’s high goaltender final season. The Hurricanes took successful Tuesday once they introduced Pacioretty can be out for six months as a result of he wants surgical procedure to restore a torn Achilles tendon. The Hurricanes misplaced the middle Vincent Trocheck in free company for Rangers and thought Pacioretty can be an affect participant for them. As an alternative, he cannot play till February on the earliest.

The place it will get attention-grabbing for me is after the Rangers and Hurricanes. The Penguins are third as a result of we do not have a transparent image of the Islanders but. If Kadri goes to the Islanders and so they get one other left-handed defenseman, I is likely to be inclined to place them at No. 3 and drop Pittsburgh at No. 4. I’ve reservations concerning the Penguins protection at -of the Kris Letang and I fear about their well being as an older workforce. That they had a variety of damage issues final season and did not get any youthful within the offseason. However the Islanders aren’t entire but and, frankly, Mike Sullivan’s presence behind the Penguins’ bench might push them to the highest anyway. He is such an excellent coach.

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