Paul Stastny scored 24 points in 40 games this season. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Once again it’s time for another online THN mailbag. You ask me things and I answer them here, in our magazine and on our Sirius/XM Radio Show. Thanks as always to everyone who took a moment to submit a question.
Why does the hockey world want the Chicago Thugs to win The Cup? Why was it OK for them to punch the Wings in the back of the head and do all the other nasty stuff? Why does the great Brendan Shanahan allow their nonsense, but punishes others? Will you just call me a sore loser?
Gary Ebert, Mt. Clemens, Mich.
I won’t call you any names other than “passionate fan.” And while I’m not here to tell you the Blackhawks roster is comprised of innocent little angels and orphaned kids just looking for someone to love them, I’d argue most dyed-in-the-wool supporters of any team have a tendency to demonize the opposition and downplay the actions of the players they favor.
And honestly, do you really believe Shanahan or any NHL official on or off the ice is actively conspiring to hold back one team? Imagine what would happen to him and the league if evidence came to light proving that was true. Shanahan’s spotless legacy and the credibility of the NHL would be in ruins. It makes no sense on so many levels for them to do anything other than call the games and deal with discipline issues as objectively as they can.
Of course, this being a subjective business, there always will be people who disagree with rulings and decisions. I submit to you that this is the way it’s going to stay. And until someone presents me with concrete evidence wrongdoing is being perpetrated, I have to chalk most grumbling up to fans being fans. Nothing personal.
I am just wondering if you think it is realistic for the Flames to trade up in the draft to try and pick up Jonathan Drouin or Nathan MacKinnon? Thanks!
Michael Butler, Saint John, N.B.
No, I don’t. Calgary’s sixth pick will still get them a very solid prospect, but unless they find a combination of current NHLers on their roster, prospects and their other two first round picks (that once belonged to Pittsburgh and St. Louis) to entice one of Colorado, Florida or Tampa Bay to surrender a chance to pick a franchise cornerstone, it’s just not going to happen.
As always when it comes to trades, I’d ask you to put yourself in the shoes of the team you’d want to consummate a deal with – in this case, the Avalanche, Panthers and Lightning. Would you value anything Calgary could offer for a dynamic talent of MacKinnon or Drouin’s caliber?
The answer should be ‘no.’ The Flames’ poor record of drafting and development is why they’re in the position they’re in – and simply wishing another team would help them in any way is dreaming the most unrealistic of dreams.
Do you think Boston will use their compliance buyout to end Marc Savard's career with the team? He's had an injury-plagued couple of years and has had no impact on the Bruins as I can see. And along those lines, do you think the Buffalo Sabres will use their compliance buyout to end Ville Leino's contract with the team? They signed him to a pretty lengthy deal and he hasn't lived up to it. I would think they would try to trade him first, but I don't think any GM would take that contract with the salary cap’s upper limit decreasing.
Brennan McClain, Mattawan, Mich.
No, there’s no chance the Bruins use one of their two amnesty buyouts on Savard. Barring a miracle turnaround, his head injury woes have effectively ended his career (in much the same way they’ve affected Flyers star defenseman Chris Pronger). Keeping him on the Long-Term Injury Reserve means Savard’s salary doesn’t count against their salary cap total – and in any case, injured players cannot be bought out. I expect both players to remain on LTIR until their contracts expire.
Leino is another story. He has been a massive disappointment with Buffalo and has four years left on a deal with an annual $4.5 million cap hit. The Sabres have some $15 million in available cap space this summer, meaning there’s no urgency to getting rid of him right away. However, should Leino stick around and underwhelm again in the 2013-14 campaign, it’s extremely likely they’ll buy him out next summer.
If the Avalanche draft Nathan MacKinnon does Paul Stastny automatically have to be traded? Also, whether they trade him or not, where do you see MacKinnon playing in the lineup, or does he go back to junior?
Kurt Willems, La Salle, Man.
I still believe the Avs will select Seth Jones with the first pick, as he plays a position Colorado needs much help at. But for argument’s sake, let’s say they do pick MacKinnon; the Avs aren’t likely to trade Matt Duchene and can’t move Ryan O’Reilly until Feb. 28, 2014 (teams can’t deal any player for a full year after they’ve matched an offer sheet made to them), so yes, Stastny is the likeliest to be moved.
The 27-year-old’s $6.6-million salary cap hit makes him a poor fit for many potential trade partners, but he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer and that amount of cap space coming off a team’s books will be a positive for other franchises. But again, I think it’s likely to be a moot point when Colorado addresses their clear deficiency on the back end.
Ask Adam appears Fridays on THN.com. Ask your question on our submission page. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Adam on Twitter at @ProteauType.