When Toronto started the season with four strikers at 50% of their salary, everyone expected the defense to suffer the most from the financial imbalance.
Instead, it's the backup goalkeeper.
The Maple Leafs quit Michael Hutchinson earlier this week after leading their first six games without a win. He was paid $ 700,000. His replacement, Casimir Kaskisuo, will earn $ 25,000 less.
They say you get what you pay for. And in the case of Toronto, that's true.
If Hutchinson wins half of his games, the Leafs will be in first place in the Atlantic Division. Instead, they entered the game Wednesday night against the Islanders. The Islanders were barely holding on to the last wild card spot in the East.
Every game counts. You may be able to make the $ 3 million reserve play-off. But you may not be able to lock the advantage of ice at home – or have a restful post-season starter.
Maybe that is why so many teams treat the position as more than a departure.
The Bruins led by the Atlantic have a backup in Yaroslav Shalak who is 4-1-2 with a save of 0.918, while Ilya Samsonov is a 5-1-1- with a save of 0.915 for the major metropolitan capitals. Samsonov is on a $ 925,000 entry-level deal, but Schalk has hit $ 2.75 million.
That's nothing compared to the $ 5 million the Islanders pay Semyon Varlamov, who is 5-2-1 with a save of 0.924 and, combined with Vesia's trophy favorite, Thomas Grease, combined for the lowest goals against the NHL average. .
Last summer the Hurricanes signed James Rimmer for $ 3.4 million, the Flames signed Kam Talbot for $ 2.75 million, oilmen signed Mike Smith for $ 2 million and Lightning signed Curtis Mac Eleni for $ 1, $ 3 million.
The leaves had no space to afford any of those goals. Now, they pay the price.
Take it or leave it
Calais Makar, who leads all rookies with 18 points in 18 games played, will win the Calder Trophy this season. Next season, don't be surprised if the Avalanche defender also added the Norris trophy … It is worth noting that two of Makar's five goals are winners in the game. Nothing in Power … The Learning Curves for Jack Hughes and Kaapo How they all seem to be over. Hughes spent his first seven NHL games without a point. Since then, the No. 1 overall pick has four goals and nine points in 10 games played. How, who was the No. 2 pick, has four goals and six points in seven appearances, after only scoring one goal and one assist in his first nine … For worth only three players (Hughes, Like Kirby Dach) ) of this annual draft remains in the NHL. A year ago, there were four that lasted the season. Two years ago, there were only two, none of them named Makar or Elias Peterson … Mitch Marner, who comes out a month with an ankle injury, will miss it in Toronto. But mostly, he will miss out on a powerful game, where he has scored seven of his 18 points. Marner is in fifth place on the team with 10 points of evenness. A year ago, he led the team with 70 points when playing 5-on-5.
HERE ONE FOR YOU
It is strange to see defending champion Nikita Kucherov out of the top-80 in points, but keep in mind that Lightning has played fewer games than Naftars' leading scorer Leon Draisail (36 points). ). Kucher also has five goals and 13 points after 15 games played. A year ago, he had seven goals and 17 points. In other words, check it out for another month … With Thanksgiving almost upon us – the traditional litmus test of where teams will end up – and the lighting and sharks are on the outside of the playoffs. But as the Blues showed last year, paying attention to the rankings this early season is a game of fools. Expect both to come in with ease… With Johnson Carlson on pace for season 100 points, you may not have noticed that the Capital teammate Evgeny Kuznetsov quietly scored eight goals and 18 points in 16 games played while serving a three-game suspension test. about cocaine. With this speed, he was able to reach the mark of 40 goals – he never scored 30 – for the first time in his career.
WHAT IS A CONTRACT
Nobody expected the Sabers to win every game this season, but good teams are able to stop the bleeding after one or two defeats. The fact that Buffalo allowed this loss to reach five games is troubling for a group of players with a history of not being able to straighten the ship. A year ago, the Sabers spent five, seven and eight games in ribbons. They can't do it again and expect to be in the playoffs … The biggest bright spot in Ottawa was the game of Jean-Gabriel Pegau, who not only leads the team with eight goals but also leads the league with plus-15 rating. The only question is what part of the pending UEFA trade deadline will begin … James Neal has been the NHL's comeback player so far this year, but CT. Miller is close to the second. The Kanakis winger has eight goals in 19 appearances while playing alongside Peterson and Brock Boesser. He had 13 total last season with the Lightning.
BARZAL HOT GREAT DAY
The Islanders headed to the competition Wednesday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs with the second-best record in the Eastern Conference. And they do it with no player ranked among the top 60 in scoring.
For GM, Lu Lamoriello, further proof is that no individual player is bigger than the team.
For Matthew Barzal, who leads the team with seven goals and 14 points in 16 games played, this is not exactly the best bargaining chip since he is heading towards limited free agency.
This is the third straight year Barzal has led the team in scoring. But this is also a team that has allowed Tavares finalist and Vesina Trophy finalist Robin Lechner to get out the door in successive years. In both cases, the team has actually improved.
So what does this mean for Barzal?
Asked about the status of Barzal's deal on Tuesday, Lamorillo submitted a "Next Question" firm. But make no mistake: The James Islanders want to keep the 22-year-old in New York for as long as possible.
"I'm a fan," LaMorriello told me. "I didn't know Matt when he came here. But he is a young man who wants to be good. He improves his game in every game. "
The Islanders awarded Anders Lee a seven-year extension with a $ 7m cap last summer. Barzal has every reason to believe it is worth more.
Since breaking into the league, Barzal has scored 161 points in 182 matches. Those are as accurate points as Carolina's Sebastian Aho, who signed a five-year, $ 8.454 million cap hit last summer.
As a further comparison, Tampa Bay's Braden Point (three years, $ 6.75 million hit cap) has 168 points over that span, while Marner (six years, $ 10.93 million hit cap) has 178 points and Colorado, Mico Rankanen (six years, $ 9.25 million cap hit) has 183 points.
Barzal receives no money from Marner. With Lamoriello as CEO, he may not have received Rantanen's money. But at the same time, the islanders can't afford to sign it on a shorter contract, as the point is.
In the end, you need to keep your stars around.
TO RUSSIA WITH LOBOV?
It looks like Ilya Kovalchuk played his last game with the Kings in Los Angeles. The question is whether he played his last NHL game.
The 36-year-old, who was a healthy scratch on Tuesday night and reportedly will be out of the squad for the foreseeable future, has another year left on his contract for $ 6.25 million.
No one pays for it. Not for a player who can no longer skate or score a goal or play defense anymore.
The thinking is that kings paid him in the first place.
In his first season since returning to the NFL after a six-year stint in Russia, Kovalchuk managed to score 16 goals and 34 points in 16 games. This year, he finished fourth in the Kings with a low performance with three goals and nine points in 17 games played. Worst of all, he leads the team with a minus-10 rating.
What a disaster. What a brunt.
The sheets may have paid for Patrick Marlo's signing of a $ 18.75 million three-year deal. But at least Marleu has committed a crime. At least he competed hard in games and practices and was a positive example for Oston Matthews, Marner and the other young players on the team.
The Kings, who finished 30th overall last year and have the worst NHL record this season, received nothing from Kovalchuk.
It's not a matter of wins and losses this year. It's about building for the future. For a team that is good at developing habits, competitiveness and responsibility – Tyler Tofoli and Adrian Kempe were both healthy scrapers – Kovalchuk is holding his sick toe.
"It is our mandate to transform the team and try to develop it and run it to maybe a different hockey brand. And it won't happen overnight, "coach Todd McLellan said last week when he was in Toronto. "Most of the older players were very excited and were embracing new ways."
Most, but not all.
Kowalchuk should go the same way he needed Phil Kessel to leave Toronto at the start of his rebuild. The only difference is not to expect the teams there to offer anything in return.
At this point, the only teams to be interested in are back in Russia.
NHL Power Ranking
(Previous week in brackets)
1. Washington Capitals (1) Six team players have eight or more goals.
2. Islanders New York (3) Grace and Varamov are the best NHL duel.
3. St. Louis Blues (9) Six of the last eight games have gone into OT – winning five of them.
4. Edmonton Irlers (7) Gossip's ex-GM Fiarelli's gambling has finally paid off.
5. Boston Bruins (2) A six-match winning streak followed with four straight defeats.
6. Colorado Avalanche (4) 4-4-1 after losing Rantanen to injury.
7. Arizona Coyotes (8) The top three scorers are 23 or younger.
8. Montreal Canadiens (21) Only five teams are scoring more goals these days.
9. Florida Panthers (17) Montembol – not Bobrovsky – was in the net for a back-to-back win.
10. Vancouver Canucks (11) Sophomore drop? Patterson is up 99 points.
11. Philadelphia Flyers (20) Team Leader Finals have five points in their last five games.
12. Pittsburgh Penguins (13) Survived without Malkin. Can they do the same without Crosby?
13. Carolina Hurricanes (14) The four-match shortstop loses a series … against Ottawa.
14. Calgary Flames (16) Talbot has lost three of his four starts this year.
15. Toronto Maple Leaves (15) Heyman is back but Marner is out.
16. Nashville Predators (12) Rein has allowed nine goals in his last two starts.
17. The Vegas Golden Knights (10) went 1-2-1 on their journey east.
18. Winnipeg Yates (22) Wheeler (71 assists last year) has just five assists in 19 games.
19. Tampa Bay Lightning (19) Returned from Sweden with four more points in his pockets.
20. Dallas Education (6) One loss in regulation in the past nine games.
21. Buffalo Sabers (5) Is this an inevitable decline that we have all foreseen?
22. New York Rangers (24) Is King Henrik destroyed by Georgiev?
23. Anaheim Ducks (18) Throws out a four-match losing streak from the playoffs.
24. San Jose Sharks (27) A four-match winning streak could be the start of something good.
25. Chicago Blackhawks (26) No team has allowed more hits this year.
26. Minnesota Wild (25) Only islanders have fewer shots on average.
27. Detroit Red Krings (29) Bernie triumphed in three wins.
28. Columbus Blue Jackets (23) Watch out, Ottawa. Columbus also has a look at choice number 1.
29. Kings of Los Angeles (28) Kovalchuk not good enough to play for this team?
30. Newavols from New Jersey (30) Hard to beat when you have scored five goals in the last four games.
31. The Ottawa Senator, 31, defeated Carolina 4-1, then lost 8-2 two nights later.