TSN has had a bunch of interesting articles over the past few days with nuggets of information hidden in each. Tying pieces from each story along with reasonable (logical assumptions), allows us to make some hypothesis about the upcoming days and season. In finance, this would be called the Mosaic Theory. The Mosaic Theory is where you gather small pieces of non-material information from multiple industry and company sources and compile them together to form material conclusions.
Disclaimer: This is all in good fun and all of this is pure speculation based on the tiniest scraps of information. I may make some leaps or conclusions that you don't agree with. Please tell me all about that in the comments in a cordial way. Hopefully this will be a fun read while you kill time in the office today...
Article One: The Sabres Talked Trade on O'Reilly but No Deal
Synopsis: The title of the article says most of the story. Basically highlights that Canadiens and Blues were the two with the most interest per Bob McKenzie. B-Mac then said that if a trade isn't done by July 1 the Sabres are unlikely to trade Ryan O'Reilly because we'll have paid a big contract bonus for him.
Analysis: Where there is smoke there is fire. For better or worse, this seems to confirm that ROR being traded is being discussed. This would give credence to the possibility that management feels it might be in best interest to move ROR. McKenzie's analysis also feels wrong to me. The Sabres under Pegula ownership have never been concerned with spending money to improve the team. While this doesn't make good business sense, it does improve trade economics. If eating $7.5M salary improves the trade value, then the Sabres might be more likely to trade ROR then keep him.
Synopsis: This is about the big trade of the weekend.
Analysis: Hidden in the end of the article are a couple quotes. First, Flames GM Brad Treliving laughed at the idea on Thursday that Dougie Hamilton would be traded saying "When I hear about that stuff, it usually comes out late at night when people have been into the red wine." Guess red wine opens people up to good trade ideas... Anyways, just because a GM says that they are not considering trading someone doesn't mean it's true. Where there is smoke there is usually fire. If ROR is number two on TSNs tradebait list, there is probably a reason.
Both Treliving and Carolina's GM, Don Waddell, said that they had plans to continue to improve their teams. Such an obvious statement, what GM wouldn't say that? What is interesting though is that they have made a trade now. This indicates a willingness to trade which is more than empty statements. Carolina desperately needs a center. And now they've traded away one of their top two. Who do they have left to offer? This will lead us into article three...
One final interesting note in article two is the combined quotes from Waddell and Kyle Dubas, Toronto's GM. Waddell said there was lots of talk but nothing happened. While Dubas said "Depending on whos available or not July 1, I think you're going to see trades come very fast and be more of a frenzy."
Article Three: Report: Skinner turned down trades
Synopsis: Andy Strickland reported that Skinner was controlling where he'd end up and that he'd turned down several trade offers.
Analysis: Was Jeff Skinner a possible piece in an ROR trade that got turned down? We'll probably never know (and I hope not). What we do know is that Skinner has one year left on his contract before he is a UFA. He controls where he'll go. A team cannot extend him before July 1. Why would he move to a team before July 1, when he knows that he might move again in a year? The better play would either be to wait out until FA and have your choice of locations or wait until after July 1 when the team he's going to be traded to could agree to an extension before the trade was concluded. A sign and trade.
Also shows Waddell's continued interest in altering his team. Does this mean he's trigger happy and might be prone to an overpay? Fun fact, Skinner is number 3 on TSNs tradebait list.
Article Four: Strong interest in Bozak ahead of free agency
Synopsis: The headline is pretty much the entire article.
Analysis: Teams are on the lookout for centers. Bozak is 32 years old. He had 11 goals and 32 assists last year. He's an excellent face-off center and has had positive shots for vs shots against the past three years. Basically he's an older, less skilled ROR. It's a weak center FA outside of Tavares.
I could go on about the five teams John Tavares is talking with this week (Islanders, Maple Leafs, Stars, Bruins and Sharks). Who weren't on the list were Carolina, Vegas and Montreal (as of now). They could use a top line center. Waddell looks willing and has already tried to ship off one of his more tradeable assets in Skinner. Bergevin is fighting for his life in MTL which usually means you'll do something stupid.
If Tavares re-signs in NYI, which I think is more likely than not, the center market falls to Paul Stastny, Tyler Bozak, Derek Ryan and Tomas Plekanec. None of those are long-term solutions to any team or would fall into the category of a reliable 1-2 center. The demand is very high and the supply is very low for this caliber of player. This creates a very healthy market for ROR.
My interpretation of the news is that we're likely to see ROR moved in the coming days. Conversations have already been about trading for him. Some team fearing missing out on Tavares, might make a move to ensure they get the second best option. The real question now is if Botterill can appropriately manage this market given that there is no need to trade ROR at all.
Detroit has traded away a defenseman in Russo (an AHL/NHL tweener) and is buying out another Ouellet. The Sabres, if they extend Antipin, have potentially 11 defensemen on the roster (based on Chad's article this morning). Is there a chance we might make a trade?