I have kept the beginning of these GM For a Days the same throughout the off-season. But this one...this one feels different.
I've been saving this one for after the draft lottery so I had an idea of where we'd draft (even though there will be some trades involving 1st round picks) because since that press conference I just have this inner voice SCREAMING that we aren't picking in the first round if we dropped. Well...we've dropped. I'm still picking at #8 in my GM For a Day because I get to pretend I'm a GM. But...honestly I think the organization is going to view the #8 pick in a stacked draft as their ticket to get Jack immediate help as a mea culpa for putting him through the ringer this off-season with all the firings.
With the negative PR coming into taking this GM job...GM Brassmaster has 3 goals:
1.) Get some immediate help at forward
2.) Patchwork the defense
3.) Don't f**k up the draft
My plan was to write 5 GM for a days this offseason (I will remain hopeful that we will have the 2020-21 season started on time). They were: One with Sam on the team, One with Sam not on the team, What I think GM Botts will Do, The "Let's Get Aggressive" GM for a Day, and lastly...this one. Enjoy.
I want you to remember 3 things as I write this:
1.) The transactions I make are realistic ones, not dream ones. However...I'm not playing the game of "is this something the Pegula's will do?"
2.) I don't view trades as a singular transaction. I look at the body of the whole off-season. I know we lose at least one of these trades in some people's eyes. It's the finished product I care about.
3.) The Draft Simulator is a fun tool, but very much biased towards their ranking system. Whether or not you think these players will realistically fall to us is another discussion. It was set to medium randomness and medium team need.
The Draft (Using Draft Sim)
Buffalo trades: Rasmus Ristolainen
Nashville trades: Nick Bonino, #16 overall
Rationale: Dante Fabbro had an abysmal rookie season and they are very thin on the right side of their defense. Getting a player with more term, who has played #1 minutes and has PP upside for their 3rd line center with a year left on his contract and a pick in the mid-teens seems like a steal for them...but I've got plans with that 1st round pick.
1.) Chicago (go figure they're the ones that win when running the lottery enough to get the order right): Alexis Lafreniere, LW, QMJHL
2.) LA: Quinton Byfield, C, OHL
3.) Ottawa: Tim Stutzle, LW/C, DEL
4.) Detroit: Marco Rossi, C, OHL
5.) Ottawa: Jamie Drysdale, RHD, OHL
6.) Anaheim: Alexander Holtz, RW, SHL
7.) New Jersey: Cole Perfetti, C, OHL
8.) Buffalo: Lucas Raymond, RW, SHL
The stars have aligned! While Rossi goes at #4 I'm left with my second hopeful for the Sabres. Raymond is one of the smartest two-way players in this draft and is just a year removed from putting on a show in DY-1 year. He has ALWAYS played up from the u18s as underager, the u20s at 18, and the SHL as DY player. Everywhere he's played he has impressed. While his production numbers aren't going to wow you...he was a line driver when he was on the ice and when he was given opportunity to play on the PP or up in the lineup he always played like a high end player. Unfortunately, Frolunda plays more experienced players ahead of rookies so he wasn't given the opportunity of Gunler or Holtz. Scott Wheeler recently reported that scouts are concerned about his lack of speed and that he's a perimeter player. The advanced stats that Scouch tracks shows the latter isn't true, and while he doesn't have an elite top gear...his quick burst and agility is very, very good. Let him play in the SHL next year to get muscle and assume a greater role and then get your popcorn ready for the u20s next year when he'll take a prominent role for Sweden. I see him as a top 6 LW, a player who could get between 50-70 points a year from his peak to his late 20s, and someone who is going to drive play like he has the past 2 seasons. He may not put up Stutzle numbers, but my guess is Raymond is going to be a big reason why the teams that picks him ends up winning a Cup. He does all the little things that winning teams do.
9.) Montreal: Jake Sanderson, LHD, USNTDP
10.) New Jersey: Jack Quinn, RW, OHL
11.) Minnesota: Rodion Amirov, LW, KHL
12.) Winnipeg: Connor Zary, C, WHL
13.) Calgary: Dawson Mercer, RW, QMJHL
14.) NY Rangers: Anton Lundell, C, Liiga
15.) New Jersey Devils: Hendrix Lapierre, C, QMJHL
16.) **Trade Alert**
Buffalo Trades: Casey Mittelstadt, #16 overall, Conditional 2022 1st (If Hertl re-signs...2022 2nd if he does not)
San Jose Trades: Tomas Hertl
San Jose: Yaroslav Askarov, VHL, G
Rationale: I thought long and hard about swinging on this trade at #8 after we didn't land Rossi (side note: we land Rossi and I'm 98% certain we have our 2C between Rossi and Cozens thus would not make this trade). Ultimately...Hertl is too risky to do it with his shoddy knees and just 2 years left on the contract. Will San Jose bite on this trade for 16 instead? It's definitely tempting for them. If the season were starting in October I'd have guessed yes, but since it looks more and more that the 2020-21 season is going to kick off with the Winter Classic in '21 it'll be 11 months after Hertl's ACL injury and, hopefully, he can start the season on time. Getting potentially 3 first round picks (counting Mitts as one) for Hertl (if he re-signs) feels like a good trade off for the Sharks. Hertl himself is the a high risk, high reward type of gamble similar to Skinner's. If he can come back and fill the 2C role and look like himself (and then re-sign) we look great. If he comes and looks terrible and then gets traded during the 2021-22 season...this could come back to bite us in the butt. Acquiring and trading the second pick makes me think there's value in the trade, but honestly I couldn't swing it for #8....just too risky.
#38: Lukas Reichel, LW, DEL
The draft simulator loves Marat Khusnutdinov and Zion Nybeck. If either fell here I'd be running to the podium. Alas, the stars have aligned for me again! Reichel has good puck skill and is an apt passer in transition and in the zone. Where he makes his bread and butter is his ability to find the medium-high danger areas of the ice off the puck and lives to take his shot from those areas. The only concern is that he's not the engine in making plays to the dangerous areas of the ice, but when he does have the puck that's where he's looking to go and he's darn good at it. Put him on a line with an Eichel/Hertl and let him use his off-the-puck ability to cash in.
#100: Tristen Robins, C/RW, WHL
To see him on the not among the 93 listed by Bob Mackenzie was a big surprise. He averaged over 1.5 points a game the last stretch of the season, was second in the WHL in even strength primary points per game, and his involvement rate ranks amongst past late first-early second round WHL players. He plays a very skilled game, has a very good shot, plays bigger than his size, skates very well, and lives in high danger areas. He is a much better transition player than Zary, plays down the center unlike Jarvis, and outproduced everyone on his team. Was listening to a WHL regional scout from one of the prospect websites raving about him being this year's Brayden Point. While...that's lofty expectations...I wouldn't be surprised for him to enter the conversation for biggest steal in the draft post round 2. It's the 4th round...I'm swinging for the fences here.
#131: Samuel Knazko, LHD, JR. A SM-Liiga
Shifty offensive defenseman who is an excellent skater and plays a brand of defensive hockey that I personally love. I'll give you example: I coached basketball for a long time and I have always stressed to my teams the importance of rebounding. Playing good defense means nothing if you let the other team get it back after a miss. In hockey, to me at least, it's transitions. How well you defend the blue lines and how well you can enter/exit the zone with the puck. Separating a player from the puck means nothing if you're going to hand it right back to them. Knazko excels in this part of the game. Defends both blue lines amazingly well and is exceptional at finding and completing passes in transition. He's got some work to do in the defensive zone, but with his offensive upside and his ability to play in transition I'd take him as early as the third...and he fell to the 5th!
#193: Tomas Chlubna, RW, Czech2
The leading scorer for draft eligbles in the Czech2 league, captain of the Czech team, and biggest point producer in International games....Chlubna has some good wheels and a decent skill set. His 5 nations performance was poor, but his confidence looked to grow after the tournament and he had moments of looking like a high-end prospect. For me, he sports two big things with a >4th round pick that I love: late birthday, and a very good point producer in an under-scouted league
#213: Victor Mancini, RHD, SuperElit
Jumping from the USHL to the Swedish Junior league was a surprise, but he did look pretty good throughout the year and jumped from the J-18 to the SuperElit rather quickly. Has a bit of an offensive flare to his game, but plays a strong defensive game. Transitions the puck extremely well. Coming back over to play for Nebraska-Omaha in 2021-22 he's a long term project.
Buffalo Trades: Carter Hutton
Vegas Trades: Nick Holden
...Vegas needs a backup goalie to help out Fleury (and hoping they believe in Hutton's vision now!) and they offload an older player with term. Salaries are only a million apart.
External UFA signings
Anton Khudobin: 2 years, 3.5 million AAV
Internal UFA/RFA signings:
Victor Olofsson: 4 years, 5 million AAV
Sam Reinhart: 5 years, 7.1 million AAV
Dominik Kahun: 3 years, 3 million AAV
Johan Larsson: 3 years, 2.25 million AAV
Zemgus Girgensons: 1 year, 1 million
Linus Ullmark: 3 years, 3 million AAV
Brandon Montour (arbitration for 2 years): 2 years, 3.7 million AAV
Henri Jokiharju: 5 years, 4 million AAV
...if you disagree then just give me his market value of what you think he'd sign for next year, add up .25 million more and make it for as long as possible. Time to try to get a dang discount on a good player before they really hit a peak
Olofsson (5)- Eichel- (10)- Reinhart (7.1)
Skinner (9)- Hertl (5.625)- Cozens (.925)
MarJo (4.5)- Bonino (4.1)- Kahun (3)
Girgs (1)- Larsson (2.25)- Okoposo (6)
Dahlin (.925)- Montour (3.7)
McCabe (2.85)- Jokiharju (.925)
Holden (1.7)- Miller (3.875)
Cap Hit: 78.875
Seattle Expansion Draft: 7-3-1
Have to protect: Okoposo, Skinner
3 defensemen: Dahlin, Jokiharju, whoever plays better between Miller/Montour
Goaie: whoever plays better
Exposed: Kahun, Montour/Miller, Holden, Ullmark/Khudobin
1.) I wouldn't trade the #8 pick this year. I know the data for the 8 spot. I know our past history (Nylander, Mitts, Risto) with the #8 pick. This draft cuts off at 8 with high-end prospects. Last year it cut off at 2 with a lot of prospects that had high-end upside but things had to break right. I would be shocked if any of Rossi/Raymond/Drysdale/Holtz/Perfetti bust. Do. Not. Trade. This. Pick. Obviously if Cirelli becomes available then do it. Otherwise. RUN AWAY.
2.) Hertl and Domi are the only two centers worth even trying to pursue outside of Cirelli. I doubt Montreal trades us Domi (and to be honest I just don't like Domi outside of hockey).
3.) I'm very wary of extending Montour after how last year finished. I'm 100% game for a 2 year arbitration.
4.) If the Nashville pick landed in the 20s I'd offer the 2021 1st unprotected and just roll the dice instead of the 2022 pick.
5.) In a perfect GMFAD I'd have traded Montour for Bratt and signed Brendan Dillon to bring the grit and defensive responsibility to Dahlin like he did for Orlov when he was traded to Washington. Alas...I don't think he'd ever sign here.
6.) I'm starting Cozens on the RW and he can be moved around to play center throughout the year. I'd like to put him at the 3rd line center to start next year as Bonino goes off the roster. Raymond comes up next year to take MarJo's spot on the roster...and hopefully to take Olofsson's spot on the top line.
7.) I thought about Topi Niemela at 38...just because our RHD prospect pool is so thin but Reichel was there.
Thus concludes my GMFADs! Look forward to doing one at the trade deadline and I'll see you on my draft posts and in the comment threads.