July 22 2016 11:00AM
I'll be honest: when the Calgary Flames announced that they had signed Troy Brouwer to a four-year contract I didn't really see a lot of the downsides. In fact, my first reaction was, "Well, that makes sense."
You see, the Flames likely feel this signing solves two big problems: they were super-thin on their right side, and they were easy to play against. When I use the term "easy to play against," I refer you to the many games where Johnny Gaudreau was slashed on the wrists or hands (and the games he missed late in the season due to those slashes). Teams felt they could get away with it and let's be honest, they largely did; the Flames didn't have enough scoring depth to make them think twice (and their power-play was bad enough that they probably weren't worried abut taking slashing minors).
But let's not mince words: four years is a long time, and $4.5 million per season is pretty pricey. Once the Gaudreau and Sean Monahan extensions get done, he'll likely be the third-richest forward contract on the team – even if you factor in Sam Bennett's eventual extension. What has to happen to make that contract worthwhile?
July 22 2016 08:00AM
Aaaand we're rolling back a bit.
This time a week ago, when #10 would have been discussed, nobody had that number. We did talk a little bit about it when Lance Bouma was up, because #10 probably should have been his - but it was gifted to Corban Knight, who didn't stick around long at all.
Since then, the number hasn't been touched. Until now - because it's Linden Vey's.
Nation World HQ
July 22 2016 05:00AM
Leafs stop making Matthews wait, Toronto offer could have given Stamkos highest cap hit, Canucks reportedly have interest in Evander Kane, can ice time make the Brouwer contract worth it, all Chiarelli and Puljujarvi in Edmonton, analytics not as clear cut as people may think, the best and worst NHL jerseys, Tyson Barrie watch, Brad Richards retires and more in this week's Nation Roundup brought to you by Violent Gentlemen.
July 21 2016 02:00PM
Every year we hear some derivative of "skilled, but is he too small to play professionally?" or "has the tools, but can he make it work in the NHL at his size?"
These types of statements portray that short players almost never make the NHL and the ones that do must be very special. However, what's actually happening tells a different story from this common misconception.
July 21 2016 11:00AM
For the past three seasons in a row, the Flames have debuted star rookie after star rookie. First, it was Sean Monahan posting a then-exciting 34 points in 75 games as the rebuild officially got underway. Then, it was Johnny Gaudreau doing Johnny Gaudreau things, including scoring 64 points through 80 games.
Sam Bennett's following season may have seemed like something of a letdown in comparison. The Flames were ramping up, but it was going to be difficult for anybody else to match Gaudreau's level, let alone exceed it. In Bennett started, with 36 points in 77 games: roughly on Monahan's level.
Up next, it could be Matthew Tkachuk's turn. Bennett may be a centre, but he spent significant time on the left wing through his rookie season (as Markus Granlund took control of his spot as centre in the lineup, for some reason).
Maybe looking at just who Bennett got to play with as a rookie will help determine what line Tkachuk will be on, should he make the NHL this year.