Jut a few things to talk about before heading into the weekend here. The lock-out continues to stretch out before us, like a distant relatives never ending vacation slide show, but nevertheless we continue to love and talk hokcye (or hockey related business items and satire) around the Nations.
Backlund Back on Ice
First up, Vasteras’ oddly extended courtship with Mikael Backlund has finally culminated in the 23-year old center signing with the team. We heard about the possibility weeks ago, so I’m not sure what the hold-up was. Doesn’t matter at this point, of course.
Vasteras is Backlund’s home town and the team for which he played as a teenager. His final season there was somewhat contentious, with the then 19-year old Backlund battling for ice time and not the favorite of his coach. The friction caused Backlund to skip the pond and join the Kelowna rockets (who owned his CHL rights at the time).
The Rockets boasted Jamie Benn and Tyler Myers at the time. The addition of Backlund made the team a bit of a juggernaut and they went on to win the WHL championship over the Calgary Hitmen.
Back to the present. Vasteras is a member of the Allsveskan hockey league, which the relegation league below the SEL in Sweden. The only other current NHLer on the roster is the Blues Patrik Berglund, who also made his way through the Vasteras system as a prospect.
We’ll make sure to keep an eye on Backliund as the season progresses, with some reports directly from writers in Sweden.
Grading the Flames Summer
While the off-ice moves made by Feaster this off-season don’t seem all that relevant right now, Hockey Prospectus recently published an article on the best and worst moves made this across the league this summer as graded by a host of stats analysts, including myself.
The good news – Lee Stempniak was considered one of the better moves, garnering a 67.4% approval rating.
The bad news – the Cory Sarich and Dennis Wideman signings were considered two of the worst moves the off-season, with Sarich’s deal coming with a 37.4% approval and Wideman just 6.5%.
It may seem odd to see Sarich graded higher than Wideman, but remember the question was about the quality of the contract rather than of the player. There’s no question Wideman is the better defenseman, but his deal is heaped with risk because it’s long-term (five years), expensive ($5.25M/year) and has the added NMC to boot. Add in the fact that Wideman turns 30 in March and a bulk of his contract comes during the downside of his career and you have a deal that is fairly unappealing.
NHL13 PS3 League
There have been lots of requests for a PS3 FN league since we went live with the XBox version. I will look into starting things up this weekend, with more details to go live tomorrow.
Stop by Saturday and make sure to share your gamertag and preferred team.