“Thoughts on Thoughts” is a feature that looks at Elliotte Friedman’s terrific weekly post “30 Thoughts.” Justin Bourne selects his 10 favourite tidbits, and elaborates.
Friedman’s column, July 2nd: Focus switches to NHL free agents, offer sheets
4. Quote of the draft from one executive on seeing Nashville Predators GM David Poile’s reaction to getting Seth Jones: “I’ve never seen him so giddy in public.”
And who could blame him?
All great teams seem to have a foundation on which success is built. In Chicago, your main blocks are Toews and Kane, in Pittsburgh, Crosby and Malkin and so on. Almost all great foundation players come from the draft. When you’re sitting with the fourth overall pick, its very possible to get a player like that, but you’re usually starting to enter “maybe” range. Fortunately for Nashville, the Panthers coveted Alexsander Barkov, and the draft’s best defenseman fell into their laps. Another piece of the foundation poured, giddiness allowed.
6. Why did Jones fall to No. 4? Nothing personal. It’s just that Nathan MacKinnon, Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Drouin have elite offensive potential. As defensive-minded as NHL teams can be, most will say you can’t win the Stanley Cup if you can’t score. The facts support the theory with the exception of 2011-12 — the only season since Lockout II in which no team among the Top 10 in goals reached the conference finals.
That’s another nice perk for Nashville: it’s not like the kid fell because he has a bad attitude or wasn’t playing well towards the end of the season. He’s still a #1 calibre player. Three teams just happened to feel they had other needs, and I don’t blame them. Preventing goals is easier than creating them (which is why you can plug less talented players into PK and d-specialist roles), so if you’re 50/50 on a forward and defenseman with the top pick in the draft, I’d have made the same choice.
8. Last week, some NHL GMs were excited about the possibility of getting relatively inexpensive help through bought-out players. Not so fast. Both Vincent Lecavalier and Daniel Briere have gone from terribly disappointed to pleasantly surprised and excited by the amount of interest in them. All of that interest means both players will command a bigger dollar than expected.
I tweeted this when I heard Danny Briere was getting bought out:
Could kinda see someone giving Briere like, a four year deal worth a good amount of money. LIke, $15 mill or something.
— Justin Bourne (@jtbourne) June 27, 2013
He’s a recognizable name with skill in a year with a “meh” free agent class (which is improving with buyouts, granted), and everyone could use a little offensive bump, so…yeah. Given the amount of teams that will have interest, dollars go up, and boom, he’s suddenly making what he’s worth (or more) again. I personally wouldn’t want him on my team with a contract like that, but I still think someone will.
10. Dallas is making a hard pitch here and one agent said there is a hidden benefit to the Stars chase. Like Florida, Texas is a no income-tax state. If Lecavalier chooses this destination, all of his earnings, including the Lightning buyout, will continue to be taxed at the same level. That’s a huge benefit, especially if he keeps a primary residence in Tampa. If you’ve ever faced these kinds of issues, you know they’re an enormous pain in the derriere.
I’m actually surprised this doesn’t play a bigger role in UFA decisions. As a duel citizen who earned in a couple states and one province in 2012, my tax situation/complications makes me want to jump off the CN Tower. If I were making huge dollars I can’t imagine how great it would be to go somewhere without income tax and not have to think about that stuff and, y’know, get to keep a bunch more of my money.
15. I remember interviewing football coach Marv Levy once and asking him about retiring. He basically said, “Once you”ve decided to retire, retire. You can’t postpone it until after a season because you’ve made your decision.” I thought about this quote after the Schneider trade because there is no doubt that, mentally, Luongo is gone from Vancouver. He so badly wanted a fresh start. Ultimately, the contract will force him to return, but it would be a mistake to underestimate how much of an adjustment this is going to be. The first thing he’s thinking is, “How many goals will I give up before people start saying, ‘They should have kept Schneider?’” It’s tough to be positive with that on your mind.
Toootally agree with Friedman on this: it would be a mistake to underestimate how much of an (off-ice) adjustment this is going to be. Once you get past thinking about the annoying parts of moving and starting with a new club and you mentally commit to the change, it would be so hard to bring yourself back into full team commitment mode. Not that I think it’ll affect his play that much (which means the ‘Nucks probably don’t care that much), but it has to be a bummer for Lu. It was going to be fresh start, new media members to deal with, new teammates, new experiences…it was supposed to be freeing. Now he’s back in the relationship he thought was over and has to learn to love again.
16. Aquilini visited him on the weekend and Gillis will make a trip, too. If I was them, I would be stressing that, right now, the Canadian Olympic goaltending job is wide open. If he comes back to Vancouver and plays well, he’s got a superb shot at being the guy. That’s a positive. You’ve got to get him thinking about good things.
That’s a fine idea too, but if Lu is going to be back in Vancouver for the remainder of his career, as it now appears, you have to address what everyone just went through and deal with some of the ticks that may have stuck around, otherwise it just seems like more manipulating. Luongo is a smart guy, and he’ll understand the situation. You can mention the bright spots on the horizon, but in the end I bet he wants to hear “That sucked for all of us, we handled that poorly, we f***ed up, we’re sorry.”
20. I wondered if the Islanders would make a play for Schneider. Hard to see the Canucks doing it without New York’s first-round pick, but there is a belief that Garth Snow was going to trade either Nino Niederreiter or that selection, but not both. Niederreiter, of course, went to the Minnesota Wild for Cal Clutterbuck.
I loved this trade for the Islanders. First off, they got an actual asset – a 25-year old actual NHLer who hits everything (and actually scored 19 goals one year) – for a maybe. Niederreiter definitely has a way higher offensive ceiling, but the relationship had soured in New York, so at least they turned him into something. And secondly, the Isles probably aren’t going to have to pay a ton for a guy (coming off a not-great year) who’s going to make their group of forwards even less fun to play against. Guys like Clutterbuck and Matt Martin are going to make d-men dread going back on pucks against the Isles.
23. Most bizarre story: Can there seriously be an issue between Daniel Alfredsson and the Ottawa Senators? Can you imagine Boston — now in need a right-winger — even being able to bid because this gets to Friday?
I mean, Alfie and the Sens will get it worked out. They just will. Whatever the issue is, they won’t let him go have a couple Mats Sundin years somewhere. And if they would, would Alfie really give them the Bruins gut punch? Would the Bruins even want the long-time Senator? I know teams just want to get better but at some point there still has to be some “no, eff those guys” loyalty stuff going on doesn’t there?
25. Another summer, another season of Bobby Ryan rumours. All I heard at the draft was, “If he gets traded, it’s because you’ll look at the deal and understand why.”
I’m sure Bobby Ryan loves living in Anaheim and all that, but I’m so sick of hearing his names in these rumours I can’t imagine where he’s at. At some point you’d think the guy would be like (NSFW)…
28. According to a source, Tim Thomas ordered new equipment about two months ago.
Ermagerrrd Timmay’s coming baaaaaaack!