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On Monday, the Winnipeg Jets re-signed restricted free agent defenceman Zach Bogosian to a 7-year deal, continuing an interesting trend this off-season. Bogosian is the fifth RFA defenceman to sign a long-term deal over the last couple months and it’s also the richest of the five deals. Roman Josi, Slava Voynov, Ryan McDonagh, and Travis Hamonic have all signed for 6+ years with their respective clubs
Like those four players, Bogosian is a very good young defenceman with the potential to be a cornerstone of his team’s defensive corps in the future. Bogosian’s contract, however, has been criticized in some corners by those who don’t think he deserves either the term or the money. I also saw a number of people making understandable comparisons of Bogosian with the four aforementioned defencemen who also signed long-term deals, wondering why he received more per year than any of them.
Some of the criticism is rooted in underestimating Bogosian, who has played for teams that could be generously described as mediocre and in front of goaltending that doesn’t even deserve that generosity. But a fair portion of the criticism seems to stem from missing the differences between his situation and those of his RFA defencemen contemporaries.
Anything you can do I can do better. Even if it’s nothing. (Bruce Bennett, Getty Images)
A grand total of 17 trades were made on April 3rd, most of them happening close to the noon (Western) deadline, making it utterly pointless for TSN Tradecentre to start at 8 AM and making it even more pointless for me to wake up at 5 AM Pacific to run a livechat for Pass it to Bulis. If you thought Archi Zuber and Kyle Smith had it tough with their trade deadline drinking game, I was mainlining Beaver Buzz after 3 hours of sleep and taking care of a 16-month-old child at the same time. You punks in the East have it easy.
The biggest criticisms on trade deadline day are frequently reserved for the teams that do nothing. Since I was running a Canucks-centric trade deadline chat, I saw a lot of frustration when the deadline came and went without a single trade for the Canucks, particularly with Roberto Luongo still sitting on the bench with a $5.3 million cap hit. But the Canucks didn’t really do nothing. The Derek Roy trade may not have happened on trade deadline day, but it was still a deadline deal.
So let’s extend things back to March 22nd, when the New Jersey Devils acquired Matt D’Agostini from the St. Louis Blues. That essentially gives us a two-week window of “trade deadline” trades. Things really kicked off in earnest when Pittsburgh traded Joe Morrow for Brendan Morrow and had me secretly hoping they were bringing Ethan Moreau out of retirement simultaneously.
There were 37 trades made during the 2 weeks leading up to the deadline. So which teams did the least? Six teams made just one trade: the Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Vancouver Canucks. Two teams, however, did absolutely nothing — the New York Islanders and Winnipeg Jets — and they’re both in very similar situations.
This is the same Mikhail Grabovski who has shown these sorts of hands in the past:
The underuse of Grabovski is puzzling, particularly since at even strength. Carlyle’s main complaint about Grabovski is that he doesn’t produce much, telling reporters last week that “We’d like to see the Grabovski-[Nikolai] Kulemin line score more” and admitting that “there is a little leeway given them” due to the fact that those two forwards play some of the toughest competition in the NHL, mostly in a defensive role.
“Let me ask you this,” says Billy. “If Jeremy Brown looked as good in a uniform as Majewski [a Greek Kouros who played outfield for the University of Texas], where on this board would you put him?”
The scouts pretend to consider this. Nobody says anything so Pitter says it for them: “He’d be in that first column.” A first-round pick.
“You guys really are trying to sell jeans, aren’t you, says Billy.
One of the more entertaining things about this summer is the prevalence of candid photographs of Dustin Byfuglien. Like Patrick Kane two summers ago, who was caught in various places around Chicago celebrating his Stanley Cup, Byfuglien has been photographed in various places around North America displaying his not-exactly-hockey-body.
The passage above is, of course, from Michael Lewis’ Moneyball. One of the more entertaining sections of the book is when Billy Beane and Paul DePodesta rise to the defence of overweight amateur baseball players in an attempt to find undervalued players. For them, it was looks.
In reality, we need not worry about Dustin Byfuglien’s weight. We’ve seen the pictures. Above is the much-circulated picture from yesterday of Byfuglien at teammate David Bolland’s wedding. The next two photographs, display Byfuglien entering a Minneapolis courtroom last month, and another of him fishing in the Fraser River for sturgeon with Andrew Ladd: