NHL Free Agent Update: Evander Kane Signs and John Carlson Update

NHL Free Agent’s Evander Kane and John Carlson are at the center of our discussion. Was Kane’s deal worth it and where is Carlson going in July?

It isn’t the NHL free agent period yet, but we’re already seeing movement amongst some of them. Evander Kane has signed a seven-year $49 million deal with the San Jose Sharks. Is it worth it?

After scoring 54 points between the Buffalo Sabres and the San Jose Sharks Kane had his second most productive season. Add five points in nine playoff games, and it seems like the Sharks got a good deal.

But then you remember that two years ago Kane put up 35 points in 65 games played. Sure some years he can be productive, but some years he doesn’t. Hopefully, the Sharks don’t get any of those years out of Kane.

Carlson to Toronto

The two other guys on the show think that John Carlson stays with the Washington Capitals. I think he leaves. And the Toronto Maple Leafs is the top destination, in my mind.

They have a ton of cap space and all we’ve heard is that the Maple Leafs are a number one defender away from being true contenders. John Carlson is that guy.

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NHL Sign, Trade, Waive: The Swedish, Russian, Free Agents

If you had to sign, trade, or waive one of three NHL players, who would you pick and why?

On this week’s show we tried out a new feature called Sign, Trade, Waive. Where we ask each other, and you, what NHL player you’d sign, which one you’d trade away, and which one you’d waive? It sounds easy, but when you’re confronted with the question and three really good NHL players it’s anything but.

This week we all had a trio of players and all had a theme:

mitchMitch – Unrestricted Free Agents

James van Riemsdyk | Toronto Maple Leafs
Evander Kane | San Jose Sharks
David Perron | Vegas Golden Knights

All three have similar output, are of similar age, and are at similar crossroads in their NHL careers. Which one do you keep? And which one is worthless?

harperHarper – Swedish Defensemen

Oliver Ekman-Larsson | Arizona Coyotes
Victor Hedman | Tampa Bay Lightning
Erik Karlsson | Ottawa Senators

If you had to pick a number one Swedish defenseman who would take from the three? Even if you waive OEL, you still have to make a decision between Karlsson and Hedman. Which do you value more?

darcynewDarcy – Russian Big Name Forwards

Nikita Kucherov | Tampa Bay Lightning
Evgeni Malkin | Pittsburgh Penguins
Alex Ovechkin | Washington Capitals

Kucherov has the youth. But Ovie has the cannon of a shot and the body of a beast. And Malkin is just good at everything. Literally everything. So which one do you waive?

Vegas Golden Knights William Karlsson Wasn’t A Guaranteed Success

Who knew what the Vegas Golden Knights were getting in the 2017 Expansion Draft? We knew they would get players that other NHL teams didn’t want or were OK with losing. But we didn’t expect them to find potential stars in the making.

These were all rejects after all. The team of misfit hockey players. No one wanted them, not even Vegas by its own declaration of trying to build through the draft.

Can you blame Vegas? Name a single successful expansion team in any sport? You can’t because it hasn’t happened. Building a successful team is always done through the draft. Or at least, that’s how it’s been done in the past.

With the season all but over the Vegas Golden Knights, the group of misfits cast aside in the Nevada desert is going to the postseason. And not by the skin of their teeth either. They’re going to win their division in their first year of existence. And key amongst that outstanding season is William Karlsson.

Who knew that William Karlsson, formerly of Columbus would turn out to be a fourth goal scorer? That’s right a forty goal scorer. William Karlsson a third line plug for John Tortorella’s Columbus Blue Jackets has become one of the top five goal scorers in the NHL.

Was he always going to be this good? As in, was he a forty goal scorer in hiding or did Vegas create a 40 goal scorer?

Some of Karlsson’s number in CBJ and VGK over the last two season.

Year Team CF/60 GF/60 xG+/- Sh%
2017-18 VGK 61.43 3.65 8.17 10.7
2016-17 CBJ 50.87 2.41 -2.16 8.19

I used these numbers for a reason. They rate a player’s on-ice performance relatively. We all know that the minutes Karlsson received in Vegas weren’t the same minutes he’s getting in Vegas. So breaking down some of the stats into /60 shows what he did/does with the time he’s given assuming it’s the same across the board.

The rate at which he controls play on the ice increased by some 120%. His goal creation (GF/60) based on ice time increased by over 150% and his expected goals for +/- which takes into account defensive play – or the number of expected goals against – increased by an alarming 378%. (all stats are 5on5 stats)

When you consider where he’s come from to where he is, there’s no reason to think that Karlsson was this 40 goal scorer in hiding. Karlsson was a good hockey player before arriving in the desert, but this absolutely dominant goal scorer he was not.

That has to be attributed to the environment he’s in with Vegas. There’s no doubt that he’s playing with better players in Jonathan Marchessault and David Parron. But it’s also the system in which they operate that has allowed Karlsson to take full advantage of the skill sets he has and flourish.

There’s no one single person to credit with his rise. Sure, credit has to be given to McPhee for building his team to find the right talent. Some credit goes to Gallant for building the structure. And some credit goes to Karlsson himself for executing.

But the reason he’s been so prolific isn’t one single factor but a range of variables all coming together in the perfect storm. His success wasn’t a guarantee.

Five Best New Hockey Books You Need To Own

Do you consume hockey? Do you want the best up to date read on your favorite ice-based sport? Perfect, here the top five new hockey books you need to own.

Do you have a birthday coming up? Are you bored at work? Good! Here are five books that any hockey lover needs to own. We didn’t rank these books because they’re all fantastic. But we think this very first one from Craig Custance is a must own.

Behind The Bench: Inside The Minds Of Hockeys Greatest Coaches

Craig Custance

I love, love, love this book. The idea seems so obvious that I’m surprised it hadn’t been done before. Sitting down with coaches and watching games. Not just any games. But big games. Games that meant something. Like sitting down with ex-Team USA coach Ron Wilson to discuss his team’s loss to Canada in overtime for the gold medal.

Craig Custance convinces some of the best minds in the game to sit down and relive moments and their lives and we get to be part of it by reading this book. As a hockey fan with no access to these individuals, this is perhaps the greatest insight we’ll ever get. I wish this was an HBO TV mini-series so I can be remotely lazy and see the play they’re talking about rather than having to picture it in my mind.

If you love hockey (and why wouldn’t you) you need this book.

Behind the Bench: Inside the Minds of Hockey’s Greatest Coaches

Stats Shot: The Ultimate Guide To Hockey Analytics

Vollman

Over the last few years, advanced statistics have started to creep into hockey. Corsi, Fenwick, high-danger save percentage, wins above replacement (WAR), expected goals for (xGF) are all now part of hockey vernacular. Not knowing what these are isn’t an option for anyone who consumes hockey media. You’re going to see these stats pop-up in whoever you follow’s writing. And Rob Vollman wants you to understand what they mean and why they’re important.

Stats Shot’s mission statement, that I bestowed upon it, is to teach you what you need to know about “advanced analytics” in the game of hockey. It’s accessible even though it primary subject is statistics. It’s light and above all else it’s understandable. Vollman does an outstanding job in detailing what you need to know about analytics.

Stat Shot: The Ultimate Guide to Hockey Analytics

Take Your Eye Off The Puck: How To Watch Hockey By Knowing Where To Look

Greg Wyshynski

If you’re new to the game this books for you. Greg Wyshynski (now of ESPN) does a good job of just explaining hockey. But when I say that don’t expect an encyclopedic dissection of the game. It’s meant as an introduction to the sport for those who are just converting to the sport of ice hockey. So manage your expectations.

Wyshynski’s book isn’t about explaining every in-and-out of the game. It’s meant to be accessible to those who may not totally understand that game and might be looking for a little help knowing what some broadcasters are talking about on those NBC national games. And it does a remarkable job at that. It’s full of pop-culture references and deadpan humor. Both hallmarks of the Wyshynski style. And exactly why this book is as accessible as it is.

Take Your Eye Off the Puck: How to Watch Hockey By Knowing Where to Look

The 100 Greatest Players In NHL History (And Other Stuff): An Arbitrary Collection of Arbitrary Lists

Greg Wyshynski/Dave Lozo/Sean MacIndoe

Ever get into an argument with your friends about who the greatest players in the NHL were? Of course, you did. We all have at some point. Greg Wyshynski, Dave Lozo, and Sean MacIndoe certainly have and instead of leaving it at the bar they decided to make a book about it. They graded players based on their own not-entirely-scientific-but-still-pretty-darn-good ranking system and then went about the business of justifying their answers. Imagine that! Transparency in the world of hockey!

All three are hilarious individual and let that funny bone out in their writing. It’s a fun read from cover to cover and it’s definitely going to have you nod your head in agreement, but also sigh audibly when you disagree venomously at one of their picks

The 100 Greatest Players In NHL History (And Other Stuff): An Arbitrary Collection of Arbitrary Lists

Offside: My Life Crossing The Line

Sean Avery

Remember Sean Avery? The guy that waved his stick in front of Martin Brodeur while his team was on a power play? Or how about the guy who would call the same Martin Brodeur “fatty” after the ex-New Jersey Devils goalie wouldn’t shake his hand during the traditional handshake line in the playoffs?

Now you should. Well, he’s got a memoir out about those events and so much more. It’s an honest read about one of the more contentious players to ever lace up skates.

It’s sometimes tough to take what Avery says simply because we all know how inflammatory Avery can be. True or not, Offside is one heck of an entertaining read.

Offside: My Life Crossing the Line