It may be almost Halloween, but it’s the holiday season already for NHL Rumours fans. Last Word on Hockey continues to churn out pieces keeping you informed about all the extraneous storylines from this busy offseason. While normally we’d be a few weeks into the season, 2020 has had other plans. It’s affected contract negotiations greatly. Three teams in the Boston Bruins, New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators have been affected by this situation. We’ll get into that here.
Analysis: No one will argue that this is a necessary move considering the current financial situation. A record number of one- and two-year deals have been handed out this offseason. Taylor Hall, despite being unrestricted, settled for a one-year pact to prove his worth. Boston will likely have to stick to one or two years here with DeBrusk for him to agree to a reasonable dollar value.
However, it’s a risky gamble over the long-term for Boston. DeBrusk is only 24 years of age and already a fixture in the Bruins’ top-six forward group. He’s made a home for himself alongside David Krejci, adding a punch to the team’s offensive depth. His two-way game is extremely underrated, though. You can expect DeBrusk’s market value to increase as it continues to develop. His solid possession and defensive metrics allow him and Krejci to form a sort of dynamic shutdown line; and combined with a possible legitimate scoring threat in either Ondrej Kase or Craig Smith.
General manager Don Sweeney will have to pony up for a short-term deal now. He needs to plan for a big expenditure increase on DeBrusk when his next contract expires.
New York Islanders
Rumour: In a piece put together by Sportsnet’s Luke Fox breaking down some remaining RFA situations, he mentions that the Islanders are looking to sign centre Mathew Barzal to a deal paying around $7.5 million per season.
Analysis: While this number may seem preposterously low for a player of Barzal’s calibre, it may not be so out-of-line on a short-term deal. The former Calder Trophy winner is undoubtedly the team’s number one centre and their cornerstone of the future. However, it’s important not to overhype Barzal just because of his franchise status. His career highs in both goals and points were set in that rookie season three seasons ago. And while he is an elite offensive talent on a team that lacks scoring punch, his play away from the puck is still in need of improvement.
That criticism is rather minimal considering how often Barzal actually has the puck, though. Over his career so far he’s posted not only a 52.3 percent Corsi For, but he’s also posted an incredible Relative Corsi For of 7.2 percent. He’s an extremely positive influence on his team and will surely be re-signed this offseason.
Rumour: Per TSN’s Frank Seravalli, the Senators are not done in free agency as they continue to pursue winger Corey Perry.
On ‘That’s Hockey’, TSN’s Frank Seravalli stated that no one has had a better offseason than the Ottawa Senators. He also reports that after signing Galchenyuk, the Sens might not be done. Kicking tires on a few others including Corey Perry — where there’s been mutual interest.
— Graeme Nichols (@6thSens) October 28, 2020
Analysis: Buyer beware on this one. Perry’s stock rose significantly this summer due to a strong performance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. However, the longtime Anaheim Ducks forward is still just a shell of his former self.
Perry has failed to net double-digit goals in each of the last two seasons. The one-time 50-goal scorer’s offensive play has nearly evaporated. Perry is built for the playoffs with his hard-nosed game. However, it’s unlikely the Senators will be reaching that plateau this season. If Ottawa reaches a deal with Perry, it’s purely for leadership benefit. At age 35 now, Perry is a fourth-line winger even on this bottom-five team. His offensive numbers will likely dip even more due to age and a lack of surrounding talent. Even a $1 million investment might be too much at this point. While his expertise may be invaluable to the Senators’ excess of young talent, it doesn’t add much from a hockey perspective.
Check back tomorrow for more NHL rumours.
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