Around the NHL: Big money going out to big name defensemen

It seems since the NHL brought in the salary cap in 2005, it seems like the league goes through a pretty consistent process every five or so years. The cap is lowered, teams spend two or three seasons trying to clear out all of their bad contracts, and the second they all do and the cap finally goes up, they waste it all again on even bigger contracts, until the cap is eventually lowered and they repeat the process all over again.
The league has once again reached that point of throwing a lot of money at players, which is incredible considering that just last season teams were in cap crunches. But hey, what’s the point of learning from past mistakes anyways.
It seemed a lot of these big deals were given to defensemen this offseason, as a lot of “big name” blueliners found themselves either being free agents this offseason, or needed an extension for next season. I say big name loosely, as there are a few big names that have value in name only, but we’ll get those.
So, we’re going to take a quick look at these contracts, and see where they stack up to …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: Khem Birch talks positive COVID-19 test, desire to lead

Raptors: Khem Birch talks positive COVID-19 test, desire to lead

The Toronto Raptors brought back a native Canadian in Khem Birch this offseason, as he earned himself a three-year contract following a very impressive showing after his buyout in Orlando. Birch averaged 11.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game during his debut season under Nick Nurse. Birch might not be the best shooter at this […]
Raptors: Khem Birch talks positive COVID-19 test, desire to lead – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Summing up the Leafs’ roster additions and subtractions

The Free Agent Frenzy of 2021 has brought some new names and faces to the Leafs’ roster, with some notable departures as well. Zach Hyman and Frederik Andersen are relatively long-serving Leafs that have moved on to other teams. To compensate, Kyle Dubas and company have brought in a few low-cost names to try to fill the gap Hyman left, and replaced Andersen with Petr Mrazek.
All signs point to the Leafs still working to add to this roster, and we could still see some players from last year moved out to make room, such as Pierre Engvall, Ilya Mikheyev or Travis Dermott. However, it still interests me to know how the additions and subtractions made so far have affected the team.
Before we start, I want to point you to the second part of my advanced stats primer, which gives what I think is a good description of where the “Wins Above Replacement” or “WAR” numbers we’re using below come from. In short, a couple folks much smarter than I have developed a model that boils down a lot of the things we know about advanced hockey stats into a few numbers that essentially show how much better or …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Page 6ix Wednesday, June 9th: The postseason/offseason drama continues

It’s Wednesday, and last week we brought you a special edition, so we’ve got two whole weeks of drama to catch up on! As we all know, hockey is very serious and has no drama (no soap operas!) so we’ve got nothing to talk about.
Heh. Yeah right.
Leafs Land
As usual we start with what’s happening for the Boys in Blue, even though the answer is Not Hockey. But there IS drama.
I try to stick my head in the sand and ignore any Zach Hyman leaving the Leafs talk, but it’s getting harder to avoid. First, though, let’s wish him a happy birthday!

Happy Birthday to @MapleLeafs own @ZachHyman! Have a great one! Hopefully there is a new contract extension waiting for you as a gift! #LeafsForever #zachhyman #leafsnation #Leafs
— Centre of Leafs Nation (@CntrLeafsNation) June 9, 2021

Meanwhile, yes, there is lots of chatter about whether and for what type of contract the Leafs re-sign Hyman. I’ll just go cry now.

Will Zach Hyman be a Maple Leaf next season? What deal would make sense to keep him in Toronto?@FriedgeHNIC joined #WritersBloc with @SNJeffBlair & @richarddeitsch …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

The complicated reality of Zach Bogosian as a Leaf

It seemed like Zach Bogosian was brought in to be hated by the fanbase of the team he would be playing for. Given Toronto’s recent history with Cody Ceci, Roman Polak, and to some extent also Matt Hunwick, Ron Hainsey, and Ryan O’Byrne, there is no shortage of defensive defensemen that this fanbase has done a dance of joy for their departures. If we want to head in the way back machine, we can probably lump Luke Schenn and Keith Aulie into that group as well, and while Bogosian might not have the price tag of Zaitsev, Ceci, or Phaneuf, or been a wasted lottery pick like Schenn, or even had an asset given up for him like O’Byrne, the universal truth remains, that Leafs fans hate defensive defensemen and Bogosian was going to be hated the moment he decided to sign here.
Neither Dubas or Bogosian did themselves any favours this week with their actions, but it was those actions that should probably have us jump past all of our usual nonsense and go straight to angry acceptance. Dubas choosing not to waive Bogosian and instead waiving both Spezza and Dell to make Mikko Lehtonen, is …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Jack Han to become Marlies Assistant Coach

Originally hired back in 2017, Jack Han was brought in as a part of the Research and Development staff that was growing at a rampant rate. Known for his video work, Han has now been moved through the organization and is now an Assistant Coach with the Toronto Marlies.

Congrats to Jack Han – looks like he’s been moved to Assistant Coach with the Toronto Marlies!
— Rachel Doerrie (@racheldoerrie) August 27, 2019

Han will be working directly with Head Coach Sheldon Keefe, and fellow assistants A.J. MacLean and Rob Davison.
Unfortunately, his Twitter account has been dark since he was hired two years ago, but it was filled with these “#1MinuteTactics” videos that perfectly explain and demonstrate with on-ice examples how certain plays would result in higher success and all that useful stuff.
He was hired by the Leafs from McGill University, as he was their video and analytics coach for their women’s team before he was picked up by Toronto. During that time, Bob McKenzie wrote a feature on Han, if you want to get to know the new assistant coach better and his philosophies on coaching, read it here.
As the Leafs promote these individuals into more active roles …

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Author: Thomas Williams / The Leafs Nation

Nationals claim Javy Guerra off waivers

Brought in as a relief option to sure-up the bullpen this past offseason, the Washington Nationals have claimed relief pitcher Javy Guerra off waivers from the Blue Jays.

DFA’d Saturday by #BlueJays, RHP Javy Guerra has been claimed off waivers by the bullpen-needy Washington Nationals.
— Scott Mitchell (@ScottyMitchTSN) May 20, 2019

Guerra, 33, made 11 appearances for the Jays, pitching a total of 14 innings with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.214 WHIP, while striking out 9.6 per nine innings.
He was designated for assignment on Saturday to make way for lefty knuckleballer Ryan Feierabend to make the start in the game against the White Sox that day. With the injuries to their rotation, the Jays will be able to take the hit to their bullpen, but it is still losing a capable major-league arm for nothing.
This leaves the Jays with an eight-man bullpen, enough to manage the games, but with decreasing options in the minors. Thomas Pannone is one pitcher that was recently optioned to Buffalo that might see a lot of travel between the two clubs as the year goes on.
This move won’t get rid of the fact that the Nationals have never won a playoff series.

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Author: Thomas Williams / Blue Jays Nation

Josh Donaldson is killing it so far this year

The rain is finally being brought to Atlanta. After a slow start to the season, Josh Donaldson has been dominant as of late. The former MVP went three-for-five with a couple of bombs in Atlanta’s 11-5 win over Cleveland last night and owns a slash line of .270/.400/.500 for the season.

Josh Donaldson with a LOUD home run to left
— ESPN (@espn) April 22, 2019

Donaldson is now on pace to put up 5.4 WAR this year. He has played in all 21 of Atlanta’s games. Maybe — and stick with me here – the Blue Jays should have extended him a qualifying offer instead of liquidating him for pennies on the dollar.
— Jonah Birenbaum (@birenball) April 22, 2019

As Jonah Birenbaum points out, Donaldson’s not-really-unexpected turnaround this year makes the decision to deal him for virtually nothing prior to the trade deadline last year all the more curious. The Jays, of course, took a gamble with Donaldson, opting to not trade him in the off-season due to the slight chance he could help the team compete in the 2018 season. That didn’t work out, Donaldson got hurt, the team sucked, and he ended up getting …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation