5 things: Living without you

Ryan Lambert
September 30 2015 01:39PM

There are probably not too many headlines worse than "Jordan Eberle out four to six weeks" as far as the Oilers are concerned, but you'd have to think those would involve longer lengths of time, or the names "Taylor Hall" and "Connor McDavid." Beyond that, disasters don't get much bigger.

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Top-10 UFA Countdown: #4 - Antoine Vermette

Ryan Lambert
June 22 2015 08:00AM

Photo Credit: Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports

The outcome of the Stanley Cup Final will, in many ways, vindicate Stan Bowman's decisions at the trade deadline this year. He spent big to get Antoine Vermette and Kimmo Timonen (a combined cost of two second-round picks, a first, and a decent prospect) and hadn't, for most of the playoffs, gotten much out of them.

There wasn't much of a surprise there with Timonen, because the guy is like 112 years old and coming off a very serious health concern that almost ended his career. But the performance of Vermette, which has only began to sort itself out late in the run, long seemed a point of concern to say the least.

We're obviously working with a very limited data set here (just 39 games from the regular season through the end of the playoffs) but 4-6-10 in all situations and a sub-50 percent possession number on a team as good as Chicago is deeply problematic. Which goes a long way toward explaining his getting just 13:35 per game from Joel Quenneville; he hasn't averaged that few since he was a sophomore in the league, back in 2005-06.

At best, Bowman was "vindicated" with a Cup win (in much the same way the Tomas Kaberle trade once didn't-matter after the Bruins won the Cup), but at worst, the Vermette and Timonen trades could look like terrible decisions. 

And though he came on late, the fact that scoring two goals in six games was a coup probably throws Vermette's price in the UFA market into serious doubt, if nothing else.

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5 Things: The Value of Dougie Hamilton

Ryan Lambert
June 11 2015 08:00AM

For what seems like the millionth summer in a row — but I'm sure it's more like the seventh or eighth, which is still an eternity in the NHL — the Boston Bruins are facing a cap crunch. We don't yet know what the league's ceiling is going to come to, but a reasonable assumption is that it's going to go up about $1-2 million at most. Let's be generous and say it hits $71 million, which is the outside estimate Gary Bettman keeps giving.

Read on past the jump and I'll break down what the issue is, and how the Bruins can deal with it.

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5 Things: What should Chiarelli do after that one thing?

Ryan Lambert
June 04 2015 11:39AM


1. The current situation

The issue facing the Edmonton Oilers is an obvious one: Now that they're getting a generational talent, they have — at most — two years to get their acts together and put a presentable team on the ice.

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Top-10 UFA countdown: #10 - Johnny Oduya

Ryan Lambert
June 03 2015 09:00AM

Photo Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports

This is a series counting down the top-10 pending UFAs. It will be posted across the Nation Network over the next month! Enjoy!

If you're looking for a veteran presence that Chicago might be inclined to let walk, especially from that blue line, Johnny Oduya seems as likely a candidate as anyone. While he is part of the four-headed beast that arose in these playoffs because Joel Quenneville literally doesn't trust anyone else to patrol the blue line, Oduya best matches the description of a guy who will probably be allowed to walk.

The reasons why should be clear enough: He'll be 34 on Oct. 1, he probably wants one last multi-year deal, he probably wants a raise from his current $3.375 cap hit per NHLNumbers.com, and he's wrapping up a season in which he was vilified for much of the year by his own fans.

Stan Bowman is a smart general manager and while it's not totally clear how he's going to address his blue line's depth problems, giving a 34-year-old coming off a bad year multiple seasons and a raise doesn't seem like part of the plan. So in other words, it's very likely that Oduya is available to the highest bidder come July 1.

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