The Nation Notebook: Setoguchi’s comeback ends, Burns’ historic season, and notes on the seller’s market


The Nation Network Notebook is a regular feature that rounds up interesting news, stories, and rumours from around the NHL that don’t quite deserve their own article. 

The L.A. Kings have put to bed Devin Setoguchi’s comeback, as he joins all of the major signings the team made last summer on the waiver wire. Brent Burns is on pace for the best season we’ve seen from a defenceman in a long time (don’t tell Erik Karlsson). And a seller’s market has massively upped the asking price for good-but-not-great players, making this deadline likely to be a slow one. 

Brent Burns’ historic season continues 

Brent Burns is on pace to become the ninth defensemen in NHL history to score 30 goals in a season. The mammoth blue liner has been on a incredible run since being traded to San Jose back in 2011 in a deal involving Devin Setoguchi and Charlie Coyle. Burns’ points per game has increased every season in San Jose earning him a huge eight-year extension this fall. Burns’ last few years has him in elite company and he hasn’t slowed down with only two points separating him from Connor McDavid and the scoring lead, although McDavid has played one less game.

Barring injury, Burns will be the first defensemen to score 30 goals since Mike Green in the 2008-09 season. Burns brings an unparalleled threat from the blue line, as the next closest defensemen, Shea Weber, is 11 goals back of Burns’ 24. Scoring 20 goals as a defensemen is already incredibly difficult. Its only been done 11 times since 2010 and six defensemen share that honour, but Burns is set to smash that while also leading the NHL in shots.

The Kings’ 2016 offseason has been placed on waivers

The Los Angeles Kings signed their most important free agent, Anze Kopitar, well before the the beginning of the offseason, but after that, their other additions haven’t come close to making an impact. With Devin Setoguchi on waivers Sunday, he’ll join the majority of their off-season moves and be assigned to the minors. 

Tom Gilbert and Teddy Purcell were some low-risk moves, and everyone was cheering for Setoguchi to make a successful comeback, but these moves seem like a far cry from the ones that a team with Stanley Cup aspirations should be making. The Kings aren’t exactly blessed with a ton of cap space, especially with boat anchor contracts from Dustin Brown and Marian Gaborik, and some high profile players needing contracts soon. Tyler Toffoli is a restricted free-agent after this season and Kings general manager Dean Lombardi is probably factoring what he has to pay Drew Doughty in two seasons as well.

The Kings already have $10 million dedicated to one player, but every team has to deal with the same salary cap. Chicago has routinely added substantial players while dancing along the salary cap and Pittsburgh manages to pay multiple star players and still find players like Justin

Schultz and Conor Sheary to compliment them. The Kings haven’t won a playoff series in three years which makes this lack of meaningful additions even stranger.

High prices because of a seller’s market

On Saturday’s Headlines segment, Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos spoke on the availability of Tampa Bay Lightning centre Brian Boyle and the high prices 18 days away from the trade deadline. Kypreos said he’s been told that the prices are steep, and that the ask for a Brian Boyle could be as high as a first-round pick. 

Brian Boyle is an interesting player that Tampa Bay could cash in if they recognize their playoff uncertainty. Their playoff hopes seem unlikely, but not impossible, but Boyle seems like a logical fit for numerous teams with his ability to play centre and log minutes on the penalty kill. Boyle’s 13 goals and seven assists are also respectable for a top-nine player, but a high draft pick would represent a coup for Steve Yzerman. 

Overpayments always occur. Paul Gaustad once returned a first-round pick and Roman Polak somehow netted two second-round picks just last season. Boyle’s a solid player. but not one that will push a team over the top. If Boyle has this kind of value it might reflect a potential sellers market to be had this deadline.

Another team in the mix for Duchene? 

The Colorado Avalanche seem very willing to part with one of Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene, and the Carolina Hurricanes seem like an obvious fit with their abundance of defensemen and lack of punch up front. The Hurricanes really only have one defensemen they have to worry about protecting regarding expansion in Justin Faulk, which only makes the rest of their defence even more valuable. Bleacher Report’s Adrian Dater is close to the Avalanche organization and notes that an Avalanche scout was there to watch the Canes, perhaps even Justin Faulk.

In his Sunday rumours column, the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch makes a similar connection between Colorado and Carolina. Carolina could certainly use the help up front and their wealth of defence prospects make the two teams a logical fit. Either Landeskog or Duchene could provide scoring help, but Duchene only has two years left on his contract after this season. Any deal with Carolina likely involves giving away more years of control compared to the Colorado forwards, so it’s hard to see them giving up the haul that Avalanche general manger Joe Sakic is requesting. Although, if Colorado wants a good, young expansion-exempt defenceman, Carolina is the team to call.

Duchene for Faulk, as mentioned in the Dater tweet above, would be yet another example to go along with the Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson deal last summer that suggests how highly impact defencemen are valued around the league. 

  • Whackanuck

    I’m a little unsure TDL prices will be as high as usual this year with the potential of just losing an acquistion to Vegas. Maybe with a weak draft more picks will be involved.

    Setoguchi’s back has been a wreck for years coincident with his production decline a number of years ago.

  • Will

    That makes me sad that Duchene = Hall and Larssen = Faulk. Hall > Duchene, and Faulk > Larssen. If they can get Faulk for only two years left of Duchene, I will re-evaluate the Hall trade and consider it a huge loss.

    Faulk is a huge, right shot top pair D man, on a good contract, who scores 30 + points on a bad team.

    Larseen is a huge right shot top pair D man, on a good contract, who couldn’t break 20 points on a bad team.

    Duchene is a left shot centre who has had 70, 55, and 59 point seasons in the last 3 years, playing nearly full seasons each year.

    Hall is a left shot wing who has 80, 38, and 65 point seasons, playing nearly two full seasons, and one half season. Hall had four more years left at 6 mill per at the time of the trade. Duchene would only have 2.

    • FISTO Siltanen

      Two things-

      One, who is to say Chiarelli didn’t make an offer in the summer that, if it was still on the table, the Hurricanes wouldn’t take now?

      Two, I like Faulk…but he is -81 for his career I believe. We didn’t need that again. Maybe now we could shelter that player but not in the summer.

  • toprightcorner

    Yzerman is looking for a 1st round pick for his 4th line center?? That is hilarious or Kypreos is making stuff up. He is worth a 3rd round at most, I would love the Oilers to add him but anymore than a 3rd is over payment.

    If CAR is looking at Duchene and Sakic wants a younger proven dman, Faulk, a quality prospect and a 1st round pick, Chairelli should swoop in and offer Francis a much better package for Faulk. CAR need centers so I would look at offering Nuge, Davidson, 2018 2nd and Pouliot (with Edmonton retaining half his salary) for Faulk and Stempniak

    At first it seems like an overpay, but Davidson won’t be protected and Nuge is expensive to be 3C next year. Trading Pouliot while retaining half salary balances the salary a bit for CAR. Probably paying a 2nd or 3rd for Stempniak straight across anyway and he would be the veteran 3RW the Oilers are missing.

    To get Duchene, CAR would have to give up Faulk, 1st and a decent prospect. Edmontons deal would be better value for the Canes.

    Faulk would be great with Sekera.

    Add Boyle for 3C, move Draisaitl to 2C and with Faulk as PP QB the Oilers would be a much better team.

    • DJ_44

      “Yzerman is looking for a 1st round pick for his 4th line center?? That is hilarious or Kypreos is making stuff up. He is worth a 3rd round at most, I would love the Oilers to add him but anymore than a 3rd is over payment.”

      Yep…..Kyper talking out his a$$ again…..I think it will be a buyers market….expansion puts more potential rental options on the table other than ufas

  • CanesFan98

    Carolina should not get rid of Hanifin for any purpose as I have heard about before. Faulk for Duchene is not good on its own. Colorado should have to throw something else in