It felt like it had been a long time since I last wrote Five Thoughts. I checked, and apparently I haven't since May 1, which is a lot longer than I thought. I think Five Thoughts is fun to write for the same reasons it's fun to read: it's like hockey topic speed-dating. You go through five topics faster than you normally go through one, and then you're always welcome to go back and spend more time on the one you enjoyed the most. Anyway, here's what I'm thinking about stuff that happened over the last week:
1. Mike Hoffman's arbitration
I'm still a little bit in shock over Hoffman's ask. The team low-balling him at $1.75-million was hardly a surprise, but his reach-for-the-sky bid was $3.4-million. After Anders Lee, Colin Wilson, and Brendan Gallagher all signed extensions that pay $3.75-million per year in the last 12 months, I figured Hoffman would look for similar. Thing is, in February Hoffman was saying he didn't want a long-term deal. That says two things to me: he's patient, and he believes in his skill. The patience is hardly a surprise. The guy got cut from his hometown OHL team. He's taken longer than the average to develop at every level. The belief in his own skills also isn't a surprise. Remember when he got a penalty shot in his first game after being a healthy scratch for a couple games, and he tried the Forsberg? I think it bodes well if he's going into next season confident.
In the end, it looks like Hoffman is happy to take a one-year deal under $3-million to prove he's the real deal. He knows next summer the Senators will have a better sense of his ability, and will have to lock him up for some UFA years. If Hoffman's patience and confidence pay off though, it will cost the team dearly.
2. Arbitration delays
You may remember that Alex Chiasson's award came out 17 hours later than expected. At least for Hoffman's, we have an announcement:
Today's #Sens arbitration case has been completed. A ruling is expected to come down by Sunday evening - at the earliest.— Sens communications (@Media_Sens) July 30, 2015
Thing is, that's not allowed under the CBA.
I'm sure both sides agreed to the arbitrator pushing the announcement back. I'm just wondering how that can happen. As far as I know, there was no discipline for the arbitrator almost being a full day late for the Chiasson announcement.
Besides, from my understanding, the arbitrator listens to both sides and then comes to a number. I don't see how that requires 48 hours, forget about the minimum 80 this decision will take. It all seems extremely strange. The good news is that with the rarity of arbitration settlements, this is an issue that will only affect the NHL every few years.
3. Logo contest
I want to say a big thank you to anyone who participated in the logo contest. I wasn't sure it was a good idea, but other people on the staff thought it was, and the response from the community has been huge. Thank you for submitting designs, commenting, and voting. If you haven't checked out the winner yet by Jay Earle, you can see it here. I'm glad to see there was an appetite for a better logo; I wasn't alone in wanting to see something better. Now here's hoping that engagement was enough to convince the Sens they should at least look into improving their proposed logo.
4. Twitter snark
In case you missed it (ICYMI): the Sens' Twitter account got hit with some mockery from the Blue Jackets' account yesterday
That parking lot needed to be repaved, but even in the dead of summer when hockey new is at a premium, it's hardly exclusive to show a picture of it. Gotta love it when teams bring the sass. Good news is that @Senators has learned their lesson:
Note to self: There was no need to ICYMI the exclusive parking lot update. #thx— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) July 30, 2015
5. Top 25 Under 25
The annual countdown of the team's best young players gets underway this Sunday, August 2nd. But if you fancy yourself smarter than the average writer, feel free to check out the list of eligible players and make your own. Then follow along at home as we count them down. No Erik Karlsson meant that for the first time since this series has been happening (I think), the first-place vote wasn't unanimous. (Though to be fair, it was almost unanimous.) The great news is that by the time the series is over, it'll be September with training camps about to start!