Five Thoughts For Friday

A.K.A How to Change Hockey Culture 101

Staying safe? Great! Here’s some food for thought.

Are You Not Entertained?

Hats off to the Senators’ social media team. They’re pulling out all the stops to keep us entertained throughout the season’s stoppage, from live party games to whatever this is:

These shenanigans may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but we still ought to give props to the team for doing its best to keep the fans engaged until the draft. Nothing will ever top that Dylan DeMelo Christmas compilation, though.

A Deal With the Devils

Here’s a draft day proposal I drew up recently. The Ottawa Senators, holding the 2nd and 3rd overall picks from the draft lottery, trade picks #3 and #21 to the New Jersey Devils for picks #6 and #10. This trade would still guarantee one of Quinton Byfield or Tim Stutzle as our future 1C, along with adding a third pick in the Top 10. Do you think both teams would consider a swap like this, or is the value lopsided for one team? Who would you target if Ottawa had the 10th overall pick?

A Crucial Negotiation

While GM Pierre Dorion has a lot of contracts to work out over the offseason, all of them play second fiddle to a contract extension for Brady Tkachuk. Though under contract for the upcoming season, locking up a massive piece of the Senators’ core long-term is something that should be taken care of before the players hit the ice in 2020-21. The team locked up star defenseman Thomas Chabot to an eight-year extension worth $8 million per year, and if Ottawa chooses to offer that same term to Tkachuk, I would expect the cap hit to fall somewhere north of $6 million. One thing that I’d keep in mind is that the organization has been unwilling to dish out long-term contracts to players in their late-twenties, so if they sign Brady for eight years, they may struggle with his next contract. A five-year deal could be a better option, as it would expire when he is 26 years old, which is the perfect time to sign him to the longest possible contract.

Optimal Defence Pairings

If the Ottawa Senators want to achieve success in the 2020-21 season, they’ll need to assemble the best possible lineup with the players available. Should they draft an NHL-ready forward in the upcoming months, offence shouldn’t be a concern. Defence is another story, however. It’s no secret that among the defensemen who took a regular shift for Ottawa, the weak link was Nikita Zaitsev, who dragged down every one of his partners at 5v5. While his numbers were disastrous with Thomas Chabot (46.03 CF%) and Mark Borowiecki (39.49 CF%), his partnership with Mike Reilly (48.45 CF%) wasn’t too bad. It seems the right place for Zaitsev next season would be on the third pair with Reilly. If he does alright in that role, he could definitely be flipped to another team at say, 40% retained salary. That would make the initial trade with the Leafs a success for Ottawa when you factor in the increased value of Connor Brown.

Hockey Culture

Recent events involving a certain group chat have once again called hockey culture into question. Most seem to be aware that each one of these individual cases stem from the same thing, the question is, how do we fix it? My suggestion is to be more like our lord and saviour over here:

Ian Mendes was once called bush-league by Eugene Melnyk, and responded by posting a picture of a gift basket that the latter sent Ian’s daughter while she was in the hospital. That takes character. Ian is more concerned with promoting and encouraging improvement in the hockey community, as opposed to dunking on people for Twitter clout. Either focus on educating a new defining generation of the hockey community, or needlessly attack those who aren’t changing their way of thinking anytime soon, whatever you feel is the best use of your time.

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