Hall to the Sabres, Pietrangelo Shops Around, Toews Upset, Joyful Gudbranson
It’s the Monday edition of Links, News, and Notes
After maybe the busiest week in Senators’ history, expect things to quiet down a bit down as we roll into what figures to be the strangest off-season in league history. Right now, the start of the next season remains unclear, for a number of reasons, but the business of sorting out free agency must still be attended to. In that vein, let’s take a tour around the league’s latest news and other tidbits:
- Hailey Salvian had a piece on Friday summarizing most of the Sens’ moves up to that point in time and offering some guesses as to what happened with the team not qualifying Anthony Duclair. Salvian’s almost certainly right that it’s about the Sens being afraid of a big award, but it’s still tough to square that circle after they traded for other players whose combined earnings are well above that of Duclair. Either way, I’m very interested to see where the winger lands.
- One of those newly acquired players was Erik Gudbranson, and he seems very excited to be joining his hometown team. His parents, in particular are ecstatic about the move:/
“My family was so excited,” Gudbranson told reporters in Zoom call from his home north of Toronto Friday. “My mom called me and she was borderline tears. I’ve been gone from home since I was 16-years-old. Just the thought of having us back home is very exciting for my folks.
- In the weekend’s biggest news, Taylor Hall signed a 1 year, $8M contract with the Buffalo Sabres of all teams. This contract is one of the strongest signals of just how weird this off-season has been, and will continue to be. Hall has been one of the top wingers in the league for his whole career, but he’s also barely seen any play-off action. Normally a top UFA like this would command either a huge contract, or might take a discount to play on a contender. This deal is neither, and Buffalo was likely just offering the most money on a 1 year deal. This way the Sabres get a chance to sell Hall on a future alongside Jack Eichel, and Hall gets to re-assess the market in a year’s time when he might be hoping the NHL’s financial picture will be much clearer. I’m not sure this is enough to get Buffalo into the play-offs, but I’d definitely suggest grabbing Hall on your fantasy team.
- On Saturday, the Colorado Avalanche acquired Brandon Saad and Dennis Gilbert from Chicago in exchange for Nikita Zadorov and Anton Lindholm. Chicago also retained $1M of Saad’s contract. It’s a tidy bit of work for an Avalanche team that looked destined for an extended play-off run before they were cut down in the second round by the Dallas Stars. With the acquisition of Saad, Colorado can make a strong case that it has the deepest group of forwards in the entire league. They’re going to be reallllll good next year.
- Meanwhile, Jonathon Toews is unhappy that Chicago seem to be entering a full-blown rebuild — an opinion he shared with Mark Lazerus of the Athletic on the weekend follow the completion of the Saad trade. As a player, Toews’ frustration is understandable: he’s 32, so he’s not totally over the hill but if it takes Chicago three or more years to return to relevancy he might only be a bit player by then. On the other hand, Chicago was going to miss the playoffs were it not for the modified post-season, and they not been a good team for several years now. Total speculation on my part, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Toews is moved sometime in the next year or two.
- Alex Pietrangelo’s free-agency magical mystery tour continued in Vegas on the weekend. The Golden Knights seem like the favourites to land the rearguard, but it does seem like the St. Louis Blues’ sudden move to ink Torey Krug caught Pietrangelo off-guard. Maybe he was still open to returning to Missouri?
- Speaking of free-agency signings, CapFriendly is by far the best resource available for tracking every player and contract and they currently have a list of all the deals signed on the front page. It’s an indispensable resource for myself as a writer, but if you haven’t checked them out I cannot recommend you do so highly enough./