We are 30 games into the 2015-2016 season, sitting on a record of 14-13-03, placing them as 6th in their division and 11th in their conference. In comparison to their record this past season which was 19-08-03 placing them near the top of the league.
What is the reasoning for this? Could the team still be healing from wounds sustained during the trip to the cup finals? Is it the Stamkos contract negotiations? Or are some of our players simply returning to their true form, whereas this past season, they had been overachieving?
One way or another something does need to change and as any Bolts fan knows a big change to take place this season could have to do with Stamkos? What are our possibilities?
One, being unlikely as it is, he re-signs.
Two, we move him, either at the deadline or at the draft. Then we must wonder, what is he worth? Look at Stewart from last year, if healthy, he's expected to put up 20+ Goals and 50+ Points and got a 3rd in an underachieving year.
Three, he retains his NMC and leaves the team for FA. Which is likely how he gets the utmost money and length.
If he leaves this team, we have to wonder, can Johnson step up?
Some positives we can take out of this year thus far;
1. Bishop has been phenomenal putting up the best numbers of his career with a 1.96 GAA and a .930 SV%.
2. Kucherov is on pace to put up similar goal totals to last year (29) and is currently second on the Bolts in points with 18.
3. Cooper re-signing
Looking down the road;
Bishop, Kucherov, Killorn, and Coburn all have expiring contracts coming up. If you ask me Bishop will be looking for about 6 Mil again
Kucherov should be looking for at least 5 Mil if manages 30 Goals and 50 Points, though with arbitration we might bring him down a bit.
Killorn is a 2.5 Mil at most.
Coburn should be dealt at the deadline (unless Carle can be moved).
As far as the concerns with contract signings go for this off-season in consideration with having the money to sign Stamkos we have to look at the numbers.
1. We currently sit with 1.489 in cap space.
2. Ohlund's (Yes, Mattias Ohlund who hasn't played in years) contract of 3.607 will be coming off the books
3. Ganger's buyout of 1.6 will be coming off the books.
4. The Salary cap is said to go up by as much as 3 Mil for next season according to Bettman.
5. Put that all together and consider an approximate increase of 3.5 Mil for Kucherov and we are looking at cap space around 6 Mil Of course this means that we shouldn't have any concern signing Stamkos (highest imaginable raise being 3.5 Mil) this season as far money goes.
But of course it's reasonable to suggest Yzerman may be more concerned with what happens the following season with guys like Palat, Johnson, Hedman and Drouin.
IMO he should move Coburn this deadline and Filpulla at next years deadline, thus lining things up to make cap space.
That's all I have to say, please leave a comment if you like this blog and perhaps I'll keep tossing them up.