Second guessing of Marc Bergevin’s decision not to offer P.K. Subban a long term contract in January has become something of an internet cottage industry.  Bergevin held firm on a two year “bridge” contract at 2.875 million per year.  subban-mini-371x250The argument goes, Bergevin should have locked Subban up for five or six seasons at something like six million a year.  Now that he’s won the Norris Trophy he’s going to get something more than 7.5 million.  But at the time of the negotiation Bergevin was facing a salary cap shrinking by six million dollars.  Handing Subban that kind of money would have put his team in a competitive hole.  At the end of the coming season the contracts of Andrei Markov and Brian Gionta will expire freeing up 10.7 million dollars.  At the same time the salary cap is going back up to over 70 million dollars.  The Canadiens will be able to afford  Subban and what will be a Ryan Suter styled 7.5 million dollar-plus contract.  Good for P.K.  He’ll have earned it and the Canadiens, won’t begrudge it.  Well maybe, not too much.

Sabrmetrics in hockey is still in it’s infancy.  Dating back to the 60’s when NHL statistician Ron Andrews devised the plus/minus system, there have been dozens who have attempted the difficult task of quantifying the game mathematically.   One of the key improvements was the Corsi rating which was devised by former goaltender and Canadiens broadcast Jim Corsi.  Put simply, the Corsi’s count shots on goal, blocked shots and missed shots both for and against while a player is on the ice in a 5 on 5 situation.  Kukla’s Korner listed the top 20 in the league and  Max Pacioretty ranked 12 in the league at plus 234.  Pacioretty’s centreman David Desharnais ranked 17th.  Pacioretty and Desharnais may dominate territorially when they’re on the ice but last season it didn’t translate to goals.   In a separate posting, the worst 20 NHLer’s in puck possession were listed and Andrei Markov ranked 18th at minus-12 which kind of mirrors the skating difficulties he had during his comeback year.  Of course, this was only even strength.  His contribution is an completely different matter.

All right.   I think the naming of the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia/Pittsburgh division of the NHL the Metropolitan division is a little off-putting too.

realignmentBut the “Atlantic” division when five of the eight teams are more than 1000 kilometres from the Atlantic Ocean?    It makes me think that Bobby Ryan’s girlfriend is teaching geography to Gary Bettman and his gang.

And with too much off-season time on my hands, I wondered what the standings would look like if there had been an Atlantic Division last year.  I know, it’s apples and oranges; with Detroit in the West and the two Florida teams in that dreadful Southeast Division but based on last year, pretty much as you might expect except Detroit way down in 4th place behind Toronto –

Fantasy Atlantic Division – 2013 

 

GP

W

L

OT

P

GF

GA

DIFF

HOME

AWAY

MONTRÉAL

48

29

14

5

63

149

126

+23

14-7-3

15-7-2

BOSTON

48

28

14

6

62

131

109

+22

16-5-3

12-9-3

TORONTO

48

26

17

5

57

145

133

+12

13-9-2

13-8-3

DETROIT

48

24

16

8

56

124

115

+9

13-7-4

11-9-4

OTTAWA

48

25

17

6

56

116

104

+12

15-6-3

10-11-3

BUFFALO

48

21

21

6

48

125

143

-18

11-10-3

10-11-3

TAMPA BAY

48

18

26

4

40

148

150

-2

12-10-2

6-16-2

FLORIDA

48

15

27

6

36

112

171

-59

8-11-5

7-16-1

Earlier in the week I mentioned the Chris Chelios deal was the worst in Canadiens history.  Close second obviously was the Patrick Roy trade.  A heavy hand in both of those disasters was Ronald Corey, then president of the Canadiens.  The third worst trade in team history was Scott Gomez.  There are a number of nuances as to how Bob Gainey was taken to the cleaners but in the end the Rangers have Ryan McDonagh.   McDonagh just signed a six year contract with the Rangers for $28.2 million, equating to $4.7 million per against the cap.  Consider this. Larry Brooks of the New York Post tells us that over the last two seasons McDonagh has played the third-most minutes (4,021) in the NHL behind only the Kings’ Drew Doughty (4,206) and his teammate Dan Girardi (4,170).   And  Scott Gomez???  Unemployed…..and maybe unemployable beyond a one year-one million dollar contract.

jagr IIThere is a certain sleaziness over the way the Jaromir Jagr free agency is being handled, especially by his agent Petr Svoboda.  The tactic seems to be dropping carefully placed rumours about interest from Montreal then Boston and Philadelphia and Ottawa.  And now a Czech broadcast outlet says it’s 99 percent sure that Jagr will sign with New Jersey.   (There has been no comment from Lou Lamoriello).  The Devils need a right winger after the Kovalchuk defection, but a 41 year old is hardly   Anything to keep some sort of bidding interest alive.  One of the rumours, not started by the Jagr side I’m sure, was a Canadiens a one year offer of 1.5 million plus two million in bonuses.  I’ve been wrong before, but it looks like he’s not going to get much more, at least from an NHL team.