[Author's note: Power rankings are usually three things: Bad, wrong, and boring. You typically know just as well as the authors which teams won what games against who and what it all means, so our moving the Red Wings up four spots or whatever really doesn't tell you anything you didn't know. Who's hot, who's not, who cares? For this reason, we're doing a power ranking of things that are usually not teams. You'll see what I mean.]
7. That David Savard extension
Here's what I don't get here: Savard at $4.25 million isn't that big of a deal in and of itself. That's not a ton of money, he played first-pairing minutes last year, and so on.
But you have to understand what $4.25 million should buy you in the marketplace. Kevin Shattenkirk makes that much. So do Marc-Edouard Vlasic and John Klingberg. Adam Larsson, Jake Muzzin, Jonas Brodin, Slava Voynov, Jake Gardiner all make less than that. Anton Stralman, TJ Brodie, and Ryan McDonagh all make slightly more than that.
Lumping Savard in with that group is, well, optimistic. He's 23 and this contract buys a few years of unrestricted free agency, but if he can't push the puck in the right direction and doesn't put up a ton of points, he's really not a guy who deserves what we can all agree is market value for extremely good young D-men. Over the last three seasons, Savard has 5-on-5 numbers that are negative in comparison with the team in the following categories: corsi, shots on goal, scoring chances, and high-quality scoring chances. He is also only plus-0.17 in goals. So....?
But this actually highlights what should be a major, major, major point of concern for Columbus overall. Here's a list of guys making $4 million or more:
Brandon Saad ($6 million through 2021)
Brandon Dubinsky ($5.85 million through 2021)
Sergei Bobrovsky ($5.625 million through 2019)
Nick Foligno ($5.5 million through 2021)
David Clarkson ($5.25 million through 2020)
Scott Hartnell ($4.75 million through 2019)
Fedor Tyutin ($4.5 million through 2018)
Jack Johnson ($4.36 million through 2018)
David Savard ($4.25 million through 2021)
Ryan Johansen ($4 million through 2017)
That's not a great group, and it's a lot of money ($50.85 million!!!!) to have committed to a not-great group of 10 guys. Especially considering Johansen's due a raise — and a hefty one at that — in two summers. What's he asking for if Clarkson's pulling $5.25 million and Foligno's getting more than that?
When Jarmo Kekalainen was hired, there was a lot of praise going his way, including from me. Now we're being given reason to doubt that he's actually all that good at this. You can't commit that kind of money to a core from which you'd probably say only Johansen, Saad, and Bobrovsky are getting money commensurate with their talent level. That many guys being overpaid is a major problem.
6. Please like my sport
If you are a hockey writer, I implore you to not write things like this:
The NHL is not accustomed to headlines involving arrests and court dates.
That’s normally for other sports leagues.
Good lord. Have you seen everything that happened this summer? The NHL probably had as many arrests as any other sports league with all the “thugs” who are not “good guys.” So maybe..................... NHL players.......... can also do bad stuff???
5. Third jerseys
Can we just stop with these stupid things already? Or maybe let fans vote on which one of three or four options the team will wear. Because when was the last time a team introduced a third jersey and you were like, “That's great!” They're all bad.
This doesn't apply to the third jerseys that are just updates of “classic” jerseys like, say, the Rangers' or Leafs' thirds. Classic is good! But Ryan Getzlaf skating around looking like a pumpkin? That's not good.
4. The idea that Phil Kessel lost 13 pounds and will now be really good as a result
Know what else might make him good is if he plays with Sidney Crosby for 82 damn games. But hey, if he doesn't do well this season, I can't wait to blame it on him losing 13 pounds because whatever it is that made him really good was in the hot dog he ate every day.
Please Phil Kessel be good next season.
3. Brad Treliving, the Flames hater
If you said at any point in the last 12 months or so that the Flames' success was unsustainable, you were accused of things like hating the Flames or having an axe to grind or having an ex-girlfriend from Calgary who dumped you.
So may Brad Treliving, clearly a jilted Oilers fan with a grudge, be favored by both the Old Gods and the new for saying this:
“Our season last year was like winning the Masters while sinking eighteen 40-foot putts.
“We can’t just say the recipe for this season is, ‘We’re going to win a bunch of games by coming from behind in the third period. We’re going to pull the goaltender eight times and score a tying goal in seven of them.' There are a number of things there you can’t rely on duplicating. We’re not saying we have to retrace out footprints from last season. We have to get better.
“Any type of predictability (analysis) will tell you that you can’t continue to trail and expect to have successful outcomes. We’ve looked at it seven ways to Sunday. We can’t continue to dig holes, and consider a victory when we work … fill the hole back in. That just doesn’t win.”
Wow that guy really hates the Flames and wants them to fail!
(Thank u Brad here is a big hug from me to u.)
Steven Stamkos seems like a nice guy and everything, but this may be pushing things to their logical extremes:
Stamkos on McDavid: I think he's better than me right now.
— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) September 8, 2015
“Wow,” said a lot of people. “That's crazy he would say that!”
But here's the thing: McDavid might indeed be better than Steven Stamkos. Please keep in mind that Sidney Crosby — whose quality coming out of major junior was undisputed — scored more than 100 points in his first season, and that McDavid is believed by many to be a higher-quality prospect than Crosby. Now, that's not to say McDavid is likely to crack 100 points, as the NHL scoring situation in 2005-06 was a lot more liberal than it is in 2015.
That's also not to say that McDavid is likely to score more goals Stamkos, who has 276 goals in his career and — despite an apparent slowdown in production — has 97 in his last 167 appearances. These are still insane numbers. It's harder to rack up goals than assists in this league, obviously, and I'd wager that there aren't too many 18-year-olds in NHL history who could reliably be counted upon to keep up with the top three or four goalscorers in the league. But it would not be surprising at all to see McDavid, given his supporting cast and the role he'll likely play in Edmonton right away, put up more points than Stamkos next season. Stamkos had a strong 72 last year, and that sounds like a decent jumping-off point for McDavid.
Hell, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him finish top-10 in scoring. That's what you'd expect from a guy whose offensive ability has been compared to Crosby at a minimum, and Mario Lemieux at a maximum.
1. The best shape of my life.
As an NHL player a week before training camp, I'm in it. This matters and I'm glad you're all tweeting about it.
(Not ranked this week: Being guilty in the court of public opinion.
“Wow the idea of Patrick Kane settling with his alleged victim rather than going to trial sure does show he was innocent,” thought an idiot.
If Patrick Kane were accused of literally any other crime, and settled with his alleged victim rather than go to a criminal trial, the Court Of Public Opinion would take that as a tacit admission of his guilt. Why not here? Because lots of people think rape is always the accuser's fault, or that they made it up to get money out of him. People used that same argument a lot with Bill Cosby not that long ago, didn't they? Oh hmm. Weird. Right.
But if the unimpeachable and good Captain Jonathan Toews says you gotta stand by the accused in these situations, then that's it as far as the hockey world is concerned. Boy was everyone in a hurry to explain, “What he meant was, dot dot dot!!!!” He won three Stanley Cups so he must be right. This is a thing that is letting people air out some Good Opinions. Wow.)
(All statistics via War On Ice unless otherwise noted.