Mock NHL Expansion Draft

Stanzo’s Editor’s Note: Posting this a mere 3 hours before the expansion draft as names have already started to leak is classic BTB Sports. But your boy Phil wrote another dope article so shut up and read it.

For all the people who closely follow the NHL, or even just their home team, this week is like a week long Christmas morning. On Saturday, the 30 NHL teams submitted their protected lists consisting of 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, and 1 goalie, or just 8 positioned players. Following that, the newest addition to the NHL, the Las Vegas Golden Knights, get to draft one player from each team that hasn’t been protected. They had until this morning to submit their list and the team will be revealed tonight at 8pm. Yesterday Adidas revealed all new (although most are generally the same) jerseys that the teams will carry for this coming year. The full schedule will be announced Thursday at 3pm, and to top off an eventful week, the draft will be held in Chicago on Friday at 7pm. An all around crazy week for hockey fans with loads of excitement surrounding this Vegas team.

 

It’s important to note that with the 30 players Vegas will be selecting from a plethora of talented players left unprotected that they have some restrictions and have to meet guidelines.

  1. Vegas must select 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders.
  2. Vegas must select a minimum of 20 players who are under contract for the 2017-18 season.
  3. Vegas must select players with an aggregate Expansion Draft value that is between 60-100% of the prior season’s upper limit for the salary cap. (So roughly 43$ million)

 

Now Vegas can go many directions with this draft. Some of the guys available are older, more expensive players that they may take just to make it to the cap minimum. Some guys will be younger, less expensive, and maybe not as proven in the League, but could provide key depth for their future. There are rumors regarding teams offering their first round pick in this years draft  in exchange for Vegas not selecting their unprotected players. Vegas could go with this route and aim to stockpile draft picks and build their organization from within. Whatever way they decide to handle the draft, these are the players I see most fitting with the newest expansion team.

 

*I didn’t take into account potential trades to keep players protected since the Vegas GM has noted they have locked in at least six trades already

 

 

Anaheim Ducks

Johnathan Bernier (G). Bernier will most likely be the backup net minder in Vegas, or even trade bait  since the team has plenty of goalies to choose from. Backups in the league are becoming more and more necessary to make a deep run at the cup and this guy is the perfect fit for that.

 

Arizona Coyotes

Alexander Burmistrov (F). At just 25, the 6’1 180 lb center has great potential. He is a former first round pick and given the right teammates, I believe he can prove his offensive talent.

 

Boston Bruins

Malcolm Subban (G). Yes this is PK Subban’s little brother. Kid will probably sit in the minors till he proves to be more consistent, but the most valuable on the B’s unprotected list.

 

Buffalo Sabers

William Carrier (F). Gonna be honest here… didn’t know who this guy was but a lot of experts had him being selected so i’ll roll with it. He’s 22 and was a second round pick so that probably has something to do with it.

 

Calgary Flames

Matt Stajan (F). He’s 33 but can be a key depth guy with 401 points and almost 1000 games under his belt.

 

Carolina Hurricanes

Lee Stempniak (F). People may disagree with this since Carolina has some younger guys that Vegas can go with, however Stempniak can score and this is good for the Knights for two reasons. One, they will need some sort of offense outside of the younger, undeveloped guys they are going to draft, and the veteran can provide that. Two, he can be dished out at the trade deadline to a team needing a quick fix to their offense in return for some key pieces.

 

Colorado Avanalche

Mikhail Grigorenko (F). This guy is huge. 6’3 210 lbs as a center is pretty big. He’s a physical youngster that can score. Still has time to develop since he’s only 23.

 

Columbus Blue Jackets

Sam Gagner (F). The Jackets are in trouble. They’ve got key guys unprotected like Jack Johnson and Josh Anderson (17 goals last season). Assuming Columbus doesn’t work out a trade to keep those guys, Gagner would be the pick. Experts are picking Matt Calvert to go to Vegas.. why? Gagner is the same age, body size, and holds much more experience and talent. The circus continues for the former sixth overall pick.

 

Dallas Stars

Cody Eakin (D). The Stars are gonna miss this guy. A solid and proven blue-liner with some offensive flashes.

 

Detroit Red Wings

Peter Mrazek (G). Another very solid goaltender to the Knights. Why he was left unprotected for the 33 year old Jimmy Howard I will never figure out. They have virtually the same stats.

 

Edmonton Oilers

Griffin Reinhart (D). Another young prospect with tremendous size at 6’4.

 

Florida Panthers

Johnathan Marchessault (F). Here’s a list with some really good names on it. Ultimately, I went with Marchessault, despite his size at 5’9, because he’s coming off a year in which he scored 30 goals. Another great young forward.

 

Los Angeles Kings

Brayden McNabb (D). The LA defensemen is a great kid to have in your system. He’s a shut down defenseman that can play good minutes down the road. Sorry Kings fans, you’re still stuck with Dustin Brown.

 

Minnesota Wild

Eric Staal (F). I don’t know what Minnesota’s GM was thinking leaving their leading goal scorer unprotected for a guy who has one proven season (Granlund). Staal is a guaranteed 20 goal scorer, and the time is now for Minnesota. They need guys like him on their team if they want to make the push deep in the playoffs.

 

 

Montreal Canadians

Nikita Nesterov (D). This is a promising young blue-liner. He’s just as good or even better than some of the other defenseman Montreal can offer.

 

Nashville Predators

James Neal (F). Unless there’s a trade we don’t know about, Neal will be the one to go. They should’ve protected Scissons in my opinion, but Neal is great option for Knights. This guy can really play. Could be extremely valuable trade bait at the deadline.

 

New Jersey Devils

Dalton Prout (D). Another guy I really don’t know much about but he’s young!

 

New York Islanders

Ryan Strome (F). Screwed with a capital F. They’re close to the cap as is, so replacing whoever they lose will be tough. They’re probably dealing out a first round pick(s) to the Knights to protect guys, and  Mikhail Grabovski still isn’t cleared to play. I would love to see Vegas fuck them over and take one of the three guys they’re going to beg to keep protected in Haan, Nelson, and Strome.

 

New York Rangers

Michael Grabner (F). They have a questionable list of players left exposed including Jesper Fast and Tanner Glass. These are key depth guys to a Rangers team that values its scoring since Hank seems to be not his usual King-like self these days. I would’ve exposed Nash, he sucks. Grabner is a scorer, something Vegas will need a lot of to keep pace in their division.

 

Ottowa Senators

Mark Methot (D). A phenomenal, physical, shut down defender. Ottawa couldn’t protect him and its a shame they will be losing such a valuable piece to their playoff run.

 

Philadelphia Flyers

Michael Neuvirth (G). This was a tough choice for me. Michael Raffl is a solid two way forward that can play anywhere in the lineup that may catch Vegas’ eye. However, Neuvy was drafted in Washington by the Vegas GM and he speaks very highly of the Flyers backup goaltender. Stay away from Jordan Weal Vegas, he’s ours.

 

Pittsburgh Penguins

Marc-Andre Fleury(G). Everyone knows it. The inconsistent goaltender waved his no-movement clause just so he could go play for the Knights. He should be the starter and steal them some wins out in the City of Lights.

 

San Jose Sharks

Mikkel Boedker (F). At first I was thrown off to see Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, and Joel Ward on the exposed list. But then I remembered the entire Sharks core is from like the 1990 draft. I would love to see Vegas’ GM take one of those guys just to troll them. Boedker is a solid depth guy.

 

St. Louis Blues

Robert Bortuzzo (D). Guy’s a lock down defender at 6’4. Should be valuable for the Knights.

 

Tampa Bay Lightning

Andrej Sustr (D). I’ve always thought the Lightning had a very underrated defense since Victor Hedman gets all the praise. Outside of him, they have a lot of key pieces including Sustr, who is a very solid pickup by Vegas.

 

Toronto Maple Leafs

Seth Griffith (F). Honestly I had no clue who to go with on the Leafs list. So I followed the trend and went with another young forward.

 

Vancouver Canucks

Luca Sbisa (D). At 27 this guy has almost 500 games played. He can be a valuable leader to the youngsters of the team while still developing himself.

 

Washington Capitals

Nate Schmidt (D). Holy talent. There’s a lot of free agents on Washington’s exposed list that can still come back so thats not an issue. They sort of schemed the system by doing that. Schmidt is on the younger side of the list to choose from for Vegas. His playoff experience is a great asset to own.

 

Winnipeg Jets

Marko Dano (F). A prospect that has shown flashes of offensive talent in Winnipeg.

 

 

 

Everyone wants to see Vegas compete in their first year and with this roster I’m sure they will. Look for plenty of trading to be done once this list is announced.

There is Something About White-Haired Crazy Guys That Runs Deep in the Blood of the Chicago Cubs

If you don’t know who Harry Carey is, he is the former Cubs announcer who likely had Mad Cow’s Disease for a large portion of his life.  He coined the phrase “Cubs Win!!” (rather creative), but most people know him from Will Ferrell’s iconic portrayal of him on SNL.

But there may be a new crazy, white-haired man in Chicago, and his name is Joe Maddon.

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Baseball is a game of patterns and conformity.  Things are done certain ways in certain situations because it is logical.

He has turned the Chicago Cubs upside down in wake of a mediocre season following a magical one.  Maddon has been starting reliever Mike Montgomery batting traditional three-hitter Anthony Rizzo leadoff.

A leadoff hitter is supposed to be somebody who is fast, sees pitches, and gets on base. Rizzo is a power hitting, slow, first baseman who usually spanks the first fastball he sees.

But you know, baseball is weird.

Anthony Rizzo is absolutely lighting it up. In his first seven games as a leadoff hitter he is hitting .429 with two doubles, one triple, four home runs, seven runs and 10 RBIs, via The Chicago Tribune. 

Joe Maddon has a reputation for being a little off the beaten path with his coaching methods, and this is really just an effort to try and shock the Cubs back into excellence, but there are not many people who this would work for other than crazy Joe.  Rizzo has found his stroke, and it seems like the Cubs have found their stride this year.

 

 

The Nets Return to Relevancy Was on Pause… Now It’s DLoading

Woj Bomb Season! After the Finals end, the stretch in the beginning of the summer with the Draft and Free Agency is one of the best times to be an NBA fan as suddenly there are 28 other teams who play in the NBA besides those in Cleveland and Golden State.

Especially with the way they played at the end of the season (11-13 in March/April) my outlook on the Nets future was not nearly as bad as most other’s outlooks. The way I saw it is that the Nets have hit rock bottom, and it really can only go up from here, and they became the first worst team in a league to actually be an enjoyable team to watch at the end of the year. The Celtics (now Sixers this year) will still own their great draft pick for the next two years, but trust me I know that by now and there’s nothing they can do at this point but try to get younger and get more picks.

However, this move adds so much to that good outlook. I absolutely love this move. Brook Lopez has been on the trading block for years, and as much as he will be missed, he was not going to be apart of the Nets future. This trade is one you make 100 times out of 100. If D’Angelo Russell turns out to be an absolute bust or gets injured, you still are only giving up a guy who wasn’t going to be on the team past next season, and a late first round draft pick.

But I’m not going to look at it that way. I am going to look at like this: THE BROOKLYN NETS JUST ACQUIRED THE SECOND OVERALL PICK FROM 2 YEARS AGO!!! Everyone is quick to judge a young guy who gets traded by saying he’s not that good. Not that good? The guy is only a few months older than me, and has averaged 13.2 and 15.6 PPG in his first two years, respectively. I’m not saying he’s a lock to be an All-NBA player for years to come based on his first two seasons, but he has a legitimate chance to be a star. I’m already getting a bit ahead of myself and dreaming of Russell putting up games like he did against the Nets as a rookie.

This trade was also the best thing the Nets could have ever gotten for Lopez. The Nets were expecting to shop him to a contender who in return would give them their 2018 draft pick. Well, instead of getting a non-lottery pick, you now have a guy who is two years removed from being the second overall pick, only behind a guy in Karl-Anthony Towns who has already developed into one of the best bigs in the NBA. Also, while a player’s first two seasons don’t decide any athlete’s future (for better or worse), every year one of the top picks in the draft just never turns out to be a great player. That’s just how sports work. So while Russell isn’t guaranteed to be a star, we have seen through his first two seasons that he will almost definitely be at the very least a solid NBA player. Most fans and others around the league expect Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Jackson to all be stars. Rightfully so. However, this simply is just not guaranteed. So while the Nets do not have their own draft pick this year or next, they have acquired a former top talent who has proven he has potential to be great, which is something these draft prospects have not done yet.

I’m really starting to like the moves that have been made since Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson took over the Nets franchise. They’ve used great trade chips in Thaddeus Young, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Brook Lopez, to acquire a first round pick (Caris LeVert, who showed great signs as a rookie, both in play and in health), another first rounder (22nd this year), and D’Angelo Russell. I trust Sean Marks in any deal he makes with Magic Johnson, who made one of his first big moves since taking over the Lakers.

(Jimmer is currently tearing it up- in China)

(MCW has been on 3 teams in 4 seasons)

(No Magic, stick to your instinct, the Cavs went on to sweep the Hawks in the ECF that season)

(Better safe than sorry, right?)

(I don’t even know how to react to this one)

P.S. Had to give a shoutout to Brook Lopez. This past season, he became the franchise’s all time leading scorer. He was also the last current Net to have played in New Jersey. The guy has been rumored to be traded for years, and has played for a lot of bad, and I mean BAD Nets teams. Yet, his loyalty to this franchise and this fan base could not be greater. He built a great relationship with the young guys this past season, and you can only hope those guys picked up a lot from a classy veteran like him. He will truly be missed on and off the court by this entire organization.

Brook loved nothing more than post win interviews with Sarah (then again, how could one not?).

P. P. S. All ties have officially been cut.

Tyler Clippard Majored in Blowing Close Games

So last night, like any natural Yankees fan I was watching the game against the Angels. I’m pulling for my guys, watching them fight their way all the way back against the freaking Angels who seem to have their number this year. The sixth inning rolls around and Gary Sanchez comes up. My boy. The goddamn Kraken sends a dinger over the right field wall, classic Yankee stadium homerun but I’m not complaining about it. Chase Headley gives a quick softball swing for strike three and we’re on to the seventh.

THE NEXT PITCH! The literal next pitch Tyler Clippard comes in and tosses a nice juicy meatball to Cameron Maybin. Let that sink in for a sec. Maybin is a 10-year vet and obviously he’s a huge power hitter so you understand Clippard giving up the homeru…what’s that? Cameron Maybin has 50 homeruns in his entire career!? Yeah you read that right. But he wasn’t done there, because that wouldn’t make sense. If you’re gonna give up a run might as well make it three, or at least that’s what I imagine Clippard’s thought process was. The flaming dumpster fire that the Yankees re-signed to be their 7th inning guy has basically been about as good as I would be against major league hitters recently.

Now don’t get me wrong there are a lot of reasons why the Yankees lost this game against the Angels. You could point out the four hits that they had all game against a no-name reliever turned starter, you could call out the fact that they would be better throwing some garbage cans at the corner infield positions and still be better off than they are with Headley and Chris goddamn Carter. Me? I choose to blame that glasses wearing, kid from Stuart Little looking ass, poor excuse for a major league pitcher that is Tyler Clippard.

Image result for stuart little kid

Quick look at Clippard’s last couple of weeks. He blew a tie game against the Blue Jays by giving up a homerun to Josh Donaldson, the first batter he faced; Yankees lose. Comes into the first game against the Angels on the West Coast trip with a man on second and immediately gives up the lead surrendering a RBI double; Clippard got away with a win thanks to the God that is Aaron Judge. Second game of the Angels series, Clippard comes into the 8th inning with another lead and gives up a game tying homerun; Yankees lose in extras. Clippard comes into the game against the Oakland A’s with the score tied, starting to see a trend? Yankees lost that game too.

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And then last night’s game; the team works their asses off just to get back to a tie game after Big Mike Pineda just didn’t have his stuff. Great fight from this young team, that you love to see, but what’s the point if their so-called “seventh inning bridge to Betances” is only good for losing the game. At some point you’ve got to think Clippard is in contact with Pete Rose and the two of them are making a boatload of cash throwing these games away. You know the two of them are getting together after the games and swimming in a Scrooge McDuck pool of money, having money fights or just sitting there counting it all. As soon as you see those goggles get up in the bullpen you basically know the game is over, and not in a good way.

The highlight of the game was the fact that at least the Yanks were at home so that Clippard could be properly serenaded by a storm of boos from an angry New York crowd. The dude has got to go and fast, especially since the Red Sox have taken over first place. We are all watching the Yankees slip out of first place and Tyler Clippard is a huge reason why.

P.S. If the Yankees insist on letting Al Leiter commentate on games he better not be standing up for the worst pitcher on the team. I get that it’s a pitcher defending a pitcher but if I hear him try and justify trotting Clippard out there one more time I think I might punch a hole in my TV.

 

 

 

The Lakers – Nets Trade Might Be the Best Deal of the Off-Season

First off, besides that one project in high school that I pretended to work really hard on, this is my first blog post ever. I’m just going to come out and say I’m really not that funny, in fact I’ve thought I had so many funny stories in the past that turned out to be awful, that I have inspired an adjective to describe an awful story – the “Trevor Story”. It’s all in the delivery really, and apparently my delivery is about as good as Helen Keller trying to throw out the honorary first pitch, so let’s hope my blogging ability is better. Anyway enough of that…

Secondly, I want to say that this Lakers – Nets trade might actually be one of the worst things since sliced bread, and that’s really hard to do, because a lot of bad things have happened since some primitive Albert Einstein decided his bread would be more enjoyable in smaller servings.

Before I talk about the trade itself, I just want to say I honestly feel bad for every party involved, but especially for D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov, whose reaction when he found out he was traded can pretty accurately be summed up below.

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That, “Wow, I just got traded to Brooklyn” look.

I just can’t seem to understand how the Lakers or the Nets thought that this trade was a good idea. For Brooklyn, you get D’Angelo Russell as the cornerstone piece, a young kid whose better at scoring video of teammates talking about their body count on camera than he actually is at scoring the basketball.

Image result for d'angelo russell nick young

Now maybe Russell does go on to become the potential superstar some have touted him to be, but frankly Russell didn’t impress me in college and 15.6 points per game isn’t gonna cut it, especially on a dreadful Brooklyn team. Secondly, the Nets get Timofey Mozgov in the deal, and while its great for the Lakers to get rid of the ridiculous contract they gave him, someone in the Brooklyn front office must’ve been smoking something when he agreed to this offer.

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“Are you serious, bro?”

 

Don’t get me wrong, Mozgov is definitely a baller, I mean look at the guy. And he’s probably a great dude to go out and rip straight shots of vodka with until you can barely stand while he tells you stories about how he’s been doing this since he was 12, but unfortunately vodka shots are really the only shots he’s good at taking. The guy is a goof-ball on the court, and I don’t see how he can help this Brooklyn team other than helping them drink away the pain of another dreadful season with no first round pick.

I guess the Lakers are the winners in this deal, getting Lopez and the 27th pick, but there’s no center in the NBA I hate more than Brook Lopez. I mean the guy is 7 ft. tall, but he’s about as soft as a roll of Charmin ultra toilet paper, and for those of you who don’t know, that’s really soft. In fact, I was fortunate enough to attend only one Nets game during their recent stretch of awfulness, and even the Nets fans in front of me were chanting about how the guy’s got a gash as he took fadeaway shots over J.J. Barea. Plus, I don’t think any other center has been dunked on as many times as Lopez. I mean c’mon man.

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Now teammate Larry Nance Jr. giving Lopez a taste of his testicles.

Now maybe I’m wrong, and this trade works out for both teams. Maybe Russell becomes a stud in New York while he throws alley-oops to Timofey Mozgov soaring above the defense. And maybe Lopez has a great season in LA and is the next great Lakers center, catching dimes from Lonzo while LaVar ball tries to tell Magic Johnson his son will boycott playing unless the Lakers guarantee they’ll draft Liangelo and LaMelo. But that’s all a big maybe. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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Like Mozgov in this picture, all we can do is wait.

If the Knicks Trade Porzingis Then I’m Out

The best way I can describe being a Knicks fan is that not only do things go wrong, but they go wrong in ways you didn’t even know were possible. Literally the lone bright spot for this franchise in the last four years has been drafting 7’3 superhero Kristaps “Down in the DM” Porzingis in the 2015 draft. I’m not gonna lie, I HATED this pick at the time just as much as 99% of other Knicks fans did. I mean, a tall lanky European who shoots? Name one besides Dirk Nowitzki who turned out to be good. But KP has been great. He makes his presence felt on both ends of the floor, and has potential to be a Top-10 caliber player in this league for years to come. In what was supposed to be a 3-player draft (Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and Jahlil Okafor), getting the 4th pick was a classic Knicks move. However, Porzingis has far outshined Russell and Okafor, and is one of his draft class’ brightest stars along with Towns and Devin Booker.

Drafting him was literally the only good thing Phil Jackson has done in New York. Everything else has been a trainwreck. I don’t even flinch at embarassing Knicks headlines anymore. Charles Oakley thrown out of the Garden? Cool. Melo knocked up some bitch that isn’t LaLa? Sure. Porzingis skips his end-of-season meeting? Peachy. But this got me so instantly angry it’s insane.

I’m sorry, but WHAT?!?!

I just don’t really see any kind of return that’s worth trading Porzingis for. The guy is 7’3, shoots threes, protects the rim, and hasn’t even scratched the surface of his potential after just two seasons in the NBA. Why would you trade him away just to get draft picks you hope turn out the same way? Phil has totally freaking lost it if he’s really considering this. I’ll go to the Garden myself and personally throw his ass on a one-way flight back to LA before he trades KP. I’d fly him United too, because screw Phil Jackson.

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Sure, the guy has 11 titles, as a COACH. Not as an executive. Also, how many of those titles came without either Jordan/Pippen, Shaq/Kobe, or Kobe/Gasol? Yup, none of them.

I’m not kidding when I say I’m done being a Knicks fan if they trade Porzingis. This threat means literally nothing to them, but I’d just be done. I don’t care that they suck every year. But this move would literally just show fans the front office doesn’t give a shit about them, or the direction of the team. So please, Phil, make your peace with our 7’3 future superstar. Because you should be gone waaaaaayyyyy before he is.

 

P.S. Things were really looking up with Malik Monk potentially falling to us at 8. Basketball Gods can’t let Knicks fans have even a few MINUTES of happiness.