Around the NHL: Connecticut makes push for isles; preds place Ribeiro on waivers


   With Barclays Center, home of the New York Islanders saying that they don\’t want the Isles anymore, the team has looked at possible new homes, including Nassau Veterans Memorial Colisuem, where the club played the franchise\’s first 43 years. Today, Connecticut governor Dannel Malloy and Hartford mayor Luke Bronin sent a letter to owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin urging them to relocate the Islanders to the state\’s capital. No further discussion has been announced.
      The Nashville Predators currently are in a playoff spot, being 3rd in the Central division with 58 points. They have been in talks with the Colorado Avalanche about acquiring star center Matt Duchene, who are pursuing a top 2 defenseman, but many expect GM David Poile to trade Mattias Ekholm or Ryan Ellis, their top 4 defensemen, instead of top defensemen P.K. Subban. Subban, who was acquired this offseason, had struggled earlier this year, (as explained here) but then came back to play in the all star game. 2016 first round pick Dante Fabbro is someone the Avs might have interest in, but it\’s still unlikely he\’s traded. Other top 2 defenseman Roman Josi is expected to come off IR tomorrow, so Poile made sure there was roster room for him, by placing center Mike Ribeiro on waivers. Ribeiro, who turns 37 on February 10th, has been a healthy scratch the past 3 games and is a UFA on July first this year, with a cap hit of $3.5 million. It has also been reported that Ribeiro requested a trade from Nashville. He has 4 goals and 21 assists in 46 games this season.

Around the NHL: Iginla hopes to be traded; Avs claim defenseman, place another on waivers

   The Colorado Avalanche have struggled a lot this season, being the only NHL team with less than 30 points in the campaign, with a record of 13-33-2 for just 28 points. Starting goalie Semyon Varlamov was terrible and went down with a season ending injury, and the defense in front of him has been very bad as well.
     Former captain/Stanley Cup winner/current VP and GM Joe Sakic has been looking to acquire a defenseman, mostly a top 6 guy with 1 year left on his contract, and has also been shopping superstars Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog, and previously trading grinder Cody McLeod to Nashville. (Read my previous post) Despite Duchene rumors to Nashville or the Islanders, the price tag for him is very high and I doubt he\’ll be traded. Anyway, today, some Avalanche news has broken out. Here\’s the latest on that news.
      When the Montreal Canadiens placed defenseman Mark Barberio on waivers, they might not of thought he was going to be claimed. There was rumors of Winnipeg claiming him, (which I thought was going to happen)  but the avs stepped in and grabbed Barberio, and placed defenseman Eric Gelinas on waivers. (Who the Jets could also target) The 26 year old Barberio has 4 points (all assists) in 26 games this season, and is a +1, but it could be because habs goalie Carey Price has been fantastic for the first half of the year. The 25 year old Ontarian, Gelinas also has 26 games played this year, with 1assist (and 1 point) opposed to Barberio\’s 4. Gelinas is a -5 this season, 6 points behind Barberio, so Sakic chose Barberio over Gelinas, who was acquired on trade deadline day from the Devils last year.
       In addition to that, when being asked about if he wanted to be traded from Colorado, winger Jarome Iginla replied \”I would like to, at the deadline, go somewhere. I would like to be in the playoffs. I hope that there is some opportunity to go and play in the playoffs. Those are the best games, the most fun for sure, and you have a chance to win. So, no, I haven\’t given up on that chance to win.\” Iginla, 39, is going to be a UFA on July 1st. His last playoff experience was when he played with the Boston Bruins in 2014. He also captained the Calgary Flames to the 2004 Stanley Cup final, when they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in 7 games. He has 6 goals and 6 assists (12 points) and is a -17 in 48 games this season.
        Other news: Sabres place C Cal O\’Reilly on waivers, Devils place LW Luke Gazdic on waivers. GM Steve Yzerman says Lightning willing to make a trade; former Wild first rounder Alex Tuch to play NHL debut.

NHL news: 3 minor league deals occur as trades are starting to heat up

 
In every NHL season, the beginning has very few trades. Eventually, a team will make a deal, and by late January or early February, flurries of trades are confirmed, then a month later at the trade deadline, A LOT of deals occur, and players, many upcoming free agents, are traded. Today (you might read this later) is February 1st, and those flurries of deals have started, although they were all AHL trades. Here are the 3 trades that occurred today.
    In the first trade, the Ottawa Senators acquired F Marc Hagel from the Minnesota Wild for future considerations. On January 24th, the Sens traded away AHL players Buddy Robinson and Zach Stortini in order to get F Tommy Wingels from San Jose, (read about it on my 1/24 article) leaving a need for AHL forwards. Hagel had played just 26 games this season for Minnesota\’s affiliate, the Iowa Wild, and talked about getting more ice time to management. The future considerations won\’t be much, as a AHL player doesn\’t acquire much for an organization.
    In the second trade, the Dallas Stars acquired G Justin Peters and D Justin Hache from the Arizona Coyotes for Fs Brendan Ranford and Brenden Troock. The Stars\’ 2 NHL goalies are Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen, so they are obviously trying to improve that tandem. Peters used to backup Braden Holtby when he was with the Washington Capitals, and he also made 3 appearances with Arizona while all star goalie Mike Smith was injured. He was 0-1-0, had a 3.16 GAA and a .900 sv% with the big club this year, and has struggled in the AHL. Plus, the Coyotes AHL affiliate, the Tucson Roadrunners, had faith in Adin Hill and Marek Langhammer as their goalies. Hache has been bouncing between Tucson and ECHL squad Rapid City Rush this year, and wasn\’t needed anymore for the \”yotes.\” The Coyotes have been looking for forward depth for years now, and got some in Troock and Ranford, 2 guys to call up for injuries, or to be solid AHL players. At the time they made this trade, their depth was set, but the 3rd trade opened up a better chance for them because:
      The Coyotes also acquired F Mitchell Moroz from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for F Henrik Samuelsson. Samuelsson, the former first round pick for Arizona, didn\’t work out as he only played 3 games with the club, scoring 0 points in 2014-15. The Oilers must of wanted to take a small chance on the 22 year old, pawning up another 22 year old in Moroz, who fills into that same depth position Troock and Ranford do.
        So those are the 3 trades that occurred today. They might not matter to you, but it could start the rampage of trades leading up to March 1st, the trade deadline day.

The top 5 players at every position in the MLB

    In the MLB, there are 9 positions. (10 in a American league game) Each position has its stars and its not so good players. Here are the top 5 players at each position:
  
     Catcher: 1. Buster Posey, 2. Jonathan Lucroy, 3. Salvador Perez, 4. J.T. Realmuto, 5. Gary Sanchez/ Willson Contreras.
      The catchers now are more focused on fielding, and the hitting part isn\’t that great compared to every other position. Posey is definitely the top catcher, but at his second position, first base, he\’s probably the 9/10th best hitter. Lucroy was solid between Milwaukee and Texas last season, and should do better in a full season in Texas. The surprise is who I think is the biggest bounce back in the MLB, Salvador Perez. Maybe he plays even better in tribute of the life of former Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura. Maybe he, as well as other Royals, can get back to their 2015 ways, even without Kendrys Morales. Realmuto broke out in 2016, and should breakout even more in 2017, being the only catcher who\’s a double digit steal threat. The only tie in the list is between 2 rookies who played amazing in less than a season. The only reason they\’re both not higher is because they might go through a mini sophomore slump this year.
       
       First base: 1. Paul Goldschmidt, 2. Miguel Cabrera, 3. Anthony Rizzo, 4. Edwin Encarnacion, 5. Joey Votto.
        First base could be the deepest position in baseball, but all of the infield (besides catcher) is pretty deep. Goldschmidt started off rough in 2016, but ended off well. Miggy returned to his MVP form too, as there are two .300 hitters, who can hit 30+ HRs and 100+ RBIs, where you don\’t see that at all at catcher. Rizzo is another guy who could really impact the game. Encarnacion won\’t hit for average, but is a 40 homer threat every year, and could be better in Cleveland this season. Votto seemed lost 2 years ago, but is an all star once again.
         Second base: 1. Jose Altuve, 2. Robinson Cano, 3. Daniel Murphy, 4. Brian Dozier, 5. Rougned Odor.
         Second base usually consists of speed threats and average hitters. Altuve has always been that, and hit career highs with 24 homers and 96 RBIs last year. In his first 2 years in Seattle, Cano struggled badly. In 2016, he hit 39 homers, a career high, and had 103 RBIs, his first 100+ RBI season since 2013. In his first year in Washington, Murphy was a NL MVP finalist, not much more to say. Dozier hit 30 home runs for the first time ever, in fact, he hit 40 HRs for the first time ever with 42. He also hit for 99 RBIs, a career high. Odor broke out with 33 HRs and 88 RBIs last year.
           Shortstop: 1. Corey Seager, 2. Francisco Lindor, 3. Carlos Correa, 4. Xander Bogaerts, 5. Trea Turner.
            Before we start, a little fun fact. The oldest of these 5 players is Bogaerts, who is 24 years old, proving that SS is probably the youngest overall position. Seager was the ROY winner last year, and almost beat Kris Bryant for the MVP. Lindor, Correa and Bogaerts are all 5 tool players, and Turner, who played CF last season, will slot in at his natural position of SS, and can be a league leader in steals, swiping 33 bags in 73 games last season.
              Third base: 1. Kris Bryant, 2. Josh Donaldson, 3. Nolan Arenado, 4. Manny Machado, 5. Adrian Beltre.
               The top 4 were really easy to pick, then it was a toss up between a lot of guys, like Kyle Seager, brother of Corey, to decide on the 5th spot, but I went with Beltre, who at age 37, has at least 2 more quality years left in him. Arenado, Bryant, the NL MVP winner, Donaldson and Machado can all be .300 hitters with 35+ HRs and 100+ RBIs. Not much more to say.
                Outfield: 1. Mike Trout, 2. Mookie Betts, 3. Andrew McCutchen, 4. Bryce Harper, 5. Yoenis Cespedes.
                 I could of gone with LFs, CFs, and RFs instead of just OF, but most guys play multiple of those positions, so I went with just OF. Trout and Betts were 1 and 2 in the AL MVP race, with Trout winning. McCutchen and Harper both had disappointing seasons last year, but should bounce back in 2017. Cespedes has a couple of really good seasons in the last 2 years, and should have another one this year.
                 Designated hitter: 1. Nelson Cruz, 2. Kendrys Morales, 3. Victor Martinez, 4. Carlos Beltran, 5. Hanley Ramirez.
                 With the retirement of David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez, the DH position is pretty weak. Cruz might play some time at RF this season, and Morales and Ramirez could play some 1B. They\’re all older guys with a lot of power, but not much of the ability to hit for average.
                  Starting pitcher: 1. Clayton Kershaw, 2. Max Scherzer, 3. Madison Bumgarner, 4. Corey Kluber, 5. Chris Sale.
                  Kershaw was hurt most of last season, but should be as amazing as usually this year. Scherzer and Bumgarner have been outstanding the last few years. Kluber bounced back last year, leading the tribe to the world series. Sale was always dominant in Chicago, and should be even better in Boston.
                  Relievers: 1. Kenley Jansen, 2. Aroldis Chapman, 3. Zach Britton, 4. Mark Melancon, 5. Craig Kimbrel.
                   Jansen has always been a consistent sleeper, but is now a widely recognized star. Chapman and his 100+ MPH fastball were dominant with the Yankees and led the Cubs to their first WS win in 108 years. Britton was incredible last season with Baltimore, and should also be amazing again this year. Melancon was outstanding with Pittsburgh and Washington last year, and should be even better with San Francisco this year. Kimbrel was great in his first year in Boston, and should be better in his second.
             
                     So that is who I think is the top 5 players at each position in the MLB. Comment down below if you agree or not.

NHL Trade review: Sharks send Wingels to Sens for 2 forwards, pick

     The Ottawa Senators have acquired LW Tommy Wingels from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for forwards Buddy Robinson, Zach Stortini, and a 7th round draft pick in the 2017 draft. Here\’s why it happened:
      For the entire year, the Sens have been looking to find a solid bottom 6 winger. Prospect Curtis Lazar has just 1 point, an assist, in 25 games this year and is a -6, being a major disappointment. The Sens found some success in their depth, though, as C Ryan Dzingel has 23 points in 45 games. Players like Robinson, LW Max McCormick, and RW Casey Bailey have played a few amount of games this season. LW Matt Puempel was dealt to the New York Rangers earlier this year. The 28 year old Wingels has 8 points in 37 games this season. Wingels also has some playoff experience, especially with the Sharks in last year\’s Stanley Cup final. \”Tommy has been a valuable member of our franchise for many years, a phenomenal teammate and a true role model on and off the ice for our organization and the NHL,\” San Jose GM Doug Wilson said. \”As a team evolves and younger players push for roster spots, unfortunately tough decisions have to be made. We wish Tommy and his wife, Molly, nothing but success in the future.\” Wingels has 122 points in 337 games so far in his career, all with San Jose. Wingels should first play with Ottawa Thursday against the Calgary Flames.
         The Sharks will also retain 30% of Wingels contract. He\’s owed $2.45 mil in his 3rd year of his contract, and he will be a UFA on July 1st this year.
        For the Sharks they get some depth in their minor league system. \”We also want to welcome Buddy and Zach to our organization. They add size and depth to our reserve list and we look forward to having them in San Jose,\” Wilson also said. The 6 foot 6, 232Ib, 25 year old Robinson has 0 points in 4 games this year in the NHL. He made his debut last year in 3 games, with a goal and an assist in 3 games. The 6-2 219Ib, 31 year old Stortini has 3 points in 22 games this year in the AHL, and has 257 games of NHL experience, most recently in the 2011-12 season with the Nashville Predators.