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FlightZone: Media Goes Unfed, Riots Ensue

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Even Dallas Eakins wouldn't advocate starving the media...would he?

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In the equivalent to fighting on the flight taking you to your honeymoon, the Barclays Center and New York Islanders are squabbling before their inaugural regular season together has even started. According to the recently decimated New York Daily News, the two sides are haggling over "the prices the team must pay the arena to provide meals for NHL off-ice officials and purchasable ones for the media". The result? For media folks, "Nothing was offered, not even drinks/water".  One can see the Islanders slipping down various power rankings as we speak.

And now, the news.

Thoughts on 30 Thoughts

The latest edition of Elliotte Friedman's invaluable 30 Thoughts hit the presses recently. Here are reactions to some which piqued my interest (and gosh darn it, I just noticed The Score did a very similar write-up, though thankfully we poked at different things):

3. If the New York Islanders do indeed still have an excess of forwards, who's available? Of their currently projected 14 forwards, only Ryan Strome is waiver-exempt, and he's not going anywhere. Should the Isles want to make room for an unknown player, either external or internal, they might be able to get Taylor Beck through waivers. Other than him, Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen stand out as pending UFAs of prominence. If there's any GM who might be unafraid to trade one of them, whether now or even in the midst of a playoff race, it might be Garth Snow.

6. Apparently, the Winnipeg Jets looked long and hard at acquiring versatile winger Kris Versteeg. But the real intrigue is in Friedman's further speculation: "it wouldn’t be a surprise if something creative like injured Grant Clitsome’s contract was part of the conversation". If there's merit to this train of thought, we might still see Clitsome traded; your reward isn't the trade return, but the possible financial and contractual benefits. There are teams other than Chicago which could abide by Clitsome's remaining year (here's looking at you, Toronto). The question is, what would Winnipeg include to sufficiently sweeten the pot?

7. Multiple NHL execs believe that Lou Lamoriello would love to bring Travis Zajac with him to Toronto. Considering Zajac's contract still has six years remaining at $5.75 million per, it's very hard to see a match. Expiring in 2021, it's long enough to risk bunging up the system in the not-too-distant future. Even Joffrey Lupul and Tyler Bozak, hardly the most desireable contracts at the moment, see their deals expire in 2018. The best comparable in terms of remaining years would be Dion Phaneuf, but Babcock & Co. have given the impression he's not going anywhere. With Nylander and Marner on the horizon, Zajac should probably be a thanks but no thanks scenario.

8 & 9. Erik Johnson's seven year, $42 million contract is the classic example of a happy player taking a lower cap hit in exchange for additional term. At $6 million AAV, it's below probable market value for the Avs' best defenceman, one who would be a top-pairing option on many NHL teams. He's also 27, which makes the term a bit more palatable. A couple side notes: 1) I imagine the Johnson contract is the absolute floor scenario for Dustin Byfuglien; and 2) How bad does the Dion Phaneuf deal look right now?

12. Did Erik Johnson just handicap Brent Seabrook's next contract?

16. Windsor Spitfires head coach Rocky Thompson called former undrafted free agent and recent Nashville signing Trevor Murphy "Our best player". I'm sure glad we don't need LHD prospects.

20. Team USA head coach John Tortorella cited Los Angeles missing the playoffs despite stellar possession stats as a red flag with analytics. The loss of Slava Voynov, a subpar season from Martin Jones, general fatigue from repeated deep playoff runs and a 2-8(!!!) shootout record probably didn't help, John.

24. The odds are Oscar Lindberg makes the Rangers' roster, but should he be placed on waivers, other teams will likely put a claim on him and I believe the Winnipeg Jets should be one of them. While still being young himself, Lindberg is perfect as a cheap, versatile bottom-six depth option, one which could buy already present in-house options more time to develop. He's at least put in some AHL time, tallying 100 points in 150 regular season games.

Central Division

Courtesy of Bodog, here are your Central Division over/under projected win totals:

  1. Chicago Blackhawks - 47.5
  2. St. Louis Blues - 45.5
  3. Minnesota Wild - 44
  4. Dallas Stars - 43.5
  5. Nashville Predators - 42
  6. Winnipeg Jets - 40.5
  7. Colorado Avalanche - 38.5

An over/under of 40.5 wins, by the way, places Winnipeg 20th on the overall list. Make of that and the entire oddsmakers' exercise what you will. (The Score)

New addition Marko Dano is already making quite the impression on Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville. If he sticks with Toews and Hossa, he could be fantasy hockey gold. (Chicago Sun-Times)

In news which exemplifies the importance of getting on Quenneville's good side, the Chicago Blackhawks have placed permanent dog house occupant Jeremy Morin on waivers. Let's keep an eye on if he clears; it's easy to imagine teams seeing him as cheap, solid bottom-six depth. (Second City Hockey)

It was a preseason game where Dallas played none of their projected top-four defencemen, but a 6-0 loss still doesn't look great for Kari Lehtonen. Long live Niemi, King of Mediocrity. (Defending Big D)

It's easy to forget how 2014-15 saw Minnesota cornerstones Zach Parise and Ryan Suter both dealing with the emotional toll of losing a father. Hopefully time has helped heal their heartache, and that alone could make the Wild a more dangerous team this season. (StarTribune)

Perds Head Coach Peter Laviolette would like to distribute playing time on defence a little more equitably, rather than seeing Roman Josi and Shea Weber skate 26+ minutes a game. With the remaining d-corps regulars consisting of Mattias Ekholm, Seth Jones, Barret Jackman and Ryan Ellis, this is a less scary proposition than on most other teams. (The Tennessean)

You know what the St. Louis Blues needed going into 2015-16? A murky goaltending situation. According to head coach Ken Hitchcock, "When the season starts, we're going to let whoever takes the job evolve". What's that NFL saying about having two starting quarterbacks? (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Despite injuries and the desire to implement a roster shakeup, it seems Danny Kristo still wasn't good enough to avoid waivers:

Luckily for the Winnipeg Jets' d-corps, Ben Chiarot has come to camp with confidence and no intentions of having a sophomore slump. As our #2 LHD option, this is good news. (Winnipeg Sun)

The AIH Superfans continue their conquest of Podcastlandia. Listen to their works, ye Mighty, and despair:

And All The Rest

Jonathan Willis speculates on the five NHL teams best suited for 3-on-3 hockey. Tampa Bay, Washington, Pittsburgh, Dallas and Montreal all make for strong choices, though when you distill teams to lines of 3+GK, most look like they could give a good showing. (Sportsnet)

Keeping with the theme of line speculation, Frank Seravalli of TSN points out seven forward combos to watch. Eller-Galchenyuk-Semin sure has a lot of potential on paper, to say nothing of Phil Kessel skating alongside Crosby and **insert lucky son-of-a-gun here**. As for Hall-McDavid-X, I can't help thinking that it looks a whole lot more impressive with Draisaitl on RW instead of Teddy Purcell. (TSN)

Bob McKenzie’s Pre-Season Draft Ranking Show aired last night, and the Top 15 is "heavily non-Canadian". If we tell Chevy it's full of Americans, might he be more tempted to tank this season? Also, as the Bobfather mentioned both in this article and at last night's Puck Talks (which was awesome), Auston Matthews‎ and Jakob Chychrun serve as high-profile examples of NHL Sun Belt expansion bearing fruit. (TSN)

The Anaheim Ducks are reportedly angling for hometown discounts from some of their pending restricted free agents. All the more reason they might be interested in one-year rentals with no commitment beyond this year's Stanley Cup run **cough Dustin Byfuglien Andrew Ladd cough**. Ahem, excuse me, darn fall weather. (Orange County Register)

Having Martin Hanzal back will help provide some stability to an Arizona Coyotes team predicted to be a moderate-to-severe trainwreck. A line of Hanzal centring Max Domi and Anthony Duclair could at least provide some occasions to cheer. (AZCentral)

Carolina Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters hasn't been happy with his team's preseason effort thus far. Maybe it's just me, but is Carolina the hardest team in the league to feel any sort of excitement for? Hopefully Eddie Lack can fix that somewhat. (The News & Observer)

PTO signing Tomas Fleischmann has looked pretty good during his time at the Montreal Canadiens' training camp. It would be more than a little surprising to not see him end up with a one-way contract, whether with Les Habitants or elsewhere. (Montreal Gazette)

For both Dylan McIlrath and Oscar Lindberg, this may be their last chance to crack the New York Rangers' roster. In the former's case, considering Dan Boyle's age and Dan Girardi's declining returns, it might be good for the organization to take a longer view and keep him around rather than risking waivers. Lindberg's path to the NHL seems far more assured. (New York Post and New York Post)

In case you missed it, Brayden Schenn's name is back in the trade speculation headlines, mostly thanks to spending much of training camp skating with Scott Laughton and Chris Porter. I'm on the fence about whether Winnipeg should be interested in the Philadelphia Flyers' forward, especially considering he might be packaged with his brother. (ProHockeyTalk)

While Brayden Schenn has been "okay", Russian stalwart Evgeny Medvedev has apparently looked downright impressive. One wonders if a successful transition for Medvedev might spur greater interest league-wide in KHL defencemen, but either way, it would be nice for Philly to experience fair return on their investment. (Philly.com)

As it turns out, the Toronto Maple Leafs have an abundance of "rosterable" players, to the point where it's rather tough for kids to break through to the big club. Having said that, William Nylander is playing well enough to make things interesting. (The Globe and Mail)

And finally, one look at Western Conference teams' 1-2 centre depth put the Winnipeg Jets at a rather lofty position. One gets the feeling Edmonton's assessment has some room to grow:

Thanks for reading!