Thursday, November 28, 2019

Get ready for holiday shopping regret with the NHL’s all buyer’s remorse team

Today is Thanksgiving in the U.S., and if I know my Americans friends, that means two things: Some of you are reading this through the haze of a turkey coma and you’re going to do some serious shopping tomorrow.

The whole Black Friday thing isn’t as much of a thing in Canada yet, at least in its full-on “fight a stranger to save $20 on a blender” form. But we get the gist of it. You’ve got a list of stuff you need. You’ve got a chance to get that stuff. You go out and get the stuff, and hope you don’t regret your spending spree when it’s all over.

It’s kind of like the NHL offseason. Except that the offseason has hockey players instead of electronics, it lasts three months instead of a few days, and nobody gets a discount. So really, it’s nothing like the NHL offseason. But it’s too late now because I’m committed to the bit and we’re going with it.

Today, we’re going to celebrate this weekend’s shopping spree by looking back at the NHL’s version. With a few months’ worth of hindsight, some of those offseason trades and free-agent signings look pretty good. But others haven’t aged well, and like a cheap TV that stopped working after a few days, they may be causing some buyer’s remorse.

We’re two months into the season, which means there’s still plenty of time for some of these moves to work out in the long run. That’s part of the fun. But for now, let’s put together a roster of players who switched teams in the offseason and may have their new GMs looking around to see if the receipt has a return policy on it.


Sergei Bobrovsky, Panthers

Twenty starts into the season, and one of the offseason’s biggest prizes is still sporting a save percentage well under .900. The good news is that there’s still plenty of time for him to get into a groove. Almost seven years, to be exact. So assuming this is a slump, and not a guy hitting the downside of the aging curve at 31, he should be fine. Of course, with the second-highest cap hit at his position, the Panthers might want more than just “fine.”

Cam Talbot, Flames

He wasn’t traded for Mike Smith – he signed as a free agent after a quick stop in Philadelphia – but it kind of felt that way. And it seemed like a decent exchange because even coming off of a brutal season, you figured a change of scenery could get Talbot back on track. Instead, he’s only had six starts, and hasn’t looked great in most of them. He comes cheaper than Smith, and it’s just a one-year deal, so this signing has hardly been a disaster. It hasn’t been much of anything.

Late cuts

Other than Bobrovsky, the two biggest crease names to move in the offseason was Robin Lehner leaving the Islanders for Chicago and Semyon Varlamov coming into New York. Both have been very good in their new homes. Smith’s been fine in Edmonton, James Reimer has been OK in Carolina and nobody else who switched teams were expected to do much more than mop-up.

First pairing

P.K. Subban, Devils

Given his name value and Norris Trophy pedigree, you figured that the Devils got him so cheap that the trade had to work out. Maybe it still will, but with just five points through two months, Subban’s been a bust in New Jersey. The analytics say he’s been a little bit better than his boxcars would suggest. But only a little, and the Devils are on the hook for another two expensive years after this.

Justin Faulk, Blues

He’s scored double-digit goals in four of his last five seasons but doesn’t have even one in St. Louis yet. Instead, he’s stuck at six assists and hasn’t recorded a primary point in over a month. Even the head coach trying to pump his tires can only come up with “he’s been fine.” The only good news for the Blues is that they didn’t rush into handing him a huge extension before they’d seen how he’d fit in. (Double-checks notes.) Well then.

>> Read the full post at The Athletic

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