Ryan Lambert

  • Peter Chiarelli and the problem with tunnel vision (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 2 hrs ago

    (Ed. Note: We bring you Trending Topics on Saturday this week due to the NHL free-agent frenzy.)

    It’s easy to become obsessed with something, and pick it apart.

    Take, for example, an idea you hear about a lot at draft time: over-scouting. You really like a player, you see the obvious value he provides. But see him a few too many times and you start noticing things like, “He’s got a little hitch in his stride,” or “Well, his vision isn’t fantastic,” or “He didn’t back-check in this one game, so that might be an attitude problem.”

    Familiarity breeds contempt in drafting, no two ways about it, just as the “seen him good” aspect of seeing a guy have a superlative game once can marry you to the idea that this is an elite-level player. If you get too hard a look at something, you start to see what it isn’t rather than what it is. And in evaluating the league’s great players — present or future — some GMs can very easily fall into this trap time and time again.

    Anyone could look at the Edmonton roster and say to themselves, “So much talent up front, but so little on the back end.” It was an obvious problem, and a more real one than Boston’s “lack of grit.”

  • Puck Lists: Ranking every July 1st signing

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 9 hrs ago

    You’re not going to find too many sensible signings on the first day of free agency.

    That’s just not the way it works.

    But there are still relative deals to be found on July — Canada Day to some people! — and there were plenty of ’em made throughout the day. Depth deals, big splashes, two-way contracts, doesn’t matter. If it got reported before 5 p.m., you’ll find it below.

    Let’s rank all 105 of ’em! (Caution: There are lots of AHL signings in the middle of the list because they are of little to no consequence):

    105. Matt Martin to Toronto

    Four years? Can’t wait to see the Smart Leafs fans try to talk themselves into not-hating this one. Never sign a fourth-line player for term. Period.

    104. Steve Ott

    Why not just burn $800,000 instead? At least that won’t make your hockey team worse. Just because you have the money to spend doesn’t mean you should.

    103. Darren Helm to Detroit

    Horrible contract. Don’t like the term or the money. Speed is a great thing to have, but separate this guy from Datsyuk and he’s not even a 30-point player or a possession driver. This contract is almost as bad as Abdelkader’s.

    102. Jamie McGinn to Arizona

    101. Ryan White to Arizona

    100. Justin Peters to Arizona


  • Huge If True: Boston and giant tease of NHL offer sheets

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 1 day ago

    The biggest problem with offer sheets, in general, is that we don’t know how rare or common they are.

    That’s because we only ever hear about the ones that have been signed. In theory and as far as we know, every top restricted free agent in the league receives and turns down a dozen a year. In actual practice, it’s likely far less than that.

    Are we to believe that the eight offer sheets signed since the summer of 2005 are the only ones extended? Tough to say, but you’d have to lean toward no. However, the fact that only eight have been signed — often extended by teams desperate enough to give huge money to guys who aren’t necessarily worth it — probably gives you a pretty clear indication of how common they are not.

    And moreover, while players have agreed to eight such deals only one has actually led to a player changing teams (Dustin Penner in summer 2007, which cost Edmonton its first-, second-, and third-round picks in the 2008 draft).

    LeBrun: One GM has told me, 'If anyone offer-sheets one of my guys on Friday, I will offer-sheet one of his guys every year for 10 years.'

    The Rumor

    Let’s see here:

    And here’s a late addition from yesterday:

    Who’s Going Where?

    The Implications

  • Predators steal P.K. Subban from Canadiens (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 2 days ago

    Let’s suppose for a second that Shea Weber is a better defenseman than PK Subban.

    He’s not. He’s not close, actually. But let’s suppose he is: Even in that scenario, this is a trade Marc Bergevin lost badly to David Poile. Based on the economics alone.

    This wasn’t exactly something you could look up easily in the wake of ‘The Transactioning.’ This trade, like the one that sent Taylor Hall to New Jersey for Adam Larsson (the worst NHL trade of the salary cap era, without qualification), and the news that Steven Stamkos was staying in Tampa for eight years at $8.5 million per (an exceedingly reasonable deal), crashed basically every hockey contract site you can think of. More fuel for the Gary Bettman-stoked fire that fans don’t care about this stuff, to be sure.

    Here are the basic financial implications of this deal. Nashville adds a little more than $1.14 million to its salary cap obligations but actually saves a bit of money on the signing bonus and salary it will pay out in the next few years. In return Nashville gets out from under signing bonus payouts the next two summers of $8 million apiece, after eating $13 million bonuses the last four July 1s.


  • Taylor Hall, Ray Bourque and Sportsnet (Puck Daddy Countdown)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 2 days ago

    Seems like a very awful guy.

    You know you’re in good standing with the local media when the headline on your DUI arrest is: “Ray Bourque shows up for court one day early in drunken driving case.” Especially because the subhed reads: “Records show he had BAC of 0.249.” That’s like 3.1 times the legal limit, and that doesn’t even get mentioned until the second-to-last paragraph.

    What a country.

    Y’know, I think I probably have a higher opinion of Andrew Shaw The Hockey Player (but not Andrew Shaw The Person) than a lot of my peers. I see him as a very good No. 3 center who can fill in at the No. 2 spot in a pinch, or even work well as a wing on the second line. Scores on the power play, decent enough possession player, all that stuff.

    Didn’t Dave Bolland win two Cups with this team? Didn’t Bryan Bickell? I wonder what happened with their subsequent long-term, middling-money contracts. I bet they worked out great.

    But then they move Taylor Hall, one of the four or five best left wings on the planet.

    There is, however, this:


    So y’know, caveat emptor.

  • Puck Lists: Top 6 NHL Draft trends, including USA’s rise

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 3 days ago

    BUFFALO, NY – When it comes to the NHL draft, there’s usually plenty to look forward to.

    Teams are able to sell everyone on the promise that this is The Future Of The Club even if they’re picking 25th and anyone they choose there will probably be two or three years away from making an impact at the NHL level at the very least.

    But within that relatively small area in which teams can actually move to make themselves better, you can start to notice how teams are choosing to generally approach the weekend, in terms of improving their teams in both the short- and long-term.

    With this in mind, it’s important to keep track of what teams see in the prospect pools they encounter at the draft each year, especially when it comes to how picks are valued by teams, and what that means for how they act — and interact — as the first round comes and goes.

    This year we saw a few notable trends really start to arise that hadn’t been too prevalent in the past:

    Fewer 'impact' trades

    At least as long we have a flat salary cap, draft weekends like these will probably start to become the norm.


    Wising up on goalies

    Older players


    There has never been a year like this for college hockey.

    Uh oh.

  • What We Learned: NHL Draft report card for every team

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 4 days ago

    BUFFALO, N.Y. — It's still not always easy to tell whether the Calgary Flames are going to make actual good decisions at any given time.

    In general they're trending in the right direction, away from trading for Brandon Bolligs and signing Deryk Engellands, and toward identifying Jakub Nakladals and locking up Michael Froliks. They also realized that Kris Russell isn't key to their success, and traded him before the deadline.

    There is, and should be, concern about what the team will do this summer, with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan looking for new deals, as well as a few glaring holes in the lineup that need addressing. But on Friday night, they took a big step in the latter direction, trading what was admittedly a high second-round pick (No. 35 overall) for Brian Elliott.

    There was doubly good news in the transaction: First, the team still entered Saturday with a pair of second rounders (from Dallas and Florida thanks to trades of Russell and Jiri Hudler, respectively). Second, the team avoided the very real concern that it would give up entirely too much for a goalie it didn't really need, or wouldn't provide the value they might have thought 

  • Stars trade Jack Campbell, a.k.a. goalie of the future, to Kings

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 6 days ago

    BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Dallas Stars had an ongoing goaltending controversy throughout last year.

    While neither Antti Niemi nor Kari Lehtonen could seize the starting job, it was largely thought that while the struggles were real this year, there was at least the idea that Goalie Of The Future Jack Campbell ™ could be there to take over from them one day soon.  

    Now, not so much.

    Campbell, a pending RFA who hasn't played in the NHL since a single game in 2013-14, went to the Los Angeles Kings for defenseman Nick Ebert early in the fourth round, though no picks were exchanged.

    Ebert, 22, projects as a low-scoring defender, having compiled just 10 goals and 26 points across two partial AHL seasons. He was a Kings seventh-round pick in 2012.

    Meanwhile, this trade could serve to highlight just how far Campbell's prospects have fallen. The former No. 11 overall pick (2010) not only has just one NHL appearance since his draft year, he has also been rather poor even in the lower levels. His 2014-15 AHL save percentage was .907 in 35 games, and it plummeted to .884 in 19 last season. He actually had more appearances in the ECHL — and hey! he dominated to the tune of .944.

  • Penguins address cap concerns, trade Beau Bennett to Devils

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 6 days ago

    BUFFALO, N.Y. — Many of the trades being made at the draft this year were less about hockey and more about cap flexibility. Such is the nature of a flat-cap league. 

    To that end, Pittsburgh, the league's most capped-out team by a fair margin (they entered the day with some $74.4 million in cap obligations), loosened its concerns at least a little going forward by sending Beau Bennett, a pending RFA, to division rival New Jersey for the No. 77 overall pick.

    While Bennett doesn't actually have a contract for next year yet, it's at least one fewer deal to sign for a team already dealing with negative cap space before July 1.

    Bennett, who will be 25 at the end of November, would likely have been due a marginal raise from his one-year, $800K deal. He struggled with injuries this year and tallied 6-6-12 in just 33 games for the Cup champions. He only got into one playoff game.

    As for the No. 77 pick, Pittsburgh used it to take defenseman Connor Hall of the Kitchener Rangers, who posted nine points in 49 games, but only turned 18 in late January. He also got an invite to play for Canada at the U-18 World Championships, where he went 1-1-2 in six games. 

  • Boston University foursome makes history at NHL Draft

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 6 days ago

    BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Boston University/Minnesota rivalry isn't what it once was in college hockey. But Friday's NHL Draft results might just ratchet it up once again. 

    In 2006-07, the Minnesota Golden Gophers roster boasted freshmen Kyle Okposo, David Fischer and Erik Johnson, as well as sophomore Blake Wheeler in their lineup on a nightly basis.

    That summer, Johnson went No. 1 to the St. Louis Blues and Okposo was selected No. 7 overall by the New York Islanders. Fischer went 20th to Montreal. Two years prior, Wheeler was drafted out of high school by the Arizona Coyotes No. 5 overall.

    That gave them four first-round picks on one team at the same time, tying the most ever for an NCAA team. It also tied a high set by three CHL teams, though all those were in the 1960s and '70s, and hockey has obviously changed quite a bit since then.

    While four is still the NCAA record, BU just simultaneously tied it and bested it. Because while the Gophers had four on the same team, the Terriers not only had four total, but four taken within 14 picks in the first round. That also quadrupled the previous BU record.