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Shap Shots Mailbag: What's the plan with Thomas Harley?
Plus a look at the trade deadline and other fun conversations.
Yesterday wasn’t the NHL trade deadline, but somehow every team thought it was. There was a flurry of deals including Patrick Kane finally getting moved and a stunning development that I woke up to this morning with Jonathan Quick getting dealt to Columbus.
Somehow as of now, Wednesday morning, all of these mailbag questions and answers are still relevant. So, quick, read them now before another 12 trades happen!
From everything that's been reported, Dallas seems very intent that Thomas Harley is part of their untouchable group, at least right now. Four years from being drafted it feels like he needs to make it or break it at the NHL level somewhat soon though. With Dallas having all six of their regular defensemen under contract for next season, what do you think their plan is with Harley? Are they comfortable with him spending another season in Cedar Park? Would they be more willing to move him this summer? Or will they move somebody out this summer to make room for him on the blue line? (From Zach)
First a couple things on Thomas Harley that I’ve learned from speaking with those in the Stars organization.
He’s not available in a trade for a rental. If there was another deal, one for a player with term, he’s no long untouchable.
They expected him to play in the NHL this season. They weren’t going to give him a spot out of training camp, but based off the normal NHL churn and injuries, they were expecting Harley to have played in the NHL by this point and at that point he likely would have been given a chance to win a job.
With those things in mind, the expectation is for Harley to play in the NHL next season in some shape or form. But, if that requires Harley to start the season in the AHL, Jim Nill isn't opposed to that and he’ll continue to live by two mottos, “you can never have too many defenseman,” and it “never hurt to let prospects over-ripen.”
Harley is also still going to be waiver-exempt next season and likely won’t require waivers until the 2024-25 season, so as far as the Stars are concerned there isn’t any rush right now.
Agree with Zach’s queries....also curious if you think Churchyn(sp) might still be in their thoughts. (From DY)
After Tanner Jeannot got moved for five (!) draft picks and a player, it’s hard to see how Jakob Chychrun doesn’t move for a massive package, especially since Arizona can sit on this and wait to trade him in the offseason.
I’m sure the Stars have looked into Chychrun, but that’s just common sense to check on everything in the market.
It would be a splash, and move I would co-sign for Dallas, but I have a hard time seeing it happen realistically right now.
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You’ve written previously about the league and TV deals. How much of a financial impact does the Bally bankruptcy have on the league? Would that effect the cap in any way? Additionally, given that less eyeballs means less coverage and could lead to less fans, how big of a long term impact do you view this to the sport/league? (From Jason)
It will have an impact, and all financial things impact the salary cap.
So it is a big deal, but it’s also not a deal that is going to crater/blow up the current cap projections or the NHL coming out of the flat cap era.
Diamond Sinclair is also still holding onto the rights, so they’ll continue to broadcast games, and try to find a new owner/buyer that can turn debt into equity. It will be interesting to see what happens.
From the distribution and viewing space, the future of the RSN is incredibly murky. In addition the Sinclair/Bally’s drama, the RSNs owned by Time Warner are also entering rocky territory, while it’s not a great sign when MSG Networks, still weren’t sending broadcasters to every game this season in person.
Long-term the NHL and MLB have the most to lose by the RSN space falling apart. For the NBA, the struggling RSNs are a minimal issue, for the NHL, it’s still a big portion of individual team income and going to a direct-to-consumer model, especially for smaller markets, isn’t financially feasible.
I’ve had this view on hockey viewership, and maybe I’m wrong, but I think the people who are diehard hockey fans will continue to watch and find the games no matter where they are. But for the fan that’s not a hockey diehard, the casual viewer, the NHL needs to find better connective points and, honestly, moving away from the RSN could actually create more points for casual viewers.
Pregame/between period’s presentations. TNT is great and ESPN is beyond lousy. Chelios and Messier add next to nothing and Steve Levy should be doing play by play. I miss the days of Levy and Panger (From Jerry)
More of a comment, than a question, but it’s fair commentary.
ESPN’s biggest problem with hockey coverage has been it hasn’t been point talent in the right positions to succeed. Steve Levy should be doing play-by-play, John Buccigross should be hosting and in the studio, that’s a simple trade right there that would improve the coverage.
Chris Chelios and Mark Messier, and this message comes from within ESPN at times, rely too much on the fact they played the game. It’s easy to go back to, “I played, this is what I think,” but it’s much harder to be a good analyst that actually does homework and comes prepped and ready to each broadcast.
Do you predict the Stars break the franchise record of 14 OT losses in a season this season? What about the NHL record of 18 OT losses? (From Jason B)
They have 22 games remaining, I don’t see how they don’t break the franchise record for overtime losses.
The NHL record, losing six of the next 22 games in overtime, is easily within reach.
I’m going to guess they lose five more OT games and tie the record.
It seems like the Stars are allowing a TON of odd man rushes lately. What is at the heart of their puck management issues? (From Paul M on the Blue Line)
The odd-man rushes have been a frustrating development in Dallas and honestly, the Stars need another defenseman that can help with puck management in transition.
You already know where this is going, but I’m going to once again plug the idea of trading for Chychrun.
What on Earth were/are the Bolts thinking? (From Tiffany)
Honestly I respect the thinking, but hate the execution by Tampa Bay when trading that many assets for Jeannot.
Jeannot is not worth that return, not even close. But being willing to make a move and sell future picks because it’ll help your current team, that’s a philosophy I’m on board with.
I thought this was a great quote from Tampa GM Julien BriseBois on why he made the deal.
No, I think he’s making the wrong risk and giving up too much for the wrong player. But at least conceptually it’s good to see GMs willing to make moves because they believe in winning now versus later.
Bill Guerin took big risk in buying out Parise and Suter hamstringing their cap. Good decisions or bad? (From Jerry)
Good decision. As a GM you have to make the calls to move forward in life with your roster and Bill Guerin was willing to do that.
How often do big flashy trade deadline deals result in a cup?
I suppose this is something I could research myself. It would be interesting to do some long term analysis about the kind of moves that cup winning teams tend to have made at the preceding trade deadline. (From James)
Since only one team wins the Stanley Cup each season, most big deals won’t end in a championship.
So the success-failure rate of a big deal leading to a Stanley Cup can be tricky.
However, let’s look at the past five Stanley Cup champions and see if they made a splashy deal in season.
2022 Colorado Avalanche — Two smaller deals at the deadline for Andrew Cogliano and Artturi Lehkonen.
2021 Tampa Bay Lightning — Depth defenseman deal for David Savard.
2020 Tampa Bay Lightning — Basically added a full line with Barclay Goodrow and Blake Coleman in season.
2019 St. Louis Blues — Depth trade for Michael Del Zotto, he never played in the playoffs.
2018 Washington Capitals — Depth trade for Michael Kempny.
Moral of the story, teams are built and Stanley Cups are essentially won in the summer. But mid-season roster shuffling can play a role.
Speaking of the trade deadline, what are "future considerations" when that is included in a trade? (From stoldney)
It used to be something, there is a famous story of Kris Draper getting traded for $1 — seriously — but in today’s NHL future considerations are simply space filler on the contract.
It’s nothing more than a way of saying, “hey one team is doing the other a favor, and we need to have something written on the contract to make it a legal deal.”
Two GMs making a trade for “future considerations” may have built a better relationship between the two of them, but aside from that there is nothing legally binding in the NHL that requires something to happen in the future.