Ryan Dadoun

Fantasy Nuggets

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Fantasy Nuggets Week 19

Thursday, February 8, 2018


The aftermath of what Alexandre Burrows did, his 10-game suspension and the reaction to it is, I feel, the perfect example of the disagreement I have with how the Department of Player Safety handles suspensions.  I realize that’s hardly controversial to take issue with the DoPS as many have complaints about them when it comes to consistency and I tend to agree there, but my bigger issue is that I find their level of punishment consistency too light.

 

With the occasional exception, I find that most suspensions come off as not much more than a finger wag for doing something they shouldn’t and then repeat offenders, I feel, get mild setbacks.  A five-game suspension for someone that clearly hasn’t learned their lesson isn’t a just punishment.  That five-game suspension should have been, in my opinion, a standard length for an average suspension-worthy offense as that’s enough time off that the player’s absence can be meaningfully felt without it being devastating to either the player or team.  As it is right now, 12 of the 20 suspensions this season have been one or two games, which is the equivalent of losing your player briefly to the flu.  That’s more of an annoyance than a matter of note.

 

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The reason why it’s important is because then when things do escalate or when something really bad happens, the punishment given comes off as comparatively harsh, but isn’t at a level that I believe fits the act.  I say that realizing that this is all subjective – I think players are getting off too light, but others might feel that the DoPS is being too aggressive with their policing – but that all aside, if we don’t look at past punishments and just judged what Burrows did in a vacuum, which is take an unwilling player to the ice and then act in a manner that suggests he was trying to severely hurt a now helpless person – not a player as there was no hockey happening at that time – then that 10-game suspension feels rather light.  Missing an eighth of a season for pinning someone down and acting in a manner that suggests that you’re trying to induce a concussion feels like an inadequate punishment or deterrent and yet at the same time others can accurately claim that even 10-games is inconsistently harsh because of the department of player safety’s history of relatively light punishments.

 

This is all to say that I wish suspensions across the board were harsher, especially when it comes to incidents that involves a blow to the head as we’ve seen concussions derail careers, but also in incidents where a player continues to attack another after they’re already been knocked down as at that point it ceases to be hockey and becomes something ugly – and I say that as someone who is perfectly fine with fighting in the game, so long as it’s an actual fight.  Of course, what Burrows did was an example of both.

 

Having said my piece, let’s move on from the suspension and talk about the what’s happening on the trade front because while general managers haven’t been making trades yet, there has been some noteworthy developments.

 

Let’s start with a not terribly surprising, but still nevertheless significant piece of news: John Tavares won’t be traded.  The idea of the Islanders trading Tavares before the deadline was always seen as a long shot, but Islanders GM Garth Snow has expressed said that he won’t do it, so we can reasonably move passed whatever lingering rumors there were on that front.  Obviously, the idea of trading Tavares at all stems from the concern that the Islanders could lose him for nothing if he walks as an unrestricted free agent this summer.  That combined with the Islanders’ mediocre play this season would make trading Tavares plausible if the Islanders had given up on re-signing him, but they presumably still believe that they can lock him up and are willing to take a chance by holding onto him for the sake of seeing these negotiations through to the end.

 

Snow did add though that he doesn’t believe that the team is in a position where it would make sense to trade top picks for the sake of going all in this year.  The Islanders do control the Flames’ first and second round picks in 2018 in addition to their own, so they have the bargaining chips necessary to make a splash, but given that they aren’t even a sure-thing to make the playoffs as they stand, I tend to agree that they shouldn’t be big buyers.

 

The rival Rangers have also revealed their plans.  In fact, this afternoon the Rangers took the somewhat unusual step of printing a letter to their fans essentially saying that they are now in a rebuild.  They didn’t use the term rebuild, but they talked about their success since 2005-06 in the past tense and stated their focus of “adding young, competitive players that combine speed, skill and character” while also acknowledging that this process could lead to the loss of familiar faces.  You could read into that as them essentially saying that they’ll be looking to trade veterans for young players, prospects, and perhaps even picks.

 

One of the big steps in that process could involve trading Rick Nash before the deadline.  The Rangers are reportedly asking for a first-round pick, a top prospect, and another asset for him, which I feel is excessive, but we are talking about pre-trade deadline demands.  If they start the asking high, the Rangers can always lower their demands later if the market isn’t willing to match their price.

 

The Rangers also placed defenseman Brendan Smith on waivers, which basically suggests that the signing was a mistake to begin with.  After all, we’re only half a season into his four-year, $17.4 million contract and the Rangers are already waiving him.  Rangers coach Alain Vigneault argued that Smith has struggled compared to how he did with the Rangers in the past, per Steve Zipay.  However, Smith was only with the Rangers for 18 games last season and he’s spent most of his career as a complementary defenseman, so his signing was suspect from the start.

 

Another noteworthy veteran was also waived this afternoon in Marcus Kruger.  Chicago send Kruger to the Golden Knights over the summer for future considerations to essentially get out from under his three-year, $9.25 million contract.  Vegas then shipped him to Carolina in exchange for a fifth-round pick as the Hurricanes felt the veteran with two Stanley Cup championships on his resume was ultimately worth the gamble.  Unfortunately for them, it seems it hasn’t paid off.



Ryan Dadoun is an Associate Editor for Hockey on Rotoworld. Feel free to follow him on Twitter or check out his blog.
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