How’s your weekend going? Are you being consumed by the Obsessive Willson Contreras Trade Watch? Or is the How Will LaRussa Screw It Up Tonight Bandwagon part of your life? Personally, I’m excited the Bears are back in camp. The start of the NFL season turns the page to fall in my mind, which gets us that much closer to September and the puck dropping on another Blackhawks season.
- This is a big week for 11 Blackhawks prospects who are participating in evaluations camps for USA Hockey and Hockey Canada as those groups determine their rosters for the upcoming World Junior Championship tournament, which begins in ten days. We’ll likely find out early this week which players will represent the United States and Canada.
- Earlier this week, Dom Luszczyszyn at The Athletic ranked the ten worst contracts in the NHL. Coming in at No. 2 on the list was Chicago’s Seth Jones, who was acquired in a trade with Columbus last summer and signed a massive, eight-year extension immediately.
- Dom used analytics, not the eye test fans do, to determine his rankings. Before we hammer Stan Bowman (again) for writing (another) bad contract, it’s worth noting that last summer’s NHL-wide spending spree contributed heavily to this top ten list. Here’s what he had to say about last summer’s blue line spending:
It seems like the NHL at large basically said: “Do you play 25 minutes per game and score? If so, you are entitled to an eight-year deal worth $9 million per season!” And that’s how we end up with four deals from that summer on the worst contracts list, starting with the always polarizing Seth Jones.
- He does credit Jones for being a solid defenseman in his write-up of Jones’ deal specifically, saying: “[Jones is] being paid to be a true number one who can provide 2.1 wins of value per season, but he’s closer to a strong number two defenseman at around 1.3 wins. Good player, just not elite.” The primary reason Jones ranked No. 2 on this list is his age; he’ll be 35 when the contract expires.
- So the good news is the Blackhawks have a solid defenseman under contract… right? Silver linings, folks.
- Someone we reference frequently here when discussing player evaluating, JFresh on Twitter, recently polled fans to determine the top players at each position and the top 100 overall skaters in the NHL. He posted that top 100 overall list earlier this week, and you will (perhaps not surprisingly) find only one Blackhawks skater — Patrick Kane — making the list.
- Kane ranked 24th, which was five spots ahead of now-former Blackhawk Alex DeBrincat. But… he was ten spots behind his other former linemate, Artemi Panarin. Seeing two former buddies ranked that highly has to hurt at least a little, right?
- On Friday there were conflicting reports about Kane’s future in Chicago. Will he stay or will he go? And, did you sing that last question to yourself when you read it?
- Max Domi finally met with the Chicago media this week. He spoke about why he chose Chicago as his team for this season. New head coach Luke Richardson had a lot to do with it. As did playing with Kane and Jonathan Toews.
- Finally, one of the Mets’ top prospects is apparently on the radar if a deal for Willson goes down. Who is Mark Vientos? We broke down what he brings to the diamond.