Puck Daddy Countdown: Tavares, O'Ree and same old Senators

The John Tavares sweepstakes will likely end in predictably boring fashion. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
7. Wanting to be traded

Max Pacioretty very clearly wants out of Montreal at this point, and the Habs seemingly just can’t make anything happen to actually accomplish that goal.

They had not one but two deals in place to move him at the draft and both got scuttled. Couldn’t get him to the Islanders because of teams (including Montreal ha ha ha) making way-off-the-board dumb picks in the top 10. Couldn’t get him to L.A. because the Kings couldn’t pay Pacioretty what he wanted because of the whole Kovalchuk thing.

Things are so bad Pacioretty canned his agent in hopes of getting something pushed forward.

One wonders how Erik Karlsson feels watching all this play out.

6. Unforeseeable circumstances

It was revealed on Tuesday morning that, yup, the Ottawa Senators are going to buy out Alex Burrows just 16 months after trading a decent prospect (Jonathan Dahlen) for him and immediately signing him to a two-year contract.

Burrows’ total contribution to the Senators’ cause over 91 games? Just 12 goals and 13 assists, and a 46.2 CF%, which was slightly worse than what his team did when he was off the ice.

Now, if you’re out there saying, “Hey isn’t that a 35-plus contract? Why would they buy him out?” well, here’s a funny thing: Because they keep his full cap hit this year but only pay him two-thirds of the money owed to him over the next two years. Pretty sweet deal when you’re trying to field a $35 million roster but still hit the cap floor.

And jeez, that’s another thing: Didn’t, in trading a B-plus prospect and signing the player day-of, the Senators think this was a good investment less than a year and a half ago? It’s almost like Burrows being a crap contributor was totally foreseeable, which is weird, because a lot of Smart Hockey People probably loved the deal at the time. Pretty funny how that ended up (again).

5. Guys not getting qualified

Pretty interesting list of pending RFAs who weren’t qualified by their teams this week. Anthony Duclair, Devante Smith-Pelly, Nail Yakupov, Derrick Pouliot, Dylan DeMelo, Petr Mrazek. Those are just the guys I can think of off the top of my head.

This is a lot of guys who, to one extent or another, are useful NHLers, but one imagines the teams have their reasons. Smith-Pelly, for instance, is someone who probably feels like he’s worth more than he is because he had that great Cup Final. Does he want $3 million or something? He’s not worth it, but some team might be dumb enough to give it to him.

DeMelo is a guy who probably thought he was gonna be able to pull a lot in arbitration, so that’s why San Jose — even with its boatload of cap space and Ilya Kovalchuk scooped off the market — moved on.

Some guys, like Mrazek, Yakupov (the poster boy for a pretty rotten draft, all things considered), and Pouliot just played themselves out of jobs.

Duclair is the most interesting to me. He had that great season with Arizona when he first got there. I believe he was like 20. Then he had a real poor shooting year and missed a bunch of time the next season. And last year, he put up just 23 points in 56 games for dead-end Arizona and Chicago teams. The decision to pass on him, from Stan Bowman’s point of view, is a little surprising just because well, he’s still only 22 and he probably wasn’t going to be that expensive.

Point is, with Duclair in particular, there’s still plenty of runway for this guy to improve and maybe become the kind of player he was when he was 20. Maybe not, also, but if you can get him for like $1 million, I bet he’s at least as good as Smith-Pelly at half the price.

4. That J.T. Miller contract

Not toooooootally sure J.T. Miller is worth $5.25 million, but his last two seasons have been really good and if you can consistently score 20-plus that’s worth something. Especially if Tampa needs to trade him, y’know? That’s a team-friendly deal in that particular case, and with the potential for getting John Tavares aboard, and all the looming contracts they need to sign next summer (Kucherov, Gourde, Point, McDonagh, Dotchin) and the year after (Vasilevskiy, Sergachev).

Not sure how you make that work but hey, ol’ Stevey Yzerman has wriggled out of jams before.

3. That Bryan Rust contract

On the other hand, Bryan Rust getting $3.5 million is realllllllllllllllllllll team-friendly.

This is a guy who’s probably a 40-point player, reliably, but also puts up monster possession numbers for a team that needed a cap-healthy deal. He plays with everyone, pretty much makes them all better. That includes both Crosby and Malkin.

Can’t believe what a good contract this is. Boy oh boy.

2. John Tavares

It’s gonna be hilarious when all this round-the-clock coverage of his meetings with 20 percent of the teams in the league ends with him re-signing with the Islanders because they gave Barry Trotz $1.50 more per hour than Washington would.

1. Willie O’Ree

This was a decision that should have been made a million years ago but they finally got it right.

Now to sit back and wait for everyone who should have made this decision a million years ago to congratulate themselves for making the right decision before O’Ree dies.

(Not ranked this week: Slava Voynov.

Apparently the Canadiens — the team that decided P.K. Subban was a really bad guy in the room after he donated $10 million to a local childrens’ hospital — is really interested in acquiring Nice Hockey Man Slava Voynov, who’s not allowed to live in the U.S. because he beat up his wife real bad. This after the NHL Network repeatedly called John Vanbiesbrouck a good guy.

But no no no, believe me, everything with this sport’s culture is totally alwhite I mean alright.)

Ryan Lambert is a Puck Daddy columnist. His email is here and his Twitter is here.

(All statistics via Corsica unless otherwise noted.)