Tyler Bozak by Bridget Samuels

Perhaps There's Something to Those Bozak Rumors

As Brooks noted, defenseman Nick Holden, who carries with him a $1.65M AAV for one more year, could be used to offset the salary cap space needed to bring in Bozak. In fact, if no other significantly priced items were included in the deal, a one-for-one trade should leave both teams salary cap compliant to start the season.

Plus, there’s much to like about Bozak beyond the handful of positives Brooks shared in his column. Not only is he an ace-in-the-hole at the dot—an area of the game the Rangers could surely improve—but he’s a fantastic skater with solid two-way instincts. Should the Rangers acquire him, those attributes should translate well to Alain Vigneault’s system that relies so heavily on quality skating and intelligence in all three zones.

Best of all, Bozak is a quality special teams player. His 63 Power Play Points (PPP) are fourth-highest on the Leafs over the last five seasons behind Nazem Kadri, Phil Kessel (now with the Pittsburgh Penguins), and James van Riemsdyk.

In terms of possession metrics, he’s also been particularly reliable over the last two seasons in which the Leafs have bounced back with a star-studded cast of young talent. He has a two-year Corsi-For percentage (CF%) of 52.1%, and a Fenwick-for percentage (FF%) of 50.55% over the same span, all at five-on-five, and all while skating with only a slight edge toward offensive zone starts (oZS%) (54.85 oZS% to 45.15 dZS%).

Oddly, though his total time-on-ice has fallen each of the last three seasons, falling to a career-low 16:25 last season, as Brooks highlighted originally, his Points Per Game Played (P/GP) has actually increased in each of those seasons, as he finished last year with a 0.71 P/GP average. At the age of 31 (he’ll turn 32 in March) it’s difficult to project just how likely it is to continue to increase again this season, but even if it stayed flat, that’s still a projection of 58 points over 82 games, which is stellar second-line center production in today’s NHL.

Snap Shot

Confirmed: Vegas Will Select Oscar Lindberg in Expansion Draft

This is certainly not a worst case scenario for the New York Rangers concerning the expansion draft. While losing Oscar Lindberg isn’t great, they were going to part with some asset to Vegas. Better Lindberg than any of the other likely candidates. The Rangers hold on to Raanta, Fast and Grabner, all of whom have more trade value or current value to the team than Lindberg. Lindberg may have more upside down the road, but that’s an “if”. Assuming the Rangers didn’t have to part with any, or at least any significant, draft picks to make this happen, today’s a win and they can move on to the post Expansion Draft trade frenzy and free agency in reasonably good shape.


Tanev-er Gonna Give You Up

If Benning agrees that Lindberg can be a top-six guy (a role he took on for Sweden in the World Championships last month), or Raanta is a certified top goalie that Vancouver can hitch its hopes to, then a Tanev trade is easy, but both seem unlikely. Most likely, either of the two would have to be included in a deal as part of a larger package.

Evaluating the cost for Tanev is tricky because he has a very strong but limited skillset. He’s one of the league’s top shot suppressors but doesn’t have a great offensive resume*. Because of that, his value will certainly change from team to team and, most likely, the realistic cost for Tanev comes somewhere between the returns for Brendan Smith and Dougie Hamilton.

*It’s worth mentioning that, though Tanev doesn’t have a great offensive track record, he’s a good skater and strong with the first pass. That bodes really well for being productive in Alain Vigneault’s system. We saw glimpses of Brendan Smith, a comparable player, as an offensive presence despite limited minutes and adapting to a new system this past Spring.

As we know, the Rangers’ brass chose to give up second and third-round draft picks to acquire Smith from Detroit at the trade deadline. While that would be a price that New York would certainly be happy paying to Vancouver for Tanev, it’s probably wishful thinking as Tanev is an elite-level defensive player.