Thursday, July 2, 2015

Devils dribble into free agency

The New Jersey Devils dipped a lukewarm toe into the free agent pool as they signed one player from the NHL level,one from an AHLer to bolster Albany and another one from the college ranks to add to the system as the player meat market officially opened on Wednesday.

The biggest name was the addition of defenseman John Moore,late of Arizona,but also a former Ranger and Blue Jacket after being a first round selection by Columbus in 2009.
Moore is just 24 despite being in the league for five years and brings a potential upside to New Jersey as a stay at home defenseman,but frankly has disappointed in three stops prior to Newark.
Ray Shero has commented on the importance of internal competition and Moore should be in a battle for the sixth/seventh spot among the defensive group.
Moore's contract is for 1.6 million a year over three years,which isn't really a terrible amount for a player that might see his fortunes turn with some development with some luck.

The Devils also added Jim O'Brien as a depth player that most likely will spend the season with the Albany Devils in the AHL.
O'Brien spent the last two seasons in the AHL with a stop in the KHL in between.
The former Ottawa Senator is said to compete for a roster spot,but is more likely to provide that "veteran leadership" that one sees in the AHL and the callup spot that has been held by the Tim Sestito/Joe Whitney types over the last few seasons...

New Jersey also signed someone that Devils fans hope could be a future contributor as the team signed former third round center Blake Coleman to a two year deal.
Coleman scored twenty goals last season for Miami (Ohio) and after a four year career as a Redhawk will compete in camp,but is more likely to start the season with Albany.....

Back later with a look at the Cavaliers on the NBA free agency start.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Podcast-Glen Campbell,Devils Draft and Bradley-Vargas

The latest ThoughtsofRS podcast brought to you by CSA Cards.
We talk about Glen Campbell and his documentary,the Devils draft and Bradley-Vargas.

Bradley defeats Vargas in chaotic ending

Timothy Bradley obtained the vacant WBO welterweight title with a unanimous decision win over Jessie Vargas despite a controversial ending in Carson Ca.

Bradley was far ahead on my card (I had Bradley winning the bout 116-111) when with well under a minute remaining,the light hitting Vargas (just nine KO"s on his career) landed and sent Bradley wobbling around the ring badly hurt.
Vargas moved in,landed a combination before Bradley grabbed on and held on for dear life.

Then the controversy started as referee Pat Russell heard the ten second mat pound and thought that it was the bell instead and ended the fight.
As Vargas climbed the turnbuckle in celebration like Beautiful Bobby Eaton.Russell clearly told officials that he had not stopped the fight,that he had though he heard the bell.
Points for honesty,but the decision cost Vargas eight to ten seconds that he could used to finish Bradley off and could force us to see a rematch.

The fight was better than I thought it would be going in as far as action goes,but I don't really need to see a rematch.
Bradley would have likely held on for those few seconds and Vargas and his lack of power would have likely not have overcome the resilient Bradley,who has skated through rougher waters against bigger bangers than Vargas.
However,considering the dearth of welterweight contenders in the Top Rank stable for Bradley and the title on the line was the WBO,who has more titlists with Top Rank than any other promoter,I'd wager we will get our rematch-no matter how little anyone wants it.
Bradley has always been a proud warrior,if a outgunned one,but when you are rocked that badly by a soft puncher,the line appears to be closer to the end than the beginning for Bradley.
I was on Twitter for much of the bout and I posted that I have the feeling that the end won't be good for Bradley-who has taken a lot of punches and when he finally gives way,it's going to be fast and spectacular.
If I was Bradley and the money was right,I might take the Vargas rematch and avoid any big punchers because he's ripe for the picking....

R.L.Malpica and I each had Bradley winning via unanimous decision,good for two points in the boxing challenge.
I hold an 81-80 lead in the challenge at the halfway point of the year.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Devils trade for Kyle Palmieri

It will not be official until later today,but the New Jersey Devils have made their first move to bolster a flagging squad under new GM Ray Shero as the Devils traded their second rounder (41) that the team obtained from Florida for Jaromir Jagr and a third rounder in 2016 to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for right wing (and New Jersey native) Kyle Palmieri.

The former first round pick (2009) is just 24 and will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season,but brings some badly needed speed to the team and being a native,may not be difficult to re-sign to a longer contract assuming the Devils will be willing to lengthen a deal.
Palmieri scored 14 goals in under sixty games last season and added 15 more in 71 games the previous year,so you figure in a full season,Palmieri should be good for 15 to 20 goals.
In addition,he scored five goals on the power play last year for a career high,so the winger may be developing into a power play threat.
At the same time,Palmieri is not huge (5'11),has had some issues staying healthy and has never scored more than 15 goals,which for a first rounder could be looked at as a mild disappointment.

The bigger question is Kyle Palmieri worth a high second rounder and a future third rounder in a organization that is badly in need of a retooling in their farm system?
Honestly,he could be,but if I were writing this right now-which I am,I lean towards no.
The third? Yes,but the high second in what is reported to be a very deep draft hits hard.
It doesn't seem to be a trade that makes me wince in pain and it is a deal that has the potential to be a good one,if Palmieri blossoms further,which he has shown flashes of doing.
However,for now-it seems to be a high price to pay for untapped potential....




Friday, June 26, 2015

Devils select Pavel Zacha with 1st pick

The New Jersey Devils had the bad luck to hold the sixth pick in a draft that possessed five exceptional prospects.
However,the draft is thought to be a deep one and the Devils hope to still have landed a prime player in the selection of center Pavel Zacha.

The 18 year old center is from the Czech Republic,but played last year with the Sarnia Sting in junior hockey.
Zacha is 6'3 and over 200 pounds and scored just under a point a game in his year with the Sting.

I don't claim to be nearly as knowledgeable about the NHL draft,so I won't offer too many opinions on Zacha,so I'll use this scouting report from EliteProspects.com for a few words on Zacha as a prospect.

Pavel Zacha is an offensively dynamic center with the size, speed, and skill to make a significant impact on the game. He can play physical, but is at his best when using his high-end offensive abilities, such as his shot, stickhandling, and footspeed, to generate numbers in the opposition's end of the ice. All-in-all, Zacha is a lethal weapon that can be depended upon to create, and finish, dangerous scoring chances whenever he is on the ice. (Curtis Joe, EP 2015) - See more at: http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=130786#sthash.7RkbysFf.dpuf

Zacha has a chance to make the Devils next season,but is more likely to return to Sarnia for another term with the Sting....


Cavaliers draft three forwards in the 2015 draft

The Cleveland Cavaliers started the evening with a first and second rounder in the 2015 NBA Draft.
At the end of the night,Cleveland had the rights to three players in the second round and added a second rounder in the 2019 draft as Cleveland traded the rights to their first rounder (thoughts on this on the latest podcast) Duke point guard Tyus Jones to Minnesota for the rights to two Timberwolves second rounders (31 and 35).

With this sudden bounty of second rounders,Cleveland selected a 20 year old from Turkey in Cedi Osman to stash away for the future and a possible bench reinforcement in Syracuse forward Rakeem Christmas before using their second rounder on St.John's forward Sir'Dominic Pointer to complete the draft.

Let's call it straight-this was a salary deal.
NBA first rounders get a guaranteed contract,second rounders do not.
A first rounder on paper would be a million (roughly) guaranteed,but considering the Cleveland salary tax situation,keeping the first rounder could have cost the team four to five times as much for a player that was likely not to play often.
I like the potential of Tyus Jones and I think R.J. Hunter (was available at 23,later picked by Boston) could have been an offensive help off the bench,but both were maybe's for 2015-16 at best and Cleveland needs to have as much money open as possible for July to put their FA contracts in order and hopefully land another piece to the roster and if that means deals like this,then I'm reluctantly O.K.....

Cedi Osman's stats are less than dazzling in Turkey,but is highly regarded on the defensive end and has excellent athletic ability with nice work in transition.
Osman's offensive skills need work according to draft express and looks to be a role player in the league,if he matures as a player.
Osman is reported to want to join the NBA now,which is unlikely unless he is willing to hit the D-League with the Cavaliers team in Canton...

Rakeem Christmas is a 6'10 power forward from Syracuse that stayed all four years and shoots a high percentage with a larger than his size wingspan that enables him to be an excellent shot blocker and rim protector.
The problem? Limited offensive moves,doesn't seem to have the explosiveness that you'd like to and doesn't appear to be anything more than a undersized postup player.
Christmas could make the team as a defensive rebounder off the bench,especially in the absence of Anderson Varejao,which seems to happen every year...

Sir'Dominic Pointer from St.Johns is a 6'6 forward renowned for his defense and for underwhelming shooting.
Pointer looks to have a future in Canton for the next year or two,where with luck and work,he could develop into a athletic defensive specialist against shooting guards or small forwards.
More likely,he'll turn out to be remembered best for a unique name...

Back later with the Devils first overall pick at the six spot in the NHL Draft...

Podcast-Welcome to our new sponsor!

New podcast with a welcome to our new sponsor!
Also Cavaliers draft,U.S.Open and the return of Battlebots....