Matthew Tkachuk probably won't hit his bonuses and that's great

Ryan Pike
January 12 2017 02:00PM

Let's get a simple fact out of the way right out of the gates: Matthew Tkachuk is a really good hockey player. The 19-year-old was selected by the Calgary Flames in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft. He made the team out of camp and he's found a home on the left side of Calgary's top line with Michael Frolik and Mikael Backlund.

As a rookie on his entry-level contract, Tkachuk's success could potentially cause some future salary cap headaches for the Flames. Entry-level players are eligible for performance bonuses (which are added at the end of the season if they're reached) and the Flames are actually running $630,000 short on this year's cap because of all the bonuses they paid out last season to guys like Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.

If you're beginning to feel a bit worried about the cap, please don't be. The particularities of this season's rookie class will probably prevent Tkachuk from hitting a lot of his bonuses.

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By The Numbers: How good is the trio of Matthias, Lowry, and Armia?

Garret Hohl
January 12 2017 12:49PM

While the Winnipeg Jets have not been strong overall as a team, there have been pockets of good performance within the team.

The team's slow turn back into good health (still a long ways to go though) has brought together three giants on a very good line: Shawn Matthias, Adam Lowry, and Joel Armia.

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Quantifying the Value of a 'Shootout Specialist'

Andrew Kerison [OriginalSixAnalytics]
January 12 2017 10:25AM

This is an article guest written by Andrew Kerison of Original Six Analyitcs. You can follow Andrew @OrgSixAnalytics or visit his website at originalsixanalytics.com

Troy Terry. Jonathan Toews. T.J. Oshie. These names are all recognizable in part because of a heroic shootout performance they each have put on for their country. Troy Terry was the most recent, scoring three goals in the USA World Junior semi-final win over Russia, and ultimately being the sole scorer in the championship game, winning Team USA a gold medal over Team Canada. 

Due to shootouts being the subject of many conversations over the last couple weeks, I found myself wondering: for an NHL team, what exactly is it worth to have a shootout specialist in your line up? Should every team have one? Or is it a ‘nice to have’, merely a secondary consideration when evaluating players? 

So let’s see if we can figure it out. 

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Future Free Agents: Karl Alzner

Cam Lewis
January 11 2017 12:00PM

Future Free Agents is a semi-regular feature on NHLNumbers profiling players from 2017's potential free agency class. 

With Brent Burns signed in San Jose, the 2017 unrestricted free agent defenceman market gets very thin very fast. You have Kevin Shattenkirk as your clear cut top option, especially for those teams who need a boost in production from the blue line. Then, after him, you have Karl Alzner, the best option for a team looking for a steady, consistent, shut down guy. 

But as we've seen over the past few summers, teams are becoming skeptical of handing big contracts to stay at home defencemen like Alzner who contribute little offensively. Is he still going to be able to command the salary of a top pairing defenceman on the open market? With the league's gradual shift to analytics, is he still a valued commodity? 

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Maple Leafs claim Curtis McElhinney off waivers from Columbus

Jeff Veillette
January 10 2017 10:41AM

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Photo Credit: Aaron Doster/USA TODAY SPORTS

The Toronto Maple Leafs will take yet another crack at solving their backup goaltending situation, looking to Curtis McElhinney as the latest mystery man. The 33-year-old was claimed off waivers from the Columbus Blue Jackets this afternoon.

For a look at the Leafs' updated roster and cap situation, check out NHLNumbers

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