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Over The Boards

Mailbag: Seattle's keys to success, expanded video review

NHL.com's Dan Rosen answers weekly questions

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

Here is the July 24 edition of Dan Rosen's weekly mailbag, which runs every Wednesday. If you have a question, tweet it to @drosennhl and use #OvertheBoards.

 

I love watching teams get built from scratch. Seattle has started out in a great way by hiring Ron Francis. What do you think his three keys to success should be? -- @GoldenSaucerGuy

1. Use the time he has on his side wisely.

Seattle won't start playing until the 2021-22 season, meaning the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft is 23 months away. That gives Francis plenty of time to build his hockey operations depth chart. He should be at least a year, if not 18 months away from hiring a coach. He needs to get everyone else in place first. There's no rush but getting scouts in place for this season, for the NHL and the American Hockey League is important to stay current. 

2. Identify players who could be available in 2021

Getting started on a flow chart of players who could be available to Seattle in the expansion draft will be important because the scouts can start narrowing their focus on those players. Seattle might already be started on that after hiring analytics specialist Alexandra Mandrycky as its director of hockey administration June 23. Filling out an analytics staff to aid the scouting of potential available players is something that should be done sooner rather than later. Remember, Seattle also must build an AHL team that will play in Palm Springs, California.

3. Be aggressive

Francis was good at building organizational depth while general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes, but he didn't make player-for-player trades. Under Francis, the Hurricanes were always the team that had good pieces but not enough. They missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs in all four of his seasons as GM. Once everything is in place and it comes time for Seattle to start putting together a team, Francis needs to show his aggressive side as a GM.

This was a big part of George McPhee's success in helping put together the Vegas Golden Knights. Nobody thought Vegas was going to be as successful as it was in its inaugural season, but McPhee pushed the envelope and essentially cornered the market by making secretive deals with multiple teams. He was aggressive in his pursuit of players and was able to get more than the allotment from the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft because some teams were willing to give up an extra player in a conditional trade to secure the protection of someone they didn't want to lose. For example, the Anaheim Ducks traded defenseman Shea Theodore to the Golden Knights so Vegas wouldn't select defenseman Josh Manson in the expansion draft. The Golden Knights chose defenseman Clayton Stoner instead, but Theodore has been a significant player for them. The Columbus Blue Jackets traded the Golden Knights a first-round pick and a second-round pick with the condition they would select center William Karlsson, who has scored 67 goals in two seasons with Vegas and has become one of the top two-way centers in the NHL.

I don't expect other GMs to be as eager to trade with Seattle to protect players as they were with Vegas because of that history. Francis likely won't have the same type of options at his disposal, but he needs to mine every possible avenue for talent and be creative in how he does it.

Video: Ron Francis on building Seattle into a contender

 

Does Nazem Kadri nab another 30-goal season with the Colorado Avalanche this season? -- @alexbrowneyoung

Kadri should be able to do it. He had back-to-back 32-goal seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs from 2016-18, when he was the No. 2 center. John Tavares came on board last season and knocked Kadri down to the third line. He had 44 points (16 goals, 28 assists) in 73 games. Kadri should be Colorado's No. 2 center behind Nathan MacKinnon this season. He should get more favorable matchups playing behind MacKinnon, and he'll still be in a role to drive a scoring line. It wouldn't surprise me if the Avalanche eventually use either Gabriel Landeskog on Kadri's left wing or Mikko Rantanen on his right wing as a way to balance the offense and give the opposition a pick-your-poison scenario. They'll always pick MacKinnon as the tougher matchup, but that opens things up for Kadri to do even more damage, especially if he has Landeskog or Rantanen with him. Kadri could also play with MacKinnon, Rantanen and Landeskog on the first power-play unit, which certainly should help his production. He scored 24 power-play goals from 2016-18 before dropping to four last season.

 

Do you think the expanded video review will make a significant impact on this upcoming season? Are you a proponent of it? -- @David_Zuck

There will be times that the expanded video review will make an impact. It's hard to say how significant it will be because these are on a case-by-case basis. The significance of each call depends on what happens and the time of game when it happens. But certainly coaches will have to get used to the changes to the coach's challenge rule. The NHL added a third category to the rule to allow coaches to challenge missed stoppages of play in the offensive zone that lead to goals. They were already permitted to challenge for goalie interference and offside, but now they'll be able to challenge the hand pass that goes unnoticed or the puck that goes off the protective spectator netting and winds up in the net with no whistle in between. My favorite change is now all failed challenges will result in a minor penalty for delay of game and a double minor for any subsequent failed challenge. That should, at least in theory, limit the number of 50-50 challenges that we see, especially for goalie interference, which used to carry a penalty of a lost timeout for a failed challenge. Goalie interference is a subjective call in most cases anyway, so the rule change should limit the number of challenges to the really egregious ones.

I think allowing the on-ice referees to review their own work on nonfighting major penalties, match penalties and double minors for high sticking will help the game too. It doesn't happen often that a referee is wrong in his assessment but giving him the ability to use a monitor or tablet at the scorer's table to either confirm the call or reduce it to a minor penalty will give more credibility to each call.

 

Where do you see Roman Josi's contract extension landing in terms of AAV and term? Will this be the Nashville Predators year? -- @MeierGilles

If Jacob Trouba signed a seven-year, $56 million contract with the New York Rangers, Josi's next contract has to be worth more because he's proven more in the NHL. He's also 29 and Trouba is 25, but that's the comparable I'm using because Trouba's contract was the latest big one signed by a No. 1 defenseman. I wouldn't be surprised if Josi's next contract was for eight years and $80 million. That's a $10 million NHL salary cap charge, or average annual value (AAV). If it's less in terms of dollars, it'll be because Tennessee is an income tax-free state.

The Predators have the team to win the Stanley Cup this season. A big key will be their power play. It has to be at least respectable. It wasn't last season, when it was last in the NHL (12.9 percent) and went 0-for-15 in a six-game loss to the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference First Round. They'll defend well enough and score enough at even strength to be a contender, but the power play could put them over the top in the playoffs. I think center Matt Duchene will be a big help on the power play. He's good at retrieving pucks off point shots and setting up plays from low in the zone on the power play.

Video: NSH@DAL, Gm4: Josi puts Predators on the board

 

What addition to the Florida Panthers do you see as being more important and will make the biggest difference, Joel Quenneville or Sergei Bobrovsky? -- @TJRinger1

Quenneville.

Bobrovsky will make a huge difference in the net. He'll be a driving force behind the Panthers' confidence to skate and take some risks. The skaters will trust him, and he'll reward their trust by having their backs. That's part of the difference elite goalies make. They not only make the important saves and keep their team in games, they make the skaters feel confident enough to take risks for offense.

However, one player, even the goalie, is not going to be more important than a likely Hockey Hall of Fame coach and the ability he has to touch every aspect of the team and the way it plays. Quenneville sets the identity, the style, the systems. He controls ice time, lineup decisions, who plays with whom. On the ice, Bobrovsky will be the Panthers' most important and impactful player, as goalies usually are. But Florida's overall game will be driven by Quenneville's ability to get the most out of the players playing in front of Bobrovsky. The Panthers have a lot more to give in that area, especially on defense.

Video: Bobrovsky on signing seven-year deal with Panthers

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