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Edmonton Oilers trade for Detroit Andreas Athanasiou

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This in from Gord Miller of TSN, that the Edmonton Oilers have traded for Andreas Athanasiou and Ryan Kuffner from Detroit. The Oilers gave up Sam Gagner and two second round picks to get Athanasiou, who will be a Restricted Free Agent this summer.

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My take

  1. It looks like Oilers GM Ken Holland wants his team to take a run at the Stanley Cup. Can you blame him? Not me.
  2. Athanasiou, 25, is a major pick up for the Oilers. He’s having an off year but he scored 30 goals in 2018-19.
  3. When it comes to even strength scoring, Athanasiou ranks 238th out of 393 regular NHL forwards this year, with 1.57 points per game.
  4. Sam Gagner ranks 284th for even strength scoring with 1.38 points per game. But Gagner lacks the wheels to play with Connor McDavid. Athanasiou has got them. Gagner was moved for cap reasons, so Edmonton can fit Athanasiou under their cap.
  5. Kuffner, 23, is a struggling AHL player.
  6. Athanasiou kills penalties and plays on the power play in Detroit. This year he’s at 1:37 per game on the PK and 2:21 per game on the PP. But his big number is that -45 NHL plus-minuus in 46 games. That’s a wretched number but it’s a number earned by the entire Detroit Red Wings team when Athanasiou is on the ice, it’s not an individual stat. We’ll see how well Athansiou plays defence when he gets here, though there are doubts about him in this regard.
  7. Athanasiou has been on the ice for 21 even strength goals for this year and 60 against.
  8. Brian Burke of Sportnset said: “All I can tell you about Athanasiou is: he makes both teams dangerous. This is a guy who has speed for sure, but he is not a fanatic about defence. I can tell you that. This one, I’ll give Kenny the benefit of the doubt. They definitely got faster but this guy is not a defender.”
  9. Former NHL coach Bruce Boudreau of Sportsnet said Athanasiou would help push NHL defenders back with his speed. “I think it’s going to work out. If Connor is skating full speed and this guy can keep up to him, how do you check them”?
  10. Louie DeBrusk of Sportsnet said: “This is going to be the first time that Connor McDavid has a running mate that can actually keep up to him and be right there with him and be right on the door step waiting for those back door tap ins.”
  11. Scottie Upshall on TSN said, “I like the move. They need speed. He’s one of the fastest players in the league. And Connor needs that. He needs a guy who is going to step up and keep the pace of play and be able to move the puck, be able to create some space.”
  12. TSN’s Ray Ferraro said: “Certainly Ken Holland knows him from Detroit. He’s seen the ups and downs of AA as he’s gone from Grande Rapids to a part time pro in Detroit to a full time guy. Seen him score 30 goals. He’s there to watch him -42 this year. So I think there be a pretty direct line of communication of what’s expected from Athanasiou. He can skate. He can score. McDavid is on a line right now with Alex Chiasson and Sam Gagner. That doesn’t fit. They need more there. And I think the Oilers… they’ve got a player that can play with McDavid. Will it be successful. We’ll see…. It feels like this is the type of player who has had such a crappy year that can hit lightning here playing with a guy like McDavid.” Ferraro said he’s intrigued by this for Edmonton. “I think that what concerns me is that he likes the puck. Athanasiou likes the puck. He likes to rush it. He likes to carry it. The guy he’s going to be playing with should be carrying the puck all the time.”
  13. TSN’s Craig Button wondered if Athanasiou would get to the right places at the right time on the ice. “He plays with blinders on… He’s like a drag racer. He’s not a formula one racer. He’s just straight ahead. And if you’re going to play with Connor McDavid, you better be thinking, ‘Where’s Connor so I can get him the puck?’ I don’t think Athanasiou will be a good fit for Connor McDavid. I don’t.” Buttons suggested playing Athanasiou with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and putting Drasaistl back with McDavid.
  14. TSN’s Jeff O’Neill said: “It’s going to be nice to see him in a competitive situation too. There’s not a lot of fun going on in Detroit right now and I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of fun. That would be a player who would just be drowning in that year after year.”
  15. TSN’s Mike Johnson said: “Even if it doesn’t fit perfectly, if they’re not a perfect blend, Connor McDavid is talented enough, if you have any kind of offensive instincts, or even enough to know just get out of the way, go to the net and let him do his thing, you’ll pick up points, you’ll pick up goals, you’ll feel better about yourself. There is an element of truth that if you just keep it simple even it’s not exactly your style of game, if you just keep it simple and go to to the net and get out of the way, Connor McDavid is great enough for you to have a little bit of success just like that.”
  16. I like this deal. Edmonton has a great chance to both win the Pacific division and to make the Stanley Cup semi-finals. Second round picks are valuable, but they have about a one in five chance of turning into a good NHLer.
  17. Athanasiou makes $3.0 million this year. He’s a restricted free agent this summer, so Edmonton will have to make a call on him then. For now, we’ll see how he does this spring in Edmonton.

In case you’re wondering about the value of draft picks, Brad McPherson has dug into this a this website, the Blue Bullet Report:

Essentially, he’s found that a forward taken in the various rounds has the following average career value:

  • 1st overall: 102 value
  • 10th overall: 26.2
  • 20th: 13.2
  • 30th: 8.9
  • 40th: 4.8
  • 50th: 4.2
  • 60th: 3.6
  • 70th: 3.4
  • 80th: 2.2
  • 90th: 1.8
  • 100th: 1.5
  • 110th: 0.9
  • 120th: 0.9
  • 130th: 0.8
  • 140th: 0.8
  • 150th: 0.8
  • 160th: 0.8
  • 170th: 0.6
  • 180th: 0.6
  • 190th: 0.5
  • 200th: 0.5
  • 210th: 0.5

The first overall pick has an average career value four times greater than the 10th overall pick and more than 10 times greater than the average 30th overall pick, and more than 20 times greater than the average second round pick.

Sometimes lower round picks turn into fine players, like Ethan Bear and Caleb Jones. Most often, they do not.

Major recent trades:

  • Edmonton gets Athanasiou for two second round picks and Sam Gagner.
  • Pittsburgh gets Patrick Marleau for a third round pick.
  • Carolina Hurricanes get Vincent Trochek for forwards Erik Haula and Lucas Wallmark and two prospects (Chase Priskie and Eetu Luostarinen).
  • Washington Capitals acquire Ilya Kovalchuk for a third round draft pick.
  • New York Islanders get Jean-Gabriel Pageau for first round draft pick in 2020 (lottery protected), 2nd in 2020 and 3rd round pick in 2022 if Islanders win the Cup.
  • Colorado gets Vlad Namestnikov for a fourth round pick in 2021.
  • Boston Bruins get Ondrej Kase, traded for a 2020 first-round pick along with David Backes and defensive prospect Axel Andersson, Bruins retaining 25 per cent of Backes’ contract.
  • Vegas Golden Knights get Alec Martinez, D – Traded for ’20 2nd-rd pick, ’21 2nd-rd pick
  • St. Louis Blues get Marco Scandella, D – Traded for ’20 2nd-rd pick, ’21 cond. pick
  • Washington Capitals get Brenden Dillon, D – Traded for ’20 2nd-rd pick, ’21 cond. pick
  • Winnipeg Jets get Dylan DeMelo, D – Traded for ’20 3rd-rd pick
  • Vancouver Canucks get Tyler Toffoli, RW – Traded for Tim Schaller, Madden, picks
  • Tampa Bay Lightning get Blake Coleman, LW – Traded for Nolan Foote, ’20 1st-rd pick
  • New Jersey Devils get David Quenneville, D – Traded w/ ’21 2nd-rd pick for Andy Greene
  • Pittsburgh Penguins get Jason Zucker, LW – Traded for Alex Galchenyuk, Addison, ’20 1st-rd pick
  • Los Angeles Kings get Trevor Moore, LW – Traded w/ picks for Jack Campbell, Kyle Clifford
  • Buffalo Sabres Michael Frolik for 4th -round pick (2020)
  • Montreal Canadiens Marco Scandella for 4th-round pick (2020)
  • Arizona Coyotes Taylor Hall and Blake Speers for 2020 conditional first-round draft pick, 2021 conditional third-round draft pick, Nate Schnarr, Nick Merkley Kevin Bahl

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Report: NBA eyeing rapid COVID-19 testing – TSN

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According to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, the NBA and NBAPA are looking into the viability of devices that could test and provide accurate results for the COVID-19 virus within minutes as the league and players attempt to get back to action as soon as possible.

The multiple blood-testing devices are reportedly similar to what diabetics use on a daily basis. After a prick of a finger, accurate results could be delivered within 15 minutes.

The tests have been approved by the FDA and Illinois-based Abbott Laboratories began shipping its tests across the United States last week, according to the Washington Post.

League sources have said the rapid-testing devices are still only in an “exploratory phase,” reports Holmes.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Monday night that he doesn’t expect a decision to be made regarding the possible resumption of the 2019-20 season until at least May.

“Essentially, what I’ve told my folks over the last week is that we just should just accept that, at least for the month of April, we won’t be in a position to make any decisions,” Silver said. “And I don’t think that necessarily means on May 1 we will be.”

One anonymous NBA general manager told Holmes that the devices would be “key” to a return to sports and everything else.

“Rapid testing results are key to return to work, return to sports, everything,” the GM said. “Whatever job you have and environment you work in, if you’re interacting with people, we’re all going to have to feel safe doing that. Sports isn’t any different.”

Even if the devices are approved and become readily available, questions remain where the NBA lies on the priority list.

“We are going to be clearly second in line to healthcare workers, transportation workers, public workers, things along those lines,” said a NBA head athletic trainer.

The NBA suspended its season on March 11 after two members of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

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Blue Jays: What happens now with Mark Shapiro’s contract? – Jays Journal

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Mark Shapiro, the President and CEO of the Blue Jays, is only under contract until the end of the 2020 season. What happens now for him in Toronto?

There will be a lot of complicated variables for MLB executives to navigate over the coming weeks and even months, and I imagine things will be very much in limbo until we have some answers about the future of baseball in 2020.

That’s the unfortunate reality for the players, the fans, and for the front offices across the game, but there could be another interesting factor to deal with at some point this year. The Blue Jays were set to enter the season with Mark Shapiro working under the final year of his current contract as President and CEO, and the two sides had yet to work out an extension.

According to the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, there were talks around the idea back in October, but it didn’t sound like anything was particularly close at the time. We do know that Ross Atkins, the Blue Jays GM, is under contract until after the 2021 season, and he has been closely tied to Shapiro throughout his career in baseball, including being hired by Shapiro to come to Toronto. All along I personally expected that Shapiro would be extended until the end of 2021, and all parties could re-evaluate at the end of the 2020 campaign to see where things were at with the front office.

More from Jays Journal

Fast forward to today, and we’re now facing the very real threat that there may not be any baseball in 2020. That’s a terribly depressing thought for a number of reasons, but it could also be relevant when it comes to the Blue Jays’ situation with Shapiro. For the purposes of this thought train, let’s assume there will be no baseball this season.

Without having any inside information whatsoever, I would still be surprised to see Shapiro leave with Atkins under contract for another year. The Blue Jays could decide to move on to a different front office group and fire Atkins with a year left on his contract this fall, but it’s hard to see them making that decision now, especially without a 2020 campaign to evaluate their work. After focusing on building a homegrown core and rebuilding the roster for the last few years, Atkins and company went out and acquired some real help this winter including Hyun-Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark, Chase Anderson, and more. On paper it was an exciting winter for the Blue Jays, and it would be hard to justify moving on from the front office team without getting to see the fruits of their work.

All that said, Shapiro has been linked to other positions in the past, even in other sports. It’s hard to know what could be on the table for the 53-year-old until a decision has been made either way,  he has downplayed any rumours of that sort, and has repeatedly stated he is interested in seeing the job through.

“I’ve been clear and consistent about enjoying where I am and wanting to be here. From a competitive perspective, I want to finish the job. That’s incredibly important to me.”

Once again, my assumption is that if there’s no baseball this year, the Blue Jays and Shapiro will be interested in at least a one year extension to his current deal. Without getting a chance to see what this current group can do, it’s pretty hard for anyone to make a decision about the future at the moment.

Next: Even for half of a season, Price was worth it

As I said at the beginning, I don’t expect it will be a priority for the immediate future for the Blue Jays or for Shapiro, but we’ll see if and how that changes as the suspension of play continues. Hopefully there will still be baseball this season, but one way or another the decision on Shapiro’s future is coming later this year.

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How the field will likely look for a November Masters – Golf Channel

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While many questions remain about what a Masters might look like in November, one area where we have some clarity is what the field will look like.

Augusta National Golf Club announced Monday that this year’s tournament has new “intended dates” of Nov. 9-15. But part of that announcement included language from club chairman Fred Ridley about who will be invited down Magnolia Lane this fall.

The Grand Slam landscape has been dramatically uprooted by the coronavirus pandemic with golf’s major championship bodies announcing a schedule makeover.

“We want to emphasize that our future plans are incumbent upon favorable counsel and direction from health officials,” Ridley wrote. “Provided that occurs and we can conduct the 2020 Masters, we intend to invite those professionals and amateurs who would have qualified for our original April date.”

Masters qualification was already winding down when global competition ground to a halt last month, with only two remaining pathways to an invite: win one of four remaining full-point PGA Tour events, all of which have since been canceled, or sit inside the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings on March 30.

But 92 players had already qualified for this year’s Masters, a larger number than some fields in recent years even with those 11th-hour avenues removed. Eighty-seven players participated each of the last two years, while the field grew to 93 in 2017. The Masters has not had a field size over 100 since 1966, when 103 players participated.

Here is a look at what the PGA Tour currently has proposed on its schedule for the remainder of the 2019-20 season.

If the tournament committee opted to make the final top-50 cutoff based on what the world rankings looked like when they were frozen on March 20, four more players who were not otherwise exempt would be invited: No. 44 Collin Morikawa, No. 45 Scottie Scheffler, No. 47 Christiaan Bezuidenhout and No. 49 Graeme McDowell. That could potentially swell the field to 96, though winners of tournaments should competition resume this summer will earn invites to the 2021 event.

“We would not be adding players to the field between now and the November event,” an Augusta National spokesperson told GolfChannel.com. “Those would be picked up by the 2021 tournament, per our usual qualifications.”

There are 19 Masters qualifying criteria, although lucky No. 19 is the final OWGR cutoff that had not yet come to pass. Here’s a look at how all 92 players for this year’s field qualified, with players who gained entry via multiple criteria listed only by the first way by which they qualified:

1. Masters champions (lifetime exemption): Angel Cabrera, Fred Couples, Sergio Garcia, Trevor Immelman, Zach Johnson, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle, Phil Mickelson, Larry Mize, Jose Maria Olazabal, Patrick Reed, Charl Schwartzel, Adam Scott, Vijay Singh, Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson, Mike Weir, Danny Willett, Tiger Woods

2. U.S. Open champions (last five years): Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Gary Woodland

3. Open champions (last five years): Shane Lowry, Francesco Molinari, Henrik Stenson

4. PGA champions (last five years): Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jimmy Walker

5. Players champions (last three years): Si Woo Kim, Rory McIlroy, Webb Simpson

6. Current Olympic gold medalist (one year): N/A

7. Current U.S. Amateur winner and runner-up: James Augenstein (a), Andy Ogletree (a)

8. Current British Amateur champion: James Sugrue (a)

9. Current Asia-Pacific Amateur champion: Yuxin Lin (a)

10. Current Latin America Amateur champion: Abel Gallegos (a)

11. Current U.S. Mid-Amateur champion: Lukas Michel (a)

12. Top 12 and ties from 2019 Masters: Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, Justin Harding, Matt Kuchar, Ian Poulter, Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele

13. Top 4 and ties from 2019 U.S. Open: Justin Rose, Chez Reavie

14. Top 4 and ties from 2019 Open: Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood

15. Top 4 and ties from 2019 PGA Championship: Matt Wallace

16. Individual winners of PGA Tour events that offer full FedExCup points: Cameron Champ, Tyler Duncan, Dylan Frittelli, Lanto Griffin, Tyrrell Hatton, Max Homa, Sungjae Im, Sung Kang, Andrew Landry, Nate Lashley, Marc Leishman, Sebastian Munoz, Kevin Na, Joaquin Niemann, C.T. Pan, J.T. Poston, Cameron Smith, Nick Taylor, Brendon Todd, Matthew Wolff

17. Qualifiers for 2019 Tour Championship: Abraham Ancer, Paul Casey, Corey Conners, Bryson DeChambeau, Lucas Glover, Charles Howell III, Kevin Kisner, Jason Kokrak, Hideki Matsuyama, Louis Oosthuizen, Brandt Snedeker

18. Top 50 from final Official World Golf Ranking of 2019: Byeong-Hun An, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Adam Hadwin, Billy Horschel, Shugo Imahira, Jazz Janewattananond, Victor Perez, Andrew Putnam, Erik van Rooyen, Bernd Wiesberger

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