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OTF Mailbag: Expansion Extravaganza

This week, Marya, Hayley, and Anish answer your questions, including a few on the upcoming Vegas team.

Colorado Avalanche v Los Angeles Kings Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Marya: I believe Salomaki slots back in and Watson sits or is waved back to Milwaukee. The defense is a little more uncertain. Matt Irwin has certainly earned his spot thusfar, but Yannick Weber has been pretty good too. My thought is that Weber and Bitetto will split time unless one of them is head and shoulders better then the other one.

Hayley: Honestly I can see Bitetto and Salomaki sliding right back into their roles like nothing ever happened. Bitetto could find himself splitting time with Matt Irwin, if Irwin continues to score goals. Salomaki is a physical player without having to drop the gloves every game, or period, so I can see him easily shifting back into his 3rd and 4th line role over the likes of Bass. I think Salomaki has a lot of potential that we haven't seen yet so hopefully he comes back from IR and gets to momentum going.

Anish: I think with the team being on a nice little hot streak right now, we won't see too many immediate changes. I think Bitetto will continue to rotate in and out of the third line defensive pairing, as they have been already. I believe that Salomaki will eventually work his way back into the full time roster on the third/fourth line. Until then though, I am sure he will also be rotating in and out until he gets back to 100%.

Marya: It seems reasonable that he might be attractive to them, given his production and his work ethic. I think it's more likely that he will be used as some sort of barter for Poile to be able to preserve Jarnkrok rather than him being the target himself, though.

Hayley: I can see Vegas showing Arvy some interest especially if he continues on pace to have a break out season. For Nashville's sake I hope Vegas makes the mistake of judging a book by it's cover and passing on him because of his size. If Vegas wants big bodies on their top lines they won't give him much thought, not with the likes of Wilson, Smith, and Jarnkrok more than likely available. I think a lot of it will come down to who Vegas gets from other teams and what their cap space looks like.

Anish: With the expansion draft, anything is possible really. At this point, I'm not sure who will be the keepers for Nashville. We would assume David Poile will stick with the big guns as his protected picks, but who knows really. I think Arvidsson would be a nice fit on any team really. As mentioned in the question, his work ethic and quick ability to learn a system will have Las Vegas interested for sure. Selfishly though, I am hoping Vegas doesn't have interest so the Preds have a chance to get him back, assuming he isn't going to be protected.

Marya: I'd listen, if it seems likely that Laviolette isn't going to want him on the roster in the near future. I'm very high on Fiala, but he hasn't been very productive and the coaching staff doesn't have much confidence in his game right now. I wouldn't protect him over any other forward if he needed protection.

Hayley: While Fiala hasn't really been able to prove himself with the Preds I don't think we can consider him fully unknown at this point. He's been given a chance this season and I'm sure he'll get another one, but at this point he really has to make those chances count. If he keeps getting sent back to Milwaukee the question of "when is it Fiala time?" is going to become "will it ever be Fiala time?" for a lot of people. The organization has put a lot into him, and really hyped him up, but personally I think his moments in lapse of maturity put him behind schedule. I think he's just one step behind where he should be because he's had to spend extra time showing people he's not going to be a constant behavioral issue.

Right now I say yes to the trade because he's in Milwaukee and the Preds have found a groove. Realistically thinking, in the long term I say no, because you have to keep in mind Fisher and Ribeiro are on their way out. You can argue that Fisher will keep playing after this season but it's not going to be for much longer. Those two leave two lingering holes in the lineup that Fiala could easily fill. So for now if I'm Poile I stand by Fiala through the expansion, but he's got to show me some longevity and depth in 2017-2018 or I'm moving on.

Anish: This is an intriguing suggestion. Fiala has shown so bright upside, but his inability to stay consistent with the big club concerns me. My answer is really dependent on how he does for the rest of the year. I think if he continues to tear it up in Milwaukee and then gets called back up, and tears it up in the NHL on a consistent basis, you can't trade him away. On the flip side, if he continues his trend of getting called up for a short amount of time and then going back down to the AHL, I think I would definitely entertain the idea of trading him.

Gambit1077 asks, how instructive do you believe the deals struck in the 1998, 1999, and 2000 expansion drafts are to determine the value of additional protection this year?

Marya: I think this year will be different because the league is different and teams aren't having to anticipate giving up players multiple years in a row. That said, Poile's been through a few of these now, so I have a lot of faith in his ability to wheel and deal, despite the new GM possibly having a grudge because of a certain Swedish prince.

Hayley: We've seen that David Poile is an absolute deal making wizard, but I think striking a deal with Vegas will come down to is: will losing what we have now mean more than losing what we could have in the future? I think it will honestly come down to who Vegas wants to select and how they've played this season and in prior seasons. At the end of the day the expansion draft is a business transaction, someone has to go eventually.

Anish: Considering that the price on the deals increased each year, I would say it is very instructive. As mentioned in more detail from the question that was posted in our comments section, the price expansion teams paid for the deals made was increasing little by little every year. Now, it's also important to remember that was three straight years of new teams coming into the league. The fact that so many news teams came into the league in such a short amount of time may have caused existing teams to get more value for the deals made. It will be interesting to see if teams use that same train of thought this time around.

Any favorite Thanksgiving traditions or dish(es)? Do you stick to turkey or have other Thanksgiving proteins?

Marya: I don't like turkey, so I will be making a ham. Brown sugar, pineapple, and maraschino cherries in an antique casserole dish like my grandmother before me. I also make really good mashed potatoes.

Hayley: We have more food than is necessary for how many people take part in my Thanksgiving. We usually have a big traditional late lunch/early dinner but we have snacks throughout the day. I make a pretty great cold veggie pizza that has become a party favorite in my family. My mom also makes a cranberry jello fruit salad that's a staple.

Anish: The turkey is great and all, but I am a fan of all the sides that are involved in Thanksgiving. I am a sucker for mashed potatoes and mac n' cheese. Let's also not forget all the awesome desserts that follow the main course. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!