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Abel to Yzerman

Exposing The Wings

Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press on who may be exposed by the Wings for the Seattle expansion draft,

In addition to Panik and Nielsen, that also leaves exposed Vladislav Namestnikov. Yzerman signed him last fall for two years, $4 million, and Namestnikov delivered 17 points and a minus-5 rating in 53 games. If he were to be protected, it would bump Smith off the list, and though Smith has played just 37 career games, he’s shown he can be asset.

Evgeny Svechnikov also will be exposed, but the 2015 first-round pick was on waivers twice this past season, making it clear the team doesn’t view him as part of the rebuild. Also exposed are pending unrestricted free agents including Glendening, Helm, Sam Gagner and Bobby Ryan....

I think there’ll be the biggest debate among Yzerman and his inner circle. Do either of Cholowski, 23 years old, or Lindstrom, 22, get bumped in favor of protecting 27-year-old Troy Stecher? Stecher will help the Wings next season more than either of those two, but odds are that if Lindstrom or Cholowski is exposed, that’s who the Kraken will select.

Cholowski has shown in spurts just how good he can be. He might play 10 years. Stecher won’t. Lindstrom plays a safe, smart game. With Seider — who like Stecher shoots right — poised to join the lineup next season, I’d risk exposing Stecher.

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Comments

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Cholowski has to be running out of chances, right? Please?!

Posted by pnwwing on 06/10/21 at 09:07 AM ET

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Kraken might select Glendening if he is exposed.
As to the trio of dmen, I would expose Stetcher. I like him, but he might be here only for 1 more year and he is really an average dman, he just looks so good on our team due to lack of other options.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/10/21 at 09:55 AM ET

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Something tells me she still has Cleary on her protection list

Posted by maltby18 on 06/10/21 at 11:33 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Posted by VPalmer on 06/10/21 at 09:55 AM ET

Glenny is a UFA?

I would expose Stetcher as well, play the long game, even if that hurts in the short game, as I do think Kraken would take him.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerHolland2.0's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 06/10/21 at 01:18 PM ET

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I know Glen is UFA, but what does this mean then: Also exposed are pending unrestricted free agents including Glendening, Helm, Sam Gagner and Bobby Ryan….

Posted by VPalmer on 06/10/21 at 02:34 PM ET

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Stecher gets no respect whatsoever. IMO he is probably the best defender on the team (which, granted, is a very low bar), or at the absolute worst a close second after Hronek. I think there’s very little chance that either Cholowski or Lindstrom will ever be as good as Stecher is today, and likely will continue to be for the next handful of years.

IMO this is not that hard. The Red Wings will easily be able to protect every legitimately important player in their lineup who is under contract or an RFA and still have extra slots left over.

Larkin
Bertuzzi
Vrana
Fabbri
Namestnikov
Erne
Rasmussen
Hronek
Stecher
Cholowski OR Lindstrom (I honestly don’t care, though I’d probably pick Cholowski)
Greiss

That leaves the best non-UFA players available to Seattle as Svechnikov, Smith, an whoever of Cholowski / Lindstrom isn’t protected. Nothing against these guys, but let’s be real. They are not ever going to be better than bottom-of-the-roster players even on a team as weak as Detroit. None of them are even close to being important components of the rebuild. I suspect they’d take Svechnikov, who—again—cleared waivers twice last year despite being on a nearly league-minimum deal.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 06/10/21 at 02:35 PM ET

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Stecher gets no respect whatsoever. I

He actually does, I think everyone has a positive opinion of him, but he is UFA after next season (chances of him staying are let’s say 50/50). And he will be 30 by the time we might have a good team.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/10/21 at 02:46 PM ET

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He actually does, I think everyone has a positive opinion of him, but he is UFA after next season (chances of him staying are let’s say 50/50). And he will be 30 by the time we might have a good team.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/10/21 at 02:46 PM ET

I will take a 50/50 chance of Stecher staying beyond next season, and still being good at age 30, over either of Cholowski or Lindstrom.

That’s partly informed by my opinion that Stecher is underrated (including by most Red Wings fans), but just as informed by my opinion that Cholowski and Lindstrom are overrated and have extremely limited upside.

Or in other words, Stecher might still be around and still be a solid NHLer by the time the Red Wings are good again, or he might not. But I don’t think Cholowski or Lindstrom will ever be solid NHLers, period.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 06/10/21 at 02:58 PM ET

d ca's avatar

Stecher gets no respect whatsoever. IMO he is probably the best defender on the team (which, granted, is a very low bar), or at the absolute worst a close second after Hronek. I think there’s very little chance that either Cholowski or Lindstrom will ever be as good as Stecher is today, and likely will continue to be for the next handful of years.

IMO this is not that hard….

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 06/10/21 at 02:35 PM ET

Absolutely NOT!

First strike against him: he’s a RHD (same as Seider, same as Hronek) that means: he’s going to be a 3rd pairing guy (eventually or as quickly as training camp).

Second strike: Like stated above he’s going into his UFA year and is 27 yrs old. I see his ceiling as a #4 d-man and 2nd pair guy who can get minutes on the 2nd unit PP—not anymore with Seider. He’s a great value for the 1.7M he’s signed for this season—and he was certainly an upgrade from Errorsson and Daley—but why should the Wings commit serious dollars in free agency to a 28 year old that gives you 25-30 points a year at best and will be a 3rd pair guy? Then why protect him? This runs especially true when you would lose a guy with ceilings just as high as that 3rd pairing guy who is 4-5 years younger in Lindström. Then you factor in all recent drafts of d-men in the 1st-3rd rounds that should yield a comparable replacement for cheaper:

LHD: Dennis Cholowski (1st round, 20th overall), William Wallinder (2nd round, 32nd overall), Jared McIsaac (2nd, 36th) Albert Johansson (2nd, 60), Donovan Sebrango (3rd, 63), Eemil Viro (3rd, 70), Kasper Kotkansalo (3rd, 71)

RHD: Moritz Seider (1st, 6), Antti Tuomisto (2nd, 35), Gustav Lindström(2nd, 38), Filip Hronek (2nd, 53), Seth Barton (3rd, 81)

Next, you have to factor in the 2021 draft picks in the 1st if Detroit takes a d-man with either pick.

Finally, factor in the fact the team would be better served by letting the prospects who already spent time in the AHL/overseas play at the NHL level instead of ripening them for a 3rd year in the AHL/overseas to save a spot for a 3rd pair d-man.

Posted by d ca on 06/10/21 at 03:07 PM ET

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Will be interesting what is SY opinion. We will find out.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/10/21 at 03:07 PM ET

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curious Sven, why the outlook on Cholowski?  You’ve given up completely?  I mean, sure, I have very little hope left, but he’s got skill.  But is he at best another Smith who doesn’t have the brians to go with it…maybe.  Stetcher is Stecher… he’s a servicable guy, works hard, can skate not bad… but come on..protecting him? 
Anyhow, I protect Cholowski just in case he figures it out, because if he did, his upside skillwise is higher than Stecher.  But, honestly, this is what it’s like being a wings fan these days, arguing about which bottom pair D to protect.  Makes me sad.  No matter what is decided, it is unlikely to matter much in the grand scheme of things.

Posted by DieByTheWing on 06/10/21 at 03:11 PM ET

d ca's avatar

I will take a 50/50 chance of Stecher staying beyond next season, and still being good at age 30, over either of Cholowski or Lindstrom.

That’s partly informed by my opinion that Stecher is underrated (including by most Red Wings fans), but just as informed by my opinion that Cholowski and Lindstrom are overrated and have extremely limited upside.

Or in other words, Stecher might still be around and still be a solid NHLer by the time the Red Wings are good again, or he might not. But I don’t think Cholowski or Lindstrom will ever be solid NHLers, period.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 06/10/21 at 02:58 PM ET

Cholowski is a LHD. Stecher is a RHD. Neither of the two should play off-handed on defense (with the lone exception being the PP—maybe). Therefore the two aren’t interchangeable and irrelevant to each other.

Lindstrom is 22 (23 in Oct) and has a 776k cap hit. Even with a significant raise he still will be cheaper than Stecher (27) who has a cap hit of 1.7M and is heading into UFA where he will be due a significant raise.

As I state above either Stecher or Lindstrom will be 3rd pairing RHD guys. Do you want to spend around 4M on a 3rd pairing guy or around 1.5M? And what’s to say Stecher will want to play for Detroit? He has a chance to hit the open market while still being in the prime of his career.

So Seattle’s expansion draft comes down to Stecher or Namestnikov and will depend on other teams exposures.

Posted by d ca on 06/10/21 at 03:21 PM ET

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No matter what is decided, it is unlikely to matter much in the grand scheme of things.

So true

Posted by VPalmer on 06/10/21 at 03:29 PM ET

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Posted by d ca on 06/10/21 at 03:07 PM ET

Unpopular opinion: Stecher is better than Hronek, and Hronek’s ceiling isn’t higher than a No. 4 on a decent team either.

Let’s say Seider crushes it out of the gate, and the three best defenders on the team are all RHD (Seider, Stecher, Hronek). In that scenario, my first choice would be to try switching one of them to the left side so all three could play in the top four. My second choice would probably be to explore selling high on Hronek to try to get some help elsewhere on the roster. I think there are teams out there that would overpay for him. My third choice would be flip Stecher at the deadline if there are no good offers for Hronek.

Regardless, I strongly disagree that handedness should be the determining factor when one player is so significantly better than the other. Stecher and Hronek are both valuable players who can be solid second or third pair contributors, or at the very least get back something decent in return via trade. Cholowski is a fringe NHLer, period. In my opinion it’s no contest.

And to be honest, unless the Wings are planning to spend to the cap and and it actually ends up costing them a high end player, yes I would rather pay $4 million for a 3rd pair defender who is actually a good NHLer than play a crappy player just because he’s cheap. Sure, it’d be less than optimally efficient, but your third pair guys are still out there 15+ minutes per night, plus Seider will still be on his ELC and Hronek likely wouldn’t be prohibitively expensive either. Seems to me like having too many good RHD is a much better problem to have than to be stuck with an AHL-caliber third pair.

I understand where you’re coming from, and I think the rationale for exposing him would make perfect sense if the Red Wings had three other defenders who were actually worth protecting. But they don’t. Hronek isn’t that good. Cholowski and Lindstrom stink. Stecher may be a so-so defender, but he’s still easily worth protecting considering the alternatives.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 06/10/21 at 03:36 PM ET

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Whoever gets exposed isn’t going to be a deal breaker in the long run. I’d hate to lose a young D man, but at the same time, as others have pointed out the, the talent pool is loaded and its only going to get deeper.

I’m more interested in any trades Yzerman makes leading up to the expansion draft. He might be willing to eat salary and acquire picks to help another team at a more competitive stage protect their assets. It’s possible that the player Seattle takes from the Wings isn’t currently on the Wings roster.

Posted by Jdunc from Flint, MI on 06/10/21 at 03:36 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

I’m with Sven on all points.  Complete Buffalo tank not withstanding, there needs to be some stability on the back end next year and Stetcher provides that at a very good cap hit.

It’s a sad state of the franchise when a good chunk of the players you protect are on the list only because there isn’t really a better option.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 06/10/21 at 04:16 PM ET

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In my opinion, these are the only players who are (1) eligible to be selected by Seattle, (2) under contract or pending RFA, and (3) are either currently or likely to ever be better than an average NHLer:

Larkin
Vrana
Bertuzzi
Fabbri
Stecher
Hronek
Greiss

That’s it. That’s the whole list, the only guys on the team that I would consider to be truly “worth protecting,” and there’s still 3 forward and 1 defenseman protection slots to go.

If it were me, as listed above, I’d probably fill out the rest with Namestnikov, Erne, Rasmussen, and Cholowski. But honestly you could just as easily swap in Svechnikov or Smith or Lindstrom and I really don’t think it would matter.

I think this board is seriously, seriously overrating what Cholowski or Lindstrom can offer to this roster now or at any point in the future. Both of them are extremely replaceable. Every offseason there are multiple stopgap FA defenders available on the cheap who are far better than either of them are likely to ever be. There is no reason to waste a protection slot on either of them at the expense of one of the few players on the team who is actually good and currently on a very affordable deal.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 06/10/21 at 04:16 PM ET

d ca's avatar

Stecher is better than Hronek, and Hronek’s ceiling isn’t higher than a No. 4 on a decent team either.

I disagree with the 1st point and so do the Wings organization. Hronek (at age 23.5) is better than Stecher (27). That’s not my opinion that’s backed by ATOI/GM Hronek 23:23 vs Stecher 17: 19. If Yzerman felt differently he would have fired Blash: so we can assume that is his thinking too.

The 2nd point is irrelevant as with Seider being a RHD too, Hronek’s ceiling doesn’t need to be anything higher than a 2nd pair RHD.

But don’t skimp over the important point you are ignoring: RFA are less costly than UFA. So in a year or so, 24.5 yr old RFA is going to cost significantly less than 28 yr UFA. The UFA isn’t going to take a short-term deal it’s going to be a 5-6 year deal. And by then the cap space for a 3rd pair d-man is going to make the difference. But ignoring that, the space should actually be weaponized for draft picks like Staal’s did in this hypothetical year 1 so yeah that 3M should make a difference even if there is an internal cap from ownership rather than the league’s cap. Spending to the cap makes it even worse of a roster balance—something whose importance is being stressed by playoff outcomes.

switching one of them to the left side so all three could play in the top four.

Playing backhanded (i.e., playing off hand) is generally recognized as being more difficult and leads to difficulties staying in the lane on defense. Studies generally back this thinking.

Here is one.

My third choice would be flip Stecher at the deadline if there are no good offers for Hronek.

As a rental at deadline fair price would be a late 3rd round pick (Mike Green was a conditional 4th round pick). Given all the Wings higher draft picks recently that doesn’t seem like much. I’d rather trade him now this draft vs 8 months from now; thereby, maximizing his worth.

I think the Wings know what they have in Hronek and Lindstrom and they are future 2nd pair/3rd pair RHD respectively. I disagree with your assessment that Stecher is better than Hronek or that Lindstrom isn’t a solid 3rd pairing NHL defensive d-man: so there is very little reason to protect Stecher if he remains an UFA next season.

There should be a solid RHD or LHD available with the #6 pick. If not, I’d rather bundle Stecher with a pick at the draft move up a few slots from #22 or #38 and select a d-men with a time-frame/upside better for the organization than Stecher. Like I said Stecher was a great bargain for where they were at and who he replaced (Errorsson and Daley)—but there was a reason Vancouver let him go. The Wings shouldn’t compound the problem by loosing a young d-man and being forced to trade a player that isn’t going to re-sign with the Wings when he hits UFA.

Posted by d ca on 06/10/21 at 04:20 PM ET

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We can keep going back and forth forever, but here’s my quick counterpoints:

- I’m well aware that the team regards Hronek more highly than Stecher. I’m not an idiot. You don’t need to quote ice time totals to me. I know what they are. I still disagree. I’m arguing what I think should be done, not what I think Yzerman is necessarily going to do. Please note that I’m not suggesting that Yzerman is a bad GM or that I could do any better, I am simply disagreeing with this particular assessment.

- I’m not ignoring that UFAs are more expensive than RFAs. My argument is that Cholowski and Lindstrom suck and probably always will suck, and Stecher does not. Even if we only get one more year out of Stecher and then he bolts, I would STILL take that over however many years of replacement-level plugging we would get from either Cholowski or Lindstrom.

- I’m also not ignoring that playing on the weak side is harder than playing on the strong side. Again, I’m not an idiot. I also know that there are many players who can do it successfully, and would not be surprised if Stecher on his weak side is still a better player than Cholowski on his strong side. The article you linked concludes, in part, that “handedness definitely warrants a place in the decision-making process when identifying ideal pieces to fill a vacant roster spot,” which I agree with. What it does not say is “playing a crappy LHD is always a better choice than playing a good RHD on his weak side.” Ultimately I would rather see if Stecher can hack it, and if not just end up putting him on the third pair for a year, than commit to Cholowski.

- The reason that Vancouver let him go is because Jim Benning is awful at his job.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 06/10/21 at 04:40 PM ET

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I watched Cholo alot in the WHL, and his problem has always been that he hates getting hit. He hates it more than turning the puck over.

Posted by pnwwing on 06/10/21 at 04:50 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

  Kraken might select Glendening if he is exposed.

Being an UFA he won’t be protected like the other UFA’s. Seattle has the first crack at all of them.  confused

Posted by bigfrog on 06/10/21 at 05:21 PM ET

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I don’t think anyone is overrating Cholo, I think the assesment is that Stetcher isn’t going to get better and that Cholo *might* as slim as that might be. 
I don’t think you’re going to lose Stecher and regret it, there is a very slim chance that might happen with Cholo.  Same with Svech though I think my hope, as slim as it might be, has been proven wrong by the fact he doesn’t even get claimed on waivers.  I guess I just question if these guys have been given a fair enough shake, in the right situations.  But they probably have.
Anyhow, this is a good discussion.  I do think Hronek gets overvalued because it’s the wings and our D is crap.  But I also think that about Stecher. 
Its a crying shame to go from Lidstrom, Rafalski, Stuart, Kronner… to this.  Wether it was “best player availalbe”. horrendous scouting, horrible development…whatever it was, the succession plan was non existent.  Obvously losing Fischer hurt… but the misses on Smith, Kindl, etc… really hurt us more so than the misses up front.

Posted by DieByTheWing on 06/10/21 at 05:25 PM ET

AzWingsFan's avatar

On Glendening, I believe Seattle can sign UFAs prior to normal UFA signing period, if so it counts as that team’s expansion draft pick.

Posted by AzWingsFan on 06/10/21 at 05:52 PM ET

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If Detroit leaves Stecher unprotected there is basically a 100% chance Seattle takes him. That is a perfect pickup for them under the circumstances. Obviously you’re not going to get a stud player out of a team as crappy as Detroit, but if you can get a solid NHLer who can help your team immediately, is cheap and on a short term deal, who you can then re-sign (if he plays well) or flip for picks (if he doesn’t) is a grand freaking slam compared to taking a guy like Cholowski or Svechnikov, who in all likelihood is going to be a regular healthy scratch and you might not even be able to give away for free via waivers.

Whether you think Stecher has any future in Detroit or you see him as a two-year stopgap only, losing him for nothing is just poor asset management. It’s very likely they can get at least a mid-round pick for him at the deadline, and I would rather have that pick (or retain Stecher) than take the very low chance that Cholowski or Lindstrom will ever be significantly better than replacement level.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 06/10/21 at 06:12 PM ET

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All depends if Cholo and Lindstrom have room to improve to become top 4 dmen.
Probably not, but who knows. Adam Fox was drafted 66th overall by Calgary. Then traded to Carolina and then traded to Rangers and now he is Norris candidate at the age of 22? I wonder how Calgary snd Carolina feel now.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/10/21 at 06:39 PM ET

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Correct AZWings:

48 hr window to negotiate with anyone who isn’t signed
by that time.

So it’s possible if they love a player and can sell them on a big
role and exciting new opportunity to perhaps contend early, like Vegas,
it could appeal to some guys.

Looks like a good debate above. Looking forward to catching up with it.

My gut feeling is Cholowski doesn’t ever quite pan out and maybe Seattle
bets on his upside and likes his roots in BC. It would be fascinating if they didn’t
have a particularly high opinion of him and passed. If we expose Stecher, he’s gone.
If we expose Lindstrom, he’s likely also gone.

Posted by lefty.30 on 06/10/21 at 07:28 PM ET

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And don’t you dare expose Smith, lol.

We need a heavy presence down low and in front of the net.
We need a forward who can skate a regular shift and will enforce without
blinking and actual handle himself.

I’d think team chemistry could use a guy like that.
We as fans could certainly use of a guy like Smith.
And with the team breaking in more and more younger skilled players,
particularly from Europe, it’s essential.

Posted by lefty.30 on 06/10/21 at 07:32 PM ET

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I dont know of its been mention but UFAs arent exposed unless we reaign them before the expansion draft.  Id almost garauntee we wait to resign them to protect the most we can.

You cant just look at lindstrom and cholowski as being here for 10 years vs stetcher wont and not consider the prospects in their heels and where they slot if these other guys make it.  McIsaac, Wallinder, Johanssen, Sobrengo who didnt look out of place in the AHL at 19, Viro.  Are both these guys sure bets to beat out half those guys?  Or is a more competent D corp more inportant for the development of the less initiated?  If they struggle and we end up playing biega for half the season would it be worth it?  Or better to keep stetcher and accept whichever of the two we have left will be who we work in when someone goes down with injury?

Personally I say we keep stetcher and lose one of those D, probably Cholowski and work in Lindstrom and or whichever of our other D prospects earns a call up.

Stetcher is also a R shot D, with Hronek and Seider it gives us 3 capable pairs of L-R shot D.  Id like that better than Hronek Seider Cholowski,  especially on the third pair where Cholowski would probably struggle the most.

Posted by ThatGuy on 06/10/21 at 08:05 PM ET

jhpcarrier97's avatar

I’ll agree with Sven22.  Stecher’s stock went way up at the World’s , he was top 4D on the Canadian team, won POG a few times and not sure on the All-star teams they select at the end of T.  That may not mean to much to American fans, some may not even be aware of the Tournament.  However all Canadians took notes of the players who were rated as 3rd and 4th line forwards and 2 and 3 dman pairs with a backup Darcy Keumper goalie.  I’m sure Steve took notes and would swap the Wings man for man with that team!

Posted by jhpcarrier97 on 06/10/21 at 08:41 PM ET

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Last I noticed, the hope was still Cholowski could
learn to be assertive and more conscientious and physical,
game to game, while then recovering his more natural instincts
and talent offensively. We’ve rarely seen the two together.

Stecher may return to Detroit a more confident player.
It’s not like he’s been in the NHL forever. So he may be a bit younger than his age.
And as some have said, if he plays well enough, he’s at worst a second-round pick this coming Spring. But he seems like a SY player and it’s easy to envision a new contract.

Losing Cholowski does tilt our D to the right a bit too much. I’m just not convinced he becomes a regular whose points outweigh his mistakes.

Posted by lefty.30 on 06/10/21 at 09:39 PM ET

Royal Grand Exalted PooBah's avatar

If the Kracken want Stecher maybe they fork up a pick for us to leave him unprotected? Lots of chess moves to make.

Posted by Royal Grand Exalted PooBah from the basement of the Alamo on 06/10/21 at 09:55 PM ET

Shanny_Fan's avatar

Great discussion. I tend to agree with Sven and would expose either Cholo or Lindstrom ahead of Stecher.

I’d be happy if Detroit could package Cholo and a mid round pick for a good young defenseman that another team can’t protect like Vince Dunn from St. Loius or Jake Bean from Carolina.

If you are Carolina and you’re going to loose Bean for nothing anyways, why not grab an extra pick out of the deal and loose Cholo instead? Detroit could then protect Hronek, Bean and Stecher and expose Lindstrom on defense.

Depending on who re-signs ahead of the expansion draft, some decent younger forwards might be available in the trade market ahead of the expansion draft too.

Namestnikov, Erne, Svech, Smith, Cholo or Lindstrom could all be exopsed or traded IMO, giving the wings ‘extra’ protection slots at forward and on defense so the wings could do a few trades like that to improve the team if they wanted to.

Posted by Shanny_Fan on 06/11/21 at 12:31 AM ET

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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com