Category: NHL Goalies

Antti Raanta has not lived up to Arizona’s expectations…

It was summer of 2017, when the Arizona Coyotes finally decided to shake up things a little bit and so they traded number one goaltender Mike Smith, who led them to 2012 Western Conference finals, and went a little bit younger, with trading for Antti Raanta.

His later signing was not the same as Scott Darling´s one. He was good enough not to just stay as a back-up goalie in his current team, so a needy team like the Coyotes gave him that opportunity to be the starter. Raanta has been solid and in terms of goaltending, John Chayka, GM of the Coyotes, is not regretting making him a number one goaltender.

In his first year in the desert, Raanta played just 47 games, while missing several weeks with many injuries. Raanta has posted a .093 save percentage and allowed just 2,24 goals against per game. That was good enough to convince Arizona to extend his contract until 2021 and paying Raanta $4,250,000 per season.

His first year was good, but Raanta and his whole team showed up when it mattered the least, at the end of the year, when the Coyotes were playing just for the pride. Well, Raanta was playing for a bigger contract and he got it.

Goaltending situation in Arizona: not solved at all

What about his first year since the new contract? Raanta recently underwent a procedure on lower-body injury that revealed more damage than originally thought. So just after playing 12 games this season, he might be done for the remainder of the campaign.

And that is not ideal, not at all. The Coyotes have picked up Calvin Pickard off the waiver list, as they have their former back-up netminder Darcy Kuemper injured as well. Good news for the Yotes is that Kuemper should be back really soon and Adin Hill has been terrific so far, althought Arizona lost last two games with giving up 9 goals against in total.

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Antti Raanta during his time with the Rangers

It may not be that much important to try to solve current goaltending situation of the Coyotes. Let´s look at the overall overview. Being Arizona, you traded away Mike Smith in order to change the momentum for him and for yourself as well, signed Raanta in search of a stable number one goaltender and he is going to play just 59 games throughout his first two years? I will repeat myself, but that is not ideal!

Surely it seems like the goaltending woes have not been solved yet. When Raanta comes back for next season, he will already be 30 years old. I will speculate now, but if gets injured once again after his return, Arizona may hit the panic button (nothing to do with their forward Richard Panik) and redo that 2017 summer all over again.

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Who’s the Vezina favorite?

This award usually credited to the goalie with the best statistics, obviously the goalie who is the best goalie in the league and much of the talk for the Vezina has been centered around two guys all season it seems and, a lot of fans and players are saying the choice for the Vezina is a no-brainer, but with the recent play of Nashville’s Pekka Rinne. Let’s pump the brakes on giving this award to Andrei Vasailevskiy already people.

Right now Pekka Rinne has 40 wins, marking his third 40-win season, tying him for second place all-time. Not to mention Rinne has been nearly flawless in his last month of play, over the last 11 games he has picked up a win in all 11, and during those 11 games, he has allowed just 18 goals while posting 3 shutouts during that span as well. Rinne on the year has 2.21 goals against, making him 2nd among goalies with 40 plus games started and first among goalies with 45 plus games started, with a .931 save percentage, marking him first among goalies with 40 plus games started and 8 shutouts, marking him first among all goalies. Not to mention his ranked 9th among all goalies for shots against(1675).

Alright so, obviously Rinne is the number contender for the Vezina and with 10 games to play, the veteran goaltender should be a shoe-in for the trophy. Also, with how poorly Vasailevskiy has played and Rinne increasing his play, it has been quite clear who will be in the lead for the trophy. Vasailevskiy during his last ten games he has picked up 6 wins, allowing 36 goals during that 10-game span and in these 10 games, he has allowed 3 plus goals in 8 of them. It goes without question the struggle of Vasilevskiy has helped Rinne’s case for the Vezina.

Here are the top 5 goalies in the league (Filtered out by goals against, and 40 plus starts)

  1. Marc Andre Fleury: 40 GS, 26-11-3, 2.20 GAA, .929 SV %, 3 SO
  2. Pekka Rinne, 53 GS, 40-9-4, 2.21 GAA, .931 SV %, 8 SO
  3. Connor Hellebyuck, 57 GS, 37-11-9, 2.34 GAA, .925 SV %, 6 SO
  4. Tuukka Rask, 46 GS, 30-11-5, 2.35 GAA, .916 SV %, 3 SO
  5. Sergei Bobrovsky, 58GS, 32-21-5, 2.41 GA, .921 SV %, 4 SO

My top two choices are Hellebyuck and Rinne. For Hellebyuck it is because he came in as a backup! And single handily took the job from Mason, never gave him a chance to get it back and has really helped this Jets team solidify themselves as a top team in the league. Coming into the year Hellebyuck started in 53 games the most he has ever handled, being a third-year goalie in the league and taking on this kind of workload is remarkable. Well, for Rinne, I’m sure we understand why from the above writing.

Avalanche lock up two points in Edmonton

Before we get into the nitty gritty tonight the Avalanche play in Edmonton which is close to where Avalanche forward Tyson Jost grew up with his Grandfather, father was out of the picture. His grandfather did everything he could to get Tyson to this point in the NHL and he has become Colorado’s favorite Grandpa. His Grandpa even moved to Kelowna so Tyson can play in the Program of excellence there. Introducing Grandpa Jost.

Here is his Grandfather after his first goal as an Avalanche in front of his Grandfather. Stay tuned to the end.

Good team effort some unfortunate bounces going the way of the Oilers but the Avalanche played a good game locking up 2 points. Last night the avalanche jumped back into the second wild card spot in the west. The game was a rollercoaster. The first period was very back and forth, but in the second the Avs took over scoring three goals to the Oilers one. The scoring started with a great decision by Nikita Zadorov jumping up into the play and driving to the slot and sends the puck passed Montoya.

Nikita Zadorov scores his fourth of the season.

Later on in the second period the Avs found themselves on the power play for the only time this game. This is a penalty kill that the Avalanche can take advantage of and guess what Samuel Girard ends up ripping a bomb top shelf on Montoya. His first for the Avalanche

Sam Girard scores

Connor Mcdavid scores his 16th. I mean what the hell is that? The kid plays the game on easy mode. unreal goal nothing to see here though. Oilers home penalty kill still a problem for the team, is it mental? Are you Mental?hqg-17

nearly 50% effective rate. Easily the worst in the league by a lot.

How do you call the first Drake Caggiulla goal a goal? I don’t think anyone knows what a goal is anymore. How do you even say its a goal that forces the avalanche to risk a penalty to question the refs on their wrong call, kind of ridiculous if you ask me. Actually the no goal call put Ranatanen in the box anyway so lose-lose.. NVM as I’m writing this Comeau(10) danced Klefbom and stuffs it home for the 5000th franchise goal here! Thats three shorties on the season for Blake. 29 seconds left in the second period and you score? Absolute dagger. You score a shorty in the last minute? Call an undertaker because by the end of the third the body is going to be rotting. #liveblog maybe not this game though.(written after Mcdavid tied it to go to overtime)

Looks like Drake Caggiula scores on the double deflection and gets his first of the game. It’s funny how that works out Avs lead oilers 3-2. The last goal that got called back against the Avalanche was the Auston Matthews’ goal in Toronto, he then scored directly after it too. A little food for thought. I was really hoping the goal got back because #goavsgo it looks like the goal goes off the glove of Caggiula but whatever.

With the goalie pulled the one and only Connor Mcdavid nets his 17th goal of the season to tie the game with 30 seconds left in the third period. Mcdcvid scores posted up on a sharp angle finding a rebound off the shot of Russel  from the point.

JTTTTTTJJTTJJTT COMPHER OT winner!!! huge steal by Tyson Barrie from Al Montoya, absolutely huge. Second game without MacKinnon and they still manage to get points in both games, unbelievable stuff here from the boys in white tonight.

Did the Avs do it without MacK? yes they did. Even though the Oilers are one of the worst teams in the league this year. The Avalanche found a way to win in OT Mcdavid was gassed after the game and couldn’t do much and the boys took advantage of it. On the real side of this, that is games in a row the Avs blow a late lead for the game to OT. There needs to be a level of composure that comes with the lead going into the third and this is a small sample size but a trend I’m worried about. It bares some resemblance to last year and if your familiar with hockey you understand what last year was like. Some positives from the game, Other than the goals the defense activated well in the offensive zone and got involved in driving the net and creating passing lanes forcing the Oilers defense to stay on their toes.

Ava next game is up in Winnipeg tomorrow. Hopefully the Avs take some time to rest. They are taking on the leader in the Central in what looks like a must win game.

https://streamable.com/e3om9 Couple nice saves for Montoya

https://streamable.com/6sevw Bernier’s whole highlight real is going consist of robbing people on the back door.

#goavsgo

-Conner

W7, Where did this team come from?

Colorado Avalanche have burst onto the media’s radar in the past couple of weeks, more specifically in 2018. For the first half of the season they flirted with a .500 record, Merely a blip on the radar for analysts. After what seemed like forever the Avalanche have been viewed in a positive light. Things seem to be falling in to place for them. Bounces are going their way and pucks are finding the back of the net, for once.

In the Avs last game versus The Anaheim Ducks (1/15/18) this sort of narrative found itself true. A Monday matinee where pucks were finding the back of the net for the Avs. Literally, pucks happened to be going in. Matt Nieto’s (8) of the season came on the back of some serious perseverance while he literally had Hampus Lindholm draped over his back.

The goals have not been over the top flashy this year but the Avs have been finding a way to get them.

But if we are talking flashy, we can talk about Jonathan Bernier. Most goalies like to show the glove to assert their dominance, not Bernie.

There have been two specific times this year that I can think about that have been worth signing him alone. This save against Ryan Kessler is for sure one of them. The other highlight would have to be this highlight during the second game of the season versus the New Jersey Devils. Bernie just up and steals Damon Severson’s Lunch.

You bundle these highlights with the fact that he is absolutely crushing it between the pipes for the Avalanche recently and you have one hell-of-a backup goaltender. In his last six games he is (6-0) and in each of these games he has only let up as much as two goals in each contest.

It truly is odd how some things pan out in sports though. I don’t know how it happens but the momentum from positive happenings can carry a team like a wave and propel them forward. In this case, what I’m referring to is how at one end of the ice you have Jonathan Bernier planting his flag firmly inside the skull of Ryan Kessler and the rest of the Ducks, with a reciprocal action carried out by Nathan Mackinnon and Gabe Landeskog on the other end of the ice.

This line of Mackinnon, Rantanen, and Landeskog has been a thing of beauty for the Colorado Avalanche. They finally have an established first line that is producing the bulk of their points competitively in comparison to other teams across the league.

What Nathan Mackinnon has been doing has been remarkable. He is currently tied for second in the league for points (54). He is joined by other phenoms like Johnny T., Johnny Hockey, and Claude Giroux. This is excellent company and something I think we all expect from our 1st overall draft pick. It may have taken some time but we are finally here.

There are some things to notice about how Nathan Mackinnon scored this goal, his 20th this season. James Neal in his Players’ Tribune article said: “The real secret to scoring goals is all about the release.” From the range that Mackinnon was at, it’s relatively easy to stop a wrist shot for a goaltender. There are some contributing factors that made the degree of difficulty for this shot, higher. Cam Fowler squared up and in between him and the net. As Cam Fowler swipes at the puck Nate has to adjust the area where the puck is located in order to maintain possession. Upon adjustment, he fired the puck through Cam Fowler and passed the goaltender Ryan Miller.

These are two factors that make the shot more difficult to stop. Cam Fowler acted as a screen and masked the exact location of the puck. The quick adjustment to the puck puts the goalie in the position where he may no longer be perfectly square to the puck thus making the save harder. Young shooters should be taking notes.

With 7:04 left in the second period the Ducks ended up potting their first and last goal of the game. The puck rolled down off the back of Jonathan Bernier. Not a huge defensive break down or anything of the sort. This would be something last year that might cause the team to panic. This year has been a different story the team has been able to hold it together instead of breaking down and giving up late leads. This goal was credited to Chris Wagner for his fifth of the year.

Now I’m a big Colin Wilson guy. I don’t know why. The fact that he is finding life on the second power-play unit is making me happy. Colin is a former 20 goal scorer for the Nashville Predators but in recent years he hasn’t been as productive. He is a big guy weighing in at around 220 lbs, and he is from Connecticut. That’s probably what does it for me, in a league dominated by Canadiens a little dash of American here and there is pretty nice. Colin ended up netting the third goal for the Avalanche on the power play from Alexander Kerfoot with 20 seconds left in the second period. That would be the last goal in the game and the Avalanche would go on to win their 7th game in a row, 3-1.

Next game is Thursday night. The Avs will be hosting Brent Burns and the San Jose Sharks.

 

 

 

 

NHL: Five Players Primed for Bounce-Back Seasons

Nothing is ever for certain going into the NHL season. The best players are always met with certain expectations and are paid the way they are to meet them. But at the same time, there are never-ending circumstances and reasonings for a player to have a “down” year. These are players who were considered to have had “down” years in 2016-17 and are expected to bounce back with better stat-lines in 2017-’18.

  • Corey Perry (ANA)

    • 2016-’17 stat line: 19-34-53 pts. in 82 GP
    • The 2016-’17 season was full of bad breaks for the Ducks’ winger who has 717 points in 886 career NHL games. His 19 goals and 8.8% shooting percentage were the lowest totals of his career since the 2006-’07 season.Perry Anaheim knows that their big stars in Getzlaf and Perry are no longer kids, and the two should approach this upcoming season with a sense of urgency, knowing their window is closing. A shooting percentage that low is nearly impossible to sustain for a player of Perry’s caliber, and after three OT playoff-winning goals in last year’s playoffs, expect Perry’s point and goal totals to rise in ‘17-’18.
    • 2017-’18 stat line prediction: 30-35-65 pts.
  • Matt Duchene (COL)

    • 2016-’17 stat line: 18-23-41 pts. in 77 GP
    • The entire Colorado Avalanche team sort of imploded into itself last season, and center Matt Duchene felt the effects of one of the worst regular seasons byduchene a team in history. After the second-lowest goal total, lowest point total, and lowest +/- of his career, Duchene will be looking to perform better in every aspect of the game this season. The 26-year-old has made it known to the public that he no longer wants to be part of Avs roster this season. Expect the team’s no. 1B center to boost his play and point totals this season, in order to garner interest from teams lacking at the center position.
    • 2017-’18 stat line prediction: 25-30-55 pts.
  • Anze Kopitar (LAK)

    • 2016-’17 stat line: 12-40-52 pts. in 76 GP
    • Prior to the start of the ‘16-’17 season, Kopitar signed a monstrous 8-year, $80 million contract, which put him in the top five highest-paid players in the NHL. How did the now-30 year old no. 1 center respond? With the lowest goal and point totals of his career.Fantasy Hockey Keeper Suggestions & Tips! Like Corey Perry, Kopitar shot at the lowest percentage of his career: a lousy 8%. A simply unattainable number for a player like Kopitar, who has proven a scoring touch in his 10 NHL seasons. Expect the Kings’ captain to step up in 2017-’18.
    • 2017-’18 stat line prediction: 25-40-65 pts.
  • Henrik Lundqvist (NYR)

    • 2016-’17 stat line: 2.74 GAA, .910 Sv. %, 2 SO in 57 GP
    • By far the most important player in the New York Rangers franchise since his debut in the 2005-’06 season, “Hank” had the worst NHL season of his career last year. Posting career lows in Goals-Against-Average and Save % in ‘16-’17, it is arguable that Lundqvist also played behind the worst defensive core to have ever been suited up in front of him.NHL: MAR 03 Rangers at Penguins After letting Antti Raanta (ARZ) start a good amount of games so he could work with goaltending guru Benoit Allaire, Lundqvist performed exceptionally well in the playoffs, posting a 2.25 GAA and a .927 Sv. %, both stats being up there with his career postseason best. Now, with a much improved D-core in front of him, thanks to the buyout of statistical black-hole Dan Girardi and the arrivals of statistical revelation Kevin Shattenkirk and young, promising Anthony DeAngelo, expect the King to bounce back in a big way in 2017-’18.
    • 2017-’18 stat line prediction: 2.35 GAA, .920 Sv. %, 4 SO
  • Alex Ovechkin (WSH)

    • 2016-’17 stat line: 33-36-69 pts. in 82 GP
    • By no means is a season in which a player scores 30+ goals and almost 70 points a disappointment of any kind. But Alex Ovechkin is not just any player, and his 33 goals were the lowest in a full season from Ovi since 2010-’11, his 69 points- the second-lowest total of his career. But last year saw the Caps boast one of their deepest forward groups in years, and as a result, Ovi was not counted on to provide the majority of the offense.ovi The 32-year-old Russian superstar saw his average ice-time drop almost two minutes from ‘15-’16, and his shooting percentage was the lowest it’s been since 2010-’11. That deep forward group is now not quite as deep as it was, with the departure of Justin Williams (CAR) and Marcus Johansson (NJD) who combined for 48 goals a season ago. Ovi will be counted on again to provide much of the offensive production this season, and will most likely see his ice time and shooting percentage increase. The Caps’ captain also trained differently in the offseason and arrived at camp lighter and faster than years past.
    • 2017-’18 stat line prediction: 45-35-80 pts.

 

 

New York Rangers Off Season in Review

The 2016-2017 season was full of high hopes for the New York Rangers. A team predicted to not only contend for a division title but also contend for Lord Stanley’s Cup. A year in which they finished with 102 points, fourth in the league and goals, and a spot in the playoffs is no laughing matter. Unfortunately, they were unable to reach their goal. After a thrilling series win in six games against the Montreal Canadians, they underperformed in the second round and were eventually ousted by the Ottawa Senators in six games. General manager Jeff Gorton promised a “rebuild on the fly” going into the offseason. He promised there would be changes to this team coming into this season.

GORTON’S OFFSEASON PROMISE

General manager Jeff Gorton and the Rangers began the process with a blockbuster trade right before the NHL draft. Gorton parted ways with his number one center and a backup goaltender, sending longtime Ranger Derek Stepan and Anti Raanta out to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for a 2017 first round pick and a right-handed defenseman in Anthony DeAngelo. DeAngelo, a former first-round pick by the Lightning back in 2014, comes to New York after splitting time last year between the Coyotes and their AHL affiliate the Tucson Roadrunners. DeAngelo is expected to be thrown right into the mix and compete for a roster spot this season. A right-handed shot that is good at moving the puck and can lead the power play is just one of the reasons why the Rangers went and got him. In the trade, the Rangers received a 2017 first round pick. That pick, which was seventh overall in the draft, the Rangers used by drafting an eighteen-year-old Sweden product named Lias Andersson. Andersson, who scouts gave the nickname “Swiss army knife” because of his ability to do just about anything, is another player like DeAngelo who can compete for a roster spot on this years team. With the Rangers losing their top center in Stepan, they immediately tried to address that hole with the drafting of Andersson. In addition to the pick acquired in the trade with the Coyotes, the Rangers also had their own first-round draft pick, 21st overall, in which they used on a young Czech named Flip Chytil. Chytil, who just turned 18 years old, is a pick for more of the future than the now, but still a highly skilled prospect nonetheless.

 

Screenshot 2017-09-20 at 2.19.41 PM
NYR: Lias Andersson goes 7th overall in the 2017 NHL Draft

 

With Raanta being shipped off to the desert, the Rangers had to address the backup goaltender position and they did so by signing former Winnipeg Jets netminder Ondrej Pavelec to a one year contract to bring him to Broadway. The 29 year old comes to New York to replace Raanta, who was stellar in his time in New York as the backup. The Rangers believe Pavelec is capable for the job behind the now 35 year old Henrik “King” Lundqvist. The biggest move made by the Ranger’s front office this offseason was without a doubt signing the prized free agent in this year’s offseason, Kevin Shattenkirk. Shattenkirk, who was contacted by multiple teams in the league chose to take less money and less term to come to New York. The New Rochelle native cited the chance to play for his childhood team and the realistic chance to win a Stanley Cup was just some of the reasons he wanted to a New York Ranger. Gorton and his brass finally got their stud defenseman to pair with Ryan McDonagh and got their guy to lead the power play which has struggled mightily over the last five or so years. A win-win situation for the Rangers and Shattenkirk as he makes the team instantly better.

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NEW YORK RANGERS DESTINE FOR MORE 

The New York Rangers are primed for a Stanley Cup run once again this year. A team that has made the playoffs seven straight years, last missing in the 2009-2010 season, has only made it to a cup final once in the past seven years. The clock is ticking on King Henrik with his age and play. A new look at the Rangers roster coming this season, hopefully it fares well. Only time will tell.

NHL: ATLANTIC DIVISON PLAYOFF TEAMS 2017-2018 SEASON

Before I hear it, here it is, Atlantic playoff teams, think you can do better. Shoot it at me, I love a nice back and forth conversation going at each other’s necks about hockey. 

NO MONTREAL NO PROBLEM

Ok, Montreal isn’t in here, yeah I know and I really don’t think they’ll make it next year. So what they added Karl Alzner, he’s a solid defensive defenseman but what else can he bring to the team? Carey Price is a great goalie don’t get me wrong but if he is not on fire every single night this team is not too scary and after losing Alexander Radulov that doesn’t help. Adding Jonathan Drouin is a good addition but he’s young and needs the right tools around him to perform if he’s not with Max Pacioretty than I’m not too sure what Drouin will bring to Montreal. Granted Montreal has no solid center so that’s another reason to turn your head on these guys, Galchenyuk has been facing Montreal management issues, Gallagher has not been able to stay healthy if his life depended on it and is not that great anyway, and their #1 center last year was Phillip Danault. I don’t think Montreal has the tools to have another successful season and make the playoffs especially since Tampa Bay is back and ready to take over the Atlantic again. Don’t be surprised if Montreal doesn’t make the playoffs next season, just saying.

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Eastern Conference; Atlantic Division- TOR, OTT, TBL, BOS

TOR(40-27-15, 95 pts)– Toronto I was honestly 50/50 about, although they had an unbelievable season last year and much of their roster stayed the same, along with a few veteran pieces. At some point, I wanted to say the sophomore curse for Auston Matthews, but I think the kid is just too good, along with having some great pieces around him. Same goes for William Nylander and Mitch Marner. Then somewhere I wanted to say last year was a lucky one, the Lightning and Panthers not having great years really helped Toronto bounce back easier. But again Toronto was one of the most exciting teams to watch, they truly do have the talent. And with three veteran pieces added to the mix, this team will only be better. Anytime you get a future hall of famer forward Patrick Marleau to help Matthews and the other young guys grow is a major plus. Not to mention Matthews Calder year, almost cracking 70 points and 50 goals are remarkable there’s no reason to say he won’t be doing that for the next ten years. Throw in Nazem Kadri’s career year and bounce back season into the conversation as well just adds to Toronto’s reason for success down the road. Tyler Bozak, James Van Riemsdyk and a strong, if not the best fourth line in hockey. A young and successful defense, and if Frederick Anderson stays a float and is not inconsistent Toronto will crack 100 points and make the playoffs again next season.

Screenshot 2017-07-16 at 10.05.56 AM

OTT(44-28-10, 98 pts)– Ottawa was another team I was on the fence about, either them or Boston are the two I can see not making the playoffs next season, but after Ottawa knocked off the Rangers and caused the Penguins some headaches in the Eastern Conference final I had to say this team can do it again. Especially with Craig Andersson in net, and Erik Karlsson on the blueline. Karlsson was one of the biggest playoff stories, he averaged nearly a point a game and almost 30 minutes a game while playing with an Achilles and ankle injury. Despite the other tools Ottawa has on defense, they do not line up quite terribly with other teams in the league. Plus Ottawa has a ton of weapons on the front with Mike Hoffman, Kyle Turris, Mark Stone, Bobby Ryan, Ryan Dzingel, Derick Brassard, all these guys have the ability to score goals and perform consistently game in and game out. The good thing about Ottawa is they don’t have a “go-to” guy but they have about eight guys that can score and produce points on any given night. Given Anderson stays healthy, Karlsson is back 100% by the start of the season, Ottawa will make another run at the playoffs next season.

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TBL(42-30-10, 94 pts)- Tampa Bay has to be itching for the season to start, after missing the playoffs last season following two very successful seasons must be a huge punch in the throat for the Lightning. Barring Steven Stamkos was out for the whole season and they had some consistency trouble up front, the Lightning should be healthy come October and ready to make another deep playoff run. Perhaps the year off helped the team get healthy, after two deep playoff runs, the Lightning players were banged. A full year of recovery and maybe the Lightning will have a chance to capture Lord Stanley. It’s difficult not to include Tampa Bay next year, with players like Nikita Kucherov, Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman these guys are some of the best players in the league. Kucherov had a phenomenal season last year with 40 goals, 45 assists and 85 points, mind you, Stamkos wasn’t beside him either. With a few added veteran presences in Dan Girardi and Chris Kunitz gives this team both forward and defensive depth they needed. Tampa Bay has a ton of tools on the front end, the defensive side of things is not great but Anton Stralman, Dan Girardi and Victor Hedman can hold down the fort for Tampa Bay. The other situation here is the goalie one for Tampa Bay, Andrei Vasilevskiy will more than likely get the starting job, but how will the 22-year-old hold up taking on full time starting minutes now? If he doesn’t Peter Budaj will step in and after what Budaj did last season I think he’s capable of handling full time minutes. Come playoffs though this goalie situation will be a fun one for Tampa Bay. Barring Stralman and Stamkos stay healthy all season and Tampa Bay does not play too inconsistent they’ll be back in the playoffs once again.

BOS(44-31-7, 95 pts)– This team I would not be surprised to see bomb out and finish 6th in their division or have a complete season and make the playoffs. Again this team has some tools, the experience and a favorable division to make a playoff push but at the same time they could easily be a fluke next year and post a below or a little above .500 record. Although Patrice Bergeron had a terribly disappointing season last year, it was said he had played through a rough injury all year. Tuukka Rask at 30-years-old had a pretty good year for himself despite an array of problems on the front and back end of things for Boston last season. Rask posted a career high 37 wins and 8 shutouts, Rask already captured a Stanley Cup and has proven to be an elite goalie in the league, given his defense stands tall in front of him, the Finnish goaltender can post another 35 win season and help this team into the playoffs again. Along with Brad Marchand’s career season with 85 points, 39 goals and 46 assists. Marchand is definitely a “pest” per se, but aside from his on ice questionable antics the shifty left handed winger has proven to be a top ten forward in the NHL. We can’t forget about David Pastrnak’s season last year the 21-year-old Czech Republic forward 44 point boost from 2015-2016 to 2016-2017 season has a lot of eyes on him now. Pastrnak scored 34 goals and ended the season with 70 points. The Bruins have a few weapons on the front end and their powerplay has seen some success over the years, along with a few rising prospects, Charlie McAvoy hopes to make the switch into full time NHL next season especially after how well he handled the playoff minutes he saw last season. Plus Andrew McQuaid, Brandon Carlo and Torey Krug, Boston has a ton of youth and growth on the back end. If Bergeon and David Backes can post half decent numbers next season, Rask stays healthy and Marchand doesn’t get into too much trouble this team can easily make a return to the playoffs and if healthy come playoff time, Boston will be dangerous in April.