Category: nhl

The San Jose Sharks Should NOT Sign Erik Karlsson Long-Term

You have read the title correctly. The Sharks are in deed in no need of Erik Karlsson. And before you start dismantling this article and being a butt-hurt fan, or knee jerk reaction Sharks or Karlsson fan. Think about if for a second.

Are you ready for the article now?

Let’s get into this now. The Sharks traded for Karlsson this off-season as their big off-season acquisition and it was assumed that they were going to be Stanley Cup favorites and that Karlsson made them that MUCH better.

Which is completely understandable. Erik Karlsson is a Norris trophy winner and elite defenseman, pair him with Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Brendan Dillon, Joakim Ryan and you have yourself a solid d-core. Just Burns and Karlsson alone would make for a solid 1-2 punch.

Right now the Sharks are sitting 2nd in the Pacific division with 94 points, five points behind the Flames. They are 2nd in the Western Conference and 4th in the NHL. They have had a successful season without a doubt.

BUT, the Sharks have allowed 230 goals for this season (still eight games left) the most (tied with Washington) among any playoff team. Along with 3.11 goals against per game. The Sharks have not been a great team defensively and that comes with having a defensive core that is heavily offensive minded in Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson, Tim Heed, Joakim Ryan. Which is not a bad thing but the point of this article is to dispute the fact the Sharks need Erik Karlsson long-term.

The Sharks do not need Erik Karlsson long-term by any measure. I myself as well as you should believe that Erik Karlsson does not makes this Sharks team that much better and a future Stanley Cup team.

The Sharks success this season has come off the back of their offense. They have five 25+ goal scorers, two 15+ goal scorers, seven 49+ point scorers and eleven players with 20+ assists on the year. Without this offense the Sharks are no where as good as they have been this year. Their defense has not been any, not one bit of a reason they are successful this season and a top-5 NHL team it has come off the backs of players like Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski, Tomas Hertl, Logan Couture, Evander Kane, Kevin Lebanc, Timo Meier, and Joonas Donskoi all having amazing offensive seasons. Players like Meier, Donskoi, Hertl and Lebanc well exceeding expectations this season, Pavelski scoring 30+ goals again and Burns being the lead man all year.

The Sharks sit third in goals for (263), 3rd in goals for per game (3.55), 6th in power play percentage (23.8), 4th in shots on goal per game (33.4)

Not once have I mentioned Erik Karlsson in that success because he has 42 assists and 45 points on the year, of those 45 points, 20 of them came on the power play leaving him with 25 five on five points. And I do understand that yes while it may come on the power play his majority of points. A lot of other defenseman for A LOT cheaper can get you 20 power play points a season. Is a 9.5 million dollar a year defenseman really worth just power play points? No. Matt Dumba gets 6 million a year and can do the same thing on the power play. Roman Josi gets paid 4 million a year and can do everything Karlsson does. Torey Krug gets 5.25 million a year and is a power play machine. My point is you do not need to pay someone that much money for power play purposes. Be realistic people…

Karlsson has played in only 42 games and it is apparent to anyone with half a brain that Karlsson’s injury that he induced during the Stanley Cup run in 2016-17 is clearly still affecting him and his health is a major question.

Therefore with the success the Sharks have had without Karlsson, seeing Meier, Lebanc, Donskoi and Hertl have great seasons along with the potential of Marcus Sorensen is it smart for the Sharks to invest around 57-70 million dollars in Erik Karlsson? Probably not.

Joe Pavelski contract needs to be renewed, Joe Thornton if he continues needs a contract, Joonas Donskoi, Timo Meier need contracts, Tim Heed and Joakim Ryan need contracts. Justin Braun, Brenden Dillon need contracts at the end of the 2019-2020 season. Are the Sharks really going to risk the long-term success of their franchise for one player who played 42 regular season games, did not bring much or anything at all to the table and realistically does not guarantee this team a cup now or in the coming years.

I’d hope Sharks management can see the big picture here and look at this realistically. Especially with the play of Brent Burns being as good as it has been and also only being paid 8 million a year to be the top-scoring defenseman in the league for the last three or so years…

The Sharks have a number one and two defenseman in Brent Burns. And it clearly shows that you can stack your blue line all you want but without solid goal tending and consistent offense you are not going to win a championship(Nashville). Look at the Penguins d-core in their cup runs, Washington’s last season?

It is evident to me that the Sharks do not need Erik Karlsson. Burns does a fine job sailing the ship. Plus investing a lot of money into Karlsson with his injury concerns and cap-room issues it would cause the Sharks. The Sharks would be better off letting him walk and adding more scoring and better plug-in players on their back end.

NHL Picks March 21st 2019

Detroit Red Wings vs St. Louis Blues:

This one should not be too hard for people to decide between. Blues are going to need all the momentum they can get moving into the playoffs. They are coming off a convincing win vs the Oilers Tuesday night and the Red Wings are coming off a win vs the Rangers. Blues are 18-15-2 at home this season and 4-4-2 in their last ten games. They should easily handle the Red Wings with no issues. The over/under is 5.5 and Blues are -360, therefore heavily favorites to win this game. I’d go with the Blues to cover a two-goal spread as well. They are getting Patrick Maroon back on the board, David Perron is back, Jaden Schwartz is red hot. I can see a 5-goal game from St. Louis here.

Winnipeg Jets vs Golden Knights

This is going to be a great game. These two have played two times already this season. The Jets have won both games, one in Winnipeg and one in Vegas. The only downside for Winnipeg is that Connor Hellebyuck will not be in net (probable) as he played Wednesday night and the Jets are on a back to back and the Golden Knights have Marc Andre-Fleury their ace in net. The Jets 7-3-0 in their last ten on a four-game win streak but, Vegas is 9-1-0 in their last ten and on a three-game win streak. The Golden Knights are going to use their quick pace, high tempo hockey to their advantage and probably try to push the game speed on the Jets as the Jets are on back to back going from Anaheim to Vegas in 24 hours. I like Vegas tonight. Probably the under too.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Nashville Predators

The Penguins do not seem like the same team as they have been in the past but they are still a team you do not take lightly. They have lost three-straight now and have scored four goals in those three games. They have Phil Kessel who has been quiet, Jared McCann who has been quiet lately and Evgeni Malkin not producing a lot either. The Predators are on a three-game win streak and coming off a big home win shutout vs the Leafs. As much as the Predators may regarded as the favorite here, I like the Penguins. For some reason something tells me the Penguins come into this game a little over looked by Nashville, they jump out hot and control the tempo and Predators play catch up all game. I see a big game from Malkin and Matt Murray tonight. Going Penguins on the road.

Columbus Blue Jackets vs Edmonton Oilers

The Blue Jackets are playing with fire right now. With only 9 games remaining they are barely in a playoff spot, leading Montreal by one point (who play at home tonight) and Flyers by six points. The Blue Jackets need to win this game. And if they do not win here tonight, I could see the Canadiens sneaking in the last wild card spot. The Blue Jackets are 4-5-1 in their last ten and have dropped two straight games. As the Oilers are 6-4-0 in their last ten and on a two game skid as well. The Blue Jackets have a huge advantage here tonight and need to win this game to at least give them some confidence moving forward. I except the Blue Jackets to come out flying and win 4-1.

Arizona Coyotes vs Florida Panthers

The Coyotes are in the same boat as the Blue Jackets. They have dropped two straight and have a one point lead on Minnesota for the last wild card spot. The Coyotes do not get an easy opponent either as the Panthers are a tough team and a very strong offensive tam that loves to shoot the puck from everywhere. We will have to see a great defensive game from Arizona and Darcy Kuemper. The Coyotes manage to get on the Panthers early I think wee an Arizona win but if the game is tight and or tied until the third I like the Panthers. Florida is 18-12-6 at home and 4-4-2 in their last ten as the Coyotes are 18-16-2 on the road and 6-3-1 in their last ten. I like the Coyotes tonight though.

Elias Pettersson Breaks Canucks Point Record For Rookies

It has been an unbelievable season for Elias Pettersson and this just adds onto his already storied rookie season. Pettersson has been the number one guy in Vancouver all season and has been paired perfectly with one of the best shooters in the NHL, Brock Boeser. There is only good things to come in Vancouver with Pettersson’s play-making ability and vision plus Boeser’s shot the two will be causing nightmares for NHL goalies for years to come.

On the year Pettersson has 27 goals and 34 assists which securely puts him as the highest scoring Canucks rookie in franchise history. Pettersson has 61 points surpassing Pavel Bure and Ivan Hlinka for possession of first place among rookie points in Canucks franchise.

To say it has been a slow month for Pettersson is crazy also, in his 8 games this month he only has 5 points. I say only because in the previous four months he played plus four games in January he has been a point per game or better player.

Pettersson had 10 points in eight October games, 12 points in fourteen November games, 17 points in fourteen December games, 6 points in four January games, 11 points in fourteen February games and now 5 points in eight March games.

There is only up from here for Pettersson he has the making to be a Hart Trophy and Art Ross trophy finalist for sure. He has 61 points right now and 62 games in, with 10 games to play we can assume he will finish anywhere between 65-70 points. Which will put him 8th among rookie scoring since 1998.

John Tavares and Jeff Carter Reach 700 Point Milestone This Weekend

Not many players can say they reached 700 points in their NHL career, let alone played enough games to reach this milestone. Still, these two Jeff Carter and John Tavares reached the 700-point marker in their NHL careers just a day apart.

Jeff Carter reached career point number 700 with an assist in Saturday’s game vs the Panthers. Carter has played in 969 NHL games, collecting 362 goals and 300 assists at the age of 34-years-old. Drafted 1st round 11th overall in 2003 by the Philadelphia Flyers, Carter spent six seasons with Philadelphia until he was shipped to Columbus in 2011 off-season. Where he played just 39 games for the Blue Jackets until he was sent to Los Angeles mid-way through the season to help the Kings win the Stanley Cup in 2011-12 and again in 2013-14. Carter has now been with L.A. for 7.5 seasons. And unless something changes he will earn his 1000th NHL game with the Kings and finish his time out in L.A. as he is signed until 2022. By 2022 he will be 37-years-old.

John Tavares also earned his 700th NHL point with a goal and an assist in Toronto’s loss to Ottawa Saturday night. Tavares notched also his 40th goal of the season the first time in his career he has tallied 40 in a season. Along with point number 79 in just 72 games this season. Tavares has played in 741 NHL games collecting 700 NHL points, a 0.94 point per game over his career. Tavares has 312 goals and 388 assists in his career. Drafted first overall in 2009 by the New York Islanders and recently leaving the Island this off-season to move back home. As much criticism as Tavares has faced this season he is en route to a hall-of-fame career. At 28-years of age with already 700 points and 741 games it is only likely to assume that Tavares will reach 1000 games and 1000 points in his career.

James Van Riemsdyk Panning Out For Flyers

The Flyers are in the hunt for a playoff spot but there is no guarantee they make the playoffs in 2018-19 let alone make a deep playoff run. Either way as up and down as the Flyers season has been they are seeing a few positives out of this season. One of them being James Van Riemsdyk. After missing basically all of October and getting off to a slow start, Van Riemsdyk has been catching fire lately and carrying the load for the Flyers.

In March alone JVR has more goals than he did in the first three months of the season. Already, just 18 days into March, JVR has 8-goals in eight games played. Over the last three months JVR has 20-goals in 34 games. Of the Flyers 31 goals in March, JVR has 8 of them making up around 25% of the Flyers goals. Of his 20 goals over the last 3-months and the Flyers 107 goals over those three-months, JVR has comprised of 18% of the Flyers goals.

It is fair to say aside from a slow start and more so a slow two months JVR has been off and running since. This month has been his best to date, with eight goals in eight games and only one of them coming on the power play JVR is finding the back of the net 5 on 5 which is extremely important for teams in order to be successful.

Van Riemsdyk is signed until 2023 on a 7 million dollar annual average value. With a cap hit of 28 million over the next four-years at 29-years-old right on the edge of his prime but still with plenty to give the Flyers signing of JVR this off-season is panning out and looking to be worthy. To assume he will do this until 2023 at age 33 is very likely based off the game he plays. JVR is not an overly physical forward, he is not someone with a ton of speed and he is not a forward that possess a flashy skill-set. He is a better version of Wayne Simmonds per say (I know that may sting for Flyers fans) but it is true. He plays in front of the net, hangs out around the crease and makes his living off the front of the net. With JVR’s current style of play we can assume he will be a 25+ goal scorer for the better of three years.

Rangers Drop All Four Road Games…Great For Rebuild

The New York Rangers embarked on their four-game road rip starting Monday. They kicked off the four-game series in Alberta with the Edmonton Oilers. After Edmonton the Rangers traveled to Vancouver, Calgary and finished it off Saturday night with the Minnesota Wild.

Rangers last four-games

The Oilers, were the closest and most evenly matched opponent for the Rangers in the four-game series. A team very similar in talent compared to the Rangers and close in the league standings. The Rangers ended losing the first game of the four game road series 3-2 in overtime vs Edmonton. Alexander Georgiev stopped 30-33 shots, Brendan Lemieux scored and showed Rangers fans why they are going to love him after fighting Jujhar Khaira. Also Brett Howden got the monkey off his back scoring his first goal in 35 games.

The Rangers traveled to Vancouver to face an extremely young but talented Canucks team. A game in which the Rangers held off the Canucks in the first period, but managed to allow three 2nd period goals. That was the deal breaker in the Rangers 4-1 loss Wednesday night. In hindsight, Pavel Buchnevich found the back of the net for his 16th goal of the year and his 5th goal in eight games.

After a days rest it was off to Calgary for New York. The Rangers took on the top team in the Western Conference and one of the best/most consistent NHL teams this season the Flames. After leaving the first tied 1-1 off a Neal Pionk rocket from Ryan Strome. The Rangers allowed two second period goals as that would be the dagger in the game. Resulting in a 5-1 lose.

The Rangers went back to back, Friday and Saturday night. Traveling from Calgary to Minnesota to play a game within a 24-hour notice was not easy and it clearly showed Saturday for New York. The Rangers were out shot heavily 46-28 in the game and left Henrik Lundqvist out to dry. The Wild took advantage of a tired Rangers team as they controlled the pace of the game and used their speed to get on the Rangers early. The Wild scored two 1st period goals from Ryan Donato and two 3rd period goals from Jared Spurgeon and J.T. Brown for a 5-2 Wild win. On the bright side Buchnevich scored his 17th of the season for his sixth goal in 10 games.

Why is it good for the rebuild?

Well the Rangers are allowing these young guys like Filip Chytil, Lias Andersson, Brett Howden, Neal Pionk to play a little more freely, see how important it is to play consistent every night and what late season, playoff push hockey looks like. Although the Rangers have lost 10 of their last 11 games it really is not as big as some of us may be making it. The Rangers were playing .500 hockey all season and around the 22nd mark in the NHL, well they have dropped three spots and are getting closer to the bottom of the league. AND a better 2019 draft pick. The Rangers are in no shape to win.

The consistent losing is never easy to handle but the games have been close besides for 10-12 minutes of every game where the opposing team gets an advantage. The Rangers are competing, their young players are able to play more loosely, make mistakes and learn from them. Plus we are 10-games away from the end of the 2018-19 season, there is no need to win. Compete, yes but Rangers fans would rather a top-5 draft pick than number 12, 13 draft pick. There is no benefit in winning right now. Plenty of years to come when the Rangers will need to push for the playoffs but right now Rangers fans know that is not advantageous for the big picture.

Looking Back At 2019 NHL Trade Deadline Deals…

Matt Duchene: Since Duchene has came to the Blue Jackets he has been a little quite and so have the Blue Jackets. Since coming to the Jackets Feb. 22 Duchene has 2 goals and 3 assists. He recorded two points on February 23rd and since then he has recorded 1 goal and 2 assists in nine games…

Ryan Dzingel: Also a member of the Senators who was sent to Columbus for a playoff push/Stanley Cup run has been better than Duchene actually. Since coming to Blue Jackets Dzingel has 1 goal and 5 assists in 9 games. Better production compared to Duchene certainly.

Mark Stone: Stone was the big deadline acquisition. Coming to Vegas on February 25th the team has been not only playing better since he arrived but Stone has been a big help it seems too. Stone has 2 goals and 3 assists in 7 games. The Golden Knights are 6-1 with Stone.

Mikael Granlund: This was a trade that came out of left field sort of. The Predators sent over young Kevin Fiala for a more seasoned Granlund. Both play similar styles but Granlund has a bit more experience and the edge over Fiala. Granlund joined the Predators on March 1st. Since then he has 1 goal and 3 assists in 6 games. The Predators since acquiring Granlund are 3-3 through six games.

Kevin Fiala: Fiala was apart of the Granlund trade a 1 for 1 deal that left some confused. Fiala is only 22-years-old and already has some experience in the playoffs. Since joining the Wild on February 25th, Fiala has 2 goals, they also came in the same game. He has 2 points in 8 games and no points in seven of them. The Wild are also 3-5 since acquiring Fiala.

Charlie Coyle: The Coyle trade was a bit of surprise for some fans as the Bruins swapped out their young prospect Ryan Donato for a struggling Charlie Coyle. Since coming to the Bruins on February 20th Coyle has played in 10 games adding 1 goal and 1 assist. The Bruins are 7-4 since adding Coyle.

Ryan Donato: Apart of the Coyle deal, Donato was sent to Minnesota and has enjoyed his time there it seems. He was not seeing regular minutes in Boston like he is Minnesota. Therefore the young forward has thrived. Donato has 2 goals and 7 assists in 11 games. Also to note he had 2 goals and 5 assists in his first five-games with Minnesota.

Wayne Simmonds: Simmonds was another deadline deal for the Predators and another forward who bolstered their already deep roster and make their power play even more of a threat. Simmonds tough and gritty style is much needed when it comes playoff time. Simmonds has played in 7 games with the Predators and only has one assists so far. The Predators are also 3-4 since adding both Granlund and Simmonds.

Kevin Hayes: The Jets big deadline acquisition was adding depth down the middle and to their already stacked offense. Hayes was enjoying a career year in New York. He was sent to Winnipeg at the deadline and has played in 8 games, in those eight games he has 2 goals and 2 assists. The Jets are also 4-4 since acquiring Hayes.

Jake Muzzin: Muzzin was not a deadline deal but was a big trade that was around the deadline time frame. He has spent already a month on the time and has played in 21 games for the Leafs. In those 21 games the Leafs are 13-6-2 in that span, Muzzin has 2 goals and 10 assists with a +5 rating.

Nick Bjugstad/Jared McCann: The two came as a package, that is why they are together. McCann has surprisingly been the more successful one in Pittsburgh but Bjugstad still has been of significance to the team. Bjugstad has 7 goals and 4 assists in 21 games. McCann has 9 goals and 4 assists in 21 games. McCann’s share has come in the last nine games where has collected 6 goals and four assists. Bjugstad’s production has been spread out pretty evenly during his time in Pittsburgh though.