Tag: Brady Tkachuk

Ottawa Senators And Their Off-Season Plans

Over the next month or so I will be covering (or attempting) to cover every NHL team and their off-season plan. Day by day as the season continues on there will be a new team out of playoffs.

The Ottawa Senators are officially out of the place, we all knew they were toast about 3 months ago but they are now officially declared out. Therefore it is back to the drawing board once again for the Senators.

Before we get into the mess in Ottawa, we have to look at the positives and negatives they do have though.

Negatives: A LOT

The Ottawa Senators currently have an interim head coach. With the firing of Guy Boucher, they are the 7th club to fire a head coach this season. Therefore the Senators laundry list of issues carry on. Who do they go after, or better yet who would want to come to Ottawa? The NHL is infamous for recycling coaches so we can expect to see a familiar name in the position perhaps.

A huge thorn in Ottawa’s side is that they do not own their first round pick this season, in which their first round pick is looking to be the first overall pick. Who may be Jack Hughes a projected top-3 forward in the making. Ether way if it is not first overall it will be a top-3 by the way things are looking and that will go to Colorado.

Bobby Ryan’s contract at 7.25 million a year for another three-years after this one definitely hurts. Ryan may be a good veteran for the team but clearly the direction the Senators are moving they seem to not care about experience in the locker room. A waste of 21+ million is never ideal in a rebuild situation.

The Senators may be losing Cody Ceci and as well know they have already lost Mark Stone, Ryan Dzingel and Matt Duchene. Their three best players and the brightest spots on their roster. They have essentially an AHL team with 4-5 professionals and there roster does not look appealing to free-agents, rookies or fans for that matter.

Craig Anderson, sure the defense in front of him has not been great for the last two seasons but he is only getting older and worse it seems. And the Senators do not have anyone besides Andres Nilsson to really come in the goalie slot. Aside from the 20-year-old Filip Gustavsson, who is having a medicore year at best in the AHL and Marcus Hogberg, the Senators will need to trade for a goalie.

Senators management were in talks to receive a new facility in Ottawa downtown, that got put on hold and is now looks to be a slim chance they do receive one. The rink Ottawa plays at is 30 minutes from downtown Ottawa and 56 minutes by train. With the product they are putting on the ice, who would want to make that drive?

Positives: Young Defenseman & 2020 Draft

Thomas Chabot, Erik Brannstrom, Colin White, Brady Tkachuk, Chris Tierney, Alex Formenton, Logan Brown, Jonathan Davidsson, Maxime Lajoie, Rudolf Balcers. These are players on the Senators current roster or AHL roster that are realistically the only bright spot for the team at the moment and moving forward. Chabot + Brannstrom on the back end is exciting. Lajoie develops into a potential top-four defenseman you have a legitimate d-core now. Tkachuk is already showing he can be and will be a top-three forward in the NHL. Colin White is seeing regular minutes and when healthy and playing consistently has been a huge positive for this team.

Ottawa supposedly has the 13th ranked farm system in NHL (Aug 2018) rated by theathletic.com. That was rated in August 2018 and they received Brannstrom and other prospects so the Senators could be a potential top-10 farm system in the NHL which is a plus.

Aside from seven draft picks in 2019 the Senators do have a truck load in the 2020 draft as they currently have 12 picks. Seven of those 12 picks come in the first three rounds. Two in the 1st, three in the 2nd and two in the third.

Off-season plan: New coach, Free-Agents, New facility

Based on how the lottery works and where the Senators sit they could possibly not even have a first round pick this draft. The Senators do indeed get either the 1, 2, 3 overall pick the 1st round pick they got from Columbus will be a 2020 first round pick. Therefore, what is the Senators off-season plans?

  1. Sign Colin White. Lock him up to a good contract and keep him in Ottawa. Sign Anthony Duclair too, you have nothing to lose. He is young, and will cost nothing but will provide a good outlet for younger players too.
  2. Trade Cody Ceci, he is a 25-year-old defenseman who has registered 20+ points three times in his career. He has value and his better off on the block they coming back on 5 million dollar deal.
  3. Go after low-risk free agents. Players like Gustav Nyquist, Cam Talbot, Andre Burakovsky, Michael Del Zotto, William Karlsson, Derek Brassard. Guys who you can bring for 2-3 years to help mentor and teach these young kids until they are ready for the NHL.
  4. Start working on a new a facility for the 2020 season. The Senators will have 12 ( thirteen potentially) draft picks and 7 (eight potentially) in the first three rounds. Make sure you have something for those draft picks and next crop of talent coming into the organization to look forward too.
  5. Get a young coach, take your time hiring a coach and find a coach like the New York Rangers did with David Quinn. Get a coach who is great with young players, possibly another top NCAA coach who can come in be a new face for the young players on your team.

Fantasy Hockey rookies looking to make an impact from the start

Rasmus Dahlin (D, BUF): The sky is the limit with this rookie defenseman, being compared to Nicklas Lidstrom and one of the best defenseman to emerge in the league in quite sometime has set others on their high horse about Dahlin. He will 100 percent play right away too, and right in the top four mix. Dahlin is slotted on line two right now with Zach Bogosian. These two will be eating up 20+ minutes per game, while Dahlin will also be working on power play with Rasmus Ristolanien. Dahlin as we all know is a very solid offensive defenseman, who will learn the importance of being as solid on both ends of the puck early on. He picks up on things quickly and is an extremely quick learner. While he may not be the biggest guy on the ice, he is not afraid to be physical although his speed and awareness is the biggest part of his game. Dahlin is capable of 45 plus points this season and an early Calder favorite.

Andrei Svechnikov (RW, CAR): The second most highly sought after rookie coming into the draft, the Hurricanes number two overall pick and top three forward will be thrown into the mix right away. Svechnikov is coming off a 40 goal season in the OHL with the Barrie Colts and 11 points in 8 playoff games with Barrie as well. Svechnikov played in 16 International games between the U18 and U20 Russian team and in those 16 games he collected a total of 20 points. This is a good sign for Carolina as they may be able to add another scoring forward to their offense to help supplement Sebastian Aho as well. Svechnikov is slotted with Aho and other Russian counter part Valentin Zykov as well. Between seeing first line time and power play time, Svechnikov has the potential for a big rookie season a player you for sure will keep an eye on in the draft.

Brady-Tkachuk-SenatorsBrady Tkachuk (LW, OTT): After telling Boston University he intends to sign with Ottawa for the 2018-19 season and signing an entry level deal it is apparent Tkachuk wants to make an impact on the Senators line up right away. Withdrawing from BU and jumping into the NHL will be a big transition for the young forward. Tkachuk is coming off a 31 point season in 40 games with BU and 9 points in 7 games with USA’s U20 team during the World Juniors. Tkachuk is a little different than the Tkachuk we know on Calgary, Brady is more of a playmaking, scoring type of forward, where his brother is known for his offensive ability as well as his on-ice antics. Brady is slotted with Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Ryan Dzingel as well as the second power play right now. Tkachuk may not have the best tools around him but he does have some solid line mates to help him ease his way into his first year, to start Tkachuk may be a little snake bitten but once he gets comfortable I think we can expect a 35 point season out of him.

Filip Zadina (RW, DET): This kid is on a mission. With a couple teams passing on Zadina and falling to sixth overall Zadina even said he is out to make those who passed on him feel sorry for it. Zadina is an all around forward who can play two sides of the puck very well while also being a dynamic goal scorer. Zadina is coming off a 44 goal and 82 point season in 57 games with Halifax in the QMJHL. He has signed with Detroit and as of now he is slotted to make the opening day roster but we may not know about Zadina’s situation until early September. Zadina could potentially play with Andreas Athanasiou, Tomas Vanek or Henrik Zetterberg a lot of question marks for this roster. Either way, if Zadina is playing with a puck moving forward and someone able to help the scoring winger get his chances we may see a solid first year out of Zadina. If he does play the full 82 games Zadina has potential for a 40 plus point year.

Elias Pettersson (C/RW, VAN): The 2017 5th overall draft pick, spent his time in the SHL last season 56 points in 44 games. After a full year of development and Vancouver scouts analyzing his game it is apparent they believe Pettersson is ready for the next level. We saw a lot of Pettersson during International play where he tallied 14 points in 21 games. Pettersson is a very solid forward with ability to play all three zones, luckily he will be with other young prospect Jonathan Dahlen and veteran Loui Eriksson to start. If Dahlen and Pettersson get off on the right foot they will be making noise from the start. Being on a team like Vancouver is tough but Pettersson is capable of being a top six forward in Vancouver for many years and a player we will being hear a lot of over the next few years.

Eeli Tolvanen Nashville PredatorsEeli Tolvanen (LW, NSH): Tolvanen was drafted late in the first round in 2017, and being on a team like Nashville it is tough to crack that line up. Tolvanen played a few games late in the year last season and some playoff games but not enough to get an idea of what type of NHL player he. Tolvanen is slotted on the third line with Ryan Hartman and Nick Bonino, two very solid counter parts for the young forward. During the 2017-18 season he played in the KHL scoring 36 points in 49 games, and most known for his World Junior play with Finland. Tolvanen is a little under sized but being on a team like Nashville will really help his confidence and development. If all goes right and he sticks in  the NHL next season Tolvanen could be a solid 3rd line 35 point guy next season.

Casey Mittlestadt (C, BUF): Mittlestadt spent his time last year with the University of Minnesota, the highly sought after prospect went 8th overall to Buffalo in 2017. Being passed by some teams due to size and physical ability, Mittlestadt will have a lot to prove at the NHL level. As Buffalo continues to improve on both ends of the puck this is an exciting time for Buffalo fans and players. Mittlestadt emerges at the same time as Dahlin so the attention may not be all on him, which is a good thing. Right now he is slotted next to Connor Sheary, a player who learned a lot from the best forward in hockey and Kyle Okposo a veteran, will be good for Mittlestadt. Mittlestadt played in six games last season scoring 1 goal and 4 assists, as well as 30 points in 34 games with Minnesota and being the MVP of the World Juniors tallying 11 points in 7 games. Mittlestadt will be a sure fantasy option next year for teams, he may get off to a slow start, or “slower” start than many expect but when he gets situated and settles in look for a solid 50 point season out of Mittlestadt.

Potential to crack the line up

  • Quinn Hughes (D, VAN): Drafted by Vancouver in the first round in 2018, Hughes has potential to crack the line up due to Vancouver lacking defensive depth but it may be best for the young defenseman to develop a little more and see more minutes at the NCAA level.
  • Jesperi Kotkaniemi (C, MTL): The most infamous pick of the draft as the Canadiens really stretched on Kotkaniemi it would be weird to not see him on the Canadiens roster as their offense has very little depth and they could some more solid center pieces. 
  • Noah Dobson (D, NYI): Maybe late in the season but the Islanders are in no rush with Dobson as they know this kid will be a solid counter part to Ryan Pulock and the Islanders defense.
  • Oliver Wahlstrom (RW, NYI): No rush here with all the Islanders offensive prospects but Wahlstrom did sign an entry level deal and we may see him later in the season.
  • Adam Boqvist (D, CHI): As the biggest reason Chicago failed last season was due to lack of defensive depth it may be smart to play Boqvist but as the young defenseman is ready for the NHL level it may best to let him see more minutes elsewhere.


What went wrong: Arizona Coyotes 2017-2018

The Coyotes are yet again, like the Sabres on the chopping block for the wrong reasons. The Coyotes came into this season with higher expectations per say making a few defensive signings, signing a starting goaltender, getting Derek Stepan, things were for sure looking to be on the way up in Arizona. Unfortunately things did not pan out like that.

Arizona finished 29th in the NHL with 29-41-12, 70 points, 30th in goals for(206), 11th in goals against(251), a 16.9 power play percentage(26th), a 79.5 penalty kill percentage(19th). The Coyotes hit a late surge towards the end of the year where they stringed together some good wins that helped boost their confidence a bit and some of these numbers but overall a 29th place finish is not great. The things that went wrong for Arizona were…

What went wrong for Arizona…

(1) Lack of goal tending, again. Antti Raanta came in to be the starter he did great in New York filling in for Lundqvist when he was out but this year transitioning to the starting role was tough for Raanta, plus he was injured so the time he missed was crucial for Arizona. Although Raanta posted solid numbers through the 46 games he started, he was not there all season which hurt Arizona. Raanta year was filled with injuries, possibly a full year with Raanta starting 60 games will help but Raanta posted 21-17-6 with a 2.24 GAA. Due to the absence of Raanta and not having a viable back up tender, the Coyotes missed greatly on the goal tending aspect of things.

(2) Lacked depth /depth scoring. The Coyotes leading point scorer was a 19-year-old rookie who tallied 65 points in 82 games. After Keller was Stepan with 56 points in 82 games. Due to some players like Max Domi, Anthony Duclair(traded), Christian Dvorak these players were all suppose to be a bit more productive this season, rumors came out about trading Domi and Duclair. Duclair did get moved due to his lack of production, and Domi had yet another disappointing season with 9 goals and 45 points in 82 games. The Coyotes did end up also trading one of their top six forwards Tobias Reider, therefore depth was lacking immensely. The Coyotes really struggle with offensive depth because after Domi, Stepan, Dvorak and Keller the Coyotes have no one else to help out.

Jason+Demers+Arizona+Coyotes+v+New+Jersey+g2gDzVBYd_nl(3) Defensive signings did not pan out. Players like Jason Demeres, Niklas Hjalmarsson really sh*t the bed this season. Demeres coming from Florida and Hjalmarsson from Chicago had high expectations and were suppose to solidfy this top five with Oliver Ekman Larsson, Alex Goligoski and Jakub Chychrun but it did not work out that way. The Coyotes have the talent and tools on the back end, but it is not there yet. Plus OEL going -28 through the season does not help, and with all the trade rumors around him, Domi and Duclair it may have caused controversy in the locker room.

(4) A slow start and a start that consisted of a ton of road games. If you do not recall the Coyotes played 14 of their first 22 games on the road. They started the season 4-16-2 heading into the end of November that can cause a lot of problems and some players to not perform as well. This rocky start did not help the Coyotes get off on the right foot and when they did start winning games it was a little too late.

Will things be better next year?

Well probably not they are in a tough division and have no forwards to supplement their offensive needs. Richard Panik, Domi, Keller, Stepan, Dvorak and the coming of Dylan Strome will not be the answer to their problems. They have a ton of young talent on their roster and up and coming players. Plus a top five pick this season but they will not be much better next year. The big problem for Arizona is having 7 unrestricted free agents and 8 restricted free agents up coming. They have to make a decision on whether to resign Luke Schenn, Kevin Connuaton, Domi, Freddie Hamilton, Brad Richardson, Laurent Dauphin right now for the upcoming off season. With Dvorak, Brendan Perlini, Josh Archiblad, Nick Cousins, OEL, Chychrun and Hjamlarsson in the 2019-20 season.

899622832.jpg.0The Coyotes will probably be about the same next season around the basement, maybe a better season if Raanta can play a full year and they get some forwards in the off season or their young guys start to develop a bit more and see more production out of them, as well as their defense coming together and playing like the defense they should be. They have seven picks this year 3 coming in the third round and the #5 pick of the draft this year with sights set on landing Brady Tkachuk.

2018 NHL Draft: Top-10 Teams Needs and Possible Picks

No.1: Buffalo Sabres, Needs- A winning season, top defenseman

Who will they get? Well, it is pretty obvious the no.1 draft prospect for the past several months now has been Rasmus Dhalin. There is literally a 100 percent chance the Sabres get Dahlin. Which means they add an elite level defenseman to their back end to supplement Rasmus Ristolanien.

No.2: Carolina Hurricanes, Needs- Scoring forward, top-six forward

Who will they get? This one is up for grabs between two players, as a lot of the hockey reporters and draft experts have stated since the releasing of this year’s picks. The two players who we can possibly see the Hurricanes grab are either, Andrei Svechnikov or Filip Zadina. Svechnikov is a 6’2 right winger, who won the OHL Rookie of the Year this season playing for the Barrie Colts. While Zadina is also a 6-foot right winger playing out of the QMJHL for Halifax. Either or would be good fits for the Hurricanes, but I think we see Carolina getting Svechnikov due to his bigger frame, NHL style of play and scoring ability and someone they can slot on the wing with the Hurricanes top two lines.

No.3: Montreal Canadiens, Needs- Scoring, badly. 

The Canadiens had one of the worst seasons among NHL teams and a lot of it was due to forward scoring issues and some back-end injuries. They lacked the ability to score goals consistently and lacked forward depth. With the number three pick, the Canadiens will most definitely be going after a forward to the slot with Jonathan Drouin or Alex Galychenuk. With the assumption the Hurricanes go after Svechnikov, I think it would be tough to pass up on Filip Zadina. He can play the wing with Drouin and is ready to make an impact on the front end of most NHL teams, especially this Montreal team. While Brady Tkachuk could fall here, Zadina is a more established goal scorer and plays a more NHL style game compared to Tkachuk.

No. 4: Ottawa Senators, Needs-Scoring or a top-four defenseman.

Who will they get? This is a tough one the Senators will be losing at least one forward on their team this offseason and possibly Erik Karlsson if they cannot find a happy medium for him. The Senators were praying for the number one draft pick to allow Dahlin to play alongside his childhood favorite player Karlsson. Unfortunately like most things for the Senators this season it turned out they received the fourth pick and will probably be going after either Tkachuk or Noah Dobson. Tkachuk has a ton of potential to his game and provides a very gritty, tough style to his game. While he can score, as well as play both sides of the puck it really comes down to what the Senators think they need more. Dobson is a 6″3 defenseman, who if he can put on some weight will be great. He has a ton of potential and room to grow. I still think Tkachuk goes four here though.

No. 5: Arizona Coyotes, Needs- Top-six forward, scoring, defenseman. 

Who will they get? It would be interesting to see the Coyotes pick this year after getting Keller two year ago, a scoring, speedy, Patrick Kane esq forward. The Coyotes once again get a top-five pick and now have to be thinking about another scorer. They have some solid defenseman on their back end, as well a lot of potential up front. They could use either a forward or defenseman. If Oliver Ekman Larsson actually does leave they definitely could use a defenseman. Based on the judgment of some of the experts we can expect either Noah Dobson or Evan Bouchard to go here. Bouchard is a 6″2, 193-pound defenseman playing out of the OHL with London this year. He holds a HEAVY shot and logged major points and minutes which brought him up the draft list this year. Either or will go here. Dobson or Bouchard. Think Bouchard though.

No.6: Detroit Red Wings, Needs- DEFENSEMAN.

Who will they get? Now, if the Red Wings do not get a defenseman, they need to fire everyone in their front office. Because they literally have ZERO defensemen. Trevor Daley and Nikolas Kronwall are going to crumble any second now. Danny Dekeyser has not turned out to be great and they need a big-time defenseman BADLY. Which leaves us with four defensemen to choose from. Depending on Arizona, it could either be Dobson, Bouchard, Quintin Hughes or Adam Boqvist. Upside to Boqvist, he plays the same style as Dahlin more offensively and has the goal-scoring ability like a forward, while still being able to play a defensive game well. Downside his size, he is 5’11, 168 pounds. A must for Boqvist to add some size to his frame and you have a top defenseman you asked for. Hughes upside is a puck moving defenseman who can man the power play and reads the play really well. He can add a presence on the back end like Boqvist not as much offensively. This is a tough one because both are smaller in size and both have similar upsides as well. Here at six, we may see either Dobson or Hughes go.

No.7: Vancouver Canucks, Needs- Defenseman. 

Who will they get? The Canucks added Brock Boeser to their forward end last season in the draft and have turned out to be a great addition and superstar for years to come. The Canucks should look to increase their worth on the back end, they are still pieces away from being a solid NHL team so whoever comes in will be coming into play right away. The Canucks could be looking at drafting Boqvist or Hughes. As discussed above, both would not be a bad choice. I think we see the Canucks grab Hughes here and Boqvist falls a little bit, near the 9, 10 range.

No.8: Chicago Blackhawks, Needs- Forward depth, defenseman depth. 

Who will they get? This will be an interesting choice for the Blackhawks. As we saw their defense lack depth and was a major problem for them. But for some reason, the Blackhawks love drafting forwards and scoring forwards for that matter. Which is why we see them go after and grab Oliver Wahlstrom, a right winger from the USA-18 USHL team. Wahlstrom scored 47 goals in 60 games last season and everything surrounding this kid has been his goal-scoring ability. If the Blackhawks want goal-scoring, this is their guy.

No.9: New York Rangers, Needs-Top scoring forward, top-five defenseman. 

Who will they get? This will be a pivotal part of the Rangers rebuilding process as they picked up two top-end forwards in last years draft, Chytil and Andersson. While adding Ryan Lindgren and Libor Hajek on the backend during this year’s trade deadline. The Rangers would love to add another top-end forward as well as a difference-making defenseman with Ryan McDonagh gone. The Rangers could be looking at either Serron Noel the right winger out of Oshawa OHL team or Boqvist. Noel is a power forward, who brings his everything all game, he plays a very gritty style game and great two-way game some have compared this kid to Blake Wheeler. Another name in conversation to fall here is Barret Hayton a top end center from Sault Steel Marie from the OHL, who is a solid center but really makes the leap here due to a weak center draft. I see the Rangers either going after Boqvist or Noel here.

No.10: Edmonton Oilers, Needs- Defenseman, forward depth. 

Who will they get? Essentially the Oilers draft a forward he has the chance to play with Connor McDavid and as we have seen whoever is slotted next to McDavid usually produces so if they can find a forward to consistently play next McDavid and produce would be a win for the Oilers. But they lacked defensive production and defensive depth last season. Which is why the Oilers may go defenseman. They have had some woes with drafting forwards so this will be interesting for the Oilers come at the ten mark. I think the Oilers may end up drafting, Boqvist here if he falls or one of the two top centers in the draft in Hayton or Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Kotkaniemi has been an up and coming center in this years draft class all year. This will be a tough one as the Oilers will have to see how the teams in front of them draft. If Boqvist is there still they have to jump on him easily.