NHL: Ottawa Senators 2018-19 overview

Ottawa Senators: What is the plan for Stone, Karlsson and Duchene heading into the 2018-19 season

By now we all know Ottawa is a dumpster fire. After the whole Mike Hoffman and Erik Karlsson tirade, the Mark Stone signing and signing of Cody Ceci to 4.3 mil a year for one-year, just shows everything is out of sorts over there.

The bigger question though, it seems Karlsson is not going anywhere as of yet? It’s been nearly two months since we heard Karlsson rumors so it is fair to say with training camp approaching soon Karlsson will be on the Senators to start the season. Second, what is this Mark Stone deal? Stone is now the 35th highest paid player in the NHL with his contract comparing to players whose numbers reach in the upwards of 80 points year in and year out. Duchene, they have for 6 mil until next year.

Ok, we have not even mentioned the fact Ottawa has Bobby Ryan locked up until 2021-22 for 7.25 mil a year, Marian Gabriok for another three years at 4.875 mil a year, and Clarke MacArthur for 4.6 mil for two years. These are just some of the awful contracts in Ottawa. There is a zero percent chance they can afford Duchene, Stone, Karlsson at the end of 2019.

Here is my take on this and what I think will happen…

What I think Ottawa will do is trade Stone mid way through the year to a desperate playoff contending team, have them swallow some if not all of his contract, receive a mid-level prospect and high draft pick. Probably do the same with Duchene come trade deadline time and receive a first and some third or later round picks and some NHL ready players for Duchene. As well as Karlsson who will be dealt for a first, high level prospect and more. Therefore Ottawa will just walk into the 2019 NHL draft with a ton of first-round picks, a boat load of cap space and a totally different outlet on their team. Pushing youth development and trusting the process. Why? Well Stone, Duchene and Karlsson are all UFA(unrestricted free agents) therefore if Ottawa were to just let these guys walk for nothing that would potentially be the worst decision in Ottawa history since signing Bobby Ryan for 7.25 mil a year.


NHL News

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes Need To Leave Raleigh, North Carolina. ASAP

It needs to be addressed the elephant in the room needs to be addressed somebody needs to sit down with the owner of the Carolina Hurricanes and tell this guy to sell the damn team. We’ve already seen an expansion team come into the league this season so that’s not happening again for a little while, but stop kidding yourself if you actually believe this Carolina market suits hockey, you’re an idiot, plain and simple, sorry. Carolina had an attendance of 7,000 people, not to mention the fans who buy tickets and don’t even show up, so probably about 5,500 to 6,000 people there. That’s the size of an AHL crowd, actually, some OHL teams may draw in more fans. It’s embarrassing and the players/organization do not deserve this.

Carolina’s Past Attendance, YIKES… 

To make it fair, it’s not like I am coming out of nowhere and saying that Carolina needs to be moved because of this one time, no, for several years now, they have been in the basement of attendance, and it’s been a reoccurring issue since 2013. The Hurricanes know about this situation and the owner is trying to find a better location for them but it’s a whole work in progress. Anyways, since 2013 to now, Carolina has averaged, 13,093 fans. From 2013-14 they were at a respectable(to be nice) 15,484 average attendance, well fast forward a year to 2014-15 they dipped to 12,716 average attendance. For this year already the Hurricanes are at the basement in attendance at 13,286, only in front of the Islanders because Brooklyn is not a suitable hockey market either.

Next Stop For Carolina… 

NHL NewsLast season must have been the wake-up call to Carolina as they were dead last in attendance with 11,776 a whole 1,319 behind the next team Arizona, as you can tell the comparison bar is not too great. The league-leading attendance in Chicago with 21,752, that is a whole 9,976 more than Carolina, actually, the difference in the two is more than Carolina had last home game this season. Carolina needs a new market and new fans to play in front of, the fans of Raleigh, North Carolina do not care about hockey nor do they even know the difference between offsides and icing. Getting the Hurricanes out of Carolina is the next move for the NHL but to where? Well, Seattle seems to be a favorite, any Canadian market like Quebec, Saskatoon, Hamilton all these Canadian markets have attempted in the past to get an NHL team in the area, and let’s face the Canadian fan base is much stronger than the U.S. NHL fan base even if their team is good or bad, teams that are located in Canada have some of the strongest fan bases. Of the top 15 teams in attendance, five of them are Canadian teams. Mind you Vancouver was a top 15 team for attendance and that team has not been good for several years now. Get the Hurricanes out of North Carolina, the farm does not suit hockey and the Hurricanes are going to be a good team in a few years, ship them out before it is too late! 

Sports News: MLB Wild Card Race, NHL Signings & Danis Zaripov, Spit balls of the week!

It’s that time of the week, school is starting soon, NFL season is officially here, the MLB wild card race is heating and the NHL is now a month away. It is Spitballs of the week time! Catch up on the latest news surrounding the NHL and MLB. Some of my own takes and some stuff to watch out for in the coming months!

MLB: The AL Wild Card race is probably the more interesting of the two, the Yankees have now dropped six of their last 10, the Twins are one game out and the Indians are on a nine-game winning streak. There’s not much to look into here the Yankees are slowly losing grips of the Wild Card, Baltimore is only a game and half back and the Yankees continue to be inconsistent. Also, the Yankees face off against the Orioles two more times before the year ends and the Twins one more time(Watch OUT!). The Orioles are 8-2 in their last ten and face off against Toronto, Cleveland, Yankees, Toronto for the next upcoming series. The Twins have been able to hold their own and see some success in big moments, the Twins play Kansas City, Tampa Bay and Toronto in the next upcoming series. As for the Twins, they have an “easier” half of the schedule compared to the other wild card teams.

The NL, of course, the Nationals and Dodgers have control over their divisions, the Cubs will more than likely win the NL Central and as far as Wild Card goes the Diamondbacks and Rockies will be the two teams in those last two spots. The Rockies have been on/off lately but the Cardinals and Brewers do not scare me too much for the Rockies sake. The Diamondbacks are 9-1 in their last ten and play San Diego, Dodgers, and the Rockies in the upcoming series. The Brewers are 1.5 games back from the Rockies and after Washington, they face off against the Reds, Cubs, Pirates, and Marlins, scheduling may favor Milwaukee, here do not sleep on them!

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Oh, Clayton Kershaw is back, after returning from the DL after a month, he shut down the Padres for 6 innings allowing no runs, 7 strikeouts and two hits. That’ll be fun come playoff time to face off against the Dodgers pitching rotation and bullpen. Nothing new Kershaw and the Dodgers just continue to dominate MLB teams and the league as a whole right now. The Dodgers have 92 wins with still a month of baseball to be played. 

Justin Verlander was sent to Houston recently, many thought Verlander was going to stay and Houston messed up by not going out to get a pitcher at the deadline. Well, those critics can be silenced now, as Houston now has a former Cy Young winner and a pitcher with 16 starts in the postseason and 380 in the regular season. Can’t hurt as the Astros were deemed for not making a move, acquiring Verlander is a big addition the Astros rotation.


NHL: The KHL forward who was suspended from the KHL for doping is making his way over to the NHL now and a few teams have expressed interest in him. Danis Zaripov is a 36-year-old forward from the KHL, he’s played nine seasons in the KHL and has produced, 453 points and 199 goals. Two teams that have publicly expressed interest in Zaripov is Pittsburgh and the Rangers. It’s said that Malkin expressed interest in playing on the same line with Zaripov, a guy who just won the Russian most valuable player award will more than likely get another Russian forward to join him unless the Rangers offer Zaripov more money.

The Blue Jackets have locked up forward Alexander Wennberg for 6-years at $4.9 mil a year. The 22-year-old forward has shown major strides of progression in the Blue Jackets organization now, and anytime a player goes from 40 to 59 points in one season, it deserves a little looking into. Wennberg is a big, strong forward who will be a top three player on the Blue Jackets for years to come. The six years is absolutely crucial to Columbus because now he’s locked in and will be a huge drawing asset for other players looking to come to Columbus in the future.


Thomas Vanek is back on another team for another season! The 33-year-old forward has signed a 1-year deal for $2 million with Vancouver. Vanek has played on six NHL teams and five different ones in the past four seasons. Vancouver will be Vanek’s seventh NHL club and sixth team in five seasons. Vanek scored 48 points and 16 goals with the Red Wings/Panthers last season. Vanek has struggled to stay healthy and remain consistent in line ups but at $2 million for a team like Vancouver will not hurt at all. Vanek can now play along with the Sedin brothers who may help resurge the talented goal scorers ability and get him some confidence back. Vanek is capable of being a 50-60 point player when he’s healthy, barring injuries and Vanek plays a full season, paired with the Sedin brothers would not hurt the once 40 goal scorers year.

Spitballs: Yankees, Twins take last two wild card spots, Dodgers win 115 games and probably the world series(I don’t care, they’re too good), Red Sox’s bunt again to annoy Yankee pitchers, Zaripov goes to Pittsburgh, Vanek scores 30 goals next season, Wennberg tallies 65 points next season.

Be on the look out later today for some introduction to the NFL season article!!



NHL Preview: Winnipeg Jets 2017-18, Laine 40-goal year, Morrisey Role, Mason Boom or Bust

Winnipeg Jets(40-35-7: 5th Central)

Winnipeg has been a fairly active team this offseason, they’ve definitely upgraded in many assets of their game. After acquiring Patrik Laine 2nd overall last season the Jets future seems bright right now. After missing the playoffs back to back seasons and the fifth time in six years, the Winnipeg fans want to white out the Bell MTS Place again. Despite the Jets mishaps in the regular season, they do have a ton of talent on the front and back end of the lineup. With Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, Patrik Laine, Nikolaj Ehlers, Bryan Little and a ton of young prospects emerging the Jets offense is talented and explosive. Plus a ton of depth on the back end and now Steven Mason in net, the Jets will be looking to make a push for the postseason in the 2017-18 year. In the Central and Western conference, the postseason will not be an easy accomplishment. For some reason, though the Jets seem appealing to many, they have a ton of depth on both sides of the puck and a hopeful starting goalie. Despite the Jets talent, the Central is tough and I would not be surprised to see the Jets miss out on the playoffs or even make it. Let’s say the Jets are a question mark right now, they’re a boom or bust.

Winnipeg is a “sleeper” team in a sense with Dallas, Minnesota, Chicago and St Louis the Jets are overlooked and undervalued. The Jets have the talent to crack the playoffs and easily can squeak into a wild card spot. For that to happen though the Jets will need some major production from….


Patrik Laine: After coming up short for the Calder trophy and many questioning his ability to score 40 goals next season, Laine will be asked to produce big time for the Jets. Alongside Scheifele and Ehlers, Laine should not have a tough time finding the back of the net, plus power play one minutes, Laine should score 40, easy. If Laine can score 36 in 73 games and produce 64 points, a full year of being healthy and not missing time should give the 19-year-old phenomenon the chance to score 40 and help this Jets offense be a top team in the league. Laine will be asked to step up and play top three minutes and produce 70 points, a lot of pressure lies on the young forward, and with the Jets looking to make the postseason a pure goal scorer like Laine is a must on the score sheet night in and night out. To see the Jets in the post season, the Jets line one and Laine will be relied upon heavily.

Kyle Connor: Connor will be filling the top six for the Jets and with Mathieu Perreault ability to steal that position from him a lot of pressure will be on Connor to produce. Alongside Wheeler and Little the young forward will have a ton of tools around him to produce. Connor was the Jets 1st round pick in 2015 and has finally cracked the Jets top six, with some youth and veteran ship in the line up Connor’s top six spot is not secured, if Connor wants to be a regular in the line up and keep his role on the team, he needs to be a legitimate, consistent top forward for the Jets. For the Jets, Connor will be playing more minutes and a bigger role than he ever has before, for Connor a 40 point season is likely and if Connor can produce 40 along side Wheeler and Little the Jets top six will be secured and strong.

Josh Morrissey: The Jets have upgraded on the back end this offseason, Dmitry Kulikov helps give the Jets a bit more security on all three defenseman lines. What’s projected for the start of the 2017-18 is Josh Morrissey paired with Jacob Trouba on line one or two. Morrissey was a 1st round pick in 2013 and has finally cracked the Jets top four defense. Last season was his first year in the Jet’s full time, he posted respectable numbers as five, six defensemen, 20 points in 82 games is not terrible but nothing amazing. As it seems he will be a top four defenseman next season as they want to continue to grow their youth. Morrissey will not see much power play time maybe later in the season but playing top four minutes will be a big challenge for the 22-year-old defenseman. The Jets want to challenge their youth to perform and next season Morrissey will be challenged greatly with Trouba and top four minutes. Expect a hot start from Morrissey.

Steve Mason: For 2 years at $4.1 mil a year, Mason will be challenged to see if he can perform as a number one goalie again. Mason has faced his blunders in Philadelphia and is the only real question mark on the Jets lineup if Mason can perform like he did in 2013-14 and his first year in the NHL than the Jets have a great chance of cracking a playoff spot. If Mason continues to struggle and be inconsistent in between the pipes than the Jets will struggle. Ultimately if the Jets are successful so will Mason have to be. Mason is being put to a huge test here in Winnipeg if he fails for two years, he may not land a starting job again for the rest of his career, this may be a make or break situation for Mason.


NHL Preview: Edmonton Oilers 2017-18 , Nurse Contract year, Strome Role, Puljujarvi Expectations

Edmonton Oilers(47-26-9: 2nd Pacific):

Well, what a surprise this team was they went from dead last in the Pacific in 2015-16 to 2nd in Pacific last season. Much should be accredited to Connor McDavid of course. Ok let’s toot McDavid’s horn he won the Hart Memorial, Ted Lindsay, and Art Ross trophy finished ahead of Sidney Crosby in points(100), had 70 assists and scored 30 goals. Okay, we get it he’s pretty good at hockey. But the Oilers have a team now centered around McDavid that looks to be here to stay. With Leon Drastically recent contract extension(7 yrs, $8.5 mil a year), Patrick Maroon who doesn’t seem to mind playing with McDavid, Milan Lucic, Ryan Strome and a couple of key role guys like Mark Letestu and Zack Kassian that help round out this roster. Along with a defense that continues to grow and get better, Oilers defense only allowed 207 goals against last season the 8th least among all teams and allowed 2.5 goals per game the 8th least again. With a defense that continues to make strides individually and as a unit, this Oilers defense seems to be one of the more reliable defenses in the league. Plus having Cam Talbot starting 70 games a season posting 42 wins, a 2.39 GAA and saving 2,117 shots a year doesn’t hurt.

Moral of the story is Edmonton has been bad for quite some time now, last season was the first time in ten years the Oilers clinched a playoff spot. The Oilers have a balanced lineup, a superstar(two superstars), a solid defense and Cam Talbot in net, they are here to stay and with the Oilers around for awhile the Pacific gets a little bit more difficult for those teams like the Sharks and Flames.

Honestly, what is there to say about the Oilers, they have McDavid and Draisaitl producing 80 plus points, Maroon tapping in goals, Lucic doing his part. Oscar Klefbom leading the defense and Kris Russell playing a sound game. But the Oilers did not win the Stanley Cup last season and for them to make that leap a few guys will need to step up and play some bigger roles such as….


Darnell Nurse: Entering his bridge deal year, Nurse has yet to contribute 70 games to the Oilers in his two years with the team, he battled injuries last season and played in 69 games in 2015-16, where he posted only 10 points. Nurse was the Oilers first round, seventh overall pick in 2013 and at 6”4, 220 pounds has not fared well with Edmonton. But with Edmonton’s success last season and looking to repeat that year, Nurse may be put into a better situation to succeed. Plus the pressure of a contract extension may help the 22-year-old defenseman produce more. He is still a big piece to this Oilers defense and if Nurse can meet the expectations many had for him, produce 40 points then the Oilers defense is even more solidified. Nurse will be a player to watch and Edmonton will be counting on him to help this team make that stride deeper into the playoffs.  

Jesse Puljujarvi: What a disappointing year for the 19-year-old, after playing 28 games and failing to then be assigned to the AHL team is not a good start for the rookie. Puljujarvi just did not produce what the Oilers were expecting him to. Luckily though he is extremely young and on a team that seems to treat their young players fairly well and allow them to develop. As it seems now though Puljujarvi will be on the starting roster for next season, aside Ryan Nugent Hopkins and Milan Lucic. Next season is more of a time for Puljujarvi to prove his top six worth, play a full season and show Edmonton he is able to handle NHL play. The Oilers need this kid to produce some points next season, he was a 4th overall pick and was highly sought out coming into the season. Next season is a big step for the young forward.

Ryan Strome: Islander fans have some mixed emotions for Strome he showed some signs of light but also showed signs of being a liability out there. After being dealt over to Edmonton for Jordan Eberle, the Mississauga native gets the chance to play in Canada again. Strome will more than likely be a third line center or second line center(depending on Nugent Hopkins), at the spot alongside Drake Caggiula and Jussi Jokinen some pressure will be taken off the 24-year-old center, but the Oilers brought him for some center depth and a player that can produce 30 points a year. With some pressure off him, Strome should excel more, surrounded by some great youth and a growing franchise in Edmonton, Strome’s fresh start may do him some justice. His center depth will allow the Oilers to have more tools and options come postseason time.

Cam Talbot: Holy sh*t, Talbot started in legitimately almost every game, he didn’t start in 9 games last season. Is there even a back up in Edmonton? Seriously though, Talbot aside from McDavid was hands down the sole reason the Oilers made it into the postseason and made it past the Sharks the first round. Talbot had a career year for himself and set the bar high. He’s now in contention with some elite goalies in the NHL and is the guy Edmonton is relying on to steal a few games here and there. Talbot now at age 30, seems like a good age to make a serious run at the Stanley Cup if you’re Edmonton. Often goalies get looked upon to do more, or they are the question mark of the team, but honestly, after a 42 win year, 73 starts and a 2.39 GAA is it even possible for Talbot to do “more”? I’m sure there is more for Talbot to do, he’ll be just fine for Edmonton. 


NHL Preview: Vancouver Canucks 2017-18, Horvat Ceiling, Prospect Growth, Del Zotto Role

Vancouver Canucks(30-43-9: 7th Pacific Division):

A basement team for the past two seasons now, with the Sedin brothers aging and a question mark at goaltender, the once hopeful postseason Canucks quickly turned into the re-build Canucks. The bright spot about this team though is they did sign Sam Gagner and Michael Del Zotto. The Canucks have a ton of youth on their roster and brewing in the AHL/Major Junior leagues. But with Bo Horvat, Sven Baertschi, and Brock Boeser the Canucks have some talent on this line up right now. The Canucks defense does not look too bright but not too gloomy either, with Alexander Adler, Michael Del Zotto, Chris Tanev, Ben Hutton and Troy Stecher nothing spectacular but it’ll get the job done. The Canucks goalie situation is again their problem with Andress Nilsson and Jacob Markstrom the two will be battling for the #1 spot and having two goalies split time, never pans out well(ask Dallas).

Obviously the Canucks are no playoff team and won’t be for sometime, they made some moves but not enough to push them into playoff contention. The Sedin brothers will continue to be 50 point producers but to expect anything more in them in Vancouver and at 36-years-old is unrealistic, they can’t do much more than 50 points. They have some offensive tools the Canucks but not enough depth and too many question marks to be a playoff team, let alone a middle of pack team. Some players that will be looked upon for some major production despite the Canucks unlikelihood of cracking 35 wins are…

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Bo Horvat: I’ve spoke about this guy before, and I will continue to toot his horn, he is a legitimate scorer and point producer. Paired along Sam Gagner/Brock Boeser and Baertschi, Horvat does not get a ton of help in Vancouver but managed to break through for 52 points and 20 goals. Horvat shocked some of us last season with his All-Star appearance and career year, but the bar is set now in Vancouver and management will be looking for Horvat to continue to get better. Horvat is one of those players at 22-years-old on a bad team, that can only continue to grow or completely bust. But I think we can expect a 50 plus point season from Horvat. Vancouver has yet to sign Horvat to a contract extension, this late in August and nothing happening is not a good sign but also could mean nothing. Horvat will get around 5-6 years and an AAV of $27.5-33 mil.

Loui Eriksson: Remember when Eriksson got brought into Vancouver and everyone was like “oh my god he’s going to score 25 plus next season with the Sedin brothers, they’re going to be a sick line!!” Yeah Eriksson scored, 11 goals and had 24 points in 65 games. That escalated quickly(feel bad for fantasy owners, yikes). But a year under his belt in Vancouver, getting used to the Sedin brothers and the style of play Eriksson should hopefully produce a bit more. He has the capability and needs some time under his belt with the new club(note: Eriksson came to Boston played poorly first two years then scored 30, and same with Dallas). Eriksson with the Sedin brothers, power play minutes and line one minutes, barring he can get over the hump and get back to his ways will be a solid 40 point player for Vancouver. Which Vancouver needs desperately and they need Eriksson to be the 2015-16 Eriksson they thought they were getting.

Michael Del Zotto: A lot of talk has surfaced about Del Zotto’s readiness to lead the Canucks defense, first off he’s not leading the defense, there is still Edler, relax there people. Del Zotto is still going to be looked upon heavily for Canuck fans and management, they did sign the streaky defenseman to a $3 mil contract. Del Zotto has shown some signs of progression but also has shows signs to be the worst defenseman in the league. Despite all Del Zotto’s failures, moving to Vancouver a less media-rich, press heavy market the defenseman will have a ton of pressure taken off his back. Vancouver will see the 2014-2015 Del Zotto before Philadelphia got his head and the 2011-2012 New York Del Zotto before New York media got to him. Some players cannot thrive in a media rich market and Del Zotto will perform much better with less expectations and press in his face 24/7.

Jacob Markstrom: Markstrom will more than likely get the starting job in Vancouver but honestly for these two goalies there’s not a ton pressure, between a low ceiling for the Canucks and their postseason hopes being slim to none, we can agree we all are not expecting either of these goalies to steal every game. Nonetheless goalies still have that competitive edge just like all athletes do and their will to win, will come down to who starts. Markstrom has some history in Vancouver and showed some bright spots, we can expect him to be the starter next season. Markstrom if he wants to continue to hold his job and become a starting goaltender, next year will be a big test for the 27-year-old goalie.