Tag: chicago blackhawks

Jordan Binnington And Dylan Strome Earn NHL Stars Of The Week

The NHL releases three stars of every week and this week it happened to consist of two “unlikely” names per say. The first star was Jordan Binnington the rookie sensation in St. Louis who has surged the St. Louis Blues to a seven-game win streak and a wild card spot. Star number three was Dylan Strome the Chicago Blackhawks center, who was sent to Chicago from Arizona for Nick Schmaltz.

Binnington earns 1st star of the week 

The reason this is being reported is because it is awesome news for these two guys. First off Jordan Binnington was drafted in 2011 3rd round, 87th overall never made his way up the NHL ladder and from 2011-2018 until he was called up he spent all of his time (besides one year when he played in ECHL for the Kalamazoo in 2013-14) in the AHL, emerging as a starter in 2014-15 in the AHL and at 26-years-old Binnington finally got his shot in the NHL this season when the Blues needed some resurgence at the goaltending spot.

Binnington has started in 11 games this season with a record of 9-1-1, a 1.77 goals against (GAA), .929 save percentage and 2 shutouts in his time so far. In his last five games he has five wins, most notable win coming in shutout fashion vs the best team in the NHL (Tampa Bay), allowing seven goals in those five games. All the talk about Carter Hart and his resurrection of Philadelphia is over shadowing what this kid Binnington has done for the Blues.

Strome earns third star of the week

Dylan Strome another young player who has had his fair share of difficult stretches finally gets a chance in Chicago and has been lights out since coming to Chicago. It doesn’t hurt playing the power play with Patrick Kane and some 5 on 5 time with Kane, Jonathan Toews and Alex Debrincat, nevertheless Strome has been a major reason the Blackhawks are back in playoff contention. Since his arrival to Chicago Strome has recorded 11 goals and 19 assists, 30 points in 32 games. During his 32 games in Chicago the longest Strome has gone without a point has been three-games so far. The kid has been on fire and earned himself third star of the week (this week) recording 2 goals and 5 assists in three games.

Strome was drafted in 2015 1st round 3rd overall by the Coyotes after playing the 2015-16 season in the OHL recording 111 points in 56 games (37G, 74A) Strome headed to the NHL in 2016-17 where he only played seven games. In 2017-18 he played 50 games in the AHL and 21 games in the NHL recording 9 points that year. At the start of this season the Coyotes expected him to be a number two, borderline number three center, Strome played 20 games with Arizona recording 6 points and -10 rating before being shipped out to Chicago. The Coyotes essentially gave up on Strome after just 48 games. They did receive Nick Schmaltz in return but it was still a very questionable decision by Arizona and Strome is surely making them regret it now as he continues to roll in Chicago.

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The Wild Card Race In The Western Conference Is A Joke

I tried to make this sound as polite as possible but what a disaster this Western Conference wild card race has been. It goes to show one of the many reasons that the last three Stanley Cup winners has come from the Eastern Conference but also this could mean that maybe these teams a top the Western Conference are not that good. But back to the main point of this article.

How can a conference have a wild card race like this, a team that is basically below .500 is in the run for the wild card right now. A team that was once 16 points out of a spot is in the run for a wild card and in the last wild card spot (Blues). I am just completely blown away by the fact that at this point in the season, 52 games in 63 percent of the season played we still have no idea what is going to happen in the Western Conference wild card.

The current wild card layout is as follows: 

Minnesota Wild (26-23-5) 57 points (1st wild card spot)

St. Louis Blues (25-22-5) 55 points (2nd wild card spot)

Vancouver Canucks (24-24-7) 55 points

Colorado Avalanche (22-22-9) 53 points

Edmonton Oilers (24-25-5) 53 points

Chicago Blackhawks (22-24-9) 53 points

The fact the Edmonton Oilers are two points out of a wild card spot is embarrassing, they have won 6 of their last 15 games a record of 6-9 in the last 15 makes you a playoff team I guess now.

The Canucks who have won 4 of their last 14 games, a 4-10 record is a playoff contending team. Just looking at this race it is a complete disaster, any team can squeak in at this point so if you are a gambling man just throw money on all six teams to make the playoffs you’ll probably walk away with some money at this point. Not to mention the Ducks who have won TWO games in their last seven and a half weeks and have been outscored 31-6 are four points out of a wild card spot. Argument closed.

The reason this race for the wild card in the West irks me a little is because any of these teams that get into the first round are going to get bounced in four to five games. Which honestly just kills NHL viewership, ratings and the growth of the game in a sense. If you are not a die hard NHL fan there is not a chance in h double hockey sticks you are watching a Blues-Flames playoff matchup.

Can anyone else shed some light here? MY prediction is that the Canucks and Blues sneak into the playoffs. Or should I say those are the two teams I would like to see make it.

Blackhawks send Nick Schmaltz to Arizona for Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini

This was a late night deal that occured around 11:30 PM (EST) between the Coyotes and Blackhawks. Which certainly woke people up out of their sound sleep or probably was the last thing we all saw before our head hit the pillow Sunday night. This trade leaves us all a little confused. What was the objective of this trade?

Dylan Strome the Coyotes 2015 1st round third overall was quickly shipped out of Arizona only playing 48 total games with the Coyotes in the 2.5 years he was called up and down. The Coyotes may have moved on too quickly from the potential top-six forward but, Coyotes General Manager John Chayka said following the trade “There is a difference between patience and hope. The latter is not a way to build your organization”.

We can all agree this is hinted at Strome, Chayka clearly felt that there was hope for Strome to be good and they felt it was time to stop being patient with the player and move on from him.

They also part ways with 2014 1st round 12th overall pick Brendan Perlini. Perlini played 153 games with the Coyotes tallying 33 goals and 24 assists for 57 points. Perlini’s best season came last year where he tallied 30 points in 74 games. Perlini was another player not developing as quickly as the Coyotes would have liked.

With that acquire another 22 year old forward, Nick Schmaltz the Blackhawks 2014 1st round 20th overall pick. Schmaltz has played 162 games in the NHL scoring 29 goals and 91 points. He is coming off a 50 point season and 20 goal year. Yet on the year Schmaltz only has 2 goals and 9 assists in 23 games. 

Who won the trade? 

I think both make out well. The Blackhawks needed some depth it would have been nice to get a defenseman for the Blackhawks but with Strome and Perlini it makes the Blackhawks a bit deeper on the front end. The Coyotes now slate Schmaltz with his old teammate in Chicago Vinnie Hinostroza who has been buzzing this season. Plus Alex Galchenyuk, this is a solid second line and now the Coyotes have two very competitive lines that can score vs 1.5 lines that can score. In addition to the third line of Michael Grabner Brad Richardson and Christian Fischer, the Coyotes have a lot more depth now and balance in their line up. Either way more so better for the Coyotes right now could be better for Blackhawks long term. 

NHL: Where will Joel Quenneville land next?

It still comes as a major shock to me that Joel Quenneville was released a few days ago, the second winningest coach in NHL history just released of his duties cause the team is struggling.

As the days go on and the story unfolds a little more it seems obvious as to why Quenneville was released though. It was for one reason and one reason only. Stan Bowman knew he has been doing a terrible job in Chicago recently, Quenneville and Bowman were already on uneasy terms and if the destruction continued in Chicago Bowman was probably on his way out. Yet there is a few people higher than Quenneville in Chicago and one of them is Bowman. Bowman did to Quenneville what he knew was soon to be happening to him so before Quenneville even had a chance to talk to higher ups about this, Bowman cut the ties to save his job.

Where did it all go wrong for Chicago, lets take you down a chronological sequence of events dating back to 2013 to now. The 5-year reign of terror in Chicago caused by Stan Bowman and company.

2012-2013: Chicago Blackhawks go onto win their 2nd Stanley Cup in three years. 

2013-14: 46-21-15; eliminated in Conference finals to Kings in 7 games. 

Blackhawks acquire Peter Regin and Pierre-Marc Bouchard for a 4th round pick. 

Blackhawks trade Brandon Pirri for two draft picks. 

Blackhawks trade Brandon Bollig to Calgary for a 3rd round pick. 

Blackhawks trade Nick Leddy to Islanders for Kent Simpson, T.J. Brennan, Ville Pokka and Anders Nilsson 

The Blackhawks shipped Michael Frolik to Winnipeg for 3rd and 5th round pick (John Hayden and Luke Johnson) 

Dave Bolland shipped out to Toronto for three draft picks. (2nd round and two 4th rounds).

Daniel Carcillo traded to Los Angeles Kings

Blackhawks acquire Kris Versteeg and Phillippe Lefebvre from Florida. 

2014-15: Blackhawks win third Stanley Cup in four years.

Blackhawks trade Adam Clendening for Gustav Froslig.

Blackhawks trade a 2nd (2015) and 4th (2016) round picks for Kimmo Timonen

Blackhawks acquire Antoine Vermette for Klas Dahlbeck and a 2015 1st round pick. 

 Blackhawks acquire Ben Smith and a 7th round pick for Andrew Desjardins. 

Blackhawks trade Antti Raanta for Ryan Haggerty.*** (the downfall begins)

Blackhawks trade Brandon Saad, Alex Broadhurst and Michael Paliotta for Mark Dano, Artem Anisimov, Corey Tropp, Jeremy Morin and a 2016 4th round pick to Columbus.

Blackhawks acquire Trevor Daley and Ryan Garbutt for Patrick Sharp and Stephen Johns

Blackhawks acquire Dennis Robertson and Jake Massie, 5th round pick for Kris Versteeg, Joakim Nordstrom, 2017 3rd round pick. 

Blackhawks acquire Rob Scuderi for Trevor Daley 

2015-16: 47-26-9; eliminated first round in 7 games by St. Louis Blues 

Blackhawks acquire Richard Panik for Jermey Morin from Toronto. 

Blackhawks acquire Jiri Sekac from Anaheim for Ryan Garbutt. 

Blackhawks acquire Andrew Ladd, Jay Harrison, Matt Fraser for Mark Dano, 2016 1st round pick, 2018 Conditional 3rd round pick. 

Blackhawks acquire Christian Ehrhoff for Rob Scuderi. 

Blackhawks acquire Dale Weise, Tomas Fleischmann for Philip Danault, 2018 2nd round pick. 

Blackhawks acquire Tim Jackman, 7th round pick for Corey Tropp. 

Blackhawks acquire 2017 2nd and 3rd round pick for Bryan Bickell and Teuvo Teravainen. (strike one)

Blackhawks acquire two 2016 2nd round picks for Andrew Shaw. 

2016-17: 50-23-9; lost in 1st round to Nashville Predators. 

Blackhawks acquire Johnny Oduya for Mark McNeill and 4th round pick. 

Blackhawks acquire 2017 3rd round pick for Scott Darling. 

Blackhawks acquire Laurent Dauphin and Connor Murphy for Niklas Hjalmarsson (strike two)

Blackhawks acquire Brandon Saad, Anton Forsberg, 2018 5th round pick for Artem Panarin, Tyler Motte, 2017 6th round pick (strike three). 

Blackhawks acquire future considerations for Marcus Kruger. 

Blackhawks acquire Anthony Duclair, Adam Clendening for Laurent Dauphin and Richard Panik. 

Blackhawks acquire 2018 3rd round pick for Michael Kempny. 

Blackhawks acquire Victor Ejdsell, 2018 1st round, 4th round for Ryan Hartman and 2018 5th round. 

Blackhawks trade Vinnie Hinnostroza, Jordan Osterle, Marian Hossa and 2019 3rd round pick for Marcus Kruger, MacKenzie Entwistle, Jordan Maletta, Andrew Campbell and a 2019 5th round pick. 

This all makes sense now right? Quenneville does not decide these deals, he may play a minor role in them but there is ultimately no say for the head coach in trades. This was all Bowman and his team just completely ruining the Blackhawks core, making the Blackhawks a non-playoff team and turning them into a struggling club. The players were not happy with the firing and now Bowman has all the eyes on him. Everyone knows why this went down. Bowman traded, Panarin, Raanta, Hjalmarsson, Hartman, Hinnostroza, Kempny, Teravainen for basically nothing!

Where will Quenneville end up? 

Well, I don’t think he jumps into a role just yet. He takes this season off the Blackhawks still owe him two-years left of his contract. But I think we see Quenneville in a coaching position for the 2019-2020 year. He can end up literally anywhere, any NHL team can use his services. Who may benefit most from him, Philadelphia Flyers, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, just to name a few off the top of my head. Where I see him going is Philadelphia, the Flyers make it pretty clear they do not like Hextall’s judgement calls, coaching style or systems, this seems like a great fit for Quenneville. Already established core, veteran players, top scorer in the league, youth on the rise. This could be a perfect match for Quenneville for Philly plus Flyers fans and the city of Philadelphia would welcome Quenneville with open arms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicago Blackhawks fire Joel Quenneville

Holy shit! Good morning to ya on this Tuesday, what the hell just happened in Chicago? Need more details than this, why was Quenneville fired? The 22-year tenured head coach and Blackhawks head coach for the last 11 years gets the boot. Quenneville has coached the Blackhawks for 797 games posting a 452-259-96 record accumulating 1000 points total. Quenneville has won three Stanley Cups in Chicago and has been one of the more storied coaches in the NHL.

How big of a mistake was this for Chicago?

HUGE, what good is this going to do to a team that is already young, struggling and transitioning into a new identity in the league. Quenneville has been with this core for nearly 11 years and now they are to bring in a new face that is going to shake things up and make the Blackhawks a playoff team? Doubtful if Quenneville could not get this team and this roster to the playoffs, highly unlikely Jeremy Colliton does a better job.

What was this decision caused from? 

Well, a lot of speculation came around Stan Bowman and the hockey operations team in Chicago that they had some tension with Quenneville. Nothing is sure, but Bowman has made some questionable roster decisions lately. Moving Artem Panarin, moving Richard Panik for Anthony Duclair last season which resulted in Duclair and both Panik leaving the team this season. Moving Ryan Hartman last season for near to nothing, moving Trevor Van Reimsydk as well as Vinnie Hinostroza last season, moving Michael Kempny last season, Scott Darling, Teuvo Teravainen, Andrew Ladd. Some questionable draft picks over the last five-years. It seems this move was a move from higher ups to blame and point fingers for all their terrible decisions and Quenneville was the guy to blame and the easy out in all this. Therefore Bowman pointed the fingers at Quenneville and used him as the fall out guy to Blackhawks struggles lately.

NHL Power Rankings: Teams projections from 25th on up…

25. Chicago Blackhawks: 33 wins, 73 points

NHL Chicago BlackhawksAfter missing the playoffs for the first time in what has felt like forever the Blackhawks really opened the eyes of NHL fans not in a good way though. Could the end of era be coming to an end? With Duncan Keith aging, Jonathan Toews not having that same jump to his game and Patrick Kane not having his counter part Artem Panarin, what is going on in Chicago? The Blackhawks struggled immensely on the backend, especially with Corey Crawford sidelined for a majority of the season, there was not much traction in Chicago. Brandon Saad is looking to be a terrible trade, Patrick Sharp is on his way out and it just seems the Blackhawks are too thin at the defensive position and lacking solid forward depth. They will be relying on Saad and Toews to climb out of their slumps, Alex Debrincat and Nick Schmaltz to be the two gunslingers along with the Patty Kane and rookie Dylan Sikura will get his shot at the professional level. I think the Blackhawks again finish outside the playoff race, a few games under .500 and with some major changes coming.

Key transactions: Brandon Manning, Chris Kunitz…

24. Carolina Hurricanes: 33 wins, 75 points

If anything the Hurricanes took a big step back this offseason, they took two step forwards to take a big step back. While the acquisition of Dougie Hamilton is great, the departure of Jeff Skinner hurts them a ton. They now have Martin Necas as their number two center, two rookies along side Sebastian Aho and not a ton of bottom six depth. They did add Calvin De Haan but he is not a deal break by any means. They will be asking Haydn Fleury and Brett Pesce to play a few more minutes and ultimately their goaltending is still a question mark. If anything the Hurricanes finish worse next season not better. A lot of pressure will sit on the shoulders of rookies Andrei Svechnikov and Valentin Zykov, and now third-year forward Aho. They Hurricanes may have a similar skill set compared to last year but it will be a different outlook for these Carolina players. I would guess a last place or 7th place Metropolitan finish, possibly a game under .500 or five games under .500.

Key transactions: Calvin De Haan, Michael Ferland, Andrei Svechnikov, Petr Mrazek…

23. New York Rangers: 37 wins, 77 points 

NHL New York RangersThe Rangers may not be expecting a better year than last year, and not many will be surprised by another missed playoff chance for the Rangers. But the Rangers are in a little bit of rebuild, they had some terrible offensive production last season and their blueline was very thin, as they had 3 rookies or defenseman with 50 games fewer NHL experience playing a lot of minutes. The Rangers did not add anything this offseason but with this will come more time for Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil the Rangers first round selections in 2017 to see more ice time. We will see a lot of young prospects making their appearances this season as the Rangers have a magnitude of youth waiting for their shot. The upside to the Rangers poor placing is a solid first round pick again and a new coach. As the Rangers will be running with Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Pavel Buchnevich, Lias Andersson, Mats Zuccarello and Vladislav Namestikov as their top six, there could be bright spots but in the end this top six does not rank up too well against other teams top six’s. I’d say a 6th place Metropolitan division finish is realistic for the Rangers.

Key transactions: K’Andre Miller, Vitali Kravstov, Nils Lundkvist

22. Edmonton Oilers: 37 wins, 79 points 

The Oilers have come out and said that they are going to be better than last year but what has shown that to be true thus far? They added, Tobias Rieder, besides that their team is the same exact team as last year. Is Ryan Strome magically going to come out of his shell? Is Milan Lucic going to come back to his old form? Is Connor McDavid going to put up 120 points to make this a playoff team. Is their defense going to stay healthy and actually be a productive, reliable back end? Is Cam Talbot ready for another 60 plus starts, fatiguing the goalie more than he already is? A lot of what if’s and question marks in Edmonton. Too many to consider them to be a playoff team or even better than last year, they got the hot hand in 2016-17 and ran with it, came back down to earth and are right where they belong. Until they add some more forward depth, and someone besides Strome and Ty Rattie to play alongside Connor McDavid it will be a long year for Edmonton. Another missed playoff year and basement finish in the Pacific division for Edmonton. Sorry Edmonton but McDavid is not literally McJesus and rising this team to the top all on his own.

Key transactions:

21. Buffalo Sabres: 39 wins, 83 points

Carter Hutton Buffalo SabresThe Sabres are moving up a lot here, yes hear me out though. Very short and simple. Jack Eichel has years under his belt now, Rasmus Dahlin is projected to be an Erik Karlsson esq defenseman, Rasmus Ristolanen is already a top-30 defenseman, they added a 30-goal scorer in Jeff Skinner, Sam Reinhart is coming off a year, Skinner-Eichel-Reinhart are going to be a thing to watch, a very underrated line one. Casey Mittlestadt is making his transition into the NHL, after a strong World Juniors showing this kid looks ready. They added a ton of depth and veteran leadership in Patrik Berglund, and Matt Hunwick. Vladimir Sobotka and Conor Sheary will be solid bottom six players as well they have another top projected prospect in Tage Thompson. Carter Hutton has a chance to steal the show and prove his #1 goaltending worth, he showed it in St. Louis for flashes he can do it but consistency will be key. If Hutton pans out and the Sabres keep a healthy blue line, they should be a much better team. I’d say a 5th place Atlantic division finish is my guess.

Key transactions: Conor Sheary, Matt Hunwich, Patrik Berglund, Rasmus Dahlin, Tage Thompson, Carter Hutton, Vladimir Sobotka, Jeff Skinner

 

Winners and Losers of Free Agency Day 1

Colorado Avalanche: The Avalanche signed Matt Calvert to a 3 year 2.8 mil and Ian Cole 3 years 4.25 mil. They lost Blake Comeau, Nail Yaukupov and Jonathan Brenier at the moment. The Avalanche added a lot more than they lost. Calvert may not be a superstar but at 28 years old with the ability to produce around 30 plus points a season is a solid addition. He also helps a ton with depth and brings a solid physical and gritty presence. Ian Cole being added to the blue line is big, a Stanley Cup champ and a player that helps mold and mentor some of those young defenseman on Colorado is big. Cole is a solid number five defenseman, played major minutes in Pittsburgh when they dealt with their blue line injuries, he’s proven to be durable and a guy you know what you are going to get.

St. Louis Blues: Tyler Bozak 3 years 5 mil AAV, David Perron 4 years 4 mil AAV and Ryan O’Reilly in a recent trade. The Blues did in fact let go of one of their best prospects in Tage Thompson, a hopeful top six forward in Vladimir Sobotka and a solid forward Patrick Berglund plus a 1st and 2nd round pick. The Blues did give in a lot but they are clearly going all in. With the addition of O’Reilly, Perron and Bozak the Blues top six(if everyone is healthy) is now… Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, Brayden Schenn, Bozak, O’Reilly, Perron. I mean that is solid in itself plus the fact you still have Robby Fabbri and Alexander Steen in the mix to make that forward group of 8 that deep is very, very good. A bit much on the Bozak contract a bit much on the O’Reilly trade but still the Blues improved significantly.

Arizona Coyotes: Coyotes lock up Oliver Ekman Larsson to an 8 year, 8 mil contract add depth and speed in Michael Grabner for 3 years 3.5 mil AAV. The Coyotes now have Alex Galchenyuk, Derek Stepan,  Clayton Keller, Christian Dvorak, Richard Panik, Dylan Strome and Grabner. Nothing crazy but hell of a lot better than what they had in the past. They made the right moves, and locked in their two top defenseman in Hjarmlsson and OEL, which is big while also adding Grabner is a very solid first day.

Chicago Blackhawks: Adding Cam Ward for when Corey Crawford is out or needs a break is huge. Brandon Manning may not be the best defenseman but anything on the back end is better than what the Blackhawks had last year. Chris Kunitz may be a fourth line addition but with the aging core, and younger players coming in the league, Kunitz is a very solid veteran to have on the team.

Philadelphia Flyers: Adding James Van Reimsydk the New Jersey native back to their roster is big. JVR spent his early days of his career in Philly, and now he is reunited with Cladue Giroux. JVR spent 3 seasons in Philadelphia totaling 99 points in 196 games. JVR was a 1st round, 2nd overall pick by the Flyers in 2007, now the Middletown, New Jersey native gets to head back home to win back Flyer fans once again.

Losers: 

New York Islanders have to be clear losers after day one, with losing John Tavares and adding Vlatteri Filppula and Leo Komarov as well as signing back Tomas Hickey, the Islanders faced their low point this free agency. But look at the positive, Matt Barzal is a stud, you got rid of Jaroslav Halak, Garth Snow is gone and you have Bary Trotz and Lou Lamiorello doing the business now. Plus your first round picks in 2018 are going to(hopefully) be great. Oliver Wahlstrom and Noah Dobson now have a ton of pressure on them even more without John Tavares there. Islanders grade with two small additions, losing Halak, adding Hickey back, I’d say a solid B-.

New Jersey Devils clear losers after losing John Moore and only adding Eric Gryba is a very bad move. John Moore their captain, and veteran defenseman and only Gryba who may not even make the team is a terrible decision on the Devils part. A big blow on the Devils management, it is not a HUGE loss but when you lose a veteran defenseman like that in the locker room to help the Devils young guys is the biggest lose. Solid F by the Devils.