NHL Awards: Norris Trophy 2019

Mark Giordano Should 100 Percent Win The Norris Trophy This Season

I know your thoughts after reading this title are probably either, (1) I am a moron or (2) you think I am going some where with this. Hear me out, I am not saying he is going to win the Norris trophy as in he is a shoe-in and no one else compares but, what I am saying is that he should win it.

Taking a look at the other candidates and top defenseman in the NHL at the moment they are all in their mid-late twenties or early thirties and then there is Mark Giordano who is 35-years-old, a 14-year veteran and still producing at same rate as a mid-twenty year old.

Giordano is having one of the best seasons of his career, he is on pace to well exceed his 2015-16 when he had 21 goals and 56 points in 82 games. Giordano has 52 points in 49 games (1.06 points per game), leads all defenseman in plus/minus (+29), second in assists (41) among all defenseman, tied third among all defenseman in goals (11), second in points (52), tied sixth in power play points (18), and 13th in time on ice among defenseman with 24:45.

Aside from all the “important” statistics that essentially decides the Norris trophy winner, what Giordano brings to the Flames in terms of leadership and experience has made them the team they are and a reason the Flames are currently 1st in their division and one of the best NHL teams right now.

Intangibly speaking Giordano has it all, a great leader, a great role model on and off the ice, plays the game well, never gets in trouble, leads the Flames back end year after year as well as the whole Flames team in general. Giordano has the full package and not to say the other defenseman like Brent Burns, John Carlson and Kris Letang don’t but Giordano is a 35-year-old defenseman playing like he is twenty years old still. With how quickly this game is changing in terms of speed and style of play, the fact Giordano can still dominate the blue line and be a top three defenseman in the NHL towards the end of his career and closer to 40-years-old then 30, is remarkable.

Get this one right NHL, if Giordano continues this pace and is a top-three defenseman at the end of the season. Do the right thing, make the right choice and pick your 2018-19 Norris Trophy winner to be Mark Giordano.


NHL Norris Trophy Race 2018-19

The NHL Norris trophy race

The Norris trophy race can be discussed now correct? We are about 30 games into the year, the All-Star break is coming and this is a perfect time to talk about the current race. We have seen a good sample size of 30 some odd games and it is getting to that  point in the year where we need to talk about it.

The Norris trophy has been flooded with Drew Doughty, Victor Hedman, Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns over the last several years. This year it is different, which is great to see, and the most surprising of the players leading the Norris race right now is Thomas Cabot.

Thomas Chabot, the 21-year-old defenseman in Ottawa is taking this race by storm. Chabot is not just the only defenseman in Ottawa who can play both sides really but the reason he needs to seriously be considered because look what team he is on! Ottawa is a struggling team, bottom of the league and it is not like he has much talent with him. Especially on the blue line Chabot has Ben Harpur (?) Maxime Lajoie and Cody Ceci so the fact this kid has 8 goals, 25 assists and 33 points in 31 games is unbelievable, plus he has just 9 power play points the fewest of all the top Norris candidates. Chabot is second among defenseman in assists, first in points, 20th in time on ice if he continues this production come June we may see our Norris winner.

Next up is John Carlson, a defenseman who got snubbed last year, not even being considered for the Norris continues his tear. Coming off a Stanley Cup season and the best year in his career. Carlson has not slowed down. On the year Carlson has 5 goals and 25 assists, 30 points in 28 games with 14 power play points averaging 25 minutes per game on the ice. Carlson has Ovechkin, Kuznestov and a solid team around him to help him collect apples. Sure feeding Ovechkin is not hard but he does a lot more than just feed Ovechkin. He is the anchor on the Capitals back end, a clear number one defenseman on the team, in conversation as a top-10 defenseman in the league and not only plays offensively sound but defensively he is just as good. I hope at some point when he collects another 65+ point year he gets some recognition for it. Carlson tallied 68 points last season he has 30 through 28 games therefore he is on pace to exceed his last year total by a wide margin.

NHL Norris Trophy race 2018-19
Morgan Reilly is among the top Norris Trophy candidates with 32 points in 30 games this season.

Morgan Reilly, there is enormous pressure on Reilly the assistant captain, the need for a number one defenseman in Toronto, the fans pressure in Toronto is probably indescribable so for that fact alone. Reilly needs to be in the discussion. Reilly came out of the gate flying this year, he has slowed down a bit but that does not takeaway from the fact that he has 32 points in 30 games with 9 goals and 23 assists. Reilly second among all defenseman with 9 goals, 5th among all defenseman in assists, second in points and 5th with power play points (12). Reilly has been a pretty consistent defenseman in Toronto coming off a 52 point year, his best in his career, he is on pace to well exceed that. Reilly is not a house hold name at this point but if he continues down this road and does not win this year, he will eventually walk away from his NHL career with one Norris trophy.

Mark Giordano, another player who has put in his dues, his time in the NHL and has finally come in the discussion for the Norris. Giordano is more known for his defensively sound game, being a shutdown defenseman who makes a great first pass and step out the zone. As the Flames offense evolves and Giordano continues to step into a big leadership role and his game offensively has soared this year. Giordano has 20 points in 29 games, 3 goals and 26 assists on the year. He leads all defenseman in assists, 9th in power play points (10), 4th in plus/minus (+16) and a clear impact on the Flames success this year. Giordano may be known for his charity work and defensive play but he has stepped into a bigger role this year that has propelled him into the Norris talk.

Keith Yandle, a offensive-defenseman a clear Norris candidate and a HUGE part to the Panthers power play and offensive success. Yandle has 28 points in 28 games, 5 goals and 23 assists. He leads all defenseman in power play points with 19, tied for the lead in power play goals (4) and 5th among all defenseman in assists. Another defenseman who has put his time in and has been a consistent power play specialists as well as offensive force on the back end. Yandle has had some concerns about his defensive game but he plays a solid defensive game and even if he doesn’t his offense makes up for it. Yandle’s best year in his 13-year career came in 2010-2011 where he tallied 59 points (11G, 48A) he is also coming off a 56 point year in 2017-18 (8G, 48A) as of now Yandle is expected to exceed his best year if he continues on this pace he could end the year with 82 points, unlikely but Yandle can easily be a 60 point player this year.

NHL Free Agents 2018

Recent free agent signings…NOT NAMED TAVARES

JT Miller: Got PAID. Miller was sent to Tampa Bay at the deadline with the McDonagh package and since going there enjoyed a quite successful run with the Lightning super stars. Miller tallied 18 points in 19 games and 8 points in 16 playoff games. Miller was drafted in the 1st round, 15th overall in 2011, emerging in the league around the 2015-16 season. Miller did play some time on the Rangers roster during 2012-14 but did not play full time. From 2015 to the present Miller has collected 157 points in 246 games, being around the 50 point mark per season. Miller signed a 5-year $5.25 AAV deal (26.25 cap hit).

John Carlson: We all thought Carlson was going to be the John Tavares 2.0 this offseason but luckily Washington fans can relax unlike Islanders fans. Carlson lead all defenseman in points and tallied 68 points in 82 games (53 assists) this year marking his best year since coming into the league. Carlson drafted in 2008, 27th overall by the Capitals has spent the last 9 years in Washington. Playing under the shadow of Mike Green and then Kevin Shattenkirk, Carlson was finally able to take over the ranks on the power play and number one d-man role and earned himself a 8-year $8 mil per year deal. Carlson has tallied 327 points in 586 games since 2010.

Michael Kempny: Recently signed with Washington for a 4-year 2.5 mil AAV contract($10 million cap hit). Kempny was sent over to Washington at the trade deadline. He spent 81 games with the Blackhawks between 2016-2018, coming out as an undrafted free agent from the Czech Republic, Kempny for sure earns a solid paycheck. Being that he was in the KHL three years ago, with no thoughts of the NHL probably.

Jean-Sebastien Dea: Another undrafted free agent, the notorious Penguins and their undrafted free agent signings. For all we know Dea will probably produce 80 points this season now. But anyways Dea only signed a one year $650,000 deal. Dea has spent the last six seasons with the Penguins AHL team (Wilks-Barre Scranton), tallying 141 points in 262 games.

Phillip Di Giuseppe: Carolina recently resigned him to a 1 year $750,000. Di Giuseppe was drafted in 2012 in the second round by Carolina, and has spent the last 3 years going up and down from the AHL to the NHL. Di Giuseppe has played in 216 games and has yet to play a full season with Carolina (82 games).

Other notable signings

Bryan Rust- Penguins, 4 years $3.5 mil per year (AAV)

Joe Morrow- Winnipeg, 1 year $1 mil AAV

Martin Frk (1 year $1.05 mil) Tyler Bertuzzi (2 years. 2.8 mil AAV) both resigned by Detroit. 

Stephen Johns- Dallas, 2 years $3.25 mil AAV

Phillip Grubauer- Colorado, 3 years, $3.33 mil AAV

Chris Weidman- Ottawa, 1 year $1 mil AAV

NHL News

NEWS NEWS NEWS: Neal, Perron to not re-sign with Vegas, Nash wants back in Columbus, Tavares top suitors, Orpik bought out? Carlson gets PAID

Holy news, totally not a clickbaity title right? Anyways there has been a lot to transpire over the last 24 hours. Let’s get right into it.

Tavares top 5 teams 

John Tavares said he will be using this time to talk to other teams. Of those teams, he has narrowed it down to five teams that he could possibly sign with in the next week or so. Tavares has eliminated Montreal and Vegas. Honestly, thank god. I don’t think we would have been able to deal with Montreal fans throwing this in our face, or ruining Tavares career he does not deserve that and Vegas would have been contenders again, that would have been fun. As of now, Tavares has the Islanders, Maple Leafs, Sharks, Stars and Bruins as his top teams to sign with. I still think Tavares re-signs with the Islanders. He only used this period to see what other teams had to offer, and what teams would, in fact, offer him a deal. Well, now he has five teams and we all can sit here and make assumptions and articles like “Why Tavares will sign with ___ ” or “The best fit for Tavares is ____ “. You don’t know what his best fit is or where he is going please stop.

James Neal and David Perron out in Vegas?

James Neal and David Perron have not initially ruled out Vegas but they said they are intending to re-sign with the Golden Knights. Neal recorded 25 goals and 44 points in 71 games for the Golden Knights and 11 points in 20 playoff games, while Perron is coming off his best year in his career with 50 assists and 66 points in 70 games and 9 points in 15 playoff games. If the Golden Knights were to not resign the two they would be losing one of their top 3 forwards, a top 6 forward and a combined 104 points. Where the two will end up, we will hear more on. This does not mean they won’t return but like most free agents and middle-aged players, they are looking for the team that will offer them the highest contract offer as well as a team that they will be making a top 6 contribution too. Plus Vegas probably has yet to offer them contracts because they are waiting on these big free agents like Tavares and others to make a move so then they can move forward and make an offer. These two are not completely ruled out but it seems they may not be with Vegas again next season.

Rick Nash wants back in Columbus…

Rick Nash wants back in Columbus? The 34-year-old winger who has spent the majority of his career in Columbus and New York before being shipped to Boston at the trade deadline will not be returning to Boston and with that, he has looked elsewhere. During his 11 games with Boston he scored 6 points and during the 2017-18 season, he combined for 34 points in 71 games. In the playoffs he tallied 5 points in 12 games. Nash is coming off one of the worst years of his career and being a middle-aged winger in a game that is changing it may not be so easy to find himself a top-six role anymore.

Well, it seems as if Nash wants to make a return back to Columbus, I am assuming it is to play out his last few years with the team that drafted him and where he was the most successful in his career. Nash was drafted by Columbus in 2002 first round first overall. Spending 9 years in Columbus until he came over to the Rangers in 2012. Nash tallied 547 points in 647 games with Columbus scoring 289 goals and 258 assists, Nash was by far living his glory days in Columbus. Coming to New York and spending 6 years with the Blueshirts, Nash had one 60 plus point and 30 plus goal season in New York compared to his seven 30 plus goal years in Columbus. Nash recorded 252 points in 375 games (145 G, 107 A) in New York. During his career, he has tallied 805 points in 1060 games(437 G, 368 A).

The 34-year-old is eyeing retirement and clearly wants to go back to the team and city that he spent some of his best years in. Until further notice, right now Boston is out on Nash and Nash wants back in Columbus, not much has been said from Columbus end.

Orpik out in Colorado and John Carlson re-signed in Washington…

Brooks Orpik has been bought out by the Avalanche. After getting traded over to the Avalanche just a few days ago the 37-year-old defenseman has a wide open door of what he could do now. As many teams could use his veteran presence on the blue line. What this means for the Avalanche is that they will lose 2.5 mils in cap space this season and 1.1 mils in cap space next season. The Avalanche just opened the door for the Capitals to bring back their Stanley Cup-winning defenseman. As Washington finalized a deal with Carlson for 8-years worth an AAV of 8 million a year a cap hit of $64 million and $28 million coming in signing bonuses. The only piece the Capitals have lost so far is their head coach. Bringing back a veteran defenseman like Orpik could be huge for this team to get things back together in the locker room without the presence of Barry Trotz.

NHL News

Oilers actively shopping Milan Lucic, after Lucic says he wants a “fresh start”, John Carlson future with Capitals,

The Edmonton Oilers and Milan Lucic are officially splitting up, as Lucic has announced he would like a fresh start and the Oilers have already mentioned trading away the 30-year-old winger. Lucic spent two seasons with Edmonton but is signed until 2022-23, at an AAV of 6 mil which means he will be owed 30 million from Edmonton if they cannot find a team to take on his whole or some of his salary. Lucic tallied 50 points in 82 games during his first year, nothing expectational but it was enough to give Lucic a full-time job in Edmonton and a role in the top six.

This season(2017-18) Lucic had one of his worst years since his rookie year in 2007-08 as he tallied 34 points and a career-low 10 goals in 82 games. Clearly, the lack of production in Lucic showed in Edmonton’s offense as they ranked 20th in the NHL with 220 goals for. The Oilers had a down year after making the playoffs and winning their first playoff series in 10 years. With the Oilers eyes set back on the playoffs clearly, they feel as if Lucic is a piece they need to move. And Lucic feels as if he has not fit well with Edmonton. The 30-year-old power forward who has made a living off being an agitator, scoring powerplay goals and being a heavy presence on the front end, shifted away from that identity this year and wants a “fresh start”. Where could Lucic land? Who knows, right now this information is somewhat fresh therefore when the wheels really get moving on this, which will be soon we will find out more teams interested in Lucic.

John Carlson free agency watch

John Carlson as we all know becomes a UFA this summer, on July 1st. What could the Capitals be looking to give him, well… After leading all defenseman with 68 points in the regular season and the playoffs with 20 points, Carlson has surely made a statement about how much he believes he deserves. He is coming off a 3.96 AAV contract and will be turning 29 in the middle of the year, this time frame is usually the age where players get signed to long-term deals especially a player like Carlson and being the #1 defenseman in Washington now at this time the Capitals or any team will be looking to sign Carlson to a long-term deal. Carlson has expressed that he wants to stay with Washington and this is his home but there is more to it than that.

Carlson will be looking to make about 7.5 mil at the least to 9 mil the most on whatever team he goes to. Washington to meet that offer is tough as they have 11 mil cap space to work with and have to resign Tom Wilson, Alex Chaisson, Devante Smith Pelley, Michael Kempny, Jay Beagle, and Madison Bowey, now clearly all these players will not be resigned but Carlson per say does receive 8 mil per year that leaves the Capitals with 3 mil to sign back 6 players while also keeping in mind that Jakub Vrana, Andre Burakovsky, and Brooks Orpik’s contract are up at the end of next season. Carlson is clearly looking to get what he deserves and will go to the team that will offer what he wants obviously keeping the Capitals in mind but it is obvious that Carlson is not going to shy away from talking to other teams if the Capitals cannot meet his desired AAV. We have about 3 weeks until July 1st so the Capitals better get off the Stanley Cup tirade and get to work on signing back Carlson… until then we wait and see what happens.


NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

Washington Capitals vs Tampa Bay Lightning: Eastern Conference Finals

This is a matchup we have seen in the playoffs only two times, 2002 and 2011, the Lightning holds the series advantage 6-2. In 2002 they beat Washington in the first round 4-2, in 2011 they beat Washington 4-0 in the second round. The good thing about hockey is as much as those numbers play a factor, they essentially mean nothing. In 2002 no active player is still on either team to this day and in 2011, the only two players who remain on the Lightning roster still to this day are Stamkos and Hedman, I am going to have to guess they barely remember that series.

Who has the edge here though this year? Let’s break down each aspect of the game.


Tampa Bay: The Lightning have a very deep top nine, one of the best in the league and every player on this roster is capable of scoring and chipping in some way. Their leading scorer is Nikita Kucherov with 12 points, next up is Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos with 10. Ondrej Palat(8), JT Miller(7), Alex Killron(6), Yanni Gourde(6), Tyler Johnson(5). They have a list of players who can score every night, as we saw with Boston. When the lines look a little like, Kucherov-Stamkos-Miller, Point-Palat-Johnson and still have Killron, Gourde on the next two it is going to be a handful for the Capitals.

Washington: As we all know, the Capitals run through two guys a lot, Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, their two top scorers and guys that have been their fuel all playoffs. Their leading scorer is Ovechkin with 15 points and Kuzy with 14, despite Backstrom being out one game, game six he also is a point per game player with 13 points in 11 games. Throw in an all-around forward in TJ Oshie(8) and a defensive forward in Lars Eller(7) the Capitals will rely heavily on these guys like Oshie and Eller to chip in a bit more and take some pressure off Ovechkin and Kuznetsov. Welcoming back Tom Wilson will give them that edge as well, with the Lightning, have Coburn, Hedman, Callahan as their guys who like to throw the weight around, Wilson will match any Lightning and bring that physical presence each day.

Winner: Lightning on pure depth and versatility. Any line can chip and every line has a ton of speed plus their fourth line has been causing havoc every shift they are out there. A good fourth line makes a championship team.


Tampa Bay: With Norris trophy winner Victor Hedman leading the backend, with the help of Anton Stralman, Ryan McDonagh, Mikhail Sergachev and Dan Girardi. The Lightning have a very deep, versatile defense as well. In McDonagh you can get both offense and defense(offensive defenseman), Girardi you know a solid 16+ minutes a game playing a fairly solid defensive game and Stralman playing a very solid 18+ minutes shut down style. With Sergachev and Hedman leading the rush on the backend, they have a ton of tools who can get do it all.

Washington: John Carlson through and through has been the most underrated defenseman this whole season, logging major minutes this postseason, producing 11 points, 3 goals and 8 assists in 12 games behind all defenseman by one point for the defenseman lead in the playoffs. With Matt Niskanen and Dimitry Orlov who have played a very solid shut down game with the Penguins and their top guys and the old veteran-like Brooks Orpik doing the same thing as Girardi in a sense. With two very inexperienced and young defenseman in Christian Djoos and Michale Kempny, the Capitals have seen these two young men, grow exceptionally well this playoff run and not make any MAJOR mistakes. A simple game that has been working well for them.

Winner: Lightning, too much depth and tools on that backend that supplement their offense so well.


Tampa Bay: Andrei Vasalivskiy is up for a Vezina trophy and has been very solid and consistent this year for the Lightning. Someone who has really risen to the ranks of a starting role and has given the Lightning the confidence they need, making the saves he needs to when he needs to. Just in the Boston series, he allowed 12 goals in 5 games and 5 of those goals came in game one. He ranks third among active goalies in save percentage(.927) and third in goals against 2.20. This is a tough one because Vasilevskiy has had his team played very well in front of him, but has still been a part of their success in a big way.

Washington: Braden Holtby once a Vezina winner, but after one of his worst years as a starter, coming into the playoffs the Capitals went with Phillip Grubauer after that failed and the Capitals lost their first two games. They gave the torch back to Holtby who has been lights out for them with an 8-2 record, one coming in overtime in game two. Ranking second in goals against with a 2.04 and fourth in save percentage(.926). Holtby has allowed 23 goals compared to Vasilevskiy’s 22 this postseason and their numbers are very similar.

Winner: Capitals, experience-wise, I think we see Holtby elevate his game and play big on this stage that he has never been to before. They are very similar in numbers as far GAA, SV % and goals allowed but I think Holtby is going to be again the big difference maker for the Capitals and rise to the big stage when they need him most.

Series winner: I see the Lightning taking this series in 7, the home ice will play a major role and their offense is just too much to stop right now. With Point, Palat and Gourde all having great series thus far, along with a solid fourth line and Stamkos and Kucherov being relatively quiet that second round, the Lightning’s top guys will come to play and give them the edge here.