Tag: Kevin Hayes

Western Conference Winners & Losers At The NHL Trade Deadline

The Western Conference has better overall teams right now but they usually are the division that beats the hell out of each other and the Eastern Conference team takes advantage of that. The West this season have four of the 10 top teams in the NHL. All these teams are just trying to one-up each other and a lot of trades occurred within this conference. Almost all of them.

Winners: 

  1. Nashville Predators: A very big day for the Predators, they added the perfect model for playoff hockey and a great third line, second line winger, power play guy in Wayne Simmonds. As well add some a solid two-way forward in Mikael Granlund who will come in and play on the second line right away. The Predators bolster that offensive front end even more now. With the additions of Simmonds, Granlund and Boyle the Predators seem like the Blue Jackets of the West. The Predators are really one piece away from a Cup. They have the best back end in hockey, a solid goaltender and now a very deep front end. I would be shocked not to see this team deep in the playoffs.
  2. Winnipeg Jets: Adding more forward depth in Kevin Hayes immediately makes the Jets a stronger team. With the addition of Hayes it allows for now three producing forward lines. The Jets nine look like, Wheeler, Scheifele, Connor, Hayes, Laine, Ehlers, Little, Perreault and Roslovic cannot be disappointed in that front nine. The Jets are a very good team and are going to find their stride here soon but also the addition of Nathan Beulieu and Matt Hendricks add some depth that will be needed come playoff time.
  3. Vegas Golden Knights: Anytime you add a 30-goal scorer you immediately are a winner and that is what Vegas did. They win the Stone sweepstakes and now make their top-nine very dangerous. Pairing Stone on that first line with William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault will be interesting to watch. Which also means that Riley Smith moves to the third line and Cody Eakin and Brandon Pirri, Smith third line is pretty solid. Could have used a minor defenseman move but the Knights add a very good playoff player and an overall great teammate and competitor in Stone that is going to make this team a lot better.
  4. San Jose Sharks: Adding Gustav Nyquist is very big. Nyquist is a veteran forward who can play top-six minutes, power play and is a great play maker. Pairing him with Joe Thornton and Kevin LeBlanc will pay off but Nyquist gets paired with a goal scorer like Kane, Couture, Hertl or Pavelski it could be big for the Sharks. A great move by the Sharks to add Nyquist a guy in his prime time, loads of experience and a versatile player come this push for the playoffs. This will be a trade we look back on and say really helped improve the Sharks roster the 2019 playoff run.

Losers: 

Calgary Flames: After you miss the playoffs and then bounce back and have this year, the Flames should of done something. They added a depth defenseman but that is not going to be the make or break between winning a playoff series vs Winnipeg or Nashville. The Flames are good young team that probably did not want to ruin the chemistry but still adding some depth on the front end would have been big. Adding Kevin Hayes would have been really big, Hayes and Gaudreau have such a chemistry too that you would think it would have been easier to land Hayes. For a team that turned it around like this and did nothing is a little disappointing.

Chicago Blackhawks: Could use a defenseman or bottom-six forward. The team is being held together by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane they will not be able to carry this team for the rest of the season. Perhaps Bowman figured they were a done deal and did not want to risk any assets but the Blackhawks missing the playoffs this season never looks good. I just deem them as losers because they have been playing very well these last few months and could possibly make a playoff push too.

Edmonton Oilers: If you are an Oilers fan this has to be a sign that the GM has thrown in the white flag and just waiting for the off-season. Sure they are a done deal right now but with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on that roster it is tough to see them consistently miss the playoffs and they have not done anything to make this team better or help these superstars in Edmonton out. Very bad showing by Edmonton.

 

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NHL Trade Deadline News: Weal to Montreal, Hayes to Winnipeg, McQuaid to Columbus, Brassard to Colorado

As the Trade deadline nears in on its final hours here is what we have seen in the last three hours.

Kevin Hayes was sent to Winnipeg for Brendan Lemieux, a 1st rounder and conditional pick (4th rounder if Jets win Stanley Cup)

Montreal acquired some depth down the middle. Jordan Weal the former Flyer who was sent to Arizona this season has now landed in Montreal. Montreal traded away Michael Chaput for Weal. Weal

Adam McQuaid was just sent to Columbus for a 4th and 7th rounder. McQuaid was a former Bruin until he made his way to New York. Now Columbus has been apart of three deals within the last 48 hours.

Brassard, the veteran center provides some depth down the middle and up front to a team that struggles with forward depth. The Colorado Avalanche acquire Brassard for a 2020 3rd round pick.

New York Rangers Should Trade Pavel Buchnevich, Adam McQuaid & Mats Zuccarello And Keep Kevin Hayes

The Rangers have about three weeks and 28 days to figure out what they are going to do with Adam McQuaid, Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello and Pavel Buchnevich. The news has told us that the Rangers are going to trade Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello and probably Adam McQuaid. Which really hurts most if not all long-time Rangers fan Zuccarello has been a fan favorite for so many years in New York and Kevin Hayes is becoming a fan favorite as he continues to be a more integral part of this team.

The headline may show that I would like to see Buchnevich and Zuccarello traded over Hayes but in all honesty I would like to see Zuccarello stay but I do understand this is a business and decisions need to be made. I am all in favor of getting rid of Buchnevich though. He is an RFA at the end of his entry-level contract he would cost very little to re-sign for most teams and the Rangers really do not need him.

Mats Zuccarello is 31-years-old yes he is definitely nearing his mid-thirties and we are all aware of that, he is valuable to any top contending playoff team so it makes sense to get rid of him, it sucks to see but it makes sense. The Rangers can probably receive a decent amount for Zuccarello, probably a first rounder and mid-level prospect.

Now, my case to get rid of Buchnevich and keep Hayes. Hayes is 26-years-old he has already gone through his years of “adjusting” to the NHL speed, level, style of play and has solidified himself as a top-six forward in the NHL. If the Rangers are looking to the future why would they not want to keep Hayes? He is the perfect age, in his prime, and for young players that are going to be coming into the Rangers organization by the time they develop and get adjusted to the NHL game Hayes will probably be 29-30 years old, which is again a great age to help teach these young players, be a play-maker for these young guys, and if Hayes re-signs his contract will probably end by the age of 31-32 so we get his best years out if him then he moves on.

Let’s be honest Buchnevich has not panned out to be anything the Rangers imagined, he has been a healthy scratch this year, and previous years and has not quite adjusted to the NHL level yet, therefore why would they continue to give this guy a shot, sign him back and get nothing out of him when they can probably trade him get a 2nd or 3rd round pick and move on from that situation. Buchnevich has played one full season with the Rangers and aside from his 43 point season last year he has been extremely inconsistent when he is in the line up. I know I am not the only one who believes this about Buchnevich but the 23-year-old has not been what the Rangers expected him to be, he may still be developing but I’d rather not take a shot on Buchnevich when the Rangers already have a solidified solid 45-50+ point guy in Kevin Hayes. Trading Hayes may be “best” for the re-build but the Rangers have already chosen five first rounders in the last two years, they have another one this year, two second rounders (maybe a 1st this year if Tampa wins the Cup) so really how much can the Rangers bank on draft picks to make them a legitimate playoff team again.

Call me crazy but I’d rather have a guaranteed top-six winger/center, someone who can be effective with whoever he plays, is a leader, veteran and a good player for young players to play alongside then a player who is 23-years-ole, someone we have a 147 game report on that shows some major flaws and inconsistency in his game, can only play with top guys to be effective and is a question mark as to what he can be int he future.

Say the Rangers trade Zuccarello, Buchnevich, McQuaid, don’t re-sign Cody McLeod or Fredrik Claesson that will leave 9.62 million to re-sign Hayes, Pionk and Deangelo.

New York Rangers David Quinn’s Report Card

The New York Rangers are coming off a rough three-game stretch, all three games coming on the road and all resulting in a lose. The Rangers most recent road trip does not do David Quinn much justice, therefore looking past these three games but still considering them to some extent. Here is my take on the Rangers new head coach report card up until this point.

The Rangers entered this season with very little, to no intention on making playoffs. I’m sure there was still that one fan named Antonio from Brooklyn, New York who grew up a die hard Ranger fan that still believed the Rangers had a chance of making the playoffs this season. Sorry, Antonio but the Rangers are not going to be a playoff team for a little while. Quinn came into the Rangers organization for a few reasons (1) to help develop young players, he did a great job with players at Boston University (Jack Eichel, Charlie McAvoy..) (2) The Rangers were heading into a new direction, a younger more patient, looking to the future direction. Which made Quinn perfect role for this job. (3) They needed a new face, some new ideas, a shake up from a coach who never coached professional hockey, someone who can come in and brought new philosophies, attitude and certainly a new voice to that locker room.

I am not sure many thought Quinn would 17-18-7 with 41 points and 6th in the Metropolitan division. The Rangers were regarded as a team destined to finish last in the division and near 28th to 31st in the NHL. For that reason alone Quinn has, in my eyes exceeded my expectations for the first four months of the season. I cannot speak for every Ranger fan, I am a little less biased and realistic than most Ranger fans therefore the Dancing Larry type Ranger fans probably will disagree with me. Either way looking at three main key takeaways from Quinn’s first four months and 42 games in.

(1) Youth development: B- 

Speaking for myself I’d have to give him a B- in this area. In the beginning of the year it was frustrating to see Filip Chytil on the fourth line for many games. Pavel Buchnevich scratched, not many young defenseman on the roster and still playing Brendan Smith. Vinni Lettieri still in the minors, a glimpse of Lias Andersson, a cup of coffee for Steven Forgarty, no sign of John Gilmour, Rob O’Gara, Ryan Lindgren yet. We have seen Neal Pionk be the Rangers number one defenseman which is due to Quinn trusting the young defenseman in every situation, no matter the game, time, etc. I say a B- because while he did a decent job with Chytil and Buch it was the right move at the time. Buchnevich has not been the player we all expected him to be, he was struggling early on and still is therefore he probably deserved less minutes. Also not playing Chytil a lot early on has helped him see the game a little better. As well O’Gara, Gilmour will and hopefully be up very soon… and unpopular opinion. Either Quinn was not playing Andersson correctly or Andersson really is going to be a bust. My opinion, Rangers wasted that first overall pick in 2017.

(2) Game Management: B

I do like the way Quinn manages the lines and game honestly. Although he does change the lines a decent amount throughout the game and mixes guys up a lot, I think he is still trying to see what works. Plus he does a good job of playing the hot hand, some nights guy are hot and some are not and he does a good job recognizing who is on and who is not. My only concern is his defensive line choices late in games, numerous times I have seen Adam McQuaid or Smith out there on the back end when the Rangers are up by one-goal.

(3) Style of play: B

The Rangers were known to be a pretty gritty, get in the ugly areas, throw pucks on net and hope for the best type of team. While in the d-zone the Rangers D were not responsible, and hoped Hank made the first and second save. I like how Quinn in a sense has made us a better transitional team, a little more responsible in the d-zone and a little hungrier in the offensive zone. He has done a great job trusting Neal Pionk, reviving Marc Staal, not a great job with Kevin Shattenkirk but that is on Shattenkirk as well. He has also done a great job giving Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes the free reign to do things and be creative in all areas of the ice. I like how Quinn allows the players to make mistakes, learn from their mistakes and not play such an old school game backed by an old school philosophy of “get pucks deep and chase”.

Overall: B

The Rangers will more than likely finish with a top-10 pick for the NHL 2019 draft which will really make or break Quinn’s time in New York. They will also probably be trading Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello in the coming weeks. Quinn has done in my opinion a good job, he was not given an easy job, a young team, a crazy hockey market, the big city and bright lights. Quinn has come in and done what he can with what he has. It will be interesting to see the roster moves they make later in the season after the All-Star break in terms of bringing up AHL players so they can see some more NHL time before next season.

A Look At The New York Rangers Upcoming Road Trip

The New York Rangers have touched down in Denver, Colorado to begin their three-game road trip. The Rangers are coming into this road trip having dropped three of their last ten in regulation but another four in overtime/shootout. The Rangers have won just three games in their last ten games and to make matters worse they are not a favorable road team. Posting a 6-10-2 record on the road, and of their last ten games four have come on the road, in which they have lost two and won two (Nashville, St. Louis). Despite a big win in Nashville the other week, the Rangers have not done a great job in terms of scoring. In their last ten they have averaged, 2.3 goals per game, while allowing 3.3 goals per game. Sure, Penguins scoring seven Wednesday night does not help the case but even so they still have allowed 2.89 goals per game.

The Rangers head to Colorado Friday night, a team that is struggling greatly, on a six-game skid, 2-5-3 in their last ten and not playing the Colorado hockey we saw earlier in the year. They then travel to Arizona Sunday for an afternoon game vs a team that is subpar at home (7-12-1 at the moment) and cap the trip with one of the better home teams and best team of the three in this trip, Vegas Tuesday night. Vegas has lost three games at home this season (at the moment 13-3-3) and is starting to become the team we saw go on a immaculate run last season.

The big takeaway for this Rangers team and this road trip is be better than last road trip which they lost 2 of 3 and two of those games lost were to the leagues worst. Point two, how this young team responds to a rather difficult task at hand. This is not bizarre to see a team travel for three-straight away games but they get rest and a day in between each game yet with this young line up we will see how they fair in the thick of the schedule.

I would honestly expect the Rangers to take 2 of 3 this trip, the Avalanche struggling a win Friday is possible, a win in Arizona is more than possible and a loss to Vegas is likely. But at the same time the Rangers could lose all three, get a struggling Colorado team that needs a win badly, an Arizona team that is no cake-walk and the best home team in the NHL in Vegas. It will be interesting, that is why as writers we just sit here, drink a beer, relax and let the players do the playing.

Players to watch…

Kevin Hayes, Hayes is coming off a 8-point streak that was snapped vs St. Louis December 31st but this season Hayes has been one of the Rangers overall best players. He has 10 goals, 23 assists in 39 games and has honestly been the most noticeable and all around best player for the Rangers this season.

Neal Pionk-Marc Staal combination, the Rangers number one d-pairing has been to the test this season and it has been very surprising to see Staal’s game elevated this season and Pionk rise to the occasion. Pionk has 5 goals and 14 assists on the season with a -2 plus/minus rating and 12 power play points While Staal has 3 goals and 7 assists (already surpassed his total of 8 pts from last year) with a +1 plus/minus and zero power play points.

Chris Kreider, the 20 goal scorer has been involved in every Rangers scoring play it seems this year. Kreider has finally started to use his speed and quick shot to his advantage this year and keeping his game a little simpler than he has in years past. It will be interesting to see how Kreider comes out this trip.

Dan Quinn, the Rangers new head coach and former college coach has taken this team above expectations thus far, posting a 17-15-7 (41 points) record, eight points behind the last wild card spot and not dead last in the division or conference. He has head-scratching moments when he constantly shifts lines, dresses Cody McLeod more often than not, plays Filip Chytil on the fourth line, etc. But overall he has done a good job but this road trip will be a nice test for the young head coach and we’ll see how he can rally the troops to play on the road for three-straight.

Rangers upcoming schedule after road trip before All-Star break: 

New York Islanders @ MSG

New York Islanders @ Coliseum

Columbus Blue Jackets @ Nation Wide Arena

Carolina Hurricanes @ MSG

Chicago Blackhawks @ MSG

Boston Bruins @ TD Garden

 

 

Fantasy Hockey players trending in the right direction

We are getting to that point in the season where players have played around 15+ games and if they are not producing a little worry, maybe sit them but then are some random players producing and playing well that are trending and could be worthy of a 1-2 week add, a rental player they say.

Forwards

Nolan Patrick: It seems Patrick is finally getting in a rhythm of things, after missing a few games due to a minor injury. Patrick has recorded a point in his last 6 of 7 games, in the last 14 days Patrick has 3 goals and 4 assists. He is playing with Jakub Voracek and Oskar Lindblom (until James Van Reimsydk comes back). Patrick had a mediocre first year and seems to finding his stride in the NHL over the last two weeks. On the year Patrick has 5 goals and four assists.

Kevin Hayes: Hayes is on the “trade block” and it seems that is not bothering him though. Hayes has been a solid center this season for the Rangers he centering Vladislav Namestikov and Lias Andersson at the moment, some tough players to play with a rookie and a player still trying to make his way in New York. Hayes has one goal in 7 assists, only producing 1 goal in the Rangers first five games, Hayes has now 8 points in the last six games.

Travis Zajac: Despite the Devils struggling road trip, Zajac saw some success scoring three goals in their five road games. Zajac has been slated as a third line center, but in no time he’ll be a second line center. Zajac has now 6 goals and 5 assists on the year. The Devils next game are a home and away split (2 on the road 2 at home) vs three Metropolitan teams. I’d for sure keep an eye on Zajac.

Devin Shore: Playing too-six minutes is probably not what the Stars had in mind for Shore but he has been an effective top-six guy who also plays power-play two minutes. Looking at his role and his minutes Shore is a solid add just for that reason alone. But in the last two weeks Shore has scored 4 goals with two assists (in the last 7 games), he has been a bit inconsistent but I’d keep an eye on Devin Shore right now. He has 5 goals and 6 assists on the year.

Defenseman

Ben Hutton: Well, look at this offensive-defenseman, Hutton has tallied 3 goals in the last six games and is playing top-four minutes and the power play two. Hutton has 4 goals, 2 assists and 3 power play points on the year. The Canucks have four games this week so it would be smart to watch Hutton as the week goes on.

Jaccob Slavin: This guy has to be an add guy at this point he is top-two defenseman for the Hurricanes plays power play two and is an offensive defenseman that produces big time to be honest. He is soon to be a household name in no time, I have raved about this guy for now two years and this is the year he makes a mark on the league. In the last 7 games he has 2 goals and 1 assist, on the year he has 2 goals and 5 assists, watch Slavin this year.

Tony DeAngelo: A fly under the radar type of guy, the Rangers are not great on the back end, but DeAngelo is seeing a lot of minutes he is averaging 20 minutes a game and in the 7 games he has played this season DeAngelo has 2 goals and 5 assists, on a current three game point streak. A solid rental player.

Miro Heiskanen: With John Klingberg out for at least another three weeks, Heiskanen will be taking over top pair minutes, power play one and seeing more ice. The young defenseman has already seen 20+ minutes even with Klingberg in the lineup Heiskanen is a valuable player but for the next 3 weeks he is a must add guy. He has 2 goals and 5 assists on the year. 

Goalies

Casey DeSmith: The Penguins have not played well over the last week and a half, and especially Matt Murray which brings in Casey DeSmith. Murray has been off his game to start this season, in seven starts Murray has allowed 3 or more goals in four of them he has a 3.87 GAA and .887 save percentage, poor to say the least. DeSmith in his 8 starts this season DeSmith has 2 or less goals in six of them. Besides his first two starts where he allowed 3 goals, DeSmith has recorded two shutouts. DeSmith is a must add player right now as the Penguins struggle. 

Darcy Kuemper: The Coyotes have been off to a great start this season (for the Yotes it is good) but anyways Antti Raanta is out currently and should be out for the next 2+ weeks, which in comes Kuemper. In the six games he has started he has allowed 1 or less goal in 3 of them and 4 of more in 3 of them. He has 3 wins, a 2.58 goals against and .921 save percentage. Coyotes play Detroit, Nashville, Boston, Vegas in their next four games a solid start for two of those four games.

 

Fantasy Hockey players destined for a breakout season…

Evander Kane: Since coming to San Jose Kane has been arguably at the top of his game, therefore with a recent contract extension and more time in San Jose we will only see the best to come from Evander Kane. We all know Kane for his off-ice antics and being a menace in the locker room but when he came to San Jose something clicked for him and it was evident Kane was a different player. Kane is a strong forward who can get in the dirty areas as well as score on the power play or off a straight shot. Last season the 17 games he spent with San Jose he wasted no time getting on the scoresheet, collecting 14 points in that time. Last season he totaled 29 goals an 25 assists. Getting on line one with Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton this is going to be an easy 30 plus goal and 60 point season for Kane.

Kevin Hayes: Hayes really started to pick up the slack towards the end of the year when the Rangers were done and out but still Hayes tallied 5 goals in just his last 10 games, on the year he tallied a career high 25 goals. Hayes has been around the 40-49 point range during his four years in the NHL. With a one-year contract and playing for his career in New York this year, Hayes will have a lot to prove to management in NY. We all know Hayes loves New York and he does not want to leave but only getting a one-year deal will just make the hefty center a little more motivated to have a break out 50 point year.

Alex Galchenyuk: Finally the kid is out of Montreal and elsewhere, perhaps Arizona is not the best spot but a change of environment is good. Gally gets highly underrated and under appreciated because of his terrible time in Montreal. We all can agree that coming to Arizona may not make him an 80 point player but it will make him a more effective and productive player. Last year Gally totaled 54 points in 82 games, his second best total in his career. We know this guy is a flashy player and he can be a threat in open ice, playing alongside two young wingers, this will be Gally’s time to take over the second line and be the scorer for not only line two but also the Coyotes. Playing on regular line two minutes and powerplay one, Gally is bound for a 60 point year.

Hampus Lindholm: We usually hear this guys name a decent amount but sometimes it is on the wrong end of things about how he is missing time, etc. Lindholm has not played a full 82 game year in his career, he has played 78 game years but in the most recent seasons he has played 66 and 69 games. If Lindholm can stay healthy and play a full 80 plus games, I would like to say with all the offensive power Anaheim has and minutes he will be seeing, he is destined for a break out year. Lindholm’s highest point total came 2014-15 where he tallied 34 points in 78 games. If the kid can stay healthy and stay in that top four mix while seeing regular power play and top four minutes it will for sure give Lindholm the chance for a 40 plus point season.

Darnell Nurse: The 2013 1st round pick has surely not panned out to be a first round worthy player. In his 4 years in the NHL he has played one full season, which was last year. Last year he tallied his highest point total of 26 points in 82 games. Nurse is a monstrous defenseman with a heavy shot and a player who the Oilers will be relying on to step up and play big minutes. If the Oilers can keep Nurse, Larsson and Klefbom healthy they do not have a terrible looking backend. Nurse plays pair one minutes and power play two, the guy will be logging an easy 22+ minutes a game. He knows what it feels like to play regular minutes and a full season now. If Edmonton as a whole can come together and be more successful I think we see a 35 point season out of Nurse.