Tag: nhl network

Final days until William Nylander is ineligible for 2018-19 season. All eyes on GM Kyle Dubas..

Another day, another week and another second William Nylander is not signed. Nylander has reportedly been skating with the Stockholm AIK Under-20 team and was wearing a Leafs helmet. Nylander has been in deep contract negotiations with the Leafs General Manager Kyle Dubas for many weeks now. It was reported Nylander is looking for anywhere from 7.5+ million a year and wants a longer term contract. The Leafs and Nylander’s party have been way off on an agreement. Dubas seems to not be budging on the longer term more money deal right now. 

This contract has raised many questions for NHL fans and players. Is Nylander right in what he is doing. David Pastrnak one of the games best young players in the league is on 5-year worth 6.66 million dollars a year deal. And he came out and said 

“If you (told) me when I was 15, I’d be playing for $6m a year (at) 22, I’d be like, ‘I don’t think you’re saying the truth.’ Just a dream come true. I’m happy for what I’m getting. I could be playing in Czech for a couple hundred a month.”

Should Nylander swallow his pride, suck it up and get back to the game he loves or wait it out until he gets paid. If the deal is not done within the next two days Nylander will be deemed ineligible to play this season.  Patrice Bergeron is making just 6.8 mil a year, same with Johnny Gaudreau, Aleksander Barkov makes 5.9 mil a year, Jonathan Marchessault makes 5 mil a year, Tyler Johnson makes 5 mil a year. There are a lot of players who are making and would be making way less than Nylander’s asking of 7.5+ mil a year and produce the same amount of points.

Is Nylander wrong for asking this much? Let’s see what Twitter thinks. 


FREE NHL Picks: February 22, 2018

Ok, ok we are sort of rolling here, Chicago won in a shootout, bull cr*p win. Other than that other two teams hit. On the week we are 7-6-2 now, with a ton of games tonight, but I will be giving my four in-depth picks and the rest just straight up picks. Four good matchups the rest are nothing that will make you jump out of your seat. 

New York Islanders(29-26-6) vs Toronto Maple Leafs(37-20-5)

The Islanders are on a slippery slope guys, after dropping last game to Minnesota, they head to Toronto to face one of the hottest offenses in the NHL right now. The Leafs have been clicking offensively, the young guns are finally producing consistently and everyone is chipping in. The Islanders now sit one point out of a playoff spot and face a team that is 8-2-0 in their last ten, while scoring 37 goals over the last ten games. A matchup between two high powered offenses, but the Leafs definitely are the favorites here tonight. 20-8-2 at home vs the Islanders 13-15-2 record on the road, four points behind Tampa Bay for a top spot and Frederick Anderson’s yet again underrated performances have been clutch as well. The Leafs are going to handle the Islanders just fine, they won’t have any trouble with the Islanders defense or goaltending. Expect to see Halak in net, which means the Leafs are slotting four home. Going Leafs by a margin tonight.

Columbus Blue Jackets(0-25-5) vs Philadelphia Flyers(31-19-10)

A free game on the NHL mobile app? Petr Mrazek’s first game as a Flyer, Columbus battling for a playoff spot, Philly battling for that number three seed. Yes, watch this free game tonight. These two also last played just six days ago, which went to overtime and the Flyers won. The Flyers now return to home ice where Columbus has yet to play this season. The Flyers are looking to be legitimate playoff contenders especially solidifying a number one goaltender, the Flyers are looking to carry this momentum into April. The Blue Jackets have been streaky, a streaky offense and streaky goaltending have lead this team to only one point in a playoff spot. Columbus has the pieces to get it done and make a playoff run but they need to be a bit more consistent. Over their last ten the Blue Jackets are 3-6-1 and on the road they are 13-14-3, while the Flyers are 7-1-2 in their last ten on a three-game winning streak and 15-9-6 at home this season I like the Flyers here tonight, new goalie, expect to see Mrazek play well tonight, it always works out like that. Going Flyers tonight.

San Jose Sharks(33-19-8) vs Nashville Predators(36-14-9)

The Sharks are for sure one of the most underrated teams in the leagues right now, securing a playoff spot, being the number two seed in the Pacific for months now and on a three-game winning streak. The Sharks are coming to play this year even with Joe Pavelski only totaling 45 points and 15 goals. The Sharks have also already beat Nashville this season in San Jose though. The Predators are getting all the hype behind them being Stanley Cup favorites, and most likely to secure a big trade deadline rental player right now. The Predators are also one of the best home teams in the league, winning their last two games, with a 6-2-2 record in their last ten. This will be a great game, do not overlook the Sharks ability to make this a nail-biter, and they will be contending for the long haul too come April. I cannot go against the Predators although they have disappointed me once before at home, it is hard to go against a team that is 20-7-3 at home. I am going with yet another home team, go Preds go?

Dallas Stars(34-22-4) vs Los Angeles Kings(33-22-5)

Silent assassins of the trade deadline the L.A. Kings acquiring exactly what they asked for a somewhat cheap price, acquiring Dion Phaneuf who has recorded 3 goals with the team already, a mid-level winger, Tobias Rieder. The Kings are putting the pieces together for a playoff run and that is what they will do. They are putting all faith in Jonathan Quick now trading away Darcy Keumper. It won’t come easy thought tonight as the Stars are going back to back here tonight they have dropped two games in a row and dropping a third is problematic, but the Kings are on a three-game win streak coming off a win vs Winnipeg. The Kings are 6-4-0 in their last ten while the Stars are 6-4-0 as well, two teams that are battling for a playoff spot, Dallas barely has that three-seed locked up and the Kings are tied for a wild-card spot. If the Kings win, Wild lose, Blues win their next game than these two will be battling for the final wild-card spot. The Kings have been pretty solid at home this season I want to go with another home team but for some reason I see Dallas coming into this game playing a pissed off game, playing desperate and a little hungrier than L.A. going with the road dogs tonight Dallas.

Other games on tonight…

Flames vs Coyotes: Flames got shacked last night, but Coyotes are on a four-game winning streak, playing great hockey as of late, this is a tough one. Sticking with Coyotes in a Calgary back to back.

Avalanche vs Oilers: Oilers.

Capitals vs Panthers: Capitals

Sabres vs Red Wings: Detroit, the offense is more consistent, have been clicking lately too.

Lightning vs Senators: Senators last beat the Lightning 6-3 in January, Lighting cannot let that happen again, be embarrassing, Sens in a back to back, going Lightning.

Wild vs Devils: Wild beat the Islanders on the road Tuesday, stay on the road once more and I can see them taking this game tonight too. Going road dogs.

Rangers vs Canadiens: Preview (around 2pm)

 

FREE NHL Picks: February 19, 2018

Minnesota Wild(31-20-7) vs New York Islanders(29-25-6)

This is a 1:00 p.m. (est) start time, President’s Day, kids got off from school so the NHL slates some early afternoon games. A good one too, the Wild are a playoff contending team as the Islanders are also battling for a playoff spot. Two teams that come from opposing conferences and rarely meet, the Wild have been a solid group all season, but with how competitive the West has been this season they lay only a point ahead of Calgary and two ahead of L.A. for the last wild-card spot. The Wild are 5-3-2 in their last ten and 11-15-1 on the road season, luckily the Islanders get this team on the road where they struggle. The Islanders have not secured themselves a playoff spot but winning their last two games, as Carolina has lost their last two has given the Islanders the edge for the final wild-card spot but still only lead by one point. The Islanders are 4-5-1 in their last ten with a 16-10-4 home record. They do not play amazing at home but, with the way the season is going right now, they may want to start securing home victories more often. The Islanders Jordan Eberle came out the other day and said: “we are in that mentality where we’re playing every game like its the last”. The Islanders have the group to get it done, see some solid goaltending for a short stretch this team gets in. Going Islanders today.

Boston Bruins(35-13-8) vs Calgary Flames(30-21-8)

The Bruins have been the most consistent team this season, well over the last several months, if I had to take a very educated stab at this, I believe they have lost only three games over the last two months during regulation. The Bruins we all know are going to be here for the remainder of the regular season and probably a deep playoff run and as much as people want to say Tampa Bay has the East locked up, watch out for the Bruins when they get someone at the deadline. The Flames though have a solid mix, have been underperforming as of late dropping five of their last ten, and if their poor play as of late does not help one believe this Bruins team has it in the bag tonight, the Flames have possibly the worst home record in hockey for a playoff team, as they are 13-14-3. The Bruin, on the other hand,d are 7-3-0 in their last ten with a 16-6-4 away record. Flames struggle at home, Boston is the top team in the league, going B’s on the road. (4:00 p.m. (est) over on NHL Network too).

Los Angeles Kings(31-22-5) vs Chicago Blackhawks(25-26-8)

Hockey is literally on all day and all games on TV are great games, Islanders vs Wild, Bruins vs Flames and to top the night Kings vs Blackhawks. Although the Blackhawks have been terrible as of late, this is a “rival” matchup in a sense, two Western Conference teams we a bit of a past, meet tonight and the Kings need to get over this inconsistent play and start stringing together some wins. The Kings are two points out of a playoff spot and are 6-4-0 in their last ten, despite some mediocre play, the Kings head to Chicago against a team that has STRUGGLED immensely. The Hawks are 2-7-1 in their last ten and for a team that has been up there in attendance for home games for several years now, posts a 13-13-3 record at home. The Kings are a decent road team with a 17-13-2 record, and I see them coming out of this game with a win. Won’t be a blowout, won’t be pretty but two is two in this league right now. Going, Kings.

Anaheim Ducks(29-20-11) vs Vegas Golden Knights(39-15-4)

The Golden Knights have stayed at the one spot in the Pacific for nearly two months now and it does not look like anything is changing. They lead the Sharks by 10 points with a game in hand, the Golden Knights have been a story, to say the least this season. With this momentum they have, we can expect them to run with it all the way into the playoffs. Vegas is 7-3-0 in their last ten with a 22-4-2 home record this season. The Ducks though are a scary team, they have a ton of depth up and down the lineup, if they didn’t battle injuries all season they would easily be a guaranteed playoff team. They are stringing together some wins recently but they need to go on a streak soon, despite being in the three spot in the Pacific they only lead Calgary by one point, they are on a two-game win streak and post a 5-3-2 record in their last ten. The Ducks are ending their four-game road trip to Vegas the toughest of their four opponents. They have taken two on the road so far but I don’t think this one comes out as a win. Luckily, I see Calgary losing tonight so good news for the Ducks. Going Vegas tonight.

FREE NHL Picks: January 20, 2018

New Jersey Devils(24-12-8) vs Philadelphia Flyers(21-16-6)

The Devils and the Flyers met not too long ago, and the outcome was a Flyers 5-3 win, well now seven days later and the two meet again. The Flyers are coming off an overtime win during Eric Lindros’s banner night as the Devils are coming off an overtime as well versus the Capitals. The two meet four times a year, and each game feels like a playoff game. The shocking part of this game is that Keith Kinkaid is making his third straight for the Devils, Kinkaid has 7 wins, a 3.09 GAA and .898 save percentage. The Devils are 4-3-3 in their last ten, coming into this game during a two-game winning streak, the Devils also have one of the better away records of 11-6-5. The Flyers are more than likely going with Brian Eliott on this Saturday matinee, the Flyers are looking to pick up their sixth win in seven games, as they are 6-3-1 in their last ten. The Flyers are three points out of a playoff spot and a win tonight brings them closer to the Rangers/Penguins(if they lose tonight). I like the Flyers play against the Devils they always seem to keep it simple and close, I am going Flyers.

Winnipeg Jets(26-13-7) vs Calgary Flames(25-16-4) 

The Flames have been one of the best teams in the NHL since coach Glen Gulutzan had his little meltdown, in the last ten the Flames are 7-2-1 and on a seven-game winning streak. The play of Mike Smith has helped a ton as he has collected four wins, allowed six goals, has a 1.49 GAA and .956 save percentage over the last two weeks. Something the Flames never had, they finally get and now seem to run with it. Smith was not this type of caliber goaltender all year, but perhaps the goaltender is settling in and getting comfortable now. Their offense has been run by two guys, while they have a solid defensive core that scores as well. The Jets, on the other hand, are coming off their bye week and intend on playing Michael Hutchinson I believe, their AHL goalie, due to their two goalies being on a bye week and not seeing any action recently. The Jets prior to their break were 6-3-1, on a two-game losing streak, they have a 10-10-6 record on the road(one of the worse for a top ten team) and are still without Mark Scheifele. I’m a big Jets supporter but seven days without playing facing a team that is rolling and has won sevens straight, going Flames.

Boston Bruins(26-10-6) vs Montreal Canadiens(19-21-6)

The Canadiens are coming off a big win in Washington Friday night as they won 3-2 in a close back and forth game. The Bruins are coming into this game off a 5-2 win over the Islanders and have won seven of their last ten games while picking up a point in all those ten games. The Bruins are arguably one of the hottest teams in the NHL at the moment and a win tonight puts them only three points behind the Lightning for the division lead. The Canadiens are finally seeing scoring from Max Pacioretty, but I just cannot see this team competing with the Bruins tonight. The last time these two met was not too long ago(three days ago), the Bruins won 4-1, and prior to that meeting the Bruins took the first meeting of the year also in January 4-3 in a shootout, they meet one more time after tonight and a Bruins win completes the season series win. Tonight I am going Bruins, maybe March 3, the Canadiens will win.

Pittsburgh Penguins(25-20-3) vs San Jose Sharks(24-14-6)

Some people don’t forget, but a little rematch of the 2015-16 Stanley Cup, where the Penguins beat the Sharks. The Sharks definitely will have that memory in the back of their head tonight when the Penguins come into San Jose for the first of two meetings this season. The Sharks are the better team this year and at the moment as they are 5-3-2 in their last ten and tied for the second place spot in the Pacific division. The Sharks are also coming off a tough loss to Colorado, therefore a win tonight is crucial. Not many teams can afford to drop back to back games at this point in the season. The Penguins are 6-4-0 in their last ten, hanging on for a dear life of a playoff spot and are coming off a 3-1 win versus the Kings Wednesday night. But, like I said the Penguins, Sharks have some history together and I would be shocked if you told me the Sharks aren’t looking for a little revenge coming into this game, they only meet two times a year and rarely see each other, I think the Sharks want to make the most of this game. They do meet ten days after tonight, in Pittsburgh and tonight I am going Sharks.

Tampa Bay Lightning(31-11-3) vs Minnesota Wild(24-17-5)

The Lightning are coming off a tough loss to the leagues best Vegas Golden Knights, and as the Bruins continue their winning ways, the Lightning’s division lead is getting smaller and smaller, another loss tonight and a Bruins win puts the Lightning, only three points in comfort. A win is crucial for Tampa Bay tonight and coming into this game they are 5-4-1 in their last ten, on a two-game losing streak, and post a 14-6-2 road record. TheLightning has yet to drop three games in a row this season and going on a skid at this time of the year is definitely not the best timing. The Wild, on the other hand, are battling for a playoff spot and a win tonight for them is a must as teams they are battling are either on tonight or have won their last game. The Wild are 6-2-2 in their last ten and post a 15-4-4 home record, home ice tends to treat the Wild well. This is a tough one, both teams need a win and the Wild definitely need it more than the Lightning but the Lightning do not want to even have those doubts in their head this time of year. Tonight I am going Lightning.

 

FREE NHL Picks; January 18, 2017

Washington Capitals(28-14-3) vs New Jersey Devils(23-12-8)

The two top teams of the Metropolitan division face tonight for the third time, the first two meetings ended the same exact way. A Washington 5-2 win. Washington took one in New Jersey(oct.13) and one in Washington(dec.30), and they face one more time at the end of the season after this meeting. The Devils coming into this game are coming off a big win vs the Islanders and they are 4-3-3 in their last ten, and trail the Capitals by five points. Taking a win tonight cuts that margin by a slight amount but it’s a step in the right direction. The Capitals have a been powerhouse yet again in the Metro division and are coming off a win vs Carolina six days ago. They are 6-2-2 in their last ten and have not played in almost a week. This could be the most perfect time for the Devils to jump on them quick, as teams coming off a bye are usually slow out of the gate. The Devils are 12-6-3 in their last ten, while the Capitals are 10-8-3 at home. Tonight I am going, Devils.

Boston Bruins(25-10-8) vs New York Islanders(23-19-4)

As the Rangers play tonight and the Flyers, per say both of them win and the Islanders lose it puts the Isles in quite a pickle. The Islanders have been an exciting bunch on the offensive side of things, but as far as goaltending goes and defense they have struggled a great deal. Aside from Nick Leddy the Islanders defense is very young and inexperienced(refer back to Mayfield’s pass up the middle in the defensive zone that leads a goal). The Islanders rocky season starts from the back end up, a career year from John Tavares and Anders Lee along with rookie sensation Matt Barzal the Islanders have found themselves within a playoff spot. They are 4-6-0 in their last ten and have a home record of 13-6-3. Now, the Bruins have been on a tear as of late and I have said time and time again, to the point it is getting old now. They are dangerous team healthy, plus secondary scoring and a solid defense and number one goaltender, it is obvious why the Bruins are good. The Bruins are 7-0-3 in their last ten, with a 10-5-4 away record. Tonight I am going Bruins, even in a back to back and even with Anton Khudobin in net.

Vegas Golden Knights(29-11-3) vs Tampa Bay Lightning(31-10-3)

These two are in separate divisions and conferences but the Golden Knights sit just four points away from the Lightning for the number spot int he NHL. This is the final time these two will meet this season and the last time was on Dec. 19, 2017, where the Golden Knights won 4-3. We can expect another close game, as Tampa Bay is home, Vegas road spirits will be tested. The Lightning are 6-3-1 in their last ten coming off a loss to Calgary, as Vegas is 7-1-2 in their last ten coming off a loss to the PRedators. There is not much to say about these two, right now it is two of the best teams in the NHL facing off. The game will be an exciting one, one for all to watch, could this possibly be a Stanley Cup matchup? Many would think so, this game comes with major implications on both ends. The Lightning an extremely skilled, deep team vs a new Vegas team that has been motivated form the start and have shown no signs of slowing down. Tonight I am going Lightning.

San Jose Sharks(24-13-6) vs Colorado Avalanche(24-16-3) 

To starts for those who have not seen the Sharks vs Avalanche preview head over to Game 44- San Jose Sharks. That will give you a much better run down of the matchup. But the Avalanche are trying to crack the playoffs so beating playoff teams like the Sharks is something they need to do consistently. They cannot afford any nights off and the Av’s seem to be spear-heading themselves into the media lately. An offense led by Nathan McKinnon and Mikko Rantanen, goaltending duo doing their share and a young defense, the Av’s are one of the most surprising teams this season. The Sharks are a solid team that has seen much better depth goal scoring like Joonas Doonskoi, Chris Tierney, Joe Thornton, Tomas Hertl, they have a solid group of guys chipping in right now. Plus Brent Burns is playing much better since his lackluster start. The Sharks are 6-2-2 in their last ten with an 11-7-4 away record, while the Av’s are on a 7-game winning streak, 8-1-1 in their last ten and 16-7-1 at home. Tonight I am staying with the hot-hand, go Av’s go!

Pittsburgh Penguins(24-20-3) vs Los Angeles Kings(24-1-5-5) 

The Penguins dropped a game to the Ducks Wednesday night on NBCSN, and look to turn that fortune around on NBCSN once again but vs the Kings. Without Matt Murray, who is out indefinitely(personal reasons), the starter is Tristian Jarry, who is 9-4-2 with a 2.44 GAA and .919 save percentage, not bad for the young goaltender. The Penguins have struggled this season but in their last ten they have won six of their last ten games, but post a 9-13-2 away record. The Kings have been struggling mightily as of late, dropping all to the last wild card spit, when they were once a #1 team in the Pacific, fell to three and now the last wild card spot. They are 4-5-1 in their last ten and post an 11-8-3 home record this season. Two teams that need a win desperately, and a team that is coming off a back to back(travel was not far though). A solid NBCSN matchup tonight as two very frustrated teams face off. Tonight I am going Penguins.

Other games on tonight…

Coyotes vs Predators; Yes, Predators, don’t be stup*d now. 

Blues vs Senators: Please Blues. 

Stars vs Jackets: Stars, confident on that one. Blue Jackets back up in tonight also. 

Maple Leafs vs Flyers: Maple Leafs. When things go wrong in Philly, it stays like that for about 3-4 games.

Sabres vs Rangers: …………. Preview article coming…………………

NHL: 31 Teams, 31 Thoughts

Well start from first place to last place and I will give my honest and raw opinion on what I think of this team so far this year as well what is in store for them during the remainder of the season!

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning: What is the word for this team, um, maybe downright disgusting. Not the type of disgusting you find on an unused toolbox, I’m talking straight up, unbelievable. Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos has been lights out, not many duos compare to these two. A team that is deep from line one to four, and have three lines that can bury the puck on any given night. A Vezina type goaltender right now and a defense that honestly blows my mind. They have Victor Hedman ok, but Sergachev, where did he come from, Anton Stralman, best plus/minus in the league, Andrej Sustr, a big wall, Dan Girardi, ruthless defenseman. I mean they just a well-balanced line up filled with the right guys. The Lightning are looking at a deep playoff run, missed it last year so everyone is healthy, so I am expecting a Conference final finish and or possibly Stanley Cup run.
  2. Vegas Golden Knights: Pause. Close this. Open this again. Now close it. Open it again. Shit, I am actually writing this right now. The Golden Knights are the SECOND best team in the NHL right now and just four points behind Tampa Bay. The cat has got my tongue and he/she won’t give it back. Cause, I honestly have no idea what to say about this. The only thing I can say that I know for a fact is that they have a bunch of motivated, confident players right now. Players who were given their chance and ran with it. There is no doubt in my mind this team won’t make the playoffs, where they end up, I have no idea.
  3. Washington Capitals: Ok, now personally, I had this team as a bubble playoff team and do not even tell me you thought differently. But I guess after many seasons of disappointment, a lot of fans becoming upset, some players leaving the Capitals are performing much better. That is probably due to the fact, they are playing without so much pressure on them. The Capitals sit first in the Metropolitan division and at 5 points ahead of the Devils. From what I am seeing they are a shoe-in playoff team, with a ton of veteran experience and some young guys getting the job done the Capitals look even better than last season. The Capitals will find their way into the playoffs and as much as we think that since they will probably face a team they have in years prior, I think whoever the Capitals get the first and second round they take down.
  4. Winnipeg Jets: Finally! I was all aboard the Jets train coming into this year, I knew they had the pieces and after adding a few defensive pieces the Jets were bound for success. It’s hard not to be successful when you have Mark Scheifele(out right now), Blake Wheeler, Patrik Laine, Nikolaj Ehlers, Bryan Little, Mathieu Perrault, Kyle Connor on the front end. The Jets are seeing an amazing season from Connor Helleybuck despite spending 4.5 mil on Steven Mason, Hellebyuck has taken over the starting role and is not returning it anytime soon. The Jets will make the playoffs, and more than likely have a tough first-round matchup. Think they sneak by in seven but get knocked out in the second round.
  5. Nashville Predators: The Predators are hunger right now, do we even know what kind of animal is on their crest though? Like what are those animals usually hungry for? Anyways you look at the Predators and immediately you think depth. Well, they have three solid centers and four to five solid wingers, throw in one of the best defenses in the league and you have yourself a top 5 team in the NHL and a point behind Winnipeg in their division. The Predators will make another deep playoff run, led by Roman Josi and Kyle Turris. If they get to the Cup again, I would be devasted to see them lose again and I’m not even a Predators fan. Just the city, is such a new hockey hot-bed, back to back years, I don’t know if this young city can handle the heartbreak.
  6. St. Louis Blues: Flat out say it. The Blues got hot at the beginning of the year, rolled with it for a little and just like most things in life a downfall has to occur. Expect for the Blues it reminds me of that movie “This is the End”, the whole movie is just a slow yet dreadful end to the world. And that is what is happening to the Blues, a slow yet painful downfall. I think they make the playoffs but are an early first-round exit. They do not possess enough depth scoring and Braydon Schenn, Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, Alex Pietrangelo cannot do everything. Plus their goaltending is extremely inconsistent.
  7. Boston Bruins: A very exciting bunch to watch right now and when healthy are extremely dangerous. Yet again, Brad Marchand, David Pasternak continue to just dominate in all facets of the game, but now the Bruins have some more depth scoring. What is that we see? An old buck, hobbling onto the ice? David Backes? Is that you? Backes has been extremely efficient for the Bruins, along with the Bruins rookies like Heinen, DeBrusk and cannot forget Calder hopeful(probably not), Charlie McAvoy. Throw into the mix the ugliest goaltender in the league Tuukka Rask, the Bruins are just about ready for any team right now. They have essentially secured a playoff spot with how bad the Atlantic is but not the place they finish. The Bruins make the playoffs but get knocked out in the second round.
  8. Dallas Stars: The Stars started off the year a little slow, maybe the Dallas whiskey got the best of this bunch, but as of recently they have been rolling. Which has found their way into the top ten in the NHL and the first wild-card spot. With an offense consisting of Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, and Alexander Radulov, all else you really need are, five to six solid peewee hockey players for this team to be good. The Stars had high expectations coming into the season and they are slowly starting to live up to it. Ben Bishop has secured himself as the number guy and gave Dallas what they have been longing for. John Klingberg is performing like a Norris candidate and has been the best player on this Stars blue line. But, anyways the Stars will make the playoffs, and I think they surprise some with a first-round win and possibly second, don’t sleep on the magic of that Texas whiskey, it has it good and bad perks.
  9. San Jose Sharks: The Sharks started off the season extremely slow, they were performing like the opposite of what their logo represents, instead of a shark attacking, they were playing like a wounded shark. The Sharks saw no goal scoring early on and struggled mightily on the back end. Now fast forward and that is the exact opposite of what the Sharks are doing. Jumbo Joe(Joe Thornton) is one of their best goal scorers right now and Brent Burns finally came alive. Anyways, I think the Sharks make the playoffs but are a first-round exit, five games at most they last.
  10. New Jersey Devils: Now, let me start by saying credit to the Devils they have been outstanding this year, but they were once a top-five team and now have fallen a ton. I’m not saying this is something to worried about, do not press the fake panic button(like Hawaii, too far, disregard that), but just be wary Devils fans. The Devils offense has been led by Taylor Hall and accompanied by, a ton of other depth guys, but it is nice to see Nico Hischier having himself a solid rookie year. Corey Schneider remembered how to stop a puck and the Devils have a much better top four now. I think the Devils squeak into the playoffs but get knocked out first round in seven games.
  11. Calgary Flames: Another team that had high hopes and have been a bit rocky this season, I think the Flames highlight of their season so far is when their head coach absolutely lost it and threw his stick to the moon seats during practice. Anyways, the Flames have been led by two guys this year, Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monohan, while everyone else just does their part. But these two guys have been unreal thus far and it is only a matter of time until Johnny Hockey wins a Hart. The only downside of Calgary is that they ruined Jaromir Jagr’s career, so automatically everyone hates them. Right now Calgary is third in the Pacific and I think they remain in the top three rest of the year, make the playoffs and have an upset first round.
  12. Toronto Maple Leafs: First round exit. That’s all I have to say. They have not been all that this year, their offensive production is too inconsistent and I feel as if they may have got a little compliance with what happened last year. First round exit.
  13. Los Angeles Kings: A FAST decline and the Kings are currently on a ride that has only one direction and that is down. The Kings got very hot to start the year, turned some heads, but now I think they are coming back to life and I truly believe they miss the playoffs this season. On a good note, Kopitar is back to his old ways. Thank god, I mean he is getting paid like $300 mil a year, might as well put it to use.
  14. Minnesota Wild: I’m unsure about this team, earlier in the year I had them as a top-three finish in the Central and a playoff team but right now it seems as if the playoffs are tough for them. They are tied for a wildcard spot but have one to two more games played than other teams around them. The Wild need to get rid of Zach Praise, I think he is their anchor, the guy can’t fight his way out of a paper bag right now. Such a solid defense and goaltending but they struggle to be consistent. I think they make the playoffs but exit the first round.
  15. Columbus Blue Jackets: I don’t even understand how this team is a top-15 team after losing Alex Wennberg, Zach Werenski and Cam Atkinson for an extended period of time. The Jackets have a very well balanced lineup and I think they have all the pieces to get the job done in the playoffs. Which they will make again this year but have a better outcome than before.
  16. Colorado Avalanche: Pizzaz, is the first word that came to mind when I see this team. And the first thought is when Spongebob says “imagination” in that one episode. This team is a real piece of work, lose their franchise player and all of sudden they win games. It could not be possible without Nathan McKinnon, he is on an absolute tear this year. Up there for the Hart right now. Throw in a few young guys, some veteran guys, that all just go out, play hockey and do their job and not worry about anything else. You have the Colorado Avalanche, a team that is two points away from a playoff spot. Don’t ask me if they can make the playoffs, I really think so but who knows.
  17. New York Rangers: A team that is extremely inconsistent, have been dealing with some top-six forward injuries all season and would be nowhere without Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers have the weapons on the front end, but on the back end, it is scary. Nick Holden, gone, Marc Staal, retire, please. For your own sake, you have too and for the lives of millions of Rangers, just do it. Lundqvist has carried this team for awhile and he continues to do it once again. The Rangers are in the last wild card spot and only one point away from dropping out. Every game will matter to this team. I think they make it, but unfortunately, exit in the first round.
  18. Pittsburgh Penguins: First thought that comes to mind, HUH? How is this team so bad this year, yes they have been bad. Phil Kessel on the bright side has been unreal, Sidney Crosby, well, yeah and Kris Letang would not be surprised to see him walk. Anyways the Penguins have not seen production from players like Jake Geuntzel and Conor Sheary have been nowhere to be found, which is a reason the Penguins are struggling on the offensive side. It doesn’t help their defense is terrible, along with some inconsistent nights from Matt Murray. I honestly think the Penguins miss the playoffs, don’t @ me.
  19. Chicago Blackhawks: Another team I think absolutely miss the playoffs, they are last in their division and maybe without Corey Crawford rest of the year(vertigo-like symptoms). Anyways, the signing of Bradon Saad looks bad right now, same with Patrick Sharp(who has been better lately) but as much of their offense comes from one line, the Blackhawks offense along with their ill-humored defense, have found themselves in a pickle.
  20. New York Islanders: A team that is one of the most exciting teams in the leagues to watch due to Matt Barzal Calder likely season and John Tavares Hart trophy season, unfortunately, the Islanders have no goaltending. Like, they legitimately might as well not suit a goaltender up, just go the old fashion, net down thing for the Islanders and it may be better. Anyways, the Islanders are looking out on a playoff spot right now and have been bouncing around from in and out all season. I think the Islanders miss the playoffs and a lot of it is due to their goaltending.
  21. Anaheim Ducks: A team that was riddled with injuries all season and are limbing to a playoff spot right now. They have a ton of offensive depth and defensive depth but unfortunately, they have a hard time piecing together wins and making a run at a playoff spot. I personally think the Ducks miss the playoffs, but when they return healthy next year, watch out for them to be one of the best teams in their division.
  22. Philadelphia Flyers: As I am surrounded by Flyers fans, writing this is almost a death sentence. The hell with it. I am sorry Flyer fans but this team is super inconsistent, I do not know a team more inconsistent then them. It hurts too because, they definitely have the talent and with three players having career years, plus some solid goaltending from Brian Elliott, and Shane Gostisbehere’s Norris like season, they still struggle to win. I don’t know if it is the coaching, the management, the team or something but this team is more inconsistent than my 87-year-old grandmother’s bowels. Sorry, Flyer fans, better luck next year.
  23. Carolina Hurricanes: I remember writing a piece about how this team may actually have a shot at the playoffs, that got shot down quicker than Trump’s wall claims. Anyways, the Hurricanes have a very young team and also a highly skilled one as well, they have a ton of youth on the backend and so much light moving forward. They miss the playoffs this year, but next year would not be surprised if they made it. Least they are having a better season overall than years past.
  24. Detroit Red Wings: The Red Wings are better than many thought they were going to be, an explosive offense, young and hungry has been this teams identity. But without goaltending or a top-four defense what can we expect from this team. Anyways, a very hopeful future, another top draft pick and a shot at it again next season.
  25. Edmonton Oilers: Well, what a shit storm this team has been this year. Even the city of Edmonton knows they are out of it, after that banner advertisement the other day(check out Spittin Chiclets Instagram for details). Anyways, the Oilers look terrible and it stems from their backend, Darnell Nurse and Oscar Klefbom have not lived up to expectations, despite Klefbom’s numbers last season, he has been terrible this year. Plus, Connor McDavid literally cannot carry this team like a pack of wolves carrying a sleigh, some players need to chip in, which they have not and the Oilers are 1000 percent missing the playoffs. Back to the old, good draft pick days.
  26. Florida Panthers: Real disappointment, Vincent Trocheck, and Jonathan Huberdeau have been lights out but, other than that, the Panthers have not seen any scoring outside of four players. Plus Aaron Ekblad looks like he is still sitting at the signing desk ready to sign his contract. Where has this guy been this year? Absolutely irrelevant. Plus some goaltending injuries, new head coach the Panthers are struggling and I can’t say anything will turn around next year.
  27. Montreal Canadiens: Disappointment. Want to talk about goal scoring, does anyone on this team have over 30 points this season? Confirming… and nope. Alex Galchenyuk leads with 26 points. That is the story right there for the Canadiens. There is probably better depth on a High School hockey team in Minnesota then on this team. Plus they have literally no one on defense as Shea Weber has been out for a while now. Canadiens, get a good draft pick though. Let’s see if they shop Galchenyuk or Max Pacioretty that’s the only story coming out of Montreal this year.
  28. Vancouver Canucks: I had this team as a borderline playoff team about two months ago and in the blink of an eye they are ranked 28th in the league. It does not help that three of their top six forwards went down with an injury and the only player carrying some slack right now is rookie Brock “Brocketship” Boeser (Calder HOPEFUL). Anyways, the Canucks struggle with defensive depth and consistent goaltending, they are a competitive team all in all but nothing else to really say. They won’t be much different next year.
  29. Ottawa Senators: It amuses me that four out of the bottom seven teams are Canadien teams, HA! Least you have Winnipeg and the World Juniors Canada. Anyways, the Senators have been a laughing stock of the NHL, much like how ESPN is the laughing stock of the sports world now. Much like the Senators were once a good team, but they came out of nowhere and just sh*t the bed, like ESPN. It’s crazy because the Senators have five very solid scoring forwards, but only two solid defensemen and Craig Anderson would not be able to stop a beach ball at this point. They have hit the low of the low this season. The only positive is that they cannot get any lower at this moment and they also have a shot at Rasmus Dahlin.
  30. Buffalo Sabres: I don’t even know where to start with this team, I thought they would be a lot better but much like the sports franchises in Buffalo, they continue to disappoint(sorry Bills Mafia). The Sabres have one of the best young talents in the league, Jack Eichel but no one to really help him besides Evander Kane. But they are shopping Kane, most likely and Robin Lehner, wouldn’t be surprised if that manic demands a trade. The Sabres upgraded their blueline and made some major acquisitions in the offseason to only find themselves in the bottom of the pack once again. New coach, new management, things will work out in Buffalo I think, plenty of young prospects(Casey Mittlestadt) and others, don’t worry the time is near Buffalo.
  31. Arizona Coyotes: It’s possible for them to win only 25 games this season. Anyways, they are another team many thoughts were going to have a better year, but well they have not. Their goaltending has been terrible, their number one defenseman is -32 and they have virtually no goal scoring outside of Clayton Keller(feel for you Keller, hang in there). I’m not sure when this team will be good again, but it has to be soon, they are currently shopping Oliver Ekman Larsson and Nikolaj Hjalmarsson for a top-flight player and top draft picks. Let’s see how that pans out.

FREE NHL Picks; January 16, 2018

St. Louis Blues(26-17-3) vs Toronto Maple Leafs(25-17-3) 

Two teams that have almost identical records and identical last ten games. The Blues have not been able to really gain any traction or anything really since the loss of Jaden Schwartz, on top of that Jake Allen has not been the greatest and Carter Hutton has taken most of the time. The Blues currently sit in the three spot in the Central, one point behind Nashville and four behind Winnipeg. They’re currently 4-5-1 in their last ten and have an away record of 11-8-0. I’m not sure what has happened to St. Louis but they need to start stringing together some wins, in just a month they have dropped out of the super sweet sixteen rankings and are slowly falling out of the top ten in the league. The Leafs, on the other hand, are another team that has not been great for the last month or so. They are 4-4-2 in their last ten, sit in three spot in the Atlantic, now three points behind Boston and twelve behind Tampa Bay. The Leafs are a team that has been dealing with some depth scoring issues all season and some slow starts from certain guys. The Leafs have zero chance of catching the Lightning but it is fair to say their three spot is a lock right now as they are ten points ahead of Detroit. That is the Leafs problem I believe they play with too many compliances and it hurts them in the long run. Tonight I am going Leafs though.

New Jersey Devils(22-12-8) vs New York Islanders(23-18-4) 

The New York Islanders are on a three-game winning streak and for those three games, it has been the Matt Barzal show. Barzal recorded another three points last night to add to his five-point night the other night vs the Rangers and is now seven points ahead of Brock Boeser for the Calder run. Barzal has been on an unbelievable run as of late, and all season this kid has been the mold to this team. Plus Anthony Bulliever has chimed in for his fair share and the Islanders consistent depth scoring continues. But they face an opponent who has been red-hot all season. The Devils currently sit third in the Metropolitan division just two points ahead of the Islanders… In the Devils last ten, they are 4-3-3 and recently dropped their last game to the Flyers, 5-3. The Devils are in jeopardy right now as the race in the Metro heats up, as we are halfway underway, the Devils are separated by just three points or less between the Penguins, Rangers, and Islanders. The last time these two met was just over a week ago, as the Devils won in a shootout, and I think we can expect a similar style of play to this game. This is a crucial game folks and a game that will have a playoff atmosphere feel, tonight I am staying with the hot hand going, Islanders.

Dallas Stars(25-17-3) vs Detroit Red Wings(18-18-7) 

The Stars are coming off a big overtime win against of the leagues best at the moment and currently have sneaked their way into a top-ten spot in the NHL. The Stars are sitting tied for a wild-card spot and just two points behind the Blues. Therefore a Stars win, Blues loss, makes for an interesting rest of January and February. The Stars have been very solid over their last ten as they are 7-3-0 and they face a very competitive and young Detroit team though. The Stars are 16-6-1 on home ice as the Red Wings are 8-11-1 on the road. The Red Wings are a .500 team right now, but they have almost zero shot at the playoffs as they are seven points out of the wild card. The Red Wings though always find a way to make games interesting and make it hard on opposing teams, their speed and youth play a major factor in their success this season. The Red Wings are 5-5-0 in their last ten and are coming off a 4-0 win against Chicago. Tonight though I have to stick with the hot hand, better overall team and Ben Bishop in net. Going Stars.

Vegas Golden Knights(29-10-3) vs Nashville Predators(25-11-6) 

I feel as if a rivalry is brewing between these two, they have met now two times and this makes for their final meeting. But in the first two meetings, the Golden Knights won both, one in a shootout and the other blanking the Predators, 3-0. The Golden Knights are on the road though and this season road play has been the only way the Golden Knights have lost, as they are 11-8-1 on the road but post an 8-1-1 record in their last ten. The Golden Knights have collected a point in 12 of their last 13 games and as much as we don’t think it could happen, well it’s happening the Golden Knights are a playoff team. Buckle up, folks. The Predators this season have dealt with some injuries to some key players like Ryan Ellis, Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg and now Viktor Ardvisson is out currently. But, the Predators have found their ways to win, as their defensive depth helps a ton and some key offensives pieces step up the Predators are not a team anyone should be concerned about. The Preds currently sit in the two spot in the Central but just one point ahead of St. Louis, they are 4-4-2 in their last ten, with a 13-4-2 home record and currently on a two-game winning streak. This one is tough, the Predators cannot drop the season series to the Golden Knights, not the first ever season series, they have to find a way to win tonight. I’m going, Predators.

Other games on tonight…

San Jose Sharks vs Arizona Coyotes: Really did not feel like writing a long pre-game write up about a game where we all know the winner. Sharks. 

Philadelphia Flyers vs New York Rangers: Doing an extensive pre-game write up on this matchup, stay tuned!