Aside from the fact that most if not all teams in the NHL (besides Nashville) would benefit from a Jake Muzzin type of player. Muzzin will more than likely end up on a contending team, a team in the market for a top-three defenseman, therefore the list is not too big but looking at what Muzzin brings to the table. These five teams could use him.
Pittsburgh Penguins: This team cannot make a playoff run again with their number one defenseman being Brain Dumoulin, therefore Kris Letang needs to stay healthy and the Penguins need to add a d-man. In comes Muzzin, a defenseman who can play the penalty kill, power play, move the puck, contribute in the offensive end and play sound defense. Muzzin has 20 points in 46 games played this year, that is not chump numbers. In his career he has 493 games played with 212 points (.43 points per game). He has been a 40+ point defenseman in three seasons of his five and a half years in the NHL so far. The Penguins are always on the hunt for back end talent and Muzzin could be there guy.
Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs have been longing for another defenseman for two years now, with the Norris like play of Morgan Reilly their blue has been a little better this year but the Leafs still have some holes back there. With Jake Gardiner being a little more offensive minded, Ron Hainsey aging and having younger talent picking up the slack. Jake Muzzin and his playoff/Stanley Cup experience plus his defensive mind would be perfect for Toronto. The Leafs also said their first round pick was up for grabs therefore that is available and they have the best prospect pool out there. It would be foolish not to try for Muzzin.
Philadelphia Flyers: The Flyers need a d-man, they are not contenders but they have been asking for a defenseman for nearly a decade it seems like. Plus they have more than a first round pick to give up. The Flyers could easily throw Wayne Simmonds name in the conversation, a name the Los Angeles Kings are familiar with. I’m sure the Kings would not be opposed to seeing Simmonds back in Kings colors. Muzzin is a good fit for the Flyers too, tough, defensive-minded, posses some offense to his game and he comes with no learning curve and can be throw right into the fire. Again it would be asinine for the Flyers not to kick the can around with L.A.
Vegas Golden Knights: The Knights are again contenders this year and their General Manager has come forward and said he is not going to sit tight and be content with his current roster he is always planning and always looking to the future. Muzzin would definitely help that Vegas back end, one of the more so unexperienced blue lines in the NHL right now. Vegas has some decent forward but more importantly a ton of draft picks. Muzzin would definitely be a top-four defenseman on this team and I’m sure Vegas would feel a little more comfortable with Muzzin back there rather than Jon Merrill. It would be a smart move for this possible Cup contending team to make a move for a veteran defenseman like Muzzin.
Colorado Avalanche: With two defenseman ready to hit free-agency the Avalanche could easily fix that issue with Jake Muzzin. The Avalanche have one very important guy to worry about in the off-season which is Mikko Rantanen but they have also 13 million in cap space plus with the cap raise the Av’s should be fine. The Avalanche are a contending team right now that could use some help on the back end, on both the defensive side and offensive side. The Av’s also have two first round picks this year and some decent prospects to throw in the pool. I would not be surprised to see this team take a stab at Muzzin.
The Canucks have been quite the surprise this year and no one is covering it. They are ONE point out of a wild card spot but do have a game up on every other team. The Canucks are fifth in the Pacific division despite a 11 point difference with them and Vegas the third place team in that division. They are tenth in the Western Conference and 20th in the NHL. They have a record of 21-21-6 at the moment and just before the All-Star break, they finish January with three home games vs Buffalo, Detroit and Carolina.
The Canucks are ranked 16th in the NHL in goals for with 137, 9th in goals against with 148. Nineteenth in goals per game (2.85), tenth in goals against per game (3.08), twenty-first in power play percentage (17.3), twenty-third in penalty kill (78.3) and finally 26th in shots for per game (29.0).
The Canucks have missed Pettersson for 10 games now and are still in a playoff spot, have not even come close to seeing Brock Boeser’s best this season yet and again are still in the hunt. The Canucks have been a mildly successful team this season due to Bo Horvat consistency, Elias Pettersson taking the league by storm, depth guys chiming in when needed and Jacob Markstrom standing strong in net.
The Canucks are seeing a decent amount of production from Nikolay Goldobin (23 in 44), Loui Eriksson (19 in 48), Jake Virtanen (18 in 48), Antoine Roussel (18 in 43) but more importantly their defense has been pretty involved in the scoring. Alexander Edler has 19 points in 33 games, Ben Hutton has 17 points in 46 games and Try Stecher has 14 points in 44 games.
If the Canucks are to get back Pettersson healthy and back to his normal production, Horvat keeps his game up, Boeser increases his goal-scoring, Virtanen and Granlund step up and Markstrom stands strong they have a chance to squeak into the playoffs. Emphasis on when saying squeak hold the “k” for 2-3 seconds, because there only chance to make it is by squeaking in.
The Anaheim Ducks are on full blown retool mode as their 12-game losing streak carries on and is put to the test again Thursday night vs Minnesota. The Ducks have lost their last twelve games, they have not won since December 17th. Therefore today marks the Ducks 1-month anniversary without winning a game.
There losing streak all started with the New York Rangers in Anaheim. The Rangers won 3-1 and from that moment on it has been all down hill for the Ducks. They have scored 20 goals over the course of their losing streak (1.6 goals per game), have allowed 43 goals against (3.6 goals against per game). Two of the Ducks 12 loses have come in overtime, so at least they have picked up two points in the last 12 games.
It is obvious that things are not well in Anaheim right now, head coach Randy Carlyle is calling reporters jerks, they shipped out a veteran Andrew Cogliano who spent the last eight seasons with Anaheim, traded a young upcoming forward prospect Pontus Aberg as well as Luke Schenn and Joseph Blandisi but they were not big factors on the roster.
The Ducks have since trading these players received in return, Michael Del Zotto (Luke Schenn deal), Derek Grant (Blandisi deal), Justin Kloos (Aberg deal) and Derek Shore (Cogliano deal)
The Ducks next four games until the All-Star break are the Minnesota Wild, Devils, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders and St. Louis Blues. Aberg who was sent to Minnesota gets to play his old team for the first time since the new trade.
I’m a big believer in shaking things up but I do not think this shake up/retool is going to benefit the Ducks a whole lot.
Derick Brassard has been under performing a bit since coming to Pittsburgh, but his two years in Pittsburgh are not indicative of who Brassard is as a player nor what he can bring to a team. Brassard is center/left winger, not the fastest player but he holds his own in the quick nature of the game today. At 31-years-old Brassard has 90 playoff games and some Stanley Cup playoff experience.
Brassard started his career in Columbus where he played in 304 games with 169 points until he was shipped to the New York Rangers in 2012 where he made his name in the league. Brassard played 254 games with the Rangers collecting 174 points. Brassard had three seasons in a row with 45+ points until he was sent to Ottawa where he played 139 games with 77 points. Now he is in Pittsburgh bouncing back and forth between the third, second and fourth line. Brassard has spent 1.5 seasons with Pittsburgh 51 games and 22 points later and the Penguins are ready to move on from the aging forward.
Despite his struggles in Pittsburgh Brassard is still a potential 35-40 point player. The pressure in Pittsburgh has been a lot for the forward to handle and he is surrounded by so many great players that he may feel as if he is not getting his fair share. His confidence is surely low, he needs a shake up some new scenery to perhaps give his career one more shot until teams really start giving up on the tenured forward. At 31, 753 regular season games and 90 playoff games, these five teams could use Brassard.
- Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers are on a full-court press to make the playoffs. Brassard is not exactly what they are looking for but look at him as a piece to a puzzle, he will fit but they still need one more guy. The Oilers lack forward depth and scoring depth, plus anyone who plays with Connor McDavid is sure to revive their career. Brassard can still score, he has a good shot and is more of a grinding, defensive forward. Which he can come to Edmonton and probably score 25 points along side McDavid. Edmonton would also only need to give up Alex Petrovic, Matthew Benning or a Kyle Brodizak/Zach Kassian type player (one or two of these guys) The Penguins need defense and forward depth.
- Columbus Blue Jackets: The Blue Jackets are familiar with Brassard and so is John Tortorella. Not to mention the Blue Jackets could certainly use another left winger or center, they have a pretty deep line up but Brassard could slide in with Alex Wennberg/Anthony Duclair or Boone Jenner and Nick Foligno. Columbus could send Anthony Duclair or Josh Anderson over.
- Boston Bruins: The Bruins dealt with some injury issues early in the year and could have used Brassard down the middle in November. Still the Bruins are so solid in their top-three but their next two lines are not consistently productive. They have to do a lot of line-swapping to make things work. But Brassard can slide in on the second or third line easily in Boston. Boston can send over one of their bottom six forwards and a pick, the issue is the Bruins are probably weary to get another veteran winger after Rick Nash last year plus they only have 3.8 million in cap space.
- Winnipeg Jets: The Jets are a playoff team and a team on the cusp of a Stanley Cup run they need more depth and consistency on their line up. Plus a veteran like Brassard never hurts, his experience goes a long way in the locker room. Brassard can slide in on line three at center with Mathieu Perreault and Branden Tanev. The Jets have a slew of forwards to send, or maybe even Tyler Myers…
- Nashville Predators: Much like Winnipeg, Nashville’s is a Stanley Cup team. They are right there, and there time is fading away in my eyes. The Predators have very solid forwards, a good line one and amazing back end but from forward six to nine they could use some work. Brassard can fill in at line two to center Kevin Fiala and Craig Smith. Penguins could get Ryan Hartman or Colton Sissons in return as well.
Man, you came into the draft licking your chomps. Thinking I am going to be steal this guy, he is going to be MVP caliber, my star, my bread and butter and boy have things gone south for you. Here are my top-ten most disappointing fantasy hockey players.
- Evgeny Kuznestov, where has this guy been lately. Kuznestov was solid in the first month and a half but has slowly fallen off the horse. He came into the year ranked 27, and is now ranked 113. Kuzy has just 8 goals and 29 assists on the year with 15 power play points.
- Anze Kopitar, when are fantasy owners going to see some consistency in this guy? Had an almost Hart Memorial trophy year last year and now is in the bottom of the barrel again. Kopitar has 13 goals and 18 assists (31 points) with 7 power play points.
- Ryan Getzlaf, time may be up for the big, power forward Getzlaf. A one-time superstar has slowly fallen off the ranks of the NHL. Getzlaf had some hope coming into the year, but has not lived up to projections. He was ranked 54 coming into the year and is now ranked 144. Getz has 10 goals and 21 assists (31 points) with 4 power play points.
- Drew Doughty, a down first half for Doughty so far, a Norris trophy winner, All-Star and top-paid d-man in the league can not be producing 25 points 40+ games into the year. Not to mention he is a 2nd-3rd round pick. Doughty was ranked 58 coming into the year and is now ranked 204. He has 4 goals and 21 assists on the year with 12 power play points.
- Shayne Gostisbehere, another rough year it seems like for Ghost. Someone who resurrected the Flyers season two years ago has been very sub par. The Flyers are waiting for the 2015-16 Ghost to come back but he seems to have disappeared. Ghost was ranked 67 coming into the year and is now ranked 287. He has 5 goals, 13 assists and 8 power play points in 46 games.
- Dougie Hamilton, my last defenseman I swear but Hamilton was a 50-point defenseman and since coming to Carolina he has not done a good job sharing the wealth on that offensive-minded d-core. Hamilton was ranked 96 coming into the year and is now ranked 256. He has just 16 points in 45 games (6 goals, 10 assists) with 5 power play points.
- Casey Mittlestadt, it is not like we expected this kid to be a 40 point player at this point but perhaps a little better than 13 points in 45 games. Mittlestadt has to have shaken the jittery bugs out and is getting acclimated to NHL speed, but it seems like he is having difficulty getting on the score sheet. Mittlestadt was a Calder favorite coming into the year, ranked 152 at the beginning and now 504 mid-way through the year.
- Zach Hyman, you would think playing with either Auston Matthews or John Tavares Hyman would be able to be productive well it has been the opposite for this kid, he is not grossly under performing and despite missing some games with an injury. Hyman should be a more efficient player just due to the fact who he is surrounded with. Yes William Nylander is on the cusp of being on this list but give him another 1.5 months. Either way Hyman was ranked 162 coming into the year he has now ranked 282. He has 7 goals and 9 assists in 35 games this year.
- Derek Brassard, for the same reason as Hyman, Brassard should easily have around 25+ points. He has missed a few games this year but Brassard is not finding his way in Pittsburgh and Jim Rutherford is not pleased with him as well. Do not be surprised to see Brassard on the move soon. He has just 13 points in 36 games. He was ranked 195 coming into the year and is now ranked 447.
- Kevin Shattenkirk, based on the contract and how unpleasing it has been for Ranger fans to see his production since coming to the Big Apple. Shattenkirk has not been able to stay healthy, let alone out of his way in the d-zone this year. Shattenkirk is a number three-four defenseman on an under skilled Rangers blue line. He was ranked 175 coming into the year and is now ranked 500. Sure he has missed games but 2 goals, 10 assists and 2 power play points in 37 games is disappointing.
The Colorado Avalanche currently sit in the first wild-card spot by one point. They are one point ahead of Minnesota, Anaheim and Vancouver and just three points ahead of Edmonton. They have lost 7 of their last 10 games, are on a current three-game losing streak and to put it lightly have stunk over the last month and a half. It is bizarre because the Avalanche were nearly a top-three divisional team and looking like another shoe-in to the playoffs just a little over a month ago. Now, they have won only 5 games in their last 18 games (over December and now into January). What has been the Avalanche’s biggest issue, well aside from Semyon Varlamov going down with an injury, their depth scoring has been nearly non-existent.
Avalanche lack of depth scoring
Looking at the Avalanche’s top scorers, Mikko Rantanen (68) , Nathan MacKinnon (66) and Gabriel Landeskog (51) the Avalanche’s next top scoring forward is Carl Soderberg with 25 points. After Soderberg the next in line is Alexander Kerfoot with 24 points. Therefore from the top Rantanen’s 68 points to Soberberg’s 25 points there is a 43 point difference. From Landeskog to Soderberg there is a 26 point drop off. That will for sure cause some loses and a rough period of hockey for any team. Anyways not to highlight only Soderberg here (which 25 points for him is not too shabby) but guys like Tyson Jost, with 15 points in 41 games, Matt Nieto with 14 points in 41 games, Colin Wilson 13 points in 36 games and Matt Calvert with 14 points in 45 games is a major reason the Avalanche have struggled greatly. All the players mentioned above are either second liners or third liners, lines that should produce. The Avalanche have a major depth scoring issue and it is not only apparent on the front end, it is apparent on the back end as well. Aside from Tyson Barrie’s 32 points in 41 games the next defenseman up is Erik Johnson with 14 points in 45 games, Samuel Girard with 13 points in 45 games, the Avalanche’s top-three have not been all that productive as well.
Avalanche need to find a top-6 forward ASAP!
Which leaves us to the only solution for the Avalanche go out and get a forward. The Rangers are looking to move, Mats Zuccarello, Kevin Hayes, Vladislav Namestikov, three guys that will be in your top six right away plus if you add one of those three you move MacKinnon or Rantanen down and even out the production a little. Or even go after Wayne Simmonds someone who can play with MacKinnon so Landeskog and Rantanen can play together or Gustav Nyquist, or Michael Ferland, Tyler Toffoli their are players out there that can be added to add some depth and the Avalanche need to do something sooner or later before they are really out of it. They need to break up MacKinnon and Rantanen or add another top-six winger as soon as possible!
It came out just a little under 24 hours ago that the Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets have inquired about Wayne Simmonds. The Flyers made it public that they were interested in trading forward Wayne Simmonds. In return they want a top-five defenseman, top-six forward or a goalie. Therefore let’s look at a possible trade scenario for both teams.
Winnipeg Jets: Receive Wayne Simmonds, New Jersey Devils 3rd Round Pick
Philadelphia Flyers: Receive Tyler Myers
This seems realistic, no? Both are up for new contracts, Myers cost a little cheaper than Simmonds, the Jets have Josh Morrisey, Jacob Trouba, Ben Chariot and Dustin Byfuglien already on their back end. Plus the Jets are probably not willingly to resign Myers if Trouba is going to want 6.5-7 million for a long term deal. Myers is a former first round, 12th overall pick, 28-years-old, has years under his belt and a top-four defenseman in the NHL. The Flyers get what they want and they already have a third round pick so why not sweeten the deal with a third and Simmonds for Myers. Possibly even a second.
Nashville Predators: Receive Wayne Simmonds
Philadelphia Flyers: Receive Craig Smith and Matt Irwin
Another realistic trade option. The Predators have Smith to a 4.25 million dollar deal ending in 2020-2021 the same year Roman Josi’s 4 million dollar deal ends and we know he is going to get upwards of 8 million therefore it would be in the Predators best interest to get rid of Smith while his price is relatively high, take Simmonds for a cup run and then let him walk in free agency next year. Matt Irwin is no Ryan Ellis but he would honestly fit well in Philadelphia plus that is the only Nashville defenseman you are touching besides Dan Hamhuis who is too older to bother for. This trade gives the Flyers a top-six forward, a borderline top-five defenseman and frees up cap space.