Tag: nhl

With Elias Pettersson eyeing return do the Canucks make a push for the playoffs?

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.

 

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My Top-Ten Most Disappointing Fantasy Hockey Players of 2018

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

My Top-Ten Most Surprising Fantasy Hockey Players of 2018

Coming into this year these players were not expected to be producing the way they are. Some of you took a gamble on these players, some of these players flew way under the radar, some of them you picked up off free agency. Here are the top-10 most surprising fantasy hockey players this year. 

1. Elias Lindholm, what a turnout it was for Calgary when they acquired Lindholm from Carolina. Lindholm was ranked 234 coming into the year he is now ranked 10. He has 21 goals and 32 assists on the year with 19 power play points.

2. Gabriel Landeskog, after a turn around year in 2017-18 fantasy owners were skeptical of Landeskog doing it again. He was ranked 88th going into the year and is now ranked fifth. He has 52 points, 28 goals and 24 assists with 18 power play points.

3. Jeff Skinner, I’m not sure many owners expected Skinner to have 30 goals before the All-Star break nor did many of us believe he would be an All-Star player this year. Skinner surprised us all, he was ranked 90th coming into the year and is now ranked 20th. He has 30 goals and 14 assists for 44 points on the year with 11 power play points.

4. Mark Giordano, we all knew this veteran defenseman was a top d-man in the league but did we think he was going to be a Norris candidate 45+ games into the season? Probably not. Gio was ranked 128 going into the year and is now ranked 28th. He has 9 goals, 38 assists (47 points) and 15 power play points on the year.

5. Morgan Reilly, the same situation as Giordano, but these two have led the Norris talk for the entire year from day one. Reilly has surprised everyone, he especially raised some eyebrows early in the year when he was on a point-streak. Reilly was ranked right behind Giordano at 129 and is now ranked 29th. He has 13 goals, 34 assists (47 points) and 14 power play points on the year.

6. Mark Stone, on a very top heavy Ottawa team and a team with a low bar coming into the year a lot of fans were weary of Stone’s production due to his supporting cast. Well Stone has rose to the occasion this year, coming in at 139 and now ranked 37th in fantasy. Stone has 20 goals and 28 assists (48 points) on his way to a 30+ goal year.

7. Alex Tuch, remember when he got signed to a 4.75 million dollar deal and fans were saying “over paid”. Well fair to say Tuch the 224th ranked player in fantasy has blown up expectations this season as he is ranked just in the top-50 at forty-nine. Tuch has 15 goals and 22 assists (37 points) and 5 power play points this year.

8. Zach Parise, I’ll come clean here and say I even thought Parise was done and there was no way he was having a bounce back year. I’m sure many can agree, injury after injury and under performing left us very skeptical on Parise. Well coming in at 307 and now ranked 61 Parise has silenced many doubters. He has 19 goals and 21 assists (41 points) with 9 power play points.

9. Jeff Petry, The Canadiens defense revolved around this guy for a while when Shea Weber was tending to an injury. Even with Weber back Petry is still producing. Petry was ranked 326, a borderline draft pick and probably a waiver wire add week to week and is now ranked 67. Petry has 10 goals, 23 assists (33 points) with 9 power play points.

10. Ander Lee, This man had big shoes to fill after John Tavares left and he was then named captain. Lee has come in and done a fantastic job being a leader and a productive player this season. Lee was ranked 322 coming into the year and is now ranked 54th. Lee has 16 goals and 18 assists (34 points) with 13 power play points.

Colorado Avalanche Lack Of Depth Scoring Proves They Need To Make A Trade…

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!

What A Trade Between The Flyers And Nashville/Winnipeg Would Look Like For Wayne Simmonds

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.

 

My Top Three Picks To Be Crowned Stanley Cup Champions 2018-2019

Based off the odds of Vegas, what teams have a legitimate shot at the Stanley Cup?

Tampa Bay Lightning +300

Toronto Maple Leafs +550

Calgary Flames: +1000

Nashville Predators:  +1200

San Jose Sharks: +1200

Winnipeg Jets +1200

Washington Capitals +1400

Pittsburgh Penguins +1700

Boston Bruins +1700

Columbus Blue Jackets: +1800

New York Islanders +2200

All betting odds aside, my top three choices for a Stanley Cup this season.

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning: Is there any need to get into much of a discussion about this? From line one to four they produce, their back end is strong with plenty of experience and mobility and the icing on the cake. A healthy, solid number one goalie, Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Lightning are 34-8-2 with 70 points, they lost a combination of 10 games all year and only EIGHT in regulation. With a +67 goal differential.
  2. Calgary Flames: In all honesty the Western Conference does not look to difficult this year. The Flames have played well in their division and if the season were to end today they would have to go through Minnesota, Vegas or San Jose then Nashville or Winnipeg. The Flames have been a great team on both sides of the puck if they can figure out their goaltending, between Mike Smith and David Rittich they are a top-pick for the West Conference finals. The Flames are 28-13-4 with 60 points but a point ahead of San Jose for the divisional lead.
  3. Winnipeg Jets: The Jets have to get through the Predators again one more time to get to the Conference finals and from there if you come out alive in the West it is a possibility. The Jets will need Connor Hellebuyck to wake up and play a big role in their success from here until June. The Jets will need to see Patrik Laine step up big time as well, along with more depth players and a solid game from their backend.

Those are my top-three choices for the Stanley Cup Champions 2018-2019, what are yours?

 

Who will Columbus trade/sign? Sergei Bobrovsky or Artem Panarin?

The Columbus Blue Jackets have two major questions to answer come the deadline as their two highest marked free agents will be for sale come July 1st, 2019. Which means the Blue Jackets can either find a trading partner now or run the possibility of having Bobrovsky and Panarin walk. If all is right and sane in this world, Jarmo Kekäläinen learned something from the Islanders situation. Which means that the Blue Jackets should probably either try to make a run at signing one of them and trade the other. Therefore this gives us two options.

Option 1: Trade Bobrovsky and go after a cheaper UFA, RFA goaltender in the summer. 

This is option one because of what happened the other night in Columbus with Bobrovsky. It seems Bob and management do not get along too well after his stint the other night in Tampa Bay resulting in a suspension from the Blue Jackets for Thursday nights game. We also have no idea what happened but are sure it was a violation of team rules. Plus, the Blue Jackets have Panarin who is 27-years-old, has a .98 points per game and is the Blue Jackets top two forward. Bobrovsky as good as he is, is probably not going to get better at 30-years-old. He has struggled to perform in the playoffs and this year has not looked all that great. He has 18 wins in 31 games started, a 2.87 goals against and .906 save percentage.  Also, Bobrovsky probably provides a solid return (not better if you were to trade Panarin) and there are a ton of teams who will take a #1 goaltender. Even if teams are going to be looking at a price tag of 7.5-8.5 million a year. Bobrovsky is already the third highest paid goalie in the NHL so I don’t see how he can go up from here.

Option 2: Trade Panarin, sign Bobrovsky.

This is also a likely possibility. The Russian forward has made some indication that he is not entirely sure if he wants to stay in Columbus. While he has also said that he loves Columbus and playing there. It is a tricky situation with Panarin sending a lot of mixed signals. If the Blue Jackets do end up trading Panarin they will receive a first round pick, a top-level prospect and more. Not to mention Bobrovsky will cost probably 8 million over 4 years, Panarin will cost 9.5 million or more over a long term deal. In hindsight, the Bobrovsky trade would not yield as much in return and looking at this realistically, the Blue Jackets were not MUCH worse when Panarin was not on their roster.

The Blue Jackets received Panarin in 2017-18, the three seasons leading up to Panarin the Blue Jackets had a combined record of 126-99-21. Despite not having a good year in 2015-16 the Blue Jackets went 42-35-5 in 2014-15 and 50-24-8 in 2016-17. Sure Panarin is a very good player and the Blue Jackets would be better off with him but we have learned in this league that a number one goaltender is more important than having multiple super stars on the roster. Look at the Blues, Flames (in recent years), Islanders (in recent years), Carolina, Florida, Dallas (before Bishop), Vancouver, the list goes on. Then take a look at the teams that have won Stanley Cups and why they did. Penguins (Murray and Fleury), Capitals (Holtby), Kings (Quick), Blackhawks (Crawford, Niemi), Red Wings (Hasek) and all the teams like Vegas last season who went on a big run cause of their goaltending or teams like the Flyers who lost in the Stanley Cup final cause lack of goaltending. Goaltending is important in this league, you may not be able to necessarily replace Panarin but other guys will need to step up and it’s a lot harder in this league to replace a goalie.

Option 3: They both walk and Columbus is screwed.

This is option three and probably not realistic. The Blue Jackets ownership is a lot smarter then this but I am just saying it as an option but because it can happen.

All in all, the Blue Jackets need to come to a settlement here with Bobrovsky, patch some things up and get back on each others good side. Panarin provides a greater return then Bobrovsky. But as of now we have some weeks until we find out what happens. During the All-Star break we will know a lot more because the deadline will be nearing and Panarin is suppose to have a conversation with his agent regarding next season and what he wants to do.

My guess: Blue Jackets sign Bobrovsky to deal and trade Panarin at the deadline or he walks over the summer.