Tag: pittsburgh penguins

Five Teams That Could Use Jake Muzzin

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.

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Where Wayne Simmonds Can Land At The Trade Deadline

It confirmed the Philadelphia Flyers are moving on from Wayne Simmonds. The reasons, we do not know. Speculation could be, he is going to be a UFA come the off-season expecting 5.5-7 million a year for a longer term deal. Simmonds has been in a little of a funk lately, only producing 46 points in 75 games last season and only 19 points in 44 games. Either way the Flyers are looking to actively shop Simmonds and are looking for a goaltender, top-six forward and fifth defenseman. Therefore where can we see Simmonds land?

  1. Edmonton Oilers: They need a top-six forward and that’s what Simmonds is plus paring him with Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl is a no-brainer for the Oilers. Plus the Oilers can trade Cam Talbot or Darnell Nurse, Kris Russell type defenseman and they have a few picks to give. Simmonds would pair well in Edmonton even though Milan Lucic has been rather unsuccessful recently and Lucic, Simmonds play similar games. Simmonds is a little more used to scoring goals and playing a goal-scoring role.
  2. Colorado Avalanche: The Avalanche have a ton of suitable prospects, Semyon Varlamov and fifth defenseman. Yes, Varlamov, he is a UFA in the off-season, the Avalanche trade Varlamov, get Simmonds and go after Bobrovsky, crazy but a possibility. Either way Simmonds would be a suitable partner for Philadelphia, the Avalanche can give up Samuel Girard or Alexander Kerfoot and Patrick Nemeth, plus a pick for Simmonds and something else.
  3. Columbus Blue Jackets: Word on the street is Sergei Bobrovsky wants to be traded… well the Flyers and Bob can reunite and swap Simmonds for Bob. The only concern is the Flyers will need to give more like a second and Bobrovsky for Simmonds, maybe more. Also Bob is going to cost 7.5 million same as Simmonds so what would be the point? Unless the Flyers are willingly to spend money on a goalie, which they should.
  4. Carolina Hurricanes: If the Hurricanes are interested in trading Faulk, Hamilton or Frolik this could be fit. Again the issue is the Hurricanes need to resign a few players and Sebastian Aho therefore Simmonds will be costly for them. This could be a possibility and Simmonds would actually fit well in Carolina basically a better Justin Williams.
  5. Calgary Flames: A small possibility, the Flames have a ton of defenseman on their backend and Mike Smith and David Rittich to trade if they wanted to shed a goalie it would probably be Mike Smith. Either way the Flames can move Travis Hamonic and Michael Frolik for Simmonds. Although the Flames are hot right now and I would not mess with their roster, the Flames are a suitor.
  6. Pittsburgh Penguins: When are they not in the running? They contacted Carolina about their two defenseman on the block and Ferland. Therefore why not entertain this conversation with Philly and see the offer sheet for Simmonds. He would basically another Patric Hornqvist just younger. Also the Penguins can move Casey DeSmith, Derek Brassard and Jamie Oleksiak. Simmonds would be a great fit in Pittsburgh honestly…

My Top Buyers and Sellers For The NHL Trade Deadline

The NHL Trade Deadline is about seven weeks away, therefore usually around this time, 40+ games, teams making pushes for the playoffs and other teams doing the opposite. A lot of trade talk is about to approach so let’s get you ready for what can be a pretty exciting 2019 NHL trade deadline.

Top Buyers: 

Pittsburgh Penguins: It is no surprise here that the Penguins are again buyers. They continue to be a top-10 team in the NHL that have the tools to be a Stanley Cup team therefore around this time they usually always are involved in trade talks. There most recent trade talk has been with the Carolina Hurricanes for either Michael Ferland or defenseman Justin Faulk or Dougie Hamilton, not all three or two probably just one of the three. Either the Penguins could use another top-six winger but more importantly can certainly use a top-four or even number five defenseman. The Penguins by no surprise can score goals but they struggle to defend consistently, with a defense of Kris Letang (injury issues) Jack Johnson, Brian Dumoulin and Olli Maata they need to add another tool back there.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Much like the Penguins the Leafs are going to be buyers come the deadline, they really do not need any more forward depth due to the fact William Nylander is a third liner almost. The Leafs would have no reason for a forward. The thing the Leafs could use is a top-four defenseman, Ron Hainsey may not cut it much longer for Toronto, Morgan Reilly is proving number one capability and Jake Gardiner is a solid number four but they still another d-man, someone who is a good two-way defenseman. A Dougie Hamilton or Justin Faulk would be perfect but as of now there has not been much from Toronto. The Leafs could also use a potential back-up/fringe starter to help Frederick Anderson before the playoffs come around. Someone who can play at least half the games remaining in the year to get Anderson 100% healthy for the playoffs.

Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers need to make a move for a forward if they want to be a playoff team their current offensive roster is not going to cut it for the playoffs or a playoff run. They need one top-six forward and a borderline top-six/bottom-nine forward soon. The Oilers have tried line scheme after line scheme this season and not much is working consistently. They will probably look to the Rangers for Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello, Vladislav Namestikov or the Senators for a few of their bottom-six forwards, the Blues have a slew of forwards, the Hurricanes Michael Ferland. Either way they need to be inquiring about someone.

Colorado Avalanche: With their 11 million in projected cap space the Avalanche should be shopping for a top-six, bottom six forward. They have the two best players in the NHL right now but someone else needs to supplement those two when the playoff run comes around and playoff time comes. The Avalanche have a lot of young potential but they will need some more proven success. Out there is as mentioned above, the Avalanche will be doing some necessary shopping over the next two weeks or so.

Top Sellers:

New York Rangers: Not a shock to many, the Rangers are definitely over performing considering the roster they have but they are still not a great team. Plus it does them no good to win games right now or not consider being big sellers. They have a few players to shed as well but with Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello current UFA’s in 2019-2020 they will more than likely be trading those two. They have 2 million in cap space and with those two gone it will free up about 9.6 million making them a true contender for Artem Panarin this offseason.

Los Angeles Kings: They have no reason to buy and they do have a few names that can be useful elsewhere. I.e. Tyler Toffoli, Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown, and some bottom six forwards. Not a great year for L.A. but they have around $89,000 in cap space right now with three free agents in 2019 summer and Brown/Carter on unfavorable contracts.

Carolina Hurricanes: I did not expect the Hurricanes to be sellers but it seems their GM is in favor to shed Faulk, Hamilton and Ferland. Therefore making sellers for sure, they have 16 million in cap space and getting rid of two of those three would leave them with a nice dollar amount to sit on in the offseason. Plus they need to free up cap for Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, Jordin Martinook, and possibly Justin Williams. The Hurricanes have a ton of UFA/RFA to consider in the offseason and they cannot afford Faulk, Hamilton and Aho therefore we can see these guys selling heavy come the deadline.

St. Louis Blues: I almost want to say why not sell for this team. You have Brayden Schenn, Jaden Schwartz, David Perron, Patrick Maroon, Vladimir Tarasenko, Tyler Bozak, etc. At least two of these guys or even one can go and will provide a decent return. The Blues have rumored to be in talks to shed Vladimir Tarasenko, which I mean sounds ridiculous but realistically this team is not going to win anytime soon, get a good return on the guy sooner than later.

 

How one game changed Pittsburgh’s and Anaheim’s seasons in unexpected ways

It was Monday night, December the 17th and the Pittsburgh Penguins were hosting the Anaheim Ducks in PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. The Ducks came back from a two-goal deficit to win the game 4-2. Nothing serious happened you would say, but this game turned out to be potentially season-changing.

Let’s take a look at what happened next. The Ducks lost seven straight games and the Penguins won eight in a row. And now that’s something. But it wasnt just a coincidence, not at all. Going into that game in mid-December, the Ducks were streaking hotter than any other team in the league and the Penguins were not.

Anaheim turned from red-hot to cold soup

Going into that game in Pittsburgh, the Ducks won ten of their last twelve games in the mean time. That comeback win over the Penguins meant their sixth straight win on the road, which tied their franchise record. And they won 11 out of 13 games played. The Ducks, however, didn’t play their best hockey that night and the Penguins players were trying to excuse their loss as they said it was just unfortunate.

Anaheim lost the very next game with giving up a shorthanded goal with just 40 seconds remaining in the third period in Madison Square Garden against the Rangers. The Ducks were miserable that game, still they scored first and were up by one ahead of a final 10-minute stretch of the road game. The Rangers tied it up and won the game while shorthanded with 40 seconds remaining on the clock in that third period.

Maybe the Ducks started to think that now as they are pretty hot and good, they will start to win with low efforts, but that turned out to be huge mistake. They are still in a play-off spot in the Western Conference today, which just documents how much that streak helped them. On the other side, that lost finally woke up the struggling Penguins.

Pittsburgh found blessing in tough loss

The Pens lost 14 out of 23 games going into that game on home ice against the Ducks. They blew a two-goal lead and lost the game, but didn’t feel like they were playing bad hockey. Since then, Pittsburgh won eight straight games and they gave up just nine goals in those eight straight wins, also getting a lot of help from heavily criticised goaltender Matt Murray.

That win by the Ducks in Pittsburgh was probably a lucky one. But no one ever thinks when they win in the NHL, you just need to be lucky sometimes. Luck is just relative and very temporary. If you are headed to the right direction and you still find a way to lose games, just stay with it and you will prevail at some point (i.e. Pittsburgh). Now it’s Anaheim who thinks that they are conceding unlucky losses as of late. But they keep coming.

Tonight, the Ducks host the struggling Oilers in Honda Center, Anaheim, unlike the Penguins face a mighty curse as of now. Pittsburgh faces off against Chicago, a  tea, they have not defeated for nine games in a row. The Penguins will be hoping to end that losing streak and earn their ninth straight win to go to the top of the Metropolitan division.

NHL Around The Boards; Here Come The Penguins, The Flames year? The Devils and Wild Struggles…

This is an edition called around the boards, essentially giving you the top five headlines from the last weekend of play. This will be playoff talk, individual team talk, player talk, whatever is the most important news.

Here Come The Penguins…

First off, the Penguins, people do not look now. But, they are going to probably win the Metropolitan division, ok maybe not the Metro but the Penguins have propelled from below .500 to 18-12-6 now with 42 points and five points behind Washington. The Penguins are 7-2-1 in their last ten games and on a three-game win streak. This short break could be detrimental or monumental for the Penguins. Looking at their schedule up until the All-Star break, of their 11 remaining games they play three playoff teams, one Metropolitan division team and two Eastern Conference teams. The Penguins can very easily head into the All-Star break a top of the Metropolitan division. The Penguins are back, great.

Flames Year?

Is this Calgary’s year? The Flames have been consistently a top the Pacific division for about two months now. Even with a two-goalie tandem the Flames have made it work and a lot of it comes because of their tremendous scoring and great play of Art Ross nominee Johnny Gaudreau. The Flames are a top the Pacific by two points with one game in hand on San Jose. The Flames have won six of their last ten games and top-four team in the NHL right now. The Flames have the fourth most goals scored in the NHL (127) and score around 3.43 goals per game. Over their last week of six wins even though the Flames only out scored their opponent’s 20 to 19 of their six wins four of them they scored 5+ goals in. the Flames are coming into what everyone expected them to be. If Mike Smith can be more consistent and the Flames can continue this scoring surge they will have a nice first round opponent come April. 

There Have Been WILD Struggles 

What happened to Minnesota? This is not good news for the Wild, after starting out the year on the right foot and being one of the best teams in the NHL, the Wild have fell drastically out of a playoff spot now. They have just 37 points on the year, have dropped 6 of their last ten games and have a slim chance of even making a divisional top-three finish. The Wild are two games above .500 luckily they are still within a Wild Card spot but it has been a slow and painful slump for the Wild. They have seen very little depth scoring the Wild have seven of their top 9 forwards with 20 points or less, five with 15 points or less. Players like Eric Staal, Mikael Granlund, Jason Zucker and Nino Niederreiter have 12 goals or less, with just one player with 15 goals on the year the Wild have struggled greatly on the offensive side of things. I would not be surprised if Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter get moved before the deadline this year.

Put The Fork In Them…

The Devils are probably done right? The surprising playoff team from last year seem to be the complete opposite of what they were. The Devils are ranked 30th in the NHL, last in the Metropolitan division and last in the Eastern Conference. They have a -23 goal differential, have dropped five of their ten games, only picking up three wins in their last ten games. During the month of November the Devils won just three of their 15 games during that month. the Devils have been so bad this year for multiple reasons. (1) They score just 102 goals on the year (21st) while allowing 123 goals (4th). They score 2.91 goals per game while allowing 3.51 goals per game. (2) The players like Jesper Bratt and Nico Hischier are not the same players as they were last year. Bratt has 13 points in 21 games (2 goals), Hischier has 23 points in 31 games (9 goals), other players though like Will Butcher have 11 points in 34 games (2 goals). Aside from Taylor Hall (37 points) and Kyle Palmieri (33 points) the next top scorer is Hischier with 23 points. Their has been no depth on the Devils line up and those role guys are just not performing like they were last season. The Devils will at least get a good draft pick because they are not turning this around anytime soon.

NHL Eastern Conference Playoff Predictions; Metropolitan, Atlantic and Wild Card Teams…

This may be the year the Eastern Conference is officially weaker than the Western Conference. For years the Rangers, Canadiens and Islanders were top 15 teams in the NHL, but this year the Western Conference seems to be a little tougher and tighter in terms of the playoff race.

Taking a look at the Eastern Conference Metropolitan Division it is heavily dominated by three teams the Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals. It has been a major shock to the East that the Pittsburgh Penguins are a non playoff team right now as well as the Flyers being out of contention and struggling this season. Another big surprise is the Canadiens start, coming out now 35 games into the season and being in the second wild card spot and six points out from the three seed in the Atlantic.

The Atlantic division playoff teams 

The Buffalo Sabres are off to a surprising start, yet after going on their win streak, they dropped six straight and now are 3-4-3 in their last ten. Are we sure the Sabres are legitimate playoff contenders? Or will they be out of the race come March? Personally after seeing what the Sabres have done and are capable of, they can easily be a playoff team. Realistically they need to stay above .500 for the next month or so to stay in the race and when it continues to tighten up and get closer, they will pull a few games out of their back pocket and make a push. With that, I don’t think they stay #3 in the Atlantic though, the Bruins are five points behind and have yet to hit their full stride this season. If the Bruins get healthy soon, they will knock the Sabres out of three, but this means Bruins stay three and Leafs stay two it will be another Bruins vs Leafs first round match up. The Leafs are not catching the Lighting (54), the Lightning have essentially clinched first place and will have an easier first round than other teams. Out of the Atlantic I think we see Lightning (1), Leafs (2), Bruins (3), Sabres (4), Canadiens get bumped out of the playoffs by either the Penguins or Islanders. Which brings me to the second part of this article.

The weak Metropolitan playoff teams

The Metropolitan is extremely weak, of the four divisions in the NHL the Metropolitan is by far the weakest. The Capitals with 43 points lead the Metro, yet in any other division would be third in the division. The Metro is basically run by the Capitals who lead the division by just four points but I do not see the Capitals dropping out of that one spot. The Blue Jackets come in at number two (39 points) and they have been very inconsistent this season, they struggle to stay consistent and string together wins over multiple games and number three is the Islanders (38 points) who are on  three-game win streak and surprising a lot of people right now. Based off what we have in front of us right now, I would have to assume the Islanders get knocked out of three by the Penguins and top three in the Metropolitan are Capitals (1), Penguins (2), Blue Jackets (3), the Metro is so weak that the Penguins can start of the season below .500 and still be in contention for a playoff spot. Out of the Metro it will probably be Capitals (1), Penguins (2), Blue Jackets (3), Islanders (4).

Playoff prediction in the Eastern Conference: 

Tampa Bay Lightning (1) vs New York Islanders (WC2) 

Washington Capitals (1) vs Buffalo Sabres (WC1) 

Pittsburgh Penguins (2) vs Columbus Blue Jackets (3) 

Toronto Maple Leafs (2) vs Boston Bruins (3) 

McDavid or Crosby? Who is better? Comparing two NHL superstars

Since Connor McDavid came to the NHL, it seems like many experts are saying that he is the best player out there, but don‘t forget about Sidney Crosby, who is also considered as the best player in the NHL. Well, only one of them can be the best, of course.

So who is the best? Or at least who is better? If we take a look at their first years, that is something incomparable, because meanwhile Crosby scored 39 goals, McDavid, limited to play just 45 games because of an injury, managed to score “only” 16 goals. But Crosby played fewer games in his first NHL campaign – 53.

Prominent stars set to dominate NHL for years

But the very next season McDavid scored 41 goals. This number was never achieved by Crosby in his first three years in the NHL. In his first three seasons, Crosby scored more points than McDavid, he beat him in this category 294 to 256 points.

Head-to-head:

  • 1st season comparison : McDavid averaged 1,07 point per game, Crosby 1,26 point per game.
  • 2nd season comparison: McDavid averaged 1,22 point per game, Crosby 1,52 point per game.
  • 3rd season comparison: McDavid averaged 1,32 point per game, Crosby 1,36 point per game.

In their respective first three years in the NHL, both McDavid and Crosby participated twice in the NHL All Star game. Both players won one Hart Trophy, McDavid won two Ted Lindsay Trophies compared to Crosby‘s one. McDavid won two Art Ross Trophies for the most productive player, Crosby “just” one.

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Can any of them challenge Wayne Gretzky one day?

Well Sidney Crosby is exactly 10 years older than Connor McDavid. Crosby won three Stanley Cups in total and also won the MVP honor in those playoffs. Crosby has achieved more collective trophies, two olympic gold medals, World Championship title and World Cup title. So far McDavid has won “just” one gold medal from World Championships.

Based on these numbers and stats and maybe more importantly, based on your own eye-test, please feel free to decide for yourself who is the better out of those two. If you cannot make a decision, please feel free to join our club, you are welcome!