Tag: vancouver canucks

NHL Trades: Edmonton Oilers send Cam Talbot To Philadelphia, Oilers re-acquire Sam Gagner

Nothing major in the hockey world but as the trade deadline nears there two somewhat minor deals. Edmonton made two of these deals, one of them involved re-acquiring Sam Gagner and the other was receiving back up goalie Anthony Stolarz.

Flyers swap back up goalies

The Flyers sent Anthony Stolarz to Edmonton for goalie Cam Talbot. Stolarz was the Flyers 2nd round 45th overall pick in the 2012 draft. He played 19 games with the Flyers going 6-4-4 with a 2.86 GAA and .911 save percentage. The Flyers pick up veteran goaltender Cam Talbot who spent his first two seasons in New York and then was sent to Edmonton in 2015 where he has been since.

This move was more of a move for Carter Hart I think, they know that Hart is going to be their number one and they know Stolarz could possibly be a number one too. Therefore instead of causing any controversy, they add a goalie who is at the end of his prime time, can be a 25-30 game goalie therefore when Hart is 22-23-years-old he will be in a perfect situation to be a true #1 and Talbot can mentor and guide him for these next two years. The only issue with this now is that the Flyers are paying 10+ million dollars in goaltending. With still Brian Elliott and Michael Neuvirth on pay roll their 5.2 million is useless basically. Plus Talbot is a UFA in the off-season so the Flyers will need to decide what to do with Talbot come the end of this season. Overall I believe Edmonton wins this deal due to the young age and potential of Stolarz.

Spooner on the move again…

Ryan Spooner was sent to the Rangers at the middle of last trade deadline. Stayed with the Rangers for a bit then was sent to Edmonton earlier this season and now to Vancouver. He’s been bounced around to three teams within less than a year . Spooner played 25 games on Edmonton scoring  2 goals and 1 assist. This season he has 3 goals and 2 assists in 41 games. The Oilers do re-acquire their 2007 1st round selection in Sam Gagner. Gagner played 481 games with Edmonton scoring 101 goals collecting 194 assists. Gagner knows the Edmonton area very well and they know him therefore the transition should be easy for the veteran forward. As far as Vancouver they really risk nothing getting Ryan Spooner, he will be a third to fourth line guy that mixes well into their younger style of play.

 

 

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The Wild Card Race In The Western Conference Is A Joke

I tried to make this sound as polite as possible but what a disaster this Western Conference wild card race has been. It goes to show one of the many reasons that the last three Stanley Cup winners has come from the Eastern Conference but also this could mean that maybe these teams a top the Western Conference are not that good. But back to the main point of this article.

How can a conference have a wild card race like this, a team that is basically below .500 is in the run for the wild card right now. A team that was once 16 points out of a spot is in the run for a wild card and in the last wild card spot (Blues). I am just completely blown away by the fact that at this point in the season, 52 games in 63 percent of the season played we still have no idea what is going to happen in the Western Conference wild card.

The current wild card layout is as follows: 

Minnesota Wild (26-23-5) 57 points (1st wild card spot)

St. Louis Blues (25-22-5) 55 points (2nd wild card spot)

Vancouver Canucks (24-24-7) 55 points

Colorado Avalanche (22-22-9) 53 points

Edmonton Oilers (24-25-5) 53 points

Chicago Blackhawks (22-24-9) 53 points

The fact the Edmonton Oilers are two points out of a wild card spot is embarrassing, they have won 6 of their last 15 games a record of 6-9 in the last 15 makes you a playoff team I guess now.

The Canucks who have won 4 of their last 14 games, a 4-10 record is a playoff contending team. Just looking at this race it is a complete disaster, any team can squeak in at this point so if you are a gambling man just throw money on all six teams to make the playoffs you’ll probably walk away with some money at this point. Not to mention the Ducks who have won TWO games in their last seven and a half weeks and have been outscored 31-6 are four points out of a wild card spot. Argument closed.

The reason this race for the wild card in the West irks me a little is because any of these teams that get into the first round are going to get bounced in four to five games. Which honestly just kills NHL viewership, ratings and the growth of the game in a sense. If you are not a die hard NHL fan there is not a chance in h double hockey sticks you are watching a Blues-Flames playoff matchup.

Can anyone else shed some light here? MY prediction is that the Canucks and Blues sneak into the playoffs. Or should I say those are the two teams I would like to see make it.

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.

 

Is there even a Calder trophy race?

We went from Matt Barzal, Brock Boeser, Clayton Keller, Yanni Gourde, Kyle Connor rookie of the year race in 2017-18 to a dominate, no discussion Elias Pettersson Calder race now. Sure, Barzal out scored the other rookies by 20+ points but at this point last year it was a race. Barzal was not a clear winner by December. Yet, here we are in December of 2018 and Elias Pettersson has 30 points in 26 games, a 1.15 point per game with 15 goals and 15 assists. The next rookie up is Colin White who has 19 points in 30 games, then Brady Tkachuk with 16 points in 20 games, Miro Heiskanen with 15 points in 30 games.

It is clear as day that Pettersson is a clear favorite and most likely going to win the Calder if all pans out well, he stays healthy and stays with Brock Boeser on that line. As of now Pettersson is projected to exceed Barzal’s point total last year (85). Pettersson is projected to total 94.3 points so 94 points. My prediction for Pettersson is that he totals the same as Barzal probably around 80-85 points. A 1.15 per game player is tough in this league to maintain for a full 82 game year, plus he is going to hit a plateau at some point, no? Either way the whole point of this article is to say, Elias Pettersson great job winning the Calder trophy.

NHL Power Rankings: From 31 on up…

As the season comes around and we get started on predicting how teams will finish at the end of this season. Around this time is always a perfect time to go into some power rankings and team preview talk. For starters we will go over 5 teams each day until every team is covered. Therefore we will be starting with the 31st ranked team to the 26th.

31. Ottawa Senators: 

NHL Ottawa Senators

This team is a mess, they have very little going for them this season. Besides Brady Tkachuk who is still unknown if he is going to play major juniors or crack the roster, the Senators summer has been a disaster. Between the Mike Hoffman and Erik Karlsson tirade, Hoffman getting shipped out of Ottawa, Mark Stone contract issues, Cody Ceci contract issues, Craig Anderson saying he basically does not care for drama, essentially saying the team is all drama. And the worst of it all the future of Karlsson being clear as day that he does not want to remain a Senator. I would be surprised if the Senators finish anywhere higher than 29th place, I am going with 31st for Ottawa because based off their forward and offensive depth along with an aging goaltender. You cannot win games with the roster Ottawa has.

Their key acquisitions: Signed Paul Carey and acquired Mikkel Boedeker in trade.

30. Montreal Canadiens: 

Much like the Senators the Canadiens have nothing going for them. Shea Weber is out for 4-6 weeks, Max Pacioretty situation only seems to be getting worse. They lack a ton of depth on the wings and their draft pick this year raises some concern. Without Weber, this teams number one d-man is Jeff Petry. On top of that, Carey Price has been battling injuries for forever now, whatever it is, it seems the superstar goaltender just can’t fight it. Without Price 100 percent, Weber out for an extended period of time and Pacioretty seemingly on the way out, what does this team have going for them? Brendan Gallagher, Jonathan Drouin and Max Domi? They traded away Alex Galchenyuk this offseason for Domi so it is not like they upgraded by any means. They have very little offensive weapons and an aging blue line. This team is destined for an even worse finish than last year.

Key acquisitions: Xavier Ouellet signed, signed back Tomas Plekanec, signed Joel Armia.

29. Vancouver Canucks: 

NHL Vancouver CanucksThey are a young team, there is nothing to be worried about right now they have some of the best prospects in the league and plenty of talent on the roster right now. Due to the division they are in, their depth across the board and age level/experience the Canucks are just not there yet. They have a lot to look forward to in Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson, Quinton Hughes, Jonathan Dahlen and if their number one goalie prospect Thatcher Demko pans out they should be fine. The Canucks also have Bo Horvat, Sven Baertschi, Markus Granlund and Sam Gagner. They have a lot of depth honestly it’s that their scorers and top guys are young, they have no goaltending and their defense is very weak.

Key acquisitions: Jay Beagle, Tim Schaller, Antoine Roussel.

28. Detroit Red Wings: 

The Red Wings are much like the Canucks they have a lot of young talent but, their defense is weak and their goaltending is too inconsistent. They have a ton of prospects ready to emerge in the league, with already some established young forwards in Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou, Tyler Bertuzzi, Dylan Larkin, Matrin Frk, with Filip Zadina and Evgeny Svechnikov on the up the Red Wings just need to figure out their goaltending and defense. Niklas Kronwall has expressed this is his last year, they lost a defenseman to free agency this offseason and also Henrik Zetterberg will be out for this entire season and possibly forever it seems like. The Red Wings are 3-4 years away from being a solid team again.

Key acquisitions: Tomas Vanek signed, Jonathan Brenier signed, Chris Terry signed.

27. Arizona Coyotes: 

NHLImproving, but not there just yet, the Coyotes finished 29th last season, not the usual 30, 31st, which is good! They made a serious push at the end of the season last year and could possibly carry that momentum into this year. The Coyotes have a very young and inexperienced team on the front end, their back end is more veteran, solid guys who have been around awhile. The Coyotes have a lot to look forward to in Barrett Hayton, Pierre-Oliver Joseph, Lawson Crouse and goalie Adin Hill. As well hoping Dylan Strome can finally crack the roster this year and be on the team for good. With Strome, Clayton Keller, Alex Galchenyuk, Derek Stepan, Michael Grabner, Brad Richardson, Richard Panik, Vinnie Hinostroza the Coyotes have talent on the front end. With Oliver Ekman Larsson, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Jakub Chychurn, Alex Goligoski they have the depth all around they just need a goaltender and some consistency.

Key acquisitions: Michael Grabner, Alex Galchenyuk, Vinnie Hinostroza.

26. New York Islanders: 

The Islanders are going to be without their captain and superstar for the first time in 9 -years that is going to be difficult to adjust to, we cannot expect this team to look to Matthew Barzal the same way they did in John Tavares. Tavares was the mold to this team and without him the first season will be rough. Plus the Islanders lack a great deal of defensive depth and goaltending consistency. They took a gamble on Robin Lehner but who knows with him. They have talent upfront and in the system but I just think anytime a top player and one of the best players in the league leaves his home the team struggles a bit. Barzal, Josh Bailey, Anthony Beauvillier, Anders Lee, Brock Nelson and Andrew Ladd will have a ton more responsibilities. Luckily the Islanders did get a new coach in Barry Trotz and new General Manager in Lou Lamoriello, whom have signed a ton of veteran depth like Tom Kuhnhackl, Vlatteri Filppula, Matt Martin and Leo Komarov it will help but with little goaltending and Nick Leddy, Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock holding down the blue the Islanders are in for a different type of season.

Key acquisitions: Leo Komarov, Vlatteri Filppula, Tom Kuhnhackl, Robin Lehner, Matt Martin.

What went wrong: Vancouver Canucks 2017-2018

Vancouver yet again had another disappointing season I don’t think many people had high expectations for the Canucks, but the positive is that they have a bright future. With Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat, Elias Pettersson, Jake Virtanen, Branden Leipsic, Troy Stecher the future is bright but right now the Cancuks have some work to do.

The Canucks finished 31-40-11, 73 points, ranked 26th in goals for(218), 9th in goals against(259), 9th in power play percentage(21.4), 21st in penalty kill(78.3). The Canucks have now to worry about filling the Sedin’s brothers spots now that they have retired but for now, the Canucks do have a bright future ahead. What went wrong for the Canucks though? Well, they did not have solid goaltending all year, some key injuries happened at a bad time, and lacked depth on both sides of the puck.

What went wrong with the Canucks? 

(1) Jakub Markstrom did not have a terrible season but when he was not in net Andres Nilsson did not fill the void well. Markstrom posted a decent record of 23-26-7 with a 2.71 GAA and a .912 save percentage, but Nilsson had a 7-14-4, 3.44 GAA and a .901 SV percentage. While Markstrom did not have a terrible season he only started 57 games, solid starting goaltender numbers but when Markstrom was not in net Nilsson did not do a great job, this is a small reason but one of the reasons the Canucks had a decent season.

(2) They had to deal with their top two forwards getting hurt at two different times with Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser going down. When Boeser was in the line up the Canucks were at one point in a playoff hunt, once things hit the fan though they fell off quickly and things went south quick. Boeser their leading scorer had 55 points in 62 games and Horvat, whom when paired with Boeser was very siccessful played in 64 games with 44 points. Perhaps these two had been in the line up all year for 82 games they could have posted a .500 or a little above .500 record, but key injuries these two hurt the Canucks.

(3) The Canucks lacked the depth that is for sure. After the Sedin brothers who are aged forwards they did not have many players to fulfill their forward needs, such as Sam Gagner only scoring 31 points, Loui Eriksson with 23 points, and Branden Suter with 26 points, the Cancuks “veteran” players did not step up which hurt them. They acquired these players with different sights set on their numbers. Luckily the Canucks are transitioning to a younger model and developing younger players.

Will things get better?

Well like I said the Canucks are developing their younger players which is good because they have a ton of younger forwards coming up, like Pettersson, John Dahlen, Tyler Motte with established players like Boeser, Horvat, Sven Baerthschi, and more but the Canucks are definitely on the up and after this season it is a bright spot at least. They do have the 7th overall pick in this yeas draft definitely acquiring a top-level prospect yet again. Will they be back in a playoff hunt next season? Probably not they will be a 22-24th ranked team and finish around the same, maybe around .500 not above it by many games but definitely a better season is ahead. The problems heading into the offseason will be to resign, Markus Granlund, Beartschi, Virtanen, Stecher and Derick Poulit, not a huge burden but some things to consider with their 22 million in cap space and 6 picks out of the 7 rounds this season.

Avalanche Lose Again

Last night the Avalanche took on the Vancouver Canucks and lost, but in OT. This is a bad Vancouver team, they have been bad for some time now. 3 game losing streak. The Avalanche once again went down 2-0, same deal as when they lost to the Canadiens and the St. Louis Blues. Thats three games in a row where they had to surmount a 2 goal deficit.

The first goal was scored by Bo Horvat (11) on a semi breakaway brought to us by and little bit of an over commitment by Tyson Barrie and an inability to get the puck deep by Tyson Jost. Barrie just needs to get back in the flow of things while Jost is still growing so you cant really harp too much on this goal.

The second goal of the game also by the Vancouver Canucks was scored by MDZ (Michael Del Zotto) his third goal of this year’s campaign. This shot was very savable but beats Bernier short side off the cross bar and in. There was what looked like a screen but the puck had already passed by Yakupov when he would have been in the way. It looked like a basic miss from Bernier.

The second period again is where the Avalanche started to play well again. The avalanche scored three goals in the second period all in the similar fashion.

JT Compher goal (9)

Gabriel Landeskog (18)

Gabriel Landeskog (19)

Each goal was a rebound goal, with MacKinnon likely out Avs need to focus on net front presence. It worked well in this game, people driving the net and picking up the scraps. Goals all look the same on the scoreboard. MacK will not be playing in Edmonton. Its good that Barrie is back now more than ever. He has a unique brand of offense that adds a different dimension to the game. That is something the Avs are going to need moving forward because I don’t know how long MacKinnon will be out. By the looks of this it, might be a while. I’m guessing a should separation (AC joint) but I’m not a professional.

The Canucks ended up tying the game up on the PP on a goal from Daniel Sedin (12) assisted by Henrik Sedin, which is something I was hoping i did not have to write after what I said yesterday.

After Bernier’s performance tonight, Does Hammond get in a game? I think he deserves a shot, 3 out of the 4 goals last night shouldn’t have gone in, including the over time goal by Sven Baertschi (11).

Some side notes; Beoser is a legitimate threat, takes Ovi’s spot on the PP. He can fire and dish the puck, plus even the way he moves with the puck you can tell he is deadly. Sedin’s can still find seems and pass on the power play very well even for 37 year olds. The Avalanche have fallen out of the second wild card spot for the time being but they are back one point to the Minnesota wild but the Avs still have a game at hand.

On Thursday the Avalanche take on Edmonton and try to stop the bleeding. They are riding a 3 game losing streak and need to find a new way to score with their Leading point scorer sidelined.

-Conner