Category Archives: Hockey News

Olympic Hockey Update

The Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea are in full swing. Both men’s and women’s hockey for Team USA have played games. And both have mixed results. The women’s team has lived up to expectations as usual. Now the men’s team well…. not so much success.

The men’s team went into these Olympics with no real expectations with no NHL players competing in them. But they are who they are and who they are is a competitive team that’ll challenge for a medal. After the 4-0 loss to the gold medal favorite Russians, a medal seems like a tough task. But this team seems resilient and a defensive team.

They’re not gonna wow you on offense but with the men’s tournament wide open it’s possible a medal could be gained by USA. Time will only tell if they can finish strong.

The men’s team is gonna need to go the long way when it comes to achieving what they want to. They’re gonna fight tooth and nail through rounds of grueling playoff like hockey. They’ll verse more rested teams and have to overcome a lot of adversity.

With young talent and some veteran depth fans should be carefully optimistic. If their defense holds other teams to 2 goals per game like they have been for most of the tournament then their chances should be strong.

Now onto the main attraction the ladies for USA hockey. They are coming off a Silver medal from the 2014 Olympic games after falling to Canada.

USA has its star studded lineup once again and have been dominant thus far in the competition. Even though they lost 1 game (to Canada 2-1) they have dominated when it’s come to play. They have out shot their opponents and used their speed very effectively.

It’s expected for another USA vs Canada in the gold medal game. If USA plays like they did last time I don’t expect them to leave that building without anything but gold. They’re driven and motivated to get that gold and beat Canada for once. That is gonna be a must watch game.

Let’s not forget Phil Kessel’s sister Amanda is on the team so team USA is easy to root for if they were not already. Phil Kessel is a 2 time Stanley Cup Champion and I think it’s time his sister Amanda can call herself an Olympic champion.

These ladies should be able to get a Silver at the very least if they play up to their potential. But upsets happen and maybe they get upset or Canada never makes it to the golden game. But team USA should succeed and they seem to be the best team in the tournament so a gold should be a realistic possibility.

Advertisements

Trade Deadline Preview

The trade deadline is February 26 and many names are rumored to be on the move. Some big names and some role players that will be on the move. The trade deadline has not been as active as past seasons due to teams getting deals done before. But this year it seems like teams could be waiting till the last possible moment to make a deal and get the best value in return.

The trade deadline is always exciting in the NHL because teams that are struggling will sell off players that will provide assets for their future. Also playoff contenders add for their hopeful cup run.

This article will be looking at names swirling around the league as we head towards the 26th. We will look at some places where these players could possibly end up

Evander Kane, Winger

Kane is an extremely talented winger who is on an expiring contract after this season. Odds are no matter where he’s traded to he will end up signing somewhere else when July 1st hits. His asking price is rumored to be expensive. Buffalo wants assets back that include picks and prospects.

Fits: Pittsburgh, St.Louis, San Jose

Kane is an issue when it comes to his character for a team. But if he produces at a high level for a team and a team believes that the reward outweighs the cost then a deal will be done. Kane will be moved by the deadline for sure.

Mike Green, Defenseman

Green is enjoying a great season in the final year of his contract. He adds good offense and power play ability. He’s a rental player odds are as he is a free agent after the season. So odds are when he’s dealt he could sign elsewhere. But in the meantime he could be a great addition for a team looking to make the next step in their roster.

Fits: New York Islanders, Washington, Toronto, Tampa Bay

Green would be a great add for any playoff team. He adds a right handed defenseman which seems rare anymore. He will be sought after until he is eventually dealt.

Patrick Maroon, Winger

Maroon is having one of his best years this season. He’s producing on a struggling Oilers team and adds a solid penalty kill. He would be a great depth acquisition for any playoff team. Especially if that team needs help on the penalty kill.

Fits: Anaheim, Boston

Anaheim is struggling up to this point in the season, where Boston has been successful. Either way Maroon would add scoring depth and the ability to take away scoring when they’re serving a penalty.

Mark Letestu, Center

Letestu is what he is and he is a 4th line center. He wins faceoffs and adds some scoring touch. He is a veteran leader who could add some penalty kill ability. He should be cheap to acquire but you get what you pay for. If a trade goes down the team acquiring him will be getting a reliable and textbook fourth line center.

Fits: Pittsburgh, Boston, Columbus, New Jersey

Letestu is likely on the move before the deadline passes. He adds good depth and at a cheap price. A good rental player for almost any playoff team.

Max Pacioretty, Winger

Pacioretty is currently in the struggling Canadiens franchise. Their captain has started to circulate in trade rumors but will have a huge price tag. Although the price hasn’t been leaked like Kane’s was, it’s said to be huge. He adds a top 6 winger and bolsters almost any lineup. Also he adds an immediate leadership impact.

Fits: St.Louis, Pittsburgh, New York Islanders, Philadelphia

He would add scoring to either of these teams. I really like him with the Islanders. Shows Taveres you’re serious about contending and adds to your club.

Michael Grabner, Winger

He adds great depth to any lineup. He adds skill and scoring ability for the bottom six on any team. He is a great two way player as he also plays well defensively.

Fits: Winnipeg, Anaheim, Columbus, St.Louis

With his affordable cap hit and ability to produce in small amounts of ice time will make him saught after. With the Rangers being sellers this year, Grabner is sure to be traded.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Center

A young and talented kid with a cheap cap hit. He would be expensive and in high demand for a lot of teams. He would be a great 3rd line center for any team looking for a cup run.

Fits: Pittsburgh, Columbus, New Jersey

Pageau is connected with the Penguins often. He has also been rumored to the Blue Jackets. It’ll be interesting to see how much the Senators sell if at all. But if they are sellers look for Pageau to be moved.

Thomas Vanek, Winger

Vanek has been some what of a journeyman in the league over the past few seasons. It’s a wonder why because he has produced well for every team he has played for. He is on an expiring contract but is producing at a great rate again this season.

Fits: Boston, New York Islanders, Winnepeg, Vegas

Vanek won’t command a huge price tag to trade for. He would be a great addition to any lineup looking for offense in its lineup.

Aaron Dell, Goalie

Dell is enjoying his best season of his career. He’s helping the Sharks stay in the playoff hunt. But with Thornton out with a knee injury and the likelihood of them dropping out of the playoffs, Dell could be dealt.

Fits: New York Islanders, New Jersey, Chicago

Dell should be a cheaper player to acquire. He hasn’t proven that he can be a teams number 1 goalie yet but he is a solid backup. You could count on him to start some playoff games if need be.

James Neal, Winger

Neal is one of the top goal scorers in the league and has been since he entered the league. The question is, will Vegas sell? If they stick to the long term plan then they will sell the high value Neal at the deadline unless they’re 100% sure they can resign him long term.

Fits: Nashville, Philadelphia, St.Louis

If Neal is traded it’ll be to a team in need of a top 6 winger. He will provide instant production to any lineups goal scoring column. Ps: put Nashville in there because maybe there is still a connection there with Neal still having a house there.

David Perron, Winger

Again it is unknown if Vegas will sell or not. But between the two of Neal and Perron, Perron is more likely to be dealt. I expect Perron to be dealt as I don’t see any effort for someone to resign.

Fits: St.Louis, New York Islanders, Philadelphia

Perron is enjoying his best season of his career. He is almost registering a point per game. He would help a struggling team that can’t produce offense. But would he still play this well on another team?…..That’s to be determined.

Jack Johnson, Defense

Johnson is a solid defenseman. He isn’t going to wow you in any part of his game but he is well rounded. He can be a decent top 4 defenseman addition to a struggling defense.

Fits: Toronto, New York Islanders, Dallas

Johnson requested a trade a few weeks ago to get out of Columbus. After having financial issues in the past Johnson needs a new deal. Johnson would be a upgrade to many defensive cores.

Tyson Barrie, Defense

Barrie is a good defenseman for Colorado. I’m unsure as to why they would want to part ways with him. Rumors have been swirling that his names are in trade rumors.

Fits: Toronto, New York Islanders

He is a skilled defenseman on a cheap deal with term. He provides a good shot with defensive ability. The cost is rumored to be top 6 forward for Barrie at the very least…..So the cost is high.

Derick Brassard, Center

Brassard was a common name in trade rumors a month ago but has gone away. He was connected to a few teams but mainly with the Penguins.

Fits: Pittsburgh, Columbus, New York Islanders

Brassard is a great 2 way center and provides good faceoff ability. It’ll be interesting to see if his name resurfaces over the next month. If Ottawa sells like how they rumored to be then Brassard will be dealt.

Petr Mrazek, Goalie

Mrazek has only played 17 games this season. It was rumored last season that he has fallen out of favor with the franchise that currently employs him. He’s a decent young goaltender with good starter potential.

Fits: New York Islanders, Carolina, Dallas, Chicago

Mrazek is a good goaltender with untapped potential. If he comes available he will get some looks. I’d be curious to see the price to acquire him would be.

Sum up

The trade deadline looks to be a busy one for most, if not all, general managers around the league. Hopefully the asking prices around the league drop so some deals can be done. I believe as the deadline nears and teams with rental players to sell still have them will sell towards the last moment. It’ll be interesting to see how everything shakes out over the next month. The waiting game is getting tuned up for the teams around the league. Now is the time for players to change sweaters .

Team USA: Band of Misfits 

The winter Olympic team for USA has been released. The roster is full of old players, young players, and players that play over seas. To look at the team here’s the link:http://teamusa.usahockey.com/page/show/3858372-2018-owg-u-s-men-s-roster#

This year’s winter Olympics is the first in a long while that won’t include NHL players. All the European leagues including KHL players will be able to participate. Also some younger players in the collegiate level and some AHL players.

Forwards

Mark Arcobello

Arcobello should be a familiar name as he played for the Penguins before. He was a journeyman in the NHL. But since going to Europe he’s flourished as a great scorer.

Chris Bourque

Bourque is an AHL star for the Hershey Bears. He has been in the AHL and KHL for almost all of his career. He has flourished throughout his career and currently has 30 points in 24 AHL games.

Bobby Butler

Another journeyman who spent a lot of time in the AHL and KHL. He provides depth but not a ton of scoring ability.

Ryan Donato 

He is one of the youngest players on the team at only 21 years of age. He is currently playing at Harvard in which he’s enjoying a good career there thus far. He had 40 points over 36 games last year and has 15 points over 10 games this year.

Brian Gionta (C)

Gionta is the captain of this team. He provides leadership, experience, and an NHL caliber scorer. He hasn’t played hockey since he played with the Sabers last season. He scored 35 points over 82 games that year. He will add scoring depth to this team.

Jordan Greenway

Another young player at only 20 years old he had a great world juniors with team USA last year getting 8 points in 7 games. He is currently playing at Boston College where he has 68 points over 93 games.

Chad Kolarik 

He has been moving from league to league over in Europe. He currently plays in the DEL for the Adler Mannheim. He has played in 73 games for them in which he has 62 points.

Broc Little 

Another league changer over in Europe. He’s changed teams going from the AHL over to Europe recently. In the last 3 years in Europe he’s recorded 114 points in 123 games.

John McCarthy 

He is a AHL forward for the San Jose Barracuda. In the past 3 years for them he has 88 points in 159 games played. He will provide some scoring depth to the team.

Brian O’Neill 

He went from an AHL player to the KHL over the past few years. He has played for Jokerit (KHL) for the last 2 seasons. He has 59 points in 82 games played for them.

Garrett Roe

He currently plays in the NLA for the EV Zug in which he has 31 points in 25 games. The two seasons before that he played in the SHL in which he recorded 78 points in 90 games played. Roe adds some good scoring ability to the team.

Jim Slater

He was in the NHL for 8 seasons playing for the Thrashers and the Jets until he went over to the NLA. During his time in the NHL, he recorded 99 points in 439 games. He’ll provide some depth to the team but not a ton of scoring ability.

Ryan Stoa 

He has played in the KHL for the past 4 seasons. He has recorded 116 points in 207 games. Another depth scoring forward for this team.

Troy Terry

Another 20 year old joins the team here. He has played for Denver University for the past 3 years. He currently has 53 points in 90 games played. But this year he has recorded 16 points in 14 games. So he’s really coming on so far this season.

Defense

Chad Billins

He adds good puck moving ability. He can score himself and help others score. He’s short at just 5’10” but can help as a lower pairing defenseman.

Johnathan Blum 

He’s played in the KHL for the past 3 years recording 70 points over 130 games. He adds great offense for a defenseman. He can really skate and move the puck. He’s one of the best defenseman.

Will Borgen 

Another youngster at 21 years of age, he currently plays at St. Cloud State at the collegiate level. He’s recorded 32 points in 83 games played. At 6-2 He adds some size to the blue line.

Matt Gilroy

He adds size at 6’2 and almost 200 lbs. He has been playing in the KHL for the past 3 seasons racking up 86 points over 166 games.

Ryan Gunderson 

He has been playing with the Brynas IF for the past 5 seasons. He has recorded 122 points over 186 points. Another fast moving guy standing at 5’10”, 174 pounds. He adds a offensive ability to the defense.

Bobby Sanguinetti 

He hasn’t played the past 2 seasons but he last played for the Rochester Americans in the AHL. He recorded 15 points over 40 games foir them. But he is wrecking ball at 6’3″, 190 lbs. He will add a physical aspect to the team.

Noah Welch

Currently playing over in Europe, this guy is a goon . You look up his penalty minutes and you see it. He recorded 100 in 52 games played in 2015. He plays very physical and why wouldn’t he. He crushes people since he’s 6’4″ 220 lbs.

James Wisniewski 

The name should look familiar as he played a lot in the NHL. He currently plays over in Europe and has 31 points in 19 games played. He adds experience and offensive skill to the blue line.

Goalie

Ryan Zapolski

He is currently the only goalie on the roster up to this point. He has played in the KHL for the past 2 seasons. Over 32 games this year, he has a .935 save percentage and a 1.68 goals against average. He has great numbers over his career playing in different European leagues. He has to be this teams best player.

Prediction

This team has some bright spots on it. They’ve got experience and depth. But the question is where are the “guys”. You know the star players. Who are the players you will count on most? I think that’ll be a lot of these Olympic teams questions going in. Team USA could challenge for a medal but this ain’t no miracle on ice. That is unless…..there is another miracle!

Hockey and Coffee: Week of November 12 – 18

Hard Hitters

This week has had two of the biggest player safety issues so far this season. Radko Gudas of the Flyers and Austin Watson of the Predators were both suspended this week.

Radko Gudas was suspended 10 games for slashing Jets’ Mathieu Perreault on November 16. Honestly, this is one of the most brutal penalties I’ve seen. This wasn’t just a classic Brad Marchand slew foot (which is a complete cheap shot); this is worse, and if I say that a play is dirtier than Marchand… it must’ve been pretty bad. Any player that attacks the head or neck of another is despicable. 10 games is a lot to miss, but is it a harsh enough penalty? I personally think it’s enough. It was a very cheap shot and this isn’t his first offense, but 10 games is substantial to miss in any professional sport.

 

Austin Watson is a different story. Watson was suspended 2 games for boarding against Avalanche forward Dominic Toninato on November 18. 2 games isn’t enough in my opinion. Watson had plenty of time to stop or try to prevent such a hard hit on the unsuspecting Toninato. This hit was intended to cause harm not only due to the fact that he had time to stop, he also left his feet. I feel that Watson should have been suspended 4 games for this hit.

 

Boys Amongst Men

There’s no question that the NHL is becoming a younger league. Surrounded with such amazing young talent in players such as McDavid and Matthews, there are some other young stars that deserve some exposure.

Matthew Barzal
19 GP, 4 G, 15 A, 19 PTS
Barzal is a speedy young forward with great hockey sense, creativity, and a NHL ready shot. His play making ability has allowed him to rack up 15 assists in just 19 games. Playing second line center with Jordan Eberle as his right winger, the Islanders are hoping to get Barzal into a “shoot first” mentality, but he’s been known for his creativity and his play making ability.

 

 

 

 

Clayton Keller
22 GP, 11 G, 7 A, 18 PTS
Keller is someone I have been excited watch play since watching him in the 2015-16 WJC. Coming out out BU a year after teammate Jack Eichel went second overall, Keller was selected seventh overall in 2016. Keller only stands at 5’10, but he is not scared to go to the front of the net and make things happen. Mainly known for his top end scoring ability, there’s no doubt Keller is the future in Arizona.

 

 

 

 

Missing Matthews

Auston Matthews missed his first career game Wednesday night vs. Minnesota. We got to see a different looking Maple Leafs team the past few games, but that did not slow them down one bit. Winning five in a row before Matthews returned, the leafs getting Matthews back in the lineup is obviously a huge benefit. The young superstar missed four games due to an undisclosed upper body injury. Matthews returned to the lineup Saturday vs Montreal and did not miss a beat. Scoring two goals in his return, Leafs fans are ecstatic to have their star player back.

Here’s a look at Matthews’ first goal since returning from his injury:

https://twitter.com/nhldaily365/status/932079156908748802

Injury Report

Anders Bjork – undisclosed

Brad Marchand – undisclosed

Vladislav Kamenev – arm

Barclay Goodrow – undisclosed

Tobias Enstrom – lower-body

Marc Methot – knee

Evgeni Malkin – upper-body

 

A Look Ahead

Will Subban start over Lagace?

McDavid vs. Tarasenko, 11/21

Arizona is winning finally (stay tuned)

 

NHL Power Rankings – November

So here we are for edition number 2. We are one month into the season and so far it has been beyond stellar. With Connor McDavid‘s hat trick on day one to Alex Ovechkin‘s back to back hat tricks and insane hot streak to open yet another season of the “coolest sport on earth”. This early into the season the standings are still taking shape and for the most part, are a very inaccurate measurement of how good a team really is. So here we are, ranking all 31 NHL teams not based on their record, but on how good they actually are.

  1. Tampa Bay Lighting   (10-2-2) 2↑

This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.  Steven Stamkos is leading the NHL with 24 points over just 13 games, that’s nearly a 2.0 points per games average. Nikita Kucherov is atop of the league in goals with 12, while Andrei Vasilevskiy has a .927 save percentage in 11 games played. Goodness, the only potential weak spot in this team was supposed to be in net, and Vasilevskiy is number 6 on the save percentage leader boards. This team has beaten the Penguins twice, the Capitals once, and shut out the Blue Jackets. Yeah, they are good. I can’t think of a single reason why they shouldn’t be at number one. Their offense has been other worldly, the defense has also been insane, and then their goaltending has been rock solid.

  1.   Los Angeles Kings (10-2-1) 18↑

The Kings are one of many teams that I didn’t expect to be anywhere near the top in the power rankings at this point. First off, Jonathan Quick is boasting the best save percentage in the league among starting goaltenders with a ridiculous .942. Its pretty hard to lose behind a goalie putting up those kind of numbers. Anze Koptiar is starting off the right way with 14 points in 12 games after a really, really off year last year. They are also finding a way to make use of Dustin Brown as he is averaging a point per game thus far. I haven’t personally watched them much, but oh boy that overtime against the Bruins was so much fun to watch. They look like a team that is solid in both ends, and if they aren’t great in their zone they have Quick to bail them out.

  1.  Toronto Maple Leafs (8-6-0) 4↑

This team is STACKED beyond belief. They also seem to be pretty much immune to injuries. On this team, defense doesn’t have to be too great because they can just score their way out of problems. So far that hasn’t worked every game, so at some point they are going to need to figure out how to keep the puck out of their own net as their starter, Frederik Andersen, has a .896 save percentage and a 6-5 record. Let’s be real, as long as they can score they will be fine, and so far they have been getting scoring from everywhere as they have 8 players with 3 or more goals and 16 players with 3 or more points.

  1.  New Jersey Devils (9-2-0) 22↑

I assumed that the Devils would soon be solid with young players like Nico Hischer and Will Butcher. But I certainly did not expect them to be good this soon. With Butcher and Jesper Bratt’s smooth transition to the league, they have been an extremely fast and offensive team that like most of the other teams at the top here, can put pucks in the net AND keep them out. They have beaten both the Maple Leafs and the Lighting. The Panthers and Ducks are the only other teams that can claim to have beaten the red hot Devils. It’s safe to say, they are going to make the Metro even scarier than it already was this season.

  1. St. Louis Blues (10-3-1)  8↑

A lot of people have been under rating the Blues. They have lost several top wingers to injury yet they are one of the top teams in the league. For several years now, the Blues have been that team that is almost a cup contender, but not there yet. If they keep playing like this, they certainly will be. They only have 3 games where they scored less than 3 goals, and they have had 7 where they scored 4 or more. Meanwhile, they have allowed 4 or more goals only twice. The teams has been solid all around as 5 players have at least 10 points, Jake Allen has a .926 save percentage and only 4 players have a negative plus or minus.

  1. Vegas Golden Knights (8-4-1) 21↑

Vegas is currently starting their AHL backup goalie as their top 3 goalies on the depth chart have all gone down to injuries, yet somehow they are still winning games. The team that was supposed to struggle scoring goals, and keeping them out of their own net, has excelled at both. Even with the Vladimir Shipachyov fiasco, they still seem to score with a team made up of mainly 3rd and 4th line players. Before the season started, everyone thought the only way the Knights could win would be if Marc-Andre Fleury would stand on his head, so far all of their goalies have done just that, and their offense has played their part too. They have shown no signs of slowing down and look like they could be the real deal.

  1. Ottawa Senators (6-2-5) 4↑

After being considered a team that didn’t even deserve to be in the playoffs last year, and proving everyone wrong by going to double OT in game 7 of the ECF, they don’t seem to be a fluke. Even when Eric Karlsson was out with an injury, they were still winning games. And then Karlsson picked up right where he left off as the best defensemen in the league by far. They could have the best record in hockey right now if a few bounces went their way, but instead they have lost 5 of 6 OT games. If only they can find a way to finish more of those close games.

8. Anaheim Ducks (6-5-1) 1↓

After yet another deep playoff run, most expected the Ducks to fall off a bit, but they have shown signs of doing so just yet. Ryan Getzlaf has only played 6 games due to various injures, yet he has still looked as good as ever tallying 7 points during those 6 games. John Gibson has continued to thrive as he has put up a .921 save percentage. The main thing currently holding the Ducks back is injuries. They currently have 5 starters including, Patrick Eaves, Ryan Kesler, Cam Fowler , and Getzlaf on IR and have Gibson dealing with a groin injury.

9. Pittsburgh Penguins (8-5-2) 8↓

Oh goodness, where do I start. Every single time I think they have learned their lesson, they go and get blown out again. And then they bounce back and look “decent” again. Then they fall flat on their face yet again. I don’t even know anymore. Their offense seems to be faltering as they haven’t scored more than 2 goals since beating the Panthers, 4-3 on October 20th. On top of that they have only won 1 of the 7 games with more than a 1 goal lead. And when they lose, they seem to get blown out. Although, all of their blow outs have come on the second of back to back nights but that can’t be an excuse for a team that just went back to back. They need to figure out how to get scoring 5 on 5 again, and how to stay out of the penalty box or the Penguins could find themselves at the bottom half of the power rankings next month.

10. Columbus Blue Jackets (9-4-0) 8↓

3 of the 4 losses have come to teams in the top 5 of the power rankings, and the Blue Jackets have been looking just a dangerous as expected. Rookie, Sonny Milano, has looked great for the Blue Jackets thus far as he is leading the team in goals with 5. They have been getting scoring all over their roster, just like last year, as they currently have 9 players with 6 or more points. Meanwhile reigning Vezina winner Sergei Bobrovsky has looked just as sharp and posted a  .934 save percentage. Due to that and stellar defense, they are 4th in the league when it comes to goals against with only 20 goals allowed. They are going to be a very scary team if they can just keep doing what they are doing.

11. Winnipeg Jets (7-3-2) 12↑

The biggest move for in the off-season for the Jets was their signing of goalie Steve Mason to a 2 year deal. Right about now, I am sure they are wishing it was only a 1 year deal as Connor Hellebuyck has seemingly evolved into a starting goalie over night after struggling last year. Hellebuyck is currently boasting a .940 save percentage, good enough for 5th in the league, while Mason has a well below average .872 and has started in all of the Jets’ regulation losses. The Jets have an incredible amount of talent on both ends of the ice, and if Patrik Laine begins to breakout like everyone seems to be predicting, the Jets are going to be an even tougher team to stop.

12. Philadelphia Flyers (7-6-1) 6↑

The Flyers seem to finally have a complete offensive group and all seem to be preforming well. They may be finally over the hump. They have been playing some, for the most part, good hockey, but in order to be considered a potential contender, they need to fix what ever is going on in net. Their free agent signing of Brian Elliot hasn’t gone too well so far. He has a .884 save percentage yet is 5-2. If the Flyers want to keeping winning, they need to continue finding ways to win with below league average goaltending, and/or try and improve their goalie situation. If they can do that, they will be yet another team that makes all of the other teams in the Metro, dread being in the Metro.

13 Colorado Avalanche (7-5-0) 17↑

The Avalanche have been a team for the past few years that have been at least decent on paper, but have just been an absolute abomination on the ice. But they seem to have turned it around a bit. They are a team with a lot of speed and skill that have shown that they can compete against several good teams already. They seem to be rather inconsistent on the ice. One day, they can score 6 goals, the next they get shut out. They also seem to struggle keeping pucks out of their own net as they have allowed less than 3 goals only twice, and have allowed more than 4 goals 5 times. Matt Duchene has been on the trade block since late into last season. Maybe they can get back some much needed defensive help, to strengthen their play in their own end.

  1. New York Islanders (7-5-1) 8↑

Without John Taveres, the Islanders are dead last. But Tavares has been on fire so far as he already has 11 goals,  including 8 goals in the last 4 games. So far the Islanders have won every single game that Tavares has a point in. Now the supporting cast in the likes of Josh Bailey (14 points), Andres Lee (12 points), and Jordan Eberle (9 points) have certainly held their own and helped kept the Islanders in games. Their defense seems to also be holding strong, as not a single defensemen has a negative plus and minus. Their goaltending hasn’t been anything special, but it hasn’t be terrible either. As long as Tavares keeps scoring, the Islanders will be a potential play off team, just like pretty much all of the teams in the Metro.

15. Dallas Stars (7-6-0) 3↓

This is a team that has been hyped up a lot because of their off-season signings in Alexander Radulov, and Ben Bishop, and their trade for Mark Methot. For the most part, they have looked pretty good, but they haven’t beaten many good teams either. Only once have they beaten a team higher than them in these power rankings. Big Ben has looked good in net so far, a massive upgrade from their previous goaltenders. Now that they seem to have the goalie problem finally fixed, maybe they seem to be a pretty good team, as they also have a solid defense, and a pretty good offense.

16. San Jose Sharks (7-5-0) – – –

Every year everyone predicts that the Sharks are going to finally fall off, but they never do. This is one of those teams that I kinda glossed over as for some reason I see them as a boring, average, middle of the pack team. They have a below average goals for but goodness their goals against is amazing, as they rank second in the league largely because of Martin Jones. All but one of their losses came from a team ranked higher than them in the rankings. They look as if they will once again be a solid team, ready for another attempt at a deep playoff run.

17. Vancouver Canucks (6-4-2) 14↑

Honestly, I have no clue how the Canucks are doing this well. Like most of the other teams that found themselves at the bottom of the league, has tried to just go young and fast. For the Canucks it certainly been working. Their defense seems to be holding together well, as they have 28 goals allowed, nearly 10 goals under the league average, and then pretty much on league average for goals for. I can’t imagine the Canucks keeping this up for much longer, and I can’t imagine they actually want to keep it up, as they are still in rebuild mode. They can either settle for being a bubble team for the near future, or try and continue the rebuild and tank for picks. I’m going to assume they would rather do the latter.

18. Chicago Blackhawks (6-5-2) 8↓

They haven’t looked too bad, Their are only 3 non goalie players on the team with less than 3 points. They are 7th in the league in goals for, and 10 goals against. Yet they still have lost 2 of their last 6 games. So far they have mainly played tough teams, but that isn’t an excuse for a team with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.

19. Nashville Predators (5-5-2) 14↓

They were never a really offensive team, but you can’t win games when you are ranked 28th in goals for.  Other than that, statistically speaking, they don’t look too bad, but they don’t look like the Western Conference champion. Although they have allowed 4 or more goals in half of the games they played this year. They need to find a way to step up to a higher level both defensively and offensively if they want to go for another run at the Stanley Cup.

20. Washington Capitals (6-6-1) 12↓

They seem to be back to the age where if Alexander Ovechkin doesn’t score a hat trick, they can’t win. so far Ovechkin has an average of 3.25 points per game when the Capitals win, and an average of .28 points per game when they lose. Simply put, the Capitals need Ovechkin to score to do anything. They are middle of the pack in goals for and below average in goals against. You simply can’t be a contender when you need one guy to do all of the work. If Ovechkin goes off on a tear again like he did in the first couple of games or other players decide to step up big, the Capitals could definitely move up this list. But until then they are staying right where they are.

21. Calgary Flames (7-6-0) 4↓

This team is more of a defensive team, but just like the Predators, they can’t be 28th in goals for, and still win games. The Flames currently have scored over 3 goals only 3 times, now they are above average in goals against. But if they are to win while still being this low in goals for, they are going to need to be lights out on defense and in net. So far Mike Smith has looked good and has a .931 save percentage, yet he has still lost 5 of the 11 games he has started. The problem seems to be up front. Only 11 players even have a goal, and the majority of the team has a negative plus and minus. If they can even out the scoring by getting some more scoring from their lower lines, they will be a dangerous playoff team.

22. Carolina Hurricanes (4-5-2) 3↓

Yet another Metro team that could go far this year. Their record isn’t the greatest, but every team they have lost to is ranked above them, and only once they lost by more than one goal. They’re like a lot of the others further down in the power rankings, 28th in the league in goals for, but they make up for it in goals against where they are 4th in the league.  They one of the youngest and the cheapest defenses in the league, which so far, has proved very effective. Its not like they were playing bad hockey either, if a few more bounces went their way they could be on top of the highly competitive Metro. Definitely be on the look out for the Hurricanes to be a sneakily dangerous team this season.

23. Detroit Red Wings (6-7-1) 5↑

Just like many of the other bottom of the pack teams from last year, the Red Wings have been much better than everyone expected. Over the past few weeks they were able to make enough moves to sign Andreas Athansiou. How they get themselves into such a bad cap situation with such a mediocre team, I have no idea. But so far they are about average for both goals for and goals allowed, and both of their goaltenders seem to be doing pretty well. I doubt they will be able to keep this mediocrity up for an entire season, but hey, who knows.

24. Boston Bruins (5-3-3) 3↓

Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, and Charlie McAvoy are all starting off the season right as they are all hovering around a point per game. But they are going to need more players to step up if they are going to try and make the playoffs. For better or for worse, backup goalie Anton Khudobin seems to be doing much better than Tuukka Rask, in both save percentage and in record. I think this Bruins team’s time has come and gone and to become a competitor, they are going to have to go through a partial retool. This line up simply isn’t good enough to get their where they want to be.

25. Montreal Canadians (4-8-1) 14

Considered the biggest disappointment out of the gates, the Canadians seem to have forgotten how to score. Their idiotically miss-managed cap will certainly come back to haunt them, but there seem to be much more pressing matters than that. Trade rumors have been at an all time high for Alex Galchenyuk as he hasn’t been preforming how the Canadians would like him too be, but I hardly think that is his fault. For some reason they have felt it is best to play him on the 4th line, giving him little opportunity to be himself and  score. The Canadians are a team that needs to make some trades to improve their team as a whole, yet they really don’t have any assets to trade, unless they are willing to deal Galchenyuk. Probably worst of all, Carey Price has looked mortal. He hasn’t been his normal other worldly self, so he hasn’t been able to carry this poorly managed team.

26. Florida Panthers (4-7-1) 3↑

So far, the Panthers have had a lot of tough games, as they have played the Penguins twice, the Lightning 3 times, the Blues once, and the Captitals once. Yet they haven’t been too bad. They seem to be good at getting shots on net, because eventually they are bound to go in. They are currently averaging 34 shots a game and have had 4 games where they got over 40 shots on goal. Goaltending seems to be one of the main issues as they have 3 mediocre goalies, all together averaging a .900 save percentage. If they can somewhat fix their goaltending, they could be a rather good team.

27. Minnesota Wild (5-4-2) 15↓

Despite being 4th in the league for goals against, they find themselves near the bottom of the power rankings. They don’t have anyone over .8 points per game, and if they wan’t to go far, that will need to change. Goaltending seems to be decent so far, but Devan Dubnyk can definitely play better than he has been so far. There was a point around the middle of last year where the Wild were on a tear, if they can get back to playing like that, they could be a very scary team.

28. New York Rangers (5-7-2) 13↓

For a while, the Rangers fall off seemed imminent. Now it seems to have come. Their goals for is pretty decent but they are ranked 29th in goals against. Defense is supposed to be the Rangers strong point. So far, only 8 of the 23 skaters that have played a game for the Rangers this year have a positive plus or minus. Henrik Lundqvist seems to no longer be able to carry the team like he used to as so far he has a .898 save percentage. His backup hasn’t done any better, as Ondrej Pavelec has a .887 save percentage. If they can’t find away to keep pucks out of their own net, they will be left in the dust by this highly competitive metropolitan division.

29. Edmonton Oilers (3-7-1) 25↓

Hockey is a team sport, and a solid goaltender in Cam Talbot, and one of the best players in the world Connor McDavid, can not win hockey games on their own. Cam Talbot has been excellent yet sports a .904 save percentage, as the defense hasn’t been giving him much help. If players other than McDavid start playing well, they can go back to being one of the best in the west. Currently, they are ranked dead last in goals against, if that doesn’t change, the Oilers can say good-bye to another chance at a deep play-off run.

30. Buffalo Sabers (4-7-2) 6↓

Evander Kane, Jason Pominville, and Jack Eichel have been great, but everyone else has been terrible. They are near the bottom in both goals for and goals against. Only 4 players have over 4 points. Only 5 players have a positive plus and minus. The stats speak for themselves. They need to find scoring from other other places than just from the 3 players listed earlier.

31. Arizona Coyotes (1-12-1) 6↓

You may remember that I actually thought the Coyotes could be pretty decent this year. Boy was I wrong. They currently only have one win, and you can’t really get any closer to blowing a game than they had. The ONLY bright spot on this team is Clayton Keller, who is currently leading all rookies with 9 goals. Antti Raanta was solid when he was in net, but he got injured, and then Louis Domingue took his place, who posted a pitiful .856 save percentage. One of their top paring defensemen, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, has a horrific -14 plus and minus. Needless to say, the Coyotes need to some how find a way to keep goals out of their own net.

Early NHL Award Winners

We are now over a month into the hockey season.  Although it is extremely early, I wanted to get a little bit of a head start and take a peek at some of the main individual awards given out at the end of the season, such at the Hart Trophy, the Vezina Trophy, and the Norris Trophy just to name a few.  In the early going, who has the upper hand?  Who may be a dark horse that has a chance to claim the award if their season turns around?  I’ll take a look through each award, my current nominees, and who I think will win based on how the season has gone so far.  Let’s get right to it:

Hart Memorial Trophy

Description: 

Given to the player judged to be the most valuable to his team. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association in all NHL cities at the end of the regular season.

Nominees:

Steven Stamkos – Wow. Welcome back Mr. Stamkos. I will admit the man has had his health problems in the past, but he is playing some of his best hockey right now.  He currently has 21 points in just 12 games, which puts him on pace for an absolutely absurd 143 points in 82 games.  Although I’m sure that Stamkos will begin to slow down a bit, if he remains healthy, he has proven that he is one of the best in the business and should be a nominee for this award

Nikita Kucherov – Kucherov seems like he gets better and better every year.  Last year, Kucherov was the main guy that stepped up in the absence of Steven Stamkos, and he has continued to produce with Stammer back in the lineup.  Kucherov currently leads the NHL in goals with 13 in as many games, and been consistently producing all year.  Don’t be shocked if his name continues to be mentioned throughout the season.

Connor McDavid – McDavid had a hat trick in his opening game and has been relatively quiet since.  However, even in that case, he is still producing over a point per game, with 11 points in 10 games.  McDavid and the Oilers will heat up sooner or later, and the 2016-2017 season Hart Trophy winner just can’t not be mentioned here as a nominee.  The guy is a stud and has absolutely electric speed.

Hart Trophy Winner: Steven Stamkos

Other Potential Nominees: Sidney Crosby, Auston Matthews, Alex Ovechkin, John Tavares, Alex Pietrangelo, Patrick Kane

Vezina Trophy

Description: 

Given to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at this position as voted by the general managers of all NHL clubs.

Nominees:

Andrei Vasilevskiy – The Lightning have been off to a red hot start, and Vasilevskiy is a main reason why.  He has now won 9 games in a row, and boasts a 10-1 record with a .927 save percentage and a 2.46 GAA.  Vasilevskiy has the potential to be an incredible NHL goaltender, and behind a team like Tampa Bay, he absolutely has a chance to win the Vezina Trophy this year, and should be a nominee if he continues his stellar play.

Jonathan Quick – Quick has resurrected himself after a couple of just okay seasons.  Quick is 7-2-1 for the Kings, but has an incredible .942 save percentage and a 1.89 GAA.  Although these stats will certainly deviate towards the norm eventually, Quick has shown so far this year that he can be the goaltender that many believe that he can be.  He has given his team a chance in every hockey game, and certainly makes the Kings far more dangerous when he is playing like he is early on.

Sergei Bobrovksy – Bob is at it again.  He has started the season off hot, just as he did last season, with a 7-2 with a .934 save percentage and a 1.97 GAA.  The Jackets are a good team that will be a playoff threat, and Bob has been extremely effective in the regular season when he stays healthy, and he showed that last year.  Can he do it again?

Vezina Trophy Winner: Jonathan Quick

Other Potential Nominees: Pekka Rinne, Matt Murray

James Norris Memorial Trophy

Description: 

Given to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the end of the regular season.

Nominees:

Alex Pietrangelo – Pietrangelo has certainly stepped up since the Blues traded Kevin Shattenkirk last season to the Washington Capitals.  The Blues are not necessarily a high octane offense despite having players such as Tarasenko that can score, but Pietrangelo has put up 13 points in as many games, which includes 4 goals and 9 assists.  Pietrangleo ranks 9th among NHL defenseman in ice time (25:46) and is tied for 5th among NHL defensemen in +/- (+6).  Can Pietrangelo continue to produce?  If so, he has a chance at taking home the Norris.

Drew Doughty – If I am being honest, I have been one that always felt that Drew Doughty was overrated.  A great defenseman, but one that got more attention than he deserved.  So far in this young season, Doughty has been making me eat my words.  Doughty is tied for 4th among NHL defenseman in points (3-6-9), 2nd in +/- (+10), and 8th in TOI/game (25:46).  Doughty has been spectacular defensively, has logged important minutes for his team, and absolutely has a chance to add another Norris Trophy to his trophy shelf.

Erik Karlsson – Let’s be honest: Karlsson has not played his best hockey so far.  He is coming off of an injury and has not quite been himself.  Despite being a -4 through 7 games, he still has 10 points, which ranks 3rd among NHL defensemen, but leads all NHL defensemen in points per game.  Karlsson will find his game eventually, and when he does: look out.  He always has a chance.

Norris Trophy Winner: Drew Doughty

Other Potential Nominees: Victor Hedman, PK Subban, Ryan Suter, Duncan Keith, Brett Burns

Calder Memorial Trophy

Description:

Given to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the end of the regular season and each individual voter ranks their top five candidates on a 10-7-5-3-1 points system. Three finalists are named and the trophy is awarded at the NHL Awards ceremony after the playoffs.

Nominees:

Clayton Keller – Keller has had quite the start to his rookie season, currently leading all rookies with 13 points and 8 goals despite playing for an Arizona Coyotes team that has struggled mightily so far this season.  Keller is a -9, but it is difficult to be a plus player on a team that just won their first game on October 30th.  Despite his hot start, Keller will need to continue to produce if he wants a chance to take home this award.

Charlie McAvoy – The young Boston Bruins defenseman has 8 points through 10 games, which includes 2 goals.  McAvoy, who also leads all rookies in TOI/game by a long shot at 22:37, has immense potential, and is clearly getting his chance to show it.  McAvoy has a strong chance to take home the Calder if he continues his play, despite being a -2 currently.

Mikhail Sergachev – Acquired in the offseason by the Tampa Bay Lightning for Jonathan Drouin, Sergachev has been everything the Lightning wanted and more.  Sergachev, like McAvoy, is a defenseman, but has notched 11 points (4-7-11) in 13 games, 5 of which have come on the power play.  What may hurt the young rookies chances at this award is that he has only seen the ice for 13:21 per game, which will likely cause his stats to regress as time goes on.  Nonetheless, Sergachev has a chance on a terrific Lightning team.

Calder Trophy Winner: Charlie McAvoy

Other Potential Nominees: Nico Hischier, Will Butcher, Adrian Kempe

Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy

Description:

Given to the National Hockey League’s top goal scorer by the NHL Board of Governors.

Nominees:

Nikita Kucherov – The man has 13 goals in 13 games and has been consistently producing throughout the season.  Barring any injuries, Kucherov should absolutely has a chance at topping the NHL in goals for the first time in his career.

Alex Ovechkin – He may be a Capital, but the guy may be the best pure goal scorer to ever play the game.  He had an off season last year, but he has 10 goals in 12 games so far this year, and is always so dangerous to take home this award, which he has won numerous times in his career.

Auston Matthews – Matthews just may have the most underrated shot in the league.  The guy can absolutely rip the puck, and is just so good down low.  He currently has 8 goals in 11 games, but Matthews can score in bunches, and he showed hat by scoring 40 in his rookie season.  Could he take down Kucherov, Ovechkin, and others to take home his first Rocket Richard of his career?  I believe he has the ability to do so.

Maurice “Rocket” Richard Winner: Nikita Kucherov

Other Potential Nominees: John Tavares, Patrick Laine, Vladimir Tarasenko, Steven Stamkos, Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid

Hockey & Coffee: Week of October 15 – 21

Connor McDavid, GOAT?

On Thursday night against the Chicago Blackhawks, McDavid might have made the most beautiful assist in the season, thus far.

Starting by receiving the puck in his own end, McDavid collected the puck and rushed forward. While charging the defense they tag-teamed him and wouldn’t let him through. This didn’t stop Connor. He looked and saw Patrick Maroon attacking with him and spun around on the puck to make an insane back-hand pass across the crease for Maroon to put past Anton Forsberg to tie the game.

Here’s the video:

Ovechkin Makes History

Friday night was a moment to celebrate for Alex Ovechkin as well as the rest of his team. In an overtime time game against the Red Wings, Ovi scored the GWG 1:56 in. This was his 20th OT goal and put him ahead of Jaromir Jagr for most overtime goals.

Not only was this goal good for Ovi but it was also a much needed win for the Capitals who have had only one win in their previous five games.

Losing²

Both the Montreal Canadiens and the Arizona Coyotes are on substantial losing streaks.

The Canadiens are 1-6-1 so far this season. This is very surprising considering how they played last season. The chemistry just isn’t there. It doesn’t help that star goalie Carey Price hasn’t been able to step up to the plate like he normally does. Price recently let in three goals in just over a minute and a half this week against the Ducks. Frustrations have grown so high on this team that regularly calm Carey Price broke his stick off the goal post.

As for the Coyotes… they haven’t won a single game yet. Based on last season this isn’t completely surprising. The first two games of the season hopeful prospect Dylan Strome was in the lineup and had around twelve minutes of TOI per game. Unfortunately, he didn’t preform as well as Arizona thought he would and sent him down to the AHL. Strome was drafted third overall in 2015 and recorded an average of 88.5 points per season in the OHL. Strome currently has 2 points (2A) in the AHL in one game played. I think it would do the Coyotes good to test out Strome again, this time for longer than two games.

So what’s next for these two unlucky teams? Who knows. All we can do is watch and find out.

Injury Updates

  • Cam Fowler – Lower-body
  • Antti Raanta – Lower-body
  • Tuukka Rask – Concussion
  • Jaromir Jagr – Lower-body
  • Leon Draisaitl – Concussion
  • Roberto Luongo – Hand
  • Jeff Carter – Ankle
  • Nick Bonino – Lower-body
  • Malcolm Subban – Lower-body

A Look Ahead

  • Crosby vs. McDavid, 10/24
  • Maatta continuing his point streak
  • Vegas continuing their win streak