Top-5 wingers in the Western Conference?
August 9, 2017, 11:36 AM ET [117 Comments]
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In this edition of the hotstove, we rank the top-5 wingers in the Western Conference.
1. Vladimir Tarasenko (STL)
Tarasenko has the power, speed, and skill combination teams dream about and is one of the most dynamic players in the league. As good as he is, I think he may still have another gear.
2. Blake Wheeler (WPG)
Wheeler is one of the NHL's most underrated stars. He consistently piles up points at a high-end rate, plays in all situations, drives possession, and gets little talk despite that. He may not be as flashy as a guy like Kane, but he's a far more well-rounded player.
3. Patrick Kane (CHI)
I don't think Kane is great without the puck, and he has benefited from sheltered zone starts, but it's pretty hard to argue with 195 points over the last two seasons.
4. Jamie Benn (DAL)
Benn is the total package. He's physical, he has a big shot, he scores goals in bunches, and he's a very effective playmaker. By his standards, 2016-17 was a down year but I have no doubt he'll bounce back.
5. Johnny Gaudreau (CGY)
He's extremely skilled and tough to contain because of his speed and elusiveness, which leads to a lot of magical plays. Like Benn, his counting totals weren't as good as expected in 16-17 but he is a good bet to bounce back.
Honorable mentions: Filip Forsbergand Patrik Laine. Forsberg is only 22 and has averaged 30 goals and 62 points over the last three seasons while posting remarkably good possession numbers. Laine's defensive game needs work but he is just 19 and already one of the best pure goal scorers in the NHL.
The best wingers in the Western Conference:
1. Blake Wheeler - Between 60-80 points for six straight years, never misses a game, guarantee between 20-30 goals, tons of 5v5 points.
2. Patrick Kane - Art Ross winner, consistent scoring, one of the best players in the league.
3. Patrik Laine - he probably doesn't deserve to be this high, but his potential is insane and I'd probably want him as the corner stone of my franchise over anyone on this list.
4. Nino Niederreiter - Elite defense and scores at a 5v5 clip worthy of any first line. Signed to arguably the best team-friendly contract in the NHL.
5. Vladimir Tarasenko - One of the most exciting players to watch. I would not argue against ranking him higher. All these guys are so awesome that you could probably rank them in whatever order you wanted, and you could even put in Jamie Benn or Johnny Gaudreau and I wouldn't much care.
Well, this is group seems far more interesting to me than the Eastern Conference because I know them better. That being said you will probably see a very obvious bias.
#1 Patrick Kane- There might be players people prefer more than Kane but he's been at the top for too long to ignore. Consistently consistent and such a pain to play against.
#2 Vladimir Tarasenko- Guy is an elite scorer who led the western wingers in goals.
#3 Blake Wheeler- what does Wheeler have to do to get some respect from across the league? He's missed 5 games in the last 6 years too not scoring less than 60 points.
#4 Nik Ehlers- coming off his sophomore season he was second for points for LW behind Benn- given his age that's impressive.
#5 Patrik Laine- sure it's full homer mode here but that rookie season on a team that has as many challenges as the Jets was incredible. Laine showed more talent than most gave him credit for and blew past all expectations as an 18-year-old.
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HockeyBuzz Hotstove - Wed 09 Aug 2017, 7:37 pm
The Canadian Dollar Review - Fri 04 Aug 2017, 1:37 pm
Thank you for your recent post on the private blog on July 12th.
Socrates had identified the week of July 24th as a key week for a potential high with the two key target areas of resistance at 80.50 and 81.75.
The actual high was 80.62 on July 26th. I am sure that there are some very happy Canadians trading this market with a recent print today at 78.995.
Again, thank you for all that you are doing and we look forward to the future release of the Trader version of Socrates.
COMMENT #2: Mr. Armstrong. You have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have tapped into something very important. You forecasts on everything pans out and your computer picks turning points astonishingly. No wonder the big boys call upon you. Nobody else can do this. Your latest call on the Canadian dollar has been stunning.
All the best
REPLY: There is a hidden order the computer can see. It is time to stop the opinions. There is a hidden order out there if you are willing to listen.
There is Now Enough Evidence to Indict Comey or Snowden Should be Pardoned - Thu 13 Jul 2017, 9:39 am
Comey is as guilty as Hillary for treating government work product including top secret information as personal. Comey, just like Hillary, claimed the memos were all “personal” that he made talking to Trump because he did not trust him (contrary to his trust for Clintons). There is no such “personal” qualification and he leaked those memos to the New York Times which he admitted openly in Congress. But those memos contained classified information and that was a CRIME for him to leak them, no less pretend they were his “personal” property. Every FBI agent signed a confidentiality agreement as do traders working for a bank. The agreement signed by Comey states plainly: “all information acquired by me in connection with my official duties with the FBI and all official material to which I have access remain the property of the United States of America.” This means (1) he stole government documents obstructing any investigation of him, and (2) he then leaked classified information to the New York Times. Let’s see; they say Snowden should be indicted for the same thing. Curious!
This is why Comey never recorded Hillary’s “interview” before the FBI to ensure she could never be charged as Martha Stewart was for “lying to the FBI” in such an interview and sent to prison. Comey wrote private memos when talking to Trump, but not Hillary, and then leaked classified information to the New York Times releasing his memos. Legally, he should be prosecuted as they prosecuted Lewis “Scooter” Libby who was Dick Cheney’s chief of staff for leaking information.
In United States v. Libby, he was put on trial for interfering with special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s criminal investigation of the Plame affair by lying in an interview with the FBI for which he was indicted by a federal grand jury on five felony counts of making false statements to federal investigators. This is what Comey protected Hillary from by not recording the “interview” which is standard operational procedure. Libby served as assistant to the President under George W. Bush and Chief of Staff to Dick Cheney from 2001 to 2005. Bush denied giving Libby even a pardon.
Then Comey granted immunity to Hillary Clinton’s lawyer Cheryl Mills to protect her against prosecution. In fact, Comey strikingly gave wholesale immunity deals to virtually every person who had intimate knowledge of Hillary Clinton’s illegal private server and emails. This protected Hillary beacause nobody would testify against her under threat of imprisonment. Comey abused his discretion and made sure that Hillary could not be prosecuted nor any of her staff.
There is now more than enough information to hand to a Grand Jury for Comey to be indicted the same as Libby. Comey stole government work product (memos) and who knows what else and that is a crime in itself. Then they had classified information – count #2. And he should be indicted to colluding with Hillary not to record her “interview” and then giving immunity to everyone around her obstructing justice. You give immunity to someone for testifying against someone – not on a wholesale agenda to cover everything up.
If Congress FAILS to prosecute Comey, then Trump should pardon Snowden!!!!!!!! What happened to “Equal Protection of Law” and where is “justice for all” we indoctrinate children to pledge in school? nIf Comey can walk on water, then so should Snowden.
New York Rangers - Wed 07 Jun 2017, 7:49 pm
Kovalchuk, Raanta, Girardi and Staal, Richter stopped Bure 23 yrs ago today
June 7, 2017, 3:45 PM ET [41 Comments]
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Larry Brooks in his Sunday Slap Shots column brought up several topics that have a Rangers bent to them. Several of these have likely been discussed in one form or other - blog or comment - but wanted to add in my two cents as well. Would love to hear your views as well.
Slap Shots has learned the Blues (with assistant general manager Martin Brodeur), Maple Leafs (with general manager Lou Lamoriello) and Sharks (with coach Pete DeBoer and assistant Johan Hedberg) are among more than a half-dozen clubs who have expressed interest in Ilya Kovalchuk.
And yes, indeed, the Rangers are one of the those teams, though there are obstacles to work around in order to get the potential game-changer into a Blueshirt.
Let’s understand that Ray Shero has the upper hand at this moment, and the Devils general manager would need to get more back from the Rangers in a trade than, say, from the Blues or Sharks. Obviously the Devils would prefer to see Kovalchuk scoring goals out west than just across the Hudson. That is the reality as Shero deals with the perception of his fan base, if not his ownership.
But Shero can’t overplay his hand, either, because he essentially will only hold Kovalchuk’s NHL rights through July 1. If the Devils don’t deal Kovalchuk by then, he likely would return to Russia for a final season before becoming an unrestricted free agent next July 1, unencumbered at that point by his current status on the voluntary retired list.
So under this scenario, what could be considered fair value from the Rangers?
The young A- and B-listers — including Brady Skjei, Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller, Kevin Hayes, Jimmy Vesey and Pavel Buchnevich — are off the table. Derek Stepan is not going to be traded for a 34-year-old winger, and Rick Nash doesn’t make any sense from New Jersey’s perspective, though the Rangers almost certainly would need to move No. 61’s $7.8 million cap hit in order to accommodate what could be a $5 million-$5.5 million hit for Kovalchuk.
Then how about 25-year-old Oscar Lindberg, a legitimate candidate for a top-six role in New Jersey, if, of course, the Blueshirts’ putative fourth-line center is not selected by Las Vegas in the expansion draft?
Would the Rangers do it? It should be a no-brainer for general manager Jeff Gorton considering Kovalchuk’s game-breaking ability and forte as a power-play quarterback from the point. And if it would take tossing Nick Holden into mix, then by all means.
The Devils might be able to squeeze more from another team, but Kovalchuk could reject the trade and bide his time in Russia for one more year before signing with the Rangers as a free agent next year with New Jersey getting zero in return.
Let me state up front that I am a huge Kovy fan, have been since he entered the league. His skill set, at least years ago, would have tremendously helped the Rangers. Now that he is 34, he likely still has some of the foot speed he had years ago, but most likely has slowed to at least some extent.
In addition, if the rumors of the type of deal he wants are true - 2-3 years at $6 mil a season - then he all but prices himself out of the reasonable range for New York even if a deal could be reached. Now maybe NJ does a sign-and-trade, as has been suggested, and eats some of the salary to facilitate a trade but that would mean more would have to come back to the Devils. If that is the case, Shero will most probably look to break the bank.
If Kovy is smart, he stays in the KHL and comes back as a UFA. But let's say he really wants to play again in the NHL and his sights are set are on the Rangers, rather than the Isles or Blue Jackets or Panthers. What are you willing to pay? Lindberg isn't a game-breaker but he proved, especially in the playoffs, that he can be an effective center in this league. Maybe not a 1 or 2 but definitely a 3 with upside. if he somehow got past Las Vegas, would you deal him for Kovy? Would you make that deal if Holden could be part of it before the expansion draft, though that would necessitate losing someone else NY might want to protect.
Plus, and this may be the most important part, how are you creating cap room? Even if NJ ate some salary, who is going to free up at least $2.5-3 million, let alone $5-6 million? Do you want Kovy on the Rangers and what do you think he has left? Are we looking at an Alexander Radulov type season or one like the second half Jaromir Jagr had last season or somewhere in-between?
Slap Shots has learned several clubs have inquired about the availability of Rangers goalie Antti Raanta, who will be vulnerable to claim by Vegas.
But moving Raanta, who is one year away from free agency, would guarantee that the Rangers would lose someone else — likely Lindberg, Jesper Fast or Michael Grabner — in the expansion draft.
So Gorton would have to get value in return for the 28-year-old Finn that would compensate for the loss of the goaltender
and the player who would go to the Golden Knights.
If Raanta is not selected by Vegas, the dynamic changes.
With Henrik Lundqvist nursing an injury, but expected back well before training camp starts, Raanta's value has changed slightly. This wrinkle coupled with his play the last two years has made him an even more valuable part of the roster. But many of us believe he is firmly on Vegas' draft list. What it then comes down to is as Brooks asked, are you willing to preemptively move him to get an asset back to keep him from the expansion draft list knowing that it will cost you another player? Now also consider the possibility of giving an incentive for the Golden Knights to take Holden, does that change your view on moving Raanta? Another aspect to factor in is the presence of goaltending coach Benoit Allaire and the confidence he can turn another goalie into a solid #2 behind Hank, does that change your view?
Rangers have not told either Dan Girardi or Marc Staal to expect a buyout prior to the expansion draft, nor has management asked either veteran defenseman to waive his no-move clause, sources said. But that does not mean either possibility has been ruled out, because there essentially is no chance both will remain on the roster when training camp commences.
Just because it hasn't been done yet, doesn't mean it won't happen. To not ask seems shortsighted, but there is still 10 days or so to make that request. Because if neither one is asked, then players we all want to keep will have to be exposed in the draft. after the draft, there is 10 days or so before free agency starts. Buyouts could occur then, with a second buyout occurring if an RFA is to go to arbitration, even if a deal is signed before that hearing occurs. So this saga is far from solved.
As posted and commented in my prior blog, Richter stopped Bure penalty shot and changed the momentum of Game 4, 23 years ago today.
Columbus Blue Jackets - Thu 04 May 2017, 4:29 pm
Thoughts on the defence and the Expansion Draft
May 4, 2017, 12:47 PM ET [9 Comments]
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The Jackets defence group was a hot topic all season long due to the success they were having and they continue to be a hot topic into the off-season. Looking forward to next season the defence projects as follows:
Zach Werenski – Seth Jones
Jack Johnson – David Savard
Markus Nutivaara – Ryan Murray
That was the six the Jackets used for the majority of last season. With Dalton Prout traded away and Kyle Quincey expected to test free agency, Harrington moves up into that seventh defencemen role. With the expansion draft looming it’s quite possible that one of these defencemen is picked. Using the expansion tool on Cap Friendly the most common player picked from Columbus has been Johnson. If the Jackets were to lose Johnson their defence entering next season could look something like this:
Werenski – Jones
Murray – Savard
Nutivaara – Gabriel Carlsson
The Jackets brass is very high on Carlsson, including John Tortorella who had some high praise for the young defencemen.
“The most important thing I like about his game is just his demeanor,” Tortorella said of Carlsson, who logged an assist in his second game Sunday in Toronto. “He’s not afraid to step up. He’s not afraid to make a pass into the middle of the ice. He’s not a tentative player. I think he’s very confident, and that’s the most important thing.”
That quote from Tom Reed’s Dispatch article prior to Game 1, shows the confidence the organization has in Carlsson. To go from Sweden to North America, play five games on the smaller ice (three AHL, two NHL) and then be a regular in the playoffs is rare. Carlsson is going to enter camp with a good shot to make this team regardless of what happens during the expansion draft.
The other wrinkle here is Vladislav Gavrikov. The Jackets have made him an offer and are trying to convince him to come over to North America. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, teams bring players over all the time. The Jackets however have shown a willingness with Carlsson and Nutivaara to put these players right into the NHL. That plus this Aaron Portzline tweet and you can see why the speculation has started.
Gavrikov has been a regular in the KHL for the past two seasons. He's played 112 games in the KHL in his career, so he should be ready to make the jump to the NHL. The problem though is that he has not been very successful in those 112 games. He had back to back seven point seasons and has just 15 career points.
It doesn’t really make much sense to me that Gavrikov would make Murray expendable. If a deal happens in which Murray is traded that’s fine, but don’t look for a trade just because Gavrikov might come over.
Portzline has his ear to organization so this very well may be an opinion shared by the organization. If so this sheds some light on who the Jackets will protect in the expansion draft. It was assumed that the Jackets would be protecting Jones, Savard and Murray (Werenski is exempt), leaving Johnson exposed. If the team sees Murray as expendable however they may be more inclined to protect Johnson and leave Murray unprotected. If Murray is left unprotected I would imagine Vegas takes him. He's a 23 year old defencemen, former #2 overall pick, who has been a regular in the NHL. Yes he has had plenty of injury problems, but this is the type of talent you take a chance on if you’re Vegas.
There is still plenty of time before the expansion draft for things to shake out. As things currently stand Gavrikov has not decided if he will come over to North America or if he will stay in Russia and play in the KHL. He will be playing for Russia at the World Championships where everyone associated with the Blue Jackets will be keeping a close eye on him
End of Socialism will Be A Tumultuous Hard Landing - Sun 23 Apr 2017, 10:27 am
QUESTION: Hi Martin:
I’d love to believe that the collapse of this dead-end ideology is imminent, but when one looks at just the media situation in the entire Western world, and sets aside the political landscape, it is hard to fathom. With O’Reilly’s departure from FOX, and Murdoch’s sons taking over (who are both reportedly very progressive liberals), it seems that Socialism is on the grow. Care to comment and enlighten us some more? It would be vastly appreciated, thanks.
ANSWER: The economics of the situation is what rules. That is why Communism failed. But keep in mind that this is the civil unrest. Socialism will not simply die and move into the light. It will rage, kick, scream, and try to take down everyone in the process. You can see it in these anti-Trump demonstrations. They claim to be for peace and against Trump because he is some sort of racist etc. etc etc. etc…..
Yet these are historically ALWAYS the most violent people. This is the subject of the next 2017 Cycle of War Report. The system is collapsing and all the taxes and fines the dream up in their minds cannot save the system. It will go bust. That is the end of Socialism the same as it was the end for Communism. Both are against human nature.
They say it is wrong to discriminate for race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. But it’s OK to discriminate against anyone who disagrees with those in power or if they have material wealth above average. This type of discrimination is perfectly fine because it suits their agenda. What happens when the productive class refuses to produce? When Atlas Shrugged, it all comes crashing down.
Do you know that when Ayn Rand published that book, she received the worst reviews ever. The press was socialistic agreeing with FDR. Despite having the press trying to prevent people from reading it fearing the book would be against their socialistic philosophy, Atlas Shrugged has been ranked as #2 in the most influential books just behind the Bible ever written.
Here is the survey’s list of the most influential books:
1. The Bible.
2. “Atlas Shrugged,” by Ayn Rand.
3. “The Road Less Traveled,” by M. Scott Peck.
4. “To Kill a Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee.
5. “The Lord of the Rings,” by J. R. R. Tolkien.
Columbus Blue Jackets - Sat 15 Apr 2017, 10:51 pm
Post Battle ECQF Game #2 – Two games one story
April 15, 2017, 8:24 AM ET [30 Comments]
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Final Score: Penguins 4 – Blue Jackets 1
Well game two brought on much of the same as Game 1. The Jackets got plenty of shots, but again were unable to get enough scoring chances to put up more than one goal. They put up 40 shots which resulted in a few more chances than in the first game, but Marc-Andre Fleury was saving everything and denying all opportunities. The Jackets were able to get nine high danger chances at 5 on 5 and did a much better job at getting into the slot area.
The goaltending has been frustrating as the Jackets were expected to have an edge over Matt Murray and a sizeable advantage over Fleury. Sergei Bobrovsky has not played up to his Vezina level self, whereas Fleury is playing like its 2009 again. Bobrovksy needs to be better as the series moves to Columbus.
Before we dive too far into what went wrong, a couple positives from what was otherwise an extremely disappointing game. Brandon Saad the Jackets only goal, showing just how good a player he is.
He clearly responded well to the third period benching. He was one of the lone forwards that was able to get offensive chances.
The other was Oliver Bjorkstrand. He was everywhere again. When he's on the ice the Jackets are in complete control. He led the team with a 75% Corsi at 5 on 5, and was one of just three players, along with Saad and Scott Hartnell, to be on the ice for more high danger chances for than against. If Bjorkstrand could start finding the back of the net, he could singlehandedly win this team a game.
Switching gears, the third pair continues to be a disaster. Scott Harrington looks overmatched against any of the Pittsburgh lines. Every rush opportunity by the Penguins it felt like they were going to score. Harrington does not have the speed and it’s glaringly obvious. Next game needs to have one of Kyle Quincey or Markus Nutivaara (or both) on that bottom pair.
The Jackets had no answer for Sidney Crosby who showed everyone why he’s the best player in the world. Crosby had three points with a goal and two primary assists. Crosby played most of his 5 on 5 minutes against Seth Jones and Zach Werenski so this was the defensive pairing you want out there. As for the forward group, he saw his fair share of time against Brandon Dubinsky but also a good chunk of time against the third line of William Karlsson, Matt Calvert and Josh Anderson. This was a favourable matchup for the Penguins and they took advantage.
Speaking of Calvert, he very well may be missing some time after this nonsense.
I'm all for physical play, but this goes way too far and was completely unnecessary. The play will be reviewed by the NHL and a suspension is quite possible. Even if Calvert somehow manages to avoid a suspension it might be time for him to sit anyway. He did not have a strong game, that third line were the only three players to be below a 50% Corsi.
Game 3 goes Sunday night in Columbus. The Jackets need a win badly to get back into the series.
Stat of the Night
Stats courtesy of Natural Stat Trick and Hockey-Reference.
Chicago Blackhawks - Wed 05 Apr 2017, 8:32 pm
Good, Bad And In-Between
April 5, 2017, 8:43 AM ET [74 Comments]
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It was ironic that Hawk netminder Scott Darling was given the first star in last night’s 4-3 OT loss in Colorado. It’s not often an opposing player nets first star under any circumstance.
But maybe it was the 51 shots Darling faced, where it can be argued he kept a very sloppy Hawk club in the game and in position to win a point. And when your backup goalie exhibits not just the best of his game, but also the worst, and still wins first star, you know you have a pretty good backup goalie.
Darling flopped and sprawled and scuffled his way through the barrage of shots and quality chances from the Avs–he’s definitely played better positionally and the game winner from Erik Johnson was one he would love to have back. But, he also came up big numerous times as well.
And that’s kind of what I took from that game. The Hawk regulars did not play that well, with the exception of the Marcus Kruger line, but a couple of the backup/depth types gave you some encouragement in the event they’re needed in the playoffs.
Exhibit #2, the Three-Wheeled Jewel Shopping Cart, Michal Rozsival, who, although he can’t really get up and down the ice anymore, made an absolutely gorgeous stretch pass on Kruger’s goal.
We probably won’t see Rozsival in the playoffs, unless one of the regular top 6 goes down. But, in limited minutes, and with a certain degree of shelter, there may just be a fiber or two of tread left on Rozy’s tire if necessary.
Hey, I sort of enjoyed the first 30 minutes or so of last night’s game, before the Hawks went all Rockford Ice Hogs from the red line in to their net. And I would expect more of the same in the remaining two contests of the regular season in Anaheim and LA.
But, that’s the nature of things when playoff position is no longer at stake and you’re trying to just stay healthy.
All I have for now. I’ll have an Anaheim preview tomorrow.
NHL Power Rankings: Here come the Oilers! - Mon 03 Apr 2017, 7:59 pm
NHL Power Rankings: Here come the Oilers!
April 3, 2017, 11:59 AM ET [112 Comments]
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In today's post, we share our thoughts on the current top-5 teams in the NHL taking into account record, underlying numbers, roster talent and more.
1. Washington Capitals (52-18-8)
I know the Caps haven't had the best luck come playoff time and always find a way to fall short but this team has to enter the playoffs as the favorites.
They have a ton of scoring depth, they're physical, they have a top-pairing caliber defender on each pairing and Braden Holtby is Braden Holtby. I just don't see any glaring weakness on this team.
2. Pittsburgh Penguins (48-19-11)
The Pens are really beat up but they continue to win games and it sounds like Evgeni Malkin and/or Kris Letang aren't far off. If they're good to go on opening night of the playoffs, I think the sky is the limit for this Pens team.
3. Chicago Blackhawks (50-22-7)
Last year I wasn't high on the Blackhawks and picked against them in the opening round. I won't be doing that this year. Their stars are playing like stars and Nick Schmaltz, Ryan Hartman, etc. have really stepped up and given the team the depth contributions they need. This team is legit.
4. Anaheim Ducks (43-23-13)
They haven't lost in regulation over the last 10 games, are getting consistent scoring from the top-3 lines, the defense has been good (as always) and Jonathan Bernier was nothing short of spectacular in John Gibson's absence. The Ducks are going to be a pain in the ass to play in the playoffs.
5. Edmonton Oilers (44-25-9)
I'm not sold the depth will hold up against other top teams but Connor McDavid scares the crap out of me. He has been as good as anyone this season and has the ability to single-handedly win games. They're getting ridiculous production from the McDavid line and Cam Talbot has been one of the best goaltenders in the NHL this season. They're going to be a tough out in the playoffs.
1. Washington - the class of the NHL. A Plus 76 goal differential. The best defensive team in hockey. And they accomplished all that before they acquired Shattenkirk - who gives them the best top four in the NHL, maybe the best in the salary cap era.
2. Pittsburgh - The defending champs get #2 out of respect. They won the Cup, had a great year, and they still have maybe the best team on paper. The problem is their so banged up.
3. Edmonton - They are 9-1 in the last ten. Talbot is legit. McDavid/Draisaitl/Maroon is the best line in hockey. I called them to win the west. If the season was a month longer I'd probably have been right. Still baffles me that a lot of people picked them to miss the playoffs.
4. Chicago - This one is done begrudgingly, but the team is deep, they've won before and they won the West.
5. Toronto - I swear to god this isn't a homer pick or a troll pick. They have five first liners. An underrated D. A top 10 goalie. They are 7-2-1 in the last ten games. They can outskate any team in hockey. Auston Matthews is - at worst - the fifth best player in the entire NHL. They are reviled only by Pittsburgh for deepest group of forwards. Oh, and if they weren't 1-8 in the shootout, and hadn't lost 15 games after regulation, they'd lead the Atlantic.
NHL Power Rankings: Here comes the Oilers Edition
That's right, we're actually talking about the Oilers in a positive way. Not negative, not mocking and not sarcastic. It's been far too long for those in Edmonton.
#5 Blues. Left for dead and not really given a chance anymore the Blues are 7-1-2 with a big win over reeling Nashville.
#4 Leafs. There I did it. I gave them credit now they can burn out quick in first round but they are 7-2-1 in last 10 could hit 100 points. Could
#3 Ducks. Don't look now but the Ducks are starting to find some form. Even with some OT losses lately they are 7-0-3 and sliding nicely into playoff form
#2 Oilers. 9-1-0 in last 10 with wins over Anaheim and San Jose the Oilers then put the dagger through the Kings heart too. Oh what a time to be alive.
#1. Capitals. Remember when the Caps could not figure the game out for a bit. Losing and all that business? 2 wins over the Jackets, 2 wins over Wild and a win over Calgary help put you to 8-1-1 and tops in the league.
"Come at me bro" is what the Capitals are saying to the rest of the league now.
Ottawa Senators - Tue 28 Mar 2017, 7:11 pm
Game Day: Senators @ Flyers - Get back on track
March 28, 2017, 10:54 AM ET [13 Comments]
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Putting Saturday's debacle behind them will be the object of the day as the Senators continue their five day road trip with stop #2 in the City of Brotherly Love.
The Flyers are clinging to the faintest of playoff hopes, trailing Boston by six points with seven games remaining and four teams to pass. You would have to think that for them to have any chance, they cannot afford to drop another point in the standings. In my mind, once you have more points to make up than games remaining, you are essentially done because you then need so much help from others to make it in.
While the Flyers should be a desperate team, for the Senators it is all about the process rather than the result. The game against Montreal was not a good one, and win or lose they need to play their game and execute the game plan much better.
The biggest cause for concern seems to be the special teams play. The power play has dropped to 22nd in the league, and their penalty kill has tumbled to 17th, just barely over 80%. When you add power play and penalty kill percentages together, 100% would be average, and Ottawa is now 98.3%. The PK has been especially bad over the last 7 games, getting scored on almost one out of every 3 opponent chances (7 for 22). That simply cannot continue because until some players start scoring more consistently, the Senators can't outgun teams if they give away free goals on special teams.
The Senators need to score goals to win, something they haven't done with enough regularity of late (7 goals in last 11 games) and this game could provide an opportunity for a breakout game, as the Flyers have allowed the second most goals in the Eastern Conference.
The teams have split their pair of matchups so far this season, with both games ending up 3-2 and requiring extra time. Ottawa won in a shootout in Philadelphia mid-November, while the Flyers returned the favor in Ottawa with an OT win a couple of weeks later.
Kyle Turris has 3 points in the two games, while Mark Stone is the only other Senator with multiple points, while on the flipside it is Claude Giroux (2 goals) and Jakub Voracek (2 assists) that lead the way for the Flyers in the season series. Steve Mason played both games for the Flyers, while Craig Anderson got the win and Mike Condon took the OTL for the Senators.