Around the National Hockey League: Week 5

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Views, opinions, and comments on teams in the National Hockey League –

Calgary Flames

It’s not the start to the National Hockey League season G.M. Brad Treliving had hoped for.

With the free agent signing of Michael Frolik and the trade with the Boston Bruins for Dougie Hamilton, the team looked to be strengthened but so far that’s not the case.  Some analysts have stated the Flames have one of the best defensive cores in the league but the team has given up 59 goals in the first 15 games.  Will they be able to turn this around and make the playoffs?   

To add to their problems, G.M. Treliving has only 1.6 million in cap space to work with.  Tough times in Calgary.

Calgary started to show signs of life this past week as they won their last 2 games.

Colorado Avalanche

To say Colorado has started the season slowly would be an understatement.  Not the kind of start coach Patrick Roy and G.M. Joe Sakic had envisioned.  After 14 games, they are sitting last in the tough Central Division with a 4-9-1 record.  It’s early but a bad start in the Central Division can be a recipe for disaster but there is hope.  With skilled young players such as Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene, and defenceman Tyson Barrie, they might make up some ground as the season progresses.  If not, it’s another disappointing season out of the playoffs.

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Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers have little difficulty scoring goals but giving them up has been a big problem so far in early season play.  After 15 games, they have a 5-10-0 record.   If the Oilers can solve their defensive problems, they will be a tough opponent to play against.  They are young and fast and can give teams fits if they can put a solid sixty minutes together.

Connor McDavid’s season came to an abrupt halt due to a broken collarbone last Tuesday in a game against the Philadelphia Flyers.  McDavid might miss two months depending on how fast he heals and how bad the break is.

Boston Bruins

When the season started, many had written the Bruins off!  They did struggle.  After three straight losses to start the season, they have rebounded in surprising fashion but after 14 games they have a 7-6-1 record and the criticisms have died down for now.  Center David Krejci is leading the team in scoring with 17 points in 14 games.  Last Tuesday, the Bruins not only lost the game to Dallas by a score of 5-3 but lost forward Chris Kelly to a broken leg.  He will miss anywhere from six to eight months!

Off the ice, new G.M. Don Sweeney has 1.2 million dollars in cap space.  It will be interesting to see if the Bruins can make the National Hockey League playoffs this season.

New York Rangers

Year in and year out, the Rangers put a competitive team on the ice and give their fans hope of winning a Stanley Cup.  This season, they are off to a great start with a 10-2-2 record after 14 games and only allowing 25 goals against.  Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is once again providing solid goaltending.  He is using lighter pads and different goaltender skates which might make it even more difficult to get a goal behind him.  Hiring coach Alain Vigneault has proven to be beneficial for the Rangers.  Every year he has coached in New York, they have been in contention to win the Stanley Cup.

Off the ice, new G.M. Jeff Gorton took over Glen Sather’s job.  Sather who is seventy-one years old will stay on as President of the organization but it will be interesting to see if Gorton follows Sather’s philosophy of trading for big named free agents or try and move to a more of a draft and develop strategy.  Gorton will have a lot of decisions coming up this season as he has seven forwards who are restricted free agents or unrestricted free agents after this season.  Contracts for forwards Chris Kreider, Dominic Moore, Victor Stalberg, Kevin Hayes, J.T. Miller, Emerson Etem, and Jarret Stoll have to be dealt with.  On defence, Keith Yandle and Dan Boyle are both unrestricted free agents after this season.  Gorton has roughly 1.1 million free in cap space to work with.

Who’s hot and Who’s Not

Atlantic Division

Montreal Canadiens are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games.  Toronto Maple Leafs are 1-6-3 in their last 10 games

Metropolitan Division

New York Rangers are 7-1-2 in their last 10 games and have won their last 5 games.  Columbus Blue Jackets are 4-6-0 in their last 10 games.

Central Division

Dallas Stars are 8-2-0 in their last 10 games and have won their last 3 games.  Colorado Avalanche are 2-7-1 in their last 10 games.

Pacific Division

Los Angeles Kings are 8-2-0 in their last 10 games.  San Jose Sharks are 3-7-0 in their last 10 games.

NHL Notes

Former coach and G.M. Doug MacLean, who is a hockey analyst with Sportsnet, said this past week that teams in the National Hockey League who do not have a .500 record by the 20 game mark usually do not make the playoffs.  He said the percentages of teams not making the playoffs is quite high.  He might be right due to the extreme nature of competition in each Conference.  There are a few teams that are already in bad shape at the 15 game mark!  I will try and track this over the course of the season to see how many teams this affects.

Don Cherry thinks the injury to Connor McDavid was intentional!  He thinks Philadelphia’s defencemen Michael Del Zotto and Brandon Manning drove McDavid into the boards deliberately.  Did Don make the right call?

Jamie Benn is one of those diamond in the rough type players.  He was drafted by the Dallas Stars in the 5th round in 2007 and look where he is now.

Artemi Panarin the 24-year-old Chicago Blackhawks rookie is leading all rookies in scoring with 15 points in 15 games.

Player Team GP GAPts
Tyler Seguin Dallas Stars 159 14 23
Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks  15 10  1323
Jamie BennDallas Stars 15 10 1121
Johnny GaudreauCalgary Flames  154 1317
 Blake WheelerWinnipeg Jets 156 1117

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