redrafting

Why redrafting the NHL would be very intriguing


Most teams in the NHL would never be onboard for a redraft of the entire NHL. But, it is still something cool for fans to look at hypothetically. Entire league redrafts have usually been associated with the NFL. The idea behind them is to break up dynasties in the league, such as the New England Patriots. Although the NHL hasn’t had any Patriot-esque dynasties recently, there’s franchises that have experienced FAR more success than many others. Teams such as the Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers have made the post-season the last 11, nine, and seven seasons, respectively. A total of only four teams have won the last eight Stanley Cups.

redrafting

Photo from turningleft.net

An NHL redraft would give several teams a chance to retool their entire roster. For example, the Carolina Hurricanes, Buffalo Sabres, and Arizona Coyotes all own growing post-season droughts. Carolina’s drought has reached eight seasons, Buffalo six, and Arizona five. All three team’s droughts are very likely to continue at the end of the 2017-2018 season.

 

 

 

Here are some things to consider if this hypothetical idea were ever to come to fruition:

Determining the draft order


One of the most important parts of this hypothetical is how the NHL would determine the order of which the teams would get to draft. Although the 31st pick in the redraft of the NHL would still result in an extremely talented player, the number one overall pick is significantly better.

The team with the top pick gets the choice of how they get to rebuild their roster. They can choose the best player from whichever position on the ice they like. The 31st pick may not have the choice to draft based on position. With a pick that far down they may just take the best player available.

redrafting

Photo from dailyherald.com

The NHL must determine how to order the redraft. The best way to do that would be to measure the success of each franchise over the last 15 seasons. Then, reward the least successful team with the first overall pick, and the 31st overall pick to the most successful.

The Penguins and Blackhawks have three Cup wins over the last 15 seasons, with the Penguins winning the last two. Pittsburgh would receive the 31st pick, and Chicago the 30th. The Kings have two in the last 15 seasons, giving them the 30th pick.

On the opposite end of the spectrum it would be tougher to decide which team gets the first overall pick because there are several franchises that have never won a Stanley Cup, let alone in the last 15 seasons.

For this we could look at the least amount of playoff appearances, longest post-season droughts, and total regular season losses over the last 15 seasons to work out who gets the first pick.

Which position would be most important?


Redrafting the NHL would essentially be one giant fantasy hockey draft for General Managers and team owners. They would need to decide which positions they would tackle first in the draft.

Would GMs and owners want to target young, talented forwards such as Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews and Jack Eichel? Or would they want to target cornerstone defensive players such as Erik Karlsson, Drew Doughty, P.K. Subban or Brent Burns that can quarterback the offense on the backend and also run the power-play?

But, GMs and owners can’t forget about the guys that backstop the team, the goaltenders. It can be argued that Henrik Lundqvist has been the key to the Rangers’ seven consecutive playoff appearances. Furthermore, you can argue that Jonathan Quick was the most important piece of the Los Angeles Kings roster in 2012 and 2014 when they won Stanley Cup.

Teams could permitted to keep one player


Allowing teams to keep one player would be similar to a fantasy hockey keeper league. In keeper fantasy leagues, owners are allowed to keep a set number of players at the end of the season. They then start the next season with the players that they kept at the end of last season. Heading into the draft, the team already has a few players on the roster. This allows them to focus on other positions because they already have a piece or two in place that they don’t need to draft.

redrafting

Connor McDavid with Wayne Gretzky. Photo from NHL.com

If this were instituted into the redrafting theory, franchises should be permitted to keep one player if they choose to. This would allow the team to already have a top player of a specific position on their roster so they could draft different positions earlier on. For example, the Edmonton Oilers would likely keep their star forward, Connor McDavid. He’s only 21 years old and easily resembles all-time greats of the sport such as Wayne Gretzky and Sidney Crosby.

Teams would need to pay to keep this player, so the method of how would need to be solidified by the NHL. A great way to do this would to institute a standard, league-wide contract that the kept player would sign to keep them on the roster, similar to an NFL franchise tag. But, this contract’s length and price should be equal no matter the position of the player that is kept. For example, whether the kept player is a forward, defenseman, or a goaltender, the keeper contract standard should be set somewhere around four years, $10 million per season.

Other teams could choose to keep a franchise cornerstone defenseman or goaltender if they don’t feel that they have star talent at the forward position that is worth the $10 million per season contract. Or, if a team feels that they don’t have any player at any position worth $10 million per season, they could choose to not keep any players heading into the redraft and save the money heading into the season.

Ratings, attendance and jersey sales could skyrocket


The first few seasons following the NHL redraft would be electric to watch. All kinds of superstars playing in new cities, with new jerseys, and new players at their sides.

Fans would flock to arenas and televisions to watch their newly rebuilt franchise fight to be the first to win a Stanley Cup following the redraft. There’d be no telling which teams would come out on top. No matter if a team looks good on paper, it’s all about the chemistry on the ice between the players. Teams like the New York Islanders, Arizona Coyotes, and the Carolina Hurricanes would love to see this. These three are among the teams that struggle to fill their arena on game nights. With all new rosters, each team has the potential to be the best in the league. Every arena in the league would be packed all season long.

Plus, jersey sales would go through the roof. Most players, except for those kept on the roster, would be playing for a different team. Fans wouldn’t hesitate to buy their new superstar’s jersey as soon as the draft concluded.

 

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Garrett!

“From Our Haus to Yours”

offense versus defense

Thursday picks: Offense versus defense as Penguins face Kings

Thursday Picks: Offense versus Defense as Penguins Face Kings

The Penguins and Kings face off in a battle of offense versus defense. Led by Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick the Kings have one of the best defensive corps in the entire NHL. They will be going up against a scoring juggernaut in Pittsburgh.

A big day for the NHL with ten other games being played. 14 teams playing on this Thursday are still being considered for playoff contention, and the other teams are starting to let the young guys play more. This time of the year leads to some fun, intense games.

Penguins vs. Kings

Pick: Kings

Changes in the Locker room

Recently the Kings made a trade that sent forwards Marion Gaborik and Nick Shore to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for defenseman Dion Phaneuf and forward Nate Thompson.

Dion Phaneuf has played in 955 career games where he has recorded 478 points. Phaneuf will be a welcome addition to an already stellar defense. He brings a veteran presence that can make all the difference. Last season he was one of the driving players behind the Ottawa Senators run into the Eastern Conference finals.

Nate Thompson is a very good role player. He should help boost a Los Angeles offense that has struggled all season. In 43 games this year Thompson has 11 points on four goals and seven assists. His ice time typically hovers around seven to ten minutes per game. He will be a valued addition to the third or fourth line in Los Angeles.

This trade should be good for the Kings; however, they are losing two decent players in Marion Gaborik and Nick Shore. Shore and Gaborik have combined for 29 points this season, and for a struggling offense, those are a lot of points to be letting go. The adjustment period will have to be quick, but I am sure the Kings can pull it off.

Penguins Got The Power! Play.

The Penguins power play has been on a tear so far this season. Their 26.7-percent rate is the highest the team has had since the 1995-96 season when they finished with a 25.95-percent rate.

Pittsburgh has scored multiple power play goals 14 times this season which is the most in the NHL. A lot of this is due to the speed and talent of the Pittsburgh players. Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Penguins players are adapt to drawing penalties. They have drawn the fifth most in the league, and it is a significant reason as to why they have been winning more games.

A Defense Fit For A King

offense versus defense

Photo By: Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press

The Kings defense this season has been terrific. They are allowing just 2.47 goals per game, which is good for the third-best total in the NHL. They have had 30 games this season in which they have allowed two goals or less, and in those games, they are boasting an impressive 25-5-0 record.

The Kings are a defensive unit that is very in sync with each other. The defensemen keep the game in front of them, and if anything breaks down, they have superstar goaltender Jonathan Quick as the last line of defense.

Quick has been off his game a bit so far this season, but his recent play has been pretty good. The Star goalie also has a pretty good history against the Penguins. Quick is 3-3-3 all-time against the Penguins with a .903 save percentage and is allowing 2.56 goals per game.

If Quick is on his game, he can give his team a much-needed boost. The Kings defense is very sound and if they can hold the Pens to under three goals the offense should be able to get it done.

Result

The Kings are one of the most penalized teams in the league which is not good with a matchup against the league’s best power play; however, I think Quick will be locked in, and in a battle of offense versus defense; the defense will win. The Kings will take this one in a hard-fought low scoring game.

Lock Pick: Predators vs. Flames

Pick: Predators

In what will be the third and final meeting between the Predators and the Flames, Calgary flies into Nashville looking to hold onto their one-point lead in the Pacific Division over the Kings.

Coming off a three-game win streak the Flames have now lost two of their last three games; In those three games they have only been scoring 2.67 goals per game while allowing 3.67 goals per game, but they are going up against a Predators team that likes to keep it close.

All of Nashville’s last five games have been decided in extra time, but this is something that Nashville has become accustomed to. The Predators have played in 17 overtime games this year and have a record of 8-9.

One of those games was against the Flames where Calgary won 3-2 in a shootout decision, but the Predators responded to that game with a 2-0 shutout in the two teams’ last meeting. The Flames have a solid group of young scorers, but I expect the Preds to have a repeat of their previous meeting. It will still be low scoring, but Nashville will take it.

Upset Pick: Golden Knights vs. Oilers

Pick: Oilers

offense versus defense

Photo Courtesy Of: Associated Press

Edmonton has had a very disappointing 2018 season. One year removed from a 103 point season and the Oilers are now in the race for the one pick, but Edmonton has still given us some pretty entertaining games. They have been especially good against the Golden Knights.

In the teams, two previous meetings the Oilers have won both of them; including an 8-2 route of the Knights back in November.

Even though Edmonton is a bad team in the standings; they still need to be respected. Connor McDavid is arguably the best player in the world, and role players Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are no slouches either.

Vegas is one of the best teams in the league, but they don’t have the weapons to slow down a player of McDavid’s caliber when he gets going. I think the Oilers will come out and play hard against the best team in the Western Conference and steal another one.

I got a feeling the Oilers will be lucky in Vegas.

 

 

Featured image courtesy of post-gazzette.com

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Tristen!

“From Our Haus to Yours”

Super 8

Not so Super 8-February 9

And we are back with this week’s “Not so Super 8”.

There was quite a bit of shifting this week in the Super 16, some of which I am not totally in agreement with. I mean sure the Golden Knights lost a couple games in regulation. That doesn’t mean they deserve to be dropped to the third spot.

This week also had a lot fewer teams that even deserved to be in consideration. Most of the teams that missed the Super 16 are on huge slides right now.

Let’s get right to it.

Super 8LA Kings

WHY DID THEY MISS?

This one is tough. They are on a two game win streak, their record the past 10 is 5-5-0 and they are in the top 16 in the NHL. It really just game down to choosing between them, San Jose and Anaheim.

Super 8

Offensive statistics for the LA Kings (Screenshot from NHL.com)choosing between them, San Jose and Anaheim.

WHAT CAN THEY CHANGE?

We need to start seeing more production offensively from players other than Anze Kopitar. Just take a look at their offensive stat breakdown. Kopitar leads the team in points by almost 20 above Drew Doughty. And while there is nothing wrong with defensemen who are offensively minded, why the hell is Doughty above any other forward in point production?

In addition to this, Jonathan Quick is not playing his best for the Kings. With only a 2.51 GAA and a .919 S% he really needs to cement his place as the Kings’ number one guy in the crease.

Philadelphia FlyersSuper 8

WHY DID THEY MISS?

The Flyers did pretty well this week, so much like the Kings, I am not super sure. Also on a two game win streak and sporting an even better record the past 10 games of 6-3-1, I think they also could’ve had a spot in the Super 16.

WHAT CAN THEY CHANGE?

It is too bad the Flyers don’t have better goalies because they have three players with plus 50 point production. The struggles in the crease are killing the team. With Brian Elliot and Michal Neuvirth combing for a dismal 2.67 GAA and a .910 S%. They need a pick me up or their woes will continue.

Super 8Carolina Hurricanes

WHY DID THEY MISS?

This is where the play quality takes a steep drop in the list. The Hurricanes are at an okay 4-5-1 the past 10 games. They have been 9-10-1 their past 20 so they are really playing pretty averagely right now.

WHAT CAN THEY CHANGE?

They are only pulling out close wins against average or less than average teams and they are getting smoked by good teams. The Hurricanes really need to find a way to pull out wins against the better teams if they want to move up in the league at all. They need more offensive production but they really won’t ever win games if their goaltending continues to be awful. Cam Ward and Scott Darling combine for even worse numbers that Elliot and Neuvirth, with a 2.85 GAA and a .901 S%. I mean those numbers are just awful and potentially the worst in the league with the exception of the Coyotes.

Florida PanthersSuper 8

WHY DID THEY MISS?

The Panthers missed purely because of actual ranking in the NHL. Other than that they are on fire, they have won four straight games and are 6-4-0 in their last 10.

WHAT CAN THEY CHANGE?

In their six games before the win streak they had 27 goals against. That is 4.5 goals per game, and it is completely unacceptable. Roberto Luongo needs to step up in a big way to keep their goal differential lower. This team could easily be in the top 16 in the league, they have the pieces to the puzzle. They just need to execute.

New York IslandersSuper 8

WHY DID THEY MISS?

They have lost one and are 3-5-2 their last 10. They are gathering points but just not quite enough to keep them on par with the Super 16.

WHAT CAN THEY CHANGE?

Win. In. Regulation. A couple of their regulation losses have been by a one goal margin. In addition to that they lost twice in overtime. They need to start pulling that second point instead of settling for one. Also they lost to the Coyotes and the Sabres in that time frame. Those are the worst two teams in the league a win in both of those games flips their past 10 record to a better than average 5-3-2.

Columbus Blue JacketsSuper 8

WHY DID THEY MISS?

The Blue Jackets are closer to being in the league’s top 16 than a lot of the teams above them. They missed because of the three game slide they are on right now with a past 10 game record of 3-6-1.

WHAT CAN THEY CHANGE?

They need to start getting contributions from their key players. Josh Anderson is leading in goals with 16 and Artemi Panarin leads in points with 42. That’s fine and all, bit where are Zach Werenski, Nick Foligno and Alexander Wennberg? I found them. Way down the stat sheet not really contributing to their team.

Chicago BlackhawksSuper 8

WHY DID THEY MISS?

I was really starting to grasp at straws here. The Blackhawks record the past 10 is 2-6-2. That pretty much speaks for itself.

WHAT CAN THEY CHANGE?

With the amount of star power this team has, it never ceases to baffle me how badly they are doing this year. They are just waiting for something to click, and when it does I am sure they’ll be back to their winning ways.

Edmonton OilersSuper 8

WHY DID THEY MISS?

The Oilers are just finally starting to figure things out this season. It is too late at this point. Their 5-4-0 record the past 10 is okay and it’s far better than most of the bottom dwellers they share real estate with.

WHAT CAN THEY CHANGE?

It can’t be just “The Connor McDavid Show” anymore. The kid is LITERALLY carrying the team to victory. He scores the majority of the goals whether they win or lose, and there isn’t much other offensive production.

I have no bonus team this week because every team that did not make the Super 16 cut was relatively average. Whereas in the past teams have been snubbed.

Team logos and featured image courtesy of NHL.com

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Lauren

“From Our Haus to Yours”

keep peppering

NHL success: Just have to keep peppering

Much of my inspiration comes from watching my hometown team. The range of emotions I have during the 82-game regular season is overwhelming to say the least. Coming into Thursday my club has gone an underwhelming 1-2-1 in their last four. It hasn’t been all that bad in terms of their play and how they continue to “keep peppering” the opposing net minders.

Devan Dubnyk and Carey Price are two premier goaltenders in this league, as we know. These two faced off against my team during this somewhat average time frame. The game against Dubnyk and the Minnesota Wild saw the Blues post 42 shots.

In the game against Price and the Habs, the boys posted 30 shots. St. Louis beat Dubnyk just once and quadrupled their scoring against arguably the best goaltender in the NHL in Price on Tuesday night.

All together, the Blues hit the net 151 times the previous four games prior to hosting Dallas Thursday night. They found the back of those nets just eight times. Therefore, good teams will run into great goaltending throughout the regular season. However, a lot can be said about a “good” or “average” hockey club based upon how often they pepper their opposition.

Are the Knights really that Golden?

keep peppering

Photo: Stanley Cup of Chowder

If the playoffs started today, the Golden Knights of Las Vegas would have home ice in the first round of the playoffs. Yes, they’re a scrappy bunch that have benefited from new expansion rules. Yes, they have great novelty in the sense that absolutely no one thought they would be this competitive. Looking at their overall play, is this really sustainable for 50+ more games?

The Knights hit the net on average 32 times a game and surrender 30 a game. On paper that is somewhat solid. However, it does not show up in their goal differential where they are just +9.

On average, that is not a typical top 10 club (Knights are currently seventh in NHL). They are scoring 3.44 goals a game which is great, but are giving up 3.11 goals a game. The Knights pepper, but they get peppered just as much, which can’t happen when you don’t have a true #1 goalie (Malcolm Subban).

Las Vegas might make the playoffs, but no one knows for sure at this point. My estimation tells me that they will slowly start to slide and their weaknesses will unfold soon. It has been a phenomenal story thus far and nothing can take away from that, but you need a goalie. If the Knights make it to the postseason it will be remarkable, but I wouldn’t bet on them going much further.

Lightning Strikes in Bunches

keep peppering

Photo: Upper Deck Blog

As of Dec. 6, and for much of the season so far, Tampa has sat atop the league standings. They have gone about their business with great peppering, 5-on-5 play and goaltending. Having the best line in hockey has also helped their cause (Namestnikov/Kucherov/Stamkos).

The Lightning are seemingly a complete team who are healthy and ready to make another cup run like they did in 2015 and 2016.

Tampa Bay hits the net the same amount as their opposition hits their own (32) on average. The leg up the Lightning have is that they have a former first rounder guarding their crease (Andrei Vasilevskiy).

They have scored an average of 3.7 GPG and given up 2.51 GAPG, which is fantastic. This group leads the league in goal differential at +32. They are a legitimate Cup contender for their impeccable strengths on both ends of the ice and their lack of weaknesses.

It’s not just in their stats, it’s in their overall play. They are relentless on 50/50 pucks and are hounds along the boards. It all starts from the goal line still. Having a #1 in Vasilevskiy with no controversy with another #1 (Ben Bishop) there will help them go on a long run when the playoffs start.

So, maybe it’s not the peppering. Maybe it’s just the boring and simple fact that you must have great goaltending and be solid offensively and defensively.

“What does it all mean Basil?”

I’ve changed my mind. Peppering is a solid act that helps open the flood gates in any hockey game. However, it is almost never the single most important piece to a contending team in winning a hockey game. Ask the 2012 and 2014 Los Angeles Kings. Those guys won a Cup as an eighth seed and had both occurrences happen with dominant goaltending from Jonathan Quick.

The goalies are always the most important pieces like pitchers and quarterbacks in the playoffs, which is all anyone cares about. Three-time Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw will always say “if you don’t win, what’s the point”  (MLB Network) in having a great regular season?

The shots are a nice stat that can draw a couple conclusions to how a game was played, but not really why a team won or lost. Why else would players overuse the phrase ‘we got pucks to the net’?  It’s because hockey is such an intricate game where the only obvious and understandable postgame lines involve ‘pucks in deep’ and ‘pucks to the net.’

You need to score more than the other team. Anyone can do that during the regular season, but not everyone can 16 times in the postseason. I don’t believe the Knights can, but the Lightning certainly can. I like saying “we need to pepper” whatever goalie my team is playing against, but really we just need to battle and score more goals than the other team.

Hockey is very simple for fans at the end of the day.

 

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Charlie!

“From Our Haus to Yours”

Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings, Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks, Arizona Coyotes, Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Pacific Division, NHL, Playoffs, Michael Stone, Brian Elliott, Anthony Duclair, Arizona Coyotes, Brad Treliving, Brent Burns, Patrick Marleau, Joe Thorton, Peter Deboer, Dwight King, Jerome Iginla, Ben Bishop, Jonathan Quick, T.J. Brodie, Mark Giordano, Chad Johnson, Dougie Hamilton, Curtis Lazar, Cam Talbot, Connor McDavid, David Desharnais, Justin Fontaine, Ryan Mantha, Patrick Eaves, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, John Gibson, Jonathan Bernier, Norris Trophy, Vezina Trophy

Pacific Division Playoff Predictions

With the trade deadline firmly in the rear view mirror NHL teams have officially hit the ‘stretch.’ The race for third place is on. If your team can’t quite manage to place third or higher, then you’ll have to fight it out for a wild card spot.

Take a look at the Pacific Division and you’ll see a set of standings still relatively up for grabs. Outside of the Arizona Coyotes making the playoffs, just about anything could happen.

So with that in mind, please enjoy these Pacific Division Playoff Predictions.

SHARKS WIN THE DIVISION

Last year head coach Peter Deboer took the San Jose Sharks all the way to the Stanley Cup finals only to lose in six to the Pittsburgh Penguins. But, this year, while the Penguins continue to struggle through injury woes and scoring slumps, the Sharks are as strong as ever.

Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings, Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks, Arizona Coyotes, Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Pacific Division, NHL, Playoffs, Michael Stone, Brian Elliott, Anthony Duclair, Arizona Coyotes, Brad Treliving, Brent Burns, Patrick Marleau, Joe Thorton, Peter Deboer, Dwight King, Jerome Iginla, Ben Bishop, Jonathan Quick, T.J. Brodie, Mark Giordano, Chad Johnson, Dougie Hamilton, Curtis Lazar, Cam Talbot, Connor McDavid, David Desharnais, Justin Fontaine, Ryan Mantha, Patrick Eaves, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, John Gibson, Jonathan Bernier, Norris Trophy, Vezina Trophy

Photo credit: NHL.com.

It’s almost a foregone conclusion that Brent Burns will win the Norris Trophy this year. He has been putting up points at an unbelievable pace. Not only does he lead all defensemen in points (66) but he leads the entire League in shots on goal. Burns inked an eight year, eight-million-dollar contract extension back in November and is proving he’s worth every cent of that contract thus far.

One cannot talk about the success of the Sharks without mentioning big Joe Thorton and Patrick Marleau. The two veterans have consistently brought calm and stability to the team. Marleau is looking rather Jagr-esque as his career point total continues to climb into the astronomical. And while Thorton may not be putting up points like Marleau, what he lacks in scoring he makes up for as a play maker. On top of this, his locker room presence is unparalleled on the Sharks roster – maybe in the whole league.

On the back end, Martin Jones has been nothing less than stellar. Jones sports a 2.28 goals against average and a .915 save percentage, which are slightly below his career average. But at 30-15-6, Jones and the Sharks have been cruising through the first 63 games with ease.

Not to be too complacent with their position in the standings, the Sharks went out and acquired Jannik Hansen from the Vancouver Canucks at the trade deadline. The versatile Danish right winger has had an injury mired campaign so far but was good for 22 goals last season. He ought to be a lethal weapon for the Sharks no matter where they slide him into the lineup.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

The Sharks have been absolutely ruthless at home, with a record of 19-7-4 at the SAP Center [CHECK AFTER 1030 GAME TONIGHT]. Look for this trend to continue as the team settles in for a six game home stand starting March 9 against the League leading Washington Capitals.

San Jose will win the Pacific Division.

ANAHEIM FOLLOWS CLOSE BEHIND

As the trade deadline approached many speculated that Anaheim’s general manager Bob Murray might try to make some moves. Particularly with the high quantity of high quality young defensemen holding down the Ducks’ blue line. But Murray stood firm. This was a bit of a surprise because, in the face of June’s impending expansion draft, the Ducks could potentially lose the bulk of their back end to the Las Vegas Golden Knights.

Instead of selling, though, Murray went shopping. And bought himself one of the best beards in the League; Patrick Eaves.

Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings, Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks, Arizona Coyotes, Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Pacific Division, NHL, Playoffs, Michael Stone, Brian Elliott, Anthony Duclair, Arizona Coyotes, Brad Treliving, Brent Burns, Patrick Marleau, Joe Thorton, Peter Deboer, Dwight King, Jerome Iginla, Ben Bishop, Jonathan Quick, T.J. Brodie, Mark Giordano, Chad Johnson, Dougie Hamilton, Curtis Lazar, Cam Talbot, Connor McDavid, David Desharnais, Justin Fontaine, Ryan Mantha, Patrick Eaves, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, John Gibson, Jonathan Bernier, Norris Trophy, Vezina Trophy

Photo credit: NHL.com

In 54 games with the Dallas Stars last season Eaves put up 11 goals and 17 points. This season, in 60 games so far, the winger has managed a career best 21 goals and 37; 11 of those coming on the power play. The versatile winger could conceivably find himself playing alongside All-Star duo Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, a role which has proven notoriously hard to fill for the Ducks, though the two have been split up as of late. Regardless of where Eaves finds himself in the lineup, the 32 year old winger certainly improves the Ducks’ outlook heading down the stretch.

The addition of Eaves gives the Ducks some impressive depth on the front end, but their play as of late has been less than dominant as they head into their bye week. The San Jose Sharks and Edmonton Oilers may continue to win while Anaheim take their break but the Ducks will return well rested, ready to go, and with games in hand.

On the back end, John Gibson has been a reliable net minder to say the least. Prior to his being placed on the injured reserve list (February 25), Gibson held a respectable 23-15-8 record with a 2.24 goals against average and a .922 save percentage. Backup Jonathan Bernier has been less than perfect in Gibson’s absence. He’s dropped two of the team’s last three, including a 2-3 loss against the Arizona Coyotes, the League’s worst team.

Gibson is expected back after the bye week.

Still, with the sturdy defensive core on the blue line and All-Star depth up front that the Ducks sport they ought to finish strong down the stretch.

Anaheim will place second in the Pacific Division.

EDMONTON TAKES THIRD

Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings, Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks, Arizona Coyotes, Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Pacific Division, NHL, Playoffs, Michael Stone, Brian Elliott, Anthony Duclair, Arizona Coyotes, Brad Treliving, Brent Burns, Patrick Marleau, Joe Thorton, Peter Deboer, Dwight King, Jerome Iginla, Ben Bishop, Jonathan Quick, T.J. Brodie, Mark Giordano, Chad Johnson, Dougie Hamilton, Curtis Lazar, Cam Talbot, Connor McDavid, David Desharnais, Justin Fontaine, Ryan Mantha, Patrick Eaves, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, John Gibson, Jonathan Bernier, Norris Trophy, Vezina Trophy

Photo credit: Bruce Bennett, Getty Images.

Connor McDavid is a stud. No doubt about it. But McDavid cannot carry this team into the playoffs and hoist Lord Stanley all by himself. No.

If the Oilers make the playoffs this year, and I predict they will, they still lack the depth and grit to really go very far. Down the final stretch of the regular season, depth and grit can take a team pretty far. But general manager Peter Chiarelli is confident with his squad, stating that the team is already ahead of where he thought they’d be this year; exceeding expectations.

That said, Chiarelli made very few moves at the deadline.

In return for defenseman Brandon Davidson, the Edmonton Oilers received undersized center David Desharnais from the Montreal Canadiens. Desharnais is a small, third or fourth line center. In some ways he helps with the depth issue the Oilers face but on the other hand his addition does nothing to address the team’s size issues.

A trade for minor leaguerers with the New York Rangers has brought former Minnesota Wild player Justin Fontaine to the Oilers as well. In addition to the acquisition of Desharnais and Fontaine, Chiarelli also signed overage junior defenseman Ryan Mantha. Fontaine was traded to the Rangers last year but didn’t see any ice time with the club. Mantha, a former fourth round pick of the Rangers, captains the Niagara Ice Dogs. The 20-year-old will join to the Oilers’ farm club, the Bakersfield Condors.

Needless to say, the Oilers didn’t do much to improve their chances down the stretch. But in all honesty, they aren’t ready to compete for the cup so any big additions at the deadline would have only been in vein.

Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings, Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks, Arizona Coyotes, Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Pacific Division, NHL, Playoffs, Michael Stone, Brian Elliott, Anthony Duclair, Arizona Coyotes, Brad Treliving, Brent Burns, Patrick Marleau, Joe Thorton, Peter Deboer, Dwight King, Jerome Iginla, Ben Bishop, Jonathan Quick, T.J. Brodie, Mark Giordano, Chad Johnson, Dougie Hamilton, Curtis Lazar, Cam Talbot, Connor McDavid, David Desharnais, Justin Fontaine, Ryan Mantha, Patrick Eaves, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, John Gibson, Jonathan Bernier, Norris Trophy, Vezina Trophy

Photo credit: Sergei Belski, USA Today Sports.

The Oilers lack depth at nearly every position. Their blue line is atrocious. And, really, their only redeeming features are their All-Star captain and ridiculously over-performing goaltender.

McDavid is leading the League in points (72) while Cam Talbot is second – only to Devan Dubnyk – in wins among goaltenders. While these two may very well continue to shine in their own right, it’s not likely that the team as a whole will continue to thrive as a whole.

Down the stretch, Edmonton’s weak defense will catch up with them. Their lack of depth in all positions, including in net, will hurt them as they compete for a playoff spot. They will slip out of contention, but fear not they will make the playoffs.

Edmonton will place third in the Pacific Division.

CALGARY CAPTURES A WILDCARD SPOT

Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings, Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks, Arizona Coyotes, Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Pacific Division, NHL, Playoffs, Michael Stone, Brian Elliott, Anthony Duclair, Arizona Coyotes, Brad Treliving, Brent Burns, Patrick Marleau, Joe Thorton, Peter Deboer, Dwight King, Jerome Iginla, Ben Bishop, Jonathan Quick, T.J. Brodie, Mark Giordano, Chad Johnson, Dougie Hamilton, Curtis Lazar, Cam Talbot, Connor McDavid, David Desharnais, Justin Fontaine, Ryan Mantha, Patrick Eaves, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, John Gibson, Jonathan Bernier, Norris Trophy, Vezina Trophy

Photo credit: Will Nault.

Though fans of either team would be loath to admit it, Calgary and Edmonton are a lot alike. They are both Albertan teams well within playoff reach but unlikely to make much of it.

The Flames currently sit in fourth place in the Pacific Division and hold a five-point lead over the Central Division’s St. Louis Blues for the first wild card spot. They are also only two points away from third in the Pacific.

Certainly, the Flames are in much better shape than they were this time last year. Stability has finally reappeared in net for the Flames. The offseason additions of goaltenders Chad Johnson and Brian Elliott appear to be paying off as of late. Elliott’s won his last four starts, including a 2-1 win in overtime against the Las Angeles Kings on Tuesday night.

But general manager Brad Treliving wasn’t content with his team as the deadline loomed. He went out and added former Arizona Coyote defenseman Michael Stone along with former Ottawa Senator Curtis Lazar. These moves add considerable depth to the relatively thin Flames’ lineup.

Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings, Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks, Arizona Coyotes, Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Pacific Division, NHL, Playoffs, Michael Stone, Brian Elliott, Anthony Duclair, Arizona Coyotes, Brad Treliving, Brent Burns, Patrick Marleau, Joe Thorton, Peter Deboer, Dwight King, Jerome Iginla, Ben Bishop, Jonathan Quick, T.J. Brodie, Mark Giordano, Chad Johnson, Dougie Hamilton, Curtis Lazar, Cam Talbot, Connor McDavid, David Desharnais, Justin Fontaine, Ryan Mantha, Patrick Eaves, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, John Gibson, Jonathan Bernier, Norris Trophy, Vezina Trophy

Photo credit: Frederick Breedon, Getty Images.

Stone is already fitting in well with his new squad, with an average time on ice of over 20 minutes a game. He rounds out a defensive core which boasts the likes of Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, and T.J. Brodie; three blue liners who have been impressive thus far this season.

Lazar, the 17th overall pick of 2013, has failed to live up to expectations following a terrific junior career in the WHL. But the former first round pick isn’t pessimistic about the way his career has panned out. In an interview with TSN on Wednesday, Lazar stated that he was excited to be joining the Flames and that he sees himself as more of a Western Conference player anyway.

While the Flames’ struggles early in the season will prohibit them from gaining enough ground to fight for a true playoff spot, they are trending up.

Calgary will finish fourth in the Pacific Division, capturing the first wild card spot.

KINGS COME UP SHORT

Now that Jarome Iginla has been traded to the Los Angeles Kings, who doesn’t want to see the Kings go on an unbelievable run, upset the world, and win the Stanley Cup just for Iggy? Okay, maybe not Ducks or Sharks fans. But believe you me, there are a lot of Iggy admirers out there who’d love to see the veteran make one more run at the big show.

But it won’t happen.

Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings, Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks, Arizona Coyotes, Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Pacific Division, NHL, Playoffs, Michael Stone, Brian Elliott, Anthony Duclair, Arizona Coyotes, Brad Treliving, Brent Burns, Patrick Marleau, Joe Thorton, Peter Deboer, Dwight King, Jerome Iginla, Ben Bishop, Jonathan Quick, T.J. Brodie, Mark Giordano, Chad Johnson, Dougie Hamilton, Curtis Lazar, Cam Talbot, Connor McDavid, David Desharnais, Justin Fontaine, Ryan Mantha, Patrick Eaves, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, John Gibson, Jonathan Bernier, Norris Trophy, Vezina Trophy

Photo credit: Canadian Press.

The Kings just don’t have what it takes. They’ve managed an impressive season considering the fact that they’ve been without their All-Star, Con Smythe Trophy winning, two-time Vezina Trophy and Stanley Cup winning goaltender Jonathan Quick for the majority of the season. Now that Quick has returned the Kings are poised to make a run at the playoffs but it’s a little too late for a resurgence now.

With roughly 20 games left in the season it will take a lot of luck and hard work for the Kings to make the playoffs, let alone make a run for the cup. Ben Bishop was acquired at the deadline to help in net but you can’t play two at the same time. Bishop will ride the pine while the Kings hold their breath and hope Quick doesn’t re-aggravate his injury.

By shipping winger Dwight King to Montreal, the Kings lose depth and grit they ostensibly plan on replacing with the presence of Iginla. But what quality does Iginla bring to the team besides a veteran presence? In truth, not much. Can he still put up points and will he be able to keep pace? Likely not.

The Kings will come up short of the playoffs this year.

Los Angeles will finish fifth in the Pacific Division.

VANCOUVER AND ARIZONA

These two teams will not make the playoffs. Not by a long shot.

The Vancouver Canucks have officially entered full rebuild mode. What they have tried to accomplish with their squad was admirable but the experiment has ultimately failed. As if to add injury to insult the team has recently been hit by a case of the mumps. Remember parents, vaccinate your kids.

Vancouver will finish sixth in the Pacific Division.

The Arizona Coyotes can file this year away with the rest of their bottom of the barrel finishes. With poor performances like that of the young Anthony Duclair, injuries, and poor asset management as the trade deadline, the Coyotes won’t likely be playoff contenders for a few more years yet.

Arizona will finish seventh in  the Pacific Division.

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and eSports articles from other great TGH writers along with Kyle!

Goalies, Goalies Everywhere, yet Not a Save to Spare

What started off as a season flush with goaltenders has quickly eroded into one where quality starters have become exceedingly scarce. The 2016/17 campaign has been particularly tough on net minders across the League.

Take a quick glance around the NHL and there is one thing you’re guaranteed to see, goalie problems. Whether they’re the product of an overzealous media, mismanaged expectations, injury or under-performance, the league is rife with goaltending troubles.

From our Haus to yours, here’s The Game Haus’

top ‘tender troubles of 2016/17

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins sport a unique problem. They have two number one goalies. Not only do they have two number ones, they have arguably two of the best number ones in the League. As far as problems go, this is a pretty good one to have.

Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury have been at the center of speculation since before the beginning of the 2016/17 campaign.

Murray, who backstopped the Penguins to their fourth Stanley Cup championship last year, has effectively taken over the starting spot from veteran net minder Marc-Andre Fleury. Still eligible for Calder consideration, Murray’s contract extends until the 2020/21 season; at which point he’ll be a Restricted Free Agent.

Detroit Red Wings, Tampa bay lighting, pittsburgh penguins, dallas stars, winnipeg jets, st. louis blues, calgary flames, los angeles kings, jonathan quick, jake allen, petr mrazec, jimmy howard, jared coreau, antti niemi, ben bishop, Andrei Vasilevskiy, brian elliott, marc-andre fleury, matt murray, steven stamkos, kari lehtonen, peter budaj, jeff zatkoff, chad johnson, ondrej pavelec, connor hellebuyck, micheal hutchinson, paul maurice, jim rutherford, NHL, goalies, trade deadline, NHL trade deadline, no trade clause

Photo credit: Gene J. Puskar, Associated Press.

Murray’s annual cap hit is $2-million-dollars less than that of Fleury’s and his contract term one-year longer. Murray is also 10 years younger than Fleury.

Basically, the Penguins have two options. They can hold on to both Murray and Fleury for the remainder of the year or they can make a move, trade away Fleury, and gain something in return.

If the Penguins choose to retain both players the inevitable choice will have to be made, who to protect in the upcoming expansion draft?

Now the Penguins can only protect one goalie, and Fleury has a No Trade Clause built into his contract. So if the Penguins choose to go with Murray (which seems most likely) they will need Marc-Andre Fleury to waive his No Trade Clause. And if he does, there is a good chance that the Las Vegas Golden Knights will take Fleury off their hands.

The upside to this strategy: The Penguins will have the world’s best back-up for the remainder of the season.

The downside: Playing a two-goalie, hot-hand gets the start system, is tough on teams and net minders alike. Not to mention that if the Penguins go down this road they will most likely lose a world-class goaltender while gaining nothing in return. It would be the equivalent of letting him walk in Free-Agency.

Accordingly, there has been lot of talk about moving Marc-Andre Fleury.

Keeping in mind Fleury’s NTC, there are plenty of teams in need of a solid number one net minder right now. While one might speculate that the Penguins ought to shop Fleury sooner rather than later, Rutherford has made it known on several occasions that he is in no rush to relocated Fleury.

There remains the distinct possibility that the Penguins will ride with both guys for the remainder of the season.

The Penguins could also potentially buy Fleury out after the season’s end. Though this scenario is unlikely to play out.

 

Los Angeles Kings

Second last in the Pacific Division is not where the Los Angeles Kings saw themselves before the season started. Unfortunately, it is what it is.

When the Los Angeles Kings’ lost Jonathan Quick to a groin injury at the beginning of the season the Kings knew it would be a rough go without their Stanley Cup winning, Vezina nominated, net minder.

It was originally hoped that Quick would miss only a few weeks. Having recently undergoing a non-surgical procedure on his groin, however, it is unlikely that the Kings will see Quick back in fighting form until March.

Without Quick, the Kings were forced to turn to their back-up Jeff Zatkoff. But lightning struck twice in Los Angeles this season. Shortly after Quick sustained his injury, so too did Zatkoff. Zatkoff suffered a groin injury during practice back in October.

Detroit Red Wings, Tampa bay lighting, pittsburgh penguins, dallas stars, winnipeg jets, st. louis blues, calgary flames, los angeles kings, jonathan quick, jake allen, petr mrazec, jimmy howard, jared coreau, antti niemi, ben bishop, Andrei Vasilevskiy, brian elliott, marc-andre fleury, matt murray, steven stamkos, kari lehtonen, peter budaj, jeff zatkoff, chad johnson, ondrej pavelec, connor hellebuyck, micheal hutchinson, paul maurice, jim rutherford, NHL, goalies, trade deadline, NHL trade deadline, no trade clause

Photo credit: Canadian Press.

And so it was without their number one starter and back-up that the Kings recalled goaltenders Peter Budaj and Jack Campbell from their AHL affiliate.

Budaj has been remarkably solid in net for the Kings so far, going 20-14-3 on the season. His Save Percentage is a respectable .916 and his Goals Against Average is 2.14.

Though it would appear that the Kings have managed to stop the bleeding, it will be interesting to see what happens when Quick returns from injury.

 

St. Louis Blues

For far too long the St. Louis Blues rolled with two tender system without any appreciable success to show for it. For the Blues, a choice had to made; it was between Brian Elliott and Jake Allen.

The Blues decided to go with Allen, trading away Brian Elliott to the Calgary Flames for their Second round (35th overall) draft pick in the 2016/17 NHL Entry Draft.

Putting their faith in Allen, the Blues went ahead this season with a clear number one net minder. No more splitting starts for Jake Allen, or at least that was the plan. For the most part, Jake Allen has received (and will continue to receive) the lion’s share of starts for St. Louis. But it has been a rocky road as of late for the 26-year old New Brunswick native.

On January 19th he was pulled for the fourth time in six starts after allowing four goals on only 10 shots against the Washington Capitals.

Detroit Red Wings, Tampa bay lighting, pittsburgh penguins, dallas stars, winnipeg jets, st. louis blues, calgary flames, los angeles kings, jonathan quick, jake allen, petr mrazec, jimmy howard, jared coreau, antti niemi, ben bishop, Andrei Vasilevskiy, brian elliott, marc-andre fleury, matt murray, steven stamkos, kari lehtonen, peter budaj, jeff zatkoff, chad johnson, ondrej pavelec, connor hellebuyck, micheal hutchinson, paul maurice, jim rutherford, NHL, goalies, trade deadline, NHL trade deadline, no trade clause

Photo Credit: NHLPA.

And while the Blues began a three game road trip this weekend in Winnipeg, Allen stayed home.

Listed as Day-to-Day, General Manager Doug Armstrong believes that Allen’s goaltending woes are largely mental. He maintains that Allen is their “long-term goaltender” but with a Goals Against Average of 2.85 and a Save Percentage of .897 his performance has been troubling for the struggling Blues squad.

In the 2015-16 season Allen posted a 2.35 Goals Against and a .920 Save Percentage.

With the Blues reportedly shopping around Shattenkirk, it is conceivable that they may take the time to consider adding another quality goaltender to the team.

 

Calgary Flames

Did somebody say Brian Elliott?

After the Calgary Flames let both Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo walk when their contracts expired last year they sorely needed a new net minder. While reports whirled around about who it might be the Flames found a suitable trade partner in St. Louis.

Detroit Red Wings, Tampa bay lighting, pittsburgh penguins, dallas stars, winnipeg jets, st. louis blues, calgary flames, los angeles kings, jonathan quick, jake allen, petr mrazec, jimmy howard, jared coreau, antti niemi, ben bishop, Andrei Vasilevskiy, brian elliott, marc-andre fleury, matt murray, steven stamkos, kari lehtonen, peter budaj, jeff zatkoff, chad johnson, ondrej pavelec, connor hellebuyck, micheal hutchinson, paul maurice, jim rutherford, NHL, goalies, trade deadline, NHL trade deadline, no trade clause

Photo credit: Will Nault.

The Flames traded away their second round draft pick in the 2016 Entry Draft for Brian Elliott and never looked back. Until now.

Though Elliott was received with much fan fair, the Flames have been forced to rely on their back-up Chad Johnson.  As the situation would have it, it now appears that Johnson is Calgary’s new number one; while Elliott rides the pine as the team’s new number one in reserve.

Johnson signed as a free agent in the offseason. With a record of 16-11-1 and a Save Percentage of .917 (as compared to Elliott’s 8-11-2 and .893 Save Percentage), it looks as if the Flames will be rolling with Johnson for the remainder of the year.

Elliott is on the last year of his $2.5-million-dollar contract, which makes him attractive to teams looking to add a solid back-up before the trade deadline might be interested in Elliott.

Don’t be surprised to see him dealt at before the Trade Deadline comes and goes.

 

Winnipeg Jets

The Winnipeg Jets are in a funny spot right now.

After assigning Ondrej Pavelec, their one-time starting goaltender, to the Manitoba Moose in the AHL, head coach Paul Maurice and the Winnipeg Jets elected to go with their young guns Connor Hellebuyck and Micheal Hutchinson to start the season.

Though the season kicked off with a bang for the Jets their follow through has been less than stellar. The Jets are currently fifth in the Central Division and have consistently failed to crack .500 on season. And it was in the midst of these underwhelming results that the Jets decided to mix things up a bit.

Detroit Red Wings, Tampa bay lighting, pittsburgh penguins, dallas stars, winnipeg jets, st. louis blues, calgary flames, los angeles kings, jonathan quick, jake allen, petr mrazec, jimmy howard, jared coreau, antti niemi, ben bishop, Andrei Vasilevskiy, brian elliott, marc-andre fleury, matt murray, steven stamkos, kari lehtonen, peter budaj, jeff zatkoff, chad johnson, ondrej pavelec, connor hellebuyck, micheal hutchinson, paul maurice, jim rutherford, NHL, goalies, trade deadline, NHL trade deadline, no trade clause

Photo credit: John Woods, Canadian Press.

To the surprise of Jets fans everywhere Ondrej Pavelec was recalled from the Manitoba Moose last week. While noting that the move was not permanent, Maurice did mention that “nothing is set in stone.”

Pavelec got the nod against Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday and then again on Saturday against the St. Louis Blues. He won both games, posting a Goals Against Average of 3.03 and a Save Percentage of .914.

And now the Jets are stuck with three mediocre goaltenders.

Given that Pavelec is in the last year of his $4.75-million-dollar contract, don’t be surprised if the Jets start shopping him around. It is likely that they will try to move him before the season ends and go with Hellebuyck and Hutchinson in the long run.

 

Dallas Stars

  W L OTL SV% GAA
Antti Niemi 10 7 4 .902 3.16
Kari Lehtonen 9 13 5 .899 2.87
Detroit Red Wings, Tampa bay lighting, pittsburgh penguins, dallas stars, winnipeg jets, st. louis blues, calgary flames, los angeles kings, jonathan quick, jake allen, petr mrazec, jimmy howard, jared coreau, antti niemi, ben bishop, Andrei Vasilevskiy, brian elliott, marc-andre fleury, matt murray, steven stamkos, kari lehtonen, peter budaj, jeff zatkoff, chad johnson, ondrej pavelec, connor hellebuyck, micheal hutchinson, paul maurice, jim rutherford, NHL, goalies, trade deadline, NHL trade deadline, no trade clause

Photo credit: Tom Fox, Dallas Morning News.

 

For the Stars it’s a bit of a ‘damned if you, damned if don’t’ type of situation. They sport an abysmal minus-22 on the season.

Neither of their net minders, Antti Niemi or Kari Lehtonen, can be played with confidence and they’ve lost seven of their last 10 matches.

The Stars are in serious need of some new life in net. Conveniently, they have roughly $2-million-dollars in cap space and a full 14 players set to hit Unrestricted or Restricted Free Agency next year. Taken together, the Stars are fully capable of being both buyers and sellers before the trade deadline.

Don’t be surprised if they make a move to improve their back end.

 

 

Detroit Red Wings

Though they didn’t make a long run into the playoffs last year the Detroit Red Wings were able to keep the streak alive. Largely due to the unprecedented effort of their young guns and the unbelievable net minding of Petr Mrazek.

Detroit Red Wings, Tampa bay lighting, pittsburgh penguins, dallas stars, winnipeg jets, st. louis blues, calgary flames, los angeles kings, jonathan quick, jake allen, petr mrazec, jimmy howard, jared coreau, antti niemi, ben bishop, Andrei Vasilevskiy, brian elliott, marc-andre fleury, matt murray, steven stamkos, kari lehtonen, peter budaj, jeff zatkoff, chad johnson, ondrej pavelec, connor hellebuyck, micheal hutchinson, paul maurice, jim rutherford, NHL, goalies, trade deadline, NHL trade deadline, no trade clause

Photo credit: Dave Reginek, Getty Images.

Mrazec’s effort last season earned him a two-year $8-million-dollar contract extension. Accordingly, the Wings’ former number one Jimmy Howard was relegated to the role of back-up.

Before the season began the plan was pretty straight forward: roll with Mrazec, expose Howard to the expansion draft, and call upon their farm team to replace the missing piece if need be.

But those plans never panned out.

Instead, Mrazec underperformed, Howard hit the Injured Reserve, and the Wings were forced to call up the youngster Jared Coreau.

And now the Wings find themselves in somewhat of an awkward position.

Do they protect Coreau? He appears to be the Wings’ new number one going forward.

Do they protect Mrazec? Though Coreau has been solid thus far, Mrazec has a much larger body of work. Coreau is young and relatively untested, as were Mrazec has a few solid years under his belt.

One thing is for certain, the Wings aren’t likely to protect Howard. But they aren’t likely to trade him either.

Detroit’s biggest problem, when it comes to net minders, is the amount they pay them.

Howard comes with a hefty $5.3-million-dollar a year price tag. With two more years remaining on his contract it is unlikely they will be able to move him without retaining some of his salary.

That said, keep an eye on the Wings’ at the deadline.

 

Tampa Bay Lightning

Even when big Ben Bishop was healthy the Tampa Bay Lightning were having a tough time stringing wins together. Now that he’s injured, they are having an even harder time.

Detroit Red Wings, Tampa bay lighting, pittsburgh penguins, dallas stars, winnipeg jets, st. louis blues, calgary flames, los angeles kings, jonathan quick, jake allen, petr mrazec, jimmy howard, jared coreau, antti niemi, ben bishop, Andrei Vasilevskiy, brian elliott, marc-andre fleury, matt murray, steven stamkos, kari lehtonen, peter budaj, jeff zatkoff, chad johnson, ondrej pavelec, connor hellebuyck, micheal hutchinson, paul maurice, jim rutherford, NHL, goalies, trade deadline, NHL trade deadline, no trade clause

Photo credit: Bruce Bennett, Getty Images.

Now you might think that Andrei Vasilevskiy would shine in Bishop’s absence but that simply hasn’t been the case. The Bolts have struggled immensely without Steven Stamkos in the lineup and things do not appear to be getting any better.

The story here is nothing new. The Bolts have two of the League’s most elite net minders in Bishop and Vasilevskiy but can only protect one in the expansion draft.

Whether it’s Bishop of Vasilevskiy, it’s better for the Bolts to make a trade and get something – rather than nothing – in return.

 

(Dis)Honourable mention

The Philadelphia Flyers have been struggling as of late. Both Steve Mason and Michael Neuvirth are pending Unrestricted Free Agents and it remains unclear if either of them will be given extensions or resigned in the off-season.

The New York Islanders seem to have found a new number one in Thomas Griess and Jean-Francois Berube. After Jaroslav Halak cleared waivers earlier this season it is unclear what will become of their former starting net minder. Halak’s hefty $4.5-million-dollar salary will make him hard to move. He has another year left on his contract.

The Colorado Avalanche are unlikely to right the ship any time soon. With Semyon Varlamov out until at least after the All-Star break, Calvin Pickard playing sub-par at best, and a ton a trade bait on their roster, the Avs’ are going to be a team to watch come the trade deadline.

 

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and eSports articles from other great TGH writers along with Kyle!