That Damn Hockey Blog

Bored Hockey Fan’s Playoff Bracket prediction spectacular

Welcome to the 2016 NHL playoffs! It’s that time, where the regular season means nothing, the next six weeks mean everything and one franchise will achieve the biggest prize in the game, winning Lord Stanley’s Cup.

With the playoffs starting with Detroit and Tampa on Wednesday, it’s time to show you my playoff bracket, which you too, can do, by clicking on the following link, HERE!

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That Damn Hockey Blog

A Bored Hockey Fan’s view of Trade Deadline Day

The most hyped day in the National Hockey League outside of July 1 is done and dusted for another year.

With big names such as Eric Staal, Justin Schultz, Jiri Hudler and James Reimer all moving in the days prior. Deadline day was seen as a mop up day for some and perhaps moving day for the rest of the Maple Leafs that weren’t traded.

So, without further ado, a Bored Hockey Fan’s summary of Deadline Day.

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That Damn Hockey Blog

The potential 2015-16 roster for your Atlanta Thrashers Part Two

Image result for atlanta thrashers

In the first part, we had a look at the goaltending and defensive cores, that could potentially make up the Atlanta Thrashers for the 2015-16 season. If you missed it, that can be seen at the link below:

https://boredhockeyfan.com/potential-atlanta-thrashers-modern-day-roster/

This part, looks at the forward core. From potential draft picks, or players traded from the franchise, this list of 21 players, makes up the potential forward core, for the Atlanta Thrashers.

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That Damn Hockey Blog

The potential 2015-16 roster for your Atlanta Thrashers

Image result for atlanta thrashers

The Atlanta Thrashers. Everybody knows about the Thrashers. The franchise which debuted in the 1999-00 season, and was relocated to Winnipeg before the 2011-12 season.  Atlanta are more known for being rubbish and not having much success in the NHL (only one playoff appearance in their lifetime). This was Atlanta’s second foray in the league, after the Atlanta Flames were active from 1971, until 1980, where they relocated to Canada and became the Calgary Flames.

However, with most NHL franchises, the players they could have had usually makes a better story than those on their current roster. Or, in the Thrashers’  case, who they could have on their current roster if they had not have relocated. Here is the list, of goalies and defensemen, that could potentially still be an Atlanta Thrasher.

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Edmonton Oilers, That Damn Hockey Blog

Is an average season enough for Connor McDavid?

What if Connor McDavid has an average rookie season in the National Hockey League?

I know the idea is unthinkable, considering every person associated with hockey, has had him touted as the next big thing, since his early days with the Erie Otters in the CHL. McDavid is expected to break the 70 point barrier in his first season, making him the first rookie since Patrick Kane (72pts in 07-08), to achieve the feat.

The average point total, for the highest scoring rookie, over the last five seasons, is on average rounded up to be 55pts. Over the last ten, the average total rounded, is 65pts. These totals include the shortened season of 2012-13, and Ovechkin’s ridiculous 105 point rookie season in 05-06.

What if McDavid only gets to 65 points this season? Mark Stone and Johnny Gaudreau, scored the most points for a rookie last season, with 64 pts. That’s a good season for veteran NHLers, let alone first year players. But McDavid is predicted to be better than this. He is rated to be at the same level as Sidney Crosby, when he came into the league. Fun fact, even though Crosby scored 102pts in his rookie season, he still finished second behind Alex Ovechkin’s 105 point total. If McDavid was to score 65 points in his rookie season, then for most rookies, playing on most teams, that would be considered a good start.

However, Connor McDavid, was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers.

The same Edmonton Oilers, that have had four number one draft picks, in the last seasons. The same Edmonton Oilers that have been to blame, for not nuturing their young talent, and throwing them into the fire, before they are ready. This Edmonton Oilers, is different from seasons past. Sure, they won the first overall pick in the draft lottery, but they have a new GM in Peter Chiarelli, a new coach in Todd McLellan, and a collection of amateur and pro scouts relieved of duties in the Oilers organization, which means that the Oil has been changed in Edmonton. But will this new Oil change help the engine run better? Or will McDavid just be another young stud, dragged down in Edmonton, before their career can really get going?

If the start of the season is anything to go by, then it looks like that McDavid will help break the mould and push the Oilers off the bottom of the National Hockey League. The Oilers and McDavid currently match games played and points totals this season (7 GP, 6 PTS). Does this mean that the Oilers will only be as good as Connor McDavid? Perhaps. Does this mean that Connor McDavid will help the Oilers this season? The likelier option of the two.

There’s no saying that McDavid won’t improve the Oilers this season, but will he get to that magical 70 mark, that he is expected to bypass? The Oilers ended up with 62 points last season and are expected to improve, with the additions they have made. But, with all these additions, can the Oilers get 70 points this season, and if they do, will McDavid match it?

You can follow me on Twitter if you like, it’s @ThatDamnDoubleC.

Dallas Stars

Dallas Stars 2015-16 Bored Hockey Fan Season Preview

In two years, Jim Nill has turned the Dallas Stars, from a team always on the outside looking in, to a franchise on the up and up, with the potential of a deep Stanley Cup run.

Not since the 1-2 punch of Mike Modano and Joe Nieuwendyk, have the Stars had the talent down the middle of the ice. Tyler seguin and Jason Spezza, give Dallas the centres needed, to compete in the Western Conference, where strength down the middle of the ice is paramount to success.

Add to Seguin and Spezza, three-time Stanley Cup champion with the Chicago Blackhawks, Patrick Sharp. Sharp was traded to the Stars, alongside defensive prospect Stephen Johns, for forward Ryan Garbutt and stalwart of the Stars D, Trevor Daley. The trade was Nill’s third blockbuster trade, in as many seasons, since leaving Detroit to become GM.

Nill’s recruitment drive for the upcoming season, started at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, when Dallas traded only a 7th rd pick, to the San Jose Sharks, for the rights of Goaltender Antti Niemi. Niemi was signed at 3yr-13.5 million, before his contract expired on July 1.

With a top 6 boasting Sharp, Seguin, Spezza and reigning Hart Trophy winner, Captain Jamie Benn, the Stars top forward core, match those of any top 6 in the National Hockey League. Add to that, a young defensive core, bolstered by another multi-Stanley Cup winner with Chicago in Johnny Oduya, give the Stars, on paper at least, a very strong chance of making their first Stanley Cup finals since 2000.

But not everything in Dallas, is full of sunshine and lollipops. The new recruits have to gel with their new team-mates quickly, to avoid falling behind early in a strong Conference. Sharp in particular, will need to hit the scoresheet early in the season, to be the support for Benn and Seguin, the Stars desperately need.

The main problem with the Stars, especially last season, was at the back end. Once known for having a very stingent defense during the days of Zubov, Sydor, Hatcher and then-GM Bob Gainey, in recent days, Dallas have been more known as the Allas Stars, due to the lack of D being played inside the American Airlines Center. Some of that could be put down to a young, inexperienced defense, still learning the trade of playing at a consistent level in the NHL, however, the major part of the Stars’ flaws in D, is their starting Goalie, Kari Lehtonen. Lehtonen, and his merry band of backups, had a season in which most people would describe as a shocker. Outside of Ben Scrivens at Edmonton, Lehtonen had the worst SV% (.903) of all Goaltenders who played at least 40 games or more, conceded the second most amount of goals (181), with Lehtonen’s backups last season, gathering a total of just eight wins.

Enter Antti Niemi. Ironically, another previous Cup winner with the Blackhawks. Niemi answers the problem that the Stars have had for years, solid goaltending to help Lehtonen, or to jump in when Lehtonen’s groin decided it doesn’t want to work anymore. Even though last season, was the first in many, where’s Lehtonen’s groin didn’t play up, he was still nowhere near his best.

So, where will the Stars end up next season?

With franchises such as Chicago, and the Los Angeles Kings, looking like taking a step back this season, and the likes of Winnipeg and Calgary, looking to prove to the world that they aren’t one-hit wonders out West, Dallas will be looking to be back in the playoffs, after missing out last term. Sharp should add to the scoring depth from the top 6, but they are still missing a top 6 right wing, which would allow Ales Hemsky to go on the third line and add more depth alongside Cody Eakin.

Scoring wasn’t the issue last season, nor will it be in the upcoming season. However, defense and goaltending will have two big question marks hovering over it the entire season. If the young core doesn’t take the next step in 2016, I don’t see Oduya or Alex Goligoski or Jason Demers becoming that elite guy, that the Stars are hoping John Klingberg becomes. If there are still struggles on the back end, then they need to hope that Niemi is the solution to their problems in net, otherwise Jim Nill will have to pull out another blockbuster, in order to bring in that elite top 2-4 defensemen that the Stars will need to be successful in the Western Conference.

If the Stars can have more 4-1 victories, as opposed to scraping away with a 5-4 win, the confidence of the young Stars will skyrocket, which will take the pressure off the front end to score, allowing them to relax and do what they do best, then they will be contenders in the West. A lot of things have to gel and go right straight away in order for the Stars to contend, but there is no reason to believe that the Stars won’t miss the playoffs. Perhaps even a Cup run.

 

Winnipeg Jets

2015 NHL Entry Draft – Winnipeg Jets

INS: Kyle Connor (Pick 17, Youngstown, USHL), Jack Roslovic (Pick 25, USA U18, USHL), Jansen Harkins (Pick 47, Prince George, WHL), Erik Foley (Pick 78, Cedar Rapids, USHL), Michael Spacek (Pick 108, Pardubice, CZREP), Mason Appleton (Pick 168, Tri-City, USHL), Sami Niku (Pick 198, JYP 2, FIN 2), Matteo Gennaro (Pick 203, Prince Albert, WHL)

OUTS: NIL

No losses and two big gains in Connor and Roslovic. Winnipeg’s prospects just keep getting stronger and stronger.

2015 DRAFT RATING: B+

Washington Capitals

2015 NHL Entry Draft – Washington Capitals

INS: Ilya Samsonov (Pick 22, Magnitogorsk 2, RUS-JR), Jonas Siegenthaler (Pick 57, Zurich, SUI), Connor Hobbs (Pick 143, Regina, WHL), Colby Williams (Pick 173, Regina, WHL)

OUTS: NIL

Drafting Samsonov, allows them to give him the time to develop, whilst thet still have Braden Holtby. Not the best of drafts, considering they only had four picks. But then again, not the worst either.

2015 DRAFT RATING: B-

Vancouver Canucks

2015 NHL Entry Draft – Vancouver Canucks

INS: Brock Boeser (Pick 23, Waterloo, USHL), Guillaume Brisebois (Pick 66, Acadie-Bathurst, QMJHL), Dmitry Zhukenov (Pick 114, Omsk 2, RUS-JR.), Carl Nevill (Pick 144, Sherbrooke, QMJHL), Adam Gaudette (Pick 149, Cedar Rapids, USHL), Lukas Jasek (Pick 174, Trinec, CZREP), Tate Olson (Pick 210, Prince George, WHL)

OUTS: Eddie Lack (Carolina Hurricanes)

Didn’t get nearly enough for Eddie Lack and now all hope lies with Jacob Markstrom as the next Goaltender behind Ryan Miller. Not the most impressive of drafts.

2015 DRAFT RATING: C-