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!
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.
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:
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.
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?
Another year, another draft. 210 players have taken the next step in their hockey journey, by being selected by a National Hockey League franchise, with dreams of one day playing in the NHL.
However, this year’s draft, not only gave us it’s fair share of surprises in regards to whom gets drafted where, but it also turned into a mini trade-deadline, with a number of goaltenders especially, changing teams and suring up the net’s of several teams.
The Edmonton Oilers did exactly what everyone expected and drafted Connor McDavid (Erie – OHL) first overall. McDavid joins Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and Nail Yakupov, in what should be a dynamic top 6. That wasn’t all the Oilers action during the draft. They also sent picks 16 (Matthew Barzal, Seattle – WHL) and 33 (Mitchell Stephens, Saginaw – OHL) to the New York Islanders, for young defensemen Griffin Reinhart, as well as trading for Eric Gryba, from the Ottawa Senators, for pick 106 (Christian Wolanin, Muskegon – USHL). These two defensemen are joined by former New York Rangers backup goaltender, Cam Talbot, who was acquired in a trade. This helps the Oilers address some problems they had last season. Their defensive core looks a lot stronger, with Reinhart and Gryba, joining Ference, Oskar Klefblom and Darnell Nurse, with Cam Talbot competing for the starting goalie job, with Ben Scrivens.
Does this mean the Oilers are a playoff contender next season? Well, if Talbot shows his might as a starter, if the defense can stand up and if Connor McDavid proves to be the next big thing, then the Oilers could just surprise.
Dallas gave Kari Lehtonen some much needed help in net, by acquiring the rights to upcoming UFA, Antti Niemi, from the San Jose Sharks, for a 7th Round pick. If he signs, Niemi and Lehtonen become a potential one-two punch in net for the Stars. Lehtonen isn’t the kind of ‘tender who starts 65-70 games and with 2 quality goaltenders sharing the load, it takes the pressure off the other and hopefully adds those 10-15 wins that Lehtonen/backups didn’t have last season. Which only helps the Stars, if Lehtonen’s groin decides to play up again.
Ottawa has an excess of goalies, due to the late season form of Andrew Hammond and Buffalo needed a goaltender to play behind Jack Eichel and Evander Kane. Enter Robin Lehner. Lehner, along with David Legwand, were traded to the Sabres, for pick 21. The Sabres had two picks on the first round, with pick 2 being used to draft Eichel, and the second moved to grab themselves their starter for the near future. Along with Lehner, Ryan O’Reilly and Jamie McGinn were acquired from Colorado for Nikita Zadorov, Mikhail Grigorenko, J.T. Compher and Pick 31. Colorado dump a contract they didn’t really want on their books in O’Reilly and Buffalo’s top 6 becomes that much better and younger. O’Reilly, 24, joins Evander Kane, 23, Eichel, Tyler Ennis, 25 and Matt Moulson, 31, in a forward core that could become a very potent top end for years to come.
New York compensated for trading away Cam Talbot, by acquiring Antti Raanta from Chicago. Raanta was the third string behind Corey Crawford and Scott Darling and received forward Ryan Haggerty in exchange. Eddie Lack became the new backup to Cam Ward in Carolina, after moving from Vancouver for a 2015 3rd and 2016 7th, leaving Anton Khudobin to join Anaheim’s goaltending core of Frederik Andersen and John Gibson. The Ducks only giving up spare defensemen James Wisniewski in return.
So what do these trades mean? Well, Devan Dubynk got signed by the Minnesota Wild at a cap hit of $4,333,333 a season for six years, it leaves the best UFA Goalie as Karri Ramo, with Braden Holtby (Washington), Jake Allen (St. Louis) and Jonathan Bernier (Toronto) as the best RFAs, and for a franchise like the San Jose Sharks, this doesn’t leave many options. After trading away the rights to Antti Niemi, this only leaves them with Alex Stalock as a possible starter, with Troy Grosenick as backup. Will this mean, that they make a big money offer at an RFA, or do they make a trade for someone like a John Gibson at Anaheim, who looks like becoming the number three? Only time will tell.
Can you hear that Hockey fans? That’s the sound of tanks rolling through the National Hockey League. As I type, a tank is leaving Buffalo, NY, and heading on it’s way to Florida and the number one pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Even though there are tanks departing Edmonton, Arizona, Toronto and North Carolina, it seems that the Tim Murray driven tank, will beat everyone to the greatest odds in the draft lottery. The prize of winning the draft lottery you ask? It’s only the kid scheduled to be the next prodigy, the Erie Otters’ Connor McDavid.
But with all these tanks rolling through the NHL, there comes a price. Credibility. During a game between the Buffalo Sabres and the Arizona Coyotes, Sabres fans cheered Coyotes goals, and when Arizona won the game 4-3, Sabres fans cheered again, knowing that that loss, would get them one step closer to winning the McEichel sweepstakes (McEichel being a combination of McDavid, and Jack Eichel of the University of Boston, competing in the NCAA.)
Fans are cheering for their own teams to lose, as it means that their franchises are closer toward winning the number one pick. This isn’t good for anyone. No fan really wants their team to lose. The players definitely don’t want to lose. So why are the fans cheering losses and booing wins?
By losing now, and potentially drafting a prodigy, losing now will lead them to becoming Stanley Cup contenders. This may not be the best look for the National Hockey League, but as it stands, General Managers are allowed to do whatever they please, in terms of transactions. Meaning that, if your goaltender starts to win some games, they can and will be traded for a goaltender that can’t.
But how can Gary Bettman and the NHL stop the tanks from rolling on through? If infact they even want them to stop? Surely nobody likes seeing franchises seemingly wanting to lose, just to get a higher draft pick? They could always handout fines, suspensions, or loss of draft picks/points, but how can you judge that a franchise is tanking and not just terrible? We may be throwing around the word tanking, but that doesn’t mean franchises are. The players are trying to win, The GMs might not be, but the players on the ice are trying to win every game. So, what can you do to stop the tanks from rolling, besides having a man stand in front of them in a shape?
Nothing. Zip. Nada. Not a damn thing.
There isn’t a relegation situation like in the world game, where a team can be demoted to a lower division, losing all the benefits of being in the higher division. Nor is there a rule in place, where franchises lose money off their salary caps, or receive a draft pick penalty, similar to the ten-place grid penalty in Formula One.
You could scramble the draft lottery, allowing for all non-playoff teams to have an equal chance of winning the number one pick. You could allow all 30 franchises to have a chance, but this may lead to the better teams getting better, and the lesser teams getting worse.
Picking when a team is actually tanking is hard for anyone, that includes Gary Bettman. It may look like these teams are tanking, but unless the players on the ice just give up and stop like Ovechkin’s back-check, or the starting goaltender is M.T. Net, then I’m afraid you can’t tell when a team is tanking, even if the tanks are lined up on the Florida border.
Ah, the joys of another trade deadline day. That one day of the year where every hockey fan watches and anticipates their team making a move, that will improve their team’s playoff’s chances, or in the case of Tim Murray, improve their chances of drafting Connor McDavid.
But what is it about this day, that gets Canadian TV stations dedicate an entire day to it? Even ESPN had a segment on deadline day! It made their headlines on Sportscenter. (Then again, the next headline after that was ‘What does LeBron James have in common with an automatic transmission?), but still, it means Barry Melrose actually got some TV time.
Here’s Barry Melrose on ESPN’s SportsCenter, with something that Americans have no idea what he is holding. However, 43% of Americans say that it’s the America’s Cup. Picture courtesy of ESPN.
Trade deadline day, is the only day on the hockey calendar, where you know that a trade will happen, outside of the draft. You don’t know who, you don’t know when and you don’t know where they’ll end up , but it’s this thinking that gets hockey fans waiting in anticipation to see exactly what will happen. Whether it’s a big name player getting traded, if a player on your team gets traded, or if Down Goes Brown trolls Joffrey Lupul into thinking he’s a New York Islander.
What all that in mind, here are Bored Hockey Fan’s most significant actions that happened during the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline Day.
– TSN deciding to not let Down Goes Brown have all the fun, and posting a tweet about the only reason Joffrey Lupul hasn’t been traded from Toronto..
Picture courtesy of @DontBeSaad20 on Twitter.
Yep, because according to this tweet, Lupul once banged Dion Phaneuf’s wife, Elisha Cuthbert. TSN shouldn’t of put it on air, and soon after this, they stopped airing live tweets during their broadcast.
– Tim Murray trading away Goaltender Michal Neuvirth, to the New York Islanders. Presumably because Neuvirth was winning games, which is against the philosophy of the Buffalo Sabres this season.
– Mark Giordano needing season-ending surgery to repair a torn biceps. A tear so bad that it’s a tendon tear, so he’ll be out 4-5 months. A massive blow for the Flames, as they push for playoff action, and a blow for Giordano’s possible Hart or Norris Trophy chances.
– Marek Zidlicky gets traded from New Jersey to Detroit.Wait.. you mean the Devils have traded away half of their aging Czechs? First Jagr and now Zidlicky. It’s a good thing they still have 11 players over the age of 32, including two Czechs (Patrik Elias and Martin Havlat).
– James Wisniewski becomes a Duck in what is arguably the biggest trade of deadline day. Unless you include Toronto trading Olli Jokinen to the St. Louis Blues, then it’s the second biggest trade of the day. Speaking of Olli Jokinen, here’s a tribute to his time as a Maple Leaf, as uploaded by YouTube user, Hockey_Montages.
– Dallas recall Patrik Nemeth from their AHL-affiliate Texas Stars. After the injury Nemeth suffered in October, suffering a severe laceration to his arm, it’s good to see that his recovery didn’t take as long as expected and that he will return on ice for the Stars this season. Which is good news not just for Stars fans, but for the league.
– Chris Stewart being traded out of Buffalo, comes to no surprise to no-one ever, as Tim Murray completes the clean out in Buffalo and only leaves those willing to fight the good fight. The good fight being winning the draft lottery.
– All the main trades happened before deadline day. Antoine Vermette from Arizona to Chicago, Keith Yandle from Arizona to the New York Hockey Rangers, Kimmo Timonen from Philadelphia to Chicago, and finally, Toronto and Columbus swapping horrible contracts, with Toronto getting Nathan Horton, due to Columbus not paying for any insurance on his contract, and Columbus getting a horrible contract on their cap, because the contract belongs to David Clarkson.
There you have it, Bored Hockey Fan’s roundup of the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline Day. So until next year, you stay classy with what tweets you show on line TV, TSN.
I know the most important draft lottery in the history of draft lotteries isn’t until the end of the season, where not one, but two, potentially franchise changing players in Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel are both available, but thanks to an awesome website made by Rob Zaenglein, now you can find out just whose franchises will change forever come June 26 in Florida.
How this simulation will work, is that we will simulate 100 draft lotteries, and whomever wins the most lotteries out of that 100, will earn the number one pick in the 2015 entry draft.
If you want to do your own simulation, and check out Rob Zaenglein‘s fine work in the process, check right HERE!
The following shows the 14 teams that would currently be involved in the draft lottery (as of 2nd February 2015), and their odds of winning the #1 overall pick.
Buffalo Sabres 20.0%
Edmonton Oilers 13.5%
Carolina Hurricanes 11.5%
Arizona Coyotes 9.5%
Columbus Blue Jackets 8.5%
New Jersey Devils 7.5%
Toronto Maple Leafs 6.5%
Ottawa Senators 6.0%
Philadelphia Flyers 5.0%
Minnesota Wild 3.5%
Florida Panthers 3.0%
Colorado Avalanche 2.5%
Dallas Stars 2.0%
Los Angeles Kings 1.0%
Let’s begin the simulation! If the draft lottery was to be done today, which team would have the #1 pick?
The first simulation in, and the Buffalo Sabres win the lottery! Connor McDavid would be playing in Buffalo, making Tim Murray and all Sabres fans very happy! Will this be the same result after 100 simulations? Continue on, as 99 simulations are still to come!
It’s almost old news now, but Los Angeles defencemen Slava Voynov, was arrested and released on $50,000 bail, on the suspicion of domestic violence, just one month after the National Football League’s debacle, which saw Baltimore Ravens running back, Ray Rice, suspended firstly for two games, then indefinitely, when video footage was released involving Rice assaulting his fiance, then dragging her out of an elevator.