Toronto Maple Leafs

The Leafs Finally Win A Thing!!

The Toronto Maple Leafs are your winners of the 2016 NHL Draft Lottery, meaning that they have the first overall pick, to be held in Buffalo on June 24-25. The likely first pick, will be Auston Matthews, who last applied his trade, for the Zurich HSC Lions. The Winnipeg Jets won the number #2 slot, with the Columbus Blue Jackets, holding #3. Edmonton fell to #4, after winning last year’s lottery.

So what does this mean for the draft?

First things first, this will fast track Toronto’s re-build in the forward sense by adding Matthews. He could slot into the Leafs’ top 6-9 in the C slot, meaning it could very well be the end of Tyler Bozak in the Air Canada Centre. Also, obtaining Matthews, as well as re-signing Nazem Kadri, could lead to Brendan Shanahan, not pursuing pending UFA Steven Stamkos on July 1, and instead using the cap to fill other needs on the roster.

But what if the Leafs trade the pick?

Well, it’s an option. Especially considering that Matthews is from Arizona. The Coyotes could try and move up from their current position (7) in the draft, to #1, allowing them to draft their hometown boy, and still leave the Leafs with two first round picks, thanks to the Phil Kessel trade and the Penguins making the playoffs. The Oilers (4) and the Flames (6), are also rumoured to be shopping their top picks, and a possible trade with the Leafs could happen, with both the Oilers and Flames having assets on their roster, that Toronto would love to have on their re-building roster.

If the Leafs draft Auston Matthews, will this mean that Steven Stamkos plays in the Blue and White next season?

Well.. With Matthews, Kadri, and Bozak, the Leafs have the middle sorted, and with Stamkos’ displeasure of playing wing, either one of the three Centres move out wide, or move out of Toronto, with Bozak being the most likely. If Bozak does move, they may have to move a Joffrey Lupul-type contract as well, in order to fit the asking price that Stamkos will ask, into the cap. A core of Stamkos, Kadri and Matthews, does sound better, and it takes the pressure off Matthews when he debuts. But, whether the Leafs decide to invest in the best Free Agent on the market, who just happens to be from Toronto, remains to be seen.

Does Toronto even need Stamkos?

No. They don’t need him. Sure, every franchise would love Steven Stamkos on their roster. But do the Leafs need him? At this point of their program, where the focus is on re-building and squad structure, then the answer is no. Stamkos is entering the prime of his NHL career, and could potentially be wasted on the Leafs, whilst the young squad around him builds for the 2-3 years it will take before they reach their prime. Also, if they throw all their cap in the Stamkos basket, then their more important needs of defense and goaltending, go neglected again. Unless Stamkos can play in net. I mean, he is that good as a player, but as a Goalie?

What will the Leafs do?

They will draft Auston Matthews with the first overall pick in the draft. If they do trade a pick, it will be the pick that they received from Pittsburgh. Matthews is on Jack Eichel levels of ability, and will instantly inject something into the Leafs’ lineup, that they haven’t seen in the franchise in a long time. As for Stamkos, well, as fate could have it, Pavel Datsyuk is verging on retiring and returning to Russia, leaving the Detroit Red Wings with a massive hole to fill in at Centre. Brad Richards probably won’t be re-signed, especially at the $3 million he signed for this season, and Darren Helm could be on the way out also. Even though the Wings will have to re-sign Petr Mrazek, as fate could have it, Steven Stamkos could sign for the franchise, in which his current GM, Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman, captained to three Stanley Cups.

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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Boston Bruins, Historical Hockey, Toronto Maple Leafs

Today is the Anniversary of the First All Star Game and Jersey Retirement.

Sure, it’s Valentine’s Day. But today mark’s the anniversary of the Ace Bailey Benefit Game, and essentially, the first All Star Game. On February 14, 1934 at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto in front of 14,074 spectators watched The Toronto Maple Leafs defeat a team comprised of the top players from the rest of the league. The final score was 7-3, for The Leafs.

NHLallstarsbailey

This game was not for league revenue, rather charity. ShoreBailey14Feb1934 Bailey’s career ended due a violent hit by Eddie Shore earlier in the 1933–34 season. Bailey suffered a near fatal skull fracture, but recovered enough to participate in the benefit game by shaking the hands and presenting gifts to all of the participating players. When nearing Shore, the crowd is said to have silenced. Bailey would extend his hand to Shore, and the crowd is said to have burst into a roar of approval.

CaptureDuring the ceremonies, The Maple Leafs stated that no player on the team would wear Bailey’s number 6 again. This marks the first time in NHL history that a team retired a player’s sweater number.

The game generated $20,909 in money for Bailey, and he would subsequently receive an additional $6,000 from the Boston Bruins.

For more information, Wikipedia has an excellent amount of information. Click here.

Here is a short little documentary, as well.

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:

http://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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Arizona Coyotes, Montreal Canadiens, NHL

Free John Scott

John Scott:  NHL All Star Captain.

John Scott: NHL All Star Captain.

In 2012, John Scott became a Buffalo Sabre.  As a Sabres fan who sat through a team with a distinct lack of goals the previous season, the first question on my mind was of course, “why?”  Scott had been up and down between the NHL and AHL since 2008 and had one goal in the big league to show for it.  His signing, I believe, was an overreaction to a hit by then-Bruin Milan Lucic on then-Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller the previous season, an attempt to “toughen up” the Buffalo Sabres.

To say that Scott’s tenure in Buffalo was less than stellar is an understatement.  With one goal and 194 penalty minutes across two seasons, the highlight of John Scott the Sabre was being ripped to shreds by Mike Milbury following a nationally televised game against the Boston Bruins for a hit on a defenseless Loui Eriksson.

Needless to say, I’ve never been the biggest fan of John Scott.  However, when you leave the people on the internet to their own devices, things happen. The National Hockey League opened up all star voting to the fans, and allowed them to vote for any player they chose as a captain for the player’s respective divisions in the new 3-on-3 tournament format.  That opened the door for fans to find the most ridiculous choice and vote him in.  Believe me, I was one of the people voting on a daily basis for John Scott, along with Jack Eichel of the Buffalo Sabres, Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators, and Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.

So what happens?  John Scott wins the all-star voting.  Not just for the Pacific Division – he was the number one vote getter in all of the NHL.  Those of us who voted for him felt a sense of pride.  Suddenly, despite the fact we were initially voting for him as a joke, we had a sense of pride.  John Scott was our all-star.  We made that happen, and we were not only proud of that fact, we were proud of him.  Sure, he’s not the best hockey player, and yes, maybe Mike Milbury had a point in calling him a goon, but John Scott is a good guy, taking it all with good humor, and humbly accepting the honor bestowed upon him by the NHL fans.

People are often critical of the National Football League, referring to the NFL as the “No Fun League.”  I propose we start calling the NHL the “No Humor League,” because while we’re having fun putting guys like John Scott where they don’t necessarily belong, the league steps in and conveniently convinces the Arizona Coyotes to send Scott to the Montreal Canadiens, which throws a wrench into our plans.  Here’s what they don’t tell you.  Scott’s wife is pregnant with twins and due to give birth All-Star weekend.  Now, this poor woman, 9 months pregnant, has to go through the ordeal of her husband being traded to a team 2600 miles away, being uprooted from their home in Arizona, and for what?  So John Scott can’t play in the NHL All Star Game?

This ordeal is a bigger embarassment to the National Hockey League than John Scott could ever be.  I wish he were on Twitter, because I’d like to personally apologize for him for the way this has affected him and his family.  I voted for John Scott ten times a day every day.  I was looking forward to seeing him get his moment in the spotlight.  Now it’s all been taken away from him – and us.

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.