Monday, February 6, 2017

This Week in the NHL

Standings Watch: The best division last week was the Metropolitan, who went a collective 16-5-4. There were two games between the Metron and Central last week: Pittsburgh beat both the Predators and Blues.

The Pacific was the second best division, with a 10-10-2 record. There were 8 games between Central teams and Pacific teams, with the Central splitting the meetings 4-4: Minnesota lost to Calgary but beat the Oilers and Canucks. Colorado (lol) lost to the Ducks and Kings. San Jose beat the Hawks, who beat the Coyotes, and the Predators beat the Oilers.

Then came the Central at 10-11-0. Winnipeg beat the Blues and Stars and lost to LOLorado. Also, the Hawks also beat the Stars.

The Atlantic, who was the best division the week before the All Star Break, was the worst division last week, its teams went 10-12-2. Only three games between Central and Atlantic teams took place last week, with the Leafs losing to Dallas and St Louis, but the Red Wings did defeat the Predators.

Here’s something fun to try: Youtube “Marchand Slewfoot” and check out the fact that there isn’t a single hit. There are two from this clown:

Marchand is an asshole. A very wealthy asshole at this point, but an asshole nonetheless. At some point, the NHL needs to step in and do something about him. But that would require a spine, which we know they don’t have. (Unless you’re Pierre Marc Bouchard and have your stick lifted into someone’s face. Then they’re tough.)

The Presidents’ Trophy is given to the team with the best regular season record, and the Wild are currently in second place in the whole NHL, having overtaken the Blue Jackets. The Captials are still sitting 5 points ahead of the Wild with two more games played, and the Blue Jackets are 2 points behind the Wild with the same number of games played.  

Two teams have won the Cup in the last 10 years after winning the Presidents’ Trophy: the 07-08 Red Wings and 12-13 Blackhawks. So, whoever wins the trophy next year should win the Cup if the pattern holds. But I don’t buy that a curse exists. Whatever they do they CANNOT TOUCH ANY TROPHY BUT THE CUP.  

It’s time to start talking about trade deadline pickups. The Wild should be inquiring about three gentlemen: Jarome Iginla, Martin Hanzal and Brian Boyle. All three are expiring UFAs this summer. Let’s look at the three.

Colorado sucks big time. No surprise there. But if you think Iginla has nothing to give looking at his stats line, think again. Even at his age, players like Iginla are natural competitors and leaders and I do believe he has a lot to give. He’ll likely end up elsewhere, though. I don’t see CF mortgaging the future of the Wild to a divisional competitor.    

Arizona is the second worst team in the NHL, but rumor has it they’re looking for a first round pick for Hanzal, a huge center who has played on the upper lines in the past. But having depth on your team means you’re playing former top line guys on your fourth line.

Brian Boyle would be an interesting choice. Depth center who can play wing if needed, and the cheapest of the bunch. Not a skill player, but a checking line player with good possession stats.

My money is on Hanzal, since the Fletcher has made deals with the Coyotes in the past. It’s possible we pick up Shane Doan as well, to add depth on the wing.  

But such a deal won’t come cheap. The Coyotes will want something substantial for Hanzal alone, and a package deal including Doan could be expensive. So who goes the other way? My take is that Fletcher won’t want to upset the apple cart too much, so it’ll likely be guys like Graovac, Schroeder, or a prospect. I would be loath to part with a Haula, but it’s possible. Scandella has been a non-factor all season, so he’s a candidate as well to go the other way in a deadline deal.

Wild speculation of the week: Jason Zucker will be protected in the expansion draft.

Bits and Pieces Round:
  • The Wild have the 20th ranked road PK.
  •  The Wild have the 26th ranked road PP
  •  The good news? There are usually fewer penalties called in the playoffs.
  • The Wild are 3-5-1 when trailing after 2, the second best winning percentage in the NHL (Pittsbiurgh 7-11-1).
  • The Wild have allowed 80 5 on 5 goals, the second fewest in the NHL (Washington, 66)

Looking ahead:
  •  Three Central Division games this week: The Wild play the Jets and Hawks
  • Also: The Hawks and Jets play each other.
  • Nerd fight of the week: Jets-Bolts next Saturday.
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