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  • InsideEdge

    Is the Central Division Really that Good?

    By InsideEdge

    Rink Report - brad Burud   Welcome --- First post in a new section that I will be doing weekly this season.  I am Brad Burud the owner of Inside Edge Hockey News.  Many call me the NHL opinionist…. well that is what this section is all about.  I will throw at you my thoughts, opinions, or my gripes every week.  Some are controversial, some are common sense, and some might frustrate you.  I am open to all of your thoughts and comments.  Fire away in the comment section below.  I love talking hockey with fellow hockey fans.   Is it just me or is the Central Division getting way too much hype heading into this season. Really, are they as strong as they used to be… I don’t think so.  Winnipeg, probably the best team in the NHL, and I am not arguing with Nashville either. As for the rest, are they really that good?  Minnesota, well they seem to make the playoffs every year, but this year I think that will end.  Colorado, who knows with this team.  They shocked the hockey world last season but there is lots of questions this year, the first being between the pipes.  St. Louis to me looks like a better team on paper but seem to falter.  I do think they will be good this season.  Dallas, will the real Dallas team please stand up.  Your guess is as good as mine.  They honestly could be a top three team in the league or miss the playoffs (they proved that last year.  Chicago’s golden days are gone..they will be golfing early.   I am tired of the Erik Karlsson saga, how much longer can this go on.  I think we all need to stop talking about this…he is not going to Vancouver (or Canada for that matter).  I think he is only worried about $$$$$, and that bothers me to say that because any interaction I have had with him has been more than positive.  I think Vegas is the frontrunner, but the list of teams lined up is very long.  I think Karlsson will start the year in Ottawa and will be the talk of deadline day.  I also predict that he struggles this year.  Yes – that is bold, considering the fact that I think he is one of the best defensemen in the league.   I have been plugging the Winnipeg Jets for three years now. This team is for real, I honestly feel that they have more top end talent than any other team in the NHL.  I guess The Hockey News thinks so too... four Jets players in the top 50 players list.             9. Mark Scheifele C             15. Blake Wheeler RW             19. Patrik Laine RW             22. Connor Hellebuyck G That is some real firepower… big things on the prairie this winter….
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  • InsideEdge

    Vancouver Young Talent Shines

    By InsideEdge

    Vancouver Young Talent Shines The preseason could not be going any better if you are a Canucks fan.  Preseason is a showcase for young prospects, and in Vancouver the young prospects look amazing………Olli Juolevi is staking claim that he will be a solid NHL player, but then there is the man…Elias Pettersson!  Wow is this guy impressive.  He is doing everything…  He is flashy, he is exciting, and more importantly he is making players around him look like superstars – right Sven Baertschi.   Leafs Tire Pumping The Maple Leafs will be good, but back the wagons up Leafs fans.  The season has not started.  I know..I know… Tavares has two goal in his first game…  I think there is a lot more ahead for this team.  They will be good, but relax Leafs fans… You’re not cup contenders… and honestly, I hope you prove me wrong.   Domi Disgrace The first preseason game that new Montreal Canadiens center was in turned out to be a disaster.  Domi tried baiting Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad into a fight. Ekblad would not give Domi the satisfaction of the fight – in return Domi sucker punched him in the face.  Not the showing the Habs fans expected or wanted. Well maybe it was not too bad. Below is a press release from the NHL: NHL PRESS RELEASE Montreal Canadiens forward Max Domi has been suspended for the remainder of the preseason for roughing Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad during NHL Preseason Game No. 29 in Montreal on Wednesday, Sept. 19, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today. The incident occurred at 0:56 of the third period. Domi was assessed a match penalty as well as a minor penalty for roughing. For a full explanation of the decision, complete with video, please click on the following link: https://www.nhl.com/video/t-277440360/c-61189703. The suspension shocked me and frustrates me.  I ask the NHL, is it really a penalty to punish a guy with preseason games.  No regular season games, none.  So Domi gets to practice and relax and prepare for the regular season without having to worry about in significant pre-season games. Look out NHL, you quickly set the suspension bar for the season, and it is low.
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  • oilfieldhockey

    NHL STANDINGS PREDICTIONS FOR 2018/19 SEASON: ATLANTIC DIVISION

    By oilfieldhockey

    #1 TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING There isn’t a team with as much top end talent backed with great depth as much as the Lightning. Their forwards are fast, skilled and very opportunistic, especially with Kucherov and Stamkos leading the way up front. They were first in scoring with 296 goals last season. That was the highest amount of goals recorded in a regular season since the Washington Capitals filled 318 pucks in the net during the 09-10 season. Their defense is filled with workhorses as Hedman, Sergachev and newly acquired McDonagh are in for a full season. They can each run the powerplay and cover their man in the defensive end very well. Most teams are lucky to have just one of those guys as good as they are. Tampa has three. That will be very scary for opponents to deal with. Great goaltending from Vasilevskiy will once again vault this team over the top. He was outstanding for the Lightning last season and is likely going to do work his magic again this year. Overall Tampa will be one of the best teams in the league with a very dangerous team up and down the roster. Their weakness is the penalty kill as they just averaged 76% last season and was a direct result as to why they lost the very few games they did lose last season. Other than that, they’ll be a deadly team all season long.   #2 TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS Fans have been gushing over the John Tavares signing in early July of this year. Why not? This is a great times to be a Leafs fan. The turn around of the team started with great management as Brendan Shanahan, Lou Lamoriello and Head Coach Mike Babcock turned water into wine with their consulting, drafting and signings they’ve made in the last three seasons. Rookie GM Kyle Dubas made a great first impression by landing the big fish in John Tavares. Dubas hasn’t even been GM for a month and he already signed him for 8 seasons on contract to play for the Buds. Toronto is a team that boasts a great top 6 forward cast with Matthews, Tavares, Nylander, Marner, Kadri and Marleau as the main scoring weapons up front. With a group like that, you’ll have a solid chance of getting 3+ goals per game average and score one out of every four powerplays (25%) which will most likely make you a top 3 scoring team in the league. On paper, their defense doesn’t have a bonafide powerplay quarterback or even a defensive stalwart but they’re still alright as they averaged over 80% on the penalty kill. They were slightly above average in goals allowed (232 GA, 12th in league) which is still good considering the weapons they boast up front. Having a goaltender like Frederick Anderson saving your butt combined with Mike Babcock’s excellent coaching will boost the team’s defensive prowess too. Overall, you’ll see the Leafs in high scoring games, they’ll be fun to watch, but they will need an additional defenseman at the trade deadline. They will get their man next Spring if they want to push for a deep playoff run. #3 FLORIDA PANTHERS Ok, so this a gamble and some of you will say I’m crazy for writing this but there is a lot to like about the Florida Panthers being a playoff team this year. My reasoning is that the Panthers young nucleus of Ekblad, Barkov, Dadonov, Huberdeau and Bjugstad still have the best years ahead of them. I wouldn’t be surprised if Huberdeau, Barkov and Trochek all had 80 point seasons and they are talented enough to make it happen. They made a terrific late season push last year and were just one point away from making the playoffs. Florida doesn’t have a ton of depth but they do have Borgstrom and Tippett on the verge of making the team and if they do, they’ll have a chance to make a great impression on the checking line and even special teams as well. Goaltending is a bit uncertain as Luongo is getting up there in age and James Reimer still needs to post better numbers to be a solid #1 goaltender. It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out. The Panthers are not known to be strong starters but they tend to play better late in the season. That’s the best time to watch them play. #4 BOSTON BRUINS There is no doubt that everything worked out for Boston last season. They were scoring, defended well, plus they were converting powerplays and killing penalties at a high-caliber rate. Sometimes, I wonder about Boston because they’ve had some great seasons with the same core of players. Sometimes, they’ve had some mediocre years where they’ve finished 9th in the conference two years in a row. Finishing 9th is really bad because it not only means you’re not in the playoffs, you don’t get a high draft pick either. Boston is still a really good team and they definitely do have talent but I think they over-achieved last season. We might see a correction in their stats. Marchand is a slippery player and hard to play against but it wouldn’t amaze me if he drops 10-15 points. Same goes with Pastranak and Chara. I can see the team trending sideways or even down because of how much better teams like Florida is getting plus with division rivals Tampa Bay and Toronto making strides in the off-season. Boston will be at least be a wild card team but their path to the playoffs will be inconsistent especially if Rask has a few off games but overall, it shouldn’t be anything to worry about. #5 BUFFALO SABRES The Sabres will not focus on making the playoffs this year, they will focus on development. What’s positive about the Sabres is that unlike the other teams not making the playoffs in the Atlantic Division, they’re trending up, not down. Buffalo boasts the best prospect pool in the league with Rasmus Dahlen, Casey Mittelstadt, Alex Nylander and Brendan Guhle all projecting to make the team next season. The Sabres already have Eichel, Reinhart and Ristolainen on the team showing great play and excitement but the issue will be how they will gel playing with new players making the cut. I believe they’ll have a great nucleus in the future. They might surprise with a couple winning streaks this year, especially once the kids find their way playing in the NHL. They’ll show a huge improvement between now and April of 2019 but they’ll be golfing after that time. #6 OTTAWA SENATORS Let’s not talk about last season. That’s a topic for another day. This prediction is made assuming Erik Karlsson is finally out and it was a sad ending for him in Ottawa. They still have some good players in Stone, Duchene plus up-and-comer Chabot but the atmosphere in the locker room needs to be addressed. There are still controversies and issues that haven’t been settled since last season and that can affect the team this season. Some more moves on the roster will have to be made in order to clear the air to start fresh and no team needs it more than the Sens. Despite their shortcomings on the current roster, Ottawa does have a few good prospects. Brady Tkachuk is their top gun that can make camp this year as well as Logan Brown. There are spots available so look for them to make an impression right out of the gate. The Sens might be in for another fiasco if the garden hose is still kinked but I think it’ll be a little bit more stable this season, but just a little. #7 DETROIT RED WINGS If there was a word that would describe Detroit right now, it would be ‘underwhelming’. Nobody on Detroit was an impact player last season. Forwards like Larkin and Mantha are good, but they are better suited for secondary scoring roles, not top line duties. If this team gets one or two studs that can plug and play into the lineup(most likely won’t happen), the whole dynamics of this team will change for the better but it’s wise to go for the rebuilding strategy since Detroit is excellent at drafting. They got Pavel Zadina at the draft this Summer. He’s a pure goal-scorer who can make the team but he won’t a impact right away. Michael Rasmussen is very intriguing as well. He will most likely make the team with a great impression but overall the Wings won’t be taken seriously this season. They don’t have any established elite players at this point in time. Give it another year for Detroit be a much better team who can quietly make a massive leap forward if the development of Zadina and Rasmussen goes well. #8 MONTREAL CANADIENS I wish I could say that the Habs have something going for them but I’m afraid they don’t have much at this point, at least for now. The team on paper looks like it’s rebuilding especially with Pacioretty recently traded to Vegas for Nick Suzuki, Tatar and a 2nd round pick. Looks like a type of trade for a rebuild to start but GM Bergevin says otherwise. He still wants to keep Weber and Price on the club despite the club going on a downward trend. Drouin and Gallagher still had good seasons despite how poorly the team performed but they need a wealth of support around them if they want to improve their numbers. If the Habs want to trend upward, they have to focus on developing their current prospects. They have a long list of centers that are in development and that’s an area where they need top get much better at. They do have Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Ryan Poehling aa their top center prospects but they won’t be ready for awhile yet. Now that they have Suzuki, it should be interesting where he slots in if he makes the club. Nikita Scherbak is talented and will challenge for a wing position as well. Victor Mete and Noah Juulsen saw some action last season and made an impression to the coaching staff. They’ll have an advantage in training camp because of the experience. The Habs have a much better prospect pool than what most people think and they still have decent pieces in place to make a good team down the road but their locker room is filled with distraction. The media always puts a spin on the team’s affairs which makes it difficult to focus on playing hockey. Because of that, they’ll have a rocky season ahead of them.   For more articles, predictions and more... go to https://oilfieldjerseys.com/
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  • oilfieldhockey

    NHL STANDINGS PREDICTIONS FOR THE 2018/19 SEASON: METRO DIVISION

    By oilfieldhockey

    #1 PITTSBURGH PENGUINS The perennial offensive powerhouse is back and ready to attack once again for another exciting season coming our way! It was a relatively quiet off-season for the Pens but they didn’t need to make many moves. They signed Jack Johnson to a multi-year deal to shore up the blueline which is one of the team’s weak spots. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Pens make it to another Stanley Cup Final and what’s different this year compared to the last couple of seasons is that they’re on the outside looking in. They were eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup winners, the Washington Capitals, in 6 games of the Eastern conference semi-finals. The Pens will be fresher because of the extra rest compared to years before when they won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017. There’s no doubt Crosby, Malkin, Kessel and company will still be at the top of their game to cement another great season in the best era of Penguins history. They have the deadliest powerplay as they were ranked #1 in that department last year plus they were #5 on offense. There’s no reason why that won’t change as of right now. Look for some exciting, high-flying games by them, especially against the Flyers and the Capitals. Mark it on your calendar when they play! #2 PHILADELPHIA FLYERS This might come as a surprise to some but I think the Flyers have a team that is a force to be reckoned with. Giroux, Voracek and Couturier had outstanding seasons last year. With Nolan Patrick on the verge of a breakout plus the signing of James van Riemsdyk, they now have a very scary offense that has great mix of skill, physicality and speed. On the back end, Ivan Provorov has established himself as a solid two-defender for years to come and Gostibehere (aka Ghost Bear) had a terrific season as well. Ghost Bear’s numbers might see a dip but he’ll still put up big numbers from the back. The Flyers aren’t as deep as the top contending teams but from what they lack in depth they make up for in prospects. Carter Hart is arguably the top goaltending prospect in the league and he’ll get a shot at training camp. Defenseman, Phillipe Myers has a great shot at making the team as well as centerman, Morgan Frost, a very explosive skater. Penalty Killing and goaltending are Philly’s weak spots but with an improved roster from within, they will get better in those departments. Their offense should make up for those deficiencies. #3 WASHINGTON CAPITALS The 2018 Stanley Cup champions had a year to remember! After many disappointments and early playoff exits, they finally made their mark in history and Alex Ovechkin got his Stanley Cup; he hasn’t let the cup out of his sights or been sober ever since, haha. The Caps earned their first Stanley Cup by having the presence of two elite centers in Kuznetsov and Backstrom. In the past, the Caps didn’t have this luxury, which is why they too often eliminated early in the playoffs. Their rivals, the Penguins, always stacked themselves down the middle with Malkin and Crosby. That’s why the Penguins have 3 cups since 2009. The Caps still have their main core intact and they’ve signed D John Carlson to an extension this summer. They’ll be gunning for a second straight cup and their odds are terrific. #4 CAROLINA HURRICANES It was a down year in Carolina and another missed opportunity to make the playoffs. That has been the case for the last 8 season ever since they made the Eastern Conference finals against the Penguins in 2009. But that was a long time ago and none of the guys that were on that team are here today. There was no distinguished strengths of that team as they ranked in the mid 20’s in goals for, goals against, powerplay and penalty killing against other teams in the league. What they did have right was their shots for/ shots against ratio. They peppered 2780 shots on goal while having 2367 shots against. Do you realize how good that is? They had 413 more shots on goal than against. That’s huge! The problem is that they couldn’t finish opportunities and Scott Darling did not play well for the Canes last season. They easily would of been a playoff team if Cam Ward simply played more games. Now that Ward is gone, Darling will get a second chance to see if he is worth the starter’s job. We’ll see how it goes but I think he’ll improve. I believe in second chances for opportunities like what Darling has, except for getting back together with your ex. I don’t believe in that at all. Carolina’s strength by far is their defensive core from #1 to #6. They just got Dougie Hamilton who is very gifted offensive from the backend. Jaccob Slavin is a defensive stalwart plus Faulk, Pesce and van Riemsdyk round out a pretty solid backend. The Canes lack star power and they’ve especially missed it last year. Now with Svechnikov in the picture, he’ll most likely make the team. He’s the Cane’s main weapon for the future and he’ll get his feet wet this season. If he turns out to be any good, he’ll make the Canes a better team immediately. This team is closer to being better than what a lot of people think and it won’t be surprising if they contend for a wild card spot in April of 2019. #5 COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS If it wasn’t for Panarin (aka Pan Bread) or Bobrovsky (aka Boobtitsky) the Jackets wouldn’t have a chance to make the playoffs. Consistent scoring was a struggle for them last season despite Seth Jones had an outstanding year from the backend. A lot of players experienced big drop offs including Cam Atkinson and Nick Foligno. Luckily Pierre-Luc Dubois had a nice rookie season for them and played really well with Pan Bread late in the season. Ever since Tortorella has taken over the head coaching job in 2016, he turned this team around and established an identity by getting his team to play a gritty, hard-nosed, in-your-face brand of hockey. Although they have depth and character, they lack someone who can score all season long. Only Pan Bread can do it and the rest of the team has streaky scoring. Although I like this team on paper, they are one distraction or injury away from having a bad losing streak faltering their chances on missing the playoffs. Speaking of distractions, Panarin needs a contract and he won’t likely stay with the club. They’ll miss the playoffs, but just barely. #6 NEW JERSEY DEVILS The Devils made a terrific run in the season to make the last wild card seed in the Eastern Conference. That’s how Taylor Hall won the MVP trophy this season as he shouldered this team to the playoffs. Much like Columbus, Hall is the reason why the Devils made the playoffs just like how Panarin was the reason the Jackets were successful. The depth chart falls immediately after Hall. Nico Hishier is good and will be an elite center in a couple of seasons but he isn’t at his prime yet. The defensive core is probably the most average in the league. Will Buthcer had a great rookie season but he may have been over-acheiving just a bit. He could drop a few points but that’s ok, he’s still a lte round steal for the Devils. Vatanen looked good for the Devils last season but he won’t be carrying this club from the backend. The Devils were probably the luckiest team when it came to their goaltending situation. As Cory Schneider struggled, Keith Kinkaid bailed him out and played way above expectations earning himself the starter job. Much like the stock market when things go much better than expected, a course correction is in Order for the Devils. #7 NEW YORK RANGERS In a letter published in a local newspaper to Rangers fans from Glen Sather and Jeff Gorton on February 8th, 2018, they basically told fans that they’re rebuilding from the ground up and that marked a significant change in the Ranger’s destiny for the coming years on that day. Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh, J.T Miller and Michael Grabner were shipped out at the trade deadline for prospects and future considerations. The full rebuild is in effect at the Big Apple. They were loaded with 10 picks at the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas, Texas including three first round draft picks. They selected forward Vitali Kravtsov with the 9th overall pick, defenseman K’Andre Miller with the 22nd overall pick, and defenseman Nils Lundkvist with the 28th overall pick. With those picks, they’ll have the deepest pool of prospects in a couple of years. As of now, the Rangers are in transition. Henrik Lundqvist needs an opportunity to play for the Stanley Cup and they’ll most likely have him shipped out somewhere by the trade deadline in 2019. The Rangers won’t be good but they now a have a direction and that will bode well for their future. #8 NEW YORK ISLANDERS I’m not going to hold back on this one. The Islanders had a wasted season that could of been completely avoided. The Isles needed to chooses a path for the club while they still had a shot at the playoffs. They either had to buy or sell. Instead, they didn’t make a single move. The Isles were in desperate need of goaltending near the trade deadline. They easily could of snagged Cam Ward. He was available. A defensive stalwart would of made a difference as well. Their penalty kill was horrible as they ranked dead last in the league. Ryan McDonagh would of been terrific in fixing that problem. He was available. Islanders were even better off to sell than to do nothing. They didn’t even trade Tavares away while they still could of got some value from him and now he’s moved on with the Maple Leafs for nothing in return for the Isles. The team had these problems because of colossal mismanagement from Garth Snow and now he’s fired. Thankfully, Lou Lamiorello took over the General Manger role. Even with him at charge of operations, the Isles won’t recover from what happened last season. Now they have to suffer a painful season trying to figure how they can get back to being a playoff contender. Time to get to work.   For more articles, predictions and more... check out https://oilfieldjerseys.com/ 
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  • oilfieldhockey

    NHL STANDINGS PREDICTIONS FOR THE 2018/19 SEASON: CENTRAL DIVISION

    By oilfieldhockey

    #1 WINNIPEG JETS It wasn’t a matter of how, it was a matter of when. When the Jets will finally play as a great hockey team. Many years of building a prospect pipeline is finally paying dividends and they are ready to contend for a Stanley Cup for years to come. In the most competitive division of the NHL, the Jets have what it takes to be #1 in the Central. Their offense is oozing with speed and skill. They play an aggressive up-tempo game and they have size to win key puck battles in the corners. The X-factor for the Jets will be goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, who had an amazing 17/18 season. He had a really good playoff showing as well. Not many goaltenders make the conference finals in their first full season and there isn’t a reason why he can’t do it again. The Jets are poised to be a Stanley Cup contender this season and as long as distractions or the injury bug keep away, they’ll have a great chance to go the distance. #2 NASHVILLE PREDATORS Arguably the most well structured team in the league, the Preds had a disappointing playoff exit against the Jets in the Western conference semi-finals last season. They’ll look to bounce back and if they want to go anywhere in the post season, they’ll most likely have to go through the Jets again. They have the team to do it but they do have to keep themselves in check and make sure they’re prepared to match the up-tempo game the Jets like to play. Nashville’s strength by far is their blueline. They have the best defensive core in the entire NHL with Josi, Subban, Ekholm and Ellis rounding their top 4. They all play sound defensive hockey. With Rinne as their goaltender backing the defense, it’s very difficult to score 3 goals in a game against them. Their offense is really good but it’s not at the same caliber as their defense and that’ll be their weakness if they start scoring in streaks. Forsberg, Turris, Arvidsson and Johansen are solid contributors offensively but they are not at the same level as the Penguins, Capitals, Leafs, Lightning and Jets when it comes to fire power up-front. The Preds will most likely be a playoff team and maybe a Stanley Cup contender if their scoring gets hot at the right time but it’ll be a wait-and-see approach from here on in. #3 ST. LOUIS BLUES It was a disappointing season for the Blues as they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2011. It’s the Central we’re talking about so it’s tough for every team to get an advantage over their divisional rival. Blues management knows how hard it is to play in the Central so that’s why GM Doug Armstrong acquired Ryan O’Reilly, Tyler Bozak and David Perron in the off-season. That’s a nice score for any team in an off-season, but it’s extra sweet for the Blues because those players play Blues style hockey; a blue-collar, chip-and-chase brand that’s very aggressive on the forecheck. The Blues aren’t very good on the powerplay as they ranked 30th in that department last season. That’ll still be a concern when the season starts on October 3rd and will be their biggest weakness. None of the guys they acquired in the off-season are true powerplay specialists but their 5-on-5 game will be a huge plus. They’ll be much better even-strength. With a nice rest in the off-season, they’ll have a fresh start to what looks to be a promising campaign for the Blues in the 18/19 NHL season. #4 DALLAS STARS The Stars are an interesting case to look at because what you think the Stars are known for, their offensive talent, wasn’t their strength last season. The Stars were remarkably ranked 6th in goals allowed last season and that wasn’t expected from them whatsoever, but that was with Ken Hitchcock as coach. He’s retired now so Jim Montgemery will takeover. He’ll have an improved team to coach because Valeri Nichushkin is back with the team and they could have talented defensive prospect Miro Heskanen making an impact right away. Ben Bishop was a great goaltender with his first season with the Stars last season but injuries limited him to just 53 starts in 17/18. If he has a full season, he can push the Stars to the playoffs and that’s very achievable. The Stars will compete for a wild card spot next season and if their off-season acquisitions can improve their depth, they’ll make some noise this season. #5 COLORADO AVALANCHE Besides Vegas, the Avs had the best Cinderella story of last season. Mackinnon was a beast and Rantanen played his role as shotgun perfectly for Mackinnon. The Avs had the best comeback season in recent memory after having a dreadful season in 16/17. The Avs established themselves as playing very explosive hockey and Mackinnon thrived in that environment. He carried this team to it’s first playoff birth since 2014 and although they were defeated by Nashville, they show promise for the future. Tyson Jost is primed for a breakout season and they’ve added defenceman Ian Cole to shore up their blueline. The Avs are in a very good situation with how they are growing and they still have an elite prospect with defenceman Cale Makar primed for the future. As for this season, they’ll build off their success they had last year and will compete for another playoff spot this year.
        #6 MINNESOTA WILD   The Wild had a good season last year. They made the playoffs and were contending to advance once again. The problem is more teams in the Central have improved are in the toughest division in the league because of it. The Wild have a good team and have got the most out of Eric Staal and Devan Dubnyk, who performed way above expectations. Good for them but the team didn’t improve at all in the off-season while other teams were making moves. That’ll hurt the Wild this season. The Wild aren’t great at any particular part of their game but they’re not terrible either. What’s bad is that they are average in special teams and 5 on 5 play. While that may have worked in the past, it won’t cut it this season. Will a rebuild be in order after next season? Let’s hope for the Wild, that’s not the case. #7 CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS The main core of the team is still in tact as Kane and Toews still play good hockey. Seabrook and Keith had seasons they want to forget but their play was severely hampered because of the lack of depth they used to when they were on top of the hockey world with 3 Stanley Cups in 5 seasons. The depth drops off very fast from their first line and had to use their 2nd, 3rd and 4th lines as a season long tryout camp for their prospects, with most of them not ready to make the leap. Alex DeBrincat was a diamond in the rough and was the only bit of good news the Hawks had all year. He led the Hawks in goals in his rookie season and is looking to build off that. If the Hawks want to make an impact this season, Corey Crawford needs to overcome vertigo plus Kane, Toews, Seabrook and Keith need to have monster seasons. In a division like the Central, it isn’t likely.   For more articles, predictions and more... go to https://oilfieldjerseys.com/
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THE DEBATE – Hockey Podcast | Episode 34 The Hot Seat, Injuries, and Young Roster Breakers

THE DEBATE – Hockey Podcast | Episode 34 The Hot Seat, Injuries, and Young Roster Breakers   Brad Burud and Blake Friars prep for the start of the NHL regular season. What coaches and general managers are on the hot seat. There are definitely a few that better be looking over their shoulder. Injuries have already plagued some teams heading in to night one of the regular season. Well preseason hockey is done and it was better than expected. The reason, the abundance of young talent. Blake and Brad talk young rookie roster breakers. Who makes it and who dose not.   PODCAST

InsideEdge

InsideEdge

DECONSTRUCTING THE NEW YORK ISLANDERS 3RD JERSEY

October 1st, 2018 marks a big day in the Islanders world as another Adidas alternate jersey was beautifully delivered to the world. I want to be the first to show you how the elements of this jersey design come together (in this case, deconstructed) with meaning and significance.   The jersey itself is very simple in design, but the colours blend nicely together. The overall body of the jersey was inspired by the 2014 Stadium Series jersey the Islanders released in their first two outdoor games against the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers.   As soon as the video of the unveiling of the jersey was released on the official New York Islanders Twitter feed, it became noticeable right away that the primary logo was broken into three key pieces and placed on important areas of the sweater.     3 key areas of importance: -The “NY” abbreviations -The “Islanders” lettering -The geographic image of Long Island itself     THE “NY” STAYS FRONT AND CENTER: The “NY” is a direct adoption from the Islanders primary logo. The only difference is that the “Y” is flat on the bottom instead of leaving it on a sharper angle. The four orange strips that were previously on the shaft, are now on the blade of the “Y”. The strips represent the four Stanley Cup championships the Islanders won in 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1983.   ON THE NECK OF LONG ISLAND: The image of Long Island, familiar to the one seen on the primary logo, is now tucked on the inside portion of the neck. Utilizing the neck has been a popular amongst teams in recent years as each team is trying to offer a bit of extra insignia to the overall complexion of their outlook. The only difference between this sketch of Long Island compared to the one seen on the main logo is that it’s now blue instead of orange. It’s blue so that it offsets the white and orange trim in a crisp fashion. “ISLANDERS” LETTERING NOW ON BACK OF NECK: If you can’t tell already, this sweater strongly favours the neck. The “Islanders” lettering is the last adoption from the main logo. It has a different font than the one on the main logo but it had to be bolder in order to stand out since its such a small detail. The inscription sits nicely along on the brim and once again the font is blue to offset the white and orange trim on the collar.   For more articles, predictions and more... visit https://oilfieldjerseys.com/ today!

NHL STANDINGS PREDICTION FOR THE 2018/19 SEASON: PACIFIC DIVISION

#1 SAN JOSE SHARKS Coincidence is funny sometimes. A few hours before I was writing this article, news broke out that Erik Karlsson gets traded to the Sharks. I also had San Jose slotted in to go #1 even before the announcement of the blockbuster trade so this was mean’t to be.   This team keeps finding ways to get good players on the team whether it’s trade or drafting, GM Doug Wilson gets the job done and he is the reason why the Sharks have been a consistently great team. Even with Thornton, Pavelski, Burns and Couture getting older, the Sharks keep drafting excellent talent that will back those players up and provide a great future for the club. Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier, Joonas Donskoi and even Kevin Labanc have provided great secondary support for Couture and Pavelski, who had average seasons compared to what they can achieve.   The Sharks now have Evander Kane for a full season as well. He came in as a late season pick up from Buffalo and was able to fit in like a glove in Northern California. This is easily the best team the Sharks had on paper in many years and I’ll bet this team is better than the one they had in 2016 when they went to the Stanley Cup finals against the Penguins. Expect them to take advantage of a very weak Pacific division and tear up the Western conference. #2 CALGARY FLAMES The Flames I see as a team that can come together and play well as a cohesive unit if they put their mind to winning. The Flames have a very good team on paper but last year they had no emotion nor spark to drive them to a playoff spot. That prompted a shake up in the off-season as the Flames acquired two players who feel they have something to prove in Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin. They’ll provide the fire the Flames need as it’s their last chance to prove they can play up to their potential. Dougie Hamilton and Michael Ferland were subsequently shipped to Carolina as a result of the trade. The Flames also signed James Neal, who has been to the Stanley Cup Finals in two straight seasons, offers character and an insight of what the finals are like. He’ll be an asset going forward.   The Flames have a very good defensive core plus a fast, skilled, and speedy top 6 forward group. If they can find chemistry and get a good rhythm going, they’ll easily be a playoff team. I think they’ll struggle early on in the season but will find their groove from there on in. #3 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS The best expansion season from a major league sports team in history is under the books and what a thrilling journey it was for the Vegas Golden Knights. The team of “Golden Misfits”, a team that had players that were outcasted by their former NHL clubs came together and played an incredible brand of hockey that nobody expected. Now we’re in year two and already this team is going through a shakeup. Perron and Neal are gone but they now have Pacioretty and Statsny. If you ask me, I think the latter is far more valuable than the former. Patches needs a rebound year and he’ll get one with Vegas without question.   Fleury needs to continue to be his superstar self if Vegas wants to make the playoffs this season and I think he’ll be successful. He’s been better in the last 3 seasons than he has been his entire career. Signs point that he’s one of guys who goes through his prime later than most athletes. Luckily for Vegas, that time is now.   It’ll be a tougher year for Vegas, as they can’t sneak on opponents anymore plus Nate Schmidt is suspended 20 games for a supposed drug violation. Schmidt was a valuable asset for Vegas last season and his services will be missed for the first quarter of the season. That’s unless they prove the suspension was unjust and reversed during training camp.   #4 EDMONTON OILERS Last season, a lot of people have claimed high expectations that the Oilers were going to be a force to be reckoned with last season. Sadly for the Oilers, it didn’t come to be. McDavid was the only bright spot the Oilers had last season as he won the NHL scoring title even on an under-performing team. Not much has changed since the off-season and the same glaring holes in the Oilers weak spots are still there. The special teams were dreadful for the Oilers the prior season placing dead last on the powerplay and 25th on the penalty kill. Goaltending isn’t where it’s supposed to be and the defencemen for the club give opposing forwards too much space on the ice. A big positive is the fact that the Oilers have the best player in the world in Connor McDavid and studs such as Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Regardless, this team still needs a few areas improved if they want to be a playoff team and I doubt this year will be their year. #5 LOS ANGELES KINGS The Kings pride themselves by playing very sound defensive hockey. They were #1 in both goals against (203 GA) and penalty kill (85%) last season. When you’re the best at both of those categories, your defense is like a wall that can’t be run through or climbed over. Goaltender Jonathon Quick has been outstanding plus the coaching structure contributed to the success on defence.   L.A. will continue to be great defensively but not as good as they were a year ago. It’s hard to see Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown continue their amazing play as they age. Even with Ilya Kovalchuk signed to a 3-year deal in July, teams like Calgary, St. Louis and San Jose have made strides ahead of L.A. this summer as they’ve acquired more impact players than the Kings. The team itself isn’t worse, but they did get 1 year older and in today’s game, age means a lot and is more crucial than ever before as players are having shorter careers because of how fast the game is played. Unfortunately, the Kings are not a fast skating team so that could be a problem for them. Signs indicate that this might be a trying time for the Kings this season. #6 ANAHEIM DUCKS The Ducks were one of the better defensive teams last season. They’re usually in the playoff hunt more times than not but were easily dismantled by the Sharks in 4 games last season during the Western conference quarter-finals last season. Fast forward 5 months and the Ducks haven’t changed their team very much. Their outlook isn’t overly favourable because Getzlaf and Perry are already 33 years old. Their best years are behind them. Kesler has a brutal hip injury he may not ever recover from. He may even miss the entire 18/19 season because of it.   Their defensive core is in good shape and are a tough group for forwards to compete against but their depth up front is an issue. Rickard Rakell is Anaheim’s only bonafide goal scorer and besides Getzlaf, nobody on the Ducks scored over 50 points. The scoring won’t go up with the current group and that lack of offensive punch is what will bite the Ducks during the season. Goaltender John Gibson has to be outstanding in order to give the Ducks a chance but he is simply not a brick wall. Expect a downward trend for the Ducks this season.   #7 ARIZONA COYOTES Another year, another chance of scoring a draft lottery pick. I want to be excited for the Coyotes. I really do. But, even for a rebuilding team, they don’t have a lot of high-end prospects. Dylan Strome is the exception and he has a fantastic opportunity to make the team this season. Clayton Keller can build off his successful rookie campaign plus Alex Galchenyuk is away from the drama that’s happening in Montreal. He has a chance at a fresh start and be an integral part of the Coyotes in the future. If the Yotes can get a win in their first 10 games of their regular season this season, they can consider themselves more successful compared to the same stage of last season. It took the Yotes 12 games to get their first victory and it took them 21 games to get their first win in regulation during the 17-18 campaign. Surely they can do better right? Let’s pray for them.   #8 VANCOUVER CANUCKS Let’s face it, the Canucks suck. But, it’s not all that bad. Unlike bottom-feeders like the Coyotes, Habs or Senators, the Canucks have an amazing list of prospects that tell the tale of what the future is in store for them. Elias Petterson is an insanely great talent and will make the team out of camp (pending injuries of course) and Thatcher Demko is arguably the best goaltending prospect in the NHL. They also have a great defensive prospect in Olli Joulevi as well. They have players currently on the roster that are still growing in their own too. Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat shined last season and have a great opportunity to be the leaders of this club as the Sedin twins are now retired. The 2019 draft is in Vancouver next June and consensus is that the Canucks will be very involved in that draft. They might even score a lottery pick and draft Jack Hughes as their new franchise centerman.   Regardless how Vancouver performs this season, the future is bright on the West Coast and they’ll be a great team once again.   For more articles, predictions and more.... check out https://oilfieldjerseys.com/

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NHL STANDINGS PREDICTIONS FOR THE 2018/19 SEASON: CENTRAL DIVISION

#1 WINNIPEG JETS It wasn’t a matter of how, it was a matter of when. When the Jets will finally play as a great hockey team. Many years of building a prospect pipeline is finally paying dividends and they are ready to contend for a Stanley Cup for years to come. In the most competitive division of the NHL, the Jets have what it takes to be #1 in the Central. Their offense is oozing with speed and skill. They play an aggressive up-tempo game and they have size to win key puck battles in the corners. The X-factor for the Jets will be goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, who had an amazing 17/18 season. He had a really good playoff showing as well. Not many goaltenders make the conference finals in their first full season and there isn’t a reason why he can’t do it again. The Jets are poised to be a Stanley Cup contender this season and as long as distractions or the injury bug keep away, they’ll have a great chance to go the distance. #2 NASHVILLE PREDATORS Arguably the most well structured team in the league, the Preds had a disappointing playoff exit against the Jets in the Western conference semi-finals last season. They’ll look to bounce back and if they want to go anywhere in the post season, they’ll most likely have to go through the Jets again. They have the team to do it but they do have to keep themselves in check and make sure they’re prepared to match the up-tempo game the Jets like to play. Nashville’s strength by far is their blueline. They have the best defensive core in the entire NHL with Josi, Subban, Ekholm and Ellis rounding their top 4. They all play sound defensive hockey. With Rinne as their goaltender backing the defense, it’s very difficult to score 3 goals in a game against them. Their offense is really good but it’s not at the same caliber as their defense and that’ll be their weakness if they start scoring in streaks. Forsberg, Turris, Arvidsson and Johansen are solid contributors offensively but they are not at the same level as the Penguins, Capitals, Leafs, Lightning and Jets when it comes to fire power up-front. The Preds will most likely be a playoff team and maybe a Stanley Cup contender if their scoring gets hot at the right time but it’ll be a wait-and-see approach from here on in. #3 ST. LOUIS BLUES It was a disappointing season for the Blues as they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2011. It’s the Central we’re talking about so it’s tough for every team to get an advantage over their divisional rival. Blues management knows how hard it is to play in the Central so that’s why GM Doug Armstrong acquired Ryan O’Reilly, Tyler Bozak and David Perron in the off-season. That’s a nice score for any team in an off-season, but it’s extra sweet for the Blues because those players play Blues style hockey; a blue-collar, chip-and-chase brand that’s very aggressive on the forecheck. The Blues aren’t very good on the powerplay as they ranked 30th in that department last season. That’ll still be a concern when the season starts on October 3rd and will be their biggest weakness. None of the guys they acquired in the off-season are true powerplay specialists but their 5-on-5 game will be a huge plus. They’ll be much better even-strength. With a nice rest in the off-season, they’ll have a fresh start to what looks to be a promising campaign for the Blues in the 18/19 NHL season. #4 DALLAS STARS The Stars are an interesting case to look at because what you think the Stars are known for, their offensive talent, wasn’t their strength last season. The Stars were remarkably ranked 6th in goals allowed last season and that wasn’t expected from them whatsoever, but that was with Ken Hitchcock as coach. He’s retired now so Jim Montgemery will takeover. He’ll have an improved team to coach because Valeri Nichushkin is back with the team and they could have talented defensive prospect Miro Heskanen making an impact right away. Ben Bishop was a great goaltender with his first season with the Stars last season but injuries limited him to just 53 starts in 17/18. If he has a full season, he can push the Stars to the playoffs and that’s very achievable. The Stars will compete for a wild card spot next season and if their off-season acquisitions can improve their depth, they’ll make some noise this season. #5 COLORADO AVALANCHE Besides Vegas, the Avs had the best Cinderella story of last season. Mackinnon was a beast and Rantanen played his role as shotgun perfectly for Mackinnon. The Avs had the best comeback season in recent memory after having a dreadful season in 16/17. The Avs established themselves as playing very explosive hockey and Mackinnon thrived in that environment. He carried this team to it’s first playoff birth since 2014 and although they were defeated by Nashville, they show promise for the future. Tyson Jost is primed for a breakout season and they’ve added defenceman Ian Cole to shore up their blueline. The Avs are in a very good situation with how they are growing and they still have an elite prospect with defenceman Cale Makar primed for the future. As for this season, they’ll build off their success they had last year and will compete for another playoff spot this year.
    #6 MINNESOTA WILD   The Wild had a good season last year. They made the playoffs and were contending to advance once again. The problem is more teams in the Central have improved are in the toughest division in the league because of it. The Wild have a good team and have got the most out of Eric Staal and Devan Dubnyk, who performed way above expectations. Good for them but the team didn’t improve at all in the off-season while other teams were making moves. That’ll hurt the Wild this season. The Wild aren’t great at any particular part of their game but they’re not terrible either. What’s bad is that they are average in special teams and 5 on 5 play. While that may have worked in the past, it won’t cut it this season. Will a rebuild be in order after next season? Let’s hope for the Wild, that’s not the case. #7 CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS The main core of the team is still in tact as Kane and Toews still play good hockey. Seabrook and Keith had seasons they want to forget but their play was severely hampered because of the lack of depth they used to when they were on top of the hockey world with 3 Stanley Cups in 5 seasons. The depth drops off very fast from their first line and had to use their 2nd, 3rd and 4th lines as a season long tryout camp for their prospects, with most of them not ready to make the leap. Alex DeBrincat was a diamond in the rough and was the only bit of good news the Hawks had all year. He led the Hawks in goals in his rookie season and is looking to build off that. If the Hawks want to make an impact this season, Corey Crawford needs to overcome vertigo plus Kane, Toews, Seabrook and Keith need to have monster seasons. In a division like the Central, it isn’t likely.   For more articles, predictions and more... go to https://oilfieldjerseys.com/

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NHL STANDINGS PREDICTIONS FOR THE 2018/19 SEASON: METRO DIVISION

#1 PITTSBURGH PENGUINS The perennial offensive powerhouse is back and ready to attack once again for another exciting season coming our way! It was a relatively quiet off-season for the Pens but they didn’t need to make many moves. They signed Jack Johnson to a multi-year deal to shore up the blueline which is one of the team’s weak spots. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Pens make it to another Stanley Cup Final and what’s different this year compared to the last couple of seasons is that they’re on the outside looking in. They were eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup winners, the Washington Capitals, in 6 games of the Eastern conference semi-finals. The Pens will be fresher because of the extra rest compared to years before when they won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017. There’s no doubt Crosby, Malkin, Kessel and company will still be at the top of their game to cement another great season in the best era of Penguins history. They have the deadliest powerplay as they were ranked #1 in that department last year plus they were #5 on offense. There’s no reason why that won’t change as of right now. Look for some exciting, high-flying games by them, especially against the Flyers and the Capitals. Mark it on your calendar when they play! #2 PHILADELPHIA FLYERS This might come as a surprise to some but I think the Flyers have a team that is a force to be reckoned with. Giroux, Voracek and Couturier had outstanding seasons last year. With Nolan Patrick on the verge of a breakout plus the signing of James van Riemsdyk, they now have a very scary offense that has great mix of skill, physicality and speed. On the back end, Ivan Provorov has established himself as a solid two-defender for years to come and Gostibehere (aka Ghost Bear) had a terrific season as well. Ghost Bear’s numbers might see a dip but he’ll still put up big numbers from the back. The Flyers aren’t as deep as the top contending teams but from what they lack in depth they make up for in prospects. Carter Hart is arguably the top goaltending prospect in the league and he’ll get a shot at training camp. Defenseman, Phillipe Myers has a great shot at making the team as well as centerman, Morgan Frost, a very explosive skater. Penalty Killing and goaltending are Philly’s weak spots but with an improved roster from within, they will get better in those departments. Their offense should make up for those deficiencies. #3 WASHINGTON CAPITALS The 2018 Stanley Cup champions had a year to remember! After many disappointments and early playoff exits, they finally made their mark in history and Alex Ovechkin got his Stanley Cup; he hasn’t let the cup out of his sights or been sober ever since, haha. The Caps earned their first Stanley Cup by having the presence of two elite centers in Kuznetsov and Backstrom. In the past, the Caps didn’t have this luxury, which is why they too often eliminated early in the playoffs. Their rivals, the Penguins, always stacked themselves down the middle with Malkin and Crosby. That’s why the Penguins have 3 cups since 2009. The Caps still have their main core intact and they’ve signed D John Carlson to an extension this summer. They’ll be gunning for a second straight cup and their odds are terrific. #4 CAROLINA HURRICANES It was a down year in Carolina and another missed opportunity to make the playoffs. That has been the case for the last 8 season ever since they made the Eastern Conference finals against the Penguins in 2009. But that was a long time ago and none of the guys that were on that team are here today. There was no distinguished strengths of that team as they ranked in the mid 20’s in goals for, goals against, powerplay and penalty killing against other teams in the league. What they did have right was their shots for/ shots against ratio. They peppered 2780 shots on goal while having 2367 shots against. Do you realize how good that is? They had 413 more shots on goal than against. That’s huge! The problem is that they couldn’t finish opportunities and Scott Darling did not play well for the Canes last season. They easily would of been a playoff team if Cam Ward simply played more games. Now that Ward is gone, Darling will get a second chance to see if he is worth the starter’s job. We’ll see how it goes but I think he’ll improve. I believe in second chances for opportunities like what Darling has, except for getting back together with your ex. I don’t believe in that at all. Carolina’s strength by far is their defensive core from #1 to #6. They just got Dougie Hamilton who is very gifted offensive from the backend. Jaccob Slavin is a defensive stalwart plus Faulk, Pesce and van Riemsdyk round out a pretty solid backend. The Canes lack star power and they’ve especially missed it last year. Now with Svechnikov in the picture, he’ll most likely make the team. He’s the Cane’s main weapon for the future and he’ll get his feet wet this season. If he turns out to be any good, he’ll make the Canes a better team immediately. This team is closer to being better than what a lot of people think and it won’t be surprising if they contend for a wild card spot in April of 2019. #5 COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS If it wasn’t for Panarin (aka Pan Bread) or Bobrovsky (aka Boobtitsky) the Jackets wouldn’t have a chance to make the playoffs. Consistent scoring was a struggle for them last season despite Seth Jones had an outstanding year from the backend. A lot of players experienced big drop offs including Cam Atkinson and Nick Foligno. Luckily Pierre-Luc Dubois had a nice rookie season for them and played really well with Pan Bread late in the season. Ever since Tortorella has taken over the head coaching job in 2016, he turned this team around and established an identity by getting his team to play a gritty, hard-nosed, in-your-face brand of hockey. Although they have depth and character, they lack someone who can score all season long. Only Pan Bread can do it and the rest of the team has streaky scoring. Although I like this team on paper, they are one distraction or injury away from having a bad losing streak faltering their chances on missing the playoffs. Speaking of distractions, Panarin needs a contract and he won’t likely stay with the club. They’ll miss the playoffs, but just barely. #6 NEW JERSEY DEVILS The Devils made a terrific run in the season to make the last wild card seed in the Eastern Conference. That’s how Taylor Hall won the MVP trophy this season as he shouldered this team to the playoffs. Much like Columbus, Hall is the reason why the Devils made the playoffs just like how Panarin was the reason the Jackets were successful. The depth chart falls immediately after Hall. Nico Hishier is good and will be an elite center in a couple of seasons but he isn’t at his prime yet. The defensive core is probably the most average in the league. Will Buthcer had a great rookie season but he may have been over-acheiving just a bit. He could drop a few points but that’s ok, he’s still a lte round steal for the Devils. Vatanen looked good for the Devils last season but he won’t be carrying this club from the backend. The Devils were probably the luckiest team when it came to their goaltending situation. As Cory Schneider struggled, Keith Kinkaid bailed him out and played way above expectations earning himself the starter job. Much like the stock market when things go much better than expected, a course correction is in Order for the Devils. #7 NEW YORK RANGERS In a letter published in a local newspaper to Rangers fans from Glen Sather and Jeff Gorton on February 8th, 2018, they basically told fans that they’re rebuilding from the ground up and that marked a significant change in the Ranger’s destiny for the coming years on that day. Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh, J.T Miller and Michael Grabner were shipped out at the trade deadline for prospects and future considerations. The full rebuild is in effect at the Big Apple. They were loaded with 10 picks at the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas, Texas including three first round draft picks. They selected forward Vitali Kravtsov with the 9th overall pick, defenseman K’Andre Miller with the 22nd overall pick, and defenseman Nils Lundkvist with the 28th overall pick. With those picks, they’ll have the deepest pool of prospects in a couple of years. As of now, the Rangers are in transition. Henrik Lundqvist needs an opportunity to play for the Stanley Cup and they’ll most likely have him shipped out somewhere by the trade deadline in 2019. The Rangers won’t be good but they now a have a direction and that will bode well for their future. #8 NEW YORK ISLANDERS I’m not going to hold back on this one. The Islanders had a wasted season that could of been completely avoided. The Isles needed to chooses a path for the club while they still had a shot at the playoffs. They either had to buy or sell. Instead, they didn’t make a single move. The Isles were in desperate need of goaltending near the trade deadline. They easily could of snagged Cam Ward. He was available. A defensive stalwart would of made a difference as well. Their penalty kill was horrible as they ranked dead last in the league. Ryan McDonagh would of been terrific in fixing that problem. He was available. Islanders were even better off to sell than to do nothing. They didn’t even trade Tavares away while they still could of got some value from him and now he’s moved on with the Maple Leafs for nothing in return for the Isles. The team had these problems because of colossal mismanagement from Garth Snow and now he’s fired. Thankfully, Lou Lamiorello took over the General Manger role. Even with him at charge of operations, the Isles won’t recover from what happened last season. Now they have to suffer a painful season trying to figure how they can get back to being a playoff contender. Time to get to work.   For more articles, predictions and more... check out https://oilfieldjerseys.com/ 

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NHL STANDINGS PREDICTIONS FOR 2018/19 SEASON: ATLANTIC DIVISION

#1 TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING There isn’t a team with as much top end talent backed with great depth as much as the Lightning. Their forwards are fast, skilled and very opportunistic, especially with Kucherov and Stamkos leading the way up front. They were first in scoring with 296 goals last season. That was the highest amount of goals recorded in a regular season since the Washington Capitals filled 318 pucks in the net during the 09-10 season. Their defense is filled with workhorses as Hedman, Sergachev and newly acquired McDonagh are in for a full season. They can each run the powerplay and cover their man in the defensive end very well. Most teams are lucky to have just one of those guys as good as they are. Tampa has three. That will be very scary for opponents to deal with. Great goaltending from Vasilevskiy will once again vault this team over the top. He was outstanding for the Lightning last season and is likely going to do work his magic again this year. Overall Tampa will be one of the best teams in the league with a very dangerous team up and down the roster. Their weakness is the penalty kill as they just averaged 76% last season and was a direct result as to why they lost the very few games they did lose last season. Other than that, they’ll be a deadly team all season long.   #2 TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS Fans have been gushing over the John Tavares signing in early July of this year. Why not? This is a great times to be a Leafs fan. The turn around of the team started with great management as Brendan Shanahan, Lou Lamoriello and Head Coach Mike Babcock turned water into wine with their consulting, drafting and signings they’ve made in the last three seasons. Rookie GM Kyle Dubas made a great first impression by landing the big fish in John Tavares. Dubas hasn’t even been GM for a month and he already signed him for 8 seasons on contract to play for the Buds. Toronto is a team that boasts a great top 6 forward cast with Matthews, Tavares, Nylander, Marner, Kadri and Marleau as the main scoring weapons up front. With a group like that, you’ll have a solid chance of getting 3+ goals per game average and score one out of every four powerplays (25%) which will most likely make you a top 3 scoring team in the league. On paper, their defense doesn’t have a bonafide powerplay quarterback or even a defensive stalwart but they’re still alright as they averaged over 80% on the penalty kill. They were slightly above average in goals allowed (232 GA, 12th in league) which is still good considering the weapons they boast up front. Having a goaltender like Frederick Anderson saving your butt combined with Mike Babcock’s excellent coaching will boost the team’s defensive prowess too. Overall, you’ll see the Leafs in high scoring games, they’ll be fun to watch, but they will need an additional defenseman at the trade deadline. They will get their man next Spring if they want to push for a deep playoff run. #3 FLORIDA PANTHERS Ok, so this a gamble and some of you will say I’m crazy for writing this but there is a lot to like about the Florida Panthers being a playoff team this year. My reasoning is that the Panthers young nucleus of Ekblad, Barkov, Dadonov, Huberdeau and Bjugstad still have the best years ahead of them. I wouldn’t be surprised if Huberdeau, Barkov and Trochek all had 80 point seasons and they are talented enough to make it happen. They made a terrific late season push last year and were just one point away from making the playoffs. Florida doesn’t have a ton of depth but they do have Borgstrom and Tippett on the verge of making the team and if they do, they’ll have a chance to make a great impression on the checking line and even special teams as well. Goaltending is a bit uncertain as Luongo is getting up there in age and James Reimer still needs to post better numbers to be a solid #1 goaltender. It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out. The Panthers are not known to be strong starters but they tend to play better late in the season. That’s the best time to watch them play. #4 BOSTON BRUINS There is no doubt that everything worked out for Boston last season. They were scoring, defended well, plus they were converting powerplays and killing penalties at a high-caliber rate. Sometimes, I wonder about Boston because they’ve had some great seasons with the same core of players. Sometimes, they’ve had some mediocre years where they’ve finished 9th in the conference two years in a row. Finishing 9th is really bad because it not only means you’re not in the playoffs, you don’t get a high draft pick either. Boston is still a really good team and they definitely do have talent but I think they over-achieved last season. We might see a correction in their stats. Marchand is a slippery player and hard to play against but it wouldn’t amaze me if he drops 10-15 points. Same goes with Pastranak and Chara. I can see the team trending sideways or even down because of how much better teams like Florida is getting plus with division rivals Tampa Bay and Toronto making strides in the off-season. Boston will be at least be a wild card team but their path to the playoffs will be inconsistent especially if Rask has a few off games but overall, it shouldn’t be anything to worry about. #5 BUFFALO SABRES The Sabres will not focus on making the playoffs this year, they will focus on development. What’s positive about the Sabres is that unlike the other teams not making the playoffs in the Atlantic Division, they’re trending up, not down. Buffalo boasts the best prospect pool in the league with Rasmus Dahlen, Casey Mittelstadt, Alex Nylander and Brendan Guhle all projecting to make the team next season. The Sabres already have Eichel, Reinhart and Ristolainen on the team showing great play and excitement but the issue will be how they will gel playing with new players making the cut. I believe they’ll have a great nucleus in the future. They might surprise with a couple winning streaks this year, especially once the kids find their way playing in the NHL. They’ll show a huge improvement between now and April of 2019 but they’ll be golfing after that time. #6 OTTAWA SENATORS Let’s not talk about last season. That’s a topic for another day. This prediction is made assuming Erik Karlsson is finally out and it was a sad ending for him in Ottawa. They still have some good players in Stone, Duchene plus up-and-comer Chabot but the atmosphere in the locker room needs to be addressed. There are still controversies and issues that haven’t been settled since last season and that can affect the team this season. Some more moves on the roster will have to be made in order to clear the air to start fresh and no team needs it more than the Sens. Despite their shortcomings on the current roster, Ottawa does have a few good prospects. Brady Tkachuk is their top gun that can make camp this year as well as Logan Brown. There are spots available so look for them to make an impression right out of the gate. The Sens might be in for another fiasco if the garden hose is still kinked but I think it’ll be a little bit more stable this season, but just a little. #7 DETROIT RED WINGS If there was a word that would describe Detroit right now, it would be ‘underwhelming’. Nobody on Detroit was an impact player last season. Forwards like Larkin and Mantha are good, but they are better suited for secondary scoring roles, not top line duties. If this team gets one or two studs that can plug and play into the lineup(most likely won’t happen), the whole dynamics of this team will change for the better but it’s wise to go for the rebuilding strategy since Detroit is excellent at drafting. They got Pavel Zadina at the draft this Summer. He’s a pure goal-scorer who can make the team but he won’t a impact right away. Michael Rasmussen is very intriguing as well. He will most likely make the team with a great impression but overall the Wings won’t be taken seriously this season. They don’t have any established elite players at this point in time. Give it another year for Detroit be a much better team who can quietly make a massive leap forward if the development of Zadina and Rasmussen goes well. #8 MONTREAL CANADIENS I wish I could say that the Habs have something going for them but I’m afraid they don’t have much at this point, at least for now. The team on paper looks like it’s rebuilding especially with Pacioretty recently traded to Vegas for Nick Suzuki, Tatar and a 2nd round pick. Looks like a type of trade for a rebuild to start but GM Bergevin says otherwise. He still wants to keep Weber and Price on the club despite the club going on a downward trend. Drouin and Gallagher still had good seasons despite how poorly the team performed but they need a wealth of support around them if they want to improve their numbers. If the Habs want to trend upward, they have to focus on developing their current prospects. They have a long list of centers that are in development and that’s an area where they need top get much better at. They do have Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Ryan Poehling aa their top center prospects but they won’t be ready for awhile yet. Now that they have Suzuki, it should be interesting where he slots in if he makes the club. Nikita Scherbak is talented and will challenge for a wing position as well. Victor Mete and Noah Juulsen saw some action last season and made an impression to the coaching staff. They’ll have an advantage in training camp because of the experience. The Habs have a much better prospect pool than what most people think and they still have decent pieces in place to make a good team down the road but their locker room is filled with distraction. The media always puts a spin on the team’s affairs which makes it difficult to focus on playing hockey. Because of that, they’ll have a rocky season ahead of them.   For more articles, predictions and more... go to https://oilfieldjerseys.com/

oilfieldhockey

oilfieldhockey

 

THE DEBATE – Hockey Podcast | Episode 33 Suckerpunch, Unsigned RFA’s, and Preseason Standouts

THE DEBATE – Hockey Podcast | Episode 33  Suckerpunch, Unsigned RFA’s, and Preseason Standouts   Brad Burud and Blake Friars prep for the start of the NHL season by discussing preseason standouts. Lots of great young talented showcased in the preseason, and some will be taking roster spots. Domi suckerpunched Ekblad – the reaction and the results of this stupid hockey play. With 10 days until the start of the season Toronto Maple Leafs forward and RFA is still unsigned. Will he be signed? We will give you our opinions.   PODCAST

InsideEdge

InsideEdge

 

Vancouver Young Talent Shines

Vancouver Young Talent Shines The preseason could not be going any better if you are a Canucks fan.  Preseason is a showcase for young prospects, and in Vancouver the young prospects look amazing………Olli Juolevi is staking claim that he will be a solid NHL player, but then there is the man…Elias Pettersson!  Wow is this guy impressive.  He is doing everything…  He is flashy, he is exciting, and more importantly he is making players around him look like superstars – right Sven Baertschi.   Leafs Tire Pumping The Maple Leafs will be good, but back the wagons up Leafs fans.  The season has not started.  I know..I know… Tavares has two goal in his first game…  I think there is a lot more ahead for this team.  They will be good, but relax Leafs fans… You’re not cup contenders… and honestly, I hope you prove me wrong.   Domi Disgrace The first preseason game that new Montreal Canadiens center was in turned out to be a disaster.  Domi tried baiting Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad into a fight. Ekblad would not give Domi the satisfaction of the fight – in return Domi sucker punched him in the face.  Not the showing the Habs fans expected or wanted. Well maybe it was not too bad. Below is a press release from the NHL: NHL PRESS RELEASE Montreal Canadiens forward Max Domi has been suspended for the remainder of the preseason for roughing Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad during NHL Preseason Game No. 29 in Montreal on Wednesday, Sept. 19, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today. The incident occurred at 0:56 of the third period. Domi was assessed a match penalty as well as a minor penalty for roughing. For a full explanation of the decision, complete with video, please click on the following link: https://www.nhl.com/video/t-277440360/c-61189703. The suspension shocked me and frustrates me.  I ask the NHL, is it really a penalty to punish a guy with preseason games.  No regular season games, none.  So Domi gets to practice and relax and prepare for the regular season without having to worry about in significant pre-season games. Look out NHL, you quickly set the suspension bar for the season, and it is low.

InsideEdge

InsideEdge

 

THE DEBATE Hockey Podcast - 20 Preseason Questions

THE DEBATE – Hockey Podcast | Episode 32 20 Preseason Questions   Brad Burud and Blake Friars discuss the monster Erik Karlsson trade, Robin Lehner Mental Health struggles, and Humboldt closure. Then they dive into 20 preseason quesions. Who is this years biggest bust? Who is the biggest rivalry? How many Canadian teams will make the playoffs? The questions keep coming…   PODCAST

InsideEdge

InsideEdge

 

Captains Head West...

Captains Head West… In a one-week span (during the offseason) two Eastern Conference team captains head to the Western Conference.  The first trade took place on September 10th.  The Montreal Canadiens sent captain Max Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights. In return the Montreal Canadiens received Tomas Tatar, Nick Suzuki, and a 2019 Second Round Pick.   If that was not enough the Ottawa Senators sent their captain Erik Karlsson and Francis Perron to the San Jose Sharks in a monster deal.  In return the Senators receive a large package of players – Josh Norris, Chris Tierney, Rudolfs Balcers, Dylan DeMeio, Conditional 2020 1stRound Pick, Conditional 2019 2ndRound Pick, and 2 more Conditional Picks. Well my takes on this – take #1 – With Karlsson and Pacioretty traded now we can all talk about the game instead of them, for that I am thankful -- Montreal was forced to move Pacioretty, their return.  Not too bad. I think it will pay off for Montreal in the future, and honestly, I think Pacioretty will not have an easy time playing in the physical Western Conference.  As far as the Karlsson trade…. He is one of the best defensemen in the NHL so no matter what you get in return it will look like garbage. Ottawa is a mess, and this is par for the course.  The Western Conference just got better.   Drug Policy The NHL is not running and hiding from the fact that marijuana is becoming legal in some US states and may just become legal in all of Canada.  They laid down the law by saying that they will not be changing any of the leagues drug policies making it still an illegal substance.   Great move NHL.  I am with you on this one.   Crawford Is Out Just when things could not get worse in Chicago they did!  Corey Crawford is very doubtful for the start of this season.  I also don’t think I am going out on a limb by saying that I would not be at all surprised if he did not play a game this season. It is scary how quickly things fell apart in Chicago.    Bobrovsky Wants Big $ Columbus looks to be in goalie trouble.  Sergei Bobrovsky heads into the final year of his contract and things do not look optimistic. Bobrovsky wants to be the top paid goaltender in the league and I am not sure that Blue Jackets management is on that some page.  I ask the question, should he be the highest paid goalie in the league?  I guess my answer would be no, he is good but not that good.  I would feel a lot different if he had some playoff success under his belt.     Prayers to Humboldt We close the chapter on the Humboldt Broncos tragedy.  No this does not mean we will forget or that we will quit praying for them.  It just means that it is time for us to let players, families, friends and Humboldt the privacy to move on.  The first game back for the Humboldt Broncos was last Wednesday night.  It was exciting, it was emotional, it was amazing.  Amazing to see a community come back together doing what they love…watching hockey.  The ceremony was heartbreaking but yet amazing.  I pray for the families.  I will never forget this tragic accident and I will always pray for everyone involved. Prayers to Humboldt….

InsideEdge

InsideEdge

 

THE DEBATE Hockey Podcast - Episode 31 - Predictions and Teams on the Move

Brad Burud and Blake Friars are back for season two of THE DEBATE Hockey Podcast.  The 31st episode is all about predictions and the NHL season ahead.  They breakdown and debate which NHL teams are on the move up and which are on the move down.  Then they talk Eastern and Western Conference and give you insight on who will win each division and most importantly the Stanley Cup.   PODCAST  

InsideEdge

InsideEdge

 

Au Revoir Pacioretty

It finally happened! Max Pacioretty, 29, was dealt to the Vegas Golden Knights, in exchange for winger Tomas Tatar, top prospect Nick Suzuki, and a 2019 2ndround draft pick. The Knights acquired Tatar in a trade with the Detroit Redwings back in February, paying a steep price to. A 2019 1st, 2nd, and 3rdround pick, for a guy who was a healthy scratch in 12 of Vegas’s playoff games last year. It makes you scratch you head around the thought process GM George McPhee had with this trade. The Knights lose Neal, and Perron in Free Agency and add Paul Stansty, and Max Pacioretty, not bad for a team who went to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season. Montreal trades their beloved captain and get prospect center depth they have lacked for years. With Suzuki, Kotkaniemi, and Poehling, the future center depth is starting to become more clear for the Habs.   Pen to Paper Winnipeg Jets star winger, Blake Wheeler got a huge pay day last week. The 31-year-old signed a 8 year/41 million dollar deal, an average salary of 8.25 per season. Wheeler, coming off a dominant campaign last year where he set career highs in assists (68), and points (91). The Jets now have Schifele, Wheeler, Hellebyuck, and Ehlers all locked up for the next six seasons. The Jets are due is pay Kyle Connor, and stud Patrik Laine big bucks next season. Are the Jets the next dynasty on the rise in the NHL?   Stevie Why?   A shocking development on twitter saw TSN’s Bob Mackenzie tweet out this this AM; https://twitter.com/TSNBobMcKenzie/status/1039560936208576512. With training camp right around the corner its rare you see something like this. Yzerman had this to say on his departure from the team; “[I believe in] doing what I think is the right thing,” Yzerman told reporters on Tuesday. “I believe I’ve done that. In that sense it made it an easier decision. It’s what’s right for the Tampa Bay Lightning and what’s right for me personally and professionally.” The Lighting are the odds on favorite to win the Stanley Cup this year and Steve Y has been a huge part of that.    As Advertised   Vancouver Canucks top prospect Elias Petterson did not disappoint this year at the Penticton Rookie Showcase. The 5thoverall pick in 2017, showed his elite release scoring four goals and tallying 3 assists in the two games. Coming off an MVP season in the SHL and becoming the youngest player in SHL history to lead the league in points, Petterson is showing the Canucks Brass that they made the right choice going off the board to select the 6’ 2 170-pound Center.       Nurse Holding Out?   Edmonton Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse are far apart in negotiations, and with training camp a few days away, it makes you wonder if both parties will get it done in time for the regular season. A contract holdout is the last thing the Oilers need, they lost Andrej Sekera for the season with a torn Achilles. That being said big contracts to Lucic, Nugent-Hopkins, McDavid, and Draisaitl, are making it tough to pay the Restricted Free Agent. If I had to guess I would say Nurse makes around 6 million with his new deal. The Oilers got some work ahead of them!   Ramsey… This guy Lol   When Jacksonville Jaguars Cornerback Jalon Ramsey said he could crack an NHL squad if he had 6 months to train, I laughed. First of all, the guy as never skated in his life. Ever. NHL players didn’t hold back when asked about it. “Good luck, no chance” a few players said. I think a NHL player would have far more success on a football field, compared to a football player on ice, that being said I would love to see Ramsey attempt to skate. For now, stick to football Mr. Ramsey

InsideEdge

InsideEdge

Is Dallas Losing Seguin?

Welcome – My name is Blake Friars, I am co-host onThe Debate Hockey Podcast.  Over the summer we decided that I will start doing weekly posts on my 6 thoughts about topics in the NHL. I am a diehard Vancouver Canucks fan, I would love to hear from you guys in the comments for opinions and feedback. Looking forward to a great hockey season.   Broken Wing               We all know about the back issues that have been hindering the play of the Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg over the last two seasons. None of us thought it would come to him possibly missing the entire 2018-19 season. Zetterberg had this to say on his setback; https://twitter.com/reporterchris/status/1034559239728099328  “I have not been able to train and I cannot play NHL matches without being well prepared, especially not at my age.” Zetterberg, 37, will turn 38 October 9th. If this is in fact it for the Wings legend what a run it was. Zetterberg is 5thon the Wings all-time scoring list with 337 goals and 960 points.       Vancity Crazy   On August 22ndSportsnet’s Elliot Freidman dropped a bomb on the hockey world when he tweeted that the Vancouver Canucks were in on the Erik Karlsson sweepstakes.  https://twitter.com/FriedgeHNIC/status/1032296716014219264. Canucks GM’ Jim Benning entering his 5thyear with the club has transformed what was once the teams’ biggest weakness into its biggest strength’ the prospect pool. With the likes of Brock Boeser, Elias Petterson, Quinn Hughes, and Thatcher Demko, Canucks fans for the first time since 1999 actually have something to look forward to. Let’s shift back to a possible Karlsson to Vancouver trade just for fun. The conversation would start with the Canucks 7thoverall pick in the most recent NHL draft Quinn Hughes. Add a first-round pick in the 2019 draft which could turn out to be Quinn’s’ younger brother Jack, from a Canucks point of view this just doesn’t make sense to mortgage the future that look almost a decade to build. Benning has said on record “I’m not trading the Quinn Hughes and Brock Boeser’s and Elias Petterson’s. That’s not happening.” Get excited Canucks fans the future is almost here!   Pay-Less Seguin   Training camp is on the rise and the Dallas Stars and star center Tyler Seguin are “far apart” in negotiations. "I've been disappointed that it hasn't happened, the expectations were that it would be earlier in the summer, and there hasn't been much talk. But I'm back to work, I still have one year left, and that's been my focus,” said Seguin. The former 2ndoverall pick in the 2010 draft scored a career high 40 goals last season, and is set to hit free agency July 1st. Since the trade to Dallas in 2013, Seguin has totaled 384 points in 387 games. He has scored 178 goals in that span tied for 2ndwith Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin leads that department with 234 goals. The question is, will the Dallas stars pay Seguin and how much?! I see Seguin getting a similar contract to what John Tavares got this summer a 7 year 77-million-dollar deal. Habs (Carey)ied to playoffs?   With Carey Price finally back to full health the Montreal Canadians are banking a huge bounce back season form the best goalie in the NHL. in 2015 Price won 44 games had a .933 Sv% to go along with a 1.96 GAA. He also won the Hart, Vezina and the William Jennings, for a goalie that’s unheard of. But Montreal has a big problem. They struggled to score goals and keep them out of their net. They have completely mishandled the Max Pacioretty situation, and have yet to offer Pacioretty a contract extension. They supposedly had a deal to ship the captain to the Los Angeles Kings at the draft, but the deal got caught on a snag with a sign and trade. Shea Weber is on the shelf until Christmas with a knee injury. A lot has to go right for the Canadiens to make the playoffs, but a return to 2015 form for Carey Price would go a long way.   Metro Vs. Central               A topic that has been going on for a long time in the NHL is who is the best division in the league. In my opinion it comes down to the Metro and the Central. Let’s break them down. In the Metro the top dogs are Pittsburgh who has cups in 2016 and 2017, the Capitals who silenced the critics and beat the Penguins and went on to capture their first Stanley Cup this season. They brought back John Carlson and gave Tom Wilson a ridiculous 6-year extension. The pesky Blue Jackets who find a way to win with great goaltending, and the wild card is the Flyers for me. They brought back James Van Reimesdyk to solidify their top 6 up front. The only problem with the Flyers is in the crease, can Lyon and Elliot carry them to another playoff spot. The Islanders just lost their franchise player in John Tavares they have a long road ahead of them, even with Lou, and Trotz in the fold. The Rangers are a rebuilding team, and the Carolina Hurricanes are a complete dumpster fire not much to say on them.              Shifting gears to the Central, you have Winnipeg who knocked off the Predators in the 2ndround, and had a magical run to the Western Conference Finals. The scary thing about it is they are just getting started. Connor Hellebuyck had a career high 44 wins and was a Vezina nominee, they have a young core in Scheifele, Laine, Connor, Trouba, Hellebuyck. They are going to be a force in this division for a long time. The Preds have the best D core in the NHL but with Pekka Rinne on the last year of his deal, and having to pay captain Roman Josi big bucks next season you have to think they will eventually run into some cap problems. It will be interesting to see what the direction they go in. The St. Louis Blues got a lot better, adding Ryan O’Rielly, Tyler Bozak, Patrick Maroon, and brought back David Perron for his 3rdstint with the club. Look for them to give Nashville a run for their money for 2ndin the division. That leaves the inconsistent Dallas Stars (You never know what you’re going to get), the overachieving Av’s, the old and slow wild, and the Blackhawks are dead that I will tell ya. Going to be a long season for Hawk’s fans.  If I had to pick a division to I would say the Metro, what can’t you like about it. Sid vs Ovi, Flyers vs Pens, the classic playoff rivalries within that division to be I think the Central is over hyped.           Willy Payday?               Toronto Maple Leafs RFA William Nylander is still without a contract and talks have been pretty silent. I think Nylanders ceiling is 60-70 points but with the way contracts GMs have been handing out lately I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nylander get 7 million, even though he’s only worth around 5-5.5, 6 at the most. The question is does Kyle Dubas sign him to a long term eight-year deal or a 2-year bridge deal. Regardless of the outcome the Leafs have one of the deepest center depths in the league and are destined for a lengthy playoff run this year.

InsideEdge

InsideEdge

Is the Central Division Really that Good?

Rink Report - brad Burud   Welcome --- First post in a new section that I will be doing weekly this season.  I am Brad Burud the owner of Inside Edge Hockey News.  Many call me the NHL opinionist…. well that is what this section is all about.  I will throw at you my thoughts, opinions, or my gripes every week.  Some are controversial, some are common sense, and some might frustrate you.  I am open to all of your thoughts and comments.  Fire away in the comment section below.  I love talking hockey with fellow hockey fans.   Is it just me or is the Central Division getting way too much hype heading into this season. Really, are they as strong as they used to be… I don’t think so.  Winnipeg, probably the best team in the NHL, and I am not arguing with Nashville either. As for the rest, are they really that good?  Minnesota, well they seem to make the playoffs every year, but this year I think that will end.  Colorado, who knows with this team.  They shocked the hockey world last season but there is lots of questions this year, the first being between the pipes.  St. Louis to me looks like a better team on paper but seem to falter.  I do think they will be good this season.  Dallas, will the real Dallas team please stand up.  Your guess is as good as mine.  They honestly could be a top three team in the league or miss the playoffs (they proved that last year.  Chicago’s golden days are gone..they will be golfing early.   I am tired of the Erik Karlsson saga, how much longer can this go on.  I think we all need to stop talking about this…he is not going to Vancouver (or Canada for that matter).  I think he is only worried about $$$$$, and that bothers me to say that because any interaction I have had with him has been more than positive.  I think Vegas is the frontrunner, but the list of teams lined up is very long.  I think Karlsson will start the year in Ottawa and will be the talk of deadline day.  I also predict that he struggles this year.  Yes – that is bold, considering the fact that I think he is one of the best defensemen in the league.   I have been plugging the Winnipeg Jets for three years now. This team is for real, I honestly feel that they have more top end talent than any other team in the NHL.  I guess The Hockey News thinks so too... four Jets players in the top 50 players list.             9. Mark Scheifele C             15. Blake Wheeler RW             19. Patrik Laine RW             22. Connor Hellebuyck G That is some real firepower… big things on the prairie this winter….

InsideEdge

InsideEdge

 

THE DEBATE – Hockey Podcast | Episode 29 NHL Draft Shuffle, Flames/Canes Trade and Top Targets

THE DEBATE – Hockey Podcast | Episode 29 NHL Draft Shuffle, Flames/Canes Trade and Top Targets   Debate 1 |NHL Draft – Winners and Losers Debate 2 |Flames/Canes Blockbuster Trade Debate 3 |NHL Free-Agents and Trade Targets Its NHL Draft time and Brad Burud and Blake Friars breakdown the winners and losers, and what players moved up and what players fell in the draft. The Calgary Flames and the Carolina Hurricanes hooked up on a blockbuster trade. Who won this deal, and why did this deal go down? NHL free agency is coming quick. Where will players sign and who is on the trade block?   PODCAST

InsideEdge

InsideEdge

 

Caps Hoist Cup, Island of the Unknown, and Draft Talk

THE DEBATE – Hockey Podcast | Episode 27 Caps Hoist Cup, Island of the Unknown, and Draft Talk   Debate 1 |The Washington Capitals win the Stanley Cup Debate 2 |New Management for the New York Islanders Debate 3 |Will the NHL Draft be an active trade day The Washington Capitals have won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. How did they do it? Brad Burud and Blake Friars break it down along with a complete playoff recap. The Islanders are making management moves but will this correlate to success on the ice, and who are the hot draft prospects this year, and will the draft be an active trade day. The NHL season is now over but THE DEBATE Hockey Podcast keeps on rolling.   PODCAST

InsideEdge

InsideEdge

 

The Instigator |Episode 13 High Scoring = Boring Hockey

The Instigator |Episode 13 High Scoring = Boring Hockey     The Stanley Cup Playoffs are off and running and goal scoring is at break neck pace. Is this good for the game? Does it make for more exciting games? Or does it make for really, really boring hockey? Fans have been screaming for more goals for years and years. Well you got that in round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and it just happened to be the worst first round for entertainment in years.     PODCAST
 

THE DEBATE – Hockey Podcast | Episode 26 Off to Round 2 of Stanley Cup Playoffs and Draft Lottery

THE DEBATE – Hockey Podcast | Episode 26 Off to Round 2 of Stanley Cup Playoffs and Draft Lottery     Debate 1 |Draft Lottery System Debate 2 |Eastern Conference Divisional Finals Debate 3 |Western Conference Divisional Finals It is off to round two of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Brad Burud and Blake Friars breakdown all four series. The good, the bad and the crazy. Then on to the NHL Draft Lottery. They discuss the system and the winners and losers, and most importantly debate if the Buffalo Sabres can take advantage of the number one draft pick.   PODCAST
 

Names to Watch for Extensions on July 1st

Thanks for reading! Stop by www.belowthegoalline.com for exclusive playoff analysis.   NHL players with existing contracts cannot sign a contract extension until the reach the final year of their current contract. Each year, several players are inked to contract extensions when they are eligible on July 1st of the last year of their contract.   While the opening day of free agency will bring a lot of excitement for teams acquiring a new player or two, July 1st can also be a great day for players, as they look to lock up their long-term future with a contract extension with their current team.   Below the Goal Line took a look at the players you should look out for this summer who fit this criteria:   Drew Doughty - Doughty is a legitimate #1 defenseman with the Los Angeles Kings. At 28 years of age, Doughty has won two Olympic Gold Medals and two Stanley Cup championships. Doughty has skated in the last four All-Star Games, and continues to be a top defender in the NHL.   Drew Doughty is enters 2018-19 with a $7,650,000 salary, and a cap hit of $7,000,000. The market for top defensemen in the NHL is going up, and we can expect Doughty to command around $10 million next summer in free agency. The Kings would be wise to lock up one of their best players this year before that happens.   Tyler Seguin - The top center the Dallas Stars, Tyler Seguin will be following along with the John Tavares free agency this summer. Seguin and Tavares are very similar offensive catalysts, and both players will be looking at similar contracts in the near future. Tavares has 621 points in 669 career games, while the younger Seguin has 505 in 590 games.   Seguin will make $6,500,000 next season, but that will likely go up after the 2018-19 campaign, which is his last under contract with Dallas. If John Tavares picks up around $10.5 million this summer, expect Tyler Seguin to find a salary around that same value when it's his turn to hit free agency in the summer of 2019. Seguin could be a candidate for an early extension this summer, but likely will wait until Tavares sets the bar.   Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski - A lot will probably change this summer for the San Jose Sharks, who will be contenders in the John Tavares sweepstakes, but next summer's free agent group will be a good one to watch. Logan Couture and captain Joe Pavelski will hit the market in 2019 if they don't re-sign with San Jose early.   Both players are coming off 6 year, $36 million contracts, and could re-sign this summer if desired. Couture will be looking for a pay increase, likely into the $8 million range. He is a talented two-way center who matches up against the opposing team's top players every night.   Pavelski, on the other hand, will be 34 to start the 2018-19 season, but likely has another two seasons left after his current contract expires. While you cannot expect him to be a huge offensive weapon he has been in his career (eight straight season above 20 goals, on including the lockout-shortened season of 2012-13), he continues to be an effective player, and should be looked at as a good middle-six player going forward.   Artemi Panarin - The Columbus Blue Jackets acquired Panarin in the summer of 2017, and will hope to extend him in the summer of 2018 after a 82 point season. Panarin, who makes $6 million dollar a season on his current contract, is the best offensive player in the Blue Jackets' organization, and will be looked upon for continued offensive down the road.   Panarin will almost certainly cross the $7 million threshold, but could command $8.5 million of more.   Nikita Kucherov - The Tampa Bay Lightning forward led the NHL in points for most of this season, but ultimately finished third with 100 points. He is just 24-years-old at the moment, but he will be looking for a new contract after the 2018-19 campaign. Kucherov will certainly earn a contract similar to, or greater than, the contract of team captain and linemate Steven Stamkos, who has an average salary of $8.5 million.   Missed the cut:   Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury would be welcome back to the Vegas Golden Knights, but at 34, he might not be in the long-term plans for the organization. They will likely wait to see how Vegas plays next season after a successful first year in 2017-18.   The same can be said about Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators, who might be able to play at a high level after his current contract runs out next season. He is 35 at the moment.   Both Erik Karlsson and Matt Duchene are good players for the Ottawa Senators, but talk about a rebuild in Ottawa might scare the two from re-signing this summer, or even at all.
 

4/25/2018 - NHL Playoff Recap

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out www.belowthegoalline.com later today for an exclusive look at the second round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.   Tonight marks the end of the first round of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs. Check out the entire first round here.   Toronto Maple Leafs @ Boston Bruins   In the only first round series to go the full seven games, the Boston Bruins will hope their home will secure them a ticket to face the Tampa Bay Lightning in Round 2. First, they must dispatch their first round opponent, the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have climbed back from a 3-1 series deficit to force a Game 7 in Boston.   If you like scoring, this game was for you. This game featured 11 goals, including just one empty netter, one shorthanded goal, and two powerplay goals. Both goalies combines for 49 saves on 59 shots. That results in a .831 save percentage in this game.   Maple Leaf Patrick Marleau scored 2:05 into the game when he deflected a shot from the point past Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask on the powerplay.   The Bruins would come back with a powerplay goal of their own at 4:47 when Jake DeBrusk deflected a shot past the Toronto goalie, Frederik Andersen.   Marleau would score his second of the game at 6:12. This goal was a quick flick of the wrist from the right faceoff circle. The second goal from Toronto came after the Bruins could not get the puck out of their own zone, and it ended up in the back of their net.   Danton Heinen and Patrice Bergeron would score for the Bruins in the opening period to give them a 3-2 lead. Bergeron's goal was a nifty play from Kevan Miller, who purposefully shot the puck wide of the net, so it would find Bergeron alone on the other side of the net for the easy tap in.   The second period belonged to the Maple Leafs. Rookie Travis Dermott scored his first career playoff goal, and Kasperi scored this filthy shorthanded goal to give Toronto the 4-3 lead heading into the final period.   Tory Krug scored a booming slap shot from the left faceoff circle at 1:10 of the third period to tie the game. It was that goal that seemed to open the flood gate for the Bruins, who would score three more times in the period.   Jake DeBrusk picked up his second goal of the game, and his fifth of the series at 5:25. DeBrusk powers down the right side of the ice when the teams were skating 4-on-4. He fooled Frederik Andersen with a quick wrist shot that went through Andersen's legs for the 5-4 lead.   That goal would end up being the game winner, as the Bruins would add two more in the period for the 7-4 win.   This sets up a Boston Bruins/Tampa Bay Lightning match-up in the second round. For Toronto, this marks the second straight exit in the first round. The meltdown in the third period would lead me to believe they need more help in their defensive zone, but I think Andersen could have been sharper in this game.   Find out more about the second round of the playoffs on the preview coming up later today by Below the Goal Line. Thanks for reading!
 

THE DEBATE – Hockey Podcast | Episode 25 Stanley Cup Round One Disappointment and NHL Coaches Shuffle

THE DEBATE – Hockey Podcast | Episode 25 Stanley Cup Round One Disappointment and NHL Coaches Shuffle     Debate 1 |NHL Coaches Shuffle Debate 2 |Western Conference Round One Recap and Round Two Preview Debate 3 |Eastern Conference Round One Recap and Round Two Preview Brad Burud and Blake Friars debate the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Was it what we expected, was it as exciting as usual or was it a flop. They also breakdown the recent coaching changes as Bill Peters is out of Carolina and is now in Calgary. Also openings in NY Rangers, Dallas and Carolina, who will fill these spots?   PODCAST

InsideEdge

InsideEdge

 

4/22/2018 - NHL Playoof Recap

The first round of the NHL Playoffs is almost over! Be sure to check out the complete NHL Playoff race here.   Boston Bruins @ Toronto Maple Leafs   After a strong regular season, and a quick start to this series, the Boston Bruins had another opportunity to eliminate the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight in Game 6. Holing a 3-2 series lead, Boston needed just a single victory to advance to the second round to face the Tampa Bay Lightning.   Toronto, however, has shown signs that they do not want to go home for the summer just yet. The Maple Leafs pulled out the victory in Game 5 on Saturday to stay alive. They were down 3-1 in the series at that point.   Once again, Frederik Andersen would be key for the Maple Leafs to remain in the postseason mix. The Toronto goalie, who stats were inflated by a 5-1 and 7-3 loss in the first two games, has held the high-flying Boston Bruins offense to just nine goals in the last four games of this series.   If you have been following along, you would know that nine goals over Games 3-6 would mean that Andersen only allowed a single goal Monday night in Toronto. Andersen stopped 32 of 33 shots to defeat the Bruins and force a winner-take-all Game 7 on Wednesday night.   After a scoreless first period, it was the Bruins who found their lone goal. Jake Debrusk picked up his third goal of the playoffs. After David Krejci would the offensive faceoff, DeBrusk ripped home a shot past Andersen, who never saw the shot from the top of the faceoff circle.   That goal was at 1:02 of the second period, but Toronto would come roaring back very soon after. William Nylander picked up his first of the series just 35 seconds later. Nylander sneaks in to the right of Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask, and is all alone when a rebound pops out to him for a quick shot.   Mitch Marner picked up his second of the series at 13:25 of that middle period. The goal, that would stand up as the game winner, came after a shot from the point was deflected and slowed down in front of the net. The speed Marner grabs the puck from Bruins forward Brad Marchand, and backhands a puck over Rask for the 2-1 lead.   The Bruins still have life in this series, but there was a real sense of momentum shift in this game. The Maple Leafs might be the favorites early in Game 7 simply because they have faced two elimination games already, and have played strong enough hockey to win both of those games.    Be sure to check back at Below the Goal Line for coverage of Game 7 on Wednesday! Follow us on Twitter (@belowthegoaline) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/belowthegoalline) for up to the minute updates.   Washington Capitals @ Columbus Blue Jackets   The Washington Capitals traveled back to Columbus after winning Game 5 on Saturday night. With the Game 5 win, the Capitals held a 3-2 series lead over the Blue Jackets. A win tonight would eliminate Columbus, and send the Capitals on to the second round, where they would meet the Pittsburgh Penguins for the third consecutive season.   Washington got off to a good start in this game. Dmitry Orlov would open the scoring in the first period with a big slap shot from the point at 12:12. The Capitals definitely had the energy early in this game, which surprised a lot of people, considering the Blue Jackets didn't seem to get off the plane in Game 5.   But Columbus responded in the second period, pumping 14 shots on goaltender Braden Holtby. One of those 14 shots,  quick snap of the puck by captain Nick Foligno, beat Holtby to tie the game in the middle frame.   Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin would respond, however. Critics have been all over Ovechkin for apparently not showing up when his team needed him the most (something I never understood, considering the guy has 51 goals and 98 points in 103 playoff games), but he came to play in the second period of Game 6.   Ovechkin scored his fourth of the series at 12:50. The backhand shot from in close to the net beat a sliding Columbus goaltender, Sergei Bobrovsky, for the 2-1 lead. Ovechkin was not done there, and would pick up his second goal of the period at 18:23. The one was a typical one-time slapper from the left faceoff circle that just overpowered Bobrovsky for the 3-1 lead.   The third period featured the most goal scoring in this game. Blue Jackets forward Pierre-Luc Dubois would cut the lead to 3-2 just 2:25 in, but Washington's Devante Smith-Pelly and Chandler Stephenson scored at 3:56 and 5:30 to give the Capitals a 5-2 lead.   Columbus captain Nick Foligno picked up his second goal of the game at 8:22 to cut the lead to 5-3, but that would be as close as the Blue Jackets would get in this game. After an empty net goal, the Washington Capitals picked up the 6-3 win, and the 4-2 series win.   With the series victory, the Washington Capitals set up another date with the Pittsburgh Penguins in Round 2. While they haven't been able to take down the Penguins in the past two postseason, this year presents another opportunity to defeat their arch-rivals for the right to move on to the Conference Finals.    Stay tuned to Below the Goal Line for a preview of the second round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, coming your way as soon as the Toronto-Boston series concludes.

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