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Author: Subject: NHL 2018-2019
Flash
The Immortal One






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posted on 9-10-2018 at 06:18 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
NHL 2018-2019

So Vegas odds are out and as of this writing the Leafs and Lightning are both equally favoured to win the cup; Jets, Bruins, Sharks, Golden Knights, Pens, Blues, and Caps are all also on the short list of predicted cup finishers. The least likely by an overwhelming margin are the Detroit Red Wings, with Sens, Canucks, and Coyotes all also looking at predicted bad seasons... Although really, until the season starts and we get a ways in it will be tough to tell how any team really stands.

A few stories to follow this season:

*Nate Schmidt, Vegas's top minute man from last season has been suspended for 20 games due to violating the leagues drug policy. For his part Schmidt, and the team seem to be protesting this claiming that he is not a cheater.

*Detroit captain Zetterberg is expected to miss the start of the season with a wonky back... With Datsyuk stepping away from the game last year, and their captain winding down his career Detroit will really be on a new page as any hold over from their last cup are now out.

*The Canucks will start their first season in almost two decades without the Sedins in the line up; this should help them a bit more defense wise, but they will miss the points the two provided as scoring is the major consensus problem the Canucks are facing going into this year.

*Bad summer for this years crop of RFA's; as several big names young guns remain unsigned with training camp less than two weeks away... Unless you're Ryan Johansen missing training camp is a generally a quick way to a poor season. The unsigned crop includes Nylander (Tor), Morrissey (WPG), Theodore (VGK), Nurse (EDM), and Ritchie (ANH) among others... Nylander is probably the biggest name of the group and it's likely that the hold up is Toronto trying to figure out a way to make whatever they sign him for work with keeping cap space for next summers Matthews and Marner deals. This will be rookie GM Kyle Dubas first big test in a tough Toronto market.

*Things continue to be in a holding patter with Montreal and Max Pacioretty, their captain and leading scorer... For his part MP has stated he never once asked for a trade, and with his contract up next season odds are something will need to be done sooner rather than later.

*The team to watch from a news standpoint this year is apt to be the Ottawa Senators; After an embarrassing summer that saw Captain Karlsson's wife take out a restraining order against the fiancee of teamate Mike Hoffman due to online harassment (denied by the Hoffman's) which resulted in them getting a poor return for a good scorer, them get public rebuffed by their captain Karlsson in terms of a contract extension and it get out that they have actively tried to trade him, and that the assistant GM (now departed) was accused of inappropriate behaviour with minors in Buffalo (the charges are more assault related).... They go into this season with a lot of question marks... is this the team from a few seasons ago that went to the final four? Will the team owner still grouse about moving the team? What's to become of Karlsson, Stone, and Duchene who are all UFA's at the end of the season? It's worth noting that Ottawa also has no first round pick next summer as they opted to keep this years pick in the deal with Colorado that helped them acquire Duchene last year.

My take? Scrap the team early.... While you never want to write any team off before the day one puck drops there's too much going on in the locker room. Ottawa already took out seats to shrink their arena capacity this last year due to poor attendance so a hot and cold fan base is already an issue... Trading Karlsson is going to hurt whenever you trade him, losing one or both of Duchene or Stone will also hurt (Goalie Anderson is also said to be on the block, but at 37 with two years left he might be tough to trade... and he's popular in Ottawa)... Better to rip off the band aid early and let the next crop and whomever you get for the above trio, which should be a nice assortment of pics and youth, gel in what is apt to be a lost season anyway... Ottawa won't be a buyer at the end of the year even if they are in a playoff spot (maybe a depth winger on an expiring contract) and likely can't afford to, or just can't keep the three... Trade them before Christmas (they don't have to worry about bottoming out early as they don't have their own pick) which will let them maybe get a bit more as the new teams can work on keeping them for the whole year beyond this season instead of only getting a few months look.
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Picks....

I REALLY like Toronto landing Tavares, and the talent they have that will be knocking on the door this year up front is the envy of the league... Toronto's forward corpse should cover up a lot of defensive deficiencies as they are apt to be in the other teams end more often than in their own...

In saying that, I think Toronto still really needs a good defensemen in the mix to go all the way; They've got some good young guys who may one day fill that role, but are likely a year or two away... A trade could change things, but I think this year won't be there's.

Cup: Lightning... The crop of talent Yzerman has put in place in TB is incredible, and they boast a deep forward group and a good puck moving defense. They've got some cap room so a late season pick up is likely... Maybe you see a UFA guy like Rick Nash come in really cheap for the third line for a chance to win the cup an they would still have space to fill any holes remaining.

West: There's a part of me that thinks Calgary could come in as a dark horse here, or even the Oilers... Edmonton is the team that was picked to win it all by the Hockey news two seasons ago before they completely fell apart; Largely still the same it's hard to write off a team that boasts arguably the best player in the world... In saying that; Nashville window to win is still wide open, and they've got the experience now... Let's say a Lightning-Predators finish.

Weird stuff that's based on nothing.... Montreal has a lot of problems, but you kind of write them off each year but then like every three years or so they massively over achieve... So them having a good seasons doesn't feel completely alien to me. By that same lack of logic I think the Jets take a step back this year... Ditto for Vegas... Probably not a complete crash for those two, but being in the thick of a fight for a playoff spot seems likely. The Islanders having lost their franchise player is going to hurt them but it also might let them sneak into the playoffs having few expectations placed on them.

Eastern Conference playoffs in no particular order:
Lightning
Leafs
Canadiens
Devils
Blue Jackets
Pens
Caps
Bruins

Western Conference
Predators
Kings
Oilers
Jets
St. Louis
Stars
Flames
Jets

Scoring leader: Matthews (Tor) or Kucherov (TB)
Goalie: Price (MTL)

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Flash
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posted on 9-10-2018 at 07:22 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
The tenure of Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty is now over as Montreal traded him to Vegas for 2017 13th overall pick Nick Suzuki, CBJ's 2019 second round pick, and Tomas Tatar. Pacioretty is a UFA at seasons end and was unable to work things out with Montreal leading to the trade. Vegas paid big for perennial 20 goal man Tatar at last year's trade deadline giving up a host of picks including next summer's first rounder. Vegas and Montreal will both eat some salary but overall Montreal will save about $500 k a year for the next 3 years of tatar's $5.6m salary.

With that the additions of Statsny and now Pacioretty make Vegas much stronger... I still think they'll be fighting for a spot just because... But a good trade for both teams... Vegas gets a good winger looking to earn a long term deal and Montreal gets a future centre manager to compliment what they already have.

With this deal, and I also forgot Weber would be out until December or January, let's call the Canadiens a bust this year and say the Panthers sneak in instead.

Eta: in the end Pacioretty didn't get what he wanted out of Vegas either as apparently the rumoured friction with Montreal was that he was seeking a long term deal worth more than $8 m a year... He just signed an extension with Vegas for 4 years for a total of $28m.... So about a $2.5m a year raise but on a mid size deal.... Mind you with the tax situation in Vegas year to year he's probably doing a lot better.


[Edited on 9-10-2018 by Flash]

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bigfatgoalie
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posted on 9-12-2018 at 03:11 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Atlantic: Toronto
Metro: Pittsburgh
Central: Nashville
Pacific: San Jose

ECF: Tampa over Pittsburgh
WCF: Nashville over San Jose

Nashville wins the Cup.

Bonus predictions: If Dallas lands Karlsson, they'll do surprisingly well. Potentially WCF thanks to the cross over of being the 1st Wildcard team. Vegas will come back down to earth, but will still be a top 3 team in the Pacific. Arizona will come closer to the playoffs than Anahiem. If Kovalchuk clicks on the power play, LA will make the playoffs. If not, there could be big shake ups for the Kings.

Toronto will steam roll a lot of teams in the regular season. Boston will finish top 3 in the Atlantic, but a distant 3rd to Toronto/Tampa. Florida will make the playoffs. Montreal will be REALLY bad...but still manage to not be as bad as Detroit or Ottawa. There will be very little separating 2nd in the Metro and missing the playoffs. Buffalo will be in the playoff race at the trade deadline. But fall short. Columbus could end up being really good, or a gong show. Carolina will look like easy winners of the Dougie Hamilton trade.

McDavid trade rumours / trade request rumours will come up. No chance he is moved. Nashville will be rumoured to be shopping PK.

Silly predictions: Mitch Marner will finish 2nd to McDavid in the race for the Art Ross trophy. Matthews and Tavares will both top 40 goals.

One of Crosby or Malkin misses time...and the other will go off and win the Hart.

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posted on 9-12-2018 at 03:15 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
The Red Wings rebuild apparently became something serious today with Steve Yzerman leaving Tampa and heading home to Detroit.





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Flash
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posted on 9-12-2018 at 01:12 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Yzerman is going home to Detroit, but he's not going to the Red Wings (at least yet)... Yzerman still always lived in Detroit for the last eight years while managing the Lightning and per his news conference the commute was catching up to him and his family, thus once he was sure he wasn't going to sign an extension he opted to step back... He's still under contract to the Lightning and will remain in an advisor role until his contract us up in the summer.

Detroit's GM, Ken Holland, just signed a two year extension back in April. While Detroit just missed the playoffs for the first time in 25 years, Holland remains one of the most respected GM's in the league and a great scout and talent developer (even front office talent... like Yzerman and Dallas GM Jim Nill apprenticed under him and while Toronto president Brendan Shanahan didn't hold a post with the Red Wings he and Holland were said to be close with Shanny constantly picking his brain in anticipation of his post ice career)... There was a lot of talk that Holland might come to Toronto to take over GM duties before he signed his extension and Shanny gave the reigns to Kyle Dubas in Toronto....

Will Yzerman likely become Detroit's GM one day? Probably... but if you were the Lightning why would you hasten the departure of a great hockey mind to a conference rival when you're own new GM is a rookie GM and could continue to benefit from having Yzerman around for the year... I can't see this being like when Brian Burke stepped down from Anaheim and everyone knew he was going to Toronto... My guess is Holland probably won't be GM for the full run of his extension and we probably see Yzerman come in next summer before the draft (Detroit has the most picks next Summer btw, so a great time for someone to put their stamp on the team)... Holland likely stays on as team president for at least the year he has left on his deal at that point.

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Flash
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posted on 9-13-2018 at 09:47 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
The Pred's took a bit of a hit today as NHL commish' Bettman handed down a 27 game suspension to Austin Watson relating to a domestic violence issue back in June that he plead no contest to. Police were called when after a loud argument Watson pushed his girlfriend; Watson wound up with probation and a mandatory batterers course that he had to attend. Watson, who scored 14 goals and 5 assists to go with 123 penalty minutes will also miss all of the pre-season as well. He will forfeit his pay during the suspension.

The NHLPA is appealing the ruling; the NHL does not have a set policy for domestic violence and deals with stuff on a case by case bases (there's only been 1 other recent case, and they are still indefinitely suspended).

These things are tough IMO; Watson and his girlfriend are still together and just had a kid... any man who lays his hands on a woman... or let's go broadly here and say anyone who uses violence against another person deserves to be punished, and in the cases of celebrities and athletes there's an added need to make the message as public as possible so that it can reach and influence countless others.

In saying that there's sometimes damage inadvertently done to the victims as well... Watson's loss of income is going to also hurt his girlfriend that he pushed... Yeah probably not go hungry hurt them, but losing about $300-$400 k in salary hurts period. It's like that football player that punched out his wife in the elevator and basically lost millions... Does he deserve it... yeah, but does his family? Throw in that stuff like this is also probably massively tough on the victims having their names dropped and debated over, having their motivations questioned and it likely hits them in other ways as well.

I don't know what the answer is, how you punish the offender but protect their family... it just strikes me that maybe we should figure something better out.

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posted on 9-13-2018 at 07:57 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Sens have dealt Erik Karlsson to the Sharks in exchange for Chris Tierney, Dylan DeMelo, Josh Norris, Rudolfs Balcers, 2020 1st, 2019 2nd and two conditional picks.

Hot take on the trade: San Jose's No. 3 and 4 prospects (as per Corey Pronman of the Athletic. He ranked San Jose’s prospect pool 17th overall), a 24-year-old winger with 104 points in 284 career games, a 25-year-old D who has played 133 games, a low 2019 second and 2020 first, and two conditional picks.

One of the conditional picks is a 1st rounder if San Jose trades Karlsson to a team in the Eastern Conference this year. Aka the Hoffman clause.

Man, how is anybody still a Sens fan at this point?

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Flash
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posted on 9-13-2018 at 10:17 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
That's a tough pill to swallow; but I think ever since Karlsson's comments about no home town discount kind of kicked off all of this two years ago people have been waiting for this day.

I think if they are going to be shipping Duchene and Stone out it would be best to do so now... the band aid is off, the wound is festering in Ottawa... why try and let it heal only to have to rip it off again in a few months.

Watch; the Sens will "win" the draft lottery this summer and Colorado will then promptly thank them for handing them Quinn Hughes; not a McDavid type generational player but by all accounts a great player in waiting along the lines of Austin Matthews.... The mismanagement of Ottawa and pissing the fans off is going to be the gift that keeps on giving.

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posted on 9-13-2018 at 11:14 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
As a Leafs fan, I'm conflicted. Part of me wants the Leafs to beat the Habs and Sens in the playoffs. The other part of me hopes that Ottawa and Montreal's management teams stay in place (and inept) for years to come.

Although given that Ottawa's GM said he's been looking to trade Karlsson since Febuary, and what Vegas gave up for Max (and Tartar) how the hell did Vegas not land Karlsson last year?

Also...San Jose probably is the Cup favourite now, right? 3 Norris level D, a great goalie, and good depth at forward. I think their window is closing (the non-hometown reason why a guy like JT would sign with the Leafs), but this year? Don't blame them for going for it.

In other news...


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Flash
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posted on 9-14-2018 at 07:23 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
I think because it's been so long since a Canadian team has hoisted the cup I just have a hard time actively cheering against the Sens or Canadiens (or any other Canadian team really)... I want the Sens to be competent and well managed so that they won't leave for greener pastures, cause even after going to a conference final two years ago they were still having problems drawing sell outs... I can only imagine how much worse it will be fielding a team that isn't exactly rich on promise right now, and doesn't exactly have a cupboard full of elite prospects to sell the future to the fans... Some good players to be sure, but looking down the road at Toronto has got to make them really jealous, and even Montreal for all of its current woes look like they have some promise in the near future.

In other Ottawa news Pageau looks to have torn his Achilles tendon last week during pre-season warm ups and could miss upwards of 6 months... When it rains it pours in Ottawa.

Good deal for SJ to land Karlsson; the guys a two time Norris trophy winner, and better for them still a 4 time 70 point guy... Like BFG said they've got depth up front and already boast 2 other all-star caliber defensemen in Vlacic and Burns... That's going to be tough to play against knowing that one of those guys is going to be on the ice at any point in the game and worse still that's a hell of a boost to an already good power play.... I kind of thought that the Sharks might be on the outside of the playoffs this spring but now... Let's say the Kings are out and the Sharks are in... Given the Karlsson acquisition I'd say the Preds and Sharks slug it out for the West and that you could probably flip a coin as to who will win.

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bigfatgoalie
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posted on 10-10-2018 at 06:00 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
So yeah, the Leafs offence, even without Nylander, is just silly. The PP is not just scoring, but doing so in very little time.
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Flash
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posted on 10-19-2018 at 10:22 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Yeah Kapanen's kinda making Nylander a bit of an afterthought at the moment.

Gotta figure Kapanen's going to come in cheaper than Nylander given that he's both taken a longer road to get to the NHL, and hasn't really shown a major scoring touch in prior years... Which then begs the question that if Kapanen continues to demonstrate that he can keep up on the top lines, and with Toronto and Nylander facing a looming December 1 deadline on (the cut off date that RFA's can sign by or else they sit out the whole year) do they decide to trade Nylander to help shore up their defense?

I mean it would be unfortunate if Nylander misses a whole year, but he's young enough that I wouldn't trade him just for that reason... but if the team is playing that well and you've got some options on the wings... I figure you've gotta at least consider moving him for a top 4 defenseman and even who knows what else.

I wouldn't rush though; it's less than 10 games, I figure best to see if Kapanen can keep it up and see who's out there as really, right now Toronto holds all the cards... I mean if you're a team figuring on bottoming out this year even a not playing Nylander is enticing.

Worth noting that apparently Dubas and Nylander did meet this week.

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