The year is 2001. A young 6-year old Arik Krause is just like any curious kid and grabs a VHS tape and puts it into the VCR. The tape is titled “ can you buy Pregabalin online gabapentin 300 mg for dogs where to buy from 1990 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs”. Now if you don’t know, the Edmonton Oilers are in the midst of their dynasty and in these playoffs would face the Boston Bruins. A series which they would win for their fifth and final Stanley Cup this far. That series was famous for the Petr Klima goal in Game 1. Klima didn’t play at all during the third period or first two overtime periods, but he would slide the puck past Andy Moog in the third overtime and give the Oilers a win in Game 1.
Well, that was a straight up snoozefest up until around 2:00 pm eastern time. I was handling the behind the scenes duties for TSN 1260 and I spent most of my day just staring blankly at my main Tweetdeck column. There weren’t even any exciting rumours to keep track of either. It was just a slow day.
Then the NHL hit us hard and quick with a wave of moves. Plenty of teams got active, some surprisingly stayed quiet, and at the end of the day, this was actually a pretty good deadline day. Here are some of my thoughts:
Every Friday, three of BTI’s writers get together and share their thoughts on three topics from around the NHL
It’s no secret that upcoming free agent John Tavares has been meeting with teams this week in LA. Five to be exact; The Leafs, Bruins, Sharks, Stars and Lightning as well as phone calls with at least three other teams.
Each team will present a different package to Tavares, who is the most coveted free agent on the market.
The 2018 NHL entry draft will be hosted in Dallas, at the American Airlines Center, June 22nd.
Even though the show will be in the heart of Texas, the night belongs to Buffalo. With the 1st overall pick the Sabres will undoubtedly select Swedish defensemen Rasmus Dahlin, but what about the rest of the picks in the top 15?
Buffalo Sabres, Round 1-1st overall
With their first pick, in the first round, the Buffalo Sabres select: Rasmus Dahlin.
TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button has called Dahlin ‘the Connor McDavid of defensemen.’ The highly coveted Swedish D-man is considered a generational talent is drawing comparisons to the likes of Nick Lidstrom and Scott Niedermeyer. He is the total package.
Mix in his hockey sense with his shot, vision, recovery and passing, and you have the number 1 pick this year. The only knock on the 6’2” 180LBS 18 years old is just that. He will need to put on 10-15 pounds of muscle to reach his full potential in the NHL. With his work ethic and dedication to the game, I don’t see that being a problem. Rasmus Dahlin will be a force on defence in the NHL for years to come.
Following the belle of the ball is the Carolina Hurricanes and Montreal Canadians. The Canes were big-time lottery winners moving up from 11th to 2nd. The Montreal Canadians moved from 4th to 3rd. Carolina is rumoured to be interested in moving down but if they do, they’re missing out on a chance to grab an excellent player.
Carolina Hurricanes, Round 1-2nd overall
Russian winger Andrei Svechnikov is the most talented forward in this draft. If Dahlin is the consensus #1, then Svechnikov is a lock a two. The 1st overall pick in 2017’s import draft was an immediate mover and shaker for the OHL’s Barrie Colts. Playing in only 44 games this year he managed 40 goals and 32 assists good for 1.63PPG. He is a pure scorer with his shot strength and accuracy and will likely be the leading goal scorer to come out of the draft. Carolina with new ownership should look to build around Svechnikov the same way they did Jeff Skinner but hopefully with more overall success.
Montreal Canadiens, Round 1-3rd overall
The Montreal Canadiens are in a bit of a predicament. After a trade to Arizona that sent Alex Galchenyuk to the Coyotes for Max Domi, the Habs are somehow thinner than they already were at the centre. As of today, the depth chart at centre is Jonathan Drouin, who has yet to prove that he’s not a winger and Phillip Danault, who at his full potential is a 40 point player.
This is also a draft considered low on centres, and at #3 the Habs should roll the dice on what could be the most dynamic forward in this draft, Jesperi Kotkaniemi. No player has had made bigger leaps through the pre-draft rankings this season. TSN’s Bob McKenzie had Kotkaniemi ranked 19th at the mid season point. Since then he has skyrocketed all the way into the top 5 and consistently draws comparisons to players like Anze Kopitar, Alexander Barkov and Mark Scheiffle.
At 6’2″ he adds size to and skill to an otherwise smaller lineup in Montreal and while there is risk associated with selecting Kotkaniemi, whoever takes the chance won’t regret it.
The Ottawa Senators owned the 2nd highest chance of drafting 1st overall but slid down to 4th after the lottery. They have the option to send their 1st round pick this year or next to the Avalanche as part of the Duchene deal.
Ottawa Senators, Round 1-4th overall
They won’t flip this years pick to Colorado but will instead draft the 6’3” defensemen from Acadia Bathurst, Noah Dobson. Dobson is arguably the 2nd best defensemen in this draft behind the all-mighty Rasmus Dahlin. Drafting Dobson will give Sen’s fans hope for the future as they watch Erik Karlsson’s time in Ottawa draw to a close. Dobson showed his offensive side this year collecting 69 points in 67 games, including 17 goals. He also racked up 13 more points in 20 games leading his team to the Memorial Cup.
Arizona Coyotes, Round 1-5th overall
Filip Zadina is the most highly touted prospect to come from the Halifax Mooseheads since 2013 when Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin were drafted 1st and 3rd overall respectively (sorry Nico Hischier). The Czech born winger scored 44 goals and 38 assists for the Mooseheads last year.
To make it in the NHL, Zadina needs to work on his skating. While he has the speed, he does not have today’s NHL speed. The promising winger could be NHL ready by the start of training camp, but the Coyotes who are in a stacked Pacific will be looking for all the help they can get.
Zadina joins an impressive prospect pool in Arizona that includes; Clayton Keller, Dylan Strome, Christian Dvorak and Jakob Chychrun.
With hardly any separation of skill between the rest of the pack, things get harder to predict. Outside of the top 5 (maybe even top 2), nothing is guaranteed, with that in mind lets go through picks 6-15.
Detroit Red Wings, Round 1-6th overall
With the man they most likely wanted off the board, Noah Dobson, the Red Wings will look to stay with a D-man and select Quinn Hughes from the University of Michigan. He plays a very up-tempo offensive game and would be knocked for his D if not for always having the puck on his stick. Hometown addition doesn’t hurt fill some seats in the new arena.
Vancouver Canucks, Round 1-7th overall
Sliding down the draft board to #7 is Brady Tkachuk, known for the same style of play like his dad and brother, Brady could be an immediate impact player. Outside of the hopeful Elias Pettersson, the Canucks lack depth on the left side and Tkachuk finds himself a divisional rival to his brother.
Chicago Blackhawks, Round 1-8th overall
From youtube sensation to NHL-draft-pick Oliver Wahlstrom has impressed in his three years with the USHL. This most recent year he blew his old stats out of the water racking up 45 points in just 25 games. The Blackhawks have built dynasties from drafting before, and it’s time to get back at it if they have any hope of winning again.
New York Rangers, Round 1-9th overall
The Rangers are no longer in a win now mode and need to take the best player available. While they would love a winger or centre to draft 9th, the best talent available is defensemen at this spot in the draft. So without further ado, the Rangers draft Swedish stud, Adam Boqvist. Boqvist will be a bit of a project, listed anywhere from 150-165 pounds he will need to put on significant weight before making the NHL.
Edmonton Oilers, Round 1-10th overall
If the Oilers decide to hold onto their pick at ten, they’ll have plenty of options. This is most likely the last top 10 pick the Oilers will own for the next 15+ years, so they need to make it count. Defensive depth is a need for the Oilers, the cupboards are nearly empty in the farm, apart from Ethan Bear who likely won’t make the full-time NHL jump until 2019-20.
Evan Bouchard fills that hole for the Oilers. The highest scoring defensemen in this year’s draft Bouchard put up 87 points in the OHL last season the most since Anthony DeAngelo in 2014-15. The only question with Bouchard is if his offence in junior will translate to the NHL, he put up 25 goals for the London Knights last season.
New York Islanders, Round 1-11th overall-VIA Calgary
The Islanders hold the 11th, and 12th picks in this years draft, the former acquired in a trade with Calgary for Travis Hamonic.
The Islanders have plenty of Talent at forward, John Tavares (pending UFA), Mathew Barzal, Jordan Eberle, the list goes on, now its time for a defenseman.
With three pending UFA’s on defence, Calvin de Haan, Thomas Hickey and Dennis Seidenberg it’s hard to see the Islanders re-signing all three. They likely let Seidenberg walk and will have to choose between one of de Haan or Hickey.
With the 11th pick, the Islanders draft Ty Smith from the Spokane Chiefs as a long-term solution on D. His 14 goals in the WHL most likely won’t hold up in the NHL, but the potential is there.
Washington Capitals, Round 1-12th overall-VIA NYI
You heard it here first folks, aside from defence the Islanders also require goaltending, and that’s why they’ll flip their 12th overall selection in this year’s draft to acquire goaltender Philipp Grubauer.
With their 12th overall selection the Capitals choose more depth at centre and draft Joe Veleno, formerly with St. Johns, he was traded to the Drummondville Voltigeurs where he put up 48 points in 33 games.
Dallas Stars, Round 1-13th overall
Dallas has the defence; they hope they have goaltending, now all they needed is scoring depth. The Stars have been burned when it comes to drafting Russians before IE Valeri Nichuskin, but that shouldn’t stop them from taking Vitali Kravtsov. Coming off a steller KHL playoffs where he scored 11 points in 16 games, Kravtsov tied the record for most KHL playoff goals by a rookie with six, (Previously held alone by Nichuskin) doing so in nine fewer games.
Philadelphia Flyers, Round 1-14th overall-VIA St.Louis Blues
Acquired in the deal that sent Brayden Schenn to St.Louis this is the last unknown piece of the trade left. GM Ron Hextall has said in the past that Philly would likely take a right-shot D in this year’s draft and with a plethora of good D in the draft he has his options. For my money, the Flyers take the player that best suites their needs at 14, Bode Wilde. Another product from the USHL, he owns a hard shot, works well in all three zones and can make a great first stretch pass. Philly jumps ahead of more skilled players to take their man.
Florida Panthers, Round 1-15th overall
Fresh off a trade for the controversial Mike Hoffman, it seems as if scoring won’t be a problem for the Panthers this season. Any piece added during the draft likely won’t see NHL playing time without a tremendous camp. So, at 15 there are still plenty of options left, but the most upside has to be Rasmus Kupuri. Centres are always valued more than wingers and with already established Finnish centre Sasha Barkov to learn from, Kupari could find his way into the Panthers top 6 for years to come.
That’s a wrap on my projected top 15 draftees this year, Dahlin and Svechnikov are the real guarantees, and there are a plethora of players taken in this draft that will go on to have NHL success. The Islanders may finally get the goaltending they’ve been hoping for, Philly adds to their prospect pool and Dallas doesn’t regret drafting a Russian this time round.
Barret Hayton C
Ryan Merkley RD
Joel Farabee LW
Rasmus Sandin LD
Jonathon Berggren C/LW
It was a disappointing 2017-18 for the Montreal Canadiens after finishing first in the Atlantic Division the year prior, the Habs finished in sixth place this year missing the playoffs. Things started out rough for Montreal and never really changed as the season went on. They went 4-7-1 in October and only surpassed four wins in a month one time, with an 8-5-2 record in November.
The Canadiens signed Carey Price to an eight-year $84-million contract extension on July 2, 2017. Following the new deal, Price had one of the worst seasons of his career statistically. He battled injuries all season with a lower-body injury that caused him to miss the majority of November. He then sustained a concussion in February that held him out for 13 more games.
Price had a season record of 16-26, a GAA of 3.11 and an SV% of .900, both of which were career lows for the star netminder. But the goaltender wasn’t the only issue for the Canadiens this year.
Montreal finished with the fourth worst record in the NHL in 2017-18 with 71 points (29-40-13). They had the third fewest goals for per game average with 2.52, and they fell in the top 10 for goals-against with an average of 3.15.
They fell in the middle of the league in powerplay percentage at 21.2% but had the second worst penalty kill at 74.1%.
The leading scorer for Montreal was Brendan Gallagher with 54 points (31G-23A) and only one other player reaching 50 points with Alex Galchenyuk hitting 51 (19G-32A). Newly acquired Jonathan Drouin finished third on the list with 46 points (13G-33A) while playing in 77 games. It was a drop-off year for him, after putting up 53 points (21G-32A) with Tampa in just 73 games the year prior.
Three things that need to change
1. Centre Depth
The Canadiens came into this season not knowing who their top line centreman was going to be. There was the talk of whether is should be newly acquired Jonathan Drouin or Alex Galchenyuk who held the role through parts of the season past.
The issue was that Galchenyuk is not a true centre but a left-winger. Montreal finished the year with Drouin, in fact, anchoring the first line and Galchenyuk the second-line LW. The remaining lines were carried with Jacob De La Rose, Logan Shaw and Michael McCarron down the middle. Neither Shaw nor De La Rose are true natural centres.
There are only three true centres on the roster for Montreal. Phillip Danault, Jonathan Drouin and Byron Froese which limits the quality of options for the Habs to build their line-up around. Especially with Danault, De La Rose and Shaw all being RFA’s heading into July.
The GM is the one responsible for the calibre of talent that is put on the ice night in and night out. It is an understatement to say that Bergevin has made some questionable decisions since taking on the role in 2012.
Whether it be trading PK Subban for Shea Weber, a defenseman four years older than Subban who hasn’t brought the same production or fire as Subban or letting Alex Radulov walk out the door and sign a 5-year $31.25 million deal with the Dallas Stars.
Radulov totalled 54 points (18G-36A) for the Canadiens in 2016-17 in 76 games. Through 82 games with the Stars this year, Radulov made Habs fans jealous, with 72 points (27G-45A).
Bergevin has been known to make questionable free-agent decisions as well. Last off-season he signed Karl Alzner to a 5-year $23.125 million deal. Alzner played in all 82 games scoring one goal and adding 12 helpers. He also finished with a -7 +/- rating.
After trading for Andrew Shaw in 2016, Bergevin signed the gritty winger to a 6-year $23.4 million deal. The Canadiens value Shaw’s toughness but signing him to a six-year contract at just $600,000 less than Max Pacioretty who is one of if not the team’s best point producer is ludicrous. Since signing the deal, Shaw has played in a total of 119 games with Montreal producing 49 points and 163 PIMs.
Add all of that to the fact that the Montreal GM set his team up with one proven centremen entering the 2017-18 season; the team was almost set up to fail with no real depth down the middle. Bergevin’s time in La Belle Province may soon be up if he doesn’t turn things around fast.
3. Add a puck-moving D-man
Since losing Andrei Markov to the KHL last season, the Habs have been missing a defender who can move the puck well. In recent years they have seemed to do a good job of letting defenders go while not bringing in capable replacements.
Montreal finished the year with a defensive grouping of David Schlemko, Jeff Petry, Karl Alzner, Noah Juulsen, Mike Reilly and Brett Lernout. Weber and Victor Mete finished the year injured and out of the line-up.
Jeff Petry was the only Canadiens’ defender to eclipse 20 points this season, hitting 42 (12G-30A). The Habs could definitely use some offence from their blue-line and should be one of the many priorities for them this offseason.
Three things not to change
1. Carey Price
Despite the goaltenders’ injury issues and career low year, it’s far too soon to give up on the Vezina calibre net-minder. Price has been the backbone for Montreal since 2008.
Price has the most games played by a Canadiens’ goaltender, breaking the record this past season with 558 GP. He is third in wins by a Montreal goalie with 286 behind Patrick Roy and Jacques Plante. He also falls in the top five with 46 shutouts behind Ken Dryden, Jacques Plante and George Hainsworth.
After signing the massive six-year contract extension, last offseason is another reason it would not only be unwise but difficult to move on from Price.
Unless Marc Bergevin can find a way to make a trade that brings in multiple pieces that help the team win now, it’s best to build around the one piece that has been more than stable for the franchise over the last decade.
2. Claude Julien
Claude Julien has done a pretty solid job in his second coaching stint with the Montreal Canadiens.
After coaching the remaining 24 games of the 2016-17 season with a 16-7-1 record, the Canadiens did lose in the first round of the playoffs. His combined record over the last year and a half is 45-47-13.
But Julien brings something other than just numbers to the organization. He coaches more of a possession style play not forcing the team to place all their weight on Carey Price. As mentioned earlier I see Marc Bergevin as a bigger issue, and if he doesn’t supply Julien with the pieces to allow his system to work then it will struggle.
I think Claude Julien needs to be given the opportunity to put his plan in motion before being deemed apart of the problem.
3. Aggressive play
Montreal found themselves right in the middle of the pack in terms of PIMs and average penalty minutes per game. They’ve found a way to be a bit more of an aggressive team especially under Claude Julien.
It’s something that they haven’t quite solidified yet but something that they can continue to build on. With players like Brendan Gallagher and Andrew Shaw they definitely have some guys on the team who aren’t afraid to get physical if needed.
If they can add another player or two who can lay down the law for their star players then Montreal can start to find an identity that they’ve been missing all year.
The Montreal Canadiens have some clear issues they need to address heading into the 2018-19 season if they want to find themselves back in the playoffs. They are only just one year removed from a first-round exit after a disappointing 2017-18 campaign.
It will be a busy off-season for them to re-tool their roster to be good enough to compete in the division and claim one of those playoff spots. But if they can add the right pieces and build around the few solid ones they currently have in place they may not be as far off as it seems.
We have another Russian returning to the NHL, this year, it’s former Atlanta Thrasher and New Jersey Devil Ilya Kovalchuk who left us all back in 2013 to head back to his homeland.
Before he left, Kovalchuk had just played in a shortened NHL season where he racked up 31 points in 37 games. The season before that, he had also made his first appearance in the Stanley Cup finals with the Devils but unfortunately couldn’t come out of it with a ring. During that season, Kovalchuk reached the 80 point mark for the first time since 2009 when he was part of the Atlanta Thrashers organization.
(photo via Yahoo Sports)
We are crawling our way to the quarter mark of the NHL season and man have there been some incredible surprises!
Jonathan Marchessault is top 10 in scoring and is on pace for 82 points.
It’s looking like Artem Anisimov might finally hit the 50 goal mark that he’s been striving for his entire career!
Jimmy Howard is back in Vezina form like we all expected.
The expected basement-dwelling Blue Jackets are looking like a playoff contender and the perennial losers of the NHL, the Edmonton Oilers, are tied for first in the west!
And …. well it’s been roughly 13 games so don’t take any stock into any of this. Which is why I’m especially irritated when someone will bring up the Taylor Hall trade… again. It’s been 13 games and yet people are ready to jump back to the conclusion that Hall was bad in the locker room, and was the reason this team couldn’t succeed on the ice.
Adam Larsson has been good, but by no means has he been a game changer. His numbers are all fairly average and nothing really stands out, apart from his hit totals. He is not the reason the Oilers have been winning these games, so to automatically assume that this hot start by the Oil is a direct result of that deal is incredibly ridiculous.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe the Hall for Larsson deal will work out in the long-term for both clubs, but to be jumping to conclusions of any sort after just 13 games is absolutely nonsensical.
You don’t need to go too far to find another example of this extreme conclusion jumping. The Montreal Canadiens are off to another hot start and are being led by the newly acquired Shea Weber. While the Nashville Predators have fallen flat on their face and struggled mightily at even strength.
So naturally you should know that the Canadiens success is 100% due to not having PK Subban around, while the only race the Predators will be in come the end of the year is the one for the 1st overall pick.
Once again, while this deal may look lopsided now, let me say it again: it’s been 13 games and I firmly believe the general view of this trade will be much different a year or two from now.
So show all the numbers you want to try to prove Shea Weber should win the Norris and present to me all the theories you want on how Taylor Hall or PK Subban were locker room cancers. But none of it matters until AT LEAST the 20 game mark. Even then I would argue it’s far too early in the year to measure an individual players success.
So don’t be running around making bold claims of the Oilers being Stanley Cup contenders or PK Subban being a bad teammate because that’s just absurd.
About as absurd as Artem Anisimov winning the Art Ross.
photo via sportsnet.ca
July 1st, 2016 the day the Montreal Canadiens bargain shopped and struck gold.
Every year there seems to be a new crop of players that are overrated by the fantasy hockey community for various reasons. Whether it’s a shiny new contract, the team they play for or simply putting too much stock into past seasons numbers.
I’ve looked into a few names that you should avoid until later on in your the draft, or leave off your fantasy roster entirely.