HOW CAN THE NHL MAKE THE ALL-STAR GAME MORE APPEALING TO YOU?
TYLER YAREMCHUK: I got two big ideas that will bring fans back to the All-Star Game. First off, you need to bring back the ‘Fantasy Draft’ aspect of things. Have fans vote in three captains and then pick a fourth from the host city. Make it a big event on the Friday night, give the players some liquor like they did last time, and have them pick their 3v3 squads. that was fun!
Second, up the cash prizes. I don’t care what you need to do for a sponsor like Huawei or Honda to give you $10 million, but you do it. Have these guys competing for like $1 million each on their fantasy squads.
IAN SHEPPARD: When I was a kid the All-Star game was one of the best things to watch all year. Now that I am an adult the games themselves have become less appealing for the same reason every All-Star game in every sport has become boring, they mean nothing.
I do still find the skills competition interesting and I’d be more interested if the league eliminated the games all-together and turned the weekend into the league’s best with no roster restrictions who come together to showcase their skills in an extended skills competition. Maybe the top winners win bonus money with a portion being donated to charity? Could make the weekend something a little more interesting to watch.
WYATT ZIEGER: Honestly there is no real way to improve the ASG you just have to take it for what it is. That’s an event for kids and sponsors, which will never change. If I could make two adjustments I would be bringing back the players draft, where the voted-in captains draft their own teams and also change the rule that every team must be represented.
WHO’S BEEN THE LEAGUES BEST SOPHMORE PLAYER THIS YEAR?
TYLER YAREMCHUK: If the question was “most improved” then it would be Thomas Chabot. But the question says “best” so my answer is Matt Barzal. He had 85 points as a rookie, and although he’s on pace for a little bit less than that this year, he’s still been incredible and hasn’t had John Tavares taking away tough matchups. He’s a really special player.
IAN SHEPPARD: Thomas Chabot. Chabot put up 38 points (10G-28A) in 38 games before suffering a shoulder injury just after Christmas. He was an easy candidate for the Norris Trophy before the injury and could still be considered in the running. He’s by far had the best season of any sophomore player this year.
One other pick would be Alex DeBrincat. DeBrincat has played in all 46 games for the Blackhawks this season piling up 36 points (21G-16A) while playing on the team’s third line. While just in his second season the 21-year-old winger is already 7 goals behind his season total from a year ago. His career looks bright going forward.
WYATT ZIEGER: Thats a hard one for me I’m going to have to go with Griffen Reinhart … sorry, I believe those from long island spell it Mathew Barzal, too much Chiarelli on the brain.
With Tavares leaving this season the Islanders became Barzal’s team and he’s taken the ball and ran with it. Point production is slightly down from the over a PPG pace he set last season but that was expected now playing against tougher matchups. Still, 38 points in 41 games for the sophomore player is impressive and if the rest of the team can find its scoring touch Barzal could still finish above or at a PPG.
HOW MANY PLAYERS THIS YEAR WILL SCORE 100 POINTS?
TYLER YAREMCHUK: There are currently around ten players who are on pace to do it, I’ll say fie eventually get there. McDavid and Kucherov are locks. Mackinnon and Rantanen should as well. Ill even say Johnny Gaudreau keeps up his ridiculous pace and hits the century mark.
IAN SHEPPARD: Four. That’s right four. And shocker they’re among the five current leading scorers in the league. I know real original right? Well, Nikita Kucherov is already at 71 points so it’s a given he’ll hit 100. I think if the power couple of Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon stay hot they’ll both continue to pile up the points adding to their 66 and 65 respective point totals and eventually both could hit 100.
I think it must be assumed that Connor McDavid will hit 100 because well he’s Connor McDavid and currently sits at 63 points. Johnny Gaudreau could come close as he currently sits fourth in the top five with 64 points, but Calgary has a lot of scoring depth and I think eventually he’ll cool off a bit.
WYATT ZIEGER: Lets start with the numbers, over the course of an 82 game season you would need to average 1.21 PPG to score 100 points. Out of the players that have played in 40 games or more, only 14 players are at that pace; Kucherov (1.65), Rantanen (1.55), Gaudreau (1.47), MacKinnon (1.5), McDavid (1.5), Point (1.33), Crosby (1.32), Marner (1.31), Wheeler (1.31), Kane (1.29), Schiefele (1.26), Eichel (1.23) Pastrnak (1.21) and Draisatl (1.21).
Out of those 14 I could see as many as 9 reach the feat, the caveat, of course, being health. Only two players on that list have missed time (McDavid 1 game, Eichel 3) and thats huge in changing your odds, scoring 100 points isn’t easy in todays NHL but even missing just 3 games can make it nearly impossible.
Take into consideration Jack Eichel who has missed just 3 games, now, over an 82 game season his 1.23PPG would be good for 101 points but Eichel at most can play 79 games. Assuming Eichel doesn’t miss any more time and keeps the same pace he would finish with a respectable 97 points in 79 games. Long story short, health is important (as is consistency) and it will be if Kucherov, Rantanen, Gaudreau, MacKinnon, McDavid, Point, Crosby, Marner and Schiefele plan on hitting that 100 point plateau.