I’ve written an article about our playoff standings at American Thanksgiving every year for awhile now. This was last years article. We were first in the division and playoff bound. Had Covid not hit we had a higher than 90% chance of clinching a spot.
Obviously things have changed and we weren’t even playing on American Thanksgiving but I gave it a look and we had played 27/82 (33%) games by American Thanksgiving. I looked and today we’ve played the most in the North with 21 games out of 56 (38%) while the Jets and Habs have played 18 out of 56 games (33%). So I feel it is fair to say that everyone has played about 1⁄3 of the season which is roughly where this American Thanksgiving playoff tradition began.
So how is it going?
By points we are firmly in second place.
By the more important points percentage, we are in 3rd place.
There is starting to be a clear divide now after a third of the season. Vancouver and Ottawa look like VERY big longshots to turn it around and made the dance. Calgary is neither in the playoffs or completely out of them. They can still make a push and I do feel they have a good team that can do just that. Montreal just fired their coach this morning so things are not very rosey in La Belle Province right now. You hate to see it.
Leafs are firmly on top. In a very unlikely sweep this weekend we could actually take them over in the standings. Remember that the playoffs this year are North vs North. 1st plays 4th and 2nd plays 3rd. Then it’s North vs North again. A Canadian team is guaranteed to make the final 4 (and most likely lose but that’s another day’s article). It is a golden opportunity and I feel we need to make a trade to get even stronger.
If you did click on the article from last year note the Kassian arguments in the comments section. This was about 2 months before his extension signing (9 suspended games, 9 points and on IR now) and people like me were saying SELL HIGH on him. Get a good player back. Well, that didn’t happen. We have Kassian for 3 more full seasons after this one and I honestly don’t even know where he fits when he comes back?
So I will give the exact same prognosis now. Trade Tyson Barrie and SELL HIGH. Address a different need in Goaltending or D. The second the ink dries on a Tyson Barrie extension we are screwed. People can argue today about it and make great points but I’m telling you, 2 years from now there will be about as many happy fans as there are Kassian supporters left. Resigning him for long term and money is madness. Not getting anything for him is also madness. By my count, there are 6 guys over 30 in the Top 20 scoring for D in the NHL. This includes Doughy and Hedman, Barrie is an offensive producer and will be 30 next year. Signing UFA D going into their 30’s is a poor bet when you have young ones that you drafted already in your possession.
D after 30 takes a massive drop.
My big concern? We can finish first, second, third or fourth in this division. Our odds of making the playoffs (it’s now a 5 dog race) are quite good. When we get there with this amazing offence please know that Tippet has to pick Koskinen or Smith to start in the playoffs. That is a big problem. Both are playing amazing but don’t expect either one to carry us to a cup. We have a 1B and 1B.
Trade deadline is April 12th. I’d make a trade yesterday if I could.