Welcome back to the 8 game review. Sounds like we play tonight and Saturday and then have a full week off! With a 1 week quarantine for trades, I can’t think of a better time to make a trade then right about now!
First 8 games, 3 wins and 5 losses for 6 points.
Games 9 to 16, 6 wins and 2 losses for 12 points!
Games 17 to 24, 5 wins and 3 losses for 10 points.
Games 25 to 32, 4 wins and 4 losses for 8 points (2nd worst segment of season)
Games 33 to 40, 5 wins, 1 loss and 2 OT Losses for 12 points (tied for our best 8 game segment)
Other important stats: Our PP ranked 11th in this segment (meh). Our PK ranked FIRST (94.1%). We are 4th in Points percentage in NHL for this segment at .750. Things are damn good!
I am going to suggest that improved PK is a good reason why some of you are not seeing your favorite players in the lineup. Here are the top 8 PK players in the last 8 games. Probably some of the guys you want sat in favor of guys that can’t play the PK. Holland made an interesting point about calling up McLeod, Benson and Marody. He said if guys aren’t doing special minutes they end up getting about 10 minutes a night. I’m going to suggest JP spends his offseason learning to PK.
We are here:
At this point, only a covid outbreak (like Vancouvers) could derail our playoff hopes. I hope the Canuck players recover and are doing okay. Truly an awful situation for them.
Top 10 scorers:
Nurse leads NHL Dmen in goals and had 4 goals in this segment including some game winners. He has done this with limited PP time. I know Ethan Bear is carrying him from the third line, IR and pressbox but Nurse is having one hell of a season! If you can name 9 other D that are playing better than him this season, please leave it in the comments. I’ll start: Hedman, Makar, Petry, Doughty, Girard, McAvoy...
Jesse Pulijaarvi is not producing enough
JP has 2 points in his last 8 games. 14 points in 39 games (.36 ppg) playing primarily on the first line with the best player in the world. Sometimes he gets Connor and Drai. This is very disapointing output. I know I get mocked for using points BUT he is a top 6 winger in a golden opportunity and he’s not seizing it.
Using last season for .ppg he is well behind Kassian and Neal. Slightly behind Chiasson and slightly ahead of Archibald and Gagner. He has gotten better deployment and premium minutes then all of them.
Using this season. He’s not doing well either. Still producing around Chiasson and Khaira’s levels. Kahun has also been disapointing in a Top 6 role.
Everyone, but Kahun, on this list is not getting as much ice as JP and definitely not as much time with Connor, Drai or Connor and Drai like JP is.
Put another way. Before he left for Finland he was producing at a 3rd/4th line rate. After returning he is producing at the same 3rd/4th line rate.
Going from .31 to .36 is not a tremendous improvement. He got the .31 by playing 12 minutes a game with plugs like Lucic. Now he’s on first line with Connor and getting 15 minutes a night and barely improved his scoring rates.
Smith is one of the MVP’s of our season. I can’t believe I typed that. I certainly deserve to eat a big bowl of shit for my criticism of the signing. I’m happy he could prove us all wrong! The goalie split was 5-3 which is about right. I’d still prefer 4-4. Having said that. Unless something changes, our playoff plan is to start Smith or Koskinen. I cannot for the life of me picturing those 2 winning 16 games in the playoffs for us. I’m not even sure they could do 8 to get us out of the North. I am happy to be proven wrong but Plan A sucks in my eyes.
Some final thoughts...
Trading Tyson Barrie. I wrote on Valentine’s Day that we should sell high and bolster the lineup elsewhere (Goal or LW). It made sense 2 months ago. I’m not sure it does anymore? I definitely don’t want him resigned. I’m FURIOUS that Bouchard is just doing nothing in such an important year. However, unless the return is spectacular, I would not make a trade this close to playoffs. In my article I was thinking a new player could come in and bolster our Top 6 and we’d give Bouch a big rope to get better and improve. However, bringing in Bouchard after 2 months off and expecting him to be seasoned by playoffs seems too much now. Let him walk at end of season. Trades I would consider at this point would be for Jakub Vrana, Elvis Merzilkins, Darcy Kuemper, Richard Rakell and maybe Jake Debrusk.
Trading for Taylor Hall. Absolutely must do everything we can to get Taylor Hall. Unlike players mentioned above he would have instant chemistry in our Top 6. He would drive our offence and he would not have to be a centrepiece of it. It’d also make our third line quite dangerous. In my dream world we offer our first and a dump (Neal, Kassian or Koskinen) for 50% of Hall. That would be my starting point.
Resigning Taylor Hall long term. Not a chance. I’d rather see guys like Benson, Holloway, Lavoie and Safin (I kid) competing for that job. Cost controlled and young. Unlike Holland, I’m not a huge fan of 30 year old UFA’s.
Who are our goalies next year? Are we doing Smith and Koskinen again? Are we seriously waiting till round 1 of the playoffs to realize these 2 are not the key to Connor and Drai winning a cup? So disapointing.
The cap killers! As of right now we are paying a lot of money for Kassian, Neal, Koskinen, Lucic, Sekera and Turris. Roughly 15 million for those 6 players next season. That is awful. If you want to blame Chia for Koskinen and Lucic/Neal that is fine. The other half of Kassian/Sekera/Turris is all Holland.
Resign Larsson? I would try to resign Larsson on a good deal. We have a gap in RD and I’d be happy with Bouchard, Bear and Larsson as the starting 3 next year. Our LD would be Nurse, Klef (hopefully), Jones, Lagesson with Broberg/Samorokov knocking on that door! That’s a beauty D core. Notice how good it looks without 31 year old Tyson Barrie?
Resign RNH? Absolutely. 6 x 5 would be ideal for me. Don’t care which one is dollar and which one is term. He is a modern day Patrice Bergeron and would be a part of any Top 6 in the NHL.
Upcoming draft? If we trade our 1st for Hall, we won’t be picking till round 4. Ouch!