I’m off to do a little storm watching in Tofino for a couple of days so likely won’t be updating things here for a bit.
But a few thoughts before hitting the road…
1) The Edmonton Oilers are in a very precarious position as multiple sources report Craig MacTavish is “desperate” to make a trade to try to turn the team’s fortunes around. Given his recent track record in assessing NHL talent (Scrivens, Fasth, Nikitin, Purcell), there’s a real danger he could actually make things worse. Dealing from desperation is never a good place to be so this will be fascinating to watch.
2) I see the Oilers have fired goaltending coach Freddie Chabot…likely not a bad move but certainly not going to change things much short term. Apparently Chabot is being replaced by Dustin Schwartz who is the goaltending coach for the Edmonton Oil Kings. Another rookie.
3) David Perron is almost certain to not be an Oiler by the end of the week. Considering he was one of the few Oilers who played with passion pretty much every night, I think the team will miss him more than it thinks and despite not producing much offence this season it must be remembered he was getting 3rd line minutes and was saddled with horrid line mates for much of his time this season.
4) Tuesday nights’ game against the Dallas Stars will be entertaining for several reasons including the head to head matchup between Taylor and Tyler which Tyler is winning hands down this season (Seguin is on pace for 59 goals). If you believe it takes 5 years to assess the outcome of any draft, as I do, this is the year…no contest…and I think Ryan Johansen may yet work his way into the conversation. I would imagine that Seguin and Ales Hemsky will be very motivated in this game.
5) Speaking of Dallas, I’ve been very impressed with the moves Jim Nill has made to shore up his D after a shaky start. He was able to offload Sergei Gonchar and traded Brendan Dillon for Jason Demers. That latter deal doesn’t seem like much until you dig a little deeper and see that Nill is balancing his D pairs with right and left-handed shots. Demers is a righty as is Swedish defenseman John Klingberg who has been called up from the AHL. Klingberg, who reminds me very much of Erik Karlsson, has been nothing short of a revelation in his 7 games with the Stars…scoring 2 goals and 4 assists. Nill still needs a reliable backup goaltender but I’d bet he finds one very soon.
6) Many teams are trying to construct a roster than has 3 scoring lines, with varying degrees of success but new Vancouver coach Willie Desjardins said at the beginning of the season that he wanted FOUR lines that can contribute offensively. And, it’s working.
After honoring Daniel Sedin‘s 1,000th game in a pre-game ceremony, right wing Jannik Hansen completed his first career hat trick into an empty net with 42.1 seconds left to lead the Canucks to a 4-1 win against the Chicago Blackhawks at Rogers Arena.
“We strive this year to make it a four-line team,” Hansen said. “It’s not a matter of one, two, three, four. Everyone knows the twins [Daniel and Henrik Sedin] are going to get their matchup every night. After that it’s up to the nine other guys to supply the secondary scoring. As long as we can do that we’ve got a chance to win games.”
And how. Also worth noting is that rookie centre Bo Horvat had 3 assists and won 81% of his face-offs against the Blackhawks who are one of the best FO teams in the league. Kid’s a player folks.
7) The Calgary Flames…what can you say about them that hasn’t been said already. They just keep finding ways to win. 7-3-0 in their last 10 and 7-3-0 against WC opponents. The Flames are departing for a 3 game road trip against the Sharks, Ducks and Coyotes so it’ll be interesting to see if they can sustain their play.
8) And speaking of the Flames…they have 3 of the top 10 scoring rookies in the NHL this season. Johnny Gaudreau (15 PTS), Josh Jooris (9 PTS) and Markus Granlund (9 PTS) have all performed at a very high level. It’s likely that Filip Forsberg (22 PTS) runs away with the Calder Trophy but Flames’ fans have to be pretty pumped about the performance of their rookies. Worth noting that Oilers highly touted rookie Leon Draisaitl is 25th in rookie scoring with only 5 points and is -9.
9) R.I.P. Pat Quinn…the man who saved hockey in Vancouver.
10) R.I.P. Viktor Tikhnov…the man who changed the way hockey is played.