Thursday, November 25, 2021

What's Wrong w/ Tampa Bay Lightning

 The Tampa Bay Lightning are the defending Stanley Cup Champions but they haven't exactly had the best start to the season. While Tampa has a good 11-4-3 record; they currently sit in 3rd in the Atlantic Division. What's are some of the Issues with the Tampa Bay Lightning and how should they be fixed?



Issues w/ Tampa Bay Lightning

1. Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point's Injuries

2. Not enough Scoring Depth

3. Defense Has Not been good at all

4. Young players have not developed well


It's not a stretch to say that Nikita Kucherov is the focal point of the Lightning' offense, and his absence in the lineup is very noticeable especially on the powerplay since his presence requires other teams to pay special attention to him. Kucherov underwent surgery back in late October and was given a timeline of 8 to 10 weeks. The Lightning was able to play well enough without Nikita Kucherov because they still had Stamkos, Point, and Vasilevkiy, however, unfortunately, Brayden Point sustained an upper-body injury and will be out week to week. The Lightning might struggle in the coming weeks without the services of Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point.

The Lightning had a ton of injuries last season, but the major difference was last season they had incredible depth which they lost in the offseason due to salary cap reasons. Tampa lost their whole third line of Yanni Gourde, Blake Coleman, and Barclay Goodrow, as well a player who had been an essential part of their team for a long time, Tyler Johnson. These 4 players played huge roles on the team last season and if the Lightning is to play without Kucherov and Point for a while, they will fall in the standings because they don't have good enough scoring depth this year.

Besides the lack of scoring depth, the Lightning has not played great defensively this season in front of Andrei Vasilevksiy. A big reason for this is because of the injury to Erik Cernak, who is very quietly one of their most important defensemen. Obviously, the veteran defenseman such as Hedman and McDonagh are going to do fine, but the rest of their defenseman hasn't played that well. Mikael Sergachev has developed into a great offensive defenseman, but his play defensively can sometimes be head-scratching. The Lightning has a noticeable weakness on the right side of their defense with the absence of Erik Cernak, so that needs to be addressed somehow.

When the Lightning let some of their veteran players leave, they anticipated some of their younger players taking the next step in their development. Ross Colton, Alex Barre Boulet, and Mathieu Joseph are three young players that need to step their game up in absence of Kucherov and Point. Cal Foote, their 1st round pick in 2017 has not panned out thus far and has not become a top 4 defenseman like he was projected to be. Two other prospects to watch are Boris Katchouk and Taylor Raddysh; both were highly touted prospects but their development hasn't gone well. Because Lightning is in desperate need of players, I expect all of the players mentioned to have an impact on the team.


How to Fix Tampa Bay Lightning


Tampa Bay Lightning acquire Tage Thompson, Anders Bjork, Colin Miller from the Buffalo Sabres for Ross Colton, Taylor Raddysh, 2023 3rd round pick. Buffalo retains 60% of Colin Miller's contract.

The Lightning improves their scoring depth with the additions of Tage Thompson and Anders Bjork, as well as the addition of Colin Miller.

Tampa Bay Lightning acquire Calle Jarnkrok, Ryan Donato from the Seattle Kraken for Boris Katchouk, 2022 1st round pick. Seattle retains 50% of Jarnkrok's contract.

The Lightning is going all-in to try to three-peat; Jarnkrok will be a great third line and Ryan Donato can be a solid 3rd line player.


This is how their Lineup looks like after trade:




O.Palat-S.Stamkos-T.Thompson

A.Killorn-A.Cirelli-M.Joseph

R.Donato-C.Jarnkork-A.Bjork

P.Maroon-P-E.Bellemare-C.Perry

V.Hedman-J.Ruuta

R.McDonagh-C.Miller

M.Sergachev-Z.Bogosian

A.Vasilevskiy

B.Elliott

IR: N.Kucherov, B.Point, B.Seabrook


The Tampa Bay Lightning have improved their team so that they will be good enough to survive without Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point, and when they return, Tampa will be a really tough team to beat.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

What's Wrong w/ New York Islanders

 The New York Islanders have not gotten off to a great start to the season this year; for a team that went to the Eastern Conference Finals last season, this is surely a disappointing start. What is Wrong with the New York Islanders? What can be done to fix their issues?



Issues with New York Islanders:

1. Lack of Goal Scoring

2. Defense isn't as good 

3. Team is too old

4. Injuries


The New York Islanders are last in the Metropolitan division and have scored the second-fewest goals in the entire league. A big reason for this is the loss of Jordan Eberle to the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft. Eberle had been a major part of their team and was one of their more reliable offensive players last year. After losing Eberle, the Islanders re-sign Kyle Palmieri and signed Zach Parise to provide depth scoring. The Isles have only scored 29 goals this season, only the Arizona Coyotes have scored fewer goals this season.

One of the strengths of the Islanders teams' under Barry Trotz is the defense, but their defense hasn't been as good this year. They traded away Nick Leddy, who had been a major part of their defense for a long time, and that left the left side of their defense pretty weak. Zdeno Chara was brought in to provide some depth on defense, but he clearly is two years past retirement.

Another major issue with the New York Islanders is that the team is too old. The Average age for forwards on the Islanders is 28.8 years old; Zach Parise is the oldest player at 37 years old, followed by Cal Clutterbuck, who is 33, and Matt Martin at 32 years of age. The Average age for defensemen on the Islanders is 30.3 years old; Zdeno Chara is 44 and Andy Greene is 39. The NHL is a young man's game, and having so many players on the roster over the age of 30 definitely have attributed to their slow start.

A big part of the reason why the team had a slow start to the season is due to injuries. Semyon Varlamov missed the first 10 games of the season for the Islanders, Anders Lee is off to a slow start because he is coming off an ACL injury. Ryan Pulock will miss a couple weeks due to a lower-body injury, which will leave their defense severely depleted. Josh Bailey is also going to miss some time due to COVID. 


In order to fix the team, the Islanders will need to make a few trades.


Trades:

New York Islanders trade Zdeno Chara, 2022 2nd round pick to the Boston Bruins for Derek Forbort.

Zdeno Chara gets to go back to Boston to finish out his career, while the Islanders get a big, physical defenseman in Derek Forbort to stabilize the back-end.

The Islanders also trade Kieffer Bellows, Sebastian Aho to the Buffalo Sabres for Jacob Bryson, Rasmus Asplund.

This trade is great for both teams and all players involved; hopefully Bryson and Asplund can take their game to the next level.

Semyon Varlamov is traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Joonas Korpisalo, Andrew Peeke, 2022 2nd round pick.

The Islanders trade away Varlamov, so they can hand over the reigns to Sorokin, and at the same time bolster their defense.


This is how the lineup looks like after the trades:




A.Lee-M.Barzal-O.Wahlstrom

R.Asplund-B.Nelson-A.Beauvillier

Z.Parise-JG Pagueau-K.Palmieri

M.Martin-C.Cizikas-C.Clutterbuck

A.Pelech-S.Mayfield

D.Forbort-N.Dobson

J.Bryson-A.Peeke

I.Sorokin

J.Korpisalo

IR: R.Pulock, J.Bailey


The Islanders have a younger and deeper team that should have a little more firepower in the lineup down the stretch.


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

What's Wrong w/ Chicago Blackhawks

 There's are a lot of off the ice controversy surrounding the Chicago Blackhawks, but I wanted to focus on the team on the ice. The 2021-22 Chicago Blackhawks have gotten off to a terrible Start to the season, with a 3-9-2 record; only Arizona has a worse record. This bad start has caused the Blackhawks to fire head coach Jeremy Colliton, and Derek King was named the Interim coach. In this blog, I discuss what is wrong with Chicago Blackhawks and how to fix them.



Major Issues w/ Chicago Blackhawks:

1. Offseason acquisitions haven't panned out

2. Defense is flat out bad

3. Dylan Strome's poor play

4. Lack of Depth Scoring


The Chicago Blackhawks make a few major offseason moves to improve the team, including acquiring Seth Jones, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Tyler Johnson. They also went out and signed Jake McCabe, Jujhar Khaira, Erik Gustafsson in Free Agency. 

The only move that is looking good so far is the Seth Jones move, he has 12 points in his first 14 games, while logging over 26 minutes a game. Marc-Andre Fleury has not had the start he would have liked in Chicago; he has a 2-7 record with a 3.81 GAA and .892 SV%. Tyler Johnson scored 3 points in 8 games and now is out with an injury. The free-agent signings haven't panned out either, none of the players have made any significant impact.

Chicago's defense is flat-out bad this season, outside of Seth Jones, the rest of the defense has be downright atrocious this year. Connor Murphy has the worst +/- on the team with a -13 through the first 14 games and Jake McCabe has the 2nd worth +/- with a -12. Calvin DeHaan is -7 through 14 games, Erik Gustafsson has 4 points in 13 games and is a -3. On Paper, the defense isn't that bad, but when you watch them actually play, you realize that this defensive core is absolutely terrible in their own zone.

Dylan Strome has not been used correctly by Jeremy Colliton, and he found himself playing on the fourth line at times this year. Strome is not useful playing in a 4th line role because he is not an energy guy and if he isn't putting up points, he is basically useless.

The Blackhawks have a great top 6, and the top 6 has no issues scoring, but the scoring drops off a cliff after the top 6. Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Alex DeBrincat, Dominik Kubalik, Bradon Hagel, and Kirby Dach make up the top 6 for Chicago 48 of the Blackhawks 86 total points are scored by the top 6 of Chicago and 22 of the Blackhawks 30 goals came from their top 6. So, by those two statistics, it is clear that the Blackhawks lack depth scoring.


Chicago Blackhawks make two trades:

Chicago Blackhawks trade Dylan Strome, Riley Stillman to the Seattle Kraken for Colin Blackwell, Jeremy Lauzon, 2023 2nd round pick.

The Blackhawks kill two birds with one stone; they address the scoring depth issues and at the same time trade away a disgruntled Dylan Strome.

The Blackhawks also acquire Brett Howden, William Carrier from Vegas Golden Knights for Henrik Borgstrom, Jujhar Khaira, 2022 4th round pick.

The Blackhawks acquire two important role players in Brett Howden and Will Carrier to fill out the lineup.


This is how the Chicago Blackhawks lineup looks like after the trade:



A.DeBrincat-K.Dach-P.Kane

D.Kubalik-J.Toews-B.Hagel

M.Hardman-B.Howden-A.Gaudette

W.Carrier-R.Carpenter-P.Kurashev

J.Lauzon-S.Jones

J.McCabe-C.Murphy

C.DeHaan-E.Gustafsson

M-A.Fleury

K.Lankanen

(IR) T.Johnson, Co.Blackwell


The Chicago Blackhawks have made moves to improve their depth and defense, and when they get healthy they could make a push for a playoff birth.


Wednesday, November 3, 2021

What is Wrong with Colorado Avalanche

 The Colorado Avalanche haven't had a great start to the season, due to a combination of injuries and because they lost a few key players in the offseason. Let's discuss the issues with the Colorado Avalanche and how to fix them.




Issues with the Colorado Avalanche:

1. Loss of Philipp Grubauer, Brandon Saad, Ryan Graves

2. Injuries early in the season

3. Darcy Kuemper's slow start

4. Lack of Scoring Depth

5. Defense is too soft


The Colorado Avalanche lost a couple key players in the offseason, which is a major reason why they have gotten off to a mediocre start to the season.

Philipp Grubauer signed with the Seattle Kraken and Brandon Saad signed with the St.Louis Blues in Free Agency. Ryan Graves was traded to the New Jersey Devils for a 2021 2nd round pick. To replace Philipp Grubauer, the Avs went out and acquired Darcy Kuemper; Jack Johnson and Darren Helm were added in Free Agency.

Injuries played a big part in why Colorado has had a .500 record out of the gate, and while that is exactly terrible, it is surprising considering Colorado was expected to be one of the best teams in the league this year. Nathan MacKinnon missed the first 2 games of the season due to injury, and Gabriel Landeskog was suspended for 2 games. Cale Makar and Devon Toews are expected to miss time due to injury, as are Mikko Rantanen, Valeri Nischushkin, and Andre Burakovsky.

Darcy Kuemper had very high expectations heading into this season, but he has not lived up to those mighty expectations. In 7 starts, Kuemper has a 4-3 record with a 2.87 GAA and .904 SV%. In his defense, the defense in front of him wasn't great, but still, the Avalanche gave up quite a lot to get Kuemper, and he has been disappointing, to say the least.

The two major issues I see with this team is the lack of scoring depth and the defense is too soft; if Avalanche can address these two issues, they should be back to their winning ways.


Trades:

Colorado Avalanche trade Jack Johnson, Shane Bowers to the Montreal Canadiens for Ben Chiarot, Artturi Lehkonen.

The Avalanche improve their defense with the addition of Ben Chiarot and add more offensive depth with the addition of Artturi Lehkonen.

The Avs also trade Ryan Murray, Kieffer Sherwood to the Arizona Coyotes for Ilya Lyubushkin, Christian Fischer.

The Avalanche adds two physical players who will bring so physicality to the lineup in Lyubushkin and Fischer.


This is how the Lineup looks like after the trades:




G.Landeskog-N.MacKinnon-JT.Compher

A.Lehkonen-N.Kadri-M.Rantanen

M.Kaut-T.Jost-L.O'Connor

S.Ranta-D.Helm-C.Fischer

B.Byram-E.Johnson

B.Chiarot-S.Girard

K.MacDermaid-I.Lyubushkin

D.Kuemper

J.Johansson

(IR) C.Makar, D.Toews, A.Burakovsky, V.Nischuskin, P.Francouz


There are still many players out due to injury but the trades would allow the Avalanche to have a little more depth in the lineup til the injured players are ready to return.