Tuesday, December 28, 2021

What Minnesota Wild need to Win a Stanley Cup

 The Minnesota Wild are currently sitting in first place in the Central Division now and are tied for 1st in the Western Conference. This is quite a surprise considering their team on paper is not that impressive, so there has to be something special about their play on the ice that makes them a powerhouse in the Western Conference under Head coach Dean Evason. In order for the Minnesota Wild to win the Stanley Cup this year, they will have to make a few moves to improve the team.



These are some of the issues w/ Minnesota Wild:


1. Lack of a 3rd line center

2. Defensive Depth

3. Lack of offensive depth


If there is one issue that the Minnesota Wild do have is that they lack a solid 3rd line center. The lack of center depth will be even more obvious with Joel Eriksson Ek out for an extended period of time. Eriksson EK is their best overall center, and without him in the lineup, they will struggle because he does so much for the team on both sides of the puck. To make up for the loss of Eriksson Ek, Minnesota should add a veteran center that can slot up and down the lineup. Minnesota could also use a 3rd line center to solidify their center depth for a deep playoff run.

With the injury to Jared Spurgeon, Minnesota's defense is looking a tad weak, so it would be smart for them to add some depth on the blueline. Jonas Brodin, Matt Dumba, and Alex Goligoski have been pillars of strength on the back-end for the Wild, but Defenseman such as Dmitry Kulikov, Jon Merrill, and Jordie Benn has been solid during the regular season, but are unproven come playoff team. If they are to make a deep playoff run, they will need to add a veteran defenseman who has plenty of playoff experience.

Besides having a lack of depth at center, the Wild also lack depth scoring from their bottom 6, this could have affected their chances to make a deep playoff run. When it comes playoff time, they will need players outside of their top 6 to score, which is why they need to add some veteran forwards at the deadline that can provide depth scoring.


Trades:

Minnesota Wild acquire Max Domi, Kevin Stenlund from Columbus Blue Jackets for Nico Sturm, Rem Pitlick, 2022 2nd round pick.

The Wild add Max Domi to bolster the depth at center and Kevin Stendlund adds some depth scoring on the wings.

Minnesota Wild acquire Chris Tierney, Nic Paul, Joshua Brown from Ottawa Senators for Victor Rask, Brandon Duhaime, 2023 3rd round pick. If the Wild make it to the Conference Finals, the Senators get a 2024 2nd round pick.

Minnesota adds center Chris Tierney to bolster their center depth and some depth players with the acquisition of Nic Paul and Nick Holden.


This is how the lineup looks like after the trades:



K.Kaprizov-R.Hartman-M.Zuccarello

J.Greenway-M.Domi-K.Fiala

N.Paul-C.Tierney-M.Foligno

N.Bjugstad-F.Gaudreau-K.Stenlund

J.Brodin-M.Dumba

J.Merrill-A.Goligoski

Jo.Benn-D.Kulikov

C.Talbot

K.Kahkonen

IR: J.Spurgeon, J.Eriksson Ek, J.Brown


The Minnesota Wild could be building something special and if they add the right pieces could contend for a Stanley Cup this year.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

What's Wrong w/ LA Kings

 The LA Kings are sitting just outside a playoff spot right now, with a 12-10-5 record (29 points) through 27 games this season. Although the Kings have some nice pieces, they aren't quite good enough to be a contender just yet. In this blog, I explain what is wrong with the LA Kings and what they can do to become a contending team.




Issues w/ LA Kings:

1. Not enough Scoring

2. No Secondary scoring

3. Best Prospects are Not NHL ready

4. Don't have a successor for Jonathan Quick

The LA Kings do not score enough; they have only scored 76 goals this season, which is the 8th least in the NHL. Anze Kopitar leads the team in points with 25 points in 27 games, Alex Iaffalo has 9 goals and 17 points in 27 games, Adrian Kempe leads the team in goals with 11 goals and 16 points in 27 games. Viktor Arvidsson has played in only 20 games, but he has 6 goals and 14 points in those games. Phillip Danault has 14 points in 27 games and is a +5; Drew Doughty leads defenseman in scoring, with 13 points in 11 games, while averaging over 24 minutes TOI a game. Alex Edler has 11 points in 26 games and is a +8, and Dustin Brown has 10 points in 27 games.

The scoring really trails off after Dustin Brown, cause no other players on the team have more than 10 points this year. Their top 6 is strong and their top 4 is decent but the secondary scoring is non-existent. The LA Kings don't have much secondary scoring due to the fact that they were not able to sign many free agents, and their best prospects are not NHL ready.

The Kings' top prospects such as Rasmus Kupari, Arthur Kaliyev, Tobias Bjornfot are being used as depth players because they have not fully reached their potential. Quinton Byfield, Alex Turcotte, Brandt Clarke are not NHL ready but once they are, they will impact players for the Kings. Players like Gabriel Vilardi, Tyler Madden, Akil Thomas, Samuel Helenius, Vladimir Tkachev, Martin Chromiak could also become high-level players at the NHL level.

Jonathan Quick has been the Number 1 goalie for the Kings for a long time, but they have been trying to replace him with Cal Peterson as the Number 1 goalie. Unfortunately for LA, Peterson has not been able to solidify the role of the number 1 goalie, as Jonathan Quick has outplayed him by a wide margin this year. LA may have to think about drafting or trading for a goalie of the future.


Trades:

LA Kings acquire Phil Kessel from Arizona Coyotes for Andreas Athanasiou, Gabriel Vilardi, 2023 2nd round pick. LA Retains $3 million of Kessel's cap hit.

Phil Kessel would give an instant boost in the offense for the Kings alongside Anze Kopitar.

LA Kings trade Carl Grundstrom, Trevor Moore, 2022 2nd round pick to the Chicago Blackhawks for Dominik Kubalik, Riley Stillman.

Dominik Kubalik is a proven goal scorer who will add some firepower and depth scoring to the team, and Riley Stillman gives them some depth on defense.


This is how the lineup looks like after the trades:




D.Kubalik-A.Kopitar-V.Arvidsson

A.Iaffalo-P.Danault-P.Kessel

A.Kempe-R.Kupari-D.Brown

B.Lemieux-B.Lizotte-A.Kaliyev

T.Bjornfot-M.Anderson

O.Maatta-M.Roy

R.Stillman-S.Durzi

J.Quick

C.Peterson

(IR) D.Doughty, A.Edler, S.Walker


The LA Kings now look like a team that could be a threat in the playoffs once they get everyone back and healthy.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Whats Wrong w/ Philadelphia Flyers

 The Philadelphia Flyers have had a brutal stretch recently, having lost 6 games in a row and not registering a win in 10 games. This has caused the Flyers' record to drop to 8-12-4 and has led to the firing of head coach Alain Vigneault. What are the issues with the Philadelphia Flyers, and what can be done to fix them?



Issues w/ Philadelphia Flyers:

1. Lack of Goal Scoring

2. Too many wash up veterans

3. Poor Defense

4. Inconsistent Goaltending


The Philadelphia Flyers are struggling to score goals this season; only the Arizona Coyotes and New York Islanders have scored fewer goals than the Flyers. Claude Giroux leads the team in scoring with 21 points, followed by Cam Atkinson and Sean Couturier, who both have 14 points apiece. Travis Konecny has 12 points, Derick Brassard has 11 points, Joel Farabee has 10 points. No other players have more than 10 points. Ivan Provorov, Justin Braun both have 8 points, and Keith Yandle has chipped in 7 points. Kevin Hayes and JVR are two important pieces of the offense, but they haven't done much this season, both have scored less than 6 points this year.

Another major issue that the Flyers have is that they have too many wash up veterans. Claude Giroux is 33, JVR is 32, Cam Atkinson is 32, Derrick Brassard is 34, Keith Yandle is 35, and Justin Braun is 34. Ryan Ellis is 30, Kevin Hayes is 29, and Sean Couturier is 29 as well. With this group of players, the Flyers aren't going anywhere because their core is declining and their young players aren't at the point where they can be impact players yet.

Philadelphia has allowed 82 goals against this year, which is the 7th most in the league. After Ryan Ellis went down with an injury, the Flyers' defense completely fell apart. Ivan Provorov, Justin Braun has played well, but defenseman such as Keith Yandle, Rasmus Ristolainen, Travis Sanheim has not lived up to expectations. 

Carter Hart and Martin Jones played well at the start of the season, but recently they have played poorly. Carter Hart has a 2-6 record with a 3.31 GAA and a .899 SV%, while Martin Jones has a 0-4 record with a 4.36 GAA and .888 SV% in the last month of the season. It isn't entirely the goalies' fault that the Flyers aren't doing well but the inconsistent play in goal definitely does play a part in their struggles this year.


Trades:

Philadelphia Flyers trade Claude Giroux to the Anaheim Ducks for Isac Lundestrom, Maxime Comtois, 1st round pick '22.

The Addition of Giroux makes the Ducks a legitimate threat out West, while Lundestrom and Comtois are two young players that can help the Flyers right now.

The Flyers also trade Justin Braun, Derrick Brassard to the Minnesota Wild for Fredrick Gaudreau, Jordie Benn, 5th round pick '22. If the Wild make the 2nd round of the playoffs, the 5th round pick becomes a 3rd round pick.

The Wild add Justin Braun and Derrick Brassard, two veteran players with playoff experience, while the Flyers et Fredrick Gaudreau, Jordie Benn, and a conditional pick.

Philadelphia Flyers trade Keith Yandle to the Montreal Canadiens for Brett Kulak, 3rd round pick '22.

The Flyers get a younger and more mobile defenseman in Brett Kulak, while the Canadiens get a veteran puck-moving defenseman that helps the team.


This is how the lineup looks like after the trades:




J.Farabee-S.Couturier-T.Konecny

O.Lindblom-I.Lundestrom-M.Frost

JVR-K.Hayes-C.Atkinson

S.Laughton-F.Gaudreau-P.Brown

I.Provorov-Jo.Benn

T.Sanheim-R.Ristolainen

N.Seeler-B.Kulak

C.Hart

M.Jones

IR: R.Ellis, M.Comtois


After making these trades, the Philadelphia Flyers look like a younger team that would still be in a good position even if they miss the playoffs.

Friday, December 3, 2021

What's Wrong w/ Boston Bruins

 The Boston Bruins are having a subpar start to the season, but there is still tons of time to turn it around this year. This is what is wrong with the Boston Bruins and how can they fix those issues.



Issues w/ Boston Bruins:

1. David Krejci's departure has left a massive hole in the lineup

2. Taylor Hall's slow start 

3. Lack of Secondary scoring

4. No impact defenseman outside of McAvoy

One of the major issues with the Boston Bruins this season is that they do not have a second-line center. The loss of David Krejci was huge, and they never really replaced him in the lineup. Boston signed Nick Foligno, Erik Haula, and Tomas Nosek to fill out the lineup but none of them were able to fill the void that the departure of David Krejci left. Charlie Coyle has been playing as the second-line center for most of the season, and the major issue with that is that he is very inconsistent and is not a reliable source of offense.

Taylor Hall is having a slow start to the season, tallying 5 goals, 11 points, and 4 PPP in 20 games. He has been playing alongside Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith most of the season, and while Hall and Coyle are scoring, their production is not on the same level as it was when David Krejci was playing as the second-line center.

The Bruins only have scored 59 goals this season, which is tied for 7th worst in the league. The Top-line of the Bruins has tallied 25 of their 59 goals, which is 42% of the goals for the team. Boston lacks secondary scoring, especially from their 3rd and 4th line players. Players like Jake DeBrusk, Craig Smith, Nick Foligno, Erik Haula, and Tomas Nosek have not provided the secondary scoring that the Bruins had hoped.

Charlie McAvoy has had a terrific start to the season, putting up 14 points, and well as 8 PPP in 20 games. The rest of the defense rarely has any offensive production; Matt Grzelcyk, Derek Forbort, Brandon Carlo, and Mike Reilly have contributed very little offensively and aren't playing well defensively either.


Trades:

Boston Bruins trade Jake DeBrusk, Erik Haula to the Ottawa Senators for Chris Tierney, Tyler Ennis.

The Bruins get a 2nd or 3rd line center, which makes the team deeper.

The Bruins also trade Mike Reilly, Jakub Lauko, 3rd round pick '22 to the LA Kings for Alex Edler, Austin Wagner.

The LA Kings add Alex Edler, a veteran defenseman, who bolsters the defense.


Boston Bruins sign Tuukka Rask to a 2 yr deal worth 3.5 million per season.


This is how the lineup looks like after the trades:




B.Marchand-P.Bergeron-D.Pastrnak

T.Hall-C.Tierney-Cr.Smith

N.Foligno-C.Coyle-T.Nosek

A.Wagner-C.Lazar-T.Ennis


D.Forbort-C.McAvoy

M.Grzelcyk-B.Carlo

A.Edler-C.Clifton


J.Swayman

L.Ullmark


IR: T.Rask