Why Winnipeg WILL Win The Stanley Cup

 https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mark_Scheifele_-_Winnipeg_Jets.jpg

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mark_Scheifele_-_Winnipeg_Jets.jpg

DEFENSIVE LIABILITY PERSPECTIVE

Yup, you heard it here first! Jets will fly high and take the Stanley cup… well maybe I'm not the first but anyone can make one hell of a case for them to win! Last year Winnipeg were rolling through the playoffs beating Minnesota and Nashville only to come short to the Cinderella story Las freakin Vegas. I can't believe still that they lost to them! Winnipeg looked better on every aspect possible but… as we all know… stats don't matter in the playoffs. Fast forward 1 year with Kyle Connor having a long playoff run and another year under his belt and the firepower throughout the line Winnipeg is poised to win the cup.

Let's take a look at the lineup starting with Blake Wheeler who quietly goes about his business every single year finishing last year with 91 points. Wheeler is one of the most underrated players in the game because year after year he's posting over 60 points! Then the Jets have Merlin Dirty Wizard himself, Patrik Laine with one of the ugliest beards of all time but one hell of a sniper. Magic is bound to happen if Laine is given the time and space in the offensive zone. Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers both finished with 60 points last year and with more experience comes better decisions which will help out the team in the 2 way game. Winnipeg has a scary lineup that can outscore any team and they are not push overs either.

Speaking of not being a push over let's look at the defense starting with Big Buff. Dustin Byfuglien brings something to a team that everyone loves to have in the NHL it’s the "Scare factor". What is the scare factor you ask? Scare factor is going into the corner with a guy who is 260lbs going at highspeeds looking to put that weight through your body. This makes it scary for teams to dump and chase or go through the natural zone without being blown up making them second guess or bobble the puck. If Buff can stay healthy and still be a productive point producer they back end should do just fine.

The big question mark that everyone has is Connor Hellebuyck who had his breakout season last year with a 0.924 Save% and 44 wins. If Helllebuyck goes down it could mean trouble for Winnipeg as the backup situation is a bit sketchy. Ever heard of Laurent Brossoit? No? Exactly.

Overall Winnipeg with the speed, toughness and snipers throughout their lineup will match and beat most teams on a nightly basis. The only real question isn't if they are going to make the playoffs it's can they stay healthy enough for the playoffs.

Let me know your thoughts!

 

Where does Zetterberg rank in all-time best Swede?

 https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Henrik_Zetterberg.jpg

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Henrik_Zetterberg.jpg

THE DEFENSIVE LIABILITY PERSPECTIVE

Sweden has produced Legendary NHL players like Peter Forsberg, Borje Salming, Nicklas Lidstrom and more. Now that Zetterberg has retired let's take a look to see where he fits in the top Swedish players to ever play in the NHL

Zetterberg played in just over 1000 games finishing his career at 1082 finishing at 960 points for which if he did finish his contract would have surpassed the 1000 point mark. Zetterberg is currently ranked 6th in the all-time points list for swedes and 4th in game winning goals. Peter Forsberg with only 708 games finished with 885 points so arguably Forsberg was the greatest but was injury riddled throughout his career. Not bad stats and all but does he crack my top 5? Short answer No but close!

Here is my top 5 Greatest Swedes of all time (Retired).

1. Nicklas Lidstrom

2. Peter Forsberg

3. Mats Sundin

4. Daniel Alfredsson

5. Henrik Sedin (Daniel would be #6)

Zetterberg will always be a solid argument as one of the greatest Swede of all time! While we are on the topic let's take a look of best Swede's currently in the NHL!

1. Erik Karlsson

2. Henrik Lundqvist (He is past his prime now)

3. Nicklas Backstrom

4. Victor Hedman

5. Niklas Kronwall

Honorable mentions to Alex Steen, Patrc Hornqvist and Gabriel Landeskog.

Let us know your top 5 Swedes of all time and currently in the NHL!

Don’t forget to like and share!

The Sad Reality Being A Senators Fan

 https://www.flickr.com/photos/kenlund/29439843084

https://www.flickr.com/photos/kenlund/29439843084

THE DEFENSIVE LIABILITY PERSPECTIVE

After the wake of the Erik Karlsson unwilling departure this is exactly what is wrong with the Senators Organization. People need to let Sens fans be and not lay into them about "You have no 1st round pick next year and you are going to miss playoffs" or "You lost Erik Karlsson you guys are terrible". They are 150% aware of what's happening and it's the toughest pill to swallow. Sens fans know they have the worst owner in the NHL who will doom this franchise until the end of time puppeteering the GM with no back bone. The fact you decided that THE best generation offensive defenseman is not part of a rebuild back in February is insane!

Ottawa has had their great days back when Heatley, Spezza, and Alfredsson were in their heyday with back to back 50 goal seasons for Heatley, Spezza turning Sheldon Surray into a pylon and Alfredsson clinching the game winning goal against Buffalo to send them into the finals but things have taken a dark turn over time which make those days seem like a dream. Those were the high times for the Sens, Stadium always packed, Bars always filled, Talk of Ottawa was always about the Sens and how excited everyone was! Fast forward 10 years… Ottawa is known as the laughing stock of the NHL, Fans not attending games just to spite their owner and the talk about the Sens is always about selling the team or what the F*** is going on?

Ottawa is currently at the lowest of low when it comes to happy fans, attendance, loyalty and now a state of depression. I really can’t blame the fans tho. Ottawa has and always will be a great hockey market which has sold out the arena many times during the regular season so any talk of Ottawa moving to "Quebec city or Seattle" is never going to happen so that topic will just end here. The Sens are stuck with a terrible owner who doesn't want to invest money into the team, a GM who makes terrible decision after terrible decision which really puts a big dent in this whole "Rebuild" situation. Sens have Matt Duchene and Mark Stone who can walk away for nothing, A former captain who was robbed from Sens because the owner didn’t want to fork out the money and see him part of the team who has invested so much time and effort into the community AND was willing to stay through the rebuild.

If you see a Sens fan in comments or in real life, give them a hug or some encouraging words. Sens fans are stuck in an endless black hole of bad decisions, tarped off seats and terrible ownership. The fans are well aware of what is happening in Ottawa and they know it's terrible but there is nothing they can do except pray that Eugene sells the team so Sens can see the brighter side. Some Sens fans come across as "not loyal" but that is 100% not sure, it is pure frustration of what they have been dealing with behind the scenes and the product on the ice because of "internal Salary". It is dark days for Sens fans out their worldwide but deep down inside all Sens fans will always be there for the Sens and will cheer no matter what but there is so much anger, frustration and confusion that it is really taking a toll on even the biggest fan.

Let me know your thoughts. #MelnykOut

Could Nylander & Matthews ruin the leafs future?

 photo from: https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/flyers-andrew-macdonald-6-weeks-lower-body-injury/

photo from: https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/flyers-andrew-macdonald-6-weeks-lower-body-injury/

THE DEFENSIVE LIABILITY

John Tavares was the big acquisition for the Leafs signing for 7 years for $77 Million ($11 Million Per) which takes a large chunk of change out of the $80 Mil salary cap. Word on the street is Matthews is looking for Connor McDavid money and Willy will most likely sign for 6-8 Million per year and this could devastate them in the future. Toronto already has $9.5 locked up in the back end with Rielly and Zaitsev which leaves 4 other spots that will need to be filled in the future. I guess my question is – What is Matthews actually worth?

Matthews is very much a super star in the NHL with great hands, hockey sense and a cannon of a shot but is he really worth Connor Mcdavid money? I say…. Hard no. Let's take a quick comparison looking over the first 2 years of their NHL careers.

Auston Matthews

Games Played- 144 Goals- 74 Assists- 58 Points – 132

 

Connor Mcdavid

Games Played- 127 Goals- 46 Assist- 102 Points- 148

Comparably McJesus has obviously dominated the sheet playing less games and arguably on a worst team. Auston Matthews in my eyes is a $10-11 million range. Leafs should sign a bridge deal for 3 for $25 Million until he can prove him self worthy of the big bucks. With 3 forwards taking up $30 Million and $9Million this gives the leafs very little room to round out their team with already big question marks on the back end. Next year Toronto will have 11 RFA/UFA's they will need to make big decisions for which could blow up this Leafs team as we know it. We will see how the next few weeks turnout with Willy and see what happens with Matthews…. Let's just hope he doesn't wake up one day and want to play for his childhood team the Arizona Coyotes!

Let me know your thoughts!

Can The Chicago Blackhawks Bounce Back?

THE DEFENSIVE LIABILITY PERSPECTIVE

Last year Chicago finished last by a mile in the Central division with a goal differential of -27 and the only highlight a beer league goalie shutting out the Jets. The main issue is father time has finally caught up to the Blackhawks defense core with Brent Seabook and Duncan Keith having one of the worst statistical years in 9+ years. Keith didn't even score his first goal until February while finishing a solid -29! Chicago management has started drafting defense early over the last serveral years that will hope to fill in this void.

Adam Boqvist, Henri Jokiharju and Blake Hillman will look to kickstart the youth movement on the back with scoring and speed. Adam Boqvist was at one point 3-4th overall pick in the 2018 draft for a lot of analyst projection who is similar to Dahlin but obviously not as good. Jokiharju looks to be heading in the right direction finishing in the WHL 71 points over 63 games, Jokiharju will need to make sure his defensive game will remain tight and have a solid training camp. Hillman has a chance to crack the roster but will have to really complete hard for that spot.

Chicago has been a consistent team since Toews and Kane came together losing lots of great talent along the way due to cap issues. Let me know your thoughts! Can Chicago compete for a playoff spot? Has the Blackhawks time came and went? Does Chicago need to focus more on their backend or is there other issues?

Should the NHL switch to wooden sticks?

THE DEFENSIVE LIABILITY PERSPECTIVE

Crazy right? Or maybe not so crazy… The NHL now as we know it have these unreal sticks that have made players shoot harder, more accurate and snap like spaghetti costing many beer league players that valuable beer money for after the games.  What if we dialed it back like the MLB? MLB is the best of the best players in baseball who have a skill to not use the metal bats, which generate more speed and power like they do in the NCAA and other levels of baseball. Why doesn't the NHL adapt this? I know this all sounds a little off but the speed these shots which will kill someone one day and maybe having the best players use wooden sticks will bring a different dynamic to the game. I know, the NHL wants to bring as much scoring as possible, reducing the goalie equipment and other stuff but when wooden sticks were the thing Al MacInnis managed to put it through the freaking boards and he was nowhere near the top physical shape that NHL players are at now! 

Let me know your thoughts!

Time to take out the Trapezoid?

 Paul Sakuma / AP   https://www.paulsakuma.com/   - Great photographer! 

Paul Sakuma / AP

https://www.paulsakuma.com/  - Great photographer! 

THE DEFENSIVE LIABILITY PERSPECTIVE

In 04-05 the NHL implemented the “Trapezoid” rule limiting goalies from playing the puck in the corners. Now that Martin Brodeur has retired is it time to take it out? The rule was originally put it to create offensive zone battles along the board when a puck is dumped in because they goaltenders were getting the puck and clearing the zone before any offense has happened. Now that 10+ years have passed, with the speed on the NHL being as fast as it has ever been will that offense still be created on the offensive zone and will the Power play have that extra threat with the new age goalie being able to handle a puck. 

I think it’s time to take it out personally, the trapezoid is so irrelevant these days with goalies being 6’2+ with 3 strides they are already in the corner to knock it down. The game has also changed where it’s less chip and chase and more of a possession game. If a goalie wants to come out and go fishing in a corner while a Connor Mcdavid is flying down on them I think that should be the goalies choice. Majority of the no goalie zone is only really effective in power play situations where the team will fire it into that corner, other then that it’s pretty much pointless. 

Let me know your thoughts! Any other rules do you think should be taken out that is outdated? 

Is Boston the Beast of the East?

The Defensive Liability Perspective

Can Boston get back to their Stanley cup ways? Is the youth movement in Boston enough to get them to that next level over a Tampa or Washington in the east?  Boston Bruins 2017-18 season ended up 4thin the league standing but with a disappointing 2ndaround exit against Tampa. Off the record, Tampa played out of their minds VS Boston where Tampa looked like they shouldn’t even be in the playoffs again Washington… Boston will need to show Tampa and somewhat the leafs that their Roster can match the high flying rosters on the north-east. 

Boston compared to the top teams in the east looks more rounded for an outsiders eye then most teams. Starting off with the backend with Charlie McAvoy, the veteran Zdeno Chara, Tory Krug and solid depth. Yes Tampa has Sergachev (Sorry Montreal since you have 0 good defenseman, Right PK?) Victor Headman but when it comes to depth I give Boston the slight edge with physicality, scoring touch and depth. Boston’s top line is hands down one of the best 2 way forward line in the NHL with Bergeron leading the way with Pastrnak and Marchand who will be top end wingers that will give most teams a good…. Licking every night. Second line Center David Krejci (If he can remain healthy!) is always a scoring threat year after year with David Backes and DeBrusk on his wings which helps round out Bostons top 6 nicely. Bostons bottom 6 will consist of young talent like Ryan Donato, Anders Bork, Jakob F-K and more. This is where Boston will either boom or bust against other teams with a lack of solid NHL miles under their belt on top of a fast pace east division. Boston’s top 6 will have to out perform many teams such as Penguins, Tampa, Toronto and Washington but I believe if someone does go down in their top 6 they have they depth to follow up with speed and skill. Goaltending is going to be solid regardless with Tuukka time and Halak in backup so not much to say on this topic!

Overall Boston will be gunning it again with the top teams but I think Boston’s mix of Speed and Physicality with a sprinkle of proven veterans it will help lead them to the top of the Eastern Conference. Let me know your thoughts on who will finish on top of the East and why!

Does Tavares really put Leafs to the next level?

Screenshot 2018-07-16 11.18.12.png

The Defensive Liability Perspective

With the big news in Toronto of John Tavares signing with his childhood dream of a team, does he actually make the team that much better? Toronto is in a period of time right now where it's the best chance to win the Stanley cup but does the leaf lineup actually pack enough punch to beat out a Washington, Tampa, Boston and more. Let's take a look and break down Toronto's roster with their off seasons losses and signings. 

Depth down the middle; 

Toronto has one of the best depth down the middle with Austin Matthews, JT, Kadri and whoever the 4thline will be. Will Toronto be looking to a rookie for the 4thline Center? Can the handle the pressure of Toronto? Only time will tell.

Questions on the wing;

This is where Toronto will either do well or bust. With the departure of JVR and his 36 goals, an aging Patrick Marleau and a few unproven rookies will Toronto's wingers be able to play with the big boys of the eastern conference. Don't get me wrong they do have a few speedy wingers and potential players coming through the system but is it really enough to make that much of a difference? Besides the top 2 lines they have a lot of uncertainties in their lineup with unproven rookies. 

The Never changing blue line;

Toronto year after year rolls with one of the most mediocre blue lines in the NHL. Morgan Rielly will always be the spotlight back there but after that is a lot of question marks. Toronto needs to find a way to add some more puck moving depth aswell as the defensive capabilities. Ron Hansey skates with cement in his skates and is the $4.5 million Zistev really the best option for a Stanley cup winning team in the NHL? 

Is there a good spark back there;

Goaltending for Toronto has been better since Anderson came in a couple years ago. Played great in the playoffs a few years ago but despite that Anderson barely finished in the top 20 for save % and 31stin GAA in the 17-18 season which could also in relation for the lack of Defense on Toronto. If Anderson proves this season he cannot be that Elite#1 goaltender will Garret spark be given the opportunity for this chance to be a starter?

Overall Toronto will make the playoffs this year but the real question is what will they do in the playoffs? Will the 97 points of Bozak and JVR be missed and is it worth signing Tavares for $11 Million a season versus adding scoring depth? Toronto will be an exciting team to watch for the next few years but will they stay in a state of mediocrity where they have the "Depth in the system" but never able to pull it together when it matters like the Ottawa Senators from 2000-2008. Lots of Super Stars, lots of depth and potential players but no results.

Knights Sophomore Slump?

Screenshot 2018-07-16 11.18.58.png

The Defensive Liability Perspective

With Las Vegas inaugural season come and gone, setting NHL history and possibilities for any new expansion team we look ahead to next season and the burning question…. Can they repeat? Short answer is not a chance. Vegas in the first season in the NHL shocked the world finishing on top of the Pacific Divison with a record of 51-24-7 an amazing accomplishment by an expansion team even with 3 goalies going down. Let's take a look at some of the factors which will lead to a fallen knight.

Let's start off with the division itself; yes they have Coyotes and Canucks where for the next few years we won't be seeing them out of the basement of the division for some easy points. That being said Edmonton and Calgary who finished 5thand 6thin the division are looking for a solid bounce back year after underperforming greatly and with Calgary's recent addition of former knight, James Neal the Flames have added to what should be a great forward group on top of Calgary's already solid blue line. California team will always be a very strong opponent in the Pacific division with newly acquired Russian sniper Ilya Kovalchuk joining the LA kings, we should see a much faster and better LA Kings team. 

During the off season, there was a few losses for Vegas losing James Neal (25G,19A) and David Perron (16G,50A). With their departure in the Knights lineup there will be a solid gap that would need to be filled with 2 of the top 6 forwards going. Vegas has locked up starting goal ender Fleury that will bring stability to the crease signing at 3 year extension for $21 million BUT that's if he doesn't get hurt again and plays that high level of skill again. The knights D core is for the most part unchanged which some games they were on fire and some games they looked like a pylons. 

Can Vegas overcome the scoring depth loss? Will the Pacific be to much for the Knights to handle? All these questions will be answered in due time, for now we can only speculate as they have proved everyone wrong last year. Personally I don't think it's possible for them to repeat. Towards the end of the season they came back to reality a bit but spiked again in the playoffs. I think the Pacific will look a lot better next year, they won't be as lucky with the goals off turn overs and teams have now had time to watch game tape on the knights which they had an advantage last year of being a new team. Vegas won't bottom out but they will be fighting for that last wildcard spot in the western conference.  

How much is this Stone worth?

Screenshot 2018-07-16 11.17.39.png

The Defensive Liability Perspective

Ottawa will be looking to Ink RFA Mark Stone during the offseason here which may have been lost in the rest of the hockey world with all the controversy surrounding the Senator's organization. I can get into a whole rant about how Ottawa just needs to blow the management up from the very top to bottom but that will be for another day. Mark stone finished 15thin scoring for NHL right wingers despite only playing 58 games totaling 62 Points and what you won't see on the stats sheet unless you go in depth is the takeaways. Hands of Stone do not apply to Mark as he has the ability of Datsyuk to strip and cause a scoring chance before you can blink. This all being said his foot speed is solid but what will it be in 4-5 years? 

Ottawa is already trying to unload Bobby Ryan who is eating up $7.25 Million a year who has great hands but terrible footspeed among other things that lack in his game right now. Ottawa has had great players who have had mediocre footspeed and done well for a few years but is it worth getting into Salary cap issues down the road? Injuries have already been an issue with Stone in his career and the older and more KM's he gets on his body the tougher it will be to recover and achieve the level he was at before.  I won't say Dany Heatley-esk since the give a F*** level with Mark stone is way more but Heatley towards the end of his career the NHL just got way to fast for him to be productive. 
 

This all being said I think 5 year 7-8 million a year would be a fair contract for Mark Stone, locking Stone up for the prime of his career and the ability to sign an extension if needed. Stone is a top 5 Right winger in the NHL with his hockey sense being through roof, his work along the boards being one of the best in the NHL and his defensive abilities being what any NHL team needs especially Ottawa finishing 2ndlast in goals against.

Ottawa needs to find any bright spots right now in the organization.