lunes, enero 30, 2023
InicioSportsOne massive query dealing with every NHL staff within the second half

One massive query dealing with every NHL staff within the second half

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OK of us, it is time to get all the way down to enterprise.

The enjoyable of the all-star break behind us. The four-month «pre-season» is over. The stakes are actually getting increased.

The NHL’s second half is right here, with the commerce deadline six weeks away and the playoffs one other 5 weeks after that. Participant and staff selections must be made and opinions on subsequent season will start to be moulded based mostly on a few of these dynamics.

Earlier than the video games start, we go over one massive query dealing with every of the NHL’s 32 groups within the second half.

Anaheim Geese: Signal or commerce Hampus Lindholm?
Anaheim’s subsequent GM can have plenty of selections to make briefly order because the Geese shock with their success as they transition to a brand new, youthful core. It will be vital to stability protecting key veterans to maneuver forward with and recouping belongings for gamers who there’s room to maneuver on from. Pending UFAs Rickard Rakell and Josh Manson are amongst them, however essentially the most urgent is defenceman Hampus Lindholm, who can also be on an expiring contract. He’d be coveted across the league, however can also be the form of blueliner Anaheim would instantly be seeking to exchange. Might the Geese even entertain the notion of protecting him previous the commerce deadline with no new contract in place?

Arizona Coyotes: How will their enviornment state of affairs play out?

The large query across the Coyotes proper now is not about Phil Kessel’s or Jakob Chychrun’s commerce locations (though that can also be fascinating), however moderately: Are they actually going to spend just a few years in an enviornment with lower than 5,000 capability? The subsequent vital date is Feb. 10 when Tempe Metropolis Council discusses the plan for a brand new NHL-sized rink and, if it goes forward, the Coyotes would then settle in to play at Arizona State for a pair seasons. That is the plan for now anyway. But when Tempe rejects the plan, the place do the Coyotes go from there? Houston?

Boston Bruins: How will the goaltending work itself out?

Tuukka Rask was introduced again just a few weeks in the past and whereas the plan could be to finally work him all the way in which again to No. 1 standing by playoff time, it isn’t been an instantaneous factor. Rask has an .844 save proportion in 4 begins and the previous 4 begins have gone to Linus Ullmark, the goalie who’s signed by way of 2024-25. After which there’s Jeremy Swayman because the third wheel — he has the most effective save proportion of all three in 17 video games!

Buffalo Sabres: What do the rookies have in retailer?

Crashing attendance, twenty seventh within the league by factors proportion, and Jack Eichel’s near-return in Vegas all bitter one other Sabres season, however there’s hope! Tage Thompson’s profitable transfer to centre has been a smash and makes for an fascinating center combo with Dylan Cozens. Rasmus Dahlin is taking a step. That is what the season is all about, and so within the second half we’ll additionally have an interest to see any rookie performances. Jack Quinn, sidelined for one more couple weeks, excelled within the AHL and had a two-point NHL recreation earlier than his harm. Goalie of the long run Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, additionally injured, has a .917 save proportion in 9 begins. When will Peyton Krebs be again?

Calgary Flames: How will GM Brad Treliving navigate a vital few months?

After the catastrophe within the North Division, the Flames — who had been Canada’s finest staff from Nov. 2019 by way of to the March 2020 pause — are again on monitor and will even go on a good little playoff run out of the comparatively weak Pacific Division. We’ll see. However apart from selections on the right way to method the commerce deadline to spice up and reward the roster (carry again Mark Giordano, add one other middle-six ahead?) Treliving additionally has to face the actual fact Johnny Gaudreau is a pending UFA having a monster season and Matthew Tkachuk is a pending RFA a $9 million qualifying supply. In order a lot because the second half is about what the Flames can do this season, it is also a crucial time as to what comes subsequent.

Carolina Hurricanes: Can Frederik Andersen problem for the Vezina?

With a .929 save proportion, 2.01 GAA and 24 wins, Andersen is tied for second in each main conventional stat class for goalies — his 16.5 targets saved above common coming in third. Behind top-of-the-line defences and groups within the NHL, can Andersen keep wholesome and grasp within the race…and even win the highest goalie award?

Chicago Blackhawks: The place will Marc-Andre Fleury get traded to?

No matter occurs right here appears to be as much as Fleury, who was on the fence about persevering with his profession in Chicago within the first place. Elliotte Friedman has reported the Washington Capitals have curiosity in Fleury, however that the goalie and long-time Penguin is not certain about going there but. On an expiring deal and 37-years-old, Fleury might need an curiosity in going to a contender for one more run as a substitute of taking part in out the 12 months on a lottery staff.

Colorado Avalanche: Can they get Claude Giroux or make one other massive splash?

The Avs have been within the hearsay mill hooked up to the most important deadline targets the previous few years, however moderately than take massive cuts GM Joe Sakic has roughly been fantastic with the deep staff he has and discovering delicate worth provides (like how Devon Toews was acquired low cost after which blew up as a major participant). However after three straight second spherical losses and an enormous extension on the horizon for Nathan MacKinnon in 2023, will the GM really feel extra urgency to go all-in? Claude Giroux is that this 12 months’s massive title that is tied to the staff.

Columbus Blue Jackets: What occurs with Patrik Laine?

As mentioned in a current Friday 4, the Blue Jackets face an almost inconceivable resolution on Laine, who will probably be an RFA this low season and one 12 months away from UFA eligibility. He nonetheless hasn’t captured the elite purpose scoring stage in Columbus he turned recognized for in Winnipeg, however he’ll additionally solely be 24 in April. Lengthen him to a giant quantity? Stroll him to free company by way of arbitration? Or commerce him?

Dallas Stars: We assume John Klingberg will finally be traded, however may they do extra?

The Stars come out of the break simply two factors out of the second wild card spot and tenth within the West by factors proportion. They’re in it, however removed from the Cup contender they hoped to be. Klingberg, a pending UFA, is shedding ice time and more likely to be moved no matter how the staff performs. The questions start with Joe Pavelski or Alex Radulov, a few impression veterans on expiring offers of their very own that include some stage of commerce safety. Braden Holtby in web can also be a attainable commerce rental. Bu if Dallas continues to be within the working for the playoffs and the revenues that include that, how a lot of a vendor will they be and, in the event that they do stand pat, what does that imply for the long run with these vital, expiring contracts?

Detroit Crimson Wings: Can Lucas Raymond or Moritz Seider win the Calder Trophy?

Who thought the Crimson Wings can be the ninth seed within the East on the break? A number of positives creating this season and, although an actual playoff race might be an extended shot, having two candidates for the Calder is one motive why the Wings are value watching. Raymond is the rookie scoring chief on the half and Seider, the defenceman, sits fifth. Each can have stuff competitors as Trevor Zegras places up numbers and highlights and Anton Lundell heats up on the league’s high offence in Florida.

Edmonton Oilers: Can they get again on monitor and in place to commerce a first-rounder once more?

Oilers followers are hoping the worst stretch of the season is behind them now and that they will begin shifting again up right into a playoff spot and create a little bit separation by the March 21 commerce deadline. Evander Kane’s arrival does so much on the ice to enhance one space of weak spot on the staff, however GM Ken Holland may nonetheless do extra if the upward pattern continues. It is vital to recollect Holland’s reticence to commerce his first-round choose was within the context of including a rental participant and the query posed when the staff was in a disaster free fall. In the suitable circumstance, and if it is clear the choose is not going to be within the lottery, it may find yourself again on the desk.

Florida Panthers: How aggressive will GM Invoice Zito be?

When the most important names are on the commerce block across the league, the Vegas Golden Knights are often the primary staff that turns into related to them. Now Vegas is actually capped out and dealing with a compelled commerce state of affairs when Jack Eichel does return — and the Florida Panthers could also be changing them because the «go-to» staff in blockbuster rumours. The Panthers come out of the break first within the NHL by factors and an absollute pressure able to hanging eight or 9 targets on an opponent. However the perception is Zito desires so as to add and provides this staff every part it may need to win its first playoff spherical since 1996.

Los Angeles Kings: Will the staff’s offence begin to discover extra luck?

The Kings begin the second half second within the Pacific by factors — third by factors proportion — and with playoffs in thoughts. They’ve a pleasant mixture of veterans and are slowly bringing in some youthful gamers, with Quinton Byfield including an fascinating third centre to the combination. However can we fairly anticipate a greater second half? The Kings are nineteenth within the league by targets per recreation however, based on Pure Stat Trick, are fourth in anticipated targets, which weigh frequency and high quality of photographs. Solely Florida, Carolina and Toronto rank higher in that stat. The Kings have the third-worst taking pictures proportion within the NHL and if that improves to even center of the pack, Los Angeles could also be a staff to observe.

Minnesota Wild: Will GM Invoice Guerin contemplate including a center six centre?

With a six-game profitable streak the Wild had been the NHL’s hottest staff coming into the break, and hit the second half as an rising contender. A deep and quick staff, the younger and evolving Wild aren’t their finest model but. Marco Rossi has but to reach and Matt Boldy simply acquired right here. However, given the staff is second within the Western Convention by factors proportion and with three years of crushing cap buyout penalties starting in 2022-23, there’s an argument to be made the staff ought to take a swing on a rental in an space of want. In the event that they took a shot, how about on a centre?

Montreal Canadiens: Can they win extra video games this common season than they did within the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs?

That is truly severe. En path to the Stanley Cup Last final 12 months, the Canadiens received 13 video games. Now, by way of 44 common season video games this season, the staff sits final within the league with eight whole wins. That is pacing to fifteen wins over 82 video games. If Carey Worth does come again this season than possibly that provides the Habs a little bit of a lift, however we’re additionally wanting on the chance the staff being a commerce deadline vendor — may any trades transcend shedding leases and lower deeper into the core? If that’s the case, the Habs may wind up in worse place over the second half.

Nashville Predators: Will Filip Forsberg get a brand new contract by the deadline?

In final week’s 32 Ideas, Elliotte Friedman had just a few good nuggets on the Predators and an fascinating quote from GM David Poile on if he’d go previous the commerce deadline with pending UFA Filip Forsberg unsigned. “I don’t need to field myself in with a solution. It’s not my desire, however I’d by no means say by no means.” The Predators come out of the break ninth within the NHL by factors proportion and taking part in properly above most pre-season expectations. Forsberg is the staff’s purpose scoring chief making $6 million towards the cap.

New Jersey Devils: Will Jack Hughes’ rise to stardom proceed?

Hughes was a preferred «step up» choose this pre-season and although he was injured virtually instantly out of the gate, Hughes hit the break with 27 factors in 28 video games and in the course of a sizzling streak. A vitally vital a part of the Devils’ manner ahead, having the 2019 first general choose recover from that time per recreation mark in his third professional season can be a fantastic indicator that every part is on monitor.

New York Islanders: How will the second half inform the place to go subsequent?

It is grow to be well-liked (and correct) to «by no means doubt the Trotz-led Islanders» the previous couple of years however — liable to being burned — they’re out of it now, proper? Seventeen factors again of a wild card spot with simply 4 video games in hand is a tricky hurdle. So if the Isles miss what would the takeaways be for a staff tight to the cap with one notable contract of expense (Cal Clutterbuck, $3.5 million) expiring? If the Isles miss the playoffs however return as a harmful staff within the second half to make it considerably fascinating, then there possibly aren’t too many worries. But when the inconsistency and losses proceed how will GM Lou Lamoriello view what he wants to alter?

New York Rangers: Are they for actual?

The talk is actual. The Rangers are fifth within the NHL by factors proportion, high 10 in energy play and penalty kill and with award contenders in purpose, on defence, and at ahead. On the identical time, New York is useless final within the NHL by Corsi proportion, thirtieth by photographs for proportion, and twenty ninth by anticipated purpose proportion at five-on-five. Will that catch as much as them or can a few of their high gamers (ahem, Igor Shesterkin) proceed carrying the load?

Ottawa Senators: What life can we see within the second half and the way does it form commerce deadline selections?

The Sens truly completed final season fairly properly all issues thought of — center of the pack league vast of their ultimate 30 video games. One other unhealthy begin and harm challenges contributed to a different sluggish begin in 2021-22 and now the Sens face a tricky schedule to complete with 42 video games within the subsequent 82 days. Drake Batherson and Josh Norris had robust first halves however are on the sidelines to start out the second. Tim Stutzle has made an early swap to centre. Questions abound over what to do with Nick Paul on the commerce deadline — finally you need to preserve gamers to contribute to a profitable staff.

Philadelphia Flyers: Do the large adjustments begin taking place earlier than the commerce deadline?

Claude Giroux could have left the door open to his staff bouncing again and stepping into the race by the commerce deadline, when a choice on his future must be made, however they’re 17 factors out and simply concluded a 17-game winless streak. Chuck Fletcher has indicated that there aren’t many untouchable components of the roster anymore and all types of turnover is feasible. Whereas Giroux can be dealt by the deadline if he goes, will any of the opposite massive strikes be made earlier than the low season?

Pittsburgh Penguins: Who indicators the subsequent extension between Bryan Rust, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang?

With the Penguins cruising and seeking to be again firmly within the contender’s circle, administration re-signed pending UFA Jeff Carter at 37 years outdated, which appears to be a transparent indicator that no steps will probably be taken again. Nonetheless, the staff nonetheless faces a tough state of affairs. Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust are three vital gamers who’re additionally set as much as be UFAs this summer time. Whereas Malkin has indicated he’d be open to a pay-cut of some kind, the opposite two could also be extra inclined to money in. It will be fascinating to see which of those three is the subsequent to signal, how a lot the deal is for, after which we would begin getting an concept if all of the items will have the ability to match past this season.

San Jose Sharks: Is Tomas Hertl staying or going?

San Jose’s main purpose scorer on the half is the 27-year-old Hertl on monitor for unrestricted free company within the low season and their top-line centre. The Sharks are additionally making an attempt to hold across the playoff race and making strides once more, with younger items on the way in which. It might be onerous for the Sharks to go previous the deadline with Hertl on the roster if he hasn’t signed an extension, as it is vital for them to not lose a participant in his prime for nothing.

Seattle Kraken: Can Philipp Grubauer return to kind?

The Kraken have some plusses from the primary half though they’re fifteenth within the West, however so long as they’re goalies are letting them down there is no actual path to extra wins. Regardless that Chris Driedger was a part of the plan in web, Grubauer was the one they guess on with a six-year contract and a $5.9 million AAV and he has been the most important disappointment. Grubauer’s .887 save proportion is by far the worst of his profession and he is useless final within the league with a minus-19.33 targets saved above common.

St. Louis Blues: What turns into of the budding goalie controversy?

Explored every week earlier than the break an fascinating flip of occasions in St. Louis’ crease, the place Ville Husso has been miles higher than Jordan Binnington for a minimum of two months — not sufficient to dethrone the Cup winner from the crease, however definitely a storyline to unfold.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Can Victor Hedman win the Norris Trophy?

With newer, youthful, highlight-generating skills in Cale Makar and Adam Fox (amongst some others) leaping to NHL prominence up to now few years, 31-year-old Hedman might need a tougher and tougher time searching for his second Norris Trophy win. A finalist for the award 5 consecutive seasons, Hedman truly comes out of the break tied because the defenceman factors chief with Fox (47) and with a large minutes workload in all conditions. A few of his underlying on-ice measures — shot makes an attempt proportion, anticipated targets proportion — come out higher than his youthful counterparts. He could not have the identical flash, however Hedman is true within the thick of this dialogue once more.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Can Jack Campbell settle in once more?

Proper out of the gate the Leafs, and their followers, would breath only a bit simpler if Campbell may string collectively a few glorious begins. His final one earlier than the break was a very good one versus New Jersey, however that adopted an eight-game January the place Campbell posted an .890 save proportion and three.57 GAA. Nobody is panicking or something but — and so they should not — however it is time to get severe.

Vancouver Canucks: How will the brand new entrance workplace shed wage whereas not stepping again?

Jim Rutherford, Stan Smyl and Patrik Allvin have all indicated Vancouver has a purpose to cut back cap prices, however there is no clear path to it. JT Miller’s title has been circulated in commerce rumours, however re-signing him is not off the desk both. Conor Garland has drawn curiosity, however he is on a worth contract with time period. Brock Boeser would be the one to observe right here — a summer time RFA due a $7.5 million qualifying supply, who hasn’t reached his rookie season efficiency but.

Vegas Golden Knights: How do they make wage cap room for a Jack Eichel return?

Jack Eichel hasn’t spent a day on Vegas’ lively roster but, however that point is drawing nearer. And when he does come off LTIR, a capped-out Golden Knights entrance workplace must dance across the {dollars} and take care of the actual fact not everybody can match at full energy. Reilly Smith’s title has been tossed round as a possible casualty, however what they must do — and when — will probably be decided by who else occurs to be on LTI at the moment.

Washington Capitals: Can they swing a commerce for a goalie?

The Capitals have just a few sore areas, specifically each particular groups models, and one strategy to try to offset any shortcoming can be to amass a goalie improve. Ilya Samsonov has had a sub-.900 save proportion for over two months now and whereas 26-year-old Vitek Vanecek does have promise, the all-in Caps could not need to rely solely on him as their No. 1 and a struggling Samsonov because the again up. Each are up for contract extensions as arbitration-eligible RFAs. Marc-Andre Fleury has been related to the staff if he desires to go there.

Winnipeg Jets: Will GM Kevin Cheveldayoff discover his manner on to the recent seat?

The one basic supervisor the Jets 2.0 franchise has ever had, Cheveldayoff’s endurance has outlined his tenure, however as this 12 months’s staff struggles to remain within the playoff race you surprise what the fallout of a missed post-season could possibly be. The Jets had been thought by some to be Canada’s finest staff, however are thirteenth within the West out of the break, 2-6-2 of their previous 10, and with a loss to Philadelphia leaving a nasty style simply earlier than the break. Their coach stepped away, their high centre is combating two-way play and the relative averageness of Connor Hellebuyck is exposing some cracks. Will Cheveldayoff handle any of this? Will the staff discover its footing? Or will onerous questions be requested about management and the course ahead?

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