Tuesday, August 22, 2017

PTR 41 - Coaches On The Hot Seat & Early Predictions

PUCKING THOUGHTS RADIO: EDITION 41

Image result for Paul Maurice

Winnipeg Jets Head Coach Paul Maurice is one coach who could be looking for new employment sooner than later
(Photo Credit: CBC.ca)
We're less than a  month away from the start of the NHL Pre-Season. While NHL players are getting ready for training camp, Adam & JC talk about the coaches who should be putting in some extra hours at the office because they're on the hot seat. They'll also make some predictions on the upcoming season, some over/under point totals for some of the game's best players, plus more in Short Shifts. It's all a part of the latest and last PTR until after Labor Day!

Friday, August 18, 2017

PUCKING THOUGHTS - BEST CASE/WORST CASE SCENARIOS - PACIFIC DIVISION

Image result for Pacific Division
By Adam Bernard

With the 2017-18 NHL Pre-Season a little under a month away, it's time to start looking ahead to what to expect for the upcoming campaign. With every team, the obvious best case scenario is hoisting the Stanley Cup in the late Spring. On the flip side, the obvious worst case scenario would be catastrophic injuries and missing the playoffs. I'll be going division by division and giving each team's realistic ceiling (not every team is an actual Cup contender) and floor for the 2017-18 season. Today we take a look at the Pacific Division: 

PACIFIC DIVISION TEAM
2016-17 RESULTS
BEST CASE SCENARIO
WORST CASE SCENARIO

ANAHEIM

DUCKS

-46-23-13

-1st in Pacific

-Lost in Western Conference Finals to Nashville
The Ducks have the roster to get to the Stanley Cup and win it all. Brining in Ryan Miller gives them a reliable crease presence for when John Gibson inevitable gets hurt. Corey Perry bounces back,  Andrew Cogliano’s ironman streak continues, Rickard Rakell & Jakov Silfverberg are reliable secondary scoring sources again.
They underachieve in an increasingly competitive division and lose in the first round of the playoffs (they have too much talent to miss playoffs). Perry continues to decline, and Ryan Getzlaf begins his decline, John Gibson can’t stay healthy again and Ryan Miller becomes overworked.

EDMONTON

OILERS


-47-26-9

-2nd in Pacific

-Lost in 2nd round to Anaheim
Connor McDavid takes another big developmental step forward, so does Leon Draisatl, and Milan Lucic has a bounce back campaign. Oscar Klefblom continues to blossom. I don’t see them winning this year, but Conference or Stanley Cup Finals is not out of the question.
Cam Talbot gets hurt and they have to rely on Laurent Brossoit between the pipes. Milan Lucic’s contract becomes a bigger albatross. I don’t see them missing the playoffs, but a first round match-up with Anaheim or Calgary could easily result in May tee-times.
SAN

JOSE

SHARKS

-46-29-7

-3rd in Pacific

-Lost in 1st round to Edmonton
The increased rest with a 1st round playoff exit allows them to bounce back in a big way. Brent Burns & Joe Pavelski continue to produce at a high level, Joe Thornton continues to be an assist machine, Melker Karlsson and Timo Meier become reliable players, San Jose returns to SC Finals.
Last season was just the beginning of the decline, Brent Burns doesn’t match last year’s totals, their lack of offensive depth at forward hurts them, they fall in to fringe wild card territory and miss the playoffs for only the third time since 1997.

CALGARY

FLAMES

-45-33-4

-4th in Pacific

-Lost in 1st round to Anaheim
Mike Smith solves their goaltending issues, their deep blue line contributes offensively, Johnny Gaudreau scores 30 goals again, Calgary beats Edmonton in the first postseason Battle of Alberta since 1991. Calgary’s run comes to an end in the Conference Finals.
Their strong finish to the 2017 regular season was a fluke, they continue to be inconsistent under Glen Gulutzan, and a mid-season coaching change does nothing to spark the team. Mike Smith’s numbers don’t get better despite being on a better team. Gaudreau fails to score 20 goals again.
LOS

ANGELES

KINGS

-39-35-8

-5th in Pacific

-Missed playoffs
The Kings come back fresh, the transition to new HC John Stevens is smooth, Anze Kopitar bounces back after a 12G/40A season, Marian Gaborik & Mike Cammalerri stay healthy, Jonathan Quick regains old form, LA becomes a threat to everyone in the playoffs.
The Kings continue to decline after a sustained run of success. Kopitar has a second straight down year, Jonathan Quick is only good and not great, no reliable secondary source of scoring besides ‘That 70’s Line’.

ARIZONA

COYOTES

-30-42-10

-6th in Pacific

-Missed playoffs
Off-season acquisitions of Derek Stepan, Niklas Hjalmarsson & Nick Cousins contribute regularly. Youngsters Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, Dylan Strome, Tobias Rieder, Brendan Perlini and Christian Dvorak all take positive progression steps, and Arizona is in the Wild Card mix
Antti Raanta can’t handle being a starting goalie and they have to rely on a platoon with Louis Domingue. Rick Tocchet looks overwhelmed in his first season as Head Coach. None of the youngsters produce at a good rate, Arizona finishes behind the expansion Golden Knights

VANCOUVER

CANUCKS

-30-43-9

-7th in Pacific

-Missed playoffs
The Sedin twins bounce back (in a contract year) and each score more than the 15 goals they scored last season. Jacob Markstrom becomes the #1 goalie we’ve been hearing about since he was with Florida. Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser form great chemistry and become a key part of their future Top Six.
Just like Rick Tocchet in  his first season as an NHL Head Coach, Travis Green struggles. The twilight of the Sedins’ career continues to get darker, a Markstrom/Anders Nilsson goaltending duo goes how you would expect it to. Their thin blueline gets routinely exposed.
VEGAS

GOLDEN

KNIGHTS

-0-0-0

-Didn’t exist

-Missed playoffs, but undefeated
With the NHL’s current playoff format, I can’t envision any scenario where the Golden Knights are in playoff contention. That being said, if they overachieve and have some luck, they could find themselves in the mix for a WC spot until early March before fading. Not finishing dead last in the division is a win.
On the ice, there is no worst-case scenario for an expansion team, because if they finish dead last no one will hold it against them. What could be bad is if they are terrible out of the gate, Vegas fans lose interest quickly (with so much else to do in Sin City), stop coming to games, and wait for the Raiders to move to town.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

PTR 40 - Teams on the Rise / Teams on the Slide

PUCKING THOUGHTS RADIO: EDITION 40

Image result for Dallas Stars Ken Hitchcock
The return of Ken Hitchock (center) to Dallas is a good reason why Dan Hamhuis, Tyler Seguin,, Jamie Benn  & Jason Spezza (L to R)  should lead an improved Stars squad in 2017-18
(Photo Credit: Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News)
Adam & JC are back for another summer edition of Pucking Thoughts Radio. While we're definitely in the dog days of the hockey calendar, the good news is we're only 37 days away from pre-season games. They'll go through each division, and pick a team on the rise and a team that will regress a bit this season. 
Image result for Jack Eichel Jaromir Jagr


Sabres Center Jack Eichel (L) is one step closer to securing his future for the next 8 years, Jaromir Jagr (R) has no idea where he's playing in 8 weeks at the moment
(Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann - Getty Images USA)
Also their thoughts on a potential Jack Eichel eight-year contract extension, Jaromir Jagr's services still being available, plus more in Short Shifts. It's all inside the latest PTR!