Thursday, November 19, 2015
WINNIPEG JETS: Given that the Jets are both closest to Hamonic's home and have a plethora of players they can trade to the Islanders, it would seem that they would be the favorites to land Hamonic. Depth on the blue line is no concern, but the Jets would be more than happy to land one of the better stay-at-home defenders, with Tobias Enstrom being the most likely to be moved plus prospects, which could be any of Josh Morrissey, Joel Armia, and either Connor Helleybuck or Eric Comrie, with other names being possibilities.
EDMONTON OILERS: The Oilers still need blue line help, and at the very least, they can offer one of their forwards (think Jordan Eberle). Because their blue line is rather thin, as they traded for Griffin Reinhart from the same Islanders this off-season, it could be a hang-up, particularly since the Islanders would love to fill the hole left by Hamonic if he is indeed traded.
VANCOUVER CANUCKS: Another team that needs defensemen, the Canucks are in even worse shape than the Oilers. The best shot the Canucks have would be to offer Alex Edler, as his play has fallen off recently and a change in scenery would do him some good. However, the lack of defensive prospects could kill their chances of landing Hamonic.
CALGARY FLAMES: On the surface, the Flames would love to figure out their chemistry on the blue line, as they've only played with their planned six for a month thanks to TJ Brodie being out to start the season. However, the temptation to add a solid two-way player may be too great, and the Flames can offer someone like Dennis Wideman or Brodie, though the latter may be off-limits due to his chemistry with Mark Giordano. Prospects such as Patrick Sieloff or Tyler Wotherspoon could help sweeten the deal for Calgary.
MINNESOTA WILD: It has been mentioned that Hamonic would love to end up in Western Canada, but Minnesota is fairly close to Hamonic's hometown. The Wild would be an outside shot, particularly since salary cap issues would be their biggest hurdle, and the Wild don't have much to offer, either in terms of prospects or NHL-ready players.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
McBride was in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects game last season, but went undrafted in the 2015 NHL Draft. McBride had a promising start to his time in Prince Albert in 2014, taking over the starting job late in the season from Cole Cheveldae en route to pushing the Raiders to a playoff berth in a tie-breaker game with Red Deer. However, like many of the Raiders last season, McBride had his fair share of struggles, and in some cases, was outplayed by Parenteau. The Cougars currently have a goal differential of +2, and now have three goalies who have starting experience in Ty Edmonds, Mack Shields, and McBride, though it remains to be seen if the Cougars carry three goalies for an extended period of time.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
On the Western Conference side, there are few surprises, though Vancouver getting Thomas and Lang indicates that they're going to give Tyler Benson some better players to work with, particularly since Houck wasn't likely to come back. Portland's early struggles appear to be behind them after a strong weekend in which they won all three games, including the 5-0 game against Brandon on Sunday. The Western Conference, as expected, is pretty much a bottleneck in the middle, with only Seattle, Victoria, and Kelowna pulling ahead of the pack. With tournaments such as the Canada/Russia Subway Series and the World Junior Championship coming up, how the teams adapt will help clear the pictures.
Monday, October 19, 2015
Yes, the season hasn't gotten out of October yet, but for the Hurricanes, this start is exactly what the team has needed after stumbling out of the blocks the last two seasons, both times including key players asking out of Lethbridge. It's safe to say there won't be players asking out of Lethbridge this early in the season this time around, and given their recent problems, it's the little victories such as those, as well as those on the ice, that have Hurricanes fans filled with a hope they haven't had since 2010.
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Rather than explain the entire situation, I'll let Canucks Army do the explaining.
The short of it is that Kassian was involved in an accident in a truck that he was a passenger of and suffered a fractured foot and broken nose. Montreal General Manager Marc Bergevin was not exactly sympathetic of Kassian, as the accident happened around 6:30 AM, and one of the things Bergevin called out was the character. Kassian entered in stage 2 of the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse program and will be out of action until cleared by doctors.
As for what to make of Kassian's latest mishap, here is a player that when he was drafted, was pegged to be a power forward in the vein of Milan Lucic, a player that can fight and score. However, he never fulfilled his potential with Vancouver despite being given multiple chances, most notably on a line with both Sedins. Last season, he was benched for a number of games and finally, was shipped out to Montreal in a move that can be best described as the Canucks "eating their hat" and admitting that the trade for him in 2012 didn't pan out. As for Kassian's short time in Montreal, he didn't inspire confidence in the coaches, and now, he is facing a personal crossroads, as he could find himself out of the NHL if he doesn't get his off-ice problems sorted out. Here's hoping he gets the help he needs and wherever he ends up playing next (for all we know, Montreal could cut their losses), he can find his way again.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
2014-15 record: 43-26-13 (99 points)
Lost to Anaheim in Conference quarterfinals
Captain: Andrew Ladd
The Winnipeg Jets made a furious push to make the playoffs for the first time since their days as the Atlanta Thrashers. However, like the Thrashers team that made the playoffs in 2007, the Jets were promptly swept out of the playoffs. Unlike that team though, the Jets look primed to build on their playoff appearance with largely the same cast as the one that ended the regular season, and they may be younger than they were with a couple of additions from within. Offensively, they were middle of the pack, but the top line of Blake Wheeler, Andrew Ladd, and Bryan Little all scored more than 20 goals each. Secondary scoring wasn't a problem, either, as five of the nine players that are returning scored in double digits. Only one of the departed, Michael Frolik, will have any impact on the team, as he was counted on for versatility and penalty kill, the latter more important, since the Jets were short-handed the most times last season. Defensively, there is great depth, something that came in handy when injuries hit. In addition, Dustin Byfuglien's ability to move between forward and defense gives the Jets greater flexibility when it comes to setting lineups. In goal, Ondrej Pavelec finally started to play like the goalie the Jets envisioned...some of the time. Yes, he struggled in the first half of the season, which opened the door for Michael Hutchinson to seize the starting job for a time before he too struggled. More consistent play in goal will be needed, but at its best, it can propel the Jets to greater heights.
Prediction: 3rd in the Central Division
The Jets still have players like Nikolaj Ehlers and Josh Morrissey at the door waiting to make their NHL debuts, and with the current group finally knowing what it takes to become playoff contenders, it's time for them to take that next step and become Stanley Cup contenders. They have the ability, but will the consistency come along for the ride?
It won't take long for the Rebels to find out how good they really are, as they'll be welcoming Swift Current on Friday and the defending Ed Chynoweth champion Kelowna Rockets on Saturday.