Posts Tagged ‘Predators’

-Never touched on my thoughts about the Flyers/Lightning 1-3-1 debate.  Neither team broke any rules, and it was a one game issue.  It was a boring game but I don’t think any rules need to be added or changed in response to one occasion.

-Reports are floating around that Jeff Carter wants out of Columbus.  Carter’s agent shot down those rumors, but the internet can’t help but wonder if he’ll be dealt anyway.  Carter played on the 2006-07 disastrous Flyers team, but even with that experience, going from a Stanley Cup contender to the worst team in hockey is still a shock.  It’s been a bad six weeks for the Jackets, especially for Carter who has missed 10 games with an injury and still doesn’t have a goal.  He does have a no-trade clause starting in the summer, but Carter just  needs to focus on hockey, winning games and perhaps better play will help turn Columbus around a bit.  Even if he were traded, Columbus wouldn’t get the return they traded to get him (Jakub Voracek, 1st round pick and a 3rd round pick). (more…)

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Last season, we saw a great crop of rookies.  This year should be no different as plenty of guys are primed to make an impact on the NHL.

Jonathan Blum (Nashville)
In 23 games last season, Blum impressed the Predators enough to trade Cody Franson to Toronto, giving Blum a full time position. The 22 year old is a good decision maker who should fit right into Barry Trotz’ system.

Erik Gudbranson (Florida)
With Florida’s roster in flux, look for Gudbranson to get a shot to play some minutes with the big club. The team is hoping his offensive game continues to develop (12 goals in the OHL last season), but is still a defensive force.

Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida)
Like with Gudbranson, Huberdeau should get a chance with the Panthers. Florida’s brass loves his unselfish play and his hustle. The Panthers don’t want to rush him, but if he’s ready, no point in holding him down.

Ryan Johansen (Columbus)
After torching the WHL for 40 goals, 92 points last season, Johansen appears ready to join the big club in Columbus. With the recent additions by Columbus, it might keep Johansen down on the team’s depth chart. Despite that, he should still produce and work his way up.

Gabriel Landeskog (Colorado)
Landeskog was the most NHL ready of any player in the 2011 draft. He’ll be penciled in on the Avs’ top 6 and should be in the Calder conversation all season.

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Last season: 44-27-11 99pts, 2nd Central, Lost in 2nd Round of Playoffs

Additions: Brodie Dupont, Robert Slaney, Kyle Wilson, Zack Stortini, Tyler Sloan, Jack Hillen, Niclas Bergfors

Losses: Tyler Stefishen, Dan Gendur, Mark Santorelli, JP Dumont, Shane O’Brien, Steve Begin, Wade Belak, Aaron Johnson, Joel Ward, Marcel Goc, Mark Dekanich, Steve Sullivan, Andreas Thuresson, Matthew Lombardi, Cody Franson

Offense: As been the Predators modus operandi throughout their existance, the Preds rely on the depth of their team for offensive exploits. No one person truly outperforms the others to be called the one the team relies on for their scoring. And this year will be no different. Expect the younger forwards to be your best producing this season Kostitsyn leading the charge for the Preds offensively with Erat, Fisher, and Legwand toeing the line with their usual outputs. Intrigued to see what a full year in Nashville will do for Mike Fisher and will being under Barry Trotz, who milks the most out his guys year after year, finally get consistency and full effort from Niclas Bergfors?

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Vancouver took a huge step towards its’ first Stanley Cup victory on Friday, beating Boston 1-0 on the strength of a Maxim Lapierre goal.  However, for the fourth time in the series, the Sedin twins were held off the scoresheet.

Daniel totaled 41 goals and 104 points in the regular season, and carried that over to the playoffs where he’s tallied 9 goals and 18 points.  In the regular season, Henrik posted 19 goals and 94 points, and coming into the Stanley Cup Final, led in playoff points with 21 points.

In the Stanley Cup Final, the two have combined for two points (1 goal, 1 assist) through the first five games, and both were in game 2 by Daniel.  Daniel’s taken 20 shots in the series, but Henrik has only four, and didn’t register a shot until game 4.

In the Western Conference Finals against the Sharks, the duo combined for a mind boggling 18 points (3 goals, 15 assists) in the five game series.  In game 4 alone, they racked up 7 points in the Canucks 4-3 win.  They tallied 12 points in the first round series against the Blackhawks.  Their second round opponent, Nashville, “slowed” them down for 7 points in 6 games.

The twins haven’t had to carry the load in the Final, which is a good thing for Vancouver.  Guys like Raffi Torres, Alex Burrows, Jannik Hansen and Maxim Lapierre (regular season total of 55 goals between the four players) have all scored in the series and the team is leading in the series.  But it’s also a bad thing, as the Canucks’ top scorers are not producing.  The biggest problem seems to be on the power play, where the Canucks have gone 1 for 26 in the series, after leading the league with a 24.3% power play.

Have the Bruins shutdown the twins? The Bruins seem to match Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg against the Canucks’ top line every time they touch the ice, neutralizing them.  Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault has given Boston a lot of credit, saying “We’re playing against a real strong opponent right now and we’ve got a lot of respect for how the Bruins play.”  Teammate Kevin Bieksa agreed, “They’re [the Sedins] great players. We rely on them a lot. But they are playing against two pretty good defensemen (Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg).”

If the Sedins can get on the scoreboard in tomorrow night’s game 6, it will increase Vancouver’s chances of winning their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

With the Atlanta Thrashers’ inevitable move to Winnipeg, the NHL will undergo its’ first major realignment since 1998.  The Winnipeg team will likely play as a member of the Southeast Division during the 11-12 NHL season, before the league realigns in 2012.  The Thrashers, Jets, or whatever their name is, will move from the Eastern Conference to the West.  So a Western team will have to move East to balance out the conferences.

There are three logical possibilities to take Atlanta’s spot in the East.

Detroit has wanted to move East for a while now, citing travel and TV viewership.  But, with the Red Wings as a huge draw for Western Conference teams, a Detroit move seems unlikely.  Columbus would benefit by moving to the East.  They’ve struggled with attendance; it’s hard to grow a fanbase of a young franchise with a quarter of the team’s games starting after 9:00.  Out of the three, Nashville makes the most geographical sense.  Even in  the Central time zone, they’re the closest team to the other four currently in the Southeast.

One of those three will likely move into the East; but who will replace them in the Central?  There are a few possibilities. (more…)