February 24 2015 01:03PM
Can Craig MacTavish find a "Dubnyk in the rough" like Cliff Fletcher did for the Minnesota Wild? The Wild was 18-19-5 before Fletcher acquired Dubnyk, and they are 13-2-2 since the 14th overall pick in 2004 joined his fifth NHL organization in less than a calender year.
The Oilers need more than just a goalie standing on his head to turn the team around next season, but Dubnyk has shown how important having confidence in your goalie is to a team's success. Minnesota was sound defensively before Dubnyk arrived, they allowed the fewest shots per game, but their GAA was 24th. Dubnyk arrived, played solid and the Wild have taken off.
MacTavish's main priority during the off-season will be acquiring a goalie.
February 24 2015 10:02AM
Craig MacTavish is an articulate man who has always been great in front of a TV camera. His brief stint on TSN as an analyst was educating and his scrums as a coach were always interesting, plus you could count on a great quote. It’s hurt him from time to time, though. Sometimes he gives away too much of what he thinks privately about players and that can hurt expectations and maybe even damage relationships. Perhaps he’s just too comfortable speaking in front of the camera for his own good, because sometimes he tips his hand and other times he can talk himself right into danger.
February 23 2015 01:16PM
The trade deadline is a week away. The Oilers have a very light week with only two games -- tomorrow in Minnesota and Saturday they host the Blues. That means Jeff Petry will finish his career has an Oiler playing a maximum of 296 games. If he dresses for both he'll sit 46th all-time amongst Oilers in games played. Only Jordan Eberle has played more games as an Oiler courtesy of Hockeyreference.com.
Petry will not be accepting a contract offer from the Oilers -- why would he when he is so close to being an UFA? -- so Craig MacTavish will trade him away for a draft pick, or more likely a prospect. The Oilers will be a worse team by next Monday afternoon.
February 23 2015 08:00AM
It's time for another edition of the (waste as much company time as you can) mailbag! As always, our writers are ready to answer your questions will all the expertise their lives can provide. This feature depends on your brains, and if you have a question you can email it to me at email@example.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. Now, grab a coffee and leave your work line off the hook - there's learning to do.
February 22 2015 08:51PM
Thanks in large part to the dramatic fall of the Canadian dollar, next year’s NHL salary cap is not expected to leave high-payroll teams with a lot of breathing room. The expectation is that this summer will see numerous teams – most notably the Chicago Blackhawks – unload salary to allow compliance with a restrictive cap.
Which means that for teams with cap space and assets, this summer and fall is likely to afford an opportunity to do the kind of thing the New York Islanders did so effectively last fall: Extract good NHL players for futures plus the cost of their contracts.