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The Nation Notebook: Sharks falling, Oilers can clinch, and Tavares’ future

The Nation Network Notebook is a regular feature that rounds up interesting news, stories, and rumours from around the NHL that don’t quite deserve their own article. 

San Jose loses their stranglehold on the Pacific division lead. Michael Haley gets a hearing for his punch on Nashville’s Calle Jarnkrok. The Edmonton Oilers can clinch a playoff spot for the first time since 2005-06. John Tavares might find a new home come June.

SHARKS LOSE SEVEN IN A ROW

Just recently, the Sharks held a nine point lead on first place in the Pacific division. After seven losses, all of San Jose, Anaheim, and Edmonton are within striking distance of first place with seven games remaining on the schedule. Calgary is only three points back of the pack, too, and they’ve shown they can go on a hot stretch.

The Sharks are in no danger of missing the playoffs. Los Angeles is well behind, and any chance they have would be at a Nashville or St. Louis collapse. The Sharks looked like the one team ahead of everyone else for the majority of the season, but have gone 4-9 since the trade deadline. Brent Burns only has 6 points during that time, and Martin Jones’ save percentage has fallen to .913 on the season. The Sharks will have to rebound quickly or risk losing home-ice advantage in the playoffs.

HALEY GETS A HEARING

Speaking of San Jose Sharks losing, Michael Haley loses it after Calle Jarnkrok makes a questionable hit along the boards. The hit wasn’t great, but it was a two-minute minor, and Jarnkrok isn’t a noted goon or anything. Haley, who was clearly unhappy with the hit, chases after Jarnkrok and enacts his own retribution.

This might be how some people wish to see the player’s ‘police’ themselves, but as the hearing shows, you can’t punch an unwilling combatant and Haley will likely get a few games to reinforce that.

THE OILERS CAN CLINCH?!

Edmonton Oilers fans, you can breathe now. The Decade of Despair is almost over. The Oilers can officially clinch a playoff spot with any sort of win against the Los Angeles kings Tuesday night. Edmonton conveniently plays the only team of any real threat to catch them next, and it’s still an extreme long shot at that. The Kings are nine points back of St. Louis for the last wild card spot, and sit 14 points back of Edmonton. They’re not catching them.

Edmonton will end a 10-year playoff drought, and will just miss setting a new record for the longest post-season absence. Connor McDavid can truly do anything.

WILL TAVARES SIGN?

This summer was already going to draw huge attention with the Las Vegas expansion draft, but a potential John Tavares trade could be earth-shattering. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculates about the New York Islanders’ captain and what the franchise might be forced to do if they cannot get him under a new contract by June.

It kind-of makes sense, too. Unlike Tampa Bay, the Islanders can’t afford to wait like Steve Yzerman did with his superstar center. If he’s not signing an extension by the time the draft rolls up, they have to move him. While Stamkos’ Lightning were (and should still be) a contender, Tavares’ Islanders aren’t in the same place. Tavares has only made the playoffs three times in his eight-year career, and they’re in real danger of missing out this year as well. Their arena situation is uncertain, their coach isn’t permanent, and who knows if Garth Snow will be in charge by the end of the season.

Still, Tavares might be loyal to the club who drafted him, but why limit yourself instead of exploring your options? If that’s the case, the Islanders will have to recoup as much assets possible, and deal with the hole he leaves afterwards. They just can’t go into the season with Tavares unsigned.

      • BobbyCanuck

        I think that would be worth it, our window is open right now, our future first round draft picks will be somewhere between 28th-31st picks anyways, I wonder if we would have to retain some salary as well…

      • Toedrag

        I don’t think you can package Nuge and Eberle because of there large cap hit. Do you think islanders would be willing to take on 12 million long term for 2 top six forwards ?

  • BlownRegal

    I can’t imagine it would take a whole lot to get one year and negotiating rights to Tavares. Nuge and a pick or prospect seems fair, they get a good center back, signed longer term, and a chance at getting maybe something good in the draft. I guess that’s if the Isles can’t sign Tavares themselves.

    • Oilerchild77

      The Oilers aren’t moving Nuge for another high-priced centerman. They have two centers on their roster, both of whom are better than either Nuge or Tavares, that are going to cost them a couple of Brinks trucks worth of money. The play is to get the $6M off the books.

  • Gravis82

    Gotta find a way to get Tavares for Nuge +. Nuge is younger, but will never be a better player than Tavares in any of the next 7-8 years. When Tavares is 36 and Nuge is 33, then maybe Nuge>Tavares. But every other year before that, Tavares>Nuge. Gotta get this done Chia.

    • GK1980

      The question is….Is Drai better then Tavares? I’m thinking Chia should try to find a good winger for McDavid to play with so Drai can manage his own second line unit (A fats winger). Unfortunately this leaves Nuge odd man out. Love Nuge but he can’t stay as 3rd line center, not for $6 million a year.

      • Leaking5w-30

        Another way of posing the question is “can we find a better winger for Conner than Dri?” If the answer is no then upgrading nuge starts to make sense

    • Can't Fix Stupid

      Two words: Salary Cap

      Think Tavares is going to want less than 6 million? What about Draisaitl, McDavid has a new contract coming up soon, Lucic is here for another 6 years, Maroon won’t be cheap, and which way does JP project? If RNH is moved then great but why would the Islanders want a 6 million 2/3 C that scores half as much as Tavares?

  • RyanCoke

    Anyone else scared of the idea that Tavares will be on a different team? Without him the island would be absolute trash. He will make any team instantly better and that is a scary thought. Imagine if calgary or winnipeg or Toronto got him. Those guys would be instant contenders.

  • Spydyr

    The Sharks being a veteran playoff team may have taken their foot of the gas knowing they have a playoff spot locked up. They understand the battle ahead of them.

  • Anton CP

    Strongly doubt that Tavares will re-sign with the mess in Brooklyn and the Islanders made little effort to even tried to build a team around Tavares. They’ve made playoffs 3 times out of his 8 years with the Islanders that I see no chance for Tavares wants to stay with the Islanders. If the Islanders forced to move him before July 1 that I can see a few teams acquire him: Devils, Sens, Jackets, Blues, Kings, and Sharks.