Let’s be honest here, the only reason I started writing for the Nation was so I can drop some Scalding Hot Takes.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with my show on TSN 1260, we have a segment called Scalding Hot Takes once per week. I’d like to say it’s a popular segment but can anything on A.M. Radio really be described as popular?
Once a month I’ll be giving you some Hot Takes on the Oilers and the rest of the NHL. Usually, there isn’t an explanation with my takes but in order to hit my word count, I better defend myself a bit.
Careful, these takes are hot!
McDavid hits 130 points next season
This really isn’t a stretch; McDavid’s going to end up with around 105 points this year. A season in which he’s dealt with sickness, an awful power-play and a whole lot of Milan Lucic. A middle of the pack PP and a full season with Nuge should make 130 a reasonable target. I’m still not sure if McLellan, assuming he’s here, will leave the duo together next season.
The last player to hit at least 130 points was Mario in 95-96 when he finished with 161 because, you know, he was awesome.
The Oilers Will Trade Puljujarvi This Summer
If the Oilers want immediate help in the top six this summer it will come at the expense of Jesse Puljujarvi.
Why isn’t Puljujarvi getting a chance to build some chemistry with Draisaitl or McDavid in the top six? Maybe it’s because neither of the centres like playing with him. If the coaches don’t think it’s worth the time to build some chemistry this season then why would he factor into the top six next year?
I think trading him would be a huge mistake but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it happens. Puljujarvi to Carolina for Justin Faulk, who says no? Outside of me.
Nuge Is Better With McDavid Than Draisaitl
I see a lot of people saying the Oilers like Nuge on the wing because Draisaitl can drive a line more efficiently. I’ll just say it, Nugent-Hopkins is better on McDavid’s wing than Draisaitl is. Deal with it.
Winner, Winner, Stuart Skinner
Stuart Skinner is the goalie of the future for the Oilers. I know his WHL numbers haven’t been mind-blowing but he has the size and athleticism you want in a goalie. He is also developing a reputation as a big game keeper — not a bad trait to have.
Talbot, and a better back up, for three more years and then Skinner takes over.
Lucic Bounces Back Next Season
Lucic has never had a season this bad and I doubt it will ever happen again. I’ll set next year’s expectation at 20 goals and 25 assists. Those numbers still won’t be enough to make anyone happy but it’s a significant upgrade on what he brought to the table this season. I know I’m the new guy here so go easy on me.
Grubauer Leads The Caps In Playoffs
I like Braden Holtby, always have, but the Capitals need to give the net to Philip Grubauer in the post-season. Grubauer has been the best goaltender in the NHL since American Thanksgiving. He has a 2.29 G.A.A. to go along with a 9.24 save percentage while Holtby sits at .907 and 2.99. The Capitals have been to the dance with Holtby a number of times and while he does have a .932 career playoff save percentage he was at .909 in last years playoffs. It’s time for a change.
Any chance the Capitals move Holtby in the off-season to free up some cap space?
The Bruins Will Win The Stanley Cup
It pains me to say this but at this point, I’m not sure who stops the Bruins. They’ve been the best team in the league for months and are able to beat you in a number of different ways. Remember when people said Tuukka Rask was washed up? That was cute.
Kovalchuk Scores 35 Goals Next Year
The former Rocket Richard winner will return to the NHL and light it up next season. Kovalchuk has scored 64 goals in 115 games over the past two regular seasons in the KHL.
I’ll say he buries at least 35 playing in Florida with Barkov next season. Barkov can do it all, which includes looking after things defensively allowing Kovalchuk to run a little bit. I’m so sure about this I drafted Kovalchuk in a keeper league this season just to protect him next year. (Humble Fantasy Hockey Brag: My other keepers in this 10-team league are McDavid, Laine, Draisaitl, Barkov, Kucherov, Rantanen, Barzal, Granlund, Connor, Fiala, Puljujarvi….d-men and goaltenders be damned!)
Erik Karlsson To Vegas
Vegas was reportedly the team pushing the hardest to land Karlsson prior to the deadline and I don’t see that changing this summer.
Nielson’s Super Crazy Karlsson Trade Proposal:
To Las Vegas – Erik Karlsson, Bobby Ryan
To Ottawa – Erik Brannstrom, LV 2nd in 2018, LV 1st in 2019
The return is essentially two firsts and a second and I’m not sure the Sens can expect anymore if they are moving Bobby Ryan as well. I’m pretty sure the Golden Knights can make this work financially.
The draft in Dallas should be very interesting. Nuge trade, cough, cough. Zero chance that happens.
Jarmo Kekalainen Is A Mad Genius
He traded his number one centre – when he didn’t have a replacement ready – for a d-man that has now developed into a Norris contender.
He passed on a Jesse Puljujarvi for Pierre-Luc Dubois. I was at the draft when it happened and the entire building was shocked. Dubois scored his 20th of the season tonight against the Red Wings.
The Panarin deal must have simply fallen into his lap because nobody pulls off a deal that amazing unless the other team completely blows it. It is probably the best one for one deal I’ve seen in a decade. Just kidding, calm down.