87

Hot Takes – July Edition

There’s nothing better than putting together a post-draft/free agency instalment of Hot Takes. Enjoy, or don’t. As a special treat this month I’ve included one Back To The Future quote in this article, first person to find it wins nothing.

WIN THE KARLSSON SWEEPSTAKES, WIN THE CUP

The Erik Karlsson sweepstakes have gone on much longer than I expected them to and that’s because there is so much on the line for the teams that come up short.

If the Tampa Bay Lightning land Karlsson he will combine with Hedman to form one of the most dominant defensive pairings in NHL history. They will win the Stanley Cup.

If the Dallas Stars end up with Karlsson he will join a team with one of the most dynamic duos in the league and a goaltender that has been to the Stanley Cup Final. They will win the Stanley Cup.

If the Las Vegas Golden Knights get Karlsson they will be adding an elite defenseman to a group that just walked through the Western Conference playoffs. They will win the Stanley Cup.

THE LEAFS AREN’T ANY BETTER

Yes, the Toronto Maple Leafs won the John Tavares sweepstakes (because they were his favourite team growing up). Yes, the Leafs have a very impressive 1-2-3 punch down the middle with Matthews, Tavares and Kadri. Yes, the Leafs will be a legit contender in the East, but are they better than they were a month ago?

They lost Tyler Bozak, who fit in very well in the role he needed to play for them. They also lost 36 goals on the wing in James van Riemsdyk. I really like Tavares but I’m not sure he helps the Leafs to a season significantly better than the 105-point campaign they put together last year.

MATT DUCHENE DESERVES THIS IN OTTAWA

Remember Matt Duchene saying he was tired of losing in Colorado? Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

Remember how the Avs made the playoffs immediately after moving their unhappy centre? Classic.

THE HABS SHOULD TRADE CAREY PRICE

The Habs won’t be competitive again for at least five years and that’s probably being a little too optimistic. Five years from now Carey Price will be 35-years old and have three years left on his eight-year deal worth $10,500,000 per season. Price has a NMC but at this point why wouldn’t he waive it for a trade to almost any other franchise?

Having Price will only hurt the Habs rebuild as he will most certainly steal games the team has no business being in.

LOU LAMORIELLO HAS GONE CRAZY

Let’s do this one in bullet form. Since Lou Lamoriello took over the Islanders the following events have happened.

  • John Tavares signs in Toronto
  • The Islanders sign Leo Komarov
  • The Islanders sign Valtteri Filppula
  • Calvin DeHaan signs in Carolina
  • The Islanders sign Robin Lehner
  • The Islanders trade for Matt Martin and his 2.5 AAV

Maybe there’s a reason Lou hasn’t won anything since the NHL put a salary cap in place.

A.B.C. ON THE PP – ANYONE BUT CAGGIULA

I hope we’ve seen the end of Drake Caggiula on the power-play. With Maroon and Letestu no longer around there are only five forwards remaining who played more on the PP last season. With Tobias Reider now on board and Jesse Puljujarvi hopefully ready to take the next step I’d suggest you don’t need to use Caggiula on the second unit power-play. I’d play Khaira on the PP ahead of Caggiula at this point.

STROME SHOULD GET A SHOT WITH MCDAVID

I know the Oilers like Ryan Strome as a third line centre and I know he started to look comfortable there over the final couple of months of the season. I want to see Strome get an extended look with McDavid and not you, or anyone else on this planet is gonna make me change my mind. I refuse to believe Chiarelli purposely traded Jordan Eberle for a third line centre when his team was already stacked down the middle.

McDavid and Strome were only together for 56 minutes 5v5 this past season. Ten other forwards had more playing time with McDavid than Strome. When they were together McDavid had 11.73 shots per 60, his highest total with any linemate throughout the season. 

Maybe McDavid and Strome simply won’t work together but I refuse to come to that conclusion when we haven’t really seen it.

Before you ask about what happens down the middle? Khaira and Brodziak play centre on the 3rd and 4th line.

MCDAVID WINS THE ART-ROSS BY 20 POINTS

You heard read it here first. Not only will Connor McDavid win the Art-Ross next season, he will win it running away. I’m going to assume the Oilers PP improves next season, which will lead to around a 125-point campaign for McDavid.

EVAN BOUCHARD SCORES AT LEAST TEN GOALS

Evan Bouchard will make the Oilers out of camp and after ten games we will realize that they aren’t rushing him, he’ll actually be ready.  If Bouchard is on the big club he will be getting a decent amount of PP time, which will lead to him scoring at least 10 goals in his rookie season.

The fact the Oilers settled for Kevin Gravel in free agency leads me to believe they are pencilling Bouchard into their top seven.

TOBIAS RIEDER IS THE BEST WINGER ON THE OILERS.

One of the reasons Rieder signed a 1-year, $2,000,000 deal with the Oilers has to be the opportunity in front of him. I don’t even think it’s debatable to say Rieder is already the best natural winger on this team. I know Nuge will play the wing but he’s a natural centre so outside of him which winger on this team is better than Rieder? Sadly the answer is no one. When it’s all said and done he’ll play a heck of a lot more in the top six than he does in the bottom six.

Those are my takes, what you got?

ARTICLE BROUGHT TO YOU BY SPORTS EXCELLENCE

Founded in 1950, Sports Excellence Corporation represents over 150 family-owned independent hockey retailers across Canada and the United States. Our highly knowledgeable hockey specialists are available to assist all your equipment needs. Find your closest Sports Excellence retailer here!

Previously by Dustin Nielson:

  • ROILYDoGG$

    So Dusty like this ? ;
    Nuge-MCD-Strome
    Lucic-Leon-Rattie/Rieder?
    Rieder-JJK-PJ
    Cadj-Broz-Kassian/Aberg
    This roster could move around and have some fluidity to it based on who’s playing well but having a few extra guys around doesn’t hurt competition internally. I don’t mind it

    • TKB2677

      For me:
      Nuge – McD – Rattie – The line played pretty well the last year when they were put together. Nuge and McD believe in Rattie. Why would you not try them to start?
      Lucic – Leon – Riedier – You need to salvage Lucic. Giving him 3rd line mins doesn’t help him plus I think he bounces back. I think Leon played a role in Rieder signing here. Give him a shot with his countryman, he adds speed and defensive play along with some scoring.
      Kharia – Strome – Pulj – The line has size, speed and some skill. Strome was comfortable in the 3rd line role and is coming in confident in being in that position. I don’t see why you mess with that. Khaira can play center but I think he is better suited on the wing. Plus you have a left and right center so each guy can take faceoffs on their strong side. I like JP on a 3rd line. Let him get soft mins, give him some PP time. Let him move up when he is ready.
      Cagg – Brodziak – Kassian/Aberg. Speed, some jam, some skill.

      • Speaking Cleary

        I don’t mind your 3rd line at all and if they go with that Im fine with it. I’m just not as strongly opposed to trying Strome 1RW and JJ 3C. I think JJ earned that spot with the improvement he had from last year. I’m just not as confident that Rattie can sustain playing top line.

        • TKB2677

          McDavid had 108 pts last year, most of which was scored 5 on 5 (88 to be exact). He had 27 PP pts the previous year. Their PP last year sucked. If the Oilers have even a middle of the pack PP next year, McDavid will be over 120 pts. In all seriousness, how much more pts could McDavid put up 5 on 5 if Strome played with him and it worked?

          I don’t see the value in breaking up an effective 3rd line, just to maybe get a couple more goals out of Strome.

          • ROILYDoGG$

            True good point TKB. A lot of the Analists are saying keep the top line and stack Leon’s line but my point was that of Speaking Clearlys as I’m not sure if Rattie can play that spot all year. It’s more of a Plan B for me to move strome up or someone else for that matter.
            I hope Rattie is he missing piece we need but the fact is he has very little NHL experience and never played a full season on a top line. It’s a ton to expect out of a 25 year old Rookie even though he looks like the real deal.

            If we have a staked 2nd and effective 3rd line that can actually put up points paired with an effective PP, PK we will be a playoff team and maybe a cup contender.
            Rieder has played mostly 3rd line his career also so expecting him to play 2nd all season might also be a reach. Maybe they surprise everyone and both preform. Fingers crossed

  • TKB2677

    The way I look at it. Strome had 17 goals and 50 pts in his best year. He had 13 goals, 34 pts this past season. Realistically how much of a bump would he get from McDavid? In my opinion, for the success of the team, McDavid has to do what he did in the second half of last year which was be more of a shooter. So he should be around 40 goals. Nuge had 24 goals in 62 games and only played 1/4 of the season with McDavid. I think 30 for Nuge is pretty realistic. So I would think that if you got 15-20 goals from your right wing spot on McDavid’s line, you should be absolutely jumping for joy. For me, Strome would have to double his goals playing with McDavid to maybe make it worth while to completely disrupt your bottom 6 and I just don’t see it happening.

    Plus you have the best player in the world with McDavid. He’s so good, he will make lesser players automatically better. That’s an advantage. It’s great that you have Nuge with him as he needs one really good player but why would you want to load up his lines completely and eliminate the advantage you have with him? By not having to load McDavid’s lines for him to produce at a really high level, that allows you to strengthen your lower lines.