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?
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Previously by Dustin Nielson:
- Good News/Bad News
- Forecasting the Frenzy
- Oilers Post-Draft Top Fifteen Prospects
- Two Birds with One Stone
- Mock Draft 3.0 – Morning of the Draft Edition
- Draft Targets