Hot Takes – August Edition

Dishing out another round of Hot Takes at the tail end of a heat wave just seems right. Here are a few scalding hot opinions to keep you warm on a rather cool Sunday.


Let’s be honest, things are going to get worse in Montreal before they get any better. Marc Bergevin, or whoever will be calling the shots, should embrace this and do everything they can to suck. This past June they added Finnish centre Jesperi Kotkaniemi but he’s not projected to be a true franchise centre.

The number one focus for the Habs should be getting the 1st overall pick in 2020 so they can pick Quebec born Alexis Lafreniere. Not only did Lafreniere light up the Gretzky/Hlinka Cup he was also the CHL rookie of the year as a 16-year old scoring 42 goals in 60 games.

A top-five pick in the 2019 NHL Draft would also likely deliver an elite forward to Habland.

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This would be a pretty significant second year jump for Keller but he’s an absolute stud offensively. As a 19-year old Keller finished with 65 points, good enough for 49th in the league. In order to work his way into the top 15 he will need to be in the 85-point range, I think he’s capable of reaching that total.


If Sasha Alex Alexander Alexsander Barkov played in a Canadian market he would be one of the biggest stars in the National Hockey League. He’s already one of the best defensive forwards in the league and I’m betting he hits the 90-point plateau this season. Also, he’s the best shootout weapon in the league. 


The NHL hasn’t had a 50-goal man in either of the last two seasons. Ovechkin came close last year, finishing with a 49-goal campaign. Over the past two years only 11 players have reached 40 goals and nobody has done it twice.

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2009-2010 was the last time we saw three 50-goal scorers in the same season with Stamkos(51), Crosby(51) and Ovechkin(50) all reaching the mark.

I’m going to say we turn back the clock a bit on goal scoring with three players hitting the 50-goal mark in 2018-19. I’m actually pretty confident with this prediction because there are a handful of players who are capable of it. Ovechkin, Laine, McDavid, Matthews and Malkin could all get the job done while I also like a bounce back season in the goals department from Stamkos.


This just makes sense. If any G.M. in the league is going to pick up Pacioretty it has to be the trigger happy David Poile in Nashville. The Predators have signed everyone they needed to and still have 7.6 million in cap space.

Poile has built a cup contender but a little extra goal scoring could go a long way. If the Preds allow Rinne to walk at the end of next season they could actually afford to sign Pacioretty to a long-term deal.


Careful, this take is hot, really hot, or stupid, I can’t decide. The Oilers are so thin on the wing that it may only take one injury for Aberg to actually get a decent look in the top six. I’m going to say he’ll take advantage of the opportunity if it comes his way this year.


Oct 9, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl (29) celebrates his goal with teammates against the Winnipeg Jets during the second period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

I know everyone is excited about chemistry between McDavid and Nuge at the end of the season but I’m here to tell you that when it’s all said and done Draisaitl will end up with more ice-time alongside the captain.

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If it was my call Nugent-Hopkins would be locked in next to McDavid for the entire season, that’s how I operate, it’s not how McLellan operates. The Oilers Head Coach has always been quick to mention how much he likes Draisaitl riding shotgun with McDavid. If history repeats itself Todd will have the blender rolling early and often.


Klefbom’s career high is just 38-points so it won’t take an incredible season to top it but he will need to stay healthy. I still have faith in Klefbom as the point man on the top unit power-play, at least until Bouchard is ready. I’ll say the sexy Swede finishes with 15 goals, 43 points and 0 staff infections.


I never hated the idea of signing Mikko Koskinen, I just hated the idea of a cap strapped team giving an unproven goaltender 2.5 million bucks.

I’m not sure the contract will end up being a bargain but I will say that Koskinen won’t be a bust. He’ll take 25 starts from Talbot and up with slightly above average numbers for an NHL back up. Rishaug will still hate the deal.


This is a make or break season for Ty Rattie. I’ll go as far as saying he either sticks with McDavid out of camp or never again plays more than 10 games in an NHL season. Rattie played a career high 14 games last year. He’s 25-years old and had never played 14 games in an NHL season, yet he’s being pencilled in on a line next to the best player in the world, does any of this make sense?

Those are my takes, give me yours!

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Previously by Dustin Nielson:

  • OriginalPouzar

    1) I think Aberg should get a shot to win a top 6 winger job even without injury. He’s got skill but has been inconsistent. Unfortunately, I am not sure the head coach is over, or will ever get over, the missed practice – that is egregious for an old-school coach. Perhaps Mr. Viverios can speak to Mr. McLellan about dealing with younger players with personality.

    2) I could also see Klefbom breaking 40. From accounts, the procedure he had earlier this year has led to his shoulder being healthier than at any previous time as an Oiler. I would think he is the PP1 d-man and will be chomping at the bit to have a bounce-back season in all areas of the game.

    3) Agreed on Koskinen. I’m OK with the bet on the player but there is no reasonable comparable for that cap hit and if that’s what was required to “woo him” then Chiarelli should have walked away with the knowledge that many established veteran back-up goalies, some of which that are legit 1B options, were coming on the market – Bernier, Halak, Mzarek, etc.

  • Natejax97

    Hot take…mcdavid and draisaitl will finish 1-2 in the scoring race this year and Nugent Hopkins will be in the top 20. Cuz if Aberg is scoring 20…thats 20 apples for draisaitl right there….

  • Abagofpucks

    I don’t know what Aberg is iv’e seen flashes of skill but well see, he may very well be hot garbage.

    Klefbom should have a big season i can’t help but think that i hope he stays healthy thats the key here for me.

    koskinen well 2.5 mil for an goalie

  • Abagofpucks

    It sure would be funny if the laffs took a tumble this year and it could happen. Their year does hinge on the defense being good enough and also the goaltending has to be solid. With all the hype of the JT signing things could blow up in there faces.

  • Moneyball

    Pretty fair predictions. I think Caggiulla with get 35 points this year. 15 goals 20 assists. Bakersfield Condors make the playoffs for the first time in a while as do the Oilers. Puljujarvi starts the year as the extra forward on the Oilers and sees 40 games this year.

  • The 5 D’s

    One more prediction, Sekera will be back to old self and strongly patrolling our blue. While everyone expects Oscar to be 100% percent for start of training camp, ha doubt it but will still play him 20 mins a night

  • Spydyr

    What is the “hot take” on the Nurse contract? Why is it talking so long? What is the holdup? Does he perhaps want out of Edmonton? Inquiring minds want to know.

    • OriginalPouzar

      Yes, he likely wants out of Edmonton just as much as Hanifin wants out of Calgary, Nylander wants out of Toronto, Theodore wants out of Vegas, Reinhart wants out of Buffalo and Ritchie wants out of Anaheim.

      Lots of RFAs still not signed because its August 12 and there is still over a month until camp starts. This is no unusual, it happens every year (including last year with Drai) and there is nothing to worry about.

      If it hits the second week of September and Nurse isn’t signed, I’ll start to get worried.

    • Kneedroptalbot

      Chiarelli is trying to lowball Nurse, he doesn’t have any cap space left. He really blew it when he signed Strome 1st.
      He could have signed Nurse long term.

    • Imo, they’re waiting to see what the difference between the cap and all the possible contracts/bonuses and will sign him to a bridge for that amount. His agent already said there isn’t enough for a long term deal unless they are getting REALLY creative.

  • Reg Dunlop

    What is a staff infection? Is it when your Wilson golf clubs get sick?

    I could see coach in panic mode when the Oil start the season 3-10, loading up the 1st line with Leon. Won’t help his cause as Gulutzan will be coach before X-mas.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      I actually could see RNH with Draisaitl on the second line, with Reider.
      Anyone can produce with Connor, like maybe Khaira on the left with who ever makes it on the right.

  • Towers-of-dub

    I think it’s ok to load up a line with McDavid and Draisaitl if you’re down by a goal, and you pull the goalie, and have 90 seconds left to score.

  • Abagofpucks

    I don’t know what Aberg is iv’e seen flashes of skill but well see, he may very well be hot garbage.

    Klefbom should have a big season i can’t help but think that i hope he stays healthy thats the key here for me.

    koskinen well 2.5 mil for a khl goaolie id strange chia better be right.

  • Jimmer

    Hot take…the reason why Nurse has yet to be signed is because he is part of a 3 way deal or a set up deal in Karlsson getting traded to Tampa. The team that is getting him does not want Edmonton to sign him to a bridge deal…they would rather sign him long term and lock in his rising value.