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.
TWO-YEAR TANK FOR THE HABS
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.
CLAYTON KELLER WILL FINISH TOP 15 IN NHL SCORING
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.
BARKOV WILL BE A HART TROPHY FINALIST…..THIS YEAR
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.
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.
PACIORETTY WILL BE A PRED
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.
PONTUS ABERG WILL SCORE TWENTY GOALS
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.
DRAISAITL WILL SPEND MORE TIME WITH McDAVID THAN NUGE
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.
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.
OSCAR KLEFBOM WILL SET A CAREER HIGH IN POINTS
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.
MIKKO KOSKINEN WON’T SUCK
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.
McDAVID OR BUST
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!
Previously by Dustin Nielson:
- The Fringe Five
- 20 in 20: A Line Combination Extravaganza Part 4
- 20 in 20: A Line Combination Extravaganza Part 3
- Pontus Aberg Stuck in No Man’s Land
- 20 in 20: A Line Combination Extravaganza Part 2
- PTO The Way to Go