Hot Takes – September Edition

We are smack dab in the middle of the pre-season, so what better time to spit out a few new hot takes? We’ll start with some Oilers takes and then expand around the rest of the league in an attempt to fire up as many people as possible.


Seriously, who could possibly disagree with this? I know the Oilers are happy to have Puljujarvi playing alongside Ryan Strome and I’m fine with that to start the season. I just wonder how many games it will take before Leon Draisaitl starts looking to his left and right and realizes that Puljujarvi and Khaira are a more desirable pair to play with than Lucic and Rieder. We know Todd McLellan likes to work in pairs, so whom is Draisaitl tied to? Lucic? Rieder? I’m not to sure either one of them fits that bill. I’d bet Draisaitl is between JP and Jujhar by the New Year, if not sooner.


A couple of things factor into this. Let’s start with this tweet from the legend, Bob Stauffer, earlier this week.


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They certainly will have to work with him on the defensive side of the game but there is no denying how well he moves the puck. He has excellent offensive instincts which will likely lead to PP2 minutes early in the season. The Oilers can shelter him for a month or two with Kris Russell on the third pair but by December he will be riding shotgun with Nurse. Book it!


Why not just say 100 goals, right? That would be too easy because I’ve got McDavid down for 50 bingos this year. Nugent-Hopkins, who I do believe will be a lock on McDavid’s wing for the majority of the season, should be able to find the back of the net 35 times. Nuge was basically on a 30 goal pace last season and wasn’t with McDavid for about 85% of the year. So if McDavid and Nuge are going to combine for 85 goals all you need is another 25 from whoever ends up playing on the right side. If Ty Rattie sticks it’s not unreasonable to think he scores 25.


You’ll never get an honest effort from someone unless they are passionately committed to their craft, and nobody cares more about the in-game presentation than Gregor. He’s discussed it a number of times here on the Nation and on his show on TSN 1260. I say it’s time the Oilers bite the bullet and just turn things over to him.


Yup, the Oilers will be buyers at the deadline this year. They probably won’t fall into the contenders category but they will make a serious push for a playoff spot and Chiarelli can’t afford to sit on his hands and miss the post-season. My suggested deadline day target, Thomas Vanek, because it’s always Thomas Vanek. 

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The Senators are a sexy pick to finish dead last in the NHL this season. I’d love to see it happen simply because they don’t have their first round pick and that would be the ultimate backfire but I’m not sure it does. Craig Anderson has had some great stretches during his career and he’s basically playing to prove to the rest of the league that he would be worth trading for. I’ll say the Wings end up at the bottom of the pile. 


The Devils just squeaked into the playoffs last season and they needed a superhuman effort from Taylor Hall to do so. I don’t see Hall being able to duplicate the season he had last year. I’m not saying he will completely fall off the map, I’d still expect an 80-point season from the reigning Hart Trophy winner, but that alone won’t be good enough to get the Devils into the playoffs again.


Elias Pettersson will finish with at least 65 points in his rookie season with the Canucks. Over the past ten seasons, only four rookies have hit the 65-point plateau. Barzal and Keller did it last season, Matthews hit the mark in 16-17 and Artemi Panarin accomplished the feat in 15-16 at the age of 43. McDavid was at 1.07 PPG in his rookie year, the best in the past decade and fourth best in the last 20 years.


This may be a little lofty, even for the best offensive defenseman in the league. Karlsson’s career high is 82-points but he has never been surrounded by the talent he has in San Jose.  You have to go back to Ray Bourque in 93-94 to find the last 90-point campaign from a blueliner. If it’s ever going to happen again it will be with Erik Karlsson this season. Karlsson finished fifth in league scoring three years ago — a 90-point season last year would have placed him 10th. It’s possible.


It’s been a pleasure working at TSN but odds are I’m done after the statement above. Matthews is a better goal scorer, Barkov is better in every other aspect of the game. If you are starting a franchise today, whom are you taking? I’m going Barkov. 

Those are my takes, what say you?

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Previously by Dustin Nielson:

  • Spydyr

    Puljujarvi should be with Draisaitl and if Puljujarvi keeps playing like he has been it better be soon or Todd is being pig headed again like he did most of last season with McNuge.

  • FISTO Siltanen

    Taylor Hall is a great player. No way he should have won the Hart over Nate McKinnon last year. Glad another see the Devils crashing a bit this year.

    • El Connor mcdaddy

      How can you possibly think that Hall shouldn’t of won the Hart? Taylor Hall had 93 points last season, which is less than Mackinnon at 97 points. However the Avalanche had other producers like Mikko Rantanen who had 84 points. and Gabe landeskog who had 62 points. The devils mean while had no other producers on the team. Nico Hischier had 52 points, and was second in scoring on the devils behind Hall. The Avalanche had 95 points, and the devils had 97. Taylor Hall single-handedly drove the devils to the playoffs. With out Hall the highest scorer on the devils would have been an 18 year old kid getting 52 points. The devils would have been the worst team in the league by a LANDSLIDE! if Mackinnon wasn’t on the avalanche at least they would have a point per game player in Rantanen, and a 60 point man in Landeskog. If one man puts a very lackluster team on his back and wills them to the playoffs he deserves the Hart trophy. End of story.

  • oil.99.97.11

    The best you can hope for in training camp/pre-season is to see legitimate competition for roster spots, especially the shiny new pushing the dull same-old. The Oil have an opportunity this year to ice a more dynamic team right out of the gate. Let loose the likes of Rattie, Yamo, Puljo, Juju, Bouchard, Bear? and force the entrenched, like Kassian, Cagguglia, Lucic?, Benning?, etc. to be the better option…not the other way around!!

    For far too long this club has NOT had the option to move guys in and out of the line-up based on how well, or poor, or maybe worse, just plan average, they have performed. You earn it, you play, simple as that…at least from a fan’s point of view. Too bad coaches and management seem obligated to see it from a substantially more complicated perspective.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      It’s not complicated at all. It really comes down to money unfortunately.
      I can’t see a team sitting 10 – 20 million dollars to be replaced with rookies, can you?
      No one would want to play here going forward if the team did that regularly.

  • Rusty

    LOVE THE MATHEWS TAKE! Careful that take is hot. I totally agree. Mathews is a great player no question but he is not the savior of hockey as he is presented. I feel kind of bad for him. There’s no way he can live up to the expectations on him. The Taylor Hall take was also spicy.
    The Bouchard, karlsson, top line goals and Buying at the deadline takes are luke warm at best. The Peterson take was ice cold.

    Love this article overall though. Thanks Dusty.

  • Chris Prongers Rake

    Ooohh, oohh, I have another one. Flames fans and media rave about how great there defense is, “Possibly greatest of all time” “Best in the Western Conference and NHL”,miss the playoffs and blame it on Mike Smith.

  • Chris Prongers Rake

    Ottawa, claims arena is in the path of potential future Tornadoes, gets agreement to a build a new arena in better location, leaves Flames organization in awe that new arena deal was so easy!

  • FutureGM

    Does everyone hate Bear or have I been watching different games?? Dude has pedigree too, spent a year playing against men in the AHL, held his own last year in 18 games and looked solid against actual NHL competition in the preseason.
    Hot Take: Oilers brass thinks long term and keep Bear to pair with Russell, send Bouchard to develop leadership skills playing at the world jrs

  • Chris Prongers Rake

    Winnipeg, brings in Kovalchuk at deadline, Kovalchuk arrives, retires from hockey and files an application to get on the show Ice Road Truckers.

  • TKB2677

    I 100% agree with the Devils not making the playoffs. I think they were a fluke. Hall is an excellent player, I do not think he is a 93 pt, Hart Trophy player. He doesn’t have the supporting cast to get him to 93 pts again. Realistically, he’s a 80 pt tops. Unless you are an elite player, rookies typically all see a slight step back just because all the teams know about you know and adjust. Everyone of their older players is a year older, they did NOTHING to improve their team still has 15.4 mill in cap space.

  • daryl

    Bouchard is not NHL ready will lose confidence if constantly being turned inside out by fast wingers needs the AHL and it is a crime against humanity that he can’t. He needs to work shorter times and at high energy in Junior.

  • BringJordanHome

    I’m very divided on whether the Oilers should have Bouchard on the roster. I guess it probably could be better for him to play another year in the OHL, but on the other hand, I really would like to see a pairing with nurse and Bouchard.
    However, the most important thing is his development so I would give him the nine games and depending on how he performs they could either send him down or keep him up