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Playoff Push and NHL Trade Talk

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Jason Gregor
8 months ago
Things change quickly in a playoff race. The Vegas Golden Knights are suddenly clinging to a playoff spot. They’ve lost four in a row, seven of their last 10, injuries are mounting and so too is their frustration. “I’m sick of it. Everybody is sick of it. Everybody needs to dig deeper, grab their nuts and work,” Chandler Stephenson said bluntly after yesterday’s 6-4 loss in Columbus.
Two weeks ago we outlined the upcoming two-month playoff race and we’ll update it every two weeks going forward. Fourteen days ago Vegas sat third in the Pacific with 62 points and a .585P%. Today they are the second wildcard team in points with 68, but their P% has dropped to .557.
Dallas is one point back of Vegas, but they have four games in hand, so you can make the argument Vegas is technically on the outside of the playoff picture today. I have dropped San Jose from my playoff race. I think they are too far back with too many teams to pass and Winnipeg and Anaheim are teetering on the brink of falling out. There is lots of chatter both the Jets and Ducks could be sellers, so that will almost assure they eventually fall out.
Vancouver needs a good week. They have four home games v. New Jersey, Detroit, Calgary, and Buffalo. If the Canucks want to stay close to Vegas and Dallas they need three wins.
Dallas is out east playing Toronto, Montreal, the Islanders, and Washington.
Vegas is in Winnipeg tomorrow then hosts Florida and Los Angeles. An important week for the Knights.
Minnesota has a light schedule hosting Boston and Chicago. The Wild finish the month with eight consecutive home games.
Nashville hosts Pittsburgh, travels to Philly for Claude Giroux’s 1,000th game, and then hosts Toronto.
LA is home to Colorado and Vegas with a road trip to San Jose in between.
Edmonton is at home playing Detroit, Buffalo, and New Jersey. A great opportunity to create some separation from teams chasing them.
Outside of Vegas playing Winnipeg, there are no other head-to-head matchups this week between West teams battling for playoff spots.
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Here is a quick look at the remaining overall schedule for these teams.
LA has 11 home games and 10 road games remaining and 13 are against teams in the playoffs or in the west playoff race.
Minnesota has 16 homes games and eight road games remaining with 17 against teams in the playoff/playoff race.
Nashville has 13 home and 10 away games with 15 against playoff contenders.
Edmonton has 13 home and 10 on the road and 15  are against playoff contenders.
Vegas has nine home and 12 road games with 14 against playoff contenders.
Dallas has 12 games at home, 13 on the road, and 15 against playoff contending squads.
Vancouver plays 13 at home and nine on the road and 14 are against playoff contenders. They play Vegas three times in a five-game span between April 3rd-12th.
Winnipeg has 13 home games, eight on the road, and 12 against playoff contending teams.
Anaheim plays 10 at home and on the road and 14 are against playoff contenders. Barring a change I think the Ducks are sellers.
Vegas has injuries issues, specifically with Robin Lehner. They’ve lost four in a row and they have the fewest home games. They are far from a lock.
Los Angeles picked up two huge points last night went Martin Frk tied the game with 32 seconds remaining.
He has an absolute bomb of a slap shot and after back-to-back losses to the Sharks, that was a huge two points for the injury-riddled Kings.

TRADE TALK…

I don’t see a huge need for the Oilers to acquire a forward. They could recall Dylan Holloway in April if they feel they need more speed. Edmonton could use a veteran defender. Josh Manson would be great, but he likely costs more than the Oilers are willing to give up for a pending UFA.
A veteran solid, defender would be a good addition and, while a right-shot top-four defender would be the best target, I sense they are open to acquiring a left-shot defender if they feel he’s an upgrade on what they currently have.
I don’t see a goaltending trade that makes sense, unless it is more than a one-year rental. Alex Georgiev would be that type of trade, but I’d guess they’d want @Mikko Koskinen not @Mike Smith in return. At this point, I’d be more surprised if the Oilers acquired a goalie than if they didn’t. I think they run with the two they have knowing one quick call brings them Stuart Skinner.

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