Maple Leafs at Wild 123119 Odds and NHL Betting Trends

by OddsShark (@OddsShark) – Sponsored Post

High-scoring games seem to be the Toronto Maple Leafs’ natural habitat as they head into a road matchup full of OVER trends. The Maple Leafs are -135 away favourites while the Minnesota Wild are the +115 home underdog with a 6.5-goal total on the NHL odds for Tuesday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Toronto is 10-4 in its last 14 games as an away favourite with the total finishing OVER eight times at sports betting sites and is also 12-6 in its last 18 away games against the Central Division, with the total finishing OVER 11 times. Minnesota is 1-5 in its last six games as a home underdog, although the Wild also have a 15-5 record over 20 home games against the Atlantic Division with the total finishing OVER 13 times.

Maple Leafs at Wild | OddsShark Matchup Report

The Maple Leafs are 21-14-5, including a 5-1 record in their last six games with the total finishing OVER in five of those games. The offensive roll syncs up with the creation of the Auston Matthews-Zach Hyman-Mitch Marner line, now complemented by a John Tavares-Alex Kerfoot-William Nylander second line, as the Leafs are ranked fourth in the 31-team NHL in five-on-five shot-attempt percentage (53.0 percent).

Toronto’s defensive depth is a question mark with the long-term absence of Jake Muzzin (broken foot), so the Maple Leafs’ third-ranked offence (3.52 goals per game) will have to make up for a 22nd-ranked goals-against record (3.23). The Leafs are seventh on the power play (23.9 per cent) and 26th in penalty killing (76.0).

Frederik Andersen has allowed at least three goals in four consecutive starts and now has a 19-8-4 record with a 2.72 goals-against average and .914 save percentage.

The Wild are 19-16-5, with a 3-3 mark over their last six home games. Minnesota, which ranks 22nd in five-on-five shot-attempt percentage (48.6 percent), could get a boost to its forward complement as centre Mikko Koivu (lower body) is eligible to play after coming off injured reserve. The Wild are a solid 14th in goals scored (3.10 per game), but are 27th in goals against (3.30). They are 21st on the power play (17.5 per cent), and their penalty killing ranks 24th (78.0).

Devan Dubnyk has resumed his role as the Wild’s No. 1 goalie and has a 7-9-2 record this season with a 3.24 goals-against average and .898 save percentage.

The Maple Leafs visit the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday before hosting the New York Islanders on Saturday.

Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for analysis on this week’s top games. As well, the OddsShark Computer serves up daily NHL picks for bettors.

Hellebuyck And Scheifele Named To 2020 NHL All-Star Game Laine Needs Vote In

The NHL has announced it’s full rosters for the 2020 All-Star Game (or games as it were) taking place in St Louis, Missouri on Janurary 25 and the Winnipeg Jets pair of goalie Connor Hellebuyck and forward Mark Scheifele have made the cut.

Scheifele is in his seventh full season in the NHL, all with the Jets franchise. He currently leads the team in points (40), and is tied for the lead in goals (17) and assists (23). This will be his second All-Star game as he made the 2019 game in Los Angeles along with Jets captain Blake Wheeler.

Hellebuyck is in his fifth season in the NHL, all with the Jets franchise. He leads the NHL in shutouts with three, he is tied for third in the league for wins (17), and his .923 save percentage is eighth among qualified goaltenders. He’s arguably been the most valuable player for the Jets this season as the club has been out-shot many nights, yet currently holds down a playoff spot with a 21-5-3 record.

Hellebuyck and Scheifele will join the rest of the Central Division all-stars for the 3 on 3 mini-tournament format:

Forwards

Nathan MacKinnon (COL)*
Patrick Kane (CHI)
Tyler Seguin (DAL)
Eric Staal (MIN)
Ryan O’Reilly (STL)
Mark Scheifele (WPG)

(* – Voted as Central Division captain)

Defense

Roman Josi (NSH)
Alex Pietrangelo (STL)

Goaltenders

Jordan Binnington (STL)
Connor Hellebuyck (WPG)

Meanwhile, forward Patrik Laine still has a chance to make the game as well. He will be part of the NHL’s “All-Star Last Men” vote which allows fans to select four players from a list of 31 All-Star caliber players – one from each NHL team. The highest vote-getters by division then will be added to their respective All-Star rosters. Voting for the Last Men In opens Wednesday, Jan. 1, at 11 a.m. CST and will run over the next ten days.

 

10 best and worst Flames trades of the 2010s

From the beginning of 2010 until the end of 2019, the Calgary Flames made 64 trades with other hockey clubs. Of course, not all trades are of equal value and quality. Let’s look back at the best and the worst of the many swaps the Flames made over the past decade.

What makes a trade good or bad?

When we look at trades, there are a few ways to evaluate. The primary questions asked are “What was the trade trying to accomplish?” and “Did the Flames get value for their assets?” If a draft pick is involved, we’re ignoring how the drafting team used the pick and focusing on the pick itself as a trade chip.

The 10 worst trades

For the curious, seven of the worst trades were by Jay Feaster, the other three were by Brad Treliving.

10. 2015 fourth round pick to San Jose for T.J. Galiardi (July 2, 2013)

At the time, Galiardi was coming off a 14 point lockout-shortened 2012-13 season with the Sharks, where he was the team’s ninth-leading scorer. He had been qualified, but the Flames traded a fourth rounder to the Sharks for his services. Galiardi had 17 points with the Flames and never really seemed to click, and wasn’t qualified when the season was over. A fourth rounder for one season of a middle six forward is a bit rich.

9. 2020 fourth round pick to Los Angeles for Oscar Fantenberg (February 25, 2019)

Fantenberg was a depth defender for the Kings and a pending unrestricted free agent. The Flames sent a conditional pick that ended up being a fourth rounder to the Kings for what amounted to six weeks of Fantenberg’s services.

8. Alex Tanguay and Cory Sarich to Colorado for Shane O’Brien and David Jones (June 27, 2013)

Tanguay and Sarich were part of the old guard Flames and with the departure of Jarome Iginla, it made sense to move them to open up spots for younger players and get some futures or cap space. Getting O’Brien and Jones met precisely zero of those objectives (and the trade got worse when the club bought out O’Brien).

7. 2014 third round pick to Chicago for Brandon Bollig (June 28, 2014)

The good news is the Flames got a former Stanley Cup champion. The bad news is Bollig was already an expensive depth player when he arrived in Calgary, and that was before he began to slide down the depth chart.

6. Jyrki Jokipakka and 2017 second round pick to Ottawa for Curtis Lazar and Michael Kostka (March 1, 2017)

A second round pick (in a good draft) for a player that had one assist in 33 games that season.

5. Jay Bouwmeester to St. Louis for Mark Cundari, Reto Berra and 2013 first round pick (April 1, 2013)

A 30 minute a night defenseman (with a year left on his contract) for an AHL depth defenseman, a Swiss goaltender and a late first round pick.

4. Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust to NY Rangers for Ales Kotalik and Chris Higgins (February 1, 2010)

This one was weird. The Flames had already traded Prust away to get Jokinen, then cashed out on Jokinen to get Kotalik and Higgins. The Flames gave up the two best players in the trade and acquired a pair of bodies they immediately soured on.

3. Robyn Regehr, Ales Kotalik and 2012 second round pick to Buffalo for Chris Butler and Paul Byron (June 25, 2011)

The previous trade fed into this one. Regehr was getting on in years (but was still quite useful) and the Flames were preparing to sign Tanguay to a contract extension. But to do that, the Flames would need to move out cap space in the form of Regehr and Kotalik. To get the Sabres to take on Kotalik’s awful contract, they sent them a second round pick as a sweetener (and likely accepted the meager return in the trade as the price of doing business). Just poor asset management all around.

2. Jarome Iginla to Pittsburgh for Kenny Agostino, Ben Hanowski and 2013 first round pick (March 28, 2013)

Granted, Iginla was 35 and on an expiring contract with no-trade protection. That said, two middling college prospects and a late first rounder is a pittance.

1. Dion Phaneuf, Keith Aulie and Fredrik Sjostrom to Toronto for Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Ian White and Jamal Mayers (January 31, 2010)

The crown jewel of poor trading. Phaneuf, still factoring into the Norris balloting, jettisoned from the Flames mid-season (along with a good AHL defender in Aulie and a strong penalty killer in Sjostrom) in exchange for Stajan and three spare parts. That the Flames couldn’t turn Phaneuf into any type of picks or prospects – or even wait until the trade deadline or the NHL Draft to get a bidding war going – was horrendous.

The 10 best trades

Three of the best trades were by Feaster, the other seven were by Treliving.

10. 2016 second round pick to St. Louis for Brian Elliott (June 24, 2016)

Looking for goaltending help, the Flames sent a second rounder to the Blues and picked up the final year of Brian Elliott’s contact. They made the playoffs, so all things considered it was a pretty decent swap for both sides.

9. Daymond Langkow to Phoenix for Lee Stempniak (August 29, 2011)

With Langkow getting on in years and battling injuries, the Flames grabbed Stempniak from the Coyotes. It was, at worst, a lateral move, and the Flames got two and a half seasons out of Stempniak before sending him out of town for a draft pick.

8. 2014 fifth round pick to St. Louis for Kris Russell (July 5, 2013)

Fifth round picks almost never make the NHL. So it was pretty savvy trading that saw the Flames net Russell, who played nearly 200 games for the club before being traded himself.

7. Rene Bourque, Patrick Holland and 2013 second round pick to Montreal for Mike Cammalleri, Karri Ramo and 2012 fifth round pick (January 12, 2012)

On one hand, yeah, the Flames traded away a second round pick. On the other hand, they turned a cost-controlled asset (Bourque was signed through 2016) who had begun to struggle with injuries and inconsistency into a more productive forward (Cammalleri) and a goaltender (Ramo) who played three seasons and helped to win a playoff round. Both sides got value here.

6. Jiri Hudler to Florida for 2016 second round pick and 2018 fourth round pick (February 27, 2016)

Hudler was a pending free agent and the Flames turned him into two future assets.

5. Kris Russell to Dallas for Jyrki Jokipakka, Brett Pollock and 2016 second round pick (February 29, 2016)

Russell was a pending free agent and the Flames turned him into three future assets. (It’s noteworthy that the Flames getting the second rounders in this trade and the Hudler trade made it possible for them to trade for Elliott in the first place.)

4. Curtis Glencross to Washington for 2015 second round pick and 2015 third round pick (March 1, 2015)

Glencross was a pending free agent and the Flames turned him into two future assets.

3. Tim Erixon and 2011 fourth round pick to NY Rangers for Roman Horak and two 2011 second round picks (June 1, 2011)

Had Erixon merely re-entered the NHL Draft, the Flames would’ve received a second round pick. Instead, the Rangers got the kid they wanted and the Flames got useful depth in Horak plus another second round pick.

2. 2015 first round pick and two 2015 second round picks to Boston for Dougie Hamilton (June 26, 2015)

This trade was the culmination of a few asset accumulation swaps (including the Glencross trade). The Flames were able to use their first two rounds worth of picks, plus the Washington second round pick, to grab a top four defender. For reference it took Rasmus Andersson, drafted with a second round pick from another trade, until midway through 2018-19 to become a top four defender.

1. Dougie Hamilton, Adam Fox and Micheal Ferland to Carolina for Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm (June 23, 2018)

The genius in this trade was in the asset management. If you accept that (a) Fox wasn’t going to sign and the Flames knew it and (b) they weren’t going to be able to afford Ferland when he became a free agent a year after the trade, then this trade is the remaining controllable years for Hamilton and Ferland at the time (a combined four) for the controllable years for Hanifin and Lindholm (a combined eight). The Flames were able to sign Hanifin and Lindholm for a combined 12 seasons, but that involved eating into UFA seasons – the value here was in the long-term asset and cap management.

43 Reasons Quinn Hughes deserves to be at the All-Star Game

The NHL announced the participants in their annual All-Star Game earlier today. Elias Pettersson was named to the Pacific Division team, and while that’s all fine and dandy, last season’s Calder Trophy winner is the lone representative from the Canucks.

That’s an issue that ought to be remedied in short order. Quinn Hughes deserves to be there just as much as Pettersson does, and I’ve got 43 reasons to prove it.

1. He is the epitome of a modern NHL defenseman. The NHL is trending towards players with speed and skill, which has allowed many young players in recent years to burst onto the scene and have NHL success almost instantly. Hughes has found this instant success, and is exactly the type of player that embodies what a defender should look like in 2019.

2. The game is there to showcase the league to a wider audience. If the purpose of the All-Star game is to showcase the league and it’s best players, wouldn’t you want; yes I know this is a crazy thought but try to stick with me here, the best players… from said league… to be there?

3. Mark Giordano is literally 36. Mark Giordano is a legend in his own right. He got absolutely snubbed from the All-Star Game last year, but there’s no way that a 36-year-old defenceman with 19 points on the season should be at the All-Star Game over a 20-year-old who’s been turning heads all season long and sits at a cool 28 points.

4. Hughes makes everyone around him better. I’ve written about this kid a lot (not sure if you’ve heard), and a theme that has come up over and over again is that Hughes makes everyone on the ice better, and that starts with his defence partners. In the 3-on-3 format, Hughes will thrive.

5. Hughes is a treat to watch 3-on-3. Canucks fans have gotten the pleasure of watching Hughes and Pettersson on the ice together for 3-on-3 overtime, and that’s a show that could easily be missed by many out East. It’s a show worth watching, and somebody should notify the NHL that Hughes is actually one of the most entertaining defencemen in the league to watch at 3-on-3 — especially with Pettersson out there as well.

6. The Pacific Division has a better chance of winning if he’s there. I know the All-Star Game sees a lot of low effort performances by most of the players, but to an extent, the players still want to win, and Hughes gives them a better chance at doing just that — you know, since he makes literally everyone around him better and all.

7. He’s been the superior Hughes brother so far. Media from coast to coast lost their minds over Jack Hughes all of last season right up until the draft, when the New Jersey Devils selected Jack with the first overall pick (New Jersey’s second first overall pick in three years).

8. He doesn’t deserve to be a “Last Man In” Candidate. Not all hope is lost in Hughes’ All-Star Game hopes, as he’s one of the “Last Man In” candidates. Fans can vote in one last player from each division, and Hughes is on that list. The thing is, he deserves to be there based off the original selection, not the additional, last second addition to the game.

9. He’s up against Drew Doughty as a Last Man In. Drew Doughty seems to be at every single All-Star Game, but the defenceman has not been selected this year. Kings’ forward Anze Kopitar was selected as Los Angeles’ lone representative, and Los Angeles has a total population of 4 million. That’s a lot of potential voters, which means Canucks fans far and wide need to do their due diligence and vote Hughes into this game.

10. The team needs more defencemen. The Pacific Division currently has one defenceman on their roster, and that’s Giordano. That means a forward is going to be tasked with playing defence during 3-on-3, and we know how dangerous that can be. I mean, are they even trying to win this thing?

11. Defence wins championships. In every year since the All-Star Game came to be, the team who allows the fewest goals has always won. Defence, people, defence.

12. Quinn Hughes can create some highlight reel goals. Hughes has already used his hockey sense, skating, and skill with the puck to set up jaw-dropping goals on more than one occasion.

13. Offence also wins championships. Another stat (cause I’m a big stat guy now), in every year the All-Star Game came to be, the team who scores the most goals has won. Offence is just important as defence, so why not get you a defenceman who can do both?

14. He has gamebreaking ability. The All-Star game is a game where epic comebacks are few and far between, but with the goalie pulled late in a game, when a team really needs a goal, Quinn Hughes is exactly the type of player who can turn the course of a game when given the opportunity. If the Pacific needs a miraculous comeback, they’ll be glad he’s there.

15. There are no rookies at the game. Believe it or not, there are no rookies at this year’s contest. I could rattle off eight reasons why Cale Makar should be at the ASG in a heartbeat. With a rookie class as talented as the one the NHL has this year, it’s almost criminal that no rookies are on the rosters at the time of this writing.

16. Canucks rookies have a habit of stealing hearts. In 2018, Brock Boeser caught the attention of everybody when he broke the accuracy shooting record at the skills competition, and won the MVP award for the main tournament. This made everybody take notice of his abilities, and although Pettersson didn’t have the same success at All-Star weekend that Boeser did, everybody had already heard about Pettersson’s skills. Now it’s time the world understood why Canucks fans are so thrilled with their rookie defenceman.

17. The Canucks’ rookie ASG streak. Boeser and Pettersson went to the ASG as rookies, and the Canucks have an eligible star-studded rookie for the third year in a row. Hughes needs to keep the streak alive.

18. There needs to be two rookies at the game. To be clear, Cale Makar deserves to be at this game just as much as Hughes does. Both have been an absolute treat to watch this year and should be on display for hockey fans everywhere to see.

19. Both “Last men in” could be rookie defencemen. It’s rare that the NHL gets two rookie defencmen leading the Calder conversation, and if the just thing is done, both last men in (as voted by the fans) could be rookie defencemen. The league should want their star rookies on display anyway, but it will be up to the fans to get them into the game.

20. Hughes would be one of the best defencemen in the whole tournament. So far, the defencemen that are slated to appear on All-Star weekend are Shea Weber, Victor Hedman, Roman Josi, Alex Pietrangelo, Dougie Hamilton, Seth Jones, John Carlson, and Mark Giordano. I won’t say Hughes is better than from that list, but there are certainly a few.

21. The Canucks haven’t had two representatives at the ASG since the Sedins in 2012. Team Chara beat Team Alfredsson by a score of 12-9. The Canucks were still considered cup contenders. Life was good, and both Sedins were at the ASG. Who better to be the first Canucks’ duo to go to the game than the team’s new franchise defenceman and centerman?

22. He’s humble. Have you ever heard Hughes say anything that was even remotely cocky? He’s confident, and for good reason, but an ASG appearance won’t go to his head.

23. He’s mature. When reporters asked about he and Jack’s sibling rivalry, Quinn explained that they want to see each other succeed, and that it would be kind of childish to worry about anything like that.

24. He could compete in any skills competition needed. If you’re the person who’s job it is to allocate which NHL stars compete in each skills competition, you’d love Quinn Hughes. Really, he could compete in any of the skills competitions. Fastest skater, hardest shot, the deking course, passing into those tiny nets, whatever it may be, Hughes could do it no problem.

25. Pettersson will be lonely. Last year, Pettersson spent most of his time with fellow Swede Erik Karlsson. The two became friends, but Karlsson won’t be at the game this year. Pettersson will need a friend, and who better to fill that void than another elite defenceman whom Pettersson is fond of?

26. He’s lived up to the hype. There was a lot of hype surrounding Hughes from the moment he was drafted. To come into the league the way Hughes has and completely change the dynamic of a team? Why wouldn’t you want this kid in the All-Star Game?

27. He’s cool under pressure. It was once said of a rookie Chris Tanev that it seemed as though he could play with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. The same can certainly be said of Hughes, who won’t crack under the bright lights and big stage of the nationally televised All-Star Game.

28. He could play keep-away the whole time if he wanted to. We’ve all seen Hughes’ ability to control the puck and slip away from forecheckers firsthand, but what if, as a way to stick it to the people who made him get in as a write-in vote, Hughes doesn’t allow the other team to touch the puck once. Just 20 minutes of Hughes spinning around in his own end with the puck on his stick to the chorus of boos. Then Hughes scores the only goal of the game and hits the crowd and the NHL with an Andrew Ference special as a way to say “next time, add me to the roster right away”:

Okay, maybe that’s pushing it. Back to the list.

29. The last time two defencemen led all rookies in scoring was in the 1930s. I know this could quickly become a list about why Cale Makar is equally as deserving to be in the ASG, but the point is, two rookie d-men this special deserve to be a part of the festivities. They only come every 90 years, you know.

30. He could break Pettersson’s rookie points record. It’s not likely, but hey, it could happen. Pettersson broke the Canucks’ rookie scoring record last year, and Hughes could break that record if he keeps this up, as a defenceman.

31. He’s on pace to break the Canucks’ points by a rookie defenceman record. Dale Tallon holds the record for most points by a rookie defenceman, tallying 56 points in 78 games. Hughes is on pace to break that record.

32. The Michigan goal is a trend, so send in Michigan’s finest. Everybody, even Elias Pettersson, has their sights set on pulling off the Michigan goal. Nils Hoglander has done it more than once, and Andrei Svechnikov (who should also be at the ASG) introduced the move to the NHL. Send one of Michigan’s best players to the ASG so he can set up Pettersson for a Michigan-style goal.

33. The skills competition would be much more entertaining with Hughes in it. I’ll just allow this tweet to explain what I mean:

34. Actual stars should be at the All-Star Game. Now, not to rip into Palmieri or Bertuzzi or anything, but I wouldn’t really consider either of them to be “All-Stars”. I get every team needs to have a representative, but come on.

35. He answered a bunch of questions via Google videos. This is something I found out literally tonight, but Hughes answered a whole bunch of questions like “why does Quinn Hughes wear 43” and “are Quinn and Jack Hughes brothers” on Google. It’s questions like these that will be asked when the players walk the red carpet and sign autographs for fans, and Hughes is ready for it.

36. He goes with the flow. Nobody likes a player who is a prima donna, and Hughes is far from that, he just goes with the flow. Why does he wear the number 43 you may ask? Back at the U17 level, he was just given number 43, and has liked it ever since. That’s the definition of just going with the flow.

37. He stays focused and works hard. Quinn never basks in the glory of his accomplishments, and is quick to take everything in stride and continue to climb in his development. He’s earned the opportunity to be an NHL All Star after all those years of hard work.

38. His mom was an All-Star in every sport she played. Ellen Hughes was a defenceman who helped teach all three of her kids how to skate. She was an above-average hockey player, soccer player, and even a lacrosse player during her time at the University of New Hampshire.

39. He’s in on the Endy Mattress. All-Stars should get an All-Star calibre sleep at night, which is why Hughes uses the Endy Mattress, like many other great NHLers and podcasters. (Post not sponsored by Endy)

View this post on Instagram

Thank you @endy for taking care of me this season!

A post shared by Quinn Hughes (@_quinnhughes) on Oct 13, 2019 at 2:50pm PDT

40. He needs a new HUT card. If you’ve played NHL 20, you’ll know that EA was a little late in adding him into their most popular mode, Hockey Ultimate Team. The options right now for Hughes are a base card at 83 overall (not good enough), and a 91 overall specialty card, which is just too expensive. Fans need a happy medium and an All-Star Game card sitting at an 88 overall could do the trick.

41. He tucks his jersey. Alex Ovechkin won’t be at the All-Star game, and Ovechkin is well known for tucking his jersey. Connor McDavid also occasionally tucks his jersey. You know who else tucked his jersey? Wayne Gretzky. Despite it technically being against NHL rules to tuck your jersey, that doesn’t stop Hughes from tucking his jersey every so often. He doesn’t care about your rules.

42. Being the first NHL All Star from his family is a big deal. The Hughes family isn’t much into bragging rights, but it’d still be cool for the eldest child of the three Hughes boys to be the first named to an NHL All-Star team. Jack will almost certainly get there one day, and who knows what Luke will do when he gets drafted?

43. He’s just fun to watch. At the end of the day, the simple reason Hughes should be at the ASG is because he is just incredibly fun to watch, and All-Star weekend is all about having fun, is it not?

Monday Mailbag New Years Resolutions

My friends, it’s that wonderful time again. It’s that time when you have all the things you’ve always wanted to know about the NHL and about life in general. I like to think of us as a much cheaper alternative to a college education. As always, the mailbag depends on your questions so I need you to send me anything you want to know. If you have an Oilers or life question that needs answering you can always email me, or DM me on Twitter. Enjoy.

Oct 22, 2019; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (29) during a game between the Minnesota Wild and Edmonton Oilers at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

1) Sharry asks – In the last few games the Oilers have played, Leon Driasaitl has been barely able to skate back to the bench after his shift, or skate back to play defensively. Do you think he has been overplayed by this coach, or is it conditioning… or something else?

Jason Gregor:

He is struggling and even the best players in the game will lose confidence. I sense he is frustrated. Conditioning isn’t a factor. He trains extremely hard and is in great shape. The past 15 games have been a complete reversal of fortune for him. The good news is they are a major outlier, and he should be able to rebound. But I sense more frustration than anything in his play.

Robin Brownlee:

No question Draisaitl has been used a lot — he leads all forwards in average ice time at 22:39. The problem, as I see it, is the length of his shifts. Struggling to the bench or to get back defensively isn’t overall conditioning, it’s being gassed and used up on any particular shift. A general rule of thumb is shifts should be under one minute, if not closer to 45 seconds. In his last three games, for example, Draisaitl has played 20:40 on 21 shifts, 22:30 on 20 shifts and 23:54 on 22 shifts.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I think it was just some fatigue from playing a lot of hockey. Both mental and physical. He goes all out trying to push the pace offensively and generate goals for this team because not a lot of other players will and he simply isn’t putting in at the other end of the ice. There’s no denying that both he and Connor McDavid cheat for offence and I think they need to if this team wants to win. I don’t blame them for a defensive lapse or a tough stretch of games in their own end.

Baggedmilk:

He’s being played a tonne and also going through a slump at the same time, that’s a tough combo.

Oct 12, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl (29) celebrates his goal with teammates during the third period against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

2) Clay asks – If you were to pick out one major thing that has changed for the Oilers from October and November to what’s happening on this recent tough stretch what would it be?

Jason Gregor:

Mike Smith struggled mightily. Hard to win when your goalie has a .856Sv% at 5×5. But the biggest difference I see from the players is early on they weren’t making the major mistake. Now they are, and often it ends up in the back of their net. RNH horrible giveaway 11 seconds into the game results in a goal. Ethan Bear doesn’t shoulder check and see Tkachuk wide open. Koskinen has a shot go right through him. The first three Flames goals were easily preventable. Those types of plays weren’t happening early on.

Robin Brownlee:

Goaltending. Mike Smith has been awful and Mikko Koskinen has also dropped off, although to a lesser extent.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

They aren’t getting top ten goaltending from both of their netminders. It’s really as simple as that.

Baggedmilk:

They’re sloppy in their own end, they’re not getting as many saves, the PK is struggling, and that’s just a few things that I can think of off the top of my head.

Apr 1, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) looks on from the ice in the third period against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

3) Tim asks – What is your favourite Oilers moment from 2019?

Jason Gregor:

I like offence, so I will say Draisaitl’s 50th goal of the season. Fifty goals is an amazing feat, and unless your name is Alex Ovechkin, it doesn’t happen very often in today’s game.

Robin Brownlee:

It’s not so much a moment as a game. Most memorable for me is the 6-3 win over Philadelphia on Oct. 16. Connor McDavid had five points (1-4-5) and Koskinen made 49 saves. Oilers had no business winning that game — they were outshot  52-22 — but Koskinen was stellar and McDavid did the rest.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

From the past calendar year… it might be Leon getting his 50th goal of the year. Either that or the winning streak to start this season. There was some serious optimism at that point and it was fun.

Baggedmilk:

I was in Calgary for Draisaitl’s 50th. That was cool. I also liked October of this season. *remembers*

Nov 10, 2019; Anaheim, CA, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) celebrates after scoring a goal during the first period against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center.

4) Trev asks – My questions is this: Andrei Svechnikov has scored two lacrosse style goals this year and there seems to be a bit of a mixed reaction among journalists and fans about this type of goal. I’ve seen some people feel that the lacrosse goal “shows up the competition”. What does the panel think about this type of goal? As a follow-up, are we going to see Connor McDavid pot one of these this year? Thanks and happy holidays!

Jason Gregor:

Shows up the opposition? People who think that need thicker skin. It is a highly skilled play and to do it at full speed in an NHL game is awesome. I’d be surprised if McDavid scored one that way. I’ve never seen him practice it in practice. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t in the summer, but I don’t think he focuses too much on that specific move.

Robin Brownlee:

The NHL is supposed to be in the entertainment game so why would people complain about a display of skill like that? Players or teams that use the “showing up” excuse are really reaching. Showing up an opponent is scoring the seventh goal in a 7-2 victory and windmilling, fist-pumping and chirping in front of the opposing bench. If a team doesn’t like being scored on “lacrosse style,” then do something about it — stop it.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

It’s sweet. If you don’t want a player to score a nice goal, then defend him better. I have no issues with it. As for the odds of McDavid doing it, I’ll say there slim. Doesn’t really seem like his style.

Baggedmilk:

Connor certainly has the skill to pull it off. Who knows if it happens or not? I love this style of goal and hope it’s only the beginning of new and wild ways to score.

Nov 24, 2019; Glendale, AZ, USA; Edmonton Oilers head coach Dave Tippett against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

5) Kevin asks – I’d like to know what everyone’s New Year’s resolutions would be for the Edmonton Oilers in 2020?

Jason Gregor:

For the organization: To realize you haven’t won anything in a long time. How you go about things hasn’t worked, and a new approach has to occur at all levels. Ticket prices, food prices, in-game entertainment needs to change if you want fans to show up regularly.

Robin Brownlee:

Stop chasing the game. Specifically, stop falling behind 2-0. The game plan goes out the window when that happens.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

To get better depth scoring. If they can continue getting production from the Sheahan/Archibald duo and find a winger for Nuge, I’ll like their odds of making the playoffs a lot more.

Baggedmilk:

I have two: Attention to detail. Respect your fanbase.

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Winnipeg Jets 2010s Retrospective Big Buffs Winnipeg Introduction And The First Playoff Run

Recently the JetsNation team put together a list of the most memorable moments of the last ten years of Winnipeg Jets / Atlanta Thrashers hockey. We came up with about 15 in total ranging from no-brainers like the day Mark Chipman announced the return of the NHL to the city of Winnipeg, to understated moments such as the fight filled affair in Nashville where an angry and frustrated Jets squad filled up the penalty box against a Predators club that was just starting to become a major team rival.

With our list in hand, we turned to all of you to help us narrow the list to ten iconic moments and memories that will last with us well beyond December 31, 2019. This is the third part of our five part series where we go over the top ten (in no particular order) and highlight what made each moment stand out and our memories of them.

You can check out part one here: “A Flying W And Laine’s Five”

You can check out part two here: “Regina Heritage Classic And Teemu’s Return”

We also encourage to share your favorite moments and memories on the comments below or on our our Twitter or Facebook pages. We may highlight them in a post in the new year/decade!


“Big Buff And The Jets Say Hello”

September 20, 2011: Dustin Byfuglien sends Winnipeg fans into a frenzy on the first ever shift of Jets 2.0

After the announcement of the team coming back to Winnipeg, fans were dying to finally see their team out on the ice. It had been an awfully long time since 1996 and the entire city was buzzing for months before the team actually hit the ice. With so much hype surrounding the draft and the team coming into their first season, there was a chance that the on-ice product might not live up to the expectations. The Thrashers didn’t have success in their years before coming to Winnipeg and the new Jets club lacked the necessary skill to compete for a playoff spot.

But the skill or depth of the club didn’t matter. All that mattered was that they were back, and that the first drop of the puck was happening on September 20, 2011.

You would have never thought it was a preseason game with the stands absolutely packed and the seismic roar of the fans when the puck was dropped. I didn’t think it could get any louder until Dustin Byfuglien made his introduction and absolutely leveled a Blue Jackets player just four seconds into the game.

With one hit, an entire province was united in their passion for hockey.

The shift continued and Byfuglien leveled another player twenty seconds into the same shift. The shift ended a few seconds later as gloves came off and both teams started throwing punches.

Wow. This Byfuglien guy seems like the real deal.

Winnipeg’s first glimpse of big number 33 made a lasting impression on everyone watching the game. Byfuglien instantly became a fan-favourite as he made the first game back in Winnipeg extra special with his physicality.

It’s no surprise that such a dynamic player making such a big play on the first shift ever by Jets 2.0 cracks the best moments of the decade.


“Winnipeg Returns To The Playoffs”

April 2015: The Jets make the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since the move north.

Having the Jets back in Winnipeg was huge, but having a bad team that misses the playoffs every year isn’t fun no matter how passionate the fan base is.

That’s exactly what happened to Winnipeg in their first three seasons as they were struggling along at a .500 pace but couldn’t quite reach the playoffs. They seemed to be stuck in the range that was just outside of the lottery picks but also just outside of a playoff spot. That’s not a great spot to be in because the fans in Winnipeg were patient but wanted results after waiting so long to get their team back.

After a mid-season coaching change the year before, the 2014-15 Jets seemed a bit different. This team was led by the classic Ladd, Little, Wheeler line although the highest point total was only 62 by Andrew Ladd. Not quite the range of points we’re now accustomed to see from Wheeler, Scheifele, or Laine. While the scoring was a bit tough, the main difference of the 2014-15 season was the play in the crease. Pavelec and Hutchinson split their duties with Pavelec starting 46 games and Hutchinson starting 36 games.

Over the course of Pavelec’s entire NHL career, he has a .907 SV%. But, for one season, that save percentage was far above his career average. He ended the 2014-15 season with a career high .920 and led the ragtag Jets to their first playoff appearance since coming back to Winnipeg.

On April 16, 2015, the Jets clinched a playoff spot and a hockey crazed fan base became even more frenzied with the impending return of Winnipeg’s famed “Whiteout” which traced it’s roots back to the 1980’s and the original Jets franchise.

The hype was insane in Winnipeg with the first ever playoff appearance on the horizon. It was a great time to be a Jets fan with so many new and exciting things going on. It even prompted local celebrity Ace Burpee along with his radio station to create their own Jets anthem for the first playoff run.

The hockey itself was a hard fought series that could have went either way. It might sound silly given the fact that Winnipeg lost four straight games, but the series was much closer than the wins indicated. The Jets held a 2-1 lead in game one before giving up two powerplay goals in the third and losing the game. It was the same story in game number two as the Jets held the lead after two periods once again before allowing a powerplay goal against in the third. The real issue was the goal that Winnipeg gave up with 21 seconds left in the third period in game two.

Just like that, after playing two games and holding a lead for majority of the time, the Jets somehow found themselves down 2-0 in the series but they were heading home to Winnipeg where they were greeted as conquering heroes and when Lee Stempniak scored the first playoff goal in Winnipeg in over ten years, fans lost their collective minds.

Unfortunately, the all too common theme of giving up third period leads came back in game three with the Jets heading into the second intermission up by a goal. Kesler scored to tie the game in the third and Rakell slammed home the winner in overtime to take a commanding 3-0 lead.

Winnipeg got on the board first in game four as well, but the Ducks came out flying after that by scoring three straight goals. They ended up winning the game and sweeping the series 4-0.

Even though Winnipeg didn’t get a victory in the series, they played hard and gave the fans at home some playoff hockey for the first time since relocation. The return of the Whiteout left a lasting impression on the hockey world and had people talking about it for weeks after the Jets had long been eliminated. That in itself is the reason why the 2015 playoffs is included in our moments of the decade.

FlamesNation mailbag closing out the 2010s

The Calgary Flames are a win-one, lose-one hockey club as the 2010s wind down. Let’s check in on the mailbag as we crawl towards the 2020s.

Yes, but only occasionally. The approach Geoff Ward seems to be taking, for now, is to rotate the five-some of Rinaldo, Tobias Rieder, Mark Jankowski, Sam Bennett and Michael Frolik in and out to keep everyone fresh. But if circumstances change, that could alter this rotation.

What does “circumstances change” mean? Well, right now the Flames are using Juuso Valimaki’s LTIR space to keep a full 23-man roster. If Valimaki gets healthy, that space goes away and they have to trim the roster back down to 22 players. That shifts the dynamics a bit.

Another thing that could happen is if an obvious “top” group from that five-man rotation emerges. It seems right now that Rieder and Frolik are distinguishing themselves, which is keeping them in the lineup more often than not. If an obvious top dog emerges from the remaining trio, maybe Ward abandons the rotation and goes for stability instead.

For the time being, there doesn’t seem to be a natural fit for Czarnik in Calgary. As a right shot winger who doesn’t play a ton of center, he’s basically left trying to nudge his way onto the wings. Right now, the Flames have Matthew Tkachuk, Andrew Mangiapane, Mikael Backlund, Johnny Gaudreau, Dillon Dube, Milan Lucic, Frolik and Rieder as their primary wingers. Barring an injury, it’ll be tough for Czarnik to force his way into one of those spots.

That said, trades and injuries happen. I would expect Czarnik to ply his trade in Stockton for the next while and as the trade deadline looms, he could find his way back into the fold. The reason why Czarnik might slot in more easily than Matthew Phillips or Glenn Gawdin is simple: he’s played in the NHL and the figurative “moment” might not overwhelm him in the same way the first recall can be a bit scary for a rookie. That said, Phillips and Gawdin both carry significantly lower cap hits than Czarnik so there may be a bit of a trade-off involved, too.

Right now Jankowski’s the “devil you know” for the Flames. In psychological terms, we’d call this familiarity bias. The Flames have a big book on Jankowski and his tendencies and quirks. He has holes in his game, for sure, but a reason to keep him is you know his quirks and holes and feel like you can work around them.

Another reason? Jankowski would carry a $600,000 cap hit if he was in the AHL, at which point he would need to play and likely take ice time away from younger, developing players that the Flames have future hopes and dreams for. If you’re completely pessimistic on Jankowski’s value as a player going forward, the easiest, least-damaging solution, may be to keep him on the NHL roster and just work around him until his contract is done in July. If you still think there’s value there, you probably want to nurture it as much as possible by keeping him around the big club.

Another reason for Treliving not making many trades?

The simple answer here, which feeds off the previous question, is the salary cap. Go to your salary cap website of choice and take a quick skim. Of the 31 NHL clubs, virtually nobody has a ton of cap space to work with. If you’re the Flames, and maybe you want to trade away someone like Frolik who’s on your fourth line (and is pricey for that role), the market for that player is limited to the teams that can afford to take him on – that’s a teeny, tiny market and you won’t get any value back from that swap.

Nobody has cap space and it’s slowed the league-wide trade market to an almost glacial degree.

Cap flexibility. Once Valimaki’s healthy, the Flames have virtually zero wiggle room. Heck, the expected performance bonuses for Oliver Kylington and Rasmus Andersson are already likely to eat into next season’s cap barring any moves this season. Finding ways to carve out some wiggle room is paramount for the Flames’ success heading into the trade deadline.

Postgame Canucks win 5th straight, move past Calgary into 2nd in the Pacific

The Vancouver Canucks will head into the New Year riding a five-game win streak and two points behind the Pacific leading Vegas Golden Knights with two games in hand. While they haven’t always been the prettiest of victories, the Canucks can take pride in the fact that they have dug deep, remained composed, and found a way to climb in the standings.

Timely goaltending has been an enormous boon for the team and tonight was no different as Thatcher Demko was fantastic in his first game back from a concussion turning aside 23 of 25 shots faced. Secondary scoring was the catalyst in the offensive zone, especially the second-unit power-play who scored twice, albeit one was off a fortunate bounce. Production from periphery players is one of the hallmarks of a playoff-caliber team. Over the course of this five-game win streak, 14 of Vancouver’s 21 goals have come from players not named Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, JT Miller, or Bo Horvat. The Canucks will hope that they can continue to receive goals from their blue line and secondary forwards as they attempt to ascend the peak of the Pacific division. They play eleven games in January and eight of them are against teams not currently in a playoff position. It’s time for the Canucks to find another gear as the Trade Deadline approaches.

Lineup

Stats

(At 5-on-5 via NaturalStatTrick)

Highlights

Game Notes

  • Thatcher Demko looked calm and controlled in his crease tonight, a great sign for a goalie returning from injury. Rust was definitely evident on the first goal allowed caused by sloppy rebound control however other than that, I was quite pleased with how he was tracking the puck, especially on a couple of 2-on-1’s.
  • I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss Jake Virtanen for a bit. Tonight Virtanen and his line were fantastic in driving possession and outshot-attempted the Flames by 64.71% while on the ice. Coming into this game, he was second only to Elias Pettersson for xGF% in the 12 games of December (51.14). Virtanen had a fantastic December. Let’s see if he can carry it into the New Year.
  • Bo Horvat and his line have had a tough time during this win-streak. Horvat entered tonight with the second-worst xGF% with 27.61 in his past 4 games. It was nice to see his line score a big 4-1 dagger and the empty-netter. Yes, he is facing tough competition but the Canucks need more from their captain as they chase the Golden Knights.

2010s Retrospective Farewell, Northlands Coliseum

With the New Year right around the corner, we’ll wave goodbye to the 2010s, a decade filled with ups and (many, many) downs in Oil Country. Let’s jump in the time machine and go back through all of the things that defined this decade of Oilers hockey. Today, we have the farewell to the Northlands Coliseum. 

Drafting Connor McDavid immediately flipped everything upside down for the Oilers.

Though they had three first overall draft picks in a row and multiple other high selections throughout the decade, nobody had the franchise-changing talent than McDavid had. Like Sidney Crosby a decade before him, he was a once-in-a-generation talent. As poorly as the Oil Change had gone the past five years, drafting McDavid completely wiped the slate clean and created a new sense of hope.

Shortly after winning the draft lottery, Craig MacTavish was promoted from his role as general manager to Vice President of Hockey Operations, making room for former Boston Bruins general manager and 2011 Stanley Cup winner Peter Chiarelli to become the team’s PoHO and GM. A month later, Todd McLellan, the long-time coach of the San Jose Sharks, was brought in to be the team’s head coach.

In just a month, the Oilers were completely flipped on their head. The best player to come along in a decade was their new franchise cornerstone, there was a new general manager with Stanley Cup pedigree, and a new coach with a wealth of experience. Just a year after that, they would also be playing in a new arena for the first time in franchise history. That new arena project that had caused so much animosity earlier in the decade was nearing completion and the 2015-16 season would be the final one played at the Northlands Coliseum.

That meant McDavid’s first season as an Oiler would coincide with the last one played at the stadium that housed all of the franchise’s accomplishments throughout time. It seemed fitting that the team do something special as the stars aligned and the old crossed with new.

But this is the Oilers we’re talking about. Nothing can be that simple. The team dropped their first four games of the season and sat with a 4-8-0 record at the end of October. Then, to add insult to injury, or, well, injury to injury, this happened…

While killing a penalty, McDavid picked up the puck at his own blueline and worked it up ice against some defenceman named Brandon Manning. McDavid deked him out and drove the puck wide, but Manning slammed him into the boards. The result was a broken collarbone that would keep the young prodigy out of the lineup until February.

By the time he came back, the Oilers were 20-26-5 and the playoffs were pretty much out of reach. Still, McDavid did what he could to make the season memorable. In his first game back from injury, McDavid returned with a bang, scoring what, to this day, might be the nicest goal of his career…

A few days later, he followed it up with a dominant five-point performance against the Toronto Maple Leafs, which was his true introduction as a superstar in the NHL…

When it was all said and done, McDavid finished his rookie year with an impressive 48 points in 45 games. Though he wasn’t able to carry the team to the playoffs in his rookie year, he helped the Oilers pound the Canucks in the final game ever played at Northlands, giving the stadium the send-off it deserved.

The farewell to the Northlands or SkyReach or Rexall or however you choose to remember it was certainly one of the most emotional moments of the decade. As frustrating as the team can be and as painful as they can be to watch sometimes, the Oilers bring this city a tremendous amount of joy, and pretty much all of us have fond memories at that rink.

Beyond all the Stanley Cups and the Hall of Famers and the legacy, Northlands is a place Oilers fans became, well, Oilers fans. Whether it was attending your first NHL game as a kid, slamming too many infamous Rexall Beers for the first time, going wild at a playoff game, or just a random, cold, winter night with friends, that stadium saw its fair share of good times.


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