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Caps Fan

Washington Capitals Strength and Weaknesses and Stanley Cup Chances posted by Caps Fan

The Washington Capitals finished the season 17th overall in the NHL league and also failed to make it to the playoffs. A few changes have been made to the leadership of the team. The main one being the departure of General Manager George McPhee, who had been with the team since the late 90s.

New Staff

The team has a new manager and a new coach. The manager has already made a few significant expenditures in acquiring new talent. The new coach Barry Trotz who was with Nashville last season, will hopefully deliver what Adam Oates failed to last season.

Power play is the biggest strength for this team at the moment, particularly if last season’s results are factored in. Washington Capitals had the highest power play in the league, a position they tied with the Penguins where both of them have a 23.4% power-play score. The score was exceptionally good, if you factor in the average score for the league, which was 17.9%.

Players with Potential

The team has a good number of players who can deliver numbers. In the previous season, seven of them registered double digits points. Two of the key factors in the team are Nicklas Backstrom

and right wing Alex Ovechkin.

Washington Capitals has a number of problems that they need to fix if they are to make it to the playoffs. One is that they lack possession. They lack depth and this is a problem hurting an otherwise good team. The other is that cannot seem to play consistently from season to season.

Conclusion

Given their history and lack of consistency, they are likely going to have a hard time making it to the playoffs this season. The change in leadership may prove to be a challenge as they struggle to gain footing in the coming season.

Continue reading "Washington Capitals Strength and ..."

Canucks Fan

Vancouver Canucks Strength, Weakness and Stanley Cup Chances posted by Canucks Fan

The Vancouver Canucks finished 5th in the pacific division of the Western Conference. This was one of the worst performances for the team in recent years. It was the first time in six years that they failed to make it to the playoffs.

New Leadership

As a result a number of changes in leadership were made. Coach John Tortorella was replaced by Willie Desjardins and Mike Sullivan was relieved off his assistant coach duties. Trevor Linden was made president of the Canucks. These changes will help inject new leadership and allow the Canucks to start the new season a Fresh.

The main strength of the team comes through Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin who have been the team’s top performers. Henrik managed 50 points with 39 assists. Daniel Sedin made 224 shots and had 47 points in 73 games last season. Some fans feel that the team relies heavily on the two players. However, as long as they have any of the two they do not have two worry about their center depth.

Goaltender Ryan Miller

The acquisition of Ryan miller is one of the smartest decisions the team has made. He is one of the best goalies in the league and has the mental power and strength to take over goaltending for the Canucks. He finished the last season with the Sabres with a 2.81 GAA and a .915 save percentage.

Conclusion

One of the main weaknesses of the team is the power play. The team had the fifth worst power play in the league last season. The power play coach of the team was retained as the other coaching staff were sacked. This is an area that needs urgent attention. If coach Desjardins fails to fix this problem then the team will be in trouble. 

Continue reading "Vancouver Canucks Strength, Weakness ..."

Leafs Fan

Toronto Maple Leafs: Strength and Weaknesses and Chances of Winning the Stanley Cup posted by Leafs Fan

The Toronto Maple Leafs did not manage to get to the playoffs through the Atlantic conference. The team finished 23rd overall in the league with 84 points. The last fourteen games were the worst for the team. They lost 12 of them and this meant something had to be done.

Young Assistant Manager

The team’s General Manager Dave Nonis, made a number of dramatic changes to the team. One of them was making 28 year old Kyle Dubas the new assistant General Manager. Questions were raised about bringing in a 28 year old to be an Assistant Manager.

The General Manager expressed confidence in Kyle “…Age was never a factor.. it was clear to us quickly that he’s going to be good at it”, He said. Kyle Dubas played and worked for a Hockey team that was once owned by his grandfather. He brings to the team analytics and data.

Some of the top teams like the Kings and the Blackhawks have relied on these analytics in the recent past. The Maple Leafs hopes to leverage on more emphasis on data to produce better results in the coming seasons.

Goaltending and Defence

The Leafs have two of the best goaltenders in the league; that is James Reimer and Jonathan Bernier. Reimer suffered some injury early in the season opener, but recovered quickly and got back in the game. The defense is also another problem that the team is hoping to solve this season. In the previous season leafs gave up 35.9 shots per game, worse than any other team in the NHL.

Conclusion

There are major changes that have been made to the team. We are yet to see what an emphasis in analytics will do for the team. They will do better, but chances are they will struggle to get to the first round of the playoffs.

Continue reading "Toronto Maple Leafs: Strength and ..."

Lightning Fan

Tampa Bay Lightning Strengths and Weaknesses and Stanley cup Chances posted by Lightning Fan

Tampa Bay Lightning finished 6th last season and made I to the playoffs before being stopped by the Montreal Canadiens. The team made it to this position despite facing certain challenges like the Captain’s injury that kept him off the team. Jon Cooper’s promotion to the team from the AHL, has proven to be a good decision.  His skills are important, given the development of young talent is key.

Pool of Young Players

The team currently has 14 players who are under 25. This has advantages and disadvantages for the team. Managing such young players with little experience is a challenging task for both the coach and the manager. 

Luckily the coach has experience dealing with such a young team. He is probably the bestt coach for the team at the moment. Additionally, the young team has speed, agility and the ability to score. Their ability to continue in the face of challenges, was demonstrated last season. 23 year old Victor Hedman is one of the young talents that the team can boast of. He finished last season with 55 points in 75 games.

Key Acquisitions

The team’s acquisition this year included a number of player among them Jason Garrison and Anton Stralman. The two are a boost to the pool of young player that this team has. The main issue with the two is whether they can adopt quickly enough and provide the support needed.

Conclusion

Captain Steven Stamkos is back on the team after the injury, but he is yet to recover fully. His hip joint is not yet back to its original form. Despite not having the forward in his best form, Tampa Bay Lightning can make it past the Eastern Conference. They will do better than last time and make it to the second round of the playoffs.

Continue reading "Tampa Bay Lightning Strengths and ..."

Blues Fan

St Louis Blues Strength and Weakness and Stanley Cup Chances posted by Blues Fan

Having finished fourth in the league all the St Louis Blues Coach needed to do was a few readjustments and the team would be perfect. But General Manager Doug Armstrong a nd
Head coach Ken Hitchcock were not satisfied with minor changes in the team.

Paul Stastny

There were a number of key acquisitions which included the signing of a new assistant coach Kirk Muller and goaltending coach Jim Corsi. But one of the most important acquisitions this season was centre Paul Stastny. The free agent was signed by manager Doug Armstrong and got a 4 year contract with the team.

Paul Stastny finished the last season with 60 points in 71 games last year. Despite this key acquisition by the Blues, they had to let one of their key talent go. Vladimir Sobotka has an underrated skill that helped boost the Blues defence.

Another talented center is captain David Backes. Backes and Paul Stastny help to provide a quality number 1 line for the team no matter who they are playing with. Other talents like Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, Patrik Berglund and Alex Steen, help to provide even more depth for the blues. As long as the blues can deploy this talent they will be good enough this season.

Goaltending

One move that could potentially leave a problem was the departure of Jaroslav Halak to the New York Islanders. The Blues do not have a starter goalie as a result. They still have Jake Allen and Brian Elliot to rely on and they may help they could prove to be just as good with time.

Conclusion

Despite a few doubts with the goal tending alternatives, the team will most likely get better this season. It is possible for the team to cruise through central division of the Western conference and even make it to the playoffs. 

Continue reading "St Louis Blues Strength and Weakness ..."

Sharks Fan

The San Jose Sharks Strengths and Weaknesses and Stanley Cup Chances posted by Sharks Fan

The San Jose Sharks finished 5th overall in the league and made it to the first round of the playoffs. The team was just one game away from defeating defending champions Los Angeles kings, before they stopped them in the first round.

Key Departures

The team also lost one of the Key players Dan Boyle. The defenceman moved to the New York Rangers. The move left noticeable hole in the sharks defence. The team still has Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Alex Stalock who are good but have not been at their best in the recent past.

One major issue the team has had to deal with is relieving the captain and assistant captain off their titles. At the beginning of the off season, the General Manager Doug Wilson and coach Todd McLellan announced that Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau were no longer captain and assistant captain respectively.

Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau

Despite that the team went all the way to the playoffs, the management seemed no too pleased with the leadership of the two. An attempt to move Joe Thornton was stopped by a ‘no trade’ clause. The team will be preoccupied with trying to figure out what the next step will be as far as the two players are concerned.

The defence of the team is also another concern. They will need to fill the gap left by Dan Boyle. Relying on Alex Stalock hasn’t brought the expected results so far. If Alex Stalock improves his numbers however, he can be a real asset that can help fix the situation.

Conclusion

As the Sharks compete in the Pacific division, they are going to face teams that are more prepared than them. The issue of the captains needs to be resolved. In the light of these problems, the sharks will probably not perform as well as they did last season.

Continue reading "The San Jose Sharks Strengths and ..."

Penguins Fan

Pittsburgh Penguins Strength Weaknesses and Stanley Cup Chances posted by Penguins Fan

The Pittsburgh Penguins finished 6th in the league and were stopped in the second round by the New York Rangers. The team started with a new coach Mike Johnston, and a new general manager Jim Rutherford, who replaced the previous coach and manager.

New Coach and Manager

The new manager started the season by signing in defenseman Christian Ehrhoff. 6 foot 2 Christian Ehrhoff is well known for his skating and shooting skills. Signed for $4milion from the Sabres he is going to be an asset and a boost for the team with his well known possession skills. Other key acquisitions that were made include Mike Johnston, Jim Rutherford, Nick Spaling, Steve Downie, Blake Comeau and Thomas Greiss.

Elite Centermen

The team main strength lies in two of its elite center players. With Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin the team does not have to worry about the center or its scoring abilities. Sidney Crosby finished the season with 104 points in 80 games. His performance has been consistent throughout his career. Evgeni Malkin finished the last season with 72 points in 60 games. The two ensure the center remains strong and helps to keep the forward strong.

However, the team still cannot score as much as it should, despite the fact that it has exceptional talent in the two centers. The defense is poor and this may be attributed to Kris Letang who stayed out of most games due to an injury last season. The team still has Norris Trophy and Marc-Andre Fleury who show real potential in helping the team strengthen its defence.

Conclusion

Continue reading "Pittsburgh Penguins Strength Weaknesses ..."

Flyers Fan

The Philadelphia Flyers Strengths and Weaknesses posted by Flyers Fan

The Philadelphia Flyers made it to the round one of the playoffs, where they lost to the Rangers and finished 13th overall in the league. The Flyers had a serious salary cap problem that put a limit to any activity that would have taken place in the offseason.

Salary Cap

Their salary cap limit was at just over $4 million. This meant that the manager Ron Hextall had to trade some players to resolve the salary cap issue. Thus, R.J. Umberger left the team and the manager signed in Michael Del Zotto who is on a $1.3million one year contract with the Flyers.

He seems to be playing well with the senators last season and he had a fairly decent save percentage. Unfortunately, he did not show a lot of promise in the first few games of the regular season. His time on ice has been declining for the first 3 games he has played in the 2014-2015 regular season. The Flyers have a number of challenging games at the beginning of the season and he will need to do better.

Goalies

One of the team’s greatest talent is the current team captain Claude Giroux. Giroux registered his career best last season when he finished the season with 28 goals and 86 points in 82 games. The team forward corps also includes promising talent like Matt Read and Jakub Voracek and Brayden Schenn. The main weakness for the team seems to be its goalie talent. Even though Steve Mason is good, there is no one else the team can refer to as a reliable backup. 

Conclusion

The teams forward corps is strong but they have a questionable defence corps. It is likely that the team will struggle to make it to the playoffs despite their performance last season.

Continue reading "The Philadelphia Flyers Strengths and Weaknesses"

Senators Fan

Ottawa Senators: Strength Weaknesses and Playoff Chances posted by Senators Fan

Last season the Ottawa Senators finished 21st overall in the league and failed to make it to the playoffs. John Spezza was traded to Dallas Stars, only a few months after the Sens had made him the captain of the team. Bryan Murray was reluctant to let the No. 1 center go but, eventually he had to release him.

Spezza’s Departure

He left the team with 687 points that he accumulated during his time in Ottawa in a total of 686 regular season games. He was the most reliable center for the team and the team will struggle to get a suitable replacement to fill the gap left by him.

There are a few options that the Sens have when it comes replacing Spezza. One of them is Alex Chiasson. Chiasson who was acquired from Dallas, had 35 points from 79 games in the 2013-2014 season. The 24 year old player could prove to be a great addition to the team in the near future.

Young Players

Another option they have for the center is Kyle Turris. Turris who had 58 points from 82 games seems like a better option than Chiasson. However, some analysts and fans are skeptical if he is the caliber of player that can get into Spezza’s shoes.

The teams defence relies on the skill and talent of 24 years old Erik Karlsson. He finished the season with 74 points in 84 games. As long as the team has him, he can hold together the defence. Unfortunately, the Sens do not have anyone else beyond him.

Conclusion

The team has good chances of making it to the playoffs, as they go through the Eastern Conference. The center may struggle especially after the departure of Spezza. However, there is still hope for the team as young talented players take over.

Continue reading "Ottawa Senators: Strength Weaknesses ..."

Rangers Fan

How will the New York Rangers Deal with Dan Boyle’s Injury? posted by Rangers Fan

The biggest blow for the team was the departure of Brad Richards. The 6’ centerman departed to Chicago after $60 million nine year contract. He scored 20 goals and had 51 points in total. Alain Vigneault and manager Glen Sather will have to fill the gap left by Richards’s departure.

Key Acquisitions

Several acquisitions have been made this season. They include Dan Boyle, Matthew Lombardi, Nick Tarnasky, Chris Mueller, Mike Kostka, Tanner Glass and Lee Stempniak. Unfortunately, the rangers will have to do without Dan Boyle who is currently out on an injury. Boyle, one of the key acquisitions this season broke his hand on the first game of the season.

Injury

Finding a replacement for Boyle is one of the biggest headaches for Vigneault this season. Kevin Klein who has played his position in some of the games, has failed miserably to defend the team.  Alain Vigneault may have to seek replacements from outside. Unfortunately, this may not be possible as there aren’t many available players to pick. He may have to go back to his draft.

The Rangers can boast of the fact that they have one of the best goaltenders in the NHL; Henrik Lundqvist.  Lundqvist has been consistent in his performance and is an asset for the team. He finished last season with a .927 save percentage and has a career save percentage of .922.

The team lacks good first line players to work with Derick Brassard and Derek Stepan who are the team’s second line centers. New acquisition Matthew Lombardi who was playing with Genève-Servette a top tier team in Switzerland’s National league, does not have a lot of experience to play for the league. 

Continue reading "How will the New York Rangers Deal ..."

NHL Hockey News

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Canucks acquire Pedan from Islanders for Mallet (Yahoo Sports)

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- The Vancouver Canucks have acquired defenseman Andrey Pedan from the New York Islanders in exchange for center Alexandre Mallet and a third-round pick in 2016. [read full article]

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Weiss scores 2 goals, Red Wings beat Senators 4-3 (Yahoo Sports)

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Zucker scores twice to lead Wild past Panthers 4-1 (Yahoo Sports)

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Islanders outlast Mason, Flyers 1-0 in SO (Yahoo Sports)

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Malkin scores in OT, Penguins beat Bruins 3-2 (Yahoo Sports)

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