Welcome – My name is Blake Friars, I am co-host onThe Debate Hockey Podcast. Over the summer we decided that I will start doing weekly posts on my 6 thoughts about topics in the NHL. I am a diehard Vancouver Canucks fan, I would love to hear from you guys in the comments for opinions and feedback. Looking forward to a great hockey season.
We all know about the back issues that have been hindering the play of the Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg over the last two seasons. None of us thought it would come to him possibly missing the entire 2018-19 season. Zetterberg had this to say on his setback;
Henrik Zetterberg tells @sportbladet that his back issues will force him to miss Red Wings training camp and the start of the season: “I have not been able to train and I can not play NHL matches without being well prepared, especially not at my age.” https://t.co/tS6I6tboZF
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) August 28, 2018
“I have not been able to train and I cannot play NHL matches without being well prepared, especially not at my age.” Zetterberg, 37, will turn 38 October 9th. If this is in fact it for the Wings legend what a run it was. Zetterberg is 5thon the Wings all-time scoring list with 337 goals and 960 points.
On August 22ndSportsnet’s Elliot Freidman dropped a bomb on the hockey world when he tweeted that the Vancouver Canucks were in on the Erik Karlsson sweepstakes.
There is a sense today that Erik Karlsson trade talks have picked up in the last few days. Most likely destinations appear to be Western Conference. There is also a belief VAN has stepped in to see if it is a match.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) August 22, 2018
Canucks GM’ Jim Benning entering his 5thyear with the club has transformed what was once the teams’ biggest weakness into its biggest strength’ the prospect pool. With the likes of Brock Boeser, Elias Petterson, Quinn Hughes, and Thatcher Demko, Canucks fans for the first time since 1999 actually have something to look forward to. Let’s shift back to a possible Karlsson to Vancouver trade just for fun. The conversation would start with the Canucks 7thoverall pick in the most recent NHL draft Quinn Hughes. Add a first-round pick in the 2019 draft which could turn out to be Quinn’s’ younger brother Jack, from a Canucks point of view this just doesn’t make sense to mortgage the future that look almost a decade to build. Benning has said on record “I’m not trading the Quinn Hughes and Brock Boeser’s and Elias Petterson’s. That’s not happening.” Get excited Canucks fans the future is almost here!
Training camp is on the rise and the Dallas Stars and star center Tyler Seguin are “far apart” in negotiations. “I’ve been disappointed that it hasn’t happened, the expectations were that it would be earlier in the summer, and there hasn’t been much talk. But I’m back to work, I still have one year left, and that’s been my focus,” said Seguin. The former 2ndoverall pick in the 2010 draft scored a career high 40 goals last season, and is set to hit free agency July 1st. Since the trade to Dallas in 2013, Seguin has totaled 384 points in 387 games. He has scored 178 goals in that span tied for 2ndwith Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin leads that department with 234 goals. The question is, will the Dallas stars pay Seguin and how much?! I see Seguin getting a similar contract to what John Tavares got this summer a 7 year 77-million-dollar deal.
Habs (Carey)ied to playoffs?
With Carey Price finally back to full health the Montreal Canadians are banking a huge bounce back season form the best goalie in the NHL. in 2015 Price won 44 games had a .933 Sv% to go along with a 1.96 GAA. He also won the Hart, Vezina and the William Jennings, for a goalie that’s unheard of. But Montreal has a big problem. They struggled to score goals and keep them out of their net. They have completely mishandled the Max Pacioretty situation, and have yet to offer Pacioretty a contract extension. They supposedly had a deal to ship the captain to the Los Angeles Kings at the draft, but the deal got caught on a snag with a sign and trade. Shea Weber is on the shelf until Christmas with a knee injury. A lot has to go right for the Canadiens to make the playoffs, but a return to 2015 form for Carey Price would go a long way.
Metro Vs. Central
A topic that has been going on for a long time in the NHL is who is the best division in the league. In my opinion it comes down to the Metro and the Central. Let’s break them down. In the Metro the top dogs are Pittsburgh who has cups in 2016 and 2017, the Capitals who silenced the critics and beat the Penguins and went on to capture their first Stanley Cup this season. They brought back John Carlson and gave Tom Wilson a ridiculous 6-year extension. The pesky Blue Jackets who find a way to win with great goaltending, and the wild card is the Flyers for me. They brought back James Van Reimesdyk to solidify their top 6 up front. The only problem with the Flyers is in the crease, can Lyon and Elliot carry them to another playoff spot. The Islanders just lost their franchise player in John Tavares they have a long road ahead of them, even with Lou, and Trotz in the fold. The Rangers are a rebuilding team, and the Carolina Hurricanes are a complete dumpster fire not much to say on them.
Shifting gears to the Central, you have Winnipeg who knocked off the Predators in the 2ndround, and had a magical run to the Western Conference Finals. The scary thing about it is they are just getting started. Connor Hellebuyck had a career high 44 wins and was a Vezina nominee, they have a young core in Scheifele, Laine, Connor, Trouba, Hellebuyck. They are going to be a force in this division for a long time. The Preds have the best D core in the NHL but with Pekka Rinne on the last year of his deal, and having to pay captain Roman Josi big bucks next season you have to think they will eventually run into some cap problems. It will be interesting to see what the direction they go in. The St. Louis Blues got a lot better, adding Ryan O’Rielly, Tyler Bozak, Patrick Maroon, and brought back David Perron for his 3rdstint with the club. Look for them to give Nashville a run for their money for 2ndin the division. That leaves the inconsistent Dallas Stars (You never know what you’re going to get), the overachieving Av’s, the old and slow wild, and the Blackhawks are dead that I will tell ya. Going to be a long season for Hawk’s fans.
If I had to pick a division to I would say the Metro, what can’t you like about it. Sid vs Ovi, Flyers vs Pens, the classic playoff rivalries within that division to be I think the Central is over hyped.
Toronto Maple Leafs RFA William Nylander is still without a contract and talks have been pretty silent. I think Nylanders ceiling is 60-70 points but with the way contracts GMs have been handing out lately I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nylander get 7 million, even though he’s only worth around 5-5.5, 6 at the most. The question is does Kyle Dubas sign him to a long term eight-year deal or a 2-year bridge deal. Regardless of the outcome the Leafs have one of the deepest center depths in the league and are destined for a lengthy playoff run this year.