The Leafs made the wrong choice sending Gauthier to the minors

Ryan Hobart
February 03 2017 07:00AM

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Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY SPORTS

To get this out of the way off the start, here's a link to TLN's own Dom Luszczyszyn's piece on why fourth lines and bottom pairs matter. Great, now that that's out of the way... 

The Leafs sent down Frederik Gauthier to the Toronto Marlies yesterday. Ben Smith was able to come off of the Injured Reserve and join the team to re-claim his spot at the team's fourth-line centre for last night's game. So, between Gauthier and Smith, they chose Smith. But, based on what we know, they were 100% wrong.

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The Roundup

Nation World HQ
February 03 2017 05:00AM

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5 things to know about Patrik Laine, lots of guys on the block in Detroit, some teams don't want the Leafs to be patient, Flames prospect update is ugly, McDavid clearly breaks NHL fastest skater record, Canucks still hurting from poor drafting, a crazy junior scrap, NHL power rankings, an All-star rundown and more in this week's Nation Roundup brought to you by Violent Gentlemen.

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Let's Talk About Michael Rasmussen

Jeremy Davis
February 02 2017 03:00PM

Any of you that followed me during my most recent stint on Twitter will know that a have a particularly strong affinity for Nico Hischier, one that I was particularly vocal about during the World Junior Championships, when he basically single-handedly scared the pants off the Americans in the quarter finals. Hischier, who started the year outside the top ten by many (and in 10th by my early top ten), was already a consensus top five pick at this point and was only heading up (he's now provided a reasonable challenge for first overall).

Meanwhile, the Canucks heading into the Christmas break (and thus the start of the World Junior tournament) were undoubtedly one of the league's worst teams, and their position in the standings showed it. They sat in 27th place at Christmas, and even with a couple of early wins out of the Christmas break, hope was allowed to creep in and create draw a line between the Canucks' terrible record, their eventual draft position, and this shiny young Swiss centre that was setting the WJC on fire.

As a rule, the Canucks aren't usually allowed to have nice things, with a few exceptions. In nearly 50 years, they have never captured the first overall pick - a trend that started with a spinning wheel back in 1970. So rather than hoping for number one, hoping for a top two or three selection seemed like a safer bet for a Vancouver fan, right? This could really happen!

It was then that my bubble was burst by the mention of one name: Michael Rasmussen.

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A Long-Term Look at the Canucks Salary Cap Situation

Ryan Biech
February 02 2017 01:41PM

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Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell - USA TODAY Sports

With the Canucks a mere few weeks from the NHL trade deadline, it's time to take stock of the position from which they're operating. For the purpose of today's exercise, we'll prioritize fiscal assets ahead of personnel.

Having a clearer picture of what the Canucks have regarding their forwards, defence, goaltending, dollars and contracts will provide insight into some moves, if they happen, in the coming weeks.

Over the course of the next month, I will be able to use this snapshot to analyze, suggest some ideas,  and create discussion, but for today, we are just visualizing where the organization stands.

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Looking at the Flames' cap for 2017-18

Ryan Pike
February 02 2017 12:00PM

Here's what we're reasonably sure of right now: the salary cap probably isn't budging next season. That means the Calgary Flames will have $73 million to spend on their roster for the 2017-18 season.

But, as always, there are some holes and some complications moving forward.

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