February 20 2017 01:54PM
Photo Credit: Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports
I've been having an internal debate over these last few weeks over why the Canucks have held at 46 salaried player contracts for the season.
At a glance, flexibility seems the most obvious reason. With 46 contracts, the Canucks can add players without too much handwringing. There's value in peace of mind, and by not overextending themselves it's likely the Canucks granted themselves just that.
However, another angle has come to the forefront. It's one I'd given consideration to but never credence, without definitive information to reaffirm it. What if the Canucks are saving contract spots for their NCAA prospects so that they might use games this season as an ace in hand and entice them to sign? With the possibility of burning a year of their ELC as a carrot to dangle?
February 20 2017 01:30PM
© Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
Once in a while I get someone telling me the Winnipeg Jets are a better team without Toby Enstrom. Typically the individual will defer to the Jets losing record with Enstrom dressed for the Jets.
So, how much validity is there to this position?
February 20 2017 12:00PM
It's been a rough season for the Flames' most dangerous player.
With 11 goals and 35 points in 49 games, Gaudreau is on track to put up his worst goal per game (0.22) and points per game (0.71) pace since entering the league. He has just two goals in his last 22 contests and was recently demoted the fourth line for a few periods after a poor turnover that led to a goal against. On top of all that, he's an unsightly -18.
A lot of theories have cropped up to explain Gaudreau's struggles. Eric Francis and Brian McGrattan suggested the team isn't tough enough to protect Gaudreau, leading to less scoring. Many fans have pointed to Glen Gulutzan as the culprit, with the notion that the new bench boss' systems are suppressing his stars' scoring. I've also seen the theory that the league has "adapted" to Gaudreau and he has to find new ways to generate points or that the player suffers from off-ice issues.
Out of curiosity, I took a look at Gaudreau's numbers to see what they could reveal. Have his coach or teammates somehow failed him, leading to fewer chances and shots? Has the league figured out how to keep Gaudreau away from the dangerous areas? Is he partying too much?
Spoiler alert: Probably not.
February 20 2017 11:00AM
The Nation Network Notebook is a regular feature that rounds up interesting news, stories, and rumours from around the NHL that don't quite deserve their own article.
Where have all the trades gone? By this time last year, we had already seen multiple deals happen. Also, Sidney Crosby scored his 1000th point in just his 757th career game, prompting debate as to whether he's been under-appreciated as a generational talent.
February 20 2017 10:00AM
The recent signing of Matt Bartkowski by the Calgary Flames has shone the light on June's expansion draft once again. As general manager Brad Treliving has confirmed, the team absolutely signed Bartkowksi with the expansion draft in mind as he meets the criteria of a blueliner they'd have to expose. So, it got me thinking: who would Vegas most likely target from the Flames roster come June? I came up with my top three.