Breaking down the important races in the final week of the NHL season

Cam Lewis
April 01 2016 10:34AM

There’s only (just over) one week left! Over the past few days, the Western Conference Wild Card race settled itself out pretty quickly, as the Minnesota Wild hammered the Colorado Avalanche, essentially dashing whatever playoff hopes they thought they had left. With that being out of the picture, there are only two major races to focus on in the final week of the season: The Eastern Conference Wild Card, and Tank Central.

In terms of the East, it’s fair to say that Pittsburgh and the New York Islanders are in, but the Bruins, Red Wings, and Flyers are still battling for two playoff positions. And in terms of tanking, wow, this is a tough one. Six different teams are within only three points of each other for last place, so there’s only a slight margin of error for these teams as they try to increase their lottery odds. 

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The Roundup

Nation World HQ
April 01 2016 05:00AM

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Leafs are the right fit for Jimmy Vesey, the Canucks are bad and there is more than one way to tank, Wings honor Mr. Hockey, who will the Flames be moving this summer, Yakupov requests trade, his agent speaks, how good is Auston Mathews, the trade deadline a month later, daily fantasy and more in this week's Roundup brought to you by DraftKings.

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Was it worth it? Analyzing trade deadline moves one month later

Cam Lewis
March 29 2016 09:00AM

It's been a month since the NHL's Trade Deadline, and while the whole spectacle was really, really boring, there were still a handful of deals made that are worth talking about. In total, we had 11 buyers who actively spent prospects and draft picks in order to improve their teams down the stretch. But was it worth it? Did these deals actually make the teams better? How do those deals look now? 

Well, to give a brief teaser: The Kris Russell deal is still as bad as it was a month ago, not signing or trading soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Loui Eriksson is still really confusing, Eric Staal hasn't been a major help on the New York Rangers, and Andrew Ladd looks like he never left Chicago in the first place. In general, it was a pretty bad seller's market, so it was pretty hard for buyers to mess up here, but some still found a way to do so. 

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Breaking down the important races in the final two weeks of the NHL season

Cam Lewis
March 25 2016 03:54PM

There are only two weeks left in the NHL season, and while most of the playoff picture seems to have sorted itself out and we know who the legitimate contenders are, there are still three interesting races to follow for that makes the final stretch of action worthwhile. 

First, there's a yard sale going on in the Eastern Conference (thanks largely to Boston imploding) in which five teams are separated by only four points, and one of those teams is going to end up on the outside looking in. And as a bonus, they all play each other a bunch of times to finish out the season, which makes it even more ridiculous. There's also a sorta kinda race going on in the West where the Wild have decided to be just bad enough to make it seem like the Avs have a chance to make the playoffs despite the fact they're arguably one of the worst teams in the league. And finally, there's a massive battle for draft lottery supremacy, as seven contenders are duking it out for a 20 per cent chance of having their name chosen in a random draw that we all know is going to be won by the Oilers anyway. 

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NHLN Awards Race: Norris Trophy

Cam Lewis
March 25 2016 09:00AM

The Norris Trophy is given to the league’s “top defence player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position,” making it somewhat of a conundrum to award. Some people view this in a traditional sense and seek the defenceman who’s the best at shutting the other team down, because that’s just what defencemen are supposed to do. Others determine who provides the most to their team by looking at their offensive production. Regardless, it’s not an easy task to quantify a defenceman’s ability, especially not when you’re trying to look at the big picture and truly determine all-around play. 

Fortunate for us, there isn’t really much of a conundrum this season. Yes, there a whole boatload of excellent defencemen in the league who deserve praise for different reasons, but this year, nobody has dominated the game from the blue line as much as Erik Karlsson has. Call him a forward, pseudo defenceman, or liability as much as you want, but the Senators are barely an NHL team when he isn’t on the ice, and what he lacks in strong, standup defence, he compensates for by completely changing the game in his team’s favour when he gets on the ice. 

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