August 25 2016 04:38PM
Times were good back in 2009: the Detroit Red Wings were defending Stanley Cup champions; Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg had established their status as The Eurotwins; Detroit had a legitimate top-6 defense corps headed by team captain Nick Lidstrom; and Niklas Kronwall was at the top of his game.
At 28 years old, Kronwall played an 80 game season and broke the 50-point barrier. He had 94 hits, 106 blocks, and was named an NHL All-Star for the first time. Soaking up the leadership from vets like Chris Chelios and Brian Rafalski, Kronwall was touted as the man who would take the reigns from Lidstrom one day on the blueline.
Unfortunately, the skates were too big to fill. In Kronner’s defense, though, it was Lidstrom. He was irreplaceable.
And Kronwall didn’t do too bad in the years following Lidstrom’s retirement. In the lockout shortened 2012-13 season, he put up 29 points in 48 games and in 2013-14, he recorded 49 points in 79 games. He was named an All-Star both years and ranked top-15 in Norris voting. He was by no means the best defenseman in the league, but he was the best defenseman on the Red Wings.
This is no longer the case as Kronwall has entered a decline that I don’t think he’ll be coming out of.
August 25 2016 12:25PM
The 2016 Summer Olympic Games from Rio de Janeiro recently finished off with one of the most memorable Olympics in recent years, albeit for many negative reasons. Whether it be political turmoil, financial issues or general problems with the venues themselves, it was a tournament doomed from the start.
August 24 2016 03:00PM
With Jhonas Enroth and the Toronto Maple Leafs coming to terms on a one-year, $750,000 contract on Monday, the Leafs seemingly etched their goaltending duo in stone for the 2016-2017 season. Popular opinion would have the new combination of Enroth and Frederik Andersen as an upgrade over last year's initial tandem of James Reimer and Jonathan Bernier, and Leafs supporters generally seem to be breathing a sigh of relief over not having to carry an untested prospect or project goaltender as their #2 into the new season.
That said, we would all be remiss if we didn't at least attempt to take this view from anecdote to evidence-based argument, so let's take a dive into some of the non-traditional metrics that may give us a better idea of what to expect in transitioning from Reimer and Bernier to Andersen and Enroth.
August 24 2016 10:00AM
The single most common question we're hearing in regards to the Calgary Flames is "When's Johnny Gaudreau going to sign?" The second-most common question is "And for how long?"
The challenge in forecasting Gaudreau's deal is that there are a lot of different variables in play. What does the team want? What does the player want? Will their wants and needs change over the course of a long deal? What are the risks involved to each side?
After weighing as many variables as I could drum up, I'm beginning to believe that a shorter-term deal, something in the vicinity of three years, may be the best bet for everybody involved.
August 24 2016 09:18AM
Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY SPORTS
That sound you heard this week wasn't exactly thunderous in terms of a celebratory UFA signing by the Toronto Maple Leafs -- but it did make many breathe easier, in that Jhonas Enroth stabilizes the backup goaltender position going into this transitional 2016-17 season, behind Fredrik Andersen, signing a rather perfunctory one-year, $750k contract.
This move does a lot of things for the Leafs -- they get a veteran backup, and one that looked quite good in just 13 starts last year in Los Angeles. Yes, the Kings are a pretty damn fine team to play in net for -- and last season, Jonathan Quick led all NHL goalies in starts with a whopping 68. Hey, he didn't even TOUCH Andrew Raycroft's 72 from the ill-fated 2006-07 season, so we'll always have that!
But it's the most intriguing year in a long time to watch the Maple Leafs' goaltenders -- and yet intrigue, not to mention chaos and disorder have really ruled the crease for the Leafs, really ever since the lockout.