Nick and Connor roadmap the offseason for Pittsburgh and Boston, figure out why Washington has been so good (and Tampa), pick a winner in tonight’s Game 7 (WPG @ NSH) and explain how Vegas is going to win the Cup in their inaugural season. Also discussed, Jim Montgomery, Rod Brind’Amour, Don Waddell, the Charlotte Checkers (so Carolina as a whole) and Mark Hamill.
While scrolling through Instagram on Sunday, I came across some random post someone had made claiming a certain 1st overall pick from the 2012 NHL Entry Draft as being “the biggest bust in NHL Entry Draft history”. Of course, that got me thinking.
In seven seasons with the Atlanta Thrashers and Dallas Stars, Stefan amassed 188 points in his career, while Yakupov has had just 120 points in five seasons with the Edmonton Oilers and St. Louis Blues.
This offseason, the Colorado Avalanche are taking a shot on Yakupov, who might have reached his last chance to make an impact at the NHL level– if not make something of his career (which might be in jeopardy, as well).
While Stefan had 26.9 points per season compared to Yakupov’s average of 24 points a season, Yakupov’s first NHL season was shortened to just 48 games thanks to the 2012-2013 lockout and has yet to see a full 82-game season without injury or being scratched from the lineup.
Stefan, of course, did have the 2004-2005 season long lockout to overcome, but played in 72 games in his rookie season of 1999-2000 with Atlanta.
For more comparison, Stefan’s rookie campaign witnessed five goals and 20 assists for 25 points and a minus-20 rating in 72 games played. Yakupov, in 48 games, produced 17-14-31 totals with a minus-4 rating.
Of course, there’s always sample size to consider.
Stefan played in 455 career NHL games, while Yakupov has only played in 292 career games thus far.
In points per game, the matchup’s pretty even. Yakupov has 2.43 points per game which is only .01 better than Stefan’s 2.42 points per game.
Then again, Yakupov does have an edge in a little over half the time than Stefan’s points per game ratio.
The fact of the matter is that Stefan cracked an NHL roster on a consistent basis, regardless of the lack of quality star-power in the Thrashers lineup over the years.
Yakupov, while plagued by injury, was often a healthy scratch for the Blues last season and signed with a team that’s coming off the worst season anyone’s seen in the last 20 years.
And that doesn’t even get at the fact that Edmonton had three consecutive years (2010, 2011, 2012) of the 1st overall pick in what should have been prime rebuilding time– fully incorporating Yakupov as part of the solution– before drafting their savior in Connor McDavid in 2015.
The 2016-2017 Avalanche were the worst team in the salary cap era and while they’ve made some improvements to their roster, there’s still nothing to show for the Ryan O’Reilly trade– which is another argument for another time.
Nail Yakupov alone does not make the 2017-2018 Colorado Avalanche that much better.
Most fans will always remember Patrik Stefan for his empty net gaffe that almost cost the Stars a win against the Oilers about a decade ago (Dallas went on to win in a shootout), but at least fans remember something about Stefan, whereas with his career teetering on the edge, Yakupov runs the risk of not being remembered for anything on his way out.
Both players have had minimal impact in their careers. Stefan came into the league riding on the waves of an expansion team that wasn’t expected to be great even a year or two out from his draft day. Yakupov joined the Oilers in the midst of high expectations for a perpetual rebuild.
Both were offset due to injuries.
So yes, for now, Yakupov might be the biggest 1st overall bust in the history of the NHL Entry Draft (which dates back to 1963), because of a little thing called perspective. He was supposed to be part of a trifecta of 1st overall picks that would kickstart the Oilers.
But he still has another chance to prove everyone wrong and prolong his career– thanks, in part, to Colorado’s 1-year, $875,000 contract.
By: Nick Lanciani
I’ve got a few hours before I have to hop on a plane for Thanksgiving, so I figured I’d write about my thoughts on the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings Centennial Classic jerseys that were unveiled on Monday.
Toronto is hosting Detroit outdoors on January 1, 2017, so I’ll talk about their jersey first.
Overall, nice job Toronto. You pulled off another successful look outdoors while paying homage to your franchise’s history (note the stylized “T” on the pants, reminiscent of their days as the Toronto Arenas).
A lot of sports writers take issue with the white logo on the white stripe, which, granted isn’t perfect, fits you well as a fresh take on an age-old jersey style that dates back to the days of actual sweaters (the striping pattern, not the white-on-white logo). Way back in the day, the Toronto St. Pats had a look similar to this design, except their colors were green and white, instead of blue and white.
Look up the early history of the Toronto Maple Leafs, it’s a convoluted oasis of trying to figure out a brand identity, almost being bought and moved to Philadelphia, as well as finally figuring it out and settling on the Maple Leafs moniker in 1927 and sticking to it.
This jersey is an excellent representation of the early days of Toronto’s franchise if you really look into it. The only thing I take exception to are the socks. They just seem kind of bland for a team that usually has extravagant striping patterns on their socks.
All I’m saying is give these jerseys a chance. Especially compared to Detroit’s look for the Centennial Classic. Let me put it this way, Toronto, I hope you win on January 1st. Detroit, I hope you lose every last outdoor game you ever play in.
Here’s my analysis:
GIF via Ride the Pine
Hopefully you can’t read lips.
But seriously Detroit, what the h-e-double hockey sticks.
I don’t mind you trying to honor your franchise’s 11 Stanley Cups, but that silver stripe just isn’t cutting it for me, especially when the rest of your jersey lacks more pizazz than a candy cane.
There’s virtually nothing that ties this jersey to the sweaters from the days of yore when the Red Wings were the Detroit Cougars or the Detroit Falcons. Whereas Toronto focused on emphasizing elements of their past, Detroit seems focused on showing off where the future looks of the sport might go (and if this is it, I’ll gladly pass, thanks).
I’m a fan of the cut of this jersey. Ever since the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens brought back a more sweater-like design to the modern jersey aesthetic and materials, I’m very much a fan of going old style for an outdoor game. It’s a once in a lifetime experience (despite however many outdoor games a year your team is in— I’m looking at you, Chicago) for the players and the fans, so every team should have the green light to this design of a jersey for such a special event.
Having said that, you’ve got to pull it off right. And frankly Detroit, you missed the net. You Patrik Stefan-ed it.
The Red Wings had good outdoor jerseys for the 2009 and 2014 Winter Classics, but since then, their outdoor gear hasn’t lived up to the status of such a legendary organization that prides itself on tradition and doing next to nothing to change the look of their jerseys (they’ve used the same styling at home and on the road since the 2007 Reebok Edge design).
In conclusion, I’m still probably going to watch this game, because I’m a sucker for outdoor hockey and honoring the heritage of the world’s greatest sport.
By: Nick Lanciani
Many teams chose to retire (or honor) jersey numbers based on extraordinary circumstances, dedication to the organization, or legendary status. With that in mind, what will retired numbers look like around the league in the future? Let’s explore what each team around the NHL might do in the coming seasons for former and/or current players that should see their numbers raised to the rafters someday.
Current Retired Numbers- 10 Pavel Bure, 12 Stan Smyl, 16 Trevor Linden, 19 Markus Naslund
Recommended Numbers to Retire
22 Daniel Sedin
I think this one is rather straightforward, don’t you think? Years after the 1999 NHL Entry Draft saw Brian Burke pull off one of the best trades in the 1st round in the history of the Entry Draft, it would make sense for the franchise to rightfully recognize the faces of their franchise someday.
33 Henrik Sedin
I think this one is rather straightforward too, don’t you think? It’s only fitting that if they were to retire one, they retire the other. Also, please remember that Patrik Stefan was drafted 1st overall by the Atlanta Thrashers in 1999- you’ll need that someday for trivia (if not already).
1 Roberto Luongo
Retiring Luongo’s number 1 may receive some consideration by the Canucks when it comes time for him to hang up the skates, blocker, glove, and leg pads, given how much time he spent with Vancouver, the turnaround, and his love and appreciation for the city and fans. It might not have always been reciprocal, but one thing is for sure, he is always welcome to spend a little time strolling through Stanley Park before a game.
The Florida Panthers should retire his number, no questions asked, once he removes himself from the game. The Vancouver Canucks should do as they please. I won’t hold anything against them if they do or if they don’t retire Luongo’s number some day.
2015 is coming to an end and it’s time for all the awards for this early 2015-2016 season. This Colby’s Corner will be different, as Nick and I will tag team these awards, sharing who we think should win and why.
The Wayne Gretzky Award– Given to the best offensive player
Colby Kephart– Jamie Benn. I choose Jamie Benn because the answer is in the numbers. Mr. Benn is 1st in goals scored with 19 goals, and 2nd in points with 39. Benn is also 5th in assists, but this doesn’t explain what he truly means to this Dallas team. Jamie Benn is the best offensive player of the year.
Nick Lanciani– You’ve got to go with Jamie Benn here, quite simply because he was last year’s Art Ross Trophy winner and is still maintaining a consistent scoring pace. While his counterpart, Tyler Seguin, might have showed signs of slowing down over the last week or so, Benn’s game elevates the level of everyone around him and Seguin will quickly get back into the same rhythm.
Goaltender of the year (sorry Bryz, it’s not you)
CK– Henrik Lundqvist. King Henrik is the best goalie in this early season. He is 1st in save percentage and 3rd in both goals-against-average and wins. Lundqvist’s numbers are similar to Carey Price’s MVP season from last year.
NL– Washington’s Braden Holtby has continued to stake his claim in the short list of elite goaltenders in the world. This season he’s got a 1.95 GAA, .928 SV%, and a 17-4-1 record to boot in 22 games played. We said in our season previews that Washington would be a dominant team and Holtby is a dominant force in front of the net. Speaking of the Force, I’m excited for Star Wars…
If Carey Price wasn’t injured, I’m sure he’d be making a strong case for himself this season as he did last season when he took home the Vezina Trophy and Hart Trophy.
The Bobby Orr Award– Given to the best defensemen of the year
CK– John Klingberg. This young defenseman has proven himself in this season with 30 points thus far, which is crazy. I understand he is on one of the best teams in the league, and plays alongside stars like Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. But he has 5 goals and 25 assists in just 28 games played, which is more than a point a game.
NL– There’s a reason why I picked up Klingberg on my fantasy team, if we’re talking specific aspects of the game. Otherwise, Erik Karlsson is leading defensemen in points with 6-26-32 totals through 29 games played, so really if you want to split this one into “best two-way/offensive defenseman” and “best defenseman” I’d be able to give both of them an award.
Coach of the Year (so far) Award
CK– Lindy Ruff. At this point, you are seeing a trend that I believe Dallas is a top team this year, and this man is a big reason why. He has made many lucrative moves, like deciding who to play with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. It was once Patrick Sharp on the wing, but in recent games it has been Valeri Nichushkin. This kid only had one assist last season but this season has 12 points, proving himself to Mr. Ruff.
NL– Umm, can we talk about what they’re doing in Vancouver, Los Angeles, San Jose, and Ottawa, or should I just go with a cop out and pick Lindy Ruff as well? I’ll tell you who’s not my coach of the year, but I wouldn’t want a stanchion sent my way between the benches… John Tortorella gets a pass for now with regards to “worst” coach of the year.
But if you want me to say who I’d pick as coach of the year right now (again) it’s got to be Ruff. Actually, just make Dallas earn all the front office of the year awards. Well, maybe almost all of them. Washington would definitely be their main competition. Hmm, actually, would Ruff mind sharing our award with Barry Trotz? Asking for a friend.
Best Team of 2015
CK– Dallas Stars. No surprise here as I am saying that the Dallas Stars are the best team in the league thus far. They lead the NHL with 44 points and their offense is the best with 98 goals for this season. They also have the most wins the league, with 21 wins in 28 games (that’s only 7 losses!).
NL– Well, if the Ottawa Senators get any hotter, I might be picking them soon, but yeah, Dallas or Washington again. No surprise here. Maybe even Montreal, if they can avoid losing nine straight to match their winning streak to start the season. I don’t just want to go with this season’s eventual President’s Trophy winner, so really I’m just trying to add a few more teams to the conversation.
Rookie of the year (until Nick jinx’s him)
CK– Artemi Panarin. 9 goals, 19 assists—this kid has to be considered one of the biggest surprises of the season. I may not know how to pronounce his name, but I know he has been great for the Blackhawks this season and will be competing for the NHL rookie of the year award.
NL– I hate picking a “rookie of the year” halfway through, because usually I end up jinxing them, so I guess I’ll have to be careful with this one. Artemi Panarin, bud, I don’t want to ruin your chances, but if I had to pick who I think will take home the Calder Trophy in June, well, I’ve got to go with Max Domi. I just think that in the long run Domi will be able to overcome the 5 points in scoring separation between himself and Panarin as it stands right now.
With that said, if I’m picking one for right now it’s definitely Panarin. No questions asked. Actually, did anybody think of a defenseman? Oh well.
Patrik Stefan’s Team of the Year– Worst team of the year
CK– Toronto Maple Leafs. Toronto fans were excited to win the Mike Babcock sweepstakes and had high hopes for this season. They knew the offense would be affected with the Phil Kessel trade, but no one knew it would be this bad. Toronto is struggling, and I feel they will finish near the bottom of the league this season.
NL– Any team that’s near the bottom of the standings that starts with a “C” is splitting this award. So Columbus, Carolina and Colorado, congrats! You’re losers! But winners in our hearts.
*Disclaimer: I’m fully aware that things are still dismal in Toronto and possibly Calgary, so we’ll see which one of those Canadian teams is in contention for this award at the end of the regular season. They’ll probably have to do worse than one of the “C” teams mentioned above though.
Biggest surprise of year
CK– Arizona Coyotes. The Arizona Coyotes are the biggest surprise of this season as they are making an interesting push to playoffs. They have been bouncing between being the 3rd division spot or out of the playoffs. Max Domi and Anthony Duclair are having strong rookie seasons, and have surprised both the league and me personally.
NL– Remember how I mentioned Max Domi before, yeah, well that was intentional. I was leading you to the obvious. The Vancouver Canucks and the Tampa Bay Lightning are big surprises this year, with the Canucks currently 2nd in the Pacific Division and well, not in last like I thought they would be after their inactivity in the offseason. I mean, Matt Bartkowski? Really? Then again, it looks like he’s found a home on the blue line defending Johnny Canuck from the opposition.
And Tampa’s currently 6th in the Atlantic Division, albeit a close spread in points, only ten points out of first and two points from a wild card spot, but one would think they would be flexing their muscle this season as they did in their Stanley Cup Final run last spring. If they fall further, they’re definitely the biggest surprise, in my eyes, for all the wrong reasons. Likewise, Jon Cooper would probably deserve some heavy scrutiny, with the whole hysteria surrounding Steven Stamkos’s pending unrestricted free agency possibility.
But if I have to be nice and pick a pleasant surprise, I’m going with either Vancouver- as I already discussed- or Arizona- as Colby already pointed out (and I’m totally hopping on that Domi-Duclair bandwagon by the way).