Categories
NHL Nick's Net Previews

St. Louis Blues 2021-22 Season Preview

2020-21 record 27-20-9, 63 points

4th in the Honda NHL West Division

Eliminated in the First Round by Colorado

Additions: F Pavel Buchnevich (acquired from NYR), F Matthew Peca, F Brandon Saad, F Nathan Todd, D Tommy Cross, D Calle Rosén, G Charlie Lindgren

Subtractions: F Sammy Blais (traded to NYR), F Mike Hoffman (signed with MTL), F Curtis McKenzie (signed with Texas Stars, AHL), F Jaden Schwartz (signed with SEA), F Alexander Steen (retired), D Vince Dunn (expansion, SEA), D Carl Gunnarsson (retired), D Petteri Lindbohm (KHL)

Still Unsigned: F Robert Thomas (RFA), G Jon Gillies

Re-signed: F Ivan Barbashev, F Tyler Bozak, F Dakota Joshua, F Tanner Kaspick, F Jordan Kyrou, F Zach Sanford, F Nolan Stevens, F Nathan Walker

Offseason Analysis: Winning the Cup comes with a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing to win it (especially as the Blues had never won prior to 2019, since their inception in 1967) and it’s a curse because it sets an expectation for success.

St. Louis might have had a short window to win their second Cup in franchise history.

After being swept by the Colorado Avalanche in the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, their face of the franchise before Ryan O’Reilly’s arrival, Vladimir Tarasenko, requested a trade.

Blues General Manager, Doug Armstrong, has yet to fulfill that request and has indicated that he’s in no rush to do so– after all, he’s in control of the cards at hand and like when Avs General Manager, Joe Sakic, ultimately traded Matt Duchene, Armstrong can command a steep price for Tarasenko if he’s patient enough.

Injuries have limited Tarasenko to 34 games in the last two seasons, including 3-7–10 totals in 10 games in 2019-20 and 4-10–14 totals in 24 games in 2020-21.

From 2014-15 through the 2018-19 season Tarasenko recorded five consecutive seasons with at least 65 points– including his career-high 75 points in 82 games in 2016-17, as well as a 40-goal season in 80 games in 2015-16.

Tarasenko’s situation isn’t the only concern in St. Louis, however, as the depth of the Blues that made them Cup contenders turned champions in 2019, has withered away– leaving Armstrong with the difficult task of overhauling both the top-six forward group and experimenting with the right mixture of replacement players.

Jake Allen, Sammy Blais, Jay Bouwmeester, Vince Dunn, Joel Edmundson, Robby Fabbri, Carl Gunnarsson, Patrick Maroon, Alex Pietrangelo, Jaden Schwartz and Alexander Steen have all left one way or another since winning the Cup in St. Louis.

In their place, guys like Ivan Barbashev, Klim Kostin, Jordan Kyrou and Mackenzie MacEachern have climbed the development ladder, while Torey Krug, Justin Faulk and Marco Scandella were acquired by other means.

Some will rise and exceed expectations. Others will be gifted contracts through their prime– though their use may be time limited and the chemistry pulled apart.

At the very least, Barbashev and Kyrou’s extensions this summer lead the youth movement for the Blues in an ever-changing league.

Meanwhile, the introduction of Brandon Saad on a five-year deal worth $4.500 million per season– only a smidge more than what Mike Hoffman was making on a one-year contract that wasn’t renewed– and Pavel Buchnevich via trade and subsequent four-year, $23.200 million extension has solidified St. Louis’ top-six forward group for the foreseeable future.

Saad spent last season with the Avalanche and had 15-9–24 totals in 44 regular season games before coming up clutch in the postseason– albeit at times the only goal scorer, it seemed, for Colorado– with 7-1–8 totals in 10 games.

At 28-years-old, the Blues should have him for what’s left of his prime in what’s been a respectable career thus far with 371 points (184 goals, 187 assists) in 632 career games since making his league debut in the 2011-12 season with Chicago, winning two Stanley Cup rings with the organization in 2013 and 2015, then spending time with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Chicago again and Colorado.

Armstrong acquired Buchnevich from the New York Rangers in exchange for Blais and a 2022 2nd round pick on July 23rd in the only trade that involved roster players for St. Louis this offseason.

Blais leaves the Blues after breaking into the league in the 2017-18 season and amassing 17-18–35 totals in 119 games with St. Louis, including 8-7–15 totals in 36 games last season.

Buchnevich joins the Blues riding a productive season with the Rangers– notching 48 points (20 goals, 28 assists) in 54 games in 2020-21, as well as 79-116–195 totals in 301 career games with New York since making his league debut in the 2016-17 season.

After nine loyal seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tyler Bozak won the Cup in his first season with St. Louis in 2018-19.

Through three seasons with the Blues, Bozak’s amassed 31-53–84 totals in 170 games– despite injuries that kept him to 31 games out of the 56-game schedule in 2020-21.

At 35-years-old and in love with the St. Louis uniform, Bozak is ready to be part of the transitional plans from 2019 Stanley Cup champions to getting back to Cup contention for the Blues– signing a one-year extension worth $750,000 against the cap.

He’ll either be back to full health as a low-risk, high-reward gamble to hang onto or he’ll be trade bait for another team looking to add a touch of experience at the deadline.

It might have been a blessing in disguise for the Blues to have kept Bozak and lost Schwartz this offseason.

Schwartz’s five-year contract worth $5.500 million per season with the Seattle Kraken contains a no-movement clause in the first three seasons for a player that’s suffered from a recent decline in production at 29-years-old.

Contrasted with Phillip Danault’s two-way style that ultimately went to the Los Angeles Kings with an additional sixth-year in his contract– albeit their similar scoring totals– the Blues were never going to be able to afford to keep Schwartz and account for patching a couple of holes at the same time.

After skyrocketing to the top of the league standings and winning the Cup in 2019, Jordan Binnington’s looking to reinvent himself as a surefire starter in the National Hockey League.

On the wings of a six-year extension worth $6.000 million per season, he better prove it.

A 30-13-7 record in 50 games played with a 2.56 goals-against average, a .912 save percentage and three shutouts in that span in 2019-20, was followed by an 18-14-8 record in 42 games played with a 2.65 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage.

That doesn’t exactly scream long-term option in net if it worsens.

In five postseason games in 2020, Binnington went 0-5 and had a 4.72 goals-against average, as well as an .851 save percentage.

In 2021, he went 0-4 with a 3.59 goals-against average and an .899 save percentage. While that is better than his 2020 performance, it also means that the two postseason wins since winning the Cup in 2019, were recorded by a goaltender not named “Binnington” (they were, in fact, recorded by current Montréal Canadiens backup and former Blues netminder, Jake Allen).

If St. Louis can’t get things tamed in the crease, then they might have even more issues to resolve than already planned.

Offseason Grade: C

While Saad and Buchnevich are quality pickups for the Blues, most teams in playoff contention make one or two moves and otherwise stand pat.

St. Louis got an upgrade over Hoffman’s departure, sure, but they are limited in spending power with about $782,000 left in cap space and burdened by lengthy contracts that haven’t really gone one way or another yet.

Armstrong knows how to build a team up over a period of time, but hasn’t encountered what it means to sustain that success over the years in the postseason, as well as through the course of developing a system to supplement it while talent comes and goes in the ebbs and flows of the salary cap era.

Whereas the Blues once mastered building the foundation for a team that could contend for a decade or more, it seems as though there are cracks starting to form and if they’re not careful, serious structural damage could affect their core.

Categories
NHL Nick's Net Previews

Seattle Kraken 2021-22 Season Preview

2020-21 record 0-0-0, 0 points

Making their debut in the Pacific Division

Newest expansion team entering their 1st season

Additions: F Mason Appleton (from WPG), F Nathan Bastian (from NJD), F Colin Blackwell (from NYR), F Joonas Donskoi (from COL), F Jordan Eberle (from NYI), F Yanni Gourde (from TBL), F Morgan Geekie (from CAR), F Luke Henman, F Calle Järnkrok (from NSH), F Marcus Johansson (UFA from MIN), F Jared McCann (from TOR), F Jaden Schwartz (UFA from STL), F Brandon Tanev (from PIT), F Alexander Wennberg (UFA from FLA), D Connor Carrick (UFA from NJD), D Mark Giordano (from CGY), D Haydn Fleury (from ANA), D Adam Larsson (from EDM), D Jeremy Lauzon (from BOS), D Jamie Oleksiak (from DAL), D Gustav Olofsson (UFA from MTL), D Carson Soucy (from MIN), G Antoine Bibeau (UFA from COL), G Joey Daccord (from OTT), G Chris Driedger (from FLA), G Philipp Grubauer (UFA from COL)

Subtractions: F Tyler Pitlick (traded to CGY), F John Quenneville (NL), D Gavin Bayreuther (signed with CBJ), D Kurtis MacDermid (traded to COL), G Vitek Vanecek (traded to WSH)

Still Unsigned: D Dennis Cholowski (from DET)

Re-signed: F Kole Lind (from VAN), F Alexander True (from SJS), F Carsen Twarynski (from PHI), D Will Borgen (from BUF), D Vince Dunn (from STL), D Cale Fleury (from MTL)

Offseason Analysis: The NHL’s newest franchise is set to take to the ice for their first season on Oct. 12th as the Kraken pay a visit to the Vegas Golden Knights to kickoff a five-game road trip before hosting the Vancouver Canucks on Oct. 16th in the first home game in the freshly renovated Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle.

Vegas didn’t do Seattle any favors in terms of establishing new-age expansion team expectations, since the Golden Knights found a way to make the 2018 Stanley Cup Final in their first season, but Kraken fans are just happy to have a professional hockey team competing for the Cup back in the city for the first time since the Seattle Metropolitans folded in 1924.

The Kraken are going to draw many comparisons to the Golden Knights despite adopting different strategies in roster compesition.

Vegas hit the ground running with a “win now” mentality, while Seattle’s built to grind their opponents down by rolling four lines similar to how the New York Islanders play a modified version of “the trap”.

Kraken General Manager, Ron Francis, has a great scouting department down the hall and knows how to construct a foundation for the future.

Francis’ track record as the General Manager of the Carolina Hurricanes prior to Don Waddell’s arrival saw the likes of Martin Neceas, Morgan Geekie, Jake Bean, Julien Gauthier, Noah Hanifin, Sebastian Aho, Nicolas Roy, Haydn Fleury, Alex Nedeljkovic, Warren Foegele, Lucas Wallmark, Elias Lindholm, Brett Pesce, Brock McGinn and Jaccob Slavin rise through the ranks to the NHL– whether they still remain in a Canes uniform or not.

The future is bright for Seattle, while Dave Hakstol is getting a second chance behind the bench of an NHL team after a brief stint as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs most recently.

Hakstol’s time as the head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers followed the rollercoaster that the organization’s been stuck in since Ron Hextall vacated the net.

One year showed promise, the next year was average, but then Hakstol and the team found another gear and were on the rise again– finishing 3rd in the Metropolitan Division in 2017-18, before his ultimate downfall and firing– though Philadelphia’s revolving door of goaltenders may have been a contribution.

Yanni Gourde had 17-19–36 totals in 56 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning last season en route to back-to-back Stanley Cup championships.

He will miss the start of the 2021-22 season, though, which could put a damper on the expectations that he’ll be a breakout player in a Kraken uniform.

That said, glue guys like Joonas Donskoi, Alexander Wennberg, Brandon Tanev and Mason Appleton should compliment the roster well and help fill the void, while Jordan Eberle and Jaden Schwartz work on solidifying a top-six forward group.

On defense, Mark Giordano provides a touch of leadership and experience with Jamie Oleksiak and Adam Larsson on an otherwise young blue line filled with the likes of Will Borgen, Vince Dunn, Haydn Fleury and Jeremy Lauzon.

In the crease, Seattle signed Philipp Grubauer after selecting Chris Driedger, Vitek Vanecek (later traded back to the Washington Capitals) and Joey Daccord in the expansion draft.

Driedger was the expected starter until Grubauer came along and left the Colorado Avalanche after the last three seasons.

Grubauer had seven shutouts to go with his 30-9-1 record in 40 games played last season, as well as a 1.95 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage in that span.

While Driedger’s 2.07 goals-against average and .927 save percentage was pretty great for the Florida Panthers last season, his 14-6-3 record and three shutouts pale in comparison to Grubauer.

That said, the two should make a dynamic duo as one of the most promising goaltending tandems on paper entering the 2021-22 season.

Seattle may or may not make the playoffs in their first season, but they’re sure to be better than a lot of expansion teams before the Golden Knights came around and flipped the script.

Offseason Grade: B-

Both the Golden Knights and the Kraken benefitted from some of the most generous expansion draft rules in league history– though Seattle dealt with the aftermath of Vegas’ wrath in swindling other teams via side deals in 2017, and couldn’t make a trade at the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft itself as a result.

Admit it, you would’ve taken Alex Ovechkin, Carey Price, Gabriel Landeskog and Vladimir Tarasenko if they were made available to you in an NHL 22 fantasy draft– salary cap be damned.

But that’s just it– a fantasy.

Even Vegas was laughed at for some of their expansion draft choices, but both the Golden Knights and Kraken experienced quite a turnover between when they filled out a roster for the first time on paper and when they hit the ice.

For having to put together a team from scratch, Francis didn’t do a bad job. For trying to win a Cup in their first season, well, the jury’s still out on that one, Seattle.

In any case, the city has more Stanley Cup rings before the Kraken even existed than 11 other current NHL teams thanks to the Metropolitans winning it all as the first American team to win the Cup in 1917.

Categories
NHL Nick's Net

Let’s pretend to be the Seattle Kraken

The 2021 NHL Expansion Draft welcomes the Seattle Kraken to the league as its 32nd member club Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2 in the United States and Sportsnet in Canada.

Because of a lot going on right now, this mock expansion draft got delayed until the day of the actual draft and ultimately is arbitrary. If there’s even one prediction right here, then Kraken General Manager, Ron Francis, apparently reads DTFR.

We’ll make that assumption, thank you very much.

Seattle has run numerous mock drafts at this point and gone through many scenarios, but who would’ve imagined that players like Alex Ovechkin, Ondrej Palat and more would be available?

Of course, keep in mind that the Kraken have to spend between 60-100% of the previous season’s salary cap ($81.500 million).

For the sake of keeping things simple here, we’ve provided some built-in scenarios that would allow Seattle to be cap compliant as a result of the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft.

The Kraken will be selecting one player from 30 NHL clubs as the Vegas Golden Knights are exempt from this round of expansion. The 30 other teams had the option to protect seven forwards, three defenders and one goaltender or any combination of eight skaters and one goaltender.

For more on the protection and exposure requirements, check out the protected lists and 2021 NHL Expansion Draft rules.

The majority of this was written before the leaked selections were revealed, so let’s just pretend we’re all in an alternate universe for a bit longer.

ANAHEIM DUCKS

LD/RD Haydn Fleury

25-years-old, 1 year left, $1.300 million cap hit

Fleury was dealt to Anaheim at the trade deadline as the Carolina Hurricanes feared they would probably lose him anyway to former Canes GM Ron Francis at the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft.

Turns out their fears were based in reality as the Ducks experience déjà vu that harkens back to when they lost Shea Theodore to the Golden Knights in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft.

Fleury had 3-1–4 totals in 47 games for Anaheim and Carolina in 2020-21.

ARIZONA COYOTES

RW/LW Christian Fischer

24, 1 year left, $1.000 million cap hit

Fischer (3-8–11 totals in 52 games) is a safe bet for Seattle as he’s entering his prime and carries a low-risk, high-reward type of contract with the expectation that he could blossom into an attractive bottom-six forward.

It’s either that, or he’ll be a sweetener in another transaction as the deadline approaches if there’s a team looking to bolster their depth.

BOSTON BRUINS

LD/RD Connor Clifton

26, 2 years left, $1.000 million cap hit

Boston is more than likely going to lose a defender– whether it’s Clifton, Jeremy Lauzon or Jakub Zboril– rather than a forward, like Nick Ritchie, for example. Between Clifton and Lauzon, the Kraken can’t go wrong.

If they’d prefer the younger of the two, then Lauzon is your choice. Of course, if Seattle is looking for an NHL ready bottom-pairing and/or seventh defender, then look no further than the hard-hitting Clifton (1-6–7 totals in 44 games) despite his 5-foot-11, 175-pound frame.

BUFFALO SABRES

LD Jake McCabe

27, pending-unrestricted free agent, $2.850 million cap hit in 2020-21

Like more than a few players in Buffalo this offseason, McCabe could benefit from a change of scenery and can be best utilized as a bottom-pairing or depth defender.

Perhaps the Kraken can’t come to an agreement on a new contract or they find a way to flip him at the Expansion Draft– ether way, Seattle’s looking to get more out of his 1-2–3 totals in 13 games in 2020-21.

CALGARY FLAMES

LD Mark Giordano

37, 1 year remaining, $6.750 million cap hit

Though Seattle wouldn’t go wrong with either Milan Lucic or Giordano in terms of drafting leadership out of the Flames’ dressing room, it turns out the Kraken liked the Golden Knights’ model enough and pried a veteran defender out of Calgary to lead the first generation Kraken roster.

With 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists) in 56 games in 2020-21, a Mark Messier Leadership Award and a James Norris Memorial Trophy under his belt in 2019-20 and 2018-19, respectively, Giordano’s had a late career resurgence and could prove to be an effective piece on Seattle’s blue line.

CAROLINA HURRICANES

RD Dougie Hamilton

28, pending-UFA, $5.750 million cap hit in 2020-21

Hamilton arrived to Carolina after Francis left the organization, but that doesn’t rule out the six degrees of Kevin Bacon factor here, which allows the Kraken to select the right-shot defender that had 10-32–42 totals in 55 games this season.

Though he’s a pending-UFA, Seattle has the space to get creative with either a new contract or the ability to trade his negotiating rights for more assets before free agency begins on July 28th.

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

LD/RD Calvin de Haan

30, 1 year left, $4.550 million cap hit

de Haan’s (1-9–10 totals in 44 games) been a journeyman for three out of the last four seasons having gone from the New York Islanders in 2017-18, to the Hurricanes in 2018-19, then Chicago from 2019-present.

He’d either play a bigger role with Seattle or would continue wracking up the airline rewards points by being used as trade bait for another club in the offseason similar to how the Golden Knights used Marc Methot and David Schlemko in their Expansion Draft year.

COLORADO AVALANCHE

LW/C Gabriel Landeskog

28, pending-UFA, $5.571 million cap hit in 2020-21

Vegas was wheeling and dealing at the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft and Seattle will likely be doing the same in this year’s 2021 NHL Expansion Draft, so why not take a chance on Landeskog and see what happens?

At best, he sticks around. At worst, you trade his negotiating rights before July 28th or play it safe and claim Joonas Donskoi instead to provide yourself with some quality top-nine forward depth.

Landeskog, however, brings his 20-32–52 totals in 54 games this season, as well as his leadership qualities as the current captain in Colorado to Seattle if he were to sign a long-term extension to guide the Kraken through their formative years. He’d be the surefire captain for the new club, no doubt.

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS

C/LW Max Domi

26, 1 year left, $5.300 million cap hit

Columbus took a gamble and it didn’t pay off as Domi’s 44 points (17 goals, 27 assists) in 71 games with the Montréal Canadiens in 2019-20, faltered to 24 points (nine goals, 15 assists) in 54 games with the Blue Jackets in 2020-21.

As such, Domi was exposed to the elements and that’s where the Kraken come in to take a flyer on a top-six forward looking for the right system and something to be built around. If all else fails, it’s only one season to get Seattle off the ground and provide a spark.

DALLAS STARS

LD/RD Andrej Sekera

35, 1 year left, $1.500 million cap hit

Sekera’s five points (three goals, two assists) in 46 games won’t be attracting any buyers for his offensive capabilities from the point, but if it’s a shutdown defender that can play throughout the lineup you need, then he’ll come in handy as a Swiss Army knife of sorts.

If the Kraken trade from the rest of their plethora of defenders and Sekera remains, it’s not the end of the world. If Seattle sends him packing after claiming him from Dallas, then the Stars won’t have lost that much for nothing with bigger fish to fry.

Either that or the Kraken could just snag Jamie Oleksiak and call it a day.

DETROIT RED WINGS

RW/LW/C Vladislav Namestnikov

28, 1 year left, $2.000 million cap hit

Remember when Namestnikov was a household name in a Tampa Bay Lightning uniform? Or when he was a New York Ranger? These days, it seems like he’s been everywhere– especially since he’s suited up for the Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Colorado Avlanche and Red Wings in the last two seasons.

His best season came in 2017-18, when he amassed 48 points between the Lightning and Rangers in 81 games played, but Namestnikov only managed 8-9–17 totals in 53 games with Detroit this season.

At $2.000 million for one season, he’s a suitable asset in your bottom-six forward group with a low-cost, high-reward 30-40 point potential at best or easy to move at the deadline at worst.

EDMONTON OILERS

RD Adam Larsson

28, pending-UFA, $4.167 million cap hit in 2020-21

Larsson (4-6–10 totals in 56 games) is sure to hit the open market on July 28th, but if the Kraken find themselves in position to stake their claim to his negotiating rights and sign him before anyone else can even submit an offer it wouldn’t be unwise.

At best, Seattle lands a top-four defender. At worst, they avoid having to take something else from the Oilers. James Neal likely isn’t getting another call from an expansion team this time around and Kyle Turris might be the only decent cheap contract if he can find his game again.

FLORIDA PANTHERS

G Chris Driedger

27, pending-UFA, $850,000 cap hit in 2020-21

Seattle was enchanted by his emergence in the last couple of seasons and with Spencer Knight coming out of the shadows behind Sergei Bobrovksy’s contract in Florida, Driedger finds himself hitting the open waters of Puget Sound and/or free agency.

Whether or not Driedger’s 14-6-3 record, 2.07 goals-against average and .9217 save percentage in 23 games (23 starts, three shutouts) is a promising sign of things to come or simply a solid mark of defensive work in front of him remains to be seen.

That said, Driedger is one of the better goaltenders on the open market– if he even makes it there first.

LOS ANGELES KINGS 

RW/LW Austin Wagner

24, 2 years left, $1.133 million cap hit

Despite having one of the best prospect pools in the league right now, the Kings don’t have too much to offer via expansion, so the Kraken will have to settle for a fourth-liner that has yet to reveal whether or not this is really all that there is to his game.

Wagner had 4-4–8 totals in 44 games with Los Angeles in 2020-21.

MINNESOTA WILD

G Kaapo Kähkönen

24, 1 year left, $725,000

The Wild chose to protect Cam Talbot over their future potential starting goaltender in Kähkönen which is good news for Kraken fans and bad news for Minnesota fans.

Unless Seattle has a deal in place to acquire assets from the Wild to not select Kähkönen, this is a dangerous game for Minnesota GM, Bill Guerin, to play– but then again, he’s put an emphasis on change at the forefront of his tenure in Minnesota’s front office.

Meanwhile, Kähkönen went 16-8-0 in 24 games (23 starts, two shutouts) and had a 2.88 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage in that span in 2020-21.

MONTRÉAL CANADIENS

G Carey Price

33, 5 years left, $10.500 million cap hit

Whether or not Price is even being considered by the Kraken hinges upon two things 1) his health and 2) if Seattle and Montréal have already worked out some sort of trade.

The league has already informed the clubs that they would be circumventing the salary cap if the Kraken select Price, retain 50% of his salary and deal him back to Montréal.

But, Seattle could take the 2021 Stanley Cup Final runner-up goaltender that amassed a 12-7-5 record in 25 games (25 starts, one shutout) in the regular season and had a 2.64 goals-against average, as well as a .901 save percentage in that span and play him, place him on long-term injured reserve or eat some salary and trade him elsewhere.

In any case, Price to Seattle would be as big a deal as Marc-Andre Fleury to Vegas in 2017.

NASHVILLE PREDATORS

LD Mark Borowiecki

32, 1 year left, $2.000 million cap hit

Borowiecki’s 2020-21 campaign was cut short and limited to 22 games due to injury, but don’t let his one assist fool you– he’s a physical defender that will do anything to make a hit, block a shot and lead in the dressing room when he’s not on the ice.

If he’s healthy, he’d be effective in Seattle as the Kraken look to establish their workplace culture and team identity.

NEW JERSEY DEVILS

LW/RW Andreas Johnsson

26, 2 years left, $3.400 million cap hit

Johnsson had 43 points in 73 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs in his first full season at the NHL level in 2018-19. He then had just 21 points in 43 games with the Leafs in 2019-20 and 5-6–11 totals in 50 games with the Devils this season.

In the right situation, he could bounce back. In New Jersey, it doesn’t look like that’d be happening anytime soon– regardless of Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes’ emergence with Ty Smith and Yegor Sharangovich playing a part in the club’s turnaround.

Some, however, have Mackenzie Blackwood pegged as being selected by the Kraken as they certainly have plenty of goaltenders to choose from and trade thereafter.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

RW/LW Josh Bailey

31, 3 years left, $5.000 million cap hit

Bailey had 8-27–35 totals in 54 games with the Islanders this season and would provide some meat in the middle of our hypothetical Kraken roster.

Between Bailey and Jordan Eberle, however, Seattle can’t go wrong. The former tends to score clutch goals in the playoffs and has a cap hit that’s $500,000 less than the latter, though that’s not much to worry about.

NEW YORK RANGERS

RW Julien Gauthier

23, 1 year left, $775,000 cap hit

It’s not always about size, but having the option to use a 6-foot-4, 227-pound winger in your lineup certainly will help the Kraken in the physical elements of the game– especially against their rivals in the Pacific Division.

Gauthier had 2-6–8 totals in 30 games with the Rangers in 2020-21.

OTTAWA SENATORS

G Joey Daccord

24, 2 years left, $750,000 cap hit

Daccord appeared in eight games (six games) this season as the Senators struggled to stay healthy in the crease and went on to amass a 1-3-1 record in the process with a 3.27 goals-against average and an .897 save percentage in that span– revealing two things 1) he’s a young goaltender and 2) the Sens really need a better roster in front of any and all of their goaltenders.

But choosing Daccord is O.K. for Seattle since he’ll develop in due time and it takes care of having to pick something else from Ottawa’s scraps.

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS

RW/LW Jakub Voracek

31, 3 years left, $8.250 million cap hit

Want to get messy? Let’s have the Kraken select Voracek from the Flyers and see what happens!

No, this isn’t about postgame press conference outbursts or anything (though Voracek was in the right in that regard), but rather, there’s a lot of teams that would take Voracek at a reduced rate and Seattle could make bank off trading him.

Or they could keep the guy that had 9-34–43 totals in 53 games in 2020-21 and see what happens in 2021-22, but Francis isn’t likely going to take on that big of a contract unless it’s a free agent signing.

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

RW/LW Brandon Tanev

29, 4 years left, $3.500 million cap hit

Tanev can skate, hit and compete, so… …in other words, he’s a hockey player. He’s also got the long hair to go with it.

In 2020-21, he had 7-9–16 totals in 32 games in his second season with the Penguins. Though he was on the cusp of the 30-point plateau with the Winnipeg Jets in 2018-19, Tanev’s career-high 29 points is about the most Seattle could get out of him, but that’s fine for the meat of their lineup.

SAN JOSE SHARKS

C Dylan Gambrell

24, 1 year left, $1.100 million cap hit

Be honest, did you really want to have to take anything from the Sharks?

Gambrell matched his career-high in goals (five) and set career-highs in assists (seven) and points (12) in 49 games with San Jose this season, but aside from being young, he’s still very much a fourth liner in the NHL, so the Kraken have that going for them, at least.

ST. LOUIS BLUES

RW Vladimir Tarasenko

29, 2 years left, $7.500 million cap hit

Name brand power. Seattle would assure themselves of having some top jersey sales if they’d just take Tarasenko and keep him on the roster.

Then again, he’s missed significant portions of the last two seasons and already wants out of St. Louis, so what’s not to say he won’t be disgruntled about going to a completely new franchise and any growing pains?

With 4-10–14 totals in 24 games in 2020-21, and 442 points in 531 career NHL games, it’s probably worth at least being in control of his next destination– whether that’s the Kraken or elsewhere.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING

C/LW/RW Yanni Gourde

29, 4 years left, $5.167 million cap hit

Gourde is an affordable player to build a brand new roster around, but just how far up the lineup can he play? Will Seattle try to make him like William Karlsson in Vegas’ first year and demand first line minutes or are they comfortable with taking a more conservative approach and, say, making him a second liner at best?

In any case, 17-19–36 totals in 56 games en route to back-to-back Stanley Cup rings with the Lightning brings the right amount of depth scoring and valuable playoff experience to the Kraken’s roster.

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS

LW/C Jared McCann

25, 1 year left, $2.940 million cap hit

There was a reason why the Maple Leafs went out and got McCann in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins ahead of the expansion draft, but it clearly wasn’t as an insurance plan in the event that Seattle took Alexander Kerfoot and Toronto needed a new third line center or something.

Instead, the Leafs left both available and the Kraken took the guy with the better offensive production in 2020-21, as McCann had 14-18–32 totals in 43 games with Pittsburgh, while Kerfoot had 8-15–23 totals in 56 games with Toronto.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS

C/RW Zack MacEwen

25, 1 year left, $825,000

All of Vancouver’s bad contracts are coming to bite them just as everyone expected. Sure, some attractive salary cap hits were available if the Kraken needed a boost, but for the point scoring output, none of them would’ve made sense in a million years– even as a favor to the Canucks, you know, the closest geographical rival to Seattle.

Thus, MacEwen’s taking his talents and 1-1–2 totals in 34 games with the Canucks this season to the Kraken, where he’ll become intertwined with some semblance of depth.

WASHINGTON CAPITALS

G Vitek Vanecek

25, 1 year left, $716,667

Yeah, there’s no way around it, really, but this is the worst thing that could happen for the Capitals short of the Kraken getting bold and taking Alex Ovechkin.

Vanecek (21-10-4 in 37 games, 36 starts, 2.69 goals-against average, .908 save percentage, two shutouts) provides a great 1A/1B punch with Ilya Samsonov as both goaltenders develop, but since Washington couldn’t get a deal done with the team that plays in Washington (state, that is), then it’s a solid grab for Seattle.

Whether or not they keep Vanecek in the mix with all the other goaltenders (or any of the other goaltenders, for that matter) remains to be seen.

WINNIPEG JETS

RD Dylan DeMelo

28, 3 years left, $3.000 million

It’s simple, draft DeMelo from Winnipeg and either end up with a decent top-4 defender or use him as trade bait a la the Vegas way in 2017.

Nine assists in 52 games won’t get you much offense from the point when DeMelo is on the ice, but his shutdown style and decent cap hit is attractive around the league.


Total Cap Hit (excluding players already on SEA roster): $80,681,666

Average age: 27.7 years old

Seattle won’t actually be spending to the cap from the expansion draft alone kind of like how the Golden Knights did in 2017, but in this mock draft, let’s get crazy.

Spend every penny and sell high, why not!?!

Yes, Price carries a hefty price tag, but that doesn’t have to be your problem if you find a team desperate enough for goaltending. Imagine trading Price to the Maple Leafs and watching all of Québec sit through the uneasiness of another Toronto-Montréal matchup in the postseason by the time his contract expires.

Or just imagine all of the possible side deals from taking a team that’s loaded with talent and stripping it down to the essentials, plus a foundation for the future.

Ron Francis is kind of good at that.

Categories
Podcasts

DTFR Podcast #225- Thunderstruck

The Tampa Bay Lightning are now back-to-back Stanley Cup champions after beating the Montréal Canadiens in five games in the 2021 Stanley Cup Final.

Also, Duncan Keith was traded to the Edmonton Oilers, Vladimir Tarasenko requested a trade from the St. Louis Blues, Pekka Rinne retired after spending his entire career with the Nashville Predators and the Minnesota Wild bought out Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.

Subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsStitcher and/or on Spotify.

Categories
NHL Nick's Net Playoff Recaps

Avalanche sweep Blues, advance to the Second Round in, 5-2, win

The Colorado Avalanche were the first team to punch their ticket to the Second Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs as they swept the St. Louis Blues with a, 5-2, victory on the road in Game 4 at Enterprise Center on Sunday afternoon.

Philipp Grubauer (4-0, 1.75 goals-against average, .937 save percentage in four games played) made 18 saves on 20 shots against in the win for Colorado.

Blues goaltender, Jordan Binnington (0-4, 3.86 goals-against average, .899 save percentage in four games played) stopped 29 out of 32 shots faced in the loss.

With the series win, the Avs also improved to 2-0 in all time best-of-seven game series matchups with the Blues (Colorado previously eliminated St. Louis in five games in the 2001 Western Conference Final).

David Perron remained in the league’s COVID protocol for St. Louis and was not available for any game in the series.

Colorado forward, Nazem Kadri (suspension) appealed his eight-game suspension on Sunday and will away to find out if he’ll still be sitting out for the team’s next six postseason games.

Late in the opening frame, Mikko Rantanen tripped up Vladimir Tarasenko and presented the Blues with the first power play of the afternoon at 18:41 of the first period.

St. Louis did not convert on the ensuing skater advantage as the two teams went scoreless through the first 20 minutes of action, tied, 0-0, at the first intermission.

Colorado held the advantage in shots on goal, 10-6, after one period and led in faceoff win percentage (73-27), while the Blue Notes dominated in just about everything else– leading in blocked shots (9-4), takeaways (3-2), giveaways (4-2) and hits (8-3).

The Avs had yet to see any action on the skater advantage while St. Louis was 0/1 on the power play heading into the middle frame.

Tarasenko (1) got a breakaway early in the second period and sent a shot over Grubauer’s glove side to make it, 1-0, St. Louis as the Blues led for the first time in the series.

Ryan O’Reilly (2) had the only assist on Tarasenko’s goal at 4:25 of the second period.

Less than a minute later, Carl Soderberg and Torey Krug went at it after Krug slashed Soderberg.

The two players each received minor infractions– Soderberg for roughing, Krug for slashing– at 5:09 and necessitated two minutes of 4-on-4 action early in the second period.

Moments later, Niko Mikkola was penalized for roughing at 9:39, presenting Colorado with their first power play of the night.

Late in the ensuing skater advantage, Cale Makar brough the puck from end-to-end before setting up Brandon Saad (3) for the snap shot over Binnington’s blocker to tie the game, 1-1, at 11:37 of the second period.

Makar (2) and Grubauer (1) tallied the assists on Saad’s power-play goal.

A few minutes later, the Avalanche took control of the game as Gabriel Landeskog (2) deflected a shot from the point by Samuel Girard to give the Avs their first lead of the night, 2-1, at 14:53.

Girard (2) and Rantanen (6) notched the assists on Landeskog’s goal.

After 40 minutes, Colorado led, 2-1, on the scoreboard and, 24-11, in shots on goal, including a, 14-5, advantage in the second period alone.

The Avs were 1/1 on the power play and the Blues were still 0/1 on the skater advantage.

Nathan MacKinnon led Rantanen in on a 2-on-1 break-in whereby MacKinnon sent a pass to Rantanen (1) for the catch and release goal on the glove side to make it, 3-1, Colorado.

MacKinnon (3) and Landeskog (6) tallied the assists on Rantanen’s goal as the Avs extended their lead to two-goals at 4:20 of the third period.

A few minutes later, Tyson Jost caught Krug with a high stick and cut a rut to the box at 7:29.

It didn’t take long for the Blues to work the puck from Robert Thomas to O’Reilly back to Thomas and finally over to Tarasenko across the high slot whereby Tarasenko (2) sent the rubber biscuit past Grubauer on the glove side to make it a one-goal game.

Thomas (3) and O’Reilly (3) had the assists on Tarasenko’s power-play goal as St. Louis trailed, 3-2, at 8:39.

Late in the period, Mike Hoffman caught MacKinnon with a high stick and drew blood, yielding a four-minute double minor penalty in the process at 18:12.

Blues head coach, Craig Berube, pulled Binnington for an extra attacker with nothing left to lose as the seconds ticked down.

MacKinnon (6) buried an empty net power-play goal from the neutral zone for some insurance at 19:04 of third period to make it, 4-2.

50 seconds later, Valeri Nichushkin (1) added another empty net power-play goal at 19:54 to make it, 5-2, Colorado.

At the final horn, the Avs had won and eliminated the Blues in four games– completing the sweep on the road at Enterprise Center in the process.

The Avalanche finished the afternoon leading in shots on goal, 34-20, including a, 10-9, advantage in the third period alone, while St. Louis dominated in just about everything else, including blocked shots (19-13), giveaways (11-7), hits (20-11) and faceoff win% (53-47).

The Blue Notes finished 1/2 on the power play, while Colorado went 3/3 on the skater advantage on Sunday.

The Avs became the first team to win their first four postseason games by at least three goals in each game since the New York Rangers did so in the 1994 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

New York, of course, went on to win the Cup that year, for the record.

The Avalanche won the series 4-0 and await the winner of the other Honda NHL West Division First Round matchup– the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Minnesota Wild series.

Vegas currently leads their series with the Wild 3-1 with Game 5 on the Golden Knights’ home ice on Monday.

Having won the Presidents’ Trophy for the 2020-21 season, Colorado will have home ice throughout the playoffs as far as they go.

Categories
NHL Nick's Net Playoff Recaps

Avs beat Blues, 5-1, and take a strong 3-0 series lead on the road

The Colorado Avalanche are one win away from sweeping the St. Louis Blues and advancing to the 2021 Second Round after winning, 5-1, in Game 3 at Enterprise Center on the road Friday night.

Philipp Grubauer (3-0, 1.67 goals-against average, .944 save percentage in three games played) turned aside 31 out of 32 shots faced in the win for Colorado.

St. Louis netminder, Jordan Binnington (0-3, 4.11 goals-against average, .897 save percentage in three games played), made 21 saves on 25 shots against in the loss.

David Perron (COVID protocol) remained out of the lineup for the Blues, while Mitch Reinke and Steven Santini made their Stanley Cup Playoff debuts for St. Louis in Game 3.

Meanwhile, Colorado forward, Nazem Kadri, was given an eight-game suspension for his blindside hit on Blues defender, Justin Faulk, in Game 2 shortly after puck drop, as the NHL Department of Player Safety announced late Friday night.

Carl Soderberg entered the lineup for the Avalanche, as Kadri was already removed from Jared Bednar’s plans heading into Game 3.

Brayden Schenn was penalized for interference at 6:49 of the first period and presented the game’s first skater advantage to the Avalanche as a result.

Colorado’s ensuing power play didn’t go well and came to an end before Schenn’s minor was fully served as Samuel Girard tripped up Ivan Barbashev at 8:41 of the opening frame.

After eight seconds of 4-on-4 action, the Blues had an abbreviated power play.

St. Louis was powerless on the resulting skater advantage.

Late in the period, Barbashev got tangled up with Ryan Graves and the two skaters each received roughing minors at 19:49.

The score was still tied, 0-0, heading into the first intermission with St. Louis outshooting Colorado, 9-5, and both clubs slated to begin the middle frame at 4-on-4 for less than two minutes.

The Blues held the advantage in blocked shots (5-3) and hits (21-7), while the Avalanche led in giveaways (5-2) and faceoff win percentage (54-46) after one period.

Both teams had one takeaway each and were 0/1 on the power play heading into the middle period.

As Graves and Barbashev exited the box, a wayward pass made its way to Colorado’s attacking zone where Graves met Binnington as the Blues goaltender played aggressive.

Graves (1) sent the rubber biscuit off of Binnington’s paddle and into the empty twine behind the St. Louis goalie for an unassisted goal at 1:57 of the second period.

Just like that, Colorado led, 1-0.

Midway through the second period, Sammy Blais was penalized for interference at 9:53.

Though the Avs didn’t score on the ensuing power play, they did take advantage of the vulnerable minute after special teams action– pouncing on a rebound and extending their lead to two-goals as Alex Newhook (1) scored his first career Stanley Cup Playoff goal.

Graves (2) and Valeri Nichushkin (1) tallied the assists on Newhook’s goal as the Avalanche pulled ahead, 2-0, at 12:37 of the second period.

Minutes later, Tyson Jost (1) notched his first of the postseason after St. Louis sustained pressure in the attacking zone before Colorado turned things around with a fast breakout prior to Gabriel Landeskog giving Jost the puck on a rush.

Jost scored on his own rebound from almost at the goal line while Landeskog skated near Binnington– never coming in contact with the goaltender, but nevertheless, Blues head coach, Craig Berube, challenged the call on the ice.

Video review confirmed that Landeskog never made contact with the goaltender and thus, Landeskog (5) and Girard (2) each had an assist on Jost’s goal and the Blue Notes received a bench minor for delay of game, having lost the coach’s challenge at 16:08.

Colorado had a, 3-0, lead as Vladimir Tarasenko served Berube’s blunder.

While digging the puck out of his own zone, Cale Makar, turned the vulcanized piece of rubber over to Ryan O’Reilly, whereby the Blues captain dished it back to Tyler Bozak (1) as Bozak was entering the zone for a one-timer goal that cut Colorado’s lead to two-goals.

O’Reilly (1) and Colton Parayko (1) had the assists on Bozak’s shorthanded goal as the Blues trailed the Avs, 3-1, at 16:17.

Heading into the second intermission, the Avalanche led, 3-1, on the scoreboard despite St. Louis leading in shots on goal, 26-17, including a, 17-12, advantage for the Blue Notes in the second period alone.

Colorado led in blocked shots (9-7), but St. Louis dominated in just about everything else including takeaways (2-1), giveaways (8-6) and hits (34-14).

Both teams had split faceoff win%, 50-50, while the Blues were 0/1 and the Avalanche were 0/3 on the power play entering the final frame.

Schenn hooked Nathan MacKinnon to kickoff the third period at 3:13, presenting Colorado with another power play that went untouched.

Midway through the third, MacKinnon cut a rut to the box for interference at 10:06, but St. Louis was unsuccessful on the ensuing power play.

A few minutes later, Brandon Saad (2) snuck behind Schenn into the slot, received a pass from Andre Burakovsky and buried the puck in the net on a backhand shot.

Burakovsky (1) and Soderberg (1) recorded the assists as Saad’s goal put Colorado ahead, 4-1, at 13:42 of the third period.

Landeskog was guilty of holding at 17:36, but the Avs’ penalty kill stood tall and didn’t budge in the face of St. Louis’ power play units.

With about one minute left in the game, Berube pulled Binnington for an extra attacker, but his plans to rally a comeback were quickly ignored as J.T. Compher (1) delivered the final blow.

Compher sent a billiard shot off the boards in the neutral zone from his own zone all the way into the empty net.

Graves (3) and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (1) notched the assists as the Avalanche went ahead, 5-1, at 19:06 of the third period.

At the final horn, Colorado secured the 3-0 series lead with a, 5-1, road victory at Enterprise Center on Friday.

The Blues finished the night leading in shots on goal, 32-26, despite being outshot by the Avalanche in the third period alone, 9-6.

The Avs exited the building with the advantage in blocked shots (17-10) and faceoff win% (52-48), while St. Louis led in giveaways (16-9) and hits (46-20).

St. Louis finished 0/3 and Colorado went 0/4 on the power play in Game 3.

The Avalanche have a chance to sweep the Blues while in St. Louis and punch their ticket to the Second Round of the 2021 Stanely Cup Playoffs on Sunday.

Puck drop for Game 4 is expected around 5 p.m. ET and fans looking for national coverage of the game in the United States can tune their television sets and more to NBCSN, while those in Canada can view the game on SN360 or TVAS.

Categories
Podcasts

DTFR Podcast #180- Turning Over A New Leaf

The Toronto Maple Leafs finally did the thing! Congrats to the 2019 Hockey Hall of Fame Class and taking a look at who might join them in 2020.

Subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsStitcher and/or on Spotify. Support the show on Patreon.

Categories
Podcasts

DTFR Podcast #177- And A Dollar Short

2020 Winter Classic sweater reviews, a standings update and Top-10 NHL power rankings.

Subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsStitcher and/or on Spotify. Support the show on Patreon.

Categories
NHL Nick's Net

Bruins win, 3-0, in Stanley Cup Final rematch

Tuukka Rask backstopped the Boston Bruins to their, 3-0, shutout victory over the St. Louis Blues at TD Garden Saturday night, while David Pastrnak added yet another goal to his league-leading goal scoring totals in the win.

Rask (5-0-1, 1.48 goals against average, .952 save percentage in six games played) turned aside all 26 shots that he faced for his 2nd shutout of the season (and 47th of his career).

The Bruins have three shutouts in 10 games this season.

Meanwhile, Blues goaltender, Jordan Binnington (4-2-3, 2.53 GAA, .916 SV% in nine games played) made 21 saves on 23 shots against (.913 SV%) in the loss.

Boston improved to 4-0-1 at home this season and 7-1-2 (16 points) overall– good enough to remain in 2nd place of the Atlantic Division. St. Louis fell to 5-3-3 (13 points), but stayed in 3rd place in the Central Division standings.

Bruins defenders, Kevan Miller (knee) and John Moore (shoulder) have yet to make their season debuts, but are progressing according to plan with Miller expected to begin practicing with the rest of the team next week and Moore still sidelined until mid-November.

David Krejci (upper body) missed his 3rd consecutive game and was ruled out for the weekend by Boston’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy. Krejci is hopeful to return on Tuesday night against the San Jose Sharks.

Meanwhile, Joakim Nordstrom returned to the lineup after missing the last two games with an upper body injury and Karson Kuhlman (hairline nondisplaced fracture of the right tibia) is out for at least four weeks.

Kuhlman sustained his fractured tibia in Boston’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, Oct. 19th while blocking a shot. He missed his 2nd consecutive game this season Saturday against the Blues.

As a result of all the injuries plaguing the B’s, Cassidy switched things up among his bottom-six forwards with Nordstrom’s return to action.

Anders Bjork joined Par Lindholm on the left side, while Danton Heinen was shifted to right wing on the third line.

Meanwhile, Nordstrom was reunited with Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner in their usual spots on the fourth line.

David Backes and Steven Kampfer were Boston’s only healthy scratches against St. Louis.

Vladimir Tarasenko (upper body) was out for the Blues in their first matchup against the Bruins in Boston since winning their first Stanley Cup championship in franchise history on June 12th at TD Garden in Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.

Less than a minute into the action, Bruins captain, Zdeno Chara leveled Oskar Sundqvist with a big hit near St. Louis’ bench.

Blues forward, Brayden Schenn, responded to Chara’s hit and the two players were escorted to the penalty box with roughing minors 38 seconds into the first period.

Both teams skated 4-on-4 as a result for two minutes, then resumed full strength afterwards with no issues until about five minutes later when Torey Krug and David Perron got into a bit of a shoving match.

Krug was penalized for holding the stick and Perron received a roughing infraction as a result. Both penalties were called at 6:13 of the first period and once again– the two teams skated 4-on-4 for a couple minutes.

Late in the opening frame, Perron was guilty of holding Charlie Coyle and sent to the sin bin as a result at 14:08.

Boston capitalized on their first power play opportunity of the night as Pastrnak (11) blasted a one-timer through Binnington’s seven-hole to give the B’s the game’s first goal at 14:59.

Krug (7) and Brad Marchand (10) had the assists on Pastrnak’s power play goal and the Bruins led, 1-0.

Less than a minute later, Kuraly was penalized for cross checking Vince Dunn and the Blues went on the power play at 15:49.

St. Louis wasn’t able to convert on the skater advantage– what would become a trend for the Notes all evening.

Finally, to wrap up the first frame, Sundqvist got his stick caught in Connor Clifton’s skate and tripped the Bruins defender at 18:12.

Boston’s ensuing power play would carryover into the second period.

Through 20 minutes of action Saturday night, the Bruins led St. Louis, 1-0, on the scoreboard and, 10-9, in shots on goal.

The B’s also held the advantage in blocked shots (3-2) and giveaways (5-1) entering the first intermission, while the Blues led in takeaways (6-3), hits (10-9) and faceoff win percentage (57-44).

St. Louis was 0/1 on the power play, while the Bruins were 1/2 on the skater advantage heading into the second period.

Despite starting the middle frame with 12 seconds left on the power play, Boston’s skater advantage went powerless for the rest of the night after Pastrnak’s first period power play goal.

But midway through the middle frame, Bjork (1) ripped a one-timer over Binnington’s glove on a pass from Matt Grzelcyk to put Boston ahead, 2-0.

Grzelcyk (2) and Heinen (1) tallied the assists at 9:31 of the second period as Bjork snapped a 17-game goal drought.

Just 11 seconds later, Krug hooked Perron and presented St. Louis with their second power play of the night at 9:42. The Blues did not convert on the advantage.

In the vulnerable minute after a special teams effort, Sundqvist didn’t use his better judgment and boarded Charlie McAvoy at 12:06, resulting in a power play for the Bruins.

At least Boston didn’t score on the ensuing skater advantage.

With less than a minute left in the second period, Grzelcyk interfered with Alexander Steen at 19:17 and was sent to the penalty box accordingly, yielding 1:17 of time carried over on the power play for St. Louis to start the third period.

After two periods in Boston, the Bruins led, 2-0. The B’s held a, 19-16, advantage in shots on goal– including a, 9-7, advantage in the second period alone– and led in giveaways (7-3), while the Notes led in takeaways (10-6), hits (21-16) and faceoff win% (68-33).

Both teams had five blocked shots aside entering the second intermission.

Boston was 1/3 on the power play, while St. Louis was 0/3 on the skater advantage.

St. Louis began the third period with 1:17 left on their power play, but couldn’t muster anything on the fresh sheet of ice, leaving the Bruins unharmed.

Early in the final frame of regulation, Colton Parayko hooked Bjork and was sent to the box at 4:02 of the third period.

Boston didn’t score on the resulting power play.

Midway through the third, Krug was penalized for holding 2019 Conn Smythe Trophy winner, Ryan O’Reilly, and sent to the box at 8:22, but once again the Blues were powerless and let another skater advantage slip by.

With 2:35 remaining in the game, Blue head coach, Craig Berube pulled Binnington for an extra attacker.

At 19:11 of the third, Brandon Carlo (1) cleared the puck out of his own zone and into the empty twine to make it, 3-0, Boston with an unassisted goal.

The Bruins won, 3-0, at the final horn, despite being outshot, 26-24, in the action.

Boston finished the night leading in blocked shots (11-8), while St. Louis finished leading in hits (27-22) and faceoff win% (60-40).

Both teams ended up with nine giveaways each.

Boston travels to Madison Square Garden for their second game in back-to-back days for a Sunday night matchup with the New York Rangers before finishing the month of October at home Tuesday night versus San Jose.

Categories
Podcasts

DTFR Podcast #171- 2019-20 Season Preview: Central Division

All of the (good) RFAs have been re-signed, the Carolina Hurricanes keep making moves, 2020 Winter Classic logos have been revealed and DTFR’s season previews conclude with the Central Division.

Subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsStitcher and/or on Spotify. Support the show on Patreon.