Archive for September 2020

Canes still in playoff hunt despite flurry of trades

Surviving the storm

At the gates of change for the Carolina Hurricanes has come sooner rather than later for the team going into season 31. This included the departure of long time Hurricanes in Erik Karlsson and Carey Price.

"As two longtime players for our organization both Erik Karlsson and Carey Price guided our team to many playoff appearances and a finals berth in a few seasons ago, we wish them luck in both Toronto and Vancouver respectfully" said General Manager Mike McFarland.

"We were taking a look at our team overall both from a financial and future point of view, Carey has expressed interest getting a trade to his home province in the last few years and this year we were able to accommodate him this time around which saw a couple future draft picks and goaltender Brian Elliot come our way. Granted Brian didn't stay very long as he was flipped to LA for later picks" said McFarland.

"Erik Karlsson was our captain for the last few season and did a very excellent job guiding some of lesser experienced players and being the captain we asked him to be, for him it came down to a financial decision. Going into the future it was hard for us to carry a huge salary and we started to explore trade options, the lucky team that came calling was the Toronto Maple Leafs. We discussed different trade ideas settling on multiple futures and a few NHLers in Claude Giroux, Jason Spezza and Sean Walker for the services of Karlsson. Only keeping the futures and Walker, as we once again flipped Giroux to New Jersey and Spezza to San Jose in separate deals" said Mike McFarland

New Additions to the Carolina Hurricanes include: Tyson Barrie, Ryan Kesler, Tanner Pearson, Nikolaj Ehlers, Jake DeBrusk, Ryan Dzingel, Cam Fowler, Luca Sbisa, Sean Walker, Casey Mittlestadt, Shayne Gostisbehere, Tyson Jost and Michael Dal Colle.

Departures: Erik Karlsson, Claude Giroux, Jason Spezza, Brian Elliot, Stephen Johns, Martin Frk, Vladislav Namestnikov, Brendan Lemieux, Torey Krug, Jakob De la Rose.

With all of these trades we have done some how still have $10+ million in cap space, but that means were not going to spend that just means we will have a space in case some injuries come up.

"We have a solid, younger line up than we did last year and have a few picks in the upcoming draft. Overall I think we have a really good 4 lines of talent going into the playoffs and beyond" said head coach Dan Bylsma

As of right now the Hurricanes are holding onto barely 3rd place in the ultra competitive Metro division and 5th in the conference, 11th overall in the WCHL.

"Right now our goal as a team will be to make the post season with the ultimate goal making some waves and upsets in this years playoffs. I think with our team and maybe a addition or two we will achieve this, and make our fans proud to be a member of Hurricane Nation" said Bylsma

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Canucks drowning in injuries

A Topsy Turvy Season for the Canucks

The Canucks entered the season with fairly low expectations, after a bottom 10 finish the previous season. The Canucks knew they would have a strong defense, with a decent top 6. The bottom 6 was a different story, as even the most staunch Canuck supporters expected them to get caved in every time they were on the ice. Couple this with a journeyman starter in Cam Talbot, and you could tell this would be a recipe for disaster. 

After the first month or so of the season, things were looking up. The Canucks were sitting in a playoff spot, and they had the best line in the league, featuring Evander Kane, Bryan Rust and Carl Soderberg. The trio were leading the league in just about every statistical category imaginable. It was because of the play of the first line, which caused GM MacArthur to go out and trade for perennial all-star Carey Price. 

This deal worked out well in the short term, but as injuries started to hit the defense corps, Price's play began to drop off, resulting in one of the league's worst goals against average. The Canucks were able to keep their heads above water during this time, thanks again to the top line. 

The turning point where the Canucks finally began drowning, was the long term injury to Bryan Rust. As soon as Rust got hurt, the top line was still good, but not at the elite level it had been at to buoy the Canucks into the playoffs. Over the past few weeks, the Canucks have plummeted down the standings, which has led to them becoming sellers at the upcoming deadline. 

Names rumoured to be on the way out are: Jay Bouwmeester, David Perron, Dmitri Orlov, Valterri Filppula, Cam Talbot and Korbinian Holzer. 

"We will continue to build for next season, but with the way the team is playing right now, there aren't too many players who can say their jobs are safe for next season", said the GM.

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Caps figure to be sellers as deadline looms

Disappointing run has Washington on the ropes

The year 2020 will be ominously remembered due to COVID-19. Its impacts are widespread including the hockey world with a shortened NHL season, playoff ice hockey in July and August, and the best participation prize ever (top lottery pick for a playoff loser). The pandemic's mismanagement in Washington D.C. has been well covered on top of existing chaos. In this gloomy backdrop, the shadow is also cast on the WCHL's Washington Capitals.

Winter (Season 30) – 2020 began with the Caps finishing season 30 strong and they entered the playoffs with some jump against the Philadelphia Flyers who had even given Washington the edge. Then the Broad Street Bullies sent the Caps packing with a sweep.

Spring (Off- and new season) – The team had a respectable off-season retooling via the trade market, entry draft, and to a lesser extent free agency. Season 31 started with a bang with the Caps holding on to the third spot in the uber competitive Metropolitan division, and poised for more. Sometime near the half-way mark, the team went off the tracks – an epic derailment.

Summer (Season 31) – From August 15 to August 27, 2020, or from day 48 to day 60 of Season 31, the Caps won one game and lost eleven. This included losses to league basement dwellers the Winnipeg Jets and twice to the lowly Boston Bruins. Moreover, in their previous twelve games, the Caps played .500 hockey winning and losing six, which isn't good enough to contend. Altogether, this downward spiral resulted in a drop to the thirteenth seed in the Eastern Conference.

Outlook  The organization has decided to be sellers at the deadline. Even if they win a few games, the promise of the season is lost. All players will be made available with the exception of Nick Suzuki and those with NMCs. This is not a fire sale. Prominent players in the trade block include: Steven Stamkos, Alex Goligoski, Devon Toews, Ondrej Palat, Brad Richardson (has a NTC, not NMC); Zach Hyman, Madison Bowey, Mattias Janmark, and Michael Del Zotto.

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Toronto GM issues statement; makes moves

Trades large and frequent in TO


A few weeks ago I joined to become the new Toronto Maple Leaf General Manager. 

With little warning or knowledge of how things were done, we sat back and graded this team before making any big moves.

That review is obviously over.

In the past week, the Toronto Maple Leafs have made many team altering trades that have shook the very foundation of the team.

Gone are stalwarts, Claude Giroux, Mitch Marner, Josh Morrissey and a variety of future picks. With a team steep in youth and prospects, we felt that this was something we could address over time.

New blood in include; Jacob Trouba, Erik Karlsson, Tom Wilson, Phillip Grubauer and Calvin De Haan.

While grit and defensive depth were once missing, these have been addressed and winning streak emerged. 

Further review will commence as we see where this new team takes us.