Welcome to the new look of HockeyAnalysis.com.Â We are also on a new server with a new webhost which I hope will be more reliable as I was experiencing a few too many down times and other issues at the previous web host.Â Let me know what you all think of the new look.Â There are still some things I might tweak with the new look but generally I think it is a big improvement and has a cleaner and more modern look and feel to it.
Here are tonights games.Â There aren’t too many rivalry games but two struggling teams will have a big challenge tonight at Ottawa faces Buffalo and Philadelphia faces Anaheim.Â Another interesting game might be Tampa vs Montreal because I believe these two teams are likely to be competing with each other for the last playoff spot or two come April.
|BuffaloÂ||Â -233||Ottawa||Â Â 157||Buffalo||Strong|
|Washington||Â -129||Boston||Â Â 123||Washington||Some|
|CarolinaÂ||Â -222||NY Rangers||Â Â 155||Carolina||Strong|
|Columbus||Â Â 137||NashvilleÂ Â Â Â||Â -161||Nashville||Good|
|Tampa BayÂ||Â -101||MontrealÂ||Â Â 101||Montreal||Some|
|Dallas||Â -163||NY Islanders||Â Â 138||Dallas||Good|
|Colorado||Â Â 126||San JoseÂ||Â -135||San Jose||Good|
|AnaheimÂ||Â -424||Philadelphia||Â Â 176||Anaheim||Strong|
We are starting to see some stabalization of the power rankings now that the teams have played 15-20 games and we are also seeing a better mix of eastern and western conference teams near the top of the list. Five of the top 11 teams are now from the eastern conference is what one should expect.
The big risers on the week are Detroit (5th to 1st), Carolina (11th to 6th), Toronto (17th to 11th), Tampa Bay (23rd to 15th), and Calgary (26th to 17th). The big droppers are Minnesota (1st to 5th), Dallas (4th to 8th), Edmonton (7th to 12th), and Colorado (15th to 23rd).
|Rank||Last Week||Team||AdjWinP||SchedStr||Power Rank|
AdjWinP is a teams winning percentage when shootouts are considered ties and there are no points awarded for overtime losses
SchedStr is an indication of a teams relative difficulty of schedule
Power Rank is the teams expected winning percentage if team played all .500 teams
Just four games on the schedule tonight but not a whole lot to get real excited about. The Ranger-Devils game should be good because there is a geographic and divisional rivalry there and these two teams should compete for top spot in the division over the remainder of the season. Calgary looks to extend their four game winning streak against struggling St. Louis, the season the streak started against. while Minnesota should win easy against Phoenix. In the late game, Vancouver tries to solve the Red Wings excellent defense and Dominik Hasek. The Wings are coming off back to back shutouts of Edmonton and Nashville and are on a 8 game winning streak in which they have given up just 10 goals. Yikes thats good.
|NY Rangers||-106||New Jersey||105||New Jersey||Some|
I know in the past I have put out the idea that the Senators should consider trading Alfredsson. My argument prior to the 2005-06 season was that the team changed the coach, gave super-talanted Spezza the #1 center role, swapped star wingers (Hossa for Heatley) and acquired a star goalie (Hasek) and that if this team still can’t win in the playoffs that they should consider a major leadership change by trading Alfredsson. They were once again a dissapointment in the playoffs but chose to keep Alfredsson as their captain and leader.
But 17 games into the season the Senators now sit at a dismal 6-10-1 with no real signs of breaking out of their slump. The question is, what do you do now? I would like to once again suggest that tradeing Daniel Alfredsson is what should be done. It seems clear that the goto tandem of the team is Spezza and Heatley. So far the coach has never even flirted with the notion of splitting them up and generally there hasn’t been a reason to as they have played great together. The problem is, if those two are the goto tandem, where does that leave Alfredsson?
Over the course of much of last season and most of this season coach Bryan Murray has tried desperately to find success for Alfredsson on a different line. There was some limited success last season mostly when Alfredsson was paired with Bryan Smolinski but as we know Bryan Smolinski is not in Chicago. This season finding Alfredsson some linemates to play with has been a complete failure. So if you can’t find Alfredsson another line to play on and if he is only going to be the #3 guy on the top line, and if you believe that his leadership abilities are questionable based on past failures to lead the team to playoff success, does that make Alfredsson the most expendable part of this team if you are looking to make an impact trade to turn the season around?
Sure, you could trade Fisher, but he has played poorly so far this season and his value is probably fairly low. You could trade Vermette but he has game-breaking speed and has been one of the few players who has contributed secondary scoring and honestly, would a Vermette trade be big enough to be considered a significant enough shake up to turn the team around? I am not sure of that. And trading any other forward (aside from Spezza or Heatley but they have been identified as the go to tandem so won’t be traded) would be considered enough of a shakeup to dramatically change the make up of the team.
So at this point it is clear that the team needs a significant shake up and that Alfredsson of all the forwards is both expendable and valuable enough to both be considered a major shakeup and provide signifant return in a trade. So, who do you trade him for.
First off, in trading Alfredsson I wouldn’t be looking for a player of equal talent, I would be looking for a pair of players who would bring a different set of attributes to the table. I would be looking for a defensivly aware, high-energy winger who would be able to play with Spezza and Heatley and also a solid all-round second line center to be able to play with guys like Vermette, Eaves, Schaeffer, etc. In an ideal world one or both of these players would have experienced some playoff success.
Here are a few examples of a trade that might work:
1. Alfredsson to Florida for Nathan Horton and Joe Nieuwendyk
Horton is a high energy, feisty power forward with enough skill to be able to play with Spezza and Heatley and he is young and someone you could build around for the future. Nieuwendyk isn’t the ideal second line center because at this point in his career he has injury issues but has the leadership and playoff experience that Ottawa desperately needs. You could try to get Jozef Stumpel but he doesn’t really have the playoff experience and leadership skills you would ideally be looking for. Gary Roberts is another option but doesn’t address the need for a second line center. Florida might consider a move like this because GM and coach Jacques Martin is very familiar with Alfredsson and they might be looking for someone to help alleviate the loss of Bertuzzi to injury.
2. Alfredsson to NY Islanders for Mike York and Trent Hunter
Both York and Hunter have had poor starts to the season but both are capable of playing much better. Hunter is a good all-round winger who can play physical, whill score some goals and won’t hurt you defensively. York is a good second line center with good playmaking abilities and also won’t hurt you defensively. York would be a good second line center for Ottawa. The downside is that neither of these guys provide the playoff experience you would be looking for and also both players have contracts ending at the end of the season. But you could probably get the Islanders to include a draft pick or a prospect in this trade because of that. The Islanders might do this deal to reunite Alfredsson with Yashin and hopefully get some more offense out of both of them.
3. Alfredsson to Anaheim for Todd Marchant and Corey Perry
Todd Marchant would be a solid second line center and Corey Perry has the talent and ability to play either with Spezza and Heatley or with Marchant on the second line. Marchant played great in the playoffs last year as well so that would be a plus for the Senators. Anaheim might do this deal to rid themselves of the 3 years remaining on Marchant’s contract and also to get another proven and experienced scorer. Alfredsson’s salary is more than the combined salary of Marchant and Perry this season but the Ducks did save $800,000 in the Chistov trade so might be positioned to take on some added salary.
I doubt any of these trades will happen but they are the kind of trade that I think Ottawa needs to make to shake up their team and also address some holes that clearly exist in their lineup. The question is, does Muckler have enough guts (or lost enough patience in his team) to make a bold move like this before Melnyk makes a bold move of his own.
The Anaheim Ducks made 3 interesting moves today. First they sent Stanislav Chistov to the Bruins for a 3rd round pick. No big deal there. The second move was to trade Todd Fedoruk to the Flyers for a 4th round pick. What’s interesting here is that the Ducks traded a second round pick to the Flyers for Fedoruk prior to last season. Not a good investment there.
But the real interesting deal was the Ducks trading a second round pick to the Avalanche for George Parros. What is interesting here is that just 6 weeks or so ago the Avalanche picked up Parros off waivers from Los Angeles. So over the course of 6 weeks the Avalanche turned a waiver claim into a second round pick. That is a pretty good return on investment for the Avalanche. Makes you wonder what Parros did during that time. Well, he played 2 games, got zero points and was a -1 with 0 PIMs. My only comment is wow, what were the Ducks thinking.
Oh, as a related note that Eklund guy had this headline on his blog this morning “The First MAJOR Move to be Made? Look To Colorado”. Does this classify as a major move?
The game to watch tonight is a rematch of last years eastern conference finals and prabably a matchup of the top two teams in the east again this year. Buffalo has been great all season and after a poor first 4 or so games Carolina has been great too. Should be a great game. In other games Ottawa tries to break their slump against Montreal while two slumping teams from Pennsylvania face each other as well. Both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have lost 5 in a row. Florida faces Washington in a battle of mediocre southeast division teams and out west Colorado faces Edmonton in a battle of mediocre northwest division teams. Both of these games potentially have playoff implications come April though I think Washington and Colorado will likely fall out of the playoff race before then. The final game of the night should see San Jose get an easy win over the Los Angeles Kings.
|Los Angeles||136||San Jose||-157||San Jose||Strong|
-Don’t look now but the Leafs, who many predicted would have trouble scoring, are now second in the NHL in goals scored per game (behind only Buffalo). And it is not just the PP either as the Leafs are 14th in the NHL in PP%.
-Is Rod Brind’amour the best player in the NHL right now? He is 7th in the scoring race, plays the power play, kills penalties with the best of them and is the best face off man in the NHL.
-The future of the Avalanche looks brighter with Paul Stastney andWojtek Wolski sitting 3rd and 4th in the rookie points race as a follow up to Marek Svatos stellar rookie campaign last year.
-After a bit of a slow start, Marc Savard is on fire. In his last 6 games he has 4 goals and 12 points.
-Speaking of Savard, the Atlanta Thrashers don’t seem to be missing him too much thanks in large part to Slava Kozlov stepping up his offensive game with 9 goals and 26 points, good for 4th in the NHL.
-While Nicklas Lidstrom is on pace to finish the season at +87, former teammate Derien Hatcher is on pace to finish the year at -82. Yikes.
-CuJo can’t buy a win. After being horrible for most of the season he comes up big games against two of the best teams in Dallas and San Jose only to lose 1-0 and 2-1.
-I can guarantee you that there is no one on this planet that predicted that Ottawa, Boston and Philadelphia would be sitting 13th, 14th, and 15th in the East at this point in the season.
-One has to wonder if Senators fans would trade Martin Gerber for Dominik Hasek and his league leading 1.74 gaa right now plus whatever they could have used the $3 million in cap space savings on?
-The Phoenix Coyotes are the most penalized team in the NHL by a significant margin which might explain their position in the standings. Or maybe not. Anaheim and Dallas sit #2 and #3 in PIMs.
-Goaltending = winning. Top 4 teams in save% are Dallas, Minnesota, Anaheim and San Jose. Bottom 3 are Philadelphia, Phoenix and Boston.
-Fourth lowest team save % in the NHL is surprisingly the New York Rangers as Lundqvist has dropped from .922 save percentage as a rookie to a horrible .888 save percentage as a sophomore. Any Rangers success this season will depend on him rebounding because they are otherwise a very good team.
-The Vancouver Canucks are learning that good goaltending with little depth on defense and scoring forwards is also not a recipe for instant success as they are once again on the border of being in or out of the playoffs just 1 point ahead of 9th place and surging Calgary.
-Will Jason Allison ever find a place to play? Would he not be able to improve Ottawa’s or Calgary’s dismal power play or be a better second line center than Tomas Plekanec (1g, 2a, -5) in Montreal?
Here are the game predictions for todays games.
Here are tonights game predictions.
|New Jersey||-176||Florida||143||New Jersey||Strong|
|Tampa Bay||-130||Atlanta||123||Tampa Bay||Good|
|Phoenix||153||San Jose||-213||San Jose||Strong|