Saturday, February 7, 2015

Why the Ottawa Senators should go after Evander Kane

The Ottawa Senators haven't had a very good year. The main reason for that is that they can't seem to score. They're lead up front in points by Bobby Ryan (37 points in 47 games), in goals by Mike Hoffman (17 goals in 47 games) and in assists by Karlsson and Ryan (each with 23 assists). 

Erik Karlsson isn't having a great season and Bobby Ryan and Mike Hoffman are the only two producing up front. Milan Michalek has done nothing. 

So here comes Evander Kane. He's probably played his last game in the Jets organization. The Jets need help right away as they're holding on to a wildcard spot in the super tough western conference. 

So here are my thoughts on what make sense.

The Jets have been beat up defensively all season and wouldn't say no to another goal scorer.

I can see Ottawa trading Marc Methot and Clarke MacArthur for Evander Kane and a conditional draft pick.

If the Jets make the playoffs it's a third round pick. If they win a round, it becomes a second. If they don't make the playoffs, it's a fourth. 

Ottawa has defensive depth with the emergence of Bororwiecki as a reliable NHL defenceman. The Sens shouldn't keep all 8 of the defenmen they currently have on the roster. The Sens already said they probably aren't going to trade Chris Neil so I highly doubt they'd trade Chris Phillips. That means Methot is the only veteran defeman who I believe Ottawa would be willing to part ways with. 

MacArthur is a solid two-way player who is a great depth guy on a good team and an alright top 6 player on a bad team. He's shown he can put up points with two 50+ point seasons. He'll fit in on any team and make an immediate impact.

Evander Kane in an Ottawa Senators jersey would add two things the Sens sorely need: top six goal scoring and grit. I'm sure we've all seen the video of the fight between Kane and Matt Cooke where Kane one-punched Cooke. The Sens have Chris Neil, Zach Smith and Colin Greening for grit, but that's not saying much. Neil has been scratched a lot as of late, Smith has been injured and Greening has been up and down to the AHL. Even if they were all healthy and playing with the big team, they're still 3rd liners at best. 

Kane adds so much more than just grit, though. He's a goal scorer. He hasn't gotten to the levels yet that he did in junior when he scored 48, but he did manage to score 30 twice in his young career. Put him in the right environment and he could become an elite goal score. Is Ottawa the right environment? Who knows. I think having people like Neil and Phillips in the locker room who have been with the team for their whole careers and been leaders for the Sens for the last decade almost, will certainly be better for Evander than the Winnipeg situation. I think that those two would be able to help keep him accountable. 

From the Winnipeg side Evander Kane has to go. He clearly isn't well liked in the locker room and hasn't really been producing as much as he is capable of doing. His injuries aren't helping his cause, either. 

The deal that I proposed (Kane+conditional pick for Methot+MacArthur) makes sense from both angles and both teams could afford the cap hit. Will it happen? Probably not. It makes sense, though. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Why the Leafs should go after Johnny Oduya in the Off-Season

Blackhawks d-man Johnny Oduya is a pending UFA and with the new contracts to Toews and Kane coming into play starting next season it's not likely the Hawks will resign the Swede. That means he'll be up for grabs.

The Leafs should go after him. Hard.

He was a FANTASTIC pick-up by the Hawks back in 2012 and really helped them out in their Cup run in 2013. He's not going to put up many points, but that's because he's a defence-first defenceman. He's going to log solid minutes 5 on 5 and on the PK. You could use him on the second powerplay unit, but he probably won't help much there.

The pairing of Oduya and Hjalmarsson, in my opinion, has been one of the best pairings in the NHL in the past few years. They've been a premiere shut-down pairing that's been relatively hidden behind the powerhouse pairing (and in my opinion the best D pairing in the world) Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. 

Oduya has a solid +/- rating of +20 over the parts of 4 seasons he's played in Chicago and is a career +47 (which includes parts of three seasons with a bad Atlanta Thrashers/ Winnipeg Jets team).

The reason the Leafs need to go after him is because he would fill a huge hole in the Leafs defence core. The Leafs core of regular NHL defencemen is Phaneuf, Franson, Polak, Rielly, Gardiner, Robidas. The one thing they all have in common: they're more offensive then defensive. Johnny Oduya would provide a much-needed man always back and worried about defence. 

Oduya currently has a cap hit of $3.38 million (salary of just under $3 million) and I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't get much of a pay raise. 

If the Leafs have the cap space and can sign him for under $3.5 million (ideally under $3 million but that probably won't happen; it's free agency. Everyone is overpaid.) then there isn't any reason why they shouldn't do everything they can to sign him. 

The Leafs need a defensive d-man, and he's the best bang-for-your-buck that you'll find in the 2015 free-agents.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Eric Staal

"I knew it was (Phaneuf). I was either putting it in by him or hitting him with a good one."
Eric Staal on the EN goal January 19th 2015 vs TOR

This makes me mad. I don't even know where to start with this. Eric is a player I've always liked and respected but this is just classless. Doesn't he know that kids look up to him? Kids look up to every NHL player. He knows this. How can he possibly say something like this without consequence? Sure, I understand that's how he felt in the moment but you don't tell the media about it. Keep that to yourself. You can't be telling the world that you were trying to hurt someone if you didn't score. This has NO place in hockey. I understand that it was an emotional game but as a professional the captain of an NHL a human you can't let yourself get in the place where you're trying to hurt someone. 

Chris Neil

For tonight's Sens/Rangers game coach Cameron has elected to put Chris Neil back in the lineup in place of Lazar. I want to go on the record now before the game starts that this is a TERRIBLE idea. Neil has NEVER helped anything. If I was the GM I'd buy out his contract the first chance I got. Curtis Lazar needs to develop. You've already committed to him for the season so why would you sit him even for a game?