Mailbag: Canucks, Islanders under the radar; Plan Flyers Without Couturier

Which two teams (one in each conference) do you think are under the radar and could be an accessory team? -punmasterrifkin

Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference and New York Islands in the Eastern Conference.

The Canucks have question marks and holes, especially on the right side of their defense and perhaps in their last six group, but they also have a lot of bright spots and are satisfied with the way they finished last season under coach Bruce. Boudreaux (32-15-10 after replacing Travis Green on Dec. 6). I like the depth of their center if they go with it Elias PetersonAnd the GT Miller And the Bo Horvat. Miller could move into the wing, but they need a strong presence in each of the top three lines and they can get it if Peterson, Miller and Hurvat are the top three.

The left side of their defense is a force with Oliver Ekman LarsonAnd the Queen Hughes And the Travis Dermott. Hughes can move to the right side if necessary. Thatcher Demko Last season he proved to be the No. 1 goalkeeper by playing 64 games, and third in the NHL, but Canucks needs to manage the workload, making Spencer Martin, potentially number 2, is of vital importance. Vancouver also needs a strong start because, like last season, I don’t think the team is deep enough to climb back if they struggle in October and November. The strong start in goalkeeping, the depth of the position and the wide open Pacific section after the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers give me reason to believe the Canucks could be a Stanley Cup side.

The islanders need to find more attackers from the attackers Matthew BarzalAnd the Anthony BouvierAnd the Oliver Wallstrom And the Kyle Palmieri. I would say 10-15 per cent more of each player might be enough to put them in the playoffs after they didn’t qualify last season. They did not have 60 points as the top scorer last season (Barzal and Brooke Nelson They each had 59). Barzal should be top scorer with 80 points if he plays the whole season. He is among the best players in the world and pinch his stick. Wallstrom has scored 13 goals in 73 matches, and thanks to his shot and ability to play, he should be top scorer with 25. Beauvillier is able to score in his twenties having scored 12 goals in 75 matches. Palmieri should be more consistent. The islanders haven’t made any major upgrades in the future, so they’re counting on players who have to be better. If they were, I think they would be the supplement team.

Video: Top 20 Saves Thatcher Demko from the 2021-22 season

Now that the Philadelphia Flyers have another injury Sean Couturier, It was reported that he had a herniated disc in his back that could sideline him for a while, what’s the plan on Philly? Is Chuck Fletcher on the hot seat? Antoine Roussel is on PTO. Are we witnessing a rebirth of bullies on Broad Street? -theashcity

That’s a lot to unpack. Let’s start with the Couturier and The Flyers plan. The plan doesn’t change because Couturier is week by week with an upper body injury. Implementing the plan becomes more difficult because Couturier is one of the seasoned leaders who can determine what kind of culture coach John Tortorella wants. In their first season under Tortorella, The Flyers will be challenged to become a closer team with better leadership and more accountability than they did last season. It would be much more difficult if Couturier was not a part of it. They collapsed without him last season, going 13-34-6 in the 53 games they missed, but Tortorella’s plan is to create the kind of team culture he believes are essential to success on the ice. He’s spoken quite frankly about his concerns about the locker room and what’s going on there and said it needs to be changed or fixed before anything else can happen. Lack of Couturier and defenseman Ryan Elliswho is likely to start the season with a long injured reserve, will make it more difficult in the short term.

As for Fletcher being in the hot seat, all general managers are always in the hot seat because they are judged by what happens next. For example, if the defense man Tony D’Angelo Turns out a stud, a favorite of Tortorella and an influential player on and off the ice, the decision to trade him and sign him on a two-year, $10 million contract would look great. If DeAngelo doesn’t get along well with Tortorella and Philadelphia, Fletcher will take the heat needed for it. The Flyers made some significant changes that came out of a miserable season. Fletcher knows the moves have to work or he may face the consequences.

And no, we’re not seeing a rebirth of Broad Street harassers. The Flyers will try to become a much harder team to play against. They will resist. But no team can survive in the NHL today by trying to be what the Flyers used to be under Fred Sheerow and with Bobby Clark and others. The game has changed dramatically in the last 50 years.

Who are the top three rebuilding teams that you think will take the next step this season? -nyrprpokemon

They’re all in the Atlantic Division, the Ottawa Senators, the Buffalo Sabers, and the Detroit Red Wings. I’ll add the New Jersey Devils, but let’s focus on the three in the Atlantic for the purposes of your question.

Ottawa is clear with the additions of the attackers Alex DeBrinkat And the Claude Giroudthe goalkeeper Cam Talbot. The Senators should be taken seriously when you add a 40-goal goalscorer, veteran playmaker and captain, and a solid goalkeeper to a team that has already felt the advent of strikers Tim Stutzel, Brady TkachukAnd the Josh Norris And the Drake Pattersonin addition to defense Thomas Chabot. The next step is to compete for the playoff berth. They squandered 27 points last season and I don’t think they’re good enough, especially in defense, to close the gap enough this season. I also don’t think it would require 100 points to reach the playoffs in the Eastern Conference like it did last season, so the Senators have a chance.

The Sabers have brought back a core group of young players who are confident they are the answer at Buffalo. They were 16-9-3 in 28 games from March 2 through the end of last season, a 0.625-point lead that was tied for 12th in the NHL with Stanley Cup champions Colorado Avalanche. Thompson’s crown (28 points), Jeff Skinner (26), Victor Olofsson (25), Rasmus Dahlen (19), Casey Mittelstadt (16) and Alex cloth (16) All strong ended. defenseman Owen Power1 in the 2021 NHL Draft, he had two goals and one assist in eight games. The Sabers could build their ending to last season, but it’s easier to play when you’re already out of the playoff race than it is at the beginning when you’re in it and the pressure is there. They need a good start.

Added Red Wings attackers Andrew Cope And the David Peronand defensemen Ben Shearot And the Oli Matta. They reinforced their goal by bringing them in Phil Hoso to join Alex Ndeljkovic. Dylan LarkinAnd the Tyler Bertozzi And the Jacob Franna The attackers are in the prime of their careers. Moritz CiderThe defender who won the Calder Cup was voted the NHL New Player of the Year last season, and the striker Lucas Raymond You should take advantage of plugins. New coach Derek Lalonde comes from Tampa Bay Lightning, where he was an assistant for three consecutive trips to the Stanley Cup Final, the 2020 and 2021 championships.

Do you think Buffalo should have waited for the Thompson extension? I think it could be a very fair contract, maybe a little exaggerated if he has a few years left as he did last season, but he struggled to secure a place in the NHL in the seasons before past. – @Phyers24

I don’t mind Thompson’s seven-year $50 million contract. It’s a big number for a 24-year-old striker who’s had one good season, but that’s what we’re seeing a lot in the NHL today, long-term teams buying for young players who still have one year left in their current season. shrinkage. Senators have done it with Stutzle. St. Louis Blues action with the attackers Robert Thomas And the Jordan Kero. The Montreal Canadiens did the last season with the striker Nick Suzuki. The idea is to make it a valuable deal for the team in the long run and to show the player that they all play with him too.

The Sabers are all in Thompson. He scored 38 goals last season. Wants to be in Buffalo. He’s also 223 games in his National Hockey League career, so he’s no spring chicken. Sabers are counting on Thompson’s production last season to become the norm. It’s not unreasonable to think that he will average 30 goals per season for the duration of the contract. If he does, it will be a valuable bargain for Buffalo, especially after the 2023-24 season, when the maximum salary is expected to rise significantly. It’s a gamble, but that’s part of the game teams are playing with today’s young players.

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