Newest Bleacher Report Article on the Penguins. Check it out!
My most recent Bleacher Report article. Feel free to check it out:
In Las Vegas, on June 20, 2012 the newest NHL awardees will be crowned. Various trophies will be awarded to both players and coaches throughout the league. Although there is still a decent amount of hockey left before June, here are some of my predictions for who could be winning the prestigious James Norris Memorial Trophy (for greatest all-around defenseman) and why.
- Last years winner: Nicklas Lidstrom (Detroit Red Wings)- Could Lidstrom win again? Probably not. I would argue that this was not Lidstrom’s year. Although he is always a solid defenseman, and one of the best to play the game, I don’t think he will take it this year (although its never wise to count him out, he has won it 7 times). He is getting older and with an injury to his right ankle, Lidstrom missed 11 games in a row in March. This has given him a solid set back to winning the title for the second year in a row.Other defenseman are making more of a splash this year with their power and offensive-strength. Here is one of Lidstrom’s better plays from earlier this year:
- Front-runner: Shea Weber (Nashville Predators). Benefits of Weber: He is on track for career-best offensive numbers (only two points away from his final regular season point total from last year when he was the runner-up for the Norris). Weber is a major leader for the Predators team as Captain. He is also highest scoring defenseman on the Preds and plays a solid average of 25 minutes of ice-time per game. And we all know Weber has a ridiculous slap shot (we saw just how fast during the NHL All-star Skills Competition when he shot over 104 miles per hour and gave Chara a run for his money).
- Front runner: Erik Karlsson (Ottawa Senators). On the other hand, Karlsson is having a break out year. Karlsson has already surpassed his point totals from last season, and has the 2nd highest point total on the Senators. He is young and is proving that he might be the d-man to watch for in upcoming years. Although Karlsson’s +/- isn’t quite as good as Lidstrom or Weber, he is still a serious contender because of his point totals. Karlsson is currently sitting at a staggering 73 points.To put this in perspective: when looking at point totals this season, Karlsson is the only defenseman in the top 80. This is even more impressive because Karlsson is number 11 (right in between Jordan Eberle and Henrik Sedin). Even though Karlsson has all those points, Weber still has a good chance of coming away with the win. Being a goal-scorer doesn’t necessarily win you the Norris. Here is a nice set-up for a Spezza goal made by Karlsson earlier this season:
- Other potential candidates: Zdeno Chara (Boston Bruins), Ryan Suter (Nashville Predators)
Agree/disagree? Anyone think Letang has a chance even though he was out with injuries for so long?
Yesterday was the NHL’s trade deadline. I was excited and ready for something crazy to happen. As expected there was tons of talk about Rick Nash and his desire to be traded (Blue Jackets GM, Howson, even came out and said Nash asked to be traded- see update comment on Rick Nash article). But nothing really happened.
Yes, trades were made, but was anything really substantial? No, probably not. In fact, the trade deadline ended up being so boring compared to other years, the people tweeting trades had to discuss trades that were being turned down rather than accepted. I don’t know how many times I had to hear that the Sharks were not willing to offer up Couture for the Nash trade, or the Rangers didn’t want to dissipate their young core of players by paying too much for another forward. And then their were the players reactions on twitter. These ranged from thanking the city they played in, welcoming new teammates, to tweets from players not being traded at all.
Maple Leaf’s Joffrey Lupul tweeted this:
It seemed that everyone was trying to buy star players, but no one was willing to sell. Some teams (the Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, Calgary Flames…etc.) did not make any splash in the trade-realm at all. No one was traded or added. The overall count for trade-deadline Monday was 32 players involved with 11 draft picks and 16 trades.
The team with the biggest moves seemed to be the Nashville Predators. They traded draft picks and prospects for winger Andre Kostitsyn, center Paul Gaustad, and a 4th round pick (not to mention their acquisition of the amazon-of-a-defenseman Hal Gill last week). The Preds are making moves because they want the cup now. With some of their best players’ contracts ending in the next year or two (including Shea Weber and Ryan Suter), they need to make their cup push as soon as possible. It is hard to say if the choices were really worth the price though. What happens if Weber and Suter leave and the Preds have no young prospects? This years trades were definitely fueled by short-term rather than long-term goals for Nashville.
At this point, it is also hard to tell who the winners really were this year. The consensus around the NHL is that the Canucks made some nice trades and really lucked out with their trade for Pahlsson. This was another short-term push for the Canucks who are itching for the Stanley Cup. They ended up trading off one of their best prospects, rookie Cody Hodgson to the Sabres. I am just left to wonder what will happen to these teams in the upcoming years with all these short-term goals. Are the acquired players for the Canucks and Preds good enough to take them to the Stanley Cup? To be honest, the Canucks probably have a better chance than the Preds.
Do you think any deadline day trades will be particularly successful? Were you disappointed with the lack of big moves made?
To see the other trades that took place, feel free to check out my twitter page at http://www.twitter.com/fiveforboarding where I was tweeting the trades on Monday as they were happening.