Welcome to The Puck Under the Sun’s Tri Weekly Update. After every three weeks, I will review the NHL. Let’s get started.
THREE STARS OF THE THREE WEEKS
1st Star- Artemi Amnisov (Center; Chicago)
Amnisov had 7 goals and 13 points in 10 games for Chicago. He is red hot right now. Last year, he had the lowest points (42) on his line with Patrick Kane (106) and Artemi Panarin (72). He now is tied for 1st with Claude Giroux in points in the NHL.
2nd Star- Connor McDavid (Center; Edmonton)
The Oilers have been the laughingstock of the NHL for the past decade. It has been 10 years since they last made the playoffs, a streak which ties them with the Florida Panthers (2000-01 to 2010-11) for most years in a row without making the playoffs. In that time, they have had four 1st overall picks. The most recent one is Connor McDavid and he was labeled as the best player to be drafted since Sidney Crosby. The Oilers now sit in 1st place in their division, and McDavid their 19 year old captain is leading the charge. Last year, an injury derailed him for half the year which derailed Edmonton’s playoff hopes. He has 12 points (5 goals and 7 assists) which is tied for 2nd in the NHL with Stamkos, Simmonds, Kane and Kucherov. If he can stay healthy, I think the Oilers will make the playoffs.
3rd Star- Jonathan Marchessault (Winger; Florida)
The Panthers are struggling. Three of their top seven forwards are injured, but Marchessault who received the lowest salary of Florida’s nine signings this offseason at $750K, he leads the team in points and is filling in for the injured Jonathan Huberdeau on the top line with young star Aleksander Barkov and the ageless legend Jaromir Jagr. He has 11 points in 10 games with 6 goals. Before, he only had 19 career points. It will be interesting when Florida gets healthy again, especially with Nick Bjugstad and Jussi Jokinen coming back sometime in the next couple weeks.
Honorary Mentions: Claude Giroux and Shea Weber
Can Montreal keep up this trend?
Yes as long as they don’t lose Price and/or Weber.
Same as above except how about Edmonton?
Like Price in Montreal, Edmonton has an irreplaceable player. That of course is Connor McDavid. I think the Oilers have a strong case for the postseason, if McDavid can stay healthy but if he goes down so will Edmonton.
Biggest Winning Surprise?
Both Edmonton and Vancouver have been surprises. I was expecting the Canucks to be drafting Nolan Patrick next year at 1st overall, but they have done well. I feel that Vancouver will falter but they have been a surprise early this year especially with Loui Eriksson their big offseason acquisition struggling.
Can Florida turn it around?
It depends. I have a lot of confidence in my hometown team but they need to make some adjustments. I think they need to try and hang in there until Bjugstad and Jokinen return and I would change up the lines like this: Marchessault-Trocheck-Sceviour; Jokinen-Barkov-Jagr; Malgin-Bjugstad-Smith; McCann-MacKenzie-Harper. I think Barkov and Jagr need a passer like Huberdeau who will be out until the All Star Break and that is Jokinen. Also, I think they need to start monitoring Ekblad’s health closer. He has suffered a couple too many concussions too early in his career and he has 1 point in 10 games. Also Yandle is starting to play really good and if he can get going then it will be very helpful. However, I believe they can turn it around but they will need another long winning streak and some reinforcements back from injury. Also usually the west is tough, but if the Cats were in the west now they would be in the playoffs now. They also need to start screening the opposing goalies. One reason, Greiss did well against them was because he was seeing everything they threw at him.
If the playoffs started today, this is what it would have looked like:
Montreal vs Philadelphia; Pittsburgh vs Tampa Bay; Detroit vs. Ottawa; NY Rangers vs Washington
Edmonton vs Calgary; Minnesota vs Vancouver; Chicago vs St Louis; San Jose vs Anaheim
Here are the tri-weekly power rankings:
- NY Rangers
- Tampa Bay
- New Jersey
- St Louis
- San Jose
- NY Islanders
- Los Angeles
Top 5 Storylines to Watch in the next 3 weeks
- Can Edmonton and Montreal keep up their dominance over their divisions?
- Can Florida, Dallas, Los Angeles and Nashville turn it around?
- Will PK Subban start fighting to steal the unofficial winners trophy of the Summer’s Blockbuster from Montreal and Shea Weber?
- What will happen to Jaroslav Halak?
- Will Matt Murray keep up where he left off from the playoffs last year, coming back from injury?