Have you looked at the NHL standings recently? If you have, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, well, take a look for yourself and see just how many mediocre teams there are around the league right now.
With the Calgary Flames having dealt Nikita Zadorov earlier this week, who do they move next? Noah Hanifin was apparently close on an extension months ago, but that’s all been put on hold, and the Boston Bruins would love to acquire his services.
All that and more in this Saturday edition of Evan’s NHL Daily.
Colorado Hockey Now
The Avalanche lost on Thursday in Arizona because of some big mistakes and a rough overtime, but it was probably Nathan MacKinnon‘s best game in a while.
Down a goal, Josh Manson threw a massive hit in the neutral zone that angered the Coyotes and gave the Avalanche a powerplay to tie things up. (+)
Your second star for the month of November in the NHL: Cale Makar.
The loser point in the NHL is making a lot of teams look better than they actually are.
I decided to take a peek at the standings yesterday and right now, it’s not terribly impressive all around the league. Last year, the Western Conference was not good. That hasn’t changed this season. In the Pacific Division, there are three teams that have really separated themselves from the pack. After those three, the other five teams are .500 or below. The Central is a little better, but I’m not a big believer in the Blues, who are one of the teams above .500.
The Metropolitan is similar to the Pacific. The fourth place team in the division is being propped up by six (yes, SIX) overtime/shootout losses. That means they’ve managed to steal a point in over 27% of their games. The Lightning aren’t much better in the Atlantic, with five overtime losses keeping them above a team like the Sabres. Even teams everyone thought would be really good, like the Devils, are struggling to break even.
Overall, if you count an overtime loss as what it is, a loss, then there are 18 teams either sitting at .500 or below. That’s crazy.
Is this because the salary cap has watered down the NHL a bit? It’s hard to find truly elite teams, because once you have too much talent, you can’t pay everyone. That’s what happened to the Avalanche, and it’s happening around the league. Is this a good or bad thing? Those mediocre teams down at the bottom might feel like they’re in the thick of it, but I wouldn’t be afraid of any of them come playoff time.
What does everyone think? Is the salary cap to blame for all of this?
NHL Trade Talk
With Nikita Zadorov having been dealt, the Flames might just be getting started. Noah Hanifin probably holds the most value of their defensemen, and there’s one team believed to be after him more than others – the Boston Bruins.
Now, Hanifin is from Boston, and they love their own, so it makes sense. Once can also imagine that the Bruins would have an easier time than others signing him to an extension. Something to keep an eye on over the next little while.
National Hockey Now
Condolences to Dylan Larkin and his family, who are dealing with tragedy after the loss of their child.
Unfortunately, it looks like Alex Newhook will miss some time in Montreal.
The New Jersey Devils were embarrassed at home by the lowly San Jose Sharks.