I apologize in advance to anyone tired of hearing about the Sharks’ first round pick in the upcoming draft. However, we have now entered territory even the most optimistic of Sens fans couldn’t have fathomed. Ottawa (36 points in 38 games) has leapfrogged San Jose in the standings (34 points in 38 games) and the Sharks (-32) have a goal differential almost twice as bad as the Senators (-17). With questionable goaltending, an aging roster, and limited cap flexibility, the Sharks looked poised for some regression. Bottom five in the league standings though, seems a lot lower than any of us could have anticipated. For context, Sean Tierney’s aggregated preseason projections had the Sharks finishing in the top ten in the league.
Former seventh overall pick from the 2017 entry draft, Lias Andersson has requested a trade from the New York Rangers and the team has, as a result, removed him from its roster. As a rebuilding team with plenty of assets, the Senators will inevitably come up as a possible trade partner for New York. I don’t necessarily see a fit in Ottawa as the Senators have a lot of depth at the left wing/left-handed centre position in Brady Tkachuk, Anthony Duclair, Rudolfs Balcers, Josh Norris, Vitaly Abramov, Alex Formenton, Logan Brown, Nick Paul, and more. While Andersson could arguably surpass some of those players in the long term, Pierre Dorion should probably continue his quest for depth defence in the short term. Andersson first garnered headlines in the hockey world two years ago at the World Juniors for throwing his silver medal into the stands out of apparent frustration.
On the subject of the world Juniors, three of Ottawa’s higher-pedigree draft picks will have prominent roles in the upcoming tournament as reported by TSN via Sens Prospects. Jacob Bernard-Docker (first round 2018) currently finds himself on Canada’s top defensive pairing (with Devils prospect Ty Smith), Shane Pinto (second round 2019) could centre a line with Nick Robertson and Oliver Wahlstrom (drafted by the Leafs [sic] and Islanders respectively) for team USA, and Lassi Thomson (first round 2019) will captain team Finland.
During a heated game between the Red Wings and Leafs, Toronto defender Jake Muzzin took out Detroit forward Anthony Mantha with an apparent slew-foot that, to my knowledge, has not earned Muzzin any supplemental discipline. This game featured several dangerous plays including a near knee-on-knee hit from Andreas Athanasiou and a spear from Robby Fabbri (the latter of which earned Fabbri a fine from the league). The incidents from this game have certainly re-opened the court of public opinion regarding the definition of clean and dirty play on the ice and where the league has the responsibility to set a precedent in terms of punishment. While I would personally argue that all three plays should result in fines or suspensions, fans seem to have, at the very least, reached a consensus that the league has shown no consistency when punishing skaters for these types of plays.
In off-ice news, NBC has suspended former Philadelphia Flyer [sic] and Phoenix Coyote Jeremy Roenick for inappropriate comments he made during a recent podcast. Roenick has long walked the line with his provocative opinions, however, his latest statement crossed the lines required to maintain a safe and respectful workplace for all genders.