With the NHL on a short break for the Christmas holidays, our Thursday edition of Links, News, and Notes will also be somewhat abbreviated. A few items that did catch my eye this week:
- With the All-Star game now less than a month away, we’re starting to see the first wave of articles analyzing the deserving candidates. NHL.com picked their teams for all four divisions, and project Thomas Chabot as the lone Sens participant. Chabot’s probably been the team’s best player this year, but could Anthony Duclair ride his red-hot goal scoring to a spot on the Atlantic Division roster? The competition up front is fierce.
- We’ve had lots of World Juniors coverage this week, and I heartily recommend both parts of Ary’s series, but for those of you who can’t get enough of the tournament Corey Pronman has a good preview over at the Athletic. It’s behind the paywall, as usual, but there are lots of interesting tidbits like this one from a section about a quietly impressive German squad:
No team will be more interesting at the tournament than the German U20 team. It isn’t stacked top to bottom and was dominated possession-wise in its first pre-tournament game, but it has several very interesting NHL prospects. It is led by sixth-overall pick Moritz Seider (Detroit), who is expected to be its leading player. He’s looked great this season, but can he be a difference-maker at this level? Germany will need someone to raise his game to an elite level to beat the likes of Canada, USA or Russia. Dominik Bokk (Carolina), a critical part of the Justin Faulk trade, has struggled this season, and while he’s incredibly talented, questions are starting to circle around his game. Can he use a junior-aged tournament, instead of the pro level he’s been at all season, to showcase what he really do?
- With the decade coming to a close, NBC Sports ran a “Best Players of the Decade” feature earlier this week and the list caused a minor furor online. Crosby and Ovechkin hold the two top spots but Erik Karlsson clocked in at number 3 and Patrick Kane missed the top 10 altogether. I actually happen to think this is a pretty compelling set of rankings; the author Adam Gretz does thoughtful work and he’s placed a premium on two-way play. It’s worth a read!
- And, lastly, the best thing about the Ottawa Senators right now is their social media team. Some might say it’s the promising play of Brady Tkachuk, or Chabot, or the feeling that maybe there’s a bright future in store for a young franchise on the rise. Those people are wrong, wrong, wrong. Could Tkachuk create such a masterpiece? Be sure to check out last year’s Jingle All the Way Reboot if you haven’t seen it already. And then sink your teeth into this beauty: