Let’s dig through some of the news around the NHL and share some of the best writing from this past week shall we?
- As I’m sure almost everyone reading this is aware, the Ottawa Senators fired Jim Little on Wednesday. We’ve had several pieces about it here, but I also recommend Ian Mendes’ commentary over at TSN if you haven’t read it already.
- On Tuesday night, Johnny Boychuk took an errant skate to the face in one of the scariest on-ice incidents in recent memory. Thankfully, Boychuk appears to be O.K after some plastic surgery repaired his eyelid. When I saw the video, my mind kept racing back to Bryan Berard; I can’t tell you how relieved I was that this doesn’t appear to be nearly as serious.
- With the end of the regular season approaching, Leon Draisaitl’s stunning offensive outburst would appear to have catapulted him to the top of the Hart Trophy race. Jonathan Willis has a good piece over at The Athletic breaking down the various candidates. I’d go with Artemi Panarin personally, but since players on non-playoff teams rarely win the award I suspect it’s down to one of Draisaitl, Connor McDavid and Nathan MacKinnon
- Dimitri Filipovic and Greg Wyshynski have a great, in-depth look at how the Tampa Bay Lightning turned around their season over at ESPN. Since the holiday break, Tampa has looked basically unstoppable and if Stamkos is healthy by the time the play-offs roll around you’d have to believe they’d be the betting favourite.
- Pierre LeBrun takes a tour around the league in this regular feature. One important item to note is that the league announced they expect the salary cap to rise to somewhere between $84 and $88.2 million. That’s a big range!
- Dom Lusczyszyn is one of the stats writers over at the Athletic. On Wednesday he posted a table of every player in the NHL, ranked by his projected Game Scored Value Added metric for the rest of the season. The measure attempts to assign a WAR type number to each player. Like most hockey stats, it’s imperfect but the list is still fun. Some notable Sens’ players include Brady Tkachuk who ranked 57th among forwards, Thomas Chabot who is 41st among defensemen, and Nikita Zaitsev who was third from last among defensemen.
- Finally in injury news, both James Van Riemsdyk (broken hand) and Chris Kreider (fractured ankle) are expected to miss significant time. The play-off race is really tight in the East, and it’s a shame injuries are playing such a big role.