NHL 2017-18 Recap Week 4 – Duchene finally traded, New York teams hot, Central Division tight, Kings coaching change long overdue
The big news this week was the three way trade involving the Avalanche, Senators and Predators. The Avalanche have been playing better than expected this season and Matt Duchene was one reason why. But he had been on the trading block for a while and they decided to finally go through with it anyway. Duchene heads to the Senators who traded Kyle Turris to the Predators. The Avalanche, meanwhile, get a boatload of stuff. The Predators gave them, rookie defenseman Samuel Girard, forward prospect Vladislav Kamenev and a second round pick. The Senators gave them, center Shane Bowers, goalie Andrew Hammond and a first and third round pick. That’s a ginormous haul. Normally you only get a pick or a prospect or two. The Avalanche made away with seven things.
I honestly think the Avalanche are the big winners in this trade. For the Senators, they get a slight upgrade in Duchene. I say slight because neither player is a point per game player. They are both just above average. I don’t think this makes them any more of a favorite to do anything. As long as the Lightning stay healthy, they are winning the division. The Maple Leafs are also still better than them. You have to give them points for trying to improve but I don’t think this makes much of a difference. The Predators add some depth that they can use to make another run. But I personally don’t think they will have the same luck this season. James Neal was also a better player and they gave him up for nothing.
Of the seven things the Avalanche got, six are picks or prospects. If even one of them pans out to be a point per game player, they won the deal. The luck of averages say they might even get two. Even though Hammond made waivers, it’s hard to imagine that glorious run he had a few seasons ago was just a fluke. Maybe a change of scenery will help him regain his magic touch in net.
Things I like
1. The Central division is the only division with six teams but it’s also the only one where all the teams are at .500 or above. The Blues are, for now, comfortably in first place. But only one point separates second through fifth place. All of the teams are pretty similar and none of them are dominant. And even though the Blues are currently in first place, they aren’t the clear favorite by any means. The Stars are almost back to the way they were two seasons ago and the Jets looked poised to breakout this season. It’s still early but expect a dogfight the rest of the season between all these teams.
2. The Rangers are starting to make their move, having now won three in a row. That may not sound like a lot but it is when you have struggled as much as they did to open the season. The offensive depth they displayed so well last year is back too. Now if only Henrik Lundqvist can become more consistent, they should be a playoff contender again. They aren’t the only team crushing it lately in New York though. The Islanders have won seven of ten and have five players (Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, John Tavares, Nick Leddy and Anders Lee) who have scored at least eight points in their last five games.
Things I don’t
1. I mentioned last week how the Los Angeles Kings have surprisingly bounced back with their veteran players finding their games again. This was after the coach and GM were let go. They now have one of the best records in the NHL. This leads me to believe the problem was in fact the coaching staff. Now that staff did win two Stanley Cups but when you struggle to make the playoffs or win in the first round the next few seasons, it might be time to make a change. This should have been realized when the Kings players locked their own coach out of the locker room in April of 2015. Yet Darryl Sutter stayed to coach the team another two seasons anyway. Seasons in which they didn’t do much and a lot of the players struggled. When the players lock their coach out of the locker room, this means the coaching staff has lost the players. He should have just been let go then. Who knows, they might have won another Stanley Cup then.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Dalton Prout vs Milan Lucic
A decent fight. Advantage Lucic.
Gemel Smith vs Brendan Lemieux
A whole lot of punches thrown in this one.
Goat of the Week
Matt Dumba – Minnesota Wild
Dumba does a no look drop pass in his own zone and that pretty much tells you all you need to know. Nikolaj Ehlers capitalizes with the game winner.
Stat Line of the Week
11/04/17 Vancouver 4 vs. Pittsburgh 2
One of the few younger players on the Canucks, 20 year old Brock Boeser scored the first hat trick of his career and figured into all four Canuck goals against the Penguins. He will be one of the few bright spots for the Canucks this season when they begin their inevitable slide.
-6 – Plus/minus for Erik Karlsson against the Canadiens who scored 8 goals. You probably won’t see that stat on Karlsson again.
800 – Consecutive games played by Andrew Cogliano. He’s never missed an NHL game since he started his career.
-16 – Goal differential for the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins. Not good. In fact, they would be the only current playoff team in the East to have a negative one if they started now.
2 – Wins for the Coyotes this season, as they finally won a game in overtime and then in a shootout. Still no regulation wins though.
9 – Game point streak for Josh Bailey
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
October 30, 1985 Detroit’s Danny Gare scored his 12th (and final) career hat trick, as the Wings beat Pittsburgh 6-3, to extend their home undefeated streak against the Penguins to 11 games (9-0-2). The hat trick gave Gare 350 goals in his NHL career.
October 31, 1993 Jeff McLean became the first rookie in Sharks’ history to score his first career goal in his first NHL game with San Jose, a 2-1 win over the Mighty Ducks, at Anaheim.
November 01, 1969 Frank St. Marseille scored two goals and added three assists, Red Berenson had his second career hat trick and goaltender Jacques Plante recorded his 70th career shutout in the Blues’ 8-0 win over the Flyers in St. Louis.
November 02, 1996 Colorado’s Patrick Roy recorded his 33rd career shutout when the Avalanche tied 0-0 with the visiting Sabres. In the same game Buffalo’s Dominik Hasek picked up his 15th shutout as a Sabre, to become the team’s all-time leader.
November 03, 1972 Boston’s Phil Esposito scored his 350th career NHL goal when the Bruins tied the Seals, 6-6 in Oakland.
November 04, 1993 Quebec Nordiques tied an NHL record (set by New Jersey one year earlier) by alternating wins and losses for 13 straight games; they tied the record by losing 4-1 to the Flyers, in Philadelphia.
November 05, 1955 Jean Beliveau scored four goals, including 3 during one power play in a span of :44 in the second period. Canadiens won the game, 4-2 over Boston. After the season, the NHL changed the rules to end a minor power play after a goal was scored.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
1. Los Angeles
2. Tampa Bay
3. St. Louis
4. New Jersey
5. NY Islanders
Author: Alex Mueller
Alex Mueller graduated from Temple University with a minor in journalism over a decade ago. He’s been writing about NHL hockey, on and off, since the Fall of 2009. He’s written for Pucking Awesome, the Checking Line and now Hockey Recaps. He played goalie at San Diego Ice Arena. His first novel, Bobby Sterling vs Truth, is available on Amazon now.