(Ed. Note: The column formerly known as the Puck Daddy Power Rankings. Ryan Lambert takes a look at some of the biggest issues and stories in the NHL, and counts them down.)
10. The Canucks
Watching the game against the Kings on Monday night was flat-out painful. They got run out of the rink on the scoreboard and it frankly should have been worse. LA could have had another three or four goals easily.
Final score-adjusted shot attempts at 5-on-5 in that game were about 59-26 in a little more than 47 minutes. That doesn't even seem like it should be possible, right? Like, yeah, LA is really good and Vancouver is very much not (but still clinging to a playoff spot ha ha ha) but good lord.
This team is not only not very good, but it's also directionless. They're gonna Jarome-Iginla-in-Calgary the Sedins and Edler until they get next to nothing back for them (shout out to Ben Hanowski) while also building around Brandon Sutter for some reason? I don't really understand it all but hey they're third in a one-team division so what can you say, right?
They'll get a first-round series against like Anaheim or Phoenix and maybe even win it because hey, whatever, and then get murdered by a team that finished third in the Central. Then just like the Flames everyone will act like Actually They're Good and nothing changes except they finish 25th next season and people are shocked by the turn of events.
9. NHL executives
Loved this from wise Elliotte Friedman's essential 30 Thoughts this week:
“A couple of years ago, I asked a couple execs about John Hynes’ chances of being an NHL head coach. The only concern was Hynes is too short and, therefore, wouldn’t be able to command a room.”
Now you know why like Randy Carlyle and John Tortorella keep getting jobs in the NHL: decision-makers are a step away from believing in phrenology and witchcraft. Good lord.
The not-great-on-paper Devils are three points out of a playoff spot in a tough division as I write this, so I bet Ray Shero is really kicking himself now for not hiring a 6-foot-4 coach. We're probably talking Presidents' Trophy, baby.
8. Everything that's going on in Columbus
This is a tweet that says way more about its subjects than it likely intends:
Here's the thing, my dudes: If you're looking at the Blue Jackets and concluding this is a “collection of good players” you are grossly misevaluating the team's talent level. Here are some good and fun facts about this Columbus club:
--Its highest-paid player in terms of AAV is Brandon Saad ($6 million). Fair enough, he's pretty good. The next three? Brandon Dubinsky ($5.85 million), Nick Foligno ($5.5 million), David Clarkson ($5.25 million).
--It has Rene Bourque on it.
--They went out and intentionally signed Gregory Campbell this summer, for two years.
--Its two most-used defensemen are Jack Johnson and David Savard. Their CF% are 47.2 percent and 46.1 percent, respectively.
--They initiated talks on the trade for Clarkson.
--Ryan Johansen recently skated on a line with Gregory Campbell and Jared Boll for some reason.
--It is coached by John Tortorella, in 2015-16.
--Lots of really smart people somehow thought this was a playoff team.
--Almost every bad player on this team named above is signed through 2017-18 at the least. Dubinsky, Foligno, and Savard through 2021, Clarkson through 2020.
Hooboy, all of that is bad! And the GM is sitting there like, “Hey what's wrong with this club?” So here's a question: How does he not get fired this summer?
7. Losing David Krejci
The Bruins haven't been playing well in the last week or so, and now David Krejci is week-to-week with an upper-body injury? Hmm that seems like it isn't good at all. If he's out for any serious period of time — and “week-to-week” certainly indicates that he might be — the Bruins better start putting some padding down in the basement, because they're probably going to plummet into it.
I don't know what the team's record is without Krejci the past few years but I have a feeling the answer is “below .500.”
6. “Wow the Rangers are really bad all of a sudden!”
It's pretty weird that no one saw this coming for a team giving Dan Girardi huge minutes every night. If Henrik Lundqvist isn't .925 every night, a team getting outshot as consistently and by as much as the Rangers' do ought to lose far more often than not.
And in the month of December, Lundqvist has been .890. Their success was always an illusion propped up by an elite goaltender. When he's bad, the team goes straight in the toilet.
5. Kassian for Scrivens
I understand the impulse for both teams. Edmonton doesn't want or need Scrivens, Montreal certainly doesn't want Kassian (though they may need him in his idealized state).
Also, Montreal probably figures it needs help in the goaltending department because you can't rely on Mike Condon forever. But Condon is currently a .905 goalie. And Scrivens' career NHL number? Yeah, it's .905. Meaning we don't have any evidence that Scrivens represents any sort of upgrade in this regard.
But whatever, because it also saves them a bit of money if nothing else. So I guess it's a decent trade for both clubs? Sure.
4. Figuring it out, mostly
Women's hockey at the Winter Classic.
Can't believe we finally figured it out after never ever ever seeming like that was going to happen, but this is a good thing for the sport and it costs the NHL nothing. It'll be more interesting than an alumni game, anyway.
3. P.K. Subban
No one is nicer. A beautiful nice boy is PK.
Everyone's best little buddy Johnny Gaudreau is now up to 104 points in 115 career games. And 17-22-39 in 35 so far this year.
He has really taken off in the goalscoring department this year, but also everything he's doing is just high-level stuff regardless of whether it's on the power play, in the 3-on-3 overtime, or even at 5-on-5.
Yeah his on-ice shooting percentage is off the charts lately (11.1 percent since the start of November) but that's not really all that out-of-line with his career average (10.3 percent). He might just be this good.
This has nothing to do with hockey and everything to do with the grieving process.
(Not ranked this week: The Sabres.
Hey I get that the precedent on “Players Under Investigation For Sexual Assaults Get To Play” was set by Chicago over the summer but it's still grooooooooooooooooss as hell.)
(All statistics via War On Ice unless otherwise noted.)
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