For the Penguins:

1: Compusure, composure, composure. If they can’t stay focused on their system of hockey they may as well forfiet. Trying to be more physical than the Bruins or get into their heads just isn’t in the Pittsburgh Penguins DNA.

2: Play together. The Penguins have looked confused and disoriented for both games. Their normal flow of passing, and quick transition has been nonexistant. There is some amazing talent on the team, but no one or two of them are going to beat a playoff tested team that returned 18 of the players who won the Cup two years ago by themselves.

3: Don’t turn over the puck. When you’re playing any team this is important, when your goaltender is not playing well and the other team is firing on all cylnders, its is absolutely crucial.

For the Bruins

1: Don’t take stupid penalties. The Penguins powerplay will not continue to look like the Rangers powerplay, don’t give it any practice.

2:  Press the pace early. With two bad games in the bag the Penguins can not afford to get down early, and keeping them hemmed up in their defensive zone will be the best way of keeping Iginla, Neal, Kunitz and company off the score sheet.

3: Don’t stop pushing. If the Bruins are down 3-2 or up 5-0, they can not afford to allow the Penguins even a sliver of hope, there are a fistful of guys who can singlehandedly win games and for whom a four point night isn’t all that special.

For the Officials:

1: If it isn’t life or career threatening, or a required automatical call, forget the whistles. Both teams have shown a willingness to play physical, and go at it. Let them.

1.5: Call the dives. Please call the dives or the game and the series will get out of hand.

The Red Wings extended their playoff streak for yet another year limping into the playoffs just one point over 9th place Columbus. They went up against the seemingly unstoppable Anaheim Ducks and proved they had the killer instinct the Ducks lacked.

In the second round they were exposed. There are really only two issues with the Red Wings. What’s wrong with them? The question answers itself if you put on your opposing coach thinking cap and ask which players other than Datsyuk, Zetterberg and maybe Kronwall you have to game plan for. Not just who plays a lot of minutes, but who can impact the game.

Depth, is part of the issue. They have two elite, if aging forwards, an no one behind them who can be relied upon to put up 50 points in an 82 game season, or a defenseman who can be counted on to play 25 minutes of shutdown hockey a night. The answer is simple. No one. They have a lot role players. They just don’t have anything else. After their top two players, the run off from 3rd to 12th player isn’t very steep. The defense is just as badly off. You have one player at the top of the heap, and the everyone else is almost completely indistinguishable by ice time. Almost no real difference between the best and worst by ice time at even strength, short handed or powerplay.

Identity is the other thing the team lacks. There’s almost none anymore. With Bertuzzi and Tootoo in the lineup this certainly isn’t the Yzerman era Wings, nor is it the slick skating, smooth passing version of the team that allowed them to carry Osgood to a couple cups. They still have some skill, but they just don’t have the old level. While their two skill players can still leave opponents stunned with their razzle-dazzle, the Wings just aren’t a skill team anymore. They have one or two guys who can hit and hit hard, but I don’t think anyone sees this Wings team as a Flyers or Bruins type rugged roster. The Red Wings also have a compliment of muckers, but this team is no more built to grind it out than they are to drop the gloves and beat their opponents up. The current roster is a hodge-podge, a manticore without a strong emotional center give them focus. The plus side is that Howard is a much better goaltender than Osgood was at any point in his career. But he’s not (yet?) at the elite level that would allow the team to build around him as their franchise cornerstone. He’s solid, a clear number one starter, but the word elite does not stretch to encompass his careers portfolio to date.

If the Red Wings want to rebuild for the long term, they have to scour the roster back to its foundation. That means trading Zetterber and Datsyuk for as much as can be gotten and spending a year or two in the lottery and drafting well. If they want to go for a short term buildup and try to maximise the years left in their ageing stars, they certainly have the roster spots and cap space to go after whoever they want. With just two defenseman and five forwards signed in addition to Jimmy Howard, they have half their cap free to fill the roster. That does include the need to resign Datsyuk if possible as he’ll be a UFA on July 5. With forwards like Nathan Horton, Jarome Iginla, Daniel Alfredsson, and then younger players like Tyler Bozak, Bryan Bickell, and David Clarkson they can go in any number of directions.

They have the money, organisational depth is in question, but given the UFA’s they haven’t landed in the last few years, is anyone willing to go there from other markets?

For part one of this series click here.

For this drinking game you’ll need two beverages. You mght want to pick drinks mathing your favorite team colors or just the two nearest things you can handle in volume.

First Drink:

Take One Sip:

  • Every time scoring chances are mentioned.
  • An opponent of from the previous round is mentioned.
  • Jarome Iginla and Matt Bartkowski are mentioned in the same sentence.
  • The cameras pan the crowd or the guy between the benches instead of a scrum.
  • You know what a coach/player is going to say in an interview before they say it.
  • Either team gets a five on three powerplay.
  • Don Cherry makes more sense than anyone else the camera has been aimed at in the last ten minutes.

Two Sips:

  • If the trade deadline is mentioned.
  • If Jagr’s time in Pittsburg is mentioned.
  • If any mention is made of the number of Stanley Cup wins a players has.
  • If the Nathan Horton vs Jarome Iginla fight is shown.
  • A goaltending change is made.
  • A pending UFA is mentioned.

Three Sips

  • A full period passes where you don’t hear the name of the junior and or college team any player was drafted from.
  • Anyone says a team is or isn’t getting bounces.
  • The broadcast fails to show a faceoff but cuts in when the puck is already in motion.
  • Two commericals for the smae company play in one commercial break.
  • A period ends with more than a 10 shot difference between the teams.

 

Second Drink

Take One Sip:

  • If Chara’s size is mentioned.
  • If any of Crosby’s past injuries are mentioned.
  • If a backup goaltender is shown.
  • If either Coach is shown standing on the bench.
  • Someone on sicial media says the offials are biased.
  • Someone dangles so much they lose the puck with no one with no help from opposing players.

Two Sips:

  • James Neal or Tyler Seguin miss high and hit the glass with a shot.
  • The broadcaster between the benches asks the guy(s) in the booth if they saw something going on in the game.
  • Someone mentiones “line shuffling”.
  • Any rookie is pointed out (Simone Despres and Beau Bennett for the Penguins, Torey Krug, Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski for the Bruins).
  • A general manager or owner is shown.
  • A fairly routine hockey play (faceoff win, goal, or saucer pass, etc) is described as “wizardy” or magic.

 

Three Sips:

  • The Bruins powerplay scores in a game.
  • The Penguins get a shorthanded goal.
  • A too many men penalty is called.
  • A penalty is called that makes no sense.
  • Matt Cooke’s hit on Marc Savard is mentioned.

 

Double Fist (1 sip of each)

  • If the playoff win total of a coach is mentioned.
  • Trades between the teams are mentioned.
  • The age of a player or players are mentioned in relation to how long its been since the teams last played in the playoffs.
  • The regular season series is mentioned.
  • Any player is mentiond for a past award or current nomination.
  • An obvious rule is explained for no reason.
  • Some says the refs have swallowed their whistle.
  • The compressed schedule in the regular season is mentioned.
  • Everytime there’s an obvious dive that goes uncalled.
  • If there is a fight where the combined salary is more than four million dollars.
  • Players or officials are said to be sending a message.

 

Skip a drink if:

  • You find yourself unable to scream coherently at a pinkhat.
  • You start explaining a simple rule like “icing” and take longer than two minutes.
  • You can’t remember which beverage to drink from.
  • Both fourth lines are on the ice.
  • A family member, girlfriend or spouse of a player is shown in the audience.

 

Disclaimer:

You can seriously injury yourself, destroy property, or even die even if your participation in this drinking game is nothing more than water. If you should happen to do something incredibly idiotic and entertaining during this drinking game that makes it to Youtube, TextsFromLastNight or other fun sites; do send a link. It won’t make your life better, but I’ll get a laugh too. No one is responsible for the stupid you commit but you.

Feel free to tweet @PuckSage as you play.

Welcome to the Second Season, unlike most years, the second season for the best teams will run nearly half the length of the regular season.

#1 vs. #8

The Pittsburgh Penguins marched determinedly through the regular season, attempting to keep pace with the western powers. Malkin, Crosby, Letang and other key players all missed games due to injury. Crosby is out least for game one, and Jarome Iginla will be playing in the post season for the first time in almost half a decade.

The Islanders haven’t seen the post season in so long you have to wonder how many members of the staff at Nassau had vaction plans this week and next. Sixteen players will be making their playoff debut, including nearly all of their key forwards, and several of their battered blueliners. From the blueline, only three gentlemen appeared in all 48 games this season; Mark Streit age 35, Andrew MacDonald, and 22 year old Travis Hamonic who’s in his third season for the Islanders.

Players to watch:

With Crosby out, the cameras may actually grace other Penguins, Neal is a human highlight reel, Brandon Sutter is finally making himself comfortable in the NHL, and Chris Kunitz quietly led the team in goals in the regular season.

For the Islanders if you aren’t already a member of the United Temple of Taveres; get familiar. The 2009 #1 overall has outpaced his class across the board, he’s got 20 more goals than the second place goal scorer from his class, and almost three times as many as 4th place. On the backend Vishnovsky and Streit are more than capable of being momemtum changers in any zone.

Edge:

The Penguins should win this series. But that depends on Marc Andre Fleury turning in a useful playoff performence. In the last three years his sv% has been awful, despite reasonable regular season numbers, .834, .899, .891 are useful but only for making sure your team gets plenty of sun. The Islanders have a chance if Nabokov can out duel The Flower.

#2 vs. #7

The Montreal Canadiens had a wretched season last year, and reaped the draft rewards, American rookie Alex Galchenyuk made an instant impact, Vancouver Giants alumni Brendan Gallagher did as well. They’ve had a small downturn since Alexi Emelin injured himself, but they still held on to win the last Northeast division title.

The Ottawa Senators are probably glad they don’t have to make room on the plane for medical records. Overcoming injuries have defined this team this season. Jason Spezza is still out, Erik Karlsson is just back, and the list of who didn’t play all or most games is much longer than the list of those who did.

Players to watch:

P.K. Subban is the most electrifying player in this series, and possibly on all of the Canadian teams, Lars Eller has shown a willingness to get his nose dirty, and Michael Ryder still has one of the fastest releases in the NHL.

For the Senators, Alfredsson isn’t a player you should ever take your eyes off of, Kyle Turris led the team in goals and points, and Gonchar is still a consistent threat.

Edge:

Offensively the difference between these teams is night and day, the Canadiens had the fifth best offense in the regular season, and the Senators the fourth worst. On the other hand the Senators finished second in goals against, while the Canadiens were a pedestrian 14th. Craig Anderson has better post season numbers, and should be able to snatch a game or two, but the Habs should win it.

#3 vs. #6

When it comes to winning the Southeast Division, the Washington Capitals have had that locked down for most of its existance, it seems only fitting they should finish its last season on top. Unfortunately, that’s all they seem to be able to win. Maybe this year with a rejuvinated Ovechkin, a mature Carlson and Alzner, and most miraculously a healthy Green they can turn in a good performence.

Last year the New York Rangers went to the Eastern Conference finals, and but for the skill of Adam Henrique, might have gone further. Some might consider it a problem when their 12th best paid forward leads the team in scoring, especially when that player makes roughly 10% of their highest paid forward, for the Rangers, that’s just the way things are.

Players to watch:

The Caps bost a potent offense, and a bit more grit than they are given credit for, Troy Brouwer was second in goals this season, Chimera had a big season last year, and Backstrom has finally started to round back into All Star form.

While Stepan led the Rangers in scoring, Richards, Nash and Callahan have got to be due for an offensive explosion at some point, right?

#4 vs. #5

The Boston Bruins had a heap of distractions towards the end of the season with bombings, blizzards and forever long pregame ceremonies, which might excuse their poor play if it hadn’t been a season long occurance. The positives for the Bruins are that they are pretty healthy physically. The negative is that no one knows where their collective head is.

The Maple Leafs are making their return to the playoffs. Lots of this team hasn’t played in the playoffs at all, and some who have aren’t all that good in the second season. Lupul and Van Riemsdyk have the most playoff experience, Kessel is a point per game player in the playoffs, but he’ll have to get over his ineffectiveness against Chara and Boston in a hurry to keep that going.

Players to watch:

For the Bruins, everyone is waiting on Soderberg to make his impact felt, but he may well sit, watch Bergeron per usual, and see if Ference and Lucic can keep up their snarl.

The Maple Leafs have woefully underused Grabovski this season, and he might just be the key to winning this series, Kadri and Gunnarsson should also be in your crosshairs.

Edge:

The Bruins played poorly down the stretch, but the Leafs are new as a team to the playoffs, and have a bug in their heads about the Bruins. Expect a lot of physical play and for the team that wants it more to win.

This season the Buffalo Sabres were expected by many to challenge for the very last Northeast Division title. The Boston Bruins were expected by most to fight like hell to win the division again. So far the Sabres have fired a head coach, declared open season on their roster, and wallowed around the bottom of the division and conference. The Bruins have missed out on acquiring future hall of fame inductee Jarome Iginla, traded away a world class goaltender the front office alienated, and had the decided displeasure of a rear view on the Montreal Canadien’s for much of the season.

Disclaimer;

You can seriously injury yourself, destroy property, or even die even if your participation in this drinking game is nothing more than water. If you should happen to do something incredibly idiotic and entertaining during this drinking game that makes it to Youtube, TextsFromLastNight or other fun sites; do send a link. It won’t make your life better, but I’ll get a laugh too. No one is responsible for the stupid you commit but you. Enjoy!

 

Take 1 Drink Whenever:

  • Lindy Ruff is mentioned
  • Jordan Leopold or other former members of the Sabres are mentioned.
  • The word “lethargic” is applied to either team.
  • The size of Zdeno Chara, Tyler Myers, Nathan Gerbe, or Tyler Ennis is mentioned.

Take 2 Drinks Whenever:

  • Sidney Crosby is mentioned.
  • Jarome Iginla is mentioned.
  • An announcer uses “shakeup” in discussing either teams problems.
  • The Lucic/Miller collision is mentioned.
  • Someone says they don’t like an officials call.

Take 3 Drinks Whenever:

  • Someone mentions players needing to wear visors or full cages.
  • Ryan Clowe is mentioned on tv, twitter or radio in connection with the Bruins.
  • Someone says “fire sale”, “wholesale changes”, or “rebuild” about the Sabres.
  • John Scott skates more than 2:25 seconds in a period.

Take 4 Drinks Whenever:

  • Game of Thrones is mentioned or alluded to.
  • Someone makes a trade deadline prediction.
  • Peter Chiarelli or Darcy Regier are mentioned or shown on tv.
  • There is a mention of any teams scouts.

Switch Drinks:

  • Between periods.
  • Whenever Mike Milbury makes the least sense in an intermission.
  • Whenever Doc goes more than four minutes of game play without using; knife, stab, or pitchfork.
  • If Patrick Kaleta, Andrew Ference, John Scott or Shawn Thornton score a goal.

Skip a drink;

  • You start to have faith the Sabres will make the playoffs.
  • You think the Bruins will fall out of the playoffs.
  • You think Liam McHugh is funny.
  • Greg Campbell wins a fight.

 

 

Obviously it’d be nice for Calgary Flames fans if the general managers teams on Iginla’s list suffered some sort of stroke and had them offering up the whole farm system and three roster players. That is however unlikely to happen, even if you disagree with some of the choices, or even the general philosophy of the GM’s in question, all four have won a cup recently.

If I’m sitting in Jay Feaster’s chair, here’s what I’d ask from each team that is fairly reasonable:

Los Angeles Kings:

Centerpiece: Slava Voynov, an offensively talented defenseman who at 23 was part of the Stanley cup win and is still on his entry level deal through July first.

Tyler Toffoli a well regarded center prospect who has 3 games of NHL experience, and about a season in the AHL with good numbers.

And:

a conditional 1st round pick either in 2013 or 2015, Calgary’s choice.

Pittsburgh Penguins:

Defensive prospects Scott Harrington, and Derrick Pouliot

A first and  a second round picks.

Boston Bruins:

Centerpiece: Alexander Khokhlachev, a young center, a position the team is deep at.

Rich Peverley a versatile forward with speed, a bit of grit and who is affordable enough to be worth keeping around through the rebuild, Peverley does have a NTC, if he’s unavailable:

or:

Niklas Svedberg who is 9th in the AHL in GAA and 7th in Sv%, with more games played than anyone ahead of him in the latter category except Curtis McElhinney who has never managed to stick in the NHL, this in Svedberg’s 1st season in North America.

And:

A conditional 1st round pick either in 2013 or 2015.

Chicago BlackHawks:

Brandon Saad is technically a rookie, but he played two regular season games last season, two

Adam Clendening, a young defenseman with USNDTP experience, two years of college play at Boston University, and in his first year in the AHL.

A 1st and a 2nd round pick.

Given Jarome Iginla’s age, the fact that he will be a UFA in just a couple months, and the fact that the Penguins and Blackhawks as the number one and two offenses really don’t need him, not to mention the Morrow trade, I think these are fairly reasonable prices. If the bidding got heated, particularly if Iginla expands the list, I can see more being paid, but even as good as Iginla would be with a legitimate 1st or 2nd line center for the first time in a decade, there’s less than 20 games left in the regular season, and then the uncertainty of the playoffs. Each of theses teams should at least hit the second round. Also to be considered is when other teams decide to sell off. If for example Martin St. Louis becomes available, or if there’s suddenly a fire sale in a city whose GM has one foot out the door, prices could actually go down.

Via Renaud Lavoie Jarome Iginla will or would waive his no movement clause for the Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings, and Chicago Blackhawks, and the Pittsburgh Penguins. A quick look at the offenses of the teams has Pittsburgh at the top of the NHL, the Blackhawks a close second, while the Los Angeles Kings and Boston Bruins are treading water in 12th and 13th place in goals per game.  Chicago is ranked as having the deepest prospect pool by Hockey’s Future, while the Flames system is weak overall on depth, particularly at right wing.

Another coach firing on a teach with an ECHL roster lightly-speckled with NHL talent. When the Tampa Bay Lightning went to the Eastern Conference Finals two years ago, two things got them there, one was Dwayne Roloson, the other was Guy Boucher. Both of them are gone, and both were highly under rated for the jobs they did. If a dispersal draft were done on Lightning today, its an open question how many of their players would be picked and retained both other teams. It 31 games into the season and they have just one player to score more than 10 goals, and that player also has the second worst +/- on the team. Career backup Garon has the teams best sv%, depth center Nate Thompson is arguably the best defensive player on the whole roster, and none of the decisions that got them onto the clubs payroll happen at the coaches level. Guy Boucher goes out the door, in another time and place Steve Yzerman would be tossed out a window.

The CHL playoffs are under way and Fang Faction has taken a look a Predators prospects in the playoffs.

David Krejci is drawing heat is the Boston Bruins continue to tread water in fourth place in the east.

The North American Hockey League is producing some Division One NCAA, the Brookings Blizzard announced there’s Aidan Cavallini and you can get the rest of the leagues commitments right here.

And as we roll closer and closer to that most wonderful day of the year Draft day, a look at the US National Development Team is looking toward its own future of smiling eyes and wide smiles.

As the playoffs loom ever nearer, the time to take a look at what teams need to elevate them to contender status is here.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are 11th in the west and just two points out of a playoff position. That said they’ve played two more games than most of the teams ahead of them. They are currently the 11th ranked defense, and Bobrovsky is the owner of a gaudy .932sv%, good for second in the NHL.

Verdict: Build

The team needs goal scoring. Currently they are dead last in the NHL in goals for and their powerplay isn’t much better. A mentor or two for Seth Ambroz and Dalton Smith either via trade or picking up the right free agents (even if they have to overpay a little) this off season makes this a playoff team easily, and if Bobrovsky stays near his current level of play, then they aren’t far off from contender status.

The Detroit Red Wings are nursing their playoff streak, which might be good setting records, but isn’t good long term for the teams chances of hoisting a cup.  Their powerplay is 22nd, their penalty kill is 17th.

Verdict: Burn

After Jimmy Howard all of this teams best remaining players are on the shady side of thirty. They number of high first and second round picks that could be piled up by moving Datsyuk, Cleary, Zetterberg and when he is healthy, Helm is more than enough to rebuild the team if they show their usual knack for picking prospects.

The New York Islanders have been rebuilding for almost as long as their centerpiece John Tavares has been alive. Coming into today they have about a 30% chance of making the playoffs.

Verdict: Bump

The team has real offensive ability, plays well together and is very young. Adding one or two pieces on the backend that gives the team a chance to play better from day one next season, and better the rest of this season will let them earn their way into the playoffs and be a vote of confidence for the coach, players and fans.

The Carolina Hurricanes are in the midst of one of their better seasons in a while. They could easily win the very last south east division title.

Verdict: Bump

Right now the team is in solid shape, they arguably have a goaltending controversy. I’m still convinced letting Allen go in the offseason was a mistake. Adding a two way defenseman who can contribute to their special teams might just push this team beyond the second round.

The Calgary Flames are 24th over all in the NHL, 13th in the West, and doing little right.

Verdict: Burn

While the Flames have some talent on the ice, and some interesting prospects in the system they have zero chance of going anywhere with this roster. Like the Red Wings, the stars of this roster are worth more to other teams than they are to the franchise short, medium, or long term. Iginla, Cammalleri, Bouwmeester, Tanguay, and Glenencross comprise almost 100% of the rosters talent, what they can return in players, prospects and picks would give the team much, much, much needed youth and depth.

The Nashville Predators had one of their best seasons ever last year. They looked like legitimate contenders for the Stanley Cup. This season, they are not at that level. Right now they sit outside the playoffs.

Verdict: Build

The Predators need what they have needed for years: offense. Patrick Hornquist can’t do it alone. In fact if he were on any other team his career points numbers would be about 20% higher. They have the defense and goaltending to compete, they need to revamp their offense.

The NHL trade deadline is less than three weeks away, some players may or may not be healthy by then, but should still be shuffled of onto the roster of someone else either for a strong return, a change of scenery for them or the potential return and or cap space.

Thomas Vanek:

It is as plain as the snow on Buffalo streets that the team is in need of rebuild. Vanek has shown this season he can contribute big time but at 29, it is unlikely he’ll be as powerful offensively in 3-5 years when the team might be ready to contend. For Deroit, Nashville, or Los Angeles who have cap space and might want to add scoring, he’s the number one option who might be available.

Mike Green:

The Washington Capitals are retooling on the fly, and trying to develop a new system of play. You can’t do that if you aren’t in the lineup. Last season Green played just 32 games, a total he may have trouble matching this year, the year before just 49. Since breaking into the league he’s had just one year where he played all 82 games. With cap contraction a reality, his six million dollars would look mighty fine if it belonged to someone else. If anyone is willing to take him for more than a 2nd round pick and a solid prospect, the return is worth it.

Jarome Iginla:

One of the great ambassadors for the sport deserves a chance to win a cup.  Of the top contenders, all of them have cap space and can likely be parted from two or three prospects and or picks. Better still, all three of the four are American teams so there’s less likelihood fans see it as a betrayal. Far be it for me to suggest that waiving a no movement clause doesn’t burn bridges or imply collusion between players being traded and management, but one could take a look at Keith Tkachuk’s career and draw their own conclusions.

Andrei Markov:

While as constituted the Montreal Canadiens are a likely contender, swapping the injury prone Markov out for a first or second line center who can actually win faceoffs would shore up their penalty kill, give them more puck possession, and likely improve their goal scored. With a full year left on his contract, a few teams ought to be interested just to see how much he can help groom their young blueliners.

Jake Gardinier:

Why in the world he’s in the Leafs dog house is anyones guess. His fall from grace has happened faster and just as inexplicably as Keith Aulies, and the time he’s spending in the AHL is as wasteful as Nazim Kadri’s, maybe worse since the big team has a coach who is getting results. If the Leafs don’t want him, there’s a good 20 teams who will be happy to exchange “AHL prospects” with the Leafs to relieve them of their burden. With his agent getting in on the inquiry via social media, it is only a matter of time before the situation becomes a distraction to the team.

Johnny Boychuk:

The former AHL defenseman of the year has stagnated badly. It began almost as soon as he got to the NHL, clearly a change of scenery is in order. While his $3.3million cap his isn’t by itself that bad, hes the Bruins second highest paid defenseman, and currently has as many points as Shawn Thornton and has seen his powerplay time on ice go from  1:01 per game in 2010-11 to 0:09 per game this year.

Jay Bouwmeester:

Until the team finds a goaltender who can stop a beach ball, it doesn’t matter who is on the blueline. Bouwmeester is contributing at half a point per game, his highest level since arriving in Calgary. His contract is up after next season, and I can’t see him wanting to resign in Calgary, so the sooner he waives his no trade clause and get’s moving the sooner he can rebuild his market value an maybe not have to take an enormous pay cut in 2012-15, with luck he might win a cup a long the way.

Sam Gagner:

While he’s the surprise leader of the Oilers scoring race, he’s also due a new contract July 1. With the wealth of forward talent the team has and no chance of making the playoffs, Gagner might be the best trade piece the team has to acquire a solid, defensive minded top pairing defenseman or at least a couple very strong prospects.

Marc Staal:

When it comes to luck, if Marc didn’t have bad luck, he wouldn’t have any at all. Both his brothers have won a Stanley Cup and he hasn’t, one of them concussed him, and now he’s caught a puck with his brow. From the team standpoint, his time downchecked due to injury has left a great deal of space for other players to mature into. The Rangers have just 17 players signed for next season and only nine million to sign the six other roster spots something has to give, of the players who need a contract come July the first are Michael Sauer, Carl Hagelin, Ryan McDonaugh, and Derek Stepan, moving out Staal’s four million for a rasher of picks or prospects before the deadline or at the draft makes a lot of sense.