A Trade To Remember – NHL Week 2 Report

Ethan Yarbro

After two weeks of play, we are starting to see how the divisions will shape out and what teams are going to shine the most and those who will be left behind. We also have seen one of the most interesting trades between Winnipeg and Columbus, and the winner of the trade has yet to be seen. Teams have come back in to the discussion and some have folded in on themselves. So with two weeks behind us, let us look to the rest of the shortened season and see what teams are projected towards making it into the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The North Division

The North division has seen some shifting in the standings since week 1, but I feel like this is not a huge surprise for a huge part of the league. The Montreal Canadiens find themselves at the top of the division this week, and the emergence of Tyler Toffoli, who is sitting at 7th in the scoring leaders and has made a huge contribution to the offensive attack with 5 goals and 3 assists through 6 games. With Montreal moving to the top, we also see the Winnipeg Jets and the Edmonton Oilers both making the top 4 in the division. Winnipeg through 6 games is sitting at 6 wins and 2 losses with 8 points notched for them. Both Blake Wheeler, 3 goals and 5 assists, and Mark Scheffele, 3 goals and 6 assists, both in the top 10 of the scoring list, 5th and 9th respectively. With Patrik Laine leaving the team in a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets and the acquisition of Pierre-Luc Dubious, who won’t make his debut for 7 games, Winnipeg seems to have a footing in the division. Another strong player for the Jets is in their net minder Connor Hellebuyck, who is posting a .920 save percentage and a goal against average of 2.25 goals. With such a strong presence in the net for the Jets, and posting some great numbers in such an early stage of the season, the offense can focus on pushing the forecheck and worry less about easy shots making it into their net. Edmonton has been working their way back into the discussion of the division, and with Connor McDavid sitting at top of the scoring leaders with 4 goals and 6 assists and Leon Draistaistl sitting at 6th on the scoring leaders list with 3 goals and 6 assists. The Oilers also have Mikko Koskinen in their net who sits at 7th in the league and is posting a .907 save percentage and a goal against average of 3.18 goals. With a record under .500, Edmonton and their goalie are sitting in a very dangerous spot of doing something in this division. However, if they do not step up their game and McDavid and Draisaitl do not lead this team, the Oilers will slip and fall down into the trenches of the North Division. A team that has been in the discussion of the top teams in the league with 10 points and a record of 5 wins and 2 losses, the Toronto Maple Leafs are looking to be the team to beat in the division. With Mitch Marner stepping up and finding himself at 2nd on the scoring leaders list with 4 goals and 6 assists and with Frederik Andersen sitting at 8th in the top goalies in the league with a .898 save percentage and a goal against average of 2.81 goals, the Maple Leafs have strong points at both sides of the ice. The North division will seem to stay one of the more competitive teams, however, with only 3 teams sitting above .500 in the win column, it seems to be the weakest division at the latest. I believe the teams to watch for this week will be the Montreal Canadiens, to see how strong their hot streak is, and the Winnipeg Jets, who have played better hockey even without their top name player and who see to gain a strong offensive presence.

*Divisional Standings:

  1. Montreal Canadiens – 4-0-2, 10 pts
  2. Toronto Maple Leafs – 5-2, 10 pts
  3. Winnipeg Jets – 4-2, 8 pts
  4. Edmonton Oilers – 3-4, 6 pts
  5. Calgary Flames – 2-1-1, 5 pts
  6. Vancouver Canucks – 2-5, 4 pts
  7. Ottawa Senators – 1-3-1, 3 pts

The West Division

As one of the stronger divisions in this shortened season, the West division seems some strong competition between the teams. The Vegas Golden Knights are pitching some strong defensive games, as they sit at 5 wins and 1 loss and their top 2 players being high on the stats lists. Mark Stone is boasting a stat line of 2 goals and 6 assists and is sitting at the 11th spot on the scoring leaders list. The great Marc-Andre Fluery is sitting at the 2nd spot on the top goalie lists with .951 save percentage and a goal against average of only 1 goal, and it seems Vegas is becoming a solid fortress on defense while notching a few goals to give them the best record in the league. The Minnesota Wild seem like an interesting player in this division, showing a record of 4 wins and 2 losses through 6 games. With the team playing strong on both sides of the ice and seem to be a solid unit, Minnesota seems to be a team to fear in the long run. The St. Louis Blues and the Colorado Avalanche are the other two teams to be in the discussion of making it out of the division. The Blues’ net minder Jordan Binnington is posting a .913 save percentage and a goal against average of 2.53 goals, showing the league how to shut down the opposition’s forecheck. Colorado is always a contender, no matter what conference or division they are in. With arguably the best player in the league in Nathan McKinnon, Colorado posts a late half of the season threat to the rest of the West division. McKinnon is sitting at 12th on the scoring leaders list with 2 goals and 6 assists and seems to be taking a role-player position on the team. Another name for Colorado that shows up on the scoring leaders list is Mikko Rantanen at the 13th spot and is posting 5 goals and 2 assists. With Rantanen’s 5 goals, he sits tied for the most goals in the league and is posting a strong offensive presence in this year’s shortened season. Another important aspect for the West division is how the division is sitting at .500 in the win column, besides the Arizona Coyotes who seem to be struggling early on. I believe the teams to watch for in this division are Minnesota, with an interesting presence in the division, and Colorado, who have some of the strongest offensive lines in the league and have great depth as well. The West division is a strong conference, but unless Vegas is stopped, then it makes the remaining playoff spots more daunting.

Divisional Standings:

  1. Vegas Golden Knights – 5-1, 10 pts
  2. Minnesota Wild – 4-2, 8 pts
  3. St. Louis Blues – 3-2-1, 7 pts
  4. Colorado Avalanche – 3-3, 6 pts
  5. Los Angeles Kings – 2-2-2, 6 pts
  6. Anaheim Ducks – 2-2-2, 6 pts
  7. San Jose Sharks – 3-3, 6pts
  8. Arizona Coyotes – 2-3-1, 5 pts

The Central Division

The Central division is sinking into a weak position compared to the rest of the league with only 4 teams sitting over .500 in the win percentage column, and only two of them are in the top 4 of the conference. Being the top team of the division, Tampa Bay is still looking like one of the strongest teams in the league, and their defense of the Stanley Cup is off to a strong start. With some of the best depth in the league, it seems the strongest aspect of the Lighting is in their goalie, Andrei Vasilevskiy. Vasilevskiy is posting some great numbers, with a .920 save percentage and a goal against average of 2.24 goals. Tampa Bay is a strong and daunting team, even with Nikita Kucherov out due to surgery. The other team sitting above .500 in the top 4 in the division are the Western Conference defending Dallas Stars. With a late entry into this short season due to Covid Protocols, the Stars are looking to be on a war path with how they handled their first two games, with their opening game being a 7 goal game and a shutout. Joe Pavelski is sitting as one of the strongest players on the team, and even with some of their top liners out due to injury, the team is stepping up to put up goals and to be a tough presence on the ice. Another player for the Stars that is off to a fiery start is their tendie Anton Khudobin, who is sitting at 10th in the top goalies and is posting a .961 save percentage and a goal against average of only 1.oo goal. I have already said it in my Stars report, but this is a revenge tour for the Stars and they are proving to the league why they were such a monstrous force in the bubble. The Florida Panthers unfortunately had to postpone their games with Carolina due to Covid Protocols, so both teams are sitting at above .500 but are not apart of the top 4. The Nashville Predators have seen a hard decline during Week 2, as they were smoked by the Stars and lost a game to the Blue Jackets, and now they are sitting at 7th in the division. Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks seem to be the two teams with the biggest struggles in the division. Chicago’s problems with their goalies and having a hard time moving and keeping the puck during the forecheck. Detroit has been a weaker team, even with some added pieces during the offseason. The Columbus Blue Jackets are looking to improve during this season with a big trade with the Winnipeg Jets. The Blue Jackets will be receiving Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic and they will be losing Pierre-Luc Dubois and a third round pick in the 2022 draft*. It will be interesting to see how Laine and Roslovic fit on the team and how they will get along with the higher ups on the team. The West division is looking to improve and I believe the teams that will be players in the division will be are the Dallas Stars, a team out on a warpath and are looking to make their name a staple in the league, Florida, who strong play on the puck will help them gain a strong foothold in the division’s later half of the season, and Carolina, who have some of the best puck handlers on their offensive core and will be a big problem in division. The West division will be looking to push for a strong rest of the season, and it seems with the emergence of the Stars and the offensive strength of the Lighting, this division will become one of the most competitive divisions in this short season.

Divisional Standings:

  1. Tampa Bay Lighting – 3-1, 6 pts
  2. Columbus Blue Jackets – 2-2-2, 6 pts
  3. Chicago Blackhawks – 2-3-1, 5 pts
  4. Dallas Stars – 2-0, 4 pts
  5. Florida Panthers – 2-0, 4 pts
  6. Carolina Hurricanes – 2-1, 4 pts
  7. Nashville Predators – 2-3, 4 pts
  8. Detroit Red Wings – 2-4, 4 pts

The East Division

As the most competitive division in the league at the moment, the East is posting some big numbers. Even though their top team sit outside the top of the league, the East is still one of the more terrifying divisions. The top 4 spots are probably going to change every week, but I believe the team that will always be in the running for a playoff spot will be the Washington Capitals. Nicklas Bäckström is the becoming a frontrunner for the team, as he sits at the 15th spot on the scoring leaders list with 4 goals and 3 assists through 6 games. Washington is only struggling due to the issues of Covid for some of their players, including Alexander Ovechkin. But once the team becomes healthy, expect them to be a strong contender to due some damage in the playoffs. Another strong presence in the division is of course the Pittsburgh Penguins, who sit at 4 wins and 2 losses through their 6 games this year. With Sydney Crosby still the captain, the Penguins will always be a threat to rest of the league, however they have strong on stopping second chance opportunities and are lacking on the power play. However, I do not believe they are the strongest team in Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia Flyers are a strong opposition in the East division, and with how they have been playing, they will look to clinch one of those 4 spots to make it to the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Flyers have a lot to compete with though, especially when it comes to the Boston Bruins and the New York Islanders. I don’t fully expect New Jersey to keep up with the top 4 teams in the division, as they are not the most terrifying presence on the ice, however I could be completely wrong. I do know that Boston and the Islanders will be interesting players in this competitive division. I would like to believe that Buffalo and the Rangers could be strong competition for the rest of the division but I don’t see them making a strong enough push, especially with how they have struggling so far this early. With how competitive this division is, the teams I believe to be the most interesting to watch will be Boston, Philadelphia, and the New York Islanders, I expect them to all be in the running for one of those 4 spots to the playoffs.

Divisional Standings:

  1. Washington Capitals – 3-0-3, 9 pts
  2. Pittsburgh Penguins – 4-2, 8 pts
  3. New Jersey Devils – 3-1-1, 7 pts
  4. Boston Bruins – 3-1-1, 7 pts
  5. Philadelphia Flyers – 3-2-1, 7 pts
  6. New York Islanders – 3-2, 6 pts
  7. Buffalo Sabres – 2-3-1, 5 pts
  8. New York Rangers – 1-3-1, 3 pts

(Wins, Losses, Overtime/Shootout Losses)

As the third week of this NHL season comes to a start with Ottawa playing the Canucks at 10 pm ET, I expect to not see much of a change in certain divisions, such as the North and the West, but expect the Central and the East standings to be moving around during this week and even in the foreseeable future. Keep an eye out for Toronto and Montreal to keep their hats in the ring and for them to keep some position in the top 4 teams in the North. I expect Vegas to stay in the top 2 spots in the West division, but watch for Colorado and St. Louis to put up some numbers to keep themselves in the top 4 spots in their division. The Stars and the Lighting will probably be the biggest contenders in their division, and I expect Florida and Carolina to throw their names in the top of the Central division. Finally, keep an eye on the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers to be looking for a way into the top 4 spots in the East division. Let’s hope some strong games and some great plays this week, and make sure to come back next week to see the Week 3 report.

**NHL Scoring Leaders:

  1. Connor McDavid, EDM – 4 G, 6 A, 10 P
  2. Mitchell Marner, TOR – 4 G, 6 A, 10 P
  3. Anze Kopitar, LAK – 1 G, 9 A, 10 P
  4. Kyle Connor, WPG – 4 G, 5 A, 9 P
  5. Mark Scheffele, WPG – 3 G, 6 A, 9 P
  6. Leon Draisaitl, EDM – 3 G, 6 A, 9 P
  7. Tyler Toffoli, MTL – 5 G, 3 A, 8 P
  8. Bo Horvat, VAN – 5 G, 3 A, 8 P
  9. Blake Wheeler, WPG – 3 G, 5 A, 8 P
  10. Kevin Hayes, PHI – 3 G, 5 A, 8 P
  11. Mark Stone, VGK – 2 G, 6 A, 8 P
  12. Nathan MacKinnon, COL – 2 G, 6 A, 8 P
  13. Mikko Rantanen, COL – 5 G, 2 A, 7 P
  14. Travis Konency, PHI – 5 G, 2 A, 7 P
  15. Nicklas Bäckström, WSH – 4 G, 3 A, 7 P

(Goals, Assists, Points)

 

***Goalie Leaders:

  1. Semyon Varlamov, NYI – 3-0, .988 SV%, 0.33 GAA
  2. Marc-Andre Fluery, VGK – 3-0, .951 SV%, 1.00 GAA
  3. Philipp Grubauer, COL – 3-2, .923 SV%, 2.01 GAA
  4. Connor Hellebuyck, WPG – 3-1, .920 SV%, 2.25 GAA
  5. Andrei Vasilevskiy, TBL – 3-1, .920 SV%, 2.24 GAA
  6. Jordan Binnington, STL – 3-1, .913 SV%, 2.53 GAA
  7. Mikko Koskinen, EDM – 3-4, .907 SV%, 3.18 GAA
  8. Frederik Andersen, TOR – 3-2, .898 SV%, 2.81 GAA
  9. Martin Jones, SJS – 3-1, .894 SV%, 3.06 GAA
  10. Anton Khudobin, DAL – 2-0, .961 SV%, 1.oo GAA

(Record, Save Percentage, Goals Against Average)

 

 

*Columbus-Winnipeg Trade/USAToday.com/https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nhl/2021/01/23/pierre-luc-dubois-traded-columbus-blue-jackets-winnipeg-jets/6686111002/

*NHL Hockey Standings/NHL.com/https://www.nhl.com/standings/2020/division

**2020-2021 NHL Scoring Leaders/QuantHockey.com/https://www.quanthockey.com/nhl/seasons/2020-21-nhl-players-stats.html

***NHL Stats/NHL.com/https://www.nhl.com/stats/goalies

Photo Creds: Power Rankings 2020-21: Week 2/NBCSports.com/https://www.nbcsports.com/chicago/blackhawks/nhl-power-rankings-2020-21-week-2-standings-all-31-teams

 

Share This!
Next Post

Is there anything Jordan can't do? His boat wins Sailfish Tourney

As if Air Jordan did not have enough trophies, he is now king of the water Jordan. According to CBS, his boat, Catch 23 — an 80-foot, $8 million convertible Viking sportfishing yacht — won its first sailfish tournament at the 57th Buccaneer in North Palm Beach, Fla. No Title […]