Any way you slice it, the NHL is a copycat league. Suffice it to say, everyone wants to be the next St. Louis Blues.
A year to the day that the defending Cup Champions bid farewell to Mike Yeo and hired Craig Berube, the Maple Leafs canned Mike Babcock and brought in Sheldon Keefe.
Will that lead to success, however, is the big-time question. I can tell you that last season it didn’t, depending on who you ask, of course. Of the seven coaching causalities, only one team made the playoffs and well, yeah, you know the rest of the story.
|Team||Coach out (Date of firing)||Record||Coach in||Record|
|Kings||John Stevens (Nov. 4)||4-8-1||Willie Desjardins||27-34-8|
|Blackhawks||Joel Quenneville (Nov. 6)||6-6-3||Jeremy Colliton||30-28-9|
|Blues||Mike Yeo (Nov. 19)||7-9-3||Craig Berube||38-19-6|
|Oilers||Todd McLellan (Nov. 20)||9-10-1||Ken Hitchcock||26-28-8|
|Flyers||Dave Hakstol (Dec. 17)||12-15-4||Scott Gordon||25-22-4|
|Ducks||Randy Carlyle (Feb. 10)||21-26-9||Bob Murray, GM||14-11-1|
|Senators||Guy Boucher (March 1)||22-37-5||Marc Crawford||7-10-1|
Now, the attention when it comes to the bench boss bonanza shifts elsewhere. There are plenty of underachieving teams around the league right now.
1. One last thought on Toronto – trade for Frederik Andersen immediately. Now two-for-two in the Keefe era, the Leafs are primed for a hot streak. Set yourself up.
2. Keep close tabs on Predators backup Juuse Saros. With the continued struggles of veteran Pekka Rinne, the time could be nigh for the 24-year-old Saros to finally grab the reigns in the Nashville crease. He’s made an appearance in seven of the last nine games. Grab him!
3. Speaking of Music City, aside from Roman Josi, there’s tons of buy-low opportunity there right now. Filip Forsberg should be atop your shopping list. If healthy, Viktor Arvidsson is a solid target too.
4. Flames general manager Brad Treliving calling himself out in the media was quite entertaining; probably not for him, but still. Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan are two very juicy trade options right now. I’m buying.
5. I’m selling on Sergei Bobrovsky. Save for a couple games, he hasn’t been an elite goalie for a year and a half now. His numbers will obviously improve but, by how much is my question? Given his name brand, he won’t be tough to trade for fair value. Move on.
6. Shout out to D.J. Smith in Ottawa. He’s done a tremendous job. Not to rain on the parade but, there’s no way this is sustainable, especially when it comes to Jean-Gabriel Pageau or Anders Nilsson. Maximize value and deal them as you can.
7. Staying with the Senators, Brady Tkachuk and Thomas Chabot are two quality files to go after right now. Both have been inconsistent so far, but I’m confident that will soon change. Get ahead of the surge!
8. Go all-in on acquiring Brayden Point. After a slow start, by his standards, the 23-year-old is starting to cook. Don’t forget, most of Point’s offseason was spent recovering from hip surgery. He’s a fantasy monster.
9. Now that he’s back and healthy, it’s time to time to execute a buy-low move on John Klingberg. The 27-year-old picked up an assist in his return to the Stars’ lineup on Saturday night. He shouldn’t cost you much, either.
10. There are plenty of interesting blue line options to check out in Pittsburgh now that Justin Schultz has joined Kris Letang on the infirmary. Marcus Pettersson was promoted to the first power play unit. Meantime, Brian Dumoulin and John Marino have provided sneaky value lately.
Elsewhere, Filip Hronek, Vince Dunn and/or Sami Vatanen could be worth a shot too.
11. Vatanen, by the way, continues to be the lone defender utilized on New Jersey’s top power-play unit. Yes, P.K. Subban is healthy but he’s been extremely ineffective, to say the least. For what it’s worth, I’d a take a stab at buying low on Subban. This lack of production can’t continue, or can it? I’d hope not.
12. To be fair, the Devils, in general, have been a train wreck so far. They’re another one of those perplexing teams right now. Whatever, who doesn’t like bargain pricing? Try your hand at attaining Taylor Hall, Jack Hughes and Kyle Palmieri.
13. Tough go for San Jose losing Tomas Hertl. Hopefully he’s back soon because he was playing terrific. With those developments, Kevin Labanc’s value should sky-rocket again. Let’s see if he can finally get going.
14. Looking for an Anthony Mantha sub? Internally, Andreas Athanasiou and Brendan Perlini could fit the bill.
Externally, Bryan Rust, James van Riemsdyk and Blake Coleman should be on your radar.
15. There’s nothing cold about Morgan Frost. The Flyers rookie deserves your unwavering attention at the moment. He has two goals and one assist through his first three NHL games. He’s currently centring Philadelphia’s number-one line alongside Claude Giroux and Travis Konecny. Value!
16. Speaking of freshmen, keep a keen eye on Blues forward Klim Kostin. The 20-year-old potted his first NHL tally on Saturday night and that could just be the beginning. With Sammy Blais out long-term, Kostin should get a legitimate shot to stick in St. Louis full-time. We’ll see.
17. On the heels of being a healthy scratch, I’m curious to see how Shayne Gostisbehere fares next times he’s in the Flyers’ lineup. That’s a sneaky daily fantasy play if I’ve ever seen one. If he doesn’t wake up soon, a trade out of Philly may be in order. Monitor closely.
18. Just my gut feeling, but the pendulum is starting to swing back in the favour of Jacob Trouba on the Ranger back end. Sell-high on Anthony DeAngelo and try to trade for Trouba as quickly as possible.
19. Hope you’re ready for a busy week of NHL action! There are 54 games in total. Everyone’s busy except for Florida. Stay away from the Panthers, they play just twice.
20. In total, 16-teams have four-game weeks (BOS, BUF, CBJ, DAL, LAK, MIN, MTL NSH, NYR, OTT, PHI, PIT, SJS, STL, TBL & VAN). Of those squads, I’ve circled three specific teams to zone in on:
Montreal Canadiens: Tues (BOS), Thurs (NJD), Sat (PHI), Sun (@BOS)
Waiver Looks: Nick Suzuki (6 per cent), Jesperi Kotkaniemi (6 per cent)
SN Fantasy Pool: Carey Price (4), Shea Weber (3), Tomas Tatar (2)
New Jersey Devils: Tues (MIN), Thurs (@MTL), Sat (NYR)
Waiver Looks: Wayne Simmonds (32 per cent), Blake Coleman (30 per cent)
SN Fantasy Pool: Taylor Hall (3), Mackenzie Blackwood (3), P.K. Subban (2)
Dallas Stars: Mon (VGK), Tues (@CHI), Fri (STL), Sun (@MIN)
Waiver Looks: Corey Perry (4 per cent), Denis Gurianov (3 per cent)
SN Fantasy Pool: Ben Bishop (3), Tyler Seguin (3), Jamie Benn (3)