The NHL only added the Seattle Kraken, but it seems as if we've reached the point where there is almost too much hockey news to comprehend. Here are 25 random thoughts heading into Thursday's action:
Hearing Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has been looking for some time to land a veteran defenseman. 2. TV analysts Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Chris Chelios have an overflowing amount of hockey knowledge. They need some coaching to get it out of them on the broadcasts. 3. Still believe Vegas is the right fit for Jack Eichel. 4. The Red Wings are losing about 1,000 fans per game because Canadians can’t come across the border. Buffalo is presumably losing a lot more. 5. The Florida Panthers, at +1500, and the Carolina Hurricanes, at +2000, look like the best value bets to win the Cup.
6. Rookie defenseman Moritz Seider is averaging 21:34 minutes of playing time in his first three NHL games. “He’s earned those minutes,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. The other rookie D man playing 20 or more is Nashville’s Alexandre Carrier. 7. Sam Bennett has nine goals and nine assists in his first 13 games with the Panthers. What’s that say about the Calgary Flames organization? 8. How can Tampa Bay defenseman Mikhail Sergachev be -8 after four games? 9. Still think Rick Tocchet deserves an NHL coaching job. 10. It felt as if Evander Kane’s 21-game suspension for falsifying a vaccination card included a little extra for other indiscretions.
11. If Patrik Laine plays well this season, don’t rule that he could end up signing an extension with Columbus. 12. Bill Zito has made a handful of exceptional moves since becoming general manager in Florida, but the Bennett and Sam Reinhart acquisitions are the two I like the most; 13. Contenders are probably already pondering how to fit Mark Giordano into their salary cap at the trade deadline. He’s going to be one of the more coveted players. 14. The Ottawa Senators should be calling about Vitaly Kravtsov. Would fit into their group; 15. Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports the possibility of the Blackhawks and Rangers talking about Dylan Strome. He is being scratched by the Blackhawks.
16. Lost in the Buffalo-Jack Eichel drama is the negative impact his injury will have on the U.S. Olympic squad. Before last season’s injury plagued season, the Americans were happy to think about a one-two center combination of Auston Matthews and Eichel. 17. Red Wings prospect Joe Veleno has three goals in his first two games in the American League.He played well in preseason. Veleno will be up with the big club when there’s an injury. 18. As much as I understand why Arizona has to be in the Central Division, it just seems illogical not to have Arizona in a division with Las Vegas and the southern California teams. 19. The Los Angeles Kings might be a good fit for Phil Kessel. 20. If Washington and Pittsburgh refuse to take a step backwards this season, the Metropolitan Division playoff teams are going to be decided on the final day of the season. There’s something to like about every one of those Metro teams, including Columbus. Big fan of goalie Elvin Merzlikins.
21. Tyler Bertuzzi was limited to nine games last season because of a back injury. If you take those nine games and add in this season’s three Red Wings’ games, he has 10 goals in his last 12 games; 22. One of the best under-the-radar trades of the offseason was the Devils picking up Ryan Graves for Mikhail Maltsev and a second round pick. In two games this season, Graves has three assists and is +7; 23. One possible U.S. Olympic Line combination: the Tkachuk brothers centered by Dylan Larkin. Could see Matthews playing with Patrick Kane. 24, Ryan Ellis may have his best statistical season in his first season with the Flyers. He seems like such a good fit in Philadelphia's attacking scheme.
25. People in the hockey world believe the Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois has run out of salary cap tricks. Don’t see that at all. The Lightning are going to push all in to make a run at a third consecutive Cup. BriseBois will be moving pieces around at the trade deadline. Count on it.