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NHL Thoughts : Some Early Surprises

November 27, 2018, 11:33 AM ET [1 Comments]
Adam French
There have been a few fun surprises this year...so here are a few...I guess.

Stromeagedon – Two Strome brothers traded in the same season and Hextall fired? I think I found the smoking gun as to what organizational differences they had. He clearly didn’t get Holmgren’s message of “trade all the Strome’s!” It’s just staggering. Especially Dylan. When he was drafted it looked like a perfect fit. The Coyotes needed a centre and the Western Conference has always historically loved their “size.” Strome fit the bill. He paid his dues in junior torching the league. He clearly wasn’t ready last year, but paid his dues in the AHL torching that league. He comes up this year and is plugged into the bottom-six with limited minutes. Then, in an instant, he was traded. Very strange.

I wrote a blog a year and a half or so ago asking the question on “which is the most disappointing hockey family?” The candidates at the time were the Strome’s, the Reinhart’s and the McLeod’s. Ryan Strome has been putting up some points since his move, but the quick trading of these extremely highly hyped players has to be concerning. I’m still leaning Reinhart as Sam has turned himself around this last season and a quarter. His brothers are AHL fodder though, so that weighs them down.

Tom Wilson for MVP? – So…it’s early and he hasn’t played a lot of games…but would you have guessed Tom Freaking Wilson would be sitting pretty in 3rd place in the PPG race? He played very well and showed some signs of growth during the playoffs. Maybe hinting at a move to becoming the next Lucic (when he was good). Yet somewhere between being a predatory idiot nearing his last chance and learning the value of money, he suddenly turned into Jamie Benn. A lot of his points last year were a result of being a hard working foil for his more talented linemates. This year? He’s making Backstrom level passes and blowing past people like Grabner. 6 goals and 12 points in just 8 games. Insanity.

A long time ago, in an interwebs far far away, a blogger named Brian Huddle made a bold claim that Tom Wilson would one day be a 20 goal man and a premier power forward. This was during his draft year where Wilson scored 27…points…in the OHL. I won’t lie. I laughed at my Wendy’s loving amigo at the time…and going forward…until last year’s playoffs. Whether this is just a nice run of good luck and strong play or if this is Wilson finally figuring out his true destiny is something we’ll find out later. This has been a huge surprise. If you have him on your fantasy team, I tip my cap to you.

RFA Nightmares – Hands up if you had Rantanen leading the league in points 23 games in? I’ll wait. Marner at 4? Point at 6? Tkachuk at 16? Laine leading in goals? Matthews in the shoulder repair chamber from Starship Troopers? McAvoy and Werenski? Why does it matter? Well they’re all RFA’s. As the media is fellating themselves in their drama dripping dilemma surrounding William Nylander, just imagine the disgusting denigration we will see this offseason? This has to be the best group of RFA’s in years. It’s nuts. Will we finally see some of the fabled offer sheets of lore? Check this list of Restricted Free Agents.

Auston Matthews, C, TOR
Patrik Laine, RW, WPG
Mitchell Marner, RW, TOR
Sebastian Aho, C/LW/RW, CAR
Mikko Rantanen, RW, COL
Matthew Tkachuk, LW, CGY
Brock Boeser, RW, VAN
William Karlsson, C/LW, VGK
Kyle Connor, LW, WPG
Brayden Point, C, TBL
Teuvo Teravainen, LW/RW, CAR
Jake Guentzel, LW, PIT
Timo Meier, LW/RW, SJS
Travis Konecny, W, PHI
Nick Schmaltz, C/W, ARI
Kevin Fiala, W, NSH
Anthony Beauvillier, C/LW, NYI
Pavel Buchnevich, RW, NYR
J.T. Compher, LW, COL
Charlie McAvoy, D, BOS
Zach Werenski, D, CBJ
Ivan Provorov, D, PHI
Will Butcher, D, NJD
Jacob Trouba, D, WPG
Esa Lindell, D, DAL
Neal Pionk, D, NYR

Brutal. I can’t wait to see how this all plays out. So many teams need to re-up big pieces and so many are slammed right against the cap as it is with UFA's to think about. Finally we will get to have Auston Matthews move to his hometown team after a $15 million dollar a year offer sheet.

Thanks for reading.
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