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Underrated aspect for GM's/coaches, new divisions, 2019-20 front runners

July 12, 2019, 11:29 AM ET [161 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Here are some of the leftover questions I had from earlier in the week.

Variance. There’s an absurd amount of puck luck and reliance on goalie voodoo that can undo the best laid plans in the sport. David Poile has done pretty decent work for quite a long time and he doesn’t have a Stanley Cup to show for it. Bruce Boudreau has some of the best positive impacts a coach can have, but either his own goalies abandoned him in Game 7’s or the opposition goalies were out of this world (Halak). Not understanding the concept of a hot goalie derailed the Capitals for years and they probably could have more than one Stanley Cup in the Ovechkin era if not for the overreaction.

This cuts the other way as well. There are many decisions made in this league based on the randomness of the sport and send teams down a wrong path. I happen to cover one of those teams. Marc-Andre Fleury tanked some really good Penguins teams for a number of years. The 2011-12 team was the best of the bunch.

This is why being process based is a must and should be the focus. You can do things right and be unlucky. I think GM’s and coaches in those situations deserve the benefit of the doubt.

Tough to go against Tampa Bay even with their brutal performance this past year. Losing JT Miller isn’t a make or break thing, but he’s a solid player and his cap savings is just going to be pushed to a new Brayden Point signing. With Andrei Vasilevskiy, Anthony Cirelli, and Mikhail Sergachev all due for raises next year the 2019-20 season may be their best and last chance at this thing.

For 2019-20 I like both Boston and Toronto. The Maple Leafs have better puck movers on the back end which will pay dividends for the forwards. Mike Babcock is being given less and less bad options to play so that should keep him in check. I think the Marner situation will resolve itself and the Leafs will have a very strong roster.

As for the west it really depends on what Vegas does with Nikita Gusev. Do they sell him off for beans because they felt the need to pay Ryan Reaves and Cody Eakins 6.625M combined? Cutting the dead weight and keeping Gusev would keep this team humming along strong in a weak division. We’ll see.

I’m pretty bullish on the Colorado Avalanche. They have one of the absolute best lines in hockey and now they have some offensive support behind them with the additions of Nazem Kadri, Joonas Donskoi, and Andrei Burakovsky. They traded from an area of strength to shore up a weakness. I could say the same for Nashville who made room for Matt Duchene by trading away PK Subban. Duchene gives them a legit center option after Kyle Turris fell off a cliff. I still think the Predators have a good run left in them. Naturally, they’ll probably face the Avalanche first so one of these two teams will be done in the first round.

No need to rename the divisions because I wouldn’t have any. Eastern Conference and Western Conference is all you need. We have really nice airplanes in the year 2019 so there really isn’t a dire need for geographical divisions like there used to be. Balance the schedule and have the top eight teams make the playoffs.

Also, top seeds pick opponents

Does PF Changs have good bread?

I may be critical of Jack Johnson’s on-ice play, but that’s business and isn’t personal. This is an easy choice.

Thanks for reading!
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