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Canes/Avs SCF, hand passes, and free agent targets

May 8, 2019, 3:37 PM ET [181 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT

Yes to all. I’m betting Rutherford’s motivation with this Malkin nonsense is to rattle his cage and try to motivate him. It’s such an unprofessional and dopey way of going about it, but that is what I think Rutherford is trying to accomplish.

Jack Johnson isn’t going anywhere because he isn’t perceived to be a problem. This general manager has a huge ego and while he is willing to trade away minor mistakes (losing value along the way) he is too head strong to admit failure on Jack Johnson this early in the contract.

Mike Sullivan will start the season as head coach. If the Penguins want to win the Stanley Cup they’ll fire him midway through the season.

I like Carolina’s chances for success. In fact, last time I looked they were the odds on favorite, but it might have changed after the Bruins locked up their ECF spot. Boston is a very good opponent, but I think the Hurricanes have the ability to handle an aggressive forecheck as shown in the Islanders series. Tuukka Rask has the ability to shut the door and the Hurricanes have a history of terrible shooting percentage so it leaves Carolina somewhat vulnerable. The Bruins can run over a lot of teams, but I don’t think Carolina is one of them. The Hurricanes xGF% is the best in the league and so is Boston’s. Should be a great series.

If Colorado can get by tonight in Game 7 they have a shot against the Blues. I had the Avalanche losing to Calgary and they demolished the Flames and have taken a Sharks team that got by an excellent Vegas team to seven games. The issue with the Avalanche is they can’t afford to have their top forwards go through a cold stretch. Nate MacKinnon is terrific and has had a great postseason so I’m not going to bet on him going cold if they get through the Sharks. I love how Cale Makar has stepped right in and provides the Avs some more dynamic play from the blue line. His pairing with Sam Girard has been really good. Young players with puck skills on the back end. This can only help the top forwards and also the depth. What a concept.

As for the IIHF World Championships I have no problem tuning in if it is convenient. The rosters are always all over the place, but there are great players who play every year. It would be nice to see Patric Hornqvist find a pulse, although I think somebody who went through the injuries he did this past year would sit this one out and get some rest. I’ll say this I want a phone notification for the next time Richard Panik has a penalty shot or a shootout attempt. Holy cow

I would be totally fine with hand passes in the other two zones. The only thing I can think of why the NHL does not want them is it provides a larger sample for a hand to be stepped on or slashed. The reason you can’t kick the puck in is because they are afraid of skate related injury. It’s funny they are so scared about those injuries, but are complicit in spreading CTE throughout their league.

I wrote about a couple of options a few weeks ago. Players I would keep an eye on are Tyler Ennis and Jason Pominville. These aren’t July 1 signings because chances are if they sign right away they are going to come above a comfortable AAV for the value you’ll get on the ice. If players like that slip then I think it is a great idea to strike. Penguins should really be trying to create four scoring lines.

As for money moving out Olli Maatta leads the way as a prime candidate. Phil Kessel is hovering as an option to be traded. The three that should be aggressively shopped are Jack Johnson, Erik Gudbranson, and Patric Hornqvist so that means they are probably safe.

Thanks for reading!
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