So we’re on the cusp of a brand new season, and we’re in a state of limbo between the old tyrant moving on and the new supreme overlord taking over at AC head quarters. It feels like there is a little bit of time where the inmates can run the asylum, before the usual programming of previews for the forwards, defence, goaltending, and coaches kicks into gear. There were even rumours of Anaheim Calling, becoming Anaheim Calling Jokerit, of which there were no complaints, since Finns are the best and we all know this.
He’s gone! The boss is gone! ANARACHY THERE ARE NO RULES ANAHEIM CALLING IS NOW A JOKERIT BLOG https://t.co/tGuIgjEAoH— CJ Woodling (@CJWoodling) September 5, 2018
So with that said, I wanted to throw some questions to the holdover staff from last season (we are hiring new staff right? RIGHT? Please don't make me do work, my back still hurts from JC riding me), and start a little bit of discussion, and maybe even some buzz, about the upcoming season.
First up, what are you most looking forward to this season? Don't give me a soft answer like “Ducks hockey,” be specific. Is it watching the players watch John Gibson play hockey? The new (Sharks) jerseys? Troy Terry taking Andrew Cogliano’s LW spot on the second line?
JAKE: “Ducks Hockey”.... Fine Benny, I will give a real answer. How about I am looking forward to the eventual beginning of the Dallas Eakins era with the Ducks? It can’t be a pipe dream you say. Well fine here is my real answer: I am actually really looking forward to seeing how the young guys are implemented into this lineup. As someone on the front lines of the Troy Terry fandom, I am really excited to see if both he and Sam Steel can impress enough in training camp to warrant a roster spot, and if they do where in the lineup do they sit. I also think one of the spots on the back end will go to either Jacob Larsson or Marcus Pettersson. It is going to be a battle between the two in training camp for who gets that spot and it should be exciting to watch. Once that has been determined, where do they slide in. Do they split up Fowler-Montour and Lindholm-Manson to try something new or go with the ole reliable? In a weird way, I am most excited for the unknowns this season can bring, both good and bad.
JOHN: I am really excited for this season, for the first time in 2 years the Ducks will be starting the season with a (near) healthy and full roster. As oppressed to this time last year - when we were worried about how long each guy would be out and who would replace them, or the year before with the Rakell and Lindholm mini holdouts. This year the worry is around who should be in the line-up and who misses out. A much better problem to have in my opinion. It is also the first year we have had real excitement surrounding the talent shift to the youth movement. Kase was not expected to do what he did last season; Imagine what Terry or Steel could do? Selfishly I am also BEYOND excited for this Gulls season, what with the new AHL TV app and all of the talent the now overflowing roster has. It is going to be a fun year.
JUSTIN: As someone who is skeptical about the Ducks’ ability to contend this year — and I don’t think I’m alone — most of my excitement revolves around the ability to reflect on a very successful 25 years of Ducks hockey. Paul Kariya and Scott Niedermayer are part of two very distinct eras of Ducks hockey, and it’ll be fun to see No. 9 and No. 27 join Teemu Selanne’s No. 8 in the rafters. Kariya in particular, because of what he meant to me as a young hockey fan and the fact that I had legitimate concerns he would never be fully embraced by the Ducks organization again. The fact that Kariya’s No. 9 will be retired Oct. 21 against the Buffalo Sabres, the only team I ever saw Kariya play against in person (I’m from western New York), seems so appropriate.
Benny: I suppose I should answer my own questions hey? My biggest point of interest will be what direction the Ducks take with this team. Firstly will they make systemic changes, but secondly what personnel changes might be made through the year. I’ve been very outspoken about believing the Ducks cup window is closed and I’m curious what they’ll put in place to look for a win in the future. I don’t believe the same system with different players will do it, not do I believe these same players can win one with a different system. I’m curious to see whether Murray agree’s with me, and begins to change the roster and overhaul the way they play, or if the Ducks continue going as they have.
Who, if anyone, are you expecting a big change in performance out of this season on the Ducks? Feel free to answer as a positive or negative change, or even both. Is Corey Perry having a bounce back? Is Ondrej Kase going to hit 30? Is Ryan Getzlaf going to forget that he’s Ryan Getzlaf and you’re not? Your hot take can be as bad as Jake’s ranking of things, but let’s put them out there for the people.
JAKE: Benny I have you know my rankings are well thought out and meant to create a very fun dialogue...but ya they are mainly there for me to provide the takes!!! (Speaking of which, Rankings will be back this season with a vengeance!) Oh ya I should probably mention the person I am picking. Lets go with Brandon Montour. Montour was a guy who played the majority of his minutes with Francois Beauchemin last season, and while with Beauch recorded a 48.19 CF%. As the season started to move on, Carlyle made a smart move and pulled Montour away from Beauch and went for a more high risk/high reward pairing by putting him Fowler. This pairing began to flourish, posting a 52 CF%, 65 GF%, and a 52 SCF%. If this pairing does continue to be used, I am excited to see the impact that this could have on Montour’s point totals.
JOHN: It is time to get back on the bandwagon fellas because the Kevin Roy express is-a-comin! I liked what I saw of him in his call-up last season and even though he seemed to have some personality issues toward the end of the year; the fact that he took a pay-cut on the AHL side of his new deal is proof that the kid is going to do all that it takes to get a spot on the Ducks this year and stay there. If Ritchie holds out for any length of time - I can see Roy taking his spot and going on a tear. Remember kids - if you need to loosen up the defense, slap on some K-Roy (TM).
JUSTIN: Jakob Silfverberg has been and continues to be an underappreciated player on this roster. In a contract year and possibly without Ryan Kesler for a chunk of the season, there is no better time for Silfverberg to break out as an offensive player. Remember, it wasn’t too long ago that his own linemate, Andrew Cogliano, said Silfverberg is a potential 30-goal scorer if things break the right way. What better time, especially since he’s a desirable trade candidate, to boost Silfverberg’s value as a scorer. It just comes down to opportunity here.
Benny: Nick Ritchie. Yep I’m calling it early. And I know he’s still unsigned, days away from camp opening. But Nick Ritchie is going to blow minds this season. He’ll probably still look lost on the ice, and somewhat inept creating his own shot. But I’m going to be he looks hungry and he’s going to go after the puck like its a donut. Jokes aside, A lot of players seem to get a bump in shot metrics playing with Ritchie, so im going to bank on that translating to something a little more efficient on the offensive end. I’m also a big believer in his shot. My suggestion is to sit him in Ovies office on the power play - a move that mitigates his inability to follow the puck, and prevents him from being responsible defensively. All he has to do is sit there and tee off when he gets the shot. Due to being … underwhelming, its likely he gets a bit of space and time. He has a hard shot, so if it gets on net its either going in or its going to create rebound (and given goals are scored on something like 24% of rebounds, that’s a win win). If he scores enough, teams will key onto him, and be forced to give the real scorers such as Rickard Rakell a little more space to work.
More than anything, I’d like to see if they can eek some value out of a former top 10 pick before discarding him. He hasn’t really been given power play time, at least on the top unit with actual hockey players, and I think that change could really turn his career trajectory around. I’m buying in hard on Ritchie this season. He’s my boy...blue.
Will Ryan Kesler play for the Ducks this season? If so, how many games are you predicting, and how will he fair compared to last seasons results?
JAKE: My gut tells me yes and it will end up around 20 games, but I really hope my gut is wrong. Kesler is a guy that we could all see was not at 100% last season and both the team and the player suffered for it. If I was in the management group of the Ducks, I would sit down with him and make it clear that he is not getting back into a game if he is not 100% healthy.
JOHN: 65 games? This is an unfair questions because he either goes, realizes he cant hack it and retires, toughs it out for the entire season and misses the odd back-to-back or is completely back to normal and lasts the distance missing the odd maintenance day.
Benny: Sure, but what a boring answer. He might play or he might not? Commit man! Kesler believed in something strong enough to sit on a puck, what do you believe in?
John: I believe in you drinking a terrible warm beer.
Jake: Release the footage!
Benny: I just don't want it attached my personal twitter. Its ready to go!
JUSTIN: Will he? Yes. Should he? No. Kesler is the antithesis of the type of hockey the Ducks need to play to be successful in the NHL in 2018. And he’s old. And he’s coming off a significant injury.
Benny: I think he plays exactly 68 games. 68, because it wont be as fun as 69, and he’ll owe them one. But quite frankly I didn’t think he played that differently last season to the season previously. Just a difference in shooting percentage, and little less grit on the sandpaper. With that said, I expect his points to climb back up this season. Not to the 50 Ducks fans might be accustomed to, but certainly more than former Duck and elite #1 centre Derek Grant.
The Ducks recently had their prospect pool ranked in the mid 20’s from a highly respected hockey person. In addition they had 4 prospects ranked in the top 100, and none ranked higher than 35th. Do you agree with this view point, and how do you picture the prospect pool overall?
JAKE: I think the overall system rating is probably fair, but as others have stated is probably indicative of where the team has been picking over the last few seasons. I also believe the amount in the top 100 is fair and also should not be viewed as a negative. With their being 31 teams in the league the average number of prospects per team on this list would be slightly greater than 3, meaning the Ducks had more prospects than average on this list. I also do agree with none of the prospects being in the top 30. Even though I love what guys like Troy Terry and Sam Steel bring to the table, neither project to be top line game changers.
JOHN: I think it is relatively fair but I also don’t entirely agree with how the Ducks farm system is placed relative to other clubs. It is understandable they haven't had many higher picks due to their consistent playoffs-or-higher finishes but with the selections they have made - more often than not the results are exceeding expectations. The “respected hockey person” based their initial results based off watching the players in action among their peers in various leagues but their thoughts are only an opinion and not necessarily based on present day results. The recent rookie tournament results are proof of that - where the higher ranked Martin Kaut was vastly outplayed by the lower ranked Isac Lundestrom.
Benny: Personally I think this ranking seems about right. The Ducks have been one of the top 10 teams in each of the past 6-7 seasons, so a ranking that places them as having the ~7th weakest prospect pool now, is a sign of the salary cap and draft era at work. This is largely made easier, given the Ducks rarely trade picks, and if they do, its because they have acquired another pick in a similar range, and thus a similar enough result can be expected. Those that can remember back will recall both Kyle and my self wrote articles looking into Bob Murrays draft record over the past 10 seasons. The results of which showed that he did well with his picks in the first two rounds, but often missed with picks in each of the rounds after that. Big ticket items such as Josh Manson look amazing, and are amazing, but it would be neglectful to forget that most teams have similarly picked up star players in the late rounds as well (i.e. Mark Stone, Joe Pavelski) over the journey. That is to say that Murray’s Ducks haven’t made many missteps to be notable, but neither have they lived up to their hype as incredible drafters. They’ve had largely average results for games played and goals/points scored over the past decade. Average results at the draft, which are reflected in the current prospect ranking. That is to say, the Ducks are where they are expected to be.
As a follow on from the last question, are there any “prospects” that you think will get a legitimate shot (greater than 60 games) on the Ducks this season, and how do you think they’ll hold up?
JAKE: I think Sam Steel and Troy Terry do get legitimate shots this season as do Pettersson and Larsson. The Ducks went out of their way to sign Terry early to get him to be a Duck and you have Todd Marchant, the Ducks Director of Player Development, saying “He’ll be given every chance to make this team out of camp,” to Eric Stephens of the Athletic. To me, that means there is a strong chance he is going to have an opening night roster spot. On Steel, a lot hinges on Ryan Kesler’s health. If he is out for an extended period of time, I could see Sam Steel taking on that 3rd line center role for a while and thriving in it. On the two defenseman, there is a left handed spot open on the roster and one of them will be taking it. I do want to mention one prospect that might win a chance to start the season with the team, but eventually get sent back to Drummondville, and that is Maxime Comtois. This is a guy that checks a lot of the boxes for the Ducks. He is a strong two way player that also is very quick. Even if he does not make the roster, this is a guy I will be keeping an eye on in the QMJHL.
JOHN: As per my “player that will surprise” answer - I think Roy will get time on the LW and take Ritchie’s spot should he hold out. Terry is all but confirmed and given how strong he was at the rookie tournament - he should hit the ground running no matter where in the line-up they elect to put him. Steel I think they keep with the Gulls to get his feet wet and give him more ice-time, he and Kossila will be the first up for injury cover for the center position. Pettersson has that 3rd pairing spot down and will keep it for the year barring injury; Larsson didn't look quite good enough at the rookie tournament but I am confident in his ability to progress - he should continue the strong play he was displaying toward the end of last year with the Gulls. Darkhorse players we may also see should the injury bug hit the team hard - Keifer Sherwood and Jack Kopacka looked very good at the rookie tournament and look likely to have very good seasons.
Benny: Yes and no. I think there will be a couple (Terry, Kossila) that will flirt with 50 games. That said, the Ducks just have too many veteran bodies that cost big dollars for a rookie to muscle their way into the team. We’re seeing Terry being trialled on the LW in the rookie games, and should that stick he’ll get the best chance of playing out the full season, but should that not pan out in the NHL, I think it will be a tough ask to bully into the top 9 forwards. I think Pettersson will hold onto the 3rd pairing defensive position, and Larsson and co will be playing AHL minutes this season, with the occasional injury call up.
The Ducks have made a lot of noise since last season about playing faster. The GM, the Coach, and most recently, the Captain, have all spoken about playing a faster style of play on the offensive end. How do you think this talk with be actioned? Can the coaching staff in place implement such a style? Do the Ducks currently have the cattle to play such a style if it was implemented?
JAKE: I think we will see a noticeable change in style for the first 10-20 games. I think there is pressure on Carlyle to change the system to be faster. I do want to note one thing on this that a lot of people tend to confuse. Playing faster does not necessarily mean just having guys that are fast. Puck speed is key and having a system that can move the puck out of the zone with clean tape to tape breakout passes is key. The issue here is sometimes those passes aren’t the “safe” play Carlyle is a fan of. I think once the Ducks hit a losing slide, that all teams inevitably hit, we will see Carlyle revert back to what brought him to the table. So that was a long way of saying in the long term no, I don’t believe Carlyle can.
JOHN: The bad news is unless Carlyle completely overhauls the way he thinks I don’t see there being a change. The good news is we saw with the Gulls last year and most recently at the rookie tournament - that Dallas Eakins already has a style that matches this desired change. So either Carlyle adopts this style, starts winning early and stays; or he gets canned when the Ducks start losing because he refuses to.
JUSTIN: I’ll believe it when I see it. I cannot think of an NHL coach less adaptable than Randy Carlyle.
Benny: I think its unlikely. Carlyle already plays a pretty loose offensive system that revolves around springing the floating forward quickly. Over the past 4 years Carlyle led teams have been well above the mean for corsi attempts for, and it seems unlikely that there will be many dramatic changes here going forward. The problems with the Ducks system lies in the defensive end, which prevents them from executing these systems effectively (thus transitioning into clean offensive entries), and that they don’t really have any fast and skilled skaters in their top echelon of players. That is to say that they do have fast players, and they have skilled players, but they don’t have much in the way of players who cross both categories. Certainly good execution and smart puck movement can overcome these foot speed difficulties, but that would require a change in defensive system that the coach has largely implemented in large parts across the past decade.
Even should a new system be put into place... I think the Ducks best players are past their prime, and largely incapable of playing such a system well for 82 games + a postseason. I do think they could do it in spurts and in blocks of games, but I think a long season would bring them unstuck. Theyre in a transition period, and we wont see real change until the roster is turned over, and a new coach is in place.
Beyonce may have had the greatest album of all time, but John Gibson had one of the all time great seasons by a goal tender last season. Shockingly he received very little love for it, from the talking hockey heads (although oodles of it from the twitterverse). Can he repeat last seasons herculean efforts? Is this season that he rockets to stardom in the eyes of the hockey media?
JAKE: Yes he can. I say this because each of the past 3 seasons he was brilliant and followed it up with an even better performance the next year. 0.920 sv% in 15-16, 0.924 sv% in 16-17, and 0.926 sv% in 17-18. I am going to ride that train!
JOHN: Yes absolutely. Bonus aside - I predict we see Kevin Boyle at some point this season.
JUSTIN: The national hockey media is about three years behind on how valuable of a player Corey Perry is. I don’t see why it would be any different concerning John Gibson.
Benny: Nope. I mean I love Gibson. He’s the only current Ducks I have a jersey of. But his last season was utterly fantastic. He could easily be incredible this season again, and not have quite the same results. Which is more or less what I expect to happen. Gibson will be the Ducks best player again this season, but he wont be the difference between the 5th overall draft pick and a playoff entrance, like he was last season. With that said, I fully expect the general hockey media to really get involved with him this season. In part due to how big the Athletic has gotten, and how many writers they have that seemed to believe in actually watching games, or even shedding a cursory look over a stat sheet (no criticism to the athletic writers, if that’s how it came across. Moderate criticism to those who did not rate Gibson in their top 5 netminders last season however. Scathing criticism for those who rated Andersen has having had a better season than Gibson however).
Most season prediction models have the Ducks dropping away in overall standings points from last season (from 101, to ~94), although still sneaking into the playoff picture. How do you view this outlook, and does it fit with what you see of the Ducks?
JAKE: It is probably about right, but (I know this seems like a cop out) I have no clue how this season will turn out for the Ducks. The standard deviation between the high, which I believe is another 100 point season for the team, and the low, which I believe is Carlyle not being able to implement a faster system resulting in a high 70s to low 80s point total, is huge obviously.
JOHN: I am going to play the absolute blind-with-optimism homer here and say the Ducks are going to surprise everyone that predicted they would finish low. Everything but Gibson and Kase went wrong for them last year. This year will be different...and then the Sharks just got Karlsson. Ok maybe we can fight it out with the Kings for 3rd place in the Pacific.
JUSTIN: I expect the final result will be similar to last year, resting around 97 to 100 points. But the ride will be much more entertaining, for better or worse.
Benny: TBH, I think that seems about right to me. The Ducks might be coming into the season a little healthier this time around, but I have a hard time believing that the netminders can repeat their phenomenal efforts from last season. I’m not entirely sure that the Ducks will be a better defensive team next season, given Carlyles predisposition as being an offensively orientated coach, which puts all the defensive onus onto Gibson and Miller. That’s not to say I expect those players to be bad, but they can still be excellent and drop more than 3 games from last seasons efforts. The margins are razor thin, and I’m not sure a healthy Patrick Eaves is the big ticket item that will keep them up over 100 points, and back to challenging for the Division title. With a bit of give and take - more scoring but more goals against - I think a drop of 6-7 standings points (3-3.5 games) seems reasonable.
Randy Carlyle has never been part of a losing season, in which he’s coached out a full year. What (exact) date do you think he’ll be fired this season, and who do you think will be the replacement coach?
JAKE: Lets go with November 30th for fun. Exactly 7 years after he was fired the first time. On the new coaching front, ALL ABOARD THE DALLAS EAKINS HYPE TRAIN!!!
JOHN: Ill go with November 6th after the Ducks get absolutely trounced by the Kings in LA and have gone 1-14 to start, their one win coming against the hapless Wings. Eakins is then promoted after having beat the Kings farm club Ontario Reign by a handy 10-1 thrashing a few nights prior.
JUSTIN: April 20, or a day after whenever the Ducks’ first round series, which they’ll lose, wraps up.
Benny: March 18th. As long as the replacement isn’t Dallas “The Swarm” Eakins, I could care less at this stage. Although I have a bunch of suggestions for a brand new season.
There have been a lot of Rumblings about Jakob Silfverberg potentially getting moved because of his pending UFA status next summer. Will he be a Duck come the start of the season, and if yes does he resign with the team?
JAKE: He gone.
JOHN: This is a wait and see play. If the Ducks flounder early I think he gets dealt. If they go on an early roll and he is an integral part of that, he gets extended.
JUSTIN: I think he should stay, and I think he will stay. Bob Murray has been clear on his intent to re-sign him.
Benny: As much as I resented the Bobby Ryan trade (and still loath it to this day) Silf is everything Murray has been looking for in a player. I am 100% certain that Silf signs an extension with the Ducks, and I’m leaning towards 4 years. It’s the right move to make in either a rebuild or a playoff push, and only looks hard to do because of all the other unnecessary contracts (coughEavescough) on the books. As one of two players that bridge the age gap (and the only one of those two who is any good) between old man Getzlaf and prime aged Rakell, the Ducks need Silf more than he needs them. Murray will pony up the cash for Silfs big 40 point season this year.
Felix: The Ducks will have to make room under the cap to keep Silfverberg, and teams will make room for a guy if they see him as part of their current plan. We’ll find out soon enough how the Ducks feel about Silfverberg (this is my way of copping out of the question).
With the Montreal-Las Vegas trade, LA picking up Ilya Kovalchuk, and the Sharks trading for Erik Karlsson, how do you feel about the Pacific Division? Rank them for me at seasons end.
JAKE: The Pacific Division is probably one of the most difficult to call in terms of positions 2 through 7. I would say that all of those teams can be either good or horrible, well besides the Canucks. So here is my go at it:
Benny: Why though? They bad.
Jake: Just close your eyes and trust me Benny. It’ll be fun.
JOHN: I’m not copying Jake I swear, I honestly thought this before he said it on the pod. I think the Yotes are this years Vegas. But I also think the pundits are overrating the Flames and Oilers. Also dammit the Sharks just got Karlsson so that ruins everything.
JUSTIN: The Pacific has a handful of above average teams, a few bad teams that should be less bad than last year, and then a really bad team. I don’t see much change from last year, aside from some Vegas regression. Arizona? LOL. Stop it guys.
Benny: The pacific is terrible. It’s going to be a beautifully close trainwreck, with so many teams within spitting distance of each other. Did Calgary get less nerdy and more broski? Can Vegas replicate their run? Are LA going to be relevant again (and can Brown replicate his big year?). Of all the divisions in hockey, I feel like the Pacific is the one with the most question marks and is the most open ended. So with that said, im going with:
Sharks > Flames > Ducks > Oilers > Kings > Coyotes > Knights > > > > > > > > > > > Canucks.
Felix: Classic Jake and his delusional ways. San Jose vaulted to the top of my board with the Karlsson pickup. Really, the only teams in the division that even approach them on paper are Vegas and LA. I’m expecting bounce back seasons from Calgary, Edmonton, and Arizona, while Anaheim mostly treads water. My ranking: 1. San Jose 2. Los Angeles 3. Vegas 4. Anaheim 5. Calgary 6. Arizona 7. Edmonton 8. Vancouver. (By the way, this is just me ranking them, I see this group being very tightly packed, with not much separating 3-7).
With the obvious answer of Felix’s Canadiens, and my Capitals, put aside, is there any non-Ducks team, or player, that your particularly intrigued by this season? They may have made a big offseason move, or not made a big move, or maybe they will be signing Erik Karlsson in next years free agency but have no money to do so (CoughTampaCough).
JAKE: I think Arizona is going to be a really interesting team to watch. As I said above, I really like their team. I think their defense is really solid, they have a good goaltender in Raanta, and made some exciting moves in the offseason to get an undervalued guy in Galchenyuk.
JOHN: I think Buffalo are this years Devils. Not expected to make the playoffs but they surprise everyone and get a late seed after hanging around contention all year. Eichel has support now with Middlestat. Dahlin has a lot of hype and they got a good haul back from St Louis in the O’Reilly deal. There is a good mix of still-in-their-prime veterans and incoming talent.
JUSTIN: Like John, I’ll be watching Buffalo. The Sabres, like the Ducks, tried to build a team based on brute strength. Unfortunately, they didn’t have nearly the talent or prospect pool to successfully pull it off. Dahlin is the obvious highlight, especially considering how bad Buffalo’s defense has been, but I’m intrigued by their depth on the wings. Jeff Skinner will slide in nicely alongside Jack Eichel. Also don’t be surprised if, in a couple years, we’re talking about Casey Middelstadt as the best player from the 2017 Draft. He’s a stud.
Benny: Now having to answer this, I realised how horrible this question is. If not the Caps, then who? I’m going to go with Nashville’s Eeli Tolvanen. Partially because the Ducks have a kinda one sided rivalry with the team that still employs Pekka Rinne, and partially because hes really really good. Todays NHL is ridden with boring safe hockey, but there are a few holdouts to that. The Finns, for example, still play really fun to watch expansive games. As a recent Jokerit star, I’m looking forward to watching Eeli make the league his own. Sure, he’s not a Duck and thus not perfect, but he’s Finnish, and that’s close enough.
Felix: So many interesting teams around the league this season, with Buffalo and Arizona obviously being at the top of many people’s radar. My pick goes to the Florida Panthers. That team has a lot of talent up top, with Aleksander Barkov headlining the group. They barely missed the post-season last year, and I think they’ll make another serious push this year with the addition of Mike Hoffman over the summer.
Who is going to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup this season? More importantly, will they party as hard as Ovie’s Capitals did?
JAKE: I will take my shot with the Winnipeg Jets this season.
JOHN: I will go with Tampa, they came close last year and still have the tools. The departure of Yzerman is concerning though.
JUSTIN: Toronto would be my choice if I had never watched Frederik Andersen play in a Game 6 or Game 7. Unfortunately I have, so I’ll ride with Tampa Bay.
Benny: Im going all in on Toronto this season. Their defence isn’t much chop really, as shown by former Duck Frederik Andersen facing the most shots in memory, but that offense is scary good. I’m giving my vote to goal scoring hockey. Down with defence wins championships and up with exciting goal scoring. And no, no one in modern times will party as hard as the Caps did. They simply wont be allowed to.
Felix: For fun, I’ll say San Jose. Karlsson, Burns, or Vlasic on the ice at any given time? I’m sold.
Just how wrong are the staff? Let us know in the comments.