- Category: Hockey Rambling
- Written by Michael Amato
Thoughts on Thornton, Iginla and the draft lottery
Keep an eye on defenseman John-Michael Liles as a bounce back candidate with the Carolina Hurricanes this year. He already showed signs off turning it around late last season when joining the Canes as he picked up nine points in 35 games and went plus-7. Not to mention the fact he also played more than 20 minutes a night and was pushing nearly three minutes of power play time per game.
Liles should be able to earn top-four minutes in Carolina next year and is still on 33 years of age. He could be a nice sleeper late in your draft.
Just a quick thought on the Joe Thornton captaincy situation. Normally I would say that relinquishing the C would alleviate pressure and result in an upswing in production, however, I don’t really see that happening in this case. Thornton’s numbers have been outstanding and he has been one of the more consistent players over the past decade. At 35 I don’t see him declining yet, but at the same time it’s hard to imagine he sees a big jump at this point in his career.
If anything it may ruffle his feathers and perhaps he eventually asks for a trade out of town. Then that’s a whole different conversation.
Here’s Larry Robinson’s take:
“I don’t think this is to put all the onus on Joe or even Patrick for that matter but there’s definitely leadership that has to be found somewhere within and if it’s not Joe and if it’s not Patrick then we’re looking for somebody else to step forward and I think that’s the main reason we’re doing what we’re doing,” Robinson said. “We’re waiting for somebody now to step forward and take charge of this team.”
So Jarome Iginla is hoping to play with Nathan MacKinnon next year and that begs the question, what would his production look like with the soon to be sophomore?
Iginla tallied 30 goals last year with David Krejci and Milan Lucic, but is 40 out of the question playing with MacKinnon?
I think it hinges on MacKinnon’s ability to adjust to playing the center position full-time. He had the good fortune of playing the wing for much of last year alongside Paul Stastny, but with Stastny gone, MacKinnon will likely shift back to the middle.
As a rookie it’s always easier to adjust to NHL life via the wing, where the defensive responsibilities aren’t as vast as they are at center. It’s also easy to focus on offense in that situation. That’s not to say MacKinnon’s numbers are going to take a hit this season because he is moving to center, but will he take a huge leap and go from a 63-point player to an 83-point player? That’s going to be tough.
He’d have to land at around 85 points for Iginla to have a real shot at 40 goals in my opinion, but even still, the veteran will be a good add to your squad this year if he plays with MacKinnon in any capacity.
Here is a good explanation on how the new draft lottery system will work.
Obviously, if you're the Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames or any other team that figures to be at the bottom of the NHL standings pile, that's bad news if you were hoping to score a potential franchise player with the top pick in the draft. But for this year the team with the worst record in the NHL -- let's say, just hypothetically, that it's Buffalo -- is still at least guaranteed to pick no lower than No. 2 overall, where American-born Jack Eichel, the other prized prospect in the 2015 Draft, will be waiting to be picked.
I’m not a huge fan of the lottery system and I remember reading an alternative option at one point (I wish I could remember where) that I thought was much better.
Essentially, as soon as a team is officially eliminated from postseason contention, the amount of points they accumulate in the standings from that point forward are tallied. The team at the end of the year with the most points after elimination gets the number one overall pick and the next highest team gets the second pick and so and so on.
I thought this was really clever for a couple of reasons. First off, it doesn’t encourage tanking. Once you are no longer in contention it behooves you to try and win games and not lose them. Secondly, it still favors the worst team to eventually get the number one pick. Theoretically, the worst team should be eliminated from playoff contention first, giving them the most time to accumulate points in the standings.
I guess the only downside is, if a team was crazy enough to do it, they could try and really tank as early as possible. However, isn’t that what Buffalo is doing right now anyway?
It would be cool to see a team that is fighting to make the playoffs play a team trying to move up in the draft order late in the season, and it would also make the trade deadline more intriguing. More teams could be somewhat of a buyer.
I wish every league adopted this.
Reports have surfaced that the reason Tim Leiweke is leaving MLSE is to head up a Los Angeles Olympic bid for 2024.
Henrik Lundqvist teams up with John McEnroe to take on Edward Norton and Novak Djokovic in some tennis action. Dual sport athlete that King Henrik.