Pick up my SEVENTH annual Interactive Playoff Draft List. I stuck a video clip below of how it works.

 

It's not too late to start an easy pool at the office. You can grab a pre-made "boxed" pool for free right here.

 

In a game featuring Sidney Crosby, Claude Giroux, and Evgeni Malkin, the best skater for either team was (by far) Brayden Schenn. Schenn showed why he was so dominant in junior – there isn’t anything on the ice he doesn’t excel at. He made a great pass on Briere’s first goal (the linesman made the wrong call, but the pass was terrific), and showed great instincts on his own goal, deflecting in a slap-pass.

 

Playoff stud Daniel Briere scored twice, and he led the Flyers with four shots on goal.

 

I also thought Wayne Simmonds had a really strong game.

 

On the Pittsburgh side – the big guns were all good, but not great.

 

Pascal Dupuis’ point streak continues – now has points in 18 straight games (he had two last night).

 

Quiet game from Pavel Datsyuk (by his standards, at least).

 

Nashville’s depth players won it for them – Gabriel Bourque scored twice, and Matt Halischuk and Nick Spaling were both great.

 

Hard to generate a lot with Pekka Rinne in goal and Weber/Suter combining for about 60 minutes of ice time.

 

The Canucks missed Daniel Sedin last night (obviously), especially on the PP.

 

Roberto Luongo was stellar and the only reason the Canucks were in the game as long as they were.

 

LA had a ton of power plays (including a full five minute one in the second) – their PP wasn’t great looking, but it was effective, finding the back of the net twice. I thought they would miss Johnson on the PP (just as the Canucks would miss Cody Hodgson), but both teams are better at even strength with the trades they made.

 

The best Kings – the top line, Mike Richards, and Willie Mitchell.

 

The best Canucks – Luongo, Jannik Hansen, and Henrik Sedin.

 

It will be interesting to see who embellishes more this series – Ryan Kesler or Dustin Brown. Two of the more consistent floppers in the league in the same series.

 

Kesler played close to 20 minutes, winning 15 draws and recording two helpers.

 

Mika Zibanejad has joined Ottawa’s AHL affiliate for their stretch run. The AHL regular season ends this weekend. If the Baby Sens are out early, he’ll likely get the call up to the big club (assuming they are still playing).

 

Wanted to give a shout out to DobberHockey reader Samuel C, who accurately predicted a sophomore slump for Jeff Skinner – we had a little friendly wager going on with Skinner and 30 goals, and he didn’t hit the over (which I had predicted). I’ll still use injuries as an excuse, though!

 

What would I do if I were Steve Tambellini? For now, I would draft Nail Yakupov. Try to bring in some actual defensemen (read: not Cam Barker or Andy Sutton) who can move the puck and play some semblance of defense.

 

I’d also start entertaining offers for Jordan Eberle. Eberle is going to be a star forward (heck, you could say he already is). However, I think he struggles to repeat his season of 2011-12 (at least in the near future). His shooting percentage was unsustainable, and he saw a lot of easy offensive minutes. I am a huge fan of his, but if the Oilers can get a top pairing stud (a player like Oliver Ekman-Larsson or John Carlson) for him, it is a move that they may want to consider.

 

Selling high is hard because most people struggle to actually recognize when an asset is over performing. Eberle is going to score 40+ goals in this league, but in a few years, the Oilers should be seeing that production from the other three young studs (not counting Magnus Paajarvi, who had a brutal 2011-12 season in both the AHL and NHL).

 

Another thing to consider – all of these young guys are going to be needing their big money contracts around the same time – will be hard to fit much else in under the cap, assuming they all develop as we expect them to.

 

Pittsburgh was able to succeed for a few reasons. One, Malkin and Crosby are generational talents. Nugent-Hopkins could reach that level, too. Two, they had the veterans at defense and forward to insulate them, and they had a goalie to build around in Marc-Andre Fleury. Devan Dubnyk showed himself quite well this past season all things considering… but is he the guy to build around?

 

I personally think Dubnyk deserves a shot at starting, as long as he has a credible back up behind him (and not Khabibulin).

 

Roberto Luongo’s secret (not so secret now) twitter feed is hilarious. Check this out if you have a few minutes to spare.

 

For most of the playoffs, my thoughts on the late game(s) will be posted later on in the morning. I work away from a computer for most of the morning (Pacific time), and I am usually catching my zzz’s before the late games finish up. The downside of a five AM wakeup call each week day.

 

Linus Omark let the Twitter world know he wants out of Edmonton to get a fresh start elsewhere. I think he could thrive in the right situation, but he needs to change his attitude right now. Seems to think he deserves a top six spot. I understand the Oilers don’t have room for a skilled young winger (they have enough of them), but Omark did a lot of sulking and complaining this year.

 

As always, Elliotte Friedman’s 30 thoughts is a great read. Some of my favorite exerpts from this week:

 

“We see a lot of the Senators at HNIC, and, last year, when we were doing games, opposing coaches and players had the same message: "They can't get the puck out of their zone."


Ottawa's transition game was horrid. Karlsson almost single-handedly changed things. While Paul MacLean did adjust the team's schemes, Karlsson's ability to pass and carry it out of trouble was the biggest factor in that improvement. The Senators don't sniff the playoffs without his ability in this area.”

 

Imagine the impact a defenseman like Karlsson could have in Edmonton. Abysmal break out this year, but so much talent up front. They just need to receive the puck in better spots.

 

5. Biggest on-ice adjustment MacLean made? Asking his defencemen (other than Karlsson) to try and make plays. Ottawa was a real get-it-off-the-glass-and-out team. He wanted puck possession and challenged them to make good passes, even up the middle.”


Personnel is key for this – Gonchar, Kuba, Karlsson – the Sens had the puck movers in place. Having possession of the puck compared to always retrieving it off of the boards is such a difference, especially for physically immature young players.

 

Colorado extended Joe Sacco – great news for Ryan O’Reilly, Gabriel Landeskog, and Steve Downie. If I own Matt Duchene, I’m concerned right now. Peter Mueller, too (although that concern may be justified). Sacco loved playing his gritty, two-way guys, and they thrived under him. The same can’t be said for the more offensively-inclined players, like Duchene. A situation to keep an eye on, at the very least.

 

Lots of blame to go around in Buffalo – I’d be extremely shocked if Derek Roy is back next season.

 

Derek Roy, an alternate captain who has been in the organization for nine of Ruff's 15 seasons, was the first to voice dissatisfaction with the coach Monday. Last week, Ruff said if the players couldn't get into the postseason, it meant they weren't good enough. When the playoff run fell short, he put the blame on the players, specifically the veterans and core members.


"To be pointing fingers right now is obviously tough," Roy said. "Behind closed doors I think it's fine. You can be hard. It's not fun, but it's good to be hard on your players behind closed doors, on the bench to get them pumped up. I'm not a coach, but I don't think it's the right thing to be saying it to the media."


Weber is a pretty honest player… but this is a cheap play. Suspendable?

 

How the Interactive Playoff Draft List works, and what it has to offer…



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Comments (12)add comment

Jeff Angus said:

angus
... Vanek and Roy make about 11 million combined. Not sure how any teams can fit that in.

Eberle - stirred up discussion, as I wanted. Shows exactly why selling high is so damn hard.
April 12, 2012
Votes: +0

Robert Esquire said:

bullwinkle
... Black affirmed that Regier and Ruff will be staying on in Buffalo so Roy will probably be gone. I'd love to see them trade him with Vanek to Vancouver for Schneider and then deal Miller for an excellent center. Roy has outstayed his welcome here and Vanek has dried up. Both could use a relocation.
April 12, 2012
Votes: +0

Darcy S said:

swamp_mule
Re: Oilers Good ramblings, Mr. Angus, well done.

I will say this about Tambo/Oilers bringing in talent ... it's been REALLY hard to bring talent into Edmonton ... players just don't want to sign here or they won't waive no-trade clauses. In that regard, the Eberle trade scenario may be the most plausible to bring a solid D to this city...
April 12, 2012
Votes: +0

frozenpools said:

frozenpools
Oilers cont'd and Pens Oilers need to find a way to build their D without moving a #1 pick. Other teams do it and if Tambo cant he should be fired. Justin Schultz... you want a starting #1 PP job? Here ya go.

That loss last night was a big emotional letdown for the Pens. They will need to respond next game or all of the sudden it could be a short series.
April 12, 2012
Votes: +0

frozenpools said:

frozenpools
Eberle I moved Stamkos early in his 2nd season when his shooting% was through the roof. Granted I got Malkin (I moved Stamkos+) but it looked like a horrible move till this year.

Betting on a decline in shooting% with Eberle is reasonable but betting against growth of a 2nd year player seems like a bad move. The other thing about Eberle is as he describes his shot "its a muffin, but its an accurate muffin". He may be one of the few who can hover in the 15% range.

Signed,
Oilers Homer
April 12, 2012
Votes: +0

Maximus said:

Mr Zizzla
Weber Weber's face slam on Zetterberg has to be a suspension. Will it? I doubt it but how do they let him get away with something like that. If Zetterberg didn't wear a visor, he'd have a busted nose.
What a moron.

also
Trade Hall, not Eberle.
April 12, 2012
Votes: +2

Big Ev said:

Big Ev
... smart man Angus. IF they draft Yakupov they need to trade one of those 4. You simply cannot have all offence, especially when your team is often on the IR.
April 12, 2012
Votes: +0

Stunaman said:

Stunaman
... Boneheaded move by Weber. Not smart for a veteran/elite player to potentially jeopardize his team's playoff success.

Completely disagree with trading Eberle. Eberle has been successful at some many levels I would flat out disagree that he out-did himself this year. I think this guys is going to be a model of consistency at an elite level. I would trade Hall before I trade Eberle (not that I would trade either). Hemsky, Omark and Paajarvi together have got to be worth a good D man/prospects.
April 12, 2012
Votes: +0

Ross The Boss Palmer said:

Ross The Boss Palmer
Selling Low For all we know, selling Eberle now could be selling him very low. To put a ceiling on such a young, talented player and perceive this season as an outlier is very rash.

I believe (and may be mistaken) that as he matures he will begin to show more and more of the intangibles that Toews displays.



I have an idea as to why you wrote what you did. Well played kind sir, well played.
April 12, 2012
Votes: +0

Donnie OBrien said:

Neely8
Eberle!!! Eberle is a true sniper. His shooting pct of 18.9% is equal to Nathan Horton's and less than several less talented scorers Curtis Glencross 23.6%, Jiri Hudler and Kyle Wellwood. Yeah he would be a sell high right now.I'd think about hanging on to him instead of trading him for John Carlson!!!!!!!!!!!!
Following your line of thought,the Pens should have moved Crosby when he scored 50 and the Bolts should trade Stamkos (19.smilies/cool.gif for a goalie.
The Oilers have many assets to package for a couple of good Dmen, including Hemsky,Omark and the first pick or Yakupov. I wouldn't even think of moving Eberle before Hall.
April 12, 2012
Votes: +1

UKflames said:

UKflames
Overvaluing EDM prospects
dont you think hemsky and paajarvi would get ellis out of nashville?


And here lies the problem with EDM fans at the moment, they think their spare change is going to get them this stud D man and/or goalie they need to push them over the top. We all do it, we all over value our prospects but since they won the lottery all of the EDM prospects, outside of the top three who are quality, have become worth the earth.
Some time the real NHL does mirror fantasy hockey, in this case, you have to give quality to receive quality.
April 12, 2012
Votes: +1

Chris said:

Dunnder
Eberle you are crazy Angus! Eberle is the untouchable on that team. I agree completely that they need to draft yakupov and buy/trade for a couple dmen and maybe a goalie, but Eberle has elite instincts, is the heart and soul future captain in edm. No way they have a 2015-2018 dynasty without him.

there are several imminent opportunities for tambellini to make major mistakes and destroy the promise that is showing in oil country... like trading down the #1 pick in order to draft a dman, or NOT resigning smyth to a 2 mil cap hit retirement contract, or NOT buying out horcof if the new cba allows it, or not trading sutton and hemsky at the deadline (oops, missed that one)

Trading Eberle to address these final needs would be the biggest mistake of them all...

dont you think hemsky and paajarvi would get ellis out of nashville?
April 12, 2012
Votes: +1
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