Predicting the 2015-2016 NHL Standings and Playoffs

Sports

Well another decent season for the National Hockey League was put into the history books.

If you read my post last year, I called most of the right dark horses. I said the Canucks will make the playoffs as a wild card. They didn’t even need to be a wild card they had such a successful year. I also said the Predators would make it in but as a wild card. They soared through the rankings in the regular season last year.

Of course it is somewhat of a crap shoot but it is fun. The standings next year no doubt will not emulate last years NHL standings; there will be some teams who I feel will get in once again and others who will go down a bit. Fanbases will be happy when I stroke their team, some will be upset when I speak what I feel is the truth.

Atlantic Division Predictions

1. Tampa Bay Lightning
2. Detroit Red Wings
3. Florida Panthers
4. Ottawa Senators
5. Toronto Maple Leafs
6. Montreal Canadiens
7. Boston Bruins
8. Buffalo Sabres

So your first reaction is probably: “what kind of shit are you smoking that made you rank the Toronto Maple Leafs so high?”

I call it…the fallacy of Mike Babcock.

This is where the Maple Leafs will have a coach that is so good he will make them at least competitive no matter how bad they look on paper. In turn, this will piss off Toronto fans when they may barely miss the playoffs; they as fans will want a lottery pick. I really have this exact feeling. I may be dead wrong, but I call it the “Babcock effect”. Count me as one of the fans who feels a decent coach can turn a team around no matter how bad they look on paper.

So with that said you probably notice the Canadiens low after a decent season last year. Yeah, I believe they are trending downwards. I admittedly don’t follow them often but only hear from fans how bad of a job Michelle Therrien is doing. Carey Price is the force behind that team and I simply don’t believe a team can keep up in the ranks with their goalie playing their heart out. Just look at the New York Rangers with Tortorella. They kept trending downwards even though Lundqvist played his ass off.

The Sabres, yeah, they suck. I am not a believer in Tim Murray at all. Dan Bylsma is a wild card but I truly feel with the losing culture they had in place last year, it’s going to backfire. They are going to become the next Edmonton Oilers. Let’s not forget the idiotic trade and signing of Ryan O’ Reilly. Their two decent prospects in Grigorenko and Nikita Zadorov for him? Tim Murray is going to ruin this team.

I feel the Panthers are going up. A nice young core, some decent depth, and a decent coach. Keep an eye on this team. Dale Tallon did a fine job in Chicago before putting them in cap hell. But hey, I’d prefer the cup if it means my team goes in cap hell for a few years after.

And the Lightning, yeah, no brainer. Called them in first last year. Look for them to be a threat once again this year.

One team I am honestly not sure of is the Boston Bruins. I feel Lucic was the identity of that team and I’m banking on Don Sweeney looking like a fool this offseason. Not sure if Julien is being tuned out by the roster either.

Detroit will be an interesting team to watch. I feel like Blashill will just pick up where Babcock left off. Holland will also continue his brilliance as general manager. I can’t see Detroit falling anytime soon.

Metropolitan Division Predictions

1. Pittsburgh Penguins
2. Washington Capitals
3. New York Rangers
4. New York Islanders
5. Columbus Blue Jackets
6. New Jersey Devils
7. Phiadelphia Flyers
8. Carolina Hurricanes

This is an interesting division. More interesting than the rest.

I truly feel the Rangers reign of dominance may come to an end. I’m familiar with Vigneault. He usually has a few good years until teams start to tune him out just like the Vancouver Canucks did.

I can’t help but think the Penguins were doing well with coach Mike Johnston until they got decimated with injuries. And with the addition of Phil Kessel, I see them playing lights out on offense while Johnston keeps them playing decent on defense. His system had Marc Andre-Fleury looking great. I just can’t see Pittsburgh trending downwards and feel last year was an anomaly.

The Capitals will be up there for sure. I’m not sure if they will rank as high as second but they will be a playoff team. And when they get in, they will be dangerous with game seven legend Justin Williams. I love that pickup. Barry has them playing good hockey. I was wrong about him as a coach. He has done a solid job in Washington.

The Blue Jackets and Islanders could rotate. I feel the Islanders may be slightly ahead. But both teams both have solid, young talent. Like I said, don’t be shocked if one or the other gets in as a bottom seed.

The Devils, not a bad team. But also not great on the forward side of things. I am not sure how their new coach from Wilkes-Barre will do either.

The Flyers I feel may trend a bit down but be good in the future. Their defense core is still the worst in the league and I believe it will take some time to fix. The other teams I ranked ahead of them I just feel are simply better teams than the Flyers, who are pretty much Giroux, Voracek, and maybe Provorov as of now. Not to forget Couturier.

The Hurricanes, yeah, no brainer for me here. Nothing screams cup contender or on the rise from that squad to me. But then again, they could prove me wrong. If they get into the playoffs that means I have a chance with Salma Hayek.

Central Division Predictions

1. St. Louis Blues
2. Nashville Predators
3. Chicago Blackhawks
4. Minnesota Wild
5. Dallas Stars
6. Colorado Avalanche
7. Winnipeg Jets

This is hands down the toughest division in hockey. All the teams in this division are good and could be considered playoff teams. I feel I will be dead wrong in my predictions for this division.

You could rotate the Jets with the Wild, the Blackhawks with the Stars. Here is my reasoning for why I ranked it how I did here:

-The Blackhawks are always going to be a playoff team as long as Toews, Kane, and Keith are there. Along with Coach Q. Sharp and Oduya are big losses but do not mean no playoffs

-The Blues are the kings of the regular season. How they do in the playoffs is the bigger concern.

-The Wild have a nice core. People thought they would trend downwards this year and coach Yeo was in trouble. Misjudgment there. Their goaltending is the biggest concern but they haven’t missed the playoffs in years with Suter and Parise at the helm.

-The Predators have the best defensive core in the league and Laviolette usually stays decent as head coach (until year three or so usually).

I can’t see these four teams missing for those reasons. The Stars are the wildcard for me. I feel they may either be able to sneak in as a lower seed, or pass the Predators or Wild. They have a nice young core and elite offensive prowess.

The Avalanche are still a big question mark but again have a nice young core. They too are speedy as hell. They are too inconsistent. One year they finish high, the next, quite low. I’m not too sure if that inconsistency means they are as good as the five I listed above them.

The Jets, I’m sorry to their fans. I really do think last year was an anomaly and I’m not buying them as an elite team. The six teams I ranked ahead of them I feel are flat out better. Of course I ranked the Jets in the bottom of the division last year, and they finished fifth in reality.

Pacific Division Predictions

1. Anaheim Ducks
2. Vancouver Canucks
3. Los Angeles Kings
4. San Jose Sharks
5. Edmonton Oilers
6. Calgary Flames
7. Arizona Coyotes

Here is when my homerism comes in and big time.

I also follow this division more than the other divisions in hockey besides maybe the central division (since that one is so competitive and fun to watch).

I don’t even know if the Anaheim Ducks are a safe bet to finish first. Bruce Boudreau has always been a regular season coach though, so they are the logical choice. Look out Ducks fans about Bieksa though. Don’t complain if he manages to bring your defense down by himself. But like I said, the logical choice for first is the Ducks.

Here is where I will be crucified; I think the Canucks will be a better team this year than last. I follow this team more than any other team. I know Willie Desjardins is a winner. I predicted wild card last year and they instead came in fifth in the western conference and had 101 points. Willie will keep the good times rolling.

Ryan Miller needs to emulate what he did last year. 28-15 as a starter and solid for the most part before he got hurt. I couldn’t ask for more from him. If Jakob Markstrom breaks out like he did in the AHL last year, this could be an awesome goaltending duo.

Bieksa, Matthias, Kassian. All misfits that are gone and replaced by better guys. I truly believe Matt Bartkowski and Clendening will be good on defense. Clendening was solid for us when we had an injury bug in January-March. Little do Canucks fans forget that Sbisa was as well.

Sven Baertschi will be coming in to play on the second line. I can’t see him playing worse than Higgins or Burrows did offensively on the second line. He will put up better numbers. I am a believer.

Horvat and especially Linden Vey will have better years. If Vey doesn’t have a better year he will be gone. I’m rooting for him as he seems like a solid kid. Brandon Prust will be a hellraiser just like Derek Dorsett was on the fourth line. And enter in big Jake Virtanen and Ron Kenins.

Call me a homer, but that’s how I see things. The sky is not falling for me. We aren’t cup contenders but we will be fine.

The Sharks are a wild card to me. Will new coach Peter Deboer be the spark needed for this team? I always felt he was a good coach in New Jersey who was just brutal on the young kids like Adam Larsson. Paul Martin and Joel Ward are also coming in. I’m not sure about Martin but I know Joel Ward is good…for the postseason at least if the Sharks do make it.

The Kings might improve or they might bust. I really don’t know. I do feel Stoll, Richards, Voynov, and Williams all gone is a huge hit to their identity and core. Yeah they now have Lucic but he doesn’t make up for four guys. They will be a team to watch this year.

The Oilers have made all the right moves this offseason. Better moves than any offseason they have had in five or so years. But they are like that dirtbag boyfriend the girl you liked in high school had. They do all the right things but then screw over their fans once the regular season starts. I can’t see how they don’t improve with the changes they made. But if they still suck, the city of Edmonton may be cursed just like Cleveland is.

As for the Calgary Flames, yeah, call me a hater. I wasn’t impressed by them at all last year even though they knocked out my Canucks. It was a giant “whatever” feeling. Bob Hartley usually gets tuned out by his team and I feel that happens anytime with this Flames squad if they keep playing the way they are. Believe it or not, I think Dougie Hamilton will be a bomb in Calgary. He certainly was when I watched him in Boston which is part of the reason why he got dealt. There also is something there that simply does not add up. Boston got rid of him for a low return, meaning not only was he a turnover machine, he may have had character issues. I do however like their addition of Frolik. But I can’t for the life of me see Monahan and Gaudreau replicating the seasons they had last year.

So there you have it. Let the hate mail commence!

Here is what I am predicting the 2015-2016 post season to look like:

Lightning .vs. Senators/Islanders/Blue Jackets (two of these three make it)
Red Wings .vs. Panthers

Penguins .vs. Senators/Islanders/Blue Jackets (two of these three make it)
Capitals .vs. Rangers

Blues .vs. Wild
Blackhawks .vs. Predators

Ducks .vs. Stars/Sharks (most likely Stars)
Canucks .vs. Kings

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2015 NHL Draft: Why Ivan Provorov Will Have the Best Career After Connor McDavid

Sports

The 2015 NHL draft commenced a few weeks ago. Many picks were made, some of them obvious, some of them shrewd, and some of them garnered a “what the fuck are you doing reaction” *cough* Don Sweeney from Boston Bruins *cough*.

A lot of the first round picks were obvious. Some of them were odd.

Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel were the easy top two picks. After that, with the third overall pick, it was a gaunlet between young, skilled players to choose from such as Dylan Strome, Noah Hanifin, Mitch Marner, Pavel Zacha, and more. Noah Hanifin I would say was the favourite to go third overall followed by Dylan Strome. The Arizona Coyotes probably think they have their franchise defenseman already in Oliver Ekman-Larsson and that Hanifin was not needed. The Carolina Hurricanes gladly took him.

I am here to tell you that the Phiadelphia Flyers in ten years from now will have made the best selection in this draft after the Oilers obvious first overall selection of Connor McDavid. It is obvious McDavid will be a star in this league. If he goes the way Nail Yakupov did to start off his career I believe the Oilers are truly cursed. McDavid will be in the Art Ross running for years to come. He will be a Calder trophy candidate next year.

Ivan Provorov will be the same in years but for defenseman; he will be talked about as a Norris trophy candidate. This is a guy who oozes hockey IQ that you simply can’t teach. In 60 games last year on the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL, he posted 61 points in 60 games with a plus 36 rating at 18 years old. The Wheat Kings were a top team in the WHL largely due to his presence rocking the first defensive pairing. Not only do his junior stats and film tape stand out, he is also put into the best position to succeed.

You see, the Philadelphia Flyers are a big market team that always want to be in the mix of things. There are few organizations I recall that have consistently iced a playoff team as they have in the last twenty years. Ron Hextall is doing good things as new general manager and he hired the right new head coach in Hakstol after a distastrous few seasons. They will no doubt be in the playoff hunt in another year or two like they have been for many years before. Meanwhile what were the teams actually drafted ahead of the Flyers?

Edmonton Oilers
Buffalo Sabres
Arizona Coyotes
Toronto Maple Leafs
Carolina Hurricanes
New Jersey Devils

With the exception of the Devils, wait for it, wait… These organizations are all perennial failures and you can’t say otherwise until they do change things around. The Oilers are a tire fire and have been for years up until this year. They finally made the right personnel decisions by hiring Todd McLellan as head coach and Chiarelli as general manager.

The Sabres are on their way to becoming what the Oilers are. They intentionally tanked the last NHL season and didn’t even try denying it. Tim Murray is a moron and a half when you hear him talk to media. If that’s your general manager I feel pity for you. And the Ryan O’ Reilly contract where they got rid of some of their young core? Why Nikita Zadorov?

The Ariona Coyotes, yeah, a no brainer. They can’t spend to the cap and have to rely on drafting. With the exception of their 2009-2010 and 2011-2012 seasons, they haven’t have much luck and are trending downwards. Mike Smith hasn’t been the same since his hot 2012 season and more. A positive young core. We also must question if Dylan Strome is really a franchise changer or not. Strome, Max Domi, Larsson, and Anthony Duclair. A decent young core. But you have to wonder if Dave Tippett is the right coach to be coaching up young kids or not. You get where I’m going with this before I bash the Leafs and the Hurricanes.

A lot of these picks ahead of Provorov will also go back into their junior leagues next year. I can’t see many of them garnering roster spots besides Eichel and McDavid (obviously). Provorov should see playing time next year. I can’t count six defensemen on that team off the top of my head. They are so weak in that area that a top ten pick would suffice. I am all in on this kid.

Small, skilled forwards are a dime a dozen. Look at how Tyler Johnson went undrafted. A number one puck moving defenseman with a feel for the game is not something that comes along often. Provorov is the best defenseman taking in the last two drafts: after Aaron Ekblad of course.

Ranking Every Teams Starting Quarterback

Sports

In terms of which quarterbacks will be starting on week one for their NFL teams next week, here is how I would rank them:

1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
2. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
3. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
4. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
5. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
6. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
7. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
8. Phillip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
9. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
10. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
11. Eli Manning, New York Giants
12. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
13. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
14. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
15. Matt Stafford, Detroit Lions
16. Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles
17. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
18. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
19. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
20. Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans
21. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
22. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
23. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
24. Matt Schaub, Oakland Raiders
25. Josh McCown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
26. Brian Hoyer, Cleveland Browns
27. Geno Smith, New York Jets
28. EJ Manuel, Buffalo Bills
29. Chad Henne, Jacksonville Jaguars
30. Matt Cassel, Minnesota Vikings
31. Shaun Hill, St. Louis Rams
32. Ryan Mallett/Ryan Fitzpatrick, Houston Texans

Aaron Rodgers to me has been the best in the league for a few years now. He is flat out dangerous, has a rocket arm, and wicked accuracy. He also has the ability to torch any defense. Besides the San Francisco 49ers for whatever reason. If he is not number one then it’s either Peyton Manning on Tom Brady, the two usual suspects. No quarterback has ever matched Peyton Manning’s success in the regular season and not many quarterbacks have matched Brady’s success in the post season. These are clearly the top three quarterbacks in the league without much debate.

After those three it’s clearly Brees and Big Ben. Without Brees the Saints do not have the same attack on offense. They have been dominant for years due to him and Sean Payton, one of the best duos in the league. As for Pittsburgh I really do think if they did not have Big Ben for the last few years they would have been a lottery team. The fact he can survive behind the offense line and a defense that has been getting weaker year by year speaks volumes. I commend him for making them even a near .500 team.

The next two I would say are the best from the 2012 NFL draft: Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck. You could rotate either one. As a Seahawks fan I would admit Andrew Luck has the bigger upside of both. In a few years you will see Andrew Luck as the number one quarterback in the league. I am not over rating the guy. He is a generational talent. Like Aaron Rodgers he has the ability to torch any defense on any given night. I saw him do it against the Seahawks. In his first year he was reckless but learned a lot and I saw a kid with skills last year. The Patriots made a mockery of him and his team in the postseason but I doubt it will happen much more often. Him and Russell Wilson are elite and two of the top young quarterbacks in the league.

This is where the list gets complicated. After deciding who has the highest upside and who is the best, who should come after? There is really no good way to rank this. I would say from what I’ve seen Rivers is still top ten. He looked rejuvenated out there last year and damn good. You could rank him even higher than that. Matt Ryan and Tony Romo are also top ten in my opinion. They have not won super bowls like Eli Manning and Joe Flacco have but they have consistency in the regular season. Tony Romo is good but unfortunately the least clutch quarterback we have ever seen in the league. Poor guy.

Cam Newton is a guy I have said will be a top five quarterback one day. He just hasn’t surpassed those ahead of him. If he repeats his dominance this year I will rank him near the top five on next years list no questions asked. Until then I think it’s fine to put him behind Eli and Joe Flacco.

I think Ryan Mallett or Fitzpatrick are the worst starting quarterbacks in the league. Whoever the Texans name. Fitzpatrick is terrible and Mallet has little to no starting experience. I can’t rank him very high. Shaun Hill was considered one of the better backup quarterbacks in the league for years. Mallett never really was because he had to sit every game for Tom Brady.]

If Blake Bortles was a starting quarterback I would rank him much higher than Chad Henne without thinking twice.

The same could be considered for Derek Carr if the Raiders choose to go with him over Matt Schaub, which I doubt for now. Matt Schaub is alright, but he might be done as a quarterback. His last time with the Texans was an awful sight. And people have said he has not looked good in the preseason for the Raiders either. Keep your eye on him and the Raiders this year.

Who Will Be the Best 2014 NFL Draft Pick This Season?

Sports

The NFL draft this year was one of the deepest it has been in years. There was a lot of talent. It wasn’t like the draft where Andrew Luck and RG3 were the top two picks, but it was a deep draft. The one in 2013 was a joke quite honestly compared to it.

Greg Robinson would have easily been taken as a tackle over Eric Fisher. The list goes on. Kelvin Benjamin who looks like he could be a gem on the Carolina Panthers was taken around 29th overall. Teddy “baby hands” Bridgewater who people claimed would be first overall nearly went to the second round.

Therefore many people have the question…who will be the best draft pick from this year?

This is a severely tough question. Gun to my head, I will say it will be Blake Bortles the third overall pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars. I’m not playing around.

He has that “it” factor. He plays like a quarterback. He’s big, he’s tough, he’s accurate, he can throw it. I really do think the Jaguars have found their man and made the right choice. He should have been first overall. I am not the one who likes to compare prospects to proven greats but Blake Bortles really does remind me of Big Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He can take a hit or two and he can be clutch.

Let’s be honest now, Gus Bradley and the Jaguars saying how they will put him on the bench this season is all a facade to motivate him. Chad Henne can’t lead this team to a better record than 4-12 like last year. He’s simply not good enough. Blake Bortles will come in eventually an he will open up some eyes. It’s crazy to say he will take the team to the playoffs or postseason, no way in hell does he do that. But he will open some eyes and people will say, “man this guy can play”. I would take him 10/10 times over Johnny Football and Teddy Bridgewater without thinking twice. Teddy Bridgewater has the word “bust” tattooed on his forehead while Johnny Football has skills, he looks like he is a hit or two away from getting killed. Derek Carr was concussed last week. This isn’t college football. A lot of the defensive players in the regular season are going to lick their chops at the thought of welcoming the arrogant Johnny football to the league.

After choosing Bortles, I will choose my second runner up pick who plays on the defensive side of the ball: Khalil Mack. There is no pressure on this guy at all to perform being on the pitiful Oakland Raiders team. He was said to be the most NFL ready prospect and a mean prick with skills. There is pressure on Jadeveon Clowney. He was the first overall pick and they said he could be a great. People also say Mack could be good but not as many eyes will be on him as Clowney. I think this may be the one move that the Oakland Raiders will have finally gotten right on draft day. This guy is NFL ready, he can play, he can do it all on defense. He is no doubt my lock for defensive rookie of the year.

Everyone Eventually Falls

Sports

ken-holland-2011-5-13-1-10-38

This has been on my mind for a while.

I constantly see people (mostly Detroit Red Wings fans) getting upset or in an uproar over Ken Holland’s moves or lack of production lately. The same can be said for general manager Lou Lamoriello in New Jersey. They haven’t seen the playoffs in a few years. At least Detroit has. As an eighth seed.

The case here is that everyone eventually goes down. It does not matter who you are or what you do. Everyone has to fall.

Ken Holland made Detroit years ago the place every top free agent wanted to play in a cap-less environment. They were like Chicago and Los Angeles are now. Even after the cap was put in around the 2005 lockout, they were still a powerhouse. Pavel Datsyuk was chosen in what round? Oh yeah, around the sixth round. Henrik Zetterberg was a seventh round pick. If you ask me those are probably the two best ever sixth and seventh round picks you will ever see.

Since then though the game has changed. His players have gotten older. Detroit is simply not the powerhouse it used to be and he’s clinging on to Zetterberg and Datsyuk really. Along with coach Babcock. I would say the move that crippled Holland’s team the most was Lidstrom retiring. He still had a few years left in him. They were around a fifth place team in the west with him there. Now they would be lucky to even be in eighth in the eastern conference. A player like Lidstrom is simply irreplaceable. Picture the Los Angeles Kings without Drew Doughty in the playoffs or Chicago without Duncan Keith. They would lose that fire on the blue line. It doesn’t matter who plays up front when you lose an anchor like that.

The same can be said for Lou Lamoriello. He was the best general manager in hockey in the late 90s along with Ken Holland. Brian Burke once claimed the Devils were the most well run organization in hockey. Now look at them. They cling on to more past their prime players than the Detroit Red Wings do. They passed the torch to Los Angeles and Chicago as well. They have no prospect pool or depth to speak of and the only thing going for them is getting Cory Schneider. I will admit as a Vancouver fan that that guy can play his ass off in net. He will be a top five goalie in the league soon enough. Getting rid of him was hard to take. But outside of him their roster is puke worthy.

This all shows no one stays on top forever. Coaches come and go and so do general managers. In ten years from now we may be complaining about Peter Chiarelli (Boston’s general manager) hanging on to past their prime players.

Cleveland Cavaliers are Treating Andrew Wiggins Like Shit

Ramblings, Sports

The title speaks for itself.

Apparently Andrew Wiggins said in an interview he has yet to speak to Lebron James. Probably because “the queen” does not want to waste his time of day to welcome the new kid to his team and his only. That’s right, he’s calling the shots since coming back home to Cleveland.

Of course Cleveland Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is not a role model himself. Apparently it was said he has plans to get Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves on August 23rd. That’s when Wiggins is eligible to be treated.

I feel bad for the kid. First overall pick and he gets treated like pure shit by the Cavaliers. I’m definitely a fan of his now and hope he becomes a decent player. Just stick it to those donkeys in Cleveland.

This is the same Queen James that whined for Larry Hughes to come to Cleveland and then fled the city to become a ring chaser. The same Dan Gilbert also sent a letter to fans denouncing him but is now letting him call the shots.

Lebron is a big baby, no question about it. He’s the easiest to hate athlete in any big sport. Kevin Love is a great player don’t get me wrong but why not see if first overall pick Andrew Wiggins has anything to offer?

Here’s to Cleveland staying cursed and never winning a ring with the queen there. He barely got two with the best supporting cast in NBA history while on the Miami Heat. One during a lockout shortened season, the next was won by Ray Allen in game six. That team they barely beat in seven games kicked their asses the next year to prove they got lucky. So he really has one ring and he knows it. 2-3 in NBA finals history while Tim Duncan is 5-1 and the list goes on and on.

Andrew, you deserve better.

Canucks Gunning for the First Overall 2014 NHL Draft Pick?

Sports

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A poster on a popular hockey forum recently reported that Gary Mason of the Team 1040 in Vancouver claimed that three scouts have said Jim Benning (GM of the Vancouver Canucks) is going hard after the first overall pick to take Vancouver native Sam Reinhart.

As someone who follows the Canucks closely, I say this is a smart move. The Canucks have no prospect pool and a core that may be dying. They don’t want to follow the Calgary Flames footsteps where they held onto their core for way too long and became a doormat in the league. When you look at the Flames roster right now it’s amazing they did not finish dead last in the league. Getting 13th in the Western Conference this year should feel like the Stanley Cup for their fans.

I don’t follow Sam Reinhart closely but he does look like he has skills. He is said to be the best prospect in the draft but that could be easily debatable with Aaron Ekbald (a highly touted defenseman from the Ontario Hockey League) in the running. Still, the Canucks don’t need that potentially number one d-man five years down the road. They are fine on the back end. They need some firepower up front. The Sedins were turned into shot blocking grinders by Tortorella and have lost their touch. Kesler is slacking.

That might be who they need to cut ties with in order to get the first overall pick or a better roster before it’s too late. Ryan Kesler or Alex Edler. I still want to give Edler a chance. Perhaps Torts system was a disaster…well for everyone it was.