Who’s Over Rated and Under Rated in the NHL (2015-2016)

Ramblings, Sports

I had to make this post.

Reading online postings, news articles, and the “pundits” opinions, I had to compile a list of who is over rated and under rated in the NHL and explain why. So you may ask, who qualifies? Well, players, teams, general managers, and coaches all do. Prepare to be enraged or smile.

Under Rated

I’ll start off with the positives. Who I believe is under rated in the National Hockey League.

The Vancouver Canucks

Reading online forums and opinions from fans, you would think the Vancouver Canucks will be a lottery team next year. The opposite is true, actually.

The year before fans said they would be a lottery team. What has changed? They have gotten rid of the misfits in their organization. Kevin Bieksa (I love him) with all due respect was terrible last year, Zack Kassian sucked, Eddie Lack was not a starter, and Nick Bonino was too inconsistent. Who is coming in for those guys?

Good guy Brandon Prust, good guy Brandon Sutter, top AHL goalie and prospect Jakob Markstrom, and lots of fast young guys.

No, this team will not suck. They will be decent and finish once again in the playoffs. The only logical reason you could say they miss is solely due to the fact you may believe a lot of their division rivals got better. Yes, the Oilers have gotten better and if they keep making the right moves, they will be a playoff team eventually. The Kings and Sharks are the true question mark.

The Minnesota Wild

A good core? Check. A well run organization? Check.

Fans think this team may also miss the playoffs after the Canucks. The furthest thing from the truth. They are a lock.

And they have a nice young core on the backend that includes names such as Matt Dumba and Jonas Brodin.

The only question is if Devan Dubnyk holds up. I feel behind that defense he has a chance to.

Coach Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning

I heard comments from people saying Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning of the coach sucks.

What?

I would gladly let him coach my Canucks if Willie Desjardins was let go tomorrow. He is a damn good coach.

You take him off the Lightning and tell me how many coaches would get that team into the finals like they did last year. Seriously impressive, and he’s won everywhere he’s gone.

There is no way he sucks as a coach. I’d put him in my top five list of coaches.

Big Jake Virtanen

I have heard from many he is a bust or would be lucky to get in the top twenty this year in the NHL draft.

Wrong. He is the most NHL ready prospect I have seen from the 2014 draft that has yet to play a game.

He ragdolled guys in the AHL. Just because his point totals don’t make you raise your eyes doesn’t mean he is a bust.

He will play in this league and he will be good. Just watch. He will be like Cam Neely. He will be a goal scorer who can hit. He won’t be an elite playmaker but he can play.

Over Rated

Now here comes the boos. Prepare to be annoyed if you are a fan of any of these teams, players, or personnel.

The Buffalo Sabres (Tim Murray, their prospect pool, and shitty moves)

An easy choice quite frankly. And the top choice.

You would think reading forums that the Sabres were going to contend for the stanley cup or win multiple cups within five years.

Wrong.

The move for Ryan O’ Reilly was fucking stupid. Eight million for a guy who gets sixty points and does what else? At the expense of one of their youngest defensemen as well as top prospect Grigorenko?

The owner himself Mr. Terry Pegula said the last two seasons have been the most successful in Sabres history. What!?

And their starting goalie who they gave up a first round pick for Robin Lehner. Wow.

Watching Tim Murray whine about missing the first overall pick was great TV. Jack Eichel must be happy as hell to play for the next Edmonton Oilers organization.

This team is going to be a trainwreck, just watch.

Ted Nolan will be laughing his ass off when they do. He sure should have been fired (in a sarcastic tone I say that).

Tanking is never rewarded in the league, Tim. We should rename him and Terry Pegula to tweedle dee and tweedle dum.

The poor fans think they have a chance at the playoffs next year. Laugh my ass off.

The Winnipeg Jets (And their stupid prospect pool)

You would think reading comments from fans of the NHL that the Jets, just like the Sabres, will be champions in five years due to “the depth of their prospect pool”.

That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

One glance at their prospect pool will show you how that is a bold lie. There is not one player from their “prospect pool” I could say that “I want that guy on my team”.

Little Nik Ehlers who the Canucks passed on for a reason will be walloped when he reaches the big leagues. After that they have a slew of AHL players and fourth line players.

Congrats guys, you are well on your way to a few eighth seeds and first round exits for the next five years.

I love the fans of this team and I’m also a fan of the team, but seriously, a prospect pool full of depth doesn’t make a team a contender for the next ten years.

The Calgary Flames Offseason Moves (and somwhat…their potential)

I didn’t want to throw gasoline on the Flames and say their whole organization is over rated. I just find the moves they made this offseason…over rated.

Dougie Hamilton, Frolik from the Jets. Okay. Frolik will be an elite third liner. But claiming Dougie Hamilton is the answer to pushing them over the top could not be further from the truth.

Bruins fans hated this guy. He was a turnover machine last year. He is what this topic is about. He’s not a future Norris winner. He is average. A second pairing defenseman at best.

I also think Gaudreau and Monahan will not repeat the success they had last year. But that’s just me. Sam Bennett is coming in, though?

I can’t act bitter about this team since they owned my Canucks in the playoffs this last season. But there is something about them I can’t put my finger on. I really do see them as another Colorado. A lot of young talent that peaked one year and regressed the next. No way do they get as many come from behind wins as they did this last year.

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Recapping the Year

Ramblings, Sports

Having free time never felt so good.

I have been away for a while, busy with other things. I apologize to my readers.

Therefore what was there to recap while I was away? Quite a bit.

Let me start off by saying that the UFC yesterday was awesome. Truly one of the best UFC events I have seen in a long time which says a lot.

Love him or hate him, Conor McGregor is on his way to being a big marketing draw for sir Dana White and the UFC. People who are on both sides of the spectrum will tune in to watch him fight. Although Mendes was a challenge and took the fight on short notice, McGregor won in less than three rounds. Could have, should have, would have for the McGregor haters indeed.

Gunnar Nelson, Thomas Almeida, and Jeremy Stephens. All brilliant performances. Let’s not forget Robbie Lawler who once again beat up British Columbian native Rory MacDonald. Lawler showed the heart of a champion. He is no fraud like people thought. It was a great first title defense from “ruthless” Robbie Lawler.

So while this UFC was awesome and it has been consistent at times, I take to you the next big event that happened this year in sports. The Floyd Mayweather .vs. Manny Pacquiao fight.

I knew Mayweather would win by decision, but the fight sucked. Don’t even get me started. The only people that lost that one are the people who paid 80-90 bucks for the pay per view to watch that fight.

The Seattle Seahawks .vs. New England Patriots super bowl, painful. The Patriots are admittedly my least favourite team in the league while I am a Seahawks fan. But hey, the Seahawks didn’t really deserve to win against the Green Bay Packers a few weeks earlier in the NFC championship game. They got lucky. But then again, neither did the cheating Patriots against the Baltimore Ravens after Bill Belichea…I mean Belichick pulled off another trick in the beg with his inelligible receiver on the field. Another ring for the scum sucking Patriots means another loss for the league. That last play in the super bowl will haunt Russell Wilson forever. But he has another shot next year with big Jimmy Graham in the end zone this time with Lynch in the backfield.

The NHL stanley cup finals. The Blackhawks are brilliant. What can I say. My hats off to them. Let’s not forget the Tampa Bay Lightning who have an awesome future ahead of themselves. If they don’t win a stanley cup in the next three years with the core they currently have, I will be shocked. They just ran into the best team in the league unfortunately in the finals. Toews, Kane, Keith. Those three just know how to win.

The Cavaliers losing and the Warriors winning it all in the NBA finals. Classic. Makes up for the Patriots winning the super bowl with deflated Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. There’s no better American tradition then watching “king” (I put that in quotes since he clearly isn’t one) James lose big time at the biggest stage.

He didn’t have any help, wah. Cry me a river. Also, take notes ESPN. It’s about how the Warriors won and not how Lebron lost again. I don’t care how many points he put up, when you take three quarters of your teams shots in every game, you should have over 30 points a game. Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Tim Duncan all laugh at you. I’m glad Curry won a ring, what a competitor he is and MVP season he had to go with his championship win.

Let’s also give a toast to Dustin Johnson’s US open choke. That made me feel bad for him and I am not the biggest fan of his. I’d buy him a beer if I ever saw him. That was hard to watch. Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll had to have grinned at that final hole choke job.

And Serena Williams is murdering every female tennis player. Could she be the first to win all majors in a year since Steffi Graf did it in the late 80s? I think so, without a doubt. No one is stopping her.

Great year indeed for sports, all things considered.

Predicting the 2014-2015 NHL Standings

Sports

Season starts in October. Of course these will most likely not be perfect or right. As John Tortorella would say, I am just throwing shit on a wall and hoping it sticks.

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

A bit of a bold prediction here. I think the Lightning step up from the previous year. Coach Jon Cooper is a great coach. They have Stamkos coming back for a full year this time (most likely, let’s hope he doesn’t get injured as he’s great to watch). If Ben Bishop performs well and they step up from last year (which I think they will), they could take over the division. The Bruins are still a good team but I just think they will regress eventually. Montreal definitely has a playoff team on paper and with Price in net they are a no brainer. Detroit and Toronto will be interesting. Both are quite evenly matched. Detroit however was faced with huge, huge injuries last season and they have been trending downwards. I think they will battle Toronto for around a seventh-eighth seed spot. The bottom three teams are easy to predict. Buffalo is looking like a lottery team and their fans know it. If Ron Rolston was there for the whole season last year as coach they may have had the worst record for an NHL team since the 1995 lockout. The Florida Panthers made all these high picks and signed a bunch of guys but it’s not good enough to overtake the six teams I have ranked ahead of them. They suck and will continue to suck. Poor Luongo. The Senators have an awful roster on paper and could be a lottery team too. But with Karlsson still there, decent goaltending, and a great coach in Paul MacLean will make them not a lottery team but short of a playoff spot.

Metropolitan Division (Eastern Conference)

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

This is actually quite a tough division to predict. When taking a look at things no doubt the Penguins, Rangers, and Flyers are the three best teams in the division. After them you can rotate the bottom five teams. When looking at last year the Devils lost thirteen shootouts. I highly doubt that happens again. Their roster looks quite awful but I think with Cory Schneider in net as the starter and no Brodeur they can be a playoff team or fall just short. Columbus has not impressed me much. I don’t think they repeat what they did last year. They played with a lot of heart and energy in the post season and to get there. I just don’t see it happening again this year. They might make me eat my words, who knows. I believe you could rotate them with the Devils but I’m going with the Devils this year. The Washington Capitals are a team I could see becoming a disaster by hiring Barry Trotz as a coach. He does not fit as a coach for that offensive styled team. He coaches an awful style. I see him lasting not long at all there. He coached some of the most boring hockey I have ever seen when he was in Nashville. As for Carolina, I’m not really sure if they will finish last in the division. I admittedly don’t follow them much to make a solid prediction. But I really don’t see them cracking the top eight in the conference either. They should realistically finish ahead of teams such as the Florida Panthers, Buffalo Sabres, and maybe Senators but not good enough to get into the postseason.

Central Division (Western Conference)
1. St. Louis Blues
2. Chicago Blackhawks
3. Minnesota Wild
4. Dallas Stars
5. Nashville Predators
6. Colorado Avalanche
7. Winnipeg Jets

Ah, the beauty as well as the hard times of being the western conference. Only 14 teams and 8 get to make it into the playoffs. But then most of those 14 teams are actually very good. Especially in the central division. That is going to be a tough division to play in. Perhaps the toughest in the league, tougher than the pacific division was last year. The Blues should remain as the top seed. They have been good in the regular season for years. They dumped Ryan Miller who was not working out for them and got Paul Statsny from Colorado, a solid addition to their team. Look for Tarasenko and Schwartz to be even better this year. The only problem is they have proven they can not win in the post season. That is outside the point. They will make it in as a high seed once again. The Blackhawks and Wild definitely will as well. As for the Dallas Stars, I really like what they are doing. They just added point per game player Jason Spezza to an already great offensive roster. They will be even better me thinks. Nashville has hired Peter Laviolette and left defensive minded loser Barry Trotz stranded in the desert. Great move. Laviolette has won everywhere he’s gone. He could make Nashville an exciting team to watch as well as a playoff team unlike doofus Trotz. He should go talk to John Tortorella in a steam bath about how to ruin a hockey team by playing dump and chase. End rant. The Avalanche were good last year but I just have a feeling they won’t be as good as the five teams I mentioned above them. There was a feeling as if they over achieved last year. They got off to a wickedly hot start and kept it up throughout the season. I just feel if there’s one team that won’t repeat what they did last year it is them. I hope they make me eat my words because they play an exciting brand of hockey and they are easy to root for. I just don’t have high hopes. The Jets as the worst team in this division is a no brainer. I’d be shocked if they get above seventh seed. Their roster lacks the talent the other teams in their division have.

Pacific Division (Western Conference)

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

I said in a previous post on here of my most bold predictions for the year that the Canucks will make the playoffs. Of course I am sticking to that. I say they get in as a seventh or eighth seed. They will surprise people. The Kings are historically or lately not a dominant team in the season but they could care less. They’ve won two cups in three years, once as an eighth seed the other as a sixth seed. The Sharks were good in the regular season last year and have not really downgraded or anything like that. I think they could be in the same position they were in last year. They are a good team in the regular season but chokers in the post season. That’s again outside the point. They will make it to the playoffs. The Ducks are president trophy favourites this year and I think they will realistically win it. Getzlaf and Perry are still there and Boudreau is the right coach for this team…in the regular season that is. Not the playoffs where he’s never done anything. They also added Kesler and Clayton Stoner. They will be a good team in the season no question about it. Perhaps one of the most shocking picks one would see here is that I have Calgary ranked higher than Arizona. Arizona is well managed and coached but they do not have much talent at all to be a playoff team. I like what Calgary is doing. Hartley is a great coach and has them busting their asses off every game. This is coming from someone that hates Calgary as a whole. I think they will be rivals with Vancouver this season and both battling each other for that final playoff spot perhaps or a low seeded spot. The Oilers will never improve as long as Kevin Lowe is there, don’t think otherwise. Until he’s gone and out, they will continue to suck. A poorly managed organization from top to bottom.

To summarize the post season should look like:

Atlantic:
1. Tampa Bay Lightning .vs. 4. Detroit Red Wings/Toronto Maple Leafs/New York Islanders (dark horse pick)
2. Boston Bruins .vs. 3. Montreal Canadiens

Metropolitan:
1. Pittsburgh Penguins .vs. 4. New Jersey Devils
2. New York Rangers .vs .3. Philadelphia Flyers

Central:
1. St. Louis Blues .vs. 4. Dallas Stars
2. Chicago Blackhawks .vs. 3. Minnesota Wild

Pacific:
1. Anaheim Ducks .vs. 4. Vancouver Canucks/Nashville Predators (dark horse picks)
2. San Jose Sharks .vs. 3. Los Angeles Kings