I know what you’re all thinking!! Does Ken Hitchcock actually know what’s wrong with the Oilers??
Also, to a lesser extent, which defender should you zero in on tonight to evaluate as part of a William Nylander trade?
That IS what you were thinking right? In that order?
Okay, maybe not.
The Leafs roll into Carolina tonight to battle the team that is rumoured to be “all in” on William Nylander if re-signing him doesn’t come to fruition, the front runner apparent. The Hurricanes began their season by going 4-0-1, which is a solid start, but now sit 4pts outside the playoffs with a 9-8-3 record and are looking for answers all over the ice. Their PK% is 28th in the league, their PP% is 25th, their GF/GP is 27th, their GA/GP is tied for 11th, and their Shots/GP is….. 1st…. yeah, I guess there is that. They are taking a whopping 40.3 shots per game on average, and that’s pretty impressive.
There are a few very good players producing all of their offense, but depth is an issue. No goalie has managed to grab the net and run with it. Their defense, seemingly as deep as any in the league, isn’t performing up to snuff either. No wonder they’re looking for a shakeup.
Considering the Leafs PK% is 7th in the league, their PP% is 6th, their GF/GP is 4th, their GA/GP is also 4th, and their Shots/GP is….. 17th…… well how about that. Weird. I bet if there was a stat based purely on shots directed toward the net it would be utterly useless…. but I digress……. considering all of that you would think this would be an easy walk to a win, but don’t be so sure.
With the Canes starting former Leafs backup Curtis McElhinney, he could steal the show all by his lonesome. It’s a script we’ve seen a number of times before with former Leafs and Ontario born players. We’ve also seen this team post a loss at the hands of other groups that boast a few high end players with moderate depth as well. It’s tough to keep their top line off the board, and a good defensive effort could mean the Leafs walking out without any points to show for themselves. With any luck and a decent effort this should be a W for our boys in blue though.
Back to William Nylander though, because I don’t think anybody has discussed him yet this week. The (bullcrap) rumours generally have Brett Pesce as part of any deal with the Leafs, maybe because fans talked about him long before the media did and the media just tells you what you want to hear, but then again maybe not. Again, I digress. I will keep a close eye on him tonight, as well as players such as Justin Faulk, Teuvo Teravainen, Michael Ferland, and Valentin Zykov, as all have been mentioned in the rumour mill at one point or another. It will add an extra dimension to the game and that’s always fun.
Lines stay the same. Frederik Andersen starts. Enjoy the game!!
GO LEAFS GO!!