WHAT DA PUCK

2023-02-28 · 3 min read · NHL/Hockey
Connor McDavid Craig Berube and Linus Ullmark

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports | Amy Irvin | Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

Its surprise given the time of year and the deadline fast approaching that it's been a busy week in the NHL. Let's take a look at some of the biggest stories.
1.
Another week, another impressive Connor McDavid milestone to dissect, and with the promise of more to come make sure to conserve your energy for the next one. This past Tuesday McDavid became the fifth fastest player to hit 800 career points, with a first period assist against the Philadelphia Flyers. McDavid notched 800 points (283 goals, 519 assists) in just 545 games played, only trailing the pace of legends Peter Stastny at 531, Mike Bossy at 525, Mario Lemieux at 410 and Wayne Gretzky at 352 (jeez) games. The Oilers superstar does move into the fastest spot among active players, surpassing Sidney Crosby's 571 games. McDavid also became only the 10th player to hit the 800-point mark before turning 27.
McDavid wasn't the only player hitting milestones on the goal, as long-time teammate and fellow superstar Leon Draisaitl was the one who put the puck in the net for his 700th career point. McDavid and Draisaitl are one and two in league scoring so far with 113 and 88 points respectively headed into a match up with the league leading Boston Bruins. Writing this blurb made me ponder two things; Firstly, I wonder if anyone actually thinks that McDavid isn't the best player in the league, if anyone has an argument for this, please contact me I'd love to hear it. Secondly, it must be tough sometimes to be Draisaitl, yes, you’re one of the best players on the planet, but you play beside the guy who probably is the best player on earth and maybe the most talented of all-time. I suppose there is solace in the fact that its better with McDavid than against him.
2.
The St Louis Blues are entering a time of transformation, and in the presence of change so too is there often an abundance of frustration. Blues head coach Craig Berube aired his frustrations on Thursday after his team allowed the Vancouver Canucks to come back and beat them 3-2 in overtime. In doing so St Louis lost its fourth-straight game since trading Ryan O'Reilly and Noah Curry to the Maple Leafs, in tough fashion no bless blowing two-goal lead in the third period, including the game tying goal with less than 30 seconds left.
Berube said after the game that “A lot of our best players [are] not doing the job”. When asked why, Berube responded, “I don't know, you have to ask them. I guess they don't care about the team”. Blues star and second leading scorer Robert Thomas responded to Berube saying that his comments were "frustrating to hear” and that “What he said couldn't be further from the truth”. This led to a big team meeting with the players, coaches and General Manager Doug Armstrong prior to practice, the message of which was singular in meaning. "It's a team effort," Thomas said. "Yeah, it's frustrating, we all do care in this room and that's never changed. I think that's our message going forward. We're all in this together.
Hopefully this meeting has a positive effect as it's likely to be tough sledding for the Blues the rest of the way, as they are 13 points behind the Seattle Kraken for the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference; despite having played three more games. This comes after St Louis had 109 points and advanced to the Western Conference second round last year.
3.
Unsurprisingly considering the trade deadline’s rapid approach, there was a bevy of trades this past week.Let's take a quick look at my favorite and least favorite moves of the week.
For my favorite it’s the Winnipeg Jets picking up winger Nino Niederreiter for a second rounder from the Nashville Predators. Niederreiter is a middle-six winger that has a solid combination of skill and size, which he leverages in high-danger areas of the ice. The 30-year-old winger has scored over 20 goals in five different seasons, including 2021-22 when he scored 24 goals for the Carolina Hurricanes; he also has stellar advanced metrics. I love this move for the Jets especially with Cole Perfetti slated to miss time. I also want to say the Boston Bruins were a close second picking up Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway from the Washington Capitals for Craig Smith and picks.
On the other end of the spectrum, let's look at the Tampa Bay Lightning picking up Tanner Jeannot. The 6-foot-2 winger will provide the Lightning with significantly more grit and toughness, as his 213 hits this campaign indicate. Jeannot has the potential to be a solid contributor offensively, despite only having five goals and 14 points in 56 games this season, he did have 24 goals and 41 points in 81 games last season. Yet the Lighting had to give up defenceman Cal Foote and five draft picks - 2025 first, 2024 second, 2023 third, fourth and fifth. While I do think it's a good pickup for Tampa the price is not right; this feels likely to be looked back on as an overpay.
Quick Wristers
  • Linus Ullmark tallied the ever-exciting goalie goal this week as he scored into an empty net with 48 seconds left, securing the Boston Bruins their sixth straight win, a 3-1 victory against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. Ullmark is the 13th goalie to score a goal in the NHL in the regular season, and the eighth to do so by shooting the puck into the net. He is the first since Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators did it on Jan. 9, 2020, at the Chicago Blackhawks. Ullmark also made 26 saves to reach 30 wins (30-4-1) for the first time in his eight NHL seasons.
  • Nashville will be experiencing a major change this offseason as former head coach Barry Trotz will become the Predators general manager replacing David Poile, who has served as the only GM since the franchise's inception in 1997. Poile hired Trotz as the Predators' first coach in franchise history, and now Trotz will spend the next four months as an adviser to Poile before taking over, allowing him even more opportunity to learn the front-office business. Trotz has a record of 914-670-168 with 60 ties in 1,812 regular-season games in 15 seasons as coach of the Predators and four each with the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders. He won the Stanley Cup in Washington in 2017-18. His 914 wins are third-most among NHL coaches. Trotz has big shoes to fill as in stints with Nashville and the Washington Capitals, Poile has won more games (1,519) than any general manager in NHL history.
  • Leafs defenseman Mark Giordano became the NHL's all-time leader in blocked shots on Sunday against the Seattle Kraken. Giordano reached the mark after registering his third blocked shot in Sunday's game, and in 59 games this season the 39-year-old leads Toronto with 113 blocked shots. He passed Kris Russell for the all-time lead in NHL shot blocks with 2,045 and counting. The NHL only started keeping a record of blocked shots on a consistent basis during the 2005-06 season.
Highlights of the week
Naughty Nylander does it again
Ullmark stops, shoots and scores
Sports Tree Profile

By: Chase Howard

Share

Up Next

Sports Tree Blog

NHL EASTERN CONFERENCE ROUND 2 PREDICTIONS

Read more2024-05-05 · 2 min read
NHL/Hockey
Sports Tree Blog

MESSI BEGINNING TO BREAK RECORDS FOR MLS

Read more2024-05-03 · 2 min read
MLS/Soccer

Sports Tree

© 2024 Sports Tree LTD.

The sports tree newsletter

Sign up for the newsletter

By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms of Service  and Privacy Policy. You can opt out at any time.