Another day, another Last Word on Hockey article covering your latest NHL Rumours. Every day, our team breaks down a selection of the latest rumblings from around the National Hockey League. As the trade deadline draws nearer, teams begin to turn their eyes to more specific targets in preparation for this season and next. Today, we’ll focus on the Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, and Ottawa Senators.
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Analysis: Calgary has had quite an interesting year. While not performing anywhere close to the pace that won them the Western Conference regular-season title last season, their record of 23-17-5 is still good enough for a playoff spot in a weak Pacific Division. Since Geoff Ward took over for the disgraced Bill Peters, the Flames have gone 11-5-1, helping them get over the .500 hump. However, a lack of offence has significantly damaged the team.
Gaudreau and his counterpart, Sean Monahan, haven’t been nearly as dynamic this year. While they have 35 and 34 points in 45 games respectively, which aren’t terrible numbers, they aren’t up to their standards. Matthew Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm have been their saving graces up to this point. Younger players have put up impressive performances as well, but Gaudreau and Monahan need to be better or they could find themselves out of town if Calgary fails to make a playoff appearance.
Analysis: Colorado is moving up in the hockey world, without a doubt. With their top three scorers (Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, and Mikko Rantanen) all under 25 years of age, there’s a bright future here for a long time. So, they’re a young team looking to make a Stanley Cup run this spring. They’ll look outside the organization for an experienced name to add some firepower.
Enter Toffoli, who’s had many teams kick the tires on him in NHL rumours over the past month or so. He’s got 24 points on the year, which would currently slot in 7th on the Avalanche behind Andre Burakovsky. While he wouldn’t be a crucial part of the core in Colorado, he could potentially slot into a nice top-six slot along Nazem Kadri. He’d even help spark the third or first line if needed.
That’s the most attractive thing about Toffoli to Colorado — he can play anywhere in the lineup. Considering coach Jared Bednar‘s affinity for shuffling the lines around every once in a while to get players going, it’s a rather helpful addition to his system. Toffoli also brings Cup-winning experience, something not many on the team have.
Rumour: Via The Fourth Period, the Senators are looking at moving many names off of their roster at the deadline, including Mikkel Boedker, Tyler Ennis, Ron Hainsey, Mark Borowiecki, and Dylan DeMelo.
Analysis: Ottawa’s played well considering their expectations this season, maybe a little too well. This team needs an on-ice turnaround sooner rather than later. Shedding players who don’t fit in the long-term is a smart idea.
Younger players like Brady Tkachuk, Colin White, and Logan Brown have looked good this year. However, they still have many prospects on the way. However, you can never really have enough. With such a deep draft in 2020, Ottawa salivates at the idea of as many drafts picks as possible, regardless of round. Moving names at the deadline will allow them to give their younger players an extended audition for next season. Also, it allows the Senators to reinforce a decent prospect pool.
Ottawa’s future will be decided largely by general manager Pierre Dorion‘s actions over the first half of 2020. The Senators have an opportunity here to build a solid foundation for the future.
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