The NHLN Notebook is a semi-regular feature of interesting hockey content from the past few days that doesn’t quite deserve its own article.
The Coyotes plans to stay in Arizona have been foiled, and with the trade deadline approaching, we explore a new possible suitor for Kevin Shattenkirk, a Brandon Davidson trade, and who, with the reality of false parity, the NHL’s sellers are.
ASU DITCHES THE COYOTES
In a surprise bit of Friday night news, ASU isn’t going to be involved in the Arizona Coyotes’ next arena venture. https://t.co/yGnKpMwdXi
— Howlin’ Hockey (@HowlinHockey) February 4, 2017
Just as the NHL is getting ready to trot out the Las Vegas expansion franchise next season, the Arizona Coyotes once again have an uncertain future. The Coyotes planned to partner with Arizona State University in a move that would bring them to Tempe, but it fell apart when it the university felt it might threaten potential funding they would receive from the state.
Without a new arena on the horizon the Coyotes are left with few options. The team can’t survive in Glendale without a massive subsidy and the appetite for that seems long gone. The Coyotes last hopes hinge on either an unlikely partnership with the Phoenix Sons or a privately funded arena, which would take an incredible amount of faith for a franchise that has always struggled.
Expansion looks more confusing with the Coyotes consistent issues, the Islanders and the Barclay situation, and another potential problem brewing in Carolina, but the good thing is the NHL didn’t award Quebec City an expansion franchise. Gary Bettman can now use Quebec as his ace in the hole to finally remedy the situation in Arizona. Quebec has an NHL-ready arena and a fanbase more than willing to support a team, but it creates a conference imbalance if another team from the West heads East. The NHL is probably wishing Seattle had their stuff in order, but their arena situation is unsettled and their current hockey arena, KeyArena, doesn’t seem suitable even as a temporary home.
The NHL has always tried to avoid relocation if a team has stable ownership and an arena to play in, but the latter is appearing to fade and might give Bettman an excuse to finally pull the plug in Arizona.
INTEREST IN BRANDON DAVIDSON?
With Benning going on IR, and Russell nicked up Davidson could see increased minutes.
Pro scouts ask about him all the time
— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) February 4, 2017
With the Las Vegas expansion draft in mind, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman says there’s going to be some talk around Brandon Davidson as the Edmonton Oilers don’t want to lose him for nothing.
Davidson has played in 21 of Edmonton’s games due to injury. The 25-year old averages 14:52 minutes per game, which is down from 19:12 last season. The Oilers having defensive depth is a strange concept, but the emergence of Matt Benning and the impending return of Darnell Nurse will create a logjam that could be used to improve the team’s need at forward. What world are we living in?! Edmonton seems destined to go with the 7-3-1 option for expansion as neither Benning nor Nurse require protection, so parlaying Davidson into a forward makes sense given their current playoff aspirations.
Davidson is a young, mobile defensemen on a cheap contract, which is always a combination that will draw interest. Although, if the Oilers can’t find room to protect him it might be difficult to find a team that can.
RACE TO THE DEADLINE
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) February 5, 2017
With roughly 30 games left in the season, the majority of the league is still in range of each other excluding Arizona and Colorado. Bettman points! Bettman points everywhere! The NHL’s current bottom five has two teams, Vancouver and Dallas, within five points of a playoff spot with games in hand, and another in Tampa Bay that’s only seven points back of a Wild Card position. Sports Club Stats, which calculates a team’s odds of making the playoffs, gives those respective teams a less than ten percent chance at making the playoffs, but whether management feels they can make up the difference between now and the deadline is another thing.
The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch says that there’s the only two real sellers at this point, and that might make for an unusual trade deadline. Many teams like Detroit and Buffalo might feel like giving it a shot at a miracle run, especially with the wonky schedule this season, but how many teams will be ready to sell off and look towards the draft?
The trade deadline is less than a month away and the playoff teams haven’t necessarily separated as much as you would expect. A winning streak can put a team right back into the hunt, although not selling off pending free agents could have long-term implications for some of the league’s bubble teams.
ALL-TIME (REGULAR SEASON) G.O.A.T CAPS?
Washington’s 78 pts this season are the 2nd-most in NHL history through a team’s first 53 games of a season, trailing the ’15-16 #Caps (84).
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) February 5, 2017
It seems like every year is the one that people predict Washington finally breaks the barrier into the third round of the playoffs, but this might actually come to fruition this spring.
The Capital’s 0.736 wining percentage is just barely behind their 2009-10 pace, but they seem well poised to make another playoff run in a shallow Eastern Conference. Washington’s depth is even better than last season with the emergence of Dmitri Orlov and Andre Burakovsky, and they should take care of their first round opponent handedly.
Their real test likely comes in the second round where they’re bound to meet the Pittsburgh Penguins. If they’re able to move past Crosby and co. their path to the finals could not be easier with whoever comes out of the Atlantic. Any Atlantic division matchup is one that heavily favours Washington. Montreal will not be able to handle Washington’s attack unless Carey Price goes full Jaroslav Halak. Ottawa and Boston don’t have the depth to keep up with the Capitals, especially if they’re relying on Mike Condon or a struggling Tuukka Rask. Toronto and Florida might be able to give Washington a good fight, but they have to make the playoffs first.
The Capitals have always struggled to make it past the second round, but it’ll be either them or Pittsburgh likely representing the East in the Stanley Cup Finals.
NEW JERSEY A FIT FOR SHATTENKIRK?
— NJ Devils Fans (@NJDevilsViews) February 5, 2017
It’s been long well known that Kevin Shattenkirk wants to play in the Eastern Conference. Specially, the New York native has said he would love to play in front of the crowd at Madison Square Garden. But with the New York Rangers current cap situation, that probably isn’t going to work out.
An article in NJ.com ponders whether the Devils could be a possible fit for Shattenkirk’s homecoming. It certainly isn’t the Rangers, and Newark isn’t Manhattan, but it’s still something similar. Plus the Devils actually have the cap room to make it happen. But with that in mind, it’s hard to imagine the Devils, who certainly aren’t playoff contenders, making a deadline buy for a rental. If they were going to give the Blues something for Shattenkirk, it would surely have to be a sign-and-trade scenario.
GHOST BEAR FALLING OUT OF FAVOUR
nbcsports.com >> Gostisbehere to be healthy scratch for third straight game https://t.co/zl5CvuMAgl
— Flyers Buzz (@flyersbuzztap) February 6, 2017
And finally, we have this. Shayne Gostisbehere has been healthy scratched by the Philadelphia Flyers for the third game in a row. It’s interesting because Gostisbehere was Philly’s best offence producing defenceman last season, and was a key reason why the team was able to squeeze into a playoff spot.
He’s having a solid season numbers wise, rolling at a 0.50 point-per-game pace and leading the Flyers in relative Corsi For percentage, but Philly has struggled immensely with the actual defensive aspect of the game all year.
At this point, it’s time to start wondering if there’s actually something going on here. Is Ghost Bear still a key member of the Flyers future? Or is he someone they might look to move in the coming future? Or, tin foil hat time, is this the team trying to keep him from reaching entry-level bonuses (40 points, top-four team TOI, etc) for defencemen?