Tag Archives: NHL

Montreal Canadiens Rebuild Part 6

All images are from NHL 19.

Welcome to part six of the Montreal Canadiens rebuild in NHL 19’s Franchise Mode. Click here to catch up on part one, part two, part three, part four and part five. As mentioned last week, this week’s post will entail the remainder of the season simulation and hopefully a long playoff run.

 

Season Simulation

Upon simulating the remainder of the season, the Montreal Canadiens finished second in the division and conference, and fifth in the league with 102 points. E. Pettersson and F. Forsberg led the way offensively with 84 and 83 points respectively.

 

Playoffs Round 1

In the first round of the playoffs, the Canadiens faced off against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The game results were as follows:

Game 1: 3-2 OTW

Game 2: 2-1 W

Game 3: 2-1 OTW

Game 4: 4-2 W

This was a tight series as the score in the first three games only differed by one-goal. It could have gone either way, especially in the two games which went into overtime. Hopefully, our squad will take advantage of this quick series by resting and preparing for the next round.

 

Playoffs Round 2

In the second round of the playoffs, the Canadiens played against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The game results were as follows:

Game 1: 5-1 L

Game 2: 4-0 W

Game 3: 4-0 L

Game 4: 7-2 L

Game 5: 2-0 W

Game 6: 5-2 W

Game 7: 5-2 W

This was a long series where our team struggled in three of the first four games. However, they persevered and came through in game seven.

 

Playoffs Conference Finals

In the Conference Finals, the Canadiens played against the New Jersey Devils. The game results were as follows:

Game 1: 5-4 OTW

Game 2: 2-1 W

Game 3: 2-1 W

Game 4: 3-1 W

Similar to the first round against the Tampa Bay Lightning, this was a close series where the first three games only differed by one-goal. But the Canadiens were able to hang on and advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.

 

Playoffs Stanley Cup Finals

In the Stanley Cup Finals, the Canadiens played against the San Jose Sharks. The results are below.

This series went the distance, but the Canadiens were able to bring the Stanley Cup to Canada for the second year in a row in this simulation. Furthermore, T. Demko won the Conn Smythe Trophy while E. Pettersson posted 21-points in 22-games.

 

As promised in part one, The Hockey Singh has led the Montreal Canadiens to the Stanley Cup. Part six concludes the Montreal Canadiens Rebuild series. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did playing and writing about it. Please share your comments and/or suggestions.

Montreal Canadiens Rebuild Part 5

All images are from NHL 19.

Welcome to part five of the Montreal Canadiens rebuild in NHL 19’s Franchise Mode. Click here to catch up on part one, part two, part three and part four. As mentioned last week, this week’s post will entail a captaincy announcement, season simulation and much more.

 

Captaincy Announcement

The Montreal Canadiens are proud to announce that E. Pettersson is now the captain of their franchise. Additionally, F. Forsberg and E. Karlsson will serve as assistants.

 

Signings and Trades

With extraordinary depth and many players who could be lost on waivers since they have one-way contracts, there was a flurry of trades. N. Scherbak was traded to San Jose for R. Merkley and two late draft picks. B. Elliott was signed to a one-year deal to backup S. Bobrovsky. A. Lehkonen and J. Korpisalo were traded for draft picks. We received an immense upgrade on the blueline by acquiring B. Skjei from the Rangers in exchange for two first-round draft picks and T. Lindholm.

 

Lineup Analysis

Forwards: The team has four strong lines and minimal weaknesses up front.

Defence: There is a need for a top-four defender to fill the void on the second pairing as J. Ryan will not suffice.

Goalies: The team has two goalies who are very capable in their respective roles.

 

Season Simulation

I simulated until the end of November, just prior to December 1st, 2019. Surprisingly, A. Copp was still an unsigned RFA who would be an upgrade as a fourth line center for our team.  The Jets did not match the offer and due to the minimal salary involved no draft pick compensation was required. Upon inking A. Copp, I made a trade to fill the need for a top-four defender. J. Ryan and four draft picks including a first rounder were traded to Edmonton for D. Nurse.

 

Upon simulating into mid-February, it was apparent there were some players who were not interested in signing contract extensions with the team. These players included S. Bobrovsky, R. Murray, D. Brassard, J. Skinner and M. Domi. While a majority of these players had just been brought in, the lack of interest in signing an extension with a contending team worried me. I decided to explore trading these players and it resulted in a frenzy of trades.

 

New Lineup Analysis

Forwards: Stronger than ever.

Defence: No more weaknesses.

Goalies: A little bit weaker but still capable.

 

This team is in a win now mode. Tune in next week for the remainder of the season simulation and hopefully a long playoff run. Also, if you have any comments and/or suggestions please share them below in the comments.

Montreal Canadiens Rebuild Part 4

All images are from NHL 19.

Welcome to part four of the Montreal Canadiens rebuild in NHL 19’s Franchise Mode. Click here to catch up on part one, part two and part three. As mentioned last week, this week’s post will entail the results of the draft lottery, the draft itself, the re-sign phase, and, of course, free agency.

 

Draft Lottery

And the results are…

Obviously, we did not win the lottery, but luckily, we did not fall either.

 

Draft Day

After a few hours of viewing data on players provided by our scouts, I pinpointed eight players who I believe have elite potential.

I realized there was no player that was intriguing at ninth overall, so I viewed trading blocks around the league. To my surprise, A. Nylander was on the block in Buffalo. The following trade was made to acquire him and the 17th overall selection in this year’s draft.

Since the team had a plethora of picks and only eight players were being targeted, I deferred some late picks to next year’s draft. Luckily, I was able to find trade partners and we selected everyone who we had hoped for.

 

Re-Sign Phase

Korpisalo was inked a two-year $2.925M deal. H. Fleury signed a one-year “prove-it” contract valued at $1.575M. Similarly, R. Murray inked a one-year “prove-it” contract valued at $5.325M.

Olofsson, M. Reilly, N. Scherbak, M. McCarron, A. Lehkonen and C. Hudon signed contract extensions.

I. Scott, S. Walford, J. Tyszka, J. Ylonen, C. Hillis and J. Olofsson signed entry-level contracts.

 

Free Agency

This year’s free agent class featured many high-end players including E. Karlsson. Seeing that players of this caliber were available I decided that it was time to turn this team around and become a legitimate contender. Since the team was swimming in cap space, I offered contracts left, right and center. The most notable signings were E. Karlsson, M. Stone, S. Bobrovsky, A. Duclair, D. Brassard and J. Skinner. This resulted in many players being forced down the depth chart and players such as M. Reilly and C. Lindgren were now expendable and traded for draft picks. Upon reviewing the roster, it was evident that we still required better defenders as Karlsson would not suffice on his own. However, the team was also very close to the cap-ceiling. I explored an A. Shaw trade and was able to make the deal below to dump his contract. Surprisingly, we did not have to retain any salary. Even though we now had the cap space, there were not many quality defenders remaining in free agency. I was forced to sign J. Ryan to fill the void temporarily as options would now have to be considered on the trade front.

 

Tune in next week for a captaincy announcement, season simulation and much more. Also, if you have any comments and/or suggestions please share them below in the comments section.

Montreal Canadiens Rebuild Part 3

All images are from NHL 19.

Welcome to part three of the Montreal Canadiens rebuild in NHL 19’s Franchise Mode. Click here to catch up on part one and part two. As mentioned last week, this week’s post will entail a lineup reveal, captaincy announcement, season simulation and more!

 

Lineup:

Forwards

First Line: The first line features Forsberg and Domi who are being centered by Pettersson. While Forsberg has established himself as a first line player, I have decided to push Pettersson and Domi to play on the first line even though they are better suited for the second line. While splitting up this trio would create more balance within the lineup, we currently lack players who could fill the void on the first line.

Second Line: The second line includes Shaw, Cammalleri, and Jurco. Hopefully, Shaw will benefit from the increased ice-time which will make trading him away more viable. While Cammalleri is listed as a winger he has exceptional faceoff stats, so he will be the second line centre for the upcoming season. I believe that Jurco has some untapped potential and can still grow as a player. The opportunity on the second line may help in this regard.

Third Line: The third line features Lehkonen, Kotkaniemi, and Hudon. This line could have easily been our second line for the upcoming season, but I felt the need to shelter these players since they do not have as much experience. However, the door is not shut for them to move up. If they continually improve as the season progresses a promotion is likely.

Fourth Line: The fourth line includes Upshall, Vermette, and Jokinen. These three players are currently filling the holes in our roster.

Defence

First Pairing: The first pairing features Murray and Ouellet. While Murray is a top-four defenceman I am hoping that he will benefit from first pairing minutes so that he can become a bonafide top-four defender. Similar to Jurco, I am hoping to see some growth in Ouellet’s play as the season progresses.

Second Pairing: The second pairing includes Reilly and Bieksa. This pairing has been designed similar to the fourth line which has players who are filling holes in the roster.

Third Pairing: The third pairing features Fleury and Mete. Similar to the third line these two players are being sheltered and will move up in the lineup as they improve.

Goalies

After playing behind Bobrovsky for a few seasons, Korpisalo now has the opportunity to assume the starting role. But Mason has been brought in to ensure some friendly competition between the two players.

 

Captaincy Announcement

As a rebuilding club that is headed in a new direction, the Montreal Canadiens would like to announce that we will not name a captain for the upcoming season. However, we will have a leadership group of three assistant captains which include Pettersson, Forsberg, and Murray.

 

Season Simulation

I planned to simulate the game until the trade deadline and then take a look at how well our team is doing and potential trades. However, the simulation was interrupted at the end of January as Wotherspoon had been placed on waivers by the St. Louis Blues. I decided to place a claim as he would some defensive depth to the team. Now at the trade deadline, an offer came from the LA Kings for Stoner. They offered a 6th round pick in 2019. Since we had picked up Wotherspoon, Stoner had become expendable and the trade was accepted. Moreover, I attempted to locate a trade partner to take on Shaw’s contract, however, I did not find any takers. Furthermore, I also noted that Lehtonen was still a free agent and was being pursued by the Toronto Maple Leafs. It seemed that they were looking to add some goaltending depth for a playoff run. So, I viewed their trading block and traded Mason for Scott and two draft picks in the 2019 draft. This enabled us to acquire a legitimate goaltending prospect, but we were now left with a void behind Korpisalo. I offered Lehtonen a one-year $5-million-dollar contract to backup Korpisalo and he accepted.

The team finished the season with a record of 39-38-5 and 83 points. We were 7th in the division, 12th in the conference and 23rd in the league. Although the team performed poorly, Pettersson won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the most proficient first-year player in the NHL. Although we did not make the playoffs, the Stanley Cup returned to Canada as the Toronto Maple Leafs won it in five games against the Dallas Stars.

 

Tune in next week for the results of the draft lottery, the draft itself, the re-sign phase, and, of course, free agency. Also, if you have any comments and/or suggestions please share them below in the comments.

After the Whistle: The Canucks Week in Review

Playoffs? PLAYOFFS? First this team needs to win a game!

Coming off of the All-Star Break, the Canucks had just two games this week, and overall, it was a tough one. The Canucks failed to score first in both games, and never held the lead at all. With 0 points this week, the Canucks are now 3-4-3 in their last 10, sitting at 52 points in 52 games. For all the playoff talk that’s been surging in Vancouver over the past few weeks, the Canucks sit at 26th in the league, and have the third worst goal differential at -27.

Record

Wins Losses OT Losses Total Points
0 2 0 0

Feb. 2, 2017: Canucks lost to the Sharks 4-1

Feb. 4, 2017: Canucks lost to the Wild 6-3

The Games

 For all of you who missed the games, or want a little recap, below are concise summaries of each contest

Game 1

The All-Star hangover was real, and very prevalent in this game. The Canucks were sloppy, and the rust was evident. Starting the game decently, the team faded as the 1st period went on, and Patrick Marleau scored his 500th goal on the PP off a beautiful transition from the Wookiee, Brent Burns. Chris Tierney scored his 5th of the season just six minutes later, and the Sharks never looked back. Both teams were held scoreless in the 2nd, but Burns scored in just 53 seconds into the 3rd. Philip Larsen, who had an extremely poor game, answered back with his first goal as a Canuck, however it wasn’t enough and Tierney sealed the deal with his second of the night with five minutes left. Miller, who has been on fire lately with a .944 SV% in January, has not carried over that performance in February. He didn’t really hurt the team in this one, but he didn’t help. Overall, the team looked like a team that hadn’t played in a week, and Larsen looked like a player who hasn’t played in a month. The defence is young, and growing pains are expected, but this one was one ugly affair.

Game 2

The second Canucks game this week reminded me of a car slipping into an accident in the snow. It was ugly, but somehow, I couldn’t seem to look away. The West leading Minnesota Wild came to town, and they showed why they’re the best in the conference. After a good start to the game, the Canucks conceded a goal off a blast from Mike Reilly, his first of the year. The defence continued their Tuesday night struggles in this game, and gave the Wild d-man way too much time to unload his shot. Sutter scored shortly after, and all of a sudden we had a game! That didn’t last long, with Mikael Granlund scoring with 25 seconds left in the period, a goal that defined the game. Although the Canucks kept battling back, the Wild were always one (or two) steps ahead of them. Mikael Granlund was great in this game, and is in the middle of a breakout season. His first career hat-trick pushed his team 6-3 over the Canucks, and he was dominant all night. But hey, at least Bo Horvat sniped a beauty, and Brandon Sutter scored twice! Speaking of Sutter, on a team starved for goals, he has 14, good for 2nd on the team. He is also winning nearly 56% of his faceoffs, and his presence in the lineup has made the Canucks a deeper team. That being said, the Canucks need to get everybody rolling if they want to win against good playoff teams, and as of right now, they’re still rusty.

Final Thoughts

Overall the Canucks are just not winning lately, and are slipping down the standings. The upcoming 6 game road trip will be critical for the Canucks playoff hopes, and will most likely define their season. Is this team a (playoff) contender, or are they pretenders?  I would love the Canucks to get a high pick this year, but I am also happy that they’re holding their own with such promising youth in the lineup. Although I may be a bit of a ‘draftist’, I still like to watch good hockey, so hopefully the Canucks shake off the rust and recover from this poor start to the month.

Let me know what your impressions are of the Canucks this week! Will the struggles continue, as more experienced teams start gearing up for the playoffs? How will they do on this road trip? Would you rather have a playoff spot or a top-5 pick? Join the discussion in the comments down below!