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Old 07-11-2018, 10:21 AM   #41
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I would say it is a toss up between the Blues, Flames, Leafs for most improved this summer.

Toronto gained Tavares, Ennis and lost Jvr, Bozak, Komarov, Martin
They lost some grit and saw 2 good role players leave but added a Franchise player

Blues adding Ror, Bozak, Maroon definitely improves the team and Sobotka, Berglund, Thompson are minimal losses compared to the gains

Flames add Neal, Lindholm, Hanifin, Ryan, Czarnik and lose Hamilton, Ferland, Stajan, Versteeg

Definite upgrades at forward for Calgary with a step back on the blue line (on paper)
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Old 07-11-2018, 10:38 AM   #42
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I don't know. Duhatschek lists Calgary as a bubble team this year after the new player additions. That suggests to me that last year's group was not good enough. This year's group may not be either. I think they can get in but who knows. The Athletic article has Calgary rated at #20 right now.
The #20 team in the NHL? I don't agree with that at all.

Without seeing his article, I would guess that it is a very big bubble. I would personally think every team in the Pac Div save Edmonton, Vancouver, and Arizona is a "bubble team," meaning that any one of them could conceivably win the division, could conceivably land in a wildcard, or could conceivably miss the playoffs altogether. Hell, the only Pacific team that is clearly out is the Canucks.
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Old 07-11-2018, 10:40 AM   #43
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The article was more about ranking teams based on how much they have improved. A power rankings of sort. Not a prediction of where they would end up or anything like that.

From the article in question:

"After​ projecting the​ potential​​ of all 31 teams before the draft, The Athletic‘s NHL staff went through the new rosters to see which teams improved the most."
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Old 07-11-2018, 10:43 AM   #44
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You could make an arguement that LA improved just as much.

They added Kovalchuk, plus Phaneuf at the deadline, and they only had 27 games of Jeff Carter last season.

They already had a pretty good core to add to.

They have 7 40ish point forwards.
Probably the second best forward in the division.
The best defenceman.
The best goalie.

I think they are the team to beat in the Pacific this season, although Anaheim is just as deep and should be right there with them.

I would say the other teams are darkhorses to win the division on paper. Of course anything can happen. Just look at Vegas last year.
The bolded are the only things that changed, the rest has nothing to do with actual offseason moves made to improve the team. Adding Kovalchuk and Phaneuf (deadline acquisition, so not offseason, but whatev) were decent moves, but Kovy is 35 and Phaneuf is a second pairing (at best) Dman.

The Kings did not improve their roster as much as many teams did this offseason. I do agree tho, they look like they could be dangerous... but LA is always such a crapshoot, I never know what to expect from them from one season to the next.
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Old 07-11-2018, 10:46 AM   #45
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The #20 team in the NHL? I don't agree with that at all.

Without seeing his article, I would guess that it is a very big bubble. I would personally think every team in the Pac Div save Edmonton, Vancouver, and Arizona is a "bubble team," meaning that any one of them could conceivably win the division, could conceivably land in a wildcard, or could conceivably miss the playoffs altogether. Hell, the only Pacific team that is clearly out is the Canucks.
Not sure the Athletic had their ducks in a row in that one.

Starts out with ...

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20. Calgary Flames

Previous ranking: No. 20
and then the commentary (I think it's Duhatschek) starts out with ...

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I bumped the Flames up this time around
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Old 07-11-2018, 10:47 AM   #46
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They reference votes earlier in the article but stop mid way through so I suspect that Duhatschek voted them up where others did not.
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Old 07-11-2018, 11:01 AM   #47
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The Flames roster was far better than their position in the standings would suggest
Far better?
I do not agree.
They battled for a playoff spot until injuries derailed the season.
Neither the coaching staff nor the roster were adequate.
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Old 07-11-2018, 11:07 AM   #48
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Not sure the Athletic had their ducks in a row in that one.

Starts out with ...



and then the commentary (I think it's Duhatschek) starts out with ...
Yeah there is something screwy there, for sure. I do find it interesting that Duhatschek is quoted as saying Calgary is still a bubble team in his mind.
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They’re still a bubble playoff team though.
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Old 07-11-2018, 11:47 AM   #49
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I think the Flames are probably still a playoff bubble team. New player additions usually take time to adjust to new teams. New coaches either provide a spark right away or take time to adjust to depending on the difference with the previous regime. Also, let's not forget that most of the core of this team is still young. Gaudreau, Monahan, Tkachuk, Hanifan, Lindholm and Bennett (that's 4 of the top 6 fowards and a top 4 D) are still learning to win in the NHL. Adding a guy like Neal helps for sure, but it may take another year for this team to really gel and be more than a playoff bubble team.
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Old 07-11-2018, 11:47 AM   #50
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In all seriousness, have the Flames ever played up to their offseason expectations if they were expected to be good? The last time I remember the Flames having such a large turnover in players and coaching staff was when Brent Sutter and Bouwmeester came to town. I remember seeing a lot of the same stuff being written about that team as I'm seeing now, and I'm getting a sense of deja vu. I really hope Calgary can exceed their expectations for once instead of disappointing as they usually do
I think these are 2 very different situations. The Flames in 2008/2009 were on the cusp of being an elite team. Cammalleri and Igonla both with 80+pts and the team had a 13pt lead on the division before injuries and the salary cap had them playing with 15 skaters. When they made the Sutter and Bouwmeester moves they were loved by most but the team did lose a ton of offense letting Cammy walk and replacing him with nothing.

The team getting hype this year is coming off a bad season where they addressed their needs in adding scorbig but didn’t cripple the defense to do it.
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Old 07-11-2018, 11:49 AM   #51
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Yeah there is something screwy there, for sure. I do find it interesting that Duhatschek is quoted as saying Calgary is still a bubble team in his mind.
Again, what doe he mean by that? I think virtually every team in the Division is a bubble team.
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Old 07-11-2018, 11:55 AM   #52
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The bolded are the only things that changed, the rest has nothing to do with actual offseason moves made to improve the team. Adding Kovalchuk and Phaneuf (deadline acquisition, so not offseason, but whatev) were decent moves, but Kovy is 35 and Phaneuf is a second pairing (at best) Dman.

The Kings did not improve their roster as much as many teams did this offseason. I do agree tho, they look like they could be dangerous... but LA is always such a crapshoot, I never know what to expect from them from one season to the next.
You don't think Kovy/Phaneuf is as much improvement as Neal/Ryan?

Kovy is a wildcard but he was a much better player than Neal when he saw him last. He's been killing the KHL. I think him scoring 25 goals and 40+ points is a decent bet.

Phaneuf is better than Ryan.

Kings were a 98 point team last season, and with Phaneuf and Kovy I think they are a good bet to improve.

I'd argue the Kings are pretty consistent and not a crapshoot.

They basically had one bad year which was 16/17. Quick missed basically the entire season that year.

Yeah the Kings missed playoffs in 14/15 too, but they had 95 points and went 3-15 in OT/SO. I'd call that bad luck more than anything.
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Old 07-11-2018, 11:58 AM   #53
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You don't think Kovy/Phaneuf is as much improvement as Neal/Ryan?

Kovy is a wildcard but he was a much better player than Neal when he saw him last. He's been killing the KHL. I think him scoring 25 goals and 40+ points is a decent bet.

Phaneuf is better than Ryan.

Kings were a 98 point team last season, and with Phaneuf and Kovy I think they are a good bet to improve.

I'd argue the Kings are pretty consistent and not a crapshoot.

They basically had one bad year which was 16/17. Quick missed basically the entire season that year.

Yeah the Kings missed playoffs in 14/15 too, but they had 95 points and went 3-15 in OT/SO. I'd call that bad luck more than anything.

OK. At defense? how can they be compared? Im more then happy with phaneuf not being any where near the flames.
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Old 07-11-2018, 12:08 PM   #54
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You don't think Kovy/Phaneuf is as much improvement as Neal/Ryan?

Kovy is a wildcard but he was a much better player than Neal when he saw him last. He's been killing the KHL. I think him scoring 25 goals and 40+ points is a decent bet.

Phaneuf is better than Ryan.

Kings were a 98 point team last season, and with Phaneuf and Kovy I think they are a good bet to improve.

I'd argue the Kings are pretty consistent and not a crapshoot.

They basically had one bad year which was 16/17. Quick missed basically the entire season that year.

Yeah the Kings missed playoffs in 14/15 too, but they had 95 points and went 3-15 in OT/SO. I'd call that bad luck more than anything.
a. Calling a guy who is 35 and you think might score 40 better than a guy five years younger, who has scored better than that consistently over the last 10 years is a stretch.

b. Phaneuf shouldn't even count as an improvement but he's a solid second pairing defenceman. Ryan is a solid middle six centre/wing. They both solidify the middle of the lineup. It's a wash.

c. Are you calling Lindholm/Hanifin for Hamilton/Ferland a non-improvement? GG for Peters? The Czarnik acquisition?
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Old 07-11-2018, 12:13 PM   #55
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You don't think Kovy/Phaneuf is as much improvement as Neal/Ryan?

Kovy is a wildcard but he was a much better player than Neal when he saw him last. He's been killing the KHL. I think him scoring 25 goals and 40+ points is a decent bet.

Phaneuf is better than Ryan.

Kings were a 98 point team last season, and with Phaneuf and Kovy I think they are a good bet to improve.

I'd argue the Kings are pretty consistent and not a crapshoot.

They basically had one bad year which was 16/17. Quick missed basically the entire season that year.

Yeah the Kings missed playoffs in 14/15 too, but they had 95 points and went 3-15 in OT/SO. I'd call that bad luck more than anything.
Phaneuf was already on the team that scored 3 goals in an entire playoff series. Kovy is more than a wildcard "killing it in the KHL" you mean getting outscored by players who couldn't make the NHL

You are also forgetting Lindholm/Hanafin>Ferland/Hamilton
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Old 07-11-2018, 01:20 PM   #56
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a. Calling a guy who is 35 and you think might score 40 better than a guy five years younger, who has scored better than that consistently over the last 10 years is a stretch.
I didn't say he is better. He was better five years ago.

I'm sure Kovalchuk has lost a step, but Neal is slowing down as well.

I think at this point they will both be guys that rely primarily on their shots to pick up points, and won't contribute much in other areas.

I would probably bet on Neal having the stronger season next year, but I wouldn't be shocked if it goes the other way.

Point for Calgary.

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b. Phaneuf shouldn't even count as an improvement but he's a solid second pairing defenceman. Ryan is a solid middle six centre/wing. They both solidify the middle of the lineup. It's a wash.
I'm ok with not counting him as an improvement if we are just focusing on off season acquisitions.

But when it comes to talking about which team will win the division I think having Phaneuf for the whole season as well as Carter coming back will give the Kings a pretty big boost to an already solid squad.

Either way a top four like Phaneuf is a bigger part of the team than a 2/3rd line forward.

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c. Are you calling Lindholm/Hanifin for Hamilton/Ferland a non-improvement? GG for Peters? The Czarnik acquisition?
I would say Lindholm/Hanifin for Hamilton/Ferland is a downgrade for this season on paper.

GG for Peters. Is it an upgrade? GG has a better win % in the NHL and made the playoffs once.

Czarnik like Peters falls into the category of hopeful improvement.

Anyway, my favorite to win the division this year is the Kings. I think its a fair statement that the Kings have improved as much as anyone in the division from last season to this season.
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Old 07-11-2018, 01:44 PM   #57
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Anyway, my favorite to win the division this year is the Kings. I think its a fair statement that the Kings have improved as much as anyone in the division from last season to this season.
You are essentially basing this on Phaneuf being a bigger improvement over Ryan than Neal is over Kovie (which was a huge backpedal, BTW). Yet IMO Phaneuf didn't move the needle much for LA (who also lost Gaborik and Shore in the deal). Carter returning was bigger IMO.their record with and without Carter is pretty significant. The Kings were 28-23-4 without him, which is 89 points in 82 games. 17-5-4 with him. 12-5-3 from when he went back in after injury.

You have also discounted the Czarnik addition as zero. It's unknown, but it's more than zero, even if pushes Mangiapane or Foo.
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:00 PM   #58
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...Anyway, my favorite to win the division this year is the Kings. I think its a fair statement that the Kings have improved as much as anyone in the division from last season to this season.
The Kings scored three goals in the playoffs. Three. Adding Kovalchuk does not do enough to make up for that.
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:41 PM   #59
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You are essentially basing this on Phaneuf being a bigger improvement over Ryan than Neal is over Kovie (which was a huge backpedal, BTW). Yet IMO Phaneuf didn't move the needle much for LA (who also lost Gaborik and Shore in the deal). Carter returning was bigger IMO.their record with and without Carter is pretty significant. The Kings were 28-23-4 without him, which is 89 points in 82 games. 17-5-4 with him. 12-5-3 from when he went back in after injury.

You have also discounted the Czarnik addition as zero. It's unknown, but it's more than zero, even if pushes Mangiapane or Foo.
Was it really a big backpedal?

I said its a decent bet that Kovalchuk would have a season on par with Neal.

I still think that, and I don't think its an outrageous opinion to hold.

Kovalchuk was always a great player. He did well in the KHL. It's pretty likely he still has some game left in him.

I do discount the Czarnik addition because he has not proven anything about his NHL ability. I mean the Kings could add Michael Amadio to their team full time next year. He was ppg in the AHL as well.
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:47 PM   #60
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The Kings scored three goals in the playoffs. Three. Adding Kovalchuk does not do enough to make up for that.
Make up for what? That they had a bad playoff series?

I don't think it diminishes their chances to win the division next season.
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