Welcome to another edition of NHL Insights. It was another exciting week in the NHL as we inch closer to the trade deadline. Teams are positioning themselves for the push to the playoffs. But let’s not count out the teams near the bottom of the standings like the New York Islanders, Montreal Canadiens, and New Jersey Devils. They are building towards next season by maybe adding pieces add the deadline to allow them to have a bounce-back season. Then there is the New York Rangers and the play of Igor Shesterkin. But what about the Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars. These teams are continuing to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. And where does Claude Giroux fit in all of this? Time to dive into some NHL Insights for the past week.
NHL Insights: New York Rangers, Claude Giroux Trade Talk, Dallas Stars
Igor Shesterkin and the New York Rangers
The New York Rangers continue to be on track to make the playoffs. But the big reason is the play of Igor Shesterkin. Shesterkin is making a case to not only win the Vezina Trophy but the Hart Trophy as well. It is a topic of conversation because Shesterkin has his own category, but he is the main reason why the Rangers are in the position they are in. Who is to say the Rangers would be in this position if Alexandar Georgiev was in between the pipes. Now Gerard Gallant has a lot to do with this, but Igor Shesterkin continues to elevate his game as he hides the chinks the defensive armour for the Rangers. And Chris Kreider has taken his game to another level as he remains in the race for the Rocket.
New York Islanders
Despite the Islanders running out of time in the Eastern Conference, they are playing much better under Barry Trotz. The Islanders are getting back to that Trotz style of hockey which is a good sign for them. Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech are playing much better. This duo has to continue to play together as they are the engine that makes the Islanders go. Noah Dobson is playing well and is taking the next steps in making him a crucial part of their defence going forward. Trotz did a great thing making the triple P line of Kyle Palmieri, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Zach Parise. Palmieri and Parise are finally heating up for the Islanders giving them more scoring finally. But that is something they must add.
New Jersey Devils
Staying in the Metro Area, let’s talk about the New Jersey Devils and what they are doing. Look they may not be in the playoff picture but they have some good young pieces with Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes. Not to mention Jesper Bratt and Dawson Mercer. Just imagine if they had a goaltender to compliment Mackenzie Blackwood when he is healthy. The same issues continually need to be fixed when it comes to the Devils. Defence, goaltending, and goal scoring. IF they can get a goal-scoring winger and another top defenceman the Devils can kick the rebuild in high gear.
Claude Giroux Trade Talk
The big talk heading into the trade deadline is what will the Philadelphia Flyers do with Claude Giroux. Giroux will play his 1000th game for the Flyers four days before the deadline. You got to wonder if GM Chuck Fletcher has deals in place for Giroux to be traded once this happens. It is just a matter of what team he is going to.
The Dallas Stars continue to be an interesting team in the Western Conference. They are occupying the first wild card spot in the West. But they could easily be out of the playoff picture. Since Jake Oettinger has taken over as the starter the Stars have been rolling. Joe Pavelski continues to be the ageless wonder, but the production of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Alexander Radulov has come up. Not to mention the play of Jason Roberston. The Stars can be a dangerous team especially if they make the playoffs. They remind many of the 2019 Columbus Blue Jackets.
How about the play of the Boston Bruins and Jeremy Swayman. Swayman is taking over the starter’s role and could be in contention for the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year. The Bruins have gotten more depth with Jake DeBrusk joining the top line. This has allowed the Bruins have more depth on offence as they can slot guys into the right place. For example Charlie Coyle on the third line. And now with David Pastrnak with Taylor Hall, it just gives them more firepower. Could a second-line centre be in their future?
Stay tuned for another edition of NHL Insights next week.
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