Welcome to another edition of NHL Insights. It was another exciting week in the NHL as the NHL Trade Deadline is only a week away now. The Dallas Stars, Carolina Hurricanes, and Philadelphia Flyers were active re-signing key players to their roster. Though one of the signings will not be made official until after the deadline. Two of those teams are in playoff contention, while one team was looking ahead to their future. In addition, the woes of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vegas Golden Knights continue to pile up. Both teams have high hopes and are heading in the wrong direction.
Time to dive into some NHL Insights for the past week.
NHL Insights: Dallas Stars, Carolina Hurricanes, Vegas Golden Knights
Joe Pavelski Staying In Dallas
The Dallas Stars have locked up their best player over the last three years in Joe Pavelski. Pavelski signed a new one-year deal worth $5.5 million that carries a bonus of $500,000. Thus taking Pavelski off the trade market. Ever since coming to the Stars, Pavelski has been such a key role in the team’s success. He was one of the reasons why the Stars made it to the Stanley Cup Final during the 2020 bubble playoff. Since then he has taken his game to new heights. During his time with the Stars Pavelski has recorded 142 points (62 goals and 80 assists) including 60 points (23 goals and 37 assists) in 57 games thus far with the Stars.
The minute Pavelski left the San Jose Sharks became a worse team in the league. Pavelski paired with Jason Roberston and Roope Hintz, the Stars don’t have to rely on Tyler Seguin or Jamie Benn as much. If Pavelski is going to stay with the Stars going forward it will be on a year-to-year contract.
While the Stars control their own destiny they will be in a tough position with Miro Heiskanen out of the lineup for a while with an illness. If the Stars get into the playoffs, they will be a dangerous team.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi Re-Signs In Carolina
The Carolina Hurricanes are keeping their defensive centre around for another eight years. The deal will not be officially announced until after the deadline, but the former Montreal Canadiens first-round pick will be making $4.820 million over the next eight seasons. The Hurricanes and Jesperi Kotkaniemi‘s camp agreed to this deal. Remember, the Canadiens signed Kotkaniemi to an offer sheet this past summer for $6.1 million. The Canadiens did not match and let him go to Carolina. Kotkaniemi is playing third-line centre for the Hurricanes. Plus he has become a better defensive player. He has 23 points (11 goals and 12 assists) in 56 games with the Hurricanes this season. Though he has been a great acquisition, the term might be a little long for a defensive forward. The money is great for this player as he got it this season, but the Hurricanes continue to build a winner down in Carolina.
Another Five Years For Rasmus Ristolainen
The Philadelphia Flyers made people scratch their heads this past week with the new contract they gave Rasmus Ristolainen. Ristolainen and the Flyers agreed to a new five-year contract with an annual average value of $5.1 million a season. Now while Ristolainen’s numbers are down, this is not a bad deal in terms of money. Especially for a right-shot defenceman. Those are hard to come by in the NHL. Ristolainen has played on some bad Buffalo teams and a bad Flyers team. The Flyers are signing him for the future which opens up Travis Sanheim and Ivan Provorov to trade speculation. The key for the Flyers is at least they did not pay him Seth Jones money.
The Woes For Vegas and Toronto
The Toronto Maple Leafs and Vegas Golden Knights have some real issues. Both are having some defensive and goaltending breakdowns. Especially the Maple Leafs as they will be without Jack Campbell for two weeks. Petr Mrazek will be the starter, but they need to find someone to stop the bleeding. Not only that the Maple Leafs need to get back to playing better defensive hockey in front of their goalies. Their style of play leaves their goalie out to dry. Plus they need their goalie to make a save.
On the Vegas side of things, they have issues. Injuries, coaching, and structure are playing them. Not only that but Jack Eichel has just not fit into this team. The Golden Knights have lost their identity from the first year. That may have to do with Gerard Gallant being in New York and Pete DeBoer not being the right fit. No Mark Stone certainly does not help. But maybe just maybe trading Marc-Andre Fleury was a mistake. Robin Lehner is a good goalie, but the staff does not trust the backup and again the system is failing their goalies. Something has to give because who would have thought Vegas would be a fringe playoff team. Though they are an expansion team, the Golden Knights are going through growing pains.
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