Here is the August 3 version of the mailbag, the place we reply your questions posed on Twitter utilizing #OvertheBoards. Tweet your inquiries to @drosennhl.
Do the St. Louis Blues nonetheless have ongoing discussions with groups about Vladimir Tarasenko? There have been blended experiences that he nonetheless wished out, however the talks seem to have died utterly. What are the probabilities of him reuniting with the staff this yr and shifting into free company? — @BeerLeagueSelke
It has been quiet on Tarasenko’s entrance with the Blues, however I feel that is by design. I’ve no cause to imagine that the commerce request he submitted earlier than final season was overturned, however that does not imply St. Louis needs or ought to commerce him. Tarasenko was untraded final season and he is been good, racking up 82 factors (34 objectives, 48 assists) in 75 video games to assist the Blues qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
I do not suppose Tarasenko’s worth within the commerce market is robust sufficient for the Blues to commerce him now or earlier than the season. They need to choose up a top-six striker to interchange him, particularly since they misplaced David Peron in free company, who signed a two-year, $9.5 million contract (common annual worth of $4.75 million) with the Detroit Purple Wings. However Tarasenko is 30 and coming into the ultimate yr of an eight-year, $60 million ($7.5 million AAV) contract. Why would a staff give St. Louis one in all their prime six forwards for Tarasenko when he is on the unsuitable facet of 30 and there is no assure they will have him any longer than this? season? Let’s not neglect his historical past of shoulder accidents. It could be totally different if Tarasenko is keen to signal an extension after being traded, however he would do it blindly. He is by no means performed for one more NHL staff, so I am hesitant to suppose he’d marry a brand new franchise and by no means play for them. He may be attracted by the chance to grow to be UFA subsequent summer time.
My feeling is that Tarasenko can be with the Blues this season and they’ll attempt to make one other magic run with him and the middle Ryan O’Reilly, who’s 31 and one yr away from unrestricted free company, is coming into the ultimate yr of a seven-year contract. It is also attainable that they may get one or each of them to signal contract extensions earlier than or in the course of the season.
With offseason acquisitions and training employees modifications in addition to the event of their younger gamers, can the New Jersey Devils lastly make a playoff push? — @keithcaporelli
The Devils are undoubtedly deeper and located to be a greater staff with the addition of forwards Ondrej Palat and Erik Hauladefenders John Marin and Brendan Smithand guardian Vitek Vanecek. I like the additions of Palat and Haula. New Jersey wanted extra of a veteran presence in its top-nine ahead squad. The Devils have it with these two. Palat may very well be excellent for Jack Hughes. He was for Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Level after they performed with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He performs properly with gifted gamers. With Dougie Hamilton, Damon Severson and Marino, the Devils are sturdy on the correct facet of the blue line. It saves time for Simon Nemec, the second choose of the 2022 NHL Draft. Smith is a flexible veteran. He’ll play behind Ryan Graves and Jonas Siegenthalerprincipally save time Luc Hughes, the No. 4 choose within the 2021 NHL Draft who is predicted to play another season on the College of Michigan. Vanecek and Mackenzie Blackwood have the makings of a very good goalkeeping tandem, however neither is protected. Both manner, it may’t be worse than final season when the Devils used seven goaltenders and the one one who had a .900 save proportion or higher was Jonathan Bernier (.902), who performed 10 video games, none after Dec. 3 because of a debilitating hip harm.
However to qualify for the playoffs, the Devils should a minimum of place within the prime 5 within the Metropolitan Division, and that is solely adequate in the event that they’re higher than the fourth-place staff within the Atlantic Division. So, are the Devils higher than the Carolina Hurricanes? Arduous no. Are they higher than the New York Rangers? Arduous no, once more. Are they higher than the Pittsburgh Penguins? I don’t see it. Are they higher than the Washington Capitals? Perhaps. What concerning the New York Islanders and the Columbus Blue Jackets? That continues to be to be seen. They had been 18 factors behind the sixth-placed Blue Jackets final season. They’re no higher than the Lightning, Florida Panthers or Toronto Maple Leafs, the highest three by consensus within the Atlantic Division. I feel the Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators will face off for fourth place, however I am not satisfied that New Jersey is healthier than these two groups.
The Devils have improved this offseason and so they have star energy with Luke Hughes, Nemec and ahead Alexander Holtz. However I am not able to predict they will make the playoffs, not with the uncertainty of the online and the space they should go to be higher than they had been final season.
The place do you see Pat Verbeek’s plan for the Anaheim Geese? All I do know is he needs large guys. The place is he on the lookout for scoring and defensive depth? Regardless of the John Klingberg signature, there’s nonetheless a big hole in protection? — @pucksngraps
There are gaps on the Geese’ depth chart that have to be stuffed as a result of they’re rebuilding and that is a course of. The addition of Klingberg on a one-year contract is necessary for this season. It is a trial to see if the Geese and Klingberg can lengthen the wedding for a number of extra seasons. He can be 30 on August 14. He is not too outdated to play a giant function within the Geese’ future, as they are not too far behind.
Verbeek, the Geese normal supervisor, needs velocity and power. This doesn’t essentially imply nice gamers. It means quick gamers who can compete with the puck. He has repeatedly mentioned he did not suppose the Geese had been quick sufficient final season. They’ve younger dynamic gamers up entrance Trevor Zegras and Troy Terryand defender Jamie Drysdale. They want extra. Ahead Mason McTavish may very well be on the opening night time roster in a top-nine function. The No. 3 choose within the 2021 NHL Draft has measurement (6 ft, 213 kilos) and velocity. That is the kind of participant Verbeek needs. They added forwards Ryan Strome and Frank Vatrano in free company. They’re two top-six forwards who can skate and compete for the puck. Strome is a playmaker. Vatrano is a shooter. They’re stable additions to finish Zegras and Terry up entrance, simply as Klingberg is on the again to hitch Drysdale, cam fowler and Kevin Shattenkirk.
The Geese want extra gamers who’re fast and aggressive with the puck, gamers who can defend properly and rating properly. They hope to have a number of with McTavish joined by forwards Jacob Perreault, Brayden Tracey and Benoit-Olivier Groulx. They want time to grow to be NHL gamers and will have an opportunity this season.
Any ideas on scheduling rivalry video games? Ought to we give some type of favoritism to rivalries or does dividing the schedule extra actually assist develop the sport/markets higher? — @mikeybox
I am for rivalry video games, however I am not for too a lot of them. It’d look nice for the Rangers and Islanders, Maple Leafs and Senators, Kings and Geese, Flames and Oilers, Penguins and Flyers, Bruins and Canadiens, and the Lightning and Panthers. withstand eight or 10 occasions in a season, however that is too many. I would be good with 5 occasions per season, which is a minimum of another time than they’re taking part in now. The Rangers and Islanders solely play one another thrice, all earlier than Dec. 22. It isn’t enough. I am not satisfied that each staff ought to play in each market. For instance, as many Philadelphia followers wish to see Connor McDavid and the Oilers are coming to city, I feel they might be okay with sacrificing this chance for one more recreation in opposition to Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. Likewise, Crosby goes to play in Southern California, however an additional Geese-Kings recreation would doubtless entice extra of the native fan base. However the NHL’s scheduling matrix requires each staff to play house and away a minimum of as soon as, and the aggressive steadiness within the league makes it tough to argue in opposition to that. Attendance numbers are additionally excessive (the NHL performed at 90% modified capability final season with 20.7 million followers going to video games), so it is clear the present system is working.