2021 NHL News and Notes: Week 4

NHL Feb 11, 2021

Big News in Penguinland; COVID Concerns; Vancouver Crumbling; McDavid and Draisaitl Burning Up the Ice in Edmonton; Tampa Bay En Route to Dominance

2020-21 NHL News and Notes for February 10, 2021

After watching the Super Bowl game and closing out another NFL season, I look forward to the coming spring training for Major League Baseball.  But while this all goes on; the NHL regular season continues.  So, let’s continue our weekly series and take a look at what's happening around the league.

Big News in Penguinland

First, some big news out of Pittsburgh.  The Penguins hired Ron Hextall as their new general manager and Brian Burke as Head of Hockey Operations.  Hextall had led the Flyers, first as a goalie, then as their GM.

He drafted and built the Flyers organization to mainly where it sits today.  I have mention young goalie, Carter Hart, praising his abilities and potentials, being the goalie of the future for the Flyers.  Guess who lead the team to draft Hart.  It was Ron Hextall.  Hextall was attacked for keeping him in the AHL a little too long, which may be something to keep in mind down the road.  But the team he put together in Philadelphia, the one that has high hopes and good odds to make the playoffs and compete for a title, is now leading Pittsburgh.  

Along with Hextall, Brian Burke has worked all over the NHL, in different markets and different expectations.  Burke has won Stanley Cups, made franchise-leading deals, and is generally known as one of the smartest hockey guys in the league (he was a practicing lawyer). He has also held positions within the NHL management system, and recently for Canada’s Sportsnet TV.

What does this mean for fans and gamblers?

Both Hextall and Burke enter a team with two stars in the back nine of their careers and a depleted prospect pool along with struggling draft capital.  They also have an owner in Mario Lemiuex, who has saved the team time and time again.  I would expect the team to start looking at making trades and evaluations in the coming months and making changes.  They may need to move one of their stars or find a way to make one more run at a title.  We should see some movement in the coming months, whether wins on the ice or headlines off the ice.  

I do not think there will be a coaching change (usually new management wants “their guy”) but the first big domino may be Malkin’s renewing a contract this summer.  The outcome of those talks may lead to where the teams goes in the
coming years.  Also, look for if Pittsburgh makes a deadline deal, if they are in contention for the playoffs.

COVID Concerns

Next, COVID has put the league is some limbo, with the league postponing several games. However, one of the interesting points is Canada has not seen any postponements. The North Division is plowing through and the Canadian government restrictive protocols have had results.  

Be wary of teams and the COVID list the NHL releases every day, but you should also be confident in the Canadian division to keep with their games, especially for any gambling purposes.  

Looking deeper into the North Division – Toronto has suffered some injuries to minor players that were filling bottom six roles but having solid results so far.  Now, young prospects are being asked to keep up with the high expectations, along with veteran goalie Fredric Anderson.  They also have three games with Montreal and three games with Ottawa over the next ten days.  Fade the Leafs versus Montreal and look for a closer game than expected against Ottawa.

Vancouver Crumbling

Vancouver has nearly revolted with their management may seeing the axe soon. Their payroll and team makeup/mentality, along with several players switching teams this offseason, is causing a rift with the fan base and has ended with losing results on the ice.  They have played the most games in the division and is second to last.  They also have a tough four game set against Calgary, so look for fireworks on, and off, the ice.

McDavid and Draisaitl Burning Up the Ice in Edmonton

In Edmonton it's a two player duo – McDavid and Draisaitl.  They have 25 and 27 points, respectively.  The next guys have 11.  If you areseeing anything for these players, individual game bets – first goals, first points, multiple points, etc., jump on them!

The East and the West – Both divisions have several teams on COVID postponements this week.  Couple that with some key matchups in the North and Central (Leafs/Canadians, Stars/Hurricanes, Blue Jackets/Blackhawks), these games should be good games to watch and enjoy.  I have been down on Chicago in the past few posts, they have started to have some success.  They took two games from Dallas, in Dallas, and have shown confidence in goalie Kevin Lankinen.  He may be making more starts and getting close results/possible wins.  Hot goalie could help the team stay competitive.

Tampa Bay En Route to Dominance

One final note… teams have started to make some feelers for the trade market. The next two or three weeks might cause teams to make decisions for their immediate or long-term future.  Right now, no one team is leading or running away with their divisions, aside from Tampa Bay.  Tampa Bay should be the team to lead the Stanley Cup odds, right now.  Look for teams to trade to matchup with Tampa Bay.

I will see everyone next week!


Look for more insights and notes in the weeks and months to come here at POINTSPREADS.CA!


-- Writer Patrick Day can be reached at: gotpuckspat@hotmail.com

-- Follow Patrick Day on Twitter:  @Pokersuit30

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