How will teams like the Boston Bruins adjust to the compressed NHL schedule and the expanded taxi squad that’s likely to be available to NHL teams due to COVID-19 challenges this season?
It’s an interesting question, and there will undoubtedly be benefits for teams like the Boston Bruins that stocked up on extra players at forward and defenseman, and that employ arguably the best goaltending duo in the NHL in Jaroslav Halak and Tuukka Rask, perfectly cast to split a heavy workload.
How will other teams fare in conditions that will probably be similar to the 2013 NHL season shortened to 48 games by the lockout?
It’s a fair question asked by Pittsburgh Hockey Now’s Dan Kingerski this week, and it will be different for each and every team based on personnel. Two quality goaltenders is going to be an important factor, but those teams well-stocked with defensemen are probably also going to be fare pretty well with dense bunches of games expected. Even with Zdeno Chara’s status uncertain with the Boston Bruins for this upcoming season, the B’s have a wealth of defensemen under NHL contract in Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk, Kevan Miller, Connor Clifton, Jeremy Lauzon, John Moore, Jakub Zboril, and with guys like Steve Kampfer and Urho Vaakanainen waiting in the wings as well.
There’s still plenty of unknowns about the format for the 2021 NHL season that need to be worked out, but it’s safe to say there’s a general formula for the teams that will handle it best. The Boston Bruins should be one of those teams.
Now on to the links:
*Do the Bruins still have a chance of signing free agent sniper Mike Hoffman to a short term deal? Of course they do as things start to get unclogged with player transactions across the NHL. We have plenty more in this week’s Hagg Bag mailbag. (Boston Hockey Now)
*There are reports filtering out that the city of Edmonton has had discussions with the NHL about being a hub city again if circumstances dictate it. Oh boy. (TSN)
*I couldn’t agree with Larry Brooks more here when he says that Henrik Lundqvist deserved a better ending to his career than potentially having to call it quits over a heart issue. King Henrik was a great ambassador for the NHL and would have been really interesting with the Washington Capitals this season. (New York Post)
*Great story on NHL Network from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jon Paul Morosi about local hockey product Matt Beniers, who is on Team USA at the World Junior tournament and is the son of a Broadway star. (NHL Network)
Honored to tell the story of @usahockey and @umichhockey star Matty Beniers, the @NHL Draft prospect who’s poised for a huge role at the upcoming #WorldJuniors. @TSNHockey @USAHockeyNTDP https://t.co/Ipq4WKE4EH
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 18, 2020
*Want to feel old? Victor Hedman turns 30 years old today. (The Athletic)
*FOH George Richards has all the details on Anthony Duclair signing a bargain basement one-year deal with the Florida Panthers for $1.6 million ahead of things getting going with the start of the season. (Florida Hockey Now)
*For something completely different: When I say the season 2 finale of the Mandalorian was amazing, I am not engaging in any kind of hyperbole. Watch it before you get caught up in spoilers. (CNN)