It may as well be the arctic circle for some American hockey lovers. Yet Winnipeg is one of the most mentioned contenders right now in the National Hockey League. Following a deadline that saw them acquire crafty center Paul Stastny from the St. Louis Blues, Winnipeg is as deep as anyone up front. It’s their defense corps that might be suspect at the moment. But even that unit is slated to get a boost once veteran top pair defenseman Jacob Trouba comes back from injury.
2018 NHL Jets Playoff Advice
Currently listed at 10/1 NHL odds to win the Stanley Cup, the Jets were a contender before the acquisition of Stastny, who had a goal and an assist on February 27th, and even better now that he’s in the fold.
Are the Penguins in trouble or not?
With two-time champ goaltender Matt Murray currently out with a concussion after taking a shot to the head in practice, are the Pittsburgh Penguins still a team to be reckoned with? Without Murray in nets, the Pens have lost their last two games, and now trail the Flyers and Capitals in the Metropolitan division. I don’t think anyone’s panicking in Pitt, especially with such a deep and high-powered offense. But if they lack the experience and elite skill in nets, can they prevent enough goals moving forward? No one really knows how long Murray will be out for. So the job is now up to the young tandem of Casey DeSmith and Tristan Jarry, two goaltenders who’ve had both highs and lows in goal for the Pens this season. Ouch.
Good for Seattle
With word that the Seattle NHL bid is all but a done deal, the potential fan base went out and racked up over 25,000 interested parties for season ticket packages in one day. While everyone assumed that the northwest market would attract a decent amount of interest in season tickets, no one expected this overwhelming show of hockey love. After all, Seattle hasn’t had a pro team since 1924, winning the Stanley Cup in 1917. A new Seattle NHL team could begin play as early as 2020.
More love needed for Giroux
He’s the captain of a team that hasn’t achieved a ton in recent years. His numbers progressively slipped the last few seasons. Many other players are more worthy of praise and Hart Trophy consideration annually. Guess what? Claude Giroux is back. The Philadelphia Flyers leader has his team in a playoff spot and he’s currently four in league scoring. Not bad for a guy many assumed was on the decline. Giroux leads a Philly attack that’s mixed with young guns and veteran snipers, and poised for a playoff run – provided they get decent goaltending, always a sore spot in Philadelphia. But yes, Giroux deserves some love for top dog this season. He’s certainly barking like one.
Matthew Ross is a sports commentator and a radio host on TSN 690 Radio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Follow him @MatthewWords.