2023-24 NHL Game Thread

cshea

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Toronto is wading into crisis mode. Down 4-1 early to Tampa after losing 6-4 to Buffalo on Saturday.

They got headlines but a puzzling offseason for them. The depth so far is worse than it was last year and they are being carried by the core 4. Between Klingberg, Domi and Bertuzzi they added a bunch of really bad defenders and that seems to be playing out.
 

LogansDad

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Toronto is wading into crisis mode. Down 4-1 early to Tampa after losing 6-4 to Buffalo on Saturday.

They got headlines but a puzzling offseason for them. The depth so far is worse than it was last year and they are being carried by the core 4. Between Klingberg, Domi and Bertuzzi they added a bunch of really bad defenders and that seems to be playing out.
Way to jinx it.
 

cshea

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Way to jinx it.
They ended up coming back and winning but I don't think it was really a step forward. Shoddy defense, fell behind big, needed the first line to bail them out (4 of 5 regulation goals scored by Matthews/Marner/Knies). It's kinda been the same story each game this year. They need Matthews to score multiple goals to win. So far he has done just that but not sure it's very sustainable.

The Oilers on the other hand...woof. They need to panic trade for a goalie. There's a stat that Friedman likes to cite but teams more than 4 points out of a playoff spot by November 1 only make the playoffs like 10% of the time. The Oilers fell into that bucket this year.
 

cshea

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The Leafs are Leafing. Turned a 3-3 game into 6-3 Ottawa in the blink of an eye with some clown shoes defending.

Maybe they shouldn’t have run Dubas out of town?
 

MiracleOfO2704

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If I’m MLSE, I think long and hard about how much more rope to give Shanahan. Under Dubas, there appeared to be some alignment for the general direction of the franchise: use the draft capital from the terrible 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons to build a strong core, and use an expanding cap to keep them together for 10+ years while capably supplementing through trades and free agency. The fatal flaw was the cap flattening during the pandemic and missing out on pairing the core 3 homegrown players with a better defensive backbone to complement Rielly. They finally made the second round last year, but essentially didn’t overcome those problems once the baby fat came off after the 2019-20 season and going from Babcock to Keefe, Dubas’ hand-picked HC. Then last May, when you see some kind of result, Dubas says two things that got him fired publicly: that he may break up Matthews/Marner/Nylander/Tavares, and that he wasn’t sure if he would see it out (for my money, the latter was both a public negotiation ploy and the worst possible thing to say). That gives Shanahan cause to fire Dubas, even with just weeks remaining on his contract, and bring in Brad Treliving, who has the core 4 grafted onto his team-building philosophy (or maybe he sold them on being able to do his Calgary+ plan plus keeping the four together at least through this season). Add on the fact that Treliving didn’t/couldn’t hire his own coach, and it feels like there are two teams on the Maple Leafs right now: the Dubas remnants (Core 4 and Keefe), and Treliving’s bargain bin (Bertuzzi/Reaves/Klingberg). I’m not sure if Treliving’s the right man for this job*, but it also feels like Shanahan’s vision for the team is now pretty convoluted and reactionary.

*FTR, in the near decade Treliving was in Calgary, the Flames’ best postseason finish was…one win in the second round (2015 vs. Anaheim and 2022 vs. Edmonton). Running a guy out of town in part for the sin of being at his replacement’s high water mark is so on-brand for the 21st-century Leafs.
 

NYCSox

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Woodcroft will probably be canned after the game. Just when you thought the OIlers couldn't go any lower they found a way.
 

durandal1707

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I'm really curious about how the Wild's GA/GP cratered. Fleury being over the hill makes sense; but Gustavsson went from a damn good +0.628 goals saved above expected per 60 last year (6th overall) to a -1.091 (47th out of 48 goalies with 5+ games played). He's right there in the cellar with Skinner, Campbell, and Samsonov.

This feels like a really weird year so far. Maybe it's SSS and things will normalize soon, but goalie performances seem extremely volatile at the moment.
 

durandal1707

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Woodcroft will probably be canned after the game. Just when you thought the OIlers couldn't go any lower they found a way.
Woof, yea. The Sharks have been the league's worst goal-scoring team with an awful 1.17 GF/GP, yet the Oilers managed to surrender 3 goals to them. Oilers lose 3-2 amidst a 61.71% 5v5 xGF. I'd be pissed if I was an Oiler fan.
 

cshea

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Woodcroft will probably be canned after the game. Just when you thought the OIlers couldn't go any lower they found a way.
I'm not entirely sure he deserves to go but I also am not sure what other choice the Oiler are going to have. They are going to need a sacrificial lamb.

The problem is the goaltending. They have an .862 team save percentage through 12 games. Nobody is going to win with that. If anyone deserves to go it's probably Holland for getting them into this goaltending mess. They gave Campbell the big contract prior to last year and it was an immediate disaster. They turned it over to Skinner who held the fort for the regular season and was decent but no great shakes. Then Skinner was terrible in playoffs. Even though Skinner was bad in the playoffs (yanked 4 times) they didn't even trust Campbell to start a game. Going into this year they just decided to run it back with the same two and hope Campbell figured it out. As it turns out Campbell truly sucks and is in the AHL (gave up 4 goals on 16 shots in his AHL debut last night) and are rolling with Skinner who has performed even worse than Campbell this year. They called up journeyman Calvin Pickard, so I guess he's next but he didn't play in the NHL all of last season and only had like 10 NHL games in the 2 season prior to last year. Good luck!

Their underlyings are actually pretty good but they can't get a save and they also have the 3rd lowest shooting percentage in the league. That's a bad combo. I tend to think the shooting talent there will figure that part out so they should score more but I'm not sure how they fix the goalies. There are some teams carrying 3 goalies that maybe they try and work a trade out for a spare guy but they are in the worst possible negotiating position.
 

Dummy Hoy

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I'm not entirely sure he deserves to go but I also am not sure what other choice the Oiler are going to have. They are going to need a sacrificial lamb.

The problem is the goaltending. They have an .862 team save percentage through 12 games. Nobody is going to win with that. If anyone deserves to go it's probably Holland for getting them into this goaltending mess. They gave Campbell the big contract prior to last year and it was an immediate disaster. They turned it over to Skinner who held the fort for the regular season and was decent but no great shakes. Then Skinner was terrible in playoffs. Even though Skinner was bad in the playoffs (yanked 4 times) they didn't even trust Campbell to start a game. Going into this year they just decided to run it back with the same two and hope Campbell figured it out. As it turns out Campbell truly sucks and is in the AHL (gave up 4 goals on 16 shots in his AHL debut last night) and are rolling with Skinner who has performed even worse than Campbell this year. They called up journeyman Calvin Pickard, so I guess he's next but he didn't play in the NHL all of last season and only had like 10 NHL games in the 2 season prior to last year. Good luck!

Their underlyings are actually pretty good but they can't get a save and they also have the 3rd lowest shooting percentage in the league. That's a bad combo. I tend to think the shooting talent there will figure that part out so they should score more but I'm not sure how they fix the goalies. There are some teams carrying 3 goalies that maybe they try and work a trade out for a spare guy but they are in the worst possible negotiating position.
I agree 100% and he's going to pay the price for his bosses' inability to evaluate goaltenders.

I will say that their team D is atrocious too from what I've read- so not only is it poor goaltending but they give up a LOT of high danger chances. They kind of need to sell the farm to get a goalie who can make an occasional stop or else they're going to lose two of the best players in the world when their contracts are up.
 

cshea

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I agree 100% and he's going to pay the price for his bosses' inability to evaluate goaltenders.

I will say that their team D is atrocious too from what I've read- so not only is it poor goaltending but they give up a LOT of high danger chances. They kind of need to sell the farm to get a goalie who can make an occasional stop or else they're going to lose two of the best players in the world when their contracts are up.
I'm not even sure the defense has been that bad. At least with the NST data, the Oilers give up the 4th fewest high danger chances per 60 at 5x5 and the 8th fewest in all strengths. It just seems really bad because every single meltdown ends up in the back of the net. They have a comical .694 high danger save percentage as a team. For reference, the worst team high danger save percentage in the leage last year was Seattle at .798. The goaltending is comically bad.

I don't really know how they can even sell the farm for a goalie. For starters there aren't many teams with needle moving, expendable goalies. The Bruins are an obvious one but the guy we'd prefer to move has a no-trade and in addition we're in first place and don't really need or want to make a move. If Holland calls Don, even ignoring the cap the everything else, what's does Don need to hear to even consider it? 2 or 3 firsts? The Flyers are carrying 3 goalies and are tanking so maybe Carter Hart? Montreal is also carrying 3 but is any of Allen, Montembeault, Primeau enough to give the Oilers league average goaltending?

And then the cap hurdle is going to be challenging. In addition to having to overpay to acquire a new goalie, are they going to have to sell the rest of the farm to unload Jack Campbell to another team to make the money work?

All of this is to say good luck, Ken Holland.
 

katnado

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I'm not even sure the defense has been that bad. At least with the NST data, the Oilers give up the 4th fewest high danger chances per 60 at 5x5 and the 8th fewest in all strengths. It just seems really bad because every single meltdown ends up in the back of the net. They have a comical .694 high danger save percentage as a team. For reference, the worst team high danger save percentage in the leage last year was Seattle at .798. The goaltending is comically bad.

I don't really know how they can even sell the farm for a goalie. For starters there aren't many teams with needle moving, expendable goalies. The Bruins are an obvious one but the guy we'd prefer to move has a no-trade and in addition we're in first place and don't really need or want to make a move. If Holland calls Don, even ignoring the cap the everything else, what's does Don need to hear to even consider it? 2 or 3 firsts? The Flyers are carrying 3 goalies and are tanking so maybe Carter Hart? Montreal is also carrying 3 but is any of Allen, Montembeault, Primeau enough to give the Oilers league average goaltending?

And then the cap hurdle is going to be challenging. In addition to having to overpay to acquire a new goalie, are they going to have to sell the rest of the farm to unload Jack Campbell to another team to make the money work?

All of this is to say good luck, Ken Holland.
Wasn't there a report in the off-season that Gibson wanted out of Anaheim? Or am i making that up? Haha Him and Dostal seem to basically be splitting starts this year, but the Ducks don't really have much in the "A" as Stalock and Clang are both struggling on the Gulls to replace him. That might be an upgrade for the Oilers? Or am I way off in left field on all that?
 

cshea

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Anaheim is off to a pretty good start, not sure they'd want to move Gibson. He also has a no-trade. There were some rumblings about Binnington but his contract is worse than Campbell's so that seems too risky. If they are going to overpay for a goalie it's gotta be a no-doubter upgrade and I don't think Binnington falls into that category.

After poking around, the guy I'd be curious about is Juuse Saros. Nashville is last in the Central. Saros is signed through next season at $5 million AAV (same as Ullmark) and doesn't have any trade protection. Nashville's top prospect is Yaroslav Askarov, a goalie in the AHL right now who posted a .911 last year and is off to a .935 start this season. Saros is a Vezina winner, 3x nominee and generally thought of as a top tier goalie in the league. Obvious upgrade, easy to sell to the Oilers fanbase even if they overpay in a trade. Maybe Nashville would listen too as they may want to turn the net over to Askarov.

On the 32 Thoughts pod today Friedman said there was a lot of noise around the league on Wednesday that the Oilers were close to a "significant" goalie trade. He didn't have names or know if it got delayed or is dead or what's happening but basically said they're trying.

They also made the point about what's the goal for Edmonton? They entered the season as Stanley Cup favorites will every intention of emptying the cupboard at the deadline to go all in. Now they're in a massive hole, 2-9-1. They are already 8 points out of a playoff spot and 14 behind 3rd in their division. Friedman loves the stat I posted earlier this week, but historically teams that are 4 or more points out of a playoff spot after November 1 in an 82 game season are 9-for-66 in making the playoffs. The Oilers obviously fall on that list this year (along with the Penguins, Flames and Sharks) and have continued to dig the hole deeper. So, with that in mind, does it even make sense to dump assets to try and fix things? I'm guessing that given they have prime McDavid and Draisaitl and both are nearing the end of their contracts that the answer for them is yes but it's worth wondering about.
 

katnado

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Anaheim is off to a pretty good start, not sure they'd want to move Gibson. He also has a no-trade. There were some rumblings about Binnington but his contract is worse than Campbell's so that seems too risky. If they are going to overpay for a goalie it's gotta be a no-doubter upgrade and I don't think Binnington falls into that category.

After poking around, the guy I'd be curious about is Juuse Saros. Nashville is last in the Central. Saros is signed through next season at $5 million AAV (same as Ullmark) and doesn't have any trade protection. Nashville's top prospect is Yaroslav Askarov, a goalie in the AHL right now who posted a .911 last year and is off to a .935 start this season. Saros is a Vezina winner, 3x nominee and generally thought of as a top tier goalie in the league. Obvious upgrade, easy to sell to the Oilers fanbase even if they overpay in a trade. Maybe Nashville would listen too as they may want to turn the net over to Askarov.

On the 32 Thoughts pod today Friedman said there was a lot of noise around the league on Wednesday that the Oilers were close to a "significant" goalie trade. He didn't have names or know if it got delayed or is dead or what's happening but basically said they're trying.

They also made the point about what's the goal for Edmonton? They entered the season as Stanley Cup favorites will every intention of emptying the cupboard at the deadline to go all in. Now they're in a massive hole, 2-9-1. They are already 8 points out of a playoff spot and 14 behind 3rd in their division. Friedman loves the stat I posted earlier this week, but historically teams that are 4 or more points out of a playoff spot after November 1 in an 82 game season are 9-for-66 in making the playoffs. The Oilers obviously fall on that list this year (along with the Penguins, Flames and Sharks) and have continued to dig the hole deeper. So, with that in mind, does it even make sense to dump assets to try and fix things? I'm guessing that given they have prime McDavid and Draisaitl and both are nearing the end of their contracts that the answer for them is yes but it's worth wondering about.
Thanks, I wasn't sure at all, but what you said makes complete sense with the Ducks, hadn't even thought about the Blues, but I agree that Binny isn't an upgrade, the horseshoe seems to have fallen completely out since their cup run, I think he'd get lit up in that system.

I actually like your Saros idea, makes a ton of sense if Nashville would deal him, I'd think it would take an overpay though, but like you said they probably need to take that risk if they have any shot. Hockey is better with McDavid and Drai in the playoffs in my opinion, so really hope they actually do pull off something big to help their goaltending.

As always excellent work cshea
 

durandal1707

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I'm really curious about how the Wild's GA/GP cratered. Fleury being over the hill makes sense; but Gustavsson went from a damn good +0.628 goals saved above expected per 60 last year (6th overall) to a -1.091 (47th out of 48 goalies with 5+ games played). He's right there in the cellar with Skinner, Campbell, and Samsonov.

This feels like a really weird year so far. Maybe it's SSS and things will normalize soon, but goalie performances seem extremely volatile at the moment.
Wild give up 5 PPG and 2 SHG tonight and lose 8-3 to Dallas, thanks to a 0.784 SV% effort from MAF. He's down below 0.880 SV% through 8 starts so far, so maybe he's just cooked. Unfortunately for Minnesota, Gustavsson is doing worse with a 0.872 SV% in the same number of games.

Definitely going to be a demand for goalies this trade deadline and perhaps offseason.
 

Bozo Texino

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Holiday weeks are stupid, how is there not a single game on tonight?
No games on Thanksgiving is a bit of a head-scratcher, too. I get not wanting to go head-to-head with the NFL, but why not schedule some Canadian matchups at the very least? Leafs/Habs, Battle of Alberta, etc.
 

cshea

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No games on Thanksgiving is a bit of a head-scratcher, too. I get not wanting to go head-to-head with the NFL, but why not schedule some Canadian matchups at the very least? Leafs/Habs, Battle of Alberta, etc.
Jeff Marek actually reported on some of this.

Basically, American teams request home games around Thanksgiving so Canadian teams are all on the road. Tonight there are 14 games, all in the US. On Friday, there are 15 games and 14 of them are in the US. Saturday is lighter, 8 games but again, all 8 are in the US.

Additionally, 12 teams are scheduled to play Wednesday/Friday/Saturday so those teams couldn't have played Tuesday or else it'd be 4 games in 5 days. Add in 4 teams were coming back from Sweden and were unavailable and that's how they ended up with an empty night.
 

Bozo Texino

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Jeff Marek actually reported on some of this.

Basically, American teams request home games around Thanksgiving so Canadian teams are all on the road. Tonight there are 14 games, all in the US. On Friday, there are 15 games and 14 of them are in the US. Saturday is lighter, 8 games but again, all 8 are in the US.

Additionally, 12 teams are scheduled to play Wednesday/Friday/Saturday so those teams couldn't have played Tuesday or else it'd be 4 games in 5 days. Add in 4 teams were coming back from Sweden and were unavailable and that's how they ended up with an empty night.
Well crap. Looks like I shouldn't have skipped 32 Thoughts this week.

Thanks for the explanation.
 

The B’s Knees

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The Oilers are a tire fire. They are done. Absolutely zero effort to play any defense.
No team in the cap era has been 10 points out of a playoff spot on Thanksgiving and managed to make the playoffs.
The 2013-14 Dallas Stars were 8 points out at Thanksgiving and grabbed the last wild card spot that year.

I've heard an analyst say that the Oilers season hinges on their next 10 games.
It may hinge on their next 1-2 games.
More likely they are already toast.
 

Ale Xander

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Watching the Sabres first time in along time possibly,(maybe 2+ years based on who’s wearing it) can’t believe they didn’t retire Mogilny’s 89
 

Lupe Whalewatch

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Leave it to ESPN to ruin Bedard vs McDavid. The feed is a full second behind the announcing. They also decided to interview the backup goalie for about 4 minutes of play for some reason. Truly dreadful. Bedard scores an absolute beauty that was called a goal before he even releases the shot.
 

TSC

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Leave it to ESPN to ruin Bedard vs McDavid. The feed is a full second behind the announcing. They also decided to interview the backup goalie for about 4 minutes of play for some reason. Truly dreadful. Bedard scores an absolute beauty that was called a goal before he even releases the shot.
yea, I can’t figure out how to link tweets anymore - but if you haven’t seen Bedards goal - go watch it now.

It may be the quickest release I’ve ever seen. Just an absolutely insane goal.