The Week In Review is a weekly compilation of hand-picked NHL stories selected by members of WinColumnSports deemed important or impactful from the week that was.  Additionally, there is also a running pool amongst the contributors based on our picks for Saturday’s match-ups.

Stories From the Past Week

Spencer Love

One of the best-kept secrets this year in the NHL is the emergence of the Winnipeg Jets. Sitting second in the Central Division, it’s been a banner year for the former Atlanta Thrashers. It’s been a perfect storm of veteran leadership and youth contributions throughout the year; one doesn’t have to look much further than goaltender Connor Hellebuyck. Playing in only his second full NHL season, he’s posted a sparkling 32-9-8 record, and is potentially the single biggest reason for the Jets turnaround. He’s somehow managed to steal the starting job from perennial NHL All-Star Steve Mason – just kidding, people – and sparked the team to among the best in the league. With youth like Patrick Laine, Mark Scheifle and Nikolaj Ehlers lighting it up and one of the toughest defence corps in the league, could we potentially see a Stanley Cup return to Canada this year? I certainly hope so.

Arik Krause

As we all know, the NHL trade deadline is Monday and the biggest name being talked about is Erik Karlsson. Clearly no longer a fit in Ottawa – which I think is an absolute sinking ship, but that’s for another discussion. Karlsson has two years remaining on his contract, including this year, making him a perfect fit for the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning are already one of the cup favourites this year, and bringing in a player of Karlsson’s caliber would almost solidify the championship.

Why does it make sense? Karlsson going to the Lightning would practically guarantee them two shots at the Stanley Cup under the remainder of Karlsson’s contract. Tampa, who are already one of the best teams in the league potentially having the duo of Hedman and Karlsson would give the Lightning peace of mind on the back end. Splitting the duo up would give the Lightning 45-50 minutes of having a Hall of Fame caliber defenseman on the ice, something that hasn’t been seen in the playoffs since Niedermayer and Pronger played in Anaheim. Even if Karlsson doesn’t resign with the Lightning, it takes a lot to get to the Stanley Cup and loading your roster while you can should be something the Lightning consider.

Ben Ferguson

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews is expected to miss at least 10 days because of a shoulder injury. Matthews can’t seem to stay healthy this season, which is unfortunate as the Maple Leafs are far better with him on the ice. Matthews leads the Maple Leafs with 50 points (28 goals, 22 assists) in 53 games. He missed 10 games earlier this season because of injuries. On Nov. 8, he sustained an upper-body injury and missed four games. On Dec. 9, Matthews collided with teammate Morgan Rielly in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins and missed the next six games with a concussion.

It’s unfortunate to see a superstar miss games due to injury, especially when said superstar is on a playoff contending team. Saturday’s game against the Boston Bruins should be interesting as the Maple Leafs sit 1 point behind the Bruins in the Atlantic. Seeing how they stack up against the Bruins when they’re Matthews-less should be quite the test.

WinColumnSport’s Saturday Picks
Games Spencer Love Arik Krause Doug Lakusta Ben Ferguson
 Flyers @ Senators  Flyers Flyers Flyers Senators
 Avalanche @ Flames  Avalanche Avalanche  Flames Avalanche
 Sabres @ Capitals  Capitals  Capitals  Sabres Capitals
 Jets @ Stars  Jets  Stars  Stars  Jets
 Islanders @ Devils Islanders Devils  Devils Devils
 Penguins @ Panthers Panthers Penguins  Penguins  Penguins
 Lightning @ Canadiens Lightning Lightning  Canadiens Lightning
 Hurricanes @ Red Wings Hurricanes  Hurricanes  Red Wings Hurricanes
 Blackhawks @ Blue Jackets Blue Jackets Blackhawks  Blackhawks Blackhawks
 Bruins @ Maple Leafs  Bruins Maple Leafs  Bruins Bruins
 Ducks @ Coyotes  Ducks  Ducks  Ducks  Ducks
 Oilers @ Kings  Kings  Oilers Oilers Kings
Last Week’s Record 6-5 2-9 6-5
Record to Date 76-44 (63%) 70-50 (58%) 13-9 (56%) 75-45 (62%)

This running pool is open to readers and WinColumnSport contributors. If you are interested in joining you can contact me on twitter (@WCS_BFerg). Ultimately, if you join the pool, you must be willing to contribute a developing story from the week that was.

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NHL Week in Review: Week 10
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