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

Trade talk has cooled down, but keep an eye on the Erik Karlsson saga in Ottawa. With the Sens on pace to miss the playoffs after a second-round appearance last year, it appears as though Ottawa is going to try and retool this offseason. Already a major player in the trade market this season, bringing in both Matt Duchene and Marian Gaborik, are the Sens primed to move their biggest piece? Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has made it clear that the team operates on an internal budget, rather than to the NHL salary cap. With Karlsson primed for a huge raise after his contract expires at the end of the 2018/2019 season, can the Senators afford their star defenceman? If not, what kind of package would get Ottawa listening to trade offers?

I’m a biased Oilers fan, but I don’t see any reason that Edmonton wouldn’t be in on the defender. There’s a huge lack of right-handed shots on the Oilers blue-line, and an abundance of lefties. In Ottawa’s case, the prime objective needs to be value. Remember, the Senators are a budget team; not only does any team making a move need to send back quality players, but cheap quality players.

For that reason, do you think a package of Klefbom/Yamamoto/1st+2nd round pick make it happen? On the surface, it doesn’t seem like enough for potentially the best defenceman in the NHL, but it gives the Senators a ton of potential future value, at a reasonable cost. I think any trade is contingent on the team being able to speak to Karlsson – but I also think a trade is all but guaranteed this off-season.

Who do you think gets moved for Erik Karlsson?

Arik Krause
Last Week – Burrows suspension:

Ottawa Senators forward Alex Burrows recently received a 10-game suspension by the NHL for his part in being the aggressor and subsequently kneeing New Jersey Devils forward Taylor Hall to the back of the head.

Burrows who has never been suspended by the NHL prior did have a hearing regarding a situation in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals where he appeared to have bit Patrice Bergeron’s finger. He wasn’t suspended for the incident because the NHL didn’t find conclusive evidence.

Alex Burrows had the opportunity to appeal the suspension but chose not to, he later released a statement saying: “The situation was one in which I realize I let my emotions get the better of me and it was a relief to see Taylor Hall wasn’t injured,”. “I have decided to accept the NHL’s decision and will not be appealing it”.

Kneeing somebody in the back of the head isn’t allowed in the UFC, let alone the NHL. It doesn’t belong in hockey and I’m surprised Burrows didn’t receive a longer suspension.

This Week – Current NHL playoff format gripes:

The current NHL playoff format needs to be changed. There is a serious issue, especially coming from a Capitals fan myself that the two best teams in the entire conference can face each other in the second round (see Capitals vs Penguins last year). There is a very good chance it happens again this year in the Atlantic with the Lightning and the Bruins, they will not face each other in the ECF, one of those teams will be knocked out before the ECF.

It dilutes the Conference Finals by a team from an easier division getting a “free ride”. Thankfully we have the wildcard system which does help that out a bit, but I think the entire system needs an overhaul.

What was wrong with the division leaders getting the top seeds and just filling out the remainder of the bracket with the best teams? Seattle will likely be the 32nd franchise in the NHL, with that hopefully there is a division realignment and a fix of the playoff bracket.

Until then, enjoy the second round of the playoffs, which for the past couple years has been the best round in my opinion.

Ben Ferguson
Last Week – Record shattering Golden Knights:

On Thursday February 1st, 2018, the Vegas Golden Knights went on to beat the Winnipeg Jets. This happened to be the Golden Knights’ 34th victory, the most by an NHL expansion team in its inaugural season. The feat is even more incredible because it only took them 50 games. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I’m blown away when it comes to their performance this season; expansion teams in the past have struggled to find their footing, but Vegas is different. There’s really no explanation. They don’t have a Connor McDavid or Sidney Crosby upfront, and they really don’t have any spectacular defensemen. You can argue that the players they had available to them through the draft were more skilled than what expansion teams had available to them in the past, but come on. You simply can’t take anything away from Vegas. Even if they have “better” players, they only had 5 months to acclimate to their new home.

This Week – Jack Eichel injury:

Regardless who it is, no one likes to see a player get severely hurt and miss playing time. On February 10th, Jack Eichel was injured when he was checked from behind during Saturday’s matchup between the Bruins and the Sabres. Eichel’s injury was diagnosed as a sprained right ankle, and at this time Eichel is out indefinitely which is a huge loss to the Sabres. Even though the Sabres are well off being a playoff contender this season, there’s plenty of hockey to be played and a lot to prove. The Sabres have been playing better hockey as of late as well, beating top teams such as Tampa Bay and Boston. The Sabres should refrain from rushing Eichel back to action as the Sabres see some drastic changes in the coming week with the trade deadline upcoming. Jack Eichel leads Buffalo with 22 goals, and 53 points in 55 games.

WinColumnSport’s Saturday Picks
Games Spencer Love Arik Krause Ben Ferguson Doug Lakusta
Kings @ Sabres Kings Kings Kings
Ducks @ Wild Ducks Wild Wild
Rangers @ Senators Senators Rangers Senators
Oilers @ Coyotes Oilers Oilers Oilers
Canadiens @ Golden Knights Golden Knights Golden Knights Golden Knights
Devils @ Lightning Lightning Lightning Lightning
Maple Leafs @ Penguins Penguins Maple Leafs Penguins
Red Wings @ Predators Predators Predators Red Wings
Capitals @ Blackhawks Capitals Capitals Capitals
Bruins @ Canucks Bruins Bruins Bruins
Panthers @ Flames Panthers Flames Panthers
Previous 2 Weeks Record 13-9 17-5 16-6 13-9
Record to Date 70-39 (64%) 68-41 (62%) 69-40 (63%) 26-18 (59%)

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 9
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