Thoughts on Thornton, Iginla and the draft lottery
Keep an eye on defenseman John-Michael Liles as a bounce back candidate with the Carolina Hurricanes this year. He already showed signs off turning it around late last season when joining the Canes as he picked up nine points in 35 games and went plus-7. Not to mention the fact he also played more than 20 minutes a night and was pushing nearly three minutes of power play time per game.
Liles should be able to earn top-four minutes in Carolina next year and is still on 33 years of age. He could be a nice sleeper late in your draft.
Just a quick thought on the Joe Thornton captaincy situation. Normally I would say that relinquishing the C would alleviate pressure and result in an upswing in production, however, I don't really see that happening in this case. Thornton's numbers have been outstanding and he has been one of the more consistent players over the past decade. At 35 I don't see him declining yet, but at the same time it's hard to imagine he sees a big jump at this point in his career.
If anything it may ruffle his feathers and perhaps he eventually asks for a trade out of town. Then that's a whole different conversation.
Here's Larry Robinson's take:
"I don't think this is to put all the onus on Joe or even Patrick for that matter but there's definitely leadership that has to be found somewhere within and if it's not Joe and if it's not Patrick then we're looking for somebody else to step forward and I think that's the main reason we're doing what we're doing," Robinson said. "We're waiting for somebody now to step forward and take charge of this team."
So Jarome Iginla is hoping to play with Nathan MacKinnon next year and that begs the question, what would his production look like with the soon to be sophomore?
Iginla tallied 30 goals last year with David Krejci and Milan Lucic, but is 40 out of the question playing with MacKinnon?