June 25, 2015

Michael Clifford

2015-06-25

Expansion is in the news, the NHL Awards were an NHL Awards, and Carey Price

****

For the last week of June, there was a lot of NHL "talk" going on, and it wasn't really centred around the Philadelphia Flyers for a change from recent years. The NHL a.k.a Gary Bettman held a press conference, and said the league is now accepting formal bids for expansion. It's another step forward to adding what seems could be anywhere from 2-4 teams over the next five years, and it's important to make that distinction from relocation. The problem franchises are well-known, but it doesn't seem there's anything new on that front.

I won't begin to try to explain the economics of the target locations – Las Vegas, Seattle, Québec City, Toronto II, wherever – and potential franchise viability, that's way over my head. But I'm not as down on expanding as some might be. There is a lot of parity in the NHL, and the only teams that are terrible are the ones that chose to do that to their team willingly (Buffalo, Arizona). The teams will struggle early as any expansion teams do, but a few good drafts to start would have teams in the playoff hunt fairly quickly.

It's important to note that Bettman indicated it would be at least two years until the expansion teams would play. It's a wait-and-see game now for the real bids to come in.

****

I will be having a thread as usual on Thursdays for fantasy questions, and even non-fantasy ones too. There's a link at the bottom for the Dobber Prospects Report, and I recommend that for Draft questions. I'm not a big prospects guy myself.

****

The NHL Awards were also last night, and as with most NHL Awards shows, the best I can say is that it was an awards show; not overly entertaining, certain aspects like P.K. Subban hosting and Ted Lindsay's appearance with the finalists of the trophy that bears his name. Everything else was just (bad) filler until the awards came.

Dobber had a vote for the Awards, and he wrote about that here. I recommend taking the read.

The first award given out was that Ted Lindsay Award, which is the MVP as voted by the players. Carey Price won, and that seemed like an inevitability. Yes I'm a Habs fan, but he's the difference between the second round of the playoffs and perhaps not even a playoff spot. What helped his case was that no player really stood out from each other this year. Ovechkin cracked 50 goals, which is almost boring for him at this point (and hilariously so). The scoring race was tight between a few players down the stretch. Price carried the Habs for a good portion of the season, and it seems the players have a tremendous respect for what he does in net. That bore out in the voting.

****

Patrice Bergeron won the Selke Trophy for best defensive forward, a trophy usually given to the best two-way forward. It's the third time in five years he hasm taken it, really a testament to how good he is.

There is a reason Bergeron always finds his way on Olympic teams, has a Stanley Cup, and now has three Selke Trophies. He transitions his team to offe