Barring a huge injury or an unlikely extended slump, Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy can safely purchase his ticket to the NHL Awards this June. Most in Tampa are hopeful this is just one of many pieces of hardware that make their way back to the sunshine state this offseason, including the Stanley Cup. The Lightning are mid season favorites to win Lord Stanley, according to most experts, thanks in large part to the great play of Vasilevskiy. His play, hasn’t gone completely under the radar, but it has not necessarily gotten the attention it deserves. At this pace the Bolts’ netminder is on pace to win what would be a record 51 games this season, eclipsing Martin Brodeur and Brayden Holtby’s record of 48 wins. That would be truly an amazing feat. Should the Lightning continue their dominance in the Atlantic, expect the team to rest the young Russian a bit, but he could still come close if not break that record, proving his durability as a starter. GM Steve Yzerman’s decision to get rid of Ben Bishop looks better and better each game.
What Does Jaromir Jagr Do Now?
It was reported in the last few days that the great Jaromir Jagr’s time in Calgary is done and the Flames’ brass has given his agent freedom to search for another situation for the NHL’s second leading scorer all time. Some say that Jagr should have just packed it in last summer, others debated whether the Flames were the right fit for him. Jagr is probably now in better shape than most average people will ever be, but he is not a 20 something year old anymore and the game is shifting to a faster ‘run and gun’ style. Jagr needs to play with certain types of players and in order for him to be an asset he needs to be in the top 6. The other factor is that Jagr isn’t looking to play just to play, he will want to go to a team with at least a chance to make the playoffs (Sorry Coyotes’ fans). This leaves only a handful of teams who are on the playoff bubble right now.
The most intriguing option to date might be a return to Pittsburgh. The Penguins are struggling to score consistently and although Sidney Crosby has made it through his career with lesser known wingers, Jagr could offer that jolt and scoring touch that has plagued the team so far this year (Not to mention some new Adidas style jerseys with the famous number 68 on it would be pretty awesome) According to recent line combinations the Penguins are reporting, isn’t Jagr a better option than Dominik Simon? Think about it Pens’ fans.
Colorado Avalanche Quietly Having A Resurgence
One of the quieter stories of the season so far is the resurgence of Colorado after one of the worst seasons in NHL history. Last year the Avalanche had an NHL worst 48 points, 21 points less than the 2nd worst Canucks (They also didn’t even get the number 1 or 2 picks thanks to the draft lottery). With a point on Saturday agains the Dallas Stars Colorado can tie their point total from all of last season and with a win can tie their win total from last year. How this happened is quite simple, their stars are playing like stars. Former #1 overall pick Nathan MacKinnon has 52 points in 41 games this season which like the team point total is just one shy from his total all of last season. F Miko Rantanen is also red hot with 8 points in his last three games and has 41 points in 41 games. Currently the Avalanche are tied for the 2nd wild card spot and if they continue playing good hockey could find themselves on the right side of history as one of the largest turn arounds in NHL history.