Hockey season is officially underway across North America, and right out of the gate, there are a ton of questions to be asked. Each of the NHL’s 30 member clubs have played as many as three games going into Thursday, and while the number and severity of questions and concerns varies from city to city , every team has issues to address in the coming weeks. With a 99 day season comes injuries, sloppy play, poorly conditioned players, and a rapidly approaching trade deadline day.
Over the course of the season, we will frequently have a Q & A feature with an NHL agent, who chooses to remain anonymous for personal reasons. Questions will likely range from everything to trade rumors, team concerns, potential hiring and firings and more, with nothing off limits. It should be an entertaining guest segment, as well as a very reliable source of insider knowledge and rumblings.
Without further ado, here is our first set of questions with our “Agent Insider.” Enjoy! (UPDATE: No, JP. It’s not “Hockey Insiderr!”)
1. How do you see this Roberto Luongo situation ending and when? Is there an actual “mystery team” as Vancouver GM Mike Gilles suggests, or is he just trying to drive up offers for his once-franchise player?
“I believe that the Luongo situation sorts itself out during the summer. Corey Schneider is a good goalie, but with a condensed schedule it is vital for teams to have two capable goalies. I don’t see the depth behind Schneider to have this move made during the season. I believe he ends up in Edmonton or Toronto.”
2. With the lineup they have currently, a lot of people think the Detroit Red Wings could miss the playoffs for the first time in over two decades. Do you see the Wings making any moves to help avoid that situation?
“Well they picked up Kent Huskins, who is a solid depth D-man, but with Ian White going down for a few weeks, it will be tough for them to recover. I don’t think (Detroit General Manager) Ken Holland will be making any moves during the season.”
3. The Caps are off to a rough start. A very, very, rough start. What are you seeing within the lineup that will make or break the Caps this season?
“Primary scoring threats have been a no show. Ovechkin, Backstrom, MJ90 (Marcus Johansson), and Green. These are the guys that need to step up.”
4. Sticking with that theme, what is the Caps’ biggest flaw, and how would you address it if you were GMGM?
“Organizational identity. This has been the biggest question mark for the team for the past 3 seasons or so. Do they want to score off the rush? Do they want to establish a possesion type game? Do they want to wear you down physically? Ovechkin needs to understand he is least effective when carrying the puck. Why have Nicklas Backstrom if you aren’t allowing him to play his game? In order for Ovi to be effective for the next decade, he must become a pure sniper.”
5. There are some great rookies in the league this year. Which ones do you see sticking with their NHL clubs, and which will likely be sent down?
“I believe Dumba and Scheifle will be sent back. Galchenyuk will be in the middle. Everyone else sticks. I see Tarasenko (St. Louis) winning the Calder.”
6. Here’s a fun one for you – Who will have a better year? Teemu or Jagr?
“Jagr- He is skating with Loui Eriksson. Teemu will still have a solid season.”
7. Now that we’ve seen the new CBA, what rule changes, or non-changes, will have the biggest impact on the league going forward?
“I think the biggest change is the ability to keep the salary of a player that has been traded. You will see richer teams trading players to teams who might not be able to afford it.”
8. Finally, give us your prediction for the Stanley Cup finals.
“Chicago-Pittsburgh – Chicago in 6.″
A special thank you goes out to our Agent Insider for taking some time out of his busy schedule to talk to us. We look forward to having many more conversations in the future.
If you want a question addressed in the next guest feature, feel free to drop it in the comments section of an article, or tweet @GoFiveHole. Anything you can think of is fair game to ask, though our guest agent has been given the go-ahead to remain silent on any topics he does not feel comfortable addressing.