The Nation Network Notebook is a regular feature that rounds up interesting news, stories, and rumours from around the NHL that don’t quite deserve their own article.
— ColumbusBlueJackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) March 19, 2017
Let’s be honest, no one had the Columbus Blue Jackets in the playoffs. They had a group of solid but not spectacular players. This include a new top defenceman in Seth Jones after the Ryan Johansen trade. But that trade created questions at centre, and who knew how Sergei Bobrovsky would play, or how healthy he would be? Plus, John Torotrella’s last coaching gig didn’t go too well, and signing Sam Gagner for cheap was basically their only addition.
Well, there’s three weeks left in the season and the Blue Jackets are challenging for the Presidents’ Trophy. Although, it would have been difficult to foresee Zach Werenski being this good this quickly. Bobrovsky’s injury issues may have been overblown, and he’s been stellar every other season. Alexander Wennberg is more competent than anyone knew, and the Blue Jackets have some serious depth at forward to compliment him. Torts has even evolved a bit, eliminating morning skates and the D-to-D passes, although not without a hiccup along the way.
I didn’t mention this in the trade tree but if the Chicago Blackhawks offer you a prospect of their you should ask why. They rarely pan out.
— Steve Dangle Glynn (@Steve_Dangle) March 18, 2017
Rumours of the Chicago Blackhawk’s demise may have been greatly exaggerated. The Blackhawks are 8-2 in their last 10 games, and Patrick Kane is heating up enough to challenge for this second consecutive Art Ross trophy.
After being eliminated by the St. Louis Blues in the playoffs, the Blackhawks didn’t seem like the same team. They brought back Brian Campbell, but the reunion seemed shaky at the start, with Campbell almost playing a game at left-wing at one point. Jonathan Toews slumped hard out of the gate, until he turned it up in January and February. The Blackhawks were always expected to make the playoffs, but whether there were still a contender was up in the air. Rookies Ryan Hartman and Nick Schmaltz have given them some youthful offence, and then Corey Crawford and Scott Darling might be the best goaltender tandem in the league. The Blackhawks are starting to look scary again.
KUCHEROV HITS 100 GOALS
Most points since All-Star Break
Jack Eichel 27 (1 G so far tonight)
Patrick Kane 27 (3 PTS tonight)
Nikita Kucherov 25
Brad Marchand 25
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) March 15, 2017
How Steve Yzerman signed Nikita Kucherov to a $4.7 million cap hit for three years is beyond me. Kucherov would be among the top five in scoring had he not missed some games to injuries. Kucherov’s 71 points are still a career high, and he has a fighting chance at 40 goals.
Looking back, Kucherov goes way earlier than the 58th spot if the 2011 draft is done over again.
The Tampa Bay winger is outscoring every player drafted in the top ten except Mark Scheifele. Neither of the first two picks, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Gabriel Landeskog, are a lock for 40 points this season, meanwhile Kucherov is tearing it up and quickly approaching those two for top points out the draft class.
COGLIANO’S IRON MAN STREAK
— Josh Brewster (@DuckCalls93) March 18, 2017
Andrew Cogliano climbs up to fourth all-time for most games consecutively played with 776. Coglaino has remained healthy his entire career, beginning with the Edmonton Oilers during the 2007-08 season. Cogliano hasn’t missed a game, and that’s arguably more impressive consider how fast he is. Jay Bouwmeester’s streak was impressive, and he played more per game than Cogliano, but speeding up and down the wing and playing regularly on the penalty kill seems like a recipe for an injury, yet Cogliano plays on.
Assuming Cogliano plays in all of Anaheim’s remaining games, he’ll need a little more than two seasons to pass Doug Jarvis for the top spot on the list.