The Islanders Defense is a Problem, Here’s Why

Thomas Greiss has a .887 Save Percentage, that’s bad. Thomas Greiss has a 3.94 GAA, that’s also bad.

Jaroslav Halak has a .910 Save Percentage – hey, that’s not bad! Jaroslav Halak has a 3.20 GAA, why is that so bad?

Much has been made of the Islanders situation in goal, in particular the tandem of Thomas Greiss and Jaroslav Halak. The duo has been criticized throughout the 2017-18 campaign, and when the Islanders show their porous selves, the masses clamor for change with New York’s goaltenders drawing the ire of fans. If anything, play Greiss less and Halak more, because the Islanders current goaltender situation may not be the reason New York is currently sitting outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. A trade for Robin Lehner or Petr Mrazek isn’t going to remedy the Islanders’ goals against problem, because under closer examination, New York boasts a defense that suppresses shots at a rate worse than the blue line of 2016-17’s much maligned Colorado Avalanche – a team that finished an 82 game season with only 48 points.

To demonstrate the Islanders’ utter incompetence on defense this season, I’ve charted out five statistics Corsi Against per 60, Shots Against per 60, Scoring Chances Against per 60, High Danger Chances Against per 60, and Goals Against per 60 –  to look into New York’s rates of suppression or lack thereof among their defensemen. The red line on each of these graphs represents league average, and ideally you want to be below said red line.

NYI_2018_CA

Corsi Against, naturally, records the amount of shot attempts against you’re allowing. Per 60 minutes played, Calvin de Haan is the only Islander defenseman who is faring better than league average, and is doing it by the slimmest of margins. What this points to is the Islanders defense across the board failing to deny zone entries and allowing opposing teams to consistently obtain offensive zone possessions that yield shot attempts. This isn’t the be all end all, and this could merely be attributed to scheme if the Islanders are blocking most shot attempts or forcing them wide, which brings me to Shots Against per 60.

NYI_2018_SA

Calvin de Haan (hang on to this guy, Isles) and Johnny Boychuk are the only two Islanders who fare better than league average in suppressing shots against, and once again, by the slimmest of margins. This in conjunction with Corsi Against tells you not only are the Islanders consistently allowing zone entries and extending periods of possession against in their own zone, they’re allowing these entires and possessions to turn into consistent shots against on their goal with the exception of two players out of nine that can suppress these shots against at a better than league average rate. Again, it could be a matter of scheme, as some teams prefer to allow more shots from the outside in order to focus on turning away shots of higher danger. That brings us to Scoring Chances Against per 60.

NYI_2018_SCA

This is very telling. The Islanders defense this season has shown an utter incompetence in suppressing scoring chances against, with not a single player faring better than league average. From what I’ve found, they’re the only team in the league that can boast that fact. If you think your team allows too many scoring chances, odds are you have at least one person in your lineup that’s better than an Islanders defenseman in this metric. This shows us the Islanders allow zone entries and consistent possession, consistently allow successful shots against, and in turn are unsuccessful in turning away scoring chances anywhere near league average. Granted, not all scoring chances are created equal, which is why I’ve also charted out High Danger Chances Against to show the most egregious of defensive lapses. Keep an eye on Dennis Seidenberg.

NYI_2018_HDCA

Oh my, someone come get Dennis. Seidenberg allows approximately 60% more High Danger Chances Against per 60 than the league’s average defenseman, and while his teammates fare quite a bit better, once again the Islanders have zero defenders that suppress the most dangerous of shot attempts against even on par with the NHL’s average defenseman. It’s not just an issue at this point, it’s a chronic condition that a few extra points in save percentage is not going to fix. If the Islanders want to fix their goals against, they need new defensemen or a new coach to teach these guys how to defend, it’s that simple.

NYI_2018_GA

This is unsurprising based on what I’ve laid out in this article, except for the fact that Greiss and Halak apparently support Thomas Hickey’s habits. I mentioned at the beginning of this article that the 2016-17 Colorado Avalanche suppressed shots and chances at a better rate than New York’s current blue line, which you can see here:

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I only bring this is up because of how often and how blatantly Colorado’s defense was maligned over the course of last season. The 2016-17 Avalanche had more quality defenders in every metric than the 2017-18 Islanders, except for Goals Against which can actually be attributed to incompetent goaltending in conjunction with meaningful suppression metrics. The thesis of this article is to illustrate the Islanders don’t need a change in goal. No, the Islanders need a drastic overhaul of their defensive roster and structure, or else their potent attack of Tavares, Bailey, Lee, and Barzal is going to be purely wasted.

2018 NHL Mock Draft – January 29th

Draft order based on NHL Standings as of January 29, 2018

1. – Rasmus Dahlin, D, Frölunda (SWE)
Season Stats: 32GP, 6G, 9A, 15P, +5, 16PIM
2. – Filip Zadina, RW, Halifax (QMJHL)
Season Stats: 38GP, 27G, 26A, 53P, +16, 22PIM
3. – Andrei Svechnikov, RW, Barrie (OHL)
Season Stats: 26GP, 21G, 15A, 36P, +12, 44PIM
4. – Quinn Hughes, D, University of Michigan (BIG10)
Season Stats: 23GP, 1G, 14A, 15P, +6, 18PIM
5. – Adam Boqvist, D, Brynäs J20 (SWE-JR)
Season Stats: 21GP, 12G, 7A, 19P, +7, 18PIM
6. – Evan Bouchard, D, London (OHL)
Season Stats: 47GP, 16G, 44A, 60P, +17, 36PIM
7. – Ryan Merkley, D, Guelph (OHL)
Season Stats: 47GP, 12G, 45A, 57P, -16, 48PIM
8. – Brady Tkachuk, LW, Boston University (H-EAST)
Season Stats: 26GP, 7G, 14A, 21P, +11, 34PIM
9. – Oliver Wahlstrom, RW/C, USA U-18 (USDP)
Season Stats: 36GP, 29G, 21A, 50P, 20PIM
10. – Noah Dobson, D, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
Season Stats: 47GP, 10G, 37A, 47P, +15, 38PIM
11. – Joe Veleno, C, Drummondville (QMJHL)
Season Stats: 43GP, 9G, 40A, 49P, -6, 36PIM
12. – Ty Smith, D, Spokane (WHL)
Season Stats: 48GP, 7G, 40A, 47P, +22, 20PIM
13. – Ryan McLeod, C/LW, Mississauga (OHL)
Season Stats: 47GP, 17G, 36A, 53P, -3, 18PIM
14. – Grigori Denisenko, LW, Loko Yaroslavl (MHL)
Season Stats: 23GP, 4G, 10A, 14P, +4, 26PIM
15. – Rasmus Kupari, D, Kärpät (FIN)
Season Stats: 26GP, 4G, 2A, 6P, +6, 6PIM
16. – Joel Farabee, LW, USA U-18 (USDP)
Season Stats: 36GP, 18G, 24A, 42P, 26PIM
17. – Bode Wilde, D, USA U-18 (USDP)
Season Stats: 36GP, 7G, 16A, 23P, 45PIM
18. – Calen Addison, D, Lethbridge (WHL)
Season Stats: 48GP, 7G, 40A, 47P, -15, 28PIM
19. – Isac Lundeström, LW, Luleå (SWE)
Season Stats: 31GP, 4G, 7A, 11P, +3, 10PIM
20.  – Jesperi Kotkaniemi, C, Ässät (FIN)
Season Stats: 46GP, 8G, 14A, 22P, -2, 14PIM
21. (via CGY)- Jared McIsaac, D, Halifax (QMJHL)
Season Stats: 47GP, 6G, 25A, 31P, +11, 57PIM
22. – Akil Thomas, C, Niagara (OHL)
Season Stats: 47GP, 13G, 43A, 56P, +8, 28PIM
23. – Barrett Hayton, C, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
Season Stats: 46GP, 17G, 26A, 43P, +17, 18PIM
24. – Jack McBain, C, Toronto (OJHL)
Season Stats: 42GP, 19G, 32A, 51P, 60PIM
25. (via STL) – Martin Kaut, RW, Dynamo Pardubice (CZE)
Season Stats: 30GP, 4G, 3A, 7P, E, 14PIM
26. – Dominik Bokk, LW/RW, Växjö (SWE)
Season Stats: 15GP, 1G, 1A, 2P, +1, 0PIM
27. – Jett Woo, D, Moose Jaw (WHL)
Season Stats: 30GP, 8G, 15A, 23P, +30, 22PIM
28. – Mattias Samuelsson, D, USA U-18 (USDP)
Season Stats: 32GP, 6G, 12A, 18P, 75PIM
29. – Vitali Kravtsov, RW, Chelyabinsk (KHL)
Season Stats: 33GP, 3G, 3A, 6P, +2, 6PIM
30. – Jacob Olofsson, C, Timrå (SWE-2)
Season Stats: 35GP, 9G, 11A, 20P, +11, 10PIM
31. – Rasmus Sandin, D, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
Season Stats: 34GP, 6G, 24A, 30P, +28, 12PIM

#21 – NY Islanders receive Calgary’s 2018 1st Round pick, 2018 2nd Round pick, and a 2019 or 2020 2nd Round pick in exchange for D Travis Hamonic and New York’s 2019 or 2020 4th Round pick.
#25 – Philadelphia receives St. Louis’ 2018 1st Round pick, Washington’s 2017 1st Round pick (#27 – Morgan Frost), and F Jori Lehtera in exchange for F Brayden Schenn.

2018 NHL Mock Draft – October 20th

Draft order based on NHL Standings as of October 20, 2017

1. – Rasmus Dahlin, D, Frölunda (SWE)
2. – Andrei Svechnikov, RW, Barrie (OHL)
3. – Adam Boqvist, D, Brynäs (SWE)
4. – Filip Zadina, RW, Halifax (QMJHL)
5. – Brady Tkachuk, C/LW, Boston University (H-EAST)
6. – Quinton Hughes, D, University of Michigan (BIG10)
7. – Ryan Merkley, D, Guelph (OHL)
8. – Bode Wilde, D, USA U-18 (USDP)
9. – Joe Veleno, C, Saint John (QMJHL)
10. – Oliver Wahlstrom, C, USA U-18 (USDP)
11. – Ty Smith, D, Spokane (WHL)
12. – Rasmus Kupari, Kärpät (FIN)
13. – Jared McIsaac, D, Halifax (QMJHL)
14. – Jesperi Kotkaniemi, C, Ässät (FIN)
15. – Akil Thomas, C, Niagara (OHL)
16. – Evan Bouchard, D, London (OHL)
17. – Ryan McLeod, C/LW, Mississauga (OHL)
18. (via CGY) – Benoit-Olivier Groulx, C, Halifax (QMJHL)
19. – Jack McBain, C, Toronto (OJHL)
20.  – Vitali Kravtsov, RW, Chelyabinsk (KHL)
21. – Jett Woo, D, Moose Jaw (WHL)
22. – Calen Addison, D, Lethbridge (WHL)
23. – Isac Lundeström, C, Luleå (SWE)
24. – Allan McShane, C, Oshawa (OHL)
25. – Joel Farabee, LW, USA U-18 (USDP)
26. – Barrett Hayton, C, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
27. – Alexander Alexeyev, D, Red Deer (WHL)
28. – Jacob Olofsson, C, Timrå (SWE-2)
29. – Mattias Samuelsson, D, USA U-18 (USDP)
30. (via STL) – Philipp Kurashev, LW, Quebec (QMJHL)
31. – Filip Hållander, C/W, Timrå (SWE-2)

#18 – NY Islanders receive Calgary’s 2018 1st Round pick, 2018 2nd Round pick, and a 2019 or 2020 2nd Round pick in exchange for D Travis Hamonic and New York’s 2019 or 2020 4th Round pick.
#30 – Philadelphia receives St. Louis’ 2018 1st Round pick, Washington’s 2017 1st Round pick (#27 – Morgan Frost), and F Jori Lehtera in exchange for F Brayden Schenn.

2017 NHL Mock Draft – 2nd Round

2nd Round

32. Nicolas Hague, D, Mississauga (OHL)
33. Maxime Comtois, C/LW, Victoriaville (QMJHL)
34. Jason Robertson, LW, Kingston (OHL)
35. Nikita Popugaev, RW, Prince George (WHL)
36. Conor Timmins, D, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
37. Artem Minulin, D, Swift Current (WHL)
38. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, G, HPK U20 (FIN-JR)
39. Jesper Boqvist, C, Brynäs (SWE)
40. Jaret Anderson-Dolan, C, Spokane (WHL)
41. Isaac Ratcliffe, LW, Guelph (OHL)
42. Kole Lind, RW, Kelowna (WHL)
43. Marcus Davidsson, C, Djürgardens (SWE)
44. Matthew Strome, LW, Hamilton (OHL)
45. (via TB) – Eemeli Räsänen, D, Kingston (OHL)
46.  – Robin Salo, D, Sport (FIN)
47. (via CGY) – Maxim Zhukov, G, Green Bay (USHL)
48. (via TOR) – Jonah Gadjovich, LW, Owen Sound (OHL)
49. (via NJ, from BOS) – Aleksi Heponiemi, LW, Swift Current (WHL)
50. (via TOR, from SJ) – Michael DiPietro, G, Windsor (OHL)
51.  (via STL) – Antoine Morand, C/LW, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
52. (via NYR) – Mason Shaw, C, Medicine Hat (WHL)
53. (via EDM) – Ivan Lodnia, RW/C, Erie (OHL)
54. (via MIN) – Keith Petruzzelli, G, Muskegon (USHL)
55. (via CBJ) – Grant Mismash, C, USA U-18 (USDP)
56. Alexei Lipanov, C, Dynamo Balashikha (VHL)
57. Alex Formenton, LW, London (OHL)
58. (via WSH) – Filip Westerlund, D, Frölunda (SWE)
59. (via ANA, from OTT) – Lukas Elvenes, C/RW, Rögle J20 (SWE-JR)
60. Josh Brook, D, Moose Jaw (WHL)
61. Rickard Hugg, C/LW, Leksands J20 (SWE-JR)
62. (via CAR, from PIT) – Olle Eriksson Ek, G, Färjestad J20 (SWE-JR)

Riding Pine’s 2017 NHL Draft Guide

Riding Pine Hockey is very proud to present its 2017 Draft Guide for the NHL Entry Draft! Contains Draft Rankings, Scouting Reports, Team Outlooks, Mock Drafts, and more. Available for free of charge in PDF format!

Download and Read PDF: Riding Pine Hockey 2017 NHL Draft Guide

Feel free to press the link above to view our 2017 NHL Draft Guide or download it for free in PDF format. Enjoy, and Happy Draft Season!

2017 NHL Mock Draft – Final

1st Round

1. – Nico Hischier, C, Halifax (QMJHL)
2. Nolan Patrick, C, Brandon (WHL)
3. – Miro Heiskanen, D, HIFK (FIN)
4. – Casey Mittelstadt, C/LW, Eden Prairie (USHS)
5. – Gabriel Vilardi, C, Windsor (OHL)
6. – Elias Pettersson, C, Timrå (SWE-2)
7. – Owen Tippett, RW, Mississauga (OHL)
8. Timothy Liljegren, D, Timrå (SWE-2)
9. – Cale Makar, D, Brooks (AJHL)
10. Eeli Tolvanen, LW, Sioux City (USHL)
11. – Cody Glass, C, Portland (WHL)
12. Michael Rasmussen, C, Tri-City (WHL)
13. – Juuso Välimäki, D, Tri-City (WHL)
14. – Nick Suzuki, C, Owen Sound (OHL)
15. Cal Foote, D, Kelowna (WHL)
16. Martin Necas, C/RW, Kometa Brno (CZE)
17. Nicolas Hague, D, Mississauga (OHL)
18. Kailer Yamamoto, C/W, Spokane (WHL)
19. Lias Andersson, C/LW, HV-71 (SWE)
20.  – Maxime Comtois, C/LW, Victoriaville (QMJHL)
21. – Klim Kostin, RW/C, Dynamo Balashikha (VHL)
22. Urho Vaakanainen, D, JYP (FIN)
23. (via MIN) – Erik Brännström, D, HV-71 (SWE)
24. Kristian Vesalainen, LW/RW, Frölunda (SWE)
25. Ryan Poehling, C, St. Cloud State (NCHC)
26. Jake Oettinger, G, Boston University (H-EAST)
27. (via WSH) – Jason Robertson, LW, Kingston (OHL)
28. Nikita Popugaev, RW, Prince George (WHL)
29. (via ANA) – Jesper Boqvist, C, Brynäs (SWE)
30. – Joshua Norris, C, USA U-18 (USDP)
31. Jaret Anderson-Dolan, C, Spokane (WHL)

#23 – Arizona receives Minnesota’s 2017 1st Round pick, 2018 2nd Round pick and a conditional 2019 pick in exchange for F Martin Hanzal, F Ryan White and Arizona’s 2017 4th Round pick.
#27 – St. Louis receives Washington’s 2017 1st Round pick, a conditional 2019 2nd Round pick, F Zach Sanford, and F Brad Malone in exchange for D Kevin Shattenkirk and G Pheonix Copley.
#29 – Dallas receives Anaheim’s 2017 2nd Round pick, with a condition to become a 1st Round pick if the Ducks reach the Western Conference Final and Patrick Eaves plays in 50% of the Ducks’ playoff games, from Anaheim in exchange for F Patrick Eaves.

2nd Round

32. Conor Timmins, D, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
33. Isaac Ratcliffe, LW, Guelph (OHL)
34. Shane Bowers, C, Waterloo (USHL)
35. Matthew Strome, LW, Hamilton (OHL)
36. Henri Jokiharju, D, Portland (WHL)
37. Kole Lind, RW, Kelowna (WHL)
38. Marcus Davidsson, C, Djügardens (SWE)
39. Artem Minulin, D, Swift Current (WHL)
40. Robert Thomas, C, London (OHL)
41. Robin Salo, D, Sport (FIN)
42. Jonah Gadjovich, LW, Owen Sound (OHL)
43. Antoine Morand, C/LW, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
44. Mason Shaw, C, Medicine Hat (WHL)
45. Eemeli Räsänen, D, Kingston (OHL)
46. Aleksi Heponiemi, LW, Swift Current (WHL)
47. (via CGY) – Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, G, HPK U20 (FIN-JR)
48. (via TOR) – Morgan Frost, C, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
49. (via BOS) – Pierre-Olivier Joseph, Charlottetown (QMJHL)
50. (via SJ) – Maxim Zhukov, G, Green Bay (USHL)
51.  – Michael DiPietro, G, Windsor (OHL)
52. (via NYR) – Grant Mismash, C, USA U-18 (USDP)
53. (via EDM) – Ivan Lodnia, RW/C, Erie (OHL)
54. (via MIN) – Keith Petruzzelli, G, Muskegon (USHL)
55. (via CBJ) – Filip Westerlund, D, Frölunda (SWE)
56. Alexei Lipanov, C, Dynamo Balashikha (VHL)
57. Lukas Elvenes, C/RW, Rögle J20 (SWE)
58. (via WSH) – Josh Brook, D, Moose Jaw (WHL)
59. (via OTT) – Alex Formenton, LW, London (OHL)
60. Reilly Walsh, D, Proctor Academy (USHS)
61. Olle Eriksson Ek, G, Färjestad J20 (SWE-JR)
62. (via PIT) – Rickard Hugg, C/LW, Leksands J20 (SWE-JR)

3rd Round

63. (via COL) – Max Gildon, D, USA U-18 (USDP)
64. Austen Keating, C, Ottawa (OHL)
65. Luke Martin, D, University of Michigan (BIG10)
66. (via ARZ) – Adam Ruzicka, C/RW, Sarnia (OHL)
67. (via NJ) – Scott Reedy, C, USA U-18 (USDP)
68. Ivan Chekhovich, LW/C, Baie-Comeau (QMJHL)
69. (via SJ, from DET) – Stelio Mattheos, C, Brandon (WHL)
70. Filip Chytil, LW, HC Zlin (CZE)
71. (via FLA) – David Farrance, D, USA U-18 (USDP)
72. Morgan Geekie, C/RW, Tri-City (WHL)
73. Noel Hoefenmayer, D, Ottawa (OHL)
74. Zachary Gallant, C, Peterborough (OHL)
75. Sasha Chmelevski, C, Ottawa (OHL)
76. Nicholas Henry, RW, Regina (WHL)
77. Jake Leschyshyn, C, Regina (WHL)
78. (via CGY) – Kirill Ustimenko, G, Dynamo St. Petersburg (MHL)
79. Ostap Safin, C/LW, Sparta Praha (CZE)
80. (via BOS) – Maxime Fortier, RW, Halifax (QMJHL)
81. (via SJ) – Evan Barratt, C, USA U-18 (USDP)
82.  (via STL) – Lane Zablocki, RW, Red Deer (WHL)
83. (via NYR) – Yaroslav Alexeyev, LW, Sherbrooke (QMJHL)
84. Mario Ferraro, D, Des Moines (USHL)
85. Tommy Miller, D, USA U-18 (USDP)
86. Greg Meireles, C, Kitchener (OHL)
87. Dylan Samberg, D, Hermantown (USHS)
88. (via CHI) – Stuart Skinner, G, Lethbridge (WHL)
89. (via WSH) – Joni Ikonen, C, Frölunda J20 (SWE-JR)
90. (via CAR, from OTT) – Mikey Anderson, D, Waterloo (USHL)
91. (via ANA) – Jack Rathbone, D, Dexter Academy (USHS)
92. D’Artagnan Joly, RW, Baie-Comeau (QMJHL)
93. Gustav Lindstrom, D, Almtuna (SWE-2)

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For more from this writer, follow on Twitter @BHolmes_Hockey

2017 NHL Mock Draft – May 1st

Draft Order after the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery and the 1st Round of the NHL Playoffs

1. – Nolan Patrick, C, Brandon (WHL)
2. – Nico Hischier, C, Halifax (QMJHL)
3. – Miro Heiskanen, D, HIFK (FIN)
4. – Casey Mittelstadt, C/LW, Eden Prairie (USHS)
5. – Gabriel Vilardi, C, Windsor (OHL)
6. – Elias Pettersson, C, Timrå (SWE-2)
7. – Owen Tippett, RW, Mississauga (OHL)
8. – Timothy Liljegren, D, Timrå (SWE-2)
9. – Cale Makar, D, Brooks (AJHL)
10. – Eeli Tolvanen, LW, Sioux City (USHL)
11. – Michael Rasmussen, C, Tri-City (WHL)
12. – Cody Glass, C, Portland (WHL)
13. – Juuso Välimäki, D, Tri-City (WHL)
14. – Martin Necas, C/RW, Kometa Brno (CZE)
15. – Cal Foote, D, Kelowna (WHL)
16. – Nick Suzuki, C, Owen Sound (OHL)
17. – Kailer Yamamoto, C/W, Spokane (WHL)
18. – Nicolas Hague, D, Mississauga (OHL)
19. – Lias Andersson, C/LW, HV-71 (SWE)
20. – Maxime Comtois, C/LW, Victoriaville (QMJHL)
21. – Klim Kostin, RW, Dynamo Balashikha (VHL)
22. – Urho Vaakanainen, D, JYP (FIN)
23. (via MIN) – Erik Brännström, D, HV-71 (SWE)
24. – Kristian Vesalainen, LW/RW, Frölunda (SWE)
25. – Jason Robertson, LW, Kingston (OHL)
26. – Ryan Poehling, C, St. Cloud State (NCHC)
27. – Jake Oettinger, G, Boston University (H-EAST)
28. – Nikita Popugaev, RW, Prince George (WHL)
29. – Joshua Norris, C, USA U-18 (USDP)
30. – Jaret Anderson-Dolan, C, Spokane (WHL)
31. (via WSH) – Isaac Ratcliffe, LW, Guelph (OHL)

#23 – Arizona receives Minnesota’s 2017 1st Round pick, 2018 2nd Round pick and a conditional 2019 pick in exchange for F Martin Hanzal, F Ryan White and Arizona’s 2017 4th Round pick.
#31 – St. Louis receives Washington’s 2017 1st Round pick, a conditional 2019 2nd Round pick, F Zach Sanford, and F Brad Malone in exchange for D Kevin Shattenkirk and G Pheonix Copley.
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For more from this writer, follow on Twitter @BHolmes_Hockey