It’s Monday which means it’s time for the PHT Face-Off. We’ll look at different storylines from around the NHL and we’ll also break down certain trends that apply to the upcoming week.
• Ondrej Kase‘s impact on Bruins
The Bruins acquired Kase from the Ducks for a first-round draft pick, but they also got to shed a good chunk of David Backes’ salary (that alone has a significant amount of value). But how was Kase fit in with his new team?
Well through five games, he’s picked up one assist and four penalty minutes while averaging 14:21 of ice time per game. It’s a small sample size, but the offensive side of his game hasn’t kicked in just yet.
Here’s what Joe Haggerty thinks:
I'll preface this by saying Ondrej Kase has been pretty good in the games he's played since arriving in Boston. But he's also got one assist in 5 games. He looks like a solid third liner on a good NHL team. Once again the fancy stats crew have overstated their case w/this guy
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) March 8, 2020
Let’s compare and contrast his advanced numbers from 2019-20 (via Natural Stat Trick):
CF%: 54.66, FF%: 53.31, XG%: 49.55, HDCF%: 51
CF%: 48.78, FF%: 52.87, XG%: 49, HDCF%: 47.62
There’s a few things to keep in mind here. Again, it’s only five games. It’s the first time in his career that he gets traded, so it might take him a little bit more time to adjust to his new team. Give him some time.
• Carter Hart‘s home/road splits:
Hart is having a terrific year for the Flyers. He’s a big reason why they’re in the hunt for top spot in the Metropolitan Division. But his home/road splits are so different.
In 24 games at home: He owns a 20-2-2 record with a 1.61 goals-against-average and .944 save percentage.
In 18 games on the road: He has a 4-10-1 record with a 3.81 goals-against-average and a .857 save percentage.
How is that going to work come playoff time? There’s a decent chance that they’ll have home-ice advantage in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, so maybe it doesn’t affect the team as much, but what happens as the playoffs keep rolling? It’s going to be an interesting story to follow.
Will they split time between Hart and Brian Elliott in the postseason?
Here’s a tweet from last week that’s still somewhat relevant today:
Flyers coach Alain Vigneault on home ice in playoffs: "A team that has it will say it will say it’s really important. A team that doesn’t have it will say it’s not that big a deal."
Want to see a big deal?
Carter Hart at home: 1.67 GAA, .941 SV%
Carter Hart on road: 3.81, .857
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) March 4, 2020
• Alex Galchenyuk finally comes through for Minnesota:
Galchenyuk has played for four different teams over the last three seasons. He went from a long stint in Montreal, to a one-year term in Arizona, to a 45-game stint in Pittsburgh, to Minnesota.
He was part of the trade that sent Jason Zucker to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Galchenyuk is on an expiring contract and he may or may not be brought back in Minnesota. If the season doesn’t end well for him, what happens to him? Does he get another chance in the NHL? probably. But he’s running out of those.
The former third overall pick is still just 26 years old, but it seems like teams aren’t interested in keeping him around very long.
He didn’t exactly get off to a hot start in Minnesota, as he had four points in his first 11 games (two came in the same game). But he’s started making a little bit more of an impact on a team that’s hoping to make the playoffs.
Last night, he registered the primary assist on Mats Zuccarello‘s game-tying goal (1-1) and he added one of his own in the third frame to give his team a 4-3 lead (they eventually won in overtime).
He also scored a big second-period goal in last week’s 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks.
Can he find a permanent home in Minnesota?
• Which Wisconsin first-rounders will go pro?
Cole Caufield, K’Andre Miller and Alex Turcotte. Will they be leaving the University of Wisconsin? Now that the team’s disappointing season has come to an end, we can finally start discussing whether or not these players will leave the Badgers.
Miller is two years into his career at Wisconsin, Turcotte and Caufield both wrapped up their first year.
Miller, a 20-year-old defenseman, had seven goals and 18 points in 36 games this season. He already has NHL-ready size, as he’s listed at 6-foot-3, 206 pounds. The Rangers made him the 22nd overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.
“I would guess that both (Miller) and [Flyers’ seventh-rounder] Wyatt (Kalynuk) are going to have offers there for them,” head coach Tony Granato said, per Madison.com. “On (Turcotte) and Cole, I don’t really know. There might be a couple other guys that have opportunities. That’s something that we’ll look into talking about as the week goes along.”
Turcotte, who was Los Angeles’ fifth overall pick in 2019, had nine goals and 26 points in 29 games at Wisconsin this year. The 19-year-old also had two assists in five games for Team USA at the World Juniors this year.
The Kings won’t be good anytime soon, so you’d think that they’d want to take their time developing one of their high-end prospects.
And Caufield actually led the team in goals (19) and points (36) in 36 games this year. Those are impressive numbers for a freshman, but he’s also listed at 5-foot-7, 162 pounds. He also wasn’t much of a factor at the World Juniors (one goal, one assist in five games).
According to Pierre LeBrun, Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin will meet with his 2019 first-round draft pick at some point this week. The Habs are already loaded with small players, but they don’t have an elite scorer. How quickly can Caufield become an effective player at the NHL level?
Bergevin’s job doesn’t appear to be in jeopardy heading into next season, but you’d have to think that next year will be his final opportunity to get his team into the postseason. At the same time, he’s also mentioned repeatedly that he won’t jeopardize the team’s future for immediate results.
NHL on NBCSN:
• Bruins vs. Flyers, Tue. Mar. 10, 7 p.m. ET
• Predators vs. Wild, Sun. Mar. 15, 7 p.m. ET
Wednesday Night Hockey:
• Sharks vs. Blackhawks, Wed. Mar. 11, 8 p.m. ET
Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.