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DAY 95 POWER RANKINGS

2020-01-05

Good Evening DCHLers,

The grades are in! Many of you know that I appreciate constructive feedback positive or negative. The Puck spent some time reflecting on the rankings and what we can do better and your answers were heard! This week we have a theme, new segment, and games of the week. So let’s dive in.

 

The THEME: REPORT CARDS: We are halfway through the year and I think it is time for some progress reports. The DCHL has multiple core elements to successful GM-ship. So there are several “classes” for which all teams received a grade: WIN NOW 101, Franchise Health (Long Term Outlook) 201, Community Development 301, and Goalie Philosophy 250. Don’t ask me what the course numbers mean because I made them up. Each team received at least one grade in their comments as a recommended concentration or area to improve.

Classes for today’s comments are best described as:

WIN NOW- Likelihood of a team making this year’s playoffs

Franchise Health- My assessed Value of the Franchise for next year and the foreseeable future

Community Development- Trades, posts, articles, draft habits, etc. (quality of quantity)

Goalie Philosophy- Teams who both manage their goalie starts well and have long term solutions in net.

If you want to know how I graded your team in all 4 classes, please come to my office hours. I actually looked for nice things to say for all teams but had to hand out some Fs.

And remember, if you do not like your grade, you can appeal it by winning a DCHL Cup.

 

The HEAT LAMP

This is one of the most intriguing projects to undertake because it requires some team interaction with these rankings. I received a tip off from at least 5 teams for this first edition so if you want your personalized spot in this column, this is the EASIEST way to do it!

HOT HOT HOT:

  1. GENO MALKIN is on a tear. In his last 10 DCHL games he has 10 goals, 3 Assists, and a hat trick. Anyone criticizing TORONTO for spending hard for him cannot ignore the immediate impact he has had on the BLUE LEAF OFFENSE. While he came at a cost, GENO is scored a point in 8 of 10 games and more than one point in 4 separate games.
  2. On the other end of the ice we have 2 blue liners out of ARIZONA who are jumping in on the rush at the right time. While many teams button up for the dog days of winter, the duo of IVAN PROVOROV and TOREY KRUG have combined for 5 goals, 12 assists, and a +10 on ice rating. In a league where there are not many defensive metrics at hand, staying positive in the +/- might be as good as we can get…but even if these guys were 0, those points mattered in 3 games where a single goal decided the tilt.

 

LOSING STEAM

  1. In LA there is RYAN NUGENT HOPKINS and ALEC MARTINEZ who had 34 and 26 points in 38 games but RNH has maintained his scoring touch while MARTINEZ has gone pretty cold and dropped below the +/- 0 after the KINGS loss to NASHVILLE yesterday.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH

The PUCK POOL in WINNIPEG is typically frozen over with no leads due to the intense rivalry between BIG D and WILL-IPEG. But DCHL Coach Todd Reirden allowed our reporters a rare interview where he explained some of the line flexibility KYLE CONNOR and RYAN O’REILLY have given the JETS Offense. Since pairing the two forwards together O’REILLY has 10 goals and 10 assists and CONNOR has 3 Goals and 8 assists, and both have shared points across 8 goals since day 70.

Rierden explained his hopes that this chemistry helps jumpstart struggling forward and CONN SMYTHE winner NAZEM KADRI. “It really looked like Kadri was struggling on that second line and we really want to simplify his game and get some confidence back for him. Having O’Ry and K-C working so well together really should free up Kadri’s game a bit so he can play simple while still being aggressive in the offensive zone.” Asked whether this line will be featured in the playoffs Rierden had this to say, “Everyone looks back on the game vs. Minnesota (554) where O’RY and K-C clicked for like 8-9 points or whatever and if that is a matchup that is there in April then we’ll love to have it but so much changes and the playoffs are still a ways a way. We don’t need to focus on that right now.”

 

ICE COLD-

Look no further than BIG D themselves. The team had one of the worst months in the tenure of GM Miller who still hasn’t been seen since he was captured by JOSH BROLIN at the end of the INFINITY PUCK saga (now on DVD) and DCHL+. President of Hockey Operations and resident Outlaw, ALAMO JACK has been in contact with teams to determine options moving forward.

 

ROOPEWATCH (a bet is a bet- WASHINGTON needs 20 Goals, 40 Assists for 5 mil GM Cash): 14 Goals, 7 Assists. 40 games remaining.  

 

A look at last week’s games of the week. Randy is 18-21 on the year with 3 perfect scores.

WSH at BOS- Correct

CGY at MIN- Incorrect

CAR at TOR- Incorrect

FLA at TBL- Correct

NEW YORK RANGERS vs. PHILLY- Incorrect

ARIZONA at NASHVILLE- Correct

DEVILS at CHICAGO- Incorrect

EDMONTON at VANCOUVER- Incorrect

ST LOUIS at LOS ANGELES- Incorrect

CBJ at NYI- Incorrect

COL at VGK- Correct

MTL at WPG- Correct

 

And now here are your Day 95 POWER RANKINGS

  1. ARIZONA (31-11-2) UP 1- As in most categories. In Franchise Health I’m cautious to give a B+ because there is no guarantee the right supporting cast will be available in UFA to support this high achieving core. AZ will need to make the most of this opportunity as after expansion they get the slightly tougher road through the Central.
  2. NEW JERSEY (30-11-0) DOWN 1- One of the few teams I think to get straight As this semester! What is amazing to me is that even at the beginning of last season I would not have assessed the DEVILS to be this close to the top. However GM STEFENELLI made many gutsy moves and landed one of the best Goalies in the league as well as a strong supporting cast with term. Of course their Star DEVIL DUO in PARISE and HALL are likely to be broken up in the offseason, I only have good things to say about the patience and commitment by the NJD GM. If I had a DEAN’S LIST these DEVILS would probably be at the top.
  3. BOSTON (25-9-9) NO CHANGE- GM BON-BENARD deserves an A+ in community development. He moves so many players, he may as well rename his team the BOSTON AIRLINES. Sure he is winning now, but for him it isn’t about winning and losing, it is about deals. And to do that he needs to talk to GMs and rub some elbows and maybe blow a kiss or two. All good things for our league.
  4. TAMPA BAY (23-12-5) UP 8- He almost got suspended from the program after some NSFW material ended up in the student social network but the BOLTS have rebounded and the humble GM from TAMPA took a photo shop class to learn how to correct his online content. He also had a really good month in DECEMBER so his WIN NOW rating is upgraded to a B+ with extra credit.
  5. PHILADELPHIA (24-12-6) UP 2- I should get partial credit for most of JOSH’S grades since I set his lineups while he “found himself” on the trail. But that is a story for another day. Having witnessed first hand the amount of tinkering this guy does with his lines and the sheer amount of revisions each week, I have to give him an A in community development. His interactions don’t come in the form of comments per se, they are entirely related to his roster.
  6. WINNIPEG (26-13-3) DOWN 1- A would be honor roll student who gets into too many internet arguments? No, even his community development grade is not that low. The big questions for this team are almost entirely related to MAF and rerates. If MAF can be a SIM starter, and the players don’t tank on their re-rates, the JETS are going to remain a force in the central for the next 4-5 years probably.
  7. TORONTO (23-16-4) UP 3- WIN NOW is the only option and the LEAFS are going to live and die by that. It is hard to fail anyone who is succeeding in a playoff race but I must say it is hard to argue for a D even for this team for anything outside this year. I think the only way it is worth it is for this team to win a DCHL CUP. Goalie Philosophy has them sitting pretty.
  8. CHICAGO (24-13-5) DOWN 4- The HAWKS get an A for WIN NOW. But the franchise probably has some dark days ahead. A President’s Trophy and DCHL CUP are well worth that cost, but CHICAGO at least has the chance to be the first back to back winner in our league this year!
  9. SAN JOSE (26-14-3) DOWN 1- The all powerful roster from SAN JOSE needs no introduction. And it is mostly above any criticism I can throw at them. My biggest concern though is when SAN JOSE will ever have to pay the price of having so many good assets. So they get an A until they lose it across the board, but cap hell always seems to be just a year or two away for these guys. They also have quite a few UFA openings going into the off season so this will be an interesting team to follow.
  10. MINNESOTA (23-14-5) DOWN 4- The WILD have a B+ in win now. Barring an unexpected collapse they should play CHICAGO or WINNIPEG (probably CHICAGO) in the 1st round. Even though they do not have a full cupboard of prospects compared to years past, their graduated class is so good, they can probably take some time to mature before running into any issues on the pipeline. My major concern for MINNE is their reliance on JOHN GIBSON. KHUDOBIN will be a great backup for whoever lands him but GIBSON is not having the best year in the NHL.
  11. COLUMBUS (22-17-3) UP 16- The DALLAS if the EAST…minus the over the top personality, characters, and general participation. The BLUE JACKETS are one of our teams that fails the community development class but still has much to be excited for. Particularly their month of DECEMBER was so high paced it catapulted them into a playoff spot in the METRO. Thie JACKETS Franchise Health is not in bad shape but could do a bit more with diet and exercise. I’m giving them a C+ in that regard.
  12. NASHVILLE (23-13-4) UP 2- Silent but deadly. The PREDS GM gets a low grade in Community Development but do not mistake unnecessary trades and commentary for franchise value. The PREDS have a young and very reliable core. They have a top end goalie through next season and long term can find another one with the flexibility they have in their roster. I consider the PREDS one of my dark horses every year because the GM sometimes misses opportunities to make his road to the playoffs easier. For that reason I’ll give them a B+ in Franchise Health. Picking your backup starts sooner and more opportunistically would make this an A.
  13. VEGAS (25-18-2) DOWN 4- Mostly As in VEGAS but they are playing with fire keeping KINKAID as their #1, not that they have much of a choice right now. To me, VEGAS is an exciting story to watch, especially with how fast they went to competition quality in our league. However a post season berth is mostly riding on KINKAID from my perspective.
  14. OTTAWA (20-17-5) UP 3- I’m giving OTTAWA a B+ in Goalie Philosophy because Tristan Jarry is a real gem. I’m not up to speed on the NHL PITTSBURGH crease but I’ve seen Jarry put up some exceptional work this season in the highlight shows and on my NHL.tv account. The team has questions on defense but this is nothing those 4 x 1st round picks can’t fix for the SENS.
  15. LOS ANGELES (23-17-3) DOWN 2- This team deserves an A for their handling of goalies this year. They found a crafty way to avoid back up starts and it matters. They also get a solid B+ for WIN NOW but in the second half they really need to avoid any long bad stretches.
  16. WASHINGTON (19-17-6) UP 3-
  17. NEW YORK ISLANDERS (21-18-1) DOWN 1- Getting rid of PK SUBAN’s contract helps the ISLES as they can reload in UFA. They have a team to do a reload if they spend right but JONATHAN TOEWS and PATRICK KANE aren’t getting younger or cheaper. Furthermore, they will need to replace who they are losing THIS year to be relevant. So I’m going A in Goalie Philosophy, B in Franchise Health, and A- in Community Development for carrying GILETTO’S load on the GM Cash Bets.
  18. EDMONTON (17-22-5) DOWN 3- Bs across the board for the OILERS. They have one of the best Defense Pairings in the league with HEDMAN and ELLIS but decided they weren’t going to compete on purpose this season. The good thing for them is they are only a good stretch or wild card slip away from the spot since they appear to be the most complete team not in the playoffs so far in the West.
  19. NEW YORK RANGERS (19-17-5) UP 6- The RANGERS get a D- in Community Development because DAN P basically got married and stopped talking to us.
  20. ANAHEIM (18-21-2) NO CHANGE- The DUCKS have a goalie problem to fix but MRAZEK should be good enough to control the bleeding so I’m giving a solid C+ on the Goalie Philosophy AND I’m bumping that to a B because they already have their backup starts! They will have one of the NHL STARS most impressive young weapons in DENIS GURIANOV who has caught fire approaching the mid season!
  21. ST LOUIS (21-20-2) NO CHANGE- The BLUES get a B+ in WIN NOW even though they don’t want to. I also am inclined to fail them in Goalie Philosophy since they just don’t have a #1 and their #2s are either hitting UFA or no longer in the NHL.
  22. DETROIT (11-13-5) NO CHANGE- The WINGS are hard to grade because they have moves to make still. They need to find a home for JVR but I’m fine with a B- in most classes for one of my harshest critics. KIRBY DACH is probably the HAWKS best rookie skater right now and DETROIT has a promising goalie in GEORGIEV. Barring any irrational moves, I think DETROIT is sitting on a workable situation at least.
  23. BUFFALO (19-18-6) UP 5- I remember in my GM Round Table that BUFFALO caught some flak over their 1st round pick (DOMINIK KUBALIK) but so far the 24 year old has made the leap on the score sheet. He scores in about half the games he plays even though he averages about 13 minutes of ice time per game. The rest of the franchise is about to get hit with an exodus of UFAs though and that spells a concern: 1 goalie, 2 x defense, and 5 forwards from the pro team will enter the market after this year. Goalie Philosophy is still a C+ because they have a serviceable tender in RITTICH but will need an upgrade. They still have a B- in WIN NOW (their best bet) because a sloppy start but they have the picks and currency to rejuvenate their team moving forward.
  24. FLORIDA (18-18-5) NO CHANGE- I inquired about an asset in FLORIDA and the GM replied something to the effect of “I’m in a playoff race” to which I looked up and sure enough he is! With a roster that bad (inherited of course) and still time to dump assets, I’m applauding GM LEVERGNEUX with a solid B+ in win now for finding a way to stay relevant. His Franchise Health is still in the C- range with the curve applied.
  25. COLORADO (18-22-2) UP 5- The AVS get a B for WIN NOW, mostly because their LARKIN trade is very much a win now gesture. However, the AVS have a big hole to climb out of and will need a LOT from LUONGO in order to even have a chance. We can’t hold the BRENDAN GALAGHER concussion against the DCHL GM but that is always a point of concern in this sport and for long term assets. Further feedback from another GM in the league: Nothing says 1 step forward-2 steps back more than COLORADO.
  26. MONTREAL (20-21-1) NO CHANGE- They only have 3 players under 27 on their pro-team. ROOPE HINTZ, SEAN MONAHAN, and the other guy isn’t even in the NHL. They get a C for WIN NOW because they are not expected to make the playoffs but are still winning (CAREY PRICE effect?) but their Franchise Health is in disarray. There just is not enough talent in this system to go any higher than an F for Franchise Health.
  27. CAROLINA (17-17-7) DOWN 16- After a horrible December the CANES are at least .500 in points but are set to lose a lot of their Franchise heavyweights. At least they got something for LUONGO, it only cost them LARKIN. As a Goalie, LEHNER has the talent to be an uncontested starter but his NHL team has a defense of the swiss cheese variety. The upside is there in perhaps the most important sim position. GOALIE PHILOSOPHY: B+, Franchise Health: B-
  28. PITTSBURGH (16-20-5) DOWN 5- Two big question marks for the PENS are their handling of the GOALIE SITUATION and their abundance of veterans. FILIP ZADINA, FILIP CHYTIL, and MINNE 2020 1st really help keep this team anchored but acquiring JOSH BAILEY earlier in the season never made much sense for a team that is mostly post prime. MADS SOOGARD is still too far away from answering the goalie concern. Goalie Philosophy: D-, Franchise Health: B-
  29. CALGARY (17-24-2) NO CHANGE- One of the hardest things to do in the DCHL, it feels like, is to craft a productive blue line. QUINN HUGHES, CHARLIE MCAVOY are a damn good start to this endeavor. The FLAMES also have 4 x first round picks and we aren’t even talking about DYLAN COZENS or NICK SUZUKI yet. Sure KEVIN FIALA is also having a good year but we won’t hold that against GOOD VINCE…A- in FRANCHISE HEALTH. And an INCOMPLETE in Goalie Philosophy.
  30. DALLAS (19-21-2) DOWN 12- The worst part about the STARS is they have a roster that SHOULD be capable of winning now, they just aren’t. Their Franchise Health could be better if they had their 2020 1st round pick but future Blue Liner VILLE HEINOLA (acquired via a 2019/20 pick swap with EDM) looks to be the real deal (in limited NHL time and WJC observations) as an 18 year old. I don’t actually think they deserve an F but I’m giving them one for WIN NOW.
  31. VANCOUVER (9-28-5) NO CHANGE- Sure they get an F in WIN NOW but most new GMs in this league try to make their roster their own first. In this regard I think VANCOUVER deserves an A- in Franchise Health for acquiring picks. Unfortunately though, with so many tankers in the mix this season, a top 3 pick is not guaranteed.

Games of The Week:

Day 98- COL at NYR- COL 3, NYR 1

Day 100- WPG at BOS- WPG 3, BOS 4

Day 100- EDM at TBL- EDM 3, TBL 1

There you have it, your POWER Rankings on Day 95 of the Regular Season. This is the LONESTAR PUCK REPORTING!