JN Air Mail – March 7, 2017

This week in AirMail, the guys look at the Nic Petan situation and is asked if it reminds them of a certain “enigmatic Russian”, they rank their top three players in the league at this very moment and they call out who they have as their favourites for the Stanley Cup Final.

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And here… we… go…

Yuri asks: Will Petan end up like Burmi?

Jacob: This is an interesting question. While I do see where this is coming from, I don’t understand the premise of it. Petan may be (somehow and someway) being benched for Thorburn, but I wouldn’t go out and say that he’s in the dog house. Burmistrov on the other hand, was in the dog house of both Noel and Maurice. But then again, the fact that Petan hasn’t moved up in a top-six role (for even at least for a game or two), is rather baffling.
Garret: What do you mean by that? Burmistrov was a player that helped shot, scoring chances, and goal differentials, but wasn’t great at scoring. He was probably drafted too high and rushed into the NHL. He still had value but was undervalued, underutilized, went to Russia, and came back very much a worse version of himself. Petan was an elite scorer in the WHL and probably drafted too low. He’s being underutilized and undervalued but I don’t think he has the same issues Burmistrov had.

Dustin: I think they’re completely different scenarios. I think the coaching staff has concerns with Petan’s defensive game at the moment whereas that was never a concern with Burmistrov. Once the coaching staff feels like he’s cleared that up, I think you see him start climbing in the line up.

Art: Right now I am going to say no, but the way they’ve handled Petan is enough to make one wonder right? While I agree with the guys that what kept Burmi down isn’t close to the same as what is holding Petan down, I do wonder if the coaches see his 5’9” size and figure no matter what he does, he won’t fit into their future plans. This is a staff that insists on putting Adam Lowry in front of the net because “big body” even if he has an obvious lack of finish around the net. He’s not in Burmi territory yet, but I’m concerned he’s closer to that “status” than any of us realize.

Adam asks: Who is your top three players in the league right now?

Jacob: Connor McDavid. Sidney Crosby and Brent Burns. Those are the best three and I don’t really know if there is much discussion. McDavid is a franchise altering player that’s leading the league in points at 19 years old and is THE reason the Oilers are relevant again and likely will remain so for a long time. Crosby on the other hand, is the best player in  the league. His work ethic, skill and drive makes him the best in the game and it’s paying off as he’s leading the league in goal scoring and clocking in at third in league point totals.

Garret: #1 Sidney Crosby. #2 Evgeni Malkin. #3 Connor McDavid. Not taking age, trajectory, or contracts into account. Just straight up on-ice impact.

Dustin: Right now? I’ll echo Jacob’s sentiments and go with McDavid, Crosby, and Burns. The season Brent Burns is having is absolutely amazing and McDavid and Crosby are complete gamechangers.

Art: #1 is Crosby, #2 is McDavid.. I think those are your no-brainers no matter who you are. #3 for me (and man I hate myself for saying this but I gotta put personal bias aside) would be Patrick Kane. Kane is so dynamic on offense and I honestly feel his defensive game is underrated.

Justin asks: After the trade deadline, who is your favorite to make it to the Final and win the Cup?

Jacob: The Capitals. The Capitals looked poised to finally hoist a Stanley Cup before the trade deadline. But after acquiring Kevin Shattenkirk, the best rental player on the market, it looks less and less like this group will choke once again. For the Capitals, the price they gave up for Shattenkirk was well worth it. Shattenkirk was the only player on the market aside from a Matt Duchene type that could legitimately put a team over the top and improve their cup odds. The Capitals are all-in on this core and their acquisition of Shattenkirk further proves that.

Garret: Caps. They are grossly deep. That said, we estimate given probability that the best team will only win the cup about once every four-to-five years: http://objectivenhl.blogspot.ca/2011/06/how-often-does-best-team-win.html

Dustin: The Capitals are the obvious choice here, but I’m not sure you can count out the Wild or the Penguins. If I was a betting man, I’d lay my money down on the Wild, as much as it pains me to say it.

Art: I’d love to say Capitals but I just don’t trust them. I really like what the Penguins did to add to their depth just a tiny bit and that will make a huge difference, they are my Cup pick. As far who comes out of the west, I think the Wild are the favorites but man if the Oilers can get on a roll with their goaltending, I like them in a seven game series with anyone else in the west.