December 9 — Buying on a Baseball Budget

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

MR. 600: Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele had a big night on Thursday, as his two assists helped the Winnipeg Jets defeat the St. Louis Blues 5-2. It made for a historic occasion, as his second helper of the night was his 600th NHL point in 667 games. Congratulations on joining the 600-point club, Scheifele! 

WOW, THAT WAS FAST!: Ten days after suffering a stroke, Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang was back on the ice practicing with teammates. Listed as day-to-day, the 35-year-old could return to game action as soon as tonight against the Buffalo Sabres.

GONE FISHIN: For the first time in more than 25 years, the New York Islanders will sport the Fisherman logo on Saturday night against the Carolina Hurricanes. Last worn on April 12, 1997, the “Gorton’s fisherman” was widely criticized during its initial debut due to the awful teams the Islanders had during that time. However, fans have long awaited its return as this year’s Adidas Reverse Retro 2.0 line delivered what the people want. 

TIKTOK PUCK CHALLENGE: Inspired by Wednesday’s victory, the Buffalo Sabres created the latest TikTok challenge after practice yesterday. Players attempted to hold nine pucks in one hand, leading to plenty of struggles and difficulties. Buffalo defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 9-4, tying the Seattle Kraken for the most goals scored in a game this season.

Friday Favorites

Let’s look back at our favorite moments of the week.

Get Wright

It was a storybook moment for 2022 fourth-overall pick Shane Wright. Even though many projected the center to go first overall, the Montreal Canadiens passed him up for Juraj Slafkovský. On Tuesday night, the Seattle Kraken played the Canadiens, and Wright’s revenge tour began as he scored his first NHL goal against Jake Allen. The New Jersey Devils and Arizona Coyotes are officially on notice! 

A Full Stomach Leads to Hot Hands

In an interview with Michael Russo of “The Athletic,” Minnesota Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov shared that his parents and girlfriend are in town on a temporary visa. His parents could not travel during his rookie season due to the pandemic and only spent a week with him last year. The 25-year-old enjoys spending time with them at his favorite sushi restaurant and, as Russo stated, “devouring the borscht and Russian dumplings his mom has been making.” Kaprisov joked that he has more energy and is currently on a 13-game point streak with nine points in his last five games.

Throw Those Hats!

This past week three hat tricks were celebrated around the league. Pittsburgh Penguins forward Kasperi Kapanen got things started against the St. Louis Blues on Dec. 3, marking his second career hatty. The next night Roope Hintz netted three goals against the Minnesota Wild, which earned the Dallas Stars a point as they fell in a shootout. Buffalo Sabres forward Tage Thompson was the final player to celebrate a hat trick as he had an impressive six-point night (five goals, one assist) against the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

The Best Lineup $40 Million Can Buy

Here in hockey circles, we are firmly in the midst of the 2022-23 NHL season. Meanwhile, Major League Baseball wrapped up back at the start of November and has now hit the busy offseason hot stove period. If you haven’t been paying attention, then spoiler alert: MLB salaries have gotten out of control. Where Connor McDavid leads all NHLers by raking in $12.5 million per year, Aaron Judge just signed a mammoth nine-year, $360 million contract with the New York Yankees.

Somehow annual salaries north of $40 million are becoming normalized in baseball, with Judge and Justin Verlander joining Max Scherzer in the $40 million per year club this winter. You have to love the power of an un-capped league. With that in mind, we decided to look at the best hockey lineups (three forwards, two defensemen, and a goalie) you can get for $40 million. Follow along, and feel free to come up with your own!

The Superstars

F: Connor McDavid – $12.5 | Jason Robertson – $7.75 | Tage Thompson – $1.4
D: Cale Makar – $9 | Moritz Seider – $863,000
G: Igor Shesterkin – $5.67

Total – $37.18 million

Here, we have McDavid anchoring a group that features three of the league’s top four scorers up front, a back end comprised of two of the league’s brightest young stars, and the reigning Vezina winner backing everything up.

The Award Winners

F: Auston Matthews (Hart) – $11.64 | Patrice Bergeron (Selke) – $2.5 | Kyle Connor (Lady Byng) – $7.14
D: Cale Makar (Norris) – $9 | Moritz Seider (Calder) – $863,000
G: Igor Shesterkin (Vezina) – $5.67

Total – $36.81 million

It turns out that $36.81 million can buy you a lineup full of reigning NHL Award recipients! Also, it’s still hard to fathom how the Boston Bruins have Patrice Bergeron on hand for just $2.5 million. 

The Champs

F: Mikko Rantanen – $9.25 | Gabriel Landeskog – $7 | Nathan MacKinnon – $6.3
D: Cale Makar – $9 | Devon Toews – $4.1
G: Alexandar Georgiev – $3.4

Total – $39.05 million

Quibble with the differences between this and last year’s rosters if you must (no Nazem Kadri, Alexandar Georgiev over Darcy Kuemper, etc.). However, it is pretty remarkable to think that the core of the Colorado Avalanche comes in at roughly the cost of Judge, who didn’t win a title last year. This exercise works better with Nathan MacKinnon still on his old contract!

The Year of the ‘Michigan’

The NHL recently paid homage to the first anniversary of Trevor Zegras setting up an “alley-oop” pass that resulted in a Sonny Milano goal. Zegras’ jaw-dropping assist, and two lacrosse-style “Michigan” goals, went viral after accomplishing them last season. Although he is the most recent one to do it, there have been several close calls. Here are some players who have attempted one of the trickier goals in the NHL. 

Chris Kreider

The New York Rangers had an excellent run last year, making it to the Eastern Conference Final. Forward Chris Kreider was a significant reason why, as he had a career-high 52 goals in 81 games, and on top of that, he almost pulled a “Michigan” against the Boston Bruins in Nov. 2021. Kreider stated, “It’s a silly skill, just kind of happened organically. Probably won’t happen again.” Oh, come on, Chris! If at first you don’t succeed, try again!

Auston Matthews

Auston Matthews was feeling himself on offense as he had the league-leading 60 goals last season, so why not try the “Michigan” with the puck luck he was having? He attempted the pretty goal back in March against the Vancouver Canucks. He also tried the move in Jan. 2020 against the Calgary Flames. Maybe the third time’s a charm?

Kirby Dach

When Kirby Dach played for the Chicago Blackhawks last season, he tried to show some creativity when facing the Anaheim Ducks in March 2022 by unsuccessfully attempting a lacrosse goal. Ducks defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk read what he was trying to do and thwarted the attempt. Now that Dach is on the Montreal Canadiens with Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki, they could all possibly team up for a successful effort. 

Andreas Athanasiou

If you are on the second-worst team in the NHL, you will try anything to spark the team. That is what Andreas Athanasiou ventured to do for the Blackhawks against the New York Islanders on Dec. 4, however unsuccessful. Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock was not thrilled about it afterward, stating, “I don’t know if it’s disrespect, but it’s one of those things where it’s not happening on my watch. I will try not to ever let that happen.” It looks like defensemen are on notice for many more tries, and maybe Athanasiou is onto something! 

NHL Standings

NHL’s Leading Scorers

Today’s NHL Schedule