The Ken Hitchcock Effect

01/08/2010
Florida Panthers v Philadelphia Flyers

If the words of Nikita Filatov are not enough to describe how much of an effect Ken Hitchcock has on his young players, then you will definitely want to read this.

The young Russian said in a recent interview, when questioned on his decision to return to the NHL, “I highly doubt it. But [moving] Ken Hitchcock can really help it.”

There is a pattern and we will show you it.

On January 8, 1996, the Dallas Stars appointed Hitchcock’ as their head coach. This team displayed a nice mix of veterans and youth with promising players like Mike Modano, Jere Lehtinen, Jamie Langenbrunner, Richard Matvichuck (acquired via trade), Trent Klatt and Darryl Sydor.  This same team found chemistry together eventually leading them to a Stanley Cup Championship just three short years later.

However, in his first season, the kids barely saw the ice. Outside of Modano and Matvichuck, forwards Lehtinen, Langenbrunner and Klatt played a defensive checking role. Lehtinen was not drafted to be a defensive type player. Yes, he developed into a very good two-way player but a lot of his offensive potential lied to rot with Hitchcock not using him in a more offensive role or in a more offensive system.

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Trade Rumors Hitting the Presses

12/11/2009
NY: Phoenix Coyotes v New York Rangers

Busy day in the rumor market, lets take out our magnifying glasses and take a closer look to the Hot Stove:

Larry Brooks of The New York Post discusses the shortcomings on the current Rangers roster.   The controversial reporter notes that the pieces that may have value are the same that the team wants to keep.

Most importantly he discusses a trade proposal supposedly between GM Glen Sather and former assistant and current Coyotes GM Don Maloney.  Sather would send AHL defenseman and promising defensive prospect Bobby Sanguinetti for struggling forward Peter Mueller.

Although the former 8th overall pick managed a measly six points in his first 26 games it will take more to land him.  Still young at 21 years of age, Mueller averaged 48 points through his first two seasons.  Regardless of his slump he remains a vital part of a young Coyotes core and probably would not be moved until the trade deadline if at all.

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Trade Rumors: Whole Lot of Nothing in Columbus

12/01/2009
Columbus Blue Jackets v Anaheim Ducks

TSN’s Darren Dreger wrote that the Blue Jackets were looking to move a wing for a defenseman if there is a “right fit”.  Clearly the injury to Rostislav Klesla (right) appears scary as the defender ranks third on the team in TOI, averaging a little over 20 minutes a game.  This injury comes with Marc Methot already out, a 24-year-old defenseman who averages over 19 minutes a game.  Needless to say, GM Scott Howson needs to make a move soon or his team could fall out of the race. Although they appear to want to improve from within, I think they will be forced to trade a younger asset.

The options at wing are: Jared Boll, Michael Blunden, Alexandre Picard, Jacub Voracek, Rick Nash, Kristian Huselius and/or Antoine Vermette and RJ Umberger. Looking at this list, I am pretty sure Nash, Voracek, Huselius, Vermette and Umberger are not getting moved while Blunden and Picard probably would not fetch much.  If Derek Dorsett is healthy, he could make Boll expendable.  Another option is Nikita Filatov.

Quick to rebut, Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch says Howson has not talked to a single GM and is not actively pursuing a trade. Portzline makes it abundantly clear that a trade is not brewing right now.  Most trade talk starts around February but with the Olympics who knows how things will play out.

What are your thoughts? Who do you see being moved?

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-Alexander Monaghan
NHLHS Founder
thehotstove@gmail.com


Keeper Watch 11/18/2009

11/18/2009
Carolina Hurricanes v Nashville Predators

Yet another new feature here on NHLHS. ‘Keeper Watch’ will come out every couple of days, noting the changes in value for top prospects who are most likely available in your league. Similarly to our ‘Endorsed Pickups’ I will try not to focus too much on one position, which will leave some noteworthy players off the list.

Center: Brandon Sutter, Carolina Hurricanes – After only posting six points in 50 games last year, Brandon Sutter is breaking out.  Through 11 games, he has eight points and five in his last three.  With the injury to Eric Staal, his playing time has increased as has his role.

Prognosis: Stream him now for the points and monitor his progress once Staal returns.

Center: Tyler Ennis, Buffalo Sabres – Tyler Ennis, a high pedigree prospect, joined the Sabres earlier this week scoring his first goal in his NHL debut.  The diminutive forward chosen with Buffalo’s first pick in 2008, played on a line with Thomas Vanek and Tim Connolly and even got some power-play time.

Prognosis: It may be a bit premature to grab the kid after his first game, but it never hurts to get the upper hand.  If playing with Connolly on a consistent basis, the kid may even get dual-position eligibility.

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