NHL’s second-half story lines to watch: Disappointing Penguins won’t lay still


SportsPulse: NHL insider Kevin Allen breaks down a initial half of a deteriorate and gives us his picks for best story line, MVP and rookie of a year.

The startling Vegas Golden Knights and a widespread Tampa Bay Lightning were a tip newsmakers in a initial 3 months of a NHL season.

Here are story lines we design to be critical in a second half of a NHL season:

1. All eyes on a Penguins: Whether a two-time fortifying Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins skip a playoffs or rediscover their swagger, they will be a vital story in a second half. With a 20-18-3 record, they are one indicate out of a playoff picture.

All we know for certain is that ubiquitous manager Jim Rutherford, famous for aggressiveness, will not lay idly and watch a Penguins tumble brief of a playoffs. Rutherford has already acquired defenseman Jamie Oleksiak and he’s approaching to make another pierce for a brazen with some scoring potential.

Phil Kessel is a usually Penguin personification during a same turn they were during during a Penguins’ back-to-back pretension runs. The highly-skilled Penguins arrange second-to-last in five-on-five scoring. Their defensive play has been inconsistent. Rutherford will expected try to accelerate a bottom 6 brazen organisation to yield a spark.

More: NHL energy rankings 7.0: Golden Knights are a genuine deal

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2. McAvoy will stand in a polls: Most of a rookie of a year speak has centered on forwards Clayton Keller, Mathew Barzal and Brock Boeser.

Keller plays a diversion like Patrick Kane. Barzal is a gorgeous skater with sorcery in his hands. Boeser is a large shooter, now on a gait to net 40 goals.

But count on Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy receiving some-more Calder Trophy courtesy in a second half. McAvoy is personification 22:58 mins per diversion for a Bruins and he’s been a primary cause in their clever season.

He’s a two-way defenseman with 21 points in 38 games. He’s plus-10.

Points pull a many courtesy early in a Calder race, though McAvoy’s value will start to pull notice when members of a Professional Hockey Writers Association start heavily researching who deserves a award.

3. Ducks will take flight: The Anaheim Ducks’ defensemen are all healthy. Ryan Getzlaf is behind and has 8 points in his past 5 games. Ryan Kesler is healthy. Corey Perry will be behind soon.

After handling to stay afloat amid countless injuries, a Ducks seem prepared to be a group they were final deteriorate when they were separated in Game 6 of a Western Conference final by a Nashville Predators. 

Beware of a Ducks in a second half of a season. They are starting to demeanour like a primary contender again. The Ducks have won 5 of their final 6 games.

4. Wooing Tavares: Considering that Tavares stays unsigned, a New York Islanders can't means to skip a playoffs this season.

What kind of summary would that send to their captain?

The Islanders looked pointy early, though they are 5-9-2 given a start of December. 

With dual (Johnny Boychuk and Calvin de Haan) of their tip 4 defensemen harmed and their goaltending posting a .893 save percentage, fans will be watchful for GM Garth Snow to act.

With Tavares mulling his future, it seems expected Snow will make a splash.

5. Green’s recognition to grow: Several teams are looking an offensively-gifted defenseman and a Detroit Red Wings’ Mike Green, 32, is a many intriguing puck inciter in a marketplace.

He’s on gait for a 45-50 indicate season, and he’s personification 22:39 per game. He’s not a clever defender, though he can accelerate a energy play with his shot and puck movement. He can also transition a puck out of his zone.

The Red Wings will trade Green since he will be an unlimited giveaway representative on Jul 1. Early this deteriorate it seemed as if a Red Wings competence be means to land a second-round collect and a awaiting for Green. Now, with so many teams looking for a defenseman, it is not inconceivable a Red Wings competence be means to land a late first-round collect or a fascinating prospect.

Green seems like a good fit for a Edmonton Oilers if they trust they can stand behind in a playoff race.

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