- I have no doubt some teams would like to tank — even more — for Connor Bedard. And who could blame them? The thing about Bedard’s performance on such a large stage is that it gives teams licence to do it with their fans. Before, to many who aren’t invested in prospects, Bedard was an exciting rumour. Now they’ve seen him with their own eyes and salivate. The thing is this: the league is completely constipated and it’s not like anyone’s going to be able to hold a roster garage sale. For the most part, the tankers already have their treads on the tracks.
- With the feeling that this year’s draft is better than the
- Patrick Kane’s on-pace for 0.73 points per game, which would be the lowest of his NHL career. (Previous low is 0.80 in 2011-12.) This isn’t about age. The last three seasons, he had 242 points in 204 games. Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson said Tuesday that Wednesday’s practice could determine if Kane returns to action Thursday against Colorado, but I think we’re getting a window into why he’s struggled. Some of the local reporters have speculated a knee or hip injury, and I’m leaning to the latter.
The biggest question is what this means for the rest of the season. If it’s a simple thing, no worries. But there seems to be some fear it’s a lingering issue that could require cleanup. We speculated about this on the podcast, but if it comes to that, does a one-year extension make sense — allowing Kane to get whatever procedure he needs, and come back healthy in 2023-24? If the Blackhawks win the lottery, I could watch Kane and Bedard for a while. That’s appointment viewing.
A few of you have asked about Jakub Vrana being put on waivers. First, the most important thing is his health and mental well-being. Second, I remember a few years ago doing an interview with Steve Yzerman (still a player at the time), talking about opportunities being “deserved." The move was jarring when I first saw it, but the more I thought about it, the more I got it.
Vrana’s struggled in his return to the AHL, while some of Detroit’s younger players, particularly, Jonatan Berggren, grabbed the NHL opportunity. Head coach Derek Lalonde initially said he wanted to keep his young players in the lineup when Robby Fabbri returned, but the final decision was his GM’s. Yzerman’s a big believer in playing those who deserve to play. And, when you’re trying to build yourself into a winner, you have to stick to that. I don’t want to guess where this goes from here, aside from I hope that mentally, Vrana stays in a good place.