NHL Roundtable: Jones-Johansen trade winner; first half MVP; more
Al Muir: You know, that’s a rational and even-handed response from a guy who’s probably wearing Predators Underoos at the moment. Bravo, Sam. And I’d agree with you in principle, especially your point about Johansen’s place on a team that’s already in position to contend, but I’m going to take the big picture view and say the Jackets got the better end of the deal. Johansen has that Getzlaf-type ceiling, but there are questions about whether or not he’ll reach it. Ask around about Jones, though, and you’ll have a hard time finding any doubters. He’s a guy who eventually will play 25-plus all-purpose minutes a night, who can make things happen with his mobility, his vision and his nimble thinking. He’s as close to a sure thing as there is. I’ll take the sure thing.
• The NHL trade deadline is Feb. 29. Where will Jonathan Drouin be on March. 1?Steven Stamkos
SP: Anaheim. The Ducks’ offense has been horrible, and GM Bob Murray has been opportunistic at grabbing players who have needed a change of scenery. I don’t know who or what is going the other way. I’m also ruling out all other Eastern Conference teams getting involved.
AM: Tampa Bay. My gut says he’s gone eventually, but I think Yzerman holds on to him at least until the draft, by which point he’ll have a better understanding of all the pieces in play, including Stamkos. Drouin would be a nice asset to have in his pocket if he decides he wants to move up in the draft
• Hard to believe, but we’re already at the midway point of the season. Who is your first-half MVP?
MB: Braden Holtby is this season’s Carey Price. He’s among league leaders in wins (1st, 26), goals-against average (3rd, 1.90) and save percentage (4th, .933). He’s the brick wall behind one of the NHL’s top offenses, and his rise into the elite category of goaltenders makes the Capitals the most legitimate Stanley Cup frontrunner.Martin Brodeur
• Speaking of the second half, it’s a good bet that Jaromir Jagr will find his way into the news at some point. Predict his signature moment.is on a plane to the Bahamas
MB: After spending the season bringing back his glorious mullet, he chops it all off in the most celebrated donation Locks of Love has ever received.
SP: I think Jagr will embarrass some top young defenseman in the playoffs and people will go crazy, because no one outside of Florida watches Florida during the regular season.