By: Brennen Krikorian
Another fantastic month of NHL hockey is in the books teams are starting to definitively separate from one another.
November was filled with historic milestones, fantastic plays, and all around great games every night. Among many other headlines of the month here are my three biggest takeaways from the month of November.
Carey Price’s Disappointing Month
For the past decade or so, it has been undeniable that Carey Price was one of the best goaltenders in the league.
The future Hall of Famer has a career record of 331-234-71 in 646 games, posting a 2.49 GAA and a .918 SV%. In addition, he had a miraculous 2015 season where he took home both the Vezina Trophy and the Hart Trophy.
At the age of 32, it seems that Price may no longer be the dominant goaltender we have been accustomed to.
In the month of November, the Canadiens netminder went 4-5-2 in 11 games, recording a league-worst 3.77 GAA and a .883 SV%.
The Canadiens currently sit three points out of a playoff spot and following their recent play, they are not moving up in the standings any time soon.
This month will not be remembered once Price’s career is over, but the recent trends are definitely something to keep an eye on moving forward.
Buffalo’s Inconsistency is No Fluke
Last season, the Buffalo Sabres dominated right out of the gate and found themselves atop the league standings following a 10-game winning streak in November. Buffalo ultimately regressed heavily following that streak and ended up missing the playoffs entirely.
This season is no different for Buffalo.
In October, Buffalo surged to a 9-2-2 start which put them just one point away from having the best record in the league. Unfortunately, similar to last season, they have started to rapidly regress following their early success.
This past month, the Sabres went 3-8-3 and were one point away from having the worst record in the league during that span.
Jack Eichel has been the one consistent piece for the franchise this season, posting 17 points in October and 18 in November. Eichel is on pace for a career year, but one player’s success clearly does not always transfer to strong team play.
Casey Mittelstadt has had an incredibly disappointing month of November.
In 14 games, the 21-year-old recorded just one point in 14 games and seems to be a defensive liability for the team, posting a -8 in the last month.
Buffalo currently sits third in the division, but teams like Montreal, Toronto, and Tampa Bay are on their heels with a lot of games left this season.
A Taylor Hall Departure is Inevitable
Going into the season, Taylor Hall was an early favorite to be a deadline rental due to his pending free agency and the Devils low expectations, but a trade is bound to happen sooner than expected.
The New Jersey Devils are currently 9-14-4 and have the second worst point differential in the league at -32. Hall has not been much better than his team, as he has scored a mere four goals in 27 games.
Hall is a proven star and a former MVP, but he has only made the playoffs once and it is obvious that New Jersey is not the best fit for him at this point in his career.
With that being said, what team will he go to?
Colorado Avalanche: The Avalanche seem to be the front-runner for Hall because of how perfect of a fit he would be. Colorado is a Stanley Cup contender who has the cap space to take on a contract like of Hall’s proportion.
As for who Colorado would send back in return, look for high end prospects Shane Bowers and/or Conor Timmins to potentially head to New Jersey sice they could help speed up the rebuild both offensively and defensively.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Pittsburgh would be a surprising, but realistic destination for Hall, purely as a rental.
The Penguins window of success is starting to close due to the aging of some of their stars, but a move for Hall could give them another solid run for the Cup before it is too late.
Jim Rutherford is no stranger to making big deadline moves in order to make a playoff push. It is not unlikely that Hall could be this year’s move.
Bryan Rust was avidly shopped around prior to the season and his excellent play this year should increase his value. Rust would be a great mentor for Jack Hughes because of their similar body type and offensive skills. Obviously Rust does not have the same value as Hall, but if Rutherford can throw in a young guy like Zach Aston-Reese or Calen Addison as well with a pick or two, Jersey may be willing to accept.
Pittsburgh has a lot of contracts to renew this off-season and most likely would not re-sign the former first overall pick, but that may benefit Hall since he will be able to choose his home in free agency.
Some other teams such as Montreal, Carolina, Dallas, or Boston may also make a move on Hall, but one thing is clear: New Jersey is going to make a deal eventually.
Cover photo via: Kostas Lymperopoulos/CSM
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