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Rosen's mailbag - April 22, 2015

by Dan Rosen /

Here is the April 22 edition of Rosen's weekly mailbag, which will run periodically throughout the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. If you have a question, tweet it to @drosennhl and use #OvertheBoards.

Let's get to it:

What are your feelings about the Columbus Blue Jackets next season? Should we be thinking playoffs next season? -- @KevinZukerman

Absolutely you should be thinking playoffs next season if you're a Blue Jackets fan. The only reason they didn't make it this season was because of all of the injuries. They even could have withstood those injuries to the skaters had goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky stayed healthy.

The Blue Jackets are getting better, and if they stay healthy I think they will be primed to make the playoffs next season. They showed a lot of character at the end of the season, but that character came through because of how aggressive they were in attacking teams that were ahead of them in the standings. They were 9-0-1 in the last 10 games they played against teams that made the playoffs. Yes they had nothing to lose, but they were that good because they were for the most part healthy and showing what they were capable of when they had a full lineup.

So yes, playoffs should be on the horizon for the Blue Jackets if they stay healthy. I think the future is very bright in Columbus.

Corey Crawford and Jimmy Howard lost their starting jobs. Do you see Howard and/or Crawford being moved next season? -- @1stUgetdasugar

Corey Crawford
Corey Crawford
Goalie - CHI
GAA: 6.75 | SVP: .809
I like how you put the and/or in there because I think one of them might get traded while the other one isn't going anywhere.

I can definitely see the Detroit Red Wings trying to move Howard now that Petr Mrazek looks like he could be fit to stay in the crease as a No. 1. It's a small sample size for sure, but moving Howard and signing a veteran to a favorable contract to be Mrazek's backup gives the Red Wings some extra salary cap space with which to work; more than $5 million depending on who or what they take back in return.

Howard definitely is a capable No. 1 goalie in the NHL and I think he'd be good for a team like the Edmonton Oilers, who need stability in net and help on defense. Howard is signed for four more seasons after this season so anybody getting him can have their team grow with him. He is 31 years old so he still has several good seasons left.

Crawford is coming off a strong season and just struggled early in the playoffs, which is why Scott Darling is playing now. Darling is a great story and I credit Crawford for being so supportive in a difficult spot. But I wouldn't be shocked to see Crawford play again in these playoffs and play well. In addition, coach Joel Quenneville likes Crawford a lot. Crawford also is harder to trade than Howard because his salary-cap charge is $6 million for the next four seasons.

What do you think is the Oilers' No. 1 priority this offseason? -- @therealmctasty

I'll assume you mean after drafting Connor McDavid with the No. 1 pick and then signing him without any hiccups or controversy? Yep, I'll just assume that because that one is obvious.

The Oilers need help on defense. They need a lot of help on defense. As I mentioned above when talking about Howard they also need help in goal, but they really need help on defense. That's why it pays to have the amount of forwards they have at their disposal. It's time to trade one of them for defensive help.

Whether it's Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl or Nail Yakupov, the Oilers have young forwards that other teams definitely would want. If they can spin one of them for a top defenseman while adding McDavid to the mix, they'll be gaining instead of losing. They also have the Pittsburgh Penguins' first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. That's another nice asset to have when you need to acquire defensive help.

What are the chances of Dan Bylsma landing in San Jose? -- @BorisGoode

San Jose is the place where I think Bylsma fits the best. I can't tell you anything about the odds of him going there, the chances of it happening or what have you, but I do think that the Sharks are a perfect team for Bylsma to coach for several reasons.

The Sharks have players who want to skate, want to make plays, want to play an up-tempo game. That's Bylsma's style.

The Sharks have veteran star players who understand how to win but just lost their way this season in large part because the team didn't have enough depth around them. Bylsma has proven he can win with veteran star players provided there is enough depth around them.

Bylsma knows how to deal with star players and he understands how to change the culture of a team quickly. That's what he did in 2008-09 with the Penguins and they won the Stanley Cup. He is going to get another job; the Sharks would be wise to hire him.

How cool was the return of the Whiteout at the Jets' playoff game? -- @CVancheri

Really cool. I wish I could have been there to witness it. It looked great from all the videos that I saw of it.

I can't give the fans in Winnipeg enough credit for embracing the team as it returned, staying with the Jets through some tough times and then bringing the noise and the passion when the team needed it most. I really, truly think that night, Game 3, was the night when Winnipeg announced it was back as a hockey town. It's too bad the Jets couldn't do their part too.

I'll make it easy: Who takes this series, Red Wings or Lightning, and why? -- @purdstheword22

I still think the Lightning are going to take the series. They have been the better team, except the better team just couldn't score in Games 1 and 3. It might take seven games, but I can't see Mrazek or the Red Wings able to withstand the pressure that the Lightning can bring too much longer. That said, I've been impressed with the Red Wings' resolve and their ability to withstand some of Tampa Bay's surges. I expect the Lightning will have a better surge in Game 4 than they did in Game 3 and that will be good to even the series. If they do that they'll grab home-ice advantage back and win in seven games, which is more than I thought it would take them.

What kind of market would the Bruins have for Milan Lucic if they make him available? -- @rayguarino

Great question, and I'm not quite sure of the answer. I want to say that the Bruins would have a sizable market for a Lucic trade. I want to say that several teams would be interested, because they should be. Lucic is a rare player because he's a special type of power forward when he's engaged in the game on both ends of the rink and not just worried about throwing his body around. When he settles in and plays a two-way game he can be one of the most effective forwards in the League. He needs a playmaking center, which he had in David Krejci. Lucic has been at his best when he skates with Krejci.

It'll be interesting to see if the new Bruins' general manager, whoever that is, has interest in trading Lucic. Certainly the Bruins need more skill in their lineup so they can look to get it at the expense of Lucic's toughness. But let's not forget that he's got some skill too, and when he's engaged in the game on both ends of the rink he has been very good for Boston.

What was your Stanley Cup final pick before the playoffs started? -- @madisonmills28

Chicago Blackhawks over the New York Rangers. Sticking to it.


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