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Rosen's mailbag - Dec. 9, 2015

by Dan Rosen

Here is the Dec. 9 edition of Dan Rosen's weekly mailbag, which will run every Wednesday in the Over the Boards blog during the 2015-16 NHL season. If you have a question, tweet it to @drosennhl and use #OvertheBoards.

Let's get to it:

What's the consensus opinion of 3-on-3 OT and keeping the shootout from the GMs, hockey analysts, fans? -- @kjk11231

The consensus from the GMs is 3-on-3 is working exactly how it was intended to work. More games that extend beyond regulation are ending in overtime than ever before. That's a direct result of 3-on-3 and the open game it promotes. From what I can gather, hockey analysts are mostly in favor of 3-on-3, with exceptions coming from some circles because some don't believe it's a legitimate form of hockey. There is a purist mentality that comes with that opinion. I respect it, but I wholeheartedly disagree with it. I am a big fan of 3-on-3 because of the excitement and chaos it creates. As for fans, I think they're in line with the analysts in that they're mostly in favor, but there are groups that hate it and want it to go away. It's not going anywhere.

Can Rick Nash catch fire to net at least 30 goals this season? Can Chris Kreider break out of his season's chains? -- @RangersRags

Nash has been more productive of late for the New York Rangers. He scored six goals in a span of four games from Nov. 21-27. Then again, considering the bar he set for himself in the first quarter of the season, any type of production, even empty-net goals, would have been an improvement. But he also hasn't scored in five consecutive games, which is problematic and would suggest that getting to 30 goals this season could be difficult. Nash is currently on pace for 24 goals. He's always been a streaky scorer so he'll go on another hot streak or two this season. Streakiness also suggests he'll get cold. Put it all together, and I don't think he gets to 30 goals this season.

I thought for sure Kreider would be pushing the 30-goal plateau this season. I wasn't alone either. Rangers coach Alain Vigneault thought he would do it too. He said exactly that before the season. It's shocking to me that Kreider has only four goals in 28 games. To be honest, I'm not sure he can break out of it. Kreider has a tendency to overthink about his game and that's never good. He's a power forward and a great skater. He needs to move and get to the net. Stop thinking, just play. He thinks too much and it hurts him.

Will the Washington Capitals have two representatives at the All-Star Game? It's only happened once in the past 12 years. Ovechkin and Holtby? Backstrom? Carlson? -- @CapRat82

Yes. Alex Ovechkin and Braden Holtby. I can't see it happening any other way. They won't have four, even though they probably could have five with Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Barry Trotz could also be the coach for the Metropolitan Division team. The Capitals have to be in first place after games played Jan. 9.

What could you see being fair market value for Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard? Where does he go? What comes back? -- @purdstheword22

So you're assuming Howard is going to get traded. I'm not so sure on that, at least not during the season. Why would the Red Wings trade Howard during the season and risk being an injury to Petr Mrazek away from having to dive into the American Hockey League for a goalie? It wouldn't make any sense. Maybe eventually it happens, if the Red Wings become firm believers that Mrazek can handle the No. 1 load and the roughly 60 starts that come with it. He's never done that in the NHL, so there's no rush by the Red Wings to trade Howard.

As for a potential return on Howard, it all depends on how badly the team that acquires him needs him. There aren't many teams in the NHL that need a No. 1 goalie. Thinking ahead to after the season, I can see the Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes and maybe the Toronto Maple Leafs on that list. Toronto is obviously interesting because Howard played for Mike Babcock in Detroit and they have to decide if James Reimer and/or Jonathan Bernier are No. 1 material. Carolina has to see if Eddie Lack is their guy for the future too. The Red Wings would want a No. 1 draft pick, but what they want and what they could get might not be in line.

What do you think the Tampa Bay Lightning need to do to climb up the standings? Should they consider making moves? -- @tblightning491

Score goals, and yes.

Obviously the Lightning need to score more. It's insane to me that they were 25th in the NHL at 2.32 goals per game entering Tuesday. Their players are better than this. Yes they've had a lot of injuries, but it's time for them to figure this out. It's time for coach Jon Cooper to figure this out. Cooper is in a new position in that he's facing adversity with a team. Everywhere he's gone, Cooper has built a winner and moved on to the next job, the next promotion. There is no next promotion. He's in the NHL. His team is better than this. He needs to coach them up and get them back in it.

As for trades, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman isn't afraid to pull the trigger. He has made all the right moves so far, so don't be shocked if he does it again. But no, to me that does not mean trading Steven Stamkos unless the Lightning are out of it and it's 100 percent clear that he's not going to re-sign. Then, and only then, do you even consider trading Stamkos. But if it came to that, it would be for the future, which would be a massive disappointment for the defending Eastern Conference champions.

They need to score more goals. Period.

What do you make of the current goaltending situation in Anaheim? Is GM Bob Murray looking to deal (Frederik) Andersen? -- @pappy511

Again, with goaltenders, it's great to have a surplus of good ones, but trading them is hard and deciding on who is the right guy to trade is even harder. I don't envy Murray because this is a tough spot for him. The Anaheim Ducks obviously need a jolt and some scoring depth to take some of the pressure off of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler. But how do you pick from the three goalies? John Gibson could bring in the biggest return because he's young and under contract, but Murray would be nuts to trade him. He knows that. Andersen could bring in a decent return, but he's a restricted free agent at the end of the season. Would it be worth trading him and sapping the depth you have at that position for what might be a quick fix somewhere else, but might not be. Anton Khudobin's value is much lower than the other two. This is a tough spot for Murray. I'm not sure what he does.

Would you rate Roman Josi to be one of the elite defenders in the NHL by now? Top 3-5? -- @MeierGilles

I think you have to at this point. Maybe not top three, but I'd put the Nashville Predators defenseman in my top five overall with Duncan Keith, Drew Doughty, Victor Hedman and Ryan Suter. Shea Weber, P.K. Subban and Erik Karlsson are very close. I know Karlsson and Subban are knocked for their defensive awareness, but they're electrifying offensive players and the whole object of playing defense is to get the puck back so you can play offense. But Josi is all-around excellent. He can do just about everything and that's why he's in that category with Keith, Doughty, Hedman and Suter.


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