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Rosen's mailbag - Jan. 28, 2015

by Dan Rosen /

Here is the Jan. 28 edition of Rosen's weekly mailbag, which will run every Wednesday during the season. If you have a question, tweet it to @drosennhl and use #OvertheBoards.

Let's get to it:

Where do you see the Los Angeles Kings finishing and can they make a Stanley Cup run? -- @_ewok

I'm starting to worry about the Kings. I really am. I'm not saying they don't have a run in them because all indications are that they do, particularly with their fancy stats domination. They are one of the best puck possession teams by the proxies we have available in Corsi and Fenwick. That typically means betting on long-term success is a good idea despite short-term failures. But time is ticking and the Kings haven't been able to turn their strong fancy stats into points in the standings, at least not enough points in the standings. It's very possible that the amount of hockey they have played since the 2011-12 season (322 games) is finally catching up with the Kings.

The Calgary Flames are the team that won't go away. I still think the San Jose Sharks and Winnipeg Jets have some fragility, but they too have cushions on the Kings.

All that said, I still think the Kings have a run in them that will get them in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The problems they have been having have been in goal, where Jonathan Quick has a .868 save percentage in his past 10 appearances. Quick will turn things around and the Kings will start scoring more, particularly now that Tyler Toffoli is expected back in the lineup.

If the Kings get in they can obviously go on a run. They won the Stanley Cup as the eighth seed in 2012. They were third in the division last season and went on to win the Stanley Cup.

What is Dale Tallon's next move? -- @ChiefCub

Great question, because the Florida Panthers are still in the race in the Eastern Conference and it should be incumbent on Tallon, their general manager, to help this team by acquiring a player or two to help it along. There should be no waiting here either. The Panthers are seven points back in the Eastern Conference wild-card race. They are teetering. They need Tallon to step in now with a lineup upgrade.

The Panthers need more offense, particularly on the power play, but they can accomplish it by actually acquiring defensive-oriented players. Here's what I mean:

Keith Yandle and/or Antoine Vermette from the Arizona Coyotes could be upgrades in many areas for Florida. Yandle could help the Panthers offense at even strength by leading the rush and being that fourth man in, joining the likes of Aaron Ekblad and Brian Campbell in that role. He could be a quarterback on the power play. Vermette could provide some scoring, but more importantly he would take pressure off center Nick Bjugstad, which could put Bjugstad in more offensive situations.

Ryan O'Reilly from the Colorado Avalanche would also be a major upgrade in all areas for the Panthers. If Tallon is up for trying to make a bigger splash, what about going for Phil Kessel from the Toronto Maple Leafs. I'm just thinking out loud on that one, but it's not impossible, especially if Toronto president Brendan Shanahan is willing to make significant changes to a roster that is obviously flawed.

Do you think the Chicago Blackhawks would be interested in Yandle? -- @MSchael7

Keith Yandle
Keith Yandle
Defense - ARI
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 26 | PTS: 30
SOG: 145 | +/-: -22
Yes, they would be. Then again, who wouldn't be? Yandle is excellent. He energizes the offense by moving the puck and joining the rush. He's an upgrade on any team because he's that good. He's quite underrated in fact because he has played in Arizona for so long and the Coyotes haven't been in the playoffs all that often. More people would know how good he is if the Coyotes were in the playoffs more.

But alas, there is a problem, and it's the old nemesis to all teams like the Blackhawks: the salary cap. Yandle is signed through next season with a salary-cap charge of $5.25 million, which is about the number I think the Blackhawks will have to shed before next season in order to get Brandon Saad signed and still be cap compliant with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane taking up $21 million on the cap instead of their current $12.6 million. I'm speculating here, but I can see a scenario where either Patrick Sharp ($5.9 million salary-cap charge) or Brent Seabrook ($5.8 million) might have to be traded in order to make room under the cap for Toews, Kane and Saad. I can't see how the Blackhawks can add Yandle knowing the cap situation for next season.

With Kyle Okposo on injured reserve, do the New York Islanders need to make a move before the deadline? If so, who is available? -- @HirschbeinKnows

Need is a strong word when it comes to the Islanders because I don't think they absolutely need anything, even with Okposo hurt. They're in a good position, with a good team, a deep team. But before Okposo was hurt I kept thinking how much the Islanders would benefit by acquiring a top-six left wing to play with John Tavares and Okposo. I'm thinking more of the playoffs now with the Islanders because I don't think there is any question about them getting there at this point. They are a playoff team. So even with Okposo out until mid-to-late March (the timeline was 6-8 weeks) I still think the Islanders should try to acquire a left wing with the idea that he could play with Tavares and Okposo, when he gets back. It doesn't have to be someone with an expiring contract because the Islanders have the cap space going forward, which means they have the ability to set up one of the best lines in hockey for quite a while with Tavares, Okposo and a top-line left wing.

Taylor Hall anyone?

Let's not forget about the Islanders' bevy of young prospects, including Griffin Reinhart and Ryan Pulock. If the Oilers are considering trading Hall, and I'm not sold on that, the Islanders should be able to put together a package that would entice them.

Where is Jaromir Jagr most likely to end up, if traded? Can he be a difference maker for a contender? -- @r0bertwaters

Jaromir Jagr
Jaromir Jagr
Right Wing - NJD
GOALS: 9 | ASST: 16 | PTS: 25
SOG: 99 | +/-: -10
Ironically, a great landing spot for Jagr could be the Boston Bruins. They need help at right wing, particularly on a line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic. Jagr has rediscovered his game in New Jersey and I think he'd be a more effective player for the Bruins this time around after struggling to score with them during the 2013 playoffs. It wouldn't be a fast line, obviously, but with Krejci, Lucic and Jagr, good luck getting the puck back.

The Pittsburgh Penguins might have been a good spot before they acquired David Perron. Now with Perron and Patric Hornqvist on the right wing in their top-six group of forwards there doesn't appear to be a need for Jagr. The Penguins need a left wing.

I could see Jagr with the Montreal Canadiens on a line with Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty, or with Jiri Sekac and Lars Eller. The problem is it would be a line of lefties.

Is Tavares a possible contender for the Hart Trophy? -- @IanBirny

I see Tavares in the mix with a lot of players, including, among others, Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins, Rick Nash of the New York Rangers, Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks, Kane of the Blackhawks, Carey Price of the Canadiens and Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators, even though he's hurt now. We also can't forget about Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin, Philadelphia Flyers right wing Jakub Voracek, Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos and a host of others.

This race is wide open. Tavares could steal it with a strong finish, although he'll play the next 6-8 weeks without Okposo on his right wing. He is certainly having a strong season.

Malkin was my choice back on Jan. 11, but that was before he got hurt. He is still my choice now, but that could change depending on how long he's out. I certainly wouldn't be surprised if Crosby closed strong and won the Hart Trophy again.

However, the race is so wide open that it could be the year a goalie takes it.


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