Skip to main content

Rosen's mailbag - Oct. 29, 2014

by Dan Rosen

Here is the Oct. 29 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:

Do you think Dany Heatley will make an immediate impact with the Anaheim Ducks now that he is finally healthy? -- @TheKidBigKip

Not immediate, but he could make an impact. Heatley is being given a great opportunity in Anaheim to play with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. He has to skate and create some room, but Perry and Getzlaf are so big that they will create room for Heatley too. He couldn't ask for a better opportunity considering he wasn't all that hot of a commodity this past summer.

As soon as Heatley signed his one-year, $1 million contract several people in the media, myself included, thought he could become the biggest bargain signing of the 2014 offseason. But several people in the media, myself included, also said they wouldn't be surprised if he busted out in Anaheim. It's not as if Perry and Getzlaf are speed burners, but they're straight line players and they get up and down the ice well. Heatley has to keep up with them. If he does, he'll be fine.

Should the Minnesota Wild replace power play coach Andrew Brunette or is it too early for that measure? -- @PastLiebery

Too early. Way too early. Way way too early. Is that clear enough?

The Wild look lost on the power play and, as coach Mike Yeo said after that brutal loss Monday against the New York Rangers, this power-play problem has taken on a life of its own. It's definitely concerning at this point that the Wild are still 0-fer on the power play (0-for-26). The players can brush it off and say it will improve (they have). They can joke about it (that's deflection). But they know it's a problem that has to be fixed.

If the Wild had a better power play they actually could be 8-0-0 this season. Their three losses this season have all been by one goal and they are a combined 0-for-12 on the power play in those games.

But it's not time to even consider changing job responsibilities or, even more drastic, coaching personnel. It's still October and the Wild have time to figure this out. The best thing is it hasn't affected their 5-on-5 play. Save for one period against the Rangers, they have been excellent.

Are the Ottawa Senators devaluing high 2009 draft pick Jared Cowen as they continue to bench him, and what trade value does he now have? -- @Thornbury55

General managers are no doubt looking to catch Senators general manager Bryan Murray at a point of weakness when it comes to Cowen, but Murray has to -- and it appears he is -- stand his ground and not accept a below-market trade offer for Cowen. The worst thing he could do is trade a 6-foot-5, 235-pound, 23-year-old defenseman who counts for a reasonable $3.1 million against the salary cap for the next four seasons. Those guys don't come around too often. When you get one, you hold on to him, especially when you know nobody is going to give you a big-time player or prospect right now.

Cowen played 18 minutes Monday, faring reasonably well. The Senators won 5-2 against the Columbus Blue Jackets and had to go with five defensemen for the final 31:56 after Eric Gryba was ejected with a match penalty for his hit on Artem Anisimov. A match penalty comes with an automatic suspension pending review. It stands to reason Cowen will stay in the lineup. This is his opportunity. He has to run with it.

Will the New York Islanders continue to shock the League and keep winning? What is the reason for their success? -- @Chrish1114

I'll let everyone know that you asked this question before the Islanders lost 4-3 to the Winnipeg Jets at Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday. Not even getting a point against the Jets on home ice is concerning, but it's just one game so we'll leave it alone. But it is the third time in the past four games that the Islanders have allowed four or more goals. That is somewhat concerning.

I think the Islanders will have sustained success this season, but I'm not sure it's so much of a shock. Remember, they addressed their weaknesses by acquiring goalies Jaroslav Halak and Chad Johnson, forwards Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin, and defensemen Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy. They are a deeper team that should be backed by quality goaltending. Boychuk is proving he can be a No. 1 defenseman. Leddy looks like his years playing behind Duncan Keith and Johnny Oduya in Chicago have made him a better player.

The Islanders win with speed and an aggressive attack. They can score. They are deeper than people give them credit for. They should get quality goaltending on a nightly basis. They are a good team.

Do you think that Tuukka Rask's numbers will improve or will he struggle? -- @Oskbjorn94

Rask's numbers were improving until the Wild put in three against him in the third period Tuesday. He had allowed two goals in his previous six periods. But there's only so much a goalie can do and take. The Wild scored those goals because the Bruins were standing around as if their skates were frozen into the ice. There's not much Rask can do when he's getting no help, when his teammates can't clear the puck out of the zone, are losing battles all over the place, and not covering the front of the net. That's not on Rask.

But it won't get any easier without Zdeno Chara in the lineup. Rask is Boston's security blanket, but Chara's presence helps him to be that. Without Chara, and of course Boychuk, the Bruins clearly aren't as deep or as strong on defense. Yes, I know that's obvious. You can't take away players like that and replace them with guys from the American Hockey League and expect to be as good.

I do think Rask's numbers will improve. He won't finish the season with a 2.81 goals-against average and .899 save percentage, but he's going to need some help. Will it come, is the question?

What should the Detroit Red Wings do with Stephen Weiss? -- @zschneido

The Red Wings assigned Weiss to the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL for a conditioning assignment Tuesday. Weiss is expected to play two games with the Griffins before rejoining the Red Wings in time for the game Sunday against the Buffalo Sabres.

Weiss is in a tough spot because he's coming off a major injury (sports hernia) and he's trying to get back up to speed, but cracking Detroit's lineup is tough. Detroit is deep enough at center that Darren Helm is playing on the wing. If Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk are both playing in the middle, Weiss isn't going to crack the top-six forward group. Riley Sheahan and Luke Glendenning are not moving either.

The Red Wings can't really do much with Weiss now except hang on to him and stay patient. He carries a $4.9 million salary-cap charge through 2017-18, so finding a trading partner for him at this juncture doesn't seem realistic.

Which coach is already on the hot seat? -- @CVancheri

The Arizona Coyotes are a defensive mess, Mike Smith is a struggling goaltender, and the team hasn't made the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2012. That puts Dave Tippett on the hot seat. I believe Tippett is one of the top coaches in the game and wouldn't have a problem finding a job, but every coach has a shelf life. I'm starting to wonder if Tippett has reached his in Arizona.

Like Tippett, Peter DeBoer hasn't gotten the New Jersey Devils into the playoffs since 2012, when they went to the Stanley Cup Final. He's another quality coach who would find a job quickly, but the Devils need to establish some consistency soon because you know general manager Lou Lamoriello will eventually run out of patience.

Randy Carlyle is trying to get the Toronto Maple Leafs to adapt to playing a new way, but it hasn't translated on the ice. He's been on the hot seat ever since Brendan Shanahan was hired as the president of hockey operations in April.

Have the Chicago Blackhawks solved their second-line center issues with Andrew Shaw? -- @Blackhawks_10

I don't think so, and that's not a knock on Shaw, who is a quality player with a lot of intangibles. But Shaw would be better as a third-line center, in my opinion. I think that's where he best fits, where his skillset as a gritty, grinding centerman make him most effective. He's fine playing between Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad, but put him between Bryan Bickell and either Kris Versteeg or Ben Smith on the third line and see how many opposing forwards would be eager to jump over the boards to play against them. The answer: Not many.


View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.