By: Andrew Utz ~Staff Writer~
The NHL has been heating up the ice recently with recordbreakers and crazy deals across the league.
First off, the Chicago Blackhawks have turned a mediocre season into one that many consider to be another potential Stanley Cup-winning season. They currently lead the Central division by 5 points.
Forward Patrick Kane broke NHL records by registering points across 26 games, elevating the Hawks to 15 wins during the streak. He set a new record for both American and Blackhawk players, and it is the longest point streak by an active NHL player. The overall record is held by Wayne Gretzky, who notched points across 51 consecutive games. There are 10 players who have made it through 28 games, the closest to Gretzky.
The Florida Panthers currently head the Atlantic Conference under the consistent play of veterans Jaromir Jagr and Roberto Luongo. The team has gone 17-1-1 over its last 19 games, receiving their first regulation loss Monday night against the Red Wings.
In an unprecedented move, nine players were exchanged Tuesday between the Ottawa Senators and the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Senators exchanged defenseman Jared Cowen, forwards Colin Greening, Milan Michalek and Tobias Lindberg, as well as a second-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft for the Leaf ’s defenseman and captain Dion Phaneuf, forwards Matt Frattin, Casey Bailey and Ryan Rupert and defense prospect Cody Donaghey.
After the trade was complete, many analysts took to social media showing off the coup the Leafs pulled off. The 30-yearold Phaneuf had recently signed a contract through 2021 with Toronto, and while he posted many good games with the Leafs, his overall value will probably depreciate at this point. This will make it harder for the Senators to let the player go if they run into the salary cap or find it hard to utilize a past-prime player.
The other three players now signed with the Senators have been playing in the AHL this season. The Senators lost three firstteam players in Cowen, Greening and Michalek.
In the rest of the league, the Washington Capitals are walking away with the Metropolitan Division. The Caps are 15 points clear of the second-place New York Rangers. In addition, Washington is the only remaining team in the league with single-digit losses. The stifling defense also holds the league’s highest goal differential of plus 54.
If such trends continue until the playoffs, the final run for the Stanley cup should prove interesting for every fan.