Offense - and what I keep saying
Every year since the lockout I've been saying this, but with less enthusiasm year after year...
But there's a boiling point here. There's a line where coaching can't stifle offense anymore. Perhaps it's just hope. But I still think that line exists.
We've been foiled the last two+ years. But injuries and circumstance from NHL's goals per game from surging.
Injuries - Malkin, Crosby, Goligoski, Green, Letang
I know Goligoski's name doesn't belong there, but I had a lot of faith in defensemen leading the offensive charge. After seeing what Green did with Washington, and then what Yandle did with Phoenix...Goligoski was key. If he was healthy - never hurt - and had 52 points right now, how would that impact league attitude? Each year it's one defenseman. This year it's Erik Karlsson!
Circumstance - Radulov in KHL, Washington changes system
Odds are this will never happen, but here is fantasy hockey's version of "the stars aligning":
1. Healthy Malkin, Crosby, Ovechkin, Giroux, Stamkos, Tavares, Sedins, Backstrom
2. Healthy Green, Karlsson, Goligoski, Yandle, Ekman-Larsson, Doughty
3. Radulov re-signs with Nashville.
What this would do:
1. Give us 7-10 players with 100+ points
2. Give us two players with 130 points
3. Two defensemen with 75+ points, another four with 60+
The best coaching in the world isn't stopping the Penguins right now. Imagine that over a full season?
With defensemen racking up the points, the copycat coaches will want their own puck-movers to match.
This would be enough to turn the game on its ear.
Problem is...the stars probably won't align like this. But one can dream.