With a network as vast as ours here at SB Nation, we figured we'd put our fine hockey bloggers to good use. You've got questions every week. We know. And we're here to help.
Each Monday at noon ET we'll take your questions on Twitter at @SBNationNHL. Our NHL Blog Council (made up of different bloggers from around the SBN hockey network) will meet and consider your queries. And on Wednesday we will render our verdicts to the masses.
Without further ado...
Blog Council: COMMENCE
@SBNationNHL Who ends up finishing last in the league? And who will screw them over and get to draft Auston Matthews instead?
— Brendan Porter (@brendanporter) December 15, 2015
Ari Yanover, Matchsticks & Gasoline: Probably Toronto by design, since they went into the season expecting to be pretty awful, and still have a number of UFAs they'll probably jettison at the trade deadline - at least more than other bottom barrelers like Columbus and Anaheim. Especially if, at this rate, James Reimer is one of the guys they decide to trade away. Edmonton will steal Auston Matthews, as is tradition.
Dan Saraceni, Lighthouse Hockey: I still think last place will come out of the East, with only the Coyotes probably having a shot. I'm going to keep it simple and say the Leafs finish dead last and the Coyotes 29th, but the Blue Jackets win the lottery. Seems like the Most Leafs and Most Coyotes thing that could happen. Then the Matthews-led Blue Jackets will be a chic pick to win the Eastern Conference, only to miss the playoffs.
Andy Boron, Die By The Blade: Toronto looks like a good bet to finish last - Anaheim and Calgary have too much talent to fall behind them and Columbus has four games in hand already, plus it fits with the Leafs' long-term plan to tank and build through the draft. As for who wins the lottery, it would be some kind of poetic justice to see the Buffalo Sabres draft No. 1 overall in a year where they were actually trying to win for the first time this decade. And besides, after getting screwed themselves out of the last two No. 1 picks despite finishing 30th in consecutive years, Bettman owes Buffalo this one.
Scott Wheeler, Pension Plan Puppets: The Leafs are really well coached and are going to lose key pieces at the deadline but I still think the Calgary Flames are the worst team in the NHL. Columbus and Anaheim won’t stay this bad forever. If the Oilers miss the playoffs – which I expect they will – then they’ll win the lottery away from Calgary and the Battle of Alberta will rage on. Don’t bet against the Oilers on draft lottery night.
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@SBNationNHL The Oilers are in a playoff spot and the Coyotes have a ridiculously high shooting percentage. Will either last?
— GhostofChristmasPat (@Pat_Iversen) December 16, 2015
Ari Yanover, Matchsticks & Gasoline: Well, the Oilers are already out of a playoff spot at my time of answering this, and they have more games played than anyone else in their division, so I'm going to go with a no on that front. The only reason they even have a chance at all is because their division is putrid, and they still needed a six-game winning streak to get back into the conversation. I wouldn't bet on any team to maintain long winning streaks throughout the season, and they aren't particularly exceptional, so it's probably another year of hockey over in early April for them.
As for the Coyotes, I was about to say no, but I did watch the Flames pull ridiculous shooting percentages for an entire season last year, so I'm going to go ahead and say it's possible. Mikkel Boedker is getting a lot of pucks on net and his shooting percentage isn't ridiculous, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson's could even stand to improve. Max Domi might just be a naturally high-shooting player. Really the only major worry is Anthony Duclair, who's almost certain to drop off, but even if his numbers fall, it doesn't mean the entire team's will across the board.
Dan Saraceni, Lighthouse Hockey: Again, who knows how the West will shake out this year? The Oilers could conceivably be there when the dust settles, like an already drunk person at a party no one remembers inviting. The Coyotes are a team led by two dynamic rookie scorers, who often suffer through some kind of dispiriting, "What's wrong with these guys?" slump at least once. Now with Mike Smith hurt, even he won't be able to score a couple of goals for them.
Andy Boron, Die By The Blade: No and no. Then the Oilers will somehow win the lottery again.
Scott Wheeler, Pension Plan Puppets: I think the Oilers have a better chance of sustaining success, especially with McDavid coming back eventually. Arizona is playing extremely unsustainable hockey with bad goaltending. They’ve got scary good prospect depth, but I doubt they make the playoffs this year. San Jose has been without Logan Couture all year and I think they’ll find their way into the playoffs.
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@SBNationNHL Could a horse win the Hart trophy?
— Winging It In Motown (@wingingitmotown) December 15, 2015
Ari Yanover, Matchsticks & Gasoline: Taylor Hall is a pretty good player. Of all the good pieces the Oilers have, he's one of their better ones. So if Edmonton ever got its act together, Hall could absolutely be in the running for a Hart Trophy one day.
Dan Saraceni, Lighthouse Hockey: Given the subjective nature of the voting, a horse could probably win the Hart Trophy. But it would be a pretty rare occurrence. In the 92-year history of the award, the only non-human animal to win it was Corey Perry.
Andy Boron, Die By The Blade: If John Scott can be an All-Star captain, then anything is possible.
Scott Wheeler, Pension Plan Puppets: Players I would have to be convinced are human before I was convinced they are horse: Vladimir Tarasenko, Taylor Hall, Evgeni Malkin. So yes, a horse could win the Hart.