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A Collection of NHL Thoughts through the first weekend in May

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In which I rant about the various goings on in the league right now- from the playoffs to the draft to expansion (hint- I’m not happy with expansion)

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Treat this as an open thread going forward. I just wanted to ramble about some thoughts I’ve had.

THE NHL SUSPENSION PROCEDURE NEEDS TO BE REVISED- BADLY

It is absolutely ridiculous that the NHL seemingly bases its punishments for dirty hits on the outcome rather than the intent of the play. Kris Letang hit Marcus Johansson with a headshot long after the puck was released. He got suspended for one game. That’s asinine, and I’m not afraid to call the NHL out on it. The seemingly random "Wheel of Punishment" style of deciding what happens to players needs revamped if the NHL is actually serious about player safety (which, honestly, it’s not clear that they are).

Letang hit Johansson late, and hit him in the head. If the NHL wants to emphasize player safety, it should have given Letang more than one game.

Brooks Orpik of the Capitals (and formerly of the Penguins, who are somehow never a dirty team) was rightly suspended for 3 games for his ludicrous hit on Olli Maata. Just because Johansson wasn’t ACTUALLY injured doesn’t mean the risk wasn’t still there. Be consistent, NHL Player Safety.

THE EXPANSION RULES REGARDING NO MOVEMENT CLAUSES ARE ABOUT TO HURT COLUMBUS

Yes, yes, it hasn’t happened yet, stop whining. I can hear it already. Don’t care. That the Blue Jackets have to spend 2 of their precious protections on Scott Hartnell and David Clarkson is very not good, and could mean the loss of an actual contributor to the future of the team. Nick Foligno and Brandon Dubinsky also must be protected, as does Fedor Tyutin (if he’s not bought out this summer, which may or may not happen).

Hopefully there’s some clarity as to what can happen going forward (rumors are rampant that only full NMCs will have to be protected, and some believe Clarkson only has a partial). Either way, more news will be coming on this front, so stay tuned.

THE BLUE JACKETS SCORED A MASSIVE WIN IN THE DRAFT LOTTERY

WE ACTUALLY WON SOMETHING. I know, I can’t believe it either. Sure, the team didn’t win the Auston Matthews sweepstakes, but by picking 3rd overall, the Blue Jackets are absolutely getting a difference maker going forward. If it Jesse Puljujarvi, the team will be adding a playmaking forward with a nose for goal.

Make no mistake- this is a massive moment for the franchise. I, for one, am absolutely thrilled that this entire mess of a season wasn’t for naught.

WHERE DID I GO WRONG WITH MY LIFE

The Coyotes just hired John Chayka to be their new general manager. You can be forgiven for not knowing who he is- Chayka is only 26 years old. As a recently-turned-26-year-old, I don’t know how to take this. Chayka has an analytics background and promises to bring a "Moneyball" (moneypuck? I don’t know) style of management to the league. Whether this will be a long term trend remains to be seen, but this is the first step going forward of the NHL moving towards an analytics-based style of team-building.

Also, fun fact- Chayka is 13 years younger than Coyotes captain Shane Doan.

GO MONSTERS

It makes me so very happy that the kids are performing well. Also, I love their tradition of crossing off the number of wins left to win the championship on the boards following the game. The Blue Jackets, should they make it back to the playoffs, should adopt that.

PLAYOFF HOCKEY REMAINS THE BEST

Seriously, is there anything in the world more entertaining? The Blues and the Predators have been a part of two wonderful series thus far. The Capitals will need a miracle to keep their season alive. So many storylines. So much to watch going forward.