Crosby is arguably still the best player in the league, I won't judge him on this year with all the turmoil in Pittsburgh but Kane was unreal this year. It looks like Mcdavid will be the best player soon
Arguably? I don't think it's arguable. He finished top 5 in scoring again despite having a terrible start to the year. Kane is just now joining the party. Crosby has been in the Hart trophy and Art Ross discussion for years. Doing it year after year is what makes someone the best.
Our penalty kill has been way too passive in recent years, using a smaller box, trying to take away passing and shooting lanes. In Boston, Houda's penalty kill has had a very aggressive setup, using a bigger box, pressuring the puck carrier. I think this is a much better setup, which is well represented by their higher ranked penalty kill every season over the past 5+ years.
Boston are always toward the top of the league in short-handed goals for, while we're always toward the bottom. Using an aggressive setup with speed and skill will create opportunities short handed. Houda's PK TOI leaders were Bergeron, Marchand, Eriksson and Krejci, aka skill and speed. I'd love to see our penalty kill with Glendening and Larkin on one unit, and Helm (Sheahan if Helm walks) and Athanasiou on the other unit. Speed kills.
Boston has also had better defensive numbers over the past 5+ seasons under Houda, with the exception of this past season where both were bad.
Of course personnel is a huge factor in all of this, so if Holland can bring in a top pair defenseman, I think Houda has the ability to turn the defense and penalty kill around in a big way...
I hate it when we collapse on the PK. Especially when we refuse to block shots. We give up too many clean point shots. I'd like to see a more aggressive style of penalty killing. If you're playing the 1984 Oilers, maybe that's not a good idea, but for most opponents, I'd be more aggressive.