Checking In with Adam Proteau of The Hockey News

Photo: The Hockey News Adam Proteau

Before the 2024 NHL All-Star break, I asked the great Adam Proteau of The Hockey News a few questions.

Adam was kind enough to give his thoughts on surprising teams, disappointing teams, what will happen at the NHL trade deadline, and how it is going with one of the greatest things at The Hockey Newsthe archives. Check out the questions and answers below!

Related Post: An Open Letter to Rangers General Manager Chris Drury: Part I – Stay The Course

PH: Going into the All-Star break, which teams have surprised you in a good way? How about in a bad way?
AP: Certainly, the Philadelphia Flyers have looked very good for quite some time. They have regressed a bit heading into the break, but I think they are still playing with house money and that they are being prepared well by John Tortorella.

As far as being I am surprised in a bad way, I would have to say the New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres stand out for me. Those are two teams — especially the Devils — that many people had high hopes for this season, but they have not looked good.

New Jersey’s goaltending is an issue and I think Tom Fitzgerald is going to address that by the trade deadline. They need an experienced hand in the net.

Buffalo needs internal improvement more than anything. They have got a lot of talent there, but it has not translated into wins, and perhaps Don Granato needs to be replaced.

PH: Going into the All-Star break, which teams have disappointed you? Why?
AP: I am going to take a different angle for this question. I think the Nashville Predators stand out as disappointing, but not in the sense they are an all-around bad team.

Rather, I think Barry Trotz needed to tear down the roster and drastically rebuild the team, but he did not do that, and now the Preds are the poster-boy team for the Mushy Middle — just bad enough to miss the playoffs, but just good enough to not land a top spot in the draft this summer. It is mediocrity personified, and they’re just not an elite group by any metric.

The Minnesota Wild are another Mushy Middle team, but I did not like them to do much damage anyway. They were overrated to me, and I think their struggles have justified that opinion. Bill Guerin has a lot of tough questions to address, so we will see how he handles the Wild the rest of the way this year.

PH: With the trade deadline quickly approaching, which teams do you expect to be active? Why these particular teams?
AP: I said it in my recent predictions for THN.com, but I think the Calgary Flames will be the biggest seller at the trade deadline. They have already started selling off their veterans, and I think Noah Hanifin and Christopher Tanev are going to be moved for sure.

Then, this summer, I am betting Mikael Backlund, Jacob Markstrom, Nazem Kadri, and other veterans will be moved out. They are another team that’s somehow less than the sum of their parts, and I get the sense Flames fans are fed up with always being a slightly better than average team that never lands generational players, so I do feel like Craig Conroy has license to make massive moves and suffer in the short term as they focus on two or three years from now.

Better to suffer the pain now, and get elite players through the draft, than always finishing 10th or 12th in the Western Conference and having little to show for it. Fire sale time! 

Related Post: An Open Letter to Rangers General Manager Cris Drury: Part II – Make a Move Or Two

PH: How is everything going with the archive that you are running? I assume that it has received a ton of positive feedback considering how great and awesome it is.
AP: The archive has been amazing. Every day, I find something that I either did not know, had not remembered, or remembered very well because I worked on it in my first stint at THN.

I think hard-core fans, students of the game, and academics, in particular, will love to have the archive experience, but even casual fans have things in there that will make for a great, immersive content content-consuming experience. I cannot recommend it highly enough, and I’d say that whether or not I was the curator.

W. Graeme Roustan deserves a lot of credit for funding the digitization of THN’s back issues, and the hockey world is richer for having access to so much amazing information.

PH: Is there anything else that you would like to share with us hockey fans?
AP: Not especially! Haha.

I am always grateful for readers and passionate hockey people, and I just hope they find something of value in my work. I am not for everybody, though, and that is OK with me.

When you are an opinion writer, you have to be prepared for people to not react, especially receptive to all your views, and so I am fine with respectful disagreements. Some people go a little bit nuts sometimes, though, but you never know what’s going on with people who lash out.

At this stage in my existence, I have got a thick skin, and I can deal with angry people healthily, at least, for me. But thank you for always being a kind soul to me. I do not take that for granted, and I appreciate the interest in what I do.

Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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