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Old 04-05-2017, 03:15 PM   #21
dannibalcorpse
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With mere weeks to go in the season, GMs across the league were working the phones to try and find that final piece to put their team over the top come playoff time. The final trade calls are in, and we saw some big deals go down.

The Dalls Stars, 3rd in the Western Conference, moved to bolster their back end by pushing underachieving 25 year old RW Brett Ritchie (65 GP, 7-13-20) to the Red Wings in exchange for D Jonathan Ericsson, who’s put up 13 goals and 16 assists in 65 games so far this year. Columbus and Philly swapped D-men in an effort to shake up the team - Radko Gudas (66 GP, 4-11-15) flies west to Columbus, while David Savard (33 GP, 5-6-11) heads to the City of Brotherly Love. Columbus made another big move, sending D Igor Golovkov (18 GP, 2-3-5) to the Lightning in exchange for 26 year old center Vladislav Namestinkov (60 GP, 6-10-16). Jarmo Kekkalainen is hoping a change of scenery will help spark Namestinkov’s offensive potential. The last big name to be seeing a change of address was Dion Phaneuf - the mercurial defender will find himself on the playoff bubble in New Jersey, as the Devils sent Erik Gudbranson and AHL goalie Matt Tomkins (second trade this year) back to Ottawa.

The Golden Knights made a few changes to the team in the weeks leading up to the deadline. In a move meant to thin the D-corps a bit, they sent AHL D Oliver Galipeau to the Ducks in exchange for a 4th and a 6th round pick. They also picked up RW Beau Bennett from the Devils in exchange for a defenseman who had been playing on their ECHL affiliate, Aaron Haydon. Bennett had put up a strong 27-32-59 line in 57 games with Albany, and will be playing on the main roster now that Vegas has picked him up. Another deal saw them move 25 year old RW Riley Barber (6 GP, 2-0-2 with Vegas) to the Bruins in exchange for 21 year old RW Jack Becker, who’d put up a monster 29-46-75 line in 49 ECHL games. Becker reported to the AHL team in Lowell shortly after the trade.

GM Dan Hampton also signed a few free agents to add depths on the wings - RW Joseph Williams had been playing in the CIS, and signed a 3 year entry level contract with a $660K AAV. Hampton also picked up RW JJ Piccinich, signing him to a 2 year, $1.85M two-way deal. Piccinich, a former first round pick, is still only 22 and had been playing with the Grand Rapid Griffins. Piccinich had 14 goals and 22 assists in 50 games with Grand Rapids.

Hampton stumbled into one of his two big moves, though - Nashville inexplicably waived goalie Mikko Koskinen, despite his sterling 33-10-4 record, his 2.36 goals-against-average, and .918 SV%. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, Hampton jumped on the claim and Koskinen is now a Golden Knight. His other big addition was acquired through less surprising means - Hampton traded 23 year old D Shea Theodore (8-24-32 in 36 AHL games), C Frederik Gauthier (scoreless in 16 NHL games), and the 4th round pick acquired earlier to the Edmonton Oilers for D Darnell Nurse (66 GP, 8-15-23). “We needed another guy who was a solid defensive presence,” Hampton relayed to reporters shortly after the trade was announced. “Darnell is a younger guy, a guy who can be here for years, and he’s a guy who’s as focused on keeping goals out of our net as he is in getting the puck past the other goalie.” Rumblings had been coming out of the front office that Hampton was disappointed with the play of D Jordan Subban (64 GP, 2-6-8) and Julius Honka (65 GP, 6-16-22) - two blue-liners who were expected to bring strong offensive games to the team while sacrificing some defensive integrity. Instead, both players have had poor possession numbers and haven’t brought the scoring touch both showed in their rookie campaign last year.

All in all, “not as good as last year” has to be the running theme across the Golden Knights this year. Entering the trade deadline with a 19-36-10 record, they are all but eliminated from the playoffs with 17 games left on the schedule. The offense has shown some signs of life but still struggles on a regular basis - Ondrej Palat leads the team with 21 goals and 44 points, while linemate Tyler Johnson paces the team with 28 assists and has thrown in 40 points. One of the few recent bright spots has been the reactions of both Jakob Silfverberg and Josh Ho-Sang to their swapping of lines - Silfverberg now sports a 13-19-32 line on the year, and Ho-Sang has pulled himself up to a 5-13-18 line. Rookie Jordan Greenway has come back from missing 19 games to put up a strong 15-8-23 line in 48 games played, while Frank Vatrano has put up a strong 4-6-10 line in 28 games. Mikko Koskinen has struggled somewhat since coming over, running up a 1-5-2 line with a 3.75 GAA and .898 SV%. Craig Anderson has been pretty solid overall, despite what his 11-20-5 line would tell you. Anderson has brought his goals-against down to 3.02 and his save percentage up to .915.

With about four weeks left in the year, not much is left for the Golden Knights except to play out the string. Coach Hampton has said he will use this opportunity to check out some of the newer players he’s acquired in the past month, as well as hopefully bringing up some AHLers to see what potential they might offer. Even with the down year, Hampton has said he’s pleased with the way the franchise is progressing, and that he expected to hit some road bumps along the way. “You know, I don’t want to say last year was a fluke, but how many teams pull off what we did? I feel like the season we’re having now is more in line with what people expected out of us last year, and that’s fine. If we can keep developing the prospects we have, and make smart decisions come July 1st, I know we’ll be right where I want us to be in the very near future.”
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Old 04-06-2017, 03:12 PM   #22
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The regular season has wrapped up, and Vegas will be watching the playoffs from home this year. The team finished with a disappointing 25-46-11 record, seeing a large number of players regress from the franchise’s rookie year.

Leading the team in scoring this year was Ondrej Palat (24-27-51). Captain Tyler Johnson led the team in assists (16-32-48), and rookie Jordan Greenway managed to finish fourth on the team in scoring despite missing 17 games with injury (19-17-36). While many of the players managed to only see a slight regression in their stats, one of the biggest disappointments was Josh Ho-Sang. The 23 year old RW, expected by many to be a top-liner coming into the year, was demoted to the 2nd line and finished with 6 goals and 18 assists, despite playing in all 82 games. Craig Anderson also saw a big step back in his game, going 14-21-5 with a 3.00 GAA; his .916 SV% was mostly a product of the amount of shots he saw each night. Mikko Koskinen, acquired on waivers, managed a 4-14-3 record with a .910 SV% in his time in Vegas, showing that his early season success was aided quite liberally by the system in Nashville.

All is not doom and gloom, however; the Knights made a surprise pickup late in the year when the Canadiens tried to sneak defenseman Mikhail Sergachev through waivers. Sergachev is still only 20 years old and has 217 games of NHL experience already; the 6’3”, 234-pounder is looking to be a strong presence on the Vegas blue line for years to come. In his short cup of coffee with the Golden Knights, Sergachev managed to score 2 goals and add an assist in 6 games, and overall put up a solid 7-23-30 in 80 games this year, to go along with his solid defensive game. 21 year old winger Jack Becker, acquired in February for spare part Riley Barber, also opened eyes by scoring 10 goals and dishing out 8 assists in 16 games in the AHL - he looks to fit prominently in the team’s future plans with that good scoring touch.

The team also saw some of its first draft picks put up strong seasons. Akil Thomas, picked in the 6th round last year, put up a 36-50-86 line for Niagara in the OHL; not to be outdone, 3rd rounder Nando Eggenberger played on the same line and put up an insane 48-62-110 on the scoresheet. Brandon Brown, the second round pick last year, fought through injuries this year and was limited to 29 games, but still put up over a point a game as an 18 year old in the QMJHL; with up to two years of eligibility left, Brown will have plenty of time to show off what he can do before getting the call. With Eggenberger turning 20 in the fall, most expect him to be a part of training camp with the big squad before refining his game in the AHL.

Around the league, the Blackhawks once again wound up running away with the Presidents’ Trophy, sporting a 56-20-6 record and an impressive +99 goal differential. In fact, the league’s three best teams came out of the Central Division, with the 52-25-5 Predators and 49-24-9 Stars set to face off in the first round of this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. Filip Forsberg ran away with the scoring race this year - leading the league in goals, assists, and obviously points with a heady 45-64-109 line - he finished 18 points ahead of the second place finisher, Patrik Laine! Corey Crawford once again proved to be the top goalie in the league - his 51 wins, a 1.98 GAA, and 16 shutouts paced the league; he only missed out on topping all the major goalie categories by seeing Robin Lehner put up a .926 SV% for Buffalo.

The playoff matchups are set for the round of 16, with some surprising names throwing their hats in the ring this year:

EASTERN CONFERENCE
Ottawa Senators (41-32-9) v. Carolina Hurricanes (48-31-3)

Philadelphia Flyers (46-31-5) v. New York Rangers (49-27-6)

Washington Capitals (45-32-5) v. Buffalo Sabres (48-26-8)

Montreal Canadiens (42-35-5) v. Tampa Bay Lightning (43-31-8)

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Chicago Blackhawks (56-20-6) v. St. Louis Blues (43-32-7)

Dallas Stars (49-24-9) v. Nashville Predators (52-25-5)

Anaheim Ducks (42-33-7) v. Edmonton Oilers (45-31-6)

Arizona Coyotes (46-34-2) v. San Jose Sharks (45-32-5)
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Old 04-06-2017, 06:10 PM   #23
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The playoffs this year were a wild ride - upsets and new contenders emerging from each round up through the Stanley Cup Final itself! In the first round, we saw the lower seeded Senators sweep the Hurricanes, and the wild-card Washington Capitals start their quest for a second Stanley Cup by beating the Sabres in 5 games. Tampa beat Montreal in 5, and the Rangers dispatched the Flyers in 6 games. In the West, Chicago made easy work of St. Louis in a four game sweep, the Coyotes pull a surprising sweep of the Sharks, the Predators closing out the Stars in 5 games, and Edmonton needing the full 7 games to eliminate Anaheim.

The Conference Semifinals saw several big upsets - the Senators continued a strong run by beating out the Rangers in 7, while the Lightning pushed out the Capitals in 5. Over in the West, Arizona continued their hot streak by sweeping the Oilers, while Nashville pulled out a minor upset by beating the reigning champions Chicago in Game 7 at the United Center. Leading into the Conference Finals, everything was up in the air - no division winners had made it through to the final four! Nashville finally put a stop to the bulldozing Coyotes, closing them out in a 6 game series, while Tampa prevailed in 7 against the Senators.

The Stanley Cup Final was here - with the upstart Tampa Bay Lightning riding a strong team game into the matchup with Nashville, being led by Art Ross & Rocket Richard Trophy winner Filip Forsberg and the hot goaltending of Antti Raanta. The Final went the full 7, with Tampa lifting the Cup after a 6-3 win in the final game. Victor Hedman won the Conn Smythe Trophy, scoring 3 goals and 10 assists in 21 playoff games, and being an intimidating defensive presence leading the Lightning to their second Stanley Cup in team history!

In the midst of all this were the IIHF World Championships, inviting the best available players to the Ondrej Nepala Arena in Slovakia for international supremacy. The Golden Knights were proud to send 9 players to the Worlds: Mikko Koskinen and Julius Honka represented Finland, Dennis Seidenberg played for Germany, Ondrej Palat skated with the Czech Republic, Oliver Bjorkstrand went over with Denmark, and Adam Ruzicka played with the hometown Slovakian team. Lastly, there were three Knights on Team USA: Kevin Shattenkirk, Jordan Greenway, and Tyler Johnson. Sweden beat the Czech Republic in the championship game, while the US prevailed in the 3rd-place game. Palat had a splendid time in the Worlds, scoring 2 goals and 8 assists in 10 games played; Kevin Shattenkirk also excelled with a 2-7-9 line in 9 games played, and an impressive +12 in that short sample size.

With the playoffs now done, the league handed out its awards for the best of the best in the 2018-19 season. In addition to those already reported, there were some surprises: Erik Karlsson took home the Hart Trophy on the back of an impressive 21-54-75 line for the resurgent Senators. With Karlsson getting the Hart, it was a shock to many to learn that Aaron Ekblad had scored his first Norris Trophy win - Ekblad (9-43-52) was regarded as one of the best two-way defenders this year, but many felt it odd that Karlsson didn’t win both. The Calder went to 23 year old Artur Lauta, fresh from the KHL, for his impressive 32-26-58 line for the Stars. The Selke was one of the tightest votes of the year, with Jonathan Toews narrowly beating out Patrice Bergeron to win it this year. Corey Crawford, as pretty much expected, took home the Vezina and Jennings Trophies, with Robin Lehner getting the Saving Grace Award and keeping Crawford from sweeping the goalie awards. Lastly, GM John Tucker became the second rookie GM to take home GM Of The Year honors, stepping in for the retired David Poile and helping the Predators to within a game of their first Stanley Cup.

With all the trophies handed out, Tucker and his fellow GMs will turn their attention to the draft next week, and free agency after that. July 1st is just around the corner, with all the hoopla it brings, and it’s sure to be another crazy offseason in the NHL!

Last edited by dannibalcorpse; 04-06-2017 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 04-06-2017, 10:16 PM   #24
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The draft lottery this year brought a huge surprise - Calgary vaulted all the way up from #13 to the top pick, while Seattle & Vancouver each jumped up a spot. Boston wound up losing out the most, as they dropped from the #1 overall to 4th, while Vegas would’ve been the second picked and got bumped down to 5th. That being said, here’s how the top ten picks in the draft shook out:

1 (CGY) - D Bowen Byram, WHL
2 (SEA) - D Artemi Knyazev, VHL
3 (VAN) - C Chase Sakic, NCAA
4 (BOS) - D Case McCarthy, OHL
5 (VGK) - LW Peyton Krebs, WHL
6 (PIT) - C Kirby Dach, WHL
7 (CBJ) - RW Isac Anderson, SHL
8 (NJD) - C Harvey Fiske, USNTDP
9 (LAK) - RW John Farinacci, USNTDP
10(TOR)- C Travis Treloar, SHL

VEGAS DRAFT PICK ROUND UP


Round 1 - Pick 5: Peyton Krebs, LW, Kootenay(WHL): Krebs was ranked as the #3 skater available in North America by Central Scouting, with the caveat that he is the most NHL-ready talent available in this year’s draft. He was available at the 5th pick, and Vegas GM Dan Hampton was all too happy to snatch him up. “Peyton is an exceptional talent - he’s an amazing skater with a great scoring touch, and not to mention, a great presence in the locker room.” Krebs scored 64 goals and dished out 93 assists in 129 games with Kootenay, and just turned 18 this past January. Most think he will immediately make the Golden Knights’ roster out of camp, with the only drawbacks to his on-ice game coming on the defensive end. Rumors did come out of Kootenay of him being difficult to work with, but if he lands on a team with strong leaders, he should toe the line.

2 - 2: Aleksandr Zhdanov, C, Lukko(SML): Zhdanov was seen by some as a reach, but scouts within the Golden Knights organization spoke highly of him. “He’s young, only 18, and playing in the top league in Finland. This kid looks like he has a bright future,” Hampton said. Scouts are high on Zhdanov’s playmaking ability, and also his ability in front of the net. He struggled at times in the SML this year, playing 26 games without a point, but was limited to less than 10 minutes of ice time per night. He’s definitely a player that needs some time to evolve, but will have that ability against the strongest competition Finland has to offer.

3 - 2: Taylor Gauthier, G, Prince George(WHL): Gauthier came into the draft as the 4th ranked goalie in North America, and had a strong season as a 17 year old playing starter’s minutes in the WHL. He went 22-11-1, with a 3.19 GAA and .896 SV% - all marked improvements over his age-16 season. With little goalie depth in the organization at this time, this pick was a solid find at this point in the draft for the Golden Knights.

4 - 2: Patrik Juzl, C, Guildford (EPIHL): The Slovakian Juzl made an interesting point to play in the English Premier League as a 17 year old, and has made a strong impression - he scored 15 goals and had 29 assists in 54 games this season. Juzl’s strongest assets are his playmaking ability, and his hockey IQ - scouts say he has great vision on the ice and senses plays before they develop. He was ranked the 8th best skater in Europe by Central Scouting.

5 - 2: Denis Legonkov, D, Torpedo(VHL): Playing in the KHL’s minor leagues, Legonkov saw limited minutes as an 18 year old this past season. He’s seen as a defense-first defenseman, but scouts praise his hockey sense on the ice. Coming into the draft as the #38 ranked European skater, the Kazakh was seen by GM Hampton as a pick made with an eye towards a few years down the line.

6 - 2: Keijo Weibel, D, SC Langnau(JEA): Weibel is a hard one to figure out; he dominated in the Swiss Elite Junior leagues in his age 19-season, skating circles around the competition. Many think the reason for his lower ranking (86th out of European skaters) is his lack of experience against stronger competition. Scouts think he’s got a lower ceiling than most other prospects, but his skating will make him useful and able to pick up the other parts of the game as he gains more ice time.

6 - 19: Ben Evans, C, Ottawa(OHL): Evans had his breakout junior season in his last year of eligibility, putting up a 22-39-61 line in his age-19 year. Evans fits the mold of a player who doesn’t excel at any one aspect of the game, but does a lot of things pretty well. He doesn’t profile as very likely to make the NHL, but serves as a nice depth piece in case of injury.

7 - 2: Koby Morrisseau, LW, Portland(WHL): Morrisseau was the last pick Vegas made in this year’s draft, and strikes some scouts as a possible diamond in the rough. Already 6’4” at 18 years old, he has the size to be a dominant forward in front of the net, and his junior coaches have praised his ability to listen and work with them on his game. He has experience at all 3 forward spots with Portland, and this versatility may be his ticket to the NHL, if only in a 13th-forward type role.
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Old 04-07-2017, 12:07 AM   #25
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The league saw an incredible amunt of big name players call it a career this offseason, with the following players filing retirement papers this July 1st: Tyler Bozak(TOR), Matt Carle(VGK), Braydon Coburn(WAS), Patrick Eaves (STL), Marian Hossa(CHI), Niklas Kronwall(DET), Ben Lovejoy(CGY), Derek MacKenzie(VAN), Andrei Markov(TOR), Adam McQuaid(SEA), Marc Methot(SJ), Brooks Orpik(PIT), Joe Pavelski(SJ), Jason Pominville(MIN), Daniel Sedin(MTL), Henrik Sedin(VAN), Patrick Sharp(DAL), Jason Spezza(DAL), Clayton Stoner(SEA), Henrik Tallinder(PIT), Joe Thornton(SJ), Thomas Vanek(DAL), Justin Williams(CAR), Vernon Fiddler(NYR), Jordie Benn(DAL), Mike Cammalleri (NJD), Trevor Daley(ANA), Dan Girardi(EDM), and Scott Hartnell(SEA).

One of the most surprising retirements was that of Joe Pavelski, only 34 and coming off a season when he scored 33 goals and 79 points. He finishes his career with 370 goals and 432 assists, just cracking the 800 point barrier in the waning days of the season. The Sedin brothers also finished their careers at the same time, as many expected - although not many predicted Daniel would retire a Canadien instead of a Canuck. Daniel ends his career with 400 goals exactly, and 1,047 points; Henrik finished with 265 career goals and 1,097 total points. Joe Thornton finished a strong career with 417 goals and 1,051 assists in 1608 games with the Sharks and the Bruins, most likely cementing his slot in the Hall in the coming years. Meanwhile, injuries finally caught up with Jason Spezza, as the former 2nd overall pick hangs it up with 336 career goals and 902 total points. Marian Hossa finishes up an illustrious career at the age of 40, having scored 552 goals and 1,211 career points in addition to his SIX Stanley Cup rings. Lastly, Niklas Kronwall has thrown his last hit, as he retires after 950 games, all with the Red Wings, and 434 career points.

The coaching ranks saw some retirements, too. Joel Quenneville said it’s time to spend some time with his family after 960 career wins and four Stanley Cups. He’ll be replaced in Chicago by Mike Babcock, so many expect they’ll be no hiccups in that perennial contender. Another Cup-winning coach, Darryl Sutter, called it quits after 710 career wins and two Cups with the Kings. Los Angeles will turn to Gerard Gallant to help continue its rebuilding effort. Finally, at the complete opposite end of the spectrum, long-time assistant coach Charlie Huddy had announced this would be his last year behind the bench, regardless of what happened. Well, Paul Maurice got fired in Winnipeg and Huddy got to spend the last 9 games of his career as the main man, going 4-5. The Jets will hire former player and first-time coach Mike Keane to take over behind the bench next season.

Finally, in a surprising announcement, Pittsburgh GM John Paddock announced he would be stepping away from the job after only one season. The Penguins announced long-time head of scouting Randy Sexton would be stepping up to the GM’s chair immediately.

Once again, The Hockey News has put out its list of the top free agents by position, and we’re happy to share them with you here! All stats are for last year, and will be noted if they were not compiled in the NHL.

TOP 5 GOALIES
Sergei Bobrovsky, 30 (21-30-6, 3.36, .896)
Robin Lehner, 27 (36-21-6, 2.31, .926)
Mackenzie Blackwood, 22 (43-16-2, 2.36, .905)
Semyon Varlamov, 31 (22-18-5, 2.64, .914)
Antti Raanta, 30 (12-8-1, 2.61, .907)

If your team is looking for a goalie, like the Golden Knights are in the market for, there are plenty of options out there. Sergei Bobrovsky is coming off a down year, but at 30 years old, he plans to show 2018-19 was just a fluke. Reliable starters like Semyon Varlamov and Robin Lehner are also available - Lehner is a surprise, considering he’s coming off a year where he led the league in save percentage. If you’re looking for a bargain, you can do worse than rolling the dice on Antti Raanta - he was a backup in the regular season in Nashville but backstopped the Predators to within a game of the Stanley Cup after the team waived Mikko Koskinen. And those looking for a sleeper might want to check out Mackenzie Blackwood, let go by the Devils after being blocked at the NHL level by Cory Schneider. Blackwood put up phenomenal numbers in the AHL and is worthy of a look for any team looking to rebuild. Aging starters like Brian Elliott, Ryan Miller, and Craig Anderson are also options in goal this offseason, making goalie the deepest free agent position.

TOP 5 DEFENSEMEN
Tyler Myers, 29 (82 GP, 11-28-39)
Thomas Chabot, 22 (6 GP, 0-0-0)
Jay Bouwmeester, 35 (57 GP, 4-18-22)
Niklas Hjalmarsson, 32 (61 GP, 3-20-23)
Mitch Vande Sompel, 22 (67 GP, 7-55-62[ECHL])

A weak class for defensemen, Tyler Myers is probably going to walk away with a huge contract. Myers turned in his typically solid season with the Jets and is rumored to be in the market for a 6 year deal with at least a $5M AAV. The rest of the free agent d-corps is headlined by older veterans with limited upside, like Bouwmeester and Hjalmarsson, and unproven young players who haven’t tapped their potential like Chabot and Vande Sompel. Vande Sompel is among the most intriguing, as he’s been blocked from advancing by a strong group of defense prospects in the Islanders organization.

TOP 5 LEFT WINGS
Jeff Skinner, 27 (76 GP, 31-41-72)
Max Pacioretty, 30 (82 GP, 32-36-68)
Anders Lee, 28 (78 GP, 23-22-45)
Carl Hagelin, 30 (75 GP, 18-28-46)
Ilya Kovalchuk, 36 (60 GP, 28-31-59[KHL])

Left wing is the deepest position on the market, with legitimate stars like Jeff Skinner and Max Pacioretty available. The second tier has solid players like Hagelin and Anders Lee, who will most likely have to wait for the bigger names to sign before seeing what they can get in a negotiation. The wild card name is Ilya Kovalchuk - after running out his contract in KHL, Commissioner Gary Bettman ruled that he could return to the Devils, if New Jersey wanted. New Jersey renounced their rights to the 36 year old, and he will be available as an option for a team looking for the final piece.

TOP 5 CENTERS

Austin Czarnik, 26 (82 GP, 5-12-17)
Adam Henrique, 29 (70 GP, 10-20-30)
Nick Shore, 26 (65 GP, 7-15-22)
Filip Ahl, 22 (74 GP, 28-37-65[AHL])
Viktor Komarov, 25 (40 GP, 12-29-41[KHL])

Center might be the weakest group of free agents; Adam Henrique and Nick Shore are solid two-way centers, but not the kind of signing that riles up the fanbase. Czarnik shows up again after a decent year in Calgary, hoping for a longer term contract. Ahl is an intriguing younger prospect with some upside, while Komarov has show some interest in coming stateside after a successful run in the KHL.

TOP 5 RIGHT WINGS
Kevin Hayes, 27 (82 GP, 31-45-76)
Jordan Eberle, 29 (75 GP, 24-25-49)
Gustav Nyquist, 29 (82 GP, 15-37-52)
T.J. Oshie, 32 (79 GP, 25-34-59)
Wayne Simmonds, 30 (58 GP, 16-9-25)

Right wing is another position of strength this offseason - some very established names find themselves on the free market. Hayes might be the most exciting name out there, for his combination of size and youth (not to mention the fact that he was nearly a point per game player last year). Eberle & Nyquist are the same age but offer differing skill sets - Eberle is more of a goal scorer, while Nyquist showed good playmaking skills. Oshie is the oldest on the market, and questions abide about how he can perform without the help of Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin. Wayne Simmonds will bring a strong physical presence wherever he goes as he looks to bounce back from an injury-shortened 2018-19.
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Old 04-07-2017, 06:32 PM   #26
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The summer is winding down, and across the country NHL players are reporting for camp and getting ready to get back into the swing of things. This offseason saw no shortage of player movement - some huge names found new addresses through free agency, while others found themselves being told to by their teams they’d been shipped out.

Vegas GM Dan Hampton was a busy man this summer, making seven different trades for assets he used to build the team. Hampton made the following moves early on in the offseason:

G Mason McDonald (20-19-4, 2.71, .899 in AHL) to Carolina for a 4th Round Pick

D Griffin Reinhart (34 GP, 6-10-16 in AHL) to Pittsburgh for a 4th Round pick

RW Oliver Bjorkstrand (65 GP, 5-5-10) to Philadelphia for 21-year-old C Philip Lagunov (68 GP, 10-11-21 in AHL)

RW Nick Lappin (65 GP, 19-17-36 in AHL) to Winnipeg for a 4th Round pick

G Mikko Koskinen (69 GP, 37-24-6, 2.62, .915 with NSH/VGK) to Dallas for a 3rd Round pick

After stocking the cupboards with some extra picks, however, it was time for Hampton to make some of the franchise’s biggest trades. First, he moved D Kevin Shattenkirk, the team’s first-ever free agent signing, and the 4th round picks he got from Pittsburgh & Winnipeg to Nashville in exchange for D P.K. Subban. This blockbuster trade came about because Nashville was up against the cap - moving Suban’s $9M AAV for Shattenkirk’s less bulky $6.8M definitely gave the team some flexibility. Meanwhile, Vegas was happy to pick up one of the best all-around defensemen in the league, and unite him with his younger brothers Jordan & Malcolm (also on the Vegas roster going into camp).

Not content with just one huge move in the summer, Hampton made a move two weeks later - sending D prospect Kale Clague, young center Chase De Leo, and the 4th he had received from Carolina to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Nugent-Hopkins struggled with injuries last year, playing only 28 games and putting up a 4-11-15 scoring line, but he’s still only 26 years old and only a year removed from a 78 point season. Going the other way, Clague was a highly regarded prospect but did not have a clear path to the NHL roster, especially after the acquisition of Mikhail Sergachev late last season. Considering he was acquired last off-season for Austin Watson, currently a free agent that hasn’t seen NHL ice since he left Vegas, analysts are praising the value Hampton got in return for Clague. De Leo had a decent season last year on the 4th line, scoring 15 points in 79 games, but did not show the scoring touch that gained him an NHL call-up in the first place.

The Mikko Koskinen trade was made because Hampton was also active in free agency, signing Robin Lehner to a 3 year, $7.2M deal on July 1st. Lehner slides in as the starting goalie for a team, and his $2.4M AAV is widely seen as a bargain compared to other goalie contracts handed out this offseason. Hampton also signed RW Wayne Simmonds to a 3 year, $14.1M deal after losing out on the bidding for Jeff Skinner. Simmonds will most likely play the wing on the top line with Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson. The last free agent signing on the NHL roster is center Marcus Kruger, signed to a 2 year, $3.4M deal. Kruger scored 6 goals and 28 points with Chicago last year, but what attracted him to the Golden Knights was his solid defensive play up the middle - an area in which Hampton had made known he wanted to improve coming into the new season.

The Golden Knights also signed some of last year’s draft class to entry level deals - RW Mikhail Bitsadze and LW Nando Eggenberger each signed a 3 year entry level deal worth $925K per season. This year’s 6th round pick, 20 year old center Ben Evans, also signed an entry level deal worth an annual $575K. Bitsadze and Eggenberger will start the year with the AHL team in Lowell, while Evans will get some seasoning in Reno on the team’s ECHL affiliate.

The team also reached out and signed 21-year-old goalie prospect Carter Hart, a former 2nd round pick of the Flyers in 2016. Philadelphia did not offer him a contract, and Vegas swooped in with a 3 year entry level deal worth $925K. Hart will kick off his professional career in Lowell as well, looking to disprove the naysayers who claim he is too injury-prone to develop into anything more than a career minor leaguer.

Checking on in The Hockey News’ top free agents from earlier this summer, we can see there was a lot of money flying around and a lot of change of address cards to be filled out:

TOP 5 GOALIES
Sergei Bobrovsky, 30: Unsigned as of September 1
Robin Lehner, 27: 3 years/$7.2M to Vegas
Mackenzie Blackwood, 22: Unsiged as of September 1
Semyon Varlamov, 31: Unsigned as of September 1
Antti Raanta, 30: 3 years/$6.8M to Boston

The goalie market took a very strange turn this offseason - while Lehner & Ranta signing decent deals was a given, the fact that talents such as Varlamov and Bobrovsky are still looking for a home on September 1st is a shock. All the more shocking considering some of the goalies signed before them - Ryan Miller signed a one year, $5.3M deal with Colorado; the Avalanche then went and signed Craig Anderson to an almost identical deal. Pekka Rinne will get $6.7M this year from Toronto. Brian Elliott, who didn’t find a home ’til midway through last year, signed a $2.2M one year deal with Arizona. The two Russian goalies will most assuredly find some sort of home during training camp, but the fact that they’re still available is a development no one could have predicted on July 1st. Blackwood, meanwhile, will most likely try to hook on with an AHL team and earn a midseason contract from a team suffering an injury.

TOP 5 DEFENSEMEN
Tyler Myers, 29: 3 years/$7.17M to Pittsburgh
Thomas Chabot, 22: 3 years/$3.96M to Toronto
Jay Bouwmeester, 35: 1 year/$4.05M to Pittsburgh
Niklas Hjalmarsson, 32: Unsigned as of September 1
Mitch Vande Sompel, 22: 2 years/$1.8M to Tampa Bay

Pittsburgh went hard after improving their d-corps, signing both Myers and Bouwmeester. Both players are expected to get decent minutes for a Penguins club lacking depth at that position. Chabot signed a sizable deal for someone with his experience, and will look to prove the Senators wrong from his new home across the province in Toronto. Vande Sompel gets a short term “prove-it” style deal where Tampa can have time to judge his worth without sinking a lot of money into him. Hjalmarsson may take his talents to Europe this season if an offer doesn’t show up during camp.

TOP 5 LEFT WINGS
Jeff Skinner, 27: 5 years/$36.25M to Montreal
Max Pacioretty, 30: 6 years/$45.6M to Montreal
Anders Lee, 28: 3 years/$13.4M to Detroit
Carl Hagelin, 30: 3 years/$12.4M to Vancouver
Ilya Kovalchuk, 36: Unsigned as of September 1

The position where most thought the money would be largest did not fail to disappoint - what was surprising was that the two biggest fish in the pond both went to Montreal. The Canadiens are trying to emulate the success of the recent Blackhawks dynasty - a top heavy roster with a ton of stars, and using those players to slowly develop your prospects into the next batch of stars. Time will tell how that plays out for them. Meanwhile, Anders Lee scored a deal slightly less than most thought he would get to replace Gustav Nyquist as a top scoring threat in Detroit; Carl Hagelin will try and fill the hole left by the retirement of Henrik Sedin in Vancouver. Kovalchuk, meanwhile, still has not found a home; with the KHL season starting, many think he will sit the start of this season out if need be and wait for a contender to come calling closer to the trade deadline. He didn’t make the list, but Ryan Spooner scored a big deal to go to Carolina - a 2 year deal with a $3.7M AAV after an 8-24-32 season in Boston.

TOP 5 CENTERS
Austin Czarnik, 26: 3 years/$6.9M to Vancouver
Adam Henrique, 29: 3 years/$12.15M to San Jose
Nick Shore, 26: 3 years/$11.4M to Edmonton
Filip Ahl, 22: Signed with Vik Vasteras in ALL
Viktor Komarov, 25: 1 year/$925K to Toronto

The weakest crop of free agent forwards this year was definitely at center, and it shows with the contracts given out. Henrique gets the best AAV going to San Jose, a team that was decimated up the middle by the retirements of the Joes Pavelski & Thornton this offseason. Nick Shore gets a nice value from Edmonton, which no doubt made it easier for Edmonton to say goodbye to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Austin Czarnik played off well on his bet last offseason - he settled for a one year deal worth less than $1M from Calgary and turned it into a nice 3 year deal with a $2.3M AAV from Vancouver. Komarov signed a similar-type deal with Toronto - he’ll hope to parlay a strong debut season in the NHL into a large contract next offseason. Ahl, meanwhile, took one look at the lack of interest he was receiving and decided to head back to Finland to work on his game. He’s on a one year deal over there, so a strong showing could get him showing back up on NHL GM’s radars next year.

TOP 5 RIGHT WINGS
Jordan Eberle, 29: 3 years/$13.8M to Tampa Bay
Gustav Nyquist, 29: 3 years/$13.65M to Minnesota
T.J. Oshie, 32: 3 years/$14.04M to Dallas
Wayne Simmonds, 30: 3 years/$14.1M to Vegas
Kevin Hayes, 27: 3 years/$14.04M to Dallas

Another deep free agent position led to a somewhat depressed market for free agent right wingers - the biggest contract was handed out to Wayne Simmonds, but he only beat out runners-up Kevin Hayes and TJ Oshie by a combined $600K over their 3 year deals. Most surprising was Dallas picking up both Oshie & Hayes - not only did they grab two of the top 5 RWs, they also handed Paul Byron a 3 year/$11.3M deal as well. The versatility of Byron & reigning Calder Trophy winner Artur Lauta gives the Stars some flexibility, but many would not be surprised to see the Stars move a forward before the trade deadline this year. Eberle and Nyquist scored slightly less on their deals, but will still only be 32 years old when they expire - they’ll both have a good chance at scoring one more decent payday before their skills decline too much. Eberle stands the best chance to enhance his value, as most expect him to play on a line with Steve Stamkos in Tampa Bay. Detroit wound up getting Alex Burmistrov to replace Nyquist, handing him a 3 year deal worth $11.2M.
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Old 04-08-2017, 11:15 AM   #27
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Figured I would drop by and leave some feedback

Because of your Dynasty I stopped mine cause I wouldn't have the patience to write as much detail and facts going around the league haha.

I have enjoyed the read and will continue to read it.

Definitely one of the best Dynasty's on here going right now, keep it up!
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Old 04-08-2017, 02:32 PM   #28
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Hey thanks! I have a good amount of downtime in my work day (hooray for owning your own business) so I get to have fun playing around with this. I always loved taking expansion franchises from nothing and building their whole history in OOTP, so I was stoked to get to do that with hockey too!
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Old 04-08-2017, 06:07 PM   #29
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Camp is over, the preseason schedule is done, and the Vegas Golden Knights are getting geared up to start their 3rd season of professional hockey in Sin City. The team struggled at times in the preseason, putting up a dismal 0-6-1 record. “I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I’m not going to lose sleep over preseason games,” GM/Coach Dan Hampton said in his weekly spot on KRST this morning. “The important thing to me is getting guys used to playing in the system, and getting everyone to the first game without any injuries. And I think we did a good job with that.”

Some other players around the league aren’t so lucky - Chicago’s Scott Darling, the Flyers’ Travis Konecny, and Florida’s Mike Matheson all suffered injuries that may have ended their season prematurely. The Stars made a surprising move on the eve of the preseason and signed goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to a 2 year, $13.4M deal, thus ending Goalie Bob’s strange summer. Semyon Varlamov also returned to the team he started his career with, signing a 2 year, $9.9M deal to serve as insurance to Braden Holtby.

The dollars paid out to Varlamov show that Washington is intent on making noise in the playoffs again this year - in fact, they are one of the early favorites to win the Cup coming out of the East. Montreal has definitely made some strides with its offseason moves, and it still has Carey Price in goal, so they are definitely a team to watch. Pittsburgh could make some noise, but the depth on their blue line is a concern - especially with the injury prone Kris Letang leading that group of players. Tampa, of course, is the reigning Stanley Cup champion, but not many people are talking about them - just the way it was last year, and just the way coach Jon Cooper likes it. Out of the West, Nashville has to be considered a contender after making it to the Cup final last year; the always dangerous Blackhawks stand in their way, as do division rivals Dallas. Arizona made a surprise run in the playoffs last year with a young roster; they’ve added Tyson Barrie to their young core and look to make it even further this year.

Turning our eyes back to Vegas, the Golden Knights have seemingly set their lineup and it looks like they’ll be rolling these lines out on opening night:

LEFT WING
1 - Ondrej Palat (LY: 82 GP, 24-27-51)
2 - Jordan Greenway (LY: 65 GP, 19-17-36)
3 - Frank Vatrano (LY: 45 GP, 4-8-12)
4 - Igor Barbashev (LY: 78 GP, 6-14-20)
5 - Jason Dickinson (LY: 24 GP, 4-3-7)

CENTER
1 - Tyler Johnson (C) (LY: 82 GP, 16-32-48)
2 - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (LY: 28 GP, 4-11-15[EDM])
3 - Marcus Kruger (LY: 82 GP, 6-22-28[CHI])
4 - Alan Quine (LY: 82 GP, 10-11-21)

RIGHT WING
1 - Wayne Simmonds (LY: 58 GP, 16-9-25[PHI])
2 - Jakob Silfverberg (A) (LY: 82 GP, 15-26-41)
3 - Jon Marchessault (LY: 75 GP, 13-8-21)
4 - Josh Ho-Sang (LY: 82 GP, 6-18-24)
5 - JJ Piccinich (LY: 58 GP, 21-24-45*)

LEFT DEFENSE
1 - TJ Brodie (A) (LY: 82 GP, 7-26-33)
2 - Nikita Zadorov (LY: 82 GP, 2-21-23)
3 - Mikhail Sergachev (LY: 80 GP, 7-23-30 [MTL/VGK])

RIGHT DEFENSE
1 - P.K. Subban (LY: 82 GP, 15-43-58 [NSH])
2 - Darnell Nurse (LY: 83 GP, 8-18-26 [EDM/VGK])
3 - Julius Honka (LY: 82 GP, 9-21-30)
4 - Jordan Subban (LY: 64 GP, 2-6-8)

GOALIE
1st String: Robin Lehner (LY: 36-21-6, 2.31, .926[BUF])

2nd String: Malcolm Subban (LY: 7-11-3, 3.09, .909)

(* - AHL Stats)

Their offseason acquisitions look to play important parts in the new season - their starting goalie, first-line RW, 2nd & 3rd-line Centers, and top line RD are all new to the team this year. There are some surprises on the lineup, especially the demotion of Josh Ho-Sang to the 4th line. “We want to use that line as our ‘energy’ line this year,” Hampton was quoted as saying. “They’re all guys with good scoring pedigrees who might not have a full game to play on one of the top lines yet; by limiting their minutes and exposure we think we’ll be able to get the best out of them.” Another big surprise is Frank Vatrano going out on the checking line with Kruger and Marchessault. “Frankie stepped up when guys got hurt last year, and we feel like he needed a spot. We think he’s improved his defensive game a lot since he came up, and it can’t help to have a guy who’s a scoring threat on your main defensive line too,” the coach said when asked about that assignment.

The team will be dialing it back in terms of offensive complexity this year - Hampton told reporters he was looking for his players to control the puck. “We’ve got a lot of big bodies that can shake off defenders coming into the offensive zone, so instead of having to look for that home-run pass all the time, I’m happy being a little more conservative and waiting for good chances to develop with the guys we have.” The 1-3-1 forecheck returns from last year’s defensive scheme, and the hope is that the new players on the team will be a better fit for it. “Defensively, we want to be able to clog up the middle of the ice and generate a lot of turnovers - with the speed we have on this team, I feel like getting the puck around center ice could lead to a lot of odd-man rushes. Even though we’re going to be more conservative with the puck, don’t think we’re going to be keeping our foot off the gas pedal - we’ve got a lot of guys here who can rush up and down the ice all day, and I want to use that to wear teams down.”

With only a couple days left before the regular season starts, we’ll see how the coach’s words hold up. It’s the best time of the year - hockey’s right around the corner!
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Old 04-09-2017, 05:13 PM   #30
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The first quarter of the season has come and gone, and the Golden Knights are playing at a much improved pace compared to last year’s disaster season. 20 games in, the team is 9-8-3, good for 4th place in the Central and within sight of the last playoff spot. The offense has definitely kicked into a higher gear this year, with offseason acquisition Ryan Nugent-Hopkins leading the charge. Nugent-Hopkins has 7 goals and 13 assists in the first 20 games, averaging a clean point per game early on this year. The rest of the team is keeping decent pace with him - T.J. Brodie tied him for the team lead in assists with 13, and has 15 points overall; line mates Jordan Greenway (5-9-14) and Jakob Silfverberg (4-10-14) have also seen an uptick in their scoring rates playing with RNH. The top line players are lagging a little but still have respectable lines - Ondrej Palat (5-7-12) leads the first line with Tyler Johnson (6-4-10) and Wayne Simmonds (5-3-8) are not too far behind. The other huge trade chip acquired, P.K. Subban, has put in good work - 3 goals, 8 assists, and is one of the strongest possession drivers on the team (not saying much for this team - they’re getting outshot by almost 8 shots per game). The goalies have been up to the challenge - Robin Lehner’s gone 6-6-2 with a 2.70 GAA and .916 SV%, continuing his strong play from last year. Malcolm Subban has started to become the player scouts thought he would - going 3-2-1 in 6 starts with a 2.80 GAA and .927 SV%, good enough for 8th in the NHL currently. Meanwhile, in the AHL, offseason signing Carter Hart has come out of the gates on fire, going 8-0-1 with a 1.62 GAA and a .934 SV% - the 21 year old is definitely making a push to be included on the roster in the near future.

Someone not on the NHL roster, in a very surprising move, is Josh Ho-Sang. Ho-Sang was demoted down to the AHL affiliate in Lowell after starting the year scoreless in 18 games. Called up to replace him on the roster was 22 year old Jack Becker, the former 7th round pick of the Bruins in 2015. Becker had put up 4 goals and 9 assists in the first 10 games of the AHL season, so time on the big stage was definitely earned, but more surprising was that it came at the expense of the player who started last season on the first line. “Josh has a lot of work to do - we love what he can do with the puck but he really seems to get inside his own head too often,” Coach Dan Hampton said to reporters at his pre-game presser the day of the demotion. “We really want him to play every day and work through what’s making him struggle, which is why we went with the demotion instead of just leaving him in the press box.” Ho-Sang, for his part, didn’t have much to say. “You know, it’s management’s decision. All I can do is go out there and play as hard as I can, and if I’m not producing, they’re gonna get someone who can.”

Around the league, no one’s been producing more than the Pittsburgh Penguins. Led by Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and their revamped d-corps, the Penguins are 17-3-1 to start the year and are threatening to run away with the Metropolitan division, already sporting a 7 point lead over the second-place Rangers. Worth noting: the league quietly went back to the original 2 points for any win, 1 point for OT/shootout loss system after two years with the 3-2-1 point system. Gary Bettman spoke briefly on the matter, commenting that if you scored out the last two seasons on the original scoring system, there would have been no changes to the playoff teams, just slight adjustments to the seeding. In fact, teams were clinching playoff spots and being eliminated earlier under the new system, so back to the old ways. One day they’ll figure this out, I’m sure.

Some new blood has shown up on the leaderboards this season - Vladimir Tarasenko is leading the league in the goals, with Dylan Strome tied for 3rd. John Klingberg leads the league in assists, with 20 in 20 games, and Jack Eichel leads the overall scoring with 27 points. 21 year old Filip Gustavsson, the second round pick of the Penguins in 2016, leads the league with 15 wins, while old reliable Henrik Lundqvist paces the circuit with a 1.88 GAA.

There’s been a few early season moves this year, with Winnipeg being at the center of the two biggest trades. They moved 31 year old Bryan Little to Boston for 24 year old Ryan Fitzgerald, and then moved center Mathieu Perrault to the Islanders in exchange for D Travis Hamonic. The league as a whole is pretty bunched up, with only Carolina and Detroit really bottoming out in the standings thus far, so it might be a couple more weeks before we see any big moves made.
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Old 04-12-2017, 01:03 AM   #31
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We’ve reached the halfway point of the 2019-20 season, and Vegas coach Dan Hampton is doing everything he can to keep this season from tailspinning completely out of control. After a strong 9-8-3 start in their first 20 games, the Golden Knights have gone 4-13-4 since and now occupy the basement in the Western Conference.

As always seems to be the issue with the young franchise, offense has a lot to do with their struggles. After scoring 20 points in the first 20 games, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has only managed 6 points in the last 21. Defenseman T.J. Brodie leads the team with 30 points - his 26 assists also pace the club. Tyler Johnson leads the team with 14 goals - the only other players at the midway point with double-digit goals are Ondrej Palat (10-17-27) and Wayne Simmonds (10-11-21). Hampton has tried to shake up the lineups to generate more offense, pulling RNH up to the top line with Palat and Simmonds, while putting Tyler Johnson on as the second line RW with Ivan Barbashev (3-5-8) getting a shot to run as his center with Jordan Greenway(9-12-21) on the left wing. Jakob Silfverberg (7-13-20) has been playing with Marcus Kruger(2-8-10) and Jon Marchessault(7-8-15) on the 3rd line in an attempt to spread out what little offense the team has going for it. Puck possession has once again been an issue for the team, with no player having a positive shot differential per 60 minutes. With all those shots coming towards them, the goalies have struggled - Robin Lehner has a .911 SV% but has struggled to a 2.81 GAA and an 8-15-4 record. Malcolm Subban has struggled after his hot start - his record now stands at 5-6-3 with a 3.13 GAA and .907 SV%.

Looking into the prospect pool, Adam Ruzicka continues to excel for the AHL team in Lowell. After a brief 12-game cup of coffee last year, Ruzicka has come out of the gate with 17 goals and 19 assists in the first 34 games of the AHL season. Josh Ho-Sang has responded well to his demotion - he didn’t join the team until 9 games into the AHL season, but has put up a 7-25-32 line in 24 games. Ryan Pulock continues to push for a roster spot, potting 8 goals and dishing out 23 assists in 31 games played. Nando Eggenberger, getting his first taste of professional play, has responded nicely - a 12-14-26 line in his first 32 games. Sadly, the same can’t be said for 2018 first rounder Mikhail Bitsadze - he put up a 3-4-7 line in his first 27 games but a broken femur will keep him out of action for the rest of this season, putting a hold on his development. Both goalies in AHL are on fire - the highly regarded prospect Carter Hart has gone 16-3-1 with a 2.07 GAA and .916 SV% and 3 shutouts. Incredibly enough, lesser prospect Blake Weyrick is outpacing him - going 11-2-1 with a .922 SV% and a 1.85 GAA. Lowell is 27-5-2 overall and is leading the AHL in points early on in the year.

Checking in on some other draft picks from the Golden Knights’ young history, 6th-rounder Ben Evans has come out strong in the ECHL, scoring 20 goals and 17 assists for 37 points in 32 games. In the CHL, 2018 2nd round pick Brandon Brown has bounced back from last year’s injuries to put up a 13-30-43 line in 34 games for Val-d’Ors in the QMJHL, while that year’s 6th round pick Akil Thomas has a strong 24-19-43 line in 33 games for Niagara in the OHL. Last year’s first round pick, Peyton Krebs, has been otherworldly for Kootenay in the WHL, playing 38 games and putting a up a 32-43-75 line in that time. 2019 7th rounder Koby Morrisseau has a solid 17-20-37 line in 37 games for Portland in the WHL as well. Lastly, Keijo Weibel, the 20 year old Swiss defenseman picked in the 6th round last year, has put up a strong 2-16-18 line in 12 games in the Swiss Junioren Elite A league, averaging 26:40 in ice time each night.

Taking a stroll around the league, the St. Louis Blues have finally come into their own, outpacing the Blackhawks and leading the league with 62 points at the halfway point. They’re being led by Vladimir Tarasenko, who’s tied for the league lead in goals with Jack Eichel (30). Leon Draisaitl leads the league overall in scoring, with a 22-32-54 line. Filip Gustavsson continues his hot start to his career with the Penguins, pacing the league with 27 wins. Henrik Lundqvist is enjoying a late-career renaissance - at the midway point he leads the league with a 2.30 GAA and 7 shutouts. Devan Dubnyk continues his strong play for the Minnesota Wild, putting up a .929 SV% that ranks tops in the NHL.

There hasn’t been too many trades, with most of the names being swapped around the league being 4th liners, AHL guys, or prospects. The two biggest names to switch address so far this year are Antti Raanta, who finds himself in Edmonton after the Oilers sent a 3rd round pick to Boston. Raanta came out of the gate hot in his new home, so far putting up an 8-1-1 record with a 2.49 GAA and .911 SV%. The other notable face in a new place is Keith Yandle - the Panthers traded him to the Seattle Metropolitans in exchange for 25 year old RW Connor Brown.

There’s still a lot of hockey to be played - the Golden Knights hope that they can play more like they did in the first quarter of the year and make a late playoff push. But, even if they continue to flounder, GM Dan Hampton has said he’s happy with the building blocks that have been put in place. We’ll check back closer to the trade deadline!
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Old 04-13-2017, 12:18 AM   #32
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We’ve hit the trade deadline in the 2019-20 season, which means most teams are gearing up for the stretch run, or are ready to move out some older players and give the youth movement a shot at proving themselves. Vegas finds themselves in the latter category - limping into the break with a 22-34-8 record, good for 15th of the 16th teams in the conference and dead last in the Central.

The team has continued to deal with inconsistent offensive production, despite Coach/GM Dan Hampton’s shuffling of the lines and personnel on the club. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins leads the team in scoring with his 14-30-44 line, and has been seeing time on the first line with the team leader in assists, Ondrej Palat (11-31-42) and the team’s goal-scoring leader, Wayne Simmonds (24-15-39). The team’s second line is doing a good job keeping pace - a fact that might be more of an insult to the top line than a compliment to the second - as Tyler Johnson has put up 18 goals and 15 assists, and second-year player Jordan Greenway has a 15-21-36 line coming into the trade deadline. Top defensemen T.J. Brodie (7-31-38) and P.K. Subban (12-25-37) have done a good job providing offense from the blue line, but they are the only ones in the D-corps adding anything to the offensive game. Robin Lehner has continued to underachieve in goal - his 2.99 GAA and .911 SV% are the prime factors in his 13-23-6 record. Malcolm Subban has a better record (9-11-3) but is mostly due to luck, as his .900 SV% and 3.26 GAA are noticeably worse than Lehner’s.

In an effort to shake up the team beyond just shuffling the lines, Hampton made some moves to bring fresh blood in to the team - signing Adam Pelech from the AHL to fill in for the struggling Nikita Zadorov (47 GP, 6-5-11, -18). Zadorov, obviously unhappy about his benching, did make it known that he would be open to a trade, and Hampton obliged - sending him to San Jose in exchange for 19-year-old Leevi Aaltonen, the 21st pick in last year’s draft. Aaltonen had been playing in the AHL for San Jose, putting up a 4-9-13 line in 47 GP. To make room on the forward line in Lowell, Hampton shipped out unhappy C/RW Anthony Beauregard (36 GP, 9-20-29 in Lowell) to Edmonton in exchange for a 4th round pick in the upcoming draft.

This, however, was all just prelude to the big move Hampton had in mind. He shipped D Ryan Pulock (7 GP, 0-1-1), LW Frankie Vatrano (64 GP, 7-12-19), LW Tyler Bertuzzi (47 GP, 20-22-42 in Lowell), and the underachieving Josh Ho-Sang (33 GP, 0-2-2) to New York in exchange for the Islanders’ D Nick Leddy (48 GP, 5-11-16) and 22 year old LW Anthony Beauvillier (65 GP, 14-14-28). “We really feel like we needed more depth on the blue line behind T.J. and P.K., and Leddy was the exact fit we were looking for. He’s fast, he’s good with the puck, and he’s got great hockey sense on both ends of the ice. I think putting him with some of our younger guys is really gonna help them develop. As far as Beauvillier, I feel like he’s got more upside than the guys we gave up for him, and has already shown the ability to score on the NHL level.”

The biggest part going out, to some, was the mercurial Josh Ho-Sang. Ho-Sang ends his career in Vegas with 132 games played over parts of 3 seasons, and only 8 goals and 21 assists to show for that time.

With all the players flying out of Vegas, Hampton still found some time to keep a few guys in town, re-signing a few pending UFAs. Captain Tyler Johnson agreed to a 3 year, $16.2M deal with a no-movement clause; his winger Ondrej Palat also received an NMC with his 3 year, $14.7M contract. Defensive leader T.J. Brodie re-upped for 3 years and $15.5M as well. Pending RFA Jordan Greenway also avoided a qualifying offer by agreeing to a $1.725M deal for the 2020-21 season.

Around the league, the trade deadline saw more action this year than it has in quite some time, with some teams being extremely proactive in changing their rosters. Despite currently holding a one-point lead on the last playoff spot in the West, Dallas cleared out a ton of cap space - they sent C Devin Shore (54 GP, 6-12-18) to Columbus in exchange for 22 year old D Frederic Allard (23 GP, 7-11-18 in the AHL); LW Vladimir Tkachyov (61 GP, 18-28-46) was moved to Anaheim for the rights to 21 year old C Ryan Poehling (26 GP, 13-23-36 in the NCAA this year); they sent 18 year old d-man Andrew Perrott (55 GP, 12-36-48 in the WHL) to the Sabres for goalie Darcy Kuemper (23-20-5, 3.08, .894); and finally, with Kuemper on board, they shipped goalie Mikko Koskinen(25-19-6, 3.08, .904) to the Bruins for the rights to Alexandre Texier, a 20 year old right wing playing in the Ligue Magnus this year. Boston also made a few moves, sending Zach Senyshyn (66 GP, 21-15-36) to Detroit for a 5th round pick and the rights to blue-chip defense prospect Pyotr Selikhov, a 19 year old playing in Russia; they flipped LW Ivan Telegin (67 GP, 16-27-43) to the Wild for young defenseman Filip Westerlund (65 GP, 6-9-15); they also moved LW Jake DeBrusk (69 GP, 10-7-17) to Vancouver for 20 year old RW Evan MacKinnon (66 GP, 8-19-27). DeBrusk wasn’t done being shopped, though; Vancouver flipped him later in the day to the Ducks for their 19-year-old D prospect Jakub Stepanovsky (29 GP, 3-3-6 in the AHL). Vancouver made another trade, sending the struggling Alex Radulov (12 GP, 0-0-0), along with the rights to D Jan Zimmermann (21 GP, 6-19-25 in German Juniors) to the Avalanche in exchange for Jean-Christophe Beaudin, a 22 year old right winger who’s scored 27 points in 68 games this year.

A few teams not based in Dallas, Boston, or Vancouver made some notable trades: Washington sent their backup goalie Semyon Varlamov (11-5-1, 2.47, .910) to the Pens in exchange for a second round pick. The rebuilding Kings moved 38 years old Marian Gaborik to the Lightning, receiving Cody Eakin (52 GP, 18-21-39 in the AHL) in return. And lastly, the Caps and Seattle Metropolitans swapped struggling defensemen, with Andrej Sustr (62 GP, 2-14-16) heading to the Pacific Northwest, while Alex Goligoski (56 GP, 1-9-10) going to the nation’s capitol.

No teams seem to be really running away with the league this year - Pittsburgh has the league’s best record at 45-19-4, but they’re being pushed in their own division by the 41-19-5 Rangers, who come into the break with 3 games in hand. The Blues still have a 4 point lead over the Blackhawks, but Chicago has been streaking lately and is riding some hot goaltending to a +54 goal differential so far this year. The division to watch, though, is the Pacific. Edmonton leads the division with 83 points, but Seattle is right behind with 82, and Arizona is surging late with 81. You can’t even count out the Flames completely yet - they’re four points back of the 4th place Sharks, but they’ve got 4 games in hand on San Jose.

Looking at the players leading the league - Jack Eichel has put some distance between himself and the man in second place for the Rocket Richard Trophy, with his 42 goals leading over Vladimir Tarasenko’s 39. Steven Stamkos, meanwhile, has ridden a huge hot streak to take over the Art Ross lead with a 37-44-81 line. Rookie Filip Gustavsson, being supported by that deep Penguins team, leads the league with 43 wins, while Corey Crawford has taken over the top spot in the league with a 2.29 GAA. Devan Dubnyk still ranks as best in the NHL with a .926 SV%, but Keith Kinkaid is making a late charge to topple him - Kinkaid, the Seattle goalie, also leads the league in games played and time on ice.

With the season winding down, Vegas is going to take a long look at their new toys - Anthony Beauvillier figures to get minutes on the second line and power play units, while Nick Leddy will pair up with Julius Honka on the second pairing and also get some power play minutes. Most notably, the team has called up rookie goalie Blake Weyrick and will be rolling the rest of the way with three goalies on the roster. Weyrick definitely earned his spot here - he stepped up after Carter Hart was knocked out for the season, putting up an insane 28-4-2 record, with a 1.90 GAA and .915 SV% and helping Lowell run away with their division in the AHL. There have been rumblings that the team isn’t too thrilled with how their current goalies have played this year, and Hampton is obviously interested in seeing what the former undrafted free agent has to offer at the NHL level.
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Old 04-13-2017, 07:09 PM   #33
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The third season of existence for the Vegas Golden Knights has come to a close, and the team put together a good final stretch to pull themselves out of the Western Conference basement, going 11-7-0 in their last 18 games to finish the year with a 33-41-8 record. GM/Coach Dan Hampton was optimistic on locker clean-out day: “To be honest, I’m happy with how the boys played hard through the end of the year. It can be easy to just sit back and coast when you know your season is cooked, but the guys put up a good string and left us with a good feeling we can build on going into next season.”

The team was definitely buoyed by newcomers Anthony Beauvillier and Nick Leddy. In 18 games as the team’s second-line center, Beauvillier put up a 3-11-14 line, to finish up at 17-25-42 overall. Leddy chipped in 2 goals and 9 assists in his 18 games, finishing the year with a 7-20-27 line. Late season callup Blake Weyrick showed some promise as well, going 8-4-0 with a 2.90 GAA and .903 SV%.

Overall, the team saw some progress offensively from last year, with 8 players total scoring at least 40 points on the year. Ondrej Palat led all scorers with his 14-41-55 line, while Wayne Simmonds had the most goals scored on the team (33-21-54). Offseason acquisitions Ryan Nugent-Hopkins(20-33-53) and P.K. Subban (13-33-46) acquitted themselves nicely, while team captain Tyler Johnson (28-23-51) and T.J. Brodie (11-38-49) overcame slow starts to put up some above average numbers.

With the offseason looming, the only UFAs currently on the roster are Malcolm Subban, and AHL goalie Jack Campbell. Campbell was signed after Carter Hart’s injury, and despite his 5-0-1, 1.70, .909 line, he’ll most likely be looking for another team in the offseason. Subban brings up an interesting point - most feel the 26 year old still has some potential to grow, but with how both Weyrick and Hart performed in the AHL this year, his time may be up in Las Vegas.

Turning to the RFAs on the roster, some higher-profile names show up. Both Julius Honka and Darnell Nurse will be looking for new contracts, along with mid-season waiver pickup Samuel Girard. Ivan Barbashev, Jason Dickinson, Jack Becker, and J.J. Piccinich headline the group of forwards that the team will have to make decisions on - many would not be surprised to see some of those names move on in the offseason, as the likelihood of them all being tendered a qualifying offer is very slim.

With the season in the books, we can take a look at a few of the NHL awards that will be locked up without a vote necessary. Jack Eichel will be taking home the Rocket Richard Trophy, leading the league with 49 goals - just edging out his season-long nemesis, Vladimir Tarasenko, who finished with 47. Jonathan Drouin made a late charge to take home the Art Ross, scoring 98 points to be the top scorer in the league. His linemate Steven Stamkos finished 3rd, with 94 - Tampa’s top line was certainly in high gear this year. Devan Dubnyk will be taking home the Saving Grace Award after posting a .922 SV%, beating out runner-up Keith Kinkaid by .001! Henrik Lundqvist looks to be the front-runner for the Vezina - he led the league with 49 wins, finished second in goals-against average (2.34 to Michael Hutchinson’s 2.25), and was 4th in save percentage (.919). The King proved that royalty ages gracefully, appearing in 77 games in his age-38 season.

With the regular season behind us, 16 teams are getting set for the arduous journey to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup. The first round is set to begin this Sunday, and the brackets have brought us some interesting matchup.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Philadelphia Flyers (46-31-5, #2 WC) v. Tampa Bay Lightning (53-25-4, #1 ATL)
The Flyers slide over to “play” in the Atlantic this year, making the playoffs on the back of their tandem of goalies: Mike Condon (24-16-3, 2.78, .907) and Anthony Stolarz (22-15-2, 2.45, .917). Claude Giroux overcame injuries to put up 65 points in 68 games, second only to Jakub Voracek (30-45-75). Meanwhile, Tampa sports two of the top 3 scorers in the NHL in Jonathan Drouin (37-61-98) and Steven Stamkos(42-52-94). The scoring drops off after that, with Victor Hedman’s 53 points third on the team. Michael Hutchinson (35-18-1, 2.25, .915) led all goalies in GAA this year.

Montreal Candiens (51-29-2, #3 ATL) v. Ottawa Senators (49-27-6, #2 ATL)
Carey Price predictably carried the load for Les Habitants, playing in 76 games and going 48-25-2/2.37/.919. Last season’s big free agent signing Jeff Skinner delivered a 39-41-80 line, pairing on the top line with Alex Galcheynuk (33-53-86). The Senators rely on the premier defenseman in the game, Erik Karlsson (27-63-90) and a pair of goalies with no NHL postseason experience - whether it’s Louis Domingue (25-16-4, 2.49, .913) or Joonas Korpisalo (8-8-3, 2.78, .907) in the crease, it’ll be either’s first playoff game of their career.

Columbus Blue Jackets (46-29-7, #1 WC) v. New York Rangers (51-25-6, #1 MET)
Big Ben Bishop mans the crease for the Blue Jackets, having gone 27-13-2 with a 2.59 GAA and .913 SV%. The offense is led by Alex Wennberg (11-67-78), Brandon Saad (32-43-75), and Nick Foligno (33-24-57). Tasked with shutting them down is Henrik Lundqvist, enjoying a career renaissance at age 38, and a Rangers defense captained by Ryan McDonagh (14-28-42). The Rangers will rely on J.T. Miller, coming off a breakout season which saw him score 34 goals and dish out 54 assists.

New York Islanders (49-27-6, #3 MET) v. Pittsburgh Penguins (51-26-5, #2 MET)
The Islanders find themselves back in the playoffs on the back of, predictably, John Tavares (34-53-87). Defenseman Slava Voynov (14-57-71) and Ryan Strome (29-40-69) chipped in with career years, but goalie Jared Coreau (34-15-3, 2.43, .919) will have to prove he’s not a one-year wonder against the deep Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pens are hoping to have Sidney Crosby (46 GP, 22-39-61) back by Game 3 of the series, but even without The Kid, the Isles will have their hands full with Evgeni Malkin (40-49-89) and Maxim Shulanov (26-54-80).

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Calgary Flames (42-35-5, #2 WC) v. St. Louis Blues (51-24-7, #1 CEN)
The Flames had to fight until the last day of the season to get in, and many wonder if the efforts given by their top line of Jonny Gaudreau (27-52-79), Sean Monahan (23-52-75), & Patrik Laine (37-35-72) will leave them with anything in the tank. Goalie Calvin Pickard (28-23-4, 2.69, .913) will have his hands full with a Blues team headlined by Vladimir Tarasenko (47-45-92) and a resurgent Alex Steen (30-43-73).

Chicago Blackhawks (45-32-5, #3 CEN) v. Nashville Predators (44-29-9, #2 CEN)
Years of salary cap attrition seemed to finally catch up with the Blackhawks this year - of course Patrick Kane (34-58-92) and Jonathan Toews (31-51-82) produced, but the new group of younger players looks like they might not be ready for prime time just yet. They did get lucky to run into a Nashville team missing Filip Forsberg (61 GP, 33-37-70) and Dion Phaneuf, but will they have enough firepower to make it to the second round?

San Jose Sharks (42-32-8, #1 WC) v. Edmonton Oilers (48-29-5, #1 PAC)
The Sharks bring a deep, if not superstar-laden, lineup into the series against the Oilers. Led by Logan Couture (22-44-66) and Timo Meier (26-35-61), the Sharks had 9 players average more than half a point a game in their lineup this year. Edmonton still managed to win their division despite Connor McDavid missing all but 5 games - McDavid is expected back if the team makes it to Round 2. Leon Draisaitl (39-53-92) picked up the slack in McDavid’s absence, and the team added Antti Raanta at the deadline to ease some of the workload on Cam Talbot (30-18-2, 2.77, .911) and keep him fresh for a hopefully-deep playoff run.

Seattle Metropolitans (44-32-6, #3 PAC) v. Arizona Coyotes (43-29-10, #2 PAC)
Making the playoffs for the first time in their 3-year existence, Seattle will be led by Jaden Schwartz (29-33-62), Conor Sheary (20-31-51), and an offense that seems to get contributions from different players every night. Keith Kinkaid was a workhorse for this team, going 40-30-5 with a 2.39 GAA and .921 SV% - but if he falters, Marc-Andre Fleury (4-2-1, 3.06, .900) is available to fill in. Arizona looks to build on the successes they had in last year’s playoffs, led by Max Domi (29-41-70), Tyson Barrie (12-53-65), & Christian Dvorak (33-28-61). They will be without winger Nino Neiderreiter (63 GP, 19-27-46) for the entirety of the series, but will have him back sometime in Round 2 if they get that far.
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Old 04-14-2017, 06:02 PM   #34
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With the offseason slowly getting underway, GM/Coach Dan Hampton made a few moves to lock down some pending RFAs. Darnell Nurse agreed to a 3 year, $5.9M dollar extension to continue providing a physical defensive presence, while young D Samuel Girard agreed to stick around for 3 more years and $2.9M. Forward Ivan Barbashev agreed to a bridge contract to keep him around for 2 more years, at a cost of $3.45M. The team still has yet to make a decision on Malcolm Subban or Julius Honka, two players that played a big role on this past year’s team, and there’s been very little noise to suggest which way management is leaning.

Honka put aside the worries about his future for a few weeks to take part in the IIHF World Championships as a part of his native Finland, however, joining other Golden Knights players Robin Lehner(Sweden), P.K. Subban(Canada), Ondrej Palat(Czech Republic), Jordan Greenway(USA), Tyler Johnson(USA), and draft pick Keijo Weibel(Switzerland). Greenway and Johnson were instrumental in helping the USA win the tournament, with each contributing 5 points. Palau had a great time at the Worlds, scoring 5 goals and 9 points total in his 10 games played. Robin Lehner found himself backing up, only getting into one game against Denmark and stopping 11 of the 12 shots sent his way.

With June just around the corner, let’s take a look at how the playoffs have been shaking out:

Philadelphia 4, Tampa Bay 3
Steven Stamkos and Mathieu Joseph each scored 5 goals for the Lightning, but Philly was able to overcome shaky goaltending from Mike Condon to advance in 7. Claude Giroux helped put an exclamation point on the Flyers’ 6-4 Game 7 win with 4 assists.

Montreal 4, Ottawa 2
Alex Galcheynuk scored 5 goals and had 10 points in this 6 game series, propelling Montreal to the Conference Semifinal. Carey Price got lit up in Game 5, but Jakub Sedlacek picked up the slack and Price bounced back with 30 saves on 32 shots in the clincher.

New York Rangers 4, Columbus 1
Ben Bishop struggled to an unsightly 4.83 GAA in this series, but the fault lies with the Blue Jackets’ penalty kill. J.T. Miller had 11 points in the 5 game series, with 8 of them coming with the man advantage, which proved enough for the Rangers to advance.

Pittsburgh 4, New York Islanders 0
The series was closer than a sweep would seem, with two of the four games going to overtime, but Matt Murray was too hot in goal to let the Islanders steal a game. Evgeni Malkin chipped in 7 points in the 4 game series, but Sidney Crosby suffered an injury in Game 3 and may not be ready for the start of the next series.

St. Louis 4, Calgary 1
Jake Allen rebounded from a rough outing in game 4 to shut the door on the Flames with 21 saves on 22 shots in the clinching Game 5. St. Louis’ defense was too much for Calgary - Patrik Laine was held without a goal in the series.

Chicago 4, Nashville 2
In a surprising move, the Blackhawks started the series with the returning Scott Darling in net. Darling missed the entire regular season with an MCL injury, and looked sharp in winning the first 2 games of the series. But after giving up 6 goals in game 3, and 4 goals in the first period of game 4, Corey Crawford came in and shut the Predators down. Crawford is the presumptive starter in Game 1 against St. Louis.

San Jose 4, Edmonton 0
Timo Meier had 6 points in the series, and JF Berube kept the Oilers in check to make this an easy win for the Sharks. Edmonton coach Travis Green faced some criticism for leaving Antti Raanta, the goalie who dragged the Predators within a game of the Cup last year, on the bench after Cam Talbot struggled in the first 3 games of the series.

Arizona 4, Seattle 2
Chad Johnson overcame an early rough start to the series, stopping 52 of the 55 shots he faced in Games 4, 5, and 6 to send the Coyotes to the second round. Seattle came out hot in their first playoff series ever, and Keith Kinkaid acquitted himself well with a .932 SV% and 2.09 GAA, but it wasn’t enough to get past Arizona.

CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS

Montreal 4, Philadelphia 3
In a surprisingly high-scoring series, the goaltending issues in Philadelphia finally caught up with them. Jeff Skinner scored 9 points in the series and Carey Price stopped 41 of 44 shots from a desperate Philly team in Game 7 to punch the Habs’ ticket to the Conference Finals.

Pittsburgh 4, New York Rangers 3
Sidney Crosby returned in Game 4 to help turn the series around - despite J.T. Miller continuing to score at will. Evgeni Malkin chipped in 8 points in the series, and Matt Murray held the Rangers to 3 goals over the final 2 games after a disastrous Game 5 that saw him allow 7 past him.

Chicago 4, St. Louis 2
The decision to stick with Corey Crawford proved immediate dividends, as the veteran goalie shut out St. Louis in Game 1. Patrick Kane had a hat trick in the same game, and scored 10 points total in the series to propel the Blackhawks to the Conference Finals.

Arizona 4, San Jose 3
Chad Johnson continued to be a man on a mission, carrying the Coyotes to the Conference Finals for the second year in a row. Johnson’s series was highlighted by a double overtime win in game 3 in which he stopped 52 of the 55 shots sent his way, and he capped it all by pitching a shutout against the Sharks in Game 7.

CONFERENCE FINAL

Montreal 4, Pittsburgh 2
Down 2-1 after Game 3, Montreal got some terrible news when they found out Shea Weber would miss the rest of the season, and possibly the beginning of the 2020-21 season, with a fractured bone in his shoulder. The team dug deep, though, and put the exclamation point on the comeback with Alex Galcheynuk’s 4 goal blitz in the clinching Game 6.

Chicago 4, Arizona 0
The Coyotes were denied once again in the Conference Finals, this time due to the stellar play of Corey Crawford and Tyler Motte. Crawford only allowed 6 goals on the 97 shots he faced in the series, while Motte chipped in 4 goals in the 4 game sweep. Arizona will once again head home and try to figure out how to get over the hump next year, while the Blackhawks go on to face the Canadiens in a Stanely Cup Final dripping with history.
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Old 04-15-2017, 12:59 PM   #35
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Before we get to recapping the end of the NHL season, we’re happy to give some special attention to Vegas’ AHL affiliate, the Lowell Lock Monsters. On the heels of an incredibly 59-12-5 season, the team captured the Calder Cup this year, beating the Manchester Monarchs 3-0 in Game 5 of the championship series. After being optioned back down following the end of the Golden Knights’ season, Blake Weyrick was a brick wall for Lowell, going 16-3 in the playoffs with a 1.96 GAA and .929 SV%. Jason Dickinson led the team overall with 17 points in 19 games, while Adam Ruzicka paced the club with 10 goals. Prospect Nando Eggenberger, despite averaging less than 14 minutes of ice time each night, had 8 goals and 15 points total in helping the Lock Monsters to the championship. Congratulations to coach Danny Trusty and the entire Lock Monsters team!


STANLEY CUP FINAL

Montreal 4, Chicago 1

The Habs captured their 27th Stanley Cup in team history by dominating the Blackhawks - Jeff Skinner and Alex Galcheynuk each scored 4 goals, and Carey Price only allowed 2 goals in the last 3 games, stopping 73 of 75 shots sent his way - including a 22 save shutout in the clinching Game 5. The Canadiens now get to plan their summer parade and individual days with the Cup, as Galcheynuk will also get to take home the Conn Smythe Trophy after scoring 17 goals and 34 points in 24 playoff games.

With the Cup handed out, it’s time to take a look at the individual award winners in the NHL this year. Without further ado:

HART TROPHY: Jack Eichel, BUF (82 GP, 49-46-95)

VEZINA TROPHY: Carey Price, MON (48-25-2, 2.37, .919)

NORRIS TROPHY: Erik Karlsson, OTT (79 GP, 27-63-90)

CALDER TROPHY: G Filip Gustavsson, PIT (43-17-4, 2.54, .902)

SELKE TROPHY: Jonathan Toews, CHI (82 GP, 31-51-82, 57.3% FO, +16.05 Fenwick)

ROCKET RICHARD TROPHY: Jack Eichel, BUF (46 goals)

ART ROSS TROPHY: Jonathan Drouin, TB (82 GP, 37-61-98)

PLUS/MINUS AWARD: Steven Stamkos, TB (81 GP, 42-52-94, +58)

ROGER CROZIER SAVING GRACE AWARD: Devan Dubnyk, MIN (.922 SV%)

JENNINGS TROPHY: Michael Hutchinson, TB (35-18-1, 2.25 GAA, .915)

GM OF THE YEAR: Adam Doudle, SEA (44-32-6, franchise’s first playoff appearance)

With only a handful of days left before the draft, GM Dan Hampton has kept himself busy - he’s resigned a couple of his pending RFAs, most notably giving Julius Honka a 1 year, $2.75M extension. RW Jack Becker received a 3 year extension worth $3.3M total - Becker is a good shot to make the team out of camp, as J.J. Piccinich suffered a torn groin during the AHL playoffs and injury concerns may keep him from making the NHL team. Lastly, Jeremy Brodeur (yes, Marty’s son) signed a 3 year, $1.85M extension with the team. Brodeur is strictly a depth piece - he’s shown flashes at the AHL level, but most scouts think that’s as far as the 23 year old will make it.
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Old 04-15-2017, 01:21 PM   #36
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The draft lottery had some big surprises - the New Jersey Devils, who were the last team to miss the playoffs, pulled out a huge upset and won the #1 overall pick! Carolina jumped from 5th to 2nd, and Minnesota from 7th to 3rd. This bumped the Canucks, the team with the worst record overall, down to 4th, and Boston to 5th despite the Bruins having the second most ping-pong balls. Vegas dropped from a presumptive 6th overall to 8th. Here’s how the top 5 shook out, with each player’s Central Scouting ranking included:

DRAFT ORDER
1 - New Jersey - D Ryan Lemieux, 17, Victoria (OHL) #3 NA Skater
2 - Carolina - LW James Venasky, 18, Chicoutimi (QMJHL) #1 NA Skater
3 - Minnesota - D Azat Vyakhirev, 17, IF Frisk Asker #1 EU Skater
4 - Vancouver - C Joel Foglia, 18, Rimouski (QMJHL) #2 NA Skater
5 - Boston - D Thatcher Rahilly, 17, USNTDP #17 NA Skater

Many pundits joked that the Devils reached a bit because they didn’t expect to have a pick that high; the truth is they need more help on the blue line than anywhere else on the roster. James Venasky, touted as the top prospect all season long, went to an excited Carolina team. Vyakhirev is a young Russian D prospect with great playmaking ability. Folia streaked up the boards this year after starting the year pegged as a late first rounder. Rahilly is considered a stretch for the Bruins - a player who has looked good against inferior competition, but without a ton of tape to show what he can do against bigger and faster players.

Vegas GM Dan Hampton once again focused on his “best player available” philosophy - the team grabbed the player they liked the most at their pick, regardless of if it filled a need on the team. Hampton got creative with some of his later picks, using the late rounds to gamble on some high-risk/high-reward players.

Round 1, Pick 8: D Daniel Trevelyan, 18, 6’0”, 193, Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL): Trevelyan is regarded as an exciting two-way defenseman with great puck handling skills, and an amazingly even temperament. In his age-17 season in the Q, he played 66 games, scoring 10 goals and 43 points. He’s a left-shooting defenseman who’s versatile enough to play either side on the blue-line. Scouts say he needs to bulk up a little bit to play at the NHL level, but should be ready to play fairly quickly once he gets there.

Round 2, Pick 38: C Alexis LaFreniere, 18, 6’2”, 195, Baie-Comeau (QMJHL):
With their second pick, Vegas grabs a player considered to be one of the best playmakers available in this year’s draft. LaFreniere put up 92 points in his age-17 season this past season, and that was a step down from his 101 point year at 16. He has 126 total assists in 130 career games in the QMJHL, and his size projects well at the NHL level. Could stand to work on his face-offs a bit, but his speed and his ability to see plays before they develop make him a dangerous threat.

Round 3, Pick 70: G Vladimir Veretennikov, 18, 6’2”, 208, Toros (VHL): Veretennikov found some time in the KHL’s top minor league as an 18 year old last season, and wound up shooting up the draft board due to that, ending up the #4 ranked European goalie by Central Scouting. Scouts picked up on his strong ability to find himself in the right position time after time, and his strong ability to poke check the puck out of harm’s way. He still needs to work on his blocker side, but will have some time in Russia to refine those skills before coming over to the NHL.

Round 3, Pick 79: LW Rickard Nilsson, 17, 6’2”, 194, Lulea HF (SHL): Nilsson spent the last year training with Lulea in Sweden’s top league, not getting any regular season game play. Scouts who did see him play in juniors tournaments raved about his defensive ability, and his knack for using his size to his advantage in front of the net. This is seen by many as more of a “stash” pick for the Golden Knights, using the extra 3rd round pick they received in the Mikko Koskinen trade to pick a high-upside player who might never come over to the US.

Round 4, Pick 117: LW Leandre Thibodeau, 17, 5’11”, 196, Saint John (QMJHL): Thibodeau earned himself a reputation as a pest in his first season in the QMJHL, but also backed it up offensively, scoring 33 goals and 76 points to go with his 152 PIMs. He profiles as a Brad Marchand-type, playing a very physical style but augmenting it with good puck handling skills and a decent wrist shot. He will need to work on his skating if he wants to have any shot at being more than a fringe player in the NHL.

Round 5, Pick 134: D Daniel Kovarik, 18, 6’2”, 199, BIK Karlskoga (ALL): Kovarik earned a reputation as a defense-first defenseman, only putting up 6 points in 52 games in the second-highest level of Swedish hockey. The Czech-born defenseman is almost never out of position, and has a great knack for breaking up plays before they even begin. He also has the conditioning to play big minutes every night.

Round 6, Pick 166: C David McNinch, 19, 5’11”, 199, Augsbuger U19 (DEL2): McNinch is a guy who’s spent a lot of time in the German juniors system, finally getting a handful of games in the DEL this year. His offensive game definitely needs some developing, but in terms of raw skating ability, he’s near the tops of this year’s class. The hope is that some seasoning in the ECHL will help develop the other parts of his game, and that McNinch will be a late-blooming prospect who can contribute in a few years.

Round 7, Pick 208: C Hayden Fowler, 18, 5’11”, 202, Niagara (OHL): Fowler has earned a reputation as a very chippy player, racking up 352 PIMs in just 131 OHL games. He’s got a good scouring touch too, adding 46 goals and 121 points in that same timeframe. Fowler will need to tone down some of his act to have a hope of making an impact at the NHL level - but if he does make it that far, he’ll be bringing a strong work ethic and great stick handling to the big show.

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Old 04-15-2017, 04:03 PM   #37
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Vegas enters the offseason after their 3rd year as a team many think is very close to making the leap, but still has some holes on the roster. The biggest news coming out of the T-Mobile Arena this year was GM/Head Coach Dan Hampton relinquishing half of that title, stepping down as the head coach and announcing the hiring of former Capitals coach Adam Oates. “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done on this team, and having my attentions divided was detrimental to both the organization as their GM, and to the players as their head coach. With Adam coming in, we have a guy with a strong offensive pedigree as a coach, a guy who we think can get the most out of our players.” Oates has spent the last few years working with the Kings’ AHL & ECHL affiliates.

With the start of a new league year, as always it comes time to say goodbye to players who’ve decided to hang up the skates. Filing this year for retirement were the following: Nick Bonino(ARZ), Troy Brouwer (WPG), Ryan Callahan(TB), Tobias Enstrom(WAS), Michael Frolik(CGY), Jason Garrison(LAK), Andy Greene(NJ), Lauri Korpikoski(WAS), Andrew Ladd(TOR), Paul Martin(NYI), Johnny Oduya(EDM), Peter Regin(ARZ), Tommy Wingels(SEA), Deryk Engelland(ARZ), Loui Eriksson(VAN), Mike Fisher(NJ), Mikko Koivu(ANA), Tomas Plekanac(SEA), Kyle Quincey(NYI), Paul Stastny(STL), & Travis Zajac(NJD).

There weren’t many superstars to call it a career this year, but the outgoing class is highlighted by Ryan Callahan - the tough winger retires after 13 years split between the Rangers and Lightning, playing in 906 games and scoring 210 goals and 441 points. Andrew Ladd retires after seeing his career stall out after his first year with the Islanders - after being picked in the expansion draft, Ladd only played 84 games over parts of 3 seasons due to injuries and ineffectiveness. He finishes with 934 career games played, 239 goals, and 525 points. Mikko Koivu spent has last 2 years with the Ducks after spending the first 13 of his career with Minnesota. Overall, Koivu played in 1,025 games, scored 193 goals, and scored 660 points total. Loui Eriksson was 5 games short of hitting 1,000 for his career - he winds up with 248 goals and 578 points in his career. Paul Stastny was unable to catch up to his father's 1,239 career points, but put up 218 goals and 657 points in 909 career games. Travis Zajac retired with the only team he ever knew in his pro career - his 967 games played are 4th all time for the Devils, his 180 goals are 6th in team history, and he ends up 5th overall on the scoresheet for the franchise with 477 points.

A few coaches decided their time had come, as well. Stars coach Lindy Ruff has set off into the sunset after winning 883 games in his career between Dallas and Buffalo; he’ll be replaced by former Devils coach John Hynes. Claude Julien stepped down from the Sharks as well, after 635 career wins and a Stanley Cup with the Bruins. Another former Devils coach, Larry Robinson, will step into his role and hope to continue keeping the Sharks in playoff contention. Kevin Constantine retired from the Panthers after putting up a 370-372-85-29 record in a strange career that started with the Sharks in 1993 and ended with the Panthers in 2020, but did not have a whole lot in between. Former Jets coach Paul Maurice, last seen coaching Rochester in the AHL, will take over in Sunrise. 66 year old Dave Lewis will be walking away from Pittsburgh, with successful AHL coach Billy Powers taking over the reins for the Penguins.

Finally, longtime Anaheim GM Bob Murray has decided to spend more time with his family. The 2014 GM of the Year, and part of the executive team that helped the Ducks win the 2007 Stanley Cup, Murray leaves behind a long legacy in the sport as both a player and an executive. Barry Harrahan, most recently GM of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the AHL, will attempt to fill the shoes left behind by Murray.

Turning back to player movement, Vegas signed a few of its draft picks in advance of the beginning of free agency. Most notably, they signed last year’s first round pick, Peyton Krebs, to a 3-year entry level deal worth the maximum $925K per year. Krebs decimated the WHL last year, scoring 54 goals and 118 points in 66 games with Kootenay. Most expected him to start last season in Vegas, but even with the extra year in juniors, Krebs is still only 19 and expects to play a big role with the Golden Knights next year. The Knights also signed D Keijo Weibel to a 3-year ELC worth $925K, and C/RW Akil Thomas signed his ELC with an AAV of $765K. Both are expected to start the season in Lowell with the AHL team.

Teams around the league were especially active around the draft this year, with a slew of big-name goalies changing addresses. Detroit sent Jimmy Howard (21-26-5. 3.03, .904) to Washington in exchange for a 4th round pick; somewhat more surprisingly Seattle sent their workhorse Keith Kinkaid (40-30-5, 2.39, .921) to Buffalo in exchange for the Sabres’ 3rd rounder. The day after the draft, Vegas sent the rights to pending UFA Malcolm Subban to the Red Wings in exchange for Detroit’s 4th rounder in next year’s draft; Detroit was unable to reach a deal with him and Subban became a free agent on July 1st, so many around the league are extending kudos to Vegas GM Hampton for getting a pick for basically nothing. Other moves included Anaheim sending D Cam Fowler (82 GP, 15-40-55) to the Flyers in exchange for enigmatic RW Oliver Bjorkstrand (81 GP, 3-11-14). Bjorkstrand finds himself with his 5th organization since the start of the 2017-18 season; Ducks coach Peter Laviolette is hoping that he will be the one to finally unlock the Danish winger’s considerable talent.

As always, we close out our July 1st preview with a listing of The Hockey News’ Top 5 Free Agents by position.

GOALIE
Corey Crawford, 35 (36-19-3, 2.35, .920)
Michael Hutchinson, 30 (35-18-1, 2.25, .915)
Mikko Koskinen, 31 (28-23-8, 3.07, .905)
Ilya Samsonov, 23 (13-14-0, 2.75, .890*)
Malcolm Subban, 26 (9-12-3, 3.25, .901)

Goalie often brings the most name recognition of any position in free agency, because talented netminders are at a premium. That’s why it’s surprising to see that Chicago has let both Crawford and his backup Scott Darling test free agency - even though Darling was horrendous in the playoffs last year, there’s not a ton in the cupboard for the Blackhawks. Perhaps they’ll take a run at a guy like Hutchinson, the reigning Jennings Trophy winner, who was allowed to walk by the Lightning with Andrei Vasilevskiy in the wings. Koskinen once again finds himself on the market, and will bring his reliable, if not spectacular, numbers wherever he goes. Samsonov is a former first round pick of the Capitals, who lost their exclusivity on their 2015 first round pick this year. He put up middling numbers in the KHL, but is still only 23 and can offer big upside to whichever team meets his asking price. Subban struggled to justify his former first-round status in Vegas - still only 26, many think that moving to a team with a stronger defensive corps will finally allow him to uncork his full potential.

DEFENSEMEN
Shayne Gostisbehere, 27 (77 GP, 12-37-49)
Justin Schultz, 29 (77 GP, 13-43-56)
Connor Carrick, 26 (60 GP, 11-17-28)
Ryan Murphy, 27 (71 GP, 8-25-33)
Ryan Sproul, 27 (48 GP, 8-18-26)

Gostisbehere might be the biggest name on the free agent market - both in amount of letters, and in potential for a huge contract. Still just 27, he’s had double-digit goals and at least 46 points in each of the 5 seasons he played with Philadelphia. Schultz is another offensively-minded blue liner who, while a couple years older, should command a similar contract. Carrick and Sproul are more traditional two-way defenders, but both are still fairly young and would make great second-pair players. Finally, former first round pick Murphy reaches free agency - the 27 year old had his best year as a pro last season, but struggled throughout his time in Carolina to find a consistent spot in the lineup.

LEFT WING
Mikhail Grigorenko, 26 (66 GP, 12-21-33)
Milan Lucic, 32 (80 GP, 11-18-29)
Jesper Fast, 28 (80 GP, 24-45-69)
Andrew Cogliano, 33 (55 GP, 18-18-36)
Nikita Filatov, 30 (80 GP, 13-16-29)

Left wing is probably the deepest forward group on the free agent market this year. You’ve got strong veteran players like Lucic and Cogliano available; while they might not provide the same scoring punch they did earlier in their careers, they can still play at a high level and should demand fairly well-sized contracts. Jesper Fast has the highest scoring numbers of anyone who played in the NHL last year, but comes with the caveat that he was playing on a bad Kings team; he’s probably more suited to a second line situation, and that may affect his payday. Filatov and Grigorenko are both former first round picks who’ve bounced around more than a few times; perhaps the right coach and system will finally fully unlock what each has to offer. UDFA Dylan Malmquist is also available; the 23 year old finished his career at Notre Dame with 55 goals and 150 points in 142 career games.

CENTER
Charlie Coyle, 28 (82 GP, 13-21-34)
Dmitrij Jaskin, 27 (82 GP, 15-33-48)
Tage Thompson, 22 (20 GP, 1-4-5)
Drew Shore, 29 (82 GP, 5-19-24)
Jason Dickinson, 24 (21 GP, 0-3-3)

Coyle had his worst full season as a pro since at the worst time, struggling along with everyone else on a bad Wild team. He’s just a year removed from a 62 point season, though, so the bounce back potential is there. Jaskin plugged in as a nice second line center on the Blues, and brings a strong two-way game wherever he goes. Shore is a solid 3rd line center - great on the draw, and a strong contributor on the PK. Thompson is young and hasn’t had a lot of experience - in three years since leaving UConn, he’s only managed 159 games between the AHL & NHL combined. He’s a big (6’5”, 219) kid though, and shows huge potential. Dickinson is a guy who was squeezed out by a group of similar forwards in Las Vegas; he had a strong first year with the Golden Knights, but injuries and ineffectiveness limited him to 45 games over the past two seasons. He’s still just 24, and could be a solid 4th line center for the right club.

RIGHT WING
Josh Bailey, 30 (80 GP, 19-21-40)
Brett Ritchie, 27 (61 GP, 7-15-22)
Mikkel Boedker, 30 (49 GP, 4-6-10)
Nathan Noel, 23 (60 GP, 3-9-12)
Anatoli Golyshev, 25 (49 GP, 24-27-51**)

Right wing is the thinnest position group amongst the free agent class, being headlined by Josh Bailey, a career Islander who already has 877 games on his body despite being only 30 years old. Bailey is about a 0.5 point/game player, and is versatile enough to play in any forward position. Brett Ritchie has bounced around the last few years as teams have given up on him reaching his potential, but he does bring a big (6’3”, 234) body to whichever team signs him. Boedker showed flashes of his old self in Pittsburgh last year, but may be washed up. The wild cards are Noel and Golyshev. Noel is just 23 and only has 120 games NHL experience, but has shown a knack for being a strong playmaker. Golyshev has been lights out in the VHL, but concerns about his size (5’7”, 189) have kept him from even making the KHL - giving NHL scouts pause about his ability to play here.

(*-KHL Stats **-VHL Stats)

Last edited by dannibalcorpse; 04-15-2017 at 04:25 PM. Reason: whoops it crashed after i posted this and a few things changed
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Old 04-24-2017, 02:30 AM   #38
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Patiently waiting for the next episode. :P
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Old 05-13-2017, 01:24 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Senko1291 View Post
Patiently waiting for the next episode. :P
Work has been super busy, and not gonna lie, but the new OOTP has been a bigger distraction than I thought. I'm gonna get back on the horse pretty soon though!
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