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Ryan Johansen and finding comparable talent (What We Learned) (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 01 Sep 2014 11:20:31 PDT)
(Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.) The Ryan Johansen saga stretches on and on in Columbus and neither side seems willing to budge especially far from their dug-in positions on the matter of the young center's new contract. Everyone agrees a two-year term seems wise, but when it comes to the money, not so much. Johansen wants $7 million per. The Jackets would prefer that number be $4 million per. You can see the issue. Anyone not directly involved with Johansen professionally or personally likely recognizes that $7 million is a big ask, but that the Jackets' number is probably not enough to be commensurate with a kid who just turned 22 a month ago and already has a 33-goal season under his belt. So it was a little surprising for Columbus to come out over the weekend and say, basically, that they're not unwilling to go into the season without Johansen signed, and would likely just bump every center on the depth chart up a spot. This would, of course, be detrimental to Columbus's chances of winning. That gets to the issue of what Johansen is really worth, and specifically, what would be a fair price to pay him for the next two years. It must be said that $7 million per is not a reasonable ask for Johansen's camp considering what we know of the NHL's newly rediscovered penchant for dishing out “bridge contracts” to guys whose entry-level deals are expiring; if elite players like P.K. Subban can take much shorter money than that, so too should Johansen. That's a semi-reasonable argument. But you gotta pay your talent, and Johansen's camp could contend that their client is very demonstrably the biggest talent on the team, as long as you ignore that troubled first-107-games-of-his-career stretch, in which he only scored 14 goals and 19 assists. So the question that needs to be hashed out is simple: Is Johansen actually this 33-goal guy? He is pretty clearly not the six-to-nine-goals guy of the first two years of his career, which were troubled to say the least (and not always through any fault of his own, though the AHL healthy-scratches can't be that far from his memory). But if you're paying someone $7 million, you better be damn sure that's the kind of production you're getting. Otherwise, it's all acrimony. There is no sure way to know the future, of course, and every player develops differently, but you can start to construct a pretty reasonable expectation for what Johansen might be able to bring in his age-22 season based on statistical looks at other 21-year-old players who put up similar numbers to him. Pretty simple, really. For one thing, you have to keep in mind that players' shot and point production tends to increase steadily from ages 18 to 24 or 25, so the likelihood that Johansen takes a step back in that regard doesn't seem particularly large. The good news is that the comparables for players who produced similar to Johansen in their age-21 seasons since the 2005-06 lockout (when goaltending was at a level similar to today's numbers, and with players who are mostly still in the league) are of a good quality. Among the six players who put up similar shots per game (2.89 in Johansen's case) and a high shooting percentage (13.3) when they were 21, Johansen was fifth in points (63) and tied for fifth in goals (33, deadlocked with some kid named Sidney Crosby). The rest of the company looks pretty good too: Steven Stamkos, Evgeni Malkin, Eric Staal, Phil Kessel. That alone tells you how rare a season Johansen enjoyed last year. All five of those guys went on to significant success as point producers, obviously, and are for the most part very deservedly among the highest-paid players in the game. Speaks very well for Johansen's ability to claim he's elite. However, it's worth noting that while those six guys were the only ones in the nine seasons to put up at least 2.8 shots per game and shoot at least 13 percent, Johansen trailed dramatically in both those categories. None of the other players put up fewer than 3.09 shots per game, some 7 percent more than Johansen. That's a number which is not insignificant. Further, lots of guys can put up high shooting percentages, and thus score a lot of goals, in one- or even two-season bursts. So is that success sustainable? In short, no. All those guys — save for Crosby, with whom Johansen was tied — posted higher shooting percentages as 21-year-olds, and all of them — save for Crosby, again — also saw their scoring efficiency take a big hit in their age-22 seasons. Even when accounting for Crosby's huge jump forward in shooting percentage, the average decline in shooting percentage among this elite group was 2.88 points (or a drop of 16.8 percent of their total shooting percentages). Most also saw their shots per game increase significantly (an extra .28 shots per game, or an increase of 9.08 percent), though, which helped to even out the goalscoring issue.  But again, they were shooting at truly stratospheric levels to begin with, meaning that their shot volumes and percentages were both miles ahead of Johansen's, so any kind of dropoff for them wouldn't be nearly as noticeable as one for a player whose numbers were not quite so sterling.  That is, if Johansen regresses in terms of shooting percentage and still increases his shots per game in ways that are more or less in line with these other averages, he should still see a decline in goal production even as his shots go up. This is by no means scientific, because again, every player is different, but it wouldn't be surprising at all to see Johansen bump his shots per game up to the 3.1 or 3.2 range (up about 9 percent), but his goal number overall still drop because his shooting percentage could drop by something like 2.3 points to the 11.6 percent area. And wouldn't you know it, that's right in the area of his career shooting percentage of 11.2. If those numbers hold up, that puts his goal total at about 30 goals or so on about 260 shots. Which, finally, brings us to the question of who shoots in the area of at least 11.6 percent in their age-22 seasons and scores 30-plus goals? You're looking at elite company for Johansen: Crosby and Malkin both make the list again, but most of the others get bumped off. In favor of Alex Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Alex Semin, Tyler Seguin, Bobby Ryan, and Anze Kopitar. Here, too, we see very strong company. And while Johansen would, once again, be at the lower end of this list in terms of production (his theoretical shot and goal totals would scrape the bottom), there's no arguing that these are legitimately excellent players. It seems that those banking on a big step back for a player of Johansen's caliber probably won't end up making money on such a beat. Even if you build some serious wiggle room into the comparables (just 3 shots per game instead of 3.15, and a shooting percentage of 10 instead of 11.6), you're still coming up with a small list of guys who are almost exclusively first-line players forwards. There's one outlier on that new list, and it's Devin Setoguchi; Johansen doesn't play with a distributor of Joe Thornton's caliber, and probably never will. So no, Johansen's probably not worth $7 million per season. Yet. At least, last season is not something for which you give him $7 million and hope he justifies it. But he probably will be within the next two seasons. He obviously isn't on the level of Crosby or Malkin or Ovechkin or Stamkos or Kessel or Kopitar or Kovalchuk or most of the other guys mentioned above (he's better than Setoguchi, it goes without saying), but if your name keeps popping up on statistical lists with them, then that has to mean something. Johansen's breakout was last season, and it's one that it would frankly be surprising to see him repeat this year. With that having been said, betting considerable success, even if there is a slight step back, would be a mistake. You take 30ish goals from just about anyone.  This kid is going places, but he needs to realize he hasn't arrived quite yet. What We Learned Anaheim Ducks : Who's the starting goalie for the Ducks next year? Don't ask Bruce Boudreau, because he doesn't know yet . Arizona Coyotes : Expansion would help the Coyotes because all the fees from it would help keep them afloat . Know what else would help? Moving to a real market. See ya. Boston Bruins : Former Bruins first-round pick Zach Hamill, who hasn't been in the NHL since he got 16 games in 2011-12, signed with a Finnish team this weekend. The Bruins took him one pick before the Sharks selected Logan Couture. Buffalo Sabres : The Rochester Americans will play a game in Buffalo on Oct. 29. So many NHL games at First Niagara next season, eh? Calgary Flames : That Tyler Dellow saying about “You don't become the Chicago Blackhawks by loading up on their rejects?” Someone might want to let the Flames know . Carolina Hurricanes : Eric Staal has been dealing with a lot of injuries the last few years, but now he thinks he's good and healthy again. I think the term here is “cautious optimism.” Chicago Blackhawks : If Jeremy Morin doesn't get anything done this season , he probably won't get anything done in Chicago ever. Colorado Avalanche : Avs prospect Tomas Vincour may or may not be coming over to play in the bigs next season. Even his Czech league team, though, seems a bit iffy on it. Columbus Blue Jackets : Columbus prospect Markus Soberg might become a very, very good junior player this season. Because what the Jackets need is more high-quality prospects coming in. Don't have enough of those yet. Dallas Stars : This summer has led to almost unbridled enthusiasm for the Stars' chances in the coming season. So here's a list of lingering concerns to let all the air out of things. Detroit Red Wings : An associate economics professor at the University of Michigan Flint argues that the Red Wings' new arena would be a bad investment for both the city and state . You don't say. Edmonton Oilers : Craig MacTavish says Justin Schultz has “ Norris Trophy potential ” for some reason. He almost certainly does not. Florida Panthers : P.K. Subban practicing at the Panthers' practice rink is the biggest Panthers news of the weekend. Great. Los Angeles Kings : Marian Gaborik will lead the Kings in goals this season? That's a prediction I wonder about. But him scoring 40, I think, is doubtful. Minnesota Wild : Mike Yeo doesn't know who his starter is yet, but this might just be the first time in NHL history a returning playoff team has a three-way battle for the spot . Montreal Canadiens : Carey Price was recently named an ambassador for First Nations people . This is a really nice story.  Nashville Predators, America's Favorite Hockey Team : The Preds probably won't be too affected by NHL expansion. Take all the guys at the bottom of their roster. They dare you. New Jersey Devils : Before he got the invite to Devils training camp, Scott Gomez was thinking about retirement . This is basically the exact opposite of surprising news. Dude's made almost $63 million in his career. New York Islanders : Ryan Strome is going to have a “breakout” season ? Just another reason to bet on the Isles doing very well in the East. New York Rangers : Glad that's settled . Ottawa Senators : Looks like the Senators might re-extend their affiliation deal with Binghamton soon. Hey, great. Philadelphia Flyers : Ron Hextall says he likes to look at all the analytics before making decisions about his team, but also will keep Steve Mason as his starter despite the high risk of regression to garbage numbers. Hmmm. Pittsburgh Penguins : The Pens say Derrick Pouliot will be ready to start the season , and having his former junior coach behind the bench likely means that he can expect a pretty big role. San Jose Sharks : The Sharks might still trade those Joe Thornton or Patrick Marleau guys? No kidding. St. Louis Blues : A Blues fan giving Brian Elliott's new contract a better grade than Paul Stastny's is shocking. I'm not sure about that one at all. Well, I am sure about it: It's crazy. Tampa Bay Lightning : Andrei Vasilievsky is probably going to play in the AHL this season , and that'll be good for Syracuse's chances. Dude's career save percentage in the comparable KHL is .923. Which is pretty good. Toronto Maple Leafs : William Nylander might be the most exciting rookie with a chance of making the Leafs in a long time. I'd be really excited to be able to watch this kid 82 times a year. Vancouver Canucks : Jim Benning maintains his own personal depth chart for every team in the league , made out of felt. See, he's just as big a nerd as you are. Washington Capitals : Barry Trotz says he'll still keep a close eye on the Preds next season. What a nice fellow. Winnipeg Jets : Yeah, no kidding . Gold Star Award

Former NHL defenseman Vadnais dies (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 01 Sep 2014 09:06:03 PDT)
NEW YORK (AP) -- Former NHL defenseman Carol Vadnais, a six-time all-star, has died. He was 68.

Puck Daddy's Most Disappointing Summer Series: Toronto Maple Leafs Edition (Puck Daddy)
(Sat, 30 Aug 2014 11:36:53 PDT)


Puck Daddy's Most Disappointing Summer Series: Vancouver Canucks Edition (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 29 Aug 2014 14:49:56 PDT)


Jersey Fouls: An Avalanche of failure; Wild consolidation; Kovalchuk hate (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 29 Aug 2014 14:05:05 PDT)
Jersey Fouls is our ongoing exploration of the rules and etiquette for proper hockey jersey creation and exhibition. If you spot what you think may be a foul in your arena, email a photo to us at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com for inclusion in future installment.

Puck Daddy's Most Disappointing Summer Series: Pittsburgh Penguins Edition (Puck Daddy)
(Thu, 28 Aug 2014 14:24:14 PDT)


Puck Daddy's Most Disappointing Summer Series: Philadelphia Flyers Edition (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 27 Aug 2014 15:58:40 PDT)


Scott Gomez comes crawling back to the NJ Devils on tryout (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 27 Aug 2014 15:27:03 PDT)
On July 2, 2007, Scott Gomez made a decision that affected the rest of his career. It was a decision made for financial gain, which was his right as an unrestricted free agent, and it was a decision that would adversely affect his relationship with fans that had supported him for seven years -- in that he left the New Jersey Devils for their arch rivals, the New York Rangers.   Devils GM Lou Lamoriello, however, understood that for both Gomez and Brian Rafalski, who signed with Detroit on the same day, it was business. Nothing personal. “They gave us everything while they were here and we'd like to think that we've given them a reciprocal situation,” he said. So seven years later – after Gomez became an overpriced pariah, involved in one of the most lopsided trades in recent NHL history and whose inability to score a goal made him a national punchline – the former Devils center, 34, is now an unsigned training camp tryout for the team. From Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger: "He felt he still had a lot of hockey in him and he's been working out this summer so I told him to come to camp," Lamoriello said. "There are no promises. We certainly know what he has the capability of doing. This is no different than with Petr Sykora." Sykora won a job with the Devils as an unsigned tryout in 2011 and proved to be a valuable addition. "Seeing LeBron (James) go home kind of inspired me to do the same thing. The reception is a little different, but..." Gomez joked. Gomez was bought out by the Montreal Canadiens in 2012 and latched on with the San Jose Sharks the following season, having gone the “unsigned tryout” route with them as well. He was signed by the Florida Panthers last season, scoring 2 goals and 10 assists in 46 games last season.  Lamoriello also addressed the expected fan backlash to the potential reunion: “That's never a concern of mine. A player leaves for whatever reasons.” You know what? Sometimes time does heal all wounds. And while Gomez’s decision to take the money and run to MSG may have forever changed his reputation with some Devils fans, I’d argue he’s been sufficiently humbled since then. To the point where Scott Gomex rejoining the Devils would be a feel-good story; and I never thought I’d type that back on July 2, 2007.  

Yahoo Fantasy Hockey: Ranking goalies will save your season (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:15:46 PDT)
This week, your friends at Puck Daddy are offering a variety of fantasy hockey previews ahead of the 2014-15 season. By  Darryl Dobbs In many fantasy hockey leagues, goalies make up close 10 percent of your roster, but account for 40% to 50% of your categories. Choosing wisely when it comes to netminders is crucial and if you get stuck with a below average group your chances of success are slim. I’ve been using a tiered system for several years and most of the time goaltending has been an asset to my team. Sure, there was the one year where I had one injured and one struck by a case of Masonitis. But for the most part, it’s a position that I don’t have to worry about mid-season. Tiering your goaltenders prior to drafting is a great way to help with decision making. The main thing to remember when setting up your 'Tiers' is that it's not just about skill and production. Often, it’s about opportunity and team strength. Michal Neuvirth is a talented goalie, but splitting starts with Jhonas Enroth on a team that will struggle for even 30 wins makes him next to fantasy useless. Frederik Andersen and John Gibson are two of the better goaltenders in the league in terms of talent, but the likelihood of splitting starts almost down the middle make both of them less valuable than say Corey Crawford – who is on a top team and is the clear No.1. Never start drafting goaltenders until there is a chance that you will miss out on all of your Tier 1 goalies. Then make sure you get one. After that, go back to forwards and defensemen until there is a chance that the Tier 2 goalies will be scooped up. Whatever happens - make sure you have at least one from Tier 1 and one from your Tier 2 (or a second from Tier 1 if one of them falls too far). Tier 1 The cream of the crop. Posting 35-40 wins should be in the cards for this group as well as some great GAA and SV% totals. Unless something happens like a major injury, or they get traded to Buffalo. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins After back-to-back pro-rated 36 wins (or more) seasons, Rask is firmly entrenched as one of the top goaltenders to own. Given his GAA and SV% last season (2.04 and 0.930) he's arguably the best. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks Crawford slipped last year due to a couple of nagging minor injuries and bouts of inconsistency. The latter will probably continue in the season ahead, but it doesn't matter - the Blackhawks will still play the hell out of him and the Blackhawks will still win a ton of games. Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets Bob followed up a Vezina Trophy season with a 32-win campaign and some strong supplemental numbers to go with it. For the second straight year he started out slow (4-8-0 to start 2013-14), so if he can fix that issue he'll flirt with 40 wins. But for now you may want to consider benching him the occasional start in October. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens Pro-rating the lockout year, Price has averaged 36 wins over his last three seasons. His 2.32 and 0.927 numbers last year were career bests and he's only now entering his prime. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers Lundqvist is about as "money in the bank" as goaltenders get in the NHL, though he sure had our faith shaken a bit last October and November. At the Christmas break he was 10-15-2 with a save percentage of just 0.906. He was back to his old self in the second half, but his streak of consecutive seasons of at least a 0.920 SV% was in jeopardy. Since 2008-09 he never dipped below that number to end a season. Two one-goal games to end the 2013-14 campaign eked him up to 0.920. So yeah, he can continue to hold his head high. Because otherwise a man with his looks and his bank account would have no reason to do that. Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins Last I checked, fantasy leagues only count the regular season. And Fleury is a potential 40-game winner any way you slice it. You already know his reputation in the playoffs. Just for kicks, go look at his save percentage each playoff year throughout his career - even going back to junior hockey. Shocking. Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning While Bishop just has the one big season to go by (37 wins), I'll give you nearly 12 million reasons why he'll at least come close to repeating the effort. That two-year deal was for huge money and he'll see 65 starts if healthy.

Puck Daddy's Most Disappointing Summer Series: Anaheim Ducks Edition (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 26 Aug 2014 20:53:15 PDT)


Yahoo Fantasy Hockey: The studs and sleepers on defense (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 26 Aug 2014 13:58:07 PDT)
All week, your friends at Puck Daddy drop some fantasy hockey knowledge on you ahead of the 2014-15 season. Undisputed Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators  – Karlsson is still the best defenseman in fantasy hockey. By far. He is the Sidney Crosby of defensemen. Next Up Shea Weber, Nashville Predators  – Weber has always been a good fantasy own, but his value in real hockey is absolutely elite. Now that the Preds have a more offensive-minded coach, Weber could well top 60 points and see his fantasy value match his 'real' value. P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens  – If you're not sold already, by the end of the 2014-15 season you'll see why he was given a $72 million contract. Boom or Bust Mike Green, Washington Capitals  – It's rare when a defenseman tops 70 points. That's why Karlsson is so valuable. So when you consider that Green has done it twice and is only now in his prime, poolies will keep drafting him and hoping for a return to glory even five years from now. Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins - One injury after another and just when you figured it couldn't get any worse - last year happened. If Letang can play even 65 games he's a good bet for 60-plus points. The Stars These next few players are the rest of the true fantasy stars on defense. Victor Hedman  – I wouldn't be surprised if Hedman finished second in defensemen scoring this year. His rise in production year after year has been steady and consistent. Keith Yandle, Phoenix Coyotes  – Not only is the 27-year-old Yandle coming off of the second 50-point season of his career, but he also hasn't missed a game since 2009. Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks  – I won't be drafting the reigning Norris Trophy winner this year because I don't value him at the 61 points he tallied last year. The last time he topped 60 points, he followed it up with three years of 45-ish points. Other managers will draft him very, very, very, very early. So I'll let them. Christian Ehrhoff, Pittsburgh Penguins  – I don't have to tell you what Ehrhoff's signing with the Penguins means in fantasy hockey. Do I? Three words: Ca. Reer. High. Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild  – After averaging 27:16 per game in 2012-13, Suter took it one step further, seeing 29:24 per game last season. If anything, his numbers were hurt by the added workload, but he's still a lock to clear 40 points. Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues  – Still only 25, Shattenkirk is coming off of career highs in goals, assists and points. Five of his 10 goals were game winners, too. Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues  – Pietrangelo hit 51 points for the second time in his career. Even though he's taking on more defensive responsibility and letting teammate Shattenkirk shoulder the offense, he's still putting up big numbers. Niklas Kronwall, Detroit Red Wings  – He may be 33 but he seems to be just getting started. Coming off the second best season of his career, Kronwall should have an easier time of it this year with a healthy Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, as well as the emergence of Gustav Nyquist. Alex Goligoski, Dallas Stars  – Goligoski managed 42 points last season despite starting off the year pointless in nine games. Add in the fact that the Stars have more firepower now than they did last season and Goligoski is primed for a big year.  

The 10 most fascinating NHL players in 2014-15 (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 26 Aug 2014 05:35:43 PDT)


Puck Daddy's Most Disappointing Summer Series: Detroit Red Wings Edition (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 25 Aug 2014 14:26:23 PDT)
 

Nichushkin, Horton power Cubeta's fantasy sleepers (NHL)
(Mon, 25 Aug 2014 08:00:00 PDT)
This week, NHL.com fantasy insiders Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen and Matt Sitkoff take in-depth looks at underrated players who should be on your fantasy team's radar entering drafts. Each expert will provide 10 sleeper picks with corresponding stat projections (in order of preference), along with five additional candidates for fantasy owners to keep an eye on. Find out who made the cut on Matt Cubeta's sleepers list from last season SOG: 128 | +/-: 20 At 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, there shouldn't be much standing in the way of Nichushkin turning into a fantasy mainstay in 2014-15.

What We Learned: Preparing for Toronto Maple Leafs civil war (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 25 Aug 2014 06:52:03 PDT)


Puck Daddy's Most Disappointing Summer Series: Nashville Predators Edition (Puck Daddy)
(Sun, 24 Aug 2014 12:41:56 PDT)


Puck Daddy's Summer of Disappointment: Columbus Blue Jackets Edition (Puck Daddy)
(Sat, 23 Aug 2014 07:36:45 PDT)


Puck Daddy's Summer of Disappointment: Chicago Blackhawks Edition (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:48:54 PDT)


Puck Daddy's Most Disappointing Summer Series: Tampa Bay Lightning Edition (Puck Daddy)
(Thu, 21 Aug 2014 14:52:29 PDT)


Puck Daddy's Summer of Disappointment: Montreal Canadiens Edition (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 13:37:35 PDT)


Puck Daddy's Summer of Disappointment: Buffalo Sabres Edition (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 13:20:11 PDT)


Puck Daddy's Summer of Disappointment: Carolina Hurricanes Edition (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 18 Aug 2014 13:14:54 PDT)


NHL Combine goes to Buffalo; Winter Classic needs a home; Milano heading to OHL (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 18 Aug 2014 10:27:27 PDT)
Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media. All the Sutter Brothers together with there Mom and 8 #stanleycup combined @HockeyHallFame @NHL @lakingspr pic.twitter.com/2Usnz7rdML — Philip Pritchard (@keeperofthecup) August 16, 2014 • The Sutter family recently spent some time with their very close friend Stanley. • The NHL announced today that Buffalo will host the scouting combine for at least the next two years. [ NHL.com ] • Why hasn’t the NHL announced a location for the 2015 Winter Classic in D.C. yet? [ Washington Post ] • After saying for weeks that he was going to Boston College, Columbus Blue Jackets first round pick Sonny Milano has now decided to play for Plymouth of the OHL next season. [ Buzzing the Net ] • The Blue Jackets insist they played no part in Milano’s decision. [ Columbus Dispatch ] • Slipped into Steve Simmons’ Sunday column is that Brendan Shanahan’s deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs is worth $2.5 million a year for five years. MLSE money, baby. [ Toronto Sun ] • Alex Burmistrov makes it sound like he’ll be returing to the Winnipeg Jets as early as the 2015-16 season. [ Winnipeg Sun ] • Talking with Lou Lamoriello convinced Mike Cammalleri that New Jersey was the place for him to sign. [ THN ] • Speaking of the Devils, they expect to lose money this coming season, but that’s OK. [ Fire & Ice ] • Sidney Crosby says his ailing wrist is healing very nicely and he’ll be ready for training camp. [ AP via TSN ] • When will Las Vegas get a professional sports franchise? [ Las Vegas Sun ] • Chris Stewart on the Buffalo Sabres’ chances for the 2014-15 season: "I think on paper right now there's no doubt in my mind that we're a playoff-bound team.” [ NHL.com ] • Montreal Canadiens prospect Tim Bozon is back on the ice and doing well after battling meningitis earlier this year. [ Montreal Gazette ] • A neat inside look at the process of making the AHL schedule. [ AHL ] • Could the amount of depth the Boston Bruins have hurt your fantasy team? [ Dobber Hockey ] • Which LA King has the cutest dog? The answer may surprise you... or maybe not. DOGS! [ The Royal Half ] • Breaking down how a worldwide Champions League-style league for hockey could work. [ Too Many Men on the Site ]  • Finally, here's some overhead gameplay from NHL 15

What We Learned: What do players really owe their NHL teams? (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 18 Aug 2014 05:58:12 PDT)


Puck Daddy's Most Disappointing Summer Series: Florida Panthers Edition (Puck Daddy)
(Sun, 17 Aug 2014 14:20:13 PDT)


Puck Daddy's Summer of Disappointment Series: Los Angeles Kings Edition (Puck Daddy)
(Sat, 16 Aug 2014 13:24:22 PDT)


Puck Daddy's Summer of Disappointment: New Jersey Devils Edition (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 15 Aug 2014 14:00:36 PDT)
(Ed. Note: There’s entirely too much sunshine in the summer. So your friends at Puck Daddy are offering a month of thrown shade and perpetual gloom. Behold, our Summer of Disappointment series, in which we ask fans of all 30 teams to recall the biggest bummer moments, teams and players in franchise history! Please wade into their misery like a freezing resort pool, and add your own choices in the comments!) By Greg Wyshynski, Puck Daddy Editor (and Jersey native) Most Disappointing Team: 1995-96 New Jersey Devils I was tempted to put the 1988-89 Devils here, which was a team that followed their first-ever playoff appearance with a fifth-place clunker that saw their point total drop by 16, with mostly the same roster. But at least that playoff team was one that needed to qualify in the last game of the season. It’s not like they, you know, won the Stanley Cup or anything ... The 1995-96 Devils were, on the other hand, defending Stanley Cup champions and hence their failure to make the playoffs the following year – becoming the first NHL team to go from top of the playoffs to out of the money since 1970 – was the franchise’s greatest disappointment. Devoid of the chemistry they showed in 1995, lackluster seasons from key players and a Cup hangover that lasted through December. Just an ugly season, and not just because they traded for Esa Tikkanen. Most Disappointing Devil: Neil Brady I wanted to keep this one to homegrown Devils and not ones acquired in trades, because, seriously, Esa Tikkanen. So the most disappointing Devils is then an indisputable bust named Neil Brady. He was awesome in juniors with Medicine Hat, including 83 points in 72 games one season. The Devils saw him as a dynamic forward that could slot behind Kirk Muller for years to come, and drafted him No. 3 overall in 1986. As one Devil at the time once relayed to me: Brady showed up in camp and was winded during the most basic drills, and the veterans let him know about it. Confidence shattered, Beef O‘Brady would play 29 games with the Devils before being shipped to the expansion Ottawa Senators. He scored their first-ever goal had a career-high 29 points in 57 games. Alas, he would play only 89 games total in the NHL, spending the majority of his veteran playing days in the IHL. So he was a huge bust, but no biggie – it’s not like Vincent Damphousse or Brian Leetch were on the draft board at No. 3. Oh, right, they were. Le sigh … Most Disappointing Moment in Devils History: Niedermayer leaves No, not the Stephane Matteau goal. Three Cups, including one the following season, should have stitched up that pulsating wound. Not to mention Adam Henrique in 2012. No, not Parise leaving for Minnesota, but it comes close. No, not Kovalchuk leaving for Russia, because at the end of the day, cap recapture is a thing and the Devils got out under a contract that was toxic in the new CBA.  No, the most disappointing moment was Scott Niedermayer leaving to play with his brother. To set the scene: It was after the lockout. Scott Stevens was likely headed to retirement, due to post-concussion syndrome. Niedermayer was about to inherit the mantle as the Devils’ franchise defensive player. They offered him five years and $1 million annually more than the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim did. ($7.8 million per season!) But they couldn’t offer Rob Niedermayer. So Scotty left to play with his bro and won a fourth Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007. The Devils have yet to win one without Scott Niedermayer on the roster. Most Disappointing Devils Transaction: The Doug Gilmour Trade The word is “disappointing,” not worst. Worst could be Sean O’Donnell for Willie Mitchell, in hindsight. Or, you know, Esa Tikkanen. But for many of us, getting Gilmour was the first time the Devils were ever the belle of the trade deadline ball. It was the first time the Devils acquired a star offensive player near his prime (with due respect to Peter Stastny, Bernie Nicholls and Neal Broten). The full Feb. 1997 trade was Dave Ellett, Doug Gilmour and a 3rd round selection (previously acquired - Andre Lakos) from Toronto to the New Jersey Devils for Jason Smith, Steve Sullivan and the rights to Alyn McCauley. Ellett was a pylon. Gilmour played 83 games for the Devils, scoring 75 points. But he had four points in 10 playoff games in 1996-97, before scoring five in six games in the 1998 loss to the Ottawa Senators, proving you can take the boy out of the Battle of Ontario, but yadda yadda yadda … The other side of the trade featured Smith, who would go on to have a solid NHL career as a stay-at-home defenseman; Sullivan a spark-plug offensive player for the next decade; and McCauley, while never reaching his potential due to concussions, ended up as a serviceable forward for the Leafs and the Sharks. In hindsight, it was a move the Devils still should have made. But Gilmour simply never fulfilled the promise of that jaw-dropping acquisition. Most Disappointing Devils Coach/Executive: John MacLean He went from scoring the most important goal in Devils history to being its most hapless head coach, lasting 33 games and nine wins before getting the axe in 2010-11. Most disappointing, overwhelmed, terrible … really, pick your poison. Most Disappointing Devils Fashion Choice: No Black Jersey

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