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Puck Daddy’s NHL 2014-15 Emoji Preview: Montreal Canadiens (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 16 Sep 2014 15:26:18 PDT)
(The 2014-15 NHL season is nearly upon us, and attempting to handicap the winners and losers can sometimes leave us speechless. So we decided to break down all 30 teams with the next best thing to words: Emojis!)   Last Season In Emojis

Kitchener Rangers' Brandon Robinson has scary face-first collision with boards during NHL prospect tournament (VIDEO) (Buzzing The Net)
(Mon, 15 Sep 2014 20:59:28 PDT)
In the here and now, the Kitchener Rangers' Brandon Robinson is perhaps fortunate to have not suffered a more grievous injury. In the long run, the footage of the 18-year-old crashing face-first into the boards on Monday night while playing for the Detroit Red Wings rookie squad at the Traverse City, Mich., prospect tournament should give pause to wonder about whether those events are good for the overall health of young players. During the third period on Monday, Robinson collided into the boards, leading to a scary scene where the former OHL first-round pick lay motionless on the ice for several minutes . The good news is that Robinson, who on the cusp of his fourth junior season, is " moving well and talking ," although he was to undergo X-rays in order to determine if he suffered a cervical spinal fracture. As best as one can tell, it was a freak incident. Robinson was trying to check a Wild defenceman when he hurtled over him and hit the glass.  It goes without saying the same play just as easily could have happened in a junior league game. At the same time, taking into consideration the facial injuries the Columbus Blue Jackets first-round pick Sonny Milano suffered on Friday and Vancouver Canucks farmhand's Frank Corrado's gratuitous forearm to the head of Calgary Flames rookie Johnny Gaudreau , it's within reason to question the greater worth of these September prospect tournaments. It goes without saying that the NHL clubs see it essential for helping instil expectations in the players in their pipeline, even though a lot of the participants are undrafted free agents. However, the high-intensity environment of a short tournament involving eager-to-please players willing to do anything to impress the coaches/GM/director of amateur scouting might carry a heightened injury risk. It's also probably emotionally draining for players who believe they're playing for a contract and, if unsuccessful, still have a whole season to complete.   That is, admittedly, an emotional argument based on anecdote. The one saving grace is Robinson was not worse, probably thanks to being in his physical prime at a burly 6-foot-3 and 216 pounds. He was seen wearing a neck brace Tuesday morning and doctors said he can resume his hockey career when he's ready. Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet .

Gauthier nicked in Leafs rookie tournament; OHL East no longer least: the coast-to-coast (Buzzing The Net)
(Mon, 15 Sep 2014 07:40:36 PDT)
Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ... WHL Calgary's Greg Chase : from seventh-rounder to signed Edmonton Oilers draft pick. ( Edmonton Journal ,  The Pipeline Show ) The Victoria Royals are "not sneaking up on anybody anymore," says GM Cam Hope . ( Victoria Times-Colonist ) New Edmonton coach Steve Hamilton is bent on making sure the defending champs don't give up their title meekly. ( The Pipeline Show ) Applying the NCAA's 'student-athlete' nomenclature to major junior players falls a bit flat. But junior hockey is a complex business. ( Jefferson Public Radio ) Kudos to Andrew Schopp for getting "morose" into a game story. That sums up most preseason games. ( Prince Albert Daily Herald ) OHL The Niagara IceDogs have been moderately successful while playing in cramped quarters for seven seasons; Steve Clark explains how moving to the larger Meridian Centre could changes things for the Central Division franchise. ( The Pipeline Show ) Do the Vancouver Canucks really want to make Bo Horvat a shutdown centre at such an early age? ( Metro Vancouver ) North Bay centre Nick Paul 's ceiling probably isn't Jason Spezza -high, but it's pretty high nonetheless. ( Ottawa Sun ) Defending league champion Guelph managed a 4-1 preseason even though it has eight players attending NHL camps. There's the mark of a solid organization. ( Guelph Mercury ) Is living and dying by rookies code for something in Sudbury? ( Northern Life ) So no more (L)East jokes, then? Oshawa skipper D.J. Smith: "I think the East is probably the strongest in the two years I've been here." QMJHL Charlottetown's Daniel Sprong feels the past summer was pivotal for his progress as a prospect. ( Sports And Moore ) The Moncton Wildcats' diminutive dervish, Vladimir Tkachev, is apparently sticking around for the Edmonton Oilers main training camp. ( Edmonton Journal ) Kurt Etchegary is no longer captain in Quebec, but was one of the more accountable Remparts after they were torched 9-3 by Rimouski on Sunday. ( Le Soleil ) The upper-body injury that Rimouski's Frederik Gauthier suffered while with the Toronto Maple Leafs is not believed to be "too serious." ( Toronto Star ) Gauthier's teammate, Philadelphia Flyers first-rounder Samuel Morin , is working on the whole "controlled emotion" deal. ( Pro Hockey Talk ) Shawinigan's prized rookie Samuel Girard had a strong first weekend, apart from getting his visor broken in a collision. ( Le Nouvelliste )— Kevin Forbes credits the Francois Brassard trade for making Cape Breton the favourite in the Maritimes Division. The Screaming Eagles started 2-0 even while running at less than full capacity . ( The Pipeline Show ) Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet .

What We Learned: Do NHL players actually care about Corsi? (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 15 Sep 2014 06:05:07 PDT)

Coyotes' made 'concerted effort' to create space for Max Domi: the coast-to-coast (Buzzing The Net)
(Sat, 13 Sep 2014 04:28:31 PDT)
Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ... WHL There it is: a comparison between Sam Steel and Jordan Eberle in Regina. Hey, how often does a 16-year-old get held out of a preseason game since he has nothing more to prove until the real games start? ( Regina Leader-Post ) All told, Prince Albert Raiders captain / Winnipeg Jets hopeful Josh Morrissey played 112 games in 2013-14. Hang on to that nugget for a future junior hockey burnout story. ( Winnipeg Sun ) A Curtis Lazar story that contains the word "smiling." Drink! But not before noon local time, okay? ( Ottawa Citizen , The Canadian Press ) Prince George goalie Ty Edmonds is trying to use going undrafted as a rallying point: " My main goal is to get the team into the playoffs and just go from there ." ( Prince George Citizen ) The Honda Center, where Tri-City has played for 26 seasons, isn't up to league standards in the team's view. ( ) OHL The Arizona Coyotes have made a "concerted effort" to leave a roster spot open that a youngster such as the London Knights' Max Domi could claim. ( Arizona Republic ) While Sarnia's Noah Bushnell has been shelved 10 games for a head shot , the brain injury that Julius Bergman suffered as a result now leaves a big hole in London's rebuilt defence corps. ( London Free Press ) Ottawa 67's coach Jeff Brown says 17-year-old Travis Konecny would be at the top of the NHL draft "if he was 6-foot-3." ( TSN 1200 ) With the veterans off at NHL camps, Kitchener sophomore Mike Davies cashed in on a chance to shine during an exhibition game in his hometown. ( Waterloo Record ) Good to know: Erie graduate Dane Fox can score goals, according to Vancouver Canucks beat writers. He did do that 64 times in his last OHL season; no indicator whatsover. ( Vancouver Province ) Jake Harris must be ready to have a big year for Sudbury. You know that since he's no longer being called Jacob. ( Sudbury Star ) QMJHL We have ways of making Charlottetown star  Daniel Sprong talk about himself. ( Charlottetown Guardian ) How does Quebec's 17-year-old goalie Callum Booth deal with talk the team will add a veteran, perhaps one whose name rhymes with ucale , for the Memorial Cup run? ( Le Soleil ) Moncton's Vladimir Tkachev has turned heads during his look-see from the Edmonton Oilers. ( Edmonton Journal ) There's a certain line that an agitator such as Ottawa Senators draftee Vincent Dunn can't cross. Actually, I think he's played jump rope with that line. ( Ottawa Citizen ) Halifax took a loss in its season opener, which overage D-man Jesse Lussier also couldn't finish due to an an injury. ( Halifax Chronicle-Herald ) Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet .

Vancouver columnist claims conspiracy from Leafs owners, NHL schedule (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 12 Sep 2014 08:06:32 PDT)
Vancouver hockey fans are good, kind, decent people. They’re not all tin-foil hat wearing weirdos like one of their most prominent columnists, who once again served up his particular brand of whimsy on the NHL this week: CONSPIRACY!  Tony Gallagher of The Province, who previously accused the NHL of fixing a series against the Vancouver Canucks for the Chicago Blackhawks, brings a smoldering hot take on Friday in which he accuses Rogers of manipulating the NHL schedule to help the team they own and hurt the Canucks. It is, without much debate, one of the largest dung piles of faux outrage ever identified by modern science. You see, the Toronto Maple Leafs are visiting the Canucks on Saturday, March 14, 2015. (Obviously Tony’s getting ahead of the curve on this one.) The game starts at 4 p.m. local time and 7 p.m. back in Toronto, which is what happens when it’s Saturday night and it’s Canada and the Leafs are playing. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Hockey: It's time to join a league today! ] As Gallagher notes, this start time has been in place basically forever. The difference for Gallagher is that those games were broadcast by “an independent party to the game” in CBC, while this one will be on Sportsnet, which has a multi-billion-dollar 12-year contract with the NHL. From Gallagher: But now Rogers owns those rights, and for those who may not have noticed, Rogers is also part-owner of the Leafs. If the game were allowed to go ahead at 4 p.m., which always takes the home-team Canucks out of their usual routine and is certainly an advantage for the visiting team, it would mean that the owners of the Leafs were able to demand that Vancouver change the start time to the advantage of their team. It gives them an unfair competitive advantage. Full stop: The Leafs didn't ask the Canucks to change the start time. That IS the start time. As it's been since 2008, as we'll get to in a moment. This is a clear conflict of interest which the league should not let stand. As we said, it’s a small but important point. Further, the same situation will exist with respect to the Oilers and the Flames, and to a slightly lesser degree, perhaps even the Jets, the Leafs gaining a competitive advantage by virtue of their corporate ownership.   Once more, with feeling: The outrage is that the same thing that’s happened for at least the last six years is happening again. And that the same thing that's happened since the dawn of national sports television coverage -- popular teams getting a friendly schedule, west coast teams getting boned -- is happening again, too.  A look at the last five visits for the Leafs to Vancouver: Nov. 2, 2013: Vancouver 4, Toronto 0 (4 p.m.) Feb. 18, 2012: Vancouver 6, Toronto 2 (4 p.m.) Dec. 18, 2010: Vancouver 4, Toronto 1 (4 p.m.) Oct. 24, 2009: Vancouver 3, Toronto 1 (4 p.m.) Nov. 15, 2008: Vancouver 4, Toronto 2, (4 p.m.) As you can see, the start time has given the Leafs an incredible competitive advantage, with an average margin of defeat of just three goals per game. (Quite hilariously, the last time the Canucks played the Leafs at 7 p.m. local time on Jan. 2006, they margin of victory was only two goals.) Gallagher addresses this, as only Gallagher can: Lately, because the Canucks have been considerably better than the Leafs over the last few years, the Canucks have overcome this traditional start time and won even though they haven’t played particularly well other than in last year’s game. But imagine losing a playoff spot because you drop a home tilt to the Leafs when your team was playing when they are usually just waking up from their afternoon nap. At this point we’d like to note that this devastating variation in the Canucks’ schedule comes in the third game of a five-game homestand for Vancouver, which will have last played on Thursday night at 7 p.m. PT against the Kings. This would seem like a less egregious interruption than what happens on Sunday, Nov. 30, when the Canucks face the Detroit Red Wings at 11 a.m. PT in Detroit, less than 48 hours after facing the Blue Jackets in Columbus at 4 p.m. PT on Thursday. So that’s a game starting at an odd early time, after traveling from another city, less than 48 hours later.  But hey, save that stuff for another column about scheduling inequities! This one’s dedicated to shaking one’s ink-drenched fist at Rogers and the NHL!  Our favorite part: So here you have a company which is your friend on one stage, dictating to you on a national stage that you have to put your team at a competitive disadvantage when you play the team which we own. 1. Did this guy ever hear of Comcast? Like, ever? Surely the Canucks and the league have to see the impropriety here even though it’s a small point. A SMALL POINT THAT JUST EARNED A 760 WORD COLUMN IN SEPTEMBER!?! s/t Kukla [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Hockey: It's time to join a league today! ]

Offseason moves affect fantasy value of teammates (NHL)
(Fri, 12 Sep 2014 07:00:00 PDT)
The trading, signing and drafting frenzy has brought top-tier fantasy players to new homes, but how it affects their new teammates can't be lost on fantasy owners. Here are some of the beneficiaries of the biggest moves made in the offseason:

NHL Fantasy Hockey: Crucial training camp battles in Western Conference (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 10 Sep 2014 10:40:58 PDT)
Dobber launched his fantasy hockey website DobberHockey back in 2005 and has been Puck Daddy's resident fantasy hockey enthusiast since 2009. Anaheim Ducks - John Gibson vs. Frederik Andersen Sure, a case could be made for the left winger on the Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry line, but we all know that Dany Heatley is going to come out of camp with that spot, then he'll blow it for a few games, then he'll lose the spot by late October. After that, the real competition will begin between the likes of Devante Smith-Pelley, Kyle Palmieri, Jakob Silfverberg and Patrick Maroon. But the competition that will happen in training camp will be the (fantasy) impactful battle between the pipes. The rookie Gibson will take on the sophomore Andersen. Two very good goaltenders with high upside duking it out, with the winner getting 50-55 starts and the loser getting 30. The ancillary numbers for both goalies will be awesome, but getting the extra wins and total saves will mean a lot to their fantasy owners. I give the edge to Andersen in this one. Arizona Coyotes - Wing Spot on Scoring Line Lauri Korpikoski has a bit of upside, but he's best suited as a 35- to 40-point third liner. Martin Erat got bitten by the 'You Suck' bug at some point in the last two years (no other explanation for what we've seen out of him). So the door really is wide open for 19-year-old Max Domi. But he'll have to step through it in training camp. Any sign at all that he's not ready for the NHL and the Coyotes will suffer through settle for Erat and Korpikoski on scoring lines. Calgary Flames - Forward Spots Up for Grabs The only locks in Calgary's top six are Mikael Backlund, Jiri Hudler and Sean Monahan. You could probably add Mason Raymond as well, even if he's not suited for such a role. So that leaves two openings in the top six and there is another opening on the checking line. While Curtis Glencross, David Jones, Joe Colborne, Devin Setoguchi and even youngsters Johnny Gaudreau, Sam Bennett and Sven Bärtschi battle for the coach's favor in getting on a scoring line, there is a checking-line center job available as well. Unless the Flames sign another pivot, it's looking as though Max Reinhart and Sam Bennett will compete for it. When all the dust settles, I think Bennett will be sent back to junior, Colborne and Glencross get second-line jobs (to start) and Gaudreau makes the team on the third line eager to work his way up. Four days into training camp that opinion could be completely upside down. Chicago Blackhawks - Jeremy Morin vs. the World The Blackhawks can squeeze Morin onto this team if they sit Peter Regin and cut Teuvo Teravainen. But that's just the first obstacle. He has the advantage in that one - he has to clear waivers to be sent down and he'd never make it through. The second clash will be between he and some of the secondary scorers on the team for a bigger chunk of the power-play pie. When the Blackhawks suffered from a bunch of injuries late last season, Morin stepped up. When given ice time and opportunity he produced (six points in the last six games). He'll have to rekindle some of that magic to grab some PP time from Kris Versteeg, Bryan Bickell and Brad Richards. Colorado Avalanche - Maxim Noreau vs. Stefan Elliott While Erik Johnson and Tyson Barrie anchor the first power-play unit (which seems destined to be incredibly potent), the No.3 blueliner on the PP totem pole is up for grabs. This would seem to be down to Stefan Elliott and newcomer Maxim Noreau. Elliott at one time was arguably the top offensive prospect defenseman to own in fantasy hockey before regressing badly in 2012-13. He somewhat recovered last season but still has ground to make up. Noreau was a solid prospect in his own right, but just before possibly making the NHL full time with the Devils, he decided to play in Switzerland where he led all defensemen in points in 2012-13. That was the year Linus Omark and Damien Brunner dominated that league and the likes of Henrik Zetterberg, Joe Thornton and Tyler Seguin played. Noreau was fourth in scoring among defensemen in 2013-14, but he missed 14 games. The long and the short of it is - the guy has hockey sense and he can move the puck.  Dallas Stars - Jussi Rynnas vs. Anders Lindback The battle for that second-line winger spot with Ales Hemsky and Jason Spezza (or, if Valeri Nichushkin plays there, then it's the battle for the first-line winger spot) will be one to watch as well. Erik Cole, Antoine Roussel and Colton Sceviour will vie for the right to get 40 points on that line. But I'm more interested in the backup goalie battle. On a strong team like Dallas, 15 wins for the backup is very doable. Especially when you consider that starter Kari Lehtonen tends to miss chunks of the season with an injury or two: Last year it was a concussion in March and a lower-body injury in October (eight games). The season before that it was his groin (eight games). Back in 2011-12 it was another 12 games with a groin injury. Lehtonen doesn't miss long stretches, but you can always count on two to four weeks when he will be sidelined. That's when owning Rynnas (or Lindback) will pay off for you.  Edmonton Oilers - Second-Line Center Mark Arcobello is on a one-way contract so he's on the Oilers this year. Don't forget that last season, when Sam Gagner was hurt, Arcobello kicked off the campaign with 10 points in 10 games. He also played AHL hockey with both Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall on his line and they showed pretty good chemistry. However, the Boy Wonder has arrived. Will Leon Draisaitl make the team? If so, it will be at the expense of Arcobello's numbers.  Los Angeles Kings - Brayden McNabb and Andy Andreoff vs. Roles in the Organization This is the one team in the league that has every round peg already slid neatly into a round hole. Here are your 12 forwards, here is your 13th forward, here are your six defensemen and here is your seventh defenseman, these are your line combos - voila. The easiest depth chart to put together. McNabb is on a one-way contract now and seems to be earmarked for that No.7 spot on defense. And historically, as with Slava Voynov, Jake Muzzin and Alec Martinez, the Kings transition the blueliners onto the roster slowly. But the 23-year-old McNabb has always been a strong puck mover at other levels and will battle in training camp for more respect. Another player on the cusp, without the one-way contract though, is Andreoff. He could be the next Daniel Carcillo, Zac Rinaldo or Sean Avery. Camp will determine if he's the 14th forward (i.e. first call-up). And with an early injury in the lineup he could give roto-leaguers a PIM boost. And interestingly enough - Avery, Andreoff and myself - all hail from Pickering, Ontario. Something in the air here that breeds agitating, annoying pricks…

Fantasy specialists: Who helps in each category (NHL)
(Wed, 10 Sep 2014 07:00:00 PDT)
When drafting a fantasy hockey team, it's always important to make sure you address every statistical need. The goal is to put together the best possible well-rounded roster.

Puck Daddy Power Rankings: NHL expansion, slagging Ovechkin and Canada’s worst contract (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 10 Sep 2014 06:06:37 PDT)
[Author's note: Power rankings are usually three things: Bad, wrong, and boring. You typically know just as well as the authors which teams won what games against who and what it all means, so our moving the Red Wings up four spots or whatever really doesn't tell you anything you didn't know. Who's hot, who's not, who cares? For this reason, we're doing a power ranking of things that are usually not teams. You'll see what I mean.]   6. Setting odds   It's been said in this space before that when it comes to setting odds, the big betting houses seem to really struggle with hockey. This year, it seems, has been no exception. You'll remember that last season the Leafs' over/under was somewhere in the neighborhood of 96 points, and any reasonable observer who had access to sufficient data and chose to put some money on it could have — and really should have — made a lot of money on what was essentially a suckers' bet. There was no actual way the Toronto Maple Leafs of last season would ever get anywhere near 96 points, and let's please also recall that the 84 they did get was buoyed by some of the most incredible goaltending in the league last season from Jonathan Bernier. On Tuesday morning Bovada released its annual over/under lines on NHL teams' point totals for the coming season, and most seemed pretty reasonable, as you might expect. But there were a few outliers that savvy bettors could exploit. For instance, the New York Islanders began Tuesday with an over/under of 81.5 points, meaning that all the positive changes they've made from last season would basically amount to about one extra win. This is hogwash. It was also apparently obvious to gamblers, because that line was hiked to 83.5 within just a few hours. And it's still a huge value, because this is a playoff team, just based on the addition of a goaltender who's not going to stop just 89 percent of the shots he faces. Other teams that offered considerable initial value: Dallas at 89.5 (will be higher), New Jersey at 83.5 (will be much higher), and Colorado at 98.5 (will be lower). By the way, you shouldn't gamble on sports. But if you're going to anyway, don't be a sucker. 5. Getting in line for an undervalued defenseman When you can't even get guys to your training camp for an invite, you might be in a little bit of trouble. It seems that Raphael Diaz, a right-shot mobile defenseman who's a legitimate NHL player, was invited to Detroit's camp, but declined, instead choosing to go with a similar offer from the Calgary Flames. This left the Wings, still, with no right-shooting D on their roster. That's obviously a problem. (And it should be obvious why Diaz chose Calgary over Detroit: the Wings have seven defensemen on one-way contracts, pending Danny DeKeyser's new deal. Calgary, meanwhile, has six, and just about anyone should be able to beat out Ladislav Smid for a job these days.) Meanwhile, this is the second defenseman the Flames have pulled to their camp just on the prospect of making the team (Sheldon Brookbank is the other, and he accepted about two weeks ago). They also signed Corey Potter to a two-way deal that could land him with Calgary as well. Add in at least one young defenseman (Tyler Wotherspoon) looking for a job with the big club, and you have to say that Brad Treliving has done well to make sure the bottom pairing on his NHL club isn't total garbage. You have to like Diaz's chances to make the team, because he can push possession and score a little bit, even if he is teeny-tiny and not even close to the “Brian Burke” type you'd expect for a bottom-pairing guy. The guy is very useful, and Calgary needs more young-ish (Dias is 28), useful players who won't actually help them win anything this season. He fits that mold perfectly. 4. The Darcy Kuemper situation Contract talks are ongoing in Minnesota to bring back the only goalie who might be able to provide them with stability for next season. Darcy Kuemper still doesn't have a deal, and the sticking point is one that he shouldn't have to deal with (it's actually not dissimilar to what Diaz went through when not-choosing Detroit): The Wild currently have two goaltenders on one-way deals, and they consequently want him to take a two-way . That's good business on the team's part in theory. The reality is that Niklas Backstrom almost certainly will get hurt at some point this season, or Josh Harding will have his MS unfortunately flare up again and prevent him from playing. At that point, having the ability to recall someone who posted a .915 save percentage last season would probably be really helpful. But it is ridiculous to ask him to take that deal, given his performance last year when the team needed him in dire circumstances. Kuemper is 24, and posted solid enough stats in the NHL and AHL the last few seasons that a team should just say, “Yup, this is an NHL-ready player,” even if he has only gotten into 32 career games. But the Wild can't, because they have to stick with two goalies who present major risks. So Kuemper is reportedly considering the KHL instead, and good on him for doing so. There's no reason at all that he shouldn't be making seven figures to play hockey somewhere. Even if it's just leverage against Minnesota, you can't really blame him. Why would he deny himself the ability to make money? 3. Expansion talk That got put to a rest pretty quickly. A week ago we were talking about the league adding as many as four teams, then Gary Bettman had to go out and say all those teams would cost like a billion dollars and ruin all our fun. It's great to speculate about this kind of thing, and you have to think that where there's smoke, there's fire. Reporters don't hear “there could be four new expansion teams in the next three seasons” and publish it out of nowhere, for no reason. This isn't a “Sidney Crosby is rotting in an Ottawa jail” rumor here. Multiple reports from independent sources at the same time? And then some pretty detailed comments on them from the commissioner himself? Come on. With that said, if the price tag for a new NHL franchise is indeed that high — and granted, this is Toronto we're talking about here, and not, say Seattle or Las Vegas — then there probably aren't too many people who can afford to buy. I think we can all accept the fact that it's going to happen at some point, just not right now, and probably not how we expect. At all. So, I guess just hold your horses for a while? On the other hand: . @PKSubban1 wants Houston in the NHL expansion conversation: "Because that’s where Beyonce is from." — Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) September 9, 2014 2. Continuing to slag Ovechkin I'm not quite sure when this space became a one-stop shop for defending Alex Ovechkin from idiotic criticisms, but here we are anyway. This time, the criticism comes from — who else? — Ken Campbell of The Hockey News, who says that Ovechkin, the two-time (two-time!) defending Rocket Richard winner is “ on the hot seat ” in Washington. (And it's worth noting here that The Hockey News in particular seems to have a serious infatuation with bad-mouthing Ovechkin. Please recall Adam Proteau's ludicrous “ The Caps would be better off without him ” drivel from earlier this summer.) “ How does a 50-goal scorer end up on the list of players on the hot seat?” A myopic fool puts him there to generate page views? By piling up points on the power play, being an uninspired player 5-on-5 and not leading his team to the playoffs, that’s how. Oh, see? I was right! As to this specific criticism: Did Ovechkin “pile up points on the power play? Yes. He had the second-most of anyone in the league, apart from teammate Nicklas Backstrom, at 39 in 78 games. This is, somehow, seen as a bad thing, I think? As for the “uninspired” even-strength play, let's please not remember that Ovechkin scored the fifth-most goals in the league in such situations (27) en route to his second consecutive Rocket Richard, and would have probably had more even-strength assists than his paltry 12 if Adam Oates hadn't put Jay Beagle on his line for a good portion of the season. As for not leading the team to the playoffs, I concede. It's easy to forget Ovechkin is responsible for the .906 on-ice even-strength save percentage behind him. Ovechkin might be one of the least-feared 50-goal scorers in the history of the game... This is like being unimpressed with the coloring of a particular albino endangered rhino is. “I've seen whiter.” Okay, sure you have, but, like, how many do you see around? There are currently two guys in the league who are close to a sure thing to score 50 goals a season in the current iteration of the NHL: Ovechkin and, when healthy, Steven Stamkos. Ovechkin has an exceedingly rare talent, and even if he's not the best player with that talent, he's still one of two people alive. So seriously, grow up. 1. Actually having the worst contract in Canada Last Friday, the CBC put up a poll asking which contract given to an NHL player by a Canadian team is the worst of all of them. This is a fairly easy question, but we're going to save the answer for the end. The choices presented included one option per team, with the exception of the Canucks. The poll posits that the following players have the worst deals on their teams:  Max Pacioretty (164 points in his last 196 games) Clarke MacArthur (guaranteed 20 goals and 45 points, plus big possession numbers) Dion Phaneuf (a captain, and as good a No. 2 defenseman as there is in the league, especially if Randy Carlyle weren't his coach) Zach Bogosian (who's not Ondrej Pavelec) Matt Stajan (a decent No. 2 center with no help who's only making $3.625 million) Mark Fayne (a possession-driving defenseman on a team paying Nikita Nikitin and Andrew Ference) Daniel and Henrik Sedin (they're the Sedins, for god's sake!) Is even one of these deals the worst contract on their own teams? Obviously, most of them aren't even bad. But how about Rene Bourque in Montreal? Chris Neil in Ottawa? The aforementioned Ondrej Pavelec in Winnipeg and Andrew Ference in Edmonton? Deryk Engelland in Calgary? Ryan Miller in Vancouver? Or how about, easily, the worst contract in the entire NHL, let alone just Canada? How about David Clarkson in Toronto? That's one hell of an editorial oversight.  (Not ranked this week: NHL15. It really shouldn't be possible to screw up this hard, but here we are. After years of effectively not doing much to change the gameplay or presentation of the NHL series, EA Sports had the opportunity to really wow players with the introduction of NHL15 for the Xbox One and Playstation 4 next-gen consoles. Instead, they offered a game so stripped to the bones that it's laughable. The list of modes to which players have grown accustomed but were not included in the launch is available here , and boy is it lengthy. But good news, deeply disappointed gamers: In the first-post launch update, the NHL15 team will add all the features you've been craving, like the ability to get your coach's useless feedback in Be A Pro mode (“You were out there for a goal against, that's a minus.”), and also see who the Three Stars of the Game were after every game you play (very important stuff there). There are other modes that will get minor tweaks too, like the ability to see when a player is injured in Hockey Ultimate Team. Then, another month later, they'll let you play the game online with six people on a team, like you've been able to do for years. What a great opportunity for you, the consumer. Meanwhile, most reviews of the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 version of the game essentially call it a $60 roster update. Good job all around from EA Sports. They shouldn't be embarrassed at all.)

How many points will your NHL team earn in 2014-15? (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 09 Sep 2014 10:27:30 PDT)
One of the harbingers of the upcoming NHL season is the release of 2014-15 odds from ye olde oddsmakers, and seeing how quickly they change as wagerers do their wagering.  Bovada released its annual regular-season point total over/unders on Tuesday, and already some of the lines have moved. But here they are upon their initial release; keep in mind these are betting lines, meaning they’re set up to entice you to wager rather than being to-the-digit predictions of teams’ point totals. From Bovada: Over/Under Point Totals Anaheim Ducks - 105½ Arizona Coyotes - 80½ Boston Bruins - 112½ Buffalo Sabres - 65½ Calgary Flames - 71½ Carolina Hurricanes - 81½ Chicago Blackhawks - 111½ Colorado Avalanche - 98½ Columbus Blue Jackets - 90½ Dallas Stars - 89½ Detroit Red Wings - 91½ Edmonton Oilers - 80½ Florida Panthers - 70½ Los Angeles Kings - 106½ Minnesota Wild - 98½ Montreal Canadiens - 93½ Nashville Predators - 76½ New Jersey Devils - 83½ New York Islanders - 81½ New York Rangers - 95½ Ottawa Senators - 78½ Philadelphia Flyers - 90½ Pittsburgh Penguins - 105½ San Jose Sharks - 102½ St Louis Blues - 105½ Tampa Bay Lightning - 94½ Toronto Maple Leafs - 88½ Vancouver Canucks - 88½ Washington Capitals - 88½ Winnipeg Jets - 80½ ***  A few reactions: 1  The 112-point Colorado Avalanche getting their points set at 98.5 is interesting. Many are predicting a point regression for the Avs, but will it be steeper than that? 2. The Sabres’ 65 points are of course the lowest betting total in the league. And while we all assume they’re Dishonor For Connor, keep in mind that their 52-point season last year was the first time a team finished with less than 60 points in an 82-game season since the 2006-07 Philadelphia Flyers. It doesn’t happen often. 3. Um, 93.5 points for the Montreal Canadiens? What’s the French phrase for “automatic over, collect profits in a few months”?  

Eriksson leads fantasy injury bounce-back candidates (NHL)
(Tue, 09 Sep 2014 06:00:00 PDT)
Year after year, injuries alter the fantasy hockey landscape. It's tough for fantasy owners to anticipate them and even more difficult for your team to remain in contention when your players are affected by them.

Staal, Nash top fantasy bounce-back candidates (NHL)
(Mon, 08 Sep 2014 08:00:00 PDT)
In 2012-13 Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog had nine goals and eight assists in 36 games after winning the Calder Trophy in 2011-12 (22 goals, 30 assists). He was a disappointment for his fantasy owners in his second NHL season. Landeskog had 26 goals, 65 points, a plus-21 rating, 71 penalty minutes, 10 power-play points and 222 shots on goal. He ranked as the 29th-best player in Yahoo leagues.

Camp Spotlights Part 2 (Rotoworld)
(Fri, 05 Sep 2014 11:27:00 PDT)
The second half of our look at the big questions facing teams going into the 2014-15 campaign.

Mike Johnston's coaching journey, from Australian outback to Stanley Cup challenge in Pittsburgh (Yahoo Sports)
(Fri, 05 Sep 2014 11:22:07 PDT)
The Pittsburgh Penguins have placed their Cup-or-bust hopes in the hands of 57-year-old NHL rookie bench boss Mike Johnston, who started his coaching career in Australia and looks to the NFL and MMA for inspiration.

Hard road to NHL job for Horvat: the coast-to-coast (Buzzing The Net)
(Fri, 05 Sep 2014 06:55:16 PDT)
  Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ... WHL Count Saskatoon Blades managing partner Colin Priestner as an analtyics acolyte: " You don't have to be a believer in advanced stats to see that a player is 43 per cent worse than his linemates at getting the puck out of the zone ." ( Saskatoon StarPhoenix ) Minnesota Wild draftee Reid Duke 's summation on ending his holdout in Lethbridge: " It was a long summer, but finally we came to a decision that it was the best thing for me to come and play with my team ." ( Lethbridge Herald ) Breakout candidate alert: centre Thomas Foster in Vancouver. Maybe if he starts going by Tommy full-time. ( Vancouver Province ) Is a move to the blueline in the offing for Regina's Carter Hansen ? ( Regina Leader-Post ) All-name team candidate Jackson Whistle has the line on being Kelowna's No. 1 goalie. ( Kelowna Capital News ) OHL Not sure why Connor McDavid needs a preseason, but he put up five points for Erie on Thursday. ( Erie Times-News ) Here's a look at what London's Bo Horvat is up against as he vies for a spot on the Vancouver Canucks. ( Nucks Misconduct ) Former London Knights star Olli Maatta had time to adapt to North American hockey back in 2011-12. The Knights' new Nordic defenceman, San Jose Sharks draftee Julius Bergman , is getting thrown in off the deep end. ( London Free Press ) That's the pits for Canisius, man: physical 19-year-old defenceman Zack Pittman joined the Ottawa 67's on Thursday after deciding not to play for Canisius College. ( SB Nation ) Will Sault Ste. Marie's David Miller take advantage of his late September birthday and play his way on to the NHL draft radar? ( Sault Star ) Swiss sophomore Pius Suter aims to build from his strong playoff run and have a breakout for the Guelph Storm. ( Guelph Mercury ) Wayne Smith , who was Boston's director of amateur scouting when it won the Stanley Cup in 2011, is the new Windsor Spitfires head scout. ( Windsor Star ) The Sarnia Sting have nine defencemen left vying for seven roster spots heading into a preseason set with London. ( Sarnia Observer , Blackburn News ) QMJHL New York Rangers prospect Ryan Graves is targeting a Nov. 1 return date from shoulder surgery. (Le Soleil) Why Charlottetown's Daniel Sprong i s the league's best bet for the NHL draft. ( Halifax Chronicle-Herald ) How will Saint John sophomore Nathan Noel bounce back from being left off Canada's summer under-18 team? ( St. John's Telegram )  Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet .

Puck Daddy’s NHL 2014-15 Emoji Preview: Vancouver Canucks (Puck Daddy)
(Thu, 04 Sep 2014 15:04:21 PDT)
(The 2014-15 NHL season is nearly upon us, and attempting to handicap the winners and losers can sometimes leave us speechless. So we decided to break down all 30 teams with the next best thing to words: Emojis!)   Last Season In Emojis

Steve Moore glad to be done with legal ordeal (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 04 Sep 2014 14:20:20 PDT)
Steve Moore says the 10 years since his NHL career ended with an on-ice attack have been ''long and trying,'' but he is glad to be done with the legal ordeal. Moore's multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Todd Bertuzzi and the Vancouver Canucks was settled shortly before trial. Bertuzzi had pleaded guilty to criminal assault causing bodily harm for the 2004 hit. Moore's lawyer, Tim Danson, says there was no ''binding and enforceable settlement until the language of the settlement documents was agreed to by all parties.'' He says that happened Thursday.

Steve Moore confirms civil case settled; no mention of Todd Bertuzzi (Puck Daddy)
(Thu, 04 Sep 2014 13:04:05 PDT)
Two weeks ago, Steve Moore’s civil suit against Todd Bertuzzi and the Vancouver Canucks was settled. Well, for everyone but Steve Moore. His lawyer, Tim Danson, said that the suit wasn’t actually settled until Thursday. “It was my legal opinion that there was no binding and enforceable settlement until the language of the settlement documents was agreed to by all parties and I was in possession of executed settlement documents.  That happened today,” he said. With that, a salacious trial was avoided , as Moore sought $68 million in damages for the 2004 attack by Bertuzzi on Moore, then with the Colorado Avalanche, which ended his hockey career in his rookie season. Moore released the following statement. If you were wondering if he would address his attacker or the team for which he played, the answer is “no.” From Moore: The legal case for the loss of my NHL career is over. I have accepted a settlement agreement which has now been finalized and signed by all the parties. This day comes with mixed emotions. I am extremely thankful for the compassion and encouragement of so many people over the past decade. These years have been very difficult for me and my family. The injuries I sustained in my rookie year, the years I spent trying to return to my NHL career, and dealing with the loss of my career and the ensuing legal case, have been long and trying experiences. While nothing replaces the loss of one's dream, I am happy my family will no longer be burdened by an unresolved legal case, and I am grateful to be able to move forward. I thank the fans and the public who have supported me so passionately and tirelessly, not just across Canada, and the U.S., but around the world – your support has meant more than you can imagine. I thank the people who supported me in this legal case; your courage, and integrity are an inspiration. I thank former Chief Justice of Ontario Warren Winkler for helping with this settlement. Finally, I thank my friends, and especially my family, for your unwavering love and devotion which kept me going over these last ten years. I look forward to continuing to bring more attention and resources to the prevention and treatment of concussions and other head and neck injuries in sport, through The Steve Moore Foundation ( While my own hockey career was cut short, my love for the game has never diminished. That last part’s rather touching. Maybe Moore has compartmentalized it, and sees the actions of Bertuzzi and the Canucks as something that isn’t part of the game. Maybe he sees that aspect of the NHL having been diminished, so we don’t have a bounty culture any longer. Who knows?  As for Bertuzzi, Moore was bound by the agreement not to disparage him. And what was he supposed to say when Bertuzzi’s statement was the apex of generic: "I have never spoken about this case. I won't speak of it now. To all my fans, to all the teams and teammates I have played with and to all my friends, thank you. Thank you." Wow. Deep, man. There’s always going to be a part of me that wishes this went to trial, to see this aspect of hockey culture put under the microscope and to finally get a sense of whether Bertuzzi was a perpetrator or a pawn. But reading Moore’s statement, there’s a serenity and finality to it. I wish him well. This has been a decade of extended hell for him.    

NHL Ponzi scheme; exploiting teams over salary cap; Nieuwendyk hired by 'Canes (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 03 Sep 2014 12:03:57 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. This #SidneyCrosby photo burning up Twitter is also in our newish #HeraldShop — The Chronicle Herald (@chronicleherald) September 3, 2014 • They grow up so fast. Pictured here in a more innocent time is young fake-criminal Sidney Crosby. • Hear that noise? It's everyone backpedaling on the 'Sidney Crosby was arrested' story. [Toronto Sun] • Is the NHL just one gigantic Ponzi scheme? This author seems to think so, and believes the alleged expansion of the NHL is just another layer in the pyramid.  [Arctic Ice Hockey] • One team's maxed out credit card could turn into another team's gain. The Senators have the cap room to take on some of the contracts that need to be unloaded by those over-the-cap.  [Welcome To Your Karlsson Years] • The Hurricanes announced Joe Nieuwendyk has been added to the organization as a 'Pro Scout/Advisor'. According the 'Canes VP Ron Francis, "He will be based in Dallas, and will be a major asset to the Hurricanes in player evaluations.” Best. Job. Ever. Doesn't even have to move to North Carolina.  [Carolina Hurricanes] • Rookies have nine games to prove they belong up with the big club before burning a year off their entry-level contract. Nine games is a small sample size to determine a player's value; however, the Flames took the chance with Sean Monahan last year, and are probably going to do the same with Sam Bennett this year. [Matchsticks and Gasoline] • The Rangers have expressed interest in bringing Ryan Malone to camp on a PTO contract. Malone was bought-out by the Tampa Bay Lightning after being arrested for DUI and cocaine possession. Should Malone make a positive impression on the Rangers brass, where does that leave J.T. Miller in the mix? [Blue Line Station] • Daniel Alfredsson is a man without a team. The free agent is hanging out in Detroit, skating with his Red Wings buddies, as he waits for GM Ken Holland's decision on whether to sign him or not. [Detroit Free Press] • Journeyman defenseman Shane O'Brien has been invited to Florida Panthers camp on a PTO contract. O'Brien, 31, has played for six different teams, the most recent being the Calgary Flames. Not too surprising he was cut loose from them seeing as Flames boss Brian Burke traded O'Brien away while with the Ducks. [Litter Box Cats] • Could Connor McDavid be moved out of Erie (OHL) before the trade deadline? Anything is possible; it just depends on where the Otters are in the standings at that time. [Buzzing the Net] • Jay Feaster is in a newly-created position with the Tampa Bay Lightning as 'Executive Director, Community Hockey Development'. He chats about his new task of with growing youth hockey in Florida as many teams in 'non-traditional hockey markets' are attempting to do. [Raw Charge] • Have you already forgotten that Peter Laviolette is the new coach of the Nashville Predators? Lavi is super excited to get on the ice with his new team, one that he's had a hand in crafting for the first time in a long time. [Section 303] • A look at the Top 10 Washington Capitals under 25-years-old. Highlights include: incredible puck-handling goal-scorer, Jakub Vrana, and highly touted prospect who had a taste of the NHL last season, Evgeny Kuznetsov. [Japers' Rink] • Jacob Trouba has the potential to be an outstanding NHL player. The main question surrounding his future is if he can stay healthy in order to live up to the hype enveloping him in Winnipeg. [Jets Nation] • The B.C. teachers' strike is eerily similar to the NHL lockout. [PITB] • Mike Grier and Eddie Olczyk will be the coaches for the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game in Buffalo. All you really need to know is that wunderkind Jack Eichel is playing in this game. [USA Hockey ] • Time for a 'trust-fall' between the Penguins and their fans. Pittsburgh's new third jerseys are available for pre-order, but they won't be officially unveiled until September 19th. [Icethetics] • Part One of a series displaying the new masks to be donned this upcoming season by NHL netminders. Up first are Ducks goalies John Gibson, Frederik Andersen, and Jason LaBarbara, and from the Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist and Cam Talbot. How they keep topping themselves creatively each season is really impressive. [Hockey By Design] • Matt Fraser, one of the player acquired by the Bruins in the Tyler Seguin trade, talks about his experience in Boston and what he looks forward to in his second season with the B's. He also deconstructs his OT game-winner against Montreal from the time he woke up to when the puck went in. [Shnarped] • Fantasy (hockey) cage match: Rick Nash vs. Marian Gaborik. Who you got? Or rather, who should you get? [Dobber Hockey] • Q & A with former-Cup winner Tom Chorske. Chorske spent five seasons in New Jersey and won a Cup with the organization in 1995. He's currently a TV analyst for the Minnesota Wild. [The Hockey Writers] • Finally, Eddie Lack, Kevin Bieksa, and Fin of the Vancouver Canucks get ready for a roller coaster season by ... riding a roller coaster (heyoooooo)! [YouTube]

Puck Daddy’s Summer of Disappointment Series: The misery of all 30 NHL teams (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 02 Sep 2014 14:57:41 PDT)
As is our August tradition here at Puck Daddy, we turned the mic over to readers, fans and other bloggers for a special summer series.  This time it was “The Summer of Disappointment”; a.k.a. “Puck Daddy’s Most Disappointing Summer Series,” for the snark-lover in you. The basic premise: Asking devotees of certain teams to tells us their most disappointing player, team, season, moment, transaction, executive and aesthetic choices in the franchise’s history. Much pain was relived. Much agony was recaptured. Jen Neale was the curator on this one, and pulled off a marvelous summer series. Here are the “Summer of Disappointment” entries for all 30 teams. Please feel free to revel in the misery of others. Anaheim Ducks Arizona Coyotes Boston Bruins Buffalo Sabres Calgary Flames Carolina Hurricanes Chicago Blackhawks Colorado Avalanche Columbus Blue Jackets Dallas Stars Detroit Red Wings Edmonton Oilers Florida Panthers Los Angeles Kings Minnesota Wild Montreal Canadiens Nashville Predators New Jersey Dev ils  New York Islanders New York Rangers Ottawa Senators Philadelphia Flyers Pittsburgh Penguins St. Louis Blues San Jose Sharks Tampa Bay Lightning Toronto Maple Leafs Vancouver Canucks Washington Capitals Winnipeg Jets *** It's been, er, an interesting summer for us here. Thanks for supporting the blog, and we can't wait to start talkin' hockey in the present tense in a few weeks.

Blackhawks, Kings, Bruins and Penguins lead NHL betting odds (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 02 Sep 2014 10:24:00 PDT)
Looking at the latest Bovada betting odds for the NHL’s 2014-15 season, a few things are clear about wagering on the division champions.  1. The Metro Division might be the only one that could turn you a decent profit, provided the Pittsburgh Penguins stumble post-Bylsma and the New York Rangers don’t automatically ascend to the top spot. 2. The Tampa Bay Lightning and the St. Louis Blues are getting mad respect as contenders in the Atlantic and the Central, but the Bruins and Blackhawks are still top dogs.  3. Not only aren’t the New York Islanders ever on TV, but the odds-makers give the Edmonton Oilers a better shot at winning the Pacific than the Isles have in the Atlantic. 4. Based on those 11/2 odds for the Colorado Avalanche, Bovada's obviously on the Corsi bandwagon too.  Here are the latest odds from Bovada:

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

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)

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

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