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Flames Tickets
What's going on with Mark Giordano's extension? (Trending Topics) (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 06:58:15 PDT)
It's been a relatively quiet offseason for the Calgary Flames, for whom almost all the shopping was done even before the free agency period began on July 1. There was the housekeeping associated with re-signing a few restricted free agents (on contracts that ranged from solid to irresponsible). And they obviously traded for Dougie Hamilton, then extended him for a long time at a good price, giving themselves perhaps the deepest blue line in the league for the 2015-16 season. Apart from grabbing Michael Frolik to shore up a not-great forward group on Free Agent Frenzy Day, general manager Brad Treliving has had plenty of time to just hang out this summer. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today! ] When you improve a team that much in such a short period of time, maybe you deserve the days off. But one thing that has been notably absent from Calgary news in the past month or so is word of what happens with captain and reigning two-time “would have won the Norris except he got hurt and missed 20 games” defenseman Mark Giordano.  Giordano has been hailed by just about everyone — fans, media, team officials, players, opponents, etc. — as central to Calgary's long-term plans, because he is an elite defenseman. And he became eligible for a new contract on July 1. And since that day, there has basically been no news at all about how negotiations are going. Part of the reason for that, I think, is the news that came on July 1 itself: Multiple reporters stated that Giordano was looking for eight years and $72 million from his club. Now, an AAV of $9 million is a lot to give literally anyone, and if Giordano were five years younger, the eight-year term wouldn't be so bad. But the fact is that, good as Giordano clearly is, he's also going to be two days shy of his 33rd birthday when that new contract starts. Meaning an eight-year deal brings him north of 40. Obviously that is a starting position for negotiations, but even allowing for a whole lot of wiggle room means you're signing a guy for, what, five years and $7.5 million per? It's still too much to pay a guy for three seasons of 35-plus hockey. What do you do when you have a clear top-five defenseman who can't stay healthy and will be entering the final year of his current contract at nearly 32 years old? What do you do if he's your captain and leader? What do you do if you have several young potential stars whom you need to pay in the very near future? It all puts Calgary in rather a tough position. The Flames are nowhere near a cap team right now; in fact, even with all the big money they've thrown around this summer (not only on Frolik and Hamilton, but also their own guys), Calgary is still almost $2.2 million away from the ceiling, and only 11th in the league in commitments for 2015-16. At this point, their roster is basically set.  But things will almost certainly get a little tougher to deal with next summer. We have to understand that this is a full season from now and things can change dramatically, but you can't imagine that going into this coming year with the whole, “Will they be able to re-sign Giordano?” question being asked every day is something the team would welcome. Odds are they want to get him locked up, and quickly. But there's more to consider than just his reasonably high contract demands.  In a perfect world, you pay him whatever money he wants, sure. He's almost certainly worth it right now. But that term? Forget it, bud, you're gonna be 33. However, this isn't a perfect world; the cap probably isn't going to go up too much in comparison with where it is right now, and next summer is going to be an extremely busy one for the Flames, which is something that's going to weigh heavily on Giordano's negotiations. A sampling of players on expiring contracts this coming season: David Jones, Jiri Hudler, Joe Colborne, Josh Jooris, Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, Paul Byron, Markus Granlund, Kris Russell, Jonas Hiller, Karri Ramo, and obviously Giordano. Several of those guys you bid adieu without a second thought. Let Jones, Colborne, Byron, Russell, and Ramo go without a second thought. A few more, like Hudler and Hiller, you can probably dangle in trades because they're getting up there and probably don't have much long-term value (certainly not in comparison with what they're likely to ask for), and get something back. But the real issue is Monahan and Gaudreau (and then Sam Bennett a year later). These are guys with high ceilings who have already put up plenty of points at the NHL level, except Bennett, for whom that scenario seems a matter of eventuality rather than probability. So what do you pay them? That's not an easy question to answer, but here's the real issue for 2016-17: The Flames have more than $40.7 million committed to 13 just players. If they sign Giordano for anything in the neighborhood of what he wants, and the cap moves as little as it appears it will, that leaves something in the low-$20 million range to carry just 14 players, not including Gaudreau or Monahan. Add those two to market-level deals and it's more like low-$10 million to add a as many as seven more. There are, however, things the Flames can do. Dennis Wideman has two years left on his current deal and trading him would be ideal both because it frees up a bunch of money ($5.25 million against the cap) and because he's never going to be more valuable than he is today. If they do the same with Hudler and Hiller — which they should — then that's even more cash freed up, but leaves holes to fill as well, in addition to the fact that a lot of the guys on the roster are signed to baffling deals. Deryk Engelland at more than $2.9 million per? Ladislav Smid at $3.5 million? Brandon Bollig at $1.25 million? You can say a lot of that was spending to get the team to the cap floor last year (the Flames ranked near the bottom of the league in obligations), but the problems linger into today, when they're more willing to spend because of last year's improbable, unrepeatable performance. Indeed, even after all these improvements they're maybe/maybe not a league-average club based on the numbers. If anything, the likely drop-off in results should grease the skids for a veteran sell-off that should have happened last year. Wideman, for instance, will probably never score 15 again. If the team's lucky, someone will take those contracts if some retained salary is involved, but in any event, all of it clouds Giordano's future. The obvious issue here is that Calgary valued the wrong things in hockey for so long (Grit! Toughness!) that it's now starting to bite them a bit when they have every reason — and, if you believe the talk and at least some of the evidence in their actions, the inclination —  to spend wisely. How wisely will soon be revealed, though.  [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today! ] The fact that we've heard nothing about Giordano's status for more than a month shouldn't be a point of concern, but if they're trying to make things work long-term, that would be a major problem for this club. Even if Monahan and Gaudreau take bridge deals, which they shouldn't. There's so much cap space that needs to be socked away for the future, devoting a ton of it for a very long time to a guy north of 33 would be a big misstep. Going cheap and long-term, or expensive and short-term is the ideal scenario here, but if Calgary can't make that work, it has to think about trading not only Hudler and Hiller and Wideman and Russell and whichever other veterans it has on hand that are seemingly at values never again to be regained, but also trading Giordano. It's an unpalatable end result, and also not one that seems too likely to happen. But if Calgary is serious about being competitive with this young and improving core between three and five years from now, not-paying a 38-year-old Ryan Suter money — though I guess Ryan Suter will be getting Ryan Suter money when he's 38, so... — seems like a good place to start. You'd like to think that Treliving had all this in mind before he started making moves this summer. Hell, even if he has to offload Giordano (as letting him walk next summer simply cannot happen), the good news is he already got a top-pairing defenseman to replace him. Anything more than three years for Giordano is probably an awful deal for Calgary for a number of reasons, and the player wouldn't — and shouldn't — accept anything that short given that he's never had a major payday in his career. But letting a Norris-level defenseman go is also a tough look for a general manager who needs to keep up appearances even as his team's results from last year cannot be replicated. At this point, there just might not be a particularly good decision to be made here. But one has to come eventually. Ryan Lambert is a Puck Daddy columnist. His email is here and his Twitter is here . MORE FROM YAHOO SPORTS :

What We Learned: What Jake Voracek tells us about usage and player value (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 03 Aug 2015 07:08:17 PDT)
Late last week, Jakub Voracek signed a hefty contract extension with the Philadelphia Flyers that made him a player with the 10th-highest cap hit in the league (tied with Eric Staal and Ryan Getzlaf). The initial reaction most people had to that deal probably ranged somewhere between, “Well, Jake Voracek isn't a top-10 player in the league, so that's a dumb contract,” and, “He doesn't deserve as much money as Ryan Getzlaf,” and “He's only getting paid because of Claude Giroux.” [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today! ] These are three related but separate ideas, all of which imply that Voracek isn't “worth it” in some way. But even at a baseline, if you believe that's the case, this was one of those contracts that was unavoidable because he puts up points, drives play, and stays healthy. Voracek has 189 points in his last 212 games — good for 10th in the league over that stretch, and 14th in points per game — with a possession share that hasn't dipped below 52.8 percent in the last three seasons. He has also missed exactly zero games in that time. That is a player providing significant value, even if he were just a hop-along to an elite player, which he isn't. In short, Voracek is very, very good, and the perception that he's a product of playing with Giroux, while understandable, isn't all that fair to him. He and Giroux form a lethal partnership, to be sure, but it isn't because Giroux carries the water . In his first season with the Flyers, under Peter Laviolette, it seems the club didn't really understand what it had in Voracek. As you can see below, he was protected from tougher competition to some extent. But it appears he was used more as a shutdown guy in the lockout season, the first in which he spent most of his time with Giroux (in truth, the Flyers were just not very good and got pushed around a lot; that actually qualifies as favorable usage relative to the rest of that dreadful team, which averaged 44.5 percent offensive zone starts). And the last two seasons, now a permanent fixture with Giroux, he's been used more or less the same way.

Puck Daddy's Summer Series: The Arizona Coyotes from A to Z (Puck Daddy)
(Sun, 02 Aug 2015 09:00:42 PDT)
(Ed. Note: August is known to be a very quiet month in the hockey world. As we wait for September to arrive and training camps to begin, let’s learn a little history about all 30 teams. Behold, our summer A-Z series, in which we ask fans of all 30 teams to drop some knowledge on us! Add your own choices in the comments!) By: Catherine Silverman , news desk operations at  Today's Slapshot A. Avco World Trophy Champs

Yahoo Fantasy Hockey: Previewing the West in the middle of the off-season (Puck Daddy)
(Thu, 30 Jul 2015 07:06:59 PDT)
Dobber Hockey launched in 2005 and Dobber and his staff have hitched their wagons to Puck Daddy to preach fantasy hockey to the Yahoo! masses since 2009. Now that the smoke has (mostly) cleared from an offseason that saw numerous big names change jerseys, we are now ready to discuss the fantasy implications of these moves. Let’s take a tour around the NHL to find out how these changes could affect player fantasy values entering the 2015-16 season. Here is our preview of the Western Conference teams. You can read our Eastern Conference preview here .    Central Division Chicago Blackhawks The roster purge that seems to hit the Blackhawks after a Stanley Cup win will have a significant fantasy impact, as expected. Top-6 forwards Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp were the victims this time, as they were traded for a group of less significant parts. The roles of Saad, Sharp, and Johnny Oduya may have to be filled by Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, and Trevor Daley, respectively. One of the two forwards will have the opportunity to center the second line, while both should easily slide into the top 9. Daley, meanwhile, is capable of logging the major minutes on the second pair that Oduya used to. The cap reshuffle should also open up more opportunity for Teuvo Teravainen and perhaps even Artemy Panarin. Teravainen may also even fill that second-line center position himself. He will be a major sleeper entering this season after scoring ten points in 18 games during the playoffs. Panarin scored 62 points in 54 games in the KHL last season. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today! ] Colorado Avalanche Bringing in Carl Soderberg to replace Ryan O’Reilly isn’t really an upgrade, but O’Reilly’s salary demands and the new cap world deemed that necessary. Soderberg’s upside is as a potential second-line center, however he could be more third-line material if Nathan MacKinnon at center again. That could be a huge problem, as Colorado’s scoring talent plummets dramatically beyond the second line. One of those third-liners could be Blake Comeau, who the Avalanche also added via free agency ... Meanwhile, Mikhail Grigorenko will try to get his career back on track playing for his old junior coach Patrick Roy. He’s a perfect example of why you don’t bring your prospects up too early … Francois Beauchemin should be able to log major minutes just like he did in Anaheim, but he won’t be leaned on for offense as much as the Avs attempt to reduce their shots against total (33.2 shots against/game in 2014-15, 26th in NHL). Dallas Stars After missing the playoffs this past season, the Stars made two of the more interesting moves this offseason. Maybe the most intriguing move of the offseason was bringing in Antti Niemi to battle for the starting goalie job with Kari Lehtonen. Right now, this appears to be a timeshare in the making. Lehtonen has played close to 60 games in each of the past four full seasons, but 2014-15 was his worst season (2.94 GAA, .903 SV%) since his Atlanta Thrasher days. With Dallas’s woeful defense, too bad it isn’t possible for Niemi and Lehtonen to be out on the ice at the same time … The other major move was the trade for Patrick Sharp to add to an already potent scoring attack. With Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin forming a first-line unit, it would make sense to pair Sharp with Jason Spezza on what will be a very potent second line. Expect Sharp to bounce back from the disappointing 16 goals and reduced ice time he experienced in his final season in Chicago. Minnesota Wild The Wild’s lineup already seems to be set, so this has been a very quiet offseason. The major order of business of Chuck Fletcher’s offseason was to re-sign last year’s surprise success story, Devan Dubnyk. There is some risk in drafting Dubnyk because of his overall career numbers, but he should be a top-10 goalie in fantasy drafts nonetheless … Playing for his hometown team seemed to factor into Mike Reilly’s choice to play for the Wild. There are numerous defenseman above him that have solidified NHL roles, so there’s no guarantee that he’ll spend the entire season in the NHL. Still, he’s a must-own in keeper leagues … Just when you thought Ruslan Fedotenko had retired five years ago, he’s back in the NHL on a one-year, two-way contract with the Wild. Nashville Predators After last year’s somewhat unexpectedly successful regular season, the Predators elected to stay pat with their roster, electing to keep centers Mike Ribeiro and Mike Fisher … Would you have ever thought Cody Hodgson would be the victim of a contract buyout? Yet here he is in Nashville, attempting to revive his career like an old country and western singer. Not only was 2014-15 his worst season, but it could have been one of the worst seasons by any forward who played a full season last season (13 points and a -28 in 78 games). The Predators have a stack of players that can play center, so it’s possible that Hodgson gets lost in the shuffle if he doesn’t find a way to stand out. St. Louis Blues The Blues attempted one tweak to retool their core after yet another early-round playoff exit. That need for change meant that the energetic T.J. Oshie was out, traded to Washington for Troy Brouwer. The former Capital, who scored 21 goals last season, seems to be a natural fit on the Blues’ second line. Brouwer is a valued power-play contributor, scoring 14 of his 43 points last season with the man advantage. The danger for Brouwer might be if a youngster such as Ty Rattie or Dmitrij Jaskin makes an impression, which could mean that his minutes are reduced. Other than the Oshie/Brouwer trade, the Blues will enter the season with basically the same lineup as last season. Winnipeg Jets The Jets, like some of their Central Division rivals, seemed to remain status quo during the offseason. With virtually no significant free agent signings from Winnipeg, the return of Alex Burmistrov was the most noteworthy addition. After scoring 63 points in 107 games over the past two seasons in the KHL, Burmistrov will attempt to prove why he was deserving of a high first-round pick by the organization when it was based in Atlanta. He won’t have an easy time of it, since Bryan Little, Mathieu Perreault, and Mark Scheifele also play the center position … This isn’t an addition to the Jets’ organization necessarily, but top prospect Nikolaj Ehlers should be able to jump to the NHL in 2015-16 after tearing it up with back-to-back 100-point seasons in the QMJHL.

McGill excited about building an 'unbelievable team' in Owen Sound (Buzzing The Net)
(Tue, 28 Jul 2015 13:29:13 PDT)

San Diego Gulls generate momentum with nostalgia and style (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 28 Jul 2015 13:28:09 PDT)
Hockey was alive and well in San Diego on February 22. At the Valley View Casino Center a relocated American Hockey League franchise announced it would be called the Gulls, bringing nostalgia, joy and a stylish logo to the new team. An estimated 8,500 fans showed up to cheer on the minor league franchise, which will begin play in San Diego for the 2015-16 season. This was waaaaay higher than initial attendance estimates, which meant organizers from the Ducks organization – the Gulls parent group – had to make the bold decision to bring in more hot dogs for the adoring fans. “There were cars backed up on multiple highways trying to get there,” Gulls president of business operations Ari Segal said. “We had friends of the team, sponsors, who were trying to get there, calling, ‘How can I get there?’ Even employees of the Ducks who were trying to go to show their support had to turn around and go home. It was crazy.” Said Willie O’Ree, the NHL’s first black hockey player, Gulls alum and San Diego resident, “That should tell you there that San Diego is a hockey town and they’ve supported the Gulls over the years and I firmly believe they will support the team for the 2015-16 season. “ A total of five franchises will move from more eastern environs to California for the next AHL season. The Manchester Monarchs (Kings), will become the Ontario Reign. The Oklahoma City Oil Barons (Oilers) will move to Bakersfield and become the Condors. The Adirondack Flames (Calgary Flames) will move to Stockton and become the Heat.  The Worcester Sharks (San Jose Sharks) will become the San Jose Barracuda. And there’s the Gulls, who were the Norfolk Admirals. Arguably no team has generated more buzz or reaction than this franchise probably because of the name’s association with the past, not to mention that awesome above logo. Even EA Sports has bought into Gulls-mania,  revealing their jerseys on one of their NHL16 preview videos. The Gulls have existed in three different incarnations, originally in the WHL from 1966-74, then the IHL from 1990-95 and then with the West Coast Hockey League and/or ECHL from 1996-2006. There was also the Hawks and/or Mariners organization that existed in between. “You have now three generations of (San Diego) fans who have grown up, knowing hockey, playing hockey, watching hockey,” Segal said. “And then you have what I consider to be a real void in the market during a particular time of the year that all those things can step in and fill.”  San Jose is a bigger area, but it will initially share an arena with the Sharks. The Gulls – while close to Anaheim where the Ducks play – should grab hold of the city of San Diego’s pro sporting culture in the winter – a time when there’s a void between the NFL’s  Chargers and MLB’s Padres. San Diego is the 28th biggest television market in the United States – larger than Nashville, Buffalo and Columbus, all NHL cities [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today! ] “They’re going to get a chance to see not only the teams that existed in the AHL but these five new teams that are coming in. It’s going to be a good brand of hockey and I think the fans will support it,” O’Ree said. “When I’m at home and the Gulls are playing I will definitely be at the sports arena.” Hockey may not be new to Southern California, but according to O’Ree, there’s just something different about the game in San Diego rather than Los Angeles, where the Kings have played since 1967. Maybe it’s a sort of innocence in the market, which has more small beach city charm than its more northward neighbor. “Just coming down here and you practice, and then go to Coronado and go to Pacific Beach or Mission Beach or La Jolla or La Jolla Shores, there’s no greater time. I would have taken a cut in salary to stay in San Diego,” O’Ree said. “It’s a great area to live and I’m so glad that I’m still alive and I’m able to watch this team come and play at the sports arena.” According to Segal, the goal is to have in between 6,000 and 7,000 paid attendance per-home game in the first year. Hockey DB said the Admirals averaged 4,752 last season and 5,004 the year before. Considering the novelty, along with the fact the Ducks have some decent prospects like defensemen Josh Manson and Shea Theodore, that’s not out of the question. Segal said the attendance estimates had to be changed due to higher-level interest. Normally teams try to temper expectations. This isn’t the case with the Gulls, who never expected such incredible interest. “Hockey passion in the market that had gone unfulfilled for along time,” he said. The significance seems to permeate to the players as well. Said, 21-year old Charlotte, N.C. born Bryan Moore, a former Sault. Ste. Marie Greyhounds forward who was signed to an AHL contract with the Gulls this offseason, “When it first came down to it, when I was told I would be playing there, just getting out of the snow and knowing I’m going to be in one of the nicest places in the country is probably the best feeling.” The cost of living in California is quite higher than other parts of the United States and there are indeed questions about such plush locations like San Diego or San Jose, rather than Norfolk or Worcester.  That’s a query for another time says Moore. “I’m doing what I want to do but I’ll have to deal with it,” Moore said.  Yup, it’s all about hockey … and the lifestyle of course. Hey, San Diego, that’s your marketing slogan, as if you need one.  [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today! ] - - - - - - - Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper  

What We Learned: Why are teams waiting on Cody Franson? (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 27 Jul 2015 12:58:29 PDT)
The apparent sticking point in all these Cody Franson negotiations, which have stretched on impossibly long to this point, is that Franson would like a team to sign him for more than one year. Not that he's hard-lining that, but it's definitely a preference. And the thing is, teams should be falling all over themselves to give him that kind of term. Franson is 27 years old and to all appearances greatly helps his team. In a lot of respects, he could be considered a high-end No. 3 defenseman or a low-end No. 2. This despite being on rotten Toronto teams for the last three seasons and generally having a lot asked of him. He pushes positive possession, suppresses opponents' shot attempts, generally outscores the other team, and so on. He also makes the teammates with whom he shares the ice post better numbers than they do without him. In short, Franson looks like a defenseman who should be pulling what you'd consider to be, say, Brooks Orpik money. Maybe that's not a good example, so here's a better one : Young(er) Andrei Markov.

Winners, losers in NBC Sports’ 2015-16 NHL TV schedule (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 27 Jul 2015 10:41:45 PDT)
NBC Sports Group announced its 2015-16 NHL schedule on Monday, with 105 NHL regular-season games spread between the networks.  The NBC schedule can be found here , and the NBCSN schedule is here. Some teams made out great. Some teams … not so much. Here’s a look at the winners and losers in NBC’s 2015-16 TV schedule. LOSER: Connor McDavid He’s the most hyped NHL prospect since Sidney Crosby. Teams literally tanked last season for a chance to draft him. And what does that translate into for the Edmonton Oilers on American TV, after zero appearances in 2014-15? ONE GAME! McDavid will be on NBCSN on March 1, against the Buffalo Sabres. Yes, Jack Eichel was the only way for Connor McDavid to get on NBC. Clearly, someone at the network read too much into the dismal ratings for the NHL Draft. Connor McDavid getting one game on NBC doesn't help the game in the U.S. Unless this the NHL's sneaky way to sell more Center Ice subscriptions.  WINNER: Outdoor Games Along with Montreal and Boston in the 2016 Winter Classic from Foxboro, NBC will air both of the NHL’s Stadium Series games: Chicago at Minnesota on Feb. 21 and Detroit at Colorado on Feb. 27 in primetime. That’s pretty awesome, if completely understandable given the ratings Chicago and Detroit are going to generate for these games.  LOSER: Mike Babcock His former team was on 15 times last season and 16 this season; his new team is on just once … against his former team, on March 13. We can’t get one Kessel vs. the Leafs game on NBCSN? WINNER: Colorado Avalanche The Avs missed the playoffs last season but see their NBC Sports time increased by five games. LOSER: Dallas Stars Add Patrick Sharp to a mix that includes Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza. Subtract a game: Dallas has only three appearances on NBCSN and none on NBC, after four total last season. Doesn't this team have star power? Do these people even read the ESPN Body Issue? (Well, does anyone really read it?) WINNER: Ed Snider Despite missing the playoffs last season, the Philadelphia Flyers jumped from 16 to 18 games on NBC and NBCSN this season, matching the total for the Pittsburgh Penguins. One of these teams added a 40-goal scorer to play with arguably the best player in the world. The other is the Flyers.  LOSER: New Jersey Devils As late as 2013-14, the Devils had seven games on NBC or NBCSN. Last season they were down to two. This season, they’re down to a single game against the Minnesota Wild on January 10. Not even against the Rangers or Flyers! NBC can smell the rebuild.  WINNER: Wednesday Night Cap NBCSN is airing six games after its RIVALRY NIGHT matchups featuring home dates for the Kings (twice), Sharks, Avs (twice) and Ducks. Hooray for Left Coast (and Colorado) hockey! LOSER: RIVALRY NIGHT Look, we’ve all had a chuckle at the extraordinarily loose definition of RIVALRY NIGHT. And while this season’s installment brings us some legit blood feuds (Rangers in Brooklyn vs. the Islanders) and logical heat (Detroit vs. Tampa Bay, for playoffs and Yzerman). But then we get a parade of “hey, they played for the Cup in the last 20 years, they must BE RIVALS!” games like Blackhawks vs. Flyers and the Red Wings against the Capitals and Flyers; and that Canadiens vs. Penguins games, because … uh … Kessel was a Leaf? Michel Therrien coaches the Penguins two coaches ago? Sergei Gonchar? WINNER: Tampa Bay Lightning The Stanley Cup runner up jumps from five games to eight games, including appearances on Rivalry Night and Sunday Night Hockey. LOSER: Anaheim Ducks The Sharks and Kings are on a combined 21 times. The Ducks, Western Conference runner up? Four times, down from seven last season. The hell? *** Here’s the full breakdown of appearances. The number in parentheses is last season’s total. PACIFIC DIVISION Anaheim Ducks: 4 (7) Arizona Coyotes: 1 (1) Calgary Flames: 0 (0) Edmonton Oilers: 1 (0) Los Angeles Kings: 10 (13) San Jose Sharks: 11 (13) Vancouver Canucks: (0) 0 CENTRAL DIVISION Chicago Blackhawks: (21) 20 Colorado Avalanche: 12 (7) Dallas Stars: (3) 4 Minnesota Wild: 12 (11) Nashville Predators: 4 (1) St. Louis Blues: 11 (11) Winnipeg Jets: 0 (0) ATLANTIC DIVISION Boston Bruins: 12 (17) Buffalo Sabres: 5 (11) Detroit Red Wings: 16 (15) Florida Panthers: 1 (0) Montreal Canadiens: 6 (2) Ottawa Senators: 0 (0) Tampa Bay Lightning: 8 (5) Toronto Maple Leafs: 1 (2) METROPOLITAN DIVISION Carolina Hurricanes: 1 (3) Columbus Blue Jackets: 1 (1) New Jersey Devils: 1 (2) New York Islanders: 5 (0) New York Rangers: 13 (14) Philadelphia Flyers: 18 (16) Pittsburgh Penguins: 18 (19) Washington Capitals: 11 (13) MORE FROM YAHOO SPORTS

NHL-National Hockey League roundup
(Fri, 24 Jul 2015 16:28:52 PDT)
The Glendale City Council voted unanimously Friday to end their six-week legal dispute with the Arizona Coyotes in a move that will keep the team playing at Gila River Arena. The city and Coyotes have been fighting over the 15-year, $225 million lease for Gila River Arena since the council voted last month to terminate the agreement. - - - The Montreal Canadiens agreed to terms with free agent forward Alexander Semin on a one-year contract.

Lamoriello fall-out; Jooris avoids arbitration; Chicago bids for '18 World Juniors (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 24 Jul 2015 11:03:10 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. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at . Tyler Seguin and Michael Del Zotto filming a scene for 'Goon: Last of the Enforcers' today. — Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) July 23, 2015 • IT'S HAPPENING. Sequel to Goon! [ @Sportsnet ] • Why Lou Lamoriello paved his own way out of Devils' front office. [ ] • Bruce Arthur: "Brendan Shanahan is betting that he can handle all these powerful personalities, that he can set the vision, and that he can pull the best out of everyone." Best of luck to him. [ The Star ] • Josh Jooris avoided arbitration and is returning to the Calgary Flames for one-year at $975K. [ @TimWharnsby ] • Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz submits bid for Chicago to host 2018 World Junior Championships. [ Second City Hockey ] • The city of Houston decided to pass on the opportunity to bid for an NHL franchise. Doesn't mean they won't in the future. [ Houston Press ] • Time is ticking on the New York Rangers and Derek Stepan as his player-elected arbitration hearing nears. The two sides appear to be far apart on a new deal. [ New York Post ] • Get to know the new head coach in Detroit, Jeff Blashill, from the man himself. [ Detroit News ] • Tomas Jurco says he's close to a two-year deal with the Red Wings, but those in the know on the Detroit side refute his claims. Awkward. [ M Live ] • Martin Jones, LA King-turned-Boston Bruin-turned-San Jose Shark, goaltender is ready to get rolling as the likely No. 1 netminder in San Jose. [ NHL ] • A whole lot of young Russian talent is either making their way or already on the Edmonton Oilers. [ Beer League Heroes ] • "Who the hell is Sergei Plotnikov?" His signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins was lost in the wake of the Phil Kessel trade. Meet the man that could be a hidden gem for the Pens. [ Pens Initiative ] • Shea Weber is on the decline...?! [ On The Forecheck ] • Cody Franson is rumored to be in negotiations with the Boston Bruins. There is something holding the two sides up from agreeing on a deal. • Want to eat like an NHL star? Here's a look at the strict and complex diet of Niklas Hjalmarsson. [ GQ ] • A bright orange 'warning track' signaling a players closeness to the boards makes it debut in Pittsburgh. [ Trib Live ] • Fancy stats alert! "Corsi plus-minus: Individual player value accounting for teammates." [ Don't Tell Me About Heart ] • At this point in his career, Alex Galchenyuk could be a defensive liability if moved to center. [ SportLogIQ ] • Q & A with New Jersey Devils prospect John Quenneville. He's the second cousin of Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville. [ The Hockey Writers ] • Fantasy hockey look at old fashioned goal scoring. [ Dobber ] • Take a listen to Casey Garven. He was in the Mighty Ducks movie as the character Larsen on the enemy Hawks. Did you know he was supposed to play Adam Banks? [ The Quack Attack ] • Finally, Tyler Seguin goes all Happy Gilmore at the Canadian Open. Perhaps Tiger Woods should adopt this change to his game: - - - - - - - Jen Neale is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter! Follow @MsJenNeale_PD . MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

And Now For Something Completely Serious: Ranking The Top 25 NHL Right Wingers In 2015-16 (Yahoo Sports)
(Fri, 24 Jul 2015 10:22:03 PDT)
Top 25 NHL Right Winger Rankings: There's a lot of goals on the right side, from elite scorers such as Patrick Kane, Corey Perry and Vladimir Tarasenko at the top of the rankings to the best of the rest in the 'Honorable Mentions.'

And Now For Something Completely Serious: Ranking The Top 25 NHL Centers In 2015-16 (Yahoo Sports)
(Thu, 23 Jul 2015 13:57:31 PDT)
Top 25 NHL Center Rankings: Take a look at our projections for the league's best pivots in 2015-16, from bona fide superstars such as Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews and Ryan Getzlaf to the best of the rest in the 'Honorable Mentions.'

And Now For Something Completely Serious: Ranking The Top 25 NHL Goalies In 2015-16 (Yahoo Sports)
(Thu, 23 Jul 2015 12:38:16 PDT)
Top 25 NHL Goalie Rankings: Take a look at our projections for the league's best puckstoppers in 2015-16, from mighty masked men such as Carey Price, Pekka Rinne and Henrik Lundqvist to the best of the rest in the 'Honorable Mentions.'

Toronto's non-expansion; Penguins' price; logic of Seabrook trade (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 21 Jul 2015 12:05:36 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. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at .  

What We Learned: Craig Smith and an education about arbitration (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 20 Jul 2015 06:05:30 PDT)

Bruins hold developmental camp for draft picks (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 17 Jul 2015 13:34:23 PDT)
Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has had a busy rookie offseason since taking over for the fired Peter Chiarelli in May. Sweeney traded defenseman Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic mostly for draft picks, selected 10 players at the NHL Draft last month and then signed one of the most coveted free agents, forward Matt Beleskey, on July 1. As he attempts to turn around the Bruins after they missed the playoffs in 2014-15 for the first time in eight years, Sweeney might not be done changing the roster before training camp in September.

Dougie Hamilton believed he was 'going to be a Bruin for life' (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 17 Jul 2015 10:27:48 PDT)
Flames defenseman Dougie Hamilton apparently had a dream as a young lad. To one day have a Canadian flag on the shoulder of his jersey. “Right now with the Canadian flag on my shoulder I'm really excited and it's a dream come true,” Hamilton said at one of those incredibly not-awkward jersey-wearing news conferences introducing him to Calgary. In the above photo that appears to be Dougie with his eyes closed, along with Flames GM Brad Treliving and new Flame Michael Frolik.  But it was also a moment he said he thought may never happen. Mostly because he thought he would stay with the Bruins his whole career.  That was before the B's shipped him to Calgary for a few draft picks . And then after the deal, a Boston media member talked to an anonymous non-Bruins staffer who called Hamilton “uppity”. Shall we call this the “Thornton Treatment” or the “Seguin Treatment” or something like that ... when a player (gasp) actually leaves the majestic city of Boston and gets punched in the gut after it happens.  “I always thought I was going to be a Bruin for life and always had that vision that I was only going to wear one jersey in the NHL,” Hamilton said. “I’m really thankful to that organization for the opportunity I got my first few years and the development I got and everything, so it’s an organization ... the fans are unbelievable and teammates and everything. It’s something I enjoyed a lot being there.”  He also said he was pumped to be back in Canada, which seemed to be the major talking point of the news conference. Hamilton will have that Canadian flag on his shoulder – provided Calgary doesn’t change its jersey – for at least six years to be exact. That's the length of his new contract.  With Mark Giordano reportedly asking for around $9 million in his next contract – he’s an unrestricted free agent next summer – Hamilton’s arrival couldn’t come at a better time.  Said Daily Today's Slapshot: Many teams are looking for a top-pairing defenseman, so the price would be pretty high despite his pending UFA status. With Hamilton and T.J. Brodie in the lineup, the need for Giordano isn’t as great anymore despite him being an excellent player. If you lock him up for eight years at a cap hit around $9 million, it could make things difficult in the long run for the Flames.   So welcome to Alberta, Canadian Dougie, the "uppity" Boston misfit. - - - - - - - Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper MORE FROM YAHOO SPORTS  

Winners and losers in 2015-16 NHL schedule mileage (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 15 Jul 2015 13:00:26 PDT)
For yet another year, Pacific Division teams will be burning up the jet fuel for travel. The one and only Dirk Hoag , former head of On the Forecheck , looked at the NHL’s schedule and came up with an estimate of how many miles teams will travel. Teams in the Pacific Division occupy six spots in the top-10.  Behold the table below that shows … Edmonton's Connor McDavid will go way, way further to play his hockey games than Buffalo's Jack Eichel in their rookie years. Miles and back-to-backs games go through the 2013-14 season, the first year of the NHL's current divisional format.  The table was originally released by OTF:  Team 2015-16 Miles 2015-16 B-to-B  2014-15 Miles  2014-15 B-to-B  2013-14 Miles  2013-14 B-to-B  San Jose Sharks 50,362 14  45,318  11  57,612  10  Edmonton Oilers 49,401 9  45,597  11  45,192  12  Dallas Stars 48,419 12  48,216  12  46,660  13  Calgary Flames 48,341 12  38,874  10  48,970  12  Vancouver Canucks 45,711 13  45,173  12  48,510  17  Anaheim Ducks 44,653 11  46,967  13  48,568  14  Los Angeles Kings 43,750 13  44,100  9  48,432  14  Colorado Avalanche 42,901 10  44,167  12  49,007  10  Winnipeg Jets 42,380 12  42,027  9  46,477  10  Florida Panthers 41,891 14  42,786  12  45,136  14  Carolina Hurricanes 41,558 16  40,800  16  38,879  20  Minnesota Wild 40,976 15  41,178  13  44,273  13  Tampa Bay Lightning 40,974 13  37,221  12  43,102  12  St. Louis Blues 40,649 12  38,965  14  39,328  13  Arizona Coyotes 40,504 15  49,818  13  52,633  12  Montreal Canadiens 39,947 16  37,135  16  39,327  17  Chicago Blackhawks 39,332 13  40,074  15  38,680  18  Ottawa Senators 38,796 14  33,421  13  34,850  16  Boston Bruins 38,236 11  38,938  16  42,389  17  Columbus Blue Jackets 37,602 18  35,139  19  36,597  17  Nashville Predators 36,971 12  42,096  11  39,810  15  New Jersey Devils 36,271 12  33,597  18  33,151  22  New York Rangers 36,089 17  36,113  13  29,839  13  Washington Capitals 35,487 13  36,487  16  36,250  17  New York Islanders 35,015 15  33,214  16  29,933  18  Philadelphia Flyers 34,811 15  31,272  14  34,929  14  Buffalo Sabres 34,201 15  37,022  19  34,812  13  Toronto Maple Leafs 33,880 16  34,020  18  35,975  16  Pittsburgh Penguins 33,660 17  32,444  17  37,061  17  Detroit Red Wings 33,487 17  34,179  12  35,324  15 Hoag also made an incredibly detailed spreadsheet on this .  A few reactions to this… • The Detroit Red Wings must really, really love playing in the Eastern Conference. Per the 2011-12 super schedule , Detroit traveled 42,865 miles. On this graph they will travel an estimated 33,487 miles. Those 9,378 or so fewer miles go a long, long way. In 2011-12 the Blue Jackets, the other former Western Conference team moved East, went 42,831 miles. On the above graph they will travel an estimate 37,602 miles. • A total of 14 teams will travel fewer miles than last year. Which means 16 teams will travel more.  • I’m amazed the Philadelphia Flyers don’t travel the fewest miles for the second straight year. Have they lost their favored status with the NHL? • Teams that joined the Central Division after the 2012-13 season seem to still have the screws put to them from a travel perspective. Out of the top-10 most traveled teams, the only Central Division teams are relative divisional newbies Dallas, Winnipeg and Colorado. Minnesota is the fourth-most traveled Central team. They rank 12th overall. So much for that whole realignment limiting their miles.  • San Jose will travel the most miles for the second time in three years since the new alignment. Guess that’s the price you pay for being able to play Putt-Putt in the middle of winter. • The Western Conference team with most back to backs is the Arizona Coyotes. Seven Eastern Conference squads have more with Columbus topping out at 18. Columbus will travel close to 2,902 fewer miles than Arizona. Would you rather play three more back to backs or travel 3,000 more air miles? • The top-three most traveled Eastern Conference teams, Florida, Carolina and Tampa, all play below the Mason-Dixon line. The South will rise again! • After Jan. 18, the Penguins will not have to leave the Eastern timezone. • The Nashville Predators will travel 5,125 fewer miles than a year ago and only play one more back-to-back. They owe the NHL schedule maker a cold one. • Hopefully McDavid knows how to pack a suitcase.  - - - - - - - Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper MORE FROM YAHOO SPORTS    

What Trevor Daley can teach us about defensemen in decline (Trending Topics) (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 14 Jul 2015 11:05:39 PDT)
Chicago recently traded Patrick Sharp and good defensive prospect Stephen Johns to Dallas for Trevor Daley, Ryan Garbutt, and (most important here) cap relief. This was a necessary move for Stan Bowman, obviously, but one that leaves a lot of questions, not the least of which are, “Why does Dallas feel as though it needs another forward?” and “Seriously, shouldn't Jim Nill be trying to get some help on defense?” It also leads one to wonder what Bowman sees in Daley. He had to take bodies back, of course, and even with Dallas retaining some of Garbutt's salary, the Stars were probably happy to rid themselves of their long-time defenseman. Daley has a reputation as being a very good defenseman, but he's coming off a deeply awful season. And now that he's 31 (and will turn 32 in October), there are legitimate questions as to whether the Daley of last season — who, again, is bad — is the Daley we can also expect going forward. Most players do not get better after their 30th birthday, and there's plenty of data to suggest that's especially true of defensemen in particular. In reality, though, Daley has obviously always been better than above-average defensemen in this league, so a slide from “good” to what he was last year (below-average in a lot of areas) is a worrisome drop to say the least. Now, that comes with the understanding that Daley actually posted career highs in both goals and points last year (16-22-38), both by fairly large margins, and in only 68 games so perhaps Bowman is banking on him being able to continue putting up those numbers when he gets onto what is clearly a better overall team. If, for instance, you stick him with Niklas Hjalmarsson and he gets a lot of ice time with Patrick Kane, that's likely to produce similar results than even time with Alex Goligoski, Jamie Benn, and Cody Eakin, who were Daley's three most common teammates last season.   It is, though, easy to be enamored of defensemen who post 38 points in 68 games. And not that Bowman hasn't managed his team exceptionally in recent years, but those numbers do make it easy to overlook another thing that helps boost your goal totals: Posting the highest shooting percentage of an 11-year career by almost 70 percent.

#OduyaWatch; dealing Byfuglien; Edmonton's 'Ice District' (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 14 Jul 2015 09:24:08 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. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at . Met some really good people at the photo shoot today. Always great when you meet a legend like Tie Domi. #NYCFC #NHL — Khiry Shelton (@khiryshelton14) July 13, 2015 • Tie Domi: next star striker for NYCFC?  • “enhanced stats” are in play for arbitration hearings beginning this summer. How much can Mike Hoffman benefit from that? [ TSN ] • Johnny Oduya is apparently close to making a decision on his future with Chicago likely out of the picture. [ Chicago Tribune ] • Jeff Skinner’s time in Carolina may not be for long. What does Hurricanes GM Ron Francis plan to do? [ Canes Country ] • Noah Hanifin has inked his ELC with the Hurricanes. What comes next for the defensive prospect? [ Section 328 ] • Christian Ehrhoff is still on the market and willing to be flexible with a one-year deal. [ PHT ] • Why might it be best for the Winnipeg Jets to deal away Dustin Byfuglien. [ Arctic Ice Hockey ]  • A civil lawsuit against Micheal Ferland of the Calgary Flames has been dropped after Jayson Eyma claimed he was sucker-punched in the face, causing a fracture. [ Globe and Mail ] • Brent Burns is sticking with defense, says Peter DeBoer. [ CSN Bay Area ]  • A look at the versatility Patrick Sharp brings to the Dallas Stars’ lineup. [ Defending Big D ] • The Katz Group has decided to call the arena district in Edmonton the “Ice District” because, you know, winter and stuff. [ CBC ] • Why the entire "Ice District" idea is not a good one. [ Copper N Blue ] • Hal Gill offers some advice for Jimmy Hayes on being the new big guy for the Boston Bruins. [ WEEI ] • Taylor Pyatt is hanging up the skates. [ TB News Watch ] • Good chat with Don Cameron, the play-by-play man for the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers who is retiring after 53 years. [ Buzzing the Net ] • The NHL CBA’s loopholes are fun to find. [ Spector’s Hockey ]  • Could Colin Wilson be a bit of a fantasy hockey diamond in the rough? [ Dobber Hockey ] • Scott Gordon takes over the reins for the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms. [ Today’s SlapShot ] • Remember Marco Sturm? He’s the new bench boss for Germany’s national team. [ IIHF ] • NWHL rosters are starting to fill out and the Buffalo Beauts have added a pair of top-end blueliners. [ What’s Going On In Buffalo? ] • Finally, ever play dodgeball blindfolded? The Canucks prospects did and it looks like it was a lot of fun:  MORE FROM YAHOO SPORTS :

NHLPA releases arbitration dates; Holtby, Stepan and Bernier set for late July (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 13 Jul 2015 13:36:26 PDT)
The NHL Players’ Association has posted the dates for arbitration hearings, which means … this basically puts a deadline on when the restricted free agent player will likely end up being re-signed. And as far as the big names go … Philadelphia and Michael Del Zotto: July 21 Washington and Braden Holtby: July 23 New York Rangers and Derek Stepan: July 27 Also, the Toronto Maple Leafs filed for arbitration with goaltender Jonathan Bernier (July 31 hearing date). The Edmonton Oilers filed for arb with defenseman Justin Schultz (July 24 hearing date). Can't make a deal? Call in the Priceline Negotiator! Players really don’t like it when its club files for arb, but it is a lever teams use if it’s having trouble signing a player. A player can go through club-elected arbitration once in his career. Sometimes – very rarely – an arbitrator rules after hearing both sides of the argument where the team says a player isn’t worth what he’s asking. The player shoots for much higher.  For example, in 2011 the Nashville Predators said Shea Weber’s comparable was Keith Yandle who had recently signed a five-year extension worth $5.25 million annually . The arbitrator (understandably) disagreed and handed Weber a one-year $7.5 million settlement. Also, the Predators filed on Weber, and his camp was not exactly pleased with this development, which likely helped lead to the offer sheet debacle the following summer and Weber eventually getting $13 million lump sum in his bank account every July 1 since. So in some ways it all worked out for him.  P.K. Subban went through arbitration with the Montreal Canadiens last summer, but then negotiated an eight-year extension after the process.  Detroit's Gustav Nyquist and Arizona's Mikkel Boedker filed for arbitration this offseason but came to agreements with their respective teams already.  An arbitration case can be quite damaging to a player’s relationship with a team, just because he gets to hear all the reasons why his team thinks he’s lame. It’s not a fun process for all involved, but it’s a way to get a contract done. So around when will your favorite ‘arb player’ possibly get a new contract? The list! PLAYER ELECTED FILINGS Arizona Coyotes Phil Samuelsson - July 21, 2015 Brendan Shinnimin- July 20, 2015 Buffalo Sabres Phil Varone - July 27, 2015 (settled) Calgary Flames Lance Bouma - July 22, 2015 Paul Byron - July 30, 2015 Josh Jooris - July 28, 2015 Colorado Avalanche Andrew Agozzino - July 20, 2015 Mathew Clark - July 22, 2015 Minnesota Wild Erik Haula - July 31, 2015 Nashville Predators Craig Smith - July 20, 2015 Colin Wilson - July 28, 2015 New Jersey Devils Eric Gélinas - July 21, 2015 Adam Larsson - July 29, 2015 New York Rangers Derek Stepan - July 27, 2015 Ottawa Senators Alex Chiasson - July 23, 2015 Mike Hoffman - July 30, 2015 Philadelphia Flyers Michael Del Zotto - July 21, 2015 Toronto Maple Leafs Taylor Beck - July 24, 2015 (settled) Washington Capitals Braden Holtby - July 23, 2015 Marcus Johansson - July 29, 2015 CLUB ELECTED FILINGS Edmonton Oilers Justin Schultz - July 24, 2015 Toronto Maple Leafs Jonathan Bernier - July 31, 2015 Behold The Score’s piece on arbitration for some extra details.  - - - - - - - Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper MORE FROM YAHOO SPORTS

Lucic in LA LA Land; meet man behind DoPS; price of Holtby (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 13 Jul 2015 11:14:57 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. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at . Patrick Sharp took out a full-page ad in today's Chicago Tribune to thank Blackhawks fans. — ChicagoSports (@ChicagoSports) July 12, 2015 • Following his trade to the Dallas Stars, Patrick Sharp took out a full page ad in the Chicago Tribune to thank Blackhawks fans. [ @ChicagoSports ] • Mlian Lucic meets with the LA media face-to-face for the first time since the big trade went down. [ LA Kings Insider ] • Meet the man whose played a big part in making the Department of Player Safety what it is today, Damian Echevarrieta. [ Boston Globe ] • It's in the best interest of the Washington Capitals to get Braden Holtby's contract issue resolved before they head to arbitration. If they don't, it could cost them dearly. [ Washington Post ] • Marcus Johansson is another Capital headed to arbitration. What's he worth? [ Japers' Rink ] • Blockbuster off-season trades are becoming commonplace in Dallas. After their latest one, just how good can they be? [ CBS Sports ] • With Craig Berube out in Philadelphia, Vincent Lecavalier is looking for a fresh start under new head coach Dave Hakstol. [ NHL ] • The Carolina Hurricanes prospects have loads of potential; however, the main roster looks too similar to the way it was when the season ended. That's not necessarily a good thing. [ The Hockey Writers ] • "Diminishing returns: The Alex Semin in Carolina story." Perfect title for a Lifetime movie. [ Section 328 ] • The Columbus Blue Jackets have a plethora of talent at forward. Now they have to figure out how best to utilize all of them. [ Blue Jackets Xtra ] • In celebration of media freedom and integrity within the hockey realm of Columbus. [ Union and Blue ] • Fantastic profile of the crew behind the analytics site War on Ice and their connection to Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University. [ Tribune Live ] • "What if we talked about NHL players the way the media talks about female athletes?" [ Pension Plan Puppets ] • Meet Tracy Tutton. She's a figure skater turned figure skating coach turned hockey skating coach currently working for the Colorado Avalanche. [ CBS Denver ] • NHL prospects and undrafted players don't get the luxury of an off-season between the draft and main camp. [ Color of Hockey ] • A year earlier, the Florida Panthers had the worst PK and PP. How'd the coaching staff do as far as making improvements? [ Litter Box Cats ] • Ranking the top 10 European players coming to the NHL this season. [ McKeen's Hockey ] • Fantasy hockey alert: The 10 worst long-term contracts. There are a few names on this list that will surprise you. [ Dobber ] • The Nashville Predators had a terrific regular season last year and could be primed to repeat it. [ Along The Boards ] • The Calgary Flames are part of the AHL's westward expansion. As the parent franchise of the Stockton Heat, the Flames organization is investing not only in the team but in the city as well. [ The Sin Bin ] • Drew Bannister is the new head coach of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL), replacing Sheldon Keefe who left to join the Maple Leafs organization. [ Buzzing the Net ] • Recapping the Comm Ave Charity Classic featuring famous Boston College and Boston University hockey alums. [ Bruins Daily ] • Did you know there is an Australian Ice Hockey League? Now you do. It's gaining traction in the United Kingdom, of all places. [ On The Fly Hockey ] • Imagine if Marek vs. Wyshynski covered ballet instead of hockey. [ Battle of California ] • Finally, Jack Eichel was so good in the Sabres prospect scrimmage, pucks would go through the net trying to get away from him: - - - - - - - Jen Neale is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter! Follow @MsJenNeale_PD . MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

What We Learned: How much is Derek Stepan really worth? (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 13 Jul 2015 06:47:46 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)   Last week in this space, the subject of what Ryan O'Reilly is worth was discussed at length , and in the end the conclusion was that, by the end of that hefty deal, Buffalo would likely have gotten more or less full value from the contract. And this contract is important, straight away, in determining the value of Derek Stepan, who now has an arbitration date scheduled with the Rangers and currently looks for all the world like he's going to get there without a new contract having been signed. It's fair to say that this would be a disaster for the Rangers. In a best-case scenario, New York gets him on what they hope is short money for one or two years before he hits unrestricted free agency. In a worst-case scenario, he gets pissed off and feels like he really ought to test the market when that one or two years is up. The obvious thing here is that locking him up long-term is an imperative. While he's hardly an elite center in this league, he is a clear No. 1, so the fact that they haven't even offered him a reasonable, lengthy contract borders on negligence. Further, the fact that the player may be asking for as little as $6 million, depending upon whom you believe, makes the situation flatly bizarre. If the ask is a $6 million AAV for anything more than four or five years, why is this deal not already signed? Most GMs in this league would climb an erupting volcano to get a player like that locked down at that price point. On some level, though, you have to accede that Jeff Gorton just took this job and therefore probably has a lot of stuff to figure out. But on another, that should be a slam dunk. This is especially true because Stepan is coming off one of those great “bridge” deals that is supposed to lead to an amicable, lengthy extension that leaves both sides satisfied. Stepan is coming off the best two seasons of his career — as most players will at 23 and 24 as they move toward the peak of their productive years — and he was asked to take less money then to make more money now. He did his part, so why haven't the Rangers? Currently*, 13 centers in this league make more than $7 million annually, and if the question is whether Stepan is currently one of the 14 best centers in the league (i.e. if he should join that group), the answer is maybe. But another 10 are in the range from $6-6.875 million, and the upper end of that feels like a comfortable group for Stepan right now, who just turned 25.

Fan poll ranks Montreal Canadiens as top sports brand in Canada (Eh Game)
(Wed, 08 Jul 2015 10:53:57 PDT)

What We Learned: The case for Ryan O'Reilly's contract (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 06 Jul 2015 07:44:03 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.) Friday afternoon, while everyone was getting good and prepared for the Independence Day weekend, the Sabres snuck in a contract that surprised the hell out of the hockey world, and seems to have even led to many a derisive chuckle from the peanut gallery. “Seven years and $7.5 million for Ryan O'Reilly? Seems like a whole lot.” It is, in point of fact, the largest contract ever given to a Buffalo Sabre, and it therefore seems at least a little bold — especially because, in three years' time, Jack Eichel is going to get a much, much bigger one — to give that kind of money to a guy who is perceived as having never in his life played first-line minutes. But in terms of how he was used by Patrick Roy, something over which he has no control, his minutes are often more difficult than those of, say, Matt Duchene, who gets the benefit of much easier zone starts but only slightly harder competition. And over the last four seasons, the total amount of 5-on-5 ice time separating them every night is 17 seconds, in O'Reilly's favor. So just to get that out of the way: O'Reilly played slightly harder minutes against roughly comparable competition to Clear No. 1 Center Matt Duchene Who Is Great. What's more, there is and has been this odd perception that O'Reilly is somehow not an effective producer, despite the fact that he has more points per 60 minutes (1.83) over the last four seasons than guys like Ryan Johansen (1.71), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (1.69), Paul Stastny (1.66), and so on. He's also in the same neighborhood as Nicklas Backstrom (1.86) and Joe Pavelski (1.87), etc. That's not a huge number — it's tied for 43rd among centers over that span — but it's better than most people give him credit for. On the other hand, he's one of only 20 centers in the league to clear 0.7 points per game overall and 250 games played since 2011-12. The rest of his company is pretty good , though. Tavares, Backstrom, Getzlaf, Seguin, Toews, Thornton, Sedin, Kopitar, Eric Staal, Pavelski, Couture, Ribeiro, Krejci, Duchene, Bergeron, Stepan, Nugent-Hopkins, Jeff Carter. Elite company, that. And wouldn't you know it: The average 2015-16 cap hit for the other 19 guys on this list is about $6.5 million, though a lot of those guys are on deals that were signed at least two years ago, when the cap was lower, or are older and therefore not going to get as much money. That number also doesn't include that coming deal for Derek Stepan, whose contract will at least be close to O'Reilly's if it doesn't exceed it.  Anze Kopitar, for example, would likely make well north of his current $6.8 million cap if he hit the market this summer, despite the fact that he is four years older than O'Reilly. People would give him O'Reilly money happily, and feel they got a discount. And while Kopitar is better, he's also had a better supporting cast, and a coach who actually knows how to run a hockey team successfully over the long haul. In addition, though, O'Reilly has, over the last four seasons, actually been among the best producers on the power play in the entire league. Among all forwards , his 4.96 points per 60 minutes of power play time is 29th in the league. Almost everyone ahead of him is an elite forward in this league (Seguin, Stamkos, Hall, both Sedins, Kessel, Kane, etc.). But even still, the problem with O'Reilly, who has 90 goals 246 points in 427 career games, is that if you're looking at just his point production you are doing him a disservice. (That's right, folks, it's time for a look at O'Reilly's underlying numbers!!!!) He is, in fact, elite-level valuable in terms of his ability to drive possession numbers for his team, which is admittedly terrible at this sort of thing. All those middling stats about scoring at 5-on-5 become world-class when you talk about possession. Among all forwards, the improvement Colorado has seen in its possession numbers — which, you have to keep in mind, tend to be dreadful — when O'Reilly is on the ice is 35th in the league. The improvement from about 46 percent to 50.3 percent is a big, big jump. It's like going from a garbage team like this past season's Toronto club to a very middling one like Minnesota. In addition to all that, O'Reilly is also an clear No. 1 faceoff man among heavily-used centers, placing 26th in the league at 5-on-5 over four seasons, which has a certain amount of value — though not as much as people will generally believe — to a club that got murdered at the dot last season; Buffalo's 44.9 percent on draws was 30th in the league and not particularly close to the teams that tied for 28th and 29th (the Rangers and Canucks at 46.7 percent). But, if you're not convinced O'Reilly is worth that kind of money, you're not going to be convinced by the good but not great scoring lines, strong possession numbers, top-level faceoff stats, and so on. The fact is, most of that data says he's probably not worth $7.5 million. You have to keep in mind that, while he played with good forwards a lot of the time, the defense behind him was typically underwhelming at best.

UFA Grades - Part I (Rotoworld)
(Sun, 05 Jul 2015 20:50:00 PDT)
Ryan Dadoun examines the Metropolitan and Pacific Divisions.

Holtby, Stepan, Del Zotto headline player-elected salary arbitration list (Puck Daddy)
(Sun, 05 Jul 2015 15:22:16 PDT)
As of publishing, there are 23 players who have elected salary arbitration proceedings to drive their contract negotiations. Only restricted free agents can opt-in to the hearings. (For the first time in what feels like ages, Ryan O'Reilly and P.K. Subban are not listed.) From the NHLPA, here's a list of the lucky contestants: Arizona Coyotes Mikkel Boedker Phil Samuelsson Brendan Shinnimin   Buffalo Sabres Phil Varone   Calgary Flames Lance Bouma Paul Byron Josh Jooris   Colorado Avalanche Andrew Agozzino Mathew Clark   Detroit Red Wings Gustav Nyquist   Minnesota Wild Erik Haula   Nashville Predators Taylor Beck Craig Smith Colin Wilson   New Jersey Devils Eric Gélinas Adam Larsson   New York Rangers Derek Stepan   Ottawa Senators Alex Chiasson Mike Hoffman   Philadelphia Flyers Michael Del Zotto   St. Louis Blues Magnus Paajarvi   Washington Capitals Braden Holtby Marcus Johansson There are some heavy hitters on this list. Players and teams can continue to negotiate contracts up until the day of the arbitration hearing date (sometime between July 20 to August 4). Conventional wisdom is to try to avoid the actual proceeding because things can get ugly. Each side puts in a contract number they think is reasonable, and a neutral third party hears why the number is or isn't justified. Usually the player wants more than the team is willing to hand over. From there, the club puts up a 'this is why you suck' argument as to why they shouldn't pay what the asking price is. Hurt feelings taken away from this hearing (yes, it happens) can impact a player's decision as to if he wants to resign with the team when he hits unrestricted free agent status in the future. Clubs have until July 6th at 5:00pm EST to declare if they are going to initiate arbitration proceedings with RFAs not listed here. Under the current CBA, a player can only go to club-elected arbitration once in their entire career. (Read The Score's piece on the process from last summer for more detailed information.) - - - - - - - Jen Neale is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter! Follow @MsJenNeale_PD . MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

Rocky's ready to rumble as head coach of Windsor Spitfires (Yahoo Sports)
(Fri, 03 Jul 2015 15:12:33 PDT)
New coach Rocky Thompson on Spitfires: 'We want to play fast and we want to play aggressive'

Ryan O'Reilly inks creative 7-year, $52.5 million extension with Sabres (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 03 Jul 2015 12:21:23 PDT)
Ryan O’Reilly and the Buffalo Sabres have agreed to a seven-year, $52.5 million extension for the 24-year old forward.  The cap hit comes in at $7.5 million per year. O’Reilly, who spent the first six seasons of his NHL with the Colorado Avalanche, is another young piece acquired by Sabres GM Tim Murray. He’ll join 23-year old Evander Kane, who they traded for in February, 18-year old No. 2 overall pick Jack Eichel and 25-year old Tyler Ennis, who was extended last summer.  The makeup of the extension is interesting. According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman , all seven years come with a $1 million salary and the rest coming via signing bonuses. So O’Reilly protects himself from escrow and with all the bonus money, a buyout, sort of like what we saw with David Clarkson’s deal with the Maple Leafs. The Avalanche were never going to be able to meet O’Reilly’s contract demands, so they found him a nice landing spot with the Sabres during Draft weekend.  And if you want to blame anyone for O’Reilly’s $7.5 million cap hit, blame the Calgary Flames, who signed him to that giant offer-sheet in 2013, which was the beginning of the end for his time with Colorado.  That sound you just heard was Steven Stamkos laughing as he envisions the giant pile of money he’ll receive once he signs his extension. MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

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