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How University is Ottawa is relaunching men's hockey after sexual assault scandal (Eh Game)
(Wed, 29 Jul 2015 12:16:14 PDT)

2015-16 Preview Part 1 (Rotoworld)
(Wed, 29 Jul 2015 09:00:00 PDT)
Dadoun previews five Atlantic Division teams.

Yahoo Fantasy Hockey: Previewing the East in the middle of the off-season (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 29 Jul 2015 08:15:41 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 switch 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. We’ll start with our preview of the Eastern Conference teams. The Western Conference preview will be up Thursday.    Atlantic Division Boston Bruins If Don Sweeney were a fantasy GM, he’d be the guy that you’d poke fun at for getting fleeced. Regardless, the cap situation left by his predecessor had backed the Bruins into a corner. But many Bruins simply don’t possess the fantasy value that they used to … Torey Krug seems likely to log the even-strength minutes that will be left by Dougie Hamilton, which could help improve his overall point total. Krug’s power-play ice time per game last season (2:37) was actually more than Hamilton’s (2:30) … Matt Beleskey should take on Milan Lucic’s role as the resident power forward who will score a little. Never mind his sizable contract – the quality of his linemates could prevent him from reaching 20 goals … With the Bruins now trending downward for next season, is Tuukka Rask still a top-5 goalie? A top-10 goalie?    Buffalo Sabres Following this offseason, there are some exciting times ahead for the Sabres. Just don’t expect major gains in 2015-16 while this team continues on its rebuild course. Overall, this team contains a ton of x-factors fantasy-wise … Jack Eichel should be drafted in most fantasy formats as a sleeper, although you won’t want to draft him too early in single-season formats … Don’t overvalue Ryan O’Reilly either, as O’Reilly seems to offer a better real-life game than a fantasy game … Is it possible that the first Sabre drafted in your fantasy league is Evander Kane? Don’t forget that he will also be making his Sabres debut this season … Sabres’ goalies must have felt like they worked at a tire factory last season, as they faced more rubber than any other NHL team (35.6 shots per game). Keep that in mind when drafting Robin Lehner. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today! ] Detroit Red Wings Best known as a veteran team, the Red Wings brought in - guess what - more veterans during the offseason. But we can’t argue Ken Holland’s brilliance, so we applaud his players’ subsequent contributions to fantasy teams through the years … Detroit seems like the perfect home for Mike Green, whose role in Washington had been diminishing. Green averaged under 16 minutes of even-strength ice time last season, which in essence made him a fifth defenseman. An ESTOI increase means that a return to 50 points is not completely out of the question … At this stage in his career, Brad Richards is probably a late-round pick at best in single-season Yahoo leagues. However, he could be a sneaky early-season pickup with Pavel Datsyuk likely on the shelf to start the year following ankle surgery. Florida Panthers Since the Panthers are a cap floor team attempting to rebuild with youth, there’s very little to see here fantasy-wise … The most significant offseason acquisition was that of Reilly Smith, who was acquired from Boston along with Marc Savard’s contract for Jimmy Hayes. Yet Smith will still need to battle for minutes with youngsters Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad, and Jonathan Huberdeau and of course the venerable Jaromir Jagr … If you’re in one of those deep keeper leagues that rewards physical play, you may want to get your hands on first-round pick Lawson Crouse (6-3, 212 lbs.) Montreal Canadiens If you’ve played fantasy hockey for a number of years, you’ve probably been disappointed by Alexander Semin by now. But remember that the last time he signed a one-year contract, he was a point-per-game player. Don’t expect him to pull that off again this season, but he could very well be a top-6 forward for the offensively-challenged Habs … Although he is still only 24 years old, Zack Kassian will have a lot to prove. A power forward who has shown great hands at times, particularly with the Sedins in Vancouver, Kassian will need to improve his defensive game in order to stay out of Michel Therrien’s Chateau Bow Wow and thus earn top-6 minutes … Looking for an extremely deep sleeper? Try defenseman Mark Barberio, who was an afterthought for the Lightning during last year’s playoffs. Habs fans may remember Barberio from his QMJHL days, when he recorded point-per-game numbers for the Moncton Wildcats. Ottawa Senators The Senators don’t spend money like a Canadian politician with an expense account, so the offseason moves were also kept to a minimum here … The most significant offseason move was the trade of onetime goalie of the future Robin Lehner to the Sabres. This move opens the door for late-season sensation Andrew Hammond to not only sell more cheeseburgers in Ottawa, but also to earn a full-time NHL roster spot. The prospective Hammond/Craig Anderson goaltending battle will be one to watch. Hammond earned more wins (20) over 24 games than Anderson did (14) over 35 games. So does that mean the Hamburgler will be the starter come opening night? Not necessarily - he turned around and lost the starting job in playoffs. Either way, it will be worth keeping an eye on. Tampa Bay Lightning There is very little change on this roster, but this time it’s for all the right reasons. The trick for the Bolts will be attempting to keep all their young talent together once contracts begin to expire. In fact, there’s not much to add here when your top offseason acquisitions were Erik Condra, Tye McGinn, and Jeff Tambellini. There’s still oodles of fantasy goodness on this team, just nothing new to report. Toronto Maple Leafs If you want change, then you’ve come to the right paragraph, because there’s never a dull moment in Leafland. We all know that Phil Kessel is out and that Lou Lamoriello and Mike Babcock are in. And the list of new players seems endless … If the Leafs wanted to go about this rebuild properly, they weren’t going to make a splash with the big names. So their two most significant additions are P.A. Parenteau and Shawn Matthias, who could be top-6 forwards on the Leafs, unlike their previous teams. Keep in mind that they will probably be trade chips later in the season. Same with Mark Arcobello, who always seems to be a trade chip anyway. One other thing to consider - with no Phil Kessel you may be looking at no 60-point players. And probably only a small handful of 40-point players.

Toews in Machu Picchu; '18 WJC host finalists; Konopka eyes NHL return (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 28 Jul 2015 11:29:06 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: 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

Senators' Alex Chiasson awarded 1-year contract (The Associated Press)
(Sun, 26 Jul 2015 08:42:59 PDT)
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) -- Alex Chiasson of the Ottawa Senators has been awarded a $1.2 million, one-year deal in arbitration on Sunday.

Alex Chiasson gets $1.2 million deal from arbitrator (Puck Daddy)
(Sun, 26 Jul 2015 04:45:58 PDT)
Alex Chiasson thought he was worth closer to the $2.475 million he was asking for in his arbitration case, rather than the $1 million the Ottawa Senators submitted.  In the end, the judge sided with the team. On Sunday morning, the Senators announced that Chiasson has been awarded a $1.2 million one-year deal. Acquired in the Jason Spezza deal from the Dallas Stars, the forward made $900,000 last season while posting 11 goals and 15 assists in 76 games – off his pace from the previous season (13-22-35) but still impressive in less ice time (13:23) than he had in 2013-14 (15:07). According to the Ottawa Sun, the Sens might have sought a trade for Chiasson had he won his case: The Senators currently have 11 forwards on one-way contracts -- 10 if they could ever find a way to move Colin Greening -- and that does not include Mike Hoffman, the 27-goal scorer who is scheduled to go to arbitration July 30. Under the CBA, the Senators would not be able to walk away from Chiasson's contract because it will be under $3.5 million, but they would rather move him than pay him approximately 2 1/2 times more than they gave in his first year with the team. Instead, the arbitrator felt the Sens’ case was stronger. This is just the third arbitration-created deal since 2011 in the NHL.  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.'

What Went Wrong: BOS, LAK (Rotoworld)
(Wed, 22 Jul 2015 07:33:00 PDT)
Dadoun wraps up this year's What Went Wrong series with two teams that fell just short of the playoffs.

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

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 Went Wrong: DAL, FLA (Rotoworld)
(Wed, 15 Jul 2015 07:41:00 PDT)
Dadoun takes a look at the Stars and Panthers' early exit.

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

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.

Expansion competition in Seattle?; Nyquist's value; Free agency comparisons (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
(Thu, 09 Jul 2015 11:02:07 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 .  

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

20 Q's with Grapes; Oilers blueline backlog; NHL 16 now with mascots (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 07 Jul 2015 11:24:40 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

UFA Grades - Part 2 (Rotoworld)
(Tue, 07 Jul 2015 07:33:00 PDT)
Corey Abbott looks at the free agency period for the Atlantic and Central Divisions.

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.

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:

Predators sign Cody Bass to 1-year, two-way contract (The Associated Press)
(Sat, 04 Jul 2015 11:15:41 PDT)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Nashville Predators have signed free-agent forward Cody Bass to a one-year, two-way contract.

RW Erik Condra signs 3-year contract with Lightning (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 02 Jul 2015 12:54:45 PDT)
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Free agent right wing Erik Condra has signed a three-year contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Capitals lose Green, add Williams on 1st day of free agency (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 01 Jul 2015 21:08:14 PDT)
The Washington Capitals were busy on the opening day of NHL free agency on Wednesday. The right winger won the Stanley Cup once with the Carolina Hurricanes and twice with the Los Angeles Kings and took the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs in 2014. The 33-year-old had 41 points (18 goals, 23 assists) in 81 games with the Kings last season.

Devils sign Moore, Coleman, Thompson, O'Brien (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 01 Jul 2015 18:01:57 PDT)
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- The New Jersey Devils have signed defenseman John Moore to a three-year contract as a free agent.

Panthers land Reilly Smith from Boston for Jimmy Hayes (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 01 Jul 2015 16:48:54 PDT)
A few hours into free agency, Florida general manager Dale Tallon essentially sounded resigned to the fact that there would be no big splash to make this year. The Panthers bought out the contract of right wing Brad Boyes on Wednesday, added five players shortly after the NHL free agency period opened and then picked up forward Reilly Smith in a trade with the Boston Bruins in exchange for forward Jimmy Hayes. ''We are pleased to welcome Reilly to the Panthers,'' Tallon said.

Lightning make smart little deal with Erik Condra (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 01 Jul 2015 11:08:59 PDT)
Erik Condra was an usher at Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper’s wedding. Now, he’s going to be a member of Cooper’s NHL team for the next three seasons. Condra left the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday, and is going to cost the Tampa Bay Lightning just $1.25 million against the cap, which is outstanding. Condra had 23 points in 68 games last season, going from a healthy scratch early in the season to being a vital part of a line with Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Curtis Lazar. Condra, 28, was a 50 percent Fenwick player last season, slightly better than average on possession for the Senators. He’s going to be used in a defensive role down the lineup for the Lightning, able to play either wing. (One assumes this is just a straight-up younger model replacement for Brenden Morrow.) Just a smart, smart play for GM Steve Yzerman. And of course a reunion with Cooper and Condra, whom he coached as a 17-year old with the Texarkana Bandits of the NAHL. MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY

Ducks get Kevin Bieksa from Canucks for 2nd-round pick (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 30 Jun 2015 17:11:29 PDT)
When Bob Murray realized Tuesday that he probably couldn't re-sign defenseman Francois Beauchemin, the Anaheim Ducks' general manager moved swiftly to land a veteran replacement. The Ducks acquired defenseman Kevin Bieksa from the Vancouver Canucks for a second-round pick in the 2016 draft, continuing their roster restocking while avoiding the hefty price tags of free agency. Bieksa has spent his entire 10-year NHL career in Vancouver, compiling 56 goals and 185 assists in 597 games while developing a reputation as a tough-nosed, physical defenseman.

NHL teams more cautious going into free agency (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 30 Jun 2015 13:54:46 PDT)
''It's not a great group,'' Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said recently. Options are out there, such as center Antoine Vermette, wingers Matt Beleskey and Justin Williams, defensemen Mike Green and Christian Ehrhoff and goaltender Karri Ramo. ''You can't grab four or five guys every year and try to be successful,'' Hextall said.

Grading the Draft - Part 2 (Rotoworld)
(Tue, 30 Jun 2015 07:31:00 PDT)
Corey Abbott breaks down the picks and trades for the Atlantic and Central divisions.

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