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Features

Anaheim Ducks fantasy hockey outlook

Thursday, 08.27.2015 / 3:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

As part of NHL.com's offseason 30 in 30 package, fantasy hockey insiders Matt Cubeta and Pete Jensen will break down each team's fantasy landscape. They will look at the players at the top of the ranks, an undervalued player, an overvalued player, a deep sleeper (players likely ranked outside the top 200 overall players) and the goalie outlook for each NHL team.

Leading the way: Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf

Perry missed 15 games with the mumps and a knee injury, and had a down 2014-15 season by his standards, but he was tied for 10th in goals (33) and provided rare category coverage to salvage his year-end Yahoo rank (68th). He was one of seven players with 55-plus points, 65-plus penalty minutes and 190-plus shots on goal in 2014-15, and saw a production spike in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 18 points in 16 games.

Scoring from wings, power play questions for Ducks

Thursday, 08.27.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- The Anaheim Ducks seem primed for another deep run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but there are areas of concern for the Western Conference regular-season champions.

Some are a recurring theme; another is a product of offseason reshuffling.

Here are three questions facing the Ducks:

Will there be there enough scoring from the wings? Anaheim either traded or did not re-sign wings Matt Beleskey, Kyle Palmieri and Emerson Etem. They combined for 41 goals last season, including nine on the power play.

Addition of forward Hagelin has Ducks optimistic

Thursday, 08.27.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- Western Conference First Round … Second Round … Conference Final. The Anaheim Ducks have gotten closer to their goal in each of the past three seasons.

Though they've also failed dramatically each year in their attempt to reach the Stanley Cup Final, the Ducks remain one of the conference's top contenders. They've won the Pacific Division three seasons in a row and have at least 50 wins in each of the past two, when they finished with 116 and 109 points.

The Ducks hope a couple of new faces combined with a solid foundation will get them over the final hurdle this season.

Gibson, Ritchie among Ducks' top five prospects

Thursday, 08.27.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- The Anaheim Ducks have done a good job developing prospects during the past few years. This year's prospects will literally be closer to the NHL because Anaheim moved its American Hockey League affiliate from Norfolk, Va., to San Diego.

The Ducks are well-stocked at center; their most immediate needs are on the wings and defense. Anaheim isn't shy about recalling prospects, so most of their NHL-ready players stand a good chance at playing with the Ducks at some point this season.

Here is a look at the Ducks' top prospects, according to NHL.com:

Ducks reload looking to take last step to Cup Final

Thursday, 08.27.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2015-16 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout August.

ANAHEIM -- The progression of the Anaheim Ducks the past three seasons has been impressive. They've advanced deeper into the Stanley Cup Playoffs every year since 2013, a run most teams would love to have.

However, each of those seasons has ended with a Game 7 loss at home, the latest to the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2015 Western Conference Final.

"When you go through those things, the only way to gain [experience] is to go through it," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "Hopefully our guys learned some lessons again this year. I learned some things. We can get ready for the next season and approach next year with the same attitude we had at the start of this one, on a mission to get back to have that opportunity again."

Canucks sign forward Adam Cracknell

Wednesday, 08.26.2015 / 1:25 PM / NHL Free Agency 2015

VancouverCanucks.com

Vancouver, B.C. - Vancouver Canucks General Manager Jim Benning announced today that the Canucks have signed forward Adam Cracknell.

Cracknell, 30, appeared in 17 games for Columbus during the 2014.15 season, registering an assist and two penalty minutes. He also split time this past season between the AHL Springfield Falcons and Chicago Wolves. With Springfield, he collected seven points (3-4-7) in 18 games and with Chicago, he posted 13 points (7-6-13) in 22 games.

The Prince Albert, Saskatchewan native made his NHL debut with the Blues during the 2010.11 season, and in parts of five seasons with St. Louis and Columbus has collected six goals and 17 points in 82 games.

Bellows, Tkachuk named to All-American Game roster

Wednesday, 08.26.2015 / 12:39 PM / Prospects

NHL.com

Forwards Kieffer Bellows, Matthew Tkachuk and Alex DeBrincat are among the top 2016 NHL Draft prospects who have been invited to play in the 2015 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game.

The game, which will feature 42 of the top draft-eligible American-born players, will be played Sept. 24 at First Niagara Center in Buffalo.

"This game provides the best U.S. players eligible for next year's NHL draft the opportunity to showcase their skills on a national stage," said Jim Johannson, USA Hockey's assistant executive director of hockey operations.

Canadiens make moves to create more offense

Wednesday, 08.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2015-16 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout August.

MONTREAL -- When Marc Bergevin was hired as general manager of the Montreal Canadiens on May 2, 2012, he admitted he didn't know much about their makeup, other than that they were set in goal with Carey Price.

Now, more than three years later, Bergevin has put his stamp on the Canadiens, with more than half of the expected 2015-16 opening-night roster arriving under his watch.

However, it could be argued that what Bergevin said remains true today: The goaltending of Price is the foundation of the Canadiens' success and the value of the pieces around him remains largely unknown.

The Canadiens are considered a defensive-minded team, but they allowed the 10th most shots on goal in the NHL last season.

The pieces for a top power play are in place with defensemen P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov and forward Max Pacioretty, but the Canadiens power play has finished in the bottom half of the League in each of the past two seasons.

Galchenyuk's role poses question for Canadiens

Wednesday, 08.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens enter this season with certainty in goal. Everything else is up for debate.

Goaltender Carey Price's excellent play last season (44-16-6, 1.96 goals-against average, .933 save percentage) covered up many of the Canadiens' issues. If Price, who won the Hart and Vezina trophies, is unable to produce a similarly historic season, those deficiencies will become serious problems unless they are corrected.

Here are three questions facing the Canadiens:

Will Alex Galchenyuk play center? Galchenyuk has been viewed as the future first-line center since Montreal selected him with the No. 3 pick of the 2012 NHL Draft. But at the end of last season, general manager Marc Bergevin suggested Galchenyuk might never become an NHL center.

Price, Subban, Pacioretty keep Canadiens optimistic

Wednesday, 08.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien likes to talk about his young veterans, the core players they are built around.

Any optimism surrounding the Canadiens begins with that group.

"Our young leaders have gained a lot of experience thanks to playing in big games, playoff games, and having a certain degree of success in the playoffs," Therrien said. "I think those young leaders have progressed over the past three years, and that's encouraging."

Here are four reasons for the Canadiens to be optimistic:

The wall in goal: The most common criticism of the Canadiens is that they are overly reliant on goaltender Carey Price.

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Quote of the Day

That group is not satisfied until we win a Stanley Cup. When we do win that Stanley Cup, I don't think we'll be satisfied then either. We're going to want another one. We have the group to do it. We have all the pieces. We just need to put them together.

— Ducks forward Ryan Kesler after signing a six-year extension with Anaheim this past July