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Features

After missing playoffs, Sharks turn to DeBoer, Jones

Sunday, 08.09.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Eric Gilmore - 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.

SAN JOSE -- Following a historic collapse against the Los Angeles Kings in the 2014 Western Conference First Round, the San Jose Sharks missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs entirely last season for the first time since 2003.

Changes were inevitable after San Jose's dismal showing, and the biggest one came first.

Todd McLellan, the winningest coach in San Jose history, parted ways with the Sharks after seven seasons in what he and general manager Doug Wilson called a mutual decision. Wilson hired former Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer to replace McLellan, who became coach of the Edmonton Oilers.

San Jose Sharks fantasy hockey outlook

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: Joe Pavelski

Pavelski is the only player League-wide with 70-plus points, a plus-10 or better, 30-plus power-play points and 200-plus shots on goal in each of the past two seasons. Even as his shooting percentage dipped from 2013-14 (18.2) to 2014-15 (14.2) and the San Jose Sharks missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs, his fantasy stock didn't waver. His versatility is well-documented with experience at each of the three forward positions and in all situations. If he falls to the third round of a fantasy draft, he should be your priority.

Matthews excited for competition in Swiss pro league

Saturday, 08.08.2015 / 5:25 PM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Center Auston Matthews, who many believe will be the No. 1 pick of the 2016 NHL Draft, is excited for the opportunity to further his development with Zurich of the Swiss National League.

Matthews, who announced his decision to sign a one-year contract with Zurich on Friday, talked at length for the first time about playing overseas at the conclusion of United States National Junior Evaluation Camp on Saturday. The U.S. closed out the camp with a 6-1 exhibition victory against Finland.

"I'm really excited and fortunate for the opportunity to go over there and play for the Zurich Lions," Matthews said. "I started kicking around the idea of playing in Switzerland during the World Under-18 Championship in April; I saw the country and it was really nice. I was talking to a lot of people and getting feedback from players in that league."

Zurich is coached by Marc Crawford, who has 549 wins as an NHL coach.

Columbus Blue Jackets fantasy hockey outlook

Saturday, 08.08.2015 / 3:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - 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: Ryan Johansen

Consistent production is extremely valuable in fantasy hockey and Johansen was one of the most consistent performers in the game last season. Not only did he build off his breakout 63-point season in 2013-14 with 71 points, but he did so without any long droughts. Three games was the longest span he went without a point, doing so twice all season. He recorded at least one point in 52 of 82 games, the fourth most in the NHL. It's scary to think what kind of stats the 22-year-old might put up as he matures. I have him ranked 27th among all players and wouldn't be surprised if he was a late second-round draft pick in many pools.

Milano, Rychel among Blue Jackets' top five prospects

Saturday, 08.08.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Craig Merz - NHL.com Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- The prospects cupboard is far from bare for the Columbus Blue Jackets thanks in part to six first-round picks in the past three NHL drafts.

The abundance of young talent enabled the Blue Jackets to make a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks to acquire forward Brandon Saad on June 30. Rookie forward Marko Dano (No. 27, 2013 NHL Draft) was sent to the Blackhawks along with three other players for the two-time Stanley Cup winner.

The Blue Jackets still have a wealth of prospects at forward but aren't as deep on the defensive side.

That's why they took defensemen Zachary Werenski (No. 8) and Gabriel Carlsson (No. 29) in the first round this year.

Goaltender Anton Forsberg (No. 188, 2011) was an American Hockey League all-star last season but struggled (0-4-0, 4.69 goals-against average) for the Blue Jackets when injuries struck goaltenders Sergei Bobrovsky and Curtis McElhinney.

With McElhinney under contract for two more years, Forsberg will be given time to develop.

Here are the Blue Jackets' top five prospects, according to NHL.com:

Good start, Murray among Blue Jackets questions

Saturday, 08.08.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Craig Merz - NHL.com Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- Knowing what's wrong and fixing the problems are two different stories for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

They have gotten off to miserable starts the past four seasons, a significant factor in them qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs once (2014) during the span.

How the Blue Jackets will fare early this season is one of three major questions they face:

Johansen, strong finish have Blue Jackets optimistic

Saturday, 08.08.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Craig Merz - NHL.com Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- The Columbus Blue Jackets are hopeful their strong finish to the 2014-15 season will translate into a Stanley Cup Playoff berth this season.

The Blue Jackets finished nine points back of the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference after their season-ending, 13-game point streak (12-0-1), but it left them eager to get back on the ice in October.

Here are four reasons the Blue Jackets are optimistic:

Blue Jackets expect boost from Saad, healthy Murray

Saturday, 08.08.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Craig Merz - 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.

COLUMBUS -- The Columbus Blue Jackets set out this offseason to improve a defense that, along with an inordinate amount of injuries, derailed their chances of making a return trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Now about six weeks from the start of training camp, nothing has changed among the defense, which ranked 25th in goals allowed (3.02 per game) last season.

"I'm not concerned at all if we have to start the season with this group," general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said.

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