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Features

Fantasy top 100 forwards: Brassard most undervalued

Tuesday, 01.13.2015 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Every Tuesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey insider Pete Jensen will provide you with in-depth forward analysis. From updated weekly top 100 rankings to trending players and more, Jensen will be your go-to guy for fantasy forward advice all season long.

How much more will it take for fantasy hockey owners to realize that New York Rangers center Derick Brassard has reached must-own territory?

News flash: arguably the most undervalued fantasy forward in the game right now is there for the taking in over half of Yahoo leagues.

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Rangers have found consistency after slow start

Tuesday, 01.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

For the first two months of the 2014-15 season, the conversation coming out of the New York Rangers dressing room focused on their search for consistency. Injuries and illness, particularly on defense, made it difficult for the Rangers to play the way they want to play, meaning a low-risk, high-reward game built on speed through the neutral zone backed by superior goaltending.

Consistency, like the health of their defensemen, is no longer a problem. Watch the Rangers now and it looks like they're playing in fast forward. They're playing at a breakneck speed, particularly when they transition from defense to offense. The results have been staggering.

The Rangers have won five games in a row and 13 of their past 14 heading into their game against the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. Last week, the Rangers became the third team since 2000-01, and first since the Buffalo Sabres in 2011-12, to sweep the three California teams in the same season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

With a regulation win Tuesday, the Rangers can move within three points of first place in the Metropolitan Division; they were 12 points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins and Islanders on Dec. 8, when they defeated the Penguins in overtime to start their current hot streak.

Here are five reasons why the Rangers have found the consistency they were looking for in the first two months of the season:

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Five Questions: Sabres GM Murray on rebuilding

Tuesday, 01.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com's Q&A feature called "Five Questions With …" runs every Tuesday. We talk to key figures in the game and ask them questions to gain insight into their lives, careers and the latest news.

The latest edition features Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray:

Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray is no different than most GMs in that he looks around the NHL and sees examples of what he wants his team to become, most notably the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings.

To get there, Murray has taken on an unorthodox approach to managing a team in the middle of a season. He doesn't worry about wins and losses, points gained and lost. The Sabres are rebuilding and it's hard to find anyone who has embraced the process more than Murray.

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Predators' Forsberg remains Calder Trophy leader

Tuesday, 01.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

It was only a year ago when Filip Forsberg helped Sweden win a silver medal at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship on home ice in Malmo, Sweden.

Forsberg had four goals, 12 points and a plus-3 rating in seven games as captain for Tre Kronor but his country lost the gold medal game in overtime to Finland. The experience as a top point producer and leader for an entire country has certainly carried over to the NHL with the Predators this season.

Forsberg, who was ranked No. 12 on NHL.com's Top 60 prospects ranking, remains our top candidate to win the Calder Trophy as the NHL Rookie of the Year.

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Stars' Spezza ready for first game against Senators

Monday, 01.12.2015 / 7:50 PM / NHL Insider

Chris Stevenson - NHL.com Correspondent

Dallas Stars center Jason Spezza will face the Ottawa Senators for the first time Tuesday after asking for and receiving a trade last summer from the city where he played 11 seasons, the last of which as captain.

Spezza told reporters Monday he's glad the first time he will face his former team is in Dallas rather than Canadian Tire Centre. He will return to Ottawa with the Stars on Jan. 29. Spezza had 687 points in 686 games for the Senators.

"I don't think it's that bad them coming here. It kind of feels like it's on your turf," said Spezza, who has seven goals and 22 assists in 41 games for the Stars. "Going to Ottawa is going to be strange for sure, walking into the building and walk into the visiting room and all that.

"It's nice to catch up. I saw some of the guys [Sunday] and I'll catch up with a few more guys. It's different when it's on your terms and in your rink. It'll be different when I go back to Ottawa though, for sure."

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Fantasy All-Access: Jets' Perreault proving valuable

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

Every Monday, NHL.com contributor Matt Sitkoff identifies waiver wire pickups, roster trends, schedule notes and a prospect to watch in fantasy hockey.

The New York Rangers have won 13 of their past 14 games, their best 14-game stretch since 1973, and the red-hot play has led to some fantasy performers.

Leading the Rangers is All-Star forward Rick Nash, who has nine goals and 14 points during the streak. Behind him is center Derek Stepan, with 10 assists and 14 points in the past 14 games. Two players who have seen their fantasy stock rise during the streak are forwards Mats Zuccarello (12 points) and J.T. Miller (8).

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Kings' Doughty worthy of Norris crown thus far

Monday, 01.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

With the first half of the 2014-15 season complete, NHL.com looks at some of its biggest storylines and award contenders.

Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter has been the NHL's leading minute man in each of the past two seasons.

He's still leading the League in average time on ice per game, but he missed two games because of the mumps, and Drew Doughty has taken the mantle as the most-used skater in the NHL to this point in the 2014-15 season.

To be clear, just leading the NHL in time on ice is not reason to be the leading contender for the Norris Trophy. There are many examples of defensemen whose performances have suffered because they arguably played too much (Suter before this season could be placed in that group).

That said, Doughty has been the best defenseman in the NHL through the midway point of the season. His ability to perform at an elite level despite playing more than 29 minutes per game enhances his resume and gives him a slight edge in comparison to a few others with a legitimate claim for the award at this point.

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Selanne set to be first jersey retired by Ducks

Sunday, 01.11.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- The ceremony is supposed to start Sunday at 4:15 p.m. PT, but that might as well be written in pencil given how long it takes Teemu Selanne to get from place to place.

Selanne gladly stops to sign autographs or chat with fans, no matter the time or place, and he's had trouble making appearances on time this week leading up to his jersey retirement ceremony. About 100 fans showed up Thursday when word got out that Selanne was at Honda Center, and of course he didn't leave until every fan got their moment with him.

"That's why I'm always late," Selanne said.

Selanne's accessibility is as much a part of his legacy as his playing career, and his popularity makes him the overwhelming choice to be the first player in Anaheim Ducks history to have his jersey retired, a scant eight months after he retired at 43.

"It's very special," Selanne said. "Obviously, it's a good start for the culture and history of this franchise. There's going to be many others after that. Being first, it's going to be great."

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Penguins' Malkin earns Hart vote at halfway point

Sunday, 01.11.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

With the first half of the 2014-15 season complete, NHL.com looks at some of its biggest storylines and award contenders.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin scored a goal Wednesday against the Boston Bruins that offered a window into how he feels about himself and his game this season.

He had awareness. Malkin quickly broke out from below the dots in the defensive zone as soon as he instinctively felt Penguins defenseman Christian Ehrhoff had the puck and could get it to him.

He generated speed. Malkin blew past Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton in the neutral zone to create room for himself in the attacking zone, above the left circle.

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Six biggest surprises from season's first half

Sunday, 01.11.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

With the first half of the 2014-15 season complete, NHL.com looks at some of its biggest storylines and award contenders.

At the beginning of each season NHL fans will make predictions on what the ensuing season will look like, from where their favorite team will finish in the standings to who will lead the League in scoring to which team will win the Stanley Cup.

Some predictions are easy to make; saying the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks would be among the NHL's top teams really isn't much of a stretch.

But some things have happened during the first half of the 2014-15 season that no one could have seen coming.

Here are six of the biggest surprises of the first half:

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Quote of the Day

You get the right the whistles at the right times, you can leave him out there. He's a beast when it comes to being on the ice. I thought [Saturday] he was a big man. That first period, he did that lateral cut and it was like three bowling pins bounced off him. There's not too many guys that can do that.

— Capitals coach Barry Trotz on Alex Ovechkin, who enters February tied for the NHL lead in goals