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(Page 15 of 169)
Features

Predators' new-look offense among five questions

Sunday, 08.10.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

John Manasso - NHL.com Correspondent

Since the middle of last season, Nashville Predators general manager David Poile has talked about wanting to create a different look among the team's forwards. That's where the bulk of the change has come, from a personnel standpoint and a philosophical one.

Consequently, most of the questions surrounding the Predators have to do with their forwards and the offense. Poile said that "on paper" he thinks Nashville has "16 NHL forwards."

"I'm hoping [scoring] comes from a lot of different sources," he said. "[James] Neal, how he's scored and how he's played in the past, that would be a huge shot in the arm and move in the right direction for our team offensively. But we've also got other players on our team that I would say didn't perform to the levels we expected and they expected last year, and we're hoping for bounce-back years from a number of players. Again, it's a whole different mix."

Here are five questions the Predators have to answer to get back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

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Predators change coach, switch focus to offense

Sunday, 08.10.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

John Manasso - NHL.com Correspondent

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout August.

In any other season the Nashville Predators would have looked at the previous season's standings, seen that they missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs by three points despite No. 1 goalie Pekka Rinne missing 53 games and made a reasonable guess on how 2014-15 could turn out.

But this is not any other season.

For the first time in the Predators' 16-year history, they have a new coach, and to an extent a new philosophy. It's not as simple as plugging in what could be six new forwards and then going about predicting how the Predators will perform.

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Jets looking for answers to end playoff drought

Saturday, 08.09.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Patrick Williams - NHL.com Correspondent

The Winnipeg Jets will need to find answers from within if they hope to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007, when the franchise was based in Atlanta.

General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff made few changes, opting to retain all but four players from a team that finished last in the Central Division and failed to qualify for the playoffs for the third consecutive season since the Jets hired him in 2011.

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Jets bank on improvement from youth in lineup

Saturday, 08.09.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

In three seasons since moving from Atlanta, the Winnipeg Jets have finished with 84, 51 (about 87 over a full season) and 84 points.

It is fair to say the time for tangible progress has come. The question for the Jets is whether a step forward can happen in what looks like the toughest division in the NHL?

There were not a lot of changes made. Adding Mathieu Perreault to replace Olli Jokinen might not have garnered a lot of attention in early July, but it can be a slight upgrade. There are some intriguing young talents with the ability to improve, and that appears to be the most likely path to an improved point total and maybe postseason contention.

The biggest problem is the other six teams in the Central Division. Five participated in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the sixth, the Nashville Predators, welcome back one of the best goalies in the world from injury and made other improvements during the offseason.

Here's a look at the projected 2014-15 lineup for the Jets:

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Growth in Paul's game has Hockey Canada's attention

Saturday, 08.09.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Chris Stevenson - NHL.com Correspondent

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Nick Paul is on the rise.

Literally.

The Ottawa Senators prospect and hopeful member of the Canadian national junior team has grown almost an inch since the start of last season and put on 20 pounds. A wing for the North Bay Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League, Paul is now almost 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds.

Even with what looks to be the wingspan of a small aircraft, he wasn't really picked up on Hockey Canada's radar until he lit it up in the OHL playoffs last spring, posting 12 goals and 18 points in 22 games.

"Nick performed real well for North Bay last year in the playoffs and actually made a statement to us about belonging here," said Ryan Jankowski, Hockey Canada's head scout.

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Jets feel AHL success will help top 10 prospects

Saturday, 08.09.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The managerial team of the Winnipeg Jets can take pride in the fact they've solidified a foundation of good, young talent by way of the NHL Draft.

The pipeline is brimming with blue-chip prospects ready to make their mark. Forward Mark Scheifele, a 2011 first-round pick (No. 7) and defenseman Jacob Trouba, the team's 2012 first-round pick (No. 9) are two recent top picks who've already established themselves.

"The goal once we came to Winnipeg was to try and increase the depth in the organization and I think [general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff] and the other management group have provided us with a lot of picks over the years and given us an opportunity to try and improve the depth and grow our organization from within," Jets director of amateur scouting Marcel Comeau told NHL.com. "That's the mantra [Cheveldayoff] has in place and that's what we're trying to do."

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Jets need Pavelec to play like No. 1 goaltender

Saturday, 08.09.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Patrick Williams - NHL.com Correspondent

There will be no shortage of issues and question marks for the Winnipeg Jets this season. Team fitness, the power play and depth on the blue line are chief among the potential trouble spots.

However, no issue stands out more for the Jets, and among Winnipeg fans, than the performance of Ondrej Pavelec, the team's No. 1 goalie. Whether the Jets can climb out of last place in the Central Division will hinge, in large part, on Pavelec.

Pavelec will be 27 years old when he begins his sixth season as an NHL regular, but he is still trying to establish himself as capable of moving into the middle-tier of starting goaltenders.

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Maurice, Frolik top Jets' five questions

Saturday, 08.09.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Patrick Williams - NHL.com Correspondent

Even a busy offseason would have left the Winnipeg Jets in a difficult position to push their way into Central Division contention.

The Jets finished in last place in the Central Division in 2013-14 with a 37-35-10 record, but general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff elected to keep his roster mostly intact, with third-line center Mathieu Perreault as his only significant addition. If the Jets are to push aside some of their Central Division competition and reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007, they will need to answer these five questions:

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U.S. junior coach: defense spurs memories of '10

Friday, 08.08.2014 / 7:36 PM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- When Mark Osiecki arrived here in August 2009 as an assistant coach for the United States national junior team that would be playing in the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship in Saskatoon, he looked at the defense that was assembled and wasn't sure how things would fit together.

Five months later, one of those defensemen, John Carlson, scored the overtime goal in the gold-medal game against Canada. The primary assist was credited to another defenseman, John Ramage.

Osiecki is back in Lake Placid, this time as the coach of the team that will go to Montreal and Toronto for the 2015 WJC, and as he looks at the eight defensemen remaining in camp, there's a familiar feeling: He's not sure how things will work themselves out.

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Ryan Bourque agrees to contract with Rangers

Friday, 08.08.2014 / 4:46 PM / NHL Free Agency 2014

NHL.com

Restricted free-agent forward Ryan Bourque and the New York Rangers have agreed to terms on a contract, the team said Friday. Length and financial terms were not disclosed.

Bourque, 23, comes off his best American Hockey League season, scoring 21 goals and 37 points in 74 games for the Hartford Wolf Pack. He has 35 goals and 66 points in 196 AHL games with the Wolf Pack and Connecticut Whale.

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Quote of the Day

I'm hoping Bob [Murray] didn't go out and get Dany Heatley just to get someone. I'm sure he's excited and motivated.

— Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on general manager Bob Murray's decision to sign Dany Heatley