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East corners market on NHL's Top 14 goaltenders

Monday, 09.08.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's Top 14 in '14-15

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

Who are the best 14 players in the NHL at each position as teams prepare for the start of the 2014-15 season? Arpon Basu, Brian Compton, Corey Masisak and Dan Rosen have cast their votes and the result is NHL.com's "Top 14 for '14-15" project. Each first-place vote is worth 14 points, each second-place vote is worth 13, continuing in descending order to each 14th-place vote being worth one. There are two tiebreakers. First, which player appeared on more ballots? Second, which player had the highest individual ranking? If the voting was exactly the same for each player, it was declared a tie. Does NHL.com's list match your rankings for the best players in the League entering the 2014-15 campaign?

The balance of power in the NHL clearly resides in the Western Conference, but the balance of the League's goaltending power is situated in the other conference.

The top three and five of the top six on NHL.com's list of the League's 14 best goaltenders play in the Eastern Conference.

The defending champion Los Angeles Kings find their goalie, Jonathan Quick, fourth on the list, but otherwise the top six is comprised of Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers, Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins, Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens, Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Cory Schneider of the New Jersey Devils.

The trend hardly is new.


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Red Wings offer defenseman Diaz tryout: report

Sunday, 09.07.2014 / 10:26 AM / NHL Free Agency 2014

NHL.com

The Detroit Red Wings have offered defenseman Raphael Diaz a tryout at their training camp, according to MLive.com. However, Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told Ansar Khan that Diaz has some options and has not decided if he will accept it.

Diaz, 28, is a right-handed shot the Red Wings need. In 63 games last season for the Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers, the Swiss defenseman had two goals and 15 points with a minus-2 rating. He also played four games for Switzerland at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and in four Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Rangers before becoming an unrestricted free agent.

Diaz has six goals, 45 points and a minus-5 rating in 145 NHL games.

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Bruins' Rask leads top 30 fantasy goalie rankings

NHL.com's Justin Goldman ranks top 30 netminders, best of AHL

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Thursday during the season, Justin Goldman, founder of The Goalie Guild, will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy goaltenders in NHL.com's weekly segment: "In the Cage." From updated goalie rankings to guys you should keep a close eye on and much more, Goldman will be your fantasy goalie expert all season long.

No matter where you look, most preseason goalie rankings have a similar "bell curve" construct.

There's a small collection of Tier-1 goalies that clearly belong at the top of your draft list, a much larger group of goalies that fall into the Tier-2 category, and then a group of Tier-3 goalies, which is mainly reserved for the lesser-used backups.

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Reinhart brothers hoping for memorable season

Sunday, 09.07.2014 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

There's a rule in the Reinhart household: Don't hit your brother too hard playing hockey.

Paul Reinhart, who spent 11 seasons in the NHL with the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks, may have helped institute the rule. But the job of enforcing it typically falls on his wife, Theresa.

"I don't think our mom would let us back in the house," middle brother Griffin Reinhart told NHL.com. "She's definitely let us know she wouldn't like [us hitting each other]."

With three siblings following in their father's NHL footsteps, enforcing that rule is about to become difficult.

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Oshie paces Top 14 shootout specialists

Sunday, 09.07.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's Top 14 in '14-15

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Who are the best 14 players in the NHL at each position as teams prepare for the start of the 2014-15 season? Arpon Basu, Brian Compton, Corey Masisak and Dan Rosen have cast their votes and the result is NHL.com's "Top 14 for '14-15" project. Each first-place vote is worth 14 points and continuing in descending order to each 14th-place vote being worth one. There are two tiebreakers. First, which player appeared on more ballots? Second, which player had the highest individual ranking? If the voting was exactly the same for each player, it was declared a tie. Does NHL.com's list match your rankings for the best players in the League entering the 2014-15 campaign?

It is becoming vital for each team to have at least one player who specializes in shootouts.

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Maple Leafs hope new players can help team improve

Saturday, 09.06.2014 / 12:53 PM / News

NHL.com

The past two seasons have ended in disappointing fashion for the Toronto Maple Leafs. With training camp on the horizon, the hope is an infusion of veteran players can help them take the next step.

After finishing the 2013-14 season 2-12-0 to fall outside of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Toronto shook up its front office with the additions of president Brendan Shanahan and assistant general manager Kyle Dubas. Coach Randy Carlyle's staff was also replaced, but the changes to the Maple Leafs roster were far more subtle.

Toronto added eight veterans, trading for defenseman Roman Polak and signing defenseman Stephane Robidas. Forward depth was provided with the signings of David Booth, Daniel Winnik, Mike Santorelli, Leo Komarov and Petri Kontiola, and the acquisition of former Maple Leafs player Matt Frattin in a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Toronto's holdovers from last year like the reshaped roster but admit they won't have much time to develop chemistry with their new teammates.

"The biggest thing for us right now is we've got a lot of new guys coming in. We're going to have to come together really quickly in training camp because the start of the season is an important part for every team in the League," captain Dion Phaneuf said. "For our team to have a real solid year is to concentrate on our start and with the new guys coming in really come together and get off on the right foot."

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Sittler, Bower added to Maple Leafs' Legends Row

Saturday, 09.06.2014 / 12:00 PM / News

NHL.com

Three weeks after Ted Kennedy was named the inaugural member of the Toronto Maple Leafs'  Legends Row, longtime captain Darryl Sittler and legendary goaltender Johnny Bower became the latest players on display outside Air Canada Centre.

The three were honored with statues designed by sculptor Erik Blome. Kennedy was announced as the first former Maple Leafs player in the display on Aug. 14. As part of Leafs Nation Fan Fest this weekend, Sittler and Bower were added to the latest tribute to the franchise's long history.

"My favorite thing about this initiative, this way to honor our past Maple Leafs, is the fact that it is in fact Legends Row. It is not an individual," team president Brendan Shanahan said. "When you talk to a lot of players that are going to be bestowed this great honor, I think they're excited by the fact that they're going to be surrounded by teammates. This is a team game and they're going to be surrounded by teammates."

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New Maple Leafs management sees bright future

Saturday, 09.06.2014 / 10:49 AM / News

NHL.com

In their first time assembled together in a public setting, the Toronto Maple Leafs' remade front office shared their high expectations for a team that has gone more than a decade without a Stanley Cup Playoff series win.

Addressing the Toronto faithful at Leafs Nation Fan Fest on Friday, Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan, general manager Dave Nonis, assistant general manager Kyle Dubas, and assistant to the general manager Brandon Pridham agreed their team was built to win right now.

"I think we've got a lot of good pieces," Shanahan said. "We've got a lot of guys under contract that we've got locked in. We're not an old team, we're a young team. We've got some good players in our system that we want to develop. I really think we have the potential to do something here.

"The easy thing would be to dismantle it all and buy ourselves several years. I think we've got too many young players that I hope take the next step. That's what I want to see."

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Subban, Karlsson lead fantasy defensemen rankings

Saturday, 09.06.2014 / 10:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

With the 2014-15 NHL season inching closer by the day, NHL.com has you covered with positional fantasy rankings. Based on Yahoo eligibility, projected lineups, past performance, injury history and each insider's opinion, Matt Cubeta (centers), Matt Sitkoff (left wings), Pete Jensen (right wings), Brian Metzer (defensemen) and Justin Goldman (goalies) bring you up to speed by identifying all the players worth targeting at each position in your upcoming drafts.


By nature, defensemen are designed to prevent teams from scoring goals, but a subsect of the gene pool has seen their DNA evolve. This group is just as adept at rolling up offense as it is in preventing it.

One of the evolved, Alec Martinez, scored the Stanley Cup winning goal for the Los Angeles Kings less than three months ago. The good news is that it's time to regroup and reload for another trip up the mountain towards fantasy glory. That trip gets a lot easier when properly utilizing a defenseman and this should help you gain a better understanding of who you should target.

In putting together these pre-season rankings, we looked back at goals, assists, points, power-play points, plus-minus and shots on goal over a three-season span to better assess who is on the rise and who is on the decline.

The results were interesting in that no defenseman finished in the top 10 in all six standard scoring categories; however four of them, Erik Karlsson (Ottawa Senators), Dustin Byfuglien (Winnipeg Jets), P.K. Subban (Montreal Canadiens), and Keith Yandle (Arizona Coyotes) finished in the top 10 of five of them.

Of those four, Subban and Karlsson slot one and two in our rankings and should be among the first defensemen selected in your league. Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators ranked in only four of the categories, but his team improved offensively, which helped him edge Byfuglien for the No. 3 spot. But do not forget that the latter will qualify as both a defenseman and a right wing in Yahoo Standard leagues.

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Ovechkin rules Top 14 power-play specialists

Saturday, 09.06.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's Top 14 in '14-15

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Who are the best 14 players in the NHL at each position as teams prepare for the start of the 2014-15 season? Arpon Basu, Brian Compton, Corey Masisak and Dan Rosen have cast their votes and the result is NHL.com's "Top 14 for '14-15" project. Each first-place vote is worth 14 points, each second-place vote is worth 13, continuing in descending order to each 14th-place vote being worth one. There are two tiebreakers. First, which player appeared on more ballots? Second, which player had the highest individual ranking? If the voting was exactly the same for each player, it was declared a tie. Does NHL.com's list match your rankings for the best players in the League entering the 2014-15 campaign?

A good power play typically has the same characteristics, including a clean zone entry and setup, a quarterback, a go-between option from the half-wall, a triggerman and someone in front to do the dirty work.

The players who make up a good power play either perform one of those tasks at an elite level or are simply really good at a bunch of them.

For example, nobody shoots the puck from the point on the power play with the combination of accuracy and power like Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber and Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban. But they also bring the puck into the zone to serve as the quarterback.

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I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic