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Elite Rask, Bergeron keeping Bruins optimistic

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- Despite all the issues the Boston Bruins had last season, they finished within two points of a Stanley Cup Playoff berth.

A win here or there, especially if they fared better than 4-10 in shootouts, and the Bruins would have extended their postseason streak to eight seasons. Instead, they went home at the end of the regular season for the first time since 2007.

The Bruins are banking on a few new faces in the lineup to get them back in the playoffs.

Here are four reasons the Bruins should be optimistic:

Subban, Heinen among Bruins' top five prospects

Friday, 08.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- When Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney was hired this offseason, he decided he had a mandate to get them back into the Stanley Cup Playoffs while replenishing their prospect pool so they'd be able to have sustained success beyond.

The Bruins restocked at the 2015 NHL Draft by making 10 picks, including five in the first two rounds. Some of those came in trades for defenseman Dougie Hamilton and forward Milan Lucic.

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

Boston Bruins fantasy hockey outlook

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: Tuukka Rask

Rask had a bit of a disappointing season last year after winning the Vezina Trophy in 2013-14. His win total fell from 36 to 34 despite starting nine more games. His goals against average went from 2.04 to 2.30, his save percentage decreased from .930 to .922, and his shutout total dipped from seven to three. Despite the decreases in each category, Rask was still the 11th best fantasy goalie in Yahoo leagues last season and was the 74th best player overall. Since the 2012-13 season when Rask became Boston's full-time starting goalie, he has the best save percentage (.926), second best goals against average (2.14), fourth most shutouts (15) and fourth most wins (89) among goalies who have appeared in at least 100 games. Despite the Bruins trading defenseman Dougie Hamilton and forward Milan Lucic this offseason, Rask remains a Vezina Trophy candidate in 2015-16.

Bob Fillion, oldest former Canadiens player, dies at 95

Thursday, 08.13.2015 / 5:35 PM / News

NHL.com

Bob Fillion, who was the oldest living former Montreal Canadiens player, has died at 95, the Canadiens said Thursday.

Fillion, who won the Stanley Cup with the Canadiens in 1944 and 1946, became the oldest living former Montreal player when teammate Elmer Lach died in April at 97.

Wrist injury forces defenseman Salo to retire

Thursday, 08.13.2015 / 4:03 PM / News

NHL.com

Sami Salo, a defenseman who spent most of his 15-year NHL career with the Vancouver Canucks but hasn't played since the 2013-14 season, announced his retirement Thursday, the Finnish publication Ilta-Sanomat reported.

Salo, who turns 41 on Sept. 2, said a wrist injury that kept him from playing last season forced him to retire.

Devils GM says Clowe might have to retire: report

Thursday, 08.13.2015 / 2:52 PM / News

NHL.com

New Jersey Devils forward Ryane Clowe has not committed to making another comeback from head trauma and likely will retire at some point this year, general manager Ray Shero said.

"The last time he played was, what, Nov. 6? That's been a long time," Shero told NJ.com on Thursday. "Training camp is next month, so at some point, in terms of how he is feeling, a determination has to be made by him and doctors as to what direction he can or cannot go."

Clowe has had four concussions in the past two seasons. The most recent was Nov. 6, when he was hit in the head by David Backes of the St. Louis Blues. The 32-year-old has three years and $14.55 million remaining on a contract he signed with the Devils on July 5, 2013.

Islanders top pick throws first pitch before no-hitter

Thursday, 08.13.2015 / 2:02 PM / News

NHL.com

Mathew Barzal, the New York Islanders' top pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, threw the ceremonial first pitch before the game between the Seattle Mariners and Baltimore Orioles at Safeco Field on Wednesday prior to Seattle pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma's no-hitter.

Barzal, a center who was the 16th player taken in the first round, was part of a celebration of the five members of the Western Hockey League's Seattle Thunderbirds who were drafted by NHL teams in June. Barzal, forward Ryan Gropp (No. 41, New York Rangers) and coach Steve Konowalchuk toured the stadium and the field before Barzal took the mound.

Depth at center question Kings need to answer

Thursday, 08.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Kings' first early postseason in six years understandably brought a lot of questions. After two Stanley Cup championships and three trips to the Western Conference Final in four seasons, cracks are visible in their mini-dynasty.

The good news is the Kings are used to adjusting and dealing with adversity, having proven to be one the NHL's most resilient teams the past few seasons. And if they get back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, they remain a dangerous and imposing team.

Here are three questions the Kings must answer:

Doughty, Lucic give Kings reasons for optimism

Thursday, 08.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

LOS ANGELES -- The 2014-15 NHL season was one to forget for the Los Angeles Kings, who were shorthanded at the start, beset by injuries, and didn't have the depth or energy to stay afloat in the Western Conference. They were the first defending Stanley Cup champion to miss the playoffs since 2007.

But the Kings remain one of the more feared teams in the West because of their mettle, style of play, and goalie Jonathan Quick. They have lost some of the pieces from their two championship teams, but remain a team no opponent wants to face in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Here are four reasons for optimism this season:

Zykov, Shore among Kings' top five prospects

Thursday, 08.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

LOS ANGELES -- The stability of the Los Angeles Kings roster over the past three seasons hasn't allowed for much promotion, but that is likely to change because their Calder Cup champion American Hockey League affiliate is moving to Ontario, Calif.

The hour drive from Staples Center means the Kings can easily make a recall, either for an injury replacement or to give a prospect a quick look.

The Kings lack defensemen and centers in their system, and did not have a first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.

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

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