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Maple Leafs hope new players can help team improve

Saturday, 09.06.2014 / 12:53 PM / News

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."


Sittler, Bower added to Maple Leafs' Legends Row

Saturday, 09.06.2014 / 12:00 PM / News

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."


New Maple Leafs management sees bright future

Saturday, 09.06.2014 / 10:49 AM / News

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."


Subban, Karlsson lead fantasy defensemen rankings

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

Brian Metzer - Correspondent

With the 2014-15 NHL season inching closer by the day, 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.


Ovechkin rules Top 14 power-play specialists

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

Dan Rosen - 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'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'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.


Neal expecting big things from Roy, Predators

Friday, 09.05.2014 / 9:35 PM / News

Nashville Predators forward James Neal arrived in town this week and is getting to know his new teammates at informal skates.

But Neal already met one of them, center Derek Roy, working out with Gary Roberts this summer.

"[Derek] came in and trained with us; he looks great," Neal told the Predators website Friday. "He had a great summer training. I worked out with him every day; he was good in the gym and he looked great on the ice, so we expect a big year out of him."


Flames sign defenseman Potter to one-year contract

Friday, 09.05.2014 / 9:08 PM / News

Defenseman Corey Potter signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Calgary Flames, the team announced Friday.

Potter played last season with the Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers, with five assists in 19 games.


Blues sign forward Fraser to one-year contract

Friday, 09.05.2014 / 6:24 PM / News

The St. Louis Blues have signed forward Colin Fraser to a one-year, two-way contract, the team announced Friday. Financial details were not disclosed.

A third-round pick (No. 69) of the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2003 NHL Draft, Fraser, 29, spent the past three seasons with the Los Angeles Kings and their American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester.

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Quote of the Day

It's something that you don't really envision starting this way, but when you put the work in you don't feel like it's unwarranted. You definitely don't envision it unfolding this way, but you do think you can be successful at this level.

— Senators goalie Andrew Hammond, who defeated the Jets on Wednesday to improve to 6-0-1 since making his first NHL start on Feb. 18