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Features

Price, Subban, Pacioretty keep Canadiens optimistic

Wednesday, 08.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien likes to talk about his young veterans, the core players they are built around.

Any optimism surrounding the Canadiens begins with that group.

"Our young leaders have gained a lot of experience thanks to playing in big games, playoff games, and having a certain degree of success in the playoffs," Therrien said. "I think those young leaders have progressed over the past three years, and that's encouraging."

Here are four reasons for the Canadiens to be optimistic:

The wall in goal: The most common criticism of the Canadiens is that they are overly reliant on goaltender Carey Price.

De La Rose, Hudon among Canadiens' top 5 prospects

Wednesday, 08.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens' prospect pool has decent depth but lacks top-end talent.

The main reason is the Canadiens have not picked earlier than 25th in each of the past three NHL Drafts, and they did not have a second-round pick in either of the past two.

As a result, the Canadiens lack an elite prospect, but they have several players who have the potential to become solid NHL contributors.

They were lacking in quality defensemen, and that's why the Canadiens used the No. 26 pick at the 2015 NHL Draft on Noah Juulsen of Everett of the Western Hockey League. He was the first defenseman Montreal selected in the first round since Nathan Beaulieu was picked 17th in 2011.

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

Montreal Canadiens fantasy hockey outlook

Wednesday, 08.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

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: Carey Price, Max Pacioretty and P.K. Subban

The Montreal Canadiens are well-balanced with an elite player at each fantasy position and are one of two teams to have three players within my top 25 (Pittsburgh Penguins). Price leads the group and has to be the first goalie off the draft board following an outstanding 2014-15 season. I have Price No. 9 in my offseason rankings with Pacioretty at No. 17 and Subban at No. 23. Price had a historic season in 2014-15, becoming the first goalie since save percentage was added as an NHL stat in 1982-83 to have at least 40 wins, a goals-against average below 2.00 and a save percentage higher than .930 (44 wins, 1.96 GAA, .933 SV%). He's the only goalie worth selecting in the first round of fantasy drafts this season.

Lindbohm, Fabbri among Blues' top five prospects

Tuesday, 08.25.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues have built themselves into a perennial top-echelon NHL team based on their ability to develop from within while allowing their prospects to grow without rushing them.

They waited patiently for Alex Pietrangelo, David Backes, Jaden Schwartz and Dmitrij Jaskin to get acclimated in the American Hockey League before bringing them to the NHL. Vladimir Tarasenko and Jori Lehtera got their experience playing in the Kontinental Hockey League.

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

Starting goalie, Brouwer pose questions for Blues

Tuesday, 08.25.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues are looking for Stanley Cup Playoff success, and will look to a familiar source.

Citing the styles of the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks and Eastern Conference champion Tampa Bay Lightning, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said that playing with pace and speed is the way games are won in the NHL.

"What's happened here in quick order, this League has sped up," Hitchcock said. "This League has pace like never before. ... I think internally, we can really quicken our team and make our pace a lot higher, and we're going to have to, to keep up to where the League's at right now."

Tarasenko, Stastny give Blues reasons for optimism

Tuesday, 08.25.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- Despite Stanley Cup Playoff failure in each of the past four seasons, the St. Louis Blues don't feel they've taken steps backward.

It likely will be more difficult to qualify from the Western Conference this season, so getting off to a quick start will be pivotal to remaining at or near the top of the standings. St. Louis started last season 9-3-1, including a seven-game winning streak.

After opening at home Oct. 8 against the Edmonton Oilers, the Blues head out for their longest road trip of the season: six games, including five to Canadian cities.

Blues hope minor changes lead to playoff wins

Tuesday, 08.25.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- When the St. Louis Blues were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the first round for the third consecutive season, there wasn't a doubt there would be change. The question was, when would it happen?

Blues fans were expecting a massive overhaul after losing to the Minnesota Wild in six games, with questions about the core leadership group and how many of them would return. Coach Ken Hitchcock's contract expired June 30, and there was question whether he would return for a fifth season.

The reigning Central Division champions shuffled the deck to an extent, with the most notable offseason move coming in a trade. The Blues traded popular forward T.J. Oshie to the Washington Capitals for a package that included right wing Troy Brouwer.

St. Louis Blues fantasy hockey outlook

Pete Jensen - 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: Vladimir Tarasenko and Kevin Shattenkirk

Tarasenko, a right wing, will be referenced as a fantasy breakout example for years to come after being taken with the 160th pick on average in Yahoo drafts and finishing with 37 goals (T-5th), 73 points (T-10th), a plus-27 (T-7th) and 264 shots on goal (T-11th). Despite missing a few games down the stretch because of injury, he was one of four players (Jamie Benn, John Tavares, and Tyler Seguin) with 35-plus goals and 35-plus assists and finished third in goals per 60 minutes (1.64) among those with 52-plus games behind Alex Ovechkin (1.93) and Rick Nash (1.83).

Blue Jackets' Johansen throws out Reds first pitch

Monday, 08.24.2015 / 10:44 PM / NHL.com's 30 in 30 package: 2015-16

Sean McCullen - NHL.com Staff Writer

Columbus Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen threw out the first pitch before the Cincinnati Reds hosted the Detroit Tigers at Great American Ballpark on Monday.

"It was great. I got to know a few of the guys," Johansen told FOX Sports Ohio. "We were just talking about the difference between the sports and things like that, and schedules and travel and those kinds of things. It's interesting how many similarities there are between us and the two sports and really every sport. First time down on a field and getting to know a few of the guys, it was a pretty cool experience today."

Blue Jackets want leadership from Cup-winner Saad

Monday, 08.24.2015 / 12:11 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

The Columbus Blue Jackets are expecting plenty of offense from forward Brandon Saad, who was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks on June 30 and is likely get a chance to play on the first line.

But coach Todd Richards said Monday that he expects the two-time Stanley Cup winner, who's 22, to provide leadership in the dressing room as well.

"I just want him to come in here and be Brandon Saad, first and foremost," Richards told the Blue Jackets website. "There are things he can add to this team on the ice in game situations and practice, but there's also a lot he can bring to our room. A winning attitude, confidence, knowing that you've won and know what it takes. There will be some leadership there.

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Quote of the Day

I'm going into this with an open mind. This is a very young player (23) with a tremendous, tremendous amount of upside.

— Rangers coach Alain Vigneault on Emerson Etem's potential