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Hodgson, Arvidsson among Predators' X-factors

Friday, 10.02.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Robby Stanley - Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators didn't get much offensive production from their third line last season, but they're hoping some new additions will change that in 2015-16.

The forwards are the biggest question mark in Nashville, but they performed well in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs and should get plenty of scoring chances playing in coach Peter Laviolette's up-tempo system.

Here are three X-factors that will impact whether the Predators can build on last season and make a run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

Super 16: Fast, skilled, experienced Lightning at top

Friday, 10.02.2015 / 3:00 AM / Super 16: NHL Power Rankings

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

This is the preseason edition of the Super 16. It will return on Oct. 16, nine days after the start of the regular season, and will run every Friday for the duration of the season.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos' words at the time he said them, last month during the NHL's Player Media Tour, a week before training camps would get going, seemed like nothing more than an elite player trying to stay humble about his clearly impressive team.

"The goal should just be the same as it was last year, just getting to the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs," Stamkos told "It's so hard now that it's wrong to start thinking we made it to the [Stanley Cup] Final and we'll be right back in that position."

Sabres' Bylsma primed to win Jack Adams Award

Friday, 10.02.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Jon Lane - Staff Writer

It's become a habit to dismiss the Buffalo Sabres and any iota of a chance they have of reaching the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They've averaged a shade over 21 wins the past three seasons, and in each of the previous two finished at or near the bottom of the NHL in most offensive and special-team categories.

But there are precedents of teams making quantum leaps in the NHL standings. The Montreal Canadiens ascended from the Eastern Conference basement to a first-place finish in the Northeast Division in 2013. A season later, the Colorado Avalanche rose from 29th in the League (39 points in 48 games) to 112 points and the Central Division title. An extreme example is the 1992-93 San Jose Sharks, whose 58-point jump from the season before remains the biggest turnaround in League history.

A 58-point jump is asking too much, but there's no denying the excitement in Buffalo, where there are expectations for the Sabres to make noise in the East. The additions of Evander Kane, Jack Eichel and Ryan O'Reilly fortified a group of forwards that already included Tyler Ennis, Matt Moulson, Zemgus Girgensons and Sam Reinhart, putting them in position to significantly increase their NHL-worst 153 goals from last season. Defenseman Cody Franson, who signed a two-year contract Sept. 10, should spark a power play that finished 30th at 13.4 percent.

How West's playoff outsiders get back in postseason

Friday, 10.02.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor continues its preview of the 2015-16 season, which begins Wednesday, Oct. 7.

Summer may be the most enjoyable time of the season for many people, but NHL teams want to put off its start for as long as possible.

For the six Western Conference teams that missed out on the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoff party, their goal since the second week of April has been figuring out how to extend their seasons into May -- or even June, like the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.

So how can the teams that missed the fun turn into postseason hits? With the regular season nearing its start, today examines why fans of the unlucky six can hold on to their playoff hopes:

Lightning ready to make another run at Stanley Cup

Friday, 10.02.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Corey Long - Correspondent continues its preview of the 2015-16 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams.

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning will enter the 2015-16 season with high expectations and a lot of familiar faces.

The majority of the roster that lost the Stanley Cup Final in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks will return with a chance to make another deep run in the playoffs.

With a core of young stars and strong depth across the board, there is plenty of reason for optimism about the Lightning.

Stamkos contract, Drouin among Lightning's X-factors

Friday, 10.02.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Corey Long - Correspondent

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning came close last season to winning the Stanley Cup for the second time in their history, but ultimately fell to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games in the Final.

There were not a lot of changes made in the offseason, but here are three X-factors that could determine if the Lightning will hoist the Cup in 2016:

Elite level now the expectation for Lightning's Hedman

Friday, 10.02.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

TORONTO -- Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman finally ended his near six-year chase to catch up to his high expectations in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season.

All it did for him was create even higher expectations going into this season.

"The one thing with Victor is he's always been blessed with these physical tools. But with him I think it came down to opportunity and then it came down to in some part believing he can be in that upper echelon of defenseman," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "Now Victor is so much more comfortable with himself and playing the game that I think what we're going to see is him playing at a consistently high level will be the norm now. Maybe that's the expectation of him now. Maybe it is."

Nash says time for Rangers to win Stanley Cup is now

Thursday, 10.01.2015 / 7:31 PM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Jon Lane - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- The time for the New York Rangers to win the Stanley Cup is right now, and forward Rick Nash knows it.

"I feel like an organization like the Rangers has pressure to win a championship every single year," Nash said Thursday during an appearance at the NHL Powered by Reebok Store to celebrate the release of the first-ever Playmobil NHL figures and playsets. "I think [coach Alain Vigneault] is right when he says failure is not an option. We've been close, and in this business close isn't good enough. We have to be able to get the job done.

"I think our window is right now."

NHL Great Canadian Goalies stamps unveiled

Worsley, Bower, Esposito, Parent, Dryden, and Brodeur immortalized

Thursday, 10.01.2015 / 5:08 PM / Game Savers

NHL Public Relations

TORONTO -- Less than a week before the puck drops to start the 2015-16 NHL season, Canada Post lifted the veil today on a new stamp issue that celebrates six goaltending greats who transformed hockey.

The 2015 NHL® Great Canadian Goalies set highlights some of the finest goalies to play in the NHL between 1952 and 2015: Lorne "Gump" Worsley (Montreal Canadiens), Johnny Bower (Toronto Maple Leafs), Tony Esposito (Chicago Blackhawks), Bernie Parent (Philadelphia Flyers), Ken Dryden (Montreal Canadiens) and Martin Brodeur (New Jersey Devils).

All won the most coveted of prizes -- the Stanley Cup® Championship -- and the Vezina Trophy, recognizing the NHL's best goalkeeper. All changed the way the game was played or perceived, making them larger-than-life figures.

Oilers' Messier sees smooth transition for McDavid

Thursday, 10.01.2015 / 4:34 PM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Derek Van Diest - Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Edmonton Oilers legend Mark Messier worked with Connor McDavid on an advertising campaign this summer, but prior to Thursday had never seen the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft play in person.

Messier, who works as a hockey adviser for the Oilers, was here to watch McDavid and the Oilers host the Vancouver Canucks in a preseason game at Rexall Place.

"This is the first time I've seen him live -- obviously, I follow the games on TV -- so I'm looking forward to it," Messier said following the Oilers morning skate. "Meeting Connor this summer and shooting the [Rogers Communications] commercials together, I got to see what a great young man he is and I know he's excited to get the season started."

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Quote of the Day

[Stamkos] is a great teammate and a great leader, that's why he's got the 'C'. He brings that tremendous work ethic to the rink and he's one of the top players in the game. I know if I put the passes where they are supposed to be, there's a very good chance he's going to put it in the back of the net.

— Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin on linemate Steven Samkos
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