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(Page 7 of 159)
Features

After trade talk, Hurricanes' Ward looks to regain form

Friday, 09.05.2014 / 11:20 AM / NHL Insider

Kurt Dusterberg - NHL.com Correspondent

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward is not the player he once was. He knows it, and he's not afraid to talk about it. Bluntly.

"I know I've been inconsistent," Ward said. "Inconsistency at the goaltending position is something you can't afford. These last couple years, dealing with injuries and other issues ..."

Ward rethinks his point and continues.

"But excuses are for losers, so those don't do you any favors."

Ward is opting for straight talk these days. Often reticent about his shaky play in recent seasons, he now speaks with nothing-left-to-lose candor. One reason: Early in the summer, Ward learned that the Hurricanes were looking at trade options. In his first days on the job, general manager Ron Francis phoned Ward to let him know.

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Perry, Ovechkin, Kane top fantasy right wing rankings

NHL.com's Pete Jensen ranks top 50 players at RW position

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

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.


Expecting the unexpected comes with the territory in fantasy hockey. That is, unless you draft Anaheim Ducks forward Corey Perry.

Perry, who leads the fantasy right wing ranking for the third time in the past four seasons, is third in NHL.com's top 275 rankings for three reasons: his linemate, category coverage and durability.

The 29-year-old formed the best point pair League-wide last season with Ryan Getzlaf and finished among the League's top seven in goals, points, shots on goal and plus/minus. Perry also is no stranger to the penalty box, with his 50-goal, 104-penalty minute season in 2010-11 being a prime example of his production in that category. He has played in more than 96 percent of his team's games since 2006-07 and should be the first player on your list after Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos.

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Knights graduating class ready for next step

Friday, 09.05.2014 / 9:16 AM / Prospects

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

For nearly 50 years the London Knights have been a standard-bearer in Ontario junior hockey, grooming a list of future greats that includes Darryl Sittler, Brendan Shanahan, Rick Nash, Corey Perry and Patrick Kane. But none of those NHL stars accomplished in London what the most recent graduating class did with the Knights.

Playing for coach Dale Hunter, the most recent group enjoyed a three-year run that few squads can match, winning back-to-back Ontario Hockey League championships in 2012 and 2013 and participating in three consecutive Memorial Cup tournaments. Now the players constituting the core of that team are ready to make their mark against each other in the NHL.

"Our core group has been very close the last three years," said center Max Domi, who will attempt to make the Arizona Coyotes roster this fall. "We always talk about one day playing against each other in the big leagues. But there's still a lot of work to do."

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Top 14 defensemen excel at both ends of the ice

Friday, 09.05.2014 / 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 value of defensemen has long been the most difficult to assess properly because much of what a good defenseman does is not easily translated into statistics.

While that still remains largely true today, the new world of advanced statistics has allowed certain defensemen who specialize in facing the opposing team's best players and making sure the puck spends as little time as possible in their own zone to get the recognition they deserve.

On the flip side, these new metrics have also exposed what has long been known as the "stay-at-home" defenseman as simply being a player that spends an inordinate amount of time defending while the opposing team plays with the puck.
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Avalanche sign defenseman Barrie to two-year deal

Thursday, 09.04.2014 / 5:05 PM / NHL Free Agency 2014

NHL.com

The Colorado Avalanche signed defenseman Tyson Barrie to a two-year contract through the 2015-16 season, the team announced Thursday. The contract is worth $5.2 million, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.

Barrie, 23, scored 13 goals last season, the most by an Avalanche defenseman since John-Michael Liles had 14 in 2006-07. Barrie finished second among Colorado defensemen in points (38) and assists (25) in 64 games. He finished third on the team with a plus-17 rating and had two assists in three Stanley Cup Playoff games before sustaining a knee injury in Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round series against the Minnesota Wild.

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Pacioretty eager to help lead Canadiens

Thursday, 09.04.2014 / 4:35 PM / NHL Insider

Mike Brophy - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- It may have been a sign of things to come when it was pointed out to Max Pacioretty that his likeness in EA Sports' new NHL 15 is wearing the captain's "C," and the Montreal Canadiens left wing smiled when he was asked if he knows something that has not yet been shared with the rest of the hockey world.

"No, I don't know anything," Pacioretty said Thursday after participating in EA Sports' Motion Capture Display. "But I believe somebody at EA Sports should be in line for a promotion."

The fact is the Canadiens are in the market for a captain since Brian Gionta, their captain the past four seasons, signed a three-year contract with the Buffalo Sabres on July 1.

The Canadiens whipped their typically emotional fans into frenzy last season when they bounced the Tampa Bay Lightning from the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in four games and then eliminated the Boston Bruins in seven. Things turned sour in the Eastern Conference Final, however, when Montreal was beaten in six games by the New York Rangers.

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Oilers' Hall back atop fantasy left wing rankings

NHL.com's Matt Sitkoff ranks top 40 players at LW position

Thursday, 09.04.2014 / 11:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

With the 2014-15 NHL season inching closer by the day, NHL.com has you covered with positional fantasy rankings. Based on Yahoo position eligibility, projected lineups, past performance, injury history and each insider's opinions, 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.


Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers tops the preseason left wing rankings for the second consecutive season. The No. 1 pick in the 2010 NHL Draft had a career high 80 points last season and finished in the top 10 in scoring for the second straight season. Hall's 1.08 points per game has paced all left wings the past two seasons and his 0.91 career points per game ranks him fourth among players at the position.

The top 10 is a mix of consistent performers and players coming off career years. Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars was named to the NHL's First All-Star team. Expect his chemistry with center Tyler Seguin to continue. Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens has the most goals from the left side in the past three seasons (87) and hitting the 40-goal mark is not out of the question.

Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Jonathan Drouin, 19, is the only player among the top five picks in the 2013 NHL Draft to not to see action last season in the League, but the extra development time will pay huge dividends for the talented left wing and leading candidate for the Calder Trophy. Youth is represented throughout the top 40 with Calder Trophy winners Gabriel Landeskog (21) and Jonathan Huberdeau (21), as well as precocious talents like Tomas Hertl (20) and Alex Galchenyuk (20).

Some good bounce-back candidates within the rankings include Joffrey Lupul, Alex Tanguay, Huberdeau and Jiri Tlusty. Each had injury issues last season, but owners can expect them to be back producing at their normal paces in a full, 82-game season.

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Ovechkin leads deep pool in Top 14 right wings

Thursday, 09.04.2014 / 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, 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?

There certainly is no shortage of talent at right wing in the NHL.

Seven right wings scored at least 30 goals last season, and Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin reached the 50-goal plateau for the fifth time in his career. The position also boasts an impressive mix of young and veteran players, from Jordan Eberle of the Edmonton Oilers to Jaromir Jagr of the New Jersey Devils.

The abundance of talent at right wing made it extremely difficult to determine the top 14 players at the position. Three players received first-place votes, including Chicago Blackhawks sensation Patrick Kane, who was selected No. 1 by two of the voters.

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Red Wings' DeKeyser takes flight with Blue Angels

Wednesday, 09.03.2014 / 2:17 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Defenseman Danny DeKeyser was never one to worry about the abuse his body would endure as a shot blocker in his rookie season with the Detroit Red Wings. After all, the 24-year-old Detroit native finished second on the Red Wings with 116 blocked shots in 2013-14.

But that potential bodily harm was nothing compared to the 40-minute flight he experienced inside an F/A-18 Hornet jet with Lt. Ryan Chamberlain of the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels at Selfridge Air Force Base on Tuesday in Harrison, Mich.

Right from takeoff, DeKeyser knew this would be an experience unlike any other.

"I felt like it went straight up, which was kind of weird," DeKeyser told The Detroit News. "[The pilot] guns it and we're flying over Port Huron in two minutes."

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Crosby, Stamkos top deep fantasy center rankings

NHL.com's Matt Cubeta ranks top 50 players at C position

Wednesday, 09.03.2014 / 11:00 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

With the 2014-15 NHL season inching closer by the day, NHL.com has you covered with positional fantasy rankings. Based on Yahoo position eligibility, projected lineups, past performance, injury history and each insider's opinions, 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.


Depth, depth and more depth. That's the story year after year when breaking down the center position for fantasy hockey. And as always, this year remains the same.

From the first round of your draft to the final round, there's always a good time to draft a center. But that first round is sure to see plenty fly off the board. Among my top-10 overall fantasy players, eight qualify as centers in Yahoo leagues. From Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby at the No. 1 spot to Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews at 10th, there seem to be more elite players at the center position than ever, and this doesn't even include superstars Tyler Seguin (Dallas Stars) or Anze Kopitar (Los Angeles Kings).

But the quality doesn't stop there. Calder Trophy winner Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche and Columbus Blue Jackets star Ryan Johansen could end up moving into the top tier at the center position. Another No. 1 draft pick, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, could finally start to pay dividends for the Edmonton Oilers and fantasy owners. Jason Spezza (Stars) and Eric Staal (Carolina Hurricanes) should both bounce back to have big seasons.

As you move through your draft, some potential breakout candidates can also be found. Players like Brayden Schenn (Philadelphia Flyers), Derick Brassard (New York Rangers) and Mark Scheifele (Arizona Coyotes) could all end up exceeding expectations in 2014-15. Then there are the sleepers; guys like Sam Gagner (Arizona Coyotes), Nick Bjugstad (Florida Panthers) and Elias Lindholm (Hurricanes) are all worth selections with one of your final picks come draft day.

Regardless of what you need, whether it's goals, assists, penalty minutes, plus/minus help, power-play production or shots on goal, the center position has you covered, and you'll be able to find what you need at almost any point during your draft.

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Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres