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Fantasy top 100 forwards: Five disappointing groups

Tuesday, 12.09.2014 / 12:05 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Every Tuesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey insider Pete Jensen will provide you with in-depth forward analysis. From updated weekly top 100 rankings to trending players and more, Jensen will be your go-to guy for fantasy forward advice all season long.

Fantasy performance is based on individual statistics, but team success or failure can also make or break a player's value.

Just look at how the early-season success stories of the Nashville Predators, Calgary Flames, New York Islanders and Vancouver Canucks have infiltrated fantasy rosters. From reliable goaltending (e.g. Pekka Rinne, Jaroslav Halak, Ryan Miller) to offensive defensemen (e.g. Mark Giordano) to standout rookies (e.g. Filip Forsberg, Johnny Gaudreau) to steals up front (e.g. Radim Vrbata, Brock Nelson), these developments have led to a positive fantasy ripple effect.

But remember, it's a two-way street. The unpredictability of hockey can turn a seemingly complete roster on paper into shambles over the course of a season.

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Wild finding ways to survive loss of key defensemen

Tuesday, 12.09.2014 / 11:58 AM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- NHL players are conditioned to play through adversity. Injuries or illness are expected to be brushed aside as best as possible.

The Minnesota Wild have a strong hockey team, maybe one of the best in the NHL this season. They've also been dealing with a lot of key players missing from the lineup at various points because of adversity. What makes their situation a little out of the ordinary is the nature of why players are not available.

Five members of the Wild defense corps have contracted the mumps. No. 1 defenseman Ryan Suter is the most recent of the group, missing the past two games.

"It is bizarre," Wild captain Zach Parise said last week. "It is 2014, and who knew the mumps were still around, right? It's weird, and hopefully we don't see it around anymore."

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Non-playoff teams in West have turned things around

Tuesday, 12.09.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The current Western Conference standings provide a study for how fleeting success is in the NHL and how quickly teams on the bottom can rise toward the top.

There are pros, like the Winnipeg Jets' defense and puck possession, which can be looked at as one in the same. There are cons, like the Dallas Stars' defense and puck possession, to the point where they have allowed the most goals in the NHL.

Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne has played like a Vezina Trophy candidate, so that's a pro. Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov has not, so that's a con.

The Vancouver Canucks have reestablished their offensive game and overall consistency, a big pro. The San Jose Sharks appear to have lost a bit of each, definitely a con.

The Calgary Flames have found ways to win, particularly with six third-period comeback victories. That's a pro. The Minnesota Wild have been weighed down by their struggling power play, a con all season long.

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Five Questions: Hartley on Giordano, Flames' success

Tuesday, 12.09.2014 / 3:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley has fun joking around about his team giving him heart palpitations and gray hairs this season because of their slow starts and strong finishes in games. He doesn't joke about his expectations.

"We're on a mission here," Hartley told NHL.com.

The Flames' mission is to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They're carving out their path.

Calgary, picked by many to jostle with the Edmonton Oilers between sixth and seventh place in the Pacific Division, is third in the division with 36 points through 28 games entering their game Tuesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre.

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Around the League notebook for Monday, Dec. 8

Tuesday, 12.09.2014 / 12:50 AM / News

NHL Public Relations

JAGR CLIMBS RECORD BOOK, LEADS DEVILS TO VICTORY IN MILESTONE GAME

Jaromir Jagr (1-1-2) recorded a goal and an assist to lead the New Jersey Devils to a 2-1 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes. With his fifth multipoint game of the season, Jagr passed Marcel Dionne for sole possession of fifth place on the all-time NHL points list with 1,772 (710-1,062-1,772). Jagr also skated in his 1,500th career NHL game, passing Mike Modano for sole possession of 15th place on the all-time games played list. Jagr’s 1,062 career assists are one shy of tying Steve Yzerman for seventh place on the all-time NHL assists list.

* Cory Schneider made a season-high 39 saves to improve to 11-12-3 this season with a 2.50 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage. Schneider has appeared in 27 of the Devils’ 28 games this season, more than any goaltender in the NHL, and has been in net for all 11 Devils wins.

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MacLean not consistent enough with young Senators

Monday, 12.08.2014 / 10:48 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

Paul MacLean lost faith in the Ottawa Senators.

Not the organization, but the players wearing the uniform.

He admitted as much, even if he was joking, when he said that he was scared to death of who he was putting in his own lineup during a session with reporters in Pittsburgh on Saturday.

But even before MacLean uttered those ultimately fateful words, his lack of faith was clear.

No Senators player this season, with the exceptions of captain Erik Karlsson and top forwards Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur, had a clearly defined role. As was suggested by general manager Bryan Murray in explaining his decision to fire MacLean on Monday, this lack of consistency in usage was most striking among the Senators' young players.

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Devils' Jagr passes Dionne on all-time points list

Monday, 12.08.2014 / 8:51 PM / News

NHL.com

New Jersey Devils right wing Jaromir Jagr moved ahead of Marcel Dionne for fifth place on the NHL's all-time points list Monday with a goal and an assist against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Jagr, 42, who played in his 1,500th NHL game Monday, has 1,772 career points. He needs 26 more to catch Ron Francis for fourth place on the all-time points list.

The goal, which tied the game 1-1, was Jagr's fifth of the season, the 710th of his career. He is seven goals behind Phil Esposito for fifth all-time.

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Governors discuss Las Vegas ticket drive, salary cap

Monday, 12.08.2014 / 8:09 PM / News

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- The NHL has no objection to a request made by potential expansion franchise owner Bill Foley to conduct a season-ticket drive to gauge interest in the Las Vegas market, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Monday at the Board of Governors meeting.

Bettman stressed that the governors' lack of objection in Foley conducting a season-ticket drive did not start the expansion clock on a franchise in Las Vegas. He also stressed that there was no formal vote on any matters related to expansion, including the season-ticket drive.

"What I'm about to tell you requires a deep breath and a level of precision that I am requesting because I don't want it misunderstood," Bettman said. "We gave the Board an update on expressions of interest from cities and people interested in expansion teams.

"There is no formal expansion process. There is no vote that was taken today. There is no vote that was contemplated. We don't have an agreement to sell anybody an expansion franchise. However, the interest that we are getting from Las Vegas has raised lots of questions about the market itself and the interest level in supporting a professional team in Las Vegas."

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Bettman: Salary-cap projection for '15-16 around $73M

Monday, 12.08.2014 / 7:36 PM / News

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told representatives from the 30 teams Monday an initial projection for the salary cap during the 2015-16 season is about $73 million.

Speaking at the annual December meeting for the Board of Governors, Commissioner Bettman provided the League's early look at what the 2015-16 salary cap should be, contingent on a couple of key factors.

"I went over a series of projections, preliminary, preliminary projections," Bettman said. “Estimates that are not carved in stone, but our best guess based on the information available making lots of lots of assumptions on things like revenue growth in the year and perhaps, as significantly, what may happen with the Canadian dollar. Our best guess, and it's got some variation in it, that if the Canadian dollar stays where it is now for the rest of the season, which is about 88 cents, the cap for next season would be approximately $73 million.

"It's just a guess and it is subject to variation."

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Somber Lafleur pays respects to Beliveau

Monday, 12.08.2014 / 7:06 PM / News

Sean Farrell - NHL.com Correspondent

MONTREAL -- Jean Beliveau's stature was such that he could render even Guy Lafleur speechless.

A heartbroken and teary-eyed Lafleur paid his respects to the late Hall of Fame center's family Monday while Beliveau lay in state at Bell Centre for the second day in a row.

"They're special people and they have a lot of respect for the fans of Jean Beliveau," Lafleur said. "They're supporting and trying to thank everybody for their support. As an athlete, and I'm sure that the family understands that, they received a lot from the fans, and that's why Jean, he gave a lot back."

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Quote of the Day

I don't know how he does it. I don't know how he gets his body parallel with the player and pulls it through his legs like that. I know he's tried it a couple times in practice and it's never worked, so how he does it in a game, it's incredible.

— Capitals defenseman Mike Green on teammate Alex Ovechkin's highlight-reel goal against the Devils on Saturday