• NHL expansion is coming, just don’t hold your breath

    GTA Centre Markam

    The NHL has gone a full 14 years without adding a single expansion team, which is the longest period without growth since the league ballooned from six to 12 teams in 1967. The business of hockey is stronger than it has ever been and hockey’s global reach has ensured that the league would be less watered down by adding teams than it has in the past.

    So, yes, the NHL is ripe for expansion. That’s probably why a published report that the NHL is going to add four teams by 2017 was met with such enthusiasm. To follow some accounts, expansion to Las Vegas is a “done deal” despite the fact there is no ownership group in place yet and the league will have new teams in Las Vegas, Quebec City, Toronto and Seattle by the time it blows out the 100 candles on its birthday cake. Read more

  • The All-American Prospects Game will be loaded this year

    Ryan Kennedy
    Zach Werenski is part of an excellent cast headed to Buffalo (Tom Sorensen/USA Hockey)

    The third annual USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game takes place in Buffalo on Sept. 25 and no doubt organizers will tell you it’s looking like the best one yet. People say that about all sorts of events every year, but if everyone shows up, this will be the best yet.

    The game is only as good as the talent available and last year’s installment in Pittsburgh was hampered by the fact the U.S. didn’t produce any top-10 talents for the 2014 class. Sonny Milano and Dylan Larkin were the best of the bunch and both ended up as mid-round picks. The debut of the game in Buffalo a year prior featured Seth Jones, at the time thought of as the No. 1 overall prospect and ultimately a fourth overall pick who went straight to the NHL. But Adam Erne pulled out and hometown kid Justin Bailey sustained a concussion just before the festivities, meaning a better lineup was possible.

    But this year? Assuming everyone shows up healthy, this is a stacked bill. Here’s a look at some names to keep in mind.

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  • Rumor Roundup: Where will Brodeur, Alfredsson & other UFAs end up?

    Martin Brodeur (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

    With the start of NHL training camp only three weeks away, several notable unrestricted free agents remain available.

    Topping the list is goaltender Martin Brodeur. Earlier this month THN associate editor Matt Larkin suggested the Winnipeg Jets could make the most of Brodeur’s services. Larkin expects the 42-year-old future Hall of Famer could await an injury to open up a spot with an NHL club.

    Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff seems content with his team’s tandem of Ondrej Pavelec and the inexperienced Michael Hutchinson. If the pair struggles in pre-season, however, the Jets could contact Brodeur. But they might not be the right fit for him, as it’s believed he prefers signing with a playoff contender.

    Earlier this month the Winnipeg Sun’s Ken Wiebe proposed left winger Dustin Penner as a potential replacement for the departed Devin Setoguchi, who recently signed with the Calgary Flames. Wiebe also reported the Jets offered gritty Jordin Tootoo a one-year, two-way deal, but the winger rejected the deal.
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  • The Ottawa 67′s have an 18-year-old director of player development – meet Jonathan Kyriacou

    Rory Boylen
    Jonathan Kyriacou

    “It’s like when I go watch a hockey player, it’s yes or no. When I first met Jonathan this was a no-brainer.” - Marty Abrams, head coach/GM of Jr. A’s Wellington Dukes.

    Marty Abrams gets a lot of emails and resumes from people trying to break into the hockey business via scouting. The coach/GM of Jr. A’s Wellington Dukes can’t hire or interview everyone, of course, but one inquiry he received from a 16-year-old three years ago stood out from the rest.

    “This was different than the other emails I get, the other references, the other resumes,” he said. “I knew right away it was different so I reached out to him.”

    Meet Jonathan Kyriacou, an 18-year-old Pickering native who is entering his third season as a scout for the Dukes. He realized, earlier than most would want to, that he didn’t have a future in hockey as a player, but he wanted to somehow stay involved in the game.

    At 13 and 14 years old, his bantam years, Kyriacou began plotting a new course into another corner of the hockey world. He wanted to get into scouting, or managing, or as an agent and began planting the seeds that would give him the option to explore all kinds of avenues.

    “When I was 14 I ended up getting an intern position with an agent here in Toronto, Pulver Sports. Ian Pulver,” Kyriacou said. “The year after, when I was 15, I ended up getting involved with another agent/family advisor that was just starting up in Toronto so that gave me my first scouting job. When I was 16, I decided I wanted to work more on the team side of things so I ended up exploring different options in terms of getting on with a team and found a job with the Wellington Dukes. And the year after that I got a job in the OHL.” Read more

  • Buffalo Sabres’ Patrick Kaleta helps disabled man in need

    Rory Boylen
    kaleta-184771757-

    Rick Jarosz is a 42-year-old single dad raising his 11-year-old son in a suburb of Buffalo. He’s an upstanding member of the community and volunteers with the local school to help teach kids to read. Seventeen years ago, Jarosz was injured in a forklift accident at work that left him barely able to walk. His 2012 Ford Escape was specially equipped with hand controls so he could operate the vehicle.

    According to WGRZ in Buffalo, his vehicle was stolen along with his scooter last week, leaving Jarosz without transportation.

    “He stole my lifeline,” Jarosz told the TV station. “He stole my ability to go to the park with my son, to take my son to hockey practice, to go to the grocery store, or to hang out with my son at the bus stop for his first day of middle school coming up next week.” Read more

  • Is Australia a land of hockey opportunity? 20,000 showed up for a game in Sydney

    Jason Kay
    Canadian and American pros played in front of 20,000 spectators at Sydney's Allphone Arena.

    Is Australia ready for NHL hockey? Don’t laugh. It might not be as far-fetched as you’d think.

    Kerry Goulet, the brains and brawn behind the awareness and charitable organization stopconcussions.com, has returned from his second exhibition tour of the nation and has been blown away by the support the games have generated.

    All matches on the four-city swing this summer were sold out, including a 20,000-fan throng at Allphones Arena in Sydney. Smaller venues in Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne were also jam-packed. And it wasn’t a cheap ticket; seats ranged in price from $74-$230 in Sydney.

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  • NHL expansion: What would a Las Vegas roster look like?

    Ryan Kennedy
    Would the Red Wings expose Stephen Weiss to a draft?  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

    The online world was abuzz Tuesday night with various reports about NHL expansion, specifically Las Vegas as an initial destination. Personally, I think the league is fine at 30 teams and that contracting to 28 wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. But in the interest of fun, I started to put together a roster for a potential Las Vegas team and you know what? The options aren’t that bad. I’m assuming that an expansion draft for the squad takes place in the summer of 2015 and that the players involved basically stay on their same career trajectories. Based on the last expansion draft in 2000, teams could protect one goalie, five defensemen and nine forwards, or two goalies, three defensemen and seven forwards. Players still on entry-level deals were excluded.

    This does provide a few pickles out there. For instance, Ottawa just re-signed Craig Anderson, but there’s no way the Sens leave Robin Lehner unprotected; meaning only three blueliners are behind the shield. Obviously Erik Karlsson is one and Marc Methot another. But is the third Chris Phillips or Jared Cowen? Do you assume Phillips would rather retire a Senator and that Las Vegas would know that? And you can’t give up on Cowen this quickly, right?

    And pity Boston, where the Bruins just have too many good defensemen (I’m also assuming pending free agents would stick with their current teams for the sake of this exercise). I tried to get up to the salary cap floor here, but I would think the NHL would be a little forgiving for the first season, so my 23-man roster comes in at around $50 million. The team was also given the third overall pick in the draft, since the rest of the league would riot if Vegas got Connor McDavid right off the hop. So here’s what your 2015-16 Las Vegas team could look like:

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  • Born in the USA could be theme song of 2016 NHL draft

    Ken Campbell
    Jakob Chychrun  (Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

    The best draft USA has ever had was in 2007 when Patrick Kane went first overall and was immediately followed by James Van Riemsdyk. Two years prior was close, when Bobby Ryan went second overall behind Sidney Crosby and Jack Johnson was taken third overall.

    But if current trends continue for the next two seasons, the 2016 draft will put the rest of those in their dust in terms of producing high-end players trained in America. Not only is it a good bet USA will produce its seventh first overall pick – unless Jack Eichel is taken first overall in 2015, in which case it would be USA’s eighth – but there’s a chance the top five could be chock full of American talent. Read more