• THN’s 2014-15 NHL season preview: San Jose Sharks

    The Hockey News
    San Jose Sharks (Getty Images)

    2013-14 record: 51-22-9

    Acquisitions: John Scott, The McGinn, Taylor Fedun

    Departures: Brad Stuart, Martin Havlat, Dan Boyle

    Top five fantasy players: Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl

    Boom, Bust and Bottom Line: The best, worst and most likely scenario
    Boom: Had San Jose closed out Los Angeles in Game 4, 5, 6 or 7 of their opening round series, the landscape would look a lot different in California. The Kings would be the ones regrouping from a first-round loss and Stanley might have found a summer home farther up the coast. But the Sharks again couldn’t execute that springtime killer instinct, and they still come across as an aging group of pretenders. That said, San Jose has young cornerstones in Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl and has already started the transition to building around them instead of 35-year-olds Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. The team has the utmost faith in GM Doug Wilson and coach Todd McLellan, and those two men have a ton of faith in a roster that saw just cosmetic changes made to it. Read more

  • Claude Giroux leaves practice after 15 minutes with lower-body injury

    Rory Boylen
    Claude Giroux (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

    The Philadelphia Flyers enter training camp with a pile of questions about the team. Is the defense too slow and old? How will they fare without Kimmo Timonen, who is out for at least the first few months of the season, and possibly the entire year? Can Steve Mason put together another strong season, or was last year a one-off?

    We’re skeptical of the Flyers this season and predicted them to finish fifth in the Metro Division and out of the playoffs. There are just too many concerns around the roster. And on the very first day of training camp, another uncertainty was added to the pile: Claude Giroux left the ice after 15 minutes with a “lower-body injury.”

    It’s not yet clear exactly what the injury is, or how serious it is. But this is an awful way for the Flyers to start training camp.

    Flyers fans: hold on to your butts.

    Read more

  • Wild’s goalie carousel continues with suspension of Josh Harding, signing of Darcy Kuemper

    Adam Proteau
    Josh Harding (Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

    Since the Minnesota Wild first appeared on an NHL ice rink in 2000, they’ve been relatively free of out-of-the-ordinary drama. But their goaltending predicament is shaping up to be one of the league’s most intriguing sagas to monitor this season – and that was before Thursday, when the franchise suspended presumptive No. 1 Josh Harding after he got into an altercation with a teammate, kicked a wall and fractured his foot.

    Harding is expected to be sidelined for months by the injury, and left the team with little choice but to come down hard on him. Details of the scuffle he engaged in (including the name of the teammate he clashed with) weren’t made public, but by suspending him, the Wild took his $1.9 million salary cap hit off the books and gave that money to restricted free agent Darcy Kuemper.

    But even then, Minnesota’s goaltending saga is far from settled. Read more

  • GMs feel Jackets pain, but question decision to go public with Ryan Johansen

    Ken Campbell
    Ryan Johansen (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

    If Columbus Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson and GM Jarmo Kekalainen can take solace in one thing, it’s that their peers definitely feel their pain. Other hockey executives aren’t so sure about the Blue Jackets taking their beefs with Ryan Johansen and his agent Kurt Overhardt so public, but they do understand the frustration Davidson and Kekalainen are experiencing.

    In an effort to determine whether the Blue Jackets are handling this standoff with Johansen in the right way, thn.com canvassed 10 current and former GMs for their views on the subject. As has been well documented, Johansen is a restricted free agent with the Blue Jackets and is currently embroiled in a contract dispute that has gotten quite ugly. It’s so poisoned that Davidson recently blamed Overhardt for his handling of the situation, which was followed by the Blue Jackets making public each of the offers they’ve presented to Johansen, all of which have been turned down. Read more

  • THN’s top 200 fantasy players for 2014-15

    Matt Larkin
    Ryan Johansen (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

    I love the Don Henley track “Boys of Summer.” It’s almost impossible to sing the chorus in karaoke, which sucks, but I dig the way it captures this time of year. Nobody on the road…nobody on the beach…I feel it in the air…the summer’s out of reach.

    That feeling – mild chill in the air, slight breeze – gets me thinking about fantasy hockey drafts. It’s that time again. Most of what you need to know for your draft is in our crackerjack THN Ultimate Fantasy Guide, which is on newsstands now. You’ll even find a sorted list of the top 300 projected scorers.

    One thing that list doesn’t cover, however, is any league not based entirely on points. What about the head-to-head formats in which you accumulate goaltending stats and penalty minutes on top of your offensive numbers? How do you know when to draft a goalie or defenseman over a forward?

    I present to you a new ranking set. This list is based on a standard Yahoo head-to-head format with the following categories: goals, assists, plus-minus, penalty minutes, power play points, shots on goal, wins, goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts.

    Personally, I like scrapping penalty minutes for hits and adding saves to the goalie category, but I’ll stick with the standard configuration to ensure these rankings have a wider reach. Let’s get it on!

    SEPT. 19 UPDATE: Training camps are underway, and it’s time to start movin’ and shakin’ the rankings a bit. A few injuries and one prominent contract squabble can’t be ignored any longer.

    Read more

  • The top 10 goalies most likely to have a down year

    Winnipeg's Ondrej Pavelec (Photo by Lance Thomson/NHLI via Getty Images)

    No one has ever understood goaltenders. From Hall of Fame puker Glenn Hall to wall-kicking Josh Harding, they’re a breed apart and considering the dangerous occupation they chose, perhaps they can be forgiven for their eccentricities. Recently, it’s been very difficult to figure out who will dominate the Vezina Trophy race. But with some help from Rob Vollman’s Hockey Abstract, here’s a look at 10 goalies who might have down years. Quality Starts percentage refers to games in which a goalie had a .917 save percentage when facing more than 20 shots (.885 when facing 20 shots or less). Vollman averaged out the past three seasons to get his results.

    Read more

  • Pittsburgh Penguins unveil excellent throwback third jersey – what do you think?

    Rory Boylen
    Pittsburgh's third jersey.

    The Pittsburgh Penguins unveiled a third jersey they’ll use during the 2014-15 season today – and we’re big fans of the throwback look.

    The “Pittsburgh Gold,” a color scheme used way back in the Mario Lemieux Stanley Cup days, returns for 12 games this season. When the Penguins moved away from these jerseys in the early 1990s, they were a league powerhouse with back-to-back Stanley Cups. And although we ranked the current Penguins logo – with its dulled gold color – eighth-best in the NHL, we would rank the Pittsburgh Gold penguin even higher. It’s a sharp look.

    Check it out. Here are the third jerseys the Penguins will use. Excellent stuff, right? Read more

  • Can Devils win with a lineup of senior citizens?

    Ken Campbell
    The New Jersey Devils, led by Jaromir Jagr. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

    There is no truth to the rumor that the New Jersey Devils had extra defibrillators on hand when their players showed up for fitness testing on the first day of training camp today. But you can understand how these things get started.

    When the Devils opened camp, they did so with a decidedly older bent to their roster of hopefuls. Among those who are in Devils camp this fall on tryouts are defensemen Tomas Kaberle and Mike Komisarek, center Scott Gomez, right winger Jordin Tootoo and left winger Ruslan Fedotenko. Combined number of NHL games last season: 89. Combined age: 171 years and 93 days. Read more