Ryan Kennedy

Ryan Kennedy is the associate senior writer and draft/prospect expert at The Hockey News. He has been with the publication since 2005 and in that span, Don Cherry, Lil Jon and The Rock have all called his house. He lives in Toronto with his wife and kids where he listens to loud music and collects NCAA pennants.

Los Angeles was playing chess, Edmonton was playing checkers

Ryan Kennedy
Taylor Hall and Jarret Stoll  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Darryl Belfry is a skills coach who works with elite NHLers such as Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane and John Tavares. So when he breaks down game tape, the analysis is pretty sound. And if you needed any more evidence of how big a gulf exists between the Los Angeles Kings and the Edmonton Oilers after a 6-1 thrashing, just watch Belfry’s assessment of a Kings breakout from Tuesday night:

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Should the Colorado Avalanche be worried right now?

Ryan Kennedy
Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog (Photo By Andy Cross / The Denver Post)

How soon is too soon to sound the alarm bells? Looking around the NHL right now, you’ll see unlikely teams such as Boston and the New York Rangers struggling early, but with such a small sample size, that seems like more of a blip than a pattern.

On the other hand, seeing Colorado with one win in four tries seems a little more harrowing.

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Toronto Maple Leafs juggle struggling Jake Gardiner, soaring Stuart Percy

Ryan Kennedy
Toronto's Stuart Percy  (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Jake Gardiner brings one of the highest risk-reward games to Toronto’s depth chart, but early on in the season, the young defenseman seems to have been usurped by rookie Stuart Percy, who counters with smarts and mobility. On the morning of Toronto’s home tilt against Colorado, the big question was whether Gardiner was going to draw in after he had been scratched for the Leafs’ big win in New York over the Rangers. Coach Randy Carlyle was cagey after the morning skate, saying it was a “coach’s decision” (but you’re the coach!) and that the final answer would come after warm-ups. But one thing is clear: Percy is making it hard for the Leafs to take him out.

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The Hot List: Banned in Minnesota, thriving in Vancouver

Vancouver's Alec Baer  (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

With NCAA hockey officially in full swing, there is action aplenty to watch for in the prospect world. Boston University’s Jack Eichel and Erie’s Connor McDavid already seem to have a fantastic game of anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better going on, but who else should you be watching this season? Here are some of the other names making noise right now.

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Nashville Predators still want to be defensive monsters, says Shea Weber

Ryan Kennedy
Nashville's Shea Weber (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Nashville Predators had been a pretty consistent playoff team, despite the fact the franchise rarely had an elite forward in the lineup. But that dearth of scoring seemed to catch up to them the past two seasons and the Preds found themselves on the outside looking in.

This year, Nashville has a new coach in Peter Laviolette and to outsiders, it seemed like a good choice based on style: Laviolette is known as a coach who can coax goals out of his team. But according to the Predators, they don’t want to get too far away from their bread and butter; the staunch defensive club created by former bench boss Barry Trotz.

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Fatal car crash has NHL prospect Brock Boeser playing for his friends

Ryan Kennedy
Waterloo's Brock Boeser (Photo courtesy of Steph Regenold)

When Brock Boeser and his buddies want to unwind in the summer, they go to Cannon River, near his hometown of Burnsville, Minn. It’s a perfect spot for swimming and cliff-jumping and sounds like an idyllic getaway for teenagers, particularly since Boeser’s career as a pro hockey player is looking promising right now.

A potential first-round pick in the 2015 draft, Boeser played at the All-American Prospects Game in Buffalo and before that, was chosen to represent Team USA at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup in Europe this past August. He and linemate Tom Novak, a longtime friend from summer hockey, were 1-2 in tournament scoring, helping the Americans to a bronze medal. But just as the elite gathering was kicking off, a tragedy rocked Boeser’s world.

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