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

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

NHL logo rankings No. 2: Arizona Coyotes

Rory Boylen
coyotesmain

We’re nearing the end of our NHL logo rankings, which are the result of a seven-person THN panel who discussed and debated each logo. Rather than judge by longevity and rank the Original 6 teams 1-6, we tried to look at the designs again for the first time.

Coming in at No. 2: The Arizona Coyotes.

For sure, some people are going to hate this selection. We’ve already seen the comments about the “roadkill” logo, but we couldn’t disagree more.

The Coyotes logo, which is a massive improvement on their original, is a nice-looking canine with a sun-dried color combination you don’t see every day. For me, I like the Coyotes logo for the same reasons I like the UConn Huskies logo: it’s just a good looking animal. The Coyotes design isn’t a cartoon, or one that looks soft and too happy for its own good. The howling Coyote is a sophisticated design that also sits nice on the jersey with smooth colors. Some will wonder how we ranked it No. 2 in the NHL – I’ll wonder how others don’t see the beauty in it. So goes the logo ranking process.

But if you think you can design a better logo for the Coyotes, now is your chance. Send in your design to editorial@thehockeynews.com and we’ll run a collection of our favorite readar redesigns next week. And why not try designing new logos for the other NHL teams we’ve ranked?

Tomorrow we release the NHL logo we ranked No. 1. But you can probably figure out which one it’s going to be.

All logos from Chris Creamer’s website.

HISTORY OF THE COYOTES LOGO
The Coyotes didn’t start in the desert, as the Coyotes, or even in the NHL. This team has its roots in Winnipeg and the WHA.

The Winnipeg Jets were one of the founding franchises in the WHA, a rival upstart to the NHL, and would become a powerhouse in that league. The first big splash the team ever made was signing Bobby Hull away from the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, making him the first player to earn a $1 million contract.

In 1972-73, the first year of the WHA, the Jets lost in the Avco Cup final to the New England Whalers.

The first primary logo ever used by the team isn’t the one we equate to the original Jets, but this design of a red circle with a hockey player and a jet taking off in the distance. The team would continue to use these colors, but this logo stood as the team’s main image for only its first two years of existence.

coyotes1

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Rumor Roundup: Flyers need help on the blueline, but don’t expect it to come soon

(Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

The state of the Philadelphia Flyers defense core remains a troubling issue. They’ve lacked a true top-two defenseman since Chris Pronger’s career was ended by injury nearly three years ago. They attempted to address that issue in July of 2012 by signing Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber to an expensive offer sheet, but the Predators swiftly matched it.

Former GM Paul Holmgren attempted to bolster the overall blueline depth, acquiring Luke Schenn, Mark Streit and Andrew MacDonald via trade and free agency. None of them, however, can fill Pronger’s skates.

The Flyers underwent a front-office shakeup this spring when Ron Hextall took over as GM. Despite Hextall’s stated preference for building from within, rumor-mongers believe the Flyers still seek a stud defenseman, linking them to Winnipeg Jets blueliner Zach Bogosian. Read more

Paul Bissonnette’s epic Ice Bucket Challenge video will leave you breathless

Adam Proteau
Paul Bissonnette

As the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge picks up steam with more entertaining videos every day, free agent winger Paul Bissonnette just set the standard by which all other submissions will be judged.

After being challenged by his former Phoenix (and now Arizona) Coyotes teammate Keith Yandle, Bissonnette responded with a helicopter trip to the top of a majestic (unidentified) mountain, and – clad in what can only be described as something that shouldn’t be described – he was doused in genuine glacier icewater: Read more

Which franchise will be the next to win its first-ever Stanley Cup?

Wild-Blues

We recently sorted out our Yearbook predictions for 2014-15, which included projected standings and which team will win the Stanley Cup. Without giving it away, our anticipated winner has been to the promised land before. Which mathematically, should not be surprising. Only 12 of the NHL’s 30 teams have never won the league title and it’s hard to say who will be next. When the Los Angeles Kings won their first Cup in 2012, they broke a streak of futility that had stretched back to 1968 when the team originally entered the league. The following teams would like to join them:

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Rumor Roundup: Could Patrick Sharp end up with Canadiens or Panthers?

sharpdressedman

With the Chicago Blackhawks needing to shed salary before the regular season begins, NBC Sports’ Mike Halford wonders if they could turn to their pipeline with the Florida Panthers.

The Blackhawks currently sit $2.2 million over the $69-million cap for 2014-15. With their recent re-signings of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, they have more than $65 million invested in 15 players for 2015-16. Assuming the salary cap for that season jumps to $75 million, the ‘Hawks will have less than $10 million to re-sign or replace potential free agents Brad Richards, Brandon Saad, Johnny Oduya, Nick Leddy, Michal Rozsival and Marcus Kruger.

Halford notes the Blackhawks in recent years dealt Brian Campbell, Tomas Kopecky, Brandon Pirri, Jimmy Hayes and Dylan Olsen to Florida. That’s largely because Panthers GM Dale Tallon is also the former GM of the Blackhawks and had a hand in bringing most of the aforementioned to Chicago before he moved on to the Panthers.

In the short term, the Blackhawks could peddle Oduya ($3.38 million) or Leddy ($2.7 million) to become cap compliant for 2014-15. TSN radio host Jason Gregor reports of speculation Oduya could be the likely trade candidate. To free up more cap space for 2015-16, however, they’ll have to ship out a player on a longer-term contract.

Halford noted the recent trade rumors swirling around winger Patrick Sharp, who’s signed through 2017 at an annual cap hit of $5.9 million. While Sharp’s agent vehemently denied the speculation, Halford suggests the 32-year-old winger could interest Tallon, who’s seeking an experienced sniper. Tallon brought Sharp to Chicago in a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2005-06. Read more

These 23 players can go to arbitration, if they’re not signed to extensions first

reimer

The NHL’s arbitration process is scheduled to begin later this month. Twenty NHL players have filed for arbitration, while three players were taken to arbitration by their teams. Usually, these contracts are settled before the team and player have to face off in front of an arbiter, so expect most, or all, of these to be settled before the process begins.

Arbitration cases will be heard between July 20 and August 5. Here are the eligible players:

Arizona Coyotes
Brandon McMillan - A third round pick by Anaheim in 2008, McMillan played 22 games with the Coyotes in 2013-14, scoring two goals and six points. He also played 46 games with the american League’s Portland Pirates, scoring 11 goals and 26 points. The 5-foot-11 winger was acquired by the Coyotes last year in a trade that sent Matt Lombardi to the Ducks.

Boston Bruins
Matt Bartkowski - A seventh round pick by Florida in 2008, Bartkowski averaged the fourth-most minutes among Bruins defensemen in 2013-14 and scored 18 assists. He was acquired by Boston in what turned out to be an awful trade for Florida, which sent Bartkowski and Dennis Seidenberg to the Bruins for not much at all. Bartkowski has emerged as a physical defensive blueliner who fits in nicely with Boston’s brawny way. Read more