Return of Duclair and Draisaitl shakes up the Memorial Cup race

Quebec's Anthony Duclair  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

You can debate whether or not the Edmonton Oilers were right to hold rookie center Leon Draisaitl out of the world juniors, where he would have been far and away Germany’s best player. And you can debate whether or not he should have been kept up by the Oilers as long as he was before they sent him back to junior in the Western League. But the trade that sent his rights (and consequently, him) to Kelowna from Prince Albert is huge in the WHL’s arms race. Just as big as the New York Rangers sending Anthony Duclair back to the Quebec Remparts.

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Varlamov’s 54 saves one of the 10 best goalie performances this season

Semyon Varlamov

The way Semyon Varlamov played on Tuesday night, you’d have to think the puck looked like a beach ball to the Colorado Avalanche netminder.

With 54 saves in a shutout victory over the Chicago Blackhawks, Varlamov not only posted one of the best performances of this season, he posted one of the best in Avalanche history. He became only the fourth Avs goalie to ever make 50 stops in a game, and one of only four netminders with 54-plus saves in a shutout victory since 1995.

The incredible feat of puck stopping isn’t enough to take top spot on this list of the 10 greatest mid-season goaltending performances, however. That spot goes to a very special game that a certain San Jose Sharks netminder will never forget. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Blues may be looking for boost through trade

Patrik Berglund Blues featured

The St. Louis Blues began this season considered among the Stanley Cup contenders, but of late they’ve been plagued by inconsistency. Entering this week, they won only four of their last ten games. The production of veteran scorers David Backes, Alex Steen, and T.J. Oshie is down from last season Goaltenders Jake Allen and Martin Brodeur struggled at times during that stretch.

Though the Blues began the week among the top-four teams in the Western Conference, their recent stumbles added fuel to the speculation a shake-up via trade could be coming. They’ve been linked to the Boston Bruins for several weeks, with Oshie and Patrik Berglund often mentioned as potential trade candidates. Read more

Headshot on Matt Stajan earns Keith Aulie two-game ban

Jared Clinton
(Derek Leung/Getty Images)

The Battle of Alberta wouldn’t really be without the Battle of Alberta without some animosity between the two teams, but the Department of Player Safety has come down on Keith Aulie for his hit during the New Year’s Eve game.

Edmonton Oilers blueliner Aulie, who has only played in 13 games this season and has failed to register a point, will sit for two games for this brutal check to the head of Calgary Flames center Matt Stajan. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Devils’ veterans could be shipped out in push for top pick

Jagr New Jersey Featured

The New Jersey Devils recent coaching change could stoke trade chatter in the coming weeks if the move fails to lift the club back into playoff contention.

Earlier this month, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks advocated shedding veterans to improve the Devils chances of winning the 2015 Draft lottery. Brooks suggested forwards Jaromir Jagr, Michael Ryder, Martin Havlat and Steve Bernier along with defenseman Marek Zidlicky might attract interest from playoff contenders. He also wondered if long-time Devils star Patrik Elias might waive his no-move clause to go to a Stanley Cup contender. Read more

Top 10 players of 2014: Game’s brightest shine in Olympic year

Sidney Crosby

Whether the NHL participates in the 2018 Olympics or not, it will forever be hard to top the talent seen in both the 2010 and 2014 games. Not only was the men’s game showcased on one of the brightest stages, the women’s game provided some incredible drama in the medal round.

As such, there is a pair of women on this year’s top 10 players. There are also appearances from a few future stars. One member of this list did outstanding things before becoming a pro, and is already making his mark on the NHL in his rookie season, while others are breaking out or remaining at the top of their games. Read more

Inspired by Zepp, the top five players who have debuted after age 30

Igor Larionov, Slava Fetisov, Slava Kozlov (Ezra O. Shaw /Allsport)

Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Rob Zepp’s incredible journey to the NHL was capped off yesterday with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Winnipeg Jets, but he isn’t the first player to make their NHL debut after the age of 30.

Goaltender Viktor Fasth is one such player, as he made his debut with the Ducks at 31 and 171 days. Nearly a year later, he’s signed himself a big money deal, been shipped from Anaheim to Edmonton, and has 50 NHL starts under his belt. Though he doesn’t make the top five, he’s part of the new generation of first-year players that could be considered elder statesmen.

Here are the top five players to make their NHL debuts after their 30th birthday: Read more