Top 5 underrated and overrated players of 2014-15

Jori Lehtera (Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images)

At one point or another in nearly every NHLers career, he will be either overvalued or undervalued. One great year can lead to big money contracts and pundits gushing about their ability and a down year can lead to cries that they’ve lost their scoring touch and should be sent to the minors.

At certain points over the course of a campaign, there are a number of players who will fall into either the underrated and overrated category, but there are a select few who stand out at the end of a season as the players who have been given far too little — or too much — credit. Read more

Hawks sign Seabrook to eight-year extension; now something has to give

Edward Fraser
Brent Seabrook (Getty Images)

Last year, Brent Seabrook averaged 22:10 minutes per game; his ‘D’ partner, Duncan Keith averaged 25:33; Patrick Kane 19:51; Jonathan Toews 19:33; and Marian Hossa 18:33.

That quintet, assuming they’re all still around, better get used to playing a lot more than that.

After Seabrook signed an eight-year, $55-million extension ($6.875-million per year) that will kick in next season, the above five players, along with Corey Crawford, will have a combined cap hit of $44.7 million, or 62.8% of their overall allowance, using this year’s ceiling. In other words, unless the cap shoots up next season – and don’t count on that – the Hawks will have less than $30 million to fill out the rest of the roster (and that’s not taking into account Niklas Hjalmarsson’s $4.1 million, Artem Anisimov’s $4.6 million or Bryan Bickell’s $4 million).

So you can expect one of two things: 1) Chicago’s roster in 2016-17 will feature a lot of cheap prospects and reclamation projects, resulting in a top-heavy collection that will see a bunch of ice time. 2) One or two of the Big 6 has to go. Read more

Patrick Kane ‘circus’ takes another strange twist. What should we make of it all?

Ken Campbell
Patrick Kane (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

My goodness, aren’t we learning so much about the criminal justice system lately? Thanks to the Patrick Kane investigation, we’ve learned that rape kits are put in boxes, not bags. We’ve learned that there doesn’t appear to be any New York state laws around the fabrication of evidence presented to a civilian. And we’re learning that when DNA evidence surfaces that is favorable to the accused, it must be turned over by prosecutors to the accused’s attorneys.

What a lot of people are still having a difficult time with, though, is the concept of due process, for both the accused and the alleged victim. More than a month after an alleged incident took place in Kane’s Buffalo home, the Chicago Blackhawks star has been charged with nothing.

But that has not stopped wild speculation from running rampant on both sides. It has not prevented a disturbing case of victim blaming. It has not stopped some from declaring Kane either guilty or innocent despite the absence of facts.

And it has not prevented some of the most bizarre things from happening, all of which came to a head Friday when Erie County district attorney Frank A. Sedita III revealed that the apparent evidence tampering of the rape kit that surfaced Thursday was “an elaborate hoax” perpetrated by the victim’s mother. Read more

Blackhawks, NHL caught in the middle of bizarre Patrick Kane situation

Ken Campbell
Patrick Kane (left) and Jonathan Toews (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

When Patrick Kane showed up at the Chicago Blackhawks training camp last week, a heated debate began immediately concerning whether or not he should be there.

Those saying Kane had every right to be with his teammates argued that he had not been charged with any crime and deserved the same rights as any other person in any other line of work who faced the same circumstances. Hard to argue with that. After all, the presumption of innocence is one of the underpinnings of any criminal justice system.

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Seabrook, Blackhawks reportedly closing in on extension — but how can Chicago make it work?

Jared Clinton

There are four players synonymous with the Chicago Blackhawks’ present-day success: Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. But no matter how integral those four have been to the franchise, it was assumed that eventually the Blackhawks would have to break up the band.

But with the Blackhawks already facing a serious salary cap crunch — the very thing that made some believe Seabrook could be the odd-man out in Chicago — it appears GM Stan Bowman has other ideas. According to the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc, the Blackhawks are, “closing in on a long-term extension,” with Seabrook.

While that’s all good and well for the Blackhawks, it begs two big questions: What, exactly, would Seabrook’s long-term extension look like and how does Bowman plan to make it all work under the salary cap? Read more

Patrick Kane tight-lipped in first summer media appearance

Ryan Kennedy
Patrick Kane (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Chicago Blackhawks superstar Patrick Kane has made his first media appearance since allegations of sexual assault were raised against the right winger this summer. Sitting next to team president and CEO John McDonough, GM Stan Bowman and coach Joel Quenneville, Kane fielded questions from reporters at the University of Notre Dame, where the Hawks are opening their training camp.

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Blackhawks announce Patrick Kane is expected to attend training camp

Jared Clinton
Patrick Kane (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

When the Chicago Blackhawks’ training camp opens, it is expected Patrick Kane will be in attendance.

Kane, 26, is listed among the group of forwards who are scheduled to appear at the Blackhawks’ camp when it opens Friday. According to the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc, it was then confirmed by the organization that Kane is expected to hit the ice with his teammates when the camp begins at University of Notre Dame.

Whether Kane would be at training camp has been one of the biggest questions surrounding the Blackhawks over the past few weeks following news that Kane was the subject of an investigation by police near his hometown of Buffalo. The investigation is the result of an incident that took place at Kane’s Hamburg, N.Y., residence.

Kane has not been charged with a crime. Read more

The biggest and best prospects from Traverse City

Kerby Rychel (Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

TRAVERSE CITY, MICH. – Another tourney is in the books, as the Columbus Blue Jackets defending their Traverse City prospects tournament title with a 5-2 win over the home team Detroit Red Wings. There was a lot of talent again this year, so I’ve put together mini scouting reports on many of the big names, plus others who caught my eye.

I was at two days of games, watching double-headers that were staggered between two rinks in the same building. So I saw more of some teams than others, though I tried to keep it even. If you don’t see your fave player here, it’s because he didn’t catch me eye enough – which is not to say he didn’t play well, but rather that there were a lot of prospects in play and I wouldn’t want to pretend to see more than I did.

Also, some teams had a lot of free agents on their squads since NCAA players couldn’t participate due to eligibility issues and some teams don’t have deep prospect pools right now. Chicago and the Rangers – both in contender mode right now – are two examples. They fought for last place, so we’ll start with them and work our way up to the champs.

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