Reebok catalog shows off potential Avalanche, Red Wings logos for Stadium Series

Potential logos for the upcoming Stadium Series between Detroit and Colorado. (via Conrad Burry/Twitter)

Fans itching to get a look at what the Stadium Series jerseys might be when the Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings face off in Denver this season got a preview from an unlikely source.

In a Reebok catalog promoting new merchandise for the upcoming season, the logos for both the Avalanche and Red Wings for the Stadium Series contest adorned two sweaters.

Graphic designer Conrad Burry first posted the image to Twitter, which has since been picked up by hockey design blogs such as SportsLogos.net and Icethetics.info. Read more

AHL Logo Ranking: No. 22 – San Antonio Rampage

Jared Clinton
San Antonio Rampage logo (via SportsLogos.net/Chris Creamer)

(The AHL has undergone a season of change and one-third of the league has changed locations or logos for the 2015-16 season. Leading up to the new season, The Hockey News will be ranking the logos of the league’s teams and offering a brief look at the history of each franchise. See the rest of the rankings in our AHL feed.)

Due to an affiliation change, the San Antonio Rampage could go from division champion to fighting for a post-season berth. This past season’s affiliation with the Florida Panthers resulted in what was inarguably the most successful regular season team the Rampage have ever iced. However, a new affiliation with the Colorado Avalanche is set to begin in 2015-16 and it could be yet another campaign of missing out on the post-season for the Texas team. Sadly, that’s something the club has grown accustomed to.

In the 13 seasons the club has been in San Antonio, there has only been five post-season appearances. While this season’s roster should show some growth from the Lake Erie team that missed the playoffs by a mere five points in 2014-15, there haven’t been any major signings that will assuredly put the new-look Rampage over the top.

Luckily, the stars of the 2014-15 Monsters will be coming over to the 2015-16 Rampage. That includes Andrew Agozzino, who led the Monsters with 30 goals and 64 points this past season. That said, Stefan Elliott and Freddie Hamilton, who were two of the top five scorers on the roster in 2014-15, have yet to sign new deals and remain restricted free agents with the Avalanche.

Youngsters Mikko Rantanen and Chris Bigras, both high draft selections of the Avalanche, should be making their AHL debuts this season, too. That could provide the offensive impact the (then-Monsters) roster were missing last season, as they finished 16th in the league in goals for.

The Rampage’s play between the pipes should be good — and possibly even great. Goaltender Calvin Pickard has been a standout at the AHL level and will be suiting up for the club in 2015-16, and he’ll have young backups Roman Will and Spencer Martin backing him up.

Never has there been back-to-back post-season appearances for the Rampage, but it could be close in 2015-16. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Tryout contracts could be only option for several free agents

Christian Ehrhoff (Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

With the start of NHL training camps a month away, a number of unrestricted free agents are still seeking contracts for 2015-16.

The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline compiled a roster of the best available players. The notables include forwards Martin Havlat, Olli Jokinen, Erik Cole and Brenden Morrow. Sadly, these players are all well past their playing prime. Some, like Havlat and Cole, face retirement as a result of injuries suffered during their careers.

Portzline also includes forwards Stephen Weiss, Curtis Glencross and Jiri Tlusty, along with defensemen Christian Ehrhoff, Cody Franson and Marek Zidlicky. As the start of training camp approaches, these free agents stand the best chance of landing new contracts.

The New York Rangers’ recent signing of center Jarret Stoll to a one-year, $800K contract indicates there are teams with limited cap space still seeking affordable depth. The Boston Bruins and Columbus Blue Jackets are among this group. Even rebuilding teams with plenty of cap room, like the Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils, could pursue cost-effective depth via free agency. Read more

Daniel Briere retires as a trailblazer

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

It would be disingenuous to say Daniel Briere came out of nowhere. After all, he was a first-round pick of the Phoenix Coyotes back in 1996, the same year he scored 163 points for Drummondville of the Quebec League.

But since he was waived by those same Coyotes seven years later, after failing to make a permanent impression on the club, it is remarkable to think how quickly he became one of the most dangerous players in the NHL shortly thereafter.

Read more

The 10 oldest players suiting up in the NHL in 2015-16

Jaromir Jagr (Gregg Forwerck/Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Penguins made a move yesterday that flew a bit under the radar, signing center Matt Cullen to a one-year, $800,000 contract.

Cullen, who has played in more than 1,200 games over his career, has been a steady middle of the lineup player throughout his career. Cullen can give the Penguins some veteran depth, so it’s not a terrible signing, but what’s shocking about the deal is that Cullen is inching closer to his 39th birthday.

The Penguins also signed Eric Fehr this off-season, but Fehr, a veteran of 10 NHL seasons, is still 10 years Cullen’s junior. That’s no small age gap. Even still, Cullen barely cracks the five oldest players this season. Here are the NHL’s elder statesmen with contracts for the upcoming season: Read more

Crosby, MacKinnon donate World Championship earnings to Cole Harbour minor hockey

MacKinnon-Crosby

Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon have been spending part of this off-season running the first Sidney Crosby Hockey School in Cole Harbour, but the hockey camp isn’t the only way the two NHL stars are giving back to their hometown.

Crosby and MacKinnon, who were both part of the Canadian squad that won gold at the 2015 World Championship, have donated their shares of the winnings to the Cole Harbour Hockey Association. According to the Chronicle Herald, Hockey Canada’s Tom Renney presented Crosby and MacKinnon with checks Wednesday for their participation, and the pair of first overall picks saw it as a way to give back to the community in which they played the game as children. The value of the checks was not disclosed.

“Obviously this is where Nate and I started so to have the opportunity to give back and…to be able to have it go directly to the minor hockey associations that we were apart of means a lot to us,” Crosby told the Chronicle Herald. “I’m sure it’ll go a long way so we certainly appreciate (Renney) taking the time to come here and share his experience and wisdom with people here, and educate them. For the parents who were here and listened to him, I’m sure it means a lot that he would take time out of his busy schedule to come here.” Read more

Memorial Cup hosts land Michael Spacek, chase Brandon Hickey

Michael Spacek (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

The way Red Deer finished the 2014-15 campaign – a five-game, first-round loss to Medicine Hat – you’d be forgiven for wondering how they would turn things around in time to be tough hosts of the Memorial Cup this year. But in a flash of activity, GM and coach Brent Sutter has begun to shake the foundations.

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Matthew Tkachuk and the boys of summer headline The Hot List

Matthew Tkachuk. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

A Hot List in the middle of summer? Why not? There’s plenty of prospects on the ice right now, what with Canada hosting teams in Calgary and Team USA defending home ice in Lake Placid. From world junior prep to Ivan Hlinka tryouts for Canada’s under-18s, there are some important viewings going on right now for the international squads, so let’s take a look at some of the kids who are standing out so far. Players are listed with their presumed 2015-16 squads.

Matthew Tkachuk, LW – London Knights (OHL)

The exciting thing about Tkachuk is that his star will continue to rise as he continues to grow. Already 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds, Tkachuk showed off his numerous skills in USA White’s 10-4 destruction of Sweden. In fact, Tkachuk had a hat trick in the game.

“I consider myself a power forward and I mix in some skill, too,” Tkachuk said. “My best attribute is my hockey IQ. I use that to get me where I want to be, get to pucks and get around the net, where I am most of the time.”

The son of former NHL great Keith Tkachuk, Matthew has a big hockey family. Jimmy and Kevin Hayes are cousins, while Casey Fitzgerald, his teammate last year with the U.S. National Team Development Program, is a second cousin. Playing for the NTDP seemed like the best career move.

“I just knew it was the best decision for me,” he said. “Seeing all the guys who have moved forward to the NHL – Patrick Kane, Erik Johnson, Jack Johnson, Ryan Kesler – all those good players went there.”

Tkachuk was almost headed to Notre Dame for this season, but signed on with the powerhouse Knights, instead. He’ll go from riding shotgun with top 2016 prospect Auston Matthews at the NTDP to playing with a bevy of huge talents in London such as Christian Dvorak and Mitch Marner. This will be a big development year and Tkachuk already has a role model picked out.

“I watch a lot of James van Riemsdyk,” he said. “I try to play exactly like he does. I’m a pretty big guy, I like to be around the net and I try to mix in some skill.”

Tkachuk wants to work on his quickness, but with such a fast mind, he’s already a handful for opponents. Draft eligible in 2016.

Mitch Marner, RW – London Knights (OHL)

The patience with the puck and the vision to find his man are two aspects of Marner’s game that are so fun to watch – unless you’re an opposing team. The Knights star displayed that in Canada’s 4-1 world junior camp win over Russia on Monday and there’s no reason to suspect the points machine will slow down anytime soon. Drafted fourth overall by Toronto in 2015.

Mikko Rantanen, RW – TPS Turku (Fin.)

Thanks to an out clause in his Finnish contract, Rantanen could come to North America this season and I think he has a shot at the NHL. USA Blue found that out the hard way in Lake Placid as the big, gifted winger thrashed the Yanks for three assists in a 10-3 stomping on Monday. Drafted 10th overall by Colorado in 2015.

Dante Fabbro, D – Penticton Vees (BCHL)

One of two Vees to watch this season alongside center Tyson Jost, Fabbro is a smart, skilled blueliner who doesn’t mind jumping in the rush. His rocket shot netted him a goal for Canada Red in his second under-18 camp game and he had an assist in the other. Fabbro is currently looking at NCAA options. Draft eligible in 2016.

Pierre-Luc Dubois, RW – Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL)

The talented winger would have been a great candidate for the list thanks to his overtime winner for Canada White’s second win over Canada Red at the under-18 camp, but there’s more to Dubois. The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder goes to the net, protects the puck and has great playmaking vision. Draft eligible in 2016.

Brock Boeser, RW – University of North Dakota (NCHC)

As I’ve been telling anyone who listens, scoring in the USHL is tough and Boeser was one of the best with Waterloo. Thanks to his hard shot, Sweden learned that the hard way in Lake Placid as the UND recruit threw up a hat trick in a 10-4 devastation of the Tre Kroner. Drafted 23rd overall by Vancouver in 2015.

Carter Hart, G – Everett Silvertips (WHL)

Though Hart doesn’t have ideal NHL size at six-feet tall, the netminder makes up for it with his athleticism and great post-to-post movement. A breakout underage star for the Tips last season, he’s been solid for Canada Red’s under-18 squad so far. Draft eligible in 2016.

Sonny Milano, LW – Flint Firebirds (OHL)

One of the most experienced players at Team USA’s camp, Milano makes his name by dazzling in the offensive zone. Those sick hands and quick feet helped him notch two goals in USA White’s 5-2 win over Finland. Drafted 16th overall by Columbus in 2014.

Julius Nattinen, C – JYP (Fin.)

A big, talented pivot who impressed scouts last season by adding some nice bite to his game, Nattinen had two goals in Finland’s 10-3 bombing of USA Blue. He’ll take on a bigger role with JYP’s top squad in 2015-16, where his puck control skills will be welcome. Drafted 59th overall by Anaheim in 2015.

Rasmus Asplund, C – Farjestad (SHL)

Asplund began to turn heads last season and has brought up comparisons to Henrik Zetterberg thanks to his all-around game. Though he is playing wing for Sweden in Lake Placid, Asplund is good on faceoffs and is dangerous on both special teams. He has two goals and three points through two games. Draft eligible in 2016.