It’s hard to keep anything under wraps these days, especially when your own league conspires against you. The Colorado Avalanche and Anaheim Ducks both had new third jerseys in the works this summer and now, thanks to the official NHL Shop, those designs appear to have been leaked. Check out the sweaters from TSN’s Instagram page:
Welcome back to the Futures mailbag. We’re only one week away from real, regular season hockey being played in the Quebec League and other junior circuits will follow after that. In the meantime, here are more prospect and draft questions from you, the readers. If you have a query for me, hit me up on Twitter at @THNRyanKennedy and attach the hashtag #thnfutures to make sure I see it. Let’s get to the questions!
Has there ever been a fight during an alumni game? Because if not, we might see the first.
On Feb. 26, when the Colorado Avalanche take on the Detroit Red Wings at the Stadium Series’ alumni game in Denver this season, Claude Lemieux will be in the lineup for the Avalanche. Lemieux told Bleacher Report’s Adrian Dater that he’s “looking forward” to suiting up for the alumni contest against Detroit, and it’s sure to be fun.
For Red Wings fans, Lemieux’s role in the rivalry between the Red Wings and Avalanche is infamous. It was Lemieux’s hit on Red Wings center Kris Draper during the 1996 post-season which helped spark one of the most heated rivalries of the 1990s. Lemieux’s hit, which earned him a five-minute major and game misconduct, broke Draper’s jaw, cheek and orbital bone. Read more
The Toronto Blue Jays are putting up enough offense to win the Rocket Richard Trophy (they have that in baseball too, right?), so it’s no surprise local boy Steven Stamkos – a two-time winner of that accolade himself – dropped by to shag a few pitches himself the other day.
Stamkos is a well-known baseball fan who plays the game in the summer, despite the fact he’s one of the best hockey players in the world. But he’s not the only elite iceman whose sporting pursuits go beyond the arena. And for young players (and their parents), Stamkos is a great role model.
Welcome back to the THN futures mailbag, where I answer all things prospect and draft related. I’m really getting a good crop of questions coming in, so keep that momentum going, folks (hit me up at @THNRyanKennedy with the hashtag #thnfutures). With the major junior season around the corner and the Traverse City prospects tournament also coming up, I may save some questions until the action begins, for accuracy’s sake. So hold tight if you don’t see your submission right away. Let’s get to it:
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.
(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
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