Let the wheelin’ and dealin’ begin! Here are the remaining 10 big-time players most likely to find new NHL homes by March 2:
Colorado Avalanche, center
Contract status: 1 year @ $6M
Good fit for…ARI, BUF, FLA, MTL, WPG
Although some think O’Reilly, 24, could make the jump to become a bona fide No. 1 center, many pro scouts view him more as a tremendous second-line pivot. He’s a solid two-way forward with exceptional discipline (he had just two penalty minutes in 80 games last season), and he’s not a rental, with one season left on a two-year, $12-million contract. The Avs need a young defenseman in return. It’s more a matter of when he’s traded, not if. Read more
With the Eastern Conference about as wide open as it gets in the parity-laden NHL, the trade deadline could be huge in the Metropolitan Division. Who knows if, come deadline day, a GM from one of the three main contenders swings a deal that changes their team’s fate.
The New York Islanders made their biggest splash in the off-season, trading for blueliners Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy, the latter of whom was signed to a seven-year extension on Tuesday. The New York Rangers are right at the top of the standings thanks to a red hot Rich Nash. And the Pittsburgh Penguins… well, the Penguins have two guys by the name of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin who can be game breakers at any time. But don’t count out the Capitals.
Even the lowly Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets are making some noise heading into the deadline, which could make the Metropolitan extremely active come deadline day. Read more
Tuesday night, when Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward took the ice, he became only the fifth active goaltender to appear in 500 games.
While his career has been tumultuous at times and it appears as though his days in Carolina are numbered, Ward will go down as the greatest goaltender in the history of the club formerly known as the Hartford Whalers. He has suited up in more games, has more wins (by more than 100), has made more saves and has posted more shutouts than any goaltender that has ever stepped between the pipes for the franchise.
It’s only fitting, then, that on this day we count down the five best moments of Ward’s career, all but one of which has come as a member of the club. Read more
High school hockey is still popular in traditional American markets and is beginning to take hold in other states. The Anaheim Ducks, for example, have grown a great league in California in a very short amount of time. Those teams should be applauded for their efforts, but they do have some catching up to do. Not just in producing college players and NHLers, but also in their names (no offense to all the Eagles and Wildcats out there). Check out the best high school hockey names I’ve come across, mining admittedly from traditional hotbeds:
In order for the Stadium Series game — and the Winter Classic, for that matter — to continue to be a spectacle each year it has to be bigger, brighter, with added flair, each subsequent game outdoing the last. If that’s the goal, the 2015 Stadium Series game between the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings accomplished it in a few ways.
For starters, the game was the third highest attended in the NHL’s now more than half-decade long history of outdoor games. At final tally, 70,205 spectators packed Levi’s Stadium, the home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, to watch the Kings win their seventh straight game as they defeated the Sharks 2-1.
Aside from the gaudy attendance number, the game was also the first outdoor contest that really, truly meant something. The intrigue wasn’t simply based on the display, but also on two teams fighting each other tooth and nail for a wild-card berth. And the game itself provided some of the most incredible photos from an outdoor game we’ve seen yet. Read more
Multi-goal games happen on a near nightly basis, but it takes a special night for a player to complete a hat trick. There have been strange hat tricks in NHL history – heck, Mason Raymond has three in his career – but even most gifted offensive talents have struggled to net their own.
Take Jamie Benn, for instance. Tuesday night marked his first career hat trick and it was his 401st NHL game. Shane Doan was drafted in 1995 and scored his first trio in 2012. Brad Richards was nearly 33 before he scored his first.
Two players on this list have had playoff hat tricks, but the regular season feat remains out of their grasp. The names will shock you, too. These are five players waiting for their first career hat trick: Read more
Goaltender Malcolm Subban, promising Boston Bruins prospect and brother of P.K., will start his first NHL game Wednesday, according to speculation from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. Boston travels to Edmonton, and scuttlebutt suggests Subban, 21, will be showcased to an Oilers organization intent on acquiring him. Tuukka Rask has a day between games after playing Monday night, and backup Niklas Svedberg is perfectly healthy, so Subban’s call-up is interestingly timed. As of Tuesday afternoon he hadn’t been confirmed as the starter for the Edmonton game, however.
“If we’re bringing him back, which is what we had talked about at some point, it’s probably to give him an opportunity here along the way,” Bruins coach Claude Julien told the Boston Globe this week.
Subban’s debut has been highly anticipated. He went 24th overall in the 2012 draft, he represented Canada at the 2013 world juniors, and he’s running out of things to prove with AHL providence, posting a .920 save percentage two straight seasons.
What other drafted prospects can we not wait to see in the NHL? Here are five debuts we await with bated breath.