‘Hockey Wives’ Season 2 hits the midpoint: here’s our wife rankings

Amber Dowling
Hockey Wives at a pool in Vegas.

It’s been a fairly tumultuous second season of ‘Hockey Wives’ so far, what with the new wives trying to establish themselves and the old ones fighting for their catch-up time. With so many stories to fit into five short episodes, the first half of the season has flown by quicker than a four-on-four penalty situation, leaving us wondering what could possibly be in store for the second half when it returns in March.

Until then, we’ve tabulated all of the weddings, “cat fights” and feel-good stories into one judgmental post in order to present you with this ranking of the hockey wives so far in Season 2.

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Jakub Voracek and four other fantasy players to buy low

Matt Larkin
Jakub Voracek. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

I told you which players to sell high in fantasy hockey leagues yesterday, but that’s only half the battle. The best way to win a title is to replace your sell-highs with a bunch of buy-lows, underachieving players who should play their best hockey over the final three quarters of the season. You know the drill: if player X always gets 65 points and has just 10 points in his first 20 games, he’s likely to get 55 in his next 60 to balance things out, assuming external factors like injury and age haven’t caused the dip in his numbers. If player X scores on 10 percent of his shots for his career and hums along at one percent so far this year, he’ll probably regress to the mean and shoot closer to his career average the rest of the way.

I present my five favorite buy-lows in fantasy pools at the moment, ranked in order of how big of a potential return they can net you. This was a fun exercise because, for whatever reason, many big-ticket fantasy producers have struggled early on. I like Anze Kopitar, Sean Monahan, Alex Pietrangelo, Jonathan Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri and Mark Giordano as buy-lows, and they couldn’t even crack my top five.

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Five AHLers ready to make the jump to the NHL this season

Jared Clinton
William Nylander (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

After years bouncing around the minor leagues and Europe, Bud Holloway got his first call up to the NHL Sunday. Holloway was an easy choice to fill in for the Canadiens once Devante Smith-Pelley went down with injury, and he’s one of several AHLers who look like they could make the jump to NHL duty this season.

Before coming to the NHL, Holloway had tallied five goals and 20 points in 18 games for the St. John’s IceCaps, and he was no stranger to being a top scorer. During the 2012-13 Swedish League season, Holloway was the league’s MVP with a 20-goal, 71-point campaign. Whether he translates that to the NHL is to be seen, but Holloway could have very easily been on a list of AHL talent ready to make the jump.

With Holloway in the NHL for now, here are five other AHL players who could be making an impact this season: Read more

Five slumping stars who are set to break out

Jakub Voracek. (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Sometimes, no matter what a star does, the pucks just don’t go in and the assists aren’t piling up. It could be the fault of pucks off of posts, a few bad bounces or simply a string of bad luck.

For five star players, the 2015-16 campaign has been especially unkind. And while players such as Patrick Kane and Tyler Seguin can seem to do no wrong, there are those who can’t seem to catch a break. Here are five star players stuck in a slump who look ready to break out: Read more

The six most cost-effective players in the NHL this season

Tomas Fleischmann (Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

The salary cap era has made it incredibly important to find players who can contribute offensively while not breaking the bank. Usually, these players fill in bottom-six roles and eat up the minutes not reserved for the top-line players. Put it this way: it’s not often you find a winger making league minimum playing on the top power play unit.

But every so often, a team will find a steal of a deal. Be it a veteran coming into camp late or a player coming off their entry-level deal that is just hitting their stride, the cost-effective players are the ones that can help make or break a season. The cap flexibility doesn’t hurt, either.

Before we build the most cost-effective roster possible though, some guidelines. First, the players on this list have to have at least eclipsed the 10-point plateau. As nearly every team is closing in on the 20-game mark, the truest value players will be chipping in a point every other game while taking up a fraction of the cap. Second, in order to cut out the players on cheap deals by virtue of being on entry-level contracts, only players on standard player contracts have been included. So even though Nathan MacKinnon is tearing it up for Colorado, the Avalanche playmaker won’t be on this cost-effective list.

Here are the six players providing their clubs with the most bang for their buck: Read more

Top 10 non-rental blockbuster trade candidates

Matt Larkin
Jeff Skinner (Gerry Thomas/NHL via Getty Images)

We’re roughly 20 percent through the 2015-16 NHL regular season. Does that mean it’s time to start taking trade scuttlebutt seriously? Maybe. The latest Patrick Marleau chatter out of San Jose suggests as much. The Sharks’ all-time leader in games, goals, assists and points would reportedly accept a trade to three teams.

The Marleau rumor is fascinating because it feels more out of nowhere than, say, an Eric Staal or Cam Ward rumor out of Carolina. The latter two players are unrestricted free agents next summer. They’ll be talked up all year as potential trade deadline rentals.

The UFAs to be are obvious choices as trade candidates, but are there any other Marleaus out there, guys with multiple years left on their contracts who could be dealt? Here are 10 non-rental names to watch in the coming months. Note how many of these players have no-trade or no movement clauses. I don’t put much stock into clauses during trade speculation. Many players who pop up in rumors have reasons to want out of their situations, and being asked to waive a clause tells a player he’s not wanted, often prompting him to comply with a trade (like Scott Hartnell in Philadelphia last summer).

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Oilers’ McDavid headlines impressive rookie crop

Connor McDavid (Andy Devlin/Getty Images)

Most of the pre-season scuttlebutt pitted two so-called generational players, Edmonton Oilers center and Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel, in a duel for the Calder Trophy.

Advantage McDavid.

As the calendar flipped over to November, Eichel had racked up four goals in 11 games, putting him in a tie for 12th in rookie scoring. McDavid, meanwhile, sits atop the rookie race.

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Top 30 draft rankings for 2016: Matthews leads the pack

Ryan Kennedy
Auston Matthews (Photo by Sparta Prague/Champions Hockey League via Getty Images)

It’s about that time, folks. What follows is my first take on the 2016 draft class, one of course highlighted by American center Auston Matthews. The incredibly talented pivot is currently trailblazing a path in Switzerland (and may be on the shelf for the short-term, but no matter) and he is at the top of the pile. But there are more top talents available, including my No. 2 selection, who is also seen as a sure-fire NHLer, who in another year could have been first overall himself.

Since the season is so young, expect this ranking to change, perhaps radically, by the time my next installment comes out after the world juniors. By then, scouts will have a better handle on the field and the resulting input will paint a more specific picture. Let’s get to the rankings:


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