Five potential GM candidates for the Las Vegas expansion team

Jared Clinton
George McPhee (Mitchell Layton/NHLI via Getty Images)

Bill Foley’s goal of getting a team to come to Las Vegas has been realized, but the hard work doesn’t end there.

Foley’s Las Vegas franchise still has to be named, have its logo designed and jerseys created. Oh, and there’s the little part about assembling a competitive roster through an expansion draft to make sure the first year of hockey in Nevada isn’t an absolute disaster.

With the preparation that will have to go into the expansion draft, it’s likely that Foley and Co. will want to start getting their management team in place sooner rather than later, and one of the most important pieces in the front office is going to be the GM. Finding a GM that can help the new Las Vegas franchise wade through the expansion waters is going to be of utmost importance.

Luckily, there will be no shortage of candidates to take on the role. Here are five potential GMs who could take on the role: Read more

Down Goes Brown: Five NHL expansion cities that fell through

Sean McIndoe
(Getty Images)

Wednesday is reportedly the day the NHL will confirm what we’ve all expected for months: The league is expanding to Las Vegas, becoming the first major pro sports team to take up residence in the city.

That will no doubt come as a relief to hockey fans in Vegas, since history has shown that new NHL teams have a way of falling through. The league’s expansion era began in 1967, and has seen the league continue to grow ever since. But it’s history of near-misses dates back even further, and includes some cases where a new team seemed to be all but a sure thing.

So today, as we await the official arrival of Las Vegas to the NHL family, let’s look back on some of the times when the league seemed headed to a new home, only to have it fall through.

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Five players who could replace Ryan Callahan on USA’s World Cup roster

Jared Clinton
Phil Kessel (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

The American roster is going to need an adjustment before September’s World Cup after it was announced Tuesday that Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ryan Callahan will be forced to miss the tournament.

Callahan, 31, underwent surgery Tuesday to repair a labral tear in his right hip, and the expected recovery time for the surgery is five months, meaning Callahan isn’t expected to return to action until November, at the earliest. In all likelihood, the veteran winger could be out until at least December and maybe longer depending on what type of time is needed to get him back up to game speed before his return. All that is to say that not only have the Lightning lost a piece of their roster, but so has USA’s World Cup squad.

Luckily, there are still months to go before the tournament, and it’s not as if USA was at the bottom of the barrel when they were picking Callahan for their World Cup team. There are a number of players who could replace Callahan on the roster, and here are five of the top candidates: Read more

The 2016 Hockey News Awards: Crosby and Kane reign

Matt Larkin
Sidney Crosby will be hoping to take home his third Hart Trophy, Patrick Kane his first (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

The NHL hands out its annual awards Wednesday. It will crown hockey’s most valuable player, best all-around defenseman, best goaltender, best defensive forward and more. But a few honors slip through the cracks. We never see the best defensive defenseman acknowledged, nor the best penalty killer, nor the toughest player. Heck, there’s no official award for the actual best player, even if the Hart Trophy has essentially become that.

So we at THN take it upon ourselves to fill the gaps with our annual awards. We still cover off the staples, but we add in a few custom virtual trophies. The 2015-16 results are in. Our system only factors in regular season play. We awarded five points for a first-place vote, four for a second-place vote, three for a third-place vote, two for a fourth-place vote and one for a fifth-place vote.

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Down Goes Brown: Five times the playoff leading scorer didn’t win the Conn Smythe Trophy

Sean McIndoe
Claude Lemieux with the Conn Smythe Trophy. (Getty Images)

Sidney Crosby captured his first Conn Smythe on Sunday night, earning the nod from media voters in a tough field that hadn’t produced a clear cut favorite. Plenty of fans thought the voters got it right. But others were disappointed, with many of those feeling the honor should have gone to Phil Kessel.

It’s not hard to see why. Kessel is a divisive player (especially among fans of his former teams), but when viewed from a certain angle he makes for a fantastic story. And more importantly, he was the Penguins leading scorer in the playoffs, finishing three points up on Crosby. And that made his Conn Smythe loss to Crosby an unusual one, at least in terms of recent NHL history.

But simply leading a team in scoring is no guarantee of Conn Smythe glory, nor should it be, and the award has a long history of debatable decisions. So today, let’s look back at some of the other cases in NHL history in which a Cup winner’s leading scorer was snubbed by the voters. We’ll ignore the (many) times where a leading scorer was passed over for a defenseman or goaltender, since that tends to be an apples and oranges case. Instead, we’ll focus on cases that fit the Kessel/Crosby pattern, where a team’s leading scorer was passed over for another forward.

As we’ll find out, it turns out that Kessel and Crosby are in good company. Here are five forwards who skated away with the Conn Smythe despite finishing well back of one or more teammates in the scoring race.

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Top 10 trade candidates at the 2016 NHL draft

Matt Larkin
Marc-Andre Fleury. (Getty Images)

Draft day has usurped trade deadline day and free agent day as the NHL’s most exciting off-ice event, and it’s not because of the drafting. The last weekend in June has become a lightning rod for blockbuster trades because, unlike at the trade deadline, almost every franchise is a theoretical suitor for any available player. The market doesn’t necessarily split between buyers and sellers. Every team has winning in mind, albeit some make moves for the short term and some trade for long-term assets.

Last June gave us the jaw-dropping Dougie Hamilton deal on draft day, and that was just the beginning. Milan Lucic, Martin Jones, Ryan O’Reilly and Carl Hagelin, among many others, also changed teams over the weekend. Phil Kessel, Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad followed days later.

It’s a virtual guarantee some marquee names move next week in Buffalo, with all 30 GMs scurrying around the First Niagara Center’s floor. Who are the top 10 draft-day trade candidates? Ponder these players, ranked from least to most likely.

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10 players who could be buyout candidates this off-season

Bryan Bickell (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

Nothing says the off-season quite like the threat of buyouts, and we’re inching ever-closer to the NHL’s buyout window opening and several players could see their time with their current teams come to a close.

For some of the candidates, massive contracts are at fault, while other will fall victim to underperforming or simply not fitting within a team’s structure any longer. Unfortunately, some are a combination of all three.

With the salary cap remaining relatively flat according to all reports, several teams are going to be in tough financial situations. Even a rise of $2 million in the salary cap, which is a rough estimate of the maximum amount the upper limit will rise, would still see several teams in tough cap positions. That’s not to say all players on this list will be bought out, but there’s at least a fair chance several from this list will be sent packing by way of a buyout. Read more

The five greatest accomplishments of Gordie Howe’s remarkable career

Jared Clinton
Gordie Howe, Marty Howe and Mark Howe during their time with the Houston Aeros (B Bennett/Getty Images)

Before Wayne Gretzky entered the NHL, it was Gordie Howe who held all the records that some believed could never be broken. That’s among the many reasons why hockey fans worldwide were saddened to learn of Howe’s passing Friday morning. Howe’s feats during his career are almost innumerable, and it didn’t take him long to find his way into the record book.

He played his first game in the NHL during the 1946-47 season, and little more than a decade later, in 1957-58, Howe had his first NHL record as the game’s all-time leader in assists, surpassing Elmer Lach, who had held the record for six seasons before Howe captured it. That was the first major record Howe took hold of but he would etch his name into the record book with regularity from then on out.

Next up was the points record, and Howe took that out of the Maurice ‘The Rocket’ Richard’s grasp by the 1959-60 campaign. By 1961-62, Howe was the NHL’s all-time leader in games played, and two season later, in 1962-64, Howe would topple Richard again, this time to become the NHL’s goal-scoring king.

But Howe’s accomplishments go beyond statistical achievements. Howe managed feats that had never been achieved before and there are some that will likely never be matched. Some of these marks are statistical and others meaningful in a way numbers can’t measure: Read more