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.

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Which Canadian team will reign supreme in 2015-16?

Canadiens stars Carey Price and P.K. Subban. (Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

While there’s no award given for finishing as the best Canadian team in the NHL, it’s always a point of pride for the seven clubs north of the border.

In 2014-15, the Montreal Canadiens were practically carried by the incredible play of Carey Price, finishing atop the Atlantic Division and just three points back of capturing the Presidents’ Trophy. In addition to leading the charge in the Atlantic, though, the Canadiens also ended the campaign as the best Canadian club in the league — and, it just so happened, as the Canadian team with the best shot at capturing Canada’s first Stanley Cup since 1993.

Montreal has made some interesting additions to the lineup this off-season by acquiring struggling sniper Alexander Semin, grinder Zack Kassian and defenseman Mark Barberio. The trade deadline additions of Brian Flynn, Devante Smith-Pelly, Torrey Mitchell and Brian Flynn will also get a full season in Montreal this time around. But in 2015-16, does Montreal finish atop the heap of Canadian teams again or does another club unseat them as the country’s best club? Read more

The five best goaltending prospects in the world

(Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

Championships can be won and lost between the pipes, and every season it seems a new goaltender emerges to take a top job or push a longtime starter for the No. 1 role.

It has been more than a decade since the Pittsburgh Penguins made Marc-Andre Fleury the first overall pick, but that doesn’t mean late-round selections and goaltenders taken outside of the draft’s opening round haven’t developed into blue chip prospects and the goaltending futures for their respective clubs. In Vancouver, there might be a 1A and 1B developing before either actually ends up as an NHL starter.

There are several goaltenders who could be taking the reins for their clubs in the next several seasons. Here are the five best goaltending prospects in the world, as ranked by our 2015 Future Watch edition: Read more

Five players who could have bounce back seasons in 2015-16

Kari Lehtonen (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

When Thomas Vanek hit the free agent market following the 2013-14 season, there was little doubt he was going to end up with the Minnesota Wild, but the club was hoping for a better campaign than what they got from the 31-year-old left winger.

Sure, Vanek turned in 21 goals and 52 points in 80 games with the Wild this past season, but at a $6.5 million salary, that wasn’t quite what Minnesota was looking for. The 52-point total was the second-lowest of Vanek’s career and his 21 goals were the fewest he had scored in a non-lockout year.

In the post-season, Vanek’s troubles continued, as he stumbled to four points — all assists — in 10 games. He didn’t score once for the Wild in the playoffs and, in a second-round series against Chicago that had three one-goal games, Minnesota desperately could have used Vanek finding the back of the net.

But there’s hope for next season. Vanek recently underwent surgery to repair two hernias in his left groin and he said he, “feels great,” and should be ready for training camp, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo. If he can bounce back, there’s hope that Vanek’s three-year, $19.5 million deal can start to look like a good one.

Vanek won’t be the only player looking to recover from a poor season, however. Read more

Canadiens re-sign Alex Galchenyuk to two-year, $5.6 million deal

Jared Clinton
Alex Galchenyuk (Francois Lacasse/Getty Images)

There won’t be any contract drama between Alex Galchenyuk and the Montreal Canadiens when the 2015-16 season begins.

Montreal announced Thursday evening that the club has re-signed Galchenyuk, 21, to a two-year deal. Terms of the deal were not disclosed by the club, but TVA’s Renaud Lavoie reported Galchenyuk will make $5.6 million over the course of the deal — $2.5 million in 2015-16 and $3.1 million in 2016-17.

Heading into this off-season, Galchenyuk was one of the Canadiens players who most needed to be taken care of in terms of signing a new deal. The contract, which is a great bridge deal for the Canadiens, gives Montreal some flexibility heading into the 2015-16 season as they’ll have roughly $2.9 million in cap space to work with. Read more

St. John’s IceCaps unveil new jerseys, mirror affiliate Canadiens

Jared Clinton
IceCaps jersey featured

The St. John’s IceCaps will hit the ice in new threads for the 2015-16 season. Like past seasons in which they adopted the look of their big club, the IceCaps will hit the ice looking like their affiliate in Montreal.

In a jersey-unveiling event in St. John’s, the IceCaps showed off the new duds, modeled by coach Sylvain Lefebvre and team CEO Danny Williams. Several Canadiens alumni, including player turned broadcaster Sergio Momesso, were also in attendance as the IceCaps premiered the new uniforms.

“With the unveiling of these sharp, clean, classic-looking jerseys today, the IceCaps have taken another tangible step in cementing our bond with the Montreal Canadiens,” said Williams. “There was never really a doubt in our minds that we would incorporate our revised logo into the elegant and world-renowned jerseys the Canadiens have proudly worn for almost a hundred years. It was a no-brainer. We’re excited about our bright, new look and I’m sure our fans will be as well.” Read more

Bruins, Canadiens unveil logos for Winter Classic, announce alumni game

Jared Clinton
The Bruins and Canadiens will play the Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium. (via Bruins/Twitter)

The Boston Bruins are getting prepared for the second Winter Classic in franchise history and at a press conference today the team and their opponent, the longtime rival Montreal Canadiens, unveiled the logos they’ll be using for the outdoor tilt.

According to TSN 690 in Montreal, the two teams will be facing off in classic style, donning jerseys that closely mirror those worn in the 1924-25 season, more than 90 years before their outdoor game is set to take place.

The Bruins logo, which utilizes an arching font over top of a Bruin, is a slight alteration of the jerseys Boston wore during that campaign, the first in Bruins history. The jerseys, according to NHLUniforms.com, were only worn for the inaugural season before Boston switched to a busy white, brown and yellow striped jersey the following campaign. Read more