The NHL’s top 5 “geriatric” rookies (a.k.a. who’s old & new)

Van Guilder

When, at 30 years and 72 days, Mark Van Guilder made his debut with the Nashville Predators Sunday, he became the oldest player to suit up for his first NHL game this season.

The NHL Network spoke to Van Guilder about his (long) road to the NHL and his first game. It’s worth a watch if for no other reason than his opening line: “First of all, 400 games (in the minors)? Holy crap!”



With Van Guilder at No. 1, here are the other four oldest NHL debuts from 2013-14:

Anton Belov, Edmonton, D, 27 years, 64 days
No player on this list has contributed more to his team than Belov, who spent nine years in the Russian/Kontinental League before signing with the Oilers in May. He’s had his ups and down – including several scratches both healthy and due to injury, but he’s logging more than 17 minutes a night in his 50 games played. He also suited up for Russia in Sochi.

Julien Brouillette, Washington, D, 27 years, 63 days
The undrafted Brouillette, who’s played more than 200 games in both the American League and ECHL, picked up an assist in his first game and a goal in his second during his first stint with the Capitals in early February. He was recalled Sunday and played his third NHL game, against Nashville.

Reto Berra, Calgary, G, 26 years, 304 days
Expectations were high for Berra after he came over from his native Switzerland. Following some early struggles, specifically with rebound control, the Flames dealt Berra to the Avalanche, who, somewhat questionably, gave him a three-year contract extension. Can goalie guru Francois Allaire work his magic with another big stopper?

Cam Talbot, Rangers, G, 26 years, 141 days
He’s seen just 20 games this season – he’s stuck behind some guy named Lundqvist after all – but when he has played he’s been phenomenal: his .940 save percentage is first in the league and his 1.67 goal-against average is second (behind Minnesota’s Josh Harding). Talbot toiled in the AHL from 2010 to 2013 after spending three years in college with Alabama-Huntsville. If the Rangers make a deep playoff run, Talbot will have played a huge part by allowing ‘The King’ to get his regular-season rest.

(a nod to the always-excellent for saving me a lot of time doing math.)

Edward Fraser, The Hockey News’ Managing Editor, joined THN in 2005 after covering the Jr. B Stratford Cullitons. The London, Ont., native graduated from the University of Western Ontario – where he did campus radio color commentary for both men’s and women’s hockey – with a Master’s in Journalism. He really, really hates the loser point.

Buffalo Sabres locked in for 30th, but not first pick in draft

2012 NHL Entry Draft - Rounds 2-7

Just because the Buffalo Sabres are virtually assured of finishing last overall doesn’t mean they are heavy favorites to win the draft lottery and select first overall in June.

The Sabres have just a 25 percent chance of winning the draft lottery and getting first pick. Their most likely outcome for Buffalo is to select second overall. That would happen if any of the other 13 non-playoff teams won the draft lottery and moved up to first pick.

The NHL altered the draft lottery odds last year allowing all 14 teams a chance at winning first pick. In previous seasons, only five teams had a chance at first pick, meaning the team finishing 30th had a 48.2 percent chance of gaining first pick, either by winning the lottery or having teams sixth worst to 14th worst win the lottery.

Buffalo’s magic number to finish 30th is two. Any combination of two Buffalo losses or Edmonton wins in the remaining eight games secures last overall for the Sabres.

The lottery will take place in the first couple of days after the regular season ends April 13. The 2014 draft is June 27-28 in Philadelphia. There’s a group of four prospects at the head of the class this year. They are Barrie defenseman Aaron Ekblad, Kootenay center Sam Reinhart, Kingston left winger Sam Bennett and Prince Albert center Leon Draisaitl.

Regardless of where New Jersey finishes, its first round pick will slip to the 30th spot as part of the penalty for the team trying to sign Ilya Kovalchuk to a contract that circumvented the salary cap. The Ottawa pick belongs to Anaheim as part of the Bobby Ryan trade last year.

The following chart lists each team’s chances for winning first pick and most likely outcome in the lottery, as of today’s standings. We’ll update this again as the season comes to an end.

lottery odds


Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior editor and a regular contributor to the Post-To-Post blogFor more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazineFollow Brian Costello on Twitter at @BCostelloTHN

Fantasy Pool Look: Goalies, who to buy and who to sell

Anton-Khudobin-and-Cam-Ward (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Many coined Henrik Lundqvist, Pekka Rinne and Jonathan Quick as the “Big 3” when it comes to goaltending last summer. After all, in fantasy hockey the goaltender is the most difficult position to project, so it’s good to know there are at least three you can rely on every year to post good numbers. Do everything you can to acquire one of those three, because then you won’t have to worry about that roster spot.

Or so the theory goes.

That theory sure went out the window quickly. Rinne and Quick missed almost the entire first half, while Lundqvist probably wishes he did. This is one season in recent memory where depth goaltenders and quick thinking on the waiver wire with backup netminders saved the season for many poolies.

Let’s take a look at the biggest questions fantasy owners have about that area between the pipes for 2014-15.
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Will Robitaille help open the Hall of Fame door for Rob Blake

Dallas Stars v Los Angeles Kings

Critical analysis is part of our job in covering hockey. From time to time, The Hockey News is critical of the selections or omissions made by the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Doug Gilmour, Pavel Bure, Igor Larionov, Cam Neely were left standing at the altar multiple years before finally getting in. Others, like Eric Lindros, Phil Housley, Tom Barrasso, Guy Carbonneau, are still waiting. And then there’s the list of players who received induction when we thought they weren’t exactly worthy.

It’s all part of the business of critical evaluation.

One thing the Hall of Fame does I can’t ever argue with because it’s a healthy practice. It regularly turns over personnel on its 18-member selection committee. The committee has a stipulated limit for length of service.

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Highlight of the Night: Hornqvist turns a lousy pass into a nifty goal


The Michael Del Zotto reclamation project hasn’t yet worked out for the Nashville Predators. In his 19 games as a Pred, Del Zotto hasn’t scored, and has just four assists. The fourth came Friday night in Calgary, on a night that saw him play just 3:13.

All the praise here goes to Patric Hornqvist, who batted home the airborne feed past Calgary netminder Joni Ortio, just inside the post. Del Zotto ought to pick up the dinner cheque tomorrow. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Which defensemen will the Oilers target this summer?

Oilers (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Entering the final four weeks of this season, Edmonton Oilers fans – having already resigned themselves to missing the playoffs for the eighth consecutive year – are left wondering if management can finally find a solution to end this playoff drought.

The Oilers were supposed to emerge from a lengthy rebuild this season and compete for a post-season berth. When Craig MacTavish was hired as GM last April, he promised bold moves, but he quickly discovered fulfilling such promises was easier said than done.

To his credit, MacTavish didn’t spend his first season in the GM’s seat making cautious moves. He traded Ales Hemsky, Nick Schultz, Ladislav Smid, Devan Dubnyk and Ilya Bryzgalov for draft picks and prospects and acquired: Andrew Ference, David Perron, Ben Scrivens, Viktor Fasth, Matt Hendricks and Mark Fraser via trades and free agency.

The additions of Scrivens and Fasth should improve the Oilers’ goaltending, which has long been a weakness. Perron has proved to be a worthwhile addition to their scoring lines. Still, MacTavish faces a number of roster issues that must be addressed this summer.

Landing a top-two defenseman remains MacTavish’s biggest challenge. The Oilers have been linked to Nashville Predators’ captain Shea Weber, largely based upon the perception the cost-conscious Predators were unwilling to carry Weber’s expensive contract.

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Fantasy Pool Look: Trade deadline impact, part III

Jacob Markstrom (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

So much happened around the NHL last week that to effectively analyze the impact on fantasy-relevant players, I’m breaking it into three columns (read Parts 1 & 2 HERE). This is the final piece, focusing on the prospects…

Chris Brown, Washington Capitals
The Caps gave up Martin Erat to acquire this budding power forward. Brown is close to making the jump and has played 12 NHL games already. The former college star at Michigan was drafted in the second round (36th overall) in 2009. Look for him to get a long look in camp in the fall and perhaps play the second half of next season in Washington. His fantasy value won’t arrive for several years, though. Brown was the fourth ranked prospect on the Coyotes according to the recently released THN Future Watch edition. Read more on him at

Sebastian Collberg, New York Islanders
Acquired in the Tomas Vanek deal, Collberg has scoring-line upside, but it will take some time for him to get there. I’d look for him in an Isles uniform in 2015-16 and on fantasy squads in 2017-18. He didn’t take the step forward in Sweden this season that we were hoping to see, which probably factored into him being traded. But he’s still one of the better prospects out there. He was drafted 33rd overall in 2012 and was ranked sixth among Habs prospects in Future Watch. Read more on him at

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