On a night where Douglas Murray certainly got himself in trouble for hurting Mike Kostka, there was another incident for the NHL’s discipline department to review. Vancouver pest Alexandre Burrows was given a five-minute elbowing penalty plus a game misconduct for the following wallop on New York’s Ryan McDonagh:
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.
Less than a year after the Toronto Maple Leafs signed winger David Clarkson to a seven-year, $36.75-million contract, there’s speculation they could buy him out.
Sportsnet’s Greg Brady recently reported via Twitter that colleague Doug MacLean said there will be “serious discussions” by Leafs management to consider buying out the remainder of Clarkson’s contract this summer to free up cap space.
At the time of the signing, some in the Toronto media compared Clarkson to his idol, former Leafs captain Wendel Clark. Others, however, were critical of the Leafs paying so much to a player who only exceeded the 20-goal mark once in his NHL career.
To call Clarkson’s first season with the Leafs disappointing is an understatement. It began with a 10-game suspension for leaving the bench during a pre-season game to join an on-ice altercation. Clarkson also received a two-game suspension in December for an illegal check to the head of St. Louis Blues center Vladimir Sobotka. Foot, elbow and leg injuries sidelined the Leafs’ forward an additional 10 games. He’s now on pace for a career-worst 11-point season. Read more
There isn’t much hockey to be played before the post-season takes over and the race for rookie of the year is tightening up. Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon appeared to put a hammer lock on the race with his big 13-game point streak, but Tampa’s Ondrej Palat may have something to say about that. Here’s how I see the race right now:
1. Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche
The Avs have defied odds and remained a viable playoff team in what was thought to be a learning year and having MacKinnon’s skilled power game has contributed to the team’s devastating balance up front. Nate Dogg still leads the rookie pack with 23 goals and 55 points in 73 games.
The New York Rangers’ playoff chances suffered a blow Tuesday when rookie winger Chris Kreider suffered a serious hand injury that will knock him out of the lineup for at least a month, if not longer.
Kreider, who had been enjoying a banner season that included 17 goals and 37 points in 66 games, is believed to have suffered a broken hand. The 22-year-old, who sits fourth in rookie scoring and fourth in points by a first-year player, will have to hope his Rangers do well in the post-season if he is to play again this year. Read more
Entering this week the Carolina Hurricanes are nine points out of post-season contention in the Eastern Conference with only 11 games remaining in their schedule. Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2006, the Hurricanes made the playoffs only once (in 2009) and are poised to miss them for the fifth straight year.
The ongoing futility has sparked growing media speculation that GM Jim Rutherford could be replaced in the off-season by current vice president of hockey operations (and Hurricanes minority owner) Ron Francis. CBC’s Elliotte Friedman believes that’s up to Francis if he’s ready and if majority owner Peter Karmanos is comfortable with the transition.
A management shake-up isn’t the only change the Hurricanes could see this summer. Goaltender Cam Ward was a frequent subject of trade speculation this season. TSN’s Darren Dreger speculates a Ward trade is likely to occur this summer.
On March 1, Jaromir Jagr became the seventh player to reach the 700-goal plateau. Just three weeks after hitting 700, the 42-year-old became the oldest player in history to record 60 points in a season. Are you serious, Jaromir? Aren’t you tired? Really, you can stop anytime. (Kidding. Please play until you’re 50.) Read more