Top 10 coaches by points percentage: Where does Mike Babcock sit?

Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been mired in the basement of the NHL for several seasons, but the hiring of coach Mike Babcock is giving Leafs Nation a reason for hope for a better and much brighter future.

While he hasn’t coached long enough to make the top 10 all-time wins list, Babcock does have the most of any coach to be behind the bench for fewer than 1,000 games. As such, he has managed to become one of the effective coaches in the history of the game.

In order to better represent who exactly the top 10 coaches by points percentage are, however, we have to set a limit of at least 100 games as an NHL bench boss. Otherwise some coaches, like Cap Raeder, who was the fill-in coach for the San Jose Sharks for one game – a victory – have near perfect winning percentages without really having control of the club.

Here are the top 10 best coaches by points percentage: Read more

Why Ottawa, not Andrew Hammond, wins Andrew Hammond’s new deal

Matt Larkin
Andrew Hammond. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Is Andrew Hammond a far richer man today than he ever imagined he’d be, even three months ago? Certainly.

But can we score May 20, 2015 as a big victory for the Ottawa Senators? Absolutely.

On Tuesday Ottawa announced the re-signing of pending unrestricted free agent goaltender Hammond, 27, to a three-year, $4.05-million contract. That amounts to a $1.35-million cap hit.

‘The Hamburgler’ went absolutely, er, bananas in the final months of the 2014-15 regular season, going 20-1-2 with a 1.79 goals-against average and .941 save percentage. Not bad for a guy who never posted better than a 2.47 GAA and .917 SP in his college days with Bowling Green or his AHL days with Binghamton. He almost singlehandedly delivered Ottawa to the playoffs. And yet, the concerns at season’s end were whether the sample size was too small to justify a big free agent deal and whether his insanely good play priced him out of Kanata.

Well, we can toss any of those concerns out the window now. Hammond’s $1.35-million AAV will rank him 34th among NHL goalies signed for 2015-16. The Sens did not overpay at all. He was the best starter in the game for two months, but he’ll make backup money for the next three-seasons. With such low financial risk, the three-year term isn’t a big deal. This contract is a coup for GM Bryan Murray and the Sens.

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Memorial Cup preview: How each team wins or loses

Leon Draisaitl (Melissa Baecker/Getty Images)

We know our four teams for the Memorial Cup now. Thanks to Oshawa’s ousting of Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters, the Generals will represent the OHL, joining Kelowna of the WHL, plus Quebec (the hosts) and Rimouski in the QMJHL. So who is favored to win it all? Ah, that’s a thorny question in a tournament that often surprises. But let’s take a look at what you should know about the four worthy squads in contention.

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Ottawa Senators release statement, owner Eugene Melnyk in ‘urgent need’ of liver transplant

Jared Clinton
Eugene Melnyk (Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)

The Ottawa Senators have reached out to their fans and the hockey community as owner Eugene Melnyk, 55, is in “urgent need” of a live liver transplant.

The statement was released Thursday morning by the Senators, stating that three weeks ago Melnyk was admitted to hospital due to the onset of “liver-related complications.” While there has been no diagnosis released, the statement goes on to say that Melnyk’s family and friends are in hopes that doctors can find what is referred to as a “live liver donor.”

“The liver is a highly resilient organ that can regenerate itself within 90-120 days and return back to its normal size,” said Dr. Atul Humar, the Medical Director of the University Health Network’s Multi-Organ Transplant Program, in the team’s statement. “Any healthy adult between the ages of 18-55 years could be a potential live liver donor. To date, over 600 live liver donor transplants have been performed at the University Health Network. All donors have returned to normal lives with no restrictions.”  Read more

Prospect Hot List: Travis Dermott the one to watch on Erie’s blueline

Travis Dermott (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Major junior playoffs have reached the final series, while the AHL post-season is well into the second round. An incredibly exciting 2014-15 campaign is nearing its end, so I’m opening up the Hot List a bit to younger prospects. Like those that came before them, they are the players you’ll want to know and that we’re excited to see in the NHL one day.

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Sens sign NCAA free agent O’Connor, land new big body – & big brain – for crowded crease

Matt O'Connor (Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

For weeks, speculation has built as to the destination of Boston University goaltender Matt O’Connor, an unrestricted free agent highly-regarded and hotly pursued by a number of NHL teams. The 23-year-old made his decision early Saturday afternoon, rejecting overtures from the Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers to sign a two-year contract with the Ottawa Senators.

The signing of the Toronto native to a two-year deal crowds the Sens’ crease to an even greater degree than it was already. Ottawa has – for now, anyway – three netminders with NHL experience in its employ, including veteran and starter Craig Anderson, 23-year-old Robin Lehner, and recent sensation Andrew “The Hamburlgar” Hammond, and O’Connor will be aiming to get there as soon as possible. Hammond is an unrestricted free agent and Senators GM Bryan Murray could deal his rights before he hits the market, but if Ottawa plans on retaining Hammond’s services, something will have to give with either Anderson (who has three years left on his contract and a $4.2 million salary cap hit) or Lehner (signed for two more years at a $2.25 million cap hit).

But enough about the future. The present-day news is the Senators landed a big body in the 6-foot-5 O’Connor, but they also signed a young man with a big brain and every intention to make his mark on and off the ice. Read more

Andrew Hammond, Ottawa Senators have begun contract talks

Jared Clinton
Andrew Hammond (Gregg Forwerck/Getty Images)

If Andrew “Hamburglar” Hammond didn’t make things interesting enough in the Ottawa Senators crease during the home stretch of the regular season, the 27-year-old is certainly making the goaltending battle one to pay attention to as the off-season grows ever closer.

According to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, Hammond and the Senators have commenced contract discussions for the unrestricted free agent netminder. And with Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner already with contracts that run until 2017-18 and 2016-17 respectively, something might have to give in Canada’s capital. Read more