Prospect Hot List: Jack Eichel suiting up for Team USA again

Jack Eichel

Once again, Team USA has won the world under-18s thanks to a roster made up almost entirely of NTDP kids. Though one interesting takeaway from the tourney was goaltending. The Americans went with underager Evan Sarthou of WHL Tri-City, while Canada had a tandem of underagers in Moose Jaw’s Zach Sawchenko and Saginaw’s Evan Cormier. Sure, 2015 looks like a thin goalie draft, but this was a pretty interesting trend. With that point behind us, let’s look at some of the other prospects making noise in the hockey world right now.

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Your 2014-15 Norris Trophy finalists: P.K. Subban, Drew Doughty and Erik Karlsson

Drew Doughty (Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)

The NHL announced its three finalists in Norris Trophy voting this season - Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson, Montreal’s P.K. Subban and Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty – and the fact none of the three were finalists in 2013-14 says something about the calibre of defenseman currently working in hockey’s top league. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Penguins, Jets, Canucks all face changes in off-season

Dustin Byfuglien. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

As the opening round of the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs draws to a close, speculation is slowly emerging over the off-season plans of several eliminated teams.

The early playoff exit of the Pittsburgh Penguins by the New York Rangers suggests significant changes could be in order. Despite rumors earlier this month suggesting Evgeni Malkin or even Sidney Crosby might be dealt this summer, Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports Penguins president and CEO Ron Morehouse said the duo would return next season. So will embattled GM Jim Rutherford and coach Mike Johnston.

Morehouse cited an injury-riddled blueline corps among the factors behind his club’s first-round elimination. He said ownership intends to build around core players like Crosby and Malkin.

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Rangers outlast Penguins 2-1 in another overtime game, eliminate Pittsburgh from first round in five games

Rangers players including Dan Girardi celebrate Carl Hagelin's game-and-series-winning goal in overtime of Game 5 Friday at Madison Square Garden. (Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

The New York Rangers had the NHL’s third-best offense this season and were heavily-favored to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in their first-round playoff series. The Blueshirts couldn’t get that offense untracked against Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and never scored more than two goals in any of their wins, but they showed they could play some solid ‘D’ of their own and beat Pittsburgh 2-1 in overtime Friday to eliminate the Penguins in five games. Read more

Penguins’ Nick Spaling pulls off tough feat: scoring on Rangers star Henrik Lundqvist without his stick or skate

Adam Proteau
Pittsburgh's Nick Spaling scores against the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist in the second period of Game 5 Friday. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

It’s hard enough for NHLers to score on Rangers star goalie Henrik Lundqvist with their stick, or for that matter, by redirecting a puck with their skate in a non-distinct kicking motion. So in Game 5 of the Penguins’ first-round series against the Blueshirts Friday, Pens center Nick Spaling tried something new – being in a position where the puck deflected off his body – and it worked for Pittsburgh’s first goal of the night.

The Penguins were trailing the Rangers 1-0 late in the second period at Madison Square Garden when Spaling drove to the net as captain Sidney Crosby sent the puck out in front. Somehow, it bounced just past the goal line after ricocheting off his left forearm: Read more

Why this year’s NHL’s individual awards voting was the toughest ever

Filip Forsberg (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

As a member of the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association, I have the honor of casting a ballot for five of the NHL’s annual individual player awards (the Hart, Norris, Calder, Byng and Selke Trophies) as well as the league’s first-and-second-team All-Stars and Rookie Team. It’s something I never take lightly, and as such I canvass opinions on who I should vote for from as many NHL people – coaches, GMs, scouts, and players – before I submit my ballot. There’s usually not much consensus in any of the voting categories, but this year there was one thing everyone could agree on: the field of legitimate candidates for each award was so vast this year, voters are guaranteed to anger fan bases no matter which person they decide to support. Read more

After 16 seasons, defenseman Hal Gill officially announces retirement

Hal Gill (Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

After 16 seasons in the NHL and stints with the Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators and Philadelphia Flyers, defenseman Hal Gill has officially announced his retirement from the NHL.

Gill was drafted in the eighth round of the 1993 draft by the Bruins, and went on to play 1,108 regular season games, scoring 36 goals and 184 points. Gill also suited up for an additional 111 post-season games, tallying six helpers. His best playoff year came in 2008-09, when he picked up two assists and played nearly 19:30 per game en route to a Stanley Cup victory with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Read more

Penguins pushed to brink of elimination as offense continues to sputter

crosby and malkin

For the fourth straight game, the first-round series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers came down to a battle of the bounces. Unfortunately for the Penguins, when it matters most, the puck isn’t breaking their way.

In each of the first three games, the winner was decided by a single-goal and Wednesday night was no different. Pittsburgh took a 1-0 lead early in the first frame and had stifled the Rangers’ attack for most of the next 40 minutes, but a breakdown behind their goal led to a Derrick Brassard marker that brought the Rangers even late in the second period.

Throughout the entire third period, the teams traded chances, but in overtime, when it mattered most, it was Kevin Hayes who was able to knock home a loose puck to push the Rangers to a 3-1 series lead and put the Penguins’ backs against the wall. Now, heading back to Madison Square Garden, Pittsburgh is going to need their stars to shine if they want to stay alive. Read more