THN’s 2014-15 NHL season preview: San Jose Sharks

The Hockey News
San Jose Sharks (Getty Images)

2013-14 record: 51-22-9

Acquisitions: John Scott, The McGinn, Taylor Fedun

Departures: Brad Stuart, Martin Havlat, Dan Boyle

Top five fantasy players: Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl

Boom, Bust and Bottom Line: The best, worst and most likely scenario
Boom: Had San Jose closed out Los Angeles in Game 4, 5, 6 or 7 of their opening round series, the landscape would look a lot different in California. The Kings would be the ones regrouping from a first-round loss and Stanley might have found a summer home farther up the coast. But the Sharks again couldn’t execute that springtime killer instinct, and they still come across as an aging group of pretenders. That said, San Jose has young cornerstones in Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl and has already started the transition to building around them instead of 35-year-olds Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. The team has the utmost faith in GM Doug Wilson and coach Todd McLellan, and those two men have a ton of faith in a roster that saw just cosmetic changes made to it. Read more

THN’s top 200 fantasy players for 2014-15

Matt Larkin
Ryan Johansen (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

I love the Don Henley track “Boys of Summer.” It’s almost impossible to sing the chorus in karaoke, which sucks, but I dig the way it captures this time of year. Nobody on the road…nobody on the beach…I feel it in the air…the summer’s out of reach.

That feeling – mild chill in the air, slight breeze – gets me thinking about fantasy hockey drafts. It’s that time again. Most of what you need to know for your draft is in our crackerjack THN Ultimate Fantasy Guide, which is on newsstands now. You’ll even find a sorted list of the top 300 projected scorers.

One thing that list doesn’t cover, however, is any league not based entirely on points. What about the head-to-head formats in which you accumulate goaltending stats and penalty minutes on top of your offensive numbers? How do you know when to draft a goalie or defenseman over a forward?

I present to you a new ranking set. This list is based on a standard Yahoo head-to-head format with the following categories: goals, assists, plus-minus, penalty minutes, power play points, shots on goal, wins, goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts.

Personally, I like scrapping penalty minutes for hits and adding saves to the goalie category, but I’ll stick with the standard configuration to ensure these rankings have a wider reach. Let’s get it on!

SEPT. 19 UPDATE: Training camps are underway, and it’s time to start movin’ and shakin’ the rankings a bit. A few injuries and one prominent contract squabble can’t be ignored any longer.

Read more

THN’s 2014-15 NHL season preview: Washington Capitals

The Hockey News
Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

2013-14 record: 38-30-14

Acquisitions: Kris Newbury, Tim Kennedy, Chris Conner, Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, Justin Peters

Departures: Tyson Strachan, Mikhail Grabovski, Joel Rechlicz, Jaroslav Halak, Tom Poti

Top five fantasy players: Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Joel Ward, Mike Green, Marcus Johansson

Boom, Bust and Bottom Line: The best, worst and most likely scenario
Boom: A leaky defensive team went out and made big moves to rectify the situation, beginning with the hiring of coach Barry Trotz, the former Nashville bench boss. He’s been teaching staunch systems for years, and his new troops in Washington are intrigued by what he can instill. He’ll have a couple new assets on the back end in free agents Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen, who both swung over from Pittsburgh. So right off the hop, the Capitals are much deeper on defense, with Karl Alzner, John Carlson and Mike Green still in the fold. Read more

THN’s 2014-15 NHL season preview: Florida Panthers

Rory Boylen
Florida Panthers. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

2013-14 record: 29-45-8

Acquisitions: Greg Zanon, Willie Mitchell, Al Montoya, Dave Bolland, Jussi Jokinen, Shawn Thornton, Derek MacKenzie

Departures: Peter Mueller, Scott Clemmensen, Tom Gilbert, Jesse Winchester, Matt Gilroy

Top five fantasy players: Nick Bjugstad, Aleksander Barkov, Jussi Jokinen, Brian Campbell, Jonathan Huberdeau

Boom, Bust and Bottom Line: The best, worst and most likely scenario
Boom: The Panthers will have a full season with Roberto Luongo as their starter and Al Montoya as their backup, which alone will give them a huge boost. Last season’s combination of Tim Thomas, Scott Clemmensen and Jacob Markstrom was awful and cost the Panthers plenty of games and goals against. Read more

THN’s 2014-15 NHL season preview: Dallas Stars

The Hockey News
The Dallas Stars. (Photo by Glenn James/Getty Images)

2013-14 record: 40-31-11

Acquisitions: Patrick Eaves, Ludwig Karlsson, Jason Spezza, Anders Lindback, Ales Hemsky

Departures: Dustin Jeffrey, Alex Chiasson, Alexander Guptill, Nicholas Paul, Chris Mueller, Toby Peterson

Top five fantasy players: Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, Jason Spezza, Ales Hemsky, Alex Goligoski

Boom, Bust and Bottom Line: The best, worst and most likely scenario
Boom: Dallas had a good thing going and got even better this off-season. The 2013-14 campaign was a resounding success, as new GM Jim Nill, new coach Lindy Ruff and newly acquired sniper Tyler Seguin helped the Stars end a five-season playoff absence. Read more

THN’s 2014-15 NHL season preview: Vancouver Canucks

The Hockey News
The Vancouver Canucks. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

2013-14: 36-35-11

Acquisitions: Dustin Jeffrey, Radim Vrbata, Ryan Miller, Bobby Sanguinetti, Linden Vey, Derek Dorsett, Luca Sbisa, Nick Bonino

Departures: David Booth, Jeremy Welsh, Benn Ferriero, Zac Dalpe, Jordan Schroeder, Mike Santorelli, Ryan Kesler, Jason Garrison

Top five fantasy players: Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Radim Vrbata, Nick Bonino, Chris Higgins.

Boom, Bust and Bottom Line: The best, worst and most likely scenario
Boom: Ask a critic what “boom” should mean in Vancouver and they’ll tell you that’s the sound that comes after they blow up the Canucks roster. But new GM Jim Benning has no intention of doing that. It’s not rebuild or reload. Best word to use is “refinement.”

The additions of difference-makers Ryan Miller and Radim Vrbata are evidence the Canucks are in it for keeps this season. True, Ryan Kesler is gone, but the return they got in Nick Bonino and Luca Sbisa deepens a roster that was looking top-heavy. With the Sedin twins set to rebound from sub-par seasons, Vancouver is expecting to make the playoffs with its new resources. Read more

THN’s 2014-15 NHL season preview: Philadelphia Flyers

The Hockey News
Philadelphia Flyers.  (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

2013-14 record: 42-30-10

Acquisitions: Ryan White, Michael Del Zotto, Nick Schultz, Zack Stortini, Andrew Gordon, Blair Jones, R.J. Umberger

Departures: Adam Hall, Ben Holmstrom, Kris Newbury, Steve Downie, The McGinn, Scott Hartnell

Top five fantasy players: Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, Mark Streit, Matt Read

Boom, Bust and Bottom Line: The best, worst and most likely scenario
Boom: Once Claude Giroux got on track last season, the Flyers were mint. He had just seven points in the first 15 games – none of them goals – and the Flyers went 5-9-1. Beginning with his tally in a win over Edmonton, Giroux steered his troops to a 37-21-9 record the rest of the way. Read more

THN’s 2014-15 NHL season preview: Detroit Red Wings

The Hockey News
(Photo by Dave Reginek/NHL)

2013-14: 39-28-15

Acquisitions: Andy Miele, Kevin Porter

Departures: David Legwand, Cory Emmerton, Daniel Alfredsson

Top five fantasy players: Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Gustav Nyquist, Niklas Kronwall, Johan Franzen.

Boom, Bust and Bottom Line: The best, worst and most likely scenario
Boom: When the Red Wings limped out of the Olympic break last season, coach Mike Babcock vowed his team would get things back on the rails in time to make the playoffs. And that’s exactly what the team did, qualifying for the 23rd consecutive time. Read more