THN’s 2014-15 NHL season preview: Anaheim Ducks

The Hockey News
The Anaheim Ducks celebrate a goal. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

2013-14 record: 54-20-8

Acquisitions: Dany Heatley, Jason LaBarbera, Clayton Stoner, Nate Thompson, Ryan Kesler, Louis Leblanc

Departures: Daniel Winnik, Zack Stortini, Jonas Hiller, Mathieu Perreault, Stephane Robidas, Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa, Teemu Selanne

Top five fantasy players: Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler, Andrew Cogliano, Cam Fowler

Boom, Bust and Bottom Line: The best, worst and most likely scenario
Boom: If GM Bob Murray had to do the trade deadline all over again, he’d have a more secure Plan B in place when his quest for Ryan Kesler fell through. As it unfolded, Murray didn’t give his top two lines any kind of offensive boost. Meanwhile, the rival Los Angeles Kings added Marian Gaborik, who almost singlehandedly sunk the Ducks, with six goals and 10 points in their seven-game second-round series. Read more

THN’s 2014-15 NHL season preview: Columbus Blue Jackets

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Columbus Blue Jackets (Photo by Jamie Sabau/National Hockey League)

2013-14 record: 43-32-7

Acquisitions: Brian Gibbons, Jarry D’Amigo, Scott Hartnell

Departures: Nick Schultz, Jack Skille, Blake Comeau, Matt Frattin, Derek MacKenzie, Nikita Nikitin, R.J. Umberger

Top five fantasy players: Ryan Johansen, Scott Hartnell, James Wisniewski, Brandon Dubinsky, Cam Atkinson

Boom, Bust and Bottom Line: The best, worst and most likely scenario
Boom: The Blue Jackets come into the season riding high after getting the franchise’s first playoff wins. Sure, they eventually fell to the Penguins in their first-round clash, but there was a real sense the series could have gone either way. That’s a confidence booster. Read more

THN’s 2014-15 NHL season preview: Tampa Bay Lightning

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Steven Stamkos with Valtteri Filppula. (Photo by Rob Marczynski/NHLI via Getty Images)

2013-14 record: 46-27-9

Acquisitions: Brenden Morrow, Matt Corrente, Evgeni Nabokov, Brian Boyle, Mike Blunden, Anton Stralman, Jason Garrison

Departures: Ryan Malone, Tom Pyatt, Cedrick Desjardins, Anders Lindback, Mike Kostka, Keith Aulie, Pierre-Cedric Labrie, Nate Thompson, Teddy Purcell, B.J. Crombeen

Top five fantasy players: Steven Stamkos, Ondrej Palat, Valtteri Filppula, Victor Hedman, Jonathan Drouin

Boom, Bust and Bottom Line: The best, worst and most likely scenario
Boom: For the first time since 2000, Martin St-Louis won’t be at a Tampa Bay Lightning training camp. But after an off-season that featured serious wheeling and dealing from GM Steve Yzerman, the Bolts aren’t missing their former captain. Read more

USHL Preview: Who will rule in 2014-15

Ryan Kennedy
Muskegon's Matheson Iacopelli (Photo courtesy of Brandon Anderson/USHL)

The United States League may have lost its playoff champs in the Indiana Ice, but the junior circuit gained two expansion teams in Bloomington and Madison. The USHL has become a great league for players on the cusp of NCAA careers and this year will be no exception. I surveyed a crew of insiders to get power rankings and added a player to watch for each franchise. As a note, Team USA (the National Team Development Program) is not included in the standings since both the under-18s and under-17s play in the league and because the playoffs are kind of an afterthought; the best of the NTDP are always at the world under-18s at the time, so USHL post-season success is fleeting at best.

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THN’s 2014-15 NHL season preview: Chicago Blackhawks

The Hockey News
Patrick Sharp. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

2014-15 record: 46-21-15

Acquisitions: Michael Leighton, Kyle Cumiskey, Brad Richards, Pierre-Cedric Labrie

Departures: Jason LaBarbera, Brandon Bollig

Top five fantasy players: Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Marian Hossa

Boom, Bust and Bottom Line: The best, worst and most likely scenario
Boom: Chicago fell short of a third Stanley Cup in five years, but its 2013-14 was still excellent. The Hawks were a Game 7 overtime goal away from the Cup final and return with the same stars and a couple notable upgrades. Read more

THN’s 2014-15 NHL season preview: Los Angeles Kings

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Los Angeles Kings celebrating their 2014 Stanley Cup championship. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

2013-14 record: 46-28-8

Acquisitions: David Van Der Gulik, Adam Cracknell

Departures: Colin Fraser, Willie Mitchell, LInden Vey

Top five fantasy players: Anze Kopitar, Marian Gaborik, Jeff Carter, Justin Williams, Drew Doughty

Boom, Bust and Bottom Line: The best, worst and most likely scenario
Boom: If L.A.’s offensive orgasm in the playoffs carries over into 2014-15, the team has a real chance at winning the Western Conference. After averaging just 2.42 goals per game last season, the Kings went nuts during the post-season, humming along at a 3.38 clip. Backed by Jonathan Quick, they already own the league’s No. 1 defense, and their playoff explosion shows they have the weapons to run with the West’s big guns during the regular season, if they only use them. Should they do so, the Presidents’ Trophy is well within reach, especially if freshly minted Marian Gaborik scores like he did in the playoffs. Read more

OHL preview: Who will rule in 2014-15

Ryan Kennedy
Peterborough's Nick Ritchie (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

If you hadn’t been beaten over the head with the news already, the top prospect in the NHL draft this year is Connor McDavid of the Ontario League’s Erie Otters. But will the stellar center’s team win the title? He’ll have to do a lot, since there’s no guarantee left winger Andre Burakowsky will be back in town – the Swede could go to the Washington Capitals or even the American League. Similarly, Kingston may get Sam Bennett back, but he might end up in Calgary, while Darnell Nurse could be in Edmonton. But even without Nurse, the Soo Greyhounds will be strong. I surveyed a group of experts to find out how strong, then added a player to watch on each team.

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THN’s 2014-15 NHL season preview: New York Rangers

The Hockey News
The New York Rangers around the Prince of Wales Trophy. (Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)

2013-14 record: 45-31-6

Acquisitions: Ryan Malone, Kevin Hayes, Lee Stempniak, Matt Lombardi, Nick Tarnasky, Cedrick Desjardins, Mike Kostka, Dan Boyle, Tanner Glass, Steve Kampfer, Matt Hunwick

Departures: Darroll Powe, Justin Falk, Brian Boyle, Brad Richards, Stu Bickel, Benoit Pouliot, Anton Stralman, Derek Dorsett

Top five fantasy players: Martin St-Louis, Derek Stepan, Mats Zuccarello, Rick Nash, Chris Kreider

Boom, Bust and Bottom Line: The best, worst and most likely scenario
Boom: A Rangers team that gave the Kings a modicum of resistance before falling in five games in the Stanley Cup final suffered some losses – and made some gains – over the summer. Read more