• One down, one to go as Flames ink Monahan to seven-year deal

    Jared Clinton
    Sean Monahan (Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)

    The Calgary Flames have never shown anything but confidence when it came to getting Sean Monahan locked up to a long-term deal, and that was with good reason as the club announced Friday that they’ve finalized a seven-year pact with Monahan.

    Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but the contract will reportedly pay Monahan $6.375 million per season, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. That means Monahan is set to earn $44.625 million over the lifetime of the contract.

    For Flames GM Brad Treliving, getting Monahan locked up to a deal that stayed below $6.5 million is an outstanding move and it’s the right salary at the right time for Monahan. It puts his cap hit in the same range as Filip Forsberg, Mark Scheifele and Nathan MacKinnon, three major restricted free agents who were in similar situations before signing contracts extensions earlier this off-season. Read more

  • THN’s top 200 fantasy players for 2016-17

    Matt Larkin
    Carey Price (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

    The World Cup of Hockey should be an entertaining distraction this September. It will cut into some players’ prep time for the 2016-17 NHL season, and the same inconvenience applies to fantasy pool GMs. You’ll want to have a strong sense of your personal player rankings by September, as watching the World Cup will cut into your studying time.

    I’m here to help with my annual top 200 player rankings. This list blends goalies and skaters into a master breakdown tailored for anyone drafting in leagues with multiple stat categories. The rankings below are based on a standard Yahoo head-to-head format with the following categories: goals, assists, plus-minus, penalty minutes, power play points, wins, goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts.

    As I say every year, these are fantasy rankings, not real-life rankings. I do not believe Artemi Panarin is better than Jonathan Toews at hockey, but I do believe Panarin will deliver more points for your pool.

    Note the conspicuous absence of goalies in this initial draft of the top 200. I count only 17 guaranteed what I call a “true starter’s workload” of 50 games or more. The timeshare situation creates a nightmare for fantasy GMs. If you don’t get one of the elite starters, you can wait until late in your draft to take a stopper.

    With that, let’s begin. Watch for periodic ranking updates throughout August and September leading up to the season. Share any disagreements and point out any glaring omissions in the comment section. Thanks!

    Aug. 19 update: Just a quick rejig here. The list has had time to breathe, so I’ll reassess a couple of my ranking decisions. We won’t see major movements until training camps and the World Cup arrive.

    Read more

  • Report: Two AHL coaches, two NHL assistants in running for Avalanche job

    Jared Clinton
    Travis Green (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

    Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic is under a time crunch when it comes to naming a new coach, especially with training camp less than a month away, and he has reportedly already assembled a list that has some interesting candidates.

    Sakic has said that he would assemble his list of candidates quickly and start the process as soon as possible, and it appears he has stuck to his word in looking for a replacement for Patrick Roy, who shockingly resigned from the team on Aug. 11.

    According to the Denver Post’s Mike Chambers, Sakic is looking at two AHL coaches — the Cleveland Monsters’ Jared Bednar and Utica Comets’ Travis Green — as well as Washington Capitals assistant Lane Lambert and New York Rangers assistant Scott Arniel as potential coaches with the “preliminary phase of the interview process” set to begin. Read more

  • KHL’s Ryspayev given lifetime ban after attacks on opposition in pre-season game

    Jared Clinton
    Damir Ryspayev (via YouTube)

    The KHL has handed a lifetime ban to Barys Astana’s Damir Ryspayev after the 21-year-old attacked three players during an absurd pre-season brawl against Red Star Kunlun.

    Ryspayev’s monumental suspension comes after the league reviewed the incident, which involved him suckerpunching Red Star center Tomas Marcinko — a punch that saw Marcinko stretchered off the ice — and then skating directly at and jumping two other Kunlun players, one of which Ryspayev actually attacked twice during the brawl. After he had roughed up unwilling combatants from Red Star, Ryspayev attacked the Kunlun player bench before finally being wrangled and taken to the penalty box.

    The KHL acted quickly by suspending Ryspayev for the entire pre-season, but continued to review the play even after the initial ban.

    “It goes without saying that hockey is a contact sport,” said Gennady Timchenko, chairman of the KHL’s board of directors. “But above all, it is a fair contest in which rival players are guided by the rules of the game and spirit of sporting ethics. The league acts as a guarantor of these rules and laws, and cannot allow them to be systematically and grotesquely violated. It is utterly unacceptable to intentionally endanger the safety and fitness of opposing players. Every player’s professionalism is demonstrated by the ability to play a hard, uncompromising game while maintaining full respect for fellow sportsmen and their fans.” Read more

  • Vesey met with seven teams, discussing options Thursday — what can each team offer?

    Jimmy Vesey (Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

    For those tiring of hearing about NCAA free agent Jimmy Vesey, rest assured that the 23-year-old winger is nearing a decision on his destination.

    According to a report from ESPN’s Joe McDonald, Vesey has finished meeting with the teams he has interest in joining — seven in total — and will begin discussing the options with his agents today with the possibility of coming to a final decision as early as Friday. Included on Vesey’s list of meetings were the New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks. That’s not to mention Vesey’s meeting with the Buffalo Sabres, who traded for his rights in mid-June.

    Vesey comes with a lot of potential, having scored 56 goals and 114 points in 70 games with Harvard over the past two seasons, and he picked up the Hobey Baker Award in 2016 as the top player in the NCAA. But his performance doesn’t mean money can be used to sway his decision. Each team will have to table similar offers because Vesey will enter the league on a two-year, entry-level deal.

    So which team will persuade Vesey to sign on the dotted line? Here are the pros and cons for each team in the running to land the college standout: Read more

  • Sportvision, SAP teaming to bring puck- and player-tracking to World Cup

    Jared Clinton
    Sportvision tracking technology was used during the 2015 all-star weekend (via NHL.com)

    The NHL is looking to take its advanced statistics offerings deeper at the World Cup of Hockey, and part of that will be implementing technology that will track player and puck movements for each of the contests during the two-week tournament.

    It was announced Wednesday that the league has teamed with Sportvision on tracking technology for the World Cup, which will see tracking chips placed near the name bar of the jerseys and into the pucks, of which the NHL will have roughly 750 with a chip installed. The technology had a trial run of sorts during the 2015 all-star weekend in Columbus, but this will be the first time its used over an extended period of time.

    “What’s really great about using the technology in this tournament is it’s two weeks, it’s in one place and it really gives us an opportunity to test it before we have to decide whether or not we’re going to unleash it on 1,230 regular-season games (and) if you include the outdoor games, more than 30 different venues,” commissioner Gary Bettman said, via NHL.com’s Dan Rosen. Read more

  • Want to play NCAA hockey? Make sure you know the eligibility rules

    Ryan Kennedy
    Connor Gaarder of Univeristy of North Dakota celebrates a goal at the Frozen Four. (Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

    It takes a lot of work to become an NCAA hockey player and because of the organization’s strict rules, sometimes just getting to campus with your eligibility intact can be a challenge. The most recent example is a report from Jeff Cox of SB Nation that goaltender Tyler Johnson has lost his eligibility appeal to the NCAA and will play for the OHL’s London Knights this season instead of the University of Maine.

    Now, you could do a lot worse than playing for the defending Memorial Cup champions, but Johnson’s case shines the spotlight on the tricky waters that teens must navigate en route to college hockey.

    Read more

  • Report: Changes to goaltending equipment may not be ready for 2016-17 season

    Jared Clinton
    Jaroslav Halak and Ben Bishop

    One of the biggest changes for the upcoming campaign was set to be the implementation of slimmer fitting, “streamlined” goaltending equipment. However, the new gear may not be ready in time for the upcoming season after all.

    The equipment was originally slated to make its debut at the World Cup of Hockey, but at a press conference Wednesday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the equipment was “still a work in progress,” before adding that the hope was to at least have it in place for the regular season.

    “I know our people in hockey operations are working very hard with the players’ association,” Bettman said, via Sportsnet. “I am hopeful that we can get it in place because I think it’s important.”

    According to Sportsnet’s Mark Spector, though, getting the gear in place might not be a done deal. In fact, there’s a possibility the changes that were set to be in place for the upcoming campaign won’t actually take effect until 2017-18. Read more