NHL 2015 Off-Season Report: Which Teams Made the Biggest Moves?

The NHL hockey season ended with the Chicago Blackhawks capturing another Stanley Cup.  Within days and weeks of the Stanley Cup Championship we had the NHL Entry Draft and NHL free agent frenzy.  There were a number of transactions both on the ice and off the ice.  We wanted to take a look at which teams made the largest splash in the off season thus far.  We will start with the teams that we think have made the largest improvement with some of the biggest moves so far this summer.  Training camps are less than 50 days away so we can anticipate some additional activity over the next few weeks.

NHL 2015 Off-Season Report:  Which Teams Made the Biggest Moves?

Here is a look at the five teams that have made the most and perhaps the biggest moves this off season.

  1. Toronto Maple LeafsToronto Maple Leafs – like the Oilers, the Leafs biggest moves came off ice as the secured the highest paid coach in NHL history in Mike Babcock and added Lou Lamoriello to the front office.  Here is a look at some of the Leafs moves this off season.  They could easily be sitting in the top spot in terms of transformations:
    • in May, the Leafs hired Mike Babcock as their head coach.  Babcock signed an eight year contract worth $60M.
    • the Leafs selected forward Mitch Marner from the London Knights with their fourth overall pick in the entry draft
    • the Leafs acquired defenseman Martin Marincin from the Edmonton Oilers – this guys has potential to be a top 4 d-man with the Leafs
    • on Canada Day, the Leafs and Penguins pulled of a major trade with the Penguins sending forward prospect Kasperi Kapanen, forward Nick Spaling, defenseman Scott Harrington and a 2016 third-round pick to the Maple Leafs for Kessel, forward Tyler Biggs and defenseman Tim Erixon.
    • the Leafs signed Nazem Kadri to a one year contract
    • they signed free agent centerman Shawn Matthias
    • Toronto also added players such as Mark Arcobello, Taylor Beck and P.A. Parenteau
    • in a somewhat surprising move, longtime New Jersey Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello has taken over as GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Some big off ice moves that should pay dividends for the Maple Leafs in years to come.
  2. Boston Bruins – lets look at some of the moves the Bruins made.  Not sure if this makes them a better team or not, but definitely some big moves in Beantown.
    • in mid-April, the Boston Bruins fired general manager Peter Chiarelli after missing the playoffs for the first time in eight years.  Boston’s loss became Edmonton’s gain as Chiarelli joined the management team of the Edmonton Oilers.  The Bruins decided to retain head coach Claude Julien.
    • the Bruins traded Carl Soderberg to the Avalanche for a sixth-round pick in 2016
    • the Bruins sent defenceman Dougie Hamilton to the Calgary Flames for a first-round pick and two second-rounders.  The six-foot-five Hamilton had a career-best 10 goals, 32 assists and 42 points this past season.  Reports suggested that Boston general manager Don Sweeney asked the Oilers to include defenceman Darnell Nurse in an offer for Dougie Hamilton. It was a non-starter and Hamilton went to the Oilers rival instead.
    • the Bruins traded their top-line left wing, Milan Lucic to the Los Angeles Kings for backup goalie Martin Jones, defenceman prospect Colin Miller and the 13th pick in the draft, which Boston used on defenceman Jakub Zboril.  A pretty decent return for the Bruins.  The Bruins would later flip Jones to the San Jose Sharks to secure an additional first round pick.
    • the Bruins ended up with three consecutive picks in the Entry Draft at positions 13-15 in which they selected D-man Jakub Zboril, left winger Jake DeBrusk and right winger Zach Senyshyn.Boston Bruins
    • the Bruins acquired Zac Rinaldo from the Flyers.
    • the Boston Bruins also acquired Jimmy Hayes from the Florida Panthers in exchange for Reilly Smith.
    • the Bruins agreed to terms on a five-year contract worth $19M with free agent left winger Matt Beleskey.  Beleskey, 27, scored a career-high 22 goals with the Ducks in 2014-15, adding 10 assists for 32 points in 65 games.
  3. Edmonton OilersEdmonton Oilers – the Hockey Gods have not been kind to the Oilers that past couple of decades, especially the past nine years as the Oilers haver become the laugh of the league.  Finally that could change.  In an uncanny twist of luck, the Oilers won the NHL’s lottery draft with the end result of selecting phenom Connor McDavid first overall.  However it may be the off-ice moves that may pay the latest dividends for the Oilers.  Here is a look at some of the moves made by the Oil:
    • management shuffle with Craig McTavish and Kevin Lowe being “phased” into new rules and no longer in control of hockey operations.  The Oilers hired former Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli to enter in the next era for the Oilers.
    • the Oilers then hired former San Jose coach Todd Nelson as head coach.  This is a very respectable choice and someone who is a great fit for the Oilers.
    • As draft day approached, the Oilers acquired defenseman Griffen Reinhart from the Islanders for 2015 first and second round picks.  I like this move as Reinhart is still young and has a history in Oil Country.
    • the Oilers traded for a goaltender in former Rangers backup Cam Talbot.  I’m personally not sold on Talbot and felt that perhaps the Oilers should have went after Antii Niemi but then again Talbot could be just what the Oilers need as a last line of defense.
    • of course probably the biggest transaction was the drafting of Connor McDavid with the first overall pick. McDavid signed a three year entry level contract with the Oilers.
    • the Oilers also traded center Boyd Gordon back to Phoenix for Lauri Korpikoski
    • the Oiler also sent Travis Ewanyk to Ottawa for Eric Gryba.
  4. Dallas StarsDallas Stars – the Stars probably made the best moves in terms of on-ice talent this summer.  Here is a look at some of the moves made by Dallas:
    • acquired goaltender Antti Niemi from the San Jose Sharks for a 7th round pick, later signing Niemi to a three year deal.
    • acquired LW Patrick Sharp from the Chicago Blackhawks for Ryan Garbutt and Trevor Daley
    • signed Johnny Oduya as a free agent; another pick up from the Stanley Cup Champions
    • The Stars signed forward Patrick Eaves to a one-year contract Wednesday after a solid first season in Dallas.  Eaves had 27 points (14 goals, 13 assists) in 47 games last season, leading the Stars with a plus-minus rating of plus-12. He had a career-high six power-play goals.
  5. Buffalo SabresBuffalo Sabres -well the Sabres missed out on Connor McDavid, but they got a pretty decent player in Jack Eichel.  Here is a look at some of the moves made by the Sabres thus far this summer:
    • with the second overall pick the Sabres selecting center Jack Eichel who stated that he wanted to be the top player of this year’s draft class.  Let’s wait and see if he has the skills to backup the ego shall we?
    • To compliment Eichel, the Sabres also went out and acquired Ryan O’Reilly from the Avalanche as well as goaltender Robin Lehner from the Ottawa Senators.
    • the Sabres will have Evander Kane lacing the skates up for them this season as well.
    • Buffalo also made another smart move by bringing in veteran head coach Dan Byalsma.

All five of these teams should be improved this season.  Will they make the playoffs?  Highly unlikely that all five of these teams will be playoff teams come April, but they all took steps in the right direction and have made some of the biggest moves this NHL off season.

Posted in NHL by The Hockey Fan. No Comments

2015 NHL Free Agents

Now that the Stanley Cup Champion has been crowned, there are 29 other NHL clubs who are looking to re-tool in an attempt to become the next Chicago Blackhawks.  Many say that this free agent pool is weak this year, but are there some surprises to be had in this years free agent pickings?

Top NHL UFAs (Unrestricted Free Agents)

Here are a look at five NHL free agents that NHL teams should consider (providing they can afford to sign them):

  1. Mike Green – currently with the Washington Capitals.  This guy is still a solid D-man and can put up the points in the right environment.  Teams he might fit:  Detroit Red Wings, Washington Capitals, San Jose Sharks, Edmonton Oilers.
  2. Mike Fischer – currently with Nashville Predators.  A great player who can put up some nice points.  We do not expect Mike to leave Nashville (he is married to country crooner Carrie Underwood) but there are teams that could use his services: Vancouver Canucks, Nashville Predators, Montreal Canadiens, Carolina Hurricanes.
  3. Antti Niemi – Currently with the San Jose Sharks.  Everyone seems to be on the fence with this guy.  While he can have the odd bad game, he has played well for the Sharks and is worth taking a look at.  Teams he might fit:  Buffalo Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers, Edmonton Oilers and Dallas Stars.
  4. Blake Comeau – played last season with Pittsburgh Penguins.  A dark-horse free agent who had a solid season with the Pens.  He was flying prior to a minor injury which put him on there sidelines for a bit. He earned roughly $700K last season so he could be an affordable pickup for teams in need.  Teams he might fit:  Vancouver Canucks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning.
  5. Drew Stafford – played the past season in Buffalo and Winnipeg.  Could be a little pricey but he can put up some decent numbers and was a great addition for the Jets during their late season surge.  Teams he might fit: Winnipeg Jets, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers.

Top NHL RFAs (Restricted Free Agents)

Here are a look at five NHL restricted free agents that NHL teams should consider pursuing (providing they can afford to sign them or serve up an offer sheet):

  1. Derek Stepan – played with the Rangers.  He could be a little pricey but he has a number of good years ahead of him.  Teams he might fit:  New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks, Montreal Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres.
  2. Justin Schultz – played last season with the Oilers.  Lots of offensive potential here, I just think that the Oilers have not been able to pair him with the right partner.  That could change this year.  However there are a few teams that Justin would be a great fit on.  Teams he might fit: Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks, an Jose Sharks, Pittsburgh Penguins.
  3. Adam Larsson – played with New Jersey Devils.  A high draft pick that seems not to have fit in well with the New Jersey Devils.  Still he’s too young to give up on yet.  Team he might fit:  Detroit RedWings, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Toronto Maple Leafs.
  4. Dougie Hamilton – currently with the Boston Bruins.  This guy is going to be good so the Bruins would be wise to lock him up for a few years.   But can they afford him?  Teams he might fit:  Edmonton Oilers, Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres, San Jose Sharks.
  5. Mark Stone – currently with the Ottawa Senators.  What a clutch player down the stretch for the Senators.  Played some great hockey during the last half of the season.  Teams he might fit: Tampa Bay Lightning, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vancouver Canucks, Ottawa Senators.

With that here is a look at this year’s unrestricted free agents.  See you on July 1 hockey fans.

2015 NHL Free Agents

Player Team Pos Status 2014-15 Salary
Green, Mike WAS D UFA 6,250,000
Martin, Paul PIT D UFA 5,000,000
St Louis, Martin NYR RW UFA 5,000,000
Gonchar, Sergei MON D UFA 4,600,000
Fleischmann, Tomas ANA C UFA 4,500,000
Fisher, Mike NAS C UFA 4,200,000
Meszaros, Andrej BUF D UFA 4,125,000
Briere, Danny COL C UFA 4,000,000
Cole, Erik DET LW UFA 4,000,000
Cullen, Matt NAS C UFA 4,000,000
Ehrhoff, Christian PIT D UFA 4,000,000
Niemi, Antti SJ G UFA 4,000,000
Stafford, Drew WIN RW UFA 4,000,000
Vermette, Antoine CHI C UFA 3,750,000
Allen, Bryan MON D UFA 3,500,000
Beauchemin, Francois ANA D UFA 3,500,000
Ryder, Michael NJ RW UFA 3,500,000
Souray, Sheldon ANA D UFA 3,500,000
Upshall, Scottie FLA LW UFA 3,500,000
Fasth, Viktor EDM G UFA 3,400,000
Peverley, Rich DAL C UFA 3,375,000
Franson, Cody NAS D UFA 3,300,000
Frolik, Michael WIN RW UFA 3,300,000
Hejda, Jan COL D UFA 3,250,000
Jackman, Barret STL D UFA 3,250,000
Salvador, Bryce NJ D UFA 3,250,000
Stoll, Jarret LA C UFA 3,250,000
Williams, Justin LA RW UFA 3,050,000
Brodziak, Kyle MIN C UFA 3,000,000
Horcoff, Shawn DAL C UFA 3,000,000
Regehr, Robyn LA D UFA 3,000,000
Ward, Joel WAS RW UFA 3,000,000
Tlusty, Jiri WIN C UFA 2,950,000
Ramo, Karri CGY G UFA 2,900,000
Kopecky, Tomas FLA RW UFA 2,850,000
Oduya, Johnny CHI D UFA 2,825,000
Bergenheim, Sean MIN LW UFA 2,750,000
Brewer, Eric TOR D UFA 2,742,500
Neuvirth, Michal NYI G UFA 2,600,000
Glencross, Curtis WAS LW UFA 2,500,000
Jokinen, Olli STL C UFA 2,500,000
Wilson, Ryan COL D UFA 2,375,000
Kennedy, Tyler NYI C UFA 2,350,000
Erat, Martin PHO LW UFA 2,250,000
Harding, Josh MIN G UFA 2,100,000
Stewart, Chris MIN RW UFA 2,100,000
Ballard, Keith MIN D UFA 2,000,000
Erskine, John WAS D UFA 2,000,000
Michalek, Zbynek STL D UFA 2,000,000
Richards, Brad CHI C UFA 2,000,000
Zidlicky, Marek DET D UFA 2,000,000
Gustavsson, Jonas DET G UFA 1,850,000
Matthias, Shawn VAN C UFA 1,850,000
McQuaid, Adam BOS D UFA 1,800,000
Leopold, Jordan MIN D UFA 1,750,000
Rozsival, Michal CHI D UFA 1,750,000
Sekera, Andrej LA D UFA 1,750,000
Weaver, Mike MON D UFA 1,750,000
Campbell, Gregory BOS C UFA 1,700,000
Fehr, Eric WAS RW UFA 1,600,000
Slater, Jim WIN C UFA 1,600,000
Morrow, Brenden TB LW UFA 1,550,000
Carkner, Matt NYI D UFA 1,500,000
Cleary, Dan DET LW UFA 1,500,000
Havlat, Martin NJ RW UFA 1,500,000
Santorelli, Michael NAS C UFA 1,500,000
Beleskey, Matt ANA LW UFA 1,400,000
Budaj, Peter WIN G UFA 1,400,000
Condra, Erik OTT RW UFA 1,300,000
Letestu, Mark CLB C UFA 1,300,000
Paille, Daniel BOS LW UFA 1,300,000
Schlemko, David CGY D UFA 1,275,000
Bartkowski, Matt BOS D UFA 1,250,000
Enroth, Jhonas DAL G UFA 1,250,000
Kaleta, Patrick BUF RW UFA 1,250,000
Goc, Marcel STL C UFA 1,200,000
Lapierre, Maxim PIT C UFA 1,200,000
Sheppard, James NYR C UFA 1,200,000
Crombeen, B.J. PHO RW UFA 1,150,000
Richardson, Brad VAN RW UFA 1,150,000
Booth, David TOR LW UFA 1,100,000
Irwin, Matt SJ D UFA 1,100,000
Beagle, Jay WAS RW UFA 1,000,000
Downie, Steve PIT RW UFA 1,000,000
Ellis, Dan FLA G UFA 1,000,000
Emery, Ray PHI G UFA 1,000,000
Greiss, Thomas PIT G UFA 1,000,000
Hannan, Scott SJ D UFA 1,000,000
Heatley, Dany FLA RW UFA 1,000,000
Joensuu, Jesse EDM LW UFA 1,000,000
Roy, Derek EDM C UFA 1,000,000
Soderberg, Carl BOS C UFA 1,000,000
Volchenkov, Anton NAS D UFA 1,000,000
Lindback, Anders BUF G UFA 925,000
Orr, Colton TOR RW UFA 925,000
Dwyer, Patrick CAR RW UFA 900,000
Stempniak, Lee WIN RW UFA 900,000
Holzer, Korbinian ANA D UFA 850,000
Malhotra, Manny MON C UFA 850,000
Sestito, Tommy VAN LW UFA 850,000
Benoit, Andre BUF D UFA 800,000
Dubnyk, Devan MIN G UFA 800,000
Harrold, Peter NJ D UFA 800,000
Johnson, Aaron OTT D UFA 800,000
Moss, David PHO RW UFA 800,000
Desjardins, Andrew CHI C UFA 750,000
Labarbera, Jason ANA G UFA 750,000
McGrattan, Brian CGY RW UFA 750,000
Setoguchi, Devin CGY RW UFA 750,000
Skille, Jack CLB RW UFA 750,000
Carter, Ryan MIN LW UFA 725,000
Halischuk, Matt WIN RW UFA 725,000
Carey, Paul BOS C UFA 715,000
Adams, Craig PIT RW UFA 700,000
Comeau, Blake PIT LW UFA 700,000
Diaz, Raphael CGY D UFA 700,000
Hillen III, Jack CAR D UFA 700,000
Leggio, David PHO G UFA 700,000
Malone, Ryan NYR RW UFA 700,000
Mclaren, Frazer TOR LW UFA 700,000
Mullen, Patrick OTT D UFA 700,000
Pardy, Adam WIN D UFA 700,000
Porter, Chris STL C UFA 700,000
Potter, Corey CGY D UFA 700,000
Prosser, Nate MIN D UFA 700,000
Scott, John SJ LW UFA 700,000
Acton, Will VAN LW UFA 680,000
Mcdonald, Colin NYI RW UFA 675,000
Mouillierat, Kael NYI C UFA 675,000
Rosehill, Jay PHI RW UFA 675,000
Angelidis, Michael TB C UFA 650,000
Boulton, Eric NYI LW UFA 650,000
Butler, Chris STL D UFA 650,000
Drewiske, Davis MON D UFA 650,000
Eaves, Patrick DAL RW UFA 650,000
Fraser, Colin X STL C UFA 650,000
Gervais, Bruno COL D UFA 650,000
Kostka, Michael NYR D UFA 650,000
O’Brien, Shane FLA D UFA 650,000
Samson, Jerome TB RW UFA 650,000
Strachan, Tyson BUF D UFA 650,000
Winnik, Daniel PIT C UFA 650,000
Zolnierczyk, Harry NYI LW UFA 650,000
Colaiacovo, Carlo PHI D UFA 625,000
Bachman, Richard EDM G UFA 615,000
Stollery, Karl SJ D UFA 605,000
Bellemore, Brett CAR D UFA 600,000
Bernier, Steve NJ RW UFA 600,000
Bickel, Stu MIN RW UFA 600,000
Biega, Alex VAN D UFA 600,000
Blunden, Michael TB RW UFA 600,000
Bodie, Troy TOR LW UFA 600,000
Bourque, Christopher NYR LW UFA 600,000
Butler, Bobby FLA RW UFA 600,000
Clemmensen, Scott NJ G UFA 600,000
Crabb, Joey NYR RW UFA 600,000
Cracknell, Adam STL RW UFA 600,000
Craig, Ryan CLB C UFA 600,000
Cumiskey, Kyle CHI D UFA 600,000
Gagne, Simon BOS LW UFA 600,000
Haley, Micheal SJ C UFA 600,000
Holmstrom, Ben CAR C UFA 600,000
Hunwick, Matt NYR D UFA 600,000
Jeffrey, Dustin NYI LW UFA 600,000
Jones, Blair PHI C UFA 600,000
McCarthy, John STL LW UFA 600,000
McElhinney, Curtis CLB G UFA 600,000
Miele, Andy DET C UFA 600,000
Mueller, Chris NYR C UFA 600,000
O’Reilly, Cal VAN C UFA 600,000
Porter, Kevin DET LW UFA 600,000
Rechlicz, Joel MIN RW UFA 600,000
Robins, Bobby BOS C UFA 600,000
Sanguinetti, Bobby VAN D UFA 600,000
Volpatti, Aaron WAS LW UFA 600,000
Zanon, Greg FLA D UFA 600,000
Zepp, Rob PHI G UFA 600,000
Abbott, Spencer CHI LW UFA 575,000
Curry, John MIN G UFA 575,000
Fedun, Taylor SJ D UFA 575,000
Janssen, Cam NJ RW UFA 575,000
Lerg, Bryan SJ LW UFA 575,000
O’Neill, Will WIN D UFA 575,000
Sestito, Tim NJ C UFA 575,000
Stortini, Zachery PHI RW UFA 575,000
Vande Velde, Chris PHI C UFA 575,000
Veilleux, Stephane MIN LW UFA 575,000
White, Ryan PHI RW UFA 575,000
Bagnall, Drew BUF D UFA 550,000
Bass, Cody CHI C UFA 550,000
Campbell, Andrew PHO D UFA 550,000
Cannone, Pat STL C UFA 550,000
Carcillo, Daniel CHI LW UFA 550,000
Chorney, Taylor PIT D UFA 550,000
Conner, Chris WAS RW UFA 550,000
Corrente, Matthew TB D UFA 550,000
Cote, Jean-Phillippe TB D UFA 550,000
Drazenovic, Nicholas PIT C UFA 550,000
Ebbett, Andrew PIT C UFA 550,000
Ellis, Matt BUF LW UFA 550,000
Fraser, Mark NJ D UFA 550,000
Gomez, Scott NJ C UFA 550,000
Henderson, Kevin NAS LW UFA 550,000
Hodgman, Justin PHO C UFA 550,000
Labrie, Pierre-Cedric CHI LW UFA 550,000
Landry, Jon WAS D UFA 550,000
Leighton, Michael CHI G UFA 550,000
Letourneau-Leblond, Pierre-Luc PIT LW UFA 550,000
Louis, Mark NYI D UFA 550,000
McBain, Jamie LA D UFA 550,000
McKenna, Mike PHO G UFA 550,000
Moore, Mike WAS D UFA 550,000
Newbury, Kris WAS C UFA 550,000
Piskula, Joe NAS D UFA 550,000
Reese, Dylan PHO D UFA 550,000
Sill, Zach TOR C UFA 550,000
Smith, Trevor TOR C UFA 550,000
St Denis, Frederic CLB D UFA 550,000
Thiessen, Brad CGY G UFA 550,000
Van Der Gulik, David LA RW UFA 550,000
Welsh, Jeremy STL LW UFA 550,000
Whitney, Joe NJ LW UFA 550,000
Zajac, Darcy NJ RW UFA 550,000
Posted in NHL by The Hockey Fan. No Comments

Congratulations to 2015 Chicago Blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks 2015 Stanley Cup ChampionsWell it’s late June and another NHL hockey season has come and gone.  Earlier this week, the Chicago Blackhawks captured their third Stanley Cup Championship in the past six years earning them the modern-day dynasty franchise title.  A big congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks who defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games.  In our Stanley Cup predictions for this year we actually had picked the Blackhawks to win the Cup, however we had them win over the New York Rangers rather than the Lightning whom we had the Rangers dispose of in the Easter Conference final.

Chicago Blackhawks 2015 Stanley Cup Champs

Here is look at some of the reasons why the Blackhawks again were able to capture the Stanley Cup in 2015.

  1. Hockey Talent – make no mistakes this is a talented team.  There are a number of all stars on this team and this team is composed of players that have great hockey sense.  Still a lot of talent on this team from Captain Johnathan Toews and Patrick Kane to Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook.
  2. Leadership – this team has a great coach in Joel Quenville and is led by Captain Jonathan Toews.  Captain Serious for a reason.  This guy has laser beam focus and when he is focused look out as he can beat you by himself on some nights (see Anaheim Ducks).  Great leadership and veteran presence on this team.
  3. Great Goaltending - you know Corey Crawford has three Stanley Cups and this guy is like the most underrated goaltender in the NHL.  Maybe people will pay attention to him now.  The guy was great when he had to be.  There is a reason as to why the Bolts and guys like Steven Stamkos were shut down in the Finals.  The last line of defense, Corey Crawford played extremely well for this team and could have easily won the Conn Smythe trophy had it not been for the epic performance of Duncan Keith.
  4. Duncan Keith – speaking of which, Duncan Keith did have an epic performance for the Blackhawks in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.  He played a massive amount of minutes always against the opposition’s best players.  In fact based on the amount of minutes played, Duncan Keith played against most players and kept them in check.  Twenty one points in twenty three playoff games.  Five multi-point games, shots in twenty of twenty three playoff games, this ex-Kelowna Rocket dominated and well deserved the Conn Smythe trophy as Playoff MVP.
  5. Solid Coaching – the Blackhawks lead by Quenelle have a very strong coaching staff.  They can motivate their team when needed and they know when to roll with which players.  From Assistant coaches Mike Kitchen and Kevin Dineen to goalie coach Jimmy Waite to Kevin Delaney (skating and conditioning) this team has a great coaching squad in place.
  6. Management – to assemble a team of players and coaches such as this you have to give credit to the management team.  This goes from owner/chairman Rocky Wirtz, to Stan Bowman VP and General Manager to Norm MacIver Assistant GM and others this team has very a very competent management team.  (Edmonton Oilers take serious note).
  7. Hockey Fans – and of course ultimately what makes this franchise a top notch franchise is the people that pay to watch the games, the people who buy Chicago Blackhawks jerseys and caps, the hockey fans.  The Chicago Blackhawks have great hockey fans.  Just ask the players, they have some of the greatest fans out there.  Chelsea Dagger indeed.

Well done Chicago.  As a fan of the Edmonton Oilers I hope that one day we can experience the tremendous success that your franchise has had in recent years.  I like the fact that you are a modern day hockey dynasty.  Parity in the NHL for this hockey fan is not something I prefer.


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Posted in NHL by The Hockey Fan. No Comments

2015 NHL Draft Predictions

The 2015 NHL Draft will take place in Sunrise, Florida in three weeks, where the Edmonton Oilers are expected to select Connor McDavid with their first overall pick.  The Hockey Fanatic has prepared a list of our predictions for the 2015 NHL Draft.

2015 NHL Draft Predictions

Here is a look at our predictions for the first round (top 30) NHL picks in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

Connor McDavid Erie (OHL) C 47 44 120
Jack Eichel Boston U (NCAA) C 41 26 71
Dylan Strome Erie (OHL) C 68 45 129
Mitch Marner London (OHL) RW 63 44 126
Noah Hanifin Boston C (NCAA) D 37 5 23
Lawson Crouse Kingston (OHL) LW 56 29 51
Pavel Zacha Sarnia (OHL) C 37 16 34
Ivan Provorov Brandon (WHL) D 60 15 61
Mathew Barzal Seattle (WHL) C 44 12 57
Timo Meier Halifax (QMJHL) RW 61 44 90
Zach Werenski Michigan (NCAA) D 35 9 25
Mikko Rantanen TPS (SM Liiga) RW 56 9 8
Kyle Connor Youngstown (USHL) LW/C 56 34 80
Jakub Zboril Saint John (QMJHL) D 44 13 33
Travis Konecny Ottawa (OHL) RW 60 29 68
Colin White USA NTDP (USHL) C 54 23 54
Nick Merkley Kelowna (WHL) C/RW 72 20 90
Evgeni Svechnikov C. Breton (QMJHL) RW 55 32 78
Jake Debrusk Swift Current (WHL) LW 72 42 81
Paul Bittner Portland (WHL) LW 66 34 71
Brock Boeser Waterloo (USHL) RW 57 35 68
Brandon Carlo Tri-City (WHL) D 63 4 25
Daniel Sprong Charlottetown (QMJHL) RW 68 39 88
Thomas Chabot Saint John (QMJHL) D 66 12 41
Denis Gurianov Togilatti 2 (MHL) RW 23 15 25
Ilya Samsonov Magnitorgorsk (MHL) G 18 2.66 2
Jérémy Roy Sherbrooke (QMJHL) D 46 5 43
Anthony Beauvillier Shawinigan (QMJHL) C/LW 67 42 94
Jansen Harkins Prince George (WHL) C 70 20 79
Noah Juulsen Everett (WHL) D 68 15 56
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Posted in NHL by The Hockey Fan. No Comments

Kelowna Rockets Are 2015 WHL Champions

Kelowna Rockets Win 2015 WHL Championship

The Western Hockey League Playoffs have been very exciting this year.  There were a number of exceptional teams vying for WHL supremacy with teams like the Brandon Wheat Kings, Calagry Hitmen, Kelowna Rockets and Portland Winterhawks again having strong seasons.  However it was the Kelowna Rockets claiming the Ed Chynoweth Cup on Wednesday night to become the 49th WHL Champions after earning a 3-0 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings.  The Rockets swept the Wheaties in four straight games.  The win marks the fourth time in franchise history that Kelowna has won the WHL Championship Series with the most recent being 2009 (2003, 2005, 2009, 2015).

The Brandon Wheat Kings should hold their heads up high as they had a tremendous season.  The loss ended a remarkable campaign for the Wheat Kings, who led all teams in the WHL with 114 points — two more than the Rockets — in the 2014-2015 regular season. The Wheat Kings have a lot of talented players returning next season, so they might be next year’s Kelowna Rockets.  Post series report on Brandon can be found here at the Brandon Sun.

Kelowna Rockets LogoRockets centerman Leon Draisaitl  was named WHL Playoff Most Valuable Player.  Draisaitl, an Edmonton Oilers prospect, was named the 2015 WHL Playoffs MVP after he finished tied for the post-season scoring lead with 28 points (10g-18a) in 19 WHL Playoff games.  Combining the regular season where Drat put up 19 goals and 53 points in just 32 regular season games, he finished with 81 points in 51 games as a Kelowna Rocket.  As an Edmonton Oilers fan, this is pretty exciting.  Full disclosure, as I have season tickets to the Rockets games here in Kelowna and watched Leon Draisaitl on many nights.  This kid is the real deal and has potential to be one the the greatest German born players in the NHL.  He makes passes like nobody’s business.  Dare I say some of them are very Gretzky-like?  Unreal ability to see the ice this kid has.  He is great on taking draws in faceoffs and is a big player.  Although it was a nice team effort throughout the playoffs, much credit deserves to go to young Draisaitl.  A great move by GM Bruce Hamilton to acquire him from the Prince Albert Raiders in January after Draisaitl  spent the first half of the season in Edmonton with the Oilers.  I love the energy of this kid.  He’s going to be a great player and should have a great Memorial Cup.

2015 WHL Champion Kelowna RocketsPhoto Credit:  Marissa Baecker

Kelowna will head to Quebec City next week for the start of the Memorial Cup May 22nd to 31st.  The Rockets will face the host Quebec on opening night, Friday May 22. Thy take on the Quebec league champion Monday the 25th and the Ontario champ Tuesday May 26th.  Our prediction?  With all due respect to the Quebec Ramparts, Rimouski Oceanic, Oshawa Generals and Erie Otters we feel that the WHL Champs will take home the Memorial Cup this year.

Here is a list of past Memorial Cup Winners

50 Years of Memorial Cup Champions

Year Champion Score Runner-up Additional participants
1965 Niagara Falls Flyers 4–1 Edmonton Oil Kings
1966 Edmonton Oil Kings 4–2 Oshawa Generals
1967 Toronto Marlboros 4–1 Port Arthur Marrs
1968 Niagara Falls Flyers 4–1 Estevan Bruins
1969 Montreal Junior Canadiens 4–0 Regina Pats
1970 Montreal Junior Canadiens 4–0 Weyburn Red Wings
1971 Quebec Remparts 2–0 Edmonton Oil Kings
1972 Cornwall Royals (QMJHL) 2–1 Peterborough Petes (OHA) Edmonton Oil Kings (WCHL)
1973 Toronto Marlboros (OHA) 9–1 Quebec Remparts (QMJHL) Medicine Hat Tigers (WCHL)
1974 Regina Pats (WCHL) 7–4 Quebec Remparts (QMJHL) St. Catharines Black Hawks (OHA)
1975 Toronto Marlboros (OHA) 7–3 New Westminster Bruins (WCHL) Sherbrooke Castors (QMJHL)
1976 Hamilton Fincups (OHA) 5–2 New Westminster Bruins (WCHL) Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
1977 New Westminster Bruins (WCHL) 6–5 Ottawa 67’s (OHA) Sherbrooke Castors (QMJHL)
1978 New Westminster Bruins (WHL) 7–4 Peterborough Petes (OHA) Trois-Rivières Draveurs (QMJHL)
1979 Peterborough Petes (OHA) 2–1 (OT) Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) Trois-Rivières Draveurs (QMJHL)
1980 Cornwall Royals (QMJHL) 3–2 (OT) Peterborough Petes (OHA) Regina Pats (WHL)
1981 Cornwall Royals (QMJHL) 5–2 Kitchener Rangers (OHL) Victoria Cougars (WHL)
1982 Kitchener Rangers (OHL) 7–4 Sherbrooke Castors (QMJHL) Portland Winter Hawks (WHL)
1983 Portland Winter Hawks (WHL) 8–3 Oshawa Generals (OHL) Lethbridge Broncos (WHL), Verdun Juniors (QMJHL)
1984 Ottawa 67’s (OHL) 7–2 Kitchener Rangers (OHL) Laval Voisins (QMJHL), Kamloops Jr. Oilers (WHL)
1985 Prince Albert Raiders (WHL) 6–1 Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL) Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL), Verdun Junior Canadiens (QMJHL)
1986 Guelph Platers (OHL) 6–2 Hull Olympiques (QMJHL) Kamloops Blazers (WHL), Portland Winter Hawks (WHL)
1987 Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL) 6–2 Oshawa Generals (OHL) Longueuil Chevaliers (QMJHL)
1988 Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL) 7–6 Windsor Spitfires (OHL) Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL), Hull Olympiques (QMJHL)
1989 Swift Current Broncos (WHL) 4–3 (OT) Saskatoon Blades (WHL) Laval Titan (QMJHL), Peterborough Petes (OHL)
1990 Oshawa Generals (OHL) 4–3 (OT) Kitchener Rangers (OHL) Laval Titan (QMJHL), Kamloops Blazers (WHL)
1991 Spokane Chiefs (WHL) 5–1 Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL) Chicoutimi Saguenéens (QMJHL), Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
1992 Kamloops Blazers (WHL) 5–4 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL) Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL), Verdun Collège Français (QMJHL)
1993 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)[e] 4–2 Peterborough Petes (OHL) Laval Titan (QMJHL), Swift Current Broncos (WHL)
1994 Kamloops Blazers (WHL) 5–3 Laval Titan (QMJHL) Chicoutimi Saguenéens (QMJHL), North Bay Centennials (OHL)
1995 Kamloops Blazers (WHL) 8–2 Detroit Junior Red Wings (OHL) Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL), Hull Olympiques (QMJHL)
1996 Granby Prédateurs (QMJHL) 4–0 Peterborough Petes (OHL) Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL), Guelph Storm (OHL)
1997 Hull Olympiques (QMJHL) 5–1 Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL) Chicoutimi Saguenéens (QMJHL), Oshawa Generals (OHL)
1998 Portland Winter Hawks (WHL) 4–3 (OT) Guelph Storm (OHL) Spokane Chiefs (WHL), Val-d’Or Foreurs (QMJHL)
1999 Ottawa 67’s (OHL) 7–6 (OT) Calgary Hitmen (WHL) Acadie–Bathurst Titan (QMJHL), Belleville Bulls (OHL)
2000 Rimouski Océanic (QMJHL) 6–2 Barrie Colts (OHL) Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL), Kootenay Ice (WHL)
2001 Red Deer Rebels (WHL) 6–5 (OT) Val-d’Or Foreurs (QMJHL) Ottawa 67’s (OHL), Regina Pats (WHL)
2002 Kootenay Ice (WHL) 6–3 Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL) Erie Otters (OHL), Guelph Storm (OHL)
2003 Kitchener Rangers (OHL) 6–3 Hull Olympiques (QMJHL) Kelowna Rockets (WHL), Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
2004 Kelowna Rockets (WHL) 2–1 Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL) Guelph Storm (OHL), Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)
2005 London Knights (OHL) 4–0 Rimouski Océanic (QMJHL) Kelowna Rockets (WHL), Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
2006 Quebec Remparts (QMJHL) 6–2 Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL) Peterborough Petes (OHL), Vancouver Giants (WHL)
2007 Vancouver Giants (WHL) 3–1 Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL) Lewiston Maineiacs (QMJHL), Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
2008 Spokane Chiefs (WHL) 4–1 Kitchener Rangers (OHL) Belleville Bulls (OHL), Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL)
2009 Windsor Spitfires (OHL) 4–1 Kelowna Rockets (WHL) Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL), Rimouski Océanic (QMJHL)
2010 Windsor Spitfires (OHL) 9–1 Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL), Calgary Hitmen (WHL)
2011 Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL) 3–1 Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors (OHL) Owen Sound Attack (OHL), Kootenay Ice (WHL)
2012 Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL) 2–1 (OT) London Knights (OHL) Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL), Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
2013 Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) 6–4 Portland Winterhawks (WHL) London Knights (OHL), Saskatoon Blades (WHL)
2014 Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL) 6–3 Guelph Storm (OHL) Val-d’Or Foreurs (QMJHL), London Knights (OHL)
2015 TBD TBD Quebec Remparts, Rimouski Océanic (QMJHL),Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
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