2014 NHL Free Agent Activity


As always the July 1st date is becoming a date that hockey fans a re circling on their calendars.  It marks the start of the NHL’s free agency period where there tends to be a lot of activity with teams.  Here is a look at the activity the past month.

2014 NHL Free Agency Activity

So far the free agent that has cashed in the most is Steve Ott who signed with the St. Louis Blues for two years for a total of $5.2 million.  There are still a handful of free agents out there who are available but with the tight cap space for some team, GMs and owners are going to have to get creative when dropping salary.

DATE NAME POS FROM TO Total Years Avg/Yr
Jul 19 Stempniak, Lee RW Pittsburgh NY Rangers $900K 1 $900K
Jul 17 Curry, John G Minnesota Minnesota n/a 1 n/a
Jul 16 Ferriero, Benn RW Vancouver St. Louis $600K 1 $600K
Jul 16 Butler, Chris D Calgary St. Louis $650K 1 $650K
Jul 15 Roy, Derek C St. Louis Nashville $1M 1 $1M
Jul 15 Ribeiro, Mike C Phoenix Nashville $1.005M 1 $1.005M
Jul 11 Moss, David RW Phoenix Phoenix $800K 1 $800K
Jul 11 Morrow, Brenden LW St. Louis Tampa Bay $1.55M 1 $1.55M
Jul 10 Smith, Trevor C Toronto Toronto $550K 1 $550K
Jul 10 Hannan, Scott D San Jose San Jose $1M 1 $1M
Jul 10 Lerg, Bryan LW Colorado San Jose $575K 1 $575K
Jul 10 Haley, Micheal C NY Rangers San Jose $600K 1 $600K
Jul 10 Cleary, Dan LW Detroit Detroit $1.5M 1 $1.5M
Jul 10 Ott, Steve C St. Louis St. Louis $5.2M 2 $2.6M
Jul 9 Heatley, Dany LW Minnesota Anaheim $1M 1 $1M
Jul 8 Grant, Alex D Ottawa Ottawa $700K 1 $700K
Jul 8 Corrente, Matt D Carolina Tampa Bay $550K 1 $550K
Jul 7 Volchenkov, Anton D New Jersey Nashville $1M 1 $1M
Jul 5 Cannone, Pat C St. Louis St. Louis $550K 1 $550K
Jul 5 Sutter, Brett LW Carolina Minnesota $1.2M 2 $600K
Jul 5 Piskula, Joe D Nashville Nashville $550K 1 $550K
Jul 5 McNeill, Patrick D Columbus Phoenix $550K 1 $550K
Jul 4 Bodie, Troy LW Toronto Toronto $600K 1 $600K
Jul 4 Legwand, David C Detroit Ottawa $6M 2 $3M
Jul 4 VandeVelde, Chris C Philadelphia Philadelphia $575K 1 $575K
Jul 4 McCarthy, John LW San Jose St. Louis $600K 1 $600K
Jul 4 Newbury, Kris C Philadelphia Washington $550K 1 $550K
Jul 4 Kennedy, Tim LW Phoenix Washington $550K 1 $550K
Jul 4 Holmstrom, Ben C Philadelphia Carolina $600K 1 $600K
Jul 3 Tarnasky, Nick C Montreal NY Rangers $1.15M 2 $575K
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2014 NHL Draft Day


2014 NHL Entry Draft

2014 NHL Entry DraftThe Florida Panthers select…. from the Barrie Colts defenceman Aaron Ekblad.  Are we  going to hear these words in a few hours as the NHL draft gets under way in Philadelphia?  Lost of buzz around the draft and rumors persist that Ryan Kesler has just been traded from the Vancouver Canucks to the Anaheim Ducks, so hockey fans, GMs, coaches, players and teenagers waiting to be drafted are all anxious.

As it stands right now, the first round draft order looks like this:

 

First Round

Pick Team Player POS. 2013-14 Team
1 Florida Panthers* - - -
2 Buffalo Sabres - - -
3 Edmonton Oilers - - -
4 Calgary Flames - - -
5 New York Islanders - - -
6 Vancouver Canucks - - -
7 Carolina Hurricanes - - -
8 Toronto Maple Leafs - - -
9 Winnipeg Jets - - -
10 Anaheim Ducks** - - -
11 Nashville Predators - - -
12 Arizona Coyotes - - -
13 Washington Capitals - - -
14 Dallas Stars - - -
15 Detroit Red Wings - - -
16 Columbus Blue Jackets - - -
17 Philadelphia Flyers - - -
18 Minnesota Wild - - -
19 Tampa Bay Lightning - - -
20 San Jose Sharks - - -
21 St. Louis Blues - - -
22 Pittsburgh Penguins - - -
23 Colorado Avalanche - - -
24 Anaheim Ducks - - -
25 Boston Bruins - - -
26 Montreal Canadiens - - -
27 Chicago Blackhawks - - -
28 Tampa Bay Lightning*** - - -
29 Los Angeles Kings - - -
30 New Jersey Devils+ - - -

However anything can happen on draft day and during the draft weekend. Remember last year when the Canucks dealt Cory Schneider in a surprise move to the New Jersey devils? Last year’s NHL draft featured some surprise moves.  This year we can expect to see some as well.  Many suggest that this is no a super strong draft year yet there is a lot of discussion about team trading up into the top three to get centerman or perhaps the hulking lone defenseman expected to go in the top 5 in Eklbad.

Here is a look at potential predictions for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.  Of course trades could be made, players could fall as did Seth Jones last year, but here is a look at where some of the top draft picks may end up tonight.

 

PICK NHL TEAM PLAYER POSITION 2013-14 TEAM
1 FLA Aaron Ekblad D Barrie (OHL)
2 BUF Sam Bennett C Kingston (OHL)
3 EDM Leon Draisaitl C Prince Albert (WHL)
4 CGY Sam Reinhart C Kootenay (OHL)
5 NYI Michael Dal Colle LW Oshawa (OHL)
6 VAN Jake Virtanen RW Calgary (WHL)
7 CAR Haydn Fleury D Red Deer (WHL)
8 TOR Nick Ritchie LW Peterborough (OHL)
9 WPG Nikolaj Ehlers LW Halifax (QMJHL)
10 ANA* Kasperi Kapanen LW/RW KalPa (FIN)
11 NAS William Nylander LW Modo (SWE)
12 ARZ Brendan Perlini LW Niagara (OHL)
13 WAS Julius Honka D Swift Current (WHL)
14 DAL Dylan Larkin C USNTDP
15 DET Jared McCann C Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
16 CBJ Sonny Milano LW USNTDP
17 PHI Anthony DeAngelo D Sarnia (OHL)
18 MIN Robert Fabbri C Guelph (OHL)
19 TB Travis Sanheim D Calgary (WHL)
20 SJ Kevin Fiala RW HV71 (SWE)
21 STL Ryan MacInnis C Kitchener (OHL)
22 PIT Alex Tuch RW USNTDP
23 COL Adrian Kempe LW Modo (SWE)
24 ANA Jakub Vrana RW Linkoping (SWE)
25 BOS  Nick Schmaltz C Green Bay (USHL)
26 MTL Ivan Barbashev C/LW Moncton (QMJHL)
27 CHI Marcus Pettersson D Skelleftea (SWE)
28 TB Nikita Scherbak LW Saskatoon (WHL)
29 LA Roland McKeown D Kingston (OHL)
30 NJ Brendan Lemieux LW Barrie (OHL)

 

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Hockey Fanatics Tribute to Bob Cole


There has been a lot of discussion as to whether Hockey Night in Canada’s Bob Cole will be calling his last game this Spring in the NHL Playoffs.  Since 1952, Bob Cole who was born in 1933 in St. John’s, Newfoundland as Robert Cole has been a part of Hockey Night in Canada.  Bob Cole is a play-by-play legend.  

This past December, in what we feel is a terrible move for hockey fans in Canada, Rogers acquired the television rights for NHL hockey in Canada with a $5.7 billion dollar deal which will mark the end of the NHL on TSN as we know and marks the end Hockey Night in Canada (what is CBC thinking anyway?).  Yes HNIC will be on for four more years but Rogers has complete control over the programming and the advertising revenues.  When the deal was announced, Bob Cole was left wondering what the future would hold.  Even at this stage, details have been sketchy.

I’m a little young to remember the great Danny Gallivan and I grew up with the as great Jim Robson calling a lot of the great Oilers games of the early to mid-eighties.  Hockey Night in Canada has had the best of the best when it comes to announcing NHL hockey games.  Bob Cole is another of the greats from HNIC.  Bob Cole’s voice is a masterpiece as this article from the star.com illustrates.  When it comes to the smooth skating game of hockey there is no bigger master of the mic than Mr. Cole.

5 Reasons Why Bob Cole is One of the Best in the Biz

  1. The Simplistic Delivery of Hockey’s Most Exciting Moments – Mr. Cole has an amazing ability to make the simplest of hockey terms lift the hockey fan out of their seat.  His announcement of “Scores” as the puck enters the net or the “Oh Baby” or three syllable drag out of a players name is classic and trademarks of Bob Cole’s tremendous broadcasting skills.
  2. His Knowledge/Interpretation of the Game – it is pretty easy to see that Mr. Cole is a fan of the game of hockey.  He still loves doing what he does and as he nears 81 would like to continue doing play-by-play until he is no longer able to do so.  It feels like he knows the players intimately and this comes across in the broadcast.
  3. Classic Statements – Mr. Cole has the great ability to make the classic statement that hockey fans will remember forever.  “They’re going home…” when the Russians left the ice in a game in 1976 vs. the Philadelphia Flyers.  “The Edmonton Oilers have won the Stanley Cup!”  His matter of fact commentary makes hockey fans take note and listen.
  4. His speaking as if he is in the living room with hockey fans – Mr. Cole has that “old-school” (and I mean that in a good way” of speaking that converses directly to the hockey fan as if we are old friends.
  5. His Ability to Read the Game and Tell a Story – many say that this is when Mr. Cole is at his best as the tale unfolds of an epic battle between two heated rivals, or when a great play is made, he’s able to add a single term or ask a question to describe the moment.  “Wow, just wow” or “Can you believe it?”

Here is a look at his best over the years at Hockey Night in Canada

Calls in Chronological Order:
Gretzky Breakaway goal vs NYI 1984
Mario Lemieux vs. North Starts “Oh Baby!” 1991
Russ Courtnall Game 7 OT winner Montreal vs. Hartford 1992
Doug Gilmour behind the net goal vs. St. Louis 1993
Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup Final vs. LA Kings 1993
Steve Yzerman vs St. Louis 1996
Oilers shock Starts – Cujo and Marchant 1997
Steve Thomas vs. Senators 2000
Joe Sakic Golden Goal 2002 (Audio Only)
Fernando Pisani Short Handed OT Goal vs. Carolina 2006

Awesome stuff!  Here is a little more of Bob’s great calls.  All videos courtesy of YouTube.

And who can forget this?

Bob Cole: “They’re Going Home!” The Soviet Red Army leaves the bench after the Flyers’ Ed Van Impe hits a Russian player in the first period.

A broadcasting legend all the way. He Scores!!!!  Tonights’ three stars as chosen by hockey fans everywhere:

Tonight’s first star from St. John’s:  Bob Cole.

Tonight’s second star: Bob Cole

and tonight’s third star from announcing all of those great Leafs games:  Bob Cole.

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2014 NHL Playoff Predictions


2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs LogoWe are on the eve of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs.  Only one Canadian team in the playoffs makes it difficult for Canadian hockey fans to determine who they are going to root for this Spring.  Las Vegas has made the Boston Bruins the favorites to win the Cup this year, which is funny because the West has dominated the Eastern Conference pretty much all year.  There are some solid teams in the West and right out of the gate two very strong teams will be out in the first round if we look at the St. Louis/Chicago series and the San Jose/LA series.  Which team is the hottest coming into the playoffs?  The three hottest team as we enter the playoffs are the Colorado Avalanche, Montreal Canadiens and the Anaheim Ducks.  Teams limping into the playoffs include the St. Louis Blues and the Philadelphia Flyers.  Ready for some solid hockey predictions?

2014 NHL Playoff Predictions

Here is a look at the 2014 Stanley Cup playoff predictions from The Hockey Fanatic.  Starting with the first round.  You can see that we are predicting that in the first round there will be no seeps but there will be a couple of five games series and a couple seven game showdowns.

2014 NHL Playoff Brackets

As we move into the second round here is whom we think will be moving on.  In the West we will see the following second round matchups:

Colorado vs Chicago:  Prediction:  Blackhawks in six games.
Anaheim vs. San Jose:  Prediction:  Sharks in seven games.

In the Eastern Conference:

Boston vs. Montreal Prediction:  Bruins in seven games.
Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia Prediction:  Penguins in six games.

The Conference Finals will shape up like this:

Western Conference:  San Jose Sharks vs.  Chicago Blackhawks.  Prediction:  San Jose Sharks in six games.

Eastern Conference:  Boston Bruins vs. Pittsburgh Penguins.  Prediction:  Boston Bruins in seven games.

Our matchup for the Stanley Cup final?  The San Jose Sharks vs. the Boston Bruins.  The Sharks win on home ice in six games.

 

San Jose Sharks 20142014 Stanley Cup Champion:  San Jose Sharks

We are calling it.  you heard it here first.  The three Californian teams are all very strong but it is time for the Sharks to take a bite out of the Stanley Cup.

Now we also have a couple of underdog picks or darkhorse picks for the Cup.  If the stars align we think that the Montreal Canadiens can become the first Canadian team in 21 years to hoist the Stanley Cup.  We also think that the Chicago Blackhawks have a chance at repeating as Stanley Cup champions.  Let the games begin.  Giddyup hockey fans the fun begins tomorrow.

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Ryan Smyth: The Best Edmonton Oiler Ever?


Ryan Smyth:  The Best Edmonton Oiler Ever?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “classy” as having qualities that make someone or something special and attractive; or showing impressive character : very good, kind, etc.  It is this second meaning that resonates with me when I think about Ryan Smyth.  Showing impressive character.  As a hockey fan and fan of the Edmonton Oilers since their inception into the NHL in 1979 I have seen many superstars dress for the Edmonton Oilers.  The Wayne Gretzkys, the Mark Messiers, the Paul Coffeys, the Grant Fuhrs, the Doug Weights and the list goes on.  I have always said that Messier, Coffey and Gretzky (in that order) are my three favorite hockey players of all-time.  However there is another.  Yesterday was a difficult day for this hockey fan.  I mean as an Oilers fan who are we kidding this season has been the worst ever. The Edmonton Oilers will be missing the playoffs for the eighth straight season.  Hockey Gods please stop the banishment of the Oilers from the post season.  I’m not sure if the Oilers sold their soul to get to the 2006 Stanley Cup finals (only to lose in game seven) but that was the last time the Oilers were in the NHL playoffs.  Getting back as to why yesterday was a difficult day for this hockey fan.  I turned on the TV to watch the Oilers/Kings game on TSN or at least have some background noise as I played with my son.  When I flipped over to TSN Ray Ferraro was discussing Ryan Smyth and then I learned that Ryan Smyth was going to retire after the next two seasons.  Here I was thinking, hoping that the Oilers would sign Smyth for one more season.  The news of Ryan Smyth preparing to retire was devastating to this hockey fan.

Rayn Smyth has been my favorite player for quite some time.  My wife says that I have a man-crush on him.  Well the fact is that I have great respect for Ryan as a hockey player, as a person and as a family man.  Ryan Smyth is a hockey players hockey player.  Grit, determination, tenacity, hands, work ethic, hockey sense and pride.  I don’t know Ryan Smyth personally, but I think if we ever met we would be lifelong friends.  Ever interview that I see Ryan in he carries himself with class and professionalism.  Ryan has the classiness and passion of Wayne Gretzky, he rocked the hockey hair ok mullet like nobody else.  He is Captain Canada and bleeds orange and blue.  He should never have been traded from the Oilers in the first place… remember how the Oilers went in the tank for the last 20 or so games of the season after that? (thanks for that Kevin Lowe).  It is fitting that Ryan Smyth played his junior hockey for the Moose Jaw Warriors in the Western Hockey League.  The man is a warrior.  He has 386 goals and 456 assists for 842 points in 1,268 career NHL games with the Oilers, New York Islanders, Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings.  He needs one more powerplay goal for the Oilers to take sole ownership of a team record.  With all due respect to Glenn Anderson come on Hockey Gods make this happen tomorrow night against the Vancouver Canucks.  Is a Ryan Smyth hat-trick too much to ask for?  Who else remembers the story of Glenn Anderson running over a young Ryan Smyth’s foot at a team Canada training camp in the mid-eighties.

 

Sure wish the Oilers would have made Smytty the Captain this season.  Sure wish that Craig MacTavish would offer Ryan a contract for next season, but hey that might be too much of a bold move…  Ryan Smyth’s retirement press conference is set for a couple of hours.  You can bet it will be emotional.  The man wears his heart on his sleeve.  His is one of the last players that puts the game of hockey first and and puts his team first ahead of himself.

5 Things Ryan Smyth Brought to the NHL

  1. One of the last, if not the last player to use a wooden hockey stick in the NHL – Ryan Smyth scored most of his goals from his “office” around the front of the net.  Ever had a good luck at his stick?  Check out this YouTube clip where Ryan discusses why he used a wooden stick and how he prepares his weapon of choice.
  2. The Mullet – c’mon you know you had one, heck maybe some of you still do.  There is even a Facebook page dedicated to Ryan’s infamous flow.
  3. The #94 – selected for his draft year, no one in the NHL has rocked the number 94 like Ryan Smyth has.  A few years ago we were at a community garage sale here in Kelowna, BC.  It was early May and kind of a rainy day and I spotted something interesting on a rack of clothes in a driveway about three houses down.  It was an Oilers jersey, in fact a white Ryan Smyth jersey circa late ’90s.  I started to run over to the house then to my devastation a lady strolls up and grabs the jersey and buys it.  I stopped in my tracks.  I paused for a second and walked over to the lady and told her that I would pay double for what she paid for the jersey.  She replied with “sorry its not for sale”.  I lost out on that one and still to this day have not been able to obtain a Ryan Smyth jersey for my Oilers collection.  #94 has been elusive for me.
  4. Work Ethic/Passion – very few NHL players in the past 20 years exude the work ethic and passion that Ryan Smyth does.  Even when he was benched for the first time in his career last season, the proud Smyth defended his ability to play and to contribute.  He adjusted his game and was arguably one of the Oilers most consistent workhorses this season.  Sure the numbers have dropped off, but Ryan Smyth has nothing to prove.  The man’s efforts speak for themselves.  Another reason why Smytty will be missed.
  5. Last of the Boys on the Bus – you get the sense that Ryan Smyth is a huge fan of the game and a huge fan of the Edmonton Oilers.  If any of you Oilers fans remember watching the Boys on the Bus documentary from the mid-’80′s you will know what I am talking about.  Ryan could have fit right in with those high flying Oilers of the ’80s.

 

Ryan Smyth - Edmonton Oilers

Ryan thank you for all of the entertaining hockey that you have provided us with over the years.  Here is but a sample of what some of your fans have to say about your tremendous career courtesy of tsn.ca:

No one got more out his talent than he did by sheer hard work, guts and determination. He is the last of a group of players that puts the team first ahead of his own needs and will be missed. Always a class act off the ice and while he does not have the numbers for the hall he certainly has earned a place among the Oilers franchisefranchise elite for who he is and what he accomplished. Congrats on a great career.

As much as Smytty’s play has deteriorated over the past two years, I still love him. He’s the epitome of class and the heart and soul of the Oilers. It’s gonna be tough to watch him hang up the skates, but I’m glad that he gets to play his last game ever with the Oilers at Rexall Place. I just hope he can get that elusive power play goal.

As an American, I always enjoyed watching Smyth. He’ll always be Captain Canada to me, and for good reason. Tons of class, grit and heart! May not have been the most talented guy to ever play for the Oil, but is and always was a fan favorite – again for good reason. Congrats Ryan!

Smyth was one of my favourite players growing up and still is. Who can forget that run to the Cup in ’06. If you ask me, they deserved that Cup a heck of a lot more than Carolina. Also, the playoff battles of ’97 & ’98 come to mind when I hear Smyth’s name. Wish the Oilers players now would play like you & Arnott did back in the 90′s. Enjoy retirement Ryan. You will be missed.

Very good player with the Oilers. Never seemed to be the same player after leaving EDM. Same as Linden in that regard. Some guys just fit a certain team and to me Ryan Smith fits that bill. Truly was a warrior for Team CAnada. Class guy. Good luck in your retirement.

A warrior on the ice, and a gentlemen off of it. THIS kind of player is what is sorely missed in the game today. I am so glad you are retiring as an Oiler player – not with some other team, then taking a ceremonial contract with the Oilers so you could retire as an Oiler. So much pride in you.

Ryan played the game the right way, brought it every night, played with his heart on his sleeve, and its rare to get guys like that. From a Canuck fan, i say congrats on your career, you were Great!!!

Next to Gretzky and Messier he is my favorite Oiler. He showed people how the game was supposed to be played, you give 110% every shift and sacrifice your body not for the $ but for the game. He should be an inspiration to any hockey player whether you play in the NHL or not. All heart.

As a flames fan,nothing but respect for Ryan. Class act.

There you have it.  Ryan Smyth you are a class act, a true hockey player and one of the last of a dying breed.  You make watching hockey fun for all of the right reason.  Good luck and best wishes to you and your family.

Ryan Smyth’s career stats are available at the Internet Hockey Database:

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=11264

 

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