With training camps set to open later this week and with rookie camps under way, we thought that we would evaluate some of the players to watch this upcoming NHL season. Being based in the West we get a little tired of hearing about the Eastern based teams all of the time so our list may be a little biased towards players based on Western teams. Quite honestly the West has provided the greatest entertainment value in recent years with multiple Stanley Cup championships for both the Los Angeles Kings and the Chicago Blackhawks.
There is some great young talent in the game. Here is a look at some of the players to watch in the 2014-2015 NHL season. For all of you hockey poolies out there, these are the players you might want to take a risk on if they are available in your hockey pool.
There you have it, a look at 20 players to key an eye on this NHL season. Of course we expect to see some surprises, and we hope we see some positive things happen for the Canadian NHL teams. At the start of the season all 30 teams are in first place, then again all 30 teams are also tied for last place. In a couple more weeks the season will begin and the quest will begin anew for Lord Stanley’s Cup
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.
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.
|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|
The 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:
|5||New York Islanders||-||-||-|
|8||Toronto Maple Leafs||-||-||-|
|15||Detroit Red Wings||-||-||-|
|16||Columbus Blue Jackets||-||-||-|
|19||Tampa Bay Lightning||-||-||-|
|20||San Jose Sharks||-||-||-|
|21||St. Louis Blues||-||-||-|
|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)|
|15||DET||Jared McCann||C||Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)|
|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)|
|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)|
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.
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.
We 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?
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.
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.
2014 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.