Team Review Day 14: Minnesota Wild

After making the playoffs last year as a young team, the Minnesota Wild need to be ready to take a step forward this season, although many things about their team remain unchanged. They did get significantly younger, in the loss of Heatley and McCormick, however. A big loss though was Clayton Stoner.
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Can the Canucks Make the Playoffs?

The Canucks motto for 2014-2015 was “Change is Coming”. They certainly got that right.

After a horrid 2013-2014 year, which saw the firing of both coach John Tortorella and GM Mike Gillis, many penciled the Canucks out of the playoffs for the upcoming season. But under the wing of new general manager Jim Benning, the Canucks have been steered back in the right direction after a successful offseason. There are still a few questions to be answered, but Vancouver is not looking as bad as they’re being wrote off to be.
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2014-2015 Fantasy Hockey Sleepers Part II

This is the second installment of fantasy hockey sleepers. Check out the first piece here.

1. Darcy Kuemper: With the Wild’s starting goalie job unresolved going into camp, Kuemper has a good chance to play behind the strong Wild team, or at least as a backup. Both Harding and Backstrom are injury prone, so he may get a chance at one point, even if he doesn’t right away. Kuemper played well in the playoffs last season before getting hurt as well.

2. Brock Nelson: Nelson, who played well with Tavares and Okposo on the first line last year in limited time, is expected to go back and fill that role this year. Tavares and Okposo were one of the best duos last year, and Nelson should add onto that well and feed off of it.
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Team Review Day 13: Ottawa Senators

This years Senators come in to the season on a new front, one with very few expectations. Aside from their own faithful, many fans are not expecting the Senators to do anything this season, and that may prove to be a good thing. Although losing captain Jason Spezza to trade, the Senators didn’t lose much this offseason. The offense is young up front, with a mix of young a veterans on defense, and if worked right, they could do well. There’s no real telling how the Sens will fair next season.
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Islanders Defense and Goalie Situation

The main reason for the Islanders failure in numerous amounts of games was the lack of experience and leadership in the D-core. The only presence of veteran leadership they had on the blue line was 37 year old Lubomir Visnosky, who only played a small sum of games because of a severe concussion suffered early in the season. The defense was exposed and exploited game after game and it costed the Islanders many games that could have been won. Islanders, in the offseason so far, added AHL D-man of the year TJ Brennan. Brennan isn’t exactly the defensemen to turn the team around ( Despite putting up 70+ points in the AHL last season ) but the signing does add another young and talented d-man to this bolstered d-core of young players.
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Meet TJ Brennan

On July 1st, the Islanders signed a defenseman, a commodity they desperately needed, but not the high caliber name fans were expecting. Garth Snow went out and got TJ Brennan, a 25-year old out of Willingboro, New Jersey. Brennan has spent time with Buffalo, Florida, Toronto and their affiliates, as well as the Portland Pirates (Arizona’s affiliate) over the last 3 seasons. Brennan was drafted in 2007 in the 2nd round (31st) by Buffalo.

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Team Review Day 12: Montreal Canadiens

The Canadiens surprised a lot of people last year, making it to the Conference Finals. Although losing to the Rangers, partly due to a hurt Carey Price, they’re ready to hit next season running and trying to keep with their success. They lost a lot of leadership this offseason, including captain Brian Gionta and defenseman Josh Gorges, and look for young stars to fill those shoes, as well as new pickups. Tomas Vanek also left for free agency as expected.
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Loui Eriksson has big shoes to fill in 2014-2015 season

Last season, the President’s Trophy winning Boston Bruins had something they haven’t had in quite some time, goal scoring. The addition of former Calgary Flames winger Jarome Iginla proved to be a huge success for the Bruins as he and Patrice Bergeron became the first Bruins in a very long time to reach the 30 goal plateau. However, this offseason, Iginla signed with the Colorado Avalanche, shipping him out of Boston after one pretty successful season. If the Bruins want to be anything like the 2013-2014 team this season, they need to find a way to keep the goal scoring pace somewhat the same.
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NHL May Expand to 34 Teams

Rumors of expansion have surfaced again, but with more drive this time. Sports Illustrated sent ripples through the hockey community with a report that a 2017 expansion was to take place, which would include Las Vegas, Seattle, Quebec, and another a Toronto team. This would leave the NHL at 34 teams, 16 in the West and 18 in the East. The talk of expansion to Seattle and Quebec have been talked about for years, and another Toronto team and Quebec thrown around, but it’s certainly a whirlwind to possible be looking ahead to 4 new teams in the NHL, in it’s first expansion since 2000.

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Anaheim Ducks: The Bottom-Six

Today’s topic is the forward corps, specifically the bottom-six forward corp. The bottom-six is probably the least sexy subject of any team but rest assured, an effective bottom-six is required to be successful. Just ask the Los Angeles Kings and to a lesser extent, the New York Rangers. The Rangers don’t even get a whiff of the Cup without the depth they possessed this past playoff run (3rd line: Pouliot – Brassard – Zuccarello, 4th line: Brian Boyle – Dominic Moore – Derek Dorsett). At times, New York’s bottom-six flat out dominated en route to the finals. So ya, depth is pretty important. Read the rest of this entry

Team Review Day 11: Colorado Avalanche

The young Avalanche are looking to build upon last year, and have added veteran leadership this offseason to help that cause. Highlighted by Nate MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog, the Avalanche made it to the playoffs last year, but got bounced in the first round by Minnesota. Semyon Varlamov played great, although Tyson Barrie’s injury was a huge blow. This summer they lost Parenteau and Stastny, but were able to build out the core again with good, older players.

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Can’t Miss Blues’ games in 2014- 2015

It will be tough for the St. Louis Blues to follow last year’s regular season, one in which they had a lot of success and set the franchise record for wins in a season. However, there are lots of games coming up this year which should help to make this one nearly as good, if not better. With that said, here are some Blues’ games you absolutely can’t miss this season: Read the rest of this entry

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