Predicting the World Cup of Hockey lineups 

All predictions are in part based on intuition and in part based in past line combinations during international play.  Read the rest of this entry

2016-2017 Atlantic Division Prediction

2016-2017 Atlantic Division Prediction Read the rest of this entry

2016-2017 Metropolitan Division Prediction 

2016-2017 Metropolitan Division Prediction  Read the rest of this entry

Three name suggestions for the Las Vegas hockey team

Naming a sports team is difficult in today’s age. Nearly every object and animal is trademarked by a team, whether it be professional or an affiliate. Bill Foley and his Las Vegas crew face the challenge of having to come up with something unique and memorable for their brand. The task will be tough, but there are still some options available. Here are three that should be at the top.  Read the rest of this entry

Roy’s departure gives Avalanche a much needed change 

Reports came out on Thursday afternoon that Patrick Roy would be leaving the Colorado Avalanche. Roy, 50, spent eight seasons as a player with Colorado and the past three seasons coaching them. Roy was also Vice President of Hockey Operations.  Read the rest of this entry

Top 15 remaining NHL free agents 

1. Radim Vrbata: Despite being linked to upwards of four teams, Radim Vrbata has not signed anywhere yet. The right wing is older but is only one season removed from 30 goals. He struggled last year putting up only 27 points in 63 games, but almost all Canucks players struggled. Vrbata can still fill a middle-six scoring role on a playoff team.  Read the rest of this entry

Report: Tobias Rieder considering KHL move 

Tobias Rieder, a current restricted free agent of the Arizona Coyotes, may be spending next season overseas.  Read the rest of this entry

Eight teams that should protect four defensemen in the expansion draft 

In next summer’s expansion draft, teams have two options in which to protect their players. One is protecting seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie. The other choice is protecting eight skaters and one goalie. The former gives you more players to protect but you risk losing a top-four defenseman, whereas the latter allows you to hold onto that fourth (or fifth, if you so please) defenseman, but you are losing out on protecting two top-six forwards. It is a calculated risk that teams have to weigh, and there are eight teams that should choose to take the second option and protect four defensemen.  Read the rest of this entry

Andrew Ladd needs to provide John Tavares with consistency 

The last word you can use to describe John Tavares’ career with the Islanders is consistency. Whether it’s playoff appearances, linemates, or goalies, John Tavares has not had a steady routine in any of his seven years in the NHL. But, the acquisition of Andrew Ladd is expected to provide the star center with that luxury.  Read the rest of this entry

Analyzing the probable 2016-2017 Islanders lineup 

The Islanders made a trio of moves in the opening two days of free agency, solidifying their roster for the upcoming season. Andrew Ladd (seven years), Jason Chimera (two years), and PA Parenteau (one year) were all signed to deals. Although long-serving members of the team Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen, and Matt Martin are all gone, the Islanders lineup still looks formidable and ready to compete. 

Line #1: 

LW – Andrew Ladd

C – John Tavares 

RW – PA Parenteau 

Breakdown: John Tavares will technically have two new linemates this year, although Parenteau did spend most of his two seasons with the Islanders on Tavares’ wing. Parenteau put up 120 points in 161 games in that span, which took place from 2010 to 2012. Ladd, however, is completely new and is expected to add a much needed dynamic presence to the wing on the top line. When Matt Moulson was on the left wing to this duo, he put up 31 and 36 goals respectively in the two years. With more skill and a similar playing style, how many can Ladd pot? Only time will tell, but this line should be a good one. Also, it’s possible Mathew Barzal gets a crack on the right wing next to John Tavares if he makes the opening night roster, but with the addition of Parenteau it is likely Barzal heads back to Seattle. 

Line #2:

LW – Anders Lee

C – Ryan Strome

RW – Shane Prince 

Breakdown: Ryan Strome finally slots back into his natural center position with Frans Nielsen gone. How long that will last, no one knows. But regardless, it’s a great opportunity for Strome to rebound from his pitiful 2015-2016 campaign. As for his wingers, Anders Lee returns to top-six action after his season was ended last year by a broken leg. Although he struggled to get on the scoresheet early last year, he was doing everything right. There is no reason to worry on that front. As for Shane Prince, he’ll be entering his second full season. An analytical darling, he has a chance to put his tremendous shot and speed to work in the top-six. He could be a breakout candidate this year. 

Line #3:

LW – Nikolay Kulemin 

C – Brock Nelson 

RW – Josh Bailey 

Breakdown: This line is up in the air. It has the potential to be good with a two-way forward (Kulemin), a sniper (Nelson), and a playmaker (Bailey), but all three have to bounce back from bad years. It’s almost a misfit line where the players don’t fit anywhere else. It was together for a short stint last season but was very, very bad defensively. But maybe it’ll work out. 

Line #4: 

LW – Jason Chimera 

C – Casey Cizikas 

RW – Cal Clutterbuck 

It’ll likely take a little while for Cizikas and Clutterbuck to get used to their new linemate, but this line will have the ability to inflict some serious damage. Will all respect to Matt Martin, Jason Chimera is flat out a better player. He put up 20 goals and 20 assists last year on a deep Capitals team and still skates with speed like he’s 23 years old. All three members of this line will be pests to play against, both defensively and offensively. If you liked the old fourth line, you’ll love this one (probably). 

Defensive pair #1:

LD – Nick Leddy

RD – Travis Hamonic

Breakdown: This pair saw most of last season’s action together. Both are extremely talented skaters and are good at both ends of the puck. They can be deployed in all situations without worry. 

Defensive pair #2:

LD – Calvin de Haan

RD – Johnny Boychuk

Breakdown: Like Hamonic and Leddy, these two have seen a lot of time together. One thing that is worth keeping an eye on is Boychuk’s progression this season. He took a big step back last year, albeit still while being a serviceable defenseman. The Islanders can’t afford to have him drop off even more. 

Defensive pair #3:

LD – Thomas Hickey 

RD – Ryan Pulock 

Breakdown: Ryan Pulock is ready (finally!) to step into a full-time top-six role next year. Thomas Hickey, his counterpart, had a tremendous end to the season and playoff run. 

Goalies: some combination of Greiss, Berube, and Halak

Breakdown: Something is going to give in the three goalie situation eventually. The ideal scenario is Jaroslav Halak being traded, but suitors are thin and he has had health problems. JF Berube going through waivers and down to Bridgeport is another last-resort option if Halak can’t be moved, but he has a high chance of being claimed. The only safe one right now is Thomas Greiss. 

Scratches: Alan Quine, Mikhail Grabovski, Adam Pelech

Breakdown: Quine and Pelech are youngsters who have proven their keep but just can’t find a spot in the lineup right now. They’ll be the first ones called on when injuries happen. As for Mikhail Grabovski, it is unlikely he sees much playing time this year, due to a combination of concussion issues and poor play. It is not even known if he is fully healthy yet. 

Islanders fans, despite looking at a completely reformed roster, have a lot to be excited about next season. The injection of new blood and veteran leadership will hopefully push them over the ledge and bring them to a conference finals and beyond. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Analyzing the probable 2016-2017 Islanders lineup 

The Islanders made a trio of moves in the opening two days of free agency, solidifying their roster for the upcoming season. Andrew Ladd (seven years), Jason Chimera (two years), and PA Parenteau (one year) were all signed to deals. Although long-serving members of the team Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen, and Matt Martin are all gone, the Islanders lineup still looks formidable and ready to compete. 

Line #1: 

LW – Andrew Ladd

C – John Tavares 

RW – PA Parenteau 



Breakdown: John Tavares will technically have two new linemates this year, although Parenteau did spend most of his two seasons with the Islanders on Tavares’ wing. Parenteau put up 120 points in 161 games in that span, which took place from 2010 to 2012. Ladd, however, is completely new and is expected to add a much needed dynamic presence to the wing on the top line. When Matt Moulson was on the left wing to this duo, he put up 31 and 36 goals respectively in the two years. With more skill and a similar playing style, how many can Ladd pot? Only time will tell, but this line should be a good one. Also, it’s possible Mathew Barzal gets a crack on the right wing next to John Tavares if he makes the opening night roster, but with the addition of Parenteau it is likely Barzal heads back to Seattle. 

Line #2:

LW – Anders Lee

C – Ryan Strome

RW – Shane Prince 

Breakdown: Ryan Strome finally slots back into his natural center position with Frans Nielsen gone. How long that will last, no one knows. But regardless, it’s a great opportunity for Strome to rebound from his pitiful 2015-2016 campaign. As for his wingers, Anders Lee returns to top-six action after his season was ended last year by a broken leg. Although he struggled to get on the scoresheet early last year, he was doing everything right. There is no reason to worry on that front. As for Shane Prince, he’ll be entering his second full season. An analytical darling, he has a chance to put his tremendous shot and speed to work in the top-six. He could be a breakout candidate this year. 

Line #3:

LW – Nikolay Kulemin 

C – Brock Nelson 

RW – Josh Bailey 

Breakdown: This line is up in the air. It has the potential to be good with a two-way forward (Kulemin), a sniper (Nelson), and a playmaker (Bailey), but all three have to bounce back from bad years. It’s almost a misfit line where the players don’t fit anywhere else. It was together for a short stint last season but was very, very bad defensively. But maybe it’ll work out. 

Line #4: 

LW – Jason Chimera 

C – Casey Cizikas 

RW – Cal Clutterbuck 

It’ll likely take a little while for Cizikas and Clutterbuck to get used to their new linemate, but this line will have the ability to inflict some serious damage. Will all respect to Matt Martin, Jason Chimera is flat out a better player. He put up 20 goals and 20 assists last year on a deep Capitals team and still skates with speed like he’s 23 years old. All three members of this line will be pests to play against, both defensively and offensively. If you liked the old fourth line, you’ll love this one (probably). 

Defensive pair #1:

LD – Nick Leddy

RD – Travis Hamonic

Breakdown: This pair saw most of last season’s action together. Both are extremely talented skaters and are good at both ends of the puck. They can be deployed in all situations without worry. 

Defensive pair #2:

LD – Calvin de Haan

RD – Johnny Boychuk

Breakdown: Like Hamonic and Leddy, these two have seen a lot of time together. One thing that is worth keeping an eye on is Boychuk’s progression this season. He took a big step back last year, albeit still while being a serviceable defenseman. The Islanders can’t afford to have him drop off even more. 

Defensive pair #3:

LD – Thomas Hickey 

RD – Ryan Pulock 

Breakdown: Ryan Pulock is ready (finally!) to step into a full-time top-six role next year. Thomas Hickey, his counterpart, had a tremendous end to the season and playoff run. 

Goalies: some combination of Greiss, Berube, and Halak

Breakdown: Something is going to give in the three goalie situation eventually. The ideal scenario is Jaroslav Halak being traded, but suitors are thin and he has had health problems. JF Berube going through waivers and down to Bridgeport is another last-resort option if Halak can’t be moved, but he has a high chance of being claimed. The only safe one right now is Thomas Greiss. 

Scratches: Alan Quine, Mikhail Grabovski, Adam Pelech

Breakdown: Quine and Pelech are youngsters who have proven their keep but just can’t find a spot in the lineup right now. They’ll be the first ones called on when injuries happen. As for Mikhail Grabovski, it is unlikely he sees much playing time this year, due to a combination of concussion issues and poor play. It is not even known if he is fully healthy yet. 

Islanders fans, despite looking at a completely reformed roster, have a lot to be excited about next season. The injection of new blood and veteran leadership will hopefully push them over the ledge and bring them to a conference finals and beyond. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Team-by-team review of Day 1 of NHL free agency 

Day one of NHL free agency has come and gone, but it has left a considerable mark on the league in the process. Here’s a team by team breakdown of who signed who and what the outlook is for the team and player. 

The Anaheim Ducks really didn’t do anything. Actually, they did nothing. Beside lose Jamie McGinn and David Perron, that is. There is still time to turn it around, but it was a rough start for Bob Murray. It’s expected that they at least pick up a goalie — one of Ramo or Enroth. 

The Arizona Coyotes had a quiet but successful day, picking up some depth pieces. Jamie McGinn is a nice add. Justin Peters provides goalie insurance if Mike Smith goes down with injury again. And, Ryan White will play bottom six minutes. Nothing spectacular, nothing bad for GM Chayka’s first frenzy day on the job. 

The Boston Bruins brought in three free agents, one especially notable in David Backes. The gritty center signed a five year deal in Boston at six million per. That’s the price you’re going to have to pay. I don’t really see the fit though with Krejci and Bergeron in the middle, but I am sure Backes knows what is best. Boston also welcomed back Anton Khudobin as a backup and added Riley Nash down the middle as well. 

The Buffalo Sabres didn’t do much, but they hauled in arguably the biggest free agent of the class. Kyle Okposo signed there for 6 million. I was expecting the AAV to be higher, so good on you Tim Murray. 

The Calgary Flames added two new players in Troy Brouwer and Chad Johnson. Brouwer will play a top-six role in Calgary and Johnson proved to be a formidable NHL goaltender in Buffalo last season. It was a good day for Brad Treliving. I wouldn’t be surprised if he picks up another forward, either. 

The Carolina Hurricanes didn’t add any big names, but they brought in some depth. Lee Stempniak and Viktor Stalberg were both signed to deals. I like both of these for Carolina. Very bang-for-your-buck type players. 

Chicago was thwarted by the cap but managed to squeeze Brian Campbell in. He’ll be a valuable addition. Side note: it was reported that he left almost 2.5 million on the table from Florida to join Chicago. Wow. 

Colorado had a solid and surprisingly sensible (sorry Avs fans) day. They inked Joe Colborne to a deal, a player I’m surprised the Flames let slip away. They also nabbed reclamation project Patrick Wiercioch for under a million which could turn out to be a steal. Fedor Tyutin, master shot suppressor, was also signed. 

Columbus, like Anaheim, really didn’t do much. Seth Jones getting locked up was about as big of an offseason win as you could’ve gotten in Columbus. 

Dallas finally got Dan Hamhuis after trying for him at the trade deadline. His 3.25 million cap hit is surprisingly low. This is a great signing for Dallas and Hamhuis alike. 

The Detroit Red Wings had a busy day, signing three forwards. They grabbed Frans Nielsen (six years) and Thomas Vanek, Steve Ott (one year). Nielsen was the best center on the market and helps fill the Datsyuk void. Vanek can be a good signing if he turns it around. If not, you let him go next year. No biggie. 

Edmonton got their guy in Milan Lucic, thankfully because if they lost Taylor Hall AND didn’t sign Lucic, hell would’ve broken loose. The AAV is high, but you have to do what you have to do. They also got backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson. 

Florida made one big acquisition with James Reimer. With Berra being just traded for, you have to wonder about Lu’s future. Rumors of health issues have been going around. We’ll see. 

Los Angeles was one of the more active teams, signing five players, albeit none of high salary. They signed Teddy Purcell, Zach Trotman, Michael Latta, Tom Gilbert, and Jeff Zatkoff. All very affordable and solid options spread across all three bases. Solid day for Dean Lombardi. 

Minnesota was also very active, signing Eric Staal, Alex Stalock, Victor Bartley, and Chris Stewart. Both Stewart and Staal present a bit of a risk but have the possibility to pay high dividends. Minnesota needs to get over the second round hump soon. 

Montreal made a few waves today, mainly by signing Alex Radulov. They also signed depth players with defenseman Zach Redmond and goalie Al Montoya. Radulov will be a fun storyline to watch this year. Hopefully for Montreal, it will work out better than Semin did.

Nashville made a few defensive depth signings but nothing major. Matt Irwin and Yannick Weber will be joining the team. Maybe Weber will take #6? 

The Devils didn’t have an overly active day, but got Ben Lovejoy and Vern Fiddler. Lovejoy knows Shero from his Pittsburgh days. I think we’ll see one more move up front from New Jersey. 

The Islanders lost Nielsen, Okposo, and Martin but added Andrew Ladd and Jason Chimera. Overall a successful day for them. They probably need another forward, if not Mat Barzal will have to step in, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Time will tell. 

The Rangers made some depth signings with Gerbe, Grabner, Paliotta, and Clendening. The two forwards will provide as bottom-six help, whereas Clendening will likely slot in as a seventh defenseman. Nothing major in the Big Apple yet. 

Ottawa, like Anaheim and Columbus, didn’t do much today. They made a few minor-league signings but not anything noteworthy. New GM Pierre Dorion feels Mike Blunden can step up into a bottom-six role next season. 

Philadelphia added two bottom-six players in Dale Weise and Boyd Gordon. The Weise deal is for four years and will either look really good or really average after this year. Luckily for Philadelphia, if things go bad, Weise has an easily moveable cap hit. 

Pittsburgh, due to cap, didn’t add anything outside of two depth defensemen. They got Stuart Percy, ex-Toronto Marlie. I guess that makes up for losing Scott Harrington in the Kessel trade?

San Jose added David Schlemko and Mikkel Boedker in an attempt to push them to the next step, which is winning the Stanley Cup. Many people were surprised by Schlemko getting four years, but the AAV is low and he is a very underrated defenseman. 

The St. Louis Blues brought back David Perron on a two-year deal. He is a solid replacement for Troy Brouwer. They also got Carter Hutton to backup Jake Allen, the recipient of a new four year deal. 

The Tampa Bay Lightning signed two depth forwards, Michael Bournival and Jeremy Morin. Not much to write about here. 

Toronto only made one move, signing Matt Martin to a four year deal. The AAV was surprisingly low at only 2.5 per. He’ll provide energy for the Leafs as well as protection for the young kids. Personally, I think it’s a good signing. Others think the opposite. To each his own. 

The Canucks signed Loui Eriksson to a six year deal and he is expected to slot in beside the Sedin twins. I think it’s a good fit for the team, but I’m surprised Eriksson isn’t in a “win now” mode. 

Washington signed Brett Connolly to a cheap deal. He has the skill to really make this a great signing for Washington. The former first round pick hasn’t been able to find his knack in Boston or Tampa Bay. 

Lastly, the Winnipeg Jets made a trio of moves grabbing Shawn Matthias, Quinton Howden, and Brian Strait. Matthias is a good depth option, Howden is a youngster who never got a chance in Florida, and Strait is a 7/8 defenseman. Not spectacular, but not a bad day. 

Plenty of free agents are left. We’ll see what day two has in store. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

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