Mid Summer Report: Arizona Coyotes

download (3)By Wayne Hallee @waynehallee9 at thehockeynuts.com

As we enter the dog days of summer, activity around the NHL slows down.  Most of the big-name free agents are off the board, and everyone is enjoying some much needed time off before everything heats up in the fall.  During this time, we are taking a look at all 30 teams to see where they are and what they still need to do.  Today, we look at the Arizona Coyotes

Last Season’s Finish:  35-39-8, 78 pts, 4th in the Pacific Division, missed the playoffs

Key Arrivals:

  • D Alex Goligoski (trade)
  • F Jamie McGinn (UFA)
  • D Jamie McBain (UFA)
  • G Justin Peters (UFA)
  • F Ryan White (UFA)
  • D Luke Schenn (UFA)

Key Departures:

  • F Boyd Gordon
  • F Viktor Tikhonov
  • F Kyle Chipchura

Breakthrough Candidates:

  • D Kyle Wood
  • G Adin Hill
  • F Dylan Strome

Unsigned RFA’s (as of 7/28)

  • F Tobias Reider

Current Cap Situation as of 7/28/16(source: generalfanager.com)

  • League salary ceiling: $73,000,000
  • League salary floor: $54,000,000
  • Current salary cap hit: $66,657,838
  • Current salary cap space: $6,342,162

 

Expected active roster

Forwards
Shane Doan, Antoine Vermette, Jamie McGinn, Martin Hanzal, Brad Richardson, Ryan White, Dylan Strome, Max Domi, Tobias Rieder, Anthony Duclair, Laurent Dauphin, Jordan Martinook
Defensemen
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Alex Goligoski, Michael Stone, Connor Murphy, Zbynek Michalek, Luke Schenn, Kevin Connauton, Klas Dahlbeck, Jakob Chychrun 
Goalies
Mike Smith, Louis Domingue

 

Outlook:

 

The Coyotes have missed the playoffs 10 of the last 13 years.  They have had off and on ownership and arena issues during that time.  They have even been the subject of near constant relocation rumors.  With all of this adversity off the ice, it has been a struggle to get and keep good players in the desert, with the exception of Shane Doan, of course.  Their on-ice struggles have allowed them to stockpile draft picks, which translates to blue chip prospects.  We started to see the product of their rebuilding efforts (through the draft) last season, and it will continue this season.  Currently, their active roster contains no less than 12 players that are 26 or under.  Unlike some teams who have their young players populating the 3rd and 4th lines, the Coyotes are being led by their young stars.  Three of the top 4 scorers from last season are under 25.  The other was 38 year old veteran Shane Doan.  Oliver Ekman-Larsson, 24, Max Domi, 20, Doan, and Anthony Duclair, 20 led a balanced scoring Coyotes team that had 10 players with at least 30 points last season.  19 year old Dylan Strome is also expected to make the team in the fall, adding to the young talent they already have.  They finished with 9 players with double digit goal totals, and Strome should make that 10.  That makes Arizona a tough team to play against.  Expect the players under 25 to continue to develop.  If they do, Arizona will push closer to making the playoffs in 2017.

Mid Summer Report: Calgary Flames

download (2)By Wayne Hallee @waynehallee9 at thehockeynuts.com

As we enter the dog days of summer, activity around the NHL slows down.  Most of the big-name free agents are off the board, and everyone is enjoying some much needed time off before everything heats up in the fall.  During this time, we are taking a look at all 30 teams to see where they are and what they still need to do.  Today, we look at the Calgary Flames

Last Season’s Finish:  35-40-7, 77 pts, 5th in the Pacific Division, missed the playoffs

Key Arrivals:

  • G Brian Elliott (Trade)
  • F Alex Chiasson (Trade)
  • F Troy Brouwer (UFA)
  • G Chad Johnson (UFA)
  • F Linden Vey (UFA)
  • F Matthew Tkachuk (2016 Draft)

Key Departures:

  • G Jonas Hiller (Swiss League)
  • G Niklas Backstrom (Finland)
  • G Joni Ortio (UFA)
  • F Joe Colborne (Colorado)
  • F Mason Raymond (Anaheim)
  • F Josh Jooris (NY Rangers)

Breakthrough Candidates:

  • F Matthew Tkachuk
  • F Hunter Shinkaruk
  • G John Gillies
  • G David Rittich
  • G Mason McDonald

Unsigned RFAs (as of 7/28)

  • F Sean Monahan
  • F Johnny Gaudreau

Current Cap Situation as of 7/28/16 (source: generalfanager.com)

  • League salary ceiling: $73,000,000
  • League salary floor: $54,000,000
  • Current salary cap hit: $58,030,399
  • Current salary cap space: $14,969,601

 

Expected active roster

Forwards
Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Troy Brouwer, Michael Frolik, Mikael Backlund, Matt Stajan, Lance Bouma, Brandon Bollig, Sam Bennett, Hunter Shinkaruk, Micheal Ferland, Alex Chiasson, Linden Vey
Defensemen
Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, Dennis Wideman, TJ Brodie, Ladislav Smid, Deryk Engelland, Jyrki Jokipakka
Goalies
Brian Elliott, Chad Johnson

 

 

Outlook:

 

After making the playoffs in 2014-2015 and even winning a round, the Flames took a step backward in 2015-2016.  It looks like much of the blame is being put on the shoulders of the goaltending, as they have had a 100% turnover in goaltenders at the NHL level from last season.  All four goaltenders who wore Calgary sweaters last season are out.  Jonas Hiller, Karri Ramo, Joni Ortio, and Nicklas Backstrom have all moved on to other teams or leagues.  In their place, the Flames signed veterans Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson.  They also have 3 prospects in the system who will all get a shot to make an impression at training camp in the fall.  The young guys are Mason McDonald, Jon Gillies, and David Rittich.  One of those three goalies are likely to eventually end up the #1 goalie in Calgary, but, for this season, Brian Elliott is expected to win the #1 job until one of the young kids is ready.  Looking at the rest of the team, they still have some work to do in terms of signing players to contracts.  As of the writing of this report, their top 2 scorers from last season, Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan remain unsigned restricted free agents.  By the time they pay those two guys, there will not be much left of the $14.9 million in cap space they currently have.  That means the signing of any additional free agents isn’t likely.    Ultimately, this team’s success in 2016-2017 will be dependent on their goaltending.  If Elliott puts up similar numbers to the numbers he put up in his 5 seasons in St. Louis, you will see Calgary make a strong push to make the playoffs this season.  If he struggles like he did in his last few seasons in Ottawa, we are likely facing another rebuilding year in Calgary.

Mid Summer Report: Vancouver Canucks

download (1)By Wayne Hallee @waynehallee9 at thehockeynuts.com

As we enter the dog days of summer, activity around the NHL slows down.  Most of the big-name free agents are off the board, and everyone is enjoying some much needed time off before everything heats up in the fall.  During this time, we are taking a look at all 30 teams to see where they are and what they still need to do.  Today, we look at the Vancouver Canucks

Last Season’s Finish:  31-38-13, 75 pts, 6th in the Pacific Division, missed the playoffs

Key Arrivals:

  • F Loui Eriksson (UFA)

Key Departures:

  • F Jaren McCann (Florida)
  • D Dan Hamhuis (Dallas)
  • F Linden Vey (Calgary)

Breakthrough Candidates:

  • F Jake Virtanen

Unsigned RFAs (as of 7/29)

  • None

Current Cap Situation as of 7/29 (source: generalfanager.com)

  • League salary ceiling: $73,000,000
  • League salary floor: $54,000,000
  • Current salary cap hit: $69,621,248
  • Current salary cap space: $3,478,752

 

Expected active roster

Forwards
Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Loui Eriksson, Alexandre Burrows, Brandon Sutter, Derek Dorsett, Jannik Hansen, Sven Baertschi, Markus Grandlund, Bo Horvat, Jake Virtanen, Brendan Gaunce, Emerson Etem

Defensemen
Alexander Edler, Christopher Tanev, Luca Sbisa, Erik Gudbranson, Nikita Tryamkin, Ben Hutton, Alex Biega, Andrey Pedan


Goalies
Ryan Miller, Jacob Markstrom

 

Outlook:

Vancouver has been relatively quiet in terms of transactions so far this summer.  They haven’t made any trades, and they have only signed a single unrestricted free agent, albeit a decent one in Loui Eriksson.  Eriksson will likely start on the top line with the Sedin twins, creating an all-Sweden top line.  Though this line will be fun to watch, it will likely not be enough to make this team a contender for the Stanley Cup championship, especially where they are in the tough Western Conference.  Most of their top players are over 30 years old, which poses a challenge for them long term.  If they are to make a strong playoff run, they will need big contributions from some of their younger players, like Jake Virtanen, Bo Horvat, Nikita Tryamkin, and Brendan Gaunce.  They are also close to reaching the salary cap ceiling (currently only $3.4M in cap space remaining), so don’t expect them to sign any more impact players.  Barring an upcoming trade, it looks like the Canucks are done for this summer.  If that is the case, fans in Vancouver could be in for another long year.

Mid Summer Report: Edmonton Oilers

download By Wayne Hallee @waynehallee9 at thehockeynuts.com

As we enter the dog days of summer, activity around the NHL slows down.  Most of the big-name free agents are off the board, and everyone is enjoying some much needed time off before everything heats up in the fall.  During this time, we are taking a look at all 30 teams to see where they are and what they still need to do.  Today, we look at the Edmonton Oilers.

Last Season’s Finish:  31-43-8, 70 pts., 7th in the Pacific Division, missed the playoffs

Key Arrivals:

  • D Adam Larsson (trade from New Jersey)
  • F Milan Lucic (UFA)
  • G Jonas Gustavsson (UFA)
  • F Jesse Puljujarvi (’16 draft)

Key Departures:

  • F Taylor Hall (New Jersey)
  • D Adam Clendenning (NY Rangers)
  • F Luke Gazdic (New Jersey)
  • D Nikita Nikitin (KHL)

Breakthrough Candidates:

  • F Jesse Puljujarvi
  • F Patrick Maroon
  • D Oscar Klefbom

Unsigned RFA’s (as of 7/28)

  • none

Current Cap Situation as of 7/28/16(source: generalfanager.com)

  • League salary ceiling: $73,000,000
  • League salary floor: $54,000,000
  • Current salary cap hit: $64,686,165
  • Current salary cap space: $8,313,835

 

Expected active roster

Forwards
Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Milan Lucic, Benoit Puliot, Nail Yakupov, Patrick Maroon, Matt Hendricks, Mark Letestu, Zack Kassian, Anton Lander, Leon Draisaitl, Jesse Puljujarvi, Connor McDavid, Iiro Pakarinen.
Defensemen
Andrej Sekera, Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson, Mark Fayne, Andrew Ference, Brandon Davidson, Darnell Nurse, Jordan Oesterle.
Goalies
Cam Talbot, Jonas Gustavsson

 

Outlook:
Edmonton is continuing it’s long rebuild, but is showing signs that they are ready to take the next step toward finally returning to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Last season was derailed before it really got going. Their 2015 first overall draft pick, Connor McDavid made the team right away, but then got hurt in his 13th career game, suffering a broken clavicle on November 3, 2015.  He did not return until February 2, and by then, Edmonton was 14 points out of a playoff spot, and in dead last in the Western conference.  They never really recovered after that.  Despite having a top 10 overall draft pick in 9 of the last 10 years, including picking first overall 4 times in that span, they continue to struggle to translate that into wins on the ice.  But this year feels different.  This summer, GM Peter Chiarelli has been active both in the trade and free agent markets, and has made big splashes in both cases.  On June 29, he traded away forward Taylor Hall to New Jersey in exchange for defenseman Adam Larsson.  Two days later, he signed LA Kings’ winger Milan Lucic, who became an unrestricted free agent as a free agent.  Larsson brings some much needed help back on the blue line, while Lucic is a proven NHL veteran who brings lots of playoff experience.  He can pass that experience on to the young kids in the Oilers locker room.  If that isn’t enough excitement, Edmonton opens their brand new arena, Rogers Place, this fall.  All of the changes in Edmonton have the Oilers fans excited for the upcoming season.

The Hockey Nuts Podcast is born!

The Hockey Nuts logo finalSeason 1, Episode 1 of the Hockey Nuts Podcast has been released!  Hosts Wayne Hallee and Steve Ball take you around the league with news and notes from the NHL.  Subscribe to the podcast through your favorite pod catcher today!!!

The Hockey Nuts Podcast RSS Feed:

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Season 1, Episode 1 direct link:

 

Enjoy!

 

 

The Dog Days of Summer

7/6/16 – The Dog Days of Summer

LA Ice Rink

This post isn’t going to add much value, as it’s primary purpose is to get the blog portion of our site off the ground.  We are in the middle of the summer, so there isn’t much going on, at least not on the ice.  It is July 5, and we are just coming out of the July 4 weekend here in the USA.  The new calendar year for the NHL just got underway on July 1.  There were tons of free agents changing teams on July 1, the specifics of which will be on another blog post.  Since July 1, it has been very quiet in terms of signings.  I’m guessing most folks around the league kicked back over the holiday weekend.  We are now heading into development camp season.  Some teams have already had their camps, and other teams will be having theirs in the next few weeks.  The local team near me, the Carolina Hurricanes has theirs July 6-9.  As we enter August, things will get real quiet around the league as most players and front office staff will be taking their last vacation time before training camps get going in September.  Also, about 180-200 of the world’s best players will be preparing to get together in Canada for the World Cup of Hockey tournament that takes place from 9/17-10/1.  So, for the next 2 months, things will be fairly quiet around here, but rest assured, if anything newsworthy comes up between now and then, we will be sure to put in our two cents about it!

-Wayne