Mid Summer Report: Detroit Red Wings

download (13)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 Detroit Red Wings

Last Season’s Finish:  41-30-11, 93 pts, 3rd in the Atlantic Division, lost in round 1 of playoffs

Key Arrivals:

  • F Frans Nielsen (UFA)
  • F Thomas Vanek (UFA)
  • F Steve Ott (UFA)

Key Departures:

  • F Joakim Andersson (Sweden)
  • F Brad Richards (Retired)
  • F Pavel Datsyuk (Russia)

Breakthrough Candidates:

  • F Andreas Athanasiou

Unsigned RFA’s (as of 8/12)

  • none

Current Cap Situation as of 8/12/16(source: generalfanager.com)

  • League salary ceiling: $73,000,000
  • League salary floor: $54,000,000
  • Current salary cap hit: $77,867,042
  • Current salary cap space: $0 (OVER by $4,867,042)

 

Expected active roster

Forwards
Henrik Zetterberg, Frans Nielsen, Gustav Nyquist, Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm, Tomas Tatar, Thomas Vanek, Riley Sheahan, Drew Miller, Dylan Larkin, Tomas Jurco, Teemu Pulkkinen, Steve Ott, Luke Clendening, Andreas Athanasiou, Johan Franzen (IR), Joe Vitale (IR)
Defensemen
Mike Green, Danny Dekeyser, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Brendan Smith, Alexey Marchenko
Goalies
Jimmy Howard, Petr Mrazek

 

Outlook:

Detroit is a veteran team that is beginning to get themselves into cap hell.  As of the day this was written, they were actually over that salary cap maximum by almost $4.9 million.  That is ok, as long as Johan Franzen ($3.9M) and Joe Vitale ($1.1M) remain on IR.  But if those two players become healthy, they will need to free up enough space to fit them under the cap.  That’s something worth keeping an eye on.  As for the rest of the team, it will look very close to the team that squeaked into the playoffs last season.  The only major changes were at the forward position, where Frans Nielsen and Thomas Vanek were brought in to replace retiring Brad Richards and Pavel Datsuyk.  The defensemen and goaltenders remain the same as last year.  The Wings should continue to be a strong team in the east, and their streak of 25 consecutive playoff appearances should continue for a 26th season.

Mid Summer Report: Boston Bruins

download (12)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 Boston Bruins

Last Season’s Finish:  42-31-9, 93 pts, 4th in the Atlantic Division, missed the playoffs

Key Arrivals:

  • F David Backes (UFA)
  • G Anton Khudobin (UFA)
  • F Riley Nash (UFA)

Key Departures:

  • F Max Talbot (KHL)
  • D Dennis Seidenberg (UFA)
  • F Loui Eriksson (Vancouver)
  • D Zach Trotman (Los Angeles)
  • G Jonas Gustavsson (Edmonton)
  • F Lee Stempniak (Carolina)
  • F Brett Connolly (Washington)
  • F Chris Kelly (Ottawa)
  • F Landon Ferraro (St Louis)

Breakthrough Candidates:

  • F Frank Vatrano
  • F Noel Acciari
  • F Tyler Randell
  • D Joe Morrow
  • D Matt Grzelcyk

Unsigned RFA’s (as of 8/9)

  • none

Current Cap Situation as of 8/9/16(source: generalfanager.com)

  • League salary ceiling: $73,000,000
  • League salary floor: $54,000,000
  • Current salary cap hit: $66,268,333
  • Current salary cap space: $6,731,667

 

Expected active roster

Forwards
David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, David Backes, Brad Marchand, Matt Beleskey, Jimmy Hayes, Ryan Spooner, David Pastrnak, Riley Nash, Frank Vatrano, Noel Acciari, Tyler Randell
Defensemen
Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, John-Michael Liles, Colin Miller, Joe Morrow
Goalies
Tuukka Rask, Anton Khudobin

 

Outlook:

The Bruins are a team in transition.  After winning the Stanley Cup in 2011, then returning to the finals in 2013, they began to feel the salary cap pinch as a result of their success.  They had to start shedding some of their assets due to being unable to fit them under the cap.  Moved out were key members of the team, like Johnny Boychuk, Dougie Hamilton, and Milan Lucic.  As a result of these moves, the Bruins came back down to earth.  While they still made the playoffs in 2014, they lost in the second round.  The fall continued in 2015 and 2016, as they failed to make the playoffs both years, although they ended up 9th both years.  So, having missed the playoffs two straight years, GM Don Sweeney set out to really turn hits team toward the future.  He started by buying out Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg on June 30, then chose not to resign several veteran players who were headed for unrestricted free agency, including Loui Eriksson, Lee Stempniak, Brett Connolly, and Chris Kelly.  This effectively got the Bruins out of salary cap jail after having been there for the last several years.  Sweeney wasted no time using his newly found salary cap room, signing veteran forward David Backes.  There was a lot of talk out of Boston that the Bruins were also looking to add a free agent defenseman, but to date, they have yet to land a top-4 D-man.  So, at this time, it looks as though the Bruins will be heading into the 16-17 season relying on a lot of their youth. Good thing they have plenty of it.  Unfortunately, it looks like it is going to be a difficult season for Boston fans this season, unless some of their prospects perform much better than expected.  Most of the core of the 2011 team is still in Boston, so don’t count them out, but it looks like 16-17 will be a lot like the last couple seasons.

The Hockey Nuts Podcast: Season 1, Episode 2 is live!

The Hockey Nuts logo finalSeason 1, Episode 2, recorded Wednesday, August 3, 2016 has been released.  In episode 2, Wayne and Steve get you updated with what’s been going on around the NHL since the last episode.  They also start talking World Cup of Hockey, running down the newly released final rosters of all 8 teams, and giving their initial impressions of each team.  Subscribe to the show using your favorite podcatcher by adding the following rss feed:

The Hockey Nuts Podcast RSS Feed:

http://thehockeynuts.libsyn.com/rss

 

Here is a direct link to episode 2:

 

Mid Summer Report: Ottawa Senators

download (10)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 Ottawa Senators

Last Season’s Finish:  38-35-9, 85 pts, 5th in the Atlantic Division, missed the playoffs

Key Arrivals:

  • F Chris Kelly (UFA)
  • F Derrick Brassard (Trade)

Key Departures:

  • D Chris Phillips (Retired)
  • F Alex Chiasson (Calgary)
  • F Mika Zibanejad (NY Rangers)

Breakthrough Candidates:

  • D Thomas Chabot

Unsigned RFA’s (as of 8/8)

  • D Cody Ceci

Current Cap Situation as of 8/8/16(source: generalfanager.com)

  • League salary ceiling: $73,000,000
  • League salary floor: $54,000,000
  • Current salary cap hit: $64,139,166
  • Current salary cap space: $8,860,834

 

Expected active roster

Forwards
Bobby Ryan, Mike Hoffman, Derick Brassard, Clarke MacArthur, Kyle Turris, Mark Stone, Zack Smith, Chris Neil, Jean Gabriel Pageau, Chris Kelly, Matt Puempel, Curtis Lazar, Ryan Dzingel, Nicholas Paul
Defensemen
Dion Phaneuf, Erik Karlsson, Marc Methot, Mark Borowiecki, Cody Ceci, Chris Wideman, Michael Kostka
Goalies
Craig Anderson, Andrew Hammond

 

Outlook:

Ottawa hasn’t done much so far this summer.  Their team is going to look a lot like it did last summer.  The only change at the top of the lineup was the trade with the Rangers, bringing in Derick Brassard, and shipping out Mika Zabanejad.  Brassard is an upgrade in the near term over Zabanejad, but in the long run, say, 3 or more seasons away, Mika Zabanejad will likely be the better player.  But this one move, which was basically the only one worth making a fuss over, is not going to improve the Sens enough to make them a contender in the east.  Sure, they will be right there near the playoff cut line at the end of the season, and they may end up grabbing a wildcard spot, but that will likely be as far as this team goes.

Mid Summer Report: Montreal Canadiens

download (9)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 Montreal Canadiens

Last Season’s Finish:  38-38-6, 82 pts, 6th in the Atlantic Division, missed the playoffs

Key Arrivals:

  • D Shea Weber (Trade)
  • D Zach Redmond (UFA)
  • G Al Montoya (UFA)
  • F Andrew Shaw (Trade)
  • F Alexander Radulov (UFA)

Key Departures:

  • F Lars Eller (Washington)
  • D PK Subban (Nashville)
  • D Tom Gilbert (Los Angeles)
  • G Ben Scrivens (KHL)

Breakthrough Candidates:

  • F Stefan Matteau
  • F Dan Carr

Unsigned RFA’s (as of 8/8)

  • none

Current Cap Situation as of 8/8/16 (source: generalfanager.com)

  • League salary ceiling: $73,000,000
  • League salary floor: $54,000,000
  • Current salary cap hit: $71,569,641
  • Current salary cap space: $1,430,359

 

Expected active roster

Forwards
Tomas Plekanec, Alexander Radulov, Max Pacioretty, Andrew Shaw, Brendan Gallagher, David Desharnais, Alex Galchenyuk, Torrey Mitchell, Paul Byron, Brian Flynn, Phillip Danault, Daniel Carr, Sven Andrighetto, Stefan Matteau
Defensemen
Shea Weber, Andrei Markov, Jeff Petry, Alexei Emelin, Nathan Beaulieu, Greg Pateryn, Mark Barberio, Zach Redmond
Goalies
Carey Price, Al Montoya

 

Outlook:

Montreal started the season last season white hot, winning their first 9 games of the season.  They were 19-4-3 and the best team in the NHL on December 1, but a few games prior, defending Hart Trophy winning goaltender Carey Price hurt his knee for the second time that season.  This time, he never came back, and Montreal began tumbling down the standings.  They won only 3 games in December, and by January 1, they had fallen to 5th in the East.  They won just 3 games in January as well, and by February 1, they had fallen to 12th in the East.  They played roughly .500 hockey the rest of the way, but by then, it was too late, and they finished the season 13th in the East and missed the playoffs.  Losing Price was a huge factor in the team’s plunge, but this summer, we found out that there was likely another big reason for the fall.  The hockey world shook on June 29, when Montreal traded PK Subban to Nashville for Shea Weber.  In the weeks following the trade, stories began to emerge that the Montreal locker room may not have been as cohesive as it needed to be, and Subban was being looked at as a possible cause of the rift in the room.  So, Montreal decided to move him in a blockbuster deal with Nashville.  But that wasn’t the only move Montreal made this summer.  Four days earlier, they traded a pair of second round picks to Chicago for forward Andrew Shaw, and on July 1, they signed Russian star forward Alexander Radulov to a 1 year contract.  They were smart to sign Radulov to just 1 year commitment, as he has a long history of being a malcontent everywhere he’s been, which includes two other stints in the NHL, both with Nashville.  Montreal is banking on the third time being the charm.  This team is a playoff caliber team, as long as Carey Price remains healthy.  Montreal signed goalie Al Montoya as insurance, showing they don’t feel Mike Condon can handle the starting job should Price get hurt.

Mid Summer Report: Buffalo Sabres

download (8)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 Buffalo Sabres

Last Season’s Finish:  35-36-11, 81 pts, 7th in the Atlantic Division, missed the playoffs

Key Arrivals:

  • D Dmitri Kulikov (Trade)
  • F Kyle Okposo (UFA)
  • D Justin Falk (UFA)
  • G Anders Nilsson (UFA)

Key Departures:

  • D Mark Pysyk (Florida)
  • G Chad Johnson (Calgary)

Breakthrough Candidates:

  • F Alexander Nylander

Unsigned RFA’s (as of 8/8)

  • F Zemgus Girgensons
  • D Rasmus Ristolainen

Current Cap Situation as of 8/8/16 (source: generalfanager.com)

  • League salary ceiling: $73,000,000
  • League salary floor: $54,000,000
  • Current salary cap hit: $63,312,022
  • Current salary cap space: $9,687,978

Expected active roster

Forwards
Ryan O’Reilly, Kyle Okposo, Evander Kane, Matt Moulson, Tyler Ennis, Brian Gionta, Marcus Foligno, Johan Larsson, Jack Eichel, Zemgus Girgensons, Sam Reinhart, Nicolas Deslauriers, Cal O’Reilly
Defensemen
Zach Bogosian, Dmitry Kulikov, Josh Gorges, Cody Franson, Jake McCabe, Rasmus Ristolainen, Justin Falk
Goalies
Robin Lehner, Anders Nilsson

 

 

Outlook:

The Sabres are in a similar position as several teams in the NHL.  Similar to teams like Edmonton, Toronto, Phoenix, and Carolina, the Sabres are in the midst of a total rebuild from the ground up.  Developmentally, they are a season or two ahead of most of the above mentioned teams.  They made a ton of big moves last summer, and it resulted in an improvement of 12 wins and 27 points in the standings from the 14-15 season to the 15-16 season.  They also added 40 goals for and cut goals against by 52 goals.  This summer, the improvements continued with the adding of forward Kyle Okposo (UFA) and defenseman Dmitri Kulikov (Trade).  Those additions, combined with the continued maturation of several young players that they currently have should result in another step upward in the standings.  They should contend for a playoff spot, but they are probably not yet ready to contend for the Stanley Cup.  But, they are getting closer.

Mid Summer Report: Toronto Maple Leafs

download (7)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 Toronto Maple Leafs

Last Season’s Finish:  29-42-11, 69 pts, 8th in the Atlantic Division, missed the playoffs

Key Arrivals:

  • G Frederik Andersen (Trade)
  • F Matt Martin (UFA)
  • D Roman Polak (UFA)
  • F Auston Matthews (Draft)

Key Departures:

  • F P-A Parenteau (NY Islanders)
  • F Michael Grabner (NY Rangers)
  • G Jonathan Bernier (Anaheim)

Breakthrough Candidates:

  • F Auston Matthews
  • F Mitch Marner
  • F William Nylander
  • F Tobias Lindberg

Unsigned RFA’s (as of 8/8/16)

  • None

Current Cap Situation as of 8/8/16 (source: generalfanager.com)

  • League salary ceiling: $73,000,000
  • League salary floor: $54,000,000
  • Current salary cap hit: $72,944,084
  • Current salary cap space: $55,916

 

Expected active roster

Forwards
Joffrey Lupul, Nazem Kadri, Brooks Laich, James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak, Milan Michalek, Leo Komarov, Colin Greening, Matt Martin, Peter Holland, Auston Matthews, William Nylander, Tobias Lindberg, Byron Froese
Defensemen
Morgan Reilly, Jake Gardiner, Roman Polak, Martin Marincin, Matt Hunwick, Nikita Zaitsev, Frank Corrado
Goalies
Frederik Anderson, ???(TBA)

 

Outlook:

The Leafs are in the middle of a complete organizational rebuild.  It began at the end of the 2013-2014 season, when Brendan Shanahan left his job as NHL’s Senior Vice President to become the Leafs’ president and alternate governor.  Last summer, Shanahan brought on Lou Lamoriello to replace Dave Nonis at GM.  They also turned over the entire coaching staff, hiring Mike Babcock away from the Detroit Red Wings to be the head coach, then hiring several new assistants.  While Shanahan was busy rebuilding the front office from the ground up, he began turning over the team, letting older and/or ineffective players go, while restocking the proverbial cupboard with young prospects.  The results have not shown on the ice yet, but fans in Toronto are very excited for the future of the team.  Their biggest story of this off-season has been the drafting Auston Matthews with the first overall pick in the draft back in June.  Matthews is only 18, but he spent last season in the Swiss league, playing against full grown men.  The Arizona native scored 46 points in 36 games in that league, with 7 more points in 4 playoff games.  He followed that up with 9 points in 10 games for team USA in the World Championships, tying Dylan Larkin (Red Wings) for the team lead.  He led the team in goals, with 6.  With performances like that, it’s no wonder the fans in Toronto are excited.  He appears NHL ready now.  Even in the likely event Matthews makes the team, it’s unlikely the Leafs will make the playoffs this season.  They will, however, be a more difficult team to beat, and they will be more fun to watch.

 

Mid Summer Report: Anaheim Ducks

download (6)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 Anaheim Ducks

Last Season’s Finish:  46-25-11, 103 pts, 1st in the Pacific Division, Lost in the first round of the playoffs

Key Arrivals:

  • F Mason Raymond (UFA)
  • F Jaren Boll (UFA)
  • G Jonathan Bernier (Trade)

Key Departures:

  • G Frederik Andersen (Toronto)
  • F Brandon Pirri (UFA)
  • F David Perron (St Louis)
  • G Anton Khudobin (Boston)
  • F Chris Stewart (Minnesota)
  • F Jamie McGinn (Arizona)
  • F Mike Santorelli (Switzerland)

Breakthrough Candidates:

  • G Kevin Boyle
  • D Andy Welinski

 

Unsigned RFA’s (as of 7/31)

  • D Hampus Lindholm
  • F Rickard Rakell

Current Cap Situation as of 7/31 (source: generalfanager.com)

  • League salary ceiling: $73,000,000
  • League salary floor: $54,000,000
  • Current salary cap hit: $63,729,166
  • Current salary cap space: $9,270,834

 

Expected active roster

Forwards
Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Jakob Silfverberg, Andrew Cogliano, Ryan Garbutt, Nate Thompson, Jared Boll, Rickard Rackell, Mason Raymond, Chris Wagner
Defensemen
Sami Vatanen, Cam Fowler, Kevin Bieksa, Simon Despres, Clayton Stoner, Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson, Korbinian Holzer
Goalies
Jonathan Bernier, John Gibson

 

 

Outlook:

 

The Ducks are a veteran squad that had a great regular season last year, finishing the year with a regular season division title.  Unfortunately, they lost yet another game 7 in the first round at home to Nashville, their 4th straight home loss in a game 7.  As a result, they decided to make changes, starting with the head coach.  They fired Bruce Boudreau, and re-hired the coach they fired 5 years ago, Randy Carlyle.  They also made a trade with Toronto, essentially trading goaltenders, sending Frederik Andersen to Toronto, and having Jonathan Bernier come to Anaheim.  Other than the goalies, the core of this team remains intact from a year ago, so their performance should be similar to the last several years.  They should make the playoffs fairly easily.  Once there, time will tell whether the coaching and goaltending changes will be enough to get them over their game 7 woes.

Mid Summer Report: Los Angeles Kings

download (5)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 Los Angeles Kings

Last Season’s Finish:  48-28-6, 102 pts, 2nd in the Pacific Division, Lost in round 1 of the playoffs

Key Arrivals:

  • D Zach Trotman (UFA)
  • G Jeff Zatkoff (UFA)
  • F Michael Latta (UFA)
  • F Teddy Purcell

Key Departures:

  • F Vincent Lecavalier (retired)
  • F Milan Lucic (Edmonton)
  • D Jamie McBain (Arizona)
  • D Luke Schenn (Arizona)
  • F Kris Versteeg (Switzerland)

Breakthrough Candidates:

  • None known

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: $72,970,227
  • Current salary cap space: $29,773

 

Expected active roster

Forwards
Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Jeff Carter, Marian Gaborik, Tyler Toffoli, Trevor Lewis, Dwight King, Kyle Clifford, Teddy Purcell, Tanner Pearson, Jordan Nolan, Nic Dowd, Nick Shore, Michael Latta, Andy Andreoff
Defensemen
Drew Doughty, Alec Martinez, Jake Muzzin, Rob Scuderi, Matt Greene, Brayden McNabb, Tom Gilbert, Zach Trotman
Goalies
Jonathan Quick, Jeff Zatkoff

 

 

Outlook:

 

The Kings are stuck in salary cap hell, and it is beginning to affect them on the ice.  They were unable to keep Milan Lucic, Luke Schenn, Jamie McBain, and Kris Versteeg this summer, as the team’s payroll is right up against the cap.  They also don’t have a very deep group coming up through the system, as they have only picked once in the first round in the last 3 years.  So, for the next several years, or as long as they remain in cap hell, they will need to fill out their 3rd and 4th lines with bargain-basement players.  8 players on the current roster are consuming almost $47 million in cap space, and all of those contracts have at least 3 years remaining, forcing them to be a very top heavy team for the next several years.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as long as this core group remains healthy and productive.  The Kings are led by Anze Kopitar ($10M), Drew Doughty ($7M), Dustin Brown ($5.8M), and Jonathan Quick ($5.8M).  They also have strong players like Jeff Carter, Marion Gaborik, Tyler Toffoli, Jake Muzzin, and Alec Martinez.  This core group make the Kings as good as any team in the NHL in terms of top two 5-man units.  This group has made the Kings a contender nearly every year for several years now, and barring any long-term injuries to these key players, that should continue for several more years.

Mid Summer Report: San Jose Sharks

download (4)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 San Jose Sharks

Last Season’s Finish:  46-30-6, 75 pts, 3rd in the Pacific Division, lost in Stanley Cup Final

Key Arrivals:

  • D David Schlemko (UFA)
  • F Mikkel Boedker (UFA)

Key Departures:

  • G James Reimer (Florida)
  • D Roman Polak (Toronto)
  • D Matt Tennyson (Carolina)

Breakthrough Candidates:

  • D Mirco Mueller
  • F Marcus Sorensen
  • F Timo Meier
  • D Jeremy Roy

Unsigned RFAs (as of 7/29)

Current Cap Situation as of 7/29/16 (source: generalfanager.com)

  • League salary ceiling: $73,000,000
  • League salary floor: $54,000,000
  • Current salary cap hit: $72,004,164
  • Current salary cap space: $995,836

 

Expected active roster

Forwards
Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Mikkel Boedker, Joel Ward, Tomas Hertl, Tommy Wingels, Melker Karlsson, Joonas Donskoi, Matt Nieto, Chris Tierny, Michael Haley
Defensemen
Brent Burns, Paul Martin, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Justin Braun, Brenden Dillon, David Schlemko, Mirco Mueller, Dylan Demelo
Goalies
Martin Jones, Mantas Armalis

 

 

Outlook:

 

San Jose is coming off their best season in franchise history.  They went deeper in the Stanley Cup Playoffs than they ever had before, coming to within 2 wins from winning the Stanley Cup.  The good news is, the core of this team remains intact going into 2016-2017, so expect them to get yet another shot at their elusive first Stanley Cup.  The Sharks have been very quiet so far this summer, as all of their moves so far have only involved players that are well down the depth chart.  This is a veteran laden team, so the prospects they do have will have a tough time cracking the lineup.  One spot that is wide open on this team, however, is at the backup goalie position, which was previously held by James Reimer.  Reimer signed to be Roberto Luongo’s backup in Florida on July 1.  So far, San Jose has signed only 1 free agent goalie, Mantas Armalis, who played in Sweden last season.  They also have 2 other goalies signed in their system, Aaron Dell and Troy Grosenick.  All three will likely get a shot in training camp, but it looks like the job is Armalis’ to lose.  Martin Jones remains the clear #1 in San Jose, especially after his great run in the playoffs last season.  Ultimately, you will see basically the same Sharks team that you saw last spring.  The big question is, can they pick up where they left off, and can they sustain it for another long season after having a shorter summer than 28 other teams in the league?

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:

http://thehockeynuts.libsyn.com/rss

 

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