Slowly but surely the oh-so-long hockey-less summer is coming to an end. Traverse City is around the corner, prospects are back in action and news is starting to filter through. Without further delay, let’s hit up Around the League one more time.
It’s the time of the year when we start to hear about try-out offers for veterans ahead of training camps. One that could offer some intrigue is the Blues inviting Scottie Upshall to camp. Upshall has flirted with 20 goals on a few occasions and at 31 could be a decent short term fill-in for the injured Patrick Berglund.
Prediction time: The Rangers will have three centers break fifty points. Kevin Hayes will build on his fine rookie year and scrape past the half-ton.
Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello has been ‘cleared for the new season’. With the time Zuke has had to heal I’m sure most people will not see this as a surprise but regardless, it’s good to hear. Zuccarello has become an increasingly integral part of the Rangers. His importance will only increase as the Rangers have gotten younger up front and have lost Marty St Louis.
New Jersey Devil veteran defenseman Bryce Salvador has retired after a solid 14 year career. Injuries robbed Salvador of almost all of his final year in the NHL.
The Pittsburgh Penguins continue to ‘search’ for new owners. Really, this franchise hasn’t deserved to be littered with legendary talent like Lemieux, Jagr and Crosby because it’s only been kept in the city by hook or by crook over the years. Multiple ownership, finance and arena issues; the Pens have never been a model of stability despite being in a strong sports market and boasting a regularly high quality on-ice product.
Last year: 45-26-11, second in the Metro Division. Eliminated by the Rangers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Key additions: Justin Williams, TJ Oshie
Key subtractions: Mike Green, Troy Brouwer, Joel Ward, Eric Fehr, Tim Gleason
Offense: The Capitals usually high-flying offense added shootout guru Oshie and Mr. Game Seven Williams this summer, giving Washington the most talent up front its had during the Ovechkin era. The two veterans will give coach Barry Trotz all kinds of options, but the biggest reason for excitement is the continued growth of forwards Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky. Kuznetsov seized control of the No. 2 center role as the season progressed and looks poised to become an opposing coach’s nightmare after focusing matchups on Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. 20-year-old Burakovsky demonstrated flashes of his explosiveness against the Blueshirts in the playoffs, and has the luxury of being brought along slowly thanks to Washington’s impressive depth. The Capitals did lose 59 goals with the departures of mainstays Brouwer, Ward and Fehr, but Washington shouldn’t have any difficulty replacing that production with increased roles for younger players and the aforementioned Oshie and Williams. And don’t forget about 2014 first-round pick Jakub Vrana, who could hit the ground in the NHL with two feet running.
After a couple of weeks of speculation and research the New York Rangers finally unveiled their Traverse City roster. Personally I am pretty happy that I was able to find some of the tryout guys early and provide you all with some information on them. There are still some names out there that are currently New York Rangers property that have not been talked about as much, since they are the dark horses of the organization.
Calle Andersson – The older brother of Calgary Flames draft pick Rasmus Andersson has had an interesting early start to his career. Calle was a 4th round pick by the Rangers in 2012, and the 6’2 right handed two-way defenseman is finally coming to North America this season. He bounced around in Sweden a lot early in his career, and his play suffered. Last year he started the season with EV Zug of the Swiss League, and looked like his career was going downhill fast. He wasn’t playing well and he wasn’t putting points up. His NHL hopes were looking bleak. That all changed when he was traded to HC Lugano, the team that Calle’s father (and former Ranger 4th round pick) Peter Andersson is an assistant coach for. Calle’s season immediately turned around as he went on to score 17 points in 30 games in what truly was a tale of two seasons.
The New York Rangers have released their 2015 Traverse City Tournament roster. There are 23 players on the roster, comprised of 21 skaters and two goalies. Most of these guys should look familiar. For those that don’t –likely the ATO’s– Josh did a primer on all of them. You should check them out.
Full roster is after the jump.
August is at an end, and with September beginning tomorrow, we enter a month where there will be hockey on television. The Traverse City Tournament will be held from September 11-15 in Detroit, and the training camp will open almost immediately after. It is so nice to know we are two weeks away from hockey.
With that we can start looking ahead to the only two battles in camp, those for the 12F and 13F spots on the roster. This assumes that Viktor Stalberg makes the lineup as this year’s Benoit Pouliot/Lee Stempniak, though.
There are the incumbents, there are favorites, there are dark horses, and there are wild cards alike. So let’s break them down.
Happy Friday, BSB faithful! Welcome to the final installment of the 4th Annual Top 30 Goaltenders List. It’s been a wild ride, but here we are. The first two editions of the rankings can be found here and here, and the first post will outline the format if you are late to the party. A few readers have reached out looking for a write up on the guys who were left off the list from last season, since there was a ton of turnover this time around. If there is interest in that, I can definitely put a post like that together. You can think of it as a spin-off to the original.
Without any further delay, here are your Top 10. Read More→
It bears repeating. We’re in the dog days folks. If you’re into your European soccer, or NFL training camps/meaningless preseason shenanigans then I’m sure you’re coping. If you’re not then I hope we’re keeping you sane here at Blueseatblogs. Without further delay, on to the latest Around the League post.
Christian Ehrhoff signs for LA 1.5m 1 year
Christian Ehrhoff has finally found a home this offseason. The veteran German defenseman has signed a relatively paltry one year deal with the Kings for $1.5m. Ehrhoff had a pretty disappointing year with the Pens last season, struggling to stay healthy and putting up almost career worst numbers. However, this deal represents almost no risk for the Kings and makes you wonder why no other contending team jumped on Ehrhoff if he was available at this kind of cap commitment. If Ehrhoff can get back to his 30-40 point form he would represent a major steal for the Kings.
Carolina getting analytical
The cellar dwellers that are the Carolina Hurricanes have become the latest franchise to hire a blogger to help with their increased focus on analytics (maybe Dave has a future in hockey as well?…). Former blogger Eric Tulsky joined the ‘Canes as ‘Hockey Analyst’ last week. Hockey continues to move more and more towards analytics. Maybe it’s time I started to understand a bit more about all these fancy numbers…
Yahoo name Kreider as a fantasy sleeper
More and more fantasy posts are coming out now, looking ahead to the new year (‘tis the season) and Yahoo have suggested Chris Kreider could be a breakout candidate; something we’ve discussed numerous times. It’s a list worth looking at if you’re fantasy inclined.
When the Rangers re-signed Oscar Lindberg to his two-year deal (one-way deal, guaranteeing his salary), they did so with the assumption that Lindberg will make the club. His spot on the roster is still up in the air, as he could be as high as 3C and as low as 13F, but he will be with the Rangers when the regular season starts. Where Lindberg slots in will have a major effect on his production for the upcoming season.
Lindberg has been one of Hartford’s best forwards for two seasons now. Last season he put up 28-28-56 in 75 games, an improvement on his 18-26-44 from the season prior. While with the Wolf Pack, Lindberg played on the top line, getting significant powerplay and penalty kill time as well.
Last year: 42-35-5, fifth in the Metro Division. Missed the playoffs by nine points.
Key additions: Brandon Saad, Gregory Campbell, Zach Werenski, Gabriel Carlsson, Mike Paliotta, Paul Bittner
Key subtractions: Marko Dano, Artem Anisimov, Mark Letestu, Jeremy Morin, Jack Skille
Offense: A team already loaded with young talent pulled off the shocker of the offseason by landing the 22-year-old Saad from Chicago. In the process, Columbus identified its three pillars up front to build around, with Saad joining superstar in the making Ryan Johansen and new captain Nick Foligno. Former Ranger Brandon Dubinsky was a critical cog as recently as 12 months ago, but he’ll be in more of a depth role going forward and will be expected to provide a tremendous example for the younger players. David Clarkson’s contract sticks out like a sore thumb and Scott Hartnell might join him before long, but it hardly matters. The aforementioned trio along with Boone Jenner, Alex Wennberg, Cam Atkinson, Josh Anderson and Matt Calvert represent the present and future for Columbus, with top prospects Sonny Milano, William Karlsson, Kerby Rychel and Oliver Bjorkstrand following close behind. The Jackets have an embarrassment of riches and just need to take some time to determine who else is part of the core alongside Johansen, Foligno and Saad.
Last week, I went through the bottom half of the third annual Top 25 Under 25 for the New York Rangers. The bottom half of the list is fairly interesting, because it had some players fall off the list completely, and players like Ryan Bourque, Cristival “Boo” Nieves, and Steven Fogarty fall significantly. This has a lot to do with the recent influx of talented prospects from the 2015 draft.
Remember though, there are a good number of players under 25 years of age that are on the NHL roster, and naturally that puts them ahead of a lot of players that still qualify as prospects. So let’s round out the top-12 players in the Top 25 Under 25 for the Rangers.
12. Adam Tambellini – Forward, 2013 3rd round (LY: 16)