THS’s 20 Thoughts – Notes from around the Hockey World

To kick of the 2015-16 NHL Season The Hockey Scoop is starting their own 20 thoughts series, with notes gathered from various releiable sources and interviews. We will be posting one per week. Enjoy!

  1. Pavel Datsyuk starts skating in one month
  2. The Oliers have put Nikita Nikitin on the trading block. The Boston Bruins may be willing to pick him up for cheap.
  3. Justin Fontaine is actually injured. He’ll miss the season opener
  4. The experts say Dustin Byfuglien to the Bruins won’t happen. At least not right now
  5. The Kings would love to re-sign Milan Lucic, if he scores 25+ goals.
  6. Speaking of the Kings, Anze Kopitar and his agent Pat Brisson must be getting pretty anxious cause contract talks are looking bleak.
  7. Jared McCann is the real deal
  8. The San Jose Sharks wanted Ryan Miller.
  9. The Jets wanted Kris Versteeg, but couldn’t get him from Chiacago. However, they could try and pry him from the Hurricanes Febuary 29th.
  10. ¬†Bleacher Report thinks Devan Dubnyk is better than Pekka Rinne. ūüėĀ.
  11. Eric Staal to Nashville is a perfect Trade Deadline move. But can David Poile make it happen?
  12. Who will win the Bruins backup spot? Jonas Gustavsson or Jeremy Smith?
  13. Timo Meier is the Captain of the Halifax Mooseheads
  14. Will the Ottawa Senators pick up Daniel Paille or Tomas Kopecky? They could use them.
  15. Dylan Strome and Noah Hanfin are close to making their respective teams.
  16. Matt Murray deserves to play in the NHL
  17. The Chicago Blackhawks just signed Brent Seabrook to a 8 year deal. It has Lottery Protection, $6.5M AAV, and he’ll be 38 when it ends. Ouch
  18. The Islanders new top line doesn’t have Kyle Okposo on it.
  19. The Buffalo Sabres may have inquired about Steven Stamkos, but a trade is a last resort move. Stamkos is all but re-signed. If the  Bolts are somehow out of playoff contention by Febuary , Ben Bishop could be traded.
  20. The Edmonton Oliers are 5-0-0 in the preseason. Believe.

By Aly Dhanani

2015-16 July Power Rankings

As of July, a LOT of things have changed since June, when the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. Here is my Power Rankings, counting down from 30.

30. Arizona Coyotes
Mike Smith is simply not good enough at this point in his career, and they don’t have anything close to and elite forward yet.

29. New Jersey Devils
Their forward corps is a mess, and their young(er) D still has to develop.

28. Toronto Maple Leafs
Without Phil Kessel, Toronto’s offense will have to step-up, Big Time. Plus, their 1st rounder’s still have to develop. Watch for JVR and their young D-men.

27. Carolina Hurricanes
It’s time to trade Eric Staal. Carolina has a budding starting goalie in Eddie Lack, but not much else that’s NHL ready. Watch for Noah Hanifin and Sergey Tolchinsky.

26. Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers simply don’t have a good enough Defense and enough depth on Offense. Their bottom 6 forwards are mediocre.

25. Buffalo Sabres
In a couple years, the Sabres will about 15 spots ahead of this, but for now even with Ryan O’Reilly and Evander Kane, their D and goaltending as well as Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel need to grow.

24. Florida Panthers
The NHL is too deep for the Panthers to make the Playoffs. Their D is going through rebuild (Ian McCoshen and Mike Mathenson transitioning in for Ed Jovanaski and Willie Mitchell) and Aaron Ekblad isn’t enough to carry the back end. Their young forwards have a ton of potential though, so expect a playoff berth soon.

23. Vancouver Canucks

Losing Eddie Lack and Kevin Bieksa didn’t make the Canucks any better in a tough Western Conference. They have a good pool of prospects but their Defense and Top 6 Offense are entering their mid/late thirties, so they don’t really have a shot at winning now.

22. Ottawa Senators

Unfortunately for sens fans, it’s hard to see Ottawa go 20-1-2 at the end of the year to make the playoffs again. Thier group of young forwards are due for some growing pains, and their Defense needs to improve behind Erik Karlsson.

21. Nashville Predators

Although they have an outstanding Defensive core plus and Elite goalie in Pekka Rinne, the Predators offense looks like it might take a major step back. They didn’t exactly make any game changing signings so far, and I don’t see Mike Ribero having another 60+ point season at this point in his career. Also, Filip Forsberg slowed down significantly in the 2nd half of 2014-15.

20. Detroit Red Wings

They lost Mike Babcock. Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are in their late 30’s, and Anthony Mantha’s progress has been halted. Enough said?? Goaltending is a bright spot though, and their Defense has improved.

19. Winnipeg Jets

Winnipeg’s future is bright with a truckload of high-ceiling prospects on their way. They have a solid defense headlined by Tyler Myers and Dustin Byfuglien, and they have some nice young netminders in Michael Hutchinson and Connor Hellybuyck.

18. Boston Bruins

What ever Don Sweeny was thinking at the Draft cannot be explained, but we do know that Boston is poised to take a step back this year. Matt Irwin cannot replace Dougie Hamilton, and Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara will have to step up their game to fill the gap on the D. Also, Matt Belesky will be pressured to fill Lucic’s hole in the roster.

17. Columbus Blue Jackets

Although CBJ lost Artem Ansimov and Marko Dano in the Brandon Saad trade, Saad will be an elite winger and Columbus still has Ryan Johansen and Brandon Dubinsky down the middle. Their back end is reasonable, featuring youngster Ryan Murray and Jack Johnson.

16. Colorado Avalanche

Nathan McKinnon and Matt Duchene are both Elite players and they are poised to display that this year. The Avalanche went through some growing pains last year, and they hope to rebound. On Defense, Semyon Varlamov is a good young ‘tender, plus Colorado added a nice shutdown defender in Francois Beauchemin.

15. Edmonton Oilers

When the Oilers won the McDavid sweepstakes, everything changed. They now have a top of the line management group, a competitive defense headlined by Andrej Sekera and Griffin Reinhart, not to mention a formidable offense, with youngster Leon Drasatil on the way. Connor McDavid will make an immediate impact in the NHL.

14. Montreal Canadiens

Sure, Montreal has the best goalie in the world in Carey Price, but can he repeat his Incredible 2014-15 season. Odds are not in his favor. Besides P.K Subban and the aging Andrei Markov, the Habs Defense is barely competitive. Also, Alex Galchenyuk and David Desharnais must improve and be more consistent if Montreal wants a cup.

13. LA Kings

A couple months golfing will give LA some rest, but do they have the depth to win another cup? They bought out their cup-winning 2nd line center Mike Richards and lost Justin Williams to free agency, although the addition of Milan Lucic should solve that. And, it doesn’t help that Slava Voynov is in jail and they failed to resign Andrej Sekera. But they have one of the best defenders in the world in Drew Doughty, and they still have Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli and Marian Gaborik in front.

12. NY Islanders

The Islanders had a great season last year, and look to build on that this year. Prospects Ryan Pulock (D) and Michael Dal Colle (RW) both have a shot at making the Big League this year, and will join youngsters Anders Lee and Brock Nelson who both had terrific 2014-15 seasons. Their defense still needs to grow a bit, but their forwards are scary, led by John Tavares, one of the best players in the world.

11. San Jose Sharks

Although Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are entering the twilight of their careers, The Sharks have a budding star in Logan Coture. Also, San Jose made some solid signings in Joel Ward and Paul Martin, which makes them even more formidable. Is Martin Jones a capable starter?

10. Minnesota Wild

The Wild have a deep attack headlined by Zach Parise, Mikael Granlund, Jason Pomminville  and Charlie Coyle. Also, Ryan Suter leads an underrated but solid D. The main question is if Devan Dubnyk can hold the fort like he did last year. Can this team compete with other West powerhouses?

9. St. Louis Blues

Losing T.J Oshie will hurt, but St. Louis did get Troy Brouwer back. Alex Pietrangelo had a down year last year, and he will look to rebound. St. Louis’s offense is deep, but only has one pure sniper in Vladimir Tarasenko. The real question is: How far can Jake Allen and Brain Elliot take this team?

8. Dallas Stars

A healthy Tyler Seguin = goals, goals, and more goals. And don’t forget about 2014-15 Art Ross winner Jamie Benn and 2nd line center Jason Spezza. And it’s only gotten better this month as they acquired Patrick Sharp. ¬†If you haven’t realized, the Stars are stacked up front. Their defense however, has room for improvement but newcomer Johnny Oduya and youngsters Julius Honka and Jamie Oleksiak ¬†should help out. The duo of Antti Niemi and Kari Lethonen is also a big upgrade.

7. Calgary Flames

Wow is this rising team ever looking good! They have one of the best Defense’s in the league, featuring Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, and Kris Russel. Also, Sam Bennet joins a exciting group of youngsters in Sean Monahan, Jonny Gaudreau and Hamilton. Also Jonas Hiller isn’t a bad goalie.

6. NY Rangers

The Rangers have made it to the Eastern Conference Finals 3 times in the past 4 years, and now they look to capture the Cup. They have a rock solid defensive core, captained by the ever-solid Ryan McDonaugh and backstopped by the ‘king’ himself Henrik Lundqvist. In order to be a true contender Rick Nash will have to crack 30 goals again, Emerson Etem must continue to improve and Derek Stepan must solidify himself as the blueshirt’s No.1 center.

5. Pittsburgh Penguins

The addition of Phil Kessel gives the Penguins, who suddenly have an abundance of talented wingers (Kessel, Perron, Hornqvist , Kunitz, Dupis) a bad ass Offence, which also includes the best hockey player in the world, Sidney Crosby and the best 2nd line center in the world, Evgeni Malkin,  down the middle. If Marc-Andre-Fluery can get over his playoff hump and they can sign a good Defender, the Pens are a serious contender.

4. Washington Capitals

The Capitals, led by Alex Ovechkin & Niklas Backstrom, looked like a dangerous team last year and look lethal this year with the additions of T.J Oshie and Justin Williams. The Caps have one of the best Defenses in the Eastern Conference, featuring Matt Niskanen and John Carlson, as well as a top netminder in Braden Holtby. They are a true Cup contender

3. Chicago Blackhawks

The 2014-15 Cup winners are still going strong. Even though Marian Hossa is in his final years and Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad had to be traded away, the Blackhawks got themselves a long-term 2nd line center in Artem Ansimov, and an exciting young prospect in Marko Dano. And don’t forget about Teuvo Teravainen, Conn Smythe winner Duncan Keith ¬†and that Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are still both in their primes.

2. Anaheim Ducks

Have great forward depth with the additions of Carl Hagelin and Chris Stewart, And also a dangerous 1-2 punch down the middle (Getzlaf & Kesler). Young D-Men are flourishing and John Gibson and Fredrik Anderson are only getting better.

1. Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa has the best Offense in the NHL, headlined by their “Triplets” line (Palat-Johnson-Kucherov) and Steven Stamkos. They have a formidable defense led by Victor Hedman, and an Elite Goalie in Ben Bishop. Oh, and they made the Stanley Cup Finals last year.

Hope you guys enjoyed ūüôā

Fantasy Blog: History Repeats Itself

Every year there is usually a goalie who comes out of nowhere and steals the headlines, a young player who many people forget about breaks out, etc. Who do you think this years surprises will be? Here is our picks in our 2015-16 History Repaets Itself blog:

Who is this years…

Post Hype Breakout: Alexsander Barkov has had it rough in his first 2 years in the NHL, but I think the 2nd overall pick in 2013 can rebound and have a breakout year on a rising young team featuring Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Aaron Ekblad and Nick Bjustad. With all that talent around him, don’t be surprised if Barkov surges.

From Star to Superstar: Becasue the Oilers won the Connor McDavid sweepstakes among other things, no one really got to appreciate the great season that Ryan Nugent Hopkins had. He was Edmontons leading scorer, and he’s not done improving yet. This year, on a team transitioning from mediocre to a contender, Hopkins will blossom. Him and McDavid will be a lethal 1-2 punch in the future.

Out of Nowhere Goalie Sensation: Zane McIntyre has surpassed Malcom Subban on the Bruins Goalie Depth chart, and is projected to be Boston’s backup for the upcoming season. He’s a great goalie, and he has excelled playing against men in the NCAA. Jake Allen is a sleeper.

Free Agent Bust: Paul Martin is an aging defender, going from the Metropolitan Division to the Pacific, and he’s most likely playing Top 2 D minutes when he’s not. Watch out (however he will be playing with workhorse Marc-Edward Vlasic).

Free Agent Boom: The Bruins Matt Belesky. Pacific to Central Division makes for easier competition. He has size and he’s entering his prime.

Hope you guys enjoyed!