Connor McDavid Deserves Every Bit Of That New Contract Extension

The Edmonton Oilers are assured of future success with the Connor McDavid contract extension. He’s the heartbeat of a young team that made a big impact in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Without question, McDavid is worth every penny the Oilers have given him. The reigning NHL MVP, McDavid is only going into his third season. When you think about how dominant he’s been over that course of time, you almost forget that he’s only 20 years of age. And somehow, McDavid is the best player in the game today. While some argue Sidney Crosby holds the title of league best all player, McDavid singlehandedly guided to Edmonton Oilers to the playoffs. Of course, you can make the case that Crosby did the same for Pittsburgh, although he had some help with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessell. McDavid is far and away Edmonton’s alpha dog. The eight-year deal McDavid signed will pay him an average of 12.5 million per season. That’s a bargain considering his age and how much his game can grow. This also ensures Edmonton that McDavid will be a Oilers for almost a decade, guaranteeing them a spot at the elite level of NHL teams. When you think about dominant athletes currently, you’ll think of LeBron James, Mike Trout, Tom Brady, all of these players gave their team a chance to compete for a title in their respective sport. In the NHL, there are two of those players, Crosby and McDavid. Although, as Crosby enters his age 30 season, McDavid has a chance to overtake him as the sport’s most dominant and marketable star. McDavid is a superstar for the game of hockey. While he’s not as recognizable to the casual fan as Crosby, he’s getting into the mainstream spotlight, especially as his remarkable plays are shown on places such as ESPN and Fox Sports. The Oilers playoff push this season helped grow his legacy outside of Canada even more. You don’t get very many 100 point seasons in the NHL anymore. McDavid accomplished this feat during his second season. Yes, he’s one of the best players in the game today. The remarkable part is he’s still learning the NHL and is far from his peak years. Edmonton made the right call giving McDavid the huge contract. He’s not only the face of the franchise but the entire NHL as well.
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Edmonton Oilers: Connor McDavid set to take over

The Edmonton Oilers haven’t been the picture of success in the NHL. They also haven’t had Connor McDavid play a full NHL season. Many feel that’s the key for the Oilers to sustain a winning record, and it’s the absolute truth. McDavid was viewed as a can’t miss prospect when he was drafted first overall at the 2015 NHL Draft. Edmonton didn’t hesitate to place him in their opening night lineup. Unfortunately, they didn’t get to feel the full impact of McDavid as he suffered an injury which kept him out for a majority of the season. Despite being on the injury report, McDavid was able to play in 45 games. Remarkably he put up 48 points over the course of his rookie season, putting him over a point per game pace. This left Oilers fans salivating, as they might have found the answer to their problems. Over the offseason, Edmonton made a trade acquire defenceman Adam Larsson for a star player, Taylor Hall, a 65 point player in the 2015-16 season. He was a former 80 point scorer and was arguably the Oilers best offensive threat. There is no doubt the loss of Hall will be felt on this team, but as McDavid grows more accustomed to the NHL, it won’t become like a big of a factor. McDavid might be the best scoring threat since Sydney Crosby, and is capable of putting the entire Edmonton franchise on his back. The Oilers feature a slew of talent on its roster including Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Milan Lucic, and Leon Draisaitl. That’s why it’s so shocking to hear reports of McDavid being selected as the teams captain this upcoming season. At 19-years-old, he’d be one of the youngest captains in NHL history if it were to be true. That’s the type of impact McDavid needs to have on this team for them to be successful. We could be talking about McDavid being the best player in the league in two or three years. And by doing that he will make Edmonton that much better. Follow Daniel James Gentile on Twitter @dgentleman9288
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Crazy day in the NHL

Wednesday June 29th 2016 turned out to be quite the exciting day in the NHL, from blockbuster trades, to the big key agent agreeing to terms. Here I’ll break down each trade and state the winners of the trades.

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Edmonton trades winger Taylor Hall to New Jersey for defenseman Adam Larsson

BREAK DOWN:

First off let me say that this trade absolutely blew my mind. Edmonton has been looking for a top-2 defensemen for years and somehow they decided upon Larsson. While not being a horrible defensemen Larsson is still young (23 years old), and he’s still a year or two if not more away from being that possible top-2 guy. Hall who is only 24 would have presumably played alongside young phenom Connor McDavid and had a career year barring any injuries. In my personal opinion Hall could win a scoring a title if he was given the line mates to help him out. He has the shot, vision, speed, and everything else you want out of a former first overall pick in the 2010 draft. Looking at stats now when healthy and playing Larsson averages around 20 points per season, around 20 penalty minutes (minus last season where he was at 77 PIMs) and has been a plus player for most of his career. While he may not ever win a Norris trophy he is a solid defenseman who won’t take a ton of penalties. As for Taylor Hall the guy averages about 50 points or in his career, while averaging about 40 penalty minutes, and being a minus player for the better part of his career so far. Now keep in mind he has played on some absolutely awful Edmonton teams, and just as it seems they’re about to turn it around GM Peter Chiarelli moves him. Fun fact Chiarelli the former Boston Bruins GM has now traded both the first overall pick Taylor Hall, and second overall pick Tyler Seguin from the 2010 draft. As for cap hits Taylor Hall carries a $6M cap hit with him to New Jersey while Larsson carries a $4.166M cap hit to Edmonton both very affordable contracts for young talent.

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WINNER:

Is it even a question who won this deal? Ray Shero has once again pulled absolutely robbed a team. New Jersey are the clear winners here, Taylor Hall played his minor league career with the guy who will probably be his center on the first line in Jersey Adam Henrique. There’s already a small bond there from their Windsor Spitfire days, so if they can recreate what they had then watch out NHL.

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Montreal trades defenseman P.K. Subban to Nasvhille for defenseman Shea Weber

BREAK DOWN:

Wow another trade involving a two huge players for each respective team who would have thought? First off let me say I’m glad Subban is now out of the Eastern Conference so that my Penguins don’t have to deal with him anymore. Both defensemen are absolute studs, both are also making a lot of money and have huge cap hits, Weber takes a $7.857M cap hit with him to Montreal while Subban carries a massive $9M cap hit to Nashville. Either of these guys is someone you can build a franchise around and I believe that’s why Montreal pulled the string on this deal. Subban is a great guy off the ice and he has been for years up in Montreal. In fact I believe he just donated like $10M to either start up a children’s hospital or help out a children’s hospital. On top of him being a great guy off the ice he’s a force on the ice. Looking at stats now both guys could easily win a Norris or two in their careers, Weber will give you around 50 points a year, and take very few penalties, oh and he has the hardest slapshot in the league. As for Subban he will produce almost the exact same as Weber albeit taking a few more penalties. If P.K. can work on his attitude problems on the ice he’ll be one of the top 3 defensemen in the league.

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WINNER:

To me the winner has to be the Nashville Predators, they got the younger guy in Subban even while taking his huge contract on. Shea Weber is great don’t get me wrong but I think adding a guy like Subban to the group they have will be deadly. A pairing of Subban and Roman Josi will arguably be one of the best if they work well together. Nashville has young guys coming up still and they got younger by making this move.

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Steven Stamkos agrees to resign with the Tampa Bay Lightning

BREAK DOWN:

Now for what may have been the biggest news of the day forward Steven Stamkos has decided to resign with the team that drafted him the Tampa Bay Lightning. Stamkos signed an eight year, $8.5M contract with the Lightning. Sorry Toronto, but you have some help coming with Mathews and others coming up. Stamkos appears to be poised to want to bring a cup to Tampa Bay, and stay on a true contender. Tampa Bay could easily be favorites to win the Stanley Cup next year with all the young talent they have.

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WINNER:

The league. This may seem odd to some but if you think about it Stamkos is taking a huge chunk out of that Tampa Bay salary cap, what does that mean the future of Victor Hedman, Ben Bishop, Jonathan Drouin, Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, and others who are free agents after this coming season, or Nikita Kucherov who is an RFA this off season. All deserve contracts but I don’t think it’ll be with Tampa Bay especially with the uncertainty of the salary cap. There you have it all of the signings, and trades that happened before the free agent frenzy on July 1st. Be sure to come back for more news on free agents.
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The 4 Most Disappointing Teams of the NHL Season So Far

We’re now nearly two months into the 2015-16 NHL season, and we’ve seen our fair of surprises. There’s the good – like the incredible Dallas Stars, who are outperforming expectations in the Central Division – and the bad. Let’s take a moment to talk about the latter. These are the four teams that we expected more of this season. We’re not mad, we’re just… disappointed. Anaheim Ducks The Anaheim Ducks were a popular preseason pick to win the Stanley Cup. A lot of people are looking pretty dumb right now, though, because the Ducks look lost. Worse yet, it’s hard to see what the problem is. They’re just not getting great production from guys that usually provide it, and they’re a lousy 9-12-5 with no clear path to improvement. Yikes. Calgary Flames The Calgary Flames were supposed to still be rebuilding last year. Instead, they got into the playoffs and even made it to the second round. That’s great, and it led to even more expectations this year. The team still has a talented young core, and they should only be improving as they continue to retool this squad – right? Well, it’s not going that way so far. Calgary has the same number of points as their basement-dwelling buddies, the Oilers (thought the Oilers have played one more game). Both the Flames and the Oilers, who we’ll talk about in a moment, were teams that expected to be on an upward trajectory. Instead, they both look as stagnant as ever. Edmonton Oilers We didn’t expect the world from the Edmonton Oilers this season, but we did expect to see a franchise that was headed in the right direction. With number one draft pick Connor McDavid leading the way, the Oilers were supposed to show some glimmers of the glory days to come. It’s not happening – instead, the Oilers have lost McDavid to injury, and the rest of the team looks terrible. They’re dead last in the Western Conference. Tampa Bay Lightning Last year’s Stanley Cup runners-up were, like the Ducks, a popular preseason pick to go all the way. They have Steven Stamkos and a great young core, and they didn’t mess with their formula this offseason, so why shouldn’t they be great again? But here we are, and the Lightning are fifth in the Atlantic, below even the surprising Boston Bruins. Winnipeg Jets The Winnipeg Jets were a trendy pick to move up in the Central Division, thanks to a crew of young stars. Instead, they are second-to-last in the division, topping only the lowly Colorado Avalanche. They’re still within striking distance of the middle of the pack, so they could yet turn this around and sneak in to the playoffs, but for now we’re very disappointed. It has not been a great season for fans of young teams with potential.
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2015 NHL Draft: Thanks To Drafting Connor McDavid, Oilers Biggest Winners

The 2015 NHL Draft has certainly been exciting. The amount of trades have been overwhelming, as team’s are trying to jockey themselves into position for the upcoming season. There have been a few organizations that have stood out on Draft Day. One that has firmly established themselves are the Edmonton Oilers. Edmonton knew going into the draft they would leave with generational talent, Connor McDavid. The 18-year-old is being heralded as the best prospect since Sidney Crosby, and will almost assuredly jump straight to the NHL. But, it wasn’t just McDavid that the Oilers struck gold with, as they were able to snag two other players to help their team. Cam Talbot was one of the hottest trade candidates on the market. The New York Rangers goalie filled in admirably for the injured  Henrik Lundqvist this season, putting up a .926 save percentage. The Oilers have been starved for a legitimate goalie, as they haven’t had much luck at the position. A big reason for that has been the team’s poor defensive play, but GM Peter Chiarelli was out to change that. Edmonton made two separate trades to acquire some quality defensive depth. The team first snagged Griffin Reinhart from the New York Islanders. Reinahrt was the 4th overall pick of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, and was progressing nicely for New York. He recorded 22 points at the Islanders AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. Edmonton hopes that Reinhart can bring his two-way game into a system that desperately needs defenseman. The other notable move Edmonton made was acquiring Eric Gyrba from the Ottawa Senators. The 6’4 defenseman gives the Oilers a big, physical presence on the team’s blue-line, something Edmonton hasn’t had in quite some time. Gyrba and Reinhart will look to pair with Edmonton’s young defenseman, Darnell Nurse and Oscar Klefbom, to establish the team’s defensive core for years to come. The Oilers have set themselves up nicely for the foreseeable future. McDavid will slot in  with Ryan Nugent Hopkins, Taylor Hall, and Jordan Eberle to form a dangerous offensive presence. While Gyrba and Reinhart will add great depth to a once weakened defensive unit. The Oilers have no doubt made themselves better. In fact, they might even be playoff-worthy.
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2015 NHL Mock Draft: McDavid, Eichel Go 1-2

The NHL Draft is right around the corner, so it’s a good time to start contemplating plans for the teams in dire need of a superstar to lead their franchise. Here are my projected top-10 for the NHL Draft. 1. Edmonton Oilers, Connor McDavid — This is the most talked about player since Sidney Crosby. McDavid gives the Oilers another high impact player on a roster that already includes Ryan Nugent Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, and Taylor Hall. Edmonton hasn’t had much success in the win column over recent years, but McDavid is the type of player that changes things. 2. Buffalo Sabres, Jack Eichel — It’s no secret the Sabres tanked for the chance to draft McDavid. However, they will have to settle for the second best prospect in the draft, Jack Eichel. Although, Eichel is far from a consolation prize. He led the Boston University Terriers to the National Championship, and is the most hyped American-born Hockey prospect of the last two decades. Eichel will look really good alongside Evander Kane next season. 3. Arizona Coyotes, Noah Hanifin — The Coyotes already have a promising core of forwards in their pipeline, and they could use some defensive help. After trading away Keith Yandle, Arizona could look Hanifin’s way to pair him with one of the league’s more underrated blue liners in Oliver Ekman Larsson. 4. Toronto Maple Leafs, Dylan Strome — Leaf fans want to win, and they want to win now! At the very least, Strome can give the Leafs a dynamic playmaker on the team’s second line. ( That is  assuming Phil  Kessell,  James Van Riemsdyk, and Tyler Bozak remain as the top line options. ) He could play at wing or center position, but his immediate NHL future will depend on what the team does with current second line center, and former top pick,  Nazem Kadri. 5. Carolina Hurricanes, Mitch Marner — This is an obvious choice for the Hurricanes. Marner finished second to Dylan Strome for the OHL scoring crown, and is arguably just as efficient. His only real downfall is his size, as he is listed at 5’11. However, Carolina needs scoring, Marner is their best shot at accomplishing  that, assuming Strome is off the board. 6. New Jersey Devils, Lawson Crouse — Crouse could be the most under appreciated player of the 2015 draft class. He is a physical player that will punish his opponents on defense, and offense.  Many say he best compares to Rick Nash. 7.  Philadelphia Flyers, Ivan Provorov — The Flyers could use a solid two-way defenseman. While Provorov is a tier below Hanifin, he is still the Flyers best option. He would form a stellar one-two punch with Philly’s other young d-man, Samuel Morin. 8. Columbus Blue Jackets, Zack Werenski — Columbus might have one of the best prospect systems in all of hockey. One thing the team has prided itself on is quality defenseman. Werenski will only add to that list. The University of Michigan star amassed 25 points in 35 games, and is a smart, but not overly aggressive, two way player. 9. San Jose Sharks, Matthew Barzal — San Jose severely underperformed last season. Logan Couture hasn’t taken that next step into NHL elite, and last year’s early season breakout star, Tomas Hertl, was nowhere to be found. The pick of Barzal makes sense, as he is the best available player on the board, and San Jose needs all the talent it can get. 10. Colorado Avalanche, Pavel Zacha — Zacha would be ranked a lot higher if he had managed to stay healthy for the 2014-15 season. He was only able to appear in 37 games for his junior league team, Sarnia Sting. He is gritty and aggressive, and some scouts say he is the best pure center prospect not named McDavid or Eichel. A perfect complement to pair with Colorado’s young core.
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2015 NHL Draft Lottery: Oilers Hope McDavid Can Bring New Life Into Franchise

The Edmonton Oilers won the 2015 NHL Draft Lottery, despite finishing the season with a better record than both the Arizona Coyotes and Buffalo Sabres. The Oilers now have a golden opportunity to land the phenomenal Connor McDavid. Edmonton is no stranger to the top overall pick. In fact, they have held the top pick in four of the last six seasons. The team has used those selections on Ryan Nugent Hopkins, Taylor Hall, and Nail Yakupov, all of which have thus far failed to live up to the prestige of being the number one pick. Nugent Hopkins is coming off his second 56-point season, but he was once considered the next Sydney Crosby, and thus far has failed to defy expectations. Hall had been the only one of the trio to record over 60 points in a season, scoring 80 for the 2013-14 campaign. However, an injury riddled 2014-15 campaign left him to play in only 53 games which limited him to only 38 points on the year. Finally, we get to the biggest puzzle out of them all, Nail Yakupov. The Russian-born winger has seemingly had a hard time adjusting to the NHL style of play. He has never scored more than 34 points in any of his three professional seasons, and at times has looked lost on the ice. The chance to draft McDavid might be a fresh start for the Oilers, as he is one of the best prospects to come along in ages. This season, McDavid scored 120 points in 47 games for the OHL Erie Otters, and led Canada to first place in the World Junior Classic. While Oilers General Manager, Craig MacTavish, wasn’t able to definitively state whom his team would be taking (It’s literally the worst kept secret in all of hockey.) he did offer some insight into his thinking when it comes to Conor McDavid. “He’s not only the most productive junior player, but also the most dynamic.” Hopefully, the addition of McDavid can give the Oilers the ammunition to make moves on their roster, as the team is going to be very active looking at defensive and goalie help. It’s entirely possible Edmonton trades one of their former top overall picks or other high draft sections to make moves to better the team. Just don’t expect the Oilers to trade the pick. MacTavish made that very clear when he spoke on the team’s chances of dealing the top selection. “Zero” MacTavish said. Unless something drastic happens, Connor McDavid is going to be an Oiler. Let’s just hope Edmonton never gets the top overall pick again.
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Edmonton Oilers: Nail Yakupov and The Russian Factor

They call it the Russian Factor, and it’s an issue amongst all NHL teams. This theory is based off the notion that Russian-born players will seek to play in their homeland instead of the NHL. The most recent case was that of New Jersey Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk, who opted out of his contract to play in Russia. However, we could soon see another Russian-born player make his way back to the former Soviet nation. When the Edmonton Oilers drafted Nail Yakupov with the first overall pick in the 2012 draft, the team expected big things, but they have gotten nothing along those lines. The Russian-born winger has put up a measly 63 points in his three NHL seasons. At this point, we can safely call Yakupov a bust, but we must also use caution in that assessment as he is still only 21 years of age. The age issue aside, Yakupov is simply not performing up to standard. It might be a mixture of things keeping him from reaching his potential. Edmonton has been bathed in mediocrity since he was drafted, and they don’t have a solid winning culture. It could be the American game is proving to be too hard to grasp for him. There might not be a definitive answer, but something isn’t clicking. Yakupov can choose to go play in Russia, and not only play for his country. The KHL ( Russia’s premiere hockey organization) might not have the exuberant contracts of the NHL, but it offers a chance to play at home, and like Kovalchuk before him, Yakupov could settle in Russia and forget the NHL entirely. It was reported last October that Yakupov was mulling to return to Russia and once again play in the KHL. The forward played in for KHL’s Neftekhimik the season before debuting for the Oilers. In 34 NHL games this season, Yakupov has recorded only 8 points; 4 goals and 4 assists. To put that in perspective, 77 defensemen have more points than Yakupov through games played on December 21st. To say that Yakupov has had a trying start to this season is an understatement. The only wrinkle in this plan might be the KHL itself. The organization is currently falling on hard times. As the value of the ruble ( Russia’s currency system) crashed, so did its teams in the KHL. If the league can’t pay its players, then the KHL might cease to exist. While nothing is set in stone at this point, it is worth keeping an eye on. Whatever the case may be, the thought of playing in your homeland is an opportunity many Russian NHL stars wish they could achieve. If the KHL stays afloat, it could be expected that Yakupov seeks a fresh start, leaving his NHL days behind him.
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NHL: Oilers F Leon Draisaitl Heads List Of Top 2014-15 Calder Trophy Front-Runners

(June 26, 2014 - Source: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images North America)
(June 26, 2014 – Source: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images North America)
There is no bigger achievement for a young player in the NHL than winning the Calder Memorial Trophy.  The award, which is given to the year’s top rookie, signifies not only great achievements, but an incredible team effort as well. For many NHL teams, rookies can spark new life into a franchise just as much as an established veteran.  We see it every year, a young and hungry prospect plays their heart out to make a difference for their team, and with a new season approaching it’s time for a new class of rookies to make their mark in the league. Here are some of the front-runners that could walk away with the Calder Trophy. Kevin Hayes- New York Rangers Despite being drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks with the 24th pick in the 2010 draft, Kevin Hayes decided not to sign with the team, and instead chose to play collegiate at Boston College.  After three underwhelming seasons at the school, Hayes blossomed during his senior year as he put up an impressive 28 goals and 39 assists. When Chicago’s rights to Hayes expired on August 15th, 2014 he became eligible to sign with any NHL team. On August 20th, Hayes opted to join the New York Rangers on an entry-level contract. During his college career at Boston College, Hayes was able to show his ability to play two-way hockey. The Rangers pride themselves on having these type of players, and that should garner him at least a spot on the team’s second or third line.  However, New York is extremely deep and playing time for Hayes might come at a premium. But, if Hayes can see consistent ice time, and set up himself on a top power play unit, then it wouldn’t be a surprise for him to reach the 55-point plateau. Johhny Gaudreau- Calgary Flames Gaudreau might be the most polarizing player on this list. He made a name for himself at Boston College, where he teamed with the aforementioned Hayes, as one of the most exciting players in the NCAA. He has been called the “Johnny Manziel of hockey” because of his exciting and—dazzling—playmaking ability that transcended the collegiate game. Like Manziel, Gaudreau is not the tallest player in his sport, as he is listed at 5’9. Despite his small stature, Gaudreau already has a few NHL games under his belt, and scored his first NHL goal on his first professional shot attempt.  Gaudreau’s short stature has many comparing him to Martin St. Louis, who might be the greatest “little man” in NHL history, and Gaudreau does indeed have the skills to be at his level. Many have said Gaudreau is a pure scorer who can eventually mature into a 30-goal scorer over time. His best asset might be his puck-handling and agility, as scouts are amazed at his ability to avoid the open ice hit’s from opposing defenders. Gaudreau will have to earn playing time in Calgary, but the team isn’t very deep and a second-line role is within reach. If he can stay on the second line, expect Guadreau to net around 22 goals, and put up about 55-60 points. However, he might be just one Jiri Hudler or Curtis Glencross injury away from a first line opportunity. Johnathan Drouin- Tampa Bay Lightning Drouin was recently named the top prospect on the annual NHL rankings list, and he certainly deserves that honor. Drouin was the third pick in the 2013 NHL draft, and some analysts thought he was a better overall player than the #1 pick in that draft, and last season’s Calder Trophy winner, Nathan Mackinnon of the Colorado Avalanche. In Drouin’s last two seasons with his junior team, the Halifax Mooseheads, he was able to accumulate a total of 213 points, which included a 105-point season in 2012-13 where he played on the same Halfax team as Mackinnon.  Drouin’s offensive potential is not going to be questioned, as his game could have allowed him to play with the Lightning last year, but G.M. Steve Yzerman thought he was better suited to develop more in Halifax. However, this year Drouin might force the organization’s hand. The Lightning jettisoned three forwards over the off-season opening up a role for Drouin on the team.  Last season, Tampa Bay experienced solid seasons from youngsters Alex Kilorn and Ondrej Palat, both of whom play at Drouin’s natural position of left-wing. The current projection is Drouin will overtake Kilorn, and assume a role on the second line. If he remains there his amazing potential might allow him to have a 60 point season, just like Mackinnon did before him. However, a move to the first line could change his fortunes drastically as Drouin would play on the same line as NHL juggernaut, Steven Stamkos, and if that happens a 70-point pace is not unlikely. Evgeny Kuznetsov- Washington Capitals Drafted 26th overall in the 2010 draft, Kuznetsov wasn’t supposed to be an instant starter with the Capitals. While the Capitals owned his rights, it was never a sure thing he would play for the team. Kuznetsov made it known he had a wish to play for Washington, but the fear of the “Russian Factor”, which is the belief that Russian players will eventually end up playing in their homeland over the United States, loomed high. Despite his young age, Kuznetsov was an extremely effective player in the KHL, the top professional league in Russia, scoring 146 points in 210 games. Despite the risks associated with drafting him, Kuznetsov decided to play in the NHL, and signed an entry-level deal with Washington on March 8th, 2014. Evident by his dominating play in the KHL, Kuznetsov will have little trouble adjusting to the NHL style of play, and he might be the most pro ready prospect in the league. He possesses flawless stick handling, and is a sensational passer. He can create scoring chances for his line, which is essential to be a topline center in the NHL. He is already slotted on the Washington Capitals second line, and would likely be a first-line player if the team didn’t have All-Star Nicklas Backstrom on its roster. While he has the potential to be an 85-90 point NHL player, expectations must be tempered during his rookie season.  His ability to create offense will likely slot him for about 30 assists, and he might be able to garner around 25 goals. However, an injury or demotion to Backstrom could place him on the first line, which would place him with Alexander Ovechkin, in which case his assist and goal number would skyrocket. Leon Draisaitl- Edmonton Oilers Of all the 2014 draft picks, Draisaitll is the most likely to receive Calder consideration. Why is Draistial the most likely to win the award? Because, he will receive the most playing time of all the draftees. The situation in Edmonton is very favorable for Draisaitl to step in and play a significant role. The team lost second line center Sam Gagner to Arizona and Draisaitl is the team’s best offensive replacement at the position. He was able to record 105 points for his junior league team last season, and that total included 67 assists. It helps that Draisaitl has sniper David Perron on his line. Last season, Perron notched 28 goals on the Oilers second line and a player with Draisaitl’s offensive instincts might benefit from a player of Perron’s caliber. Draisaitl could be a consistent 75-point player in his NHL career, so a 55-60 point season wouldn’t be out of reach for him this year. Aaron Ekblad-Florida Panthers Ekblad, a defenseman, was the #1 overall pick in the 2014 draft, and will be almost assured a top line spot for the Panthers. NHL defenseman are one of, if not the, hardest position to predict for success. The last defenseman to be picked #1 was Erik Johnson in 2006. Johnson has never cracked the 60-point plateau in his career, and is widely praised more for his defensive ability. That’s not to say defenseman can’t be effective early in their careers.  Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, while only recording 27 points his rookie year, was able to become a Norris Trophy candidate in only his second year. Judging by recent young defenseman’s success in the NHL, Ekbald will be a rookie of the year candidate, but Ekblad is such a special talent. He was one of three players granted exceptional status by the junior league, OHL, the other two were NHL mega-star John Tavares and likely 2015 top overall pick Conor McDavid.  With Ekblad being so highly regarded could it be possible he has a breakthrough year for a defenseman? Ekblad has an amazing offensive pedigree for his position, he was able to score 23 goals and distribute 30 assists for his OHL team, the Barrie Colts. He will have a very young team around him, and they include many top-five picks such as Aleksander Barkov and Johnathan Huburdeau. Is it likely he wins the Calder? Probably not, but he is good enough to make it interesting. Honorable Mention The chances of Jake Allen and John Gibson winning the Calder Trophy are directly related to how much playing time they receive. Widely considered as two of the top goalie prospects in hockey, both Gibson and Allen will have to earn the role as #1 goalie for their respective teams. Both St. Louis (Allen) and Anaheim (Gibson) are Stanley Cup contenders, so if one can become the starter they could easily put up Calder-like numbers. Depending on who you ask, Teuvo Terravanien is a top-three prospect in the NHL. Drafted 18th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2012 draft, “Teuvo” already has the skills to be an effective second-line winger this season. However, with the depth Chicago has on offense, it would be highly unlikely that Terravainen receives anything more than third-line duty, and that would simply not allow him to put up effective numbers. This year’s Calder Trophy race is full of many elite talents, and these few players represent just a handful of potential candidates for the award.  All we know is that the winner of the award will most certainly deserve it. For current reports, entertainment, politics and more please follow us at @TheInscriberMag and like us on Facebook: The Inscriber : Digital Magazine
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NHL : Team USA Unveils Men’s 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Hockey Roster

Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images
Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images
ANN ARBOR – Team USA unveiled their 2014 Winter Olympic Games men’s hockey roster, shortly after Toronto’s shootout win over Detroit in the 2014 Winter Classic. There were some snubs, some new faces, and some returning members of the 2010 team. First off are the forwards. The team features a nice blend of skilled scorers, as well as gritty defensive forwards. The forwards are Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks, Zach Parise of the Wild, Canucks center Ryan Kesler, Phil Kessel of the Maple Leafs, James VanRiemsdyk of the Maple Leafs, Rangers winger Ryan Callahan, TJ Oshie of the Blues, Dustin Brown of the Kings, David Backes of the Blues, Joe Pavelski of the Sharks, Paul Stastny of the Avalanche, Max Pacioretty of the Canadiens, Blake Wheeler of the Jets, David Backes of the Blues, and Derek Stepan of the Rangers. The most notable snub was Bobby Ryan of the Senators. Ryan is a pure goal scorer who was a key member of the 2010 team. His snubbing from the team came as a surprise to many. Overall, this is a solid group of forwards. With elite scorers like Kane and Kessel, as well as grinders like Oshie and Brown, this USA forward group has a good balance of finesse and toughness. Next up are the defenseman. There are some new faces among these guys. They are a good blend of defensive and two way players. The defensemen are Ryan Suter of the Wild, Justin Faulk of the Hurricanes, Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik of the Penguins, Ryan McDonagh of the Rangers, Cam Fowler of the Ducks, Kevin Shattenkirk of the Blues, and John Carlson of the Capitals. The most notable snubs here are Keith Yandle and Jack Johnson, both of whom are very talented. However, the group of defenseman is a talented one. There are guys who can contribute offensively, as well as some tough, strictly defensive guys. There are many new faces to the national team among these defenseman, and it remains to be seen if they can handle the pressure of the Olympic games. The goalies feature the 2010 starting goalie Ryan Miller, who was absolutely outstanding in those games, Jonathan Quick, and Jimmy Howard. Miller will likely start, but Quick can easily step in if Miller struggles.  Overall, this is a talented hockey team. The USA management selected a lot of young talent to this team, and their handling of the pressure of these games will be key to the team’s overall performance.
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