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2017 NHL Mock Expansion Draft

By Brett Malamud

The stars will be bright in Las Vegas tonight as the NHL Awards commence. The show will also be significant due to the unveiling of the roster for the league’s newest franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights. Here are my picks for the 31st NHL team.

 

Anaheim Ducks: Clayton Stoner, 24, D

Right off the bat, we start out with a tough selection. It was long rumored that the Ducks may make Jakob Silfverberg available if they chose to protect a fourth defenseman, but that didn’t happen, and Ducks GM Bob Murray opted for the 7-3-1 protection format. Defenseman Sami Vatanen could be one of those candidates to get selected and then flipped to another team. We know that there is a deal in place with Anaheim though, which should take Vatanen out of play. So I’m going to believe that the Ducks will allow Vegas to take Stoner.

 

Arizona Coyotes: Peter Holland, 26, C

While the options aren’t that attractive in the desert, Vegas must take a player from all 30 teams, and Peter Holland is a good depth pick. They could also take the 36-year-old winger Radim Vrbata on a one year deal and try to flip him to a contender later in the year.

 

Boston Bruins: Malcolm Subban, 23, G

If a team like say, the Philadelphia Flyers, wants Vegas to select goaltender Malcolm Subban for them and make a trade, that’s an option. Of course, that’s if Vegas doesn’t want Subban for themselves. I see this as an opportunity for McPhee to select his goalie of the future. Surely Marc-Andre Fleury won’t be there forever (assuming he picks him). I’d also keep an eye on Colin Miller, who I’d consider an extremely underrated talent. An offensive defenseman, Miller has a wicked shot and while his defending could use some more work, he could see himself on the powerplay regularly.

 

Buffalo Sabres: William Carrier, 22, LW

The former second round pick should be the pick here, after moving to the Sabres in the Ryan Miller trade. Being only 22, he’ll get some time to develop in the minors before making the jump up to the NHL full-time.

 

Calgary Flames: Alex Chiasson, 25, RW 

Chiasson is a player who I’ve had my eyes on for the last couple of years. The 6-3 winger also is a restricted free agent, but should be pretty easy to lock down to a deal. Vegas could opt to take defenseman Brett Kulak here instead, but with a ton of defense out there, I’ll opt for Chiasson.

 

Carolina Hurricanes: Lee Stempniak, 34, RW

Not too much talent here. Hurricanes GM Ron Francis did a good job protecting the right guys, and Vegas will probably take Stempniak as the best available player from Carolina.

 

Chicago Blackhawks: Marcus Kruger, 27, C

There is a rumored side deal with the Blackhawks that’ll see them ship Kruger along with defenseman Trevor Van Riemsdyk to Vegas. I believe those rumors to be true, as the Blackhawks are currently the only NHL team over the salary cap and look to free themselves from some larger contracts.

 

Colorado Avalanche: Mikhail Grigorenko, 23, C

Grigorenko is a restricted free agent, so he’d have to agree to a contract, but he’s only 23 years old and has a lot of upside. The popular pick here has been goaltender Calvin Pickard. Pickard played very well in the IIHF World Championships, but based on how I am building this team, Pickard would see himself in the minors, and wouldn’t be a good pick here.

 

Columbus Blue Jackets: William Karlsson, 24, C

The following comes from the Columbus Dispatch: “…the Blue Jackets will pay dearly to dissuade the Golden Knights from taking [Josh] Anderson, [Joonas] Korpisalo or one of the veteran defensemen — Jack Johnson or David Savard — that they would have exposed. The Jackets are believed to be trading this year’s first-round draft pick (No. 24 overall) and a prospect (not Pierre-Luc Dubois or Sonny Milano) to Vegas for assurances that the Golden Knights will select either left wing Matt Calvert, center William Karlsson or defenseman Ryan Murray.”

With that said, I’ll take the former second round pick William Karlsson.

 

Dallas Stars: Cody Eakin, 26, C

For me, Dallas was one of the final picks that I made, and so I’m going on the best player available here, and that’s Eakin for me.

 

Detroit Red Wings: Petr Mrazek, 25, G

I will admit, I was more surprised about this non protected player more than any other in the expansion draft. But Detroit had to make a decision, and they picked the 33-year-old Jimmy Howard over 25-year-old Petr Mrazek in goal. The problem for me with this was that had they left Howard unprotected, Vegas almost definitely wouldn’t have taken him. But with Mrazek there instead, it’s definitey intriguing and there’s going to be some debate in Las Vegas on who they should select. McPhee will have some other strong options in net, with Washington’s Philipp Grubauer, Colorado’s Calvin Pickard and New York’s Antti Raanta all available, as well as Boston’s Malcom Subban for the taking. Vegas won’t load up on goalies unless they have deals in place to flip players to other teams. So while I’d like to see Mrazek be the selection, don’t be shocked if they play it safe and select center Riley Sheahan.

 

Edmonton Oilers: Griffin Reinhart, 23, D

What’s interesting about this pick is the common assumption that McPhee worked with Reinhart, who is an RFA this summer, during his time in New York. Yes, McPhee was a part of the Islanders organization from September 2015 through July 2016 before being hired by Golden Knights owner Bill Foley to run the Vegas franchise. But Reinhart was actually traded in June 2015 during the NHL Draft. But don’t think that he doesn’t know about the young prospect. Yes, Reinhart failed to crack the Isles top six before being shipped off to Edmonton. And yeah, he’s had a minimal impact in Edmonton. I’d take one last shot on him if I were Vegas.

 

Florida Panthers: Jonathan Marchessault, 26, C

The Panthers left Marchessault unprotected just after he scored 30 goals this season. Vegas should also like the fact that he is making less than $1 million for the upcoming year, and is just 26 years old.

 

Los Angeles Kings: Brayden McNabb, 26, D

At 6-5, McNabb would be a good pick for Vegas and at just 26 years old, I could see him as a player they’d like to keep on their blue line for years to come.

 

Minnesota Wild: Eric Staal, 32, C

While many were quick to put defensemen Matt Dumba in this spot, there must be some debate over this pick with the Vegas brass.  Dumba is a good prospect, and am attractive option. But I see this expansion draft deeper on defense than scoring forwards, and so Staal makes sense. Staal was Minnesota’s top goal scorer this season and could find himself as Vegas’ first team captain, after serving the role in Carolina. It’s widely thought that Minnesota will have a trade in place to have Vegas lay off Dumba/Scandella/Staal and take a player such as Erik Haula. But I honestly think that taking a player such as Staal or Dumba would be more valuable than a draft pick (remember, the Wild traded their first round pick for this season. However they do have picks for the coming years, so keep an eye on that) to take Haula. With that said, I’m taking Staal here as the more marketable asset, and if he is picked, Vegas fans will find themselves sporting his jersey on opening night.

(UPDATE: There are reports out there that Haula will sign a multi year deal with Vegas, so expect that to be the pick tonight)

 

Montreal Canadiens: Brandon Davidson, 25, D

If the Knights can agree to a deal with UFA Alex Radulov, then they should take the chance on him as he’ll provide an impact, and will take on some salary. Of course, that could come on July 1, and not picking him here could allow Vegas to take two players from the Habs. I believe that their selection here will be Davidson, who represents the youngest Montreal defenseman under contract through next season.

 

Nashville Predators: James Neal, 29, LW

If George McPhee has a deal in place with the defending western conference champions, it probably take Neal off the table, and I see Colton Scissons as a possible second choice. But I believe that Vegas sees Neal as a potential threat on their first line. After all, this is a team who have repeatedly said that they want to be good right away, while stocking up for the future at the same time. Neal would fit into that equation, even with his $5 million cap hit.

 

New Jersey Devils: Jon Merrill, 25, D

Another young defenseman for Vegas with Merrill being picked here. The Devils don’t want to lose a guy like Merrill, but it doesn’t seem likely that a side deal will be made.

 

New York Islanders: Casey Cizikas, 26, C

Newsday’s Arthur Staple reported Monday evening that the Islanders have a deal in place with Vegas to send a first round pick and Mikhail Grabovski ($5 million cap hit) to the Golden Knights, in exchange for selecting a designated player chosen by the Isles. I believe that the player is Casey CIzikas, who holds a $3.35 million cap hit. In a move that would free up $8.35 million, the Islanders would create the cap space necessary to go after coveted trade assets such as Matt Duchene, Jordan Eberle, and Alex Galchenyuk. They could always opt to give Vegas defenseman Thomas Hickey ($2.2 million cap hit), but if the Islanders trade defensemen Calvin De Haan, Ryan Pulock, or Travis Hamonic in a trade for a top six forward (or possibly two trades), I’d bet the Islanders would want Hickey at least on their roster. I’m going to stick with my gut and go with Cizikas.

 

New York Rangers: Michael Grabner, 29, RW

Coming off of a career year, Grabner could give the Golden Knights some help up front. This pick could end up being goaltender Antti Raanta, who has proven that he could be a number one goaltender in the NHL. I expect him to factor into the goaltender conversation for the Golden Knights if they pick him instead, or if he’s not flipped to another team first. I’ll take Grabner here though, based on the goalies I’ve already selected.

 

Ottawa Senators: Marc Methot, 31, D

According to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, Ottawa could not get a deal done before George McPhee’s self imposed midnight trade deadline on Monday. Therefore, I believe that McPhee is taking Methot. Of course, there is interest in Methot, but one of the important statements from McPhee came Monday morning when discussing flipping a player to another team, where he said that if they like the player, they’re keeping him for themselves. I believe that Methot may have been one of those players that he was talking about.

 

Philadelphia Flyers: Jordan Weal, 25, C

Weak would be a good addition as Vegas seeks more young forwards. Wouldn’t be surprised if Michael Raffl is the pick here either.

 

Pittsburgh Penguins: Marc-Andre Fleury, 32, G

Fleury is the slam dunk, home run pick for Las Vegas, and is sure to be their starting goaltender come opening night, and the first face of the franchise. It also looks that they’d be getting something from Pittsburgh to take Fleury, so not much to debate here.

Fleury

Three time Stanley Cup Champion Marc-Andre Fleury appears to be Vegas Bound. (Via PPG)

 

San Jose Sharks: Brendan Dillon, 26, D

Dillon would be a good pick in this spot, being just 26, and carrying a manageable 3.27 million cap hit.

 

St. Louis Blues: David Perron, 29, RW

I see this as a deadline deal for Vegas, with them flipping Perron for more picks. He could get flipped right away though.

 

Tampa Bay Lightning: Jason Garrison, 32, D

GM Steve Yzerman is looking for a way to hold on to young defensemen Slater Koekkoek and Jake Dotchin. Therefore I am projecting a side deal here with Garrison being the pick for Vegas.

 

Toronto Maple Leafs: Kerby Rychel, 22, LW

Rychel is a good pick for Vegas here because of the upside he has. He could factor as a possible trade chip in the future if it doesn’t work out in Sin City.

 

Vancouver Canucks: Reid Boucher, 23, LW

Boucher flipped around the league this season with New Jersey, Nashville, and Vancouver earlier this season after being claimed on waivers. He has a lot of upside, and so this pick will be more about potential than anything.

 

Washington Capitals: Nate Schmidt, 25, D

McPhee could take Philipp Grubauer. McPhee could take Jay Beagle or Brett Connolly. He could even take Kevin Shattenkirk if he can get him to agree to a contract during the exclusive negotiations window. But I have the Capitals going in a different direction and selecting Nate Schmidt, who is one of the best young defensemen available to the Golden Knights. The situation in Washington is interesting because Schmidt got pushed out of the lineup when the Caps traded for Shattenkirk. But Schmidt reminds me of another quick skating defenseman that came up through the system, and made the team. That was John Carlson, and if I’m George McPhee, I’d want that on my team’s blue line.

 

Winnipeg Jets: Toby Enstrom, 32, D

I believe that Toby Enstrom is a candidate for the pick-and-flip for Vegas. With so many teams looking to get a top four defenseman, Vegas could hold the cards, and look to flip him for picks, or for a player that was protected for the expansion draft.

 

 

With this team that I’ve selected, there are sure to be some trades in place before July 1, as the team with this roster will have to sign some of these players to RFA deals while staying away from the cap. McPhee has said that he sees his team in the fifties when discussing team salary. It should be interesting to see what he has up his sleeve.


Brett Malamud is a graduate of Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy

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2016 NHL Trade Deadline Reaction

By Brett Malamud

Trade deadline day came and went, and there wasn’t too much going on. Let’s take a look at what happened in the days leading up to the deadline:

Winnipeg Jets trade Andrew Ladd, Matt Fraser and Jay Harrison to Chicago Blackhawks for Marko Dano, 2016 1st-round pick and conditional pick in 2018 Draft

Reaction: The Ladd-Chicago reunion will bring cup memories back to fans, and should be a good acquisition, but at what price? This is an example of just one of the numerous over the top asks for rental players. Chicago overpaid but if that means a Stanley Cup, it won’t matter to them

Carolina Hurricanes trade F Eric Staal to New York Rangers in exchange for F Aleksi Saarela, 2016 2nd-round pick, 2017 2nd-round pick

Reaction: I thought that Carolina would receive more for Staal. Seems that the Rangers got away with one here, and have a depth forward to help them towards a playoff run.

EricStaalRangers.jpg

Eric Staal should help the Blueshirts down the stretch (Via Rangers)

Washington Capitals trade F Brooks Laich, D Connor Carrick, 2016 2nd-round pick to Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for F Daniel Winnik, 2016 5th-round pick (previously acquired from Anaheim)

Reaction: One can’t help but feel bad for Brooks Laich. The longest-tenured player on the Capitals, and finally as they’re poised to make a deep playoff run, they deal him. Winnik isn’t a huge get for Washington, but he can’t hurt their chances.

Arizona Coyotes trade F Mikkel Boedker to Colorado Avalanche for F Alex Tanguay and prospects F Conner Bleackley and D Kyle Wood.

Reaction: Both clubs walk away making a good deal. Boedker will help by putting the puck in the net, and the ‘Yotes get two prospects with potential.

The New Jersey Devils trade D Eric Gelinas to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for a 3rd-round pick in 2017.

Reaction: There was no room for him in NJ, so Gelinas is dealt. Will get an opportunity out West. Good return for him

Calgary Flames trade D Kris Russell to the Dallas Stars in exchange for D Jyrki Jokkipakka, F Brett Pollock and a conditional 2nd-round pick in 2016.

Reaction: The Stars overpaid. Period. Yes, they get a shot blocker, but he’s a rental. The Flames on the other hand will be rooting for the Stars in the playoffs, as if the Stars reach the conference finals, the pick becomes a first rounder. They also get Jyrki Jokkipakka, who has become a household name, at least in my household (yes, really). A good deal for the Flames here. 

The Carolina Hurricanes trade D John-Michael Liles to the Boston Bruins in exchange for a 3rd- round pick in 2016, a 5th-round pick in 2017 and F Anthony Camara.

Reaction: The Bruins will like having blue-line depth by adding JML.

The Buffalo Sabres trade F Jamie McGinn to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a conditional 3rd-round pick in 2016.

Reaction: I like this deal for the Ducks. They needed a good winger, and they got one in McGinn.

Florida Panthers trade F Brandon Pirri to the Anaheim Ducks for a sixth-round pick in 2016.

Reaction: How did the Ducks get away with this? A sixth rounder? Really? The Panthers could have gotten more for Pirri. 

The New Jersey Devils shipped F Lee Stempniak to the Boston Bruins in exchange for a second-round pick in 2017 and a fourth-round pick in 2016.

Reaction: The Bruins get another good player in Stempniak. Will be a good addition with Boston. As for the Devils, I was a bit surprised that they dealt him, but in a tough Metropolitan Division, it’s understandable why they did.

 

The Montreal Canadiens trade winger Devante Smith-Pelly to the New Jersey Devils for winger Stefan Matteau.

Reaction: Two young players get swapped. Here’s hoping it works out this time for them.

Ottawa Senators trade F Shane Prince and 2016 7th-round pick to New York Islanders for 2016 3rd-round pick

Reaction: see https://dabuzzza.com/2016/03/01/the-curious-case-of-garth-snow-and-the-fresh-prince/ 

The Calgary Flames trade forward David Jones to the Minnesota Wild for goaltender Niklas Backstrom and a sixth-round draft pick.

Reaction: Won’t really help either team. Each player’s career is basically done.


Brett Malamud is an English Rhetoric Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy

 

2014-15 NHL Predictions

By Brett Malamud
At last, the predictions are here! For the Metropolitan Division Preview, click here. For the Atlantic Division Preview, click here. For the Central Division Preview, click here. For the Pacific Division Preview, click here. Have a great NHL season everybody!
EAST

METROPOLITAN

1. Pittsburgh Penguins*
2. New York Rangers*
3. New York Islanders*
4. Washington Captals*
5. Columbus Blue Jackets*
6. New Jersey Devils
7. Philadelphia Flyers
8. Carolina Hurricanes

 

ATLANTIC
1. Boston Bruins*
2. Tampa Bay Lightning*
3. Montreal Canadiens*
4. Detroit Red Wings
5. Toronto Maple Leafs
6. Ottawa Senators
7. Florida Panthers
8. Buffalo Sabres

 

WILD CARD
1. Washington Capitals
2. Columbus Blue Jackets

 

The Penguins are still the team to beat in the Metropolitan. They’ll coast to the division title. The Rangers and the Islanders follow, setting up a playoff series between the two that is sure to have New Yorkers on the edge of their seats. Alex Ovechkin has 43 goals and leads the caps in as the first wild card team. The Blue Jackets take the other wild card spot.

 

The Atlantic Division standings this season remain very similar to last season’s. Tukka Rask leads the Boston Bruins to their second straight division title. Tampa Bay takes the league by storm, showcased by Jonathan Drouin and Steven Stamkos. Montreal belongs here at three, a spot they’re familiar with. The Red Wings get ousted after facing strong teams in four out of their last six games to finish the season. Phil Kessel has a good season, but the Maple Leafs do not. Florida Panthers rookie Aaron Ekblad gets sent down to juniors nine games into the season. The rebuild is in full swing for the Ottawa Senators and the Buffalo Sabres put themselves in position for Connor McDavid.

 

WEST
CENTRAL
1. Chicago Blackhawks*
2. St. Louis Blues*
3. Dallas Stars*
4. Colorado Avalanche*
5. Minnesota Wild*
6. Nashville Predators
7. Winnipeg Jets

 

PACIFIC
1. Anaheim Ducks*
2. Los Angeles Kings*
3. San Jose Sharks*
4. Vancouver Canucks
5. Arizona Coyotes
6. Edmonton Oilers
7. Calgary Flames

 

WILD CARD
1. Colorado Avalanche
2. Minnesota Wild

 

The Chicago Blackhawks win the division on the last day of the season after taking down the Blues twice in the last week of the season. The Blues settle for the second spot in the Central. The Stars leapfrog the Avalanche for the third spot, and Colorado gets knocked into the Wild Card spot. Minnesota takes the second Wild Card spot. Nashville has another big disappointment, and barely misses taking the spot from Minnesota. The Jets sets themselves up for the second pick in the draft before the lottery.

 

Anaheim takes the division after the Kings fall out the top spot when they lose four out of five games on their road trip in late March. The Sharks trade Joe Thornton on deadline day and get Patrick Marleau out earlier in the season. Tomas Hertl struggles a bit in his second NHL season, but the Sharks reach the playoffs. The Canucks just miss out on the playoffs after a stellar season from Ryan Miller. Arizona, Edmonton, and Calgary struggle and finish near the bottom of the league.

 

PLAYOFFS
 
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
Boston Bruins over Pittsburgh Penguins
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
Chicago Blackhawks over Los Angeles Kings
STANLEY CUP FINALS
Chicago Blackhawks over Boston Bruins

 

Jonathan Toews will lead his team to a Stanley Cup win this season. (Via SM Sports)

Jonathan Toews will lead his team to a Stanley Cup win this season. (Via SM Sports)


Brett Malamud is a Computer Science Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy

Central Division 2014-15 Preview

By Brett Malamud

Wednesday is finally here! All day long, Dabuzzza will be bringing you the NHL coverage as we approach tonight’s games. If you missed the Metropolitan Division Preview, click here. If you missed the Atlantic Division Preview, click here. Now we move to the Western Conference.  The Central division hopes to be a good battle all the way to the end. The Avalanche won the division last season, but it seems that almost everyone in the division has improved. Let’s take a look at this season’s Central Division:

Chicago Blackhawks
The Blackhawks opted to sign Daniel Carcillo instead of keeping Nick Leddy, and sent Leddy off to the New York Islanders. In return, they got Ville Pokka, Anders Nilsson and T.J. Brennan. The 20 year old defenseman Pokka was sent down to the AHL along with Brennan. You’d have to feel for T.J. Brennan though. Brennan has bounced around the NHL a bit, contributing mostly in the AHL. He signed a contract with the Islanders over the summer, and was finally ready to make that jump to become a full time NHL player. Instead, he was part of a salary based trade to Chicago and the Blackhawks sent Brennan back down to the AHL. That has to be a bad feeling. Nilsson will play in the KHL this year and is a non-factor. On the active roster, the Blackhawks look to get over the fact that they were a game seven overtime goal away from heading back to the Stanley Cup Final for the third time in five seasons. They added Brad Richards to their offensive weapons, and he’s expected to start the season as their third line center. 25-year-old Patrick Kane sees himself on the second line with 21-year-old Brandon Saad and 23-year-old Andrew Shaw. Not bad for youth. The top line consists of Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. The attack will be hoping to continue the success of last season, when they ranked second in the league in goals per game. Duncan Keith leads the defensive unit. He’ll be paired with Brent Seabrook. The two are a huge threat from the blue line in the offensive zone, combining for 13 goals and 89 assists last season. Corey Crawford will be in net for the Hawks. Crawford struggled early last season but got it together, and hopes to maintain more consistency this season.

 

Colorado Avalanche
Are the Colorado Avalanche really back? The Avs came out of nowhere and stormed to the front of the Central Division standings, after seeing themselves in the basement of the league. A year after winning the division, they’ll have a target on their backs. They suffered a first round loss in seven games to the Minnesota Wild, allowing 22 goals over the seven game span. That can’t happen if Colorado wants to compete farther into the playoffs this season, or to be honest, any season. Adding Nathan MacKinnon in the draft helped, and he finished his rookie campaign with 24 goals and 39 assists, claiming the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year. Adding to the youth of the Avalanche is Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog, who netted 23 and 26 goals, respectively. These three young guns will continue to grow. Joining Duchene and Landeskog will be veteran forward and future hall of famer Jarome Iginla, who was signed as a free agent over the summer. Goaltender Semyon Varlamov was a Vezina Trophy finalist last season and will try to help the defense out. Speaking of defense, that seems to be the issue over in the Mile High City. They’ve got Erik Johnson and Tyson Barrie, but after that, they don’t really have much. Keep your eyes on that defense, because there could be a midseason trade to bolster the back line.

 

Dallas Stars
The Stars jumped into the playoffs last year with a wildcard spot, but saw their season fall at the hand of the top seeded Anaheim Ducks. This season, they saw their offense, which ranked 10th in goals per game, improve with a few major moves. Dallas traded four players for Jason Spezza on July 1. Later in the day, they signed Ales Hemsky to a three-year contract. Both moves immediately impact the offense. Hemsky and Spezza are expected to  be line mates on the second line. Second year forward Valeri Nichushkin will hope to make an impact this season, and jump up from the fourth line wing. Alex Goligoski leads the defense, one that can be described as average. Kari Lehtonen will stay in goal and comes off of a good season in which he had 33 wins. In terms of stats, the Stars find themselves in the middle of the pack in every major category. That’s were they’re expected to end up this season- in the middle of the pack.

 

Minnesota Wild
The worst kept secret in hockey this season is finally out. Thomas Vanek has signed with Minnesota. Vanek comes off of a season in which he was bounced in trades from Buffalo to New York to Montreal. Many expected Vanek on the first line with Zach Parise, but instead finds himself on the second line with Mikko Koivu. Parise, meanwhile, comes off of a 29 goals, 27 assists season. Ryan Suter continues his mega deal and will be paid 11 million dollars this season and will carry a cap hit of 7.54 million dollars annually through 2024-25. Niklas Backstrom will be the starting goaltender and will stand behind the fifth ranked defense in terms of shots against, and seventh ranked in goals against.
It took a three year, $19.5 million contract to land Thomas Vanek in Minnesota (Via Star Tribune)

It took a three year, $19.5 million contract to land Thomas Vanek in Minnesota (Via Star Tribune)

 

Nashville Predators
Former Preds Barry Trotz heads out to Washington D.C. to coach the Caps. Nashville opted for Peter Laviolette. Laviolette brings in the up-tempo attacking style. They’ll have depth at the center position, bringing in Olli Jokinen, Mike Ribero and Derek Roy. They also brought in James Neal in a trade for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling. Neal should bolster the power play stats, coming from the experience of the Penguins’ power play unit. The defense should be great as they’re led by Shea Weber and Seth Jones. The Predators hope that goaltender Pekka Rinne can stay healthy, after missing most of last season.

 

St. Louis Blues
The Blues watched as their 2-0 series lead evaporated in the first round of the playoffs, and the Blackhawks won four straight games to end St. Louis’ season. The Blues added Paul Stastny, a player that should help change the offense. There are many names that should help the offense: David Backes, Alexander Steen, Vladimir Tarasenko, and T.J Oshie just to name a few.Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk anchor the blue line once again, and Brian Elliott will man the net.

 

Winnipeg Jets
Devin Setoguchi and Olli Jokinen left to greener pastures and it might hurt the Jets a bit. Last season the Jets ranked Mark Scheifele will be up on the first line with Blake Wheeler and Evander Kane. Zach Bogosian and Jacob Trouba lead a defense that ranked 22nd in the league in goals against. Ondrej Pavelec must improve in goal if the Jets plan on coming close to the playoff race.

Brett Malamud is a Computer Science Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy

2014 NHL Free Agency Preview

By Brett Malamud

Forwards

Thomas Vanek- 30 Years Old- LW (2013-14: 27 G, 41 A, 68 Pts.)

Possible Destinations: Wild

Vanek has narrowed his list to “4 or 5 teams” and I’d be shocked if the final decision wasn’t Minnesota.

 

Jarome Iginla- 36 Years Old- RW (2013-14: 30 G, 31 A, 61 Pts.)

Possible Destinations: Bruins, Wild, Canucks, Red Wings, Lightning

Unless Iginla decides that he’ll take a pay cut to return to Boston, I’m not quite sure how the Bruins will find salary cap space to sign him. This should be an exciting bidding war.

 

Paul Stastny- 28 Years Old- C (2013-14: 25 G, 35 A, 60 Pts.)

Possible Destinations: Blues, Predators, Maple Leafs, Red Wings, Avalanche

Speaking of bidding wars, the most pursued free agent out there is none other than Paul Stastny. Stastny grew up in St. Louis and so the Blues are certainly intriguing. I think that they’ll make a good offer. Colorado would like to keep him but could very well be outbid by a team that’ll overpay for him.

Paul Stastny will be reeling in the offers when free agency opens (Via Getty)

Paul Stastny will be reeling in the offers when free agency opens (Via Getty)

 

Matt Moulson- 30 Years Old- LW (2013-14: 23 G, 28 A, 51 Pts.)

Possible Destinations: Islanders, Sabres, Senators, Stars, Predators

Let’s get this out of the way: Don’t doubt a Moulson return to Long Island. The 30 year old still remains close with one of his best friends John Tavares. Moulson loved being an Islander. Isles GM Garth Snow made his mistake when he dealt Moulson to Buffalo for Thomas Vanek, who told the team a few months later that he wouldn’t re-sign. I’m sure Tavares will be chirping in Snow’s ear.

 

Mike Ribeiro- 34 Years Old- C (2013-14: 16 G, 31 A, 52 Pts.)

Possible Destinations: Flames, Blackhawks, Predators

The Coyotes bought out Ribeiro for his behavior off the ice. Should be interesting to see who will take a chance on him.

 

Daniel Alfredsson- 41 Years Old- RW (2013-14: 18 G, 31 A, 49 Pts.)

Possible Destinations: Red Wings

Alfredsson has indicated that his two options are the Detroit Red Wings and retirement.

 

Defensemen

Matt Niskanen- 27 Years Old- (2013-14: 10 G, 36 A, 46 Pts.)

Possible Destinations: Wild, Islanders, Capitals, Lightning,

Niskanen is the top all around defenseman on the market in my opinion. The Lightning cleared a ton of cap space and I think signing Niskanen is the reason why they did.

 

Dan Boyle- 37 Years Old- (2013-14: 12 G, 24 A, 36 Pts.)

Possible Destinations: Islanders, Lightning, Rangers, Canadiens, Red Wings, Maple Leafs

Boyle’s rights were traded to the Islanders, but they couldn’t nail down a deal so he’ll hit the FA market. His age will effect his contract so don’t expect anyone to break the bank on Boyle.

 

Christian Ehrhoff- 31 Years Old- (2013-14: 6 G, 27 A, 33 Pts.)
Possible Destinations: Islanders, Lightning, Red Wings

Ehrhoff was bought out of his remaining seven years of his 10-year deal with Buffalo. Detroit showed a lot of interest at the trade deadline, so keep an eye on them.

 

Michael Del Zotto- 24 Years Old- (2013-14: 3 G, 13 A, 16 Pts.)

Possible Destinations: Islanders, Maple Leafs

Del Zotto was not given a qualifying offer by the Nashville Predators, making him an unrestricted free agent. The question with Del Zotto is: can this be a good value pickup? He won’t get paid as much as the others, so a low spending team like the Islanders may take a good look at him.

 

Brooks Orpik- 33 Years Old- (2013-14: 2 G, 1 A, 13 Pts.)

Possible Destinations: Islanders, Capitals, Blues, Sabres

If you notice, the Islanders were listed on each of the defensemen’s free agents possible destinations. Yes, they need a defenseman and so they’ll look at each one. I believe that they should sign Orpik but don’t think they will. He has a blistering shot and is a force on defense. A hard hitter, Orpik will be a good fit wherever he goes.

Goaltenders

Jonas Hiller- 32 Years Old- (2013-14: 29-13, 5 SO, 2.48 GAA)

Possible Destinations: Lightning, Jets, Canucks

This is a rough spot for Hiller here, sharing the market with Brodeur, Miller and Nabokov. But he could go to a team such as the Lightning and Jets who have a shaky situation when it comes to a plan B in net.

 

Martin Brodeur- 42 Years Old- (2013-14: 19-14, 3 SO, 2.51 GAA)

Possible Destinations: Maple Leafs, Devils, Lightning, Bruins, Blackhawks, Penguins

Instead of retiring, Brodeur will explore his options outside of New Jersey. I don’t expect him to be signed on the first day of free agency.

 

Ryan Miller- 33 Years Old- (2013-14: 15-22, 3 SO, 2.72 GAA)

Possible Destinations: Canucks, Sharks

Miller already met with Vancouver officials and my belief is that he’ll be signed by them.

 

Evgeni Nabokov- 38 Years Old- (2013-14: 15-14, 4 SO, 2.74 GAA)

Possible Destinations: Islanders, Capitals, Flyers

Another interesting signing will be Nabokov. He wasn’t close on a deal with the Isles and so he’ll go out to free agency. The Capitals need a backup for Braden Holtby. Philly is over the cap and so I think Nabokov will end up with the Caps.


Brett Malamud is a Computer Science Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy

NHL Trade Deadline is March 5th…Who’s Available?

By Ryan Crawford

New York Islanders

Stick a fork in them because the Islanders are done. 12 points out with six teams to jump and 22 to play makes it virtually impossible to make a serious run. Throw in the injuries to Tavares and Nielsen and yesterday’s call ups of Strome, Lee and Halmo and it’s wait until next year for the talented but young and beat up Islanders. The top players available include:

Thomas Vanek- the best player on the market, Vanek can be had for a high-end prospect a mid level prospect and a first round pick. Can Garth Snow get that high a return is the question.

Andrew MacDonald- word on the street is a first round pick gets the top d-man on the trade market

Evgeni Nabokov- not mentioned often but with the team out and UFA pending, he could be cheap goalie insurance for somebody. Minnesota? St. Louis?

Vanek will be a highly coveted asset to acquire at the trade deadline (Via USA Today Sports)

Vanek will be a highly coveted asset to acquire at the trade deadline (Via USA Today Sports)

New York Rangers

The Rangers are in a tough spot. They are a playoff team with key players approaching UFA status.

Ryan Callahan- The team captain is looking for about 47 million over 7 years and the team is offering 30 over 5. Interested teams are rumored to include St. Louis (Anthony Stewart?), Tampa Bay (Martin St. Louis?), Buffalo for a long-term deal, Columbus and Toronto.

Dan Girardi- Also looking for more than the Rangers want to pay, he would be a prime chip if the Rangers make him available. Expect Boston, Toronto, Philly, Anaheim and Phoenix to be in the mix.

Buffalo Sabres

The team with the worst record in the league will make just about every veteran available. Three in particular are hot.

Ryan Miller- The top goalie on the market, the Sabres are looking to create a bidding war for his services. St. Louis heads the list of potential destinations but don’t count out Minnesota, Anaheim, San Jose or even Colorado.

Steve Ott- a gritty guy who could fit in with any of the top contenders. Boston, Pittsburgh, Montreal, Chicago and Tampa Bay head the list.

Matt Moulson- acquired early this season for Vanek, Moulson will be flipped at the deadline for more young assets. With scoring at a premium, expect Los Angeles, Ottawa, Montreal and possibly Detroit to be in play.

Calgary Flames

Mike Cammalleri– smaller scoring winger could be looked at by Pittsburgh, New Jersey or Los Angeles to provide some jump.

Nashville Predators

Shea Weber- probably won’t be moved at the deadline but could be a blockbuster if the right team comes calling with enough goodies. Philly and Edmonton are always mentioned but teams like Buffalo, Florida, Dallas and the New York Islanders have plenty to offer and more than enough cap space.

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IT SHOULD BE AN EXCITING 10 DAYS IN THE NHL AND DABUZZZA WILL BE ON TOP OF IT THROUGHOUT. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for up to the minute coverage.

2014 NHL Predictions

By Mike Basile

The NHL season is officially underway and with the new conferences, there is much debate which teams will make it to the postseason this year. The new format this year is three teams from each conference and two wild card teams with the next best records.

East:

Metropolitan division:

1 seedPittsburgh Penguins- Personally I do not see much debate here. They have been the most dominant team in the east the past few years and with a fully healthy Crosby, this team is more dangerous than ever. Also with Letang just coming back from injury and Fleury playing at his best, this team could run away early this season.

2 seed- Washington Capitals– There are a few teams that I could see getting the 2 seed in this division, but the highly powered offense of the Caps wins them this 2 seed for me. Ovechkin is playing like the 50 goal scorer we know he is and the young defensemen have been stepping up and showing the Caps are no joke.

3 seed- New York Rangers– This team has struggled early, but wouldn’t most teams that started on a long road trip and had many injuries? This team relies on their defense and goaltending, and why wouldn’t you with a goalie like Lundqvist? With offensive threats like Stepan and Nash this team could be a danger.

Wild card: New York Islanders– I see this team only missing the top 3 by one or two points. This team is highly powered offensively with Vanek and Tavares leading the way. With some shaky goaltending and defense, they will find themselves out of the top 3 and getting in with a wild card spot.

The acquisition of Thomas Vanek helps, but the lack of defense and goaltending will hurt (Via Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The acquisition of Thomas Vanek helps, but the lack of defense and goaltending will hurt the Isles in the standings (Via Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Atlantic Division:

1 seed: Toronto Maple Leafs– Depth is the key here, and when I hear depth I think Maple Leafs. It is scary how many scoring options they have offensively . Their defense is no slouch either, and with Bernier and Reimer in net, this team is very dangerous.

2 seed: Detroit Red Wings– Veterans lead the way for this team. Backed behind Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Alfredsson, they are filled with leadership. If Jimmy Howard plays this whole season like he has so far, they will no doubt be the 2 seed in a very very good division.

3 seed: Boston Bruins– The team I believe to be the most defensively sound in the NHL. They play strong defensively, make little to no mistakes and wait for their offensive breaks, which will come with players like Krecji and Iginla. It doesn’t hurt to have Rask between the pipes either.

Wildcard: Ottawa Senators– Yes, I know this team has struggled to begin the season, but a team with this much talent cannot stay down for 82 games. The newly acquired Bobby Ryan really gave this team a big boost offensively and if other players like Spezza and Turris can step up, this team will be golden. With my pick to win the Norris (Erik Karlsson) leading them defensively and a solid Anderson between the pipes, they should get in.

West:

Pacific:

1 seed: Anaheim Ducks– I have loved this Ducks team in the west for many years now, but now with more spread out scoring, I believe this team has finally found a way to get over the peak. With the best 1-2 punch in goal with Hiller and Fasth, lighting the lamp against this team is no easy task.

Fasth and Hiller will carry the Ducks far this season (Via Debora Robinson/Getty Images)

Fasth and Hiller will carry the Ducks far this season (Via Debora Robinson/Getty Images)

2 seed- San Jose Sharks– This team is always successful during the regular season, and with player like Thorton and Pavelski, it is no secret why. With young players like Couture and Hertl stepping up, this team could be great! The defense helping with the scoring is also a key to this team’s success.

3 seed: Los Angeles Kings– Quick has a save percentage under 90 percent and this team is still sticking around the top 3. The defense has also been shaky thus far, but when this team puts it all together, they are very dangerous.

Wild card: Phoenix Coyotes– When a team gets scoring all throughout their lineup, they are a tough team to beat. That is exactly what the Phoenix Coyotes do and that is why they have 22 points so far this year. Mike Smith is also a big key for this team, as he usually makes or breaks them.

Central

1 seed: Chicago Blackhawks– Have I said enough? Another team that I really do not think there is much debate about, as there’s too much talent all around. An offensive power house and a defensive lockdown, this team is awfully good! One minor weak spot in net, but Crawford has only been getting better.

2 seed- Dallas Stars– My dark horse pick. This pick may surprise many, but I love the Stars this year. My vezina pick Kari Lehtonen will be the back bone for this team. Having offensive threats like Seguin and Benn will give Kari a little support back between the pipes.

3 seed- St Louis Blues– This team is fundamentally sound all over the rink. They do not turn the puck over, and they make other teams pay for their mistakes. Another defensive based team that also has their d-men jump up and help the offense in the scoring category. With Halak in net, they are tough to beat.

Wild card: Colorado Avalanche– I am not buying this hot start from the Avs. I do believe they are a good team, but I do not see them winning this division. Behind superstar Matt Duchene and solid goaltending from Gigure, they will get a playoff spot.

Stanley Cup Finals- Ducks over Leafs in 6

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Mike Basile is a sophomore at York College Of Pennsylvania. He is a huge sports fan, and when it comes to hockey maybe considered a little obsessive. Giving insight on the Islanders and all things hockey. You can follow him on twitter at @mikeybasile1