Tag Archive | Carolina Hurricanes

Metropolitan Division 2014-15 Preview

October is upon us which means that we’re officially less than a week away from the start of the 2014-15 NHL Season. So before the season starts next Wednesday, I’ll give you a look at each of the 30 teams by division and then give you my predictions. So without further delay, let’s begin this year’s preview with the Metropolitan Division.

Carolina Hurricanes
With Jordan Staal out until at least December, the Hurricanes will have to rely on his brother Eric, who comes off of the least productive season since his rookie season, and Jeff Skinner. Carolina brought in new head coach Bill Peters as they undergo “a transition” to performing well once again. Cam Ward is still in net, and that’s great, but the Hurricanes are not expected to do much this season.

 

Columbus Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets traded for Scott Hartnell during the offseason and that should provide an immediate improvement on the offensive end. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will once again carry the team. Alexander Wennberg and Kerby Rychel are two young players that provide hope for the future. On the defensive end, Jack Johnson and James Wisniewski will man the blue line for a Blue Jackets team that hopes to return back to the playoffs.

 

New Jersey Devils
The Devils made some great offseason additions, bringing in Mike Cammalleri and Martin Havlat. Adding them to a forwards group that includes Jaromir Jagr, Travis Zajac and Patrick Elias turns the Devils into an intriguing team. The team said goodbye to the NHL’s all-time winningest goaltender Martin Brodeur at the end of this season. They’ll instead opt for Cory Schneider to become the full time starter in net and brought in Scott Clemmensen to be his backup. It’ll be interesting to see how the Devils compete with the rest of the division.
Mike Cammalleri will have a fresh start, as he joins the Devils (Via Bruce Bennett/Getty)

Mike Cammalleri will have a fresh start, as he joins the Devils (Via Bruce Bennett/Getty)

 

New York Islanders
This preview was scheduled to go up earlier this morning. However, there were rumblings  that Garth Snow was on the phone with a few teams and so I held off on it. The Islanders acquired Nick Leddy from Chicago and Johnny Boychuk from Boston this afternoon, changing the face of the team. Here’s the updated preview:

 

The Isles went out this offseason and brought in some great players. In free agency, the Islanders signed former Toronto Maple Leafs Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin, who could possibly be paired on the second line. Grabovski may also be used on the number one power play line alongside John Tavares and Kyle Okposo. On defense, the recent acquisitions of Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy prove that GM Garth Snow is playing to win now. They also have Griffin Reinhart and Calvin de Haan, providing hope for the future. In goal, the Islanders situation may have finally been settled. Jaroslav Halak will take over for Evgeni Nabokov, who signed with Tampa Bay. Former Boston Bruins net minder Chad Johnson was also brought in and will likely serve as Halak’s backup. For the first time in recent Islanders history, they’ll have two polished veteran goalies. The Islanders will be playing at Nassau Coliseum for the final season and the stakes are going to be high, so the Isles look to go out in style and reach the playoffs.

 

New York Rangers
The Rangers lost a bunch of key players this Summer including Brad Richards, Anton Stralman, Brian Boyle, Benoit Pouliot and Derek Dorsett. Their only major signing was 38 year old defenseman Dan Boyle. Henrik Lundqvist will still be great in net but it should be interesting to see how head coach Alain Vigneault makes his lines, especially after losing top center Derek Stepan to a fractured fibula.

 

Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers haven’t had much going for them since going to the Stanley Cup Finals a few seasons ago. They added Michael Del Zotto and R.J. Umberger. They also have Steve Mason in net and are hoping that he improve this season. They’ll struggle but it’ll be fun to watch the line of Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, and Wayne Simmonds.

 

Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins added Patric Hornqvist, Steve Downie, Blake Comeau and Christian Ehrhoff to an already deadly threat in the Eastern Conference. The power play is always fantastic and with a line like Malkin, Crosby and Hornqvist, I believe that it’ll be the best in the league this season.

 

Washington Capitals
New coach Barry Trotz is defensive minded and that should help the offensive powered Capitals. The additions of Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen make for a crowded blue line in our nation’s capital. They’ll join John Carlson and Mike Green on defense. Calder trophy candidate Evgeny Kuznetsov should make a huge splash into the NHL and could see time on the power play with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.

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

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NHL Power Rankings

 By Mike Basile

1)    Chicago Blackhawks (20-4-4, 44 points) Currently on a six game win streak, this team continues to get hotter and hotter and are a sure pick for number one on the power rankings.

The Blackhawks lead the league in goals per game, led by Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews (Via Sports Talk Florida)

The Blackhawks lead the league in goals per game, led by Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews (Via Sports Talk Florida)

2)    San Jose Sharks (18-3-5, 41 points) Also on a nice win streak, the Sharks have won five in a row. With only three regulation losses, they are a very dangerous team.

3)    St Louis Blues (18-5-3, 39 points) With one of the top goal scores in the league (Alexander Steen) and a great goaltending duo, this team rounds out the top three.

4)    Colorado Avalanche (19-6-0, 38 points) Still a surprise team to many but with great young talent, this team’s hot start does not come as a surprise to me.

5)    Boston Bruins (18-7-2, 38 points) They are the most consistent team in the league in my opinion. They come to play every night and with great goaltending, are usually in the win column.

6)    Anaheim Ducks (18-7-4, 40 points) After a hot start, Anaheim hit a little cold spell, but I am not worried that they will be stuck in it long.

7)    Los Angeles Kings (17-7-4, 38 points) They are still playing good hockey even with their all-star goalie out until Christmas. Dustin Brown has shown true leadership with this team.

8)    Pittsburgh Penguins (18-9-1, 37 points) Usually you would expect to see this team around the top three, but with some inconsistency this season they have dropped to number eight.

9)    Phoenix Coyotes (15-7-4, 34 points) This team fights hard for wins and is backed by some very solid goaltending.

10) Tampa Bay Lightning (16-9-1, 33 points) In my opinion one of the most impressive teams this year. Without Stamkos and still way over .500 is a nice surprise and so they finish the top ten.

11) Detroit Red Wings (14-7-7, 35 points) They’re on a four game win streak right now and beat the Islanders for the first time since 2003 this week. With play like this, they can shoot up the rankings quickly.

12) Vancouver Canucks (14-10-5, 33 points) It’s been an up and down season so far for the Canucks. If they do not find consistency, they will not find any success.

13) Minnesota Wild (16-8-5, 37 points) With a rough end to the month a top ten team in points will be found out of my top ten.

14)  Montreal Canadiens (16-9-3, 35 points) 7-1-2 in their last 10 and quickly rising in the standings. They can crack the top ten soon if they continue to perform at this rate.

15) Washington Capitals (14-11-2, 30 points) With a big comeback win against the division rival Islanders this weekend, the Capitals won two straight and improve to .500 on the road.

16) Dallas Stars (12-9-4, 28 points) A team that I thought would be a playoff threat with great goaltending has been disappointing thus far.

17) Nashville Predators (13-11-3, 29 points) A -13 goals against is not beneficial for any team, but especially not a team that prides itself on defense.

18) Toronto Maple Leafs (14-10-3, 31 points) Toronto is considerably low on my rankings because I expected a lot from this team and quite frankly am disappointed in their overall play.

19) Philadelphia Flyers (12-12-2, 26 points) The team still has some pieces to connect, but Steve Mason is the biggest piece and he is in place.

20) New York Rangers (14-14-0, 28 points) A team that can usually have Lundqvist as a backbone did not start him for the second straight game last night in favor of Cam Talbot, who has been good in net. If Henrik gets going, they could have a scary two-headed monster.

21) Winnipeg Jets (13-12-4, 30 points) I usually do not like to call out one player, but the Jets expected big things from Ondrej Pavelec and have got pretty much nothing from him.

22) New Jersey Devils (11-12-5, 27 points) Win one lose one is not a good attitude to have in the NHL and it seems like the Devils have been playing like that all year so far.

23) Ottawa Senators (10-13-4, 24 points) It seems like their offense and defense can never click on the same night and that has resulted in a poor start for the Sens.

24) Columbus Blue Jackets (10-14-3, 23 points) A team that just missed the playoffs last season that had high expectations has struggled to say the least to begin this season.

25) Carolina Hurricanes (10-12-5, 25 points) Carolina has too many questions and no answers on the blue line. 57 goals for also does not help a struggling team.

26) Edmonton Oilers (9-17-2, 20 points) The best of the worst! They begin my bottom five in the league and this young team will NOT win games with poor defense and weak goaltending.

27) Calgary Flames- (9-13-4, 22 points) As expected, Calgary is in the bottom tier of the league. 3-5-2 in their last ten is not making matters any better.

28) New York Islanders (8-15-4, 20 points) After a good start to the season, everything went downhill after an injury to Lubomir Visnovsky. The team has lost six straight now and is treading water to stay alive.

29) Florida Panthers (7-15-5, 19 points) A team that is still in rebuild mode has Tim Thomas leading the way but is trying to pave the way for goaltender Jacob Markstrom. If there is a bright spot for this team, Aleksander Barkov looks great!

30) Buffalo Sabres (6-20-2, 14 points) Not much has to be said when your goal differential is -37. Actually there is one thing, DRAFT PARTY!

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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

Isles Trade Rumors Swirling…. Are Any True?

By Mike Basille

With a three game losing streak and losing their last game to the Winnipeg Jets, it is safe to say this team’s defensive problem is still not fixed. The penalty kill is still last in the league and it does not look like the top defensive pair can carry the load. In the bottom three of the league with 83 goals allowed on the season, this team needs a defensive swing fast. If anything, last game should have put this team over the top on making a trade. They allowed five goals (3 in less than 3 minutes) to a mediocre Philadelphia Flyers squad. This team is must make a defensive trade, an area in which they are weak and thin.

In regards to a possible trade, Carolina Hurricanes defensemen Tim Gleason’s name has been thrown around. After being a healthy scratch last game, it really looked like they were going to ship him. There has still been no sign of him being traded other than that. People may have overlooked that he was being scratched for the purpose of being traded, because he has only played in seven games this season. His stats definitely do not make you think a team should go out and get him but when you’re struggling like the Islanders have been, a veteran d-man could help. This is not the first guy I would pull the trigger on, but if it comes down to it, he would indeed help this team.

The Islanders would never make a trade with the Rangers right? So you would think, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Michael Del Zotto could possibly be seen wearing blue and orange. He still makes some glaring mistakes, but we must remember that this kid is only 23. The last two seasons he has posted a +26 so he must be doing something right! That is better than every Islander on the team had the past two seasons. If I am Garth Snow and the Rangers are serious about this deal, I would snatch him up fast.

Michael Del Zotto could be a huge boost to a weak Islanders defense (Via Getty)

Michael Del Zotto could be a huge boost to a weak Islanders defense (Via Getty)

Now we all want to know what the Islanders would have to give up for either of these two defensemen. In the case of Tim Gleason I would not want to see the Islanders giving up any more than a 3-4th round pick. He has had a rough start to the season and has found himself on the bench opposed to the ice. Now for a guy like Del Zotto, I would go and give away Michael Grabner. If the Rangers don’t bite on the struggling Grabner, I could see the Isles giving up a second rounder for him, but no more than that. If the Islanders want to turn this season around, they need to make a move now.

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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