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2014-2015 NHL Expert Picks

By on October 8, 2014 at 8:27pm
Who will win the 2015 Stanley Cup? (http://www.thehockeynews.com/) Who will win the 2015 Stanley Cup? (http://www.thehockeynews.com/)

The NHL season is finally here. It’s the second season under the new divisional playoff format, and plenty of big moves happened in the offseason to make things interesting. Will Ryan Miller make Vancouver a contender? How about Jaroslav Halak and Johnny Boychuk for the Islanders? Or perhaps Jarome Iginla for the Avalanche?

In bringing you our picks for how the season will turn out, scoring is as follows:

  • Picking a team to make the playoffs is worth one point.
  • Picking the #1 team in each division exactly is worth three points, then two points for #2 and one point for #3.
  • Picking the first Wildcard from each conference exactly is worth two points, then one point for the second Wildcard.
  • Picking the best team in the league is worth two points.
  • In the event of a tie in the standings, we’ll also be selecting which team will wind up with the NHL’s worst record, then second worst, then third worst.

So with that out of the way, check below for everyone’s picks, and come back once the season is complete to see how everyone did. Continue reading 2014-2015 NHL Expert Picks »

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Bruins sign Gagne and Additional Notes

October 15, 2014 at 2:00pm in Bruins, NHL
Simon Gagne (Bruins.NHL.com)

The Bruins officially announced Tuesday morning that they signed forward Simon Gagne to a one year, $600,000 contract. Gagne, who was invited to camp on a tryout basis, impressed Coach Claude Julien and GM Peter Chiarelli enough to warrant a roster spot.

As a player, Gagne has been a talented goal scorer who can put the puck in the net and make smart passes. However, he has been a bit fragile as he has consistently missed time due to injury over the years. He hasn’t played more than 63 games in a season since ’08-’09, when he put up 74 points  for the Flyers.

It will be interesting to see where he fits in with this Bruins line-up. I think he would be a good fit with Patrice Bergeron (who wouldn’t), but you don’t want to break up the 63-37-18 line. Will he slide in with Milan Lucic and David Krejci on the first line? That’s a tall task for someone who has exactly 12 goals over the past three seasons.

Continue reading Bruins sign Gagne and Additional Notes »

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fraser

When the Bruins traded young offensive star Tyler Seguin to the Dallas Stars in July 2013 they received an impressive haul in return. The two headliners of the deal were Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith, both of whom played extensively last year save for the time Eriksson missed due to injury. The Bruins also got a little known right wing named Matt Fraser. Fraser played sparingly last season, 18 games including playoffs, but performed in big moments including scoring an overtime winner in game four of the second round against the Canadiens in Montreal. This season the 24 year old winger could not only end up playing on the Bruins’ top line, but he could be a real difference maker for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations.

Fraser will begin 2014 skating with Milan Lucic and David Krecji, once Krecji returns from injury. Originally it was thought that Eriksson would occupy the right wing spot vacated by Jarome Iginla, but Fraser outplayed Erikson during training camp and will get an opportunity to play with Boston’s top line. If Eriksson ends up playing on the top line, Fraser would play on the third line with Swedish assist master Carl Soderberg and defensive stopper Chris Kelly. Either way, Fraser is poised to score often.

Continue reading Why Matt Fraser Could be the Piece that Puts the Bruins Over the Top »

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Patrice Bergeron (nydailynews.com)

Opening night is finally upon us! After an offseason that was a little too long for Bruins fans, we finally get to see our boys in Black and Gold skate against the hated Philadelphia Flyers. There’s been plenty of buzz surrounding the team this year and there is plenty to be excited about.

David Krejci is on the IR and expected to be out a few days, so we’re going to likely see some combination of Ryan Spooner, Craig Cunningham, and Brian Ferlin tonight. Malcom Subban is also currently with the big club, but that may change between now and game time.

As always with this time of year, it’s fun to make predictions so we can look back and see how well we did. I’ll make some Bruins-specific predictions first and then make my very early predictions for the NHL Awards.

Bruins Predictions:
Most Goals: Patrice Bergeron (34)Most Assists: David Krejci (48)
Most Points: Patrice Bergeron (74)
Most Points for Defenseman: Dougie Hamilton (47)
Biggest Surprise: Matt Fraser
Bruins Record: 49-27-6, 104 points, 2nd in East

NHL Predictions: Continue reading NHL Awards Predictions; Fantasy Hockey Mailbag »

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Fantasy Hockey Preview: Goalies

October 3, 2014 at 5:00pm in Fantasy, NHL
Kari Lehtonen (fansided.com)

The backbone of your team, goalies are really the riskiest players on the board come draft day. There are so many different strategies and approaches when it comes to net-minders that it really depends on how the draft itself goes. You’ve all seen in Fantasy Football drafts where one guy takes a quarterback, and the next thing you know 7 of the next 15 picks are quarterbacks because nobody wants to miss out on getting a good one when they’re gone. That’s exactly how it works with goalies too.

If you want an elite one, like Rask or Lundqvist, then you’re going to have to cough up your first or second round draft pick to get them. That’s personally not my recommendation but others do it and sometimes it works. A few years back I took Lundqvist and Luongo with my first 2 picks, which is a bit extreme but it gave me the security I need in goal while everyone else began scrambling.

Realistically, it’s a good idea to have your #1 goalie within the first 5-6 rounds. But again, it depends on how the draft goes. If you find that goalies are going early and you don’t want to miss out, it’s okay to reach. The reverse is true as well. But, like a closer in baseball, the starting goaltender job can be a bit temperamental and you might not be getting the production you thought you were. This is why I tend to wait.

Continue reading Fantasy Hockey Preview: Goalies »

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Tomas Hertl (wcbsports.com)

In fantasy hockey, offense is really the bread and butter of your team. They’re really the ones who will contribute in all categories and be the most valuable players in the fantasy hockey world. At least 7 or 8 of the first 10 draft picks will be forwards, and this is with good reason.

When drafting forwards, as with any position, its vital to know your league details. How do penalty minutes factor in? Do you get points for hits? Faceoff wins? People tend to draft purely on offensive skill and forget that some of the other categories are just as valuable. If face-offs count, Patrice Bergeron’s value goes up. If hits count, then someone like Hartnell or Lucic becomes more attractive. You get the point.

So when you’re drafting, don’t forget to fill out all categories. For example:

Player A: 76 points, 32 PIM, 19 PPP, 122 SOG
Player B: 60 points, 106 PIM, 24 PPP, 209 SOG

Which player would you rather have? Player A has much more points, but he’s not too stellar in the other categories, whereas player B has less points but contributes great numbers across the board.

Continue reading Fantasy Hockey Draft Primer: Offense »

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Krug and Smith Sign 1-Year Contract Extensions

September 29, 2014 at 11:49am in Bruins, NHL
Smith and Krug (rantsports.com)

The Bruins announced this morning that they have resigned both Torey Krug and Reilly Smith to contract extensions for one year at $1.4 million. Krug and Smith are already skating with the team again and will be expected to be ready for the rest of the preseason.

These are obviously bridge contracts for these two, which really makes sense. Both showed great things last season and surpassed expectations, and this contract offers them a chance to prove to the team that they’re worthy of long term teams for a bit more money.

Financially, for this year, this is great news for GM Peter Chiarelli who can now fit them under the cap. These deals absolutely help both the players as well as the team. There is a big list of players whose contracts will expire next year, but for now we are right back in the hunt with a healthy roster loaded with options.

There are still cuts to be made and, most likely, trades to be completed in order to get the team cap compliant with the best possible roster. But realistically, signing Smith and Krug was the last thing left on our “to-do” list and now we’re in good shape to get the season started. Great deals and great news for Bruins fans.

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