Because It's the Cap: Arizona Coyotes

Megan Kim
May 24 2017 10:02AM

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© Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Nobody really expected the Arizona Coyotes to come out of the gate flying, although they took something of a step forward in 2015-16. If you've forgotten: They finished the year fourth in an admittedly weak Pacific Division, but strong seasons from rookies Max Domi and Anthony Duclair and Oliver Ekman-Larsson's best campaign to date gave Coyotes fans plenty of hope for the future. On top of that, the Coyotes firmly planted themselves on the analytics side of the fence when they named 26 year-old John Chayka general manager. 

Chayka went on to make some canny moves in the offseason, including taking on some deadweight in salary cap and drafting two first-round picks in Clayton Keller and Jakob Chychrun. 

You can't blame Coyotes fans for being a bit optimistic coming into the year. Not to be dramatic, but they were let down by some catastrophic sophomore slumps, a disjointed roster, and a down year by Oliver Ekman-Larsson's standards. Look -- Coyotes fans can still be optimistic. The best is ahead. Looking ahead is the way to go, because looking into the rearview mirror for this season? Not so pleasant.

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NHL First Round Preview: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Nashville Predators

Megan Kim
April 13 2017 01:04PM

This is part of a playoff preview series based at NHLNumbers.com

While some of the playoff landscape is not quite what we've been used to -- welcome back, Leafs and Oilers -- we're at least in familiar territory with the Central Division. Stop me if you've heard this before: The Chicago Blackhawks coasted to a first place finish in the Central (and the Western Conference) and will face the second wild card in the first round. This year, the second wild card happens to be the Nashville Predators.

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A NAHL Playoff Primer

Megan Kim
April 11 2017 04:02PM

NAHL Primer

Here it is, folks!

The NAHL playoff primer that none of you asked for, but are getting anyway.

If you're not familiar with the NAHL -- and it's okay if you're not, most people aren't -- here's the rundown: The North American Hockey League is the only USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier II Junior A league in North America. (In terms of talent, it's fair to say that the top NAHL players would be perfectly capable of competing in the USHL.) The ceiling for the majority of NAHL players is a good NCAA career, although it isn't uncommon for NAHL alumni to go on and play professionally. 

With over 1000 NCAA commitments in the past five years, the NAHL is genuinely a terrific route to take if you want to play college hockey. 

Recently, the NAHL has garnered some interest for being a goalie development hotbed -- shoutout to Connor Hellebuyck and Anthony Stolarz, who have both played in the NHL this year, and to Latvian goaltender prospect Mareks Mitens (we'll get to him soon).

Now that I'm finished sounding like an advertising reel for the NAHL, we can get to business. Because available statistics are limited and the integrity of said statistics vary from team to team depending on the off-ice officiating crew, take everything with a grain of salt. 

As Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney once said, the NAHL be a little bit "off the beaten path," but there's good hockey to be had, and the playoffs are as good a time as any to check in on a league you haven't watched before.

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Gold Medal Comes Down to Heavyweight Rivals US and Canada

Megan Kim
January 05 2017 05:20PM

It's the last day of World Juniors, which means that after tonight, we'll all have to wait a whole year for the Canadian populace to stake their entire nation's hopes and dreams on the shoulders of a teenaged goaltender. 

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World Juniors: A Prime Prospect Primer

Megan Kim
January 01 2017 06:25PM

It's the most wonderful time of the year! The hectic holiday frenzy is dying down, you've survived another round of extended family visits, and 2017 dawns like a blank canvas full of unlocked potential. More importantly, though, we're done with the group stage of World Juniors and are heading into quarterfinals!

The shocker this year is, of course, Finland in the relegation round. Beyond that, things have shaken out about as we all expected. Sweden, USA, Canada, and Russia are probably the teams that will challenge for the gold, barring a miracle run from one of the other four teams. (If a miracle run happens, no doubt plenty of people would be thrilled if it came from the upstart Danes, who have already captured our hearts with their... visor spray celebrations?)

In any case, one of the best things about World Juniors is the chance to watch top prospects with your own two eyes in glorious high definition, rather than depending on scouting reports or shoddy streams of questionable legality. 

In honor of the bracket play starting tomorrow, here's a list of #fun prospects to keep an eye on as we watch a bunch of teenagers. Some have been drafted already, some are draft-eligible this year, and one notable name is eligible in 2018. The only thing they have in common is that they're all skaters. (No goalies, at least not until we have a slightly larger #SampleSize.) Seriously, it's just a bunch of guys you should watch, because they are probably going to be doing cool things. 

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