2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round Preview:Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Kent Wilson
April 13 2016 01:00PM

The Washington Capitals were the run away favourites of the East. The Philadelphia Flyers, in contrast, squeaked into the playoffs thanks to an unlikely late season charge. This should be one of the biggest mismatches of the 2016 playoffs, but this series may turn out to be closer than what seems apparent when glancing at their regular season results. 

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The Trouble With Drafting Goalies

Kent Wilson
December 26 2015 04:00PM

(This article was originally published on August 14, 2008 on my now defunct personal blog. It stands as perhaps my most seminal piece so I wanted to re-share it here. To some degree, it explains the goaltender market and why teams have generally moved away from drafting puck stoppers in the first round. I have edited it slightly to remove overly dated references.) 

During my look at Sutter's draft history as the Flames GM, I commented that I was surprised the club drafted two goalies in a single year (Keetley and Lalande in '05). That and the preponderance of goaltending prospects the organization (the two above plus McElhinney, Irving and James Spratt) has got me wondering about goalies recently, in particular the draft/develop part. 

I've come to the shaky but ever strengthening conclusion that drafting goaltenders is just about a complete waste of time.

Bear with me. 

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Top-10 UFA Countdown: #1 Justin Williams

Kent Wilson
June 30 2015 01:00PM

It's an indication of the strength of this particular UFA crop that Justin Williams comes in number 1 on our list. That's not to take anything away from the 33 year old, who has been a high-end winger for years. But his age and the fact that he's only scored in the 40-point range the last two seasons goes to show there isn't a lot of franchise changing players available to sign this summer. 

Despite those concerns, Williams remains a very useful player, in part because his value doesn't merely come from his offense. As one of the few wingers who has proven he can push possession over the years, Williams is a guy who can play up and down the line-up and provide quality minutes to whoever inks him.

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The Big List of NHL Draft Resources

Kent Wilson
June 22 2015 12:00PM

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There is a lot of information and analysis to consider when it comes to the NHL entry draft. Hundreds of draft eligible kids, thousands of stats lines, dozens of draft coverage publications/blogs and innumerable opinions about who is going to pick whom.

If you're like me, you probably spend a lot of time clicking from tab-to-tab in your browser, or wasting your time searching for draft reports, mock drafts and consensus rankings. So to make things easier for myself (and for you), I've compiled all the lists, ranks and tools I use to follow the draft. 

Enjoy!

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Top-10 UFA Countdown: #6 Matt Beleskey

Kent Wilson
June 16 2015 11:00AM

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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports

This is a series counting down the top-10 pending UFAs. It will be posted across the Nation Network over the next month! Enjoy! 

Almost every postseason there arises an unlikely hero from the middle of a team's roster to make headlines. And any time that player is a pending free agent, teams line up to pay that him too much money as a result. Call it the Bickell effect. 

This year, that player is Matt Beleskey. The Ducks 27-year old winger has been a run-of-the-mill NHL forward for years, but his 8-goal in 16-games playoff performance combined with his size (6', 205 pounds) has him on a lot of GM's radars heading into July. Just to make his agent even happier, Beleskey also put up the best regular season of his NHL career, managing 22-goals and 32-points. His underlying numbers, however, tell a much more complicated story than his counting stats.

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