August 30 2016 11:00AM
Sergei Belski: USA Today Sports
You can tell hockey season is just around the corner when the professional tryouts start rolling in. That's usually one of the first signs that summer is almost at a close.
For Canucks fans, though, it's often an off-season ritual their favourite team's notably absent from more often than not. In fact, the last PTOs the Canucks offered were to a geriatric Owen Nolan and Todd Fedoruk back in 2010-11. It's been a while, really.
To their credit, the Canucks haven't had the need to. They've been mostly competitive, or at least expected to be, for all but the last two-three years and didn't have many holes they could plug with a veteran tryout. That or they've tried to keep as many openings for young players as possible.
While you could certainly make the case that the Canucks are in a similar position to the two I broached for years past, their publicly stated need for help in the middle of their lineup indicates they're still looking for a helping hand. I've a few suggestions in mind, on the other side of the jump.
August 30 2016 07:00AM
One of the questions I’m often asked is why it is so important for NHL teams to address all of their important positional issues in the summer. After all, the reasoning goes, is there really much harm in checking out the players on the roster for a month or two and then fixing things up if necessary then?
Although superficially plausible, this is a dangerous way to run an NHL team.
August 29 2016 10:00AM
Glen Gulutzan has a handful of challenges ahead of him as the new Flames coach.
Perhaps no single obstacle is as big as the bottom end of the Flames blueline rotation. Brad Treliving has so far been unable to clear out any of the clutter from positions 4-6 on the club's back-end, leaving his new bench boss with an unsightly mix of aging players who all have the same problem: they can't defend.
To crystallize this problem further, we'll concentrate on Dennis Wideman. At $5.25M, Wideman is expensive. He still has some offensive chops, but his defensive game is rapidly swirling around the bowl. In the proper circumstances, Wideman could probably be an asset for at least one more year, but beyond that, you need two very obvious things: shelter at even strength and a partner who can do the defensive heavy lifting.
The first is possible. The second is the problem.
August 28 2016 01:00PM
We're inching closer and closer to the beginning of camps for the 2016-17 National Hockey League season. And with the hockey season getting closer and closer, the various fantasy hockey guides are hitting newsstands – and the Internet – for poolies to fawn over.
Much like our brethren over at The Leafs Nation, we're curious as to how many points each prognosticator believes various Calgary Flames players will earn over the next season. And our pal Dom Luszczyszyn even provided us with the same projections for Flames players as he did for the Maple Leafs' for this season. (Thanks, Dom!)
August 28 2016 10:00AM
The National Hockey League is expanding to 31 teams for the 2017-18 season, adding a brand new team from the sunny climes of Las Vegas, Nevada. That means that for the 12th time in league history, we're going to have us an expansion draft.
The Calgary Flames are no strangers to expansion drafts. They came into existence by virtue of the 1972 expansion draft (alongside the New York Islanders) and have given up players to brand new teams in eight expansion drafts since then.
But before you feel too bad for the fledgling Flames losing players here and there to other expansion teams, we're here to tell you that they usually didn't lose anybody that was particularly good.