July 14 2016 10:54AM
There's something weird about rivalries. On one side of the room, you have a foe that you just can't stand. Nothing about them is likable. You want nothing more than to see them fail. But at the same time, you strangely want that blood on your hands. It doesn't feel right when others do the job for you. It feels worse when they're doing it to themselves.
So that's why I'm calling you today, Marc Bergevin. We need to save you from yourself, so we can get back to the business of hatred.
July 14 2016 07:17AM
Matt Martin's contract with the Leafs seems to be one of the most divisive additions the team has made in the post-Nonis era. Many fans are excited about a player Mike Babcock described as "a real good skater, real good forechecker." Babcock added that he sees Martin as a player who will "keep the flies off our team and give us a presence out there." The Leafs Nation's own Jess Pincente reflected the other side when she described the signing as "questionable" and "somewhat hard to justify."
Whatever the case, the Leafs have Martin on a 4-year contract now, so it's worth trying to figure out what exactly they can expect to get for $2.5 million per season. Some people, like Babcock, see Martin as bringing qualities in terms of his personality and style of play that will help the Leafs' younger players adjust to and excel in the National Hockey League. I'll leave that kind of analysis to others. What I'm going to take a look at here is how Matt Martin stacks up statistically. In particular, I'll look at him from three angles: offensive production, puck possession, and neutral zone play.
July 13 2016 06:27PM
If the Edmonton Oilers can't get a puck-moving defender at the NHL level, perhaps finding—and developing—this player-type is the wise route to take. There are some impressive talents bubbling under in the AHL, and one or more could be available in the next several months. Here is a quick look at the best offensive defensemen in the AHL during 2015-16. (Photo by Mark Williams)
July 13 2016 11:00AM
The Canucks' lack of secondary offence was a hot topic last season, and with good reason. In spite of a vintage offensive performance from Daniel Sedin and Jannik Hansen's emergence as a 20-goal scorer, the club finished with the league's second-worst offence in 2015-16.
Secondary scoring's been elusive for a few seasons now, though. Fans are at a point where they have a difficult time remembering the club's last authentic second line. A reality they confront more often than not with the tongue in cheek description of the Canucks, as a team with "three third lines".
Acquiring Loui Eriksson is bound to alleviate concerns about goal-scoring, but he's also likely to play alongside Daniel and Henrik Sedin. Such a development leaves the future of the Canucks middle-six shrouded in mystery. Satiar Shah explored the possibility of moving Eriksson down the lineup in favour of Jannik Hansen, but that addresses just one of the many questions facing that section of the lineup.
A trade or signing may still be to come, but as of right now the question remains: can the Canucks expect to have a true second line next season?
July 13 2016 08:49AM
Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY SPORTS
Many suspect that barring several quantity-for-quality or pure dumping trades, the Toronto Maple Leafs' training camp is going to be an absolute dogfight for the various available positions. Simply put, while the Leafs might be presently lacking the top-end talent necessary to be a threat in the Eastern Conference, they have more B-Level depth than just about everyone else through a combination of taking on contracts and playing well on the draft podium.
But there's a problem here, and it's that the team might have no choice but to part ways with some players if a couple of the kids impress in September.