Rangers might deal Zuccarello

March, 1, 2015
Mar 1
Forward Mats Zuccarello might not be a member of the New York Rangers for much longer. According to Newsday, negotiations regarding a new contract for the pending unrestricted free agent aren’t going well. Before Saturday’s loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, Ranger coach Alain Vigneault suggested GM Glen Sather wouldn’t hesitate to move the diminutive winger.

"History, since I've been here in this organization, would dictate that if Glen doesn't think that he's getting a deal that will satisfy both the organization and the player, he won't hesitate to move anybody … I would say that if somebody thinks Glen is bluffing, that he traded his captain last year a couple minutes before the deadline. So it has to be something that he thinks is fair."

Earning $3.5-million on a one-year deal, Zuccarello is apparently after a long-term contract paying out about $5.5 million per season. The 27-year-old has 12 goals and 23 assists (plus-13) in 59 games this season.

Sharp trade talk

March, 1, 2015
Mar 1
Even before the Chicago Blackhawks acquired forward Antoine Vermette from the Arizona Coyotes, rumors regarding a potential trade involving Patrick Sharp didn’t linger long. After speaking to Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman earlier this week, Sharp’s own agent quickly put that babbling to bed.

“He’s got no intentions of trading Patrick Sharp,” Rick Curran said, referencing Bowman.

According to the Sun-Times, the Washington Capitals and Detroit Red Wings have had interest in trading for Sharp. If so, both clubs will have to wait until the summer – at least – before taking another stab at the top-six forward. After trading for Vermette Saturday and snagging defenseman Kimmo Timonen from the Philadelphia Flyers Friday, the Blackhawks are likely done dealing in 2014-15.


Semin on the move?

March, 1, 2015
Mar 1
According to The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta, the Carolina Hurricanes continue to shop Alexander Semin. And the team is willing to retain a "significant portion" of the 30-year-old’s salary.

In the second season of a five-year, $35-million deal, Semin is universally considered a colossal underachiever. However, that’s not to say that a contending club wouldn’t be willing to take a flier on the gifted – if perpetually uninspired – winger, for a significant discount. Teams looking to fill a hole within their corps of top-six forwards, might want to gamble that a change in scenery might suffice in stimulating the former 40-goal scorer.

Semin’s former club, the Washington Capitals, are looking to add a top-six winger. As outrageous as that strikes, stranger moves have happened.

NHL, Alex Semin

Stars’ coach splits up Spezza, Benn

March, 1, 2015
Mar 1

Looking to spread the scoring around a bit, the head coach of the Dallas Stars is splitting up his two most productive forwards ahead of Friday’s contest against the Colorado Avalanche. At last check, Jamie Benn was tapped to compete with center Cody Eakin and Brett Ritchie, while Jason Spezza was pegged to center a forward line with wingers Erik Cole and Ales Hemsky.

While this shuffling removes a touch of fantasy shine from Benn and Spezza – Benn in particular – Eakin, Ritchie and Hemsky see an increase in value, as low to mid-salary additions in daily fantasy leagues. We especially like the Spezza/Hemsky pairing, which has enjoyed a fair amount of success already in 2014-15.

And although Friday’s opposing netminder has a good record against the Stars this season (3-0, 1.96 goals against average, .938 save percentage), Semyon Varlamov has been a little shaky of late.
Next game:: Avalanche at Stars, 8:30 p.m. ET.

Links from around the rink - Feb. 23 

February, 23, 2015
Feb 23
A record 37 players were traded last Thursday at the NBA trade deadline. Will there be a similar flurry of activity by their NHL counterparts next week?

Links from around the rink - Feb. 9 

February, 9, 2015
Feb 9
Back in September, ESPN.com’s Craig Custance wrote about how the new wave of analytics has gone well beyond roster construction and is having a big impact on in-game strategy.

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Links from around the rink - Jan. 26 

January, 26, 2015
Jan 26
Even the most passionate of hockey fans has trouble generating serious interest in the NHL All-Star Game, a goalies’ nightmare that saw John Tavares of the Islanders score four goals as Team Toews beat Team Foligno 17-12 on Sunday in Columbus.

ESPN.com’s Scott Burnside counters that the All-Star festivities are about more than the actual game, calling the weekend a “pleasant respite” in the middle of the season.

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Links from around the rink - Jan. 12 

January, 12, 2015
Jan 12
With the playoffs a long shot at best for the Philadelphia Flyers, general manager Ron Hextall may be looking to deal.

Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reports the Flyers would like to move defenseman Nick Schultz, Carlo Colaiacovo and Michael Del Zotto, but the guy teams really want is Braydon Coburn. “With a $4.5-million cap hit through 2016-17, Coburn is highly regarded and could bring a good return,” writes Garrioch.

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Fantasy Grapevine for Week 12 

December, 30, 2014
Jaromir JagrJim McIsaac/Getty ImagesIt's possible we could see Jaromir Jagr wearing a different sweater before the end of this season.
“In the last 25 years, I've never been in this situation," Jaromir Jagr told reporters before Monday's game. "I've never been on a team that was almost the worst in the NHL. It's new to me.”

New, and probably not a whole heckuva lotta fun. If that statement doesn’t go far enough in suggesting Jagr is open to a trade from the New Jersey Devils, the veteran NHLer confirmed as much with this nugget.

“I have no problem with anything,” Jagr said. “It's up to (Devils general manager) Lou (Lamoriello). He knows me. I know him. I've got no problem with (being traded). If he wants to move me, he will. If he doesn't, he doesn't. He knows I like it here, but it's all about whatever is best for the team.”

There you have it. Now, the only determining factor is whatever is best for the Devils, and that will be determined in the next couple of months (if not sooner).

The club sits 14th in the Eastern Conference, 11 points out of eighth position and just a hair above the 15th-place Buffalo Sabres. Barring a miraculously successful run under the new coaching trio through January/February -- which Jagr still won’t rule out -- the Devils will be looking to cut their losses ahead of the Mar. 2 trade deadline. There would be little point in holding on to a soon-to-be 43-year-old free agent, particularly since there would be plenty of interest Jagr.

Sure, the veteran forward may have lost a step in recent seasons, as he reminded us Tuesday while delightfully referring to himself in the third-person -- “I always forget I’m not the Jaromir Jagr of 20 years ago. I wanted to deke everybody. I’ve got to remind myself: ‘Hey, slow down. Just shoot.’ I cannot deke anymore.” -- but he’s still capable of contributing every night. There’s already talk of interest in (re)-acquiring the future Hall-of-Famer on behalf of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, and Boston Bruins. The reasonable $3.5-million salary cap hit only renders him more attractive.

Which brings us to the potential fantasy ramifications of such a move

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Links from around the rink - December 29 

December, 29, 2014
Changing head coaches is nothing new to Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello. Over the past 15 seasons, New Jersey has shuffled the deck 13 times, four more than any other NHL club.

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Fantasy Grapevine for Week 10 

December, 17, 2014
Taylor HallDerek Leung/Getty ImagesCould one of Edmonton's talented young players -- like Taylor Hall -- be on the move?
So they canned the head coach. ... Now what?

The Edmonton Oilers -- an organization poetically referred to by Grantland’s Sean McIndoe as a “train wreck inside of a tire fire” -- are more than one move away from solving all that ails them. Maybe owner Daryl Katz finally hurls his loyalty to the back shelf (in the crawl space) and mucks around with his management crew. Maybe Katz’s faithfulness will endure. Regardless of who’s at the helm, we would be surprised -- nay, shocked -- if the club tries to move forward and improve without making significant changes to its roster. The only questions relate to who and when? No matter who it is, the fantasy implications will be huge.

According to Sportsnet’s John Shannon (and others), no one is considered “untouchable” from a trade perspective.

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Links from around the rink - December 15 

December, 15, 2014
The NHL holiday roster freeze goes into effect next week, giving general managers an extra incentive to make a move.

Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun lists the Sabres, Coyotes, Hurricanes and Flyers as teams that have a reason to be active, “but those GMs are hitting roadblocks when it comes to finding a dance partner.”

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Fantasy Grapevine for Week 9 

December, 11, 2014
Keith YandleNorm Hall/NHLI/Getty ImagesKeith Yandle leads the Coyotes in scoring. Imagine what he could be doing on a better team.
Envision gifted offensive defenseman Keith Yandle playing for a team that averages more that 2.29 goals per game. It could happen, and in the not-too-distant future.

Unlike the Yandle-related trade rumors of yesteryear, TSN’s Bob McKenzie suggests an actual, real-life deal may be in the cards for the Arizona Coyotes here. If so, the potential fantasy fallout is scintillating.

As he has the past two seasons, Yandle once again leads the Coyotes in points -- an uncommon feat for a defenseman (see also: Shea Weber, before the Nashville Predators traded for/signed some scoring). For selfish fantasy-related reasons, we’d love to see what he could accomplish with a squad where he doesn’t have to do the heavy lifting on offense. Say, with the Detroit Red Wings, who are believed to be exceptionally keen on the 28-year-old blueliner.

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Fantasy Grapevine for Week 8 

December, 3, 2014
Ilya BryzgalovHarry How/Getty Images
First it was Martin Brodeur, now it appears fellow veteran free-agent goalie Ilya Bryzgalov is shimmying his way back into action at the NHL level. According to ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun, Bryzgalov has accepted a tryout with the Anaheim Ducks.

“Ilya Bryzgalov has agreed to join the Ducks on a similar kind of tryout as the one Martin Brodeur had last week with the St. Louis Blues, a situation that likely will lead the colorful goalie to a contract with Anaheim, sources have told ESPN.com.”

Fun. For those who enjoy the occasional entertaining locker-room sound bite, the NHL is a richer body with Bryzgalov in the mix. But this move should also help the Ducks and fantasy owners, on the ice. With John Gibson and Jason LaBarbera out for the foreseeable future, Frederik Andersen can’t shoulder the load alone. And Igor Bobkov -- who has been struggling in the AHL -- isn’t the answer. The Ducks are familiar with Bryzgalov, having drafted him in 2000, seven years before trading him to the Phoenix (now Arizona) Coyotes in 2007. They know what they’re getting in both colorful personality and reliable netminding (more often than not).

Unless he falls flat -- a real possibility, of course -- Bryzgalov could serve as a useful plug-in candidate in deeper leagues and daily fantasy play (depending on Anaheim’s opponent).

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Links from around the rink - December 1 

December, 1, 2014
After squandering a 3-0 lead to the Kings in the first round of the playoffs last spring, the San Jose Sharks turned some heads by deciding to retain longtime general manager Doug Wilson and coach Todd McLellan. But does the duo have little margin for error?

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