- Tim Kavanagh, Fantasy and Insider
The big talk this week in hockey circles surrounds the announcement of rosters for the Olympic games. Team USA made their call following the Winter Classic on Wednesday, and there is already a ton of debate over which players deserved to make the team (but didn't), and those that perhaps didn't deserve to make it (but did). For an incredible look at how the roster was shaped, check out Scott Burnside's story from this week. Burnside was granted unprecedented access to the process, and his story shows it.
On the Insider side of things, Craig Custance explored the winners and losers of the announcement, while Neil Greenberg explored the players who were the biggest snubs based on analytics. And don't worry, there will be more teams to debate and discuss as other countries make their decisions ahead of the Jan. 7 deadline. For now, let's hit the links around the rest of the league.
The Toronto Maple Leafs got a new contract done for Phil Kessel, US Olympian, out of the way on the eve of the season, and secured Dion Phaneuf earlier this week. That's great, but their cap situation this season and next isn't (even after dealing John-Michael Liles). According to capgeek.com, they have $71.1 million committed to just 13 players. Something's got to give, and likely will prior to the trade deadline (and perhaps this summer as well).
Rocky Mountain Fever might sound like a song by The Eagles or another 1970s album-oriented rock band, but in fact, it's a real medical condition. Coyotes F Shane Doan encountered a case of it as of late, and he's working on getting his endurance back, and should re-join the team soon.
Boston will not have Dennis Seidenberg back this season, and with injuries elsewhere in the blue-line corps, some have figured the team will make a trade to add some help there. Not so fast, says GM Peter Chiarelli, who wants to see how his unit plays once the short-term injured return.
Sharks rookie dynamo Tomas Hertl was recently reported to be out indefinitely. We've got an update on that timeline, and it's not good: according to an NHL team trainer, the best-case scenario is three months, while a more realistic one is six to nine months.
The Nail Yakupov struggle saga continues in Edmonton, where the former No. 1 overall pick was a healthy scratch on Tuesday, but will return and play on a line with Jordan Eberle and Sam Gagner on Thursday.
Thursday may also mark the debut of Nathan Horton for the Columbus Blue Jackets. And, perhaps more importantly, Sergei Bobrovsky is healthy enough that he may be on the active roster as well, though more likely in a backup role.
One of the players often cited as trade fodder as we get closer to the deadline is Flames F Lee Stempniak. Unfortunately for Calgary, the Buffalo native has just 13 points in 33 games (and a minus-18 in plus/minus), which certainly limits his trade value.
Lightning netminder Ben Bishop is a player being cited as a major snub by Team USA, but it's his Canadian teammate, Steven Stamkos, who is drawing quite a lot of attention as of late. Specifically, Stamkos remains adamant that he wants to play in the Olympics, and it seems that this goal isn't totally out of whack given his recovery.