2014-15 Minnesota Wild Preview: Shaky Goaltending A Genuine Concern | Nhl | Nesn.com

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5 Players the Chicago Blackhawks Would Make Available in an NHL Expansion Draft | Bleacher Report

Veteran backup Nicklas Backstrom is talented but also very unreliable because of his lack of durability and lengthy history of injuries. That leaves 24-year-old Darcy Kuemper as the likely starter. He played in 26 games last season, posting a 12-8-4 record with a .915 save percentage and a 2.43 goals against average. Kuemper has a bright future, but asking him at this stage of his development to anchor a team capable of reaching the Western Conference finals is far from ideal. Lets preview the 2014-15 Minnesota Wild. Additions/Subtractions Key arrivals: Thomas Vanek, Justin Falk, Jordan Schroeder Key departures: Matt Moulson, Nate Prosser, Dany Heatley, Clayton Stoner Player to Watch Thomas Vanek signing with the Wild had been rumored for years before it officially happened in July. The 29-year-old veteran is one of the most skilled wingers in the league, and he tallied 68 points (27 goals, 41 assists) last season in 78 games split between the Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens. Vanek is a great scorer, but hes often inconsistent and wont make much of an impact defensively. His playoff record is rather unimpressive, and he struggled (zero goals) in the Canadiens six-game loss to the New York Rangers in the 2014 Eastern Conference finals. Minnesota finished 24th in goals scored and 16th in power-play percentage in 2013-14, and both of those areas should be improved with Vaneks addition to the teams top-six forward group. source: http://nesn.com/2014/09/2014-15-minnesota-wild-preview-shaky-goaltending-genuine-concern/

Trying to defend ‘NHL 15’ on next-generation consoles – Yahoo Sports

We’re looking for pace.” Versteeg has been a fine skater with excellent instincts and has scored 20 goals or more in a season four times in his career. Nevertheless, he would not be on the Blackhawks’ protected list. Email 2013-14 stats: 82games, 34 goals, 44 assists, plus-13 Why he’s available:Patrick Sharp is one of the Blackhawks’ most important players, and while it would not be pleasant for general manager Stan Bowman and Quenneville to sign off on this one, they would almost certainly have to do it. Sharp, 32, has quite a bit of wear and tear on his body. While he is a first-rate scorer and sniper, he becomes a victim of the numbers game. The Blackhawks have talented young players within the organization like Teuvo Teravainen whom they will have to protect. While there have been many examples of players in their mid- and upper-30s who have been brilliant scorers and leaders in the NHL, most players see a dip in production as they reach that age group. Still, Sharp had a plus-17.62 Corsi percentage last season, according to Behind the Net . That was the fifth-best rating of any player on the team. Sharp’s age could play a role in whether an expansion team selects him or not. If that team wants to make an initial splash, it would likely grab a star of Sharp’s level. source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2202874-5-players-the-chicago-blackhawks-would-make-available-in-an-nhl-expansion-draft

Puck Daddy’s NHL 2014-15 Emoji Preview: Minnesota Wild | Puck Daddy – Yahoo Sports

It’s really not close, once you start focusing on the new puck physics, improved skating and massively upgraded graphics. Back in 2006, Madden’s problems were rooted in gameplay as much as features. The defenses were a complete mess (they still are, in my humble opinion), Michael Vick was a charged up demigod and presentation was basically ignored. The newest version of NHL, even with all those stripped out features, does a lot of things right, from the gameplay to the NBC broadcast presentation. It may not be the sole basis for a must-buy $60 title, but it’s enough to make “NHL 15” a rather defensible product in my opinion. This might be a rebuilding year for the franchise, which is especially disappointing given the protracted development cycle, but my expectations for “NHL 16” are sky high. EA will need to win back some goodwill from fans after what’s happened this year, but I’m optimistic. The gameplay in “NHL 15” is seriously impressive, and by not screwing up such central parts of the game from the beginning, we’ll likely see genuine progress in the franchise from year-to-year. It’s hard to fathom how we even got to this point, but clearly EA decided it couldn’t screw up on gameplay and presentation again while starting a new console cycle. It might be frustrating now, but you’ll be able to get this game on a serious discount in a few weeks (thanks, terrible reviews!) and it’ll be worth it in my opinion. source: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/trying-defend-nhl-15-next-164101702.html

Stastny, who won 54 percent of his faceoffs last season, should help St. Louis finish the 2014-15 campaign among the leaders in puck possession. Biggest Strength St. Louis has a great blue line highlighted by franchise cornerstone Alex Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk and veteran Jay Bouwmeester. The Blues finished third in goals against (2.29 per game) last season and were the top 5-on-5 team in GAA in the Western Conference. St. Louis also allowed just 26.4 shots per game, the third-fewest in the league. This group is well-balanced with a mix of elite offensive talents (Pietrangelo, Shattenkirk) and players capable of filling a shut-down role (Gunnarsson). Most Glaring Weakness The Blues lack a dominant offensive player capable of taking over games in high-pressure situations. The three-best teams in the West Blackhawks (Patrick Kane), Anaheim Ducks (Corey Perry) and Los Angeles Kings (Marian Gaborik) all have a reliable go-to scorer for the postseason. source: http://nesn.com/2014/09/2014-15-st-louis-blues-preview-unproven-goaltending-tandem-a-concern/

2014-15 St. Louis Blues Preview: Unproven Goaltending Tandem A Concern | NHL | NESN.com

The Wilds best goalie last season was Josh Harding , who was a stellar 18-7-3 with a .933 save percentage and a 1.65 goals against average. But his battle with multiple sclerosis limited him to just 29 games. Now, an ankle injury might have him out months. Veteran Niklas Backstrom played 21 games last season and posted an .899 save percentage in going 5-11-2. Darcy Kuemper played 26 games and posted a respectable .915 save percentage. Hes currently a restricted free agent. Ilya Bryzgalov is an unrestricted free agent, and has already been invited to training camp due to Hardings injury. Probable Text Conversation Within Organization View gallery Special Teams The Wild were 16th in the NHL on the power play at 17.9 percent. Minnesota had 252 power plays, ranking No. 24 in the NHL. Parise led the team with 14 PPG. The Wild were just 27th on the penalty kill at 78.8 percent on 250 times shorthanded, eighth lowest in the NHL. GM and Coach Mike Yeo is entering his fourth season, and has consecutive playoff berths (and a playoff round victory) to his credit. Hes not exactly a master tactician, he’s a bit of a drill sergeant but is getting results from a talented roster. source: http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/puck-daddy-s-nhl-2014-15-emoji-preview–minnesota-wild-053308669.html


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