NHL Top Three Wins of the First Half (Atlantic)

Florida Panthers (29-15-5) 1st in Atlantic

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Florida Panthers

Panthers at Lightning 11/14/2015

Panthers at Red Wings 11/29/2015

Islanders at Panthers 11/27/2015

 

Tampa Bay Lightning (27-18-4) 2nd in Atlantic

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Rangers at Lightning 11/19/2015

Penguins at Lightning 1/15/2016

Lightning at Jets 10/23/2015

 

Detroit Red Wings (25/16/8) 3rd in Atlantic

Red Wings

Predators at Red Wings 12/5/2015

Canadiens at Red Wings 12/10/2015

Red Wings at Senators 11/16/2015

 

Boston Bruins (26/18/5) 4th in Atlantic

Bruins

Rangers at Bruins 11/27/2015

Devils at Bruins 12/20/2015

Bruins at Red Wings 11/25/2015

 

Montreal Canadiens (24-22-4) 5th in Atlantic

Canadiens

Canucks at Canadiens 11/16/2015

Canadiens at Lightning 12/28/2015

Bruins at Canadiens 11/7/2015

 

Ottawa Senators (23-21-6) 6th in Atlantic

Senators

Canadiens at Senators 11/3/2015

Bruins at Senators 1/9/2016

Senators at Maple Leafs 10/10/2015

 

Toronto Maple Leafs (17-22-9) 7th in Atlantic

Maple Leafs

Maple Leafs at Stars 11/10/15

Maple Leafs at Penguins 12/30/15

Maple Leafs at Predators 11/12/2015

 

Buffalo Sabres (20-26-4) 8th in Atlantic

Sabres

Sabres at Flyers 10/30/2015

Kings at Sabres 12/12/2015

Sabres at Red Wings 12/14/2015

 

 

 

NHL Draft Review

The first round of the 2014 NHL Draft was held on June 27 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Now that the top prospects have been chosen by their respective teams, it is time to dive into analyzing the picks, and to see where they will fit in in their new lineups.

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1- Florida Panthers: With the first overall pick in the NHL Draft, the Panthers drafted Aaron Ekblad, defenseman for the Barrie Colts in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). This was the predicted pick, and is a great pick since most of their defensemen are nearing retirement. Ekblad will pair with last year’s rookie star Jonathan Huberdeau to become the new face of the Panthers.

2- Buffalo Sabres: Second overall, the Sabres selected Sam Reinhart, center for the Kootenay Ice in the Western Hockey League (WHL). Reinhart has used his offensive skill to tally many goals in four seasons in the WHL, and has even won a gold medal with U18 Canadian National Team. Reinhart is surely going to turn into a future star who could hopefully add more success in Buffalo.

3- Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers took Leon Draisaitl, a center for the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL with the third pick. Draisaitl quickly became an all-star in the WHL, and impressed several GMs and coaches with his offensive vision, and passing ability. Draisaitl is an excellent addition to an already young and potent Edmonton offense.

4- Calgary Flames: The Flames used their fourth overall pick to draft Sam Bennett, a center for the Kingston Frontenacs in the OHL. Bennett is highly touted for his all-around offensive ability, and the way offense is always created while he is on the ice. The Flames are in a transition period, and are bringing in many young forwards, and Bennett will definitely help them return to the playoffs in the future.

5- New York Islanders: With the fifth overall pick, the New York Islanders selected Michael Dal Colle, a left winger for the Oshawa Generals in the OHL. Dal Colle has tallied tons of points on offense, yet has also shown the ability to use his great size to help his team defensively. He reminds many of another Oshawa Generals player turned NHL superstar, Eric Lindros.

6- Vancouver Canucks: Sixth overall, the Vancouver Canucks selected Jake Virtanen, right winger for the Calgary Hitmen in the WHL. Virtanen will add to the already deadly Vancouver offense with his point-producing ability, yet will also play a huge role in their progression with his physicality. He will quickly become another great NHL two-way forward.

7- Carolina Hurricanes: The Hurricanes took Haydn Fleury, a defenseman for the Red Deer Rebels in the WHL, with the seventh pick. Fleury is a proven talent who won Best Defenseman at the U18 world games, and can do anything on the ice with his fabled skating ability. Fleury will look to progress along with Justin Faulk another talented young two-way defenseman for the Hurricanes.

8- Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs used their eighth overall pick to draft William Nylander, a right winger for the Sodertalje SK in the HockeyAllsvenskan, a Swedish hockey league. Nylander has some of the best young offensive talent in the world right now, as he won Best Forward at the 2014 world games. Nylander scored about a goal per every two games in Sweden, and if he keeps that up, he could rise up through the star-studded forward lines of Toronto.

9- Winnipeg Jets: With the ninth overall pick, the Jets selected Nikolaj Ehlers, a left winger for the Halifax Mooseheads in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). This talented goal scorer tallied 104 points in 63 games in his rookie season this year, and was Rookie of the Year and an All Star. Ehlers will learn from Evander Kane in Winnipeg, and will turn into an even bigger threat in the near future.

10- Anaheim Ducks (From Ottawa Senators): Tenth overall, the Ducks took Nick Ritchie, a left winger for the Peterborough Petes in the OHL. Ritchie has been the OHL Rookie of the Year, and has won gold with the U18 Canadian National Team. His ability to use his body to generate offense and to guard defensively should pair well with new signing, Ryan Kesler.

11- Nashville Predators: The Predators took Kevin Fiala, a left winger for the HV 71 in the Swedish Hockey League with the 11th overall pick. Fiala has scored at numerous international tournaments, as well as in Swedish leagues and has shown that he is versatile and dangerous offensively. The Predators will surely need him in the future.

12- Arizona Coyotes: The Coyotes used their 12th overall pick to draft Brendan Perlini, a left winger for the Niagara IceDogs in the OHL. Perlini has shown that he can do it all, scoring goals, adding assists, and providing a necessary level of physicality. Watch out for Perlini in the near future to erupt alongside other young Coyotes stars.

13- Washington Capitals: With the 13th overall pick, the Capitals selected Jakub Vrana, a center for the Linkoping Hockey Club in the Swedish Hockey League. At the 2014 U18 World Championships, Vrana led the Czech Republic to a silver medal with eight goals. Vrana will fit in very well in Washington, as he has proven that he has what it takes to produce at the highest level.

14- Dallas Stars: 14th overall, the Stars drafted Julius Honka, a defenseman for the Swift Current Broncos in the WHL. Honka led his team in goals, assists and points in his only season in the WHL, where he has tried to model his play after NHL superstar, and fellow offensive defenseman, Erik Karlsson. The Stars are a fantastic young team, who will use Honka to generate even more offense.

15- Detroit Red Wings: The Red Wings took Dylan Larkin, a center for the Michigan Wolverines in NCAA hockey, with the 15th overall pick. The Michigan native has won gold with the US U18 team, and tallied goals at all levels of his career. Watch for him to come up big in the future as the Red Wings try to add more youth to the team.

16- Columbus Blue Jackets: The Blue Jackets used their 16th overall pick to draft Sonny Milano, a left winger for the Boston College Eagles in NCAA hockey. This season, Milano tallied 85 points in 58 games for the US U18 team, and led them to a gold medal at the U18 World Championship. Milano is a fantastic steal this late, and will be a great NHL player in the near future.

17- Philadelphia Flyers: With the 17th overall pick, the Flyers selected Travis Sanheim, a defenseman for the Calgary Hitmen in the WHL. Sanheim had a plus-25 rating for the Hitmen this season, along with several assists, showing that offense will be generated while he is on the ice, something the Flyers will look out for.

18- Minnesota Wild: 18th overall, the Wild drafted Alex Tuch, a right winger for the Boston College Eagles in NCAA hockey. This season in the US U18 development league, Tuch 64 points in 61 games, and a plus-35 rating. This young offensive threat will only better the already young, deadly offense of the Wild in the near future.

19- Tampa Bay Lightning: The Lightning took Anthony DeAnglelo, a defenseman for the Sarnia Sting in the OHL. DeAngelo is a great offensive blueliner who has led OHL defensemen with 56 assists and 71 points this season. DeAngelo will surely help the shoddy defense of the Lightning in the near future.

20- Chicago Blackhawks: The Blackhawks used their 20th overall pick to draft Nick Schmaltz, a center for the Green Bay Gamblers in the US Hockey League. Schmaltz is young and relatively untested, yet has already shown dazzling offensive ability, with 63 points in 55 games this season. He will be another offensive star for the Blackhawks in the near future.

21- St. Louis Blues: With the 21st overall pick, the Blues selected Robert Fabbri, a center for the Guelph Storm in the OHL. This season, Fabbri tallied 87 points in 58 regular season games, 28 points in 16 postseason games and the Most Valuable Player in the playoffs. Fabbri has lots of talent, and will be the new face of the Blues in the future.

22- Pittsburgh Penguins: 22nd overall, the Penguins drafted Kasperi Kapanen, a right winger for KalPa in the Finnish Elite League. In this injury-riddled season, he tallied 14 points in 47 games. Although the points didn’t show it, Kapanen will be another young Finnish star for the Penguins in the future.

23- Colorado Avalanche: The Avalanche took Connor Bleackley, a center for the Red Deer Rebels in the WHL, with the 23rd overall pick. Bleackley led the Rebels in points this year in just his second season, with 68. He has already shown great offensive skill, and will be well-received on the young, high-scoring Avalanche squad.

24- Vancouver Canucks: The Canucks used the 24th overall pick to draft Jared McCann, a center for the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds in the OHL. This season he totaled 27 goals and 62 points in a great campaign for the Greyhounds. McCann and Jake Virtanen will be great together in the future in Vancouver.

25- Boston Bruins: With the 25th overall pick, the Bruins selected David Pastrnak, a left winger for Sodertalje in Sweden’s Second Division. Pastrnak had 24 points in 36 games this season, showing that he is reliable, and not streaky. His style of play will fit well in Boston in a few years.

26- Montreal Canadiens: 26th overall, the Canadiens drafted Nikita Scherbak, a left winger for the Saskatoon Blades in the WHL. Scherbak led the rookies of the WHL this season with 19 points in 65 games, and was the Blades’ MVP, top scorer, Rookie of the Year and plus/minus leader. Although he hasn’t had tons of experience, Scherbak could be great in the NHL in the near future.

27- San Jose Sharks: The Sharks took Nikolay Goldobin, a right winger for the Sarnia Sting in the OHL, with the 27th overall pick. Goldobin led Sarnia and was sixth in the OHL with 94 points in 67 games this season. This potent offensive threat will be a great forward for the Sharks in the future.

28- New York Islanders: The Islanders used the 28th overall pick to draft Joshua Ho-Sang, a right winger for the Windsor Spitfires in the OHL. Ho-Sang had 85 points in 67 games in a dominant season this year, where he was able to showcase his offensive ability and his physical edge. Ho-Sang will be excellent in a few years for the Islanders, and will be able to do it all.

29- Los Angeles Kings: With the 29th overall pick, the Kings selected Adrian Kempe, a right winger for MODO in the Swedish Hockey League. This year, Kempe had 19 points in 20 games with MODO’s under-20 team, and then 11 points in 45 games on the real team. Kempe needs some grooming, but definitely has the talent to star on the Kings in the future.

30- New Jersey Devils: 30th overall, the Devils drafted John Quenneville, a center for the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL. Quenneville had 58 points in the regular season, and 13 in the postseason in a great campaign. His scoring ability and his defensive prowess will make him a key asset for the Devils in the near future.

 

 

NHL Draft Preview

The first round of the NHL Draft starts on June 27, and while there are several elite prospects, the order in which they will be picked is up to interpretation. Here are the probable top ten picks of the draft.

1- Florida Panthers: While the Florida Panthers need young talent, they will end up trading the first pick and defenseman Ed Jovanovski to the Maple Leafs in exchange for defenseman Dion Phaneuf and center Nazem Kadri. The Maple Leafs will pick Aaron Ekblad, a defenseman for the Barrie Colts in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). The 18-year-old has already shown great promise, having been selected first overall in the 2011 OHL Draft, and also having been the captain for the Colts this year. After his inaugural season, Ekblad was named Rookie of the Year, and also was named the OHL’s top defenseman this past year. Through three seasons (219 games) with the Colts, Ekblad has posted 51 goals, 93 assists and 239 penalty minutes. Ekblad has shown that he can be a huge offensive threat while also being able to stay home, and lead his team defensively.

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2- Buffalo Sabres: With the second pick in the Draft, the Sabres will select Sam Bennett, a center for the Kingston Frontenacs in the OHL. The 18-year-old Bennett has played two seasons in the OHL, and has already collected numerous rewards. He was a named to the second All-Rookie team last year, and was on the third All-Star team this year. In 128 games spanning across two seasons, Bennett has tallied 59 goals, 84 assists and 225 penalty minutes. While he still needs to grow as a player, Bennett has tremendous talent, and could be the shot in the arm that the failing Sabres need.

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3- Edmonton Oilers: Third overall, the Oiler will draft Sam Reinhart, a center for the Kootenay Ice in the Western Hockey League (WHL). The 18-year-old Reinhart has played four seasons in the WHL, and has been awarded Rookie of the Year, MVP, Most Sportsmanlike Player, and Fan’s Choice Player of the Year twice. In 232 games, Reinhart has posted 130 goals, 172 assists and 41 penalty minutes. In addition to his domination in the WHL, Reinhart has lead the U18 Canadian National Team to a gold medal at the U18 World Championship. Reinhart will add even more depth to the Oilers forwards as he can do anything offensively on the ice.

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4- Calgary Flames: The Flames will draft Leon Draisaitl, the 18-year-old center for the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL, with the fourth pick in the draft. Draisaitl has been named to the first All-Star Team this year, in just his second season. In 137 games in the WHL, Draisaitl has had 60 goals, 112 assists and 50 penalty minutes. Draisaitl definitely needs to mature and grow as a player, but he already dazzles scouts and coaches, and makes players around him play better.

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5- New York Islanders: With the fifth overall pick, the Islanders will select Michael Dal Colle, the 18-year-old left winger for the Oshawa Generals in the OHL. Last season, Dal Colle was named to the first All-Rookie Team in the OHL, and this year to the second All-Star Team. In 151 OHL games, Dal Colle has tallied 64 goals, 114 assists and 58 penalty minutes. As long as Dal Colle keeps improving as a defensive player, he will be one of the best two way forwards in the NHL by the end of his career.

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6- Vancouver Canucks: The Canucks will draft Jake Virtanen, a 17-year-old left winger for the Calgary Hitmen in the WHL. Virtanen has posted 67 goals, 52 assists and 206 penalty minutes in two WHL seasons (168 games). Virtanen has modeled his play style after power forward Rick Nash, and definitely has the offensive skill. He has also added that he plays with more of a physical edge than Nash, which is something to definitely watch out for in the next few years in the NHL.

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7- Carolina Hurricanes: Seventh overall, the Hurricanes will draft Nick Ritchie, an 18-year-old left winger for the Peterborough Petes in the OHL. In 2011-2012, Ritchie was named the OHL Rookie of the Year, and in 2013, Ritchie won a gold medal with the U18 Canadian National Team at the U18 World Championships. In three OHL seasons (176 games), Ritchie has tallied 78 goals, 80 assists and 270 penalty minutes. While Ritchie is a big man who can use his body defensively, he can also generate lots of offense, and should be watched out for.


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8-Toronto Maple Leafs: With the eighth pick, the Maple Leafs will draft William Nylander, the 18-year-old right winger for the Sodertalje SK in HockeyAllsvenskan (Allsv). Nylander won gold with Sweden at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, and was named Best Forward at the 2014 U18 World Championship. In four seasons with the Sodertalje SK (74 games), Nylander scored 33 goals, added 47 assists and 30 penalty minutes. Ritchie will be surrounded by great offensive threats in Toronto, and will really thrive and grow as a player.

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9- Winnipeg Jets: The Jets will use the ninth pick to draft Brendan Perlini, an 18-year-old left winger for the Niagara IceDogs in the OHL. In three seasons in the OHL (129 games), Perlini has posted 43 goals, 44 assists and 54 penalty minutes. Perlini will surely learn a lot from dominant all-star left winger Evander Kane for the Jets. Expect Perlini to grow a lot in his first year in the NHL.

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10- Anaheim Ducks (From Ottawa Senators): Tenth overall, the Ducks will draft Haydn Fleury, a 17-year-old defenseman for the Red Deer Rebels in the WHL. At the 2014 U18 World Championship, Fleury was named Best Defenseman. In three WHL seasons (149 games), Fleury has tallied 12 goals, 55 assists and 71 penalty minutes. Fleury is an all around threat at defenseman, who can score, pass, hit and skate, and will thrive in the NHL.

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Most Exciting NHL Games of 2013/2014

With the NHL season having just ended, hockey fans have been blessed with a plethora of of entertaining games. Thuuz rates each game’s excitement level, and came up with a definitive list of the ten most exciting regular season games and the five most exciting playoff games. Here they are:

Regular Season:

10: On November 18, the Winnipeg Jets were beaten by rival Calgary Flames in a thrilling contest. Before the game, Thuuz gave it just a 35 excitement level, but by the end, it rose all the way to a 98. With just 6 seconds left in the game, Little buried a goal for the Jets, tying the game, and sending it to overtime. After a scoreless overtime, the game went to an 8 round shootout, where Colborne, Stempniak and Monahan all scored to push the Flames past the Jets in this great contest.

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9: On November 15 in Detroit, the Washington Capitals played the Detroit Red Wings. Thuuz had the game initially rated at a 58 before the game, but the fantastic ending skyrocketed the game to a 99 excitement rating. The Caps tallied came back from a two goal deficit in the third period, and sent the game to a shootout. Backstrom had the hot hand for Washington, and buried a goal to win the game in the electrifying shootout.

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8: The Chicago Blackhawks hosted the Boston Bruins on January 19 in a thrilling game. Pre-game, Thuuz had the matchup at a 92, and the great contest proved even better, rising to a 99 excitement level. A scoreless third period, followed by a scoreless overtime set the stage for an amazing shootout. Toews had scored for the ‘Hawks, and Marchand for the Bruins, leaving Kane with the puck on his stick, and an opportunity to put the game away. Like he always does, Kane amazed fans with his stunning shootout goal, winning the game for Chicago.

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7: On October 3, the Washington Capitals were able to pull off a sensational comeback at home against the Calgary Flames. Before the game started, the game was rated at a 28, but moved all the way up to a 100 by the end of the game. Down 4-1, the Caps were able to score three straight goals in an amazing display to send the game to a shootout.

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6: On November 2, the Phoenix Coyotes travelled to San Jose, where they topped the Sharks in a superb contest. The game was rated at a 69 excitement level before the game, yet rose to a 100 by the end. The Coyotes stifled the Sharks’ comeback attempt, and sent the tie game to a shootout, where excellent goals by Vrbata and Vermette topped Couture’s shootout goal, sending the Coyotes to victory.

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5: The San Jose Sharks hosted bitter rival Los Angeles Kings on November 27 in a game that ended in an outstanding shootout. Pre-game, it was rated as a 71 by Thuuz, but jumped all the way up to a 100 by the great ending. In this nail-biting shootout, Pavelski, Hertl, Boyle and Thornton all tallied important goals to surge past the Kings in a fantastic game.

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4: On December 10, the Washington Capitals hosted division rival Tampa Bay Lightning in a terrific game. Prior to the puck-drop, the Thuuz excitement rating for the game was a 56, but the rating rose all the way to a 100 by the end. The Caps came back from a 3 goal deficit by the leadership of Ovechkin, who tallied 4 goals. The game went all the way to a shootout, where Fehr, Grabovski and Brouwer all scored to send the Caps to a stellar victory.

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3: On February 1 in San Jose, the Sharks played the Chicago Blackhawks in what turned out to be an excellent outing. Before the game, the Thuuz excitement rating was a high 87, but it rose even further to a 100 by the final whistle. In the game, both Pavelski for the Sharks and Saad for the ‘Hawks scored in the third period to keep the game tied, and send the game to overtime, where it in turn went to a shootout. In this contest with little offense, the Sharks brought their big guns, with Pavelski, Marleau and Thornton all burying fantastic goals to put another ‘W’ in the Sharks’ record.

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2: On February 27, the Pittsburgh Penguins hosted the Montreal Canadiens. Thuuz rated the game before it started at a 66, but that excitement level flew up to a 100 by the end of the game. In this high-scoring affair, there were ten different goal scorers before the game was sent to a shootout. Finally, a winner was decided when Deharnais scored for the Habs in the shootout.

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1: The Philadelphia Flyers hosted the Carolina Hurricanes on April 13, in what turned out to be a fantastic end to the regular season. The game was rated as just a 51 before it started, but skyrocketed all the way up to a 100 by the nail-biting end. Captain Staal scored in the shootout to lead the ‘Canes past the Flyers in a thrilling, high-scoring game.

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Playoffs:

5: In Game 7 of the Western Conference Final, the Los Angeles Kings topped the Chicago Blackhawks in a terrific finish. Before the game, the Thuuz excitement rating was 93, and it rose to a 100 by the action-packed ending. Gaborik tied the game up with 7:57 left in the game, sending it to overtime. In the extra period, the young Kings defenseman Martinez wristed a shot past Crawford to win the game, and send the Kings to their second Stanley Cup Final in three years.

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4: In Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Los Angeles Kings beat the New York Rangers in a sensational game. Prior to the puck-drop, the game was rated at a 94, but increased to a 100 excitement level by the end. In the game, Doughty tallied a goal for the Kings in the second period, tying the game until overtime. In overtime, the playoff hero Williams snapped a goal past Lundqvist, winning Game 1 for the Kings.

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3: In Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Los Angeles Kings bested the New York Rangers at home for the second game in a row. Before the game started, Thuuz had it as a 94, but the excitement level quickly changed to a 100 before the final whistle blew. In the third period, King and Gaborik tallied crucial goals for the Kings to tie it up, and send it to overtime. Nothing was accomplished in the first overtime, and the game went to a second overtime, where the Kings’ captain, Brown, was able to send a shot past Lundqvist for a sensational win.

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2: In Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, the New York Rangers at MSG were able to deny the Los Angeles Kings a sweep. Prior to the game starting, the Thuuz excitement level was a 95, which went up to a 100 in no time. Pouliot and St. Louis tallied quick goals, and not even a late goal by Brown would win the Stanley Cup for the Kings.

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1: In Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Los Angeles Kings emerged victorious over the New York Rangers, winning their second Stanley Cup in three years in front of a triumphant home crowd. Before the puck-drop, the Thuuz excitement level was a 96, which easily rose to a 100 before the Kings raised the Cup. A third period goal by Gaborik tied the game up, sending it all the way to double overtime. The Western Conference Final hero Martinez appeared clutch again, burying a dirty goal to lead the Kings to the sweetest, and most exciting victory of them all.

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NHL Offseason Moves for All 30 Teams

Now that the NHL season is over, teams are looking to rebuild. No matter the team, there is always an area of need, and way to address it. Here is what each NHL team needs to do in order to be successful next year.

Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks will be losing their goalie Jonas Hiller to free agency, and their legendary right winger Teemu Selanne to retirement. In terms of goaltending, future hall-of-famer Martin Brodeur is free, and definitely a proven option for success. For right wing, signing sniper Marian Gaborik would surely improve the team, but Ales Hemsky is a slightly cheaper option as well.

Arizona Coyotes: The newly-named Coyotes could use some young defensive help for the future. Henrik Tallinder and Jason Demers are both young, but have proven their talent and could really help the Desert Dogs.

Boston Bruins: While the Bruins are very well-rounded, they could definitely use more goal scoring forwards. Their first priority is to re-sign offensive machine Jarome Iginla, but they are also looking to trade Brad Marchand. Be it by trade or free agent signing, Thomas Vanek would be a huge signing, and would give the team more offense. Additionally, Paul Stasny and Matt Moulson could provide depth to the Bruins’ forwards.

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Buffalo Sabres: Let’s face it—the Sabres need improvements everywhere. However, there are plenty of good fits, such as Radim Vrbata at forward, and Paul Ranger at defense, who are very cheap and talented. There is no lack of good goaltenders, and Jason Lebarbera is very underrated. The team could also get good returns by trading Christian Ehrhoff and Tyler Myers to either the Dallas Stars or the Detroit Red Wings, both of them having expressed interest in trading for them.

Calgary Flames: The Flames need more forwards, but will end up drafting a good prospect in either Sam Bennett or Leon Draisaitl. The Flames could also pick up David Legwand, or the Restricted Free Agent (RFA) Derick Brassard.

Carolina Hurricanes: While the ‘Canes have plenty of youthful depth, they need a reliable, elite veteran to round them out. Mike Cammalleri would definitely be an option to improve the team offensively.

Chicago Blackhawks: It’s no secret that the ‘Hawks don’t need a lot of help, but a backup goalie addition would really make them unstoppable for when Crawford can’t play. Devan Dubnyk, Alex Stalock and James Reimer (RFA) are all great options to fit in Chicago.

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Colorado Avalanche: The Avs are a great up and coming team, but they definitely lack an elite defense. With the addition of Dan Boyle, or Matt Niskanen, they could become a serious threat in the Western Conference next year. Additionally, adding Ryan Miller at goalie could be the experience they need for a deep playoff run. Paul Stasny will most likely be leaving, which would allow enough cap space to sign Marian Gaborik to round out their offense.

Columbus Blue Jackets: The Blue Jackets also need elite defense to bring their game up to the next level, and Andrei Markov and Brooks Orpik could be huge for the team if signed. Also, expect Columbus to get a solid return when they trade R.J. Umberger.

Dallas Stars: Dallas is another team that needs a boost to go from good to great. With the addition of Willie Mitchell, Christian Ehrhoff or Tyler Myers, their defense would be really solid. Additionally, adding Jonas Hiller at goalie would really improve the back end of the team. Also expect the Stars to try to go after a second line center, like Ryan Kesler, or Paul Stasny.

Detroit Red Wings: While the Wings are deadly offensively, they have been lacking defensively since Nick Lidstrom retired. There is a plethora of possible defensemen for Detroit, such as Andrei Markov, Dustin Byfuglien, Christian Ehrhoff and Tyler Myers. It is also a priority for the team to re-sign forward Daniel Alfredsson. It could be possible for the team to trade Tomas Tatar or Gustav Nyquist.

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Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers need defense and goaltending on the cheap, and there are plenty of options. Matt Greene, Matt Niskanen and Anton Stralman are great defensemen who can be paid a reasonable amount. For goaltending, Tim Thomas and Jonas Hiller are definitely options. Also look for Edmonton’s deadly offense to only get better with the drafting of Leon Draisaitl.

Florida Panthers: The Panthers need forwards, and Brian Gionta and Mike Cammalleri could come to Florida. Also expect a massive trade before the draft where the Panthers give up the number one overall pick and Ed Jovanovski in exchange for Dion Phaneuf and Nazem Kadri from the Leafs.

Los Angeles Kings: The Kings obviously don’t need much help, after winning the cup again. But it is definitely a priority to re-sign Marian Gaborik, whose addition was a key factor in the Kings’ road to the finals. Also expect them to try to re-sign Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene.

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Minnesota Wild: The Wild have burst forward this season with great offense, but still need some help defensively. Dan Boyle and Brooks Orpik would fit very well in Minnesota, and Justin Schultz (RFA) would definitely work too if he freed up.

Montreal Canadiens: The Canadiens have been a staple of the playoffs in recent years, but could still definitely use elite forwards. Signing Dany Heatley, Paul Stasny or Ales Hemsky could be the boost they need to get to the final.

Nashville Predators: The Preds have a great goalie and great defensemen, but need forwards. They will have lost of cap space this offseason, and could easily sign Jason Spezza. He is the elite offensive threat they need to become a playoff contender every year.

New Jersey Devils: The Devils are solid everywhere, yet need star talent to improve the team. Andrei Markov is a great option for defense, and Olli Jokinen could improve their forwards.

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New York Islanders: The Islanders need defense, and Jake Gardiner and Torey Krug are very young, talented and cheap. The Isles also need forwards, and Mason Raymond and Ryan Johansen would be great signings.

New York Rangers: The Rangers need more forwards, and Brian Gionta and Patrik Berglund could be very helpful to the team, and maybe help win a cup next year.

Ottawa Senators: The Sens need forwards, and can get a great return from trading Jason Spezza. They could also pick up Vernon Fiddler for more forwards. The Sens could also use defensive help with re-signing Douglas Murray.

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Philadelphia Flyers: The Flyers also need more defensemen, and Douglas Murray, Rostislav Klesla, Willie Mitchell are all great options. Dmitri Kulikov (RFA) and Cody Franson (RFA) could also really help them if they were available.

Pittsburgh Penguins: The Pens need defense, and they might get great players when they trade all-star forward Evgeni Malkin. But the Pens also have their eyes on Andrei Markov at defense, and Nikolai Kulemin at forward.

San Jose Sharks: The Sharks management has said that they will change things up after their embarrassing loss to the Kings. Look for them to trade Patrick Marleau, and keep Joe Thornton. They could possibly get Brad Marchand from the Bruins for Marleau, and Ryan O’Reilly from the Avalanche for Martin Havlat. Watch them also try to add Paul Stasny and Andrei Markov.

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St. Louis Blues: The Blues need forwards, and they are really eyeing trading for Ryan Kesler. They also need help defensively and Brooks Orpik could be an option.

Tampa Bay Lightning: The Bolts need defense, and it is a priority to sign Dan Boyle, who won the cup with them back in 2004. Kyle Quincey and Francis Bouillon could definitely be signed as well. The Bolts also want to re-sign recent addition Ryan Callahan.

Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs need defense, and they will get great help with drafting Aaron Ekblad after trading for the number one overall pick. Andrej Meszaros and Joni Pitkanen could also help out their back end.

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Vancouver Canucks: The Canucks need defense, and could acquire a great player by trading Ryan Kesler. Look for them to try to get Brooks Orpik or Willie Mitchell.

Washington Capitals: The Caps need defense and they need not look further than Andrej Meszaros and Joni Pitkanen.

Winnipeg Jets: The Jets need cheap defensemen, and Kyle Quincey, Francis Bouillon and Chris Tanev could all be options for Winnipeg.

All in all, there is really no way of telling how this offseason will play out, but all we can say is that there will be many new faces on teams, and that there might be unexpected breakout teams next year.