Former NHLer Carol Vadnais dies

September, 1, 2014
Sep 1
12:10
PM ET

NEW YORK -- Former NHL defenseman Carol Vadnais, a six-time All-Star, has died. He was 68.

The New York Rangers reported on their website that Vadnais, who spent seven seasons with the team, passed away Sunday. A cause of death was not given.

Vadnais made his NHL debut in 1966-67 with his hometown Montreal Canadiens and played 17 seasons, winning Stanley Cups in 1968 with Montreal and 1972 with Boston. He also played for the California Golden Seals and New Jersey Devils.

Vadnais had 169 goals and 587 points in 1,087 games. He appeared in 106 playoff games with 10 goals and 40 assists.

The Rangers acquired Vadnais along with Phil Esposito in 1975 in one of the biggest trades in NHL history. New York sent Brad Park, Jean Ratelle and Joe Zanussi to the Bruins. Vadnais twice made the All-Star Game while a Ranger.

Vadnais is survived by his daughter, Michele, and two grandchildren.


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Better entertainer: Bergeron or Marchand?

August, 29, 2014
Aug 29
6:08
PM ET
SportsNation

Which Bruins forward's "NHL 15" promo video was better?

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    53%
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    47%

Discuss (Total votes: 624)

Fresh off winning his second Selke Trophy in three years, Bruins assistant captain Patrice Bergeron is renowned for being one of the NHL's best two-way players, but did you know that he's a talented performer off the ice?

Bergeron is on the cover of the "NHL 15" video game, and as part of game-maker EA Sports' marketing campaign, the typically low-key Canadian recites a poem, "Feelings," about his love of the game of hockey. It's must-watch stuff, check it out:



Meanwhile, it probably comes as no surprise that Bergeron's teammate, B's agitator Brad Marchand, is also an entertaining artist off the ice. Known for his constant chirping on the ice, Marchand sings a promo song for "NHL 15" with guitar in hand:



Irrespective of their poem and song writing chops, hopefully Bergeron can avoid the cover jinx and produce another stellar season alongside linemate Marchand.

But in the meantime before the puck drops on hockey preseason, the question for Bruins fans is, which of these guys deserves better marks for his respective poetic and musical skills?

Vote in the accompanying poll, and weigh in with your opinions in the comments section.

Summer Skate: Boston Bruins

August, 18, 2014
Aug 18
9:44
AM ET

Although the weather outside doesn't necessarily make us think of winter pursuits, it's a good time to take the temperature of every NHL team. Hockey Prospectus will guide us through the leaguewide tour, spotlighting one player trending up and one player trending down for each club, as well as a key statistic as we look ahead to the 2014-15 season. References will be made to goals versus threshold (GVT), a Hockey Prospectus proprietary statistic; for more on GVT, click here. All other advanced stats are courtesy of Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com.

From the first puck drop until the end of the regular season, the Boston Bruins were the best team in the Eastern Conference -- and it was not close. They won the Atlantic Division by 16 standings points and had a better goal differential than the next best team in the East, by 42. Boston's superstars had superstar seasons, bringing home the Vezina and Selke trophies and earning a Norris nomination to boot. Heading into the playoffs, they were the runaway favorites to represent the East. But the Bruins ran into a hot Montreal Canadiens team that knocked them out of the second round in seven games.

Boston heads into 2014-15 with a roster nearly identical to last season's and equally high expectations. With the Bruins' current core of talent still in its prime, it will be a disappointment if Boston walks away with anything less than the Stanley Cup.


Trending up: Dougie Hamilton, D

Top prospects by team: Atlantic

August, 17, 2014
Aug 17
12:54
PM ET

As part of the prospect rankings series this summer, we've looked at the Top 100 overall prospects, Top 10 goalie prospects and the ranking of all 30 NHL teams in order of their prospect pipeline.

We continue with a deeper look at the state of each team's pipeline, as I identify the top 10 prospects for each organization. Included in the analysis is an overview of the system, what kind of an impact will be made by the prospect group in 2014-15 and a particularly noteworthy player from each system.

A reminder that my rankings are determined by conversations with scouts, coaches and executives, as well as my own viewings. My assessment of forwards leans towards puck possession skills, and I tend to favor those players more than defensemen or goalies, whose development is harder to project.

The tour around the league begins Monday with the eight teams in the Atlantic Division:

Top 10s by team: Atlantic | Metro | Central | Pacific


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NHL prospect pipeline rankings

August, 13, 2014
Aug 13
3:30
PM ET

When I ranked prospect pipelines last year, the No. 1 system was the Tampa Bay Lightning, who produced two Calder Trophy finalists and had many young players throughout the team playing noteworthy roles en route to being a top team in the Eastern Conference. This year's top system, the Buffalo Sabres, are unlikely to do the same this upcoming season, especially the latter component, as they are about three years away from making the jump to playoff contention.

Strength of an organizational pipeline is considered as the totality of the players they have, however, additional value is given to teams with the very best prospects. Depth is considered, but it's depth in terms of quality prospects -- players who could project as a top-nine and preferably a top-six forward, a top-four defenseman or a starting goaltender.

These organizational rankings are done as a snapshot in time. They are not meant to rank team's draft and development abilities, there is no adjustment for prior draft successes or success from current young players at the NHL level, and they can change significantly by midseason due to graduations and player development. The profiles of the organizations are meant to be summaries of the farm systems and not detail every major prospect in the pipeline. Omission of particular names does not mean they were not considered, and remember to check back next week, as we'll have in-depth write-ups on the top 10 prospects for each organization.

As with any of my prospect files, the criteria for a prospect to no longer be eligible are more than 25 regular-season games played in any season or 50 career NHL regular-season games. For example, Mikhail Grigorenko is eligible, but Beau Bennett and Brett Connolly are not.

Here is my ranking of all 30 NHL team pipelines as of this summer:

Top 100 index | No. 1-50 | No. 51-100 | Top 10 goalies


1. Buffalo Sabres

The Sabres were tough on the eyes this past season. But at the prospect level, they have the best system in the NHL. With Rasmus Ristolainen graduated, eight of Buffalo's top 10 prospects are forwards, to go along with an elite defenseman prospect in Nikita Zadorov. In addition to the balance of forward positions, there is a balance of different playing styles. For instance, Sam Reinhart and Mikhail Grigorenko play different types of games than graduate Zemgus Girgensons. Hudson Fasching, J.T. Compher and Joel Armia are all different types of players, as well, yet are still top prospects. The future is bright in Buffalo, and not just because it's August.


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Rask looking forward to new season

August, 12, 2014
Aug 12
1:55
PM ET
MIDDLETON, Mass. -- Tuukka Rask has spent his summer stopping cannonballs for charity and learning the sleep habits of his newborn daughter.

The Vezina Trophy winning goaltender for the Boston Bruins hasn’t dwelled too much on the team’s early exit from the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens.

“Yeah, a little bit,” he said. “You can’t just sit around and think about the past because you’ve got to focus on what’s ahead of you. Things happen quick and it’s just hockey. I don’t like to think about it too much. I’ve seen so many times that everything needs to click in order to reach that ultimate goal. Last year just wasn’t our year. You look at the [Los Angeles] Kings who won, every series went seven games and you need the luck, too. So many things need to happen right and last year wasn’t our year and that’s it.”

Even though the Bruins won the Presidents’ Trophy as the NHL’s best team during the regular season, Rask is all about moving forward and believes last season was a learning experience for the Bruins. The only positive aspect of Boston’s early exodus is the fact the players were able to use the extra summer month to rest and rehab, which is something the Bruins haven’t been used to the last few season.

“It’s been a little different, but every once in a while I guess it’s a good thing to really refocus and load the batteries. [Camp] is still over a month away and it feels like we’re ready to go already, but rest [because you lost] is never a good thing, I guess,” Rask said.

Rask spent most of his time in Finland this summer, but he’s back in Boston and preparing for training camp. On Monday, he participated in former teammate and close friend Shawn Thornton’s annual charity golf tournament “Putts & Punches for Parkison’s” at Ferncroft Country Club. Prior to the event, Rask also did his Ice Bucket Challenge to support ALS research.

As for hockey, he hasn’t started skating, yet, but he’s been working out and gaining strength.

With the exception of not re-signing Thornton, and Jarome Iginla signing with the Colorado Avalanche, the Bruins’ roster hasn’t changed too much this offseason.

“We’re not changing that much, as of now, so I don’t think it’ll be a huge change for us but obviously a couple of veteran guys like that gone, you need the young guys to step up and take the role and I think we’re ready for that,” Rask said.

He’ll also have a new goaltending partner this season with Niklas Svedberg serving as the backup. Rask believes Svedberg is ready for the NHL.

“I think so. I can’t see why not,” Rask said. “His first year in Providence he had a great year, then last year he had his struggles but he played that one game for us against Nashville and I thought he played great. He’s proved to himself that he can play and it’s just a matter of keeping that consistency. He’s a great guy and a good goalie.”

Boston’s inexperienced defensive unit was one reason the Bruins lost to the Canadiens in the second round. General manager Peter Chiarelli and coach Claude Julien admitted as much at season’s end. But Rask believes this season will be different.

“Every team has to go through that at some point. Guys are getting older and teams change, so you’re going to have your learning curves and we hope last year was ours,” Rask said. “Guys, especially the defense, are a year older and more experienced, so once that situation comes again we’re more prepared and guys don’t squeeze their sticks so much.”

The Bruins don’t lack for leadership in the locker room, but with Thornton not returning, Rask understands he might have to become more vocal off the ice.

“I might have to, yeah,” he said. “When you’re young you’re worried about your performance on the ice and you’re so focused on that, but once you get older you learn to still be focused on the ice but also be more vocal and maybe not stress about it too much. Maybe next year I’ve got to step up and start being more vocal inside the locker room.”

Since winning his first Vezina Trophy in June, Rask says nothing has changed. The 2013-2014 season was a good one on a personal level, finishing 36-15-6 record, along with a 2.04 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage. But falling short of the ultimate goal since becoming the No. 1 goalie in Boston two seasons ago is what drives Rask.

“I don’t feel any different,” Rask said of the Vezina. “It’s in the past. I’ll start thinking about those once I’m done playing hockey and feel good about it, but I think the main focus has to be on the next season. You always have to prove yourself and be good, so it doesn’t matter if you win Vezinas or not you still have to be good.

“It’s a never-ending circle. There’s always something. You play unbelievable then you have to be as good. If you suck then you have to be a lot better. There’s always something. It doesn’t really matter if you win or not because you always have to be good, be better, so that’s my mindset.”

In case you’re wondering about Rask stopping cannonballs for charity this offseason, it was a stunt to raise money for a children’s hospital in Finland. A goalie from his hometown started a charity and Rask wanted to participate while he was home. He stood in net with all his equipment on, while a cannon was fired from center ice.

“Magic, I guess,” Rask said with a laugh. “It was pretty fun. I figured I might as well help out,” Rask said. “We got some other guys there, too. A group of young guys started it, so I wanted to help out. It was a good event. I think we raised 30,000 Euros; pretty good for the first time.”

B's and Thornton prepare for new chapter

August, 11, 2014
Aug 11
6:23
PM ET
MIDDLETON, Mass. -- As expected, it’s been a relatively quiet offseason for the Boston Bruins.

With the exception of general manager Peter Chiarelli’s decision in June not to re-sign veteran forward Shawn Thornton, along with veteran free agent Jarome Iginla deciding to sign with the Colorado Avalanche, most everything remains the same in Boston.

Thornton, a two-time Stanley Cup champion, signed with the Florida Panthers for two years worth $2.4 million.

With training camp nearly a month away, many of Thornton’s former Bruins teammates and close friends are trying to figure out what it will be like without his presence in the locker room and on the ice.

[+] EnlargeShawn Thornton
Eric Canha/CSM/Cal Sport Media/AP ImagesShawn Thornton, who will return to the Garden on Nov. 4 for the first time as a member of the Panthers, talks to the media before the Putts & Punches for Parkinsons Golf Tournament held at the Ferncroft Country Club on Monday.
“It’ll be different, for sure,” said Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask, who was participating in Thornton’s annual charity golf tournament, “Putts & Punches for Parkinson’s” at Ferncroft Country Club. “He’s a pretty vocal guy in the locker room and on the ice. He’s a great guy off the ice, too, in the community and everything else like that. It’ll be different, but our team is growing and we’ve matured so much that I think people can step up and take his role.”

Rask, along with Bruins forwards Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell, never miss Thornton’s charity event. It’s another indication how close Boston’s energy line (aka Merlot Line) became since the trio began playing together four years ago.

"We’re going to miss him. The entire organization will miss him, and I’m sure it wasn’t an easy thing to part with a guy that’s made a contribution for so many years, not to mention the stuff that he does in the community is second-to-none,” Campbell said. “I’ve become really good friends with Shawn and I’m lucky to have him as a friend going forward, and I was lucky to have him as a linemate for four years. We did our job and did what a lot of people didn’t expect us to do for a few years. I have a lot of respect for Thorty and the job that he does and the person that he is.”

Added Paille: “It’s definitely going to be a different atmosphere. Not only playing with him, but being able to hang out with him over the years, it’s something that’s going to be an adjustment at first but we’re going to move on eventually. He has a presence in the room that we will all miss.”

When the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011, the team’s championship victory over the Vancouver Canucks was largely based on coach Claude Julien’s ability to roll four lines consistently. The Bruins’ bottom two lines were critical that spring, including the trio of Paille, Campbell and Thornton. Julien occasionally tweaked his lineup, but most of the time the coach kept his energy line intact. Its physicality, strength and ability to generate offense proved crucial for Boston’s success.

As the Bruins’ roster is currently constituted, there will be six players -- Ryan Spooner, Justin Florek, Matt Fraser, Bobby Robins, Alexander Khokhlachev and David Pastrnak -- for two forward positions. That means both Paille and Campbell could have different roles moving forward.

Paille It's definitely going to be a big change for us, for both of us this year. We're really not sure where we're going to be playing or playing with, for that matter. But I think we're all going to enjoy the moment and kind of embrace it, and if we happen to play with different players, I think we're just going to enjoy it.

-- Bruins forward Daniel Paille, on the energy line losing Shawn Thornton
“It’ll be an adjustment, of course,” Campbell said. “It’s not too often you get to play with the same guy. There were some changes throughout the four years, but the one constant was usually me and Thorty, [because Paille] would be up and down every now and then. But Thorty and I were pretty inseparable there for a bit. He was a good guy to play with right from the start. The first couple of skates I had with Boston way back in September 2010, we had some chemistry together. I’m sure it’ll be a little bit of an adjustment. I don’t know what’s going to happen but I’m excited for that challenge. I know we did our best the last four years and I know we contributed quite a bit and that’s something to be proud of.”

Paille concurs.

“It’s definitely going to be a big change for us, for both of us this year,” he said. “We’re really not sure where we’re going to be playing or playing with, for that matter. But I think we’re all going to enjoy the moment and kind of embrace it, and if we happen to play with different players, I think we’re just going to enjoy it."

Many times in the past when Julien needed to make a change, the coach could always count on Paille to play different roles. He never complained. No matter what happens this season, he’ll be prepared, too.

Paille and Campbell also know the so-called fourth-line mentality is changing. Teams know that in order to be successful, depth is important, and many talented players are being spread out to create more balance. Paille wanted to make it clear on Monday that even without Thornton in the lineup, Boston has plenty of grit.

“The game is changing where there is a lot of skill on fourth lines,” Paille said. “You see guys that used to be top-two line guys and now they’re on the fourth line.

“So, in my role and being a fourth-liner typically, you have to be that much better. Last year, you look at the playoffs and we had this reputation of being a solid fourth line and you had another team we were playing against, wanting to prove that they were better. Unfortunately, they got the better of us that round, but we learned from that.”

Thornton has Nov. 4 circled on his calendar. It will be the first time he returns to Boston as a member of the Panthers. He’s had plenty of time this summer to think about that moment, and he admits he has.

"You can’t get away from it here, obviously,” he said. “I get asked it a lot. It’ll be weird. I never played a game in the Garden until I had the Bruins jersey on, so every game I’ve played in there has been with the spoked-B. So, yeah, it’ll be different. It’ll be weird. Maybe I’ll pull a groin or something.”

Thornton spent most of July with his wife in Florida looking for a place to live for the next two hockey seasons.

“It’s exciting. It is," he said. "I’m probably past the point of being down a little bit about not coming back. “I can’t wait to get down there and get settled and start the next chapter.”

He’ll keep Boston as his permanent home and he’ll always be part of the Bruins family, he said.

“We’ll always be friends,” Thornton said. “This happens in the game. There’s a lot of guys I played with throughout the years that I don’t play with anymore that I’m still really tight with. When you play with guys like Tuukka, [Milan Lucic], [Patrice Bergeron], you play with them for seven years you’re going to create that friendship, some tighter than others. But Tuukka didn’t buy me out of my half of the boat, so I think we’re still friends and we’ll still hang out.”

Eriksson on moving to first line

August, 11, 2014
Aug 11
3:15
PM ET
MIDDLETON, Mass. -- With Jarome Iginla signed in Colorado, there’s a well-publicized vacancy on the Bruins top line at right wing. Earlier this summer, general manager Peter Chiarelli and coach Claude Julien both mentioned Loui Eriksson as a player that could fill that spot.

After Iginla signed a three-year, $16 million contract with the Colorado Avalanche at the start of the free-agent period on July 1, it didn’t take long for the Bruins to tab Eriksson as a possible replacement on the top unit, along with center David Krejci and left wing Milan Lucic.

On Monday, Eriksson, said he’s ready to play on the top line.

“They’ve been playing many years together, so they know each other really well. I’m just going to try to help them as much as I can. We haven’t played many games together, so we’ll see how everything works out. I’m really looking forward to it,” said Eriksson, who was participating in former teammate Shawn Thornton’s annual charity golf tournament, “Putts & Punches for Parkinson’s” at Ferncroft Country Club

Eriksson's first season in Boston didn’t go as planned. It took him a while to learn Julien’s system, plus he suffered a pair of concussions that hampered his transition from the Dallas Stars to the Bruins. But Eriksson started to play well prior to the Olympic break, and continued when he returned from helping his native Sweden to a silver medal.

Eriksson played the majority of the season on Boston’s third line, with Carl Soderberg and Chris Kelly. Overall, Eriksson, known for his two-way game, finished with 10 goals and 27 assists for 37 points in 61 regular-season games, including a plus-14 rating. In 12 games during the Stanley Cup playoffs, he posted two goals and three assists for five points.

Eriksson’s been preparing physically and mentally for the upcoming season and wants to build on the strides he made in his first season with the Bruins.

“Of course, you think about it,” Eriksson said. “You want to be better. I learned the system a lot my first year and how to play here. It’s definitely a little bit easier this year to come in; you know everyone around here, and I think it’s going to be easier this year with everything, so I’m looking forward to it.

“It definitely helps when you’re familiar with everything and all the people around you. It’s easier to adjust to that. I was disappointed with how the season ended, so I really want to come [to camp] in good shape and show them that I can play really good.”

Top 10 goalie prospects

August, 11, 2014
Aug 11
12:32
PM ET

With the junior evaluation camps in Lake Placid, New York, and Montreal in the rearview mirror, it's time to roll out my initial top 100 drafted prospects rankings for 2014-15. I provide a separate ranking for goalies due to the fact that I rank most of them fairly low relative to skaters. For example, my top two on this list would be ranked at about No. 50 and No. 80, respectively, in the overall top 100.

As part of this prospects package, we will also have the organization pipeline ranks, and will have the top 10 prospects by team running next week.

The following ranking and analysis are based on my own observations and include notes I've picked up in conversations with scouts and other NHL sources:

Top 100 index | No. 1-50 | No. 51-100 | Top 10 goalies


1. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning
2013-14 team:
Salavat Yulaev Ufa (KHL)
2013-14 stats: 28 GP | 2.21 GAA | .923 SV%

I'm not exaggerating when I say this: Vasilevskiy is one of the best goalie prospects of the past 20 years. He's a special player who has excelled if not dominated at just about every level and major event he's participated in during the past five years, including the KHL playoffs. Vasilevskiy has good size -- 6-foot-3, 201 pounds -- elite athleticism, and a high hockey IQ and technical refinement you don't typically see in a goalie of his age (20).


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Top 100 NHL prospects: 51-100

August, 10, 2014
Aug 10
2:53
PM ET

With the junior evaluation camps in Lake Placid, New York, and Montreal in the rearview mirror, it's time to roll out my initial top 100 drafted prospects rankings for 2014-15.

The 2014 draft class shows very well in these rankings, which is not a huge surprise given the number of new No. 1 prospects around the league.

Changes in my ranking philosophy from previous lists include more emphasis on upside, and a little less on older players who are closer to the NHL and have AHL experience. I also value defensive defenders a little more, thus a player like Scott Harrington makes the list in a significant spot after being previously omitted.

The criteria for a player to be no longer eligible for this list are: more than 25 regular-season games played in any one regular season or 50 career NHL regular-season games. For example, Mikhail Grigorenko is eligible, but Beau Bennett and Brett Connolly are not.

As part of this package, we will also have the organization pipeline ranks running this week, and will have the top 10 prospects by team running next week.

Here are prospects Nos. 51 through 100 for the 2014-15 season, listed with the highest-level team for which they played this past regular season. Previous ranking here refers to the ranking the player was given last summer:

Top 100 index | No. 1-50 | No. 51-100 | Top 10 goalies


51. J.T. Compher, C, Buffalo Sabres (Previous ranking: 91)
2013-14 team:
Michigan (NCAA)
2013-14 stats: 35 GP | 11 G | 20 A | 22 PIM

Unfortunately, Compher missed out on the IIHF World Junior Championship this past season due to injury, but he was great as a freshman for Michigan, leading the team in scoring, which is quite unusual for a frosh. J.T. is a good all-around center who isn't dynamic in either end, but plays at an impressive level. His hockey sense is very good as a playmaker and reading the game without the puck, and he possesses a nice wrist shot.


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Top 100 NHL prospects: 1-50

August, 7, 2014
Aug 7
4:33
PM ET

With the junior evaluation camps in Lake Placid, New York, and Montreal in the rearview mirror, it's time to roll out my initial top 100 drafted prospects rankings for 2014-15.

The 2014 draft class shows very well in these rankings, which is not a huge surprise given the number of new No. 1 prospects around the league.

Changes in my ranking philosophy from previous lists include more emphasis on upside, and a little less on older players who are closer to the NHL and have AHL experience. I also value defensive defenders a little more, thus a player like Scott Harrington makes the list in a significant spot after being previously omitted.

The criteria for a player to be no longer eligible for this list are: more than 25 games played in any one regular season or 50 career NHL regular-season games. For example, Mikhail Grigorenko is eligible, but Beau Bennett and Brett Connolly are not.

As part of this package, we will also have the organization pipeline ranks, and will have the top 10 prospects by team running next week.

Here are prospects Nos. 1 through 50 for the 2014-15 season, listed with the highest-level team for which they played this past season. Previous ranking here refers to the ranking the player was given last summer:

Top 100 index | No. 1-50 | No. 51-100 | Top 10 goalies


1. Jonathan Drouin, LW, Tampa Bay Lightning (Previous ranking: 1)
2013-14 team:
Halifax (QMJHL)
2013-14 stats: 46 GP | 29 G | 79 A | 43 PIM

After the Lightning elected to not keep him on the NHL roster for 2013-14, Drouin had another elite season in the QMJHL, torching the league in terms of point production. He led the QMJHL playoffs in points (41 in 16 games) despite Halifax not advancing to the final round. His skill level and hockey sense are both off the charts, he's a very elusive skater and he has the ability to create a scoring chance at will. When you combine all of his offensive elements (all of which are high-end), Drouin is the clear best forward prospect outside the NHL. He converted to center this season, showing pretty effective play in the defensive zone, which was previously a weakness. With a good summer from a physical development standpoint, he should be a player to watch for next year's Calder Trophy.


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Top 100 NHL prospects index

August, 5, 2014
Aug 5
3:53
PM ET

With the junior evaluation camps in Lake Placid, New York, and Montreal in the rearview mirror, it's time to roll out my initial top 100 drafted prospects rankings for 2014-15.

The 2014 draft class shows very well in these rankings, which is not a huge surprise given the number of new No. 1 prospects around the league.

Changes in my ranking philosophy from previous lists include more emphasis on upside, and a little less on older players who are closer to the NHL and have AHL experience. I also value defensive defenders a little more, thus a player like Scott Harrington makes the list in a significant spot after being previously omitted.

The criteria for a player to be no longer eligible for this list are: more than 25 regular-season games played in any one regular season or 50 career NHL regular-season games. For example, Mikhail Grigorenko is eligible, but Beau Bennett and Brett Connolly are not.

As part of this package, we will also have the organization pipeline ranks, and will have the top 10 prospects by team running next week.

Here are my top 100 NHL prospects for the 2014-15 season in list form:

Top 100 index | No. 1-50 | No. 51-100 | Top 10 goalies


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Standouts at USA evaluation camp

August, 5, 2014
Aug 5
11:39
AM ET

In preparation for the 2015 World Junior Championships, Team USA holds an evaluation camp for top eligible players in Lake Placid, New York, and two other countries take part in practices and games, as well.

This year's group at the national junior evaluation camp included Sweden and Finland, and I was able to gather intel on all of these players, a group that includes drafted prospects (including multiple first-rounders from recent drafts) as well as top prospects for the 2015 and 2016 drafts.

Here are the players who stood out the most from viewings at practices and games, as well as conversations with scouts, coaches and other folks at the event:


Auston Matthews | RW | USA | 2016 NHL draft eligible

Matthews was born and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona, and had some very impressive flashes. A player who was a regular at Arizona Coyotes games as a toddler and is not a second generation professional hockey player, he may be the first elite prospect to be influenced by that area's investment in NHL hockey.

"He's so talented," said one NHL scout about Matthews, "he can make defensemen look foolish."

As the clear youngest player at the camp, his physical game obviously needs work; however, he'll bulk up over the years. On the other hand, in terms of offensive skill and offensive IQ, he's already really high end.

"If [Matthews] and [Jack] Eichel were in the same draft year, I'd flip a coin," as one scout put it. It's somewhat safe to say that Matthews' development is close to the same point now as Eichel's was at this time last season.


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Neely, Glavine have two-sport bond

July, 25, 2014
Jul 25
11:53
PM ET
As a child, Boston Bruins president and Hockey Hall of Famer Cam Neely played baseball. He was a left-handed pitcher and played until he was 16.

He jokes that he was never involved in any hockey-style fights on the diamond, but he did smash a few batting helmets in his day.

[+] EnlargeTom Glavine
Dale Zanine/USA TODAY SportsBefore he became a Hall of Fame pitcher, Tom Glavine received a scholarship to play hockey and baseball at UMass-Lowell and was also drafted by the Los Angeles Kings.
During his hockey career with the Bruins, Neely always followed baseball. He was a fan of pitching and paid attention to a local kid pitching in the major leagues named Tom Glavine. The Billerica, Massachusetts, native was a starting pitcher for the Atlanta Braves and had just won his first Cy Young Award in 1991.

The southpaw posted a 20-11 record, along with a 2.55 ERA in 246 2/3 innings of work to help the Braves win the National League pennant.

Not only did Glavine excel at baseball, he also was a standout hockey player. He received a scholarship to play hockey and baseball at UMass-Lowell and was also drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the fourth round (No. 69 overall) in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft.

He decided to focus on his baseball career, and this weekend he will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

After winning his first of two Cy Young Awards in 1991, Glavine was invited to practice with Neely and the Bruins at the old Boston Garden.

Glavine was 25. Neely was 26.

“Even back then he certainly was well on his way to a great career,” Neely said. “Being a local kid and actually being drafted by another sport was something, I think, a lot of athletes would have made a mental note of, so to have him come out was kind of cool, because he’s a guy playing a different sport, and not many baseball players played hockey -- Larry Walker being another one -- but not many played hockey. So, it was kind of cool to have him out there. It’s a cross interaction with a different athlete from another sport.”

[+] EnlargeCam Neely
AP Photo Cam Neely, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2005, said he knows how Tom Glavine feels as Glavine heads to Cooperstown for his induction this weekend.
During one drill, Glavine scored a goal that was assisted by Neely.

“It was more of 'Let’s just have some fun with him out here,'” Neely recalls. “Obviously, if you get drafted you have some abilities, right? Someone saw something in you and thought you could play, so I think it was kind of cool to have a baseball player out on the ice with you, knowing he was drafted in the NHL.”

The two remained in contact once in a while.

When Atlanta still had an NHL team, the Thrashers before they relocated to Winnipeg and became the Jets, Glavine would attend games when the Bruins were in town. During baseball’s offseason, he would attend Bruins games at the Garden, too. He wouldn’t ask for tickets, and most times the Bruins didn’t even know he was in the building.

“He’s a guy, obviously, like most athletes, whether you’re a pro or not, you follow the hometown, unless you play against that team, right?" Neely said.

Neely was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2005. As Glavine heads to Cooperstown, Neely understands what the days and hours are like leading up to a player’s induction.

“You start to reflect on all the people that helped you become the athlete and person to be able to have that great honor,” Neely said. “For me, a lot of the guys I spoke to, when you start preparing your speech you start thinking way back, like your parents getting up early to take you to practice. You think about all the coaches, volunteers and parents that helped along the way, and then you get into your teammates at the pro level and everything that they helped you accomplish.”

Cassidy 'strong candidate' for B's job

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
5:19
PM ET
Providence Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy was a candidate for the assistant coaching job filled by Joe Sacco, but the team thought it best to keep him in his current role, continuing to develop the talent in the organization, said head coach Claude Julien.

“Bruce has done an unbelievable job of developing players,” Julien said. “And to me, he’s still a fairly young coach. He’s coached in the NHL, and I think he’s one of those guys who should certainly be considered to be a coach in the NHL again, too.”

Julien explained that since he, assistant coach Doug Houda and Cassidy are all former defensemen, having Sacco, a former forward, in the mix works better in Boston.

“[Cassidy] was certainly a strong candidate and certainly a very capable one, but again, we sat down with Bruce, Peter and I and had a real good chat. We talked it all out, and he’s certainly happy in Providence. He mentioned that he’s certainly not unhappy there, but I think the decision was a decision we made for all the right reasons.”

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