Merry Christmas, everyone. Since we can’t buy all our readers an iPad2, we’ve put together a list of the best 10 NHL moments of the past year that we’ll be rolling out on the site all day long.
Phil Kessel, Mr. Irrelevant
In an effort to spice up the 2011 All-Star Game, the NHL opted for a “fantasy” draft — a fantasy that turned into Phil Kessel’s nightmare. There he sat, awkwardly, as 35 players were selected ahead of him.
So, why is this on our “best moments” list?
For one, Kessel handled the ignominy like a champ.
“I don’t care one bit at all,” he said after the draft. “When I was a kid, I would never have dreamed of being here. Hopefully the fans in Toronto are happy to see me in the game. I’ll play well in the game for them.”
Two, he’s been on fire ever since. Kessel scored 30 points in 33 games following last year’s ASG and this season, he’s the NHL’s second-leading scorer with 41 points through 35 games.
That’s a big relief for everyone involved after Ekblad was injured while representing Team North America in the World Cup. The injury was originally reported as a “mild” concussion, though it was later called a neck injury.
“Ekblad is going to be fine,” Panthers coach Gerard Galant said. “You see him out there skating already. I think it was a little scary, but he feels real good. He’s going to skate and see how he feels, but everything looks good.”
The 35-year-old defenseman was unexpectedly bought out by the Boston Bruins over the summer. He had two years remaining on his contract, with a cap hit of $4 million.
Seidenberg was a key part of the Bruins’ Stanley Cup champion team in 2011, but injuries limited him to just 61 games last season, and his average ice time fell below 20 minutes for the first time since he was with the Hurricanes in 2007-08.
Blashill even scratched Quincey in Game 3 of Detroit’s opening-round playoff loss to Tampa, and didn’t provide a reason why — a pretty bold move for a player that, in ’13-14, appeared in all 82 games for the Red Wings, averaging nearly 21 minutes per night.
Overall, this move seems like a pretty reasonable gamble from the Devils. Quincey has his flaws, but the term is short and the money is relatively low.
(Especially considering Quincey’s coming off a two-year, $8.5 million deal that paid $4.25M annually.)
Shero could end up getting a nice return on his investment. Quincey projects to challenge for top-four minutes in New Jersey, looking to break into a group that features the likes of Andy Greene, Damon Severson, John Moore and Ben Lovejoy.