The past season was ugly and the present looks murky, but if Hockey Prospectus’ 2013 organizational rankings are any indication, the future could be awfully bright for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Bolts took the No. 1 spot on a list released Monday, thanks in part to drafting Jonathan Drouin third overall in the 2013 NHL Draft. Corey Pronman writes that GM Steve Yzerman has helped build “the best system in the NHL.”
Two of the top five teams managed to make the playoffs, though their successes surprised some:
1. Tampa Bay Lightning
2. New York Islanders
3. Buffalo Sabres
4. Anaheim Ducks
5. Florida Panthers
Stanley Cup champion Chicago ranked ninth.
On the other end of the spectrum, two of the bottom five teams missed the postseason:
26. San Jose Sharks
27. Los Angeles Kings
28. New Jersey Devils
29. Philadelphia Flyers
30. St. Louis Blues
Want some insight on where your favorite (and most hated) teams ranked and why? Click here.
From the Southampton Press:
Sean Avery, the former National Hockey League player, was arrested by Southampton Village Police last week on two criminal charges.
According to authorities, Mr. Avery was arrested September 30 following a routine traffic stop on Jennings Avenue in the village at about 4:09 p.m. He was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief and two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, all misdemeanors.
Police said the criminal mischief charge involved an incident the day before, when Mr. Avery allegedly threw objects at passing vehicles.
As for those counts of possession, according to the newspaper, Avery was found to have “two prescription drugs, acetaminophen with oxycodone and roxicodone.”
He was released on $500 bail and ordered to appear in court at a later date.
Did we mention he’s supposed to get married this weekend?
Pavel Zacha was this close to making his NHL debut.
Just days prior to opening their season against the Jets, the Devils returned Zacha — the sixth overall pick at this year’s draft — back to his junior club in OHL Sarnia.
The move comes after Zacha, 18, impressed throughout training camp and the preseason. He appeared in four exhibition games for New Jersey, scoring one point while endearing himself to the organizational brass, coaching staff and players.
“He understands the game. He plays with a maturity. It’s crazy to think an 18-year-old coming out of high school is up here and playing with the maturity and understanding of the game with the new system,” Kyle Palmieri told NJ.com. “I think he’s got a lot of raw talent there as a power forward. He’s got the body for it, the puck-handling skills and the nose for the net.”
At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the frame and physical stature to play at the NHL level, and looked the part for long stretches of the exhibition season, getting turns on New Jersey’s top line.
The decision to send him back to junior is probably the right one, however.
Zacha only turned 18 in April and has limited experience even at the OHL level; ’14-15 was his first year with Sarnia, though he did appear in 38 Czech League games (for Liberec) the season prior.