Author: Ryan Dadoun

Detroit Red Wings v Philadelphia Flyers

Your 2015 HHOF Class: Fedorov, Housley, Lidstrom, Pronger, Ruggiero


The Hockey Hall of Fame has announced that the class of 2015 will consist of Sergei Fedorov, Phil Housley, Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Pronger, and Angela Ruggiero while Bill Hay and Peter Karmanos Jr. were selected for the builders category.

Even among company like that, Lidstrom stands out. He’s a seven-time Norris Trophy winner and four-time Stanley Cup champion. During his 1,564-game career with Detroit, the team never missed the playoffs and as a result he ranks second on the all-time postseason games played list with 263.

Of course, Lidstrom was a big contributor in the playoffs too, scoring 54 goals and 183 points while being leaned on heavily in terms of ice time. He captured the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2002 while logging 31:10 minutes per game.

The year before Lidstrom started his first run of three-straight Norris Trophy seasons from 2000-03, Chris Pronger captured the award as well as the Hart Trophy. He had 14 goals, 62 points, and a league-leading plus-52 rating in 79 games with St. Louis back in 1999-00. It was the only time Pronger won either award, but it was far from Pronger’s only impact season.

He surpassed the 40-point mark in 10 separate seasons and played a big role in Anaheim capturing the Stanley Cup in 2007. He enjoyed a 1,167-game career, but unfortunately his playing days ended in 2011 due to a concussion. Already locked into a contract that runs through 2016-17, Pronger had the dubious distinction of actually being involved in a trade mere days before he was officially included in the Hall of Fame class.

Housley is the final NHL defenseman included in the players category and unlike Pronger and Lidstrom, he wasn’t seen as a lock. Housley was great offensively, recording more than 80 points on three occasions and finishing his career with 338 goals and 1,232 points in 1,495 games. However, he never won the Norris Trophy or the Stanley Cup.

Fedorov is the only forward to make it this year. Over the course of his career, he won the Selke Trophy twice and captured the Hart Memorial Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award in 1993-94. He also won the Stanley Cup three times with Detroit.

During his career he surpassed the 100-point mark twice, recorded more than 50 goals once, and finished with 483 goals and 1,179 points in 1,248 career games.

Ruggiero is a four-time Olympian for Team USA. She won the bronze medal in 2006, silver in 2002 and 2010, and helped the United States capture the gold in 1998. She claimed an additional four gold medals on the World Championships stage over the course of her career. In 2005, she became the first woman to participate in a regular season contest in a professional United States league in a position other than goalie. More specifically, she aided the Central Hockey League’s Tulsa Oilers.

NHLPA reviewing Richards situation, determining course of action

Mike Richards

The Los Angeles Kings decision to terminate the remainder of Mike Richards’ contract rather than buy it out may have sparked a battle between the league and union, but the NHLPA isn’t ready to commit to anything yet.

“We are in the process of reviewing the facts and circumstances of this matter and will discuss the situation with the player in order to determine the appropriate course of action,” the players’ association said in a statement, per the Los Angeles Times’ Helene Elliott.

As previously noted Richards is now a free agent in the eyes of the NHL and the Kings are free of any buyout penalty. However, many expect the NHLPA to ultimately dispute that position. It can take months of even years for grievances to be settled, but an expedited hearing might lead to a resolution in a matter of days or weeks, per Bob McKenzie.

It’s also worth noting that even if it’s ruled that the Kings were allowed to terminate Richards’ contract, he might not be entirely off the books.

By contrast, a buyout would have cost the Kings roughly $14.7 million in total cap space over 10 seasons. At its peak, the Kings would have been saddled with a $4.2 million annual cap penalty for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 campaigns.

Gagner: ‘I have a lot of people to prove wrong’

Sam Gagner

Sam Gagner has demonstrated a high level of play at points in his career. He had four goals and eight points in a single game back in Feb. 2, 2012, and recorded 38 points in 48 contests during the lockout shortened 2013 season.

That sparked Edmonton to ink him to a three-year, $14.4 million deal, but the Oilers shipped him to Tampa Bay the following summer, which in turn moved him to Arizona. On Saturday he endured his third trade in less than a year as he was shipped to Philadelphia and while he hopes the Flyers keep him, he’s aware that the final season of his contract might be bought out.

“I still have a lot to prove and now obviously, it’s a little more heightened,” Gagner told CSN Philly. “I think that I have a lot of people to prove wrong.”

Coyotes GM Don Maloney can be counted as part of that list as he “didn’t think (Gagner) could play center at the National Hockey League level for us.”

If he does get bought out, that likely won’t be the last we see of him. Gagner will still be just 26 years old by the time the 2015-16 campaign starts and it’s not as if his performance was a disaster last season. He was adjusting to a new organization for the first time in his career and playing on an offensively anemic squad, but he still recorded 15 goals and 41 points in 81 games. No other Coyotes forward reached the 40-point mark.

“It’s not the easiest of times,” he said. “But at the end of the day, it’s going to make me stronger.”

Related: So, what happens if Philly buys out Gagner?

After big weekend, Chiarelli ‘pretty good’ with where Oilers stand


Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Despite not making the playoffs since 2006, the Oilers are upbeat this summer.

It’s certainly not a new sentiment, but perhaps this weekend signaled the end of Groundhog Day in Edmonton. After all they added top defensive prospect Griffin Reinhart, goaltender Cam Talbot, and, of course, Connor McDavid.

It doesn’t plug all the holes Edmonton has as the team’s defense and goaltending are still significant question marks at this stage despite the promising additions made. Still, it’s a big infusion of new talent and as a result Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli feels less pressure to make a splash during the free agent period.

“I’m actually pretty good with where we’re at now, so if we can’t get those things, I’m OK,” Chiarelli told Edmonton Journal.

It will be interesting to see if the Oilers have a bit of an easier time luring free agents this summer. The optimism that comes with getting McDavid combined with the team’s new look from a management level might lead to them being viewed in a different light.

Regardless of what they do between now and start of the regular season though, Edmonton will have a lot to prove going into the 2015-16 campaign. The young core can’t be expected to turn the team into a powerhouse over night, but it will be up to the Oilers to provide evidence that this is truly the start of a new era.

Preds GM Poile undecided about Stalberg after waiving him

Viktor Stalberg
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It seems very likely that forward Viktor Stalberg has played in his last game with the Nashville Predators given that he was waived on Wednesday.

Nothing is set in stone yet though.

“We’re talking to a couple teams about possibly making a trade,” Poile told the Tennessean. “Thought that if that was going to happen, it might have happened (Saturday) … there’s also the possibility that we could buy him out.”

Stalberg has two seasons remaining on his four-year, $12 million contract and given that he’s already cleared waivers, Nashville would presumably need to sweeten the pot in order to move him. A buyout would cost them roughly $4.7 million against the cap over the next four seasons, so the Predators should be motivated sellers.

One potential trading partner could be the Toronto Maple Leafs, per TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie.

When Nashville signed Stalberg, it was with the hopes that he could bolster their offense while playing a bigger role than he had been in Chicago. Instead, Stalberg averaged just 12:35 minutes per game in 2013-14 and spent part of the 2014-15 campaign in the minors.