Welcome to the club: Benn, Rask earn first-team All-Star recognition

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The National Hockey League’s First All-Star Team includes a pair of first-timers – Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars and Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins.

Rask already took home hardware from the NHL Awards, as he was named the 2014 Vezina Trophy winner as the league’s top goaltender. The 24-year-old Benn finished 12th in Hart Trophy voting. But he enjoyed a breakout season with the Stars as their captain, with 34 goals and 79 points. Dallas also made it back into the playoffs for the first time since 2008, and Benn was also named to Canada’s gold-medal winning team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Blackhawks’ defenseman Duncan Keith, Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby and Anaheim Ducks forward Corey Perry were also named to the first All-Star team.

2013-2014 NHL Second All-Star Team
GP W L OT GAA SV% SO
G Semyon Varlamov, Colorado Avalanche 63 41 14 6 2.41 .927 2

GP Mins. G A Pts
D Shea Weber, Nashville Predators 79 26:54 23 33 56
D Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues 81 25:21 8 43 51
C Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks 77 21:17 31 56 87
RW Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals 78 20:32 51 28 79
LW Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks 82 19:51 41 38 79

2013-2014 NHL ALL-STAR TEAM VOTING RESULTS

GOALTENDER

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd) Career All-Star Selections

1. TUUKKA RASK, BOS 506 (70-47-15) 1 First Team, 0 Second Team
2. Semyon Varlamov, COL 450 (60-44-18) 0 First Team, 1 Second Team
3. Ben Bishop, TB 154 (2-29-57)
4. Carey Price, MTL 89 (3-13-35)
5. Jonathan Quick, LA 24 (2-4-2)
6. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR 5 (0-0-5)
7. Sergei Bobrovsky, CBJ 3 (0-0-3)
8. Marc-Andre Fleury, PIT 2 (0-0-2)

DEFENSE

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd) Career All-Star Selections

1. DUNCAN KEITH, CHI 587 (101-25-7) 2 First Team, 0 Second Team
2. ZDENO CHARA, BOS 442 (58-42-26) 3 First Team, 4 Second Team
3. Shea Weber, NSH 432 (51-50-27) 2 First Team, 1 Second Team
4. Alex Pietrangelo, STL 253 (16-45-38) 0 First Team, 2 Second Team
5. Ryan Suter, MIN 244 (22-36-26)
6. Drew Doughty, LA 207 (15-32-36)
7. Erik Karlsson, OTT 94 (4-12-38)
8. Ryan McDonagh, NYR 53 (1-9-21)
9. Victor Hedman, TB 35 (1-4-18)
10. Matt Niskanen, PIT 34 (1-6-11)
11. Mark Giordano, CGY 31 (2-3-12)
12. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, SJ 22 (1-5-2)
13. PK Subban, MTL 10 (1-0-5)
14. Niklas Kronwall, DET 10 (0-3-1)
15. Jay Bouwmeester, STL 4 (0-1-1)
16. Andrei Markov, MTL 3 (0-1-0)
17. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, PHX 3 (0-0-3)
18. Brent Seabrook, CHI 2 (0-0-2)

CENTER

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd) Career All-Star Selections
1. SIDNEY CROSBY, PIT 677 (133-4-0) 3 First Team, 1 Second Team
2. Ryan Getzlaf, ANA 378 (3-117-12) 0 First Team, 1 Second Team
3. Claude Giroux, PHI 101 (1-8-72)
4. Patrice Bergeron, BOS 32 (0-5-17)
5. Tyler Seguin, DAL 22 (0-0-22)
6. Anze Kopitar, LA 10 (0-1-7)
7. Jonathan Toews, CHI 6 (0-1-3)
8. David Krejci, BOS 4 (0-1-1)
9. David Backes, STL 1 (0-0-1)
Jeff Skinner, CAR 1 (0-0-1)
Joe Thornton, SJ 1 (0-0-1)

LEFT WING

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd) Career All-Star Selections
1. JAMIE BENN, DAL 446 (57-48-17) 1 First Team, 0 Second Team
2. Joe Pavelski, SJ 325 (49-23-11) 0 First Team, 1 Second Team
3. Patrick Sharp, CHI 259 (26-31-36)
4. Taylor Hall, EDM 73 (0-13-34)
5. Max Pacioretty, MTL 40 (2-7-9)
6. Alex Steen, STL 26 (2-3-7)
7. Patrick Marleau, SJ 22 (1-4-5)
8. Chris Kunitz, PIT 21 (0-5-6)
9. Gabriel Landeskog, COL 11 (0-2-5)
10. Thomas Vanek, MTL 3 (0-1-0)
11. Milan Lucic, BOS 2 (0-0-2)
Ryan O’Reilly, COL 2 (0-0-2)
Zach Parise, MIN 2 (0-0-2)
14. Patrick Kane, CHI 1 (0-0-1)

RIGHT WING

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd) Career All-Star Selections

1. COREY PERRY, ANA 606 (109-18-7) 2 First Team, 0 Second Team
2. Alex Ovechkin, WSH 299 (23-47-43) 6 First Team, 3 Second Team
3. Phil Kessel, TOR 211 (5-44-54)
4. Patrick Kane, CHI 65 (0-16-17)
5. Jaromir Jagr, NJ 14 (0-3-5)
Martin St. Louis, NYR 14 (0-3-5)
7. Jarome Iginla, BOS 12 (0-4-0)
8. Jason Pominville, MIN 4 (0-1-1)
9. T.J. Oshie, STL 3 (0-1-0)
10. Blake Wheeler, WPG 2 (0-0-2)
11. David Backes, STL 1 (0-0-1)
Marian Hossa, CHI 1 (0-0-1)
Kyle Okposo, NYI 1 (0-0-1)

Analyzing the Avalanche after Colorado re-signs J.T. Compher

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The Colorado Avalanche’s offseason continues to come into focus, even as we’re in more of a housekeeping mode, rather than a more exciting time of dramatic renovations.

Earlier, the Avalanche signed intriguing new addition Andre Burakovsky at a bargain $3.25 million rate. While I would’ve been even more excited if the Avalanche would have bought more term, it’s still a nice move, and Burakovsky’s still slated to be an RFA after this one-year re-up expires.

The medium-sized moves continued on Wednesday, with Colorado handing forward J.T. Compher an interesting four-year deal reportedly worth $3.5M per season.

Overall, it’s fairly easy to understand. Compher scored both 16 goals and assists on his way to 32 points last season, despite being limited to 66 games. He quietly logged a lot of minutes (17:29 TOI per game), and had some utility, although the Avalanche might be wise to ease some of his PK duties going forward.

You can dig deeper into certain numbers, or make some tough comparisons, and start to feel not-quite-as-good about Compher’s new contract.

After all, Compher possesses the same contract as now-former teammate Alex Kerfoot, who will carry $3.5M for four seasons with Toronto. On one hand, it’s not as though Colorado necessarily chose to keep Compher over Kerfoot; it’s very plausible that the analytics-savvy Maple Leafs wanted Kerfoot to make that Nazem KadriTyson Barrie deal work, in the first place. On the other hand, the comparisons are natural when you consider their identical deals. Comparing the two using visualizations including Evolving Hockey’s Regularized Adjusted Plus/Minus (RAPM) makes this contract look less appealing:

via Evolving Hockey

Compher doesn’t need to equal or exceed Kerfoot’s value to be worth $3.5M per year to the Avalanche, though, and there’s a solid chance that they’ll be fine with this contract.

It does open up an opportunity to ponder where Colorado is, though.

The Avalanche still have a big-ticket item to re-sign, as Mikko Rantanen is one of the many RFAs heading for a big raise alongside the likes of Mitch Marner and Brayden Point. If Colorado can convince Rantanen to sign somewhere in the team-friendly range that the Carolina Hurricanes enjoy with Sebastian Aho, or the borderline insane deal the San Jose Sharks landed with Timo Meier, then Colorado would continue to look like one of the smartest people in the room.

But how many steps have the Avs taken after upsetting the Flames in Round 1 and pushing the Sharks hard in Round 2 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs?

Tom Hunter of Mile High Hockey projected next season’s lineup, figuring that Compher will center a third line with two sneaky-good analytics wingers in Colin Wilson and Joonas Donskoi, while Kadri could center a second line with Tyson Jost and Andre Burakovsky around him.

Losing Kerfoot stings, but on paper, that does seem like a middle-six that could ease some of the burden for that all-world trio of Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon, and Gabriel Landeskog. It’s also plausible that the Avs could try to move different pieces around to see if one of MacKinnon or Rantanen could carry their own line, thus diversifying the Avs’ attack.

Yet, with the Central Division continuing to look like a beastly group, it’s tough to say where Colorado fits. Is this team more wild-card material, or will a boosted supporting cast push them to a new level? There’s also the possibility that things don’t work out the same way as they did in 2018-19, from that MacKinnon line slowing to maybe the goaltending falling short.

Whatever value Compher ultimately brings, along with newcomers like Burakovsky, Kadri, and Donskoi, a mild itch for something bolder remains for some of us (I blame the NBA’s run where the West is revolutionized every week, seemingly). At least Avs fans can let their imaginations run wild, as there could be some space left over, even after Rantanen gets paid:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Golden Knights make dream come true for young fan battling cancer

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He may not be on the payroll, but 13-year-old Doron Coldwell is a Vegas Golden Knight through and through.

But his story begins long before the Golden Knights stepped onto the ice for their inaugural season in 2017-18. As documented during a “My Wish” segment this summer on ESPN, Coldwell’s connection with the Golden Knights began with some heart-breaking news.

At first, the tests were inconclusive.

In June 2013, Coldwell’s mother Liat, a nurse, had noticed that his glands were swollen but a series of tests didn’t result in any concrete diagnosis of a problem.

“That started the rollercoaster ride for the next two years of he doesn’t have this, he doesn’t have this, he doesn’t have this,” said Brett Coldwell, Doron’s father. “But he wasn’t getting any better.”

Liat feared the worst.

“I had a very bad feeling that we were dealing with cancer,” she said.

Those fears would become reality. The diagnosis would finally come: Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His chemotherapy began in 2017.

Weakened by his treatments, Brett said that at one point Doron told him that “worst-case scenario, I guess I get to go be with Jesus.”

Instead, Doron, with a little help from the Golden Knights, began to heal.

“The chemo was working,” Doron said.

Gold being the color of pediatric cancer, Liat refers to her son as her ‘Golden Knight’.

And through the Make-A-Wish Foundation and with the help of the team that helped him heal — his cancer in remission — Doron recently became an official Golden Knight for a day.

Doron got a chance to meet the team. A locker bearing his name was in the team’s dressing room and for the first time, he got outfitted in goalie gear and received the full pre-game experience, including being introduced to an assembled crowd at City National Arena, the team’s practice facility.

With a little instruction of Marc-Andre Fleury, Doron was stopping Vegas’ top goalscorers with ease on an unforgettable day.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

PHT Morning Skate: Stamkos best of an era; Russian Rangers revival

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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

Steven Stamkos is the best shooter of the salary cap era. (Raw Charge)

• What active NHLers are Hall of Fame worthy? Here they are, ranked. (Yardbarker)

• Pittsburgh has players who rank among the best, worst at converting shots into goals. Who are they? (Pensburgh)

• Russian invasion fueling Rangers revival. (Featurd)

• Why the folding of the National Women’s Hockey League could be best thing for the sport. (AZ Central)

• Panthers view Bobrovsky signing as needed element for return to playoffs. (NHL.com)

• It’s time to move on from Jon Gillies. (Matchsticks & Gasoline)

• Competition aplenty as under-the-radar depth piece Nicolas Aube-Kubel re-signs with Flyers. (NBC Sports Philadelphia)

• NHL stands out when strengths of major pro leagues are pondered. (StarTribune)

• The latest on the changes and improvements coming to NHL 20. (Operation Sports)


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Seattle close to naming Ron Francis as GM

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SEATTLE — Seattle’s NHL expansion team is close to an agreement with Hockey Hall of Famer Ron Francis to become its first general manager, a person with direct knowledge tells The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the team had not made an announcement.

The expansion Seattle franchise is set to begin play in the 2021-22 season as the NHL’s 32nd team.

After longtime Detroit GM Ken Holland went to Edmonton, adviser Dave Tippett left Seattle Hockey Partners LLC to become Oilers coach and Vegas’ Kelly McCrimmon and Columbus’ Bill Zito got promotions, there was a limited pool of experienced NHL executives to choose from for this job. Francis fits that bill.

The 56-year-old has been in hockey operations since shortly after the end of his Hall of Fame playing career. All of that time has come with the Carolina Hurricanes, including four seasons as their GM.

Carolina didn’t make the playoffs with Francis in charge of decision-making, though his moves put the foundation in place for the team that reached the Eastern Conference final this past season.