June 14, 2014

Michael Amato

2014-06-14

The Montreal Canadiens traded Louis Leblanc to the Anaheim Ducks for a conditional fifth-round pick. The former-first round selection just hasn’t panned out and it’s hard to imagine he’ll have a better chance of cracking the Ducks lineup if he couldn’t do it with the Habs. Leblanc played just eight NHL games over the last two seasons. Not any fantasy value at this point. The fact that all it took was a conditional fifth rounder to get him speaks volumes about how far his stock has fallen. 

 

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Sticking with the Habs, they signed head coach Michel Therrien to a four-year contract extension today. Not all that shocking when you consider, at least in my opinion, they really overachieved this year. That’s always a good way to earn an extension if you’re a coach. 

 

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That's it. Alec Martinez gets another series winner in overtime as the Los Angeles Kings get their second Stanley Cup in three years. It was well earned. Going through that gauntlet of Western Conference opponents and then having enough to beat the Rangers handily was incredible.

 

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Full marks to the Rangers for continuing to fight hard even after some disheartening losses. You might remember Los Angeles was in a similar situation two years ago when they struggled to finish off the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup Final, but LA played like a desperate team in the overtime. It's hard to believe New York didn't steal at least one of those three games in Los Angeles with the way they played.

 

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It goes to show you how important depth is. Anze Kopitar had just one goal in his last 11 games and that goal is his only tally since the opening round. He's a great two-way player and is still doing all the little things well, but offense is a big part of his game also.

 

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Los Angeles really took over the game with about 15 minutes left in the third. The Rangers had no answer for their relentless pressure and they were eventually rewarded with the tying goal. The Kings outshot New York 12-3 in the frame and forced them to concede multiple icings. If not for Henrik Lundqvist this series wouldn't have made it to overtime on Friday.

 

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Something I've noticed about Martin St. Louis is how often he doesn't get good wood or fans on one-timers. I'm not sure if something is going on with his release or what, but he's whiffed on a bunch of great chances in these playoffs. He had one early in Game 5 that could have really swung the momentum in New York's favor.

 

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How good was Ryan McDonagh in these playoffs? It won't be long before he wins a Norris Trophy.

 

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Here's the Cup winning goal.

 

 

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Tanner Pearson will be an interesting one to watch for next season. He had great success in the postseason playing alongside Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli, but it’s easy to forget he’s played in just 25 regular season games. He almost matched that in the postseason this year alone.

 

The aforementioned line could be a force next season, although keep in mind Darryl Sutter has a history of switching lines around on the fly. He cycled different players onto the line late in the Blackhawks series and at some points during the Rangers series as well.

 

One reason Pearson has managed to step up in the postseason and nearly doubled his point total from the regular season, is the fact he has increased his shots on goal. Pearson fired more than two per game in the postseason compared to a little more than one per night in the regular season. 

 

A key to Pearson’s spot on the depth chart next year could be Marian Gaborik. If the Kings don’t re-sign him then Pearson is going to slide up and get more minutes. On the surface that sounds like a good thing, but there is something else to consider. Gaborik’s presence alleviated some pressure on LA’s forwards and allowed everyone to slide into a comfortable role. Pearson had seven points in 25 games this year, and six of those came after they acquired Gaborik at the deadline. Not because he played with Gaborik, but because that move allowed him to jump on the line with Carter and Toffoli. 

 

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Speaking of Gaborik, I’m surprised he didn’t get more consideration for the Conn Smythe. Take nothing away from Justin Williams, but Gaborik’s 14 goals and 78 shots were remarkable and he really put the Kings over the top.

 

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So it looks like Jason Spezza wants out of Ottawa. My guess is he ends up in the Western Conference on account of Bryan Murray not wanting to deal him to someone in the East. He would be wise to do so, considering Spezza is still a point a game guy when healthy. Spezza just seems like a player who would thrive even more in a non-traditional hockey market, as opposed to a place like Ottawa where he is always under the microscope.

 

So who benefits on the Sens from a Spezza trade? Maybe Mika Zibanejad slides into that No. 2 center role behind Kyle Turris. If that's the case, Zibanejad could be an underrated asset for the 2014-15 fantasy season. It wouldn't be unreasonable to see him hit 20 goals and 50 points in that scenario.

 

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The Philadelphia Flyers have re-signed Kimmo Timonen to a one-year contract extension. 

 

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Martin Brodeur has indicated there is a good chance that 2014-15 will be his last NHL season and he also wants to make sure he spends it playing as much as possible.

 

"(2014-15 is) going to be probably my last year," Brodeur told the Bergen Record via Pro Hockey Talk. "You never know what kind of energy I'm going to get from my decision, but I'm not looking for anything more than one year that's for sure."


"But, like any competitor, you want to play."


Which makes it curious as to why he would consider leaving the New Jersey Devils. Granted, he’s not overtaking Cory Schneider in New Jersey, but will his chances be better anywhere else? Not to mention the teams that might be looking for a goalie (Buffalo, Calgary, Winnipeg) don’t figure to be competitive next season. 

 

Also, Ryan Miller will be higher on team’s lists that are looking for a starting goalie this offseason. So he would rather go somewhere and lose a bunch of games but see more action for one season, rather than back up in New Jersey and retire as a Devil? Don’t do it Marty. 

 

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Dmitry Orlov’s start of the season could be delayed because of wrist surgery. The Capitals blue liner suffered the injury at the World Hockey Championships.

 

Orlov managed just 11 points in 54 games last season, but keep in mind, Barry Trotz is now behind the bench and he has a history of playing young defensemen. Orlov played with Mike Green last season but I wonder if Trotz might prefer to go for a power pair of Green and John Carlson. Keep an eye on what Trotz does with the Caps' backend.

 

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Here is a Stanley Cup Grab Bag from Grantland's Sean McIndoe.

 

 

Michael Amato is an Associate Editor for DobberHockey and a News Editor for theScore. You can follow him on Twitter at @amato_mike

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