Yahoo Fantasy Hockey Top 100: Who Got Slighted in The Rankings?

On Friday afternoon Yahoo Fantasy Hockey released their list of the top 100 fantasy hockey players for this coming season. These lists are always subjective and there is always debate on who should be listed above or below other players. However, there are some noticeably odd sections on this year’s draft. These are players who should be rated higher in most standard scoring leagues.

Nicklas Backstrom – #70 Overall
We all know Washington has a new defensive coach in Barry Trotz, and that may bring down the overall offensive numbers for Backstrom. However, Trotz has already said he’s not going to change the league’s #1 ranked power play. Backstrom lead the league with 44 PP points last season and is still centering the league’s best goal scorer, Alex Ovechkin. If Yahoo really feels that the Washington offense will suffer from a coaching change, then why rank Ovechkin 5th overall? Someone is going to be dishing Ovi the puck and it’s still going to be Backstrom.

David Krejci – #79 Overall
A lot of people seem to feel with Jerome Iginla leaving for Colorado that Krejci’s production will take a serious hit. While his assist numbers might drop off slightly, last year wasn’t even Krecji’s best season offensively. Krejci has consistently averaged between 60-70 points over the course of an 82 game season. Krecji also lead the league in +/- last year. There’s not indication that Boston is going to change their game style, so while he might not lead the league in that stat again, it’s doubtful his numbers will fall off drastically. Lastly, even though Iginla is gone, Krecji will have a healthy Loui Eriksson on the right wing this year. That’s not much of a step down from Iginla. Somehow Krecji’s teammate Patrice Bergeron is ranked 54th by Yahoo even though Krecji had better numbers last season and appears to be centering the better offensive players coming into this season.

Blake Wheeler – #82 Overall
Perhaps this is being optimistic, but Wheeler should be ranked higher on this list if he can do what he did last year. And what’s to think he can’t? The Jets are expected to be horrible this year, but they were horrible last year as well. Wheeler still put up 28 goals even after his center, Mark Scheifele, was hurt and missed the last quarter of the season. If both players continue to improve there is no reason Wheeler shouldn’t be expected to put up another 25-30 goals this season.

Kyle Okposo – #94 Overall
Before getting hurt for the last month of last season, Okposo was in the top five in NHL scoring. This was even after linemate John Tavares was lost for the year with a knee injury. Okposo has come into his own after struggling for a couple of years to find his game. He’s always had the skill to score goals, but he’s now setting up plays as well as waiting for someone to set him up. He doubled his number of assists from the last full NHL season. With a healthy Tavares, and an improved team over last year, we should see not only better offensive numbers, but also better +/- numbers for Okposo.

Ryan Suter – #100 Overall
While it can be difficult to gauge the value of some defensive players, it’s hard to understand how an annual Norris Trophy contender can be ranked so low. Not only have Suter’s number not taken a hit in any capacity, but the Minnesota Wild will be a better team this season. With the addition of Thomas Vanek, the Wild should be more dynamic not only 5-on-5, but should also improve a power play unit that was average last year. Suter will be quarterbacking that power play all year and should reap the benefit of the better offense. Lastly, Suter’s linemate, Jonas Brodin, is entering his third NHL season and is now a more responsible defensive player. This should allow Suter more time and space to make offensive plays this season.

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The Saddest News In Hockey This Week

On Tuesday EA released the list of game modes for their latest hockey game, NHL 15. This will be the first hockey game released for the PS4 and XBOX One consoles. Last year EA held off on releasing a hockey game for the new consoles because they said they needed time to perfect it.

So what did we hockey fans do about this? We bought NHL 14 and played it on our old systems all year. We’ve waited patiently all year for NHL 15 to come out so we can play it on our fancy new consoles. (God forbid EA ever release a new hockey game on PC.) Waiting in anticipation of how awesome NHL 15 would be. EA released Madden and FIFA last year on the next gen consoles, so it shouldn’t be that hard to make an awesome hockey game when you have a whole extra year of prep time right? Well, when you’re EA I guess anything is possible when it comes to screwing over your hockey fans. EA already knows that nobody else is making a hockey game right now, so they’re the only option we hockey fans have, and we’ll all end up buying their game because we have hockey cravings. This has been the case for several years now. With no competition in the market EA hasn’t had to compete with anyone and it’s lead to several versions of the game that have been less than impressive in recent years. However, this is the first time I’m seriously considering not purchasing their yearly NHL offering.

Why? Because I sold my old XBOX 360 system in anticipation of getting NHL 15 on my new XBOX One, and on Tuesday EA announced that the EASHL (EA Sports Hockey League) game mode will not be in the next generation versions of the game. Why would one game mode effect my buying decision? Because it’s the only game mode I, and a lot of other people I know, play.

For those unfamiliar with the series, the EASHL game mode allows you and up to five friends to play together on one team at specific positions against another team of players. It’s a great way to play with your friends because you’re all working together to beat someone else and you’re not getting upset with each other when you win or lose. You win and lose as a team which is always better.

As far as I know, I’ve owned every version of the NHL franchise since NHL 94. It’s my favorite video game series of all time. As a kid, it helped me to better understand hockey and get to know all the players names and positions. For years I would play against my brother or friends in versus games. However, as these last 20 years of playing video game hockey have gone by, I’ve found less and less time to play games. When I do though, I still like to play with my friends. The EASHL game mode was first introduced in NHL 09, and since then it’s been about 95% of what I play, when I play. I don’t even know how many hours I’ve spent playing it with friends and former hockey teammates over the last five years. Five years of playing with the same guys. I’ve met people from around the country while playing and ended up meeting a few of them in person as well. At times we have people disappear for awhile, as life happens, but almost everyone ends up coming back over time. We’ve all been there to hangout when someone breaks up with a girl or loses a job and just needs to get their minds off life by playing hockey and joking around. I’m going to be genuinely sad when I’m sitting at home itching for a game this season and won’t be able to shoot the shit with them for a couple hours.

Without EASHL I don’t see why I would buy NHL 15. Playing by myself would just make me sadder and miss playing with my friends. I guess I’ll just have to start playing real hockey more often!

NHL Team’s AHL Affiliates Origins

Most NHL fans are aware that each team in the league has an AHL affiliate. However, not everyone knows how or when each of their teams became affiliated with their AHL counterpart. I thought it would interesting to see when this happened for each team.

Anaheim Ducks – AHL Affiliate Norfolk Admirals.
One of the most recent team affiliations, the Admirals became Anaheim’s developmental AHL team in 2012 after the Tampa Bay Lightning moved their players from Norfolk to Syracuse.
Norfolk Admirals

Arizona Coyotes – AHL Affiliate Portland Pirates.
The then Phoenix Coyotes agreed to a five year developmental deal with the Portland Pirates in June of 2011.
Portland Pirates

Boston Bruins – AHL Affiliate Providence Bruins.
The Providence Bruins entered the AHL in 1992 as Boston’s affiliate and have remained as such since.
Providence Bruins

Buffalo Sabres – AHL Affiliate Rochester Americans.
Buffalo Sabres ownership purchased the Americans prior to the 1979-80 season, establishing them as their AHL affiliate until 2007-08. After a brief period where the team was affiliated with the Florida Panthers, Buffalo once again established ties with the team in 2011.
Rochester Americans

Calgary Flames – AHL Affiliate Adirondack Flames.
2014-15 will be the first year that Calgary has affiliated with Adirondack, and the inaugural season for the AHL’s Flames.
Adirondack Flames

Carolina Hurricanes – AHL Affiliate Charlotte Checkers.
Charlotte became Carolina’s affiliate in 2010 after moving from the ECHL to the AHL.
Charlotte Checkers

Chicago Blackhawks – AHL Affiliate Rockford IceHogs.
The IceHogs have been Chicago’s affiliate since the 2007-08 season, after moving to the AHL from the UHL.
Rockford IceHogs

Colorado Avalanche – AHL Affiliate Lake Erie Monsters.
Formerly the Utah Grizzlies, the Lake Erie Monsters have been Colorado’s affiliate since 2007.
Lake Erie Monsters

Columbus Blue Jackets – AHL Affiliate Springfield Falcons.
Columbus and Springfield have been affiliated since 2010. This is the seventh different team Springfield has been affiliated with since joining the AHL.
Springfield Falcons

Dallas Stars – AHL Affiliate Texas Stars.
The Texas Stars have been Dallas’ affiliate since 2009, when their former AHL affiliate the Iowa Stars folded.
Texas Stars

Detroit Red Wings – AHL Affiliate Grand Rapid Griffons.
One of the longer affiliated teams in the AHL, Grand Rapids has been Detroit’s developmental team since 2002.
Grand Rapids Griffons

Edmonton Oilers – AHL Affiliate Oklahoma City Oil Barons.
The Oil Barons have been the Oiler’s affiliate since joining the AHL in 2010.
Oklahoma City Oil Barons

Florida Panthers – AHL Affiliate San Antonio Rampage.
This is the second time that the Panthers have affiliated with San Antonio. The first was from 2002-2005 and the current stint started in 2011.
San Antonio Rampage

Los Angeles Kings – AHL Affiliate Manchester Monarchs.
The Monarchs were purchased by the Kings in 2000 and have been their affiliate since joining the AHL in 2001.
Manchester Monarchs

Minnesota Wild – AHL Affiliate Iowa Wild.
Previously the Houston Aeros, the Iowa Wild moved, changed their name, relocated, and became affiliated with Minnesota to start the 2013-14 season.
Iowa Wild

Montreal Canadiens – AHL Affiliate Hamilton Bulldogs.
After sharing the Bulldogs with the Edmonton Oilers, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Dallas Stars for several years, the Canadiens became their sole NHL parent team in 2006.
Hamilton Bulldogs

Nashville Predators – AHL Affiliate Milwaukee Admirals.
One of two Admiral teams in the AHL, Milwaukee was one of several teams that merged with the AHL from the folded IHL league. They have been Nashville’s AHL affiliate since joining the league in 2001.
Milwaukee Admirals

New Jersey Devils – AHL Affiliate Albany Devils.
Formerly the Lowell Devils, this franchise has been affiliate with New Jersey since 2006. They moved to Albany in 2010 however.
Albany Devils

New York Islanders – AHL Affiliate Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
The Sound Tigers have been the Islanders AHL affiliate since joining the league in 2001.
Bridgeport Sound Tigers

New York Rangers – AHL Affiliate Hartford Wolf Pack.
New York has been affiliated with this franchise since 1997. During that time the team was known has both the Hartford Wolf Pack and at times the Connecticut Whale.
Hartford Wolk Pack

Ottawa Senators – AHL Affiliate Binghamton Senators.
Binghamton has been Ottawa’s affiliate since rejoining the AHL in 2002 after a hiatus from the league and relocation from Prince Edward Island after temporarily ceasing operations in 1996.
Binghamton Senators

Philadelphia Flyers – AHL Affiliate Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
This upcoming 2014-25 season will be the first for this franchise in Lehigh. However, the Phantoms have been the Flyers AHL affiliate since 1996-97.
Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Pittsburgh Penguins – AHL Affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
The “Baby Penguins” franchise has been their NHL team’s affiliate since joining the AHL in 1999.
Wilkes-Barre-Scranton Penguins

San Jose Sharks – AHL Affiliate Worcester Sharks
San Jose has has an affiliation with this franchise since 2001 when they were the Cleveland Barons. The franchise moved to Worcester in 2006.
Worcester Sharks

St. Louis Blues – AHL Affiliate Chicago Wolves
2013-14 was the first year that the Wolves and Blues have been affiliated. Amazingly, the Wolves franchise has never has a losing season even though they’ve had multiple NHL teams affiliated throughout their history.
Chicago Wolves

Tampa Bay Lightning – AHL Affiliate Syracuse Crunch.
Tampa Bay switched their affiliation from Norfolk to Syracuse to begin the 2012-12 season. Basically trading AHL teams with Anaheim, who moved their team from Syracuse to Norfolk.
Syracuse Crunch

Toronto Maple Leafs – AHL Affiliate Toronto Marlies.
Probably the most storied minor league affiliation, this franchise has been the Maple Leafs developmentally team through three name changes and relocations. This franchise begin in 1978 as the St. Catherine’s Saints, before moving to Newmarket where they kept their nickname. After this they moved to St. John’s becoming the St. John’s Maple Leafs, before finally moving to Toronto and changing their name to the Marlies in 2005.
Toronto Marlies

Vancouver Canucks – AHL Affiliate Utica Comets.
One of the oldest minor league teams in the country, this team has been through many name changes and relocations since it’s founding in 1932. However, they’ve only been Vancouver’s AHL affiliate since 2013-14 when they move from Peoria to Utica.
Utica Comets

Washington Capitals – AHL Affiliate Hershey Bears.
Hershey is the longest continuously operating team in the AHL. They have been playing in the league since 1938 and have won more Calder Cups than any other team in the league. They became the AHL affiliate for the Capitals in 2005.
Hershey Bears

Winnipeg Jets – AHL Affiliate St. John’s IceCaps.
When the Atlanta Thrashers were purchased and moved to Winnipeg, the ownership wanted to have a minor league team closer to the NHL parent team. Because of this, the Manitoba Moose were relocated to St. Johns and became the Jets AHL affiliate to start the 2011-12 season.
St Johns IceCaps

Thanks for reading all of this if you did!

I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m doing it.

I’ve had many people over the years tell me I should start a sports or hockey blog. So, here it is. Now what do I do? I’ve always been good at writing about things when I knew what to write about. How do you make up stuff to write about though? I’ve never been very good at expressing my opinions on things because I don’t feel very strongly about many things. Or maybe I generally don’t think people give a shit about my opinion, so what’s the point of saying anything? Whatever though. I’m starting this for myself, just so I have somewhere to write about things when I feel like it. I’m sure I’ll get better as I go, and I’m sure some people will read stuff on here someday and enjoy it, and I’m sure people will hate me because this is the internet. But it’s a leaning experience right? It’s something that makes me a bit uncomfortable because I’m going to be judged. I like doing things I’m good at and I don’t think I’ll be good at this right away. I know that everyone sucks when they start things, but that thought doesn’t comfort me very much. I’ll be using this to find my writing voice. I hope some of you will enjoy it.