Posts Tagged ‘Devils’

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With the season in the books, NFL free agent rumors are all ready swirling in. Team _____ has interest in player _____ will be blowing up websites for weeks to come. With that being said, he are a few upcoming free agents, flying under the radar, that could prove huge dividends.

Andre Brown- Heres a player whose used to being on the free agent market. The 27-year-old running back has been on five teams since joining the league in 2009. Most notable, Brown had a fairly good year this season with New York Giants. After returning from a broken leg in week 10, the NC State product ran for 492 yards and 3 touchdowns. At 6’0 230 lbs, Brown can provide very good value as a change of pace back for teams in desperate need of a bruiser in the backfield. The Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, and Cleveland Browns should all have this big back on their radar.

Dexter McCluster- With high profile names like Eric Decker and Jeremy Maclin up for grabs, many wont even realize that the former Chief playmaker is on the market. Despite this, teams in need of a fast, dynamic, and explosive player like McCluster should covet his value. The 2013 Pro Bowler provides those qualities not only at wide receiver, but also in the backfield and the return game. In addition to Kansas City, the New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, and San Francisco 49ers should all take a look at the playmaker.

Jared Allen- He finally made it out. After years of trade rumors, Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen is free to play where he pleases. Luckily, plenty of teams are in need of pass rushers.  Despite a subpar 2013 season, Allen has notably been an absolute monster on the defensive line. In the 2011 season, Allen recorded 22 sacks, recovered 4 fumbles, and had an overall 46 tackles. Look for the Baltimore Ravens, Atlanta Falcons, and New England Patriots will definitely be taking a look.

These are just some of the tons of sleeper free agents on the market. Who do you guys think is being undervalued? Let us know in the comments!

The NHL is issuing a roster freeze for the Olympic break, starting on Friday. Many people are considering this to be a quasi-trade deadline, and GM’s are looking to make moves to help their team toward the playoffs, or rebuilding mode. Let’s take a look at the top trade targets, and see if they are going to be moved or not.

Marian Gaborik, Columbus: Gaborik has serious talent, scoring at least 60 points 6 times over his career with Minnesota, New York, and Columbus. He has an expiring contract, and we aren’t quite sure if he’s gonna stick around in Columbus. The news on him has been more from the injury front, as he’s recovering from a broken collarbone. But when he is healthy, he’s an asset that many teams can look to for offense. I would expect teams like Montreal, New Jersey, Minnesota, or Los Angeles to consider a deal for him.

Thomas Vanek, N.Y. Islanders: He already has been traded this season, but recent news suggest that there may be another deal in Vanek’s future. He was offered a long term deal from the Isles’ front office, and turned it down in favor of his impending free agency. He’s in all likelihood the top offensive target on the trade market. However, considering that teams know he would be testing free agency, it may be a deterrent to trade for him, when they can simply offer him a contract this summer. The Isles would want to trade him, but finding a partner may be a challenge. Minnesota is a top destination for him, according to rumors.

Matt Moulson, Buffalo: The other portion of the Vanek trade, Moulson, is in a very similar position as Vanek. They are the same age, and set to be an unrestricted free agent come July. He is very good offensively, and is responsible in the defensive side as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if he decides to stay with Buffalo, and give them some veteran presence up front among all the up-and-coming youngsters. But it would be less of a shock if he decides to test free agency, and sign elsewhere. The Sabres would be well off to trade Moulson to a contender, and continue to build to the future.

Ryan Miller, Buffalo: Miller is the glue to the Sabres’ roster, as of now, due to him stopping more pucks than counterpart Jhonas Enroth, and providing the Sabres’ offense a chance to score enough to win. However, the landscape in the front office in Buffalo has been in flux since the beginning of the year, and Miller said recently that he doesn’t know what’s going to happen. He has a no-trade clause, meaning he can pick and choose 8 teams to not be traded to. No word on who those 8 are. But Miller will be a highly sought after asset, and teams in need of goaltending will inquire about him, such as Toronto, Philadelphia, Washington, or Winnipeg.

Steve Ott, Buffalo: Yet another Sabre on the list, because he’s a valuable commodity and expiring contract. Ott brings a grinder presence and much needed leadership to any team, and isn’t very expensive. Teams in need of playoff-ready forwards should be hunting after this guy, much like San Jose or Washington. However, he has a steady position with the Sabres, and they would likely want to keep him around. Don’t be shocked if he stays put this season.

Michael Cammalleri, Calgary: One of the few bright spots on the Flames’ offense, Cammalleri is having a tough season, with only 21 points in 39 games. But he has the speed and offensive talent to be able to get things done on offense. His contract expires this off-season, and the Flames are attempting to extend the 31 year old, and keep him around. In all likelihood, if he doesn’t agree to terms by the trade deadline, he would likely be traded to a team who needs offense. The New Jersey Devils have been rumored to have serious interest in Cammalleri, in lieu of an offensive struggle.

Ales Hemsky, Edmonton: He’s been on and off the trade market for quite a while now, but the Oilers have kept him around with shorter deals. Now, the 30 year old is mentioning that he wouldn’t be shocked if he was traded before the deadline. We have heard that before from Hemsky’s camp, but he’s still in Edmonton. But considering the wave of offensive talent that the Oil possess, and having a defensive sieve behind them, it wouldn’t shock anyone if the Oilers dealt Hemsky for a good defensive defenseman. There aren’t any rumors swirling yet, but look for teams to think about trading defense for Hemsky come deadline time.

Martin Brodeur, New Jersey: His presence on this list is near blasphemous, but it’s there because Marty’s talked about it. Marty recently has been relegated to second banana guarding the Devils’ goal behind Cory Schneider, and obviously isn’t terribly happy about playing less. He has mentioned that he would consider a trade to a place where he’d play more, but in all seriousness, he won’t be traded anywhere. He’ll be 42 during the playoffs, and has started to show his age, with his save percentage dipping under .900 for the first time, well, ever. But I doubt he’ll get traded anywhere.

Jaromir Jagr, New Jersey: He’s slightly older than Brodeur, but significantly more useful. He’s the leading scorer for the Devils, and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. His veteran presence has been invaluable to the Devils, who are grooming younger players for the long run, and would be good for any contender as well. However, the Devils are still very much in the hunt, despite being further out than most teams, and Lou isn’t one to be a seller come deadline time. Expect Jagr to remain with New Jersey at least until after this season.

Ryan Callahan, N.Y. Rangers: We’ve taken a look at Callahan’s situation earlier on the site, and not much has changed since then. It still seems unlikely that the Rangers would give Callahan the massive extension he wants. GM Glen Sather has mentioned that they would likely have a decision on him before the roster freeze for the Olympics. We shouldn’t be surprised if he gets dealt, or if he doesn’t. The team most likely to move on him is Buffalo, his hometown team, or Columbus, who has been rumored to have talked to the Rangers about Callahan.

We looked earlier at what complaints there are to the Stadium Series. However, there are many benefits to these games as well.

First, and most obvious, is money. The NHL is taking big matchups out of their 20,000 seat arenas and placing them in 50,000 seat stadiums. That adds tons of tickets, at higher prices, to the sales for each of the home teams, in this case the Kings, Devils, Islanders and Blackhawks. Along with the ticket sales, each team has more merchandise, such as jerseys, t-shirts, hats, etc. to sell to the fans at the events, and at sports stores all over the country. TV and advertising to the public can be found everywhere, and it brings in sponsorship money that no other sport can do, due to the lack of innovation possible for baseball, basketball, and football, at least in the way outdoor hockey is. The lockout prevented revenue from coming in, so therefore more money this year will help their cause and bottom line.

Besides the obvious financial gain, this opens up opportunity for teams who wouldn’t have hosted a Winter Classic. The Kings and Ducks don’t play in a wintry type of area, and would never land the game. This gives them a chance to host such an event, as well as opens up for other teams in warmer climates to be able to host this event. Also, smaller-market teams like the Islanders and Devils are able to participate in these games, giving them a chance to enter the spotlight, which they don’t normally have. Sure they will have bigger market teams featured as well, but having a bigger market teamed up with a smaller fan base can create some kind of animosity or rivalry, which adds more to the love of the team, and brings the fans in to the arena to see that team play.

The fans are big winners here too, because it gives them more opportunity to see their team, and opens up lots of seats for newcomers to the game, to be able to enjoy hockey’s finest events. Fans of those teams who don’t often get awarded the Winter Classic get a chance to see their teams outdoors for a change. They can all come home from this massive party and say that they’ve been to an outdoor game.

The watering down of the special event is an issue, but there are benefits as to why the NHL decided to bring this in. As much as it may be too much of a good thing, and it was reflected in the fans’ reluctance to sell out the L.A. game and the later N.Y. game, it still brings in tons of new opportunity to a growing league.  

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Coming up this week, we have 3 outdoor games from the NHL. That’s 3 times as much as we’ve seen in any given month in NHL history.

This past off-season, the NHL introduced this idea, of a set of 4 outdoor games, and gave the reason of wanting to spread the love and get more teams playing outdoors. They must have missed the boat a little bit, because 3 of the 7 teams participating have already played outdoors in a Winter Classic. Also, by the time we get to the Wednesday night game in New York, the “special” aspect of the outdoor game will be lost on most hockey fans, especially Rangers fans, who will have seen their boys in 2 outdoor games in a week.

First, we have Los Angeles’ branch of the Series, where Dodger Stadium will host the Kings and Anaheim [Mighty] Ducks. On the field of the Stadium, aside from the NHL rink, there is street hockey, a stage for KISS, and a beach. A beach? Next to ice hockey? Yeah. A beach. This games’ special aspect, is that they are playing outdoors in a warm climate. Game time temperature is said to be in the 60’s or 70’s Fahrenheit. I think it’s neat, but it’s not original. The Kings and Rangers played a preseason game at Caeser’s Palace in Las Vegas before, and it was rather hot that night. It will be neat having people show up in shorts to watch an outdoor game, but we know that the technology is there and will work, so this ends up being gimmicky.

Next, we go to Yankee Stadium in Bronx, NY, for 2 games between the 3 New York teams (one’s New Jersey, but everyone outside the tri-state area calls them together). This series is, I think, just to say they played hockey at the legendary Yankee Stadium. The fact that they have 2 games there is just to get all 3 teams in the area involved. The Devils/Rangers match will have more of a Winter Classic-y feel to it, being an afternoon game in the biting cold, but the Islanders/Rangers match will be less “special” because the Rangers had gone through this experience 3 days earlier, and it’s the second game at the Stadium. Not to downplay the rivalries being present, the Devils’ game will probably be more exciting for the fans, due to it being the first game there, and that rivalry has been more present recently. If the series stopped with just that game, it’d be more fine. Now it just leaves it incomplete, with the Devils and Islanders only getting one game, as opposed to the Rangers, who get 2. I know the Rangers are the big team in the area, and they got there first, in the Original 6, but we should at least even things out and make it less obvious that the NHL has a love affair with Henrik Lundqvist.

Finally, we stop at Soldier Field in Chicago, home of a certain football team known as da Bears. The Chicago Blackhawks will host the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 2nd in the most unnecessary outdoor game ever. Spreading the love would include two teams that have NOT played outside before. These are two teams that have, multiple times in the Penguins’ case. Chicago has hosted before. Sure, they are changing venues. But NBC seems to have every Penguins or Blackhawks game on, when not showing the Flyers or Rangers, at least. There is no novelty here, even if they change venues to Soldier Field. Nothing new, as of now, to make it worth the NHL’s while to try and make this “special”. Fans of any team outside the Blackhawks and Penguins would probably be upset that their team isn’t getting a fair shot. This is just the most obvious case of trying to dig more into two big fan bases for more money.

The Winter Classic, and to some extent the Heritage Classic, are fantastic for the league, and should be continued. That once per season for each the US and Canada puts on a good show for the sport, just look at this year’s Winter Classic. But the Stadium Series is just full of gimmicks that aren’t quite so novel, and waters down the product of outdoor hockey. I hope we never see something like this again, or else it might spell the end for desire of outdoor hockey, and then no one wins.

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Last season, when New Jersey Devils’ goaltender Cory Schneider was still a member of the Vancouver Canucks, he was constantly in the shadow of Roberto Luongo, waiting for his chance to earn the starting job he deserves. Trade rumors were constantly swirling around him and Luongo, and it obviously became a black cloud looming over both of them.

Draft day, June 30, 2013, in Newark rolled around, and commish Gary Bettman got up to the podium before the Devils’ pick, 9th overall, among a sea of boos. He said to the fans at the draft, “You’ll want to hear this”, grinning ear to ear, before announcing to everyone the trade that would shock the hockey world.

Vancouver would be selecting 9th overall instead of New Jersey, and Cory Schneider became a Devil.

Of course, the Devils have a starting goalie in their system, some guy from Montreal named Martin Brodeur, all time leader in wins, shutouts, games played…we can’t list everything he’s done, but he’s had a good career, trust me.

Marty will turn 42 on May 6th. Cory is 28 in March.

The fact is, Marty is toward the end of his legendary career. Despite putting up good numbers this year, it’s rather obvious that the Devils are in transition, out of the era of Brodeur. That’s why they traded for Schneider. They needed an heir apparent for the man they call Satan’s Wallpaper.

But Marty has mentioned that he’s mentally still in it, and it’s all about whether his body holds up or not, to decide on whether this season is the last we will see him in net. He’s obviously still got it, but do the Devils really want him back?

Cory has spent his entire career in this spot. He was behind/splitting with Luongo since his career went full-time NHL in 2010, and now with New Jersey, he’s splitting with Brodeur. One would think that with a goalie of his caliber, he should, and rightfully so, deserve a starting job. With next year being his contract year, a free agent in the summer of 2015, he’s due for a big pay day. The Devils hope it will be with them. But he would need to have the starting job in the bag by the time that extension rolls around.

Martin Brodeur would probably retire by then, but we aren’t entirely sure. He says he can go another one as of now. But the Devils may want to move on. Besides Schneider becoming the full-time starter, there is a goalie in the AHL affiliate of the Devils (also the Devils, just in Albany) named Keith Kinkaid, and he should be ready for NHL backup status come next year. That looks like a goalie tandem for New Jersey’s future, and Martin Brodeur isn’t a part of it.

Marty’s a legend in New Jersey, and will be loved forever by Devils fans, and hockey fans alike. No matter what happens this off-season, they will always have fond memories of Brodeur. But memories are for the past. The future of the Devils rests with Schneider in net. Marty’s career in New Jersey is likely over after this season, whether he wants to play or not. It’s a very tough break-up, understandably, considering Marty has been the goalie since 1994. But the future is approaching fast in New Jersey.

We may not have seen the last of Brodeur after the regular season or playoffs this year. But if GM Lou Lamoriello knows what’s good for the franchise (and he usually has a good idea), it’s time for the team and Marty to move on.

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Now this is something to get angry about.

After getting sent packing by the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had some strong, yet cowardly words for one of his former receivers. Regarding a hit by Broncos receiver Wes Welker on Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib, Belichick said, “It was a deliberate play by the receiver to take out Aqib. No attempt to get open. I’ll let the league handle the discipline on that play, whatever they decide. It’s one of the worst plays I’ve seen. That’s all I’ll say about that.”

These comments were not only incorrect, but also classless.

Lets start with the actual play. With fellow Denver receiver Demaryius Thomas running a slant route, Welker tried to help him, while running his route, by setting a pick on Aqib Talib. The pass was incomplete, but Talib was hurt on the play. Talib was diagnosed with a knee injury and did not return to the game.

Should Welker have drawn an offensive pass interference on the play, absolutely. He set an illegal pick on the Patriots cornerback and should have been flagged for it. With that being said, the play was not malicious. Welker started off running his route, saw an opportunity to help his team and took it.

Now lets get to Belichick. The notorious bad sport didn’t disappoint. Calling out your ex player for something he clearly didn’t do is just embarrassing. The head coach’s antics got even more laughable when not one of his teammates took his side. Patriots defensive backs Steven Gregory put it perfectly saying, “He matches up against what we consider the top receiver week in and week out. He’s a leader, he’s a competitive guy, a guy that’s going to go out and give you everything he’s got, so you never want to lose a guy like that. But at the same time, other guys have to step up like we’ve done all year.”

Why couldn’t Belichick say that? Its one thing if you’re a player and your caught in the heat of the moment, but a coach, on the next day should not make those remarks. When your players are being more mature than you, its time to take a look in the mirror.

Lastly, lets review the logic (or lack there of) involved in Belichicks accusations. Wes Welker clocks in at about 5’8 180lbs. Aqib Talib is roughly 6’1 215 lbs. Why would Denver send one of their best receivers to attempt to hurt another player? If they really wanted to injure Talib, they would have sent someone like Joel Dreessen, the 6’4 240 lbs tight end out to deliver the hit. Furthermore, Welker missed a few games toward the end of the season due to a concussion. Why would he or the team place the small receiver in harms way? Additionally, the former Patriots took the brunt of the hit. The slot receiver was knocked hard to the ground after the collision with the Pats corner. Logically, there would be no reason to send Welker at Talib.

With all of this being said, the worst part of this whole allegation was the fact that the Patriots ran the exact same play. In the first quarter, Patriots tight end Michael Hoomanawanui set an illegal pick against a Denver defensive back for a receiver running a slant route. New England drew a 10-yard offensive pass interference on the play, but does that really matter? Belichick seemed to have selective amnesia regarding this play. The only difference between the two plays was that Hoomanawanui is 265lbs, while Welker is 180 lbs.

Everyone knows why these comments were made. Belichick didn’t like Welker in New England. After signing with Denver, Bradys former favorite target said, “It was just kind of hard, one of those deals where you have to endure him, put up with him.” Its one thing for a player to make comments like these, but a coach needs to take the high road. After the game, Welker called the victory “bittersweet”, since he had to defeat his former team to get there. Clearly the words of a cold-blooded killer.

Robert Kraft, Tom Brady, and the rest of the New England Patriots organization deserved better.

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Per tradition, the New York Knicks are set to have their Martin Luther King day matinee against their cross-town rival, the Brooklyn Nets. With the renewal of their rivalry hours away, lets take a look at some of the greatest moments in the long-lived rivalry.

Kidds Four Point Play- After spending years in New Jersey, Jason Kidd spent his final year as a player wearing Orange and Blue for the New York Knicks. In his first game at the Barclays Center, Kidd had a time machine game, putting up 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. Of those points, none were bigger than his three with 24 seconds left to give the Knicks the lead. He was fouled during the shot, sending him to the line where he failed to complete the four-point play. The Knicks took the win 100-97 in one of Kidd’s last great games.

The Tim Thomas Tirade- In game two of the 2004 playoffs, with tensions already high, Nets Center Jason Collins committed a flagrant foul against Knicks Forward Tim Thomas. Thomas was injured on the play and would not return to the game. In his postgame interview, Thomas would proceed to rip everyone from Collins to his own teammates. His most memorable comments came against Nets Forward Kenyon Martin, where he proceeded to call Martin “Fugazi”. Martin and the Nets responded by beating down the Knicks at MSG to sweep the series.

The Blueprint 2010- With the day rapidly approaching, Mikhail Prokhorov,  Jay-Z, and the rest of the Brooklyn Nets front office decided to make a statement about their impending move. They did so by placing a 22-foot billboard outside of Madison Square Garden with the Tagline “Blueprint For Greatness”. Tensions would continue to rise between the two owners until commissioner David Stern finally stepped in and squashed the situation. Despite being forced to take the Billboard down, the point was definitely made.

The Birth Of Linsanity- Febuary 4th 2012 will forever go down in sports history as the birth of Linsanity. With Iman Shumpert & Baron Davis out, Lin was finally given a chance to play by coach Mike D’Antoni. Against the New Jersey Nets, Lin went off, scoring 25 points, while adding 5 rebounds and 7 assists. From there the rest is history. Lin would go on to average 15 points, and 6 assists for the rest of the year, before going to the Houston Rockets in free agency.

At Long Last- The building was shaking. In front of a sellout crowd, the Nets and Knicks played their first game at the Barclays Center and they did not disappoint. Despite being delayed by Hurricane Sandy, the game felt like it was opening night. In an overtime thriller, Brooklyn prevailed with a 96-89 final score. With both teams putting up a good fight, this signified the beginning of the fight for New York.

There are plenty more classic moments that have taken place over this 40-year rivalry. Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

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The old saying goes, offense puts fans in the seats, defense wins games. But to really get a good team together, they really have to play together in the right style and system.

The New Jersey Devils are a good example to follow here. I know they are in 5th in the Metropolitan, just wait, I’ll explain.

There is a reason that this team, who’s among bottom 5 in goal scoring, has a winning record of 20-18-11. They have a system and mission objective every game, and keep to it.

Their previous 5 games, before last night’s defeat in the shootout (a point I’ll make later on), they went 3-0-2, and had a common theme in each of the 5 games; they dressed 7 defensemen. Not only that, they had perfectly serviceable wingers as healthy scratches, they deliberately dressed 7 D-men. Why? It works with their system. The Devils pride themselves on team flexibility. They often have 2 natural centers on the ice, for example, Travis Zajac and Dainius Zubrus, or Adam Henrique and Patrik Elias. Just like that, 7 defensemen opens up for flexibility, with some guys like Eric Gelinas and Marek Zidlicky, who are power play specialists, to Bryce Salvador and Anton Volchenkov, who are great killing penalties, and Mark Fayne, Andy Greene, Jon Merrill, and whoever else, who can play well anywhere.

Also, the Devils have always been a notoriously stingy defensive team, always defending first, and attacking when they are allowed a chance. It’s why Cory Schneider’s record doesn’t match his other stats, and it’s why the Devils have fewer goals scored. The slam-dunk point to make here, is that in the shootout, what many call a skill competition, the Devils have a grand total of 1 goal in 25 shooters, and have lost all 8 shootouts this year. They are still very much in contention for a playoff spot, and their team chemistry and system are exactly why.

Looking at the opposite end, you can have all the talent in the world, and still look miserable on the ice. The Edmonton Oilers are a prime example of that. They have a sparkling young core of talent, led by a number of high draft picks like Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov, I could go on for a while. They always seem to have an offense that could potentially outscore their mistakes. Unfortunately for them, that requires a scoring level that rivals the Blackhawks (as of this article, the Oilers actually have let up more goals than the Hawks scored, and the Oil have played one more game). Their defense has been a blaring issue since day 1 of their rebuilding mode after their miracle Cup Finals run in 2006. Their goalies have been an issue, despite just trading for Ben Scrivens in a series of trades. They don’t seem to have a defensive structure, though, and are too offensively minded to be able to win games.

The New York Rangers also had their struggles. Many experts had them rivaling the Penguins in the division, but that hasn’t been the case. They had a coaching change, and brought in Alain Vigneault, who previously coached the dynamic offense in Vancouver. The team was built for the style of John Tortorella (current coach in Vancouver, coincidentally), which was more defensive and systematic. The adjustment period was apparent, and people even started questioning goalie Henrik Lundqvist, and if he’s still got it (he does, ease up Ranger fans). But they have it figured out, seemingly, gotten healthier, and they are now toward the top of the Metropolitan, where many said they belong.

Systems and team chemistry is what brings the Cup home to your city. It doesn’t matter if your team signs the next big superstar winger who can score a million goals, if he doesn’t fit the system in place, and doesn’t mesh with the other team members, as much as a million goals will help as well. Trust me, I grew up watching the Devils in their hay-day, and they still didn’t have an offense back then and won 3 Cups in 8 years, due to the notorious Neutral Zone Trap they employed night in and night out. That system worked, and they won without the big flashy stars.

Your team can too, if the shoe fits.

Last week, we reviewed the top 10 free agent signings and how they are doing halfway through their first season with their new teams. This week, we’ll take a look at the 10 biggest trades, and see who won each deal.

Los Angeles Kings trade G Jonathan Bernier to Toronto Maple Leafs for G Ben Scrivens, F Matt Frattin, and 2014/15 2nd round pick: The first big trade of the offseason led to a big goalie swap between the Kings and Leafs. The Leafs got Bernier, who came in and took over the starting job from James Reimer, and has performed well at times, with a 15-14-4 record, and a GAA of 2.58. He also looked spectacular in the Winter Classic. Meanwhile, Scrivens has far fewer games played this year, thanks to Jonathan Quick and Martin Jones, and has a 7-5-4 record, but a GAA of just 1.97. His numbers are slightly better on average, but hasn’t played much because he’s not the number 1 guy like Bernier. Frattin hasn’t added much to this deal, not playing particularly well in Los Angeles, and the Kings do get a pick out of this. But overall, the trade got Bernier a starting job, and the Kings could have gotten more out of Bernier. Winner: Toronto

Vancouver Canucks trade G Cory Schneider to New Jersey Devils for 2013 1st round pick (Bo Horvat): This trade turned boos for Commish Gary Bettman at the Prudential Center on draft day into cheers. It also shocked everyone in the hockey world, especially Schneider and the Devils. Schneider immediately became the heir-apparent to living legend Martin Brodeur, who may retire this offseason (or never). Schneider and Brodeur have split the load so far, and Schneider has a 7-9-6 record, and 1.96 GAA. He’s been impressive for the Devils, and a bright spot for the future, should he sign an extension with the team. Bo Horvat was picked with the 9th overall pick by Vancouver, and still is in the CHL, but has a bright future ahead of him. We can’t tell now how he’ll be, but Hockey’s Future rates him as a 7.5 prospect (take it how you like). But Vancouver could have gotten way more out of Schneider. Winner: New Jersey.

New York Islanders trade F Nino Niederreiter to Minnesota Wild for F Cal Clutterbuck and 2013 3rd round pick (Eamon McAdam): Nino never quite fit in the Islanders’ system, always wondering when he’d get his chance with the big club. He never did. With Minnesota, he’s stepped up his game and performed well, with 9 goals and 16 assists, and a decent +/- of +9. He’s been part of the lead pack with the team, who is suffering from injuries to Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu up front. Clutterbuck, however, hasn’t quite found his groove, seemingly. in 42 games, he just has 8 points, and a +/- of -7, and even though those stats are just under par for his career, he needs to show he has more value. Winner: Minnesota

Buffalo Sabres trade D Andrej Sekera to Carolina Hurricanes for D Jamie McBain and 2013 2nd round pick (J.T. Compher): The Hurricanes weren’t very deep in defensemen, and still aren’t. But they felt the need to upgrade, and did. Sekera is having a good season so far, with 7 goals and 17 assists from the blue line, which is tops for Canes’ d-men. He’s proven valuable, while McBain has been struggling a bit. Though he is with Buffalo, his numbers are far worse, with just 3 goals and 6 assists. J.T. Compher remains in college, but the Sabres hope for big things down the road. Winner: Carolina

Boston Bruins trade F Tyler Seguin, F Rich Peverly, and D Ryan Button to Dallas Stars for F Loui Eriksson, D Joseph Morrow, F Reilly Smith, and F Matt Fraser: The Stars got the top guy in this deal by far, a 21 year old point per game player in Seguin. He’s leading the way alongside Jamie Benn, with 42 points in 44 games, and has been playing unreal since the trade. Peverly has been serviceable, just 21 points in 45 games, but has been doing what the team needs to succeed. Will the B’s regret this trade? Doubtful. Though Eriksson has had trouble staying on the ice, just 26 games, he’s been decent in those games played, with a +/- of +9, and 15 points. Reilly Smith has been a pleasant surprise, at 22 years old, and with 33 points so far in his first full season, he’s a bright spot for the Bruins’ future. The other pieces in the trade are just barely getting NHL action, but immediately, this trade benefits both sides. Winner: Dallas

Edmonton Oilers trade F Shawn Horcoff to Dallas for D Philip Larsen and a 2016 7th round pick: This is a pretty minor deal, but the significance is that the Oilers traded one of their longtime guys for another young, unproven defenseman. Horcoff has been okay for the Stars, just 13 points in 45 games. But he’s 35 and obviously won’t put up numbers like he used to. Edmonton got Larsen, who hasn’t shown he’s got the goods yet, but still has upside at age 24. Winner: Edmonton, I guess

Anaheim Ducks trade F Bobby Ryan to Ottawa Senators for F Jakob Silfverberg, F Stefan Noesen and a 2014 1st round pick: People had a feeling Bobby Ryan would be unloaded from the Ducks, for cap reasons, and it happened this summer. Ryan this year for Ottawa, has 37 points in 47 games, and is second on the team in that stat. He’s the top go-to guy for  the Sens on offense, alongside Kyle Turris. But the cost for him was huge. Silfverberg is one of the top up and comers in the league, and despite an injury early in the year, he’s been valuable to the Ducks, with 12 points in the 26 games he’s played. The Ducks also picked up a prospect and the Sens’ first rounder next year, which would probably be between 10 and 20. This trade was huge, but came at big costs for both sides. Winner: Anaheim

St. Louis Blues trade F David Perron to Edmonton Oilers for F Magnus Paajarvi and 2014 2nd round pick: Perron was part of the future with the Blues, with good upside, but the Blues didn’t have room for him, and shipped him to Edmonton. He’s had a great year so far, with 34 points in 45 games, and has been valuable to the team’s offense. Paajarvi, however, has just 5 points in 26 games, and has been hampered with injuries. It’s not like the Blues are depending on him, but they could have kept Perron and had much more value, despite the upside Paajarvi brings. Winner: Edmonton

Buffalo Sabres trade F Thomas Vanek to New York Islanders for F Matt Moulson, 2014 1st round pick and 2015 2nd round pick: The Islanders began the year in win now mode, but seem to have hit a wall when G Evgeni Nabakov went down. Vanek is having another point per game campaign, though, and has started to gel with John Tavares, which is dangerous for anyone. Lately, the Isles have been picking it up, so they might not be out of it yet. Buffalo is out of it, but building toward the future. Moulson on his own wouldn’t be worth it. He’s played well, 28 points in 43 games with both the Isles and Sabres, but the picks to Buffalo are the kicker in this trade. Both will be free agents next season, so the picks tell the winner, with both likely leaving for greener pastures. Winner: Buffalo

Philadelphia Flyers trade F Maxime Talbot to Colorado Avalanche for F Steve Downie: The last trade we are looking at involves two rugged grinders switching teams. Downie is more of a playmaker, with just 3 goals and 16 assists, while Talbot has the more well-rounded game. Downie is a bit younger, but has has injuries in the past, playing in just 2 games last season for the Avs. Winner: Push

yank

Now that we’ve seen all of the negatives of the Alex Rodriguez story, lets look at the positive to come out of this ruling. The New York Yankees have reclaimed the $25 million salary that they were supposed to pay Rodriguez and are now free to spend it however they please. With that in mind, here are three ways the Yankees could decide to use that money that would benefit them.

 

It is no secret that Yankees are well below the championship caliber team that fans expect. They (officially) no longer have a starting third baseman, Mark Texeira is returning after missing the entire 2013 season, and Derek Jeter is a shell of his former self.  With all that being said, the number one thing the Yankees need right now is starting pitching. CC Sabathia struggled mightily last year, finishing with a 14-13 record and a career high ERA of 4.78. In addition, Ivan Nova was up and down all of last year and Hiroki Kuroda is 38 and also lost some of his momentum in the second half of last year. To make matters worse, the Yankees don’t even have a set #4 and #5 pitcher right now. Now they can look at this two ways.

The first way to look at this is to go for the big splash (in true George fashion) and sign Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. In 28 starts last season, the former Rakuten Golden Eagle went an astounding 24-0 with and ERA of 1.27. At only 24 years old, Tanaka has the potential to be the Yankees number one starter going forward. However, Tanaka does not come without risk. As the Yankees know, a lot of Japanese pitchers have struggled with their transition to the MLB. Daisuke Matzusaka, Hideki Irabu, and Kei Igawa are all perfect examples of that. Of course that doesn’t mean that Tanaka will not be the next Yu Darvish, it just means that he could also be the next Hideki Irabu.

If the Yankees decide against the Japanese star, they definitely have other things they can do with that money. One hypothetical scenario would be bringing in a solid starting pitcher with a solid relief pitcher for a total of less money than Tanaka would cost. Two starters that are immediately available are Matt Garza and Ubaldo Jimenez. Both have struggled in the past couple of years and are both likely to command no longer than two-year contracts. Garza in particular, with a career ERA of 3.84, but past AL east experience with his time with the Rays, would cost only around 8-12 million on a year for a short amount of time. With no need for commitment, either of these pitchers can be a good temporary fix to the starting pitcher problem.

As far as the relief pitchers, there is once again a decent crop of short contract players available. Grant Balfour, Fernando Rodney, and Fransisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez could all be had on 1-2 year contracts for about $12 million. These would all be good temporary players for the Yankees to have if they want to make a chase for the playoffs.

Now this third option may scare most Yankee fans. I is a terrifying notion that will be a new concept to those who love the pinstripes. Save the money. The 2015 free agent market is going to be filled with significantly better crops. Asdrubal Cabrera, Chase Headley, Max Scherzer, and James Shield will be highly coveted players who would fit the Yankees perfectly. Not spending money this year will all but guarantee no playoffs this year, but it may be worth it in the long hall.

What should the Yankees do? Go after Tanaka? Get some short-term player? Maybe save the Money? Let us know what you think it s comments.