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The Hockey Writers Daily - September 16, 2023
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Welcome to The Hockey Writers Daily
In today’s edition, we have why the Maple Leafs should separate Auston Matthews & Mitch Marner, Blackhawks battles to watch at training camp, a Bruins offseason overview, a question for Penguins goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic, and much more.
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Here’s the good stuff…
September 15, 2023 by The Old Prof
It just wouldn’t seem like a new NHL season if we didn’t bring up an old debate. Would the Toronto Maple Leafs be better off with Auston Matthews lining up with Mitch Marner, or should Matthews center a line with William Nylander on the wing and John Tavares play with Marner?
The chemistry between Matthews and Marner is well-documented and their styles complement each other. Matthews is one of the best goal-scorers in the league, if not the best, and Marner is one of the best playmakers. Together, they are one of the best center/winger combinations in Maple Leafs history and one of the best active combinations in the NHL.
September 15, 2023 by Matthew Morris
After it sat defunct for nine years, the Buffalo Sabres re-activated their Hall of Fame last season so that Ryan Miller could be inducted when his number was retired in January. It remains unclear if this was just a one-time-only occasion or if the team plans on further inductions in the future.
Since it was founded in 1980, a total of 43 members have been enshrined. Many of them were some of the greatest players to put on a Sabres jersey, including the likes of the French Connection, Dave Andreychuk, Pat LaFontaine and Dominik Hasek. Numerous key off-ice figures, like broadcaster Rick Jeanneret and founders Seymour and Northrup Knox, have received the honor as well. However, there are also a number of notable absences. If the Sabres do decide to keep it open for the future, they will have a number of worthy candidates to choose from. The following five might stand out the most.
September 15, 2023 by Connor Smith
The start of fall is eight days away, which means hockey season is nearly here. After this weekend’s Tom Kurvers Prospect Showcase, the Chicago Blackhawks will open training camp on Sept. 21. From depth forwards looking to prove their worth to prospects hoping to make the cut, it will be an intriguing week before the team hosts its first preseason game on Sept. 28 against the St. Louis Blues. With that in mind, let’s discuss three battles to keep an eye on.
September 15, 2023 by Hannah Garfield
Summer is over and the 2023 NHL offseason is now in the rearview mirror. It has certainly been an interesting few months for the Boston Bruins since the team was booted in the first round of the playoffs by the eventual Eastern Conference champions, the Florida Panthers.
Going into last season, there were major personnel changes around the team as former head coach Bruce Cassidy was replaced by Jim Montgomery. This offseason saw few changes to the front office and coaching staff, but some pretty significant changes to the roster. It was a fairly eventful offseason, though not necessarily in the ways fans would have liked.
September 15, 2023 by George Majchrzak
One of the chief reasons the Pittsburgh Penguins sat out the 2023 Playoffs, for the first time since 2006, was because of their goaltending situation. Both Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith struggled mightily with consistency, and to make matters worse, Jarry suffered a lower-body injury, which forced him to miss too many games and DeSmith to play too many.
Shoring up the goaltending was one of new general manager (GM) Kyle Dubas’s priorities when he assumed the role in June. On July 1, he signed Jarry to a contract extension, a move which came as a surprise to many, and then he acquired unrestricted free agent (UFA) Alex Nedeljkovic. That move rendered DeSmith expendable, and he was bundled in the three-team deal in which the Penguins acquired prized defenseman Erik Karlsson. While Jarry has question marks of his own, Nedeljkovic brings plenty of baggage to the team, and it’s worth asking: which Alex Nedeljkovic are the Penguins getting?
September 15, 2023 by Rupert McDonald
One player who has flown under the radar a little bit is Dan Vladar. The 26-year-old is set to enter the first year of a two-year, $4.4 million extension, but could be moved in the near future given the emergence of goaltending prospect Dustin Wolf. The Flames by no means want to give Vladar away for nothing, but they also need to do everything in their power to ensure that Wolf is in the NHL this season, as he has nothing left to prove at the American Hockey League (AHL) level.
Though Vladar’s 2.83 goals-against average (GAA) along with his .895 save percentage (SV%) from last season don’t show it, he is a capable backup netminder at the NHL level, with the potential to still develop into more. If he is put on the market, teams will show interest, and as fate would have it, there is a new team looking to add a goalie before the 2023-24 season begins.
More stuff from THW and around the NHL:
Edmonton Oilers - Where Does Oilers’ Stuart Skinner Rank Among Under-25 Goalies?
Columbus Blue Jackets - Bally Sports to Air Blue Jackets Despite Bankruptcy Worries
NHL News & Rumors - Sabres, Senators, Avalanche, Canadiens, Jets
From TSN - Babcock investigation atop agenda as NHL, NHLPA meet
From Sportsnet - Feeling like 'a whole new person,' Canucks' Raty is ready for the spotlight
From the NHL - NHL prospect tournaments get underway
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