Last season, the Legend of John Klingberg was born, but which Dallas Stars player is headed for a breakout year in 2015-16? Mike Heika brings us the likeliest candidates.
Behind Door No. 1, we have Patrik Nemeth, who just signed a two-year contract extension. After last year's freak injury, this coming season seems like this perfect time for him to step up.
The Stars went 14-6-1 with Nemeth in the lineup, including 12-5-0 down the stretch when he returned from an arm laceration. … The big (6-3, 230) lefty might even land on the top pairing with John Klingberg and start logging the second most minutes on the team.
Other viable candidates include two players who have already had promising starts to their NHL careers: Valeri Nichushkin and Brett Ritchie. Heika also brings up Devin Shore as a dark horse for a breakout campaign.
The University of Maine product received rave reviews in his 19 games with the Texas Stars last season. He was able to muster just four goals and two assists in the AHL, but he is a smart two-way forward who could provide depth in case of injuries and could also step up at the end of the season as the Stars could be making a push toward the playoffs.
Rounding out the top 5 breakout possibilities is CHL Goaltender of the Year Philippe Desrosiers, who posted a 29-9-3 regular-season record and went 5-3 in the postseason with Rimouski Oceanic last season.
Who do you guys think will be Mr. 2015-16? Will we be singing the Ballad of Brett Ritchie, the Song of Devin Shore, or another tune entirely? Make your official prediction now, and earn eternal bragging rights if/when it comes true. [DMN]
Maybe everyone's already heard the news, but in case not... we're finally getting a hockey emoji!
It looks like we won't get to see the Klingberg brothers battle it out next season, as older sibling (and New York Rangers RFA) Carl Klingberg has signed in the KHL.
Moving to Russia next season, and will be playing for Torpedo, Nizhny Novgorod. Will be a great adventure!— Carl Klingberg (@CarlKlingberg) June 21, 2015
Michael Russo talks about what to expect out of the Wild's negotiations with Devan Dubnyk. [Star Tribune]
Meanwhile, Antti Niemi's tenure with the Sharks may not be over just yet. [San Jose Mercury News]
Elliotte Friedman shares his 30 Thoughts to keep us up-to-date on current happenings, including opinions on overtime format and more Phil Kessel trade talk. [SportsNet]
Speaking of Toronto, the Detroit Red Wings are reportedly out on Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf.
@DetroitRedWings no longer interested in pursuing a trade for @MapleLeafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf, I was told.— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) June 19, 2015
New York Islanders forward Kyle Okposo could be on the trading block, although "nothing appears to be imminent." [Newsday]
Patrick Sharp's departure from the Chicago Blackhawks is looking more and more likely, according to NHL.com's Brian Hedger. The current asking price is what one might call steep. [Second City Hockey]
Per NHL source, CHI currently asking for 1st rd pick, A-level prospect & top 6 forward on entry-level contract for Patrick Sharp #isles— B.D. Gallof (@BDGallof) June 19, 2015
The Calgary Flames signed center Mikael Backlund to a three-year contract extension over the weekend. [Flames]
Edmonton said goodbye to several members of its scouting staff ahead of the draft.
EDM fired head amateur scout Stu MacGregor tonight as well as two other amateur scouts and one pro scout.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 21, 2015
Pierre LeBrun has plenty of rumblings for you to read. If you want to know what the Leafs, Blues, Avs, and Preds are up to, click right this way. [ESPN]
At this point, it looks like Matt Beleskey will continue to call Anaheim home. Why he'd want to do that, I have no idea.
Talks with Ducks and Matt Beleskey progressing. At this point, I wouldn't expect him to get to July 1.— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) June 20, 2015
The days leading up to the draft could basically turn into Fast and Furious 8. Here's a look at which players might be packing their bags very soon. [Toronto Sun]
Sean McIndoe shares his offseason primer, which highlights RFAs and UFAs to keep an eye on. [Grantland]
While we (im)patiently wait for the NHL Draft to arrive, you can relive the very first NWHL draft. The New York Riveters selected Boston College's Alex Carpenter with the first overall pick on Saturday. [NHL]
And finally, the presenters for the 2015 NHL Awards were announced. The celebrity lineup includes, among others, Ted Lindsay, Bill Guerin, Retta, and Tyler Seguin's BFF Tiesto. [Puck Daddy]