Ryan Lambert

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  • Huge If True: What about these Ryan Nugent-Hopkins trade rumors?

    AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jason FransonAP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jason Franson[HUGE IF TRUE is a column breaking down the plausibility of the week's biggest rumor.]

    The Rumor

    The rumor has been going for a little more than a week at this point, and it seems to really be picking up steam this week as the Oilers continue to lose. Edmonton is sick of getting pushed around, so it's looking to trade someone that will get them a decent return.

    That someone? Well, according to TSN's Ryan Rishaug, it's a player like a Jordan Eberle or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. That is to say, a player with some skill and value that would help them immediately; “Hey, Travis Hamonic is available!!!” and so on. Rishaug further noted that he believes Nugent-Hopkins, a 22-year-old former No. 1 pick with 205 points in 282 career games (a pace for almost 60 points per 82 games), would be the more likely player to be dealt because of the Oilers' apparent and sudden abundance of center depth — Connor McDavid, Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl, and Anton Lander down the middle is about as good as you can

    Read More »from Huge If True: What about these Ryan Nugent-Hopkins trade rumors?
  • Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesPhoto by Christian Petersen/Getty Images(Ed. Note: The column formerly known as the Puck Daddy Power Rankings.)

    7. Those three Canadian teams

    Have a look at the bottom of the standings. It's Toronto, Calgary, and Edmonton. No wonder Hockey Night in Canada ratings are down again.

    Toronto we all knew was going to be bad, sure. Edmonton without Connor McDavid producing at a high rate (i.e. Game 5 of the season right through his injury) has been a disaster and we probably should have seen that coming. Calgary is a team everyone should have known was going to bomb despite the improvements, because Bob Hartley is flat-out not a good coach.

    But despite these realities, only Toronto seems to be the team prepared for openly being a calamity. Edmonton and Calgary are acting as though they've been caught with their pants down somewhat, despite the beach-softening about “winning the Masters on nothing but 40-foot putts” from executives.

    And to that end — plus Toronto's position as the most-talked-about team in the league — you're

    Read More »from Understanding goalies, Cam Ward and protecting players (Wednesday Countdown)
  • NCAA Hockey 101: Will freshman win the Hobey Baker?

    CHESTNUT HILL, MA - NOVEMBER 3: Colin White #18 of the Boston College Eagles celebrates his goal against the Massachusetts Minutemen during NCAA hockey at Kelley Rink on November 3, 2015 in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. The Eagles won 7-0. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)CHESTNUT HILL, MA - NOVEMBER 3: Colin White #18 of the Boston College Eagles celebrates his goal against the Massachusetts Minutemen during NCAA hockey at Kelley Rink on November 3, 2015 in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. The Eagles won 7-0. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)Now that it's officially December, I guess we can call off the moratorium on Hobey Baker talk.

    Most teams are about one-third of the way through their seasons and, while things can still change dramatically in the remaining four months, people are least starting to talk about Hobey hopefuls.

    And while Thatcher Demko has understandably been grabbing headlines for his .953 start between the pipes of Boston College, people started whispering that maybe you want to throw teammate Colin White into the mix as well. It's a kind of crazy claim, on some level, because a) it's early to start handing out even the most theoretical of hardware, and b) he's a freshman forward.

    But he's also fourth in scoring nationally, playing on a dominant team loaded with talent. So there's some thinking that he can keep it up. He'd have to distance himself from the pack a little bit more — he's four points behind the national leader — but if he keeps it up, it's conceivable that his current 1.6 points per game

    Read More »from NCAA Hockey 101: Will freshman win the Hobey Baker?
  • What We Learned: Capitals, Rangers and Metro Division drama

    (Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.)

    It must be difficult to have just six regulation losses in 24 games and be second in your division, but such is life for the Rangers.

    They have 34 points, the fourth-highest total in the league, and it's still not good enough. And what's crazy is that, just a week ago, they had a five-point cushion over Washington. It has been erased because the Capitals are winners of five straight, and the Rangers have lost three straight.

    As a consequence, there is the requisite finger-pointing on Broadway that this thing or that is wrong with the team. They aren't as tough any more and guys take liberties — take, for example, Friday's matinee against Boston, in which Derek Stepan had his ribs broken on a hit so late it just happened as I typed this, and Brad Marchand

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  • What's wrong with the Carolina Hurricanes? (Trending Topics)

    Suppose there's a team that looks a lot like the Los Angeles Kings, from a statistical perspective.

    We're talking score-adjusted possession numbers that are among the best in the league; the ability to limit high-quality against them at some of the most impressive levels in recent years; maintaining elite numbers when it comes to things like shot suppression, and not even letting their opponents attempt many shots in the first place. 

    Now suppose that team, the Carolina Hurricanes, is sitting tied for 20th on the league table — 20 points in 22 games — and it's probably a little better than most people expected through 22 games.

    This from a team that finished fifth from the bottom of the league last season and didn't really make too many significant changes in the offseason? Really, all they did was get Eddie Lack, James Wisniewski and Kris Versteeg. Versteeg is first among team forwards in scoring with 14 points in 22 games, sure, but that's not anything to write home about. Wisniewski

    Read More »from What's wrong with the Carolina Hurricanes? (Trending Topics)
  • Huge If True: Where exactly is Travis Hamonic going?

    [Breaking down the plausibility of the week's biggest rumor.] 

    The Rumor

    There's no doubt that all of this is real.

    Unlike most NHL rumors, this started last week with a very concrete, “Travis Hamonic has asked for a trade” from Elliotte Friedman. He asked for it over the summer, and he asked for it for family-related reasons. These were all presented — rightly — as the indisputable facts of the situation.

    Within a day, Hamonic himself confirmed pretty much all details.

    So basically, Hamonic has played all season knowing he doesn't want to be with the organization, and he's done pretty well for himself. He leads the team in TOI, is a possession monster (53.1 percent against top competition, and everyone else is 47.7 percent when he's off the ice), and so on. If nothing else, he's ensuring that the Islanders get absolute max value for him, and he's 25 years old.

    What we have here, then, is a stud young player who's playing the best hockey of his life, and is cost-controlled at less than

    Read More »from Huge If True: Where exactly is Travis Hamonic going?
  • 9. Making your product worse

    Yesterday, the Big Ten Hockey Conference announced a rule change proposal that would limit the age at which you can be a freshman playing college hockey and keep all four years of eligibility to just 20 years old.

    While that sounds reasonable on the surface, you have to understand that many college hockey players are 20- but often 21- and even 22-year old freshmen, simply because it's really hard to be impactful at this level as an 18- or 19-year old. You're playing against guys that are a lot more physically mature, so unless you're Jack Eichel or Dylan Larkin, you're not blowing anyone's doors off as a freshman.

    But here's the interesting thing: The Big Ten did this without checking with anyone else in college hockey. The vast, vast majority of coaches are very opposed to such a rule because they understand it would give “big name” programs with much better funding a significant edge over everyone else, who would then be fighting for scraps. By the most

    Read More »from NHL All-Star shakeup, Brad Marchand, hurting NCAA hockey (Wednesday Countdown)
  • NCAA Hockey 101: Boyle has Lowell leading Hockey East, but will it last?

    UMass Lowell is off to the best start in the program's history, boasting a 9-1-3 record and sitting atop Hockey East with 13 points from eight league games (5-0-3).

    Everything seems to be going pretty well for them, too, all things considered. They're scoring 2.77 goals per game, a number they'd like to see come up, but it doesn't much matter right now, because they're allowing just 1.31. Nine wins before Thanksgiving gets them a pretty healthy portion of the way toward the 21 they racked up all of last year, a season in which they ended up missing the NCAA tournament by a win (mathematically, if any one of the River Hawks' ties or losses had been a win, they'd have made the cut).

    This weekend they took three points at home from a fairly impressive Notre Dame team, but the big issue some people have with their conference lead right now seems to be that all but a few teams behind them have games in hand. More important, two of those teams are Providence (2-0-2) and Boston College (4-0).

    Read More »from NCAA Hockey 101: Boyle has Lowell leading Hockey East, but will it last?
  • (Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.)

    It's hard to argue with the results.

    Columbus started the year 0-7, and fired Todd Richards. Now they're 8-7 under John Tortorella, but also 6-4 in their last 10. This is a team that, at long last, appears to be moving in the right direction.

    Like all Tortorella-coached teams that have any amount of success (sorry, 2013-14 Canucks), people seem to be fixating on the coach's defense-heavy, shot-blocking demands of his players as the thing that leads to all the winning. And it's impossible to say that Columbus isn't collectively getting in the way of more shots per game than they were before. In fact, the number of shots they're blocking every night has increased more than 38 percent (from 10.4 under Richards to 14.4 under Tortorella).

    But here's the

    Read More »from Has John Tortorella actually improved Columbus Blue Jackets? (What We Learned)
  • COLUMBUS, OH - JANUARY 25:  Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks and Team Toews poses for a portrait prior to the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Nationwide Arena on January 25, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)COLUMBUS, OH - JANUARY 25: Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks and Team Toews poses for a portrait prior to the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Nationwide Arena on January 25, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)The new All-Star Game format is an exciting one, and it's actually a case of the NHL listening to its fans.

    The long-held opinion and correct opinion on the Game itself, from basically all corners, was that it sucked. Games ending in scores that rival defensive struggles on the football field aren't necessarily fun to watch just because they have a ton of goals in them, and a big reason for that is the intensity of these games come in at negative-193,856 on a scale of 1 to 10.

    Never mind the fact that everyone is skating off a hangover.

    The Skills Competition is fun, and it's staying. The All-Star Draft is too fun and it's gone. But the League has done more to ensure that the game will be free-flowing and intense with this format, because the winning 11-player team gets to split $1 million.

    [Play Yahoo Daily Fantasy and get a 100% deposit bonus with your first deposit]

    Now, I find it difficult to root for Jonathan Toews or PK Subban to pull an extra $91,000 for winning a couple of

    Read More »from NHL All-Star 3-on-3 roster projections: Central Division is nuts (Trending Topics)

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