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Tag: Calgary Flames

Deryk Engelland, The Lone UFA Signed During Expansion

Sometimes in sports, things just make too much sense to not happen. That was the case with Las Vegas native and pending UFA Deryk Engelland.

The 35-year-old defenseman signed a one-year $1M contract with the Golden Knights during the Expansion Draft making him the selection from the Calgary Flames.

Was it more of a priority to sign Deryk Engelland or was it more based off Calgary’s protected list?

It was a little of both. We had interest in him and he was there and there’s some things we didn’t like about what else is available and we just thought this would be a good fit for us. Leadership, some grit, some size, and he’s from Vegas. –George McPhee

One has to wonder how important physically being at the Expansion Draft was as well.

We aren’t going to sign someone just because they’re from Vegas but we liked him. It didn’t matter where he’s from, it just happens to be really nice that he is from Vegas. -McPhee

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Expansion Preparations Coming In Many Forms

The future of the Vancouver Canucks is not looking so bright. With a 36-year-old starting goalie, a pair of 36-year-old twins, and three other key contributors over 30, that 4-5-1 start is a bit ominous.

The middle is no place to be. -Ray Ferraro, TSN Analyst

The former Hartford Whaler was adamant that the Vancouver Canucks should give in and start completely over. Ferraro doesn’t believe a team scoring under two goals a game can, or will, turn it around. So he suggested the Canucks move on from two underperforming defenseman Alex Biega, and Philip Larsen. However, it is believed that Vancouver management will hold on to Biega specifically for expansion considerations.

Because he’s [Biega] under contract for next year, and because you can get him up to the games played threshold, they prefer to expose him.” – Matt Sekeres, TSN

It makes sense and would be a smart move by the Canucks knowing they’ll have to be ultra careful on whom to expose. The franchise is obviously heading for a rebuild and cannot give anything of value to Las Vegas. Not that the Knights are expecting to strike it rich from Vancouver’s unprotected list.

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Vegas Must Build With Size And Strength To Compete In Pacific Division

So how about that Pacific Division? Talk about coming down to the wire. Tomorrow the Kings will host the Ducks for the division. Both tied at 99 points, the NHL couldn’t have scripted it any better. Both teams are desperate to win the Pacific, because each would rather play Nashville over San Jose. Playing a divisional foe in the first round is always a challenge. Remember two years ago, the Kings on the brink of elimination, won four straight against the Sharks. Then beat the Ducks in seven on their way to their second Cup. It doesn’t matter what division, playing a rival isn’t ideal. The Ducks, Kings and Sharks are all capable of succeeding in the playoffs. All three organizations know that their first round matchup might be the toughest.

The three Pacific playoff teams will be tough to beat this season, and for seasons to come. The Kings are set for years with the anchor of Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar, and Jonathan Quick. Arguably the best players in their respective positions, and they’re all 30 years-old or younger. Not too mention, Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, and Alec Martinez. The Sharks are loaded with talent. Joe Pavelski, Tomas Hertl, Logan Couture, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and Brent Burns form a strong nucleus in NorCal. Add in future HOF’ers Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton, and San Jose is annually strong. Possibly the best core of young players play in Anaheim, or in San Diego. The Ducks have a bevy of young defenseman some of whom can’t even find room in Orange County. Shea Theodore is a highly respected prospect that’s sent up, and down between the Gulls and Ducks. Hampus Lindholm, Cam Fowler, Josh Manson, and Sami Vatanen create a logjam that’ll force Anaheim to make a move. Not the worst problem to have.

Obviously, we know how good the top Pacific teams are but what about the lower tier. How good can the Flames, Canucks, Oilers and Coyotes be? Sure we see young skilled talent in Calgary, Edmonton and Arizona but will they compete? That’s a question The Creator should ask as well. Can the bottom four rosters ever win in a top heavy division? I don’t think so. John Gaudreau is an amazing talent, but who protects him? And I’m not talking about Marty McSorley, goon protection crap. I’m talking about giving Johnny space on the ice to use his speed, and skill. There’s a rumor Milan Lucic may be interested in Calgary. He’d be the perfect line mate for Gaudreau. Lucic can score, and he scare the bleep out of opposing players. The power forward would automatically make Calgary more physical. Something they’re not known for. Same goes for Edmonton. Connor McDavid may take over the league, but he’s gonna need help. Issues The Creator might have when he drafts a top three pick. You need to protect your assets Bill.

When Las Vegas drops the puck in 2017 (assuming an announcement comes “some time in June”), the rest of the Pacific Division will be licking their chops. Established teams will be looking to pad points against the new team. That’s a normal process that any expansion team goes through. Call it growing pains. How can Creator and Co. prevent this? Well, let’s be honest it’s gonna be tough. Top NHL teams have a hard time figuring out Jonathan Quick, a roster of unprotected players probably won’t do any better. It’ll also be tough keeping Scorey Perry, and Jumbo Joe off the score board.

Maybe there is a way Las Vegas could be competitive. The Creator’s staff should design a roster strictly built for the Pacific Division. That means defense, size and physicality. Chances are the starting goaltender won’t be a top ten goaltender, so he’ll need help. Building a blue line with experience and size can help Las Vegas stay competitive. Top Centers Ryan Getzlaf, and Anze Kopitar take over games offensively, a strong backend can keep the score close. I know he’s not popular, but a guy like Dennis Wideman could be unprotected and fit well in Las Vegas. A Defenseman that could be unprotected and would be a dream come true for Las Vegas is the Duck’s Simon Despres. The 6’4, 24 year-old blueliner might be a victim of Anaheims crowded backend. The Ducks will be upset letting Despres go and could be part of the Las Vegas’ first pairing. Who knows maybe Shea Weber could be available. Size and defense.

I could do this all day, Dustin Brown, Jakob Silfverberg, maybe even Rick Nash could be left unprotected. All three forwards would fit perfectly. Silfverberg is part of the most effective checking line in hockey. Nash could provide offense, and size. Brown, well, you know how I feel about him. It’s not about the score sheet for Dusty. At average NHL size, the Kings Captain plays with more physicality than anyone in the league. He leads the box score in hits annually, and is a two-time Cup winning Captain. He’s a pretty good leader. The Creator, fans, and the league want Las Vegas to compete right away. Building around the division is one way to achieve that goal.

Guest Post: Tying The Lessons Of Nashville To Las Vegas

One of our goals here at is to be the voice of the valley when it comes to the NHL. In trying to do so we often have the opportunity to interact with some incredible people (and excellent writers) who are equally as passionate about hockey in Las Vegas as we are. Therefore, we wanted to give you, our readers, the opportunity to let your voice be heard via guest posts to the site.

Our next guest post comes from Stephen J Sochor.

The NHL All-Star Game takes place this weekend, and with it, another chance to get some updates from the NHL’s commissioner himself about the status of the expansion process. With two special sessions undertaken by the Executive Committee regarding Las Vegas and Quebec this month, there should be enough of a foundation for Gary to share with the public. He will most likely echo what has already been written about. In case of the off-chance there is big news I reached out the Nashville Predator’s play-by-play announcer Pete Weber on how Nashville got its start to see if we can come to any conclusions.

Nashville was given a conditional franchise in June of 1997 along with Atlanta, Minnesota, and Columbus. The plan was to have Nashville, along with Atlanta, join in 1999, with Minnesota and Columbus jumping in for the 2000-01 season. According to Weber, however, Nashville lobbied the league to come in a year earlier than scheduled.

“At the time, the plan was for the Predators to join the NHL the same year that the then-Tennessee Oilers were set to move to Nashville themselves.” – Pete Weber

This move to jump the gun was spear-headed by then owner Craig Leipold, and the NHL would grant such a request if they could sell 12,000 season tickets by March of 1998. The early entry was granted and they were able to become the first professional franchise in Nashville without any competition.

“In hindsight, Nashville would have liked to have had joined with the Titans at the same time because that first year for the Titans was when they went to the Super Bowl and that generated a lot of [interest]. It ended up favoring Nashville obviously because they did not have to share [an expansion draft].”

As we stand with the NHL in regards to Vegas, we know there has been no formal recommendation made to move to a vote on expansion. It would be highly suspect that one would occur if there was not enough support for at least one team to be accepted. To round out the next handful of months, there feels as though there are a few chances to get this process completed. It is most likely that in order to have the expansion situation ironed out, there has to be a ton of work behind the scenes with the owners, the league, and the players association being conducted. Intertwined with such back-room talks has to be the input of Bill Foley, and it would be easy to see that given the practice arena is all but ready to go (such an undertaking does not happen on a hunch, and was not part of any multi-structure financing package since T-Mobile Arena stands on its own financially).

Could Foley quietly be leading a charge to entering into a Nashville-esque entry? It’s not probable, but the signs are all there – the least of which is the deafening silence coming from the Foley camp. It’s said throughout sports that whenever it is the quietest, that is when most of the work is being done…and it’s been awful quiet for an awfully long time.

Back to Mr. Weber who had an interesting tidbit as we drew our conversation to a close,

“I think it will work in Las Vegas. I’ve always said that whatever of the pro leagues gets to Vegas first would have success.”

He likened the situation of Las Vegas to Portland, where a singular pro franchise was able to draw an uninterrupted market for full control. The big item on the table would be television distribution where he added that it would be quite a feat to launch a regional sports network (RSN) in short order, and that most likely Vegas would need to piggy-back off of an established RSN such as Fox Sports’ Arizona or West (Los Angeles).

Stephen J Sochor

If you are interested in contributing a guest post to, please email us at 

NHL All Star Game May Come To Vegas Sooner Than You’d Think

I’m saying it now, if when Las Vegas gets a team, an NHL All-Star game will be on the Strip soon after.  While in Calgary this week, Gary Bettman stressed that NHL arenas need to be up to date and modern. All because the Calgary city government is at an impasse on a new arena project for the Flames… Do you think Bettman enjoys visiting Alberta?

During his meeting with the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, Bettman tried his best to sound like a disappointed father.

Bettman said the project “needs to happen” in order for the city and its NHL team to stay current with others in the league. “This is not a threat. I’m expressing the realities,” he said after noting Calgary won’t get the NHL Draft or All-Star Game, for example, without a new arena. –

He sounded like my dad growing up. “Son, I’m not threatening your plans or anything, but if you don’t pass that English Lit test you can kiss this weekend goodbye.”

I missed many high school parties because of that bleeping English Lit class, so I know what Bettman is getting at. He’s telling Calgary to wake up and build a state-of-the-art arena that competes with the NHL’s best. This way the city can bring in more business with NHL drafts and All-Star games, which will boost Calgary’s economy. Duh, that was obvious but I felt the need to say it. That’s probably what Bettman was thinking in Calgary.

Now, down here in Las Vegas the setting couldn’t be any better for big, modern events. Las Vegas has a brand new arena, boatloads of hotel rooms, world-class restaurants, 24-HR gambling, booze, escorts… you get the point. Still Bettman had to have been envisioning Las Vegas when pleading to the Calgary pols. That’s why it’s a no brainer to award Las Vegas an All Star Game within the first 3-5 years of the team’s existence. It’s all here, it’s all modern, and it’s a city that can handle big events. Hey, we’ve all learned since 2007’s NBA All-Star debacle.

I know some of you are gonna bitch at me and tell me to get a team first, I completely understand. If I was an outsider, I’d probably say the same things. It just seems real, as a guy who doubts every wager he places this feels like a lock. By the way I had Bama -6.5 so you see why I doubt my bets.

Back to the All-Star talk, it’s obvious in the past the NHL likes to promote their new expansion teams. The Wild got awarded the All Star Game four years after their inaugural season. San Jose and Colorado in five seasons, and seven seasons for Tampa. You see the NHL goes out of its way to shine the national spotlight on some of the leagues new franchises. In some cases the NHL turned things around quickly, maybe it helped the Wild, Sharks, Avs, and Bolts a little. You never know, but I do know this, NHL Vegas All Star Game 3-5 years from inagural season. Book it.

Now I’m going to doubt this article

Johnny Football A Disgrace To Hockey’s Favorite Johnny

Locally, a report about Johnny Manziel has created major Strip stir. Was Manziel here? Or was he at home in Cleveland with his mutt? Honestly who cares? At this point is Johnny Manziel necessary to even cover anymore? Is Johnny Manziel an athlete even worth paying attention too? And more importantly does Johnny Manziel deserve the nickname Johnny Football?

Frankly, I don’t think so. To have a nickname with the name of your sport, suggests the player is actually good at that sport. As we’ve seen over the past two NFL seasons, Johnny Manziel is not very good at football. So it’s about time we took away the name. But the major reason to take Johnny Manziel’s nickname, is because it’s offensive to other young, stud athletes.

One guy you won’t read about partying on the Strip during the season is also named Johnny. In fact, he has a nickname quite like Manziel. Except this kid lives up to his name. The athlete is Johnny Gaudreau, and his nickname is Johnny Hockey.

Johnny Hockey, was just as hyped in the hockey world as Manziel was coming out of colllege. Manziel won the Heisman award, as college footballs best player. Gaudreau won the Hobey Baker award, as college hockey’s best player. However, Johnny Hockey has changed the face of the Calgary Flames, unlike Manziel. Johnny Hockey made the All-Star game, was in the postseason and was a finalist as the NHL’s top rookie. None of which Manziel could’ve dreamed about his rookie season.

Gaudreau is one of the NHL’s most exciting and explosive players and he’s only 22. Manziel is 23, and will probably be cut by a 3-13 team. There is no comparison between the two Johnny’s. Manziel is a drunk failure. Gaudreau is on top of his game and will never be covered by TMZ, or ESPN’s over-hype division. However, Johnny Hockey will be covered by Puck Daddy, NBC Sports and of course

So let’s all lose Manziel’s undeserved nickname, and stop covering his booze- filled nights at Drai’s. Gaudreau on the other hand should be called by his nickname, he deserves to be called is Johnny Hockey. It’s all about success. Oh, and we can all cover Johnny Hockey this off-season when he parties on the Strip for the NHL awards.

Who Las Vegas Should Cheer For This NHL Season

The 2015-16 NHL season is set to get underway tonight with four games on the docket. Obviously here in Las Vegas it’s business as usual with the league’s continued feet dragging tactics on expansion.

However, there are a few teams whose success this season may directly impact the likelihood of a team eventually coming to Vegas.

There are a number of different way to look at it, which makes it very difficult to decide what we actually want to happen on the ice. Therefore, I’ve decided to lay out a few scenarios, explain who you should cheer for based on each, and then let you decide which one is the most likely to help form your fandom for 2015-16.

Quickest Path To Expansion

The league will only feel comfortable expanding right now if the other 30 organizations in place are stable. What would best prove this would be for there to be a bit of a boom in the troubled markets. Phoenix and Florida instantly come to mind, Carolina, Columbus, and New Jersey as well with each filling less than 91% of their stadiums a year ago. We want every stadium to be jam packed every night so that the only obvious choice would be to award new franchises. So, go Panthers, Coyotes, Hurricanes, Jackets, and Devils.


The most likely franchises to be relocated are in Florida and Phoenix. If both are to continue on the path they’ve been on, it may be wise for the league to move one here and one to Quebec City. The good news for Vegas is that the league seems a bit more receptive to the valley than it does to Eastern Canada at the moment. So if one or the other, or both teams needing relocation Vegas would make the most sense. If it’s Arizona, nothing changes, if it’s Florida, the conference are suddenly balanced at 15/15. In this case, we would be cheering for at least one of these two teams to have a hard time this season and their attendance numbers to continue falling.

Waiting For Seattle

There are a few different ways for this to make sense, but it’s something the league seems to really be focused on. This can happen one of three ways. 1) Vegas and Quebec get expansion teams, Phoenix is moved to Seattle. 2) Vegas and Seattle get expansion teams, Florida is moved to Quebec. 3) Quebec is left out, Vegas and Seattle get expansion teams. As a fan of hockey in Vegas, we fit in all three scenarios, so really it’s just a matter of Seattle breaking ground on a stadium, which unfortunately seems to not be happening. Not much on the ice matters for this scenario because it’s all in the hands of Seattle.

For me, I’ll be cheering for the first one. Let’s just make it easy and have the league feel great about every city they are currently in. That way, they’ll be perfectly happy to launch a team in Las Vegas in 2017-18 without having to worry about contracting or moving another team down the road.

A lot can happen before the next Board of Governors meeting on December 7th and 8th, I just hope whatever does happen helps Vegas, cause this whole waiting this is getting really old.

From Wrangler to Knight, Deryk Engelland Makes Sense In Vegas

Since I’m all about fan connection, let’s bring up Calgary Defenseman Deryk Engelland. Our friends at left Engelland off of the Flames protected list in The Sin Bin Mock Expansion Draft. Meaning there’s a strong chance the Flames will do the same when the time comes, making him available if the Las Vegas franchise wants him.

Engelland played two split seasons here in town for the Wranglers from 2003-05. Sure it’s not much but chances are he knows Terrible Herbst, the Golden Steer and those non-stop Glen Lerner ads. Heck, he may even know Frank Sinatra Way, for the quickest ride to the arena.

I’m looking at Engelland to be that trusty old veteran, a locker room guy. One that can show his teammates around town, where to eat, suggestions where to live. As well as show them how to play in the NHL.

Engelland won’t be demanding much based off his average year and his age. In fact it would likely be a short term, low cash contract. Signing with Las Vegas could make him a fan favorite, and probably a leading candidate to be the team ambassador.

The Creator will have to make decisions on veteran skaters, and defenseman are certainly very important to begin with. It makes hockey sense to sign Engelland to a short contract. Oh, and maybe give him a little extra cash, he’s gonna deserve it for all the autographs he’ll sign for fans at Pierro’s, Del Friscos or even (spot reserved for local establishment wishing to advertise on

Mock Expansion Draft – Protected Players – Calgary Flames

The first step to our mock draft is to establish the list of players that will be available for the Las Vegas franchise to draft. To do this, we decided to have a blogger from each team represent their own franchise and select the players that will be protected from the Mock Expansion Draft available player pool. To see the rules which were followed to protect players, hit this link.

Next up, we have the Calgary Flames. The Flames are being represented by Ari Yanover from

Protected Players

Analysis from

The Flames are a young team, with several high end players already established or still developing – and guys who are strictly not for sale. The young forward core of Monahan, Gaudreau, and Bennett remains intact, with impressive veterans such as Hudler, Frolik, and Backlund retained in order to boost their performances and take on hard minutes. The Flames are also a team that values grit and tenacity, which both Bouma and Ferland – two truculent young players with potential scoring ability – fill the need for. The forwards left unprotected are mostly older players who, at this point in time, are expendable, such as David Jones, Mason Raymond, and soon enough, Matt Stajan. The younger players left over, such as Joe Colborne or Drew Shore, have failed to, at this point in time, make themselves meaningful to the roster.

As for the defence, the Flames’ big three of Giordano, Brodie, and Hamilton aren’t going anywhere. Russell and Wideman are capable enough, even if Wideman is a touch overpaid. Ladislav Smid and Deryk Engelland, however, are already in danger of losing their jobs and their cap hits are far too high to justify keeping them on the team longer-term.

By re-signing Ramo just before free agency opened, the Flames declared they were committed to him – and at 29 years of age, he’s been extremely serviceable. Jonas Hiller has ultimately been the better goalie, but he’s already 33; Ramo has a better chance of impacting the team positively over a longer period of time.

The entire list of unprotected players that will be available for Team Lane and Team Pothier to select from can be found here.

To see more team explanations just like this one, check out The Sin Bin Mock Expansion Draft Landing Page.

Special thanks again to Ari Yanover from Be sure to follow @MatchsticksCGY on Twitter, and heck, throw us (@SinBinVegas) a follow too while you’re at it.

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