Friday, September 13, 2013

NHL Betting: Phoenix Coyotes Notable Offseason Moves

The Phoenix Coyotes came up just short in their bid to reach the NHL playoffs for a third-straight year in 2012-13, finishing 10th in the Western Conference with 51 points in the lockout-shortened 48-game season. The Coyotes finally found a new owner in the offseason that will keep the team in Glendale and establish a level of stability, and that along with a couple of notable offseason additions has helped make this team a much better team and a legitimate contender to get back to the postseason in 2013-14.


Notable Change #1: New Ownership Establishes Level Of Stability

Phoenix has spent the last few seasons under ownership of the NHL, and while that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing there was always questions about when the team will be moved and where it would go. The Coyotes finally found new ownership when the IceArizona group came in to end the four-year run and purchase the team, and that will provide a level of stability that will benefit the team. The players no longer have to worry about any ownership issues or the constant threat of being moved either via trade or as a team to a new city. That should help the team’s veterans feel more comfortable and remove a distraction for some of its young stars.

Notable Change #2: Ribeiro Brought In To Center The Top Line

One of the biggest issues for the Coyotes was the lack of a No. 1 center that could consistently produce points both on the powerplay and at even-strength. The addition of veteran center Mike Ribeiro will fill that void, as he is a talented playmaking center that has the ability to anchor the top line both at even strength and on the powerplay. Ribeiro’s presence instantly makes the top line better not just for the production he brings on his own, but for the way he will help his new linemates produce with a good chance that he will get some time with young winger Mikkel Boedker in order to maximize his scoring potential on the top line.

Notable Change #3: Forward Depth Gets A Much Needed Spark

Phoenix held on to Kyle Chipchura and Rob Klinkhammer for the leadership and versatility they bring to the team, but they also added a couple of key sparks to their forward depth with the additions of Brandon Yip and Tim Kennedy. Both are solid young players that bring a little bit of everything and can also provide some secondary scoring playing anywhere from the second line to the fourth, and that will tremendously benefit a Coyotes’ team that was lacking two-way depth players when it missed the playoffs last season. Phoenix already has a strong defense core and a quality goaltender in Mike Smith, so the addition of some scoring up front will be key.


Click here to get a full list of NHL futures for the 2013-14 NHL season.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

NHL Betting: Dallas Stars Notable Offseason Moves

The Dallas Stars have missed the playoffs five consecutive seasons. That is not the kind of trend that any NHL team wants to establish. The last time that the Stars did make the playoffs, the team went all the way to the Conference Finals before being eliminated. The Stars finished with a lackluster 22-22-4 in the 2012-13 shortened season and dropped to last place in their division. The good news is that there is nowhere for Dallas to go but up. The bad news is that the team will have to make some pretty drastic offseason moves to start making that upward climb. This will be a very important offseason for the Dallas Stars.


Notable Change #1: Trading for Tyler Seguin.

Tyler Seguin was not the most hated athlete in Boston, but he was close. When the persistent rumors of Seguin’s bad attitude and poor work ethic would not go away, the Bruins decided to trade Seguin to the Dallas Stars. The change in teams could be just the jolt that Tyler Seguin needs to turn his game around. He was labeled as lazy when he played in Boston, and he earned that label. But when Seguin really pushed himself, he showed that he has tremendous talent. He will take the spot as the center on the team’s top line. This is Seguin’s chance to show the league that he is not who they think he is. The Stars hope that Seguin takes advantage of that opportunity.

Notable Change #2: Losing Loui Eriksson.

Every trade has two sides, and the other side of the Seguin trade was young forward Loui Eriksson. He was not only a hard-working player, he was a fan favorite as well. Now the Stars are replacing a fan favorite with a guy that has a reputation for not working hard. The stakes for Dallas in this deal are huge. If Seguin bombs, then Dallas just gave up the best young forward it had for nothing. But if Seguin is a star, then Loui Eriksson will be a footnote in the history of the Dallas Stars.

Notable Change #3: Firing Joe Nieuwendyk.

When the 2012-13 season ended, the Dallas Stars fired general manager Joe Nieuwendyk and brought in no-nonsense general manager Jim Nill. Nieuwendyk was a popular guy, but he would not have the vision to make a trade like the Seguin deal. The Stars need to build a championship team and build it in a hurry. Nill understands that an NHL playoff team is built from the ground up, which is why he was so quick to bring in a talented youngster like Seguin. This is a move that will determine the Dallas Stars’ fate for many years to come. The Stars just hope that it was the right move to make.



Click here to get a full list of NHL futures for the 2013-14 NHL season.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

NHL Betting: New Jersey Devils Notable Offseason Moves

The New Jersey Devils are big believers in tradition and loyalty. It is that belief in loyalty that prompted the Devils to draft the son of Martin Brodeur in the 2013 NHL draft. The Decils also have a long tradition of playing defensive hockey with players who can skate, but not necessarily score. The Devils had problems scoring goals last season and that was one of the reasons why New Jersey had such bad results during the season and missed the playoffs. The hope is that the moves made by New Jersey in the 2013 offseason will help solve the problems the team had last season. The reality may be a little different.


Notable Change #1: Signing Ryane Clowe.

The fans of the New Jersey Devils do not mind having a former New York Ranger on their team, just so long as the former Ranger has something to offer. When the Devils lost David Clarkson to the Toronto Maple Leafs, there was a huge need for a scoring forward who could also play the physical game. The Devils went out and signed Clowe to take the place of Clarkson. While Clowe is definitely a better hitter than Clarkson, he is not the goal scorer that David Clarkson is. That means that the New Jersey Devils have taken yet another step backwards in the goal scoring department, which is a step the team cannot afford to take.

Notable Change #2: Signing Jaromir Jagr.

This will be a very interesting situation to watch for Devils’ fans and all hockey fans. When the Devils lost their top scorer Ilya Kovalchuk to a pseudo-retirement, the team panicked. There was no one on the New Jersey roster who was even close to being able to produce points at the same pace that Kovalchuk could. To fill that void, the Devils have turned to the ageless Jaromir Jagr. It is a temporary solution at best, but it could work in New Jersey’s favor. Jagr proved last season that he can still play the game and that he can still offer value to an NHL team. But he will have a lot of work to do in New Jersey that his 41-year-old body may not be able to handle.

Notable Change #3: Trading for Cory Schneider.

When the New Jersey Devils traded with the Vancouver Canucks for goaltender Cory Schneider, it answered a lot of questions. The Devils gave up their first round draft pick to get the goalie that will step in when Martin Brodeur retires. The Canucks are still pinned to the ground by Roberto Luongo’s contract, which worked in New Jersey’s favor. Schneider will get plenty of work this season as the transition is made from a future Hall of Famer to a goalie with a lot of promise. The Devils are hoping that Schneider can deliver on that promise and be the goalie of the future.



Click here to get a full list of NHL futures for the 2013-14 NHL season.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

NHL Betting: Buffalo Sabres Notable Offseason Moves

If you want to find a disgruntled and disenfranchised fan base, then you only need to go as far as Buffalo, New York and talk to some of the fans of the Buffalo Sabres. When team owner Terry Pegula took over the team two years ago, he promised a Stanley Cup in Buffalo in three years. Instead of developing a winning team, Pegula tried to buy one. But he soon learned that offering outrageous contracts to fringe players like Ville Leino will not win his team a championship. The Sabres have changed gears and the fans have been told that there will be “pain” to experience before a Stanley Cup win. If there is a fan base that knows about pain, it is the fan base of the Buffalo Sabres.


Notable Change #1: The hiring of Ron Rolston.

When the Buffalo Sabres announced that the team was turning interim head coach Ron Rolston into the full-time head coach, there was a collective groan heard in Buffalo. The Sabres promised an extensive head coaching search that would involve every potential candidate the team could find. Instead, the team wound up hiring Rolston after only a couple of weeks of looking. The fans may not like the move, but it could be the first step towards building a winner in Buffalo. Rolston spent time coaching the Sabres’ minor league affiliate in Rochester and he has been praised over and over again for his ability to coach young players. Since the Sabres are making a move towards youth, Rolston is the perfect fit. He also has a winning record as an NHL coach, which is a good foundation to build on.

Notable Change #2: Darcy Regier retained as general manager.

One of the biggest headlines generated by the Sabres was a change that the team did not make. Despite firing long-time head coach Lindy Ruff, the team has refused to send general manager Darcy Regier packing. Instead, team owner Terry Pegula and President Ted Black have thrown their full support behind Darcy Regier. The team management feels that Regier is still able to put together a championship team as he did in 2005. The Sabres have given Regier significant financial and tactical resources to build the Stanley Cup champion in Buffalo that he has been unable to build in 16 years.

Notable Change #3: Twin Towers drafted in the first round.

In the first round of the 2013 NHL draft, the Buffalo Sabres chose defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen with the eighth pick and defenseman Nikita Zadrov with the 16th pick. The Sabres got the 16th pick from the Minnesota Wild in the trade that sent former Sabres captain Jason Pominville to Minnesota. Ristolainen is 6’4” tall and Zadrov is 6’5” tall. These are the model examples of what general manager Darcy Regier means when he says the team is going to get younger and bigger. Both picks will start off in Rochester, but many fans think that both players could be on the Sabres by the midway point of the season.


Click here to get a full list of NHL futures for the 2013-14 NFL season.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

NCAAF Betting: Louisville Cardinals 2014 NFL Draft Prospects

When Louisville Cardinals’ head coach Charlie Strong came out and said that he wouldn’t trade junior quarterback Teddy Bridgewater for any other passer in college football, it was as much a statement as it was an acknowledgement of how far his quarterback has come. The Cardinals didn’t have a single player drafted in 2013, but they are loaded heading in to a new year and there are three notable prospects that could go early on in the 2014 NFL Draft with Bridgewater at the top of that list.


Notable Prospect #1: QB Teddy Bridgwater - Junior

Bridgewater only completed 68.5-percent of his passes for 3,716 yards and 27 touchdowns while leading Louisville to a Big East Championship in 2012, forcing his self in to the national spotlight as one of the top quarterbacking prospects in the entire nation. Bridgewater is a dual-threat quarterback that can make plays with both his arm and legs, but unlike some of the other passers from a similar mold that have failed in the past, he has the natural instinct to stay in the pocket and move through his progressions rather than bolt downfield too early. Bridgewater has a strong and accurate arm, and his instincts certainly improved as he gained more experience during his sophomore season. That has set the bar particularly high for Bridgewater heading in to his junior season, and the sky is the limit for the Cardinals if their quarterback can play to his potential in what will likely be his final college football season.

Notable Prospect #2: WR DeVonte Parker - Junior

There are a couple of notable prospects that could be plugged in to this spot, but Parker will have the opportunity to have a massive year playing with Bridgewater in this Louisville offense. A big, strong receiver with quick feet and excellent straight-line speed, Parker earned first-team All-Big East honors as a sophomore last year after registering 744 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, and will have a chance to build on those numbers in 2013. Parker is a student of the game and still learning how to break off the line and use his size and strength for positioning, and if he can continue to progress then there is no reason to think he can’t be an elite receiver option heading in to the 2014 NFL Draft.

Notable Prospect #3: S Hakeem Smith - Senior

As impressive as linebacker Preston Brown was earning second-team All-Big East honors a year ago, Smith may be the more intriguing prospect heading in to 2014 because of his versatility and ball skills. A three-time All-Big East safety, Smith is a little light for the position but could end up playing cornerback at the NFL level. Already a top-1o safety prospect heading in to this season, Smith will have the chance to grow in to his body and put on some serious size in his senior year. If he can build his frame without compromising his speed and explosiveness, Smith could be selected within the first four rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Click here to get a full list of NCAAF futures for the 2013-14 NCAAF season.


NCAAF Betting: Louisville Cardinals 2014 NFL Draft Prospects

When Louisville Cardinals’ head coach Charlie Strong came out and said that he wouldn’t trade junior quarterback Teddy Bridgewater for any other passer in college football, it was as much a statement as it was an acknowledgement of how far his quarterback has come. The Cardinals didn’t have a single player drafted in 2013, but they are loaded heading in to a new year and there are three notable prospects that could go early on in the 2014 NFL Draft with Bridgewater at the top of that list.


Notable Prospect #1: QB Teddy Bridgwater - Junior

Bridgewater only completed 68.5-percent of his passes for 3,716 yards and 27 touchdowns while leading Louisville to a Big East Championship in 2012, forcing his self in to the national spotlight as one of the top quarterbacking prospects in the entire nation. Bridgewater is a dual-threat quarterback that can make plays with both his arm and legs, but unlike some of the other passers from a similar mold that have failed in the past, he has the natural instinct to stay in the pocket and move through his progressions rather than bolt downfield too early. Bridgewater has a strong and accurate arm, and his instincts certainly improved as he gained more experience during his sophomore season. That has set the bar particularly high for Bridgewater heading in to his junior season, and the sky is the limit for the Cardinals if their quarterback can play to his potential in what will likely be his final college football season.

Notable Prospect #2: WR DeVonte Parker - Junior

There are a couple of notable prospects that could be plugged in to this spot, but Parker will have the opportunity to have a massive year playing with Bridgewater in this Louisville offense. A big, strong receiver with quick feet and excellent straight-line speed, Parker earned first-team All-Big East honors as a sophomore last year after registering 744 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, and will have a chance to build on those numbers in 2013. Parker is a student of the game and still learning how to break off the line and use his size and strength for positioning, and if he can continue to progress then there is no reason to think he can’t be an elite receiver option heading in to the 2014 NFL Draft.

Notable Prospect #3: S Hakeem Smith - Senior

As impressive as linebacker Preston Brown was earning second-team All-Big East honors a year ago, Smith may be the more intriguing prospect heading in to 2014 because of his versatility and ball skills. A three-time All-Big East safety, Smith is a little light for the position but could end up playing cornerback at the NFL level. Already a top-1o safety prospect heading in to this season, Smith will have the chance to grow in to his body and put on some serious size in his senior year. If he can build his frame without compromising his speed and explosiveness, Smith could be selected within the first four rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Click here to get a full list of NCAAF futures for the 2013-14 NCAAF season.