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Playoff Special 2024

Playoff Special 2024

The Hockey News has been providing the most comprehensive coverage of the world of hockey since 1947. In each issue, you'll find news, features and opinions about the NHL and leagues across North America and the world.

NHL

BOSTON BRUINS

POWER RANKING | 5TH EXPECTING THE BRUINS to come down to earth this season was tantamount to a tap-in empty-netter. After a record-setting 65-win campaign, and following the retirement of future Hall of Famer Patrice Bergeron, there was only one direction for Boston to go. But the precipitous drop-off hasn’t come to pass. Indeed, the highs haven’t been as high, but the B’s exited the deadline with another division title still in reach. Unlike last season, though, much of that success has been predicated on the goaltending of Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark. While the duo dazzled last year, life was made relatively easy by way of goal support and defensive soundness. This season, the Bruins’ goalies have done the heavy lifting themselves, particularly in the face of a far more porous…

Connor Hellebuyck

NOT SO FAST

IT WAS SHORTLY AFTER the Winnipeg Jets had lost in the first round to the eventual Stanley Cup-champion Vegas Golden Knights when coach Rick Bowness started calling the players asking for their summer wish list. The answer he got back was universal. The players didn’t necessarily want a high-scoring winger. Or a puck-moving defenseman. No one asked for more grit or more skill or even more experience. Instead, they asked for loyalty. “Everyone told us, ‘We just want players here that want to be Winnipeg Jets,’” Bowness said. And with that request, Pierre-Luc Dubois was shipped to Los Angeles for a package that included Gabe Vilardi, Alex Iafallo and Rasmus Kupari. A few days later, former captain Blake Wheeler – who had the ‘C’ removed from his jersey a year earlier – was bought…

NHL

EDMONTON OILERS

POWER RANKING | 7TH ROSTER DEPTH has been a touchy subject in Edmonton since Connor McDavid was an 18-year-old rookie with facial peach fuzz in 2015. Nine years and almost 1,000 McPoints later, has it finally arrived? That’s been GM Ken Holland’s quest and Oilers fans’ hope once again this spring. Mattias Ekholm arrived a year ago to beef up the blueline. But a lack of salary-cap space meant Edmonton’s forward depth remained sparse once you got past kingpins McDavid and Leon Draisaitl and secondary soldiers Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Zach Hyman and Evander Kane. Solid regular seasons by Warren Foegele and Ryan McLeod and late-season acquisitions of Corey Perry, Adam Henrique and Sam Carrick signalled the Oilers finally have a bottom six that can match or exceed what’s being thrown at them in…

NHL

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS

POWER RANKING | 6TH DEFENDING CHAMPIONS never do anything half-heartedly. Maybe that comes with trying to keep a good thing going in the dressing room, to live up to fan expectations or to strive toward a dynasty. You can’t win three Cups in a row if you don’t first have back-to-back titles. One thing we know for certain in the seven-year existence of the Golden Knights is they practise carpe diem. They are constantly trying to seize the day. And if that comes at the expense of the future, so be it. GM Kelly McCrimmon again pulled the trigger on trade-deadline deals that make Vegas a good bet to go on a long spring run. In acquiring Noah Hanifin from Calgary, the Knights turned a solid defense corps into the conference’s best. Hanifin…