The Wild seemed to take a step forward in 2014-15 though it took nearly the whole season to clinch its wild-card berth in a very tough division and conference. The team overcame, individually and collectively, a series of obstacles that could have devastated men of less character. The Wild managed to beat a St. Louis Blues team many thought capable of winning it all, but faltered against an experienced Chicago Blackhawks squad whose top talent overwhelmed the Wild’s in a clean sweep en route to its third Stanley Cup in six years.
Since the move from Atlanta after the 2011 NHL season the Jets organization has fully committed to a slow and steady process of building up a young nucleus of players through the draft.
The franchise’s playoff berth this year, earned by outlasting the defending Stanly Cup champion Los Angeles Kings to clinch the 8th and final playoff spot in the difficult Western Conference is definitely a sign that this arduous process is finally coming to fruition.
Though the Manchester Monarchs are the 2014-15 AHL champions, the Los Angeles Kings are on the links, and the 2015 NHL entry draft is coming soon. The Kings have seen outstanding performances from a number of their young prospects this year, and it is showing in the way of Memorial Cup performances and AHL heroics. Meanwhile, the Kings have started to hit a potential point of transition, where young prospects may need to rise to the occasion soon. With a sort of mini-rebuild seemingly on the horizon, the Kings are going to need to get down to business with strong drafting in order to stave off any sustained dip in results. They have ironically picked a decent year to get into the top 15, as the 2015 draft looks to be one of the strongest in a decade.
When Slovakia beat Sweden 3-1 to kick off the 2015 U18 World Championship, it was very much looking like the year of Slovakian junior success would continue. A thoroughly unexpected bronze medal at the 2015 World Junior Championship was a huge success for an ice hockey nation that faces many developmental challenges, especially in the financial department. Read more»