All posts by Josh Wegman

Top 50 pending UFAs: 10-1

With July 1 less than two months away, theScore takes a look at the top 50 pending unrestricted free agents heading into the start of free agency.

10-1 | 20-11 | 30-21 | 40-31 | 50-41

Stats legend:
GV = Giveaways
TK = Takeaways
ATOI = Average time on ice per game
CF% = Percentage of shot attempts team took while player was on the ice at even strength
(Rel) = CF% of player compared to when he's not on the ice

10. Mike Green

Position: Defense
Age on July 1: 32
2017-18 cap hit: $6M
2017-18 team: Red Wings

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
66 8 25 33 68 29 22:05 47.8 (-1.2)

Green's best days are likely over, but as a right-handed shooting defenseman in a thin free-agent pool, he'll have a list of teams lining up to sign him. He can still play second-pairing minutes with a sturdy partner, and can quarterback a power play efficiently.

9. Joe Thornton

Position: Center
Age on July 1: 38
2017-18 cap hit: $8M
2017-18 team: Sharks

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
47 13 23 36 55 33 18:21 54.4 (+3.4)

Thornton will be 39 on July 2 and tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee (2016-17) and right knee (2017-18) over the last two seasons. A return to the Sharks on a one-year deal with a significant pay cut seems likely. However, if he does leave San Jose, you can bet a few contending teams will overlook his mileage while offering him a deal as a second- or third-line center.

8. Carter Hutton

Position: Goaltender
Age on July 1: 32
2017-18 cap hit: $1.125M
2017-18 team: Blues

GP Rec. GAA SV% SO
32 26-17-7 2.09 .931 3

Hutton chose a great time to have a career year. He'll be by far the best goalie available, and at 32, it's possible teams will still view him as a short-term No. 1, even though Hutton has never handled a starter's workload. The Sabres, Flyers, and Islanders are among the clubs that could give him a shot as an undisputed starter.

7. David Perron

Position: Left wing
Age on July 1: 30
2017-18 cap hit: $3.75M
2017-18 team: Golden Knights

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
70 16 50 66 33 48 17:49 49.7 (-1.7)

Perron is also coming off a career-best campaign. The 2017-18 season was his first 60-point year, a mark reached even while missing 12 games. Returning to Vegas seems to be his best option to replicate that success, but he'll be looking to cash in as the third-highest scorer among UFAs.

6. James Neal

Position: Left wing
Age on July 1: 30
2017-18 cap hit: $5M
2017-18 team: Golden Knights

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
71 25 19 44 32 49 17:11 51.5 (+0.4)

Even though Perron had 22 more points than Neal, the latter is an accomplished pure goal-scorer and will likely generate more interest. He's potted 20-plus goals in each of his 10 NHL seasons, and that type of consistent production could lead to a larger-than-expected contract for the 30-year-old winger.

5. James van Riemsdyk

Position: Left wing
Age on July 1: 29
2017-18 cap hit: $4.25M
2017-18 team: Maple Leafs

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
81 36 18 54 38 30 14:54 55.6 (+7.4)

Van Riemsdyk is a one-dimensional player, but he does that one dimension better than anybody in the league. Nobody deflects pucks and provides a better net-front presence than JVR, as he finished third in goals per 60 minutes during the 2017-18 season, according to Natural Stat Trick. However, his lack of ice time was due to defensive flaws despite a high CF percentage, which can be attributed to his 62.7 offensive-zone start percentage. Regardless, Van Riemsdyk will get paid handsomely for his scoring prowess.

4. Paul Stastny

Position: Center
Age on July 1: 32
2017-18 cap hit: $7M
2017-18 teams: Blues/Jets

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
82 16 37 53 19 43 18:18 54.2 (+3.8)

Stastny is boosting his already high value with an impressive playoff run with the Jets. He's an incredibly smart player, and his age won't be a deal breaker because of the demand for centers. Born in Quebec City while his father was playing for the Nordiques, Stastny should be an obvious target for the center-needy Canadiens if they whiff on John Tavares.

3. Evander Kane

Position: Left wing
Age on July 1: 26
2017-18 cap hit: $5.25M
2017-18 teams: Sabres/Sharks

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
78 29 25 54 50 40 19:35 51.5 (+5.0)

Kane is the youngest UFA on this top-50 list, and is a rugged, physical winger with annual 30-goal potential. He recorded nine goals and 14 points in 17 games after joining the Sharks, providing a glimpse of the untapped potential he can provide on a good team. Even some previous character issues shouldn't get in the way of Kane's search for a massive contract this offseason.

2. John Carlson

Position: Defense
Age on July 1: 28
2017-18 cap hit: $3.97
2017-18 team: Capitals

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
82 15 53 68 97 58 24:47 49.2 (+1.7)

Carlson thrived during his contract year, leading all defenseman with 68 points, but it's highly unlikely he'll approach that mark on another team. He also notched 32 power-play points, largely by feeding Alex Ovechkin one-timers and by taking advantage of ample time and space as opponents shadowed the Russian superstar. Whoever signs Carlson will be paying for a No. 1 defenseman, but it's worth noting top-line matchup responsibilities actually fell on Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen in Washington.

1. John Tavares

Position: Center
Age on July 1: 27
2017-18 cap hit: $5.5M
2017-18 team: Islanders

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
82 37 47 84 78 49 19:56 49.4 (-2.6)

NHL megastars rarely get to free agency. So, unless Tavares re-signs with the Islanders before July 1, he'll be the best player to hit the open market in recent memory. He's in the prime of his career, and will be paid accordingly. The contract probably won't challenge Connor McDavid's league-high $12.5-million cap hit, but if teams get into a bidding war for their potential franchise player, anything is possible.

(Salary information courtesy: Cap Friendly)

(Stats courtesy: Hockey Reference)

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

Copyright © 2018 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Switzerland stuns Canada in massive upset to advance to gold-medal game

Switzerland pulled off a massive upset Saturday at the World Championship, defeating Canada in the semifinals 3-2 to advance to the gold-medal game against Sweden on Sunday.

Swiss goaltender Leonardo Genoni was sensational, making 44 saves and leaving a Canadian squad full of NHL stars shaking their heads as they went to the bench after each failed scoring attempt.

In the crease opposite Genoni, Darcy Kuemper's performance was lackluster. He allowed three goals on just 16 shots.

The Swiss offense was stuck in neutral in the third period, as it had only one shot compared to Canada's 18. That lone shot - a redirect from Gaetan Haas on a wrister that was going wide - turned out to be the game-winning goal.

Despite the one-sided final frame, Switzerland weathered the storm in its own end. Canada got within a goal after Colton Parayko's tally with two minutes left, but no closer.

This marks the first time in four years that the Canadians won't play for gold at the worlds. They'll take on the United States at 9:45 a.m. ET on Sunday for the bronze medal.

Copyright © 2018 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Marian Hossa ends playing career after 19 seasons

Marian Hossa, a veteran of 19 NHL seasons, announced the end of his playing career Saturday.

"I'm done playing hockey," he told Slovak newspaper Novy cas, as translated by NHL.com. "I have a contract with Chicago for the next three years, but I have to watch my health, and my body says the comeback is not possible."

Hossa missed the 2017-18 season due to a progressive skin disorder and the side effects of the medication used to treat it.

"Before the season, the NHL sent me to a clinic in Minneapolis to see a specialist who confirmed that it's impossible to play hockey when using those (anti-allergic) medicaments," he said. "I have to be aware of what might happen and I don't want to get back to the state I had been in during the previous seasons."

It's unclear what will happen with the remaining three years of Hossa's contract, as the Blackhawks could again place him on long-term injured reserve, or even possibly trade him.

"Let's see how this is done in the club," he said. "Maybe my contract changes to another club, I can not say yet, or I will stay on the list of injured players."

Slovak publication Dennik Sport recently reported that Hossa was planning to meet with Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz and president John McDonough to discuss a potential new role within the organization, according to The Athletic's Scott Powers.

"I can only do it after the expiration of the contract," Hossa said. "I have already talked to the boss of the club, so it's real that after three years I will work in the Chicago organization."

One of the best two-way forwards of his generation, Hossa finishes his career with 1,134 points in 1,309 games. He spent seven years with the Ottawa Senators to begin his career before a blockbuster trade sent him to Atlanta in exchange for Dany Heatley. After brief stints in Pittsburgh and Detroit, where he helped both teams reach the Stanley Cup Final, he joined the Chicago Blackhawks, with whom he spent the last eight seasons of his career, winning three Stanley Cups.

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Top 50 pending UFAs: 20-11

With July 1 less than two months away, theScore takes a look at the top 50 pending unrestricted free agents heading into the start of free agency.

10-1 | 20-11 | 30-21 | 40-31 | 50-41

Stats legend:
GV = Giveaways
TK = Takeaways
ATOI = Average time on ice per game
CF% = Percentage of shot attempts team took while player was on ice at even strength
(Rel) = CF% of player compared to when he's not on the ice

20. Patrick Maroon

Position: Left wing
Age on July 1: 30
2017-18 cap hit: $2M
2017-18 teams: Oilers/Devils

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
74 17 26 43 37 22 16:32 53.3 (+3.4)

Maroon should be in for a nice little pay raise. With 44 goals over the past two years, he has proven he can keep up and pitch in offensively when playing alongside talented linemates, all while providing a physical presence, racking up 150 hits in each of the last three seasons.

19. Kyle Brodziak

Position: Center
Age on July 1: 34
2017-18 cap hit: $950K
2017-18 team: Blues

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
81 10 23 33 18 52 13:28 47.7 (-5.4)

Brodziak is one of the most underrated bottom-six centers in the entire league. He was one of two players this season with at least 50 takeaways but less than 20 giveaways and posted a career-best 52.1 faceoff percentage. His possession numbers aren't pretty, but he started the bulk of his shifts in the defensive zone. He might get overlooked because of his age, but he can help plenty of teams on a short-term deal.

18. Derek Ryan

Position: Center
Age on July 1: 31
2017-18 cap hit: $1.425M
2017-18 team: Hurricanes

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
80 15 23 38 48 54 15:36 57.1 (+3.2)

Ryan is the definition of a journeyman. After his WHL career, he spent four years playing Canadian University hockey, followed by stints overseas in Austria and Sweden before returning to North America in the AHL in 2015-16. Last season was the late bloomer's breakout campaign. An elite faceoff man (career 56.1 percent) with good offensive instincts won't have trouble finding a multi-year contract.

17. Calvin de Haan

Position: Defense
Age on July 1: 27
2017-18 cap hit: $3.3M
2017-18 team: Islanders

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
33 1 11 12 24 14 18:45 49.1 (-1.3)

De Haan will be one of the most sought-after blue-liners on the open market. He's very young for a UFA, can skate and move the puck, and is also responsible in his own end. As someone capable of playing top-four minutes, don't be surprised if he inks a four- or five-year deal.

16. Tyler Bozak

Position: Center
Age on July 1: 32
2017-18 cap hit: $4.2M
2017-18 team: Maple Leafs

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
80 11 32 43 42 37 15:39 53.3 (+4.5)

Had Bozak hit the open market after his career-high 55-point season a year ago, he would've been a hot commodity. However, for an offensive-minded player with declining foot speed, his value is significantly lower than it was last summer. Nonetheless, he's a regular 40-point producer and a great faceoff man, so he could still earn a multi-year deal, but it would probably come with a pay cut.

15. Jonathan Bernier

Position: Goaltender
Age on July 1: 29
2017-18 cap hit: $2.75M
2017-18 team: Avalanche

GP Rec. GAA SV% SO
37 19-13-3 2.85 .913 2

Bernier was a major reason for the Avalanche's transformation from league laughingstock to a playoff team last season. Yet, like many of the goalies on the market, it's unlikely he'll be considered for a starting opportunity. He could, however, serve as a good platoon netminder.

14. Thomas Vanek

Position: Left wing
Age on July 1: 34
2017-18 cap hit: $2M
2017-18 teams: Canucks/Blue Jackets

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
80 24 32 56 35 28 14:05 47.3 (-1.7)

Vanek finished with the fourth-most points among all pending UFAs. Even in his mid-30s, he can still produce in a limited role. Many may think of him as a power-play specialist, but 20 of his 24 goals were scored at even strength. He could provide nice value on a short-term contract for a team needing some offense.

13. Michael Grabner

Position: Right wing
Age on July 1: 30
2017-18 cap hit: $1.65M
2017-18 teams: Rangers/Devils

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
80 27 9 36 33 46 14:49 44.8 (-2.8)

After signing a two-year, $3.3-million contract prior to 2016-17, Grabner will be in for a nice pay raise after back-to-back 27-goal seasons. "Playmaker" isn't in his vocabulary, but he routinely creates breakaways with his elite speed, and as long as he can still fly, he should continue to put the puck in the net.

12. Rick Nash

Position: Left wing
Age on July 1: 34
2017-18 cap hit: $7.8M
2017-18 teams: Rangers/Bruins

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
71 21 13 34 38 58 17:03 51.2 (+4.4)

It will be interesting to see what kind of contract Nash gets after three straight underwhelming seasons in which he missed a total of 48 games. In a game that's increasingly being dominated by speed, the 6-foot-4 power forward is a bit of a dinosaur, but he can still be a productive top-six winger in the right setting.

11. Riley Nash

Position: Center
Age on July 1: 29
2017-18 cap hit: $900K
2017-18 team: Bruins

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
76 15 26 41 14 55 15:25 51.7 (-2.0)

Boston's other Nash chose the right time to have a career year. As one of the few centers on the market, he'll be in heavy demand. Teams that miss out on John Tavares and Paul Stastny will turn to Nash. His offensive numbers might be a bit inflated due to a stint centering Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak during Patrice Bergeron's absence, but as one of two players this season with at least 50 takeaways but fewer than 20 giveaways, he can help teams in a lot of ways as a premier third-line center.

(Salary information courtesy: Cap Friendly)
(Stats courtesy: Hockey Reference)
(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

Copyright © 2018 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Andrei Vasilevskiy has saved the Lightning’s season

Without Andrei Vasilevskiy's stellar play between the pipes, the Tampa Bay Lightning's season would probably be over today.

Vasilevskiy single-handedly stole Games 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference Final after the Lightning buried themselves in an 0-2 hole, stopping a combined 72 of 76 shots in back-to-back 4-2 wins to even the series.

The Lightning did not deserve to win either of those contests, as they were dominated in nearly every facet of the game:

Game 3

Lightning Stat Capitals
23 Shots 38
47 Shot attempts 69
21 Scoring chances 26
9 High-danger chances 11

Game 4

Lightning Stat Capitals
20 Shots 38
45 Shot attempts 65
19 Scoring chances 33
12 High-danger chances 14

But Vasilevskiy made one highlight-reel save after another, constantly bailing out a team that's yet to show up for a full 60 minutes in this series.

Related: Solo effort: Breaking down Vasilevskiy's clutch glove save on Connolly

While the Capitals have dictated the play at five-on-five in this series, their biggest offensive weapon so far in this playoff run has been a dynamic power play. Heading into Game 3, the Caps were 16-for-49 (32.7 percent) with the man advantage, but there's been a power outage across the last two games, with the unit going 0-for-7.

Tampa Bay's penalty killers certainly deserve credit, but against such a lethal unit, the goalie has to be the best penalty killer - and Vasilevskiy has been just that.

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

Across the past two games, the Caps generated 16 shots, 11 scoring chances, and seven high-danger scoring chances with the man advantage, but Vasilevskiy turned aside everything.

On the flip side, the Lightning's power play has been their main source of offense, going 3-for-7 across the last two games, and 6-for-14 overall in the series. Braden Holtby has struggled in the opposite crease, while Vasilevskiy has shined, and that was the difference in Games 3 and 4.

On the surface, Vasilevskiy's sensational play shouldn't come as a surprise, considering his regular season was worthy of a Vezina Trophy nomination. But for those who followed the season closely, he was a bit of a question mark heading into the playoffs after recording a save percentage of just .900 in his last 31 regular-season games, compared to a .939 mark across his first 34. Fatigue was clearly an issue for 23-year-old in his first full season as a starter, but he's since erased any doubts.

Even if Vasilevskiy had stolen one game on the road, the Bolts would still be looking at a 3-1 series deficit - a steep mountain to climb against a Capitals team that's playing exceptionally well.

But by stealing both contests, not only did Vasilevskiy put his team in the driver's seat heading back to Tampa Bay to begin a best-of-three, but he literally saved its season in the process.

(Stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick)

Copyright © 2018 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Solo effort: Breaking down Vasilevskiy’s clutch glove save on Connolly

Andrei Vasilevskiy's highway robbery on Brett Connolly in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final may very well end up being the turning point in the series.

With the game even at two goals apiece in the third period, Vasilevskiy made a ridiculous glove save on Connolly to keep the game tied. A little over six minutes later, Alex Killorn notched the game-winning goal for Tampa Bay. Below, we'll break down how Vasilevskiy was able to make such a difficult stop.

For a full video of the save, click here:

Capitals forward Chandler Stephenson (No. 18, bottom of screen) scoops up the puck along the boards. Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi (No. 5) then overcommits, forcing his partner, Victor Hedman, to apply pressure to the puck-carrier, assuming the center will be back to take the high guy. The latter doesn't happen, though, and Connolly (top right) is left all alone in the slot.

Hedman does a good job of forcing Stephenson in deep before he can get a pass through to the middle of the ice. Realizing this, Vasilevskiy puts the paddle of his stick on the ice in an attempt to break up the pass before it can reach Connolly.

Vasilevkiy's decision to throw his paddle down backfires, as the puck ramps off his stick, into the air, and into the slot, leaving him in a vulnerable position deep in the crease while Connolly is streaking in to bury the loose puck.

Amazingly, Connolly bats the puck out of midair. And remember, Vasilevskiy was leaning to his right when he tried to break up the pass, so the top right part of the net is open for Connolly. The puck looks like it's heading right over Vasilevskiy's left shoulder.

This last part can't be taught. Vasilevskiy uses his otherworldly reflexes to lift his left hand and get a piece of the fluttering puck. He doesn't catch it in the web of his glove, but he gets a big enough piece to knock it into the slot. Matt Niskanen doesn't get much on the rebound attempt and misses the net.

Vasilevskiy has bailed out his defense routinely over the last two games, but this was perhaps his best example of a sensational solo effort.

(Photos courtesy: NHL.com)

Copyright © 2018 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Top 50 pending UFAs: 30-21

With July 1 less than two months away, theScore takes a look at the top 50 pending unrestricted free agents heading into the start of free agency.

10-1 | 20-11 | 30-21 | 40-31 | 50-41

Stats Legend:
GV = Giveaways
TK = Takeaways
ATOI = Average time on ice per game
CF% = Percentage of shot attempts team took while player was on ice at even strength
(Rel) = CF% of player compared to when he's not on the ice

30. Jack Johnson

Position: Defense
Age on July 1: 31
2017-18 cap hit: $4,357,143
2017-18 team: Blue Jackets

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
77 3 8 11 23 20 19:33 47.7 (-5.4)

Johnson's season was so poor that he ended up being a healthy scratch for a few games down the stretch. He's no longer the 40-point D-man he used to be, but if he can regain his stout defensive form, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that he could play in a top four again. He'll likely be forced to a sign a prove-it contract, though.

29. Brian Gibbons

Position: Left wing
Age on July 1: 30
2017-18 cap hit: $650K
2017-18 team: Devils

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
59 12 14 26 10 35 14:26 44.0 (-4.3)

When you extrapolate Gibbons' numbers over an 82-game sample, he would've finished with 16 goals. A 16.7 shooting percentage suggests a season like that won't happen again, but the diminutive journeyman is an excellent penalty killer, as he helped the Devils finish with a top-10 PK, and he tied for the league lead with five shorthanded points.

28. Anton Khudobin

Position: Goaltender
Age on July 1: 32
2017-18 cap hit: $1.2M
2017-18 team: Bruins

GP Rec. GAA SV% SO
31 29-16-6 2.56 .913 1

Khudobin is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, but his chances of being considered for a starting goaltender vacancy are slim. He's capable of being a platoon goalie, though.

27. Blake Comeau

Position: Right wing
Age on July 1: 32
2017-18 cap hit: $2.4M
2017-18 team: Avalanche

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
79 13 21 34 29 47 15:52 46.6 (-1.4)

Comeau is physical, defensively strong, and can put the puck in the net on occasion. While he's not flashy, he's simply a solid player who can skate in a team's top-nine forward group.

26. Dan Hamhuis

Position: Defense
Age on July 1: 35
2017-18 cap hit: $3.75M
2017-18 team: Stars

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
80 3 21 24 30 13 20:11 50.4 (-1.2)

Hamhuis is in the back nine of his career, but he can still play meaningful minutes in a team's top four as long as he's paired with another defenseman who can skate and move the puck. The veteran could be a nice stopgap blue-liner for a team seeking stability on the back end.

25. Luca Sbisa

Position: Defense
Age on July 1: 28
2017-18 cap hit: $3.6M
2017-18 team: Golden Knights

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
30 2 12 14 16 12 19:31 43.8 (-9.1)

Sbisa was well on his way to a career year before an injury took away most of his season. Despite averaging nearly 0.5 points per game, he's not an offensive defenseman. But he's physical, smart in his own end, and still relatively young despite having nearly 500 NHL games under his belt. A team that signs him to a two- or three-year deal could be getting the best hockey of his career.

24. Valtteri Filppula

Position: Center
Age on July 1: 34
2017-18 cap hit: $5M
2017-18 team: Flyers

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
81 11 22 33 37 36 16:29 44.0 (-7.4)

Filppula is a bit of a Swiss Army knife. He can play in an offensive role or a checking role, and he's played at center and on the wing. He doesn't do anything extraordinarily well, but he's a versatile, complementary top-nine forward.

23. Ian Cole

Position: Defense
Age on July 1: 29
2017-18 cap hit: $2.1M
2017-18 teams: Penguins/Blue Jackets

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
67 5 15 20 27 21 17:47 51.1 (-0.7)

Cole is one of the league's best shot blockers, racking up 116 last season, 194 the year prior, and 122 in 2015-16. And while he's blocked so many shots, he's remained a positive possession player. As a rock-solid defenseman in the prime of his career, he'll have no problem finding a home on a multi-year deal.

22. Kari Lehtonen

Position: Goaltender
Age on July 1: 34
2017-18 cap hit: $5.9M
2017-18 team: Stars

GP Rec. GAA SV% SO
37 15-14-3 2.56 .912 1

Lehtonen has proven over the years that he isn't capable of being a quality No. 1 netminder, but he could serve as an excellent platoon alongside a young goalie, or act as a stopgap starter for a middling team with a promising up-and-comer.

21. John Moore

Position: Defense
Age on July 1: 27
2017-18 cap hit: $1,666,667
2017-18 team: Devils

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
81 7 11 18 48 17 20:01 48.4 (+0.4)

Moore isn't flashy by any stretch of the imagination, but he's very steady in the defensive zone. He's a strong skater with good size (6-foot-2, 210 lbs), and as one of the youngest UFAs, he could get a four- or five-year contract.

(Salary information courtesy: Cap Friendly)
(Stats courtesy: Hockey Reference)
(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

Copyright © 2018 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Patrick Kane leads U.S. to quarterfinal victory over Czech Republic

Patrick Kane potted two goals as the United States defeated the Czech Republic 3-2 to advance to the World Championship semifinals.

The Americans will now face the winner of a quarterfinal matchup between Sweden and Latvia.

The U.S. jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first period, but that quickly evaporated as the Czechs countered with two second-period goals of their own. Kane would go on to notch the game-winning tally less than seven minutes into the third.

New Jersey Devils netminder Keith Kinkaid was stellar between the pipes for the U.S., stopping 22-of-24 shots he faced.

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Solo effort: Breaking down Fleury’s 2 remarkable saves on Scheifele

Marc-Andre Fleury robbed Mark Scheifele twice in a matter of seconds to help his Vegas Golden Knights preserve a 3-2 lead in the third period of Game 3 on Wednesday night.

Below, we'll break down how Fleury was able to make such ridiculous stops.

For a full video of the play, click here.

While Fleury's often praised for his freaky athleticism, he doesn't get nearly enough credit for his IQ between the pipes. As you can see in this image, he has already transferred his weight to his left leg in anticipation of pushing off, knowing that Blake Wheeler (No. 26, bottom of the screen) is a pass-first player and Scheifele is alone in front.

And here's where Fleury shows off some of that athleticism. Going into the splits, he got over quickly enough to make an incredible toe save on Scheifele's well-placed shot. If he's a fraction of a second late, Scheifele scores, which is why reading the play in the image prior made all this possible.

If someone saw this image without seeing the full play, they would assume Scheifele puts this puck into the yawning cage. Though Fleury had no choice but to make the desperation toe save, he nearly slid completely out of the crease as a result. Crucially, he never took his eyes off the puck. As he slid, he planted his right skate into the ice to stop his momentum, anticipating he was about to need to leap in the opposite direction.

This is where Fleury is at his best: showing off not only his athleticism, but his composure and ability to improvise. After planting his right skate into the ice, he didn't immediately dive across. He made one more push with his right skate, almost a shuffle, that allowed his chest and body to take away the big part of the net when he did leap. Having the presence of mind to take that extra split-second before the dive is truly remarkable.

Fleury is no stranger to making highlight-reel saves in critical situations, but these two could arguably go down as his best ever.

(Photos courtesy: NHL.com)

Copyright © 2018 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Top 50 pending UFAs: 40-31

With July 1 less than two months away, theScore takes a look at the top 50 pending unrestricted free agents heading into the start of free agency.

10-1 | 20-11 | 30-21 | 40-31 | 50-41

Stats Legend:
GV = Giveaways
TK = Takeaways
ATOI = Average time on ice per game
CF% = Percentage of shot attempts team took while player was on ice at even strength
(Rel) = CF% of player compared to when he's not on the ice

40. Mark Letestu

Position: Center
Age on July 1: 33
2017-18 cap hit: $1.8M
2017-18 teams: Oilers/Blue Jackets

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
80 9 14 23 20 19 12:51 49.0 (-3.3)

Had Letestu hit the open market a year ago, he would've been in for a decent payday coming off a career-high 16-goal (11 of which came on the power play) season. However, he was unable to replicate that success, and will likely have to take a one-year deal.

39. Leo Komarov

Position: Left wing
Age on July 1: 31
2017-18 cap hit: $2.95M
2017-18 team: Maple Leafs

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
74 7 12 19 42 47 15:47 44.8 (-6.7)

After scoring 33 goals the previous two seasons, Komarov's offense tailed off in 2017-18. He was even gifted a chance on Toronto's second line for the bulk of the season, but failed to capitalize. If the scoring touch returns, he can be an effective top-nine forward. Otherwise, the physical agitator is just a fourth-liner.

38. Toby Enstrom

Position: Defense
Age on July 1: 33
2017-18 cap hit: $5.75M
2017-18 team: Jets

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
43 1 5 6 31 3 17:02 52.2(+3.7)

Since his days as a 50-point D-man anchoring the Atlanta Thrashers' blue line, Enstrom has dealt with a lot of injuries, and he's failed to recapture his offensive magic. However, a team in need of a puck-moving rearguard will take a chance on him in hopes he can find his old form.

37. Thomas Hickey

Position: Defense
Age on July 1: 29
2017-18 cap hit: $2.2M
2017-18 team: Islanders

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
69 5 20 25 60 14 18:04 47.7 (+0.4)

Hickey's 0.36 points per game was a career high, but the fact he played the sixth-most minutes on average among the Islanders' defense and still led the team's blue line in giveaways indicates he was part of the problem on a historically bad defensive team.

36. Nick Holden

Position: Defense
Age on July 1: 31
2017-18 cap hit: $1.65M
2017-18 teams: Rangers/Bruins

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
73 4 13 17 39 26 19:00 47.4 (-1.1)

The well-traveled, physical blue-liner can play big minutes if paired alongside a stud (like Marc Methot to Erik Karlsson), but he's probably better-suited to more of a sheltered role similar to the one he had with the Bruins. The versatile D-man could receive a multi-year deal.

35. Tomas Plekanec

Position: Center
Age on July 1: 35
2017-18 cap hit: $6M
2017-18 teams: Canadiens/Maple Leafs

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
77 6 20 26 51 29 15:08 50.9 (-0.7)

Plekanec struggled in the regular season with the Leafs after being acquired from the Canadiens at the deadline, but he stepped up his game in the playoffs, recording two goals and two helpers in seven games, and showing he can still be a matchup center with the right linemates. Returning to Montreal seems like his most likely outcome.

34. Tim Schaller

Position: Left wing
Age on July 1: 27
2017-18 cap hit: $775K
2017-18 team: Bruins

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
82 12 10 22 25 31 13:17 50.4 (-3.7)

Schaller was a part of one of the league's better fourth lines in Boston, and given his age, there's reason to believe he could excel if given an expanded role elsewhere.

33. Michal Kempny

Position: Defense
Age on July 1: 27
2017-18 cap hit: $900K
2017-18 teams: Blackhawks/Capitals

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
53 3 7 10 41 9 15:55 51.5 (+0.3)

Kempny's stats don't jump off the page, but he's boosted his free-agent value with a nice playoff run thus far with the Capitals. He's played top-four minutes alongside John Carlson, helping neutralize the likes of Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel (the Dmitry Orlov-Matt Niskanen pairing drew the Sidney Crosby matchup more often than not).

32. Brandon Manning

Position: Defense
Age on July 1: 28
2017-18 cap hit: $975K
2017-18 team: Flyers

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
65 7 12 19 34 17 17:57 50.0 (+0.9)

With younger, highly-touted defensemen coming through the Flyers' system, a return to Philadelphia seems unlikely for Manning. He's best-suited as a bottom-pairing blue-liner, but it's possible the best year of his career lies ahead considering he's only played three full NHL seasons.

31. Matt Calvert

Position: Left wing
Age on July 1: 28
2017-18 cap hit: $2.2M
2017-18 team: Blue Jackets

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
69 9 15 24 15 28 13:23 47.9 (-4.6)

Calvert has averaged 14 goals per season in his career over an 82-game average. His biggest problem has been staying healthy, as he has only played 70 games in a season once. Nonetheless, he's a player a coach can trust defensively and he'll chip in offensively, making him a fit on any team looking for forward depth.

(Salary information courtesy: Cap Friendly)
(Stats courtesy: Hockey Reference)
(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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