Between the Pipes: Expansion hopefuls move on, Couturier’s value


Happy Saturday, Flyers fans! It's time for another edition of Between the Pipes where we look at some of the top headlines in hockey. 

Quebec City and Las Vegas move on to third phase of expansion process [Adam Gretz – CBS Sports

Hopkins Take: Both cities have now made it to phase three, which is the financial aspect of the expansion process. Barring something unforeseen, it's likely that both cities will ultimately have their bids accepted, with announcements possibly as early as September. While league play wouldn't begin until at least 2017, the awarding of franchises would be huge accomplishments for each city. To date, Las Vegas has never been the home to a major sports franchise. The city is actively building an arena and has started the process for early ticket purchasing in the event the league approves their bid. In Quebec City, fans are hoping to see the reincarnation of the Nordiques, who moved to Colorado in 1995. The NHL could stand to receive a serious boost by accepting the Canadian bid, much like when the Atlanta Thrashers relocated to Winnipeg to resurrect the Jets franchise. It makes perfect sense to add two additional teams to the Western Conference as they currently have 14 clubs as compared to 16 in the East.

NHL announces the schedule for the 2015 preseason  [NHL Public Relations –]

Hopkins Take: The NHL announced that preseason games will begin on September 20th and conclude 15 days later after a total of 104 contests. Some highlights include the New York Islanders moving into the Barclays Center and the Penguins going head-to-head with the Canadiens in Quebec City, the likely home of an NHL franchise in the next few years. With training camps and preseason games scheduled to commence soon, it can only mean one thing: NHL hockey is on the horizon! 

Yahoo! Sports releases their top 100 fantasy hockey rankings [Greg Wyshynski – Puck Daddy

Hopkins Take: While Fantasy Football remains the biggest draw for internet general managers, hockey is slowly making it's case for super-stardom as well. As such, Yahoo! Sports has released it list of the 100 top players for the upcoming season and it's topped by 'Rocket' Richard Trophy winner Alex Ovechkin. The Capitals captain edged out Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos and John Tavares for the top spot after leading the league in goals in each of the past three seasons. Rounding out the top-10 is Stars' teammates Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, Hart and Vezina winner Carey Price, Flyers captain Claude Giroux, Evgeni Malkin and Patrick Kane. 2015 first overall pick Connor McDavid made the list at No. 42. Other Flyers to crack the top-100 are Jake Voracek (16), Steve Mason (81) and Wayne Simmonds (95).

Sean Couturier listed as Flyers best-value contract [Jonathan Willis – Bleacher Report]

Hopkins Take: Couturier's new six-year extension that carries a $4.33 million annual hit after 2016 is the Flyers best bang for their buck according to Bleacher Report. Factors going into the decision are his likely increased offensive zone time, increased power play utilization as well as the fact that he is already one of the top defensive centers in the game. Ron Hextall is slowly putting his stamp on the team and the Couturier deal is just one example of his fiscal responsibility while molding a franchise that expects to compete year-in and year-out. 

Zach Hopkins is a contributing writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @healedbyhockey.

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