Tag Archives: Brandon Saad

2017 NHL Entry Draft Round 1 Recap

Friday night marked Day 1 of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft and a record (welcome again Vegas Golden Knights) 31 players were selected in the 1st Round. In case you missed any of the action, here’s how it all broke down.

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NHL Entry Draft photos via NHL

2017 NHL Entry Draft– Round 1

  1. New Jersey Devils–> C Nico Hischier, Halifax (QMJHL)
  2. Philadelphia Flyers–> C Nolan Patrick, Brandon (OHL)
  3. Dallas Stars–> D Miro Heiskanen, HIFK, (Finland)
  4. Colorado Avalanche–> D Cale Makar, Brooks (AJHL)
  5. Vancouver Canucks–> C Elias Pettersson, Timra (SWE-2)
  6. Vegas Golden Knights–> C Cody Glass, Portland (WHL)
  7. New York Rangers (from Arizona)–> C Lias Andersson, HV71 (Sweden)
  8. Buffalo Sabres–> C Casey Mittelstadt, Eden Prairie (HS-MN)
  9. Detroit Red Wings–> C Michael Rasmussen, Tri-City (WHL)
  10. Florida Panthers–> RW Owen Tippett, Mississauga (OHL)
  11. Los Angeles Kings–> C Gabriel Vilardi, Windsor (OHL)
  12. Carolina Hurricanes–> C Martin Necas, Brno (Czech Republic)
  13. Vegas Golden Knights (from Winnipeg)–> C Nick Suzuki, Owen Sound (OHL)
  14. Tampa Bay Lightning–> D Callan Foote, Kelowna (WHL)
  15. Vegas Golden Knights (from N.Y. Islanders)–> D Erik Brannstrom, HV71 (Sweden)
  16. Calgary Flames–> D Juuso Valimaki, Tri-City (WHL)
  17. Toronto Maple Leafs–> D Timothy Liljegren, Rogle BK (Sweden)
  18. Boston Bruins–> D Urho Vaakanainen, JYP (Finland)
  19. San Jose Sharks–> C Josh Norris, USA U-18 (USHL)
  20. St. Louis Blues–> C Robert Thomas, London (OHL)
  21. New York Rangers–> C Filip Chytil, Zlin (Czech Republic)
  22. Edmonton Oilers–> RW Kailer Yamamoto, Spokane (WHL)
  23. Arizona Coyotes (from Minnesota)–> D Pierre-Olivier Joseph, Charlottetown (QMJHL)
  24. Winnipeg Jets (from Columbus via Vegas)–> LW/RW Kristian Vesalainen, Frolunda (Sweden)
  25. Montreal Canadiens–> C Ryan Poehling, St. Cloud State (NCHC)
  26. Dallas Stars (from Chicago)–> G Jake Oettinger, Boston University (Hockey-East)
  27. Philadelphia Flyers (from Washington via St. Louis)–> C Morgan Frost, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
  28. Ottawa Senators–> C Shane Bowers, Waterloo (USHL)
  29. Chicago Blackhawks (from Dallas via Anaheim)–> D Henri Jokiharju, Portland (WHL)
  30. Nashville Predators–> RW Eeli Tolvanen, Sioux City (USHL)
  31. St. Louis Blues (from Pittsburgh)–> C/LW Klim Kostin, Dynamo Moscow (Russia)

Trades Made on Day 1 of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft

  • The Arizona Coyotes traded D Connor Murphy and F Laurent Dauhpin to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for D Niklas Hjalmarsson.
  • The Columbus Blue Jackets acquired F Artemi PanarinF Tyler Motte and a 2017 6th round pick (170th overall) from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for F Brandon SaadG Anton Forsberg and a 2018 5th round pick.
  • The Arizona Coyotes traded D Anthony DeAngelo and a 2017 1st round pick (7th overall) to the New York Rangers for F Derek Stepan and G Antti Raanta.
  • The Columbus Blue Jackets acquired F Jordan Schroeder from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for F Dante Salituro.
  • The Chicago Blackhawks traded a 2017 1st round pick (26th overall) to the Dallas Stars for a 2017 1st round pick (29th overall) and a 2017 3rd round pick (70th overall).
  • The St. Louis Blues acquired F Brayden Schenn from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for F Jori Lehtera, a 2017 1st round pick (27th overall), and a conditional 2018 1st round pick.
  • The Pittsburgh Penguins traded F Oskar Sundqvist and a 2017 1st round pick (31st overall) to the St. Louis Blues and acquired F Ryan Reaves and a 2017 2nd round pick (51st overall) in return.

2017 NHL Expansion Draft: Protected Lists

30 of the NHL’s 31 teams submitted their protected lists on Saturday by 5 p.m. ET. The protected lists were made public at 10:30 a.m. ET (originally scheduled for 10 a.m.) on Sunday. Additionally, the available lists of players to choose from were released.

The Vegas Golden Knights will now spend the next few days constructing their roster, with the full reveal set for Wednesday night during the NHL Awards Ceremony at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

To recap, here’s all of the protected players:

Anaheim Ducks

Forwards: Andrew Cogliano, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Corey Perry, Rickard Rakell, Jakob Silfverberg, Antoine Vermette

Defensemen: Kevin Bieksa, Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm

Goaltender: John Gibson

Arizona Coyotes

Forwards: Nick Cousins, Anthony Duclair, Jordan Martinook, Tobias Rieder

Defensemen: Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Alex Goligoski, Connor Murphy, Luke Schenn

Goaltender: Chad Johnson

Boston Bruins

Forwards: David Backes, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Riley Nash, David Pastrnak, Ryan Spooner

Defensemen: Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, Kevan Miller

Goaltender: Tuukka Rask

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards: Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno, Zemgus Girgensons, Evander Kane, Johan Larsson, Ryan O’Reilly, Kyle Okposo

Defensemen: Nathan Beaulieu, Jake McCabe, Rasmus Ristolainen

Goaltender: Robin Lehner

Calgary Flames

Forwards: Mikael Backlund, Sam Bennett, Micheal Ferlund, Michael Frolik, Johnny Gaudreau, Curtis Lazar, Sean Monahan

Defensemen: T.J. Brodie, Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton

Goaltender: Mike Smith

Carolina Hurricanes

Forwards: Phillip Di Giuseppe, Elias Lindholm, Brock McGinn, Victor Rask, Jeff Skinner, Jordan Staal, Teuvo Teravainen

Defensemen: Trevor Carrick, Justin Faulk, Ryan Murphy

Goaltender: Scott Darling

Chicago Blackhawks

Forwards: Artem Anisimov, Ryan Hartman, Marian Hossa, Tomas Jurco, Patrick Kane, Richard Panik, Jonathan Toews

Defensemen: Niklas Hjalmarsson, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook

Goaltender: Corey Crawford

Colorado Avalanche

Forwards: Sven Andrighetto, Blake Comeau, Matt Duchene, Rocco Grimaldi, Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Nieto

Defensemen: Tyson Barrie, Erik Johnson, Nikita Zadorov

Goaltender: Semyon Varlamov

Columbus Blue Jackets

Forwards: Cam Atkinson, Brandon Dubinsky, Nick Foligno, Scott Hartnell, Boone Jenner, Brandon Saad, Alexander Wennberg

Defensemen: Seth Jones, Ryan Murray, David Savard

Goaltender: Sergei Bobrovsky

Dallas Stars

Forwards: Jamie Benn, Radek Faksa, Valeri Nichushkin, Brett Ritchie, Antoine Roussel, Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza

Defensemen: Stephen Johns, John Klingberg, Esa Lindell

Goaltender: Ben Bishop

Detroit Red Wings

Forwards: Justin Abdelkader, Andreas Athanasiou, Anthony Mantha, Frans Nielsen, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Henrik Zetterberg

Defensemen: Danny DeKeyser, Mike Green, Nick Jensen

Goaltender: Jimmy Howard

Edmonton Oilers

Forwards: Leon Draisaitl, Jordan Eberle, Zack Kassian, Mark Letestu, Milan Lucic, Patrick Maroon, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Defensemen: Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson, Andrej Sekera

Goaltender: Cam Talbot

Florida Panthers

Forwards: Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad, Jonathan Huberdeau, Vincent Trocheck

Defensemen: Aaron Ekblad, Alex Petrovic, Mark Pysyk, Keith Yandle

Goaltender: James Reimer

Los Angeles Kings

Forwards: Jeff Carter, Anze Kopitar, Tanner Pearson, Tyler Toffoli

Defensemen: Drew Doughty, Derek Forbort, Alec Martinez, Jake Muzzin

Goaltender: Jonathan Quick

Minnesota Wild

Forwards: Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund, Mikko Koivu, Nino Niederreiter, Zach Parise, Jason Pominville, Jason Zucker

Defensemen: Jonas Brodin, Jared Spurgeon, Ryan Suter

Goaltender: Devan Dubnyk

Montreal Canadiens

Forwards: Paul Byron, Phillip Danault, Jonathan Drouin, Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher, Max Pacioretty, Andrew Shaw

Defensemen: Jordie Benn, Jeff Petry, Shea Weber

Goaltender: Carey Price

Nashville Predators

Forwards: Viktor Arvidsson, Filip Forsberg, Calle Jarnkrok, Ryan Johansen

Defensemen: Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi, P.K. Subban

Goaltender: Pekka Rinne

New Jersey Devils

Forwards: Taylor Hall, Adam Henrique, Kyle Palmieri, Travis Zajac

Defensemen: Andy Greene, John Moore, Mirco Mueller, Damon Severson

Goaltender: Cory Schneider

New York Islanders

Forwards: Andrew Ladd, Anders Lee, John Tavares

Defensemen: Johnny Boychuk, Travis Hamonic, Nick Leddy, Adam Pelech, Ryan Pulock

Goaltender: Thomas Greiss

New York Rangers

Forwards: Kevin Hayes, Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller, Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, Mika Zibanejad, Mats Zuccarello

Defensemen: Nick Holden, Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal

Goaltender: Henrik Lundqvist

Ottawa Senators

Forwards: Derick Brassard, Ryan Dzingel, Mike Hoffman, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Zack Smith, Mark Stone, Kyle Turris

Defensemen: Cody Ceci, Erik Karlsson, Dion Phaneuf

Goaltender: Craig Anderson

Philadelphia Flyers

Forwards: Sean Couturier, Valtteri Filppula, Claude Giroux, Scott Laughton, Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek

Defensemen: Shayne Gostisbehere, Radko Gudas, Brandon Manning

Goaltender: Anthony Stolarz

Pittsburgh Penguins

Forwards: Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin

Defensemen: Brian Dumoulin, Kris Letang, Olli Maatta, Justin Schultz

Goaltender: Matt Murray

San Jose Sharks

Forwards: Ryan Carpenter, Logan Couture, Jannik Hansen, Tomas Hertl, Melker Karlsson, Joe Pavelski, Chris Tierney

Defensemen: Justin Braun, Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic

Goaltender: Martin Jones

St. Louis Blues

Forwards: Patrik Berglund, Ryan Reaves, Jaden Schwartz, Vladimir Sobotka, Paul Stastny, Alexander Steen, Vladimir Tarasenko

Defensemen: Jay Bouwmeester, Joel Edmundson, Alex Pietrangelo

Goaltender: Jake Allen

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forwards: Ryan Callahan, Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn, Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov, Ondrej Palat, Steven Stamkos

Defensemen: Braydon Coburn, Victor Hedman, Anton Stralman

Goaltender: Andrei Vasilevskiy

Toronto Maple Leafs

Forwards: Tyler Bozak, Connor Brown, Nazem Kadri, Leo Komarov, Josh Leivo, Matt Martin, James van Riemsdyk

Defensemen: Connor Carrick, Jake Gardiner, Morgan Rielly

Goaltender: Frederik Andersen

Vancouver Canucks

Forwards: Sven Baertschi, Loui Eriksson, Markus Granlund, Bo Horvat, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Brandon Sutter

Defensemen: Alexander Edler, Erik Gudbranson, Christopher Tanev

Goaltender: Jacob Markstrom

Washington Capitals

Forwards: Nicklas Backstrom, Andre Burakovsky, Lars Eller, Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Alex Ovechkin, Tom Wilson

Defensemen: John Carlson, Matt Niskanen, Dmitry Orlov

Goaltender: Braden Holtby

Winnipeg Jets

Forwards: Joel Armia, Andrew Copp, Bryan Little, Adam Lowry, Mathieu Perreault, Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler

Defensemen: Dustin Byfuglien, Tyler Myers, Jacob Trouba

Goaltender: Connor Hellebuyck

Stanley Cup Playoffs: First Round– April 18

For at least the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the authors at Down the Frozen River present a rapid recap of all of the night’s action. Tonight’s featured writer – unless noted otherwise – is Nick Lanciani.

Unknown-1 New York Rangers Logo

Montreal Canadiens at New York Rangers— Game 4

For the first time in the last seven home playoff games, the New York Rangers won at Madison Square Garden. Tuesday night’s victory was a 2-1 triumphant win over the visiting Montreal Canadiens and tied the series with the Habs, 2-2. Rick Nash recorded just his second career game winning goal in his 69th Stanley Cup Playoffs appearance.

Henrik Lundqvist had 23 saves on 24 shots against for a .958 save percentage in the win for New York, while Carey Price made 30 saves on 32 shots against for a .938 SV% in the loss for the Canadiens.

After struggling to score until it was too late in Game 3, New York struck first in Game 4 on home ice. Jesper Fast (1) notched his first of the 2017 postseason on an unassisted goal at 11:39 of the 1st period to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.

Almost seven minutes later, Canadiens forward, Torrey Mitchell (1) fired one past a sprawling Henrik Lundqvist as Montreal caught New York on a poorly executed line change. Shea Weber (2) and Alexander Radulov (4) were credited with the primary and secondary assists on the goal that tied the game, 1-1 at 18:37 of the 1st period.

Nash (2) continued to show his impressive hands in the series with his backhand-through-the-five-hole goal that would become the eventual game winning goal at 4:28 of the 2nd period. Ryan McDonagh (2) recorded the sole assist on Nash’s goal.

With the win, the series now effectively becomes a best-of-three games scenario. Game 5 is scheduled for Thursday night at Bell Centre in Montreal. Puck drop will be a little after 7 p.m. ET and the game can be viewed on USA in the United States, as well as CBC and TVA Sports in Canada.

pittsburgh_penguins_logoColumbus Blue Jackets Logo

Pittsburgh Penguins at Columbus Blue Jackets— Game 4

By: Connor Keith

With a 5-4 victory over the Penguins, Columbus avoided elimination from its Eastern Conference Quarterfinal and pulled the series to a two-game, 3-1 deficit.

Many coaches – regardless of sport – prescribe to some variation of the theory that winning the game is all about winning a majority of the smaller time increments. Be it three quarters in football or two periods in hockey, the mentality seems to make sense (of course, don’t tell that to Monday’s four blown two-goal leads).

With that strategy in mind, it would seem that Columbus earned its first victory of the postseason in the first period, as the Blue Jackets owned a 2-0 lead over the visiting Penguins going into the first intermission. With 8:14 remaining in the frame, it was Jack Johnson (David Savard) drawing first blood by burying a snap shot from the top of the near face-off circle by way of bouncing the puck off Sidney Crosby’s right skate. That right skate would prove to be important in quite a few plays in this game, but more on that later.

Josh Anderson (First Star of the Game William Karlsson and Kyle Quincey) took credit for the other goal, a snapper buried with 64 seconds remaining before the first scheduled game break. He raced up the near side of the offensive zone right to Marc-Andre Fleury’s doorstop to squeeze the puck five-hole.

Though Pittsburgh won the second period, it was not before Second Star Markus Nutivaara (Third Star Boone Jenner and Brandon Saad) was able to give the Jackets a three-goal shutout lead. 4:45 into the contet, Fleury blocked the rookie’s first shot of the game, followed two seconds later by Jenner collecting the rebound and firing a shot of his own from the top of the far face-off circle. That too was saved by the experienced netminder, but Fleury couldn’t stop the next one: a Nutivaara snapper shot from far corner of the crease.

Only 1:55 later, the postseason’s best offense finally got on the board thanks to a Patric Hornqvist power play snapper. Officially, the assists belong to Justin Schultz and Phil Kessel, though I think the scorebook should be altered to read Crosby and Schultz. The Penguins went to work quickly after Quincey was sent to the sin bin for interfering with Evgeni Malkin at the 5:29 mark. Schultz fired a slap shot from the blue line towards the far post, but his attempt found a different metal object. That’s right, Crosby’s right skate once again came into play, as the shot banked off his foot and towards Bobrovsky’s crease. The puck lost a lot of speed off the deflection, which gave Hornqvist the opportunity reach out and bang it home.

Over his 14 years in the NHL, there have been a few things missing from Ron Hainsey’s career. One of those was accomplished in Game 1, as he made his first appearance in the postseason. Another box was checked with 3:36 remaining in the second period when he registered his first goal (Kessel and Malkin) in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. After receiving a Kessel pass in the near corner, he pulled Pittsburgh within a one-goal deficit by burying a snapper five-hole from the near face-off circle.

It seems Karlsson took offense to the Pens winning the second period because he came out of the dressing room after the intermission at the top of his game. First, he won the opening face-off of the third period, followed 11 seconds later by a wicked snap shot Fleury barely managed to save. Karlsson tried to put another shot on net 25 seconds into the game, but that one was blocked by Ian Cole into the glass.

The third time was the charm, though his stick wasn’t the last thing to touch the scoring shot. Karlsson collected the puck sent behind Fleury’s crease from Cole’s block and began a wrap-around fade-away goal towards the far post. In the extremely short time between the center’s backhanded shot leaving his stick and entering the crease, it looks like Crosby’s right skate barely touches the puck to alter its course enough beat Fleury’s right pad.

The Jackets had one more goal in them too, courtesy of a Jenner (Saad and Nutivaara) tip-in that proved to be the game-winner. Saad did much of the work, firing an initial snap shot from the near slot right at Fleury’s chest that the goalie was not able to catch. The rebound came right back to his stick, which the left wing tried to poke towards the far post. He succeeded in doing just that, but three Penguins skaters were in the crease to try to help their off-balance netminder. That’s why Jenner completed the play. His stick was the first to touch the puck, and he made sure it was also the last.

Pittsburgh was able to hold serve throughout the third frame, but I watch enough tennis to know that holding serve is not enough to win when trailing. 103 seconds after Karlsson scored his backhander, Tom Kuhnhackl (Matt Cullen and Cole) scored a snap shot and Jake Guentzel (Kessel and Malkin) was able to convert a shorthanded snapper of his own with the extra attacker with 28 seconds remaining in regulation, but it was too little too late to prevent a Game 5.

In essence, the Jackets did everything right to continue their season, due in part to playing with house money. Alexander Wennberg dominated at the dot by winning two-thirds of his face-offs. Nick Foligno led the team to 27 hits with his five blows. Quincey registered four of Columbus’ 19 shot blocks. But maybe the most impressive stat is the fact that the Jackets only gave the puck away twice to a team trailing for almost the entire game.

The Jackets had little to lose Tuesday night, but they’ll face a far tougher test in Game 5 when the series transitions back to PPG Paints Arena where the Penguins will have all intentions of advancing to the Eastern Semifinals. That contest will drop the puck at 7 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday and may be viewed on NHL Network stateside or SN and TVAS2 if in Canada.

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Edmonton Oilers at San Jose Sharks— Game 4

If you’re an Oilers fan, avert your eyes from looking at the score for a moment and I’ll give you a quick recap. Edmonton lost.

If you’re a Sharks fan, well then the rest of this is for you…

Six San Jose Sharks players recorded multiple points in Tuesday night’s 7-0 shutout victory over the visiting Edmonton Oilers at SAP Center. Joe Pavelski (2-1=3 totals), Patrick Marleau (1-1=2), Logan Couture (0-2=2), Joel Ward (0-2=2), Brent Burns (0-3=3) and David Schlemko (1-1=2) all had two or more points en route to the win in Game 4.

Martin Jones amassed 23 saves in the shutout win, which— coincidentally— was the same number of saves Edmonton goaltender, Cam Talbot, had in his shutout victory in Game 3. In fact, Game 4 marked the third shutout in a row in the series.

Talbot made 19 saves on 24 shots against for a .792 save percentage in 32:52 time on ice before being replaced by Laurent Brossoit. Brossoit went on to stop six out of the eight shots on net he faced in the remaining 27:08 of regulation.

Pavelski (1) kicked off scoring 15 seconds into the game with his first of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs on a redirected shot from Justin Braun. Braun (1) and Marleau (1) were credited with the assists on the goal that made it 1-0 Sharks.

Couture (1) added his first of the postseason at 11:02 of the 1st period with the first of four power play goals on the night for San Jose. Pavelski (2) and Burns (1) had the assists on Couture’s goal.

Marleau (1) opened up 2nd period scoring with a wrist shot that beat Talbot’s glove side 2:02 into the period on another power play for the Sharks. Burns (2) had the only assist on the goal and his second of three assists on the night.

Marcus Sorensen (1) found the twine and made it 4-0 in favor of San Jose almost halfway into the 2nd frame of the game. The goal was Sorensen’s first career Stanley Cup Playoff goal and the helpers went to Schlemko (1) and Ward (1) at 9:46 of the 2nd period.

Oilers head coach, Todd McLellan, did not pull Talbot in favor of Brossoit until he absolutely had to, which was apparent after Couture (2) scored his second goal of the night 12:52 into the 2nd. Jannik Hansen (1) and Ward (2) collected the assists on the goal that had made it a 5-0 game. Edmonton had let their starting netminder down.

With Brossoit in goal it only took a little less than four minutes before Pavelski (2) hit the back of the net on a rush to the goal for the third power play goal of the night. Burns (3) and Joe Thornton (1) were given the assists on Pavelski’s second goal of the night.

After a four goal outburst in the 2nd period, the Sharks took a 6-0 lead into the 2nd intermission.

But they wouldn’t let off the gas pedal in the 3rd period.

Almost seven minutes into the final frame of regulation, Schlemko (1) registered his first goal of the postseason on another San Jose power play. Tomas Hertl (2) and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (3) assisted on the Sharks’s fourth power play goal of the night at 6:45 of the 3rd period.

The final horn sounded after 60 minutes of play and the Sharks had beaten the Oilers 7-0 and the series was tied 2-2.

In a now best-of-three battle, Game 5 is scheduled for Thursday night in Edmonton and can be viewed across the United States on NBCSN and on Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada. Puck drop is set for a little after 10:30 p.m. ET.

Of note, San Jose set or tied four postseason franchise records in Game 4’s victory.

The San Jose Sharks won by a touchdown (plus a PAT) and Jerry Rice was in the building. Coincidence? I think not.

2017 NHL Trade Deadline Preview: Metropolitan Division

Washington Capitals Logo1. Washington Capitals– 39-12-7 (85 points, 58 GP)

Don’t let the sluggish return from their bye week fool you, the Washington Capitals are the league’s best team, as is customary in the regular season. The competition for this year’s President’s Trophy remains fierce between the Minnesota Wild, Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington, but the Capitals will more than likely pull away with yet another President’s Trophy, unless they want to let the Wild take it this year and deal with the President’s Trophy curse in the playoffs.

Washington is tight on the salary cap as they approach the trade deadline, though it would be unwise to unload salary at this point, with plenty of pending free agents to re-sign, as well as the expansion draft in June. If anything, the Capitals could make a move to acquire some depth or replenish some draft picks, should they decide it’s time to do a little restocking of prospects in Hershey.

Potential assets to trade: F Daniel Winnik, D Brooks Orpik

Potential assets to acquire: F Radim Vrbata (ARI), D Joe Morrow (BOS), D Taylor Fedun (BUF), F Jarome Iginla (COL), D Johnny Oduya (DAL), F Thomas Vanek (DET), D Nick Jensen (DET), D Adam Pardy (NSH), D Yannick Weber (NSH), F Patrik Berglund (STL), F Scottie Upshall (STL), D Kevin Shattenkirk (STL)

pittsburgh_penguins_logo2. Pittsburgh Penguins– 36-14-8 (80 points, 58 GP)

The defending Stanley Cup champions are right where they want to be this time of year. The Pittsburgh Penguins are well on their way to returning to the playoffs comfortably with much of the roster from last season still intact. Of course, there’s always the pressing question of when will they trade Marc-Andre Fleury?

With the Vegas Golden Knights joining the league and the expansion draft coming up in June, the Penguins are bound to lose an exceptional player. It could be one of their goaltenders– Matt Murray, since Fleury would have to automatically be protected– or Pittsburgh could save their future in goal by moving Fleury ahead of time. Plenty of teams are in the market for a solidified starting goaltender.

Other than that, the Pens won’t be active on March 1st. They’ll be buying some depth in the form of a rental player or two, but they won’t be moving much to attain someone they’ll likely pass on come July 1st (unless they’re replacing Chris Kunitz and/or Matt Cullen– both of whom are pending unrestricted free agents).

Potential assets to trade: F Eric Fehr, D Cameron Gaunce, D Steve Oleksy, G Marc-Andre Fleury

Potential assets to acquire: F Shane Doan (ARI), F Martin Hanzal (ARI), F Radim Vrbata (ARI), G Anders Nilsson (BUF), F Jarome Iginla (COL), F Gabriel Landeskog (COL), D Johnny Oduya (DAL), F Thomas Vanek (DET), G Jaroslav Halak (NYI), F Patrik Berglund (STL), F Scottie Upshall (STL), G Carter Hutton (STL), F Brian Boyle (TB), G Ryan Miller (VAN), G Michael Hutchinson (WPG)

Columbus Blue Jackets Logo3. Columbus Blue Jackets– 37-16-5 (79 points, 58 GP)

The Columbus Blue Jackets are next to impossible to figure out. They went on an insane 16-game winning streak earlier this season and followed it up with a bit of a decline as of late, but it appears as though head coach, John Tortorella, has righted the ship again.

Taking a look at the Blue Jackets roster, there’s a lot of youth and not that much that you’d want to give up (unless a deal that was too good to pass up presented itself, a la the Brandon Saad trade with the Chicago Blackhawks after Chicago’s 2015 Stanley Cup championship). Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen would certainly love to add to his roster without subtracting, if he can. It seems like it would never happen, but the Blue Jackets are buyers on March 1st.

Potential assets to trade: F Matt Calvert, umm, draft picks, I guess…

Potential assets to acquire: F Martin Hanzal (ARI), F Radim Vrbata (ARI), D Michael Stone (ARI), F Matt Duchene (COL), F Jarome Iginla (COL), F Patrick Eaves (DAL), F Patrick Sharp (DAL), D Dennis Seidenberg (NYI), G Jaroslav Halak (NYI), F Patrik Berglund (STL)

New York Rangers Logo4. New York Rangers– 38-19-1 (77 points, 58 GP)- currently the first Wild Card in the Eastern Conference 

The New York Rangers are in a bit of a predicament thanks to the current qualifying format for the Stanley Cup Playoffs (someone should probably fix that– and it’s an easy fix, just go back to the 1-8 seeding).

But for all of the nonsense that is the playoff format, the Rangers really don’t have that much to worry about at the end of the day. They should try to add if they can, but they’re neither huge buyers nor are they sellers on March 1st and well, given how past years have gone, that still doesn’t do too much to help Henrik Lundqvist, but it’s a sensible strategy this season.

While New York’s defense is aging, there really aren’t that many solid options they could utilize in a top-4 position. Although, adding a depth defenseman usually isn’t a bad idea in the long run (to the Stanley Cup Final, that is). The Rangers should be really active in the offseason, if we’re being honest.

Potential assets to trade: F Tanner Glass, D Steven Kampfer, D Kevin Klein

Potential assets to acquire: D Cam Fowler (ANA), F Radim Vrbata (ARI), D Kevan Miller (BOS), D Joe Morrow (BOS), D Michael Stone (ARI), D Kevin Shattenkirk (STL)

New York Islanders Logo5. New York Islanders– 27-21-10 (64 points, 58 GP)

Something’s in the water in New York, and I’m not just talking about the usual suspect– the Hudson River. No, I’m talking about whatever it is assistant GM– turned interim head coach– Doug Weight has been feeding his players.

The New York Islanders have been on the rise since they looked dead in the water. They’re bound to make some marginal moves on March 1st, but nothing like whatever move they might end up having to make because of the looming pressure of being kicked out of Barclays Center/ wanting out on their own/ the eventual “mutual agreement” that will probably come by 2019.

If they can add without subtracting too much, the Islanders will be looking for as much as they can get to offset some of the awful contracts they signed in the offseason (most notably the Andrew Ladd deal).

Potential assets to trade: F Josh Bailey, F Ryan Strome, D Thomas Hickey, D Dennis Seidenberg, G Jaroslav Halak

Potential assets to acquire: F Radim Vrbata (ARI), F Ryan Spooner (BOS), D Joe Morrow (BOS), F Andrew Desjardins (CHI), F Matt Duchene (COL), F Jiri Hudler (DAL), D Johnny Oduya (DAL), F Thomas Vanek (DET), D Jonas Brodin (MIN), F Curtis Lazar (OTT), F Patrik Berglund (STL), F Scottie Upshall (STL), F Brian Boyle (TB), F Valtteri Filppula (TB), G Michael Hutchinson (WPG)

Philadelphia Flyers Logo6. Philadelphia Flyers– 28-24-7 (63 points, 59 GP)

With the way things work in the new NHL, nobody’s really out of the playoff picture, except for the Colorado Avalanche. The Philadelphia Flyers have a plethora of youth and could be the team that just might be on the verge of making a serious run in another year or two. Until then, they’re a little cap strapped.

But this season it’s a mixed bag at the trade deadline for the Flyers.

They should use the chance to dump some bad contracts on the blue line and do a little retooling with their group of forwards. They have a team that’s built for the future, but they’re lacking the right glue guys currently. Besides, it might do them good to finally commit to a goaltender.

Potential assets to trade: F Boyd Gordon, F Matt Read, F Jordan Weal, D T.J. Brennan, D Andrew MacDonald, D Nick Schultz, D Mark Streit, G Steve Mason

Potential assets to acquire: D Cam Fowler (ANA), F Martin Hanzal (ARI), F Radim Vrbata (ARI), D Michael Stone (ARI), G Jaroslav Halak (NYI), F Curtis Lazar (OTT), G Andrew Hammond (OTT), F Patrik Berglund (STL), D Kevin Shattenkirk (STL), F Ondrej Palat (TB), G Ben Bishop (TB), G Michael Hutchinson (WPG)

New Jersey Devils Logo7. New Jersey Devils– 25-24-10 (60 points, 59 GP)

After acquiring Taylor Hall in the offseason from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Adam Larsson, the New Jersey Devils have found themselves on the outside looking in, despite perhaps making a steal of a trade from the 2016 offseason. Of course, one player does not make up an entire team.

New Jersey took on the contract of Marc Savard’s to help get them to the cap floor and that’ll be coming off the books on July 1st, unless they look to trade his contract to a team that’s selling and selling everything (like the Colorado Avalanche, for example). The Devils are by no means out of the playoff hunt and are likely to be dark horses at the trade deadline this year as buyers who are willing to part with some components in order to land bigger components.

General manager, Ray Shero, is destined to replenish New Jersey’s talent pool a lot sooner rather than later, at least compared to how the previous GM ran the team.

Potential assets to trade: F Jacob Josefson, D Ben Lovejoy, D John Moore, G Keith Kinkaid

Potential assets to acquire: D Cam Fowler (ANA), F Radim Vrbata (ARI), D Joe Morrow (BOS), F Matt Duchene (COL), F Jarome Iginla (COL), F Gabriel Landeskog (COL), F Tomas Jurco (DET), F Tomas Plekanec (MTL), G Jaroslav Halak (NYI), F Patrik Berglund (STL), F Scottie Upshall (STL), D Kevin Shattenkirk (STL), G Michael Hutchinson (WPG), G Ondrej Pavelec (WPG)

Carolina Hurricanes Logo8. Carolina Hurricanes– 24-23-8 (56 points, 55 GP)

After playing a game of money puck, the Carolina Hurricanes find themselves in dead last in the Metropolitan Division so far this season, despite being nine points out of a wild card spot in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Now, there’s nothing wrong with taking the money puck approach, provided you have the right mix of players and, well, aren’t trying to do so in the most dominant division in the league. Oh, wait.

The Hurricanes are a young team that should be getting better with time, only time will tell. Things haven’t looked so good since the 2009 Eastern Conference Final and especially with the decline in attendance, maybe we’re better off talking about potential cities to relocate to instead of potential transactions to be made by March 1st?

Potential assets to trade: F Jay McClement, F Andrej Nestrasil, F Jeff Skinner, F Viktor Stalberg, F Lee Stempniak, F Derek Ryan, D Justin Faulk

Potential assets to acquire: D Cam Fowler (ANA), D Shea Theodore (ANA), F Matt Duchene (COL), F Gabriel Landeskog (COL), F Ryan Strome (NYI), F Brandon Pirri (NYR), F Curtis Lazar (OTT), F Patrik Berglund (STL), F Scottie Upshall (STL)

December 31 – Day 77 – A streak must end in St. Paul

The day you’ve been worried about has finally arrived. After today, there’s no more hockey in 2016.

Fortunately, 2017 is right around the corner and has tons of hockey in store!

New Year’s Eve features 11 contests,  and the action starts at 1 p.m. with two games (Buffalo at Boston and Washington at New Jersey) dropping the puck, and Columbus at Minnesota gets underway at 6 p.m. The usual starting time of 7 p.m. brings with it a trio of matchups (the New York Islanders at Winnipeg [SN], Montréal at Pittsburgh [CBC/TVAS] and Carolina at Tampa Bay), trailed an hour later by two more (the New York Rangers at Colorado and Florida at Dallas). The West Coast gets involved at 10 p.m. with a pair of games (Vancouver at Edmonton [CBC/SN] and Arizona at Calgary [CBC/SN1/SN360]), with tonight’s nightcap – San Jose at Los Angeles – waiting half an hour before dropping the puck. All times eastern.

Short list:

  • Buffalo at Boston: Didn’t they just play this rivalry Thursday? Yes, yes they did.
  • Columbus at Minnesota: The game everybody is talking about. Both clubs have won at least their last 12 games, but one must lose today.
  • Florida at Dallas: Both Jason Demers and Colton Sceviour make their first returns to Texas after a combined seven seasons with the Stars.
  • New York at Colorado: Nick Holden is also making his first trip back to his old stomping grounds.
  • Arizona at Calgary: Josh Jooris played his first two seasons in the Saddledome before making his way to the desert.
  • San Jose at Los Angeles: The Battle of California is even more exciting this season since these clubs met in last year’s playoffs.

Like I said yesterday, 2016 is going out with a bang. Even games not listed – CanadiensPenguins comes to mind – are going to be exemplary. What better way to celebrate the closing of the year than at your closest arena?

As far as our focus today, we have to head to the Land of 10,000 Lakes, truly the State of Hockey today.

Columbus Blue Jackets LogoUnknown-2

 

Please raise your hand if, before the season began, you expected this matchup to be played under these circumstances.

Just so you know, I’m going to call 90% of you liars.

For those that are unaware, Columbus comes to the Xcel Energy Center as winners of their last 14 games, rivaled only by the Wild and their 12-game winning streak. Both streaks are certainly impressive, but Penguins fans are pulling for the Wild this afternoon – and not just for the impact on the standings. During the 1992-’93 season, Pittsburgh closed the campaign on a 17-game winning streak, the longest in NHL history.

Columbus‘ streak has propelled them to a 25-5-4 record, the best mark in the NHL. While both sides of the ice have obviously been impressive for the Jackets, it’s been an impressive effort by the goaltender and good defense, allowing only 70 goals – tied for the fewest in the league (more on that later).

With a 23-5-2 record in 30 starts, Sergei Bobrovsky has been in net for most of the Blue Jackets‘ victories. He backs his impressive record with a season .934 save percentage and 1.95 GAA, ranking top-three in both statistics against 42 other netminders with 15 or more appearances.

Bobrovsky has been good on his own, but he’s also gotten good help from his defense. Led by David Savard‘s 63 shot blocks, Columbus allows exactly 30 shots per game to reach the goal crease, the 14th-lowest average in the NHL.

Offensively, nothing is finer than the Jackets‘ power play. They bury the puck on 28% of opportunities, by far the best rate in the entire league. Cam Atkinson deserves a lot of the credit, as his 17 power play points are tops in Ohio, but he splits the extra-man goal-scoring title with Nick Foligno – both have lit the lamp seven times.

Hosting today’s game are the 23-8-4 Wild, the second-best team in both the Central Division and the Western Conference. Just like Columbus, their incredible streak, as well as their impressive season, have been sparked by refusing to allow the opposition to score. Like Columbus, Minnesota has allowed only 70 goals.

Yes, you read that correctly. Both these teams come into this evening’s game allowing the fewest goals in the league. This contest is more than simply some win streaks. It’s about establishing defensive dominance

Starting netminder Devan Dubnyk enters tonight’s game with a 19-6-3 record on a .944 save percentage and 1.67 GAA – the best marks in the league among goalies with 14 or more appearances.

This is where the similarities between this evening’s opponents begin to diverge. Dubnyk does not have the luxury Bobrovsky does in a defense that keeps the puck off his crease. Instead, Dubnyk has to fend off 30.6 shots-per-game, the (t)10th-highest total in the game. Jonas Brodin and Jared Spurgeon cannot take any credit for Dubnyk’s exhaustion, as they both have 62 shot blocks to lead the squad. Unfortunately, they’re also the only two defensemen with more than 50 blocks to their credit.

That hasn’t seemed to hold them back though. Specifically, the penalty kill is just as strong as ever, killing off 85.6% of opposing power plays – the fifth-best mark in the NHL. Spurgeon is joined by Mikael Granlund in leading the effort, as both have 10 shorthanded blocks to their credit.

Some players to keep an eye on this evening include:

Columbus Blue Jackets:

  • Atkinson (35 points [tied for ninth-most in the league])
  • Bobrovsky (23 wins [most in the NHL] on a 1.95 GAA [second-best in the league] and a .934 save percentage [tied for second-best in the NHL], as well as three shutouts [tied for fourth-most in the league])
  • Jack Johnson (+20 [sixth-best in the NHL])
  • Brandon Saad (+19 [seventh-best in the league])
  • Savard (+23 [tied for second-best in the NHL])
  • Alexander Wennberg (24 assists [tied for sixth-most in the league])

Minnesota Wild:

  • Dubnyk (1.67 GAA on a .944 save percentage, as well as five shutouts [all best in the NHL], for 19 wins [tied for second-most in the league])
  • Granlund (+18 [tied for eighth-best in the NHL])
  • Mikko Koivu (+18 [tied for eighth-best in the league])
  • Nino Niederreiter (+16 [10th-best in the NHL])
  • Spurgeon (+23 [tied for second-best in the league])
  • Ryan Suter (+25 [leads the NHL])
  • Jason Zucker (+23 [tied for second-best in the league])

Minnesota is marked a -124 favorite by Vegas, but this is shaping up to be arguably the best game we’ve had this season. Everything is on the line tonight in St. Paul. I like the Wild simply because they’re at home, but this should be a game for the ages.

Hockey Birthday

  • René Robert (1948-) – The right wing on Buffalo‘s French Connection line, Robert played most of his dozen NHL seasons with the Sabres. Although that corps had such success, Robert earned only two All-Star selections.

Led by First Star of the Game Aaron Dell‘s shutout, the Sharks bested the Flyers at the Tank 2-0 in yesterday’s DtFR Game of the Day.

The winning goal was struck with 3:31 remaining in the first period. It was a power play wrister from Second Star Patrick Marleau (Kevin Labanc and Marc-Edouard Vlasic), set up by Ivan Provorov‘s tripping penalty.

The game remained at 1-0 until 4:37 remained in regulation. Justin Braun (Joe Pavelski and Marleau) provided the insurance tally to ensure San Jose‘s victory.

Dell saved all 21 shots he faced for the shutout victory, the first of his young career. Steve Mason takes the loss after saving 11-of-12 shots faced (91.7%). Unfortunately, he only played one period before being injured. He was replaced by Anthony Stolarz, who saved 21-of-22 (95.5%) for no decision.

The DtFR Game of the Day now stands at 44-23-12, favoring the homers by 16 points over the roadies.

October 27 – Day 16 – Bunches of animals are showing up in St. Louis this week. Today it’s Otters.

It’s a busy Thursday, just the way we like them. Per usual, the action gets started at 7 p.m. with three puck drops (Minnesota at Buffalo, Arizona at Philadelphia and the New York Islanders at Pittsburgh), followed half an hour later by two more (Florida at Toronto and Tampa Bay at Montréal [RDS/SN360]). The top of the hour marks the start of two contests (Detroit at St. Louis and Dallas at Winnipeg), while this evening’s co-nightcaps wait until 10:30 before starting (Nashville at Los Angeles and Columbus at San Jose). All times eastern.

It’s goin’ be lit.

Short list:

  • Arizona at PhiladelphiaRyan White returns to the Wells Fargo Center, his home for the previous two seasons.
  • New York at Pittsburgh – I don’t need to dress up this rivalry.
  • Florida at TorontoJames Reimer only played eight regular season games with San Jose, so the Panthers are effectively his second team after six seasons with Toronto.
  • Tampa Bay at MontréalMichael Bournival used to call the Bell Centre home. Now his office is in the Sunshine State.
  • Detroit at St. Louis – In addition to being a vintage rivalry, Steve Ott returns to Scottrade Center.

If Reimer were expected to play this evening in Toronto, we’d certainly focus there. Instead, we head to St. Louis with Otter for an old-timey rivalry.

UnknownUnknown

 

 

 

Center Ott arrived in St. Louis with Ryan Miller when the Blues traded William Carrier, Jaroslav Halak and Chris Stewart to Buffalo at the 2013-’14 trade deadline. Miller departed for Vancouver after that postseason, but Ott remained until this offseason.

Ever since he entered the league in 2002, Ott has had a reputation for being one of the biggest pests in hockey. His penchant for getting into even the coolest of heads is well-known, as is his ability to cuss out any player in the arena in his native tongue.

It’s an ability that doesn’t show up on his stat sheet. The NHL doesn’t track “Caused Penalties in Minutes,” but if they did Ott would be a league leader. Some of the most recent Blues memories of Ott were against the Blackhawks during last season’s Western Quarterfinals. Ott was regularly getting into it with Jonathan Toews, a player that spent only 62 minutes in the penalty box during the regular season (.775 minutes, or 46.5 seconds, per game). In those seven games, he served 10 minutes – over 1.4 minutes per contest!

But it’s not simply his quick wit and abrasive behavior that has made him a fan favorite with every team he’s played for. During the 2014-’15 season, his first full campaign in St. Louis, he scored 12 points (including nine assists) while throwing 182 hits and 14 blocks. He was also effective at causing turnovers that season, forcing 21 giveaways.

This year, Ott dons the sweater of the Blues‘ former rivals: the 5-2-0 Detroit Red Wings. Before Detroit swapped conferences in 2013, the Blues and Wings shared the same division since 1981, which led to some fantastic matchups when they were both playing well (also read as when St. Louis was playing well).

The Wings enter tonight’s game on a five-game winning streak, tying Arizona for the longest active streak of any variety – except that the Coyotes have been on the losing side of things.

Much of that success has been due to some serious offensive firepower. They’ve scored 24 goals already this year in only seven games played (they average over 3.4 goals per game). Gustav Nyquist and Thomas Vanek take equal responsibility, as they both lead the team with eight points to their credit. Completing the scores have been Darren Helm and Vanek,  each of whom have a team-high four goals to their name.

The 4-2-1 Blue Notes have a .667 winning percentage in the Scottrade Center, and they’ll be looking to improve that to a .750 this evening. Although they play a more well-rounded game than their opposition, St. Louis also prefers to have the puck on their stick.

Just like he’s been the last three seasons, Vladimir Tarasenko has been the star of St. Louis so far this season (that’s why I have him on my fantasy team!). He has eight points to his credit already, four of which are goals – both totals lead the team.

Some players to keep an eye on this evening include Detroit‘s Helm (+9 [second-best in the NHL]) and Jimmy Howard (.5 GAA [leads the league] on a .984 save percentage [leads the league] for one shutout) & St. LouisJake Allen (2.39 GAA for three wins [both best on the team]) and Tarasenko (eight points [best on the team]).

The Blues barely had the upper hand last year, going 1-0-1 against the Wings by forcing overtime in their first meeting. Vegas predicts St. Louis will keep that run going tonight, as they’re favored at -155. I think that’s a safe assumption. The Blues should win this evening.

Hockey Birthday:

  • Sergei Samsonov (1978-) – This left wing played exactly 888 regular season games, over 500 of which were with Boston. He was drafted eighth overall in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, seven picks after fellow Bruins-pick Joe Thornton, and a year later the Russian earned the Calder Memorial Trophy.
  • Brandon Saad (1992-) – This is Saad’s second season in Columbus after spending four seasons with ex-division rival Chicago. He’d already scored 179 points before this season started. Maybe he’ll score another tonight in The Tank.

With three goals in the second period, the New York Rangers bested the visiting Boston Bruins 5-2 in yesterday’s Game of the Day.

Boston actually jumped out to a 2-0 lead, starting with David Pastrnak‘s (Brad Marchand and Zdeno Chara) wrister only 10 seconds into the contest. With 5:16 remaining in the opening frame, the BruinsAustin Czarnik (David Krejci) doubled the visitor’s score with the first goal of his young career.

New York‘s comeback began 44 seconds before the midway point of the game when Second Star of the Game Rick Nash (Derek Stepan and Jimmy Vesey) connected on a power play wrister. 7:19 later, Kevin Hayes (Jesper Fast and Ryan McDonagh) scored his second goal of the season on a wrister to draw the Blueshirts even. 36 seconds before the final horn of the second period, First Star Brandon Pirri (Third Star J.T. Miller and Mika Zibanejad) buried the Rangers‘ second power play goal of the game. That tally ended up being the game winner.

Pirri (Marc Staal and Miller) and Vesey (Nash and Stepan) both scored insurance goals in the final frame to put this game away.

Henrik Lundqvist earns the victory after saving 27-of-29 shots faced (93.1%), while Zane McIntyre takes the loss, saving 26-of-31 (83.9%).

With another home victory, the DtFR Game of the Day series favors the home sides by six points with a 11-6-1 record.

Colby’s Corner Divisional MVP’s- part 2

Colby’s Corner meets Connor for Divisional MVP’s. It will be a four part series, where Connor Keith and I (Colby) will pick, by division, the MVP of the forwards, defensemen and a goalies. This week, the two of us will discuss the Atlantic Division.

Forward

Connor– Patrick KaneUnknown-2

I’m sure this was unexpected.  You know, it was a stretch with his league leading 103 points, composed of the second most goals (44) and third most assists.  It’s too bad the Hawks don’t have anyone else on their team…  Right…  These Blackhawks are really good, which almost makes Kane’s incredible numbers even better since he has such competition.

Colby– Patrick Kane

I don’t think it’s a question that this has to be given to Patty Kane. This man knew that this year he had to step up after losing Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad, well he sure did that. This man is one of the first Americans to ever hit 100 points in a single season. The game he hit 100 points in against the Bruins was pure destruction. He finished with 3 goals and an assist. This man can’t be stopped, only slowed down. Hopefully this continues in the World Cup of Hockey, so the United States stands a good chance in it.

Defender

Connor– Colton Parayko

I know, leave it to the Blues fan to pick Parayko. Hear me out, though. I’m usually against picking rookies for these sorts of things, just because I think a few years of experience gives us a better gauge of what to expect.  That being said, this kid has a +29 on the entire season. Think about that. That doesn’t just lead his entire team, or even just all Central defenders, but is best in the division, regardless of position. He’s gotten to that position by scoring 33 points and blocking 115 shots. If he can continue this success, he could quickly become one of the top defensemen in the entire NHL.

Colby– Roman JosiUnknown

Okay Connor, you are nuts with this one. Parayko isn’t even going to be a finalist for Calder. I am not picking him for this division. I have to give it to Roman Josi. This man is 4th in points of defenseman with 61 points. Connor, that’s 28 points ahead of your man up there. He may be a minus on the season, but the difference is the team he has with him. James Neal isn’t Vladimir Tarasenko and it’s ultimately him and Weber out there playing defense. Josi is also 1oth in goals scored by defenseman. This was a good break out season, but I am taking Josi for my pick.

Goaltender

Connor– Brian Elliott

This one is tough, as there is such a disparity in games played between the top two goaltenders in this division. That being said, Brian Elliott, who has played in 37 games for a 21-7-6 record, is deserving of this honor. With four shutout victories, he has a 93.2% save percentage and a 2.00 GAA, both tops in the league, for 24 quality starts (.706 QS%)Unknown-1

Corey Crawford actually leads Elliott in a few stats, including wins and winning percentage, shutouts, and quality starts, but he also has 20 more games played to his advantage. Elliott has had to fight both injuries and Jake Allen for the starting job, which makes his efforts even more special.

Colby– Corey Crawford

It’s funny you mention Crawford because he is my pick for the goaltender MVP of this division. Just like you said, he edges Elliott including wins with Crawford having 35 wins thus far on the season. You look at it as fewer games giving Elliott an advantage, I disagree. Part of the NHL is staying healthy and Elliott couldn’t do that, just like he can’t keep the number one job there in St. Louis. Jake Allen and Elliott have split time and that proves he’s not good enough to keep the number one slot. If you want to bring Crawford’s backup Darling in this, remember Darling won Chicago a playoff, something neither goalie in St. Louis has done yet. Sorry Connor. Rant over.

April 8 – Day 176 – Out of Necessity, Vol. 4

Boston threw a wrench in Detroit‘s playoff plans, as they beat them 5-2 in yesterday’s Game of the Day.

They struck their first only 1:25 into the contest with a David Pastrnak backhander, assisted by John-Michael Liles (his 15th helper of the season) and Colin Miller.  1:19 later, Boston doubled their lead when Third Star of the Game Brad Marchand connected on a snap shot, assisted by First Star Torey Krug (his 39th helper of the season) and Patrice Bergeron, which ended up being the final tally of the period.

The game winner found the back of the net at the 5:02 mark of the second period on the power play, courtesy of Krug after assists from Loui Eriksson and Second Star David Krejci (his 45th helper of the season).  Detroit finally got on the board at the 6:59 mark on a Alexey Marchenko wrister, assisted by Henrik Zetterberg (his 36th helper of the season) and Gustav Nyquist.  That was the last score of the period, so the score read 3-1 after 40 minutes.

Only 20 seconds after returning to the ice, the Bruins struck another insurance goal, this one a Lee Stempniak snap shot, assisted by Krug (his 40th helper of the season) and Marchand.  25 seconds after that, Eriksson set the score at 5-1 with a tip-in, assisted by Krejci (his 46th helper of the season) and Ryan Spooner.  Detroit takes credit for the final goal of the game, struck with 1:23 remaining by Andreas Athanasiou, assisted by Marchenko and Kyle Quincey.

Tuukka Rask earns the win after saving 13 of 15 shots faced (86.7%), while Jimmy Howard takes the loss, saving 21 of 26 (80.8%).  He was replaced after Eriksson’s third period goal by Petr Mrazek, who saved all eight shots faced.

The Bruins‘ win is the second straight for home sides in the DtFR Game of the Day series, setting the season series at 82-45-19, favoring the home teams by 42 points over the roadies.

We’ve only got one game on the schedule this evening, so we’re headed off to Buffalo for a 7 p.m. eastern puck drop on NHLN and BELL TV!

Columbus Blue Jackets LogoUnknown-3

 

 

 

 

 

This will be Columbus‘ third appearance in the DtFR Game of the Day series, where they own a 0-2-0 record.  Last time they were featured was October 22, a 3-2 loss in Minnesota.  Buffalo has been featured three times before tonight’s game, and own a 1-2-0 record in such situations.  Their lone win in the series was in their last appearance, a 3-2 victory in Ottawa on January 26.

The 34-35-11 Buffalo Sabres rank seventh in the Atlantic Division and 14th in the Eastern Conference.  Although they play the 15th worst defense, they’ve been held back by the fifth worst offense.

Led by Josh Gorges’ 162 blocks, the Sabres have allowed 2445 shots to reach 22-16-4 Chad Johnson and co., of which they’ve collectively saved 92% for 215 goals against, the 15th most in the NHL.  The defense has been spearheaded by the defensive special team, which has killed 82.79% of their penalties for only 37 goals against, the eighth best rate in the league.

The major pitfall has been on the offensive end.  Even with the injured Evander Kane’s 271 shots, Buffalo has only fired the puck 2357 times, with 8.2% finding the back of the net for 196 goals (led by Jack Eichel’s 24 tallies), the fifth fewest in the league.  Again, the Sabres have actually been fairly successful on the special teams, scoring on 18.95% of their power play attempts, which is good for 47 power play goals, the 11th best rate in the league.

The Sabres enter tonight’s game on a three game winning streak, with their most recent being Tuesday’s 3-1 victory at New Jersey.

The 32-40-8 Columbus Blue Jackets are the worst team in the Metropolitan Division and second worst in the Eastern Conference.  They’ve gotten there playing the 12th worst offense, paired with the second worst defense.

Even with Brandon Saad’s 229 shots, the Jackets have fired the puck 2332 times, with 8.7% finding the back of the net for 210 goals (led by Boone Jenner’s 30 tallies), the 12th fewest in the NHL.  Part of the problem has been that Columbus has not capitalized on opportunities, as their 16.8% power play success rate, good for 41 extra man goals, is the eighth worst in the league.

The defense has been a bigger issue.  Even with Ryan Murray’s 170 blocks, Columbus has allowed 2471 shots to reach 14-19-1 Sergei Bobrovsky and co., of which they’ve collectively saved 90.9%, allowing 247 goals in the process, the second most in the league.  In comparison, the penalty kill has actually been decent, neutralizing 81.11% of their infractions, allowing 51 power play goals in the process, the 14th worst rate in the league.

The last game Columbus played was Wednesday’s 5-1 victory in Toronto.

Buffalo has already won the season series 2-0-0, with the most recent meeting ending 4-0 on February 19 in Columbus.

Some players to keep an eye on in tonight’s game include Buffalo‘s Ryan O’Reilly (59 points, including 38 assists, with 24 occurring at even-strength [all lead the team]) and Columbus‘ Cam Atkinson (52 points, including two shorthanded goals [both lead the team]), Brandon Dubinsky (30 assists, with 26 occurring at even-strength and 224 hits [all lead the team]) and Saad (23 even-strength goals and seven game winners on 229 shots [all lead the team]).

Buffalo should have this game in the bag.  Both their offense and defense are superior to the Jackets‘, and they enter their home game riding a winning streak.  I’ve got Sabres winning easy.

TRADE: Blackhawks acquire Ladd in deal with Winnipeg

By: Nick Lanciani

The Chicago Blackhawks and the Winnipeg Jets provided a little trade action on Thursday night in a deal that involved quite a bit. Chicago sent forward Marko Dano, a first round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, and a conditional pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft to Winnipeg in exchange for forwards Andrew Ladd and Matt Fraser, as well as defenseman Jay Harrison. The conditional pick in the trade will be a third rounder if the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup this season.

Unknown-2Ladd is a 30-year old left-winger who served as the Jets’ captain since the franchise moved from Atlanta to Winnipeg prior to the 2011-2012 season.

The two-time Stanley Cup champion ranks 4th in franchise history for Winnipeg in goal scoring with 139 goals since being acquired from Chicago after winning his most recent Cup championship in 2010.

His first Cup championship was with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006.

He had 17-17-34 totals in 59 games this season with the Jets and had a three game goal streak this month. Ladd had 143 shots on goal and 126 hits prior to the trade, as well. He tallied 37-62-99 totals in 184 career games in his first stint with the Blackhawks and amassed 6-4-10 totals in 36 playoff games with Chicago during that time. In 750 career NHL games, spanning 11 seasons with Carolina (2005-2008), Chicago (2008-2010), Atlanta (2010-2011) and Winnipeg (2011-2016), Ladd has 202-252-454 totals.

The native of Maple Ridge, British Columbia, was the Hurricane’s first round pick (4th overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft and had a career high in points (62) last season in 81 games with Winnipeg. He led the Jets in scoring in three seasons (2010-2011, 2012-2013 and 2014-2015). Ladd has 16 points (8 goals, 8 assists) in 57 career Stanley Cup Playoffs appearances.

Unknown-3Dano is a 21-year old forward who has played in 48 career NHL games with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Chicago Blackhawks. He was a product of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft having been selected 27th overall by Columbus.

He had two points (one goal, one assist) in 13 games with the Blackhawks this season and 4-19-23 totals in 34 games with the Rockford IceHogs (AHL).

The Blackhawks previously acquired the Eisenstadt, Austria native on June 30, 2015 in a trade that sent Brandon Saad to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Dano has 23 career points and 16 penalty minutes and was named one of the top three players on team Slovakia at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship. In 83 career AHL games, he has 17-31-48 totals and 78 penalty minutes over the last three seasons.

Harrison is a 33-year old defenseman who spent 18 games with the Manitoba Moose in the American Hockey League this season, notching 3-2-5 totals. The Oshawa, Ontario native has 23-52-75 scoring totals in 372 career NHL games in nine career NHL seasons with Toronto (2005-2009), Carolina (2009-2015) and Winnipeg (2014-2015). Harrison has 37-80-117 totals in 426 career AHL games, with 20 points in 45 career Calder Cup Playoffs games.

Fraser is a 25-year old right-winger who has 5-9-14 totals in 44 games with the Moose this season. He has 11-6-17 totals in 87 career NHL games, spanning four seasons with the Dallas Stars (2011-2013), Boston Bruins (2013-2014) and Edmonton Oilers (2014-2015).

The native of Red Deer, Alberta has two points (one goal, one assist) in four career Stanley Cup Playoffs games from his 2014 playoff appearance with Boston. Fraser has 95-50-145 totals in 225 career AHL games and 5-2-7 totals in 14 Calder Cup Playoffs games.

Both Fraser and Harrison will report to the IceHogs.

The Jets retained 36% of Andrew Ladd’s salary in the deal. Ladd and Harrison are pending UFAs, while Fraser is a pending RFA. Dano has two years left on his entry-level deal.

The Blackhawks take on the Nashville Predators Thursday night at home and will see Ladd return to Chicago on Sunday when they take on the Washington Capitals at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois as part of NBC’s Game of the Week coverage.

Winnipeg travels to Dallas to play the Stars on Thursday night, but will move on with Dano in their system in time for Saturday’s matchup on the road against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Down the Frozen River Podcast #13- Torts, Goalies, and Other Essentials

The Down the Frozen River Crew talks about the latest in league standings, Winners and Losers, more surprises, other things, and makes several plugs for themselves. Also, Antti Raanta’s only played in 1 game (0.00 GAA, 1.000 SV%), which is not considered by the NHL.com stats page to be leading the league in goalie stats, so you lucked out this time, Reto Berra.

Connor didn’t butcher any names, although he did talk about a keg in a machine instead of a cog… wonder what’s on his mind. Oh and Colby may or may have not spilled the beans on our next marketing campaign. Nick, as usual, did Nick things.

Join the conversation, make a suggestion, or ask a question for our next podcast using #AskDownTheFrozenRiver or #DTFRPodcast on Twitter– your thoughts might make it on our show! Please interact with us- seriously, tell us we’re idiots if you want, we can take it.