Tag Archives: Brian Campbell

Chicago Blackhawks 2017-2018 Season Preview

imgresChicago Blackhawks

50-23-9, 109 points, 1st in the Central Division

Eliminated in the First Round by Nashville

Additions: G Jean-Francois Berube, F Lance Bouma, F Laurent Dauphin, G Anton Forsberg, D Connor Murphy, D Jordan Oesterle, F Brandon Saad, F Patrick Sharp, F Tommy Wingels

Subtractions: D Brian Campbell (retired), G Scott Darling (traded to CAR), F Andrew Desjardins (signed a PTO with NYR), D Dillon Fournier (retired), D Niklas Hjalmarsson (traded to ARI), G Lars Johansson (signed with CSKA Moscow, KHL), F Marcus Kruger (traded to VGK), F Pierre-Cedric Labrie (signed with NSH), D Shawn Lalonde (signed with Kölner Haie, DEL), F Michael Latta (signed with ARI), F Martin Lundberg (signed with Växjö Lakers HC, SHL), F Brandon Mashinter (signed with SJ), F Tyler Motte (traded to CBJ), D Johnny Oduya (signed with OTT), F Artemi Panarin (traded to CBJ), F Dennis Rasmussen (signed with ANA), D Trevor van Riemsdyk (claimed by VGK at the 2017 Expansion Draft)

Still Unsigned: G Mac Carruth, F Kenton Helgesen, D Nolan Valleau

Offseason Analysis: After being swept in the First Round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Nashville Predators, the Chicago Blackhawks are turning the page by burning the playbook from the last few seasons. It’s not as much of an overreaction as the Florida Panthers this offseason, but it’s quite a change in the direction of the organization as a whole.

If something feels much different this offseason than in 2010, 2013 and 2015 it’s because the Blackhawks didn’t win the Cup and made moves this offseason similar to when they did.

They traded one of their star forwards. They traded a top-4 defenseman. They traded their backup goaltender. They navigated a tight cap situation. They still have Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, but they won’t have Marian Hossa this season (Hossa is out for the season due to a skin condition caused by his equipment, if you recall).

Brandon Saad returns to the Blackhawks in the biggest trade this offseason, in which two-time 70-plus point scorer, Artemi Panarin, was sent to the Columbus Blue Jackets. While Saad is a year younger than Panarin, he is no Bread Man– but at least he is under contract through the 2020-2021 season (whereas Panarin is set to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2018-2019 season).

Chicago didn’t do themselves any major favors in terms of saving some salary in the immediate future concerning the Saad acquisition, but they did buy themselves at least a few million dollars to spend elsewhere between now and when Panarin’s contract would’ve run out with the Blackhawks in 2019.

Then again, they cost themselves some scoring production between now and then, as Saad only put up 24-29-53 totals in 82 games last season compared to Panarin’s 31-43-74 totals in 82 games played.

Fear not, if you’re a Columbus fan, because hopefully in two years you’ll still be able to afford your number one scorer and highest paid player (although Josh Anderson is still unsigned as of the writing of this post and the Blue Jackets only have about $8 million in cap space– on second thought, yeah, you’ll be fine).

In addition to the expected drop in offensive production from Panarin to Saad, the Blackhawks will miss Hossa’s scoring ability this season (yes, even as a 38-year-old).

Chicago will turn to 21-year-old, Nick Schmaltz, and 23-year-old, Ryan Hartman, to pickup where others have left off on offense and especially because the rest of the roster isn’t getting any younger (ten of their forwards on the roster currently are 25 or older).

On defense, the Blackhawks are in search of a sixth defenseman and their next Trevor van Riemsdyk, given Brian Campbell’s retirement and the fact that van Riemsdyk was a victim of the Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft (and subsequent trade to the Carolina Hurricanes).

Newcomer Connor Murphy is their youngest product on the blue line at 24-years-old. Michal Kempny and Michal Rozsival seek to anchor the defense while Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook remain the star attractions of Chicago’s shut-down pairings. Between Kempny, Murphy, Rozsival and the unknown, somebody’s going to have to emerge as the replacement for Niklas Hjalmarsson (traded to Arizona, in exchange for Murphy and forward, Laurent Dauphin) and van Riemsdyk.

In goal, Corey Crawford returns as the starter, while Anton Forsberg and Jean-Francois Berube compete for the backup role. To the untrained scouting expert’s eye, both goalies can be dependable NHL backups, but Forsberg stands out more as a durable solution to the long term backup status goalie if Chicago is looking for one (hint: they are).

Don’t let Forsberg’s 4.10 goals against average and .852 save percentage last season dissuade you. He only made one appearance in net for Columbus and still managed a career best 2.28 GAA and .926 SV% in 51 games played with the Cleveland Monsters (AHL) last season. It doesn’t hurt to give him more playing time in relief of Crawford and especially with Berube as a third option, as Forsberg can really begin to develop in an organization’s system that isn’t clogged with a two-time Vezina Trophy winner (Sergei Bobrovsky) and Joonas Korpisalo.

Should he be called upon, Berube’s 3.42 GAA and .889 SV% in 14 games last season with the New York Islanders aren’t terrible, they’re just not great either. But again, there’s a reason why starting goalies play in more games than backup goalies.

Offseason Grade: C-

The Blackhawks made quite a splash this offseason by trading away Panarin, which isn’t the best look for a team that’s trying to remain a contender for a long time. Then again the salary cap exists and the return of Brandon Saad means Chicago will be able to get by in case the cap remains flat or in the event of a lockout for the duration of Saad’s contract.

One thing’s for sure, the Blackhawks will need some retooling during the Kane and Toews era because all good things must come to an end– and that time looks like it might be now as they navigate the uncertainty of Hossa’s career, a new look on the blue line and a bunch of expendable forwards for the time being while they wait for prospects to develop.

Florida Panthers 2017-’18 Season Preview

Florida Panthers

35-36-11, 81 points, sixth in the Atlantic Division

Additions: W Evgeni Dadonov, C Micheal Haley, RW Radim Vrbata

Subtractions: G Reto Berra (signed with ANA), F Jussi Jokinen (signed with EDM), C Jon Marchessault (drafted by VGK), F Kyle Rau (signed with MIN), D Brent Regner (signed with DAL), C Michael Sgarbossa (signed with WPG), W Reilly Smith (traded to VGK), RW Paul Thompson (signed with VGK), W Thomas Vanek (signed with VAN)

Offseason Analysis: For some, the 2015-‘16 season feels like yesterday. To others, it was ages ago.

Then there’s Florida.

2016 marked the Panthers’ second playoff appearance since 2000’s sweep by Jersey, and Florida earned that berth in the most dominating way: winning the Atlantic by six points over archrival Tampa.

Though Florida was eliminated in the first round, the future looked bright. C Aleksander Barkov, C Nick Bjugstad, D Aaron Ekblad, C Jonathan Huberdeau, Smith and F Vincent Trocheck all had yet to turn 25-years-old, and they were led by ageless wonder RW Jaromir Jagr.

A year later, although that core remained intact, the Panthers found themselves golfing early, missing the playoffs by 14 points.

It’s one thing to narrowly miss the playoffs, but how could something like this happen?

One problem was Florida’s slow start. Former head coach Gerrard Gallant’s (now Vegas’ coach) Panthers started 11-10-1 before being infamously sacked after losing 3-2 at Carolina, but general-manager-turned-head-coach Tom Rowe proved unable to turn the squad around.

Maybe it was the slow start, or maybe it was the rash firing of the best head coach in franchise history, but since I’m a numbers guy (like Panthers management claims), I believe the answer lies in Florida’s goals against. During the 2015-’16 season, the Panthers scored 232 goals and allowed only 200 for a +32 differential. Last year, Florida scored 210 times (22 less than before) and allowed 237 tallies (37 more) for a -27 differential, a net change of -59.

Where did those opposing goals come from?

I believe the answer falls squarely on the front office’s shoulders. During the playoff season, Florida allowed 29.5 shots to reach G Roberto Luongo per game, tying for 13th-best in the NHL. Last season, that number climbed to 31.6 shots-per-game – the eighth-worst mark. To be fair, Luongo didn’t have the best of campaigns with a .915 save percentage and 2.68 GAA, but the fact that defensemen Brian Campbell, 25-year-old Erik Gudbranson and 26-year-old Dmitry Kulikov all departed the team before last season began, for no other apparent reason than supposed analytics, played a major role.

Trying to resolve this situation and get his squad back to where it belongs, re-anointed GM Dale Tallon elected to not resign 45-year-old Jagr (16-30-46), allow 26-year-old Marchessault (30-21-51) to be selected in the expansion draft (but, why?) and trade 26-year-old Smith (15-22-37) to Vegas.

You read that correctly: Florida thinks offense was the problem.

Don’t get me wrong: 28-year-old Dadonov (30-36-66, KHL) and 36-year-old Vrbata (20-35-55, Arizona) will be valuable additions in replacing Jagr and Marchessault, but it’s a question if Florida’s squeaking wheel didn’t receive the grease. Even if the plan was to draft the elite defenseman of the future, Tallon didn’t select one until Max Gildon of the US NTDP in the third round. Instead, he chose RW Owen Tippett with his first pick for a club with a lot of talent on that side already.

This preview isn’t an attack on advanced analytics – I’m a fan in most instances. However, this preview is an attack on GMs changing course while building arguably the most success the franchise has ever seen (yes, I know Florida won the 1996 Eastern Conference). Unloading young offensive talent – and Jagr – a year after keeping only half the defensive corps is a recipe for disaster, both now and for the immediate future of this organization.

Instead of building a team around a desired analytic, maybe management should have learned which stat was already working and build the rest of its team around that core. Now, Florida may be left in shambles for the foreseeable future.

Offseason Grade: F

First and foremost, letting, no, working out a deal with Vegas to ensure Marchessault was selected in the expansion draft was a crazy idea. That being said, even with the departures of him and Jagr, I still feel that the Panthers’ offense is capable of showing signs of growth with Dadonov and Vrbata in comparison to last year. But, until the blue line improves, Florida will not able to climb much further than seventh place in the Atlantic Division.

2017 NHL Expansion Draft: Available 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.

Vegas can choose from the following available players:

Anaheim Ducks

Forwards: Spencer Abott, Jared Boll, Sam Carrick, Patrick Eaves, Emerson Etem, Ryan Garbutt, Max Gortz, Nicolas Kerdiles, Andre Petersson, Logan Shaw, Nick Sorensen, Nate Thompson, Corey Tropp, Chris Wagner

Defensemen: Nate Guenin, Korbinian Holzer, Josh Manson, Jaycob Megna, Jeff Schultz, Clayton Stoner, Sami Vatanen

Goalies: Jonathan Bernier, Jhonas Enroth, Ryan Faragher, Matt Hackett, Dustin Tokarski

Arizona Coyotes

Forwards: Alexander Burmistrov, Shane Doan, Tyler Gaudet, Peter Holland, Josh Jooris, Jamie McGinn, Jeremy Morin, Mitchell Moroz, Chris Mueller, Teemu Pulkkinen, Brad Richardson, Garret Ross, Branden Troock, Radim Vrbata, Joe Whitney

Defensemen: Kevin Connauton, Jamie McBain, Zbynek Michalek, Jarred Tinordi

Goalies: Louis Domingue

Boston Bruins

Forwards: Matt Beleskey, Brian Ferlin, Jimmy Hayes, Alex Khokhlachev, Dominic Moore, Tyler Randell, Zac Rinaldo, Tim Schaller, Drew Stafford

Defensemen: Linus Arnesson, Chris Casto, Tommy Cross, Alex Grant, John-Michael Liles, Adam McQuaid, Colin Miller, Joe Morrow

Goalies: Anton Khudobin, Malcolm Subban

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards: William Carrier, Nicolas Deslauriers, Brian Gionta, Derek Grant, Justin Kea, Matt Moulson, Cal O’Reilly, Cole Schneider

Defensemen: Brady Austin, Mathew Bodie, Zach Bogosian, Justin Falk, Taylor Fedun, Cody Franson, Josh Gorges, Dmitry Kulikov

Goalies: Anders Nilsson, Linus Ullmark

Calgary Flames

Forwards: Brandon Bollig, Lance Bouma, Troy Brouwer, Alex Chiasson, Freddie Hamilton, Emile Poirier, Hunter Shinkaruk, Matt Stajan, Kris Versteeg, Linden Vey

Defensemen: Matt Bartkowski, Ryan Culkin, Deryk Engelland, Michael Kostka, Brett Kulak, Ladislav Smid, Michael Stone, Dennis Wideman, Tyler Wotherspoon

Goalies: Brian Elliott, Tom McCollum

Carolina Hurricanes

Forwards: Bryan Bickell, Connor Brickley, Patrick Brown, Erik Karlsson, Danny Kristo, Jay McClement, Andrew Miller, Andrej Nestrasil, Joakim Nordstrom, Lee Stempniak, Brendan Woods

Defensemen: Klas Dahlbeck, Dennis Robertson, Philip Samuelsson, Matt Tennyson

Goalies: Daniel Altshuller, Eddie Lack, Michael Leighton, Cam Ward

Chicago Blackhawks

Forwards: Kyle Baun, Andrew Desjardins, Marcus Kruger, Pierre-Cedric Labrie, Michael Latta, Brandon Mashinter, Dennis Rasmussen, Jordin Tootoo

Defensemen: Brian Campbell, Dillon Fournier, Shawn Lalonde, Johnny Oduya, Ville Pokka, Michal Rozsival, Viktor Svedberg, Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goalies: Mac Carruth, Jeff Glass

Colorado Avalanche

Forwards: Troy Bourke, Gabriel Bourque, Rene Bourque, Joe Colborne, Turner Elson, Felix Girard, Mikhail Grigorenko, Samuel Henley, John Mitchell, Jim O’Brien, Brendan Ranford, Mike Sislo, Carl Soderberg

Defensemen: Mark Barberio, Mat Clark, Eric Gelinas, Cody Goloubef, Duncan Siemens, Fedor Tyutin, Patrick Wiercioch

Goalies: Joe Cannata, Calvin Pickard, Jeremy Smith

Columbus Blue Jackets

Forwards: Josh Anderson, Alex Broadhurst, Matt Calvert, Zac Dalpe, Sam Gagner, Brett Gallant, William Karlsson, Lauri Korpikoski, Lukas Sedlak, T.J. Tynan, Daniel Zaar

Defensemen: Marc-Andre Bergeron, Scott Harrington, Jack Johnson, Kyle Quincey, John Ramage, Jaime Sifers, Ryan Stanton

Goalies: Oscar Dansk, Anton Forsberg, Joonas Korpisalo

Dallas Stars

Forwards: Adam Cracknell, Justin Dowling, Cody Eakin, Ales Hemsky, Jiri Hudler, Curtis McKenzie, Mark McNeill, Travis Morin, Patrick Sharp, Gemel Smith, Matej Stransky

Defensemen: Mattias Backman, Andrew Bodnarchuk, Ludwig Bystrom, Nick Ebert, Justin Hache, Dan Hamhuis, Patrik Nemeth, Jamie Oleksiak, Greg Pateryn, Dustin Stevenson

Goalies: Henri Kiviaho, Maxime Lagace, Kari Lehtonen, Antti Niemi, Justin Peters

Detroit Red Wings

Forwards: Louis-Marc Aubry, Mitch Callahan, Colin Campbell, Martin Frk, Luke Glendening, Darren Helm, Drew Miller, Tomas Nosek, Riley Sheahan, Ben Street, Eric Tangradi

Defensemen: Adam Almquist, Jonathan Ericsson, Niklas Kronwall, Brian Lashoff, Dylan McIlrath, Xavier Ouellet, Ryan Sproul

Goalies: Jared Coreau, Petr Mrazek, Edward Pasquale, Jake Paterson

Edmonton Oilers

Forwards: David Desharnais, Justin Fontaine, Matt Hendricks, Roman Horak, Jujhar Khaira, Anton Lander, Iiro Pakarinen, Tyler Pitlick, Zach Pochiro, Benoit Pouliot, Henrik Samuelsson, Bogdan Yakimov

Defensemen: Mark Fayne, Andrew Ference, Mark Fraser, Eric Gryba, David Musil, Jordan Oesterle, Griffin Reinhart, Kris Russell, Dillon Simpson

Goalies: Laurent Brossoit, Jonas Gustavsson

Florida Panthers

Forwards: Graham Black, Tim Bozon, Jaromir Jagr, Jussi Jokinen, Derek MacKenzie, Jonathan Marchessault, Colton Sceviour, Michael Sgarbossa, Reilly Smith, Brody Sutter, Paul Thompson, Shawn Thornton, Thomas Vanek

Defensemen: Jason Demers, Jakub Kindl, Brent Regner, Reece Scarlett, MacKenzie Weegar

Goalies: Reto Berra, Sam Brittain, Roberto Luongo

Los Angeles Kings

Forwards: Andy Andreoff, Justin Auger, Dustin Brown, Kyle Clifford, Andrew Crescenzi, Nic Dowd, Marian Gaborik, Jarome Iginla, Trevor Lewis, Michael Mersch, Jordan Nolan, Teddy Purcell, Devin Setoguchi, Nick Shore

Defensemen: Matt Greene, Vincent Loverde, Brayden McNabb, Cameron Schilling, Rob Scuderi, Zach Trotman

Goalies: Jack Campbell, Jeff Zatkoff

Minnesota Wild

Forwards: Brady Brassart, Patrick Cannone, Ryan Carter, Kurtis Gabriel, Martin Hanzal, Erik Haula, Zack Mitchell, Jordan Schroeder, Eric Staal, Chris Stewart, Ryan White

Defensemen: Victor Bartley, Matt Dumba, Christian Folin, Guillaume Gelinas, Alexander Gudbranson, Gustav Olofsson, Nate Prosser, Marco Scandella, Mike Weber

Goalies: Johan Gustafsson, Darcy Kuemper, Alex Stalock

Montreal Canadiens

Forwards: Daniel Carr, Connor Crisp, Jacob De La Rose, Bobby Farnham, Brian Flynn, Max Friberg, Charles Hudon, Dwight King, Stefan Matteau, Torrey Mitchell, Joonas Nattinen, Steve Ott, Tomas Plekanec, Alexander Radulov, Chris Terry

Defensemen: Brandon Davidson, Alexei Emelin, Keegan Lowe, Andrei Markov, Nikita Nesterov, Zach Redmond, Dalton Thrower

Goalies: Al Montoya

Nashville Predators

Forwards: Pontus Aberg, Cody Bass, Vernon Fiddler, Mike Fisher, Cody McLeod, James Neal, P.A. Parenteau, Adam Payerl, Mike Ribeiro, Miikka Salomaki, Colton Sissons, Craig Smith, Trevor Smith, Austin Watson, Colin Wilson, Harry Zolnierczyk

Defensemen: Taylor Aronson, Anthony Bitetto, Stefan Elliott, Petter Granberg, Brad Hunt, Matt Irwin, Andrew O’Brien, Adam Pardy, Jaynen Rissling, Scott Valentine, Yannick Weber

Goalies: Marek Mazanec

New Jersey Devils

Forwards: Beau Bennett, Michael Cammalleri, Carter Camper, Luke Gazdic, Shane Harper, Jacob Josefson, Ivan Khomutov, Stefan Noesen, Marc Savard, Devante Smith-Pelly, Petr Straka, Mattias Tedenby, Ben Thomson, David Wohlberg

Defensemen: Seth Helgeson, Viktor Loov, Ben Lovejoy, Andrew MacWilliam, Jon Merrill, Dalton Prout, Karl Stollery, Alexander Urbom

Goalies: Keith Kinkaid, Scott Wedgewood

New York Islanders

Forwards: Josh Bailey, Steve Bernier, Eric Boulton, Jason Chimera, Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck, Stephen Gionta, Ben Holmstrom, Bracken Kearns, Nikolay Kulemin, Brock Nelson, Shane Prince, Alan Quine, Ryan Strome, Johan Sundstrom

Defensemen: Calvin de Haan, Matthew Finn, Jesse Graham, Thomas Hickey, Loic Leduc, Scott Mayfield, Dennis Seidenberg

Goalies: Jean-Francois Berube, Christopher Gibson, Jaroslav Halak

New York Rangers

Forwards: Taylor Beck, Chris Brown, Daniel Catenacci, Jesper Fast, Tanner Glass, Michael Grabner, Marek Hrivik, Nicklas Jensen, Carl Klingberg, Oscar Lindberg, Brandon Pirri, Matt Puempel

Defensemen: Adam Clendening, Tommy Hughes, Steven Kampfer, Kevin Klein, Michael Paliotta, Brendan Smith, Chris Summers

Goalies: Magnus Hellberg, Antti Raanta, Mackenzie Skapski

Ottawa Senators

Forwards: Casey Bailey, Mike Blunden, Alexandre Burrows, Stephane Da Costa, Christopher DiDomenico, Nikita Filatov, Chris Kelly, Clarke MacArthur, Max McCormick, Chris Neil, Tom Pyatt, Ryan Rupert, Bobby Ryan, Viktor Stalberg, Phil Varone, Tommy Wingels

Defensemen: Mark Borowiecki, Fredrik Claesson, Brandon Gormley, Jyrki Jokipakka, Marc Methot, Patrick Sieloff, Chris Wideman, Mikael Wikstrand

Goalies: Mike Condon, Chris Driedger, Andrew Hammond

Philadelphia Flyers

Forwards: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Greg Carey, Chris Conner, Boyd Gordon, Taylor Leier, Colin McDonald, Andy Miele, Michael Raffl, Matt Read, Chris VandeVelde, Jordan Weal, Dale Weise, Eric Wellwood

Defensemen: Mark Alt, T.J. Brennan, Michael Del Zotto, Andrew MacDonald, Will O’Neill, Jesper Pettersson, Nick Schultz

Goalies: Steve Mason, Michal Neuvirth

Pittsburgh Penguins

Forwards: Josh Archibald, Nick Bonino, Matt Cullen, Jean-Sebastien Dea, Carl Hagelin, Tom Kuhnhackl, Chris Kunitz, Kevin Porter, Bryan Rust, Tom Sestito, Oskar Sundqvist, Dominik Uher, Garrett Wilson, Scott Wilson

Defensemen: Ian Cole, Frank Corrado, Trevor Daley, Tim Erixon, Cameron Gaunce, Ron Hainsey, Stuart Percy, Derrick Pouliot, Chad Ruhwedel, Mark Streit, David Warsofsky

Goalies: Marc-Andre Fleury

San Jose Sharks

Forwards: Mikkel Boedker, Barclay Goodrow, Micheal Haley, Patrick Marleau, Buddy Robinson, Zack Stortini, Joe Thornton, Joel Ward

Defensemen: Dylan DeMelo, Brenden Dillon, Dan Kelly, Paul Martin, David Schlemko

Goalies: Aaron Dell, Troy Grosenick, Harri Sateri

St. Louis Blues

Forwards: Kenny Agostino, Andrew Agozzino, Kyle Brodziak, Jordan Caron, Jacob Doty, Landon Ferraro, Alex Friesen, Evgeny Grachev, Dmitrij Jaskin, Jori Lehtera, Brad Malone, Magnus Paajarvi, David Perron, Ty Rattie, Scottie Upshall, Nail Yakupov

Defensemen: Robert Bortuzzo, Chris Butler, Morgan Ellis, Carl Gunnarsson, Jani Hakanpaa, Petteri Lindbohm, Reid McNeill

Goalies: Jordan Binnington, Carter Hutton

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forwards: Carter Ashton, Michael Bournival, J.T. Brown, Cory Conacher, Erik Condra, Gabriel Dumont, Stefan Fournier, Byron Froese, Yanni Gourde, Mike Halmo, Henri Ikonen, Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, Tye McGinn, Greg McKegg, Cedric Paquette, Tanner Richard, Joel Vermin

Defensemen: Dylan Blujus, Jake Dotchin, Jason Garrison, Slater Koekkoek, Jonathan Racine, Andrej Sustr, Matt Taormina, Luke Witkowski

Goalies: Peter Budaj, Kristers Gudlevskis, Jaroslav Janus, Mike McKenna

Toronto Maple Leafs

Forwards: Brian Boyle, Eric Fehr, Colin Greening, Seth Griffith, Teemu Hartikainen, Brooks Laich, Brendan Leipsic, Joffrey Lupul, Milan Michalek, Kerby Rychel, Ben Smith

Defensemen: Andrew Campbell, Matt Hunwick, Alexey Marchenko, Martin Marincin, Steve Oleksy, Roman Polak

Goalies: Antoine Bibeau, Curtis McElhinney, Garret Sparks

Vancouver Canucks

Forwards: Reid Boucher, Michael Chaput, Joseph Cramarossa, Derek Dorsett, Brendan Gaunce, Alexandre Grenier, Jayson Megna, Borna Rendulic, Anton Rodin, Drew Shore, Jack Skille, Michael Zalewski

Defensemen: Alex Biega, Philip Larsen, Tom Nilsson, Andrey Pedan, Luca Sbisa

Goalies: Richard Bachman, Ryan Miller

Washington Capitals

Forwards: Jay Beagle, Chris Bourque, Paul Carey, Brett Connolly, Stanislav Galiev, Tyler Graovac, Liam O’Brien, T.J. Oshie, Zach Sill, Chandler Stephenson, Chrisitan Thomas, Nathan Walker, Justin Williams, Daniel Winnik

Defensemen: Karl Alzner, Taylor Chorney, Cody Corbett, Darren Dietz, Christian Djoos, Tom Gilbert, Aaron Ness, Brooks Orpik, Nate Schmidt, Kevin Shattenkirk

Goalies: Pheonix Copley, Philipp Grubauer

Winnipeg Jets

Forwards: Marko Dano, Quinton Howden, Scott Kosmachuk, Tomas Kubalik, J.C. Lipon, Shawn Matthias, Ryan Olsen, Anthony Peluso, Chris Thorburn

Defensemen: Ben Chiarot, Toby Enstrom, Brenden Kichton, Julian Melchiori, Paul Postma, Brian Strait, Mark Stuart

Goalies: Michael Hutchinson, Ondrej Pavelec

March 25 – Day 157 – Seeing circles

A dozen games are on the schedule today, so let’s hop right in with our list!

A pair of games (Vancouver at Minnesota and Philadelphia at Columbus [NHLN/SN1]) get the action underway at 2 p.m., followed by seven (Calgary at St. Louis [CITY], Toronto at Buffalo [CBC], Ottawa at Montréal [SN/TVAS], Chicago at Florida [NHLN], Carolina at New Jersey, Boston at the New York Islanders and Arizona at Washington) at the usual 7 p.m. starting time. San Jose at Nashville drops the puck an hour later, followed by Colorado at Edmonton (CBC/SN) at 10 p.m. Finally, the New York Rangers at Los Angeles – tonight’s nightcap – drops the puck at 10:30 p.m. to close out the day’s action. All times eastern.

Short list:

  • Toronto at Buffalo: Only two more editions of the Battle of the QEW go down this season, and one is tonight.
  • Ottawa at Montréal: Speaking of rivalries, this one is kind of important since it could determine who raises an Atlantic Division banner.
  • Chicago at Florida: For five seasons, Brian Campbell was a member of the Panthers‘ blueline. This offseason, he decided to return to the Windy City.
  • Boston at New York: These clubs are currently tied for the second wildcard, but they won’t be after tonight.
  • San Jose at Nashville: Remember last year’s Western Semifinals? The Predators would probably like to exact some revenge tonight.

Since both the Canadiens and Senators are all but locks to for this year’s postseason, let’s head back to Brooklyn with the Islanders for their wildly important matchup with Boston.


The 38-30-6 Bruins have been in the playoff picture – or right outside it – for almost the entire season. A mistimed four-game losing skid (then again, when does a four-game losing skid ever come at an appropriate time?) has felled them to the second of those two categories.

Of course, this is not the first position Boston has lost in the last month. For a long while, the Bruins actually had command of third place in the Atlantic Division, but they ceded that too to a Maple Leafs team that has won seven of its last 10 games.

The main reason for this fall from grace? I’d argue sub-par play in net by 33-20-4 Tuukka Rask. He’s been in net for all four of these contests, and the Bruins have allowed an average of five goals against. In fact, his .842 save percentage and 4.53 GAA from March 16 through last night’s action is the fifth and second-worst efforts in the NHL, respectively, in that time span.

“But Rask is a great goaltender!” said Bruins fans.

And I agree; yes, he is great. He’s also no spring chicken anymore. Rask just celebrated his 30th birthday not too long ago, which makes him older than the average goaltender throughout the 2000s (per Quant Hockey), whether by mean (28.81) or median (28.3).

Whether you’re in the camp of believing Bruce Cassidy needs to play 5-5-1 Anton Khudobin more often or Don Sweeney needs to provide a better backup than a nearly 31-year-old Russian is inconsequential to the fact that Rask needs more breaks. With 59 starts, Rask has played the third-most games in a NHL crease this season, and the other two goalies with more starts are younger than him (though not by much in Cam Talbot‘s case).

Making the exhausted netminder’s demise even more troublesome is that the defense playing in front of him is one of the better – and improving – corps in the league. Over this sour stretch, they’ve allowed only 117 shots to reach his net (29.25 per game), which is barely worse than their 25.6 average allowed per game for the entire season that ranks second-best in the league.

He doesn’t wear the Bruins‘ “C” for nothing. Captain Zdeno Chara has been at the forefront of that effort with his team-leading 124 shot blocks, followed closely behind by Adam McQuaid‘s 122. Center Patrice Bergeron has also been very impressive on the defensive front, as his 59 takeaways are second-most on the club. Brad Marchand has one more for the squad lead, but he also tops (Or would it be bottoms?) the team in the opposite statistic with his 74 turnovers.

When looking at the season as a whole, Boston usually finds more than enough success on the penalty kill, as their 84.5% kill rate is sixth-best in the league. Of course, this rough patch hasn’t been so kind. The Bruins have allowed seven power play goals against (you guessed it, most in the league in this time-span) for a measly 63.1% kill rate.

One thing that has gone Boston‘s way over the past 10 days has been their power play. Co-led by Torey Krug and Ryan Spooner‘s three man-advantage points, as well as David Krejci and David Pastrnak‘s two man-advantage goals, the Bruins have scored on 35.7% of their opponents’ penalties – the best mark in the league in that span. That’s not exactly a surprise though. Boston has been successful on 21.2% of their power plays all year, the eighth-best rate in the league.

First it was the Leafs taking advantage of the Bruins‘ fall from grace. Now it’s the 35-26-12 Islanders, a team riding a two-game winning streak.

This success is a far cry from where New York was before Doug Weight took command of the ship. Former head coach Jack Capuano had only managed a 17-17-8 record – the worst mark in the Eastern Conference. But since then, the Isles have gone on an 18-9-4 run to climb back into the eighth place in the East. In fact, that’s the fifth-best record in the league since Capuano’s firing, better even than teams like Columbus and Nashville.

The main reason for that improvement is New York‘s potent offense. The Islanders have buried 96 goals under Weight, which ties for the fourth-highest total in the league since January 17. Behind that effort is none other than John Tavares, who’s registered 32 of his 64 points on the campaign. Anders Lee also came alive, as he’s registered 13 goals to lead the team during the Weight-era.

Ready to be even more impressed by the Islanders‘ resurgent offense? They do it almost exclusively at even-strength. In fact, New York‘s power play is borderline atrocious, as they only convert 15.8% of their opportunities – the fifth-worst rate in the league.

If recent history is any indicator, it looks like the Bruins are on their way to their fifth-straight loss, as they have yet to beat New York this year in their previous two meetings. The last time these clubs ran into each other was January 16 in Boston. Between Nikolai Kulemin‘s two-goal night (one-sixth of his season total!) and Thomas Greiss‘ 32-save shutout, the Islanders walked out of the TD Garden with a 4-0 victory.

Ironically, that was Capuano’s last game as head coach of the Isles. My, how the story has come full circle.

Some players to keep an eye on this evening include Boston‘s Marchand (37 goals [third-most in the NHL] for 80 points [fourth-most in the league]) and Rask (six shutouts [tied for fourth-most in the NHL] among 33 wins [tied for fifth-most in the league]) & New York‘s Josh Bailey (38 assists [leads the team]) and Cal Clutterbuck (199 hits [leads the team]).

Though they might be a little tired from their shootout victory in Pittsburgh last night, I’m inclined to pick the Islanders right now. Something tells me that only one day off is not enough for Rask, and everything seems to be going New York‘s way right now.

Hockey Birthday

  • Ken Wregget (1964-) – Toronto selected this goaltender 45th-overall in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft, but he spent most of his career with the Penguins. By the time his career was through, he’d earned a 225-248-53 record and hoisted the 1992 Stanley Cup.
  • Ladislav Benysek (1975-) – This defensemen was selected in the 11th round by Edmonton in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, but he spent most of his four-year career in the league with Minnesota. Over 161 games in the NHL, he accumulated only 15 points for a -28 rating.

With their 4-3 shootout victory against Pittsburgh in the DtFR Game of the Day, the Islanders have improved to the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.

With six goals in regulation, you’d figure there’d be two a period, right? Not last night. Instead, five were struck in the second frame, and another in the third.

The scoring started 1:54 after beginning the second period when Third Star of the Game Cameron Gaunce (Matt Cullen and Phil Kessel) buried a slap shot for the second goal of his career. 2:54 later, Second Star Brock Nelson (Joshua Ho-Sang and Alan Quine) tied the game at one-all, the score that held until Lee (Bailey and First Star Tavares) scored a wrist shot to give New York the lead 4:30 later. Now it was Pittsburgh‘s turn to pull even, and Sidney Crosby (Chad Ruhwedel and Conor Sheary) was up to the task with 6:19 remaining in the frame. With five seconds remaining before the second intermission, Casey Cizikas (Tavares) found the back of the net to send the Isles to the dressing room with a 3-2 lead.

After all that action, the final goal of regulation wasn’t struck until 6:10 remained in regulation. Cullen (Gaunce and Kessel) scored his wrister to tie the game at three-all, the score that held through the remainder of regulation and the five minute three-on-three overtime period.

Looks like this one will have to be decided in the shootout. The Pens elected to go second…

  1. …meaning Anthony Beauvillier was up first. He scored on Marc-Andre Fleury, giving New York an early shootout lead.
  2. Kessel had the chance to tie the shootout, but Jaroslav Halak was up to the task and made the save.
  3. Weight called Tavares’ number next as if he knew the captain would score him another goal. With a 2-0 shootout lead, the Pens were in a miss-and-lose situation.
  4. Speaking of captains, that’s exactly who took Pittsburgh‘s next shootout attempt. Crosby had better luck than Kessel and scored his shot to keep the Penguins alive.
  5. Andrew Ladd took what proved to be the Islanders‘ final shootout attempt, but was unable to beat Fleury to win the game.
  6. Instead, Halak provided the victory by saving Nick Bonino‘s shot.

Halak saved 37-of-40 shots faced (92.5%) for the victory, leaving the shootout loss to Fleury after he stopped 43-of-46 (93.5%).

It was the second-straight DtFR Game of the Day to be decided by shootout, but the fact that this one was decided by the 80-56-23 visitors gives them a one-point advantage over the road teams in the series.

December 20 – Day 69 – Getting Kul in Florida

As usual, you’d better have your remote ready for tonight’s onslaught of games, because there’s a bunch of good ones. As usual, the action starts at 7 p.m. with four games (the New York Islanders at Boston [SN], Nashville at New Jersey, the New York Rangers at Pittsburgh and Los Angeles at Columbus), followed half an hour later by another trio of contests (Anaheim at Montréal [RDS], Detroit at Tampa Bay [TVAS] and Buffalo at Florida). Colorado at Minnesota drops the puck at the top of the hour, and a pair of games (Ottawa at Chicago [RDS2] and St. Louis at Dallas) wait until 8:30 p.m. Winnipeg at Vancouver gets the West Coast involved at 10 p.m., with our nightcap – Calgary at San Jose – waiting 30 minutes before getting underway.

Short list:

  • New York at Boston: Dennis Seidenberg called the TD Garden home for seven seasons, but he’s gotten a new start in Brooklyn.
  • New York at Pittsburgh: An important duel in the Metropolitan Division is also a rematch of last season’s Eastern Quarterfinals.
  • Detroit at Tampa Bay: Another Eastern Quarterfinals rematch, but last season’s success is still eluding both these clubs.
  • Buffalo at Florida: Dmitry Kulikov is in the same homecoming boat as Seidenberg. He returns to his old stomping grounds of seven years with his new club.
  • St. Louis at Dallas: Yet another rematch, but this matchup occurred in the Western Semifinals.

I’m torn between featuring Kulikov or Seidenberg, as both spent considerable portions of their careers in the building they’ll be playing in this evening. Since the game in the Sunshine State will probably be much more competitive, we’ll focus on Kulikov.



With the 14th-overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, the Florida Panthers selected Dmitry Kulikov from Drummondville in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

That was the last the Voltigeurs saw of the defenseman, as he signed a contract with the Panthers the following September to begin play in the NHL only a month later.

Barring the 2012-13 lockout season, Kulikov has played at least 58 games in each of the remaining six seasons of his career. While he’s been unable to fully maintain his scoring reputation from his junior days (his 138 points are 75th-most among the 603 defensemen to appear in a game since he’s joined the league), he’s still been very effective for his club as the second-highest points earner among Panthers blueliners.

Leading that group of defensemen from 2009-’16 was Brian Campbell, whose 175 points were 37 more than the Russian’s in 84 fewer games (he joined Florida before the 2011-’12 season). Both skaters notched 28 goals during their tenure with the Panthers.

Kulikov began making his way to the KeyBank Center during this season’s draft. He and Vancouver‘s second round pick that was in the Panthers‘ possession was exchanged with Buffalo for Mark Pysyk, Buffalo‘s second round pick and St. Louis‘ third round pick then in possession of the Sabres.

It’s proven to be a tough transition for Kulikov. He has yet to even notch an assist this season, much less a goal, due in part to injuring his back during the preseason. He played 12 games before taking a leave of absence that left him out of the lineup for a month. Tonight’s game is only his fifth contest back in the lineup, and he’ll certainly want to score on the team that didn’t value him enough to keep him off the trading block.

The Sabres enter tonight’s game with a 12-11-7 record to sit in last place in the Atlantic Division. They’ve gotten in that position by playing some very poor offense that has scored only 65 goals – tying with Colorado for fewest in the NHL.

Hurling insults at the Sabres offense is a difficult thing to do given Jack Eichel was injured for nearly two months. That being said, the offense did not gel without him and has put the Sabres in a tough spot to start the season. Kyle Okposo, with his 22 points to lead the team, and Rasmus Ristolainen effectively carried the team on their backs, as they are the only two skaters with more than 18 points to their credit. Okposo especially deserves credit, as his nine tallies are the most on the team.

One part of Buffalo‘s game where they did not suffer during Eichel’s absence was their man-advantage. Led by Okposo and Ristolainen’s dozen power play points, the Sabres have converted 22.9% of their advantageous opportunities, the third-best rate in the league.

As good as the power play has been, the penalty kill has been the reverse. Even with Josh Gorges‘ 14 shorthanded shot blocks (which ties him for 22nd-most in the league), the Sabres have prevented their opposition from scoring only 73.6% of the time, the worst effort in the league.

Playing host this evening are the 14-13-5 Panthers, the fifth-best team in the Atlantic Division. Just like Buffalo, their struggles are found on the offensive end of the ice, where their 75 total goals are sixth-fewest in the NHL.

The similarities between tonight’s clubs continue. Just like the Sabres, Florida has two players who have stood out among a mediocre offense. Aleksander Barkov (22) and Jon Marchessault (20) are the only two players with more than 17 points to their credit so far this season. Marchessault has been especially impressive, as his 10 goals are also the best on the squad.

The power play has really suffered during this season’s scoring slump. Florida has only potted 14.8% of their man-advantage opportunities, the seventh-worst rate in the NHL. Marchessault has been active in this situation too. His seven power play points are most on the team.

Before we go any further, there’s one more matter we need to address: Marchessault, as great has he’s been, is currently listed on the Panthers’ injury report. He’s missed the last two games with a lower body injury, and hasn’t played since last Tuesday in Minnesota.

If anything has gone right for Florida, it’s been their defense – specifically their penalty kill. Successful on 86% of attempts, the Panthers are the fifth-best team when down a man, led by Michael Matheson‘s seven shorthanded blocks.

These squads have already met up once this season at the KeyBank Center. It was a very successful night for the Sabres, as they kept the Panthers off the board, compliments of Anders Nilsson, en route to a 3-0 victory. Johan Larsson‘s first goal of the season was the winner.

Some players to keep an eye on this evening include Buffalo‘s Nilsson (.933 save percentage [sixth-best in the league]) and Florida‘s Barkov (15 assists among 22 points [both lead the team]).

Florida has a -150 next to their name, which is bad news for the Sabres. It’s tough not to side with the Panthers given the fact that they’re at home. Regardless of who wins, you can certainly assume it will be a low-scoring affair.

Hockey Birthday

  • Cory Stillman (1973-) – The sixth-overall pick in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft by Calgary, this left wing played 1025 games over 16 seasons. He spent most of his days with the club that drafted him but won a Stanley Cup with both Tampa Bay (2004) and Carolina (2006).
  • Andrei Markov (1978-) – This defenseman was selected by Montréal in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, and he’s played with the Canadiens ever since. Tonight could mark his 960th career game, provided his lower body injury sustained Sunday in Washington isn’t too severe.

It took a two-goal third period for the Ducks to knock-off the Maple Leafs, winning 3-2 in yesterday’s DtFR Game of the Day.

It took 27:27 before Third Star of the Game Auston Matthews (Nikita Zaitsev and Zach Hyman) scored a tip-in goal to give Toronto a 1-0 advantage, but Anaheim was able to level with 1:59 remaining in the frame. Ryan Getzlaf‘s (Sami Vatanen and First Star Cam Fowler) snapper was aided by the fact that Zaitsev was serving two minutes in the penalty box for roughing.

The Ducks when right back to work upon returning from the second intermission. 1:21 after taking the ice for the third period, Nick Ritchie (Ondrej Kase) fired a wrister to give Anaheim a 2-1 lead. It lasted 10:21 before Nazem Kadri (Matt Hunwick) scored a wrister of his own to once again level the contest. With 6:52 remaining in regulation, Fowler (Ryan Kesler) buried a power play snapper to give the Ducks a 3-2 lead they would not yield.

Second Star John Gibson saved 33-of-35 (94.3%) shots faced for the victory, leaving the loss to Frederik Andersen, saving 25-of-28 (89.3%) in the loss.

Anaheim’s victory pulls the road teams within five points of the hosts in the DtFR Game of the Day series, who have a 37-23-11 record.

Sick Hands Sunday – Panarin and Lundqvist Can’t Be Stopped, Win This Week’s Crown.

Hey everyone, I’m back again for a new week of Sick Hands Sunday! I can’t wait to get another version out to all my fans for you all to enjoy! This week was a little easier to pick the winner so let’s get right into it!

So for the forward portion of this article, like I stated above, it was an easy week to pick the winner! The reason why I say this was because Blackhawks winger Artemi Panarin was on fire over the last week picking up ELEVEN points (4G, 7A) in just four games and in four of his five games this week he tallied at least two points and three power-play goals as well. Here’s how Panarin did game by game.


Panarin celebrates his goal (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)


In Panarin’s first game, he recorded a power play goal in a solid 3-1 win against the Dallas Stars. The “BreadMan” as they like to call him, received a beautiful pass right on the left-hand dot from Duncan Keith. Panarin let a nasty one-timer go from his knee that beat Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen right under the blocker to ice the game and push the score to 3-1. You can see his goal down below:

In Panarin’s second game they took on the streaking New York Rangers in a battle of hot teams. Panarin recorded two assists in a 2-1 win. His best assist came on the Hawks first goal of the game early in the second period. He came down the left-hand boards, cut towards the dot, and delivered a great pass to a streaking Trevor van Riemsdyk who ripped a shot past Antti Raanta for the opening goal. He added a secondary assist late in the game as well. You can see the great pass down below:

In the Blackhawks’ third game Panarin picked up three points (2G, 1A) with all three points coming on the power play! Panarin scored his first goal of the game just like he did in his first game. He received a cross-ice pass from Brent Seabrook right in his wheelhouse and Panarin fired the one-timer top cheese to bring the Hawks back a goal at 2-1. Here’s his rocket down below:

Panarin would tally yet another power play goal in basically the same spot with the same setup. He took another beauty of a pass from Seabrook right on the left side dot and ripped another one-timer far side that beat Isles goalie Thomas Greiss high glove side to tie the game up at four goals a piece.He finished with another assist for three points on the night. Here’s his goal down below:

In Panarin’s fourth game he had another monster game with three points (1G, 2A) in a 6-4 win over the St. Louis Blues. His first assist came on Brian Campbell‘s tap in goal. Panarin received a cross-ice pass from Patrick Kane on the left side boards. Panarin then spotted Campbell sitting wide open at the back door and he rifled a pass over to him for the tap in goal to tie the game at 3-3. Here’s the beautiful pass below:

Panarin then put his great hands to use again with another fantastic assist. He spotted a wide-open Niklas Hjalmarsson at the points and sauced him a beaut of a pass at the top and Hjalmarsson fired a one-timer past Jake Allen to tie the game back up at 4-4. Panarin also added the icing to the cake with an empty net goal late in the goal to cap off the come from behind win! Here’s the awesome pass below:

Panarin’s last game of the week he tallied two assists in a commanding 4-1 win over the San Jose Sharks. Panarin’s first assist came on Kieth’s first goal of the season. He stopped on the half wall on the left-hand board and passed to Keith who was wide open at the point. Keith let a massive one-time clap bomb go that beat Sharks goalie Martin Jones blocker side to tie the game at 1-1. He would then get another assist on an empty net goal to cap off an amazing week. Here it is below:


Lundqvist makes a save vs the Stars (Jermone Miron/USA Today Sports)


Now for the goalie part of the article, I decided to go with Rangers goalie, Henrik Lundqvist! Even though he had games where he was benched because of poor play, he still finished with an extremely strong week. He finished with a record of 3-0 a .98 GAA and a .967 SV%. He only gave up three goals on 90 shots in three games and also grabbed one joint shutout with Rannta vs the Stars. If some of you guys don’t know he had to come out of the game because he was decked by Stars goon Cody Eakin, who has later suspended four games, but later returned to complete the shutout! So it was pretty easy to pick “King Henrik” as the winner for this week!

The Honorable Mention goes to Devan Dubnyk and Eric Staal. I will see you guys next Sunday for another recap of the best player of the week! (Thanks to the Chicago Blackhawks’ Twitter for the videos of the goals!)

2016 NHL Free Agency-July 1st Signings Recap

By: Nick Lanciani

This post will be updated throughout the day as signings are officially announced. Be sure to check our Twitter account (@DtFrozenRiver) for all of the latest signings, news, and analysis throughout the day.

Free agency begins at noon (technically 12:01 PM ET) on July 1st. All that is known is shown and will be updated throughout the day. More analysis will come later as the day wraps up.

NHL Logo

LW Loui Eriksson signed a 6 year, $6.000 million AAV contract with the Vancouver Canucks.

F Andrew Ladd signed a 7 year deal with the New York Islanders worth $38.5 million ($5.500 million AAV).

D Stuart Percy has signed a 1 year, two-way contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins worth $575,000 at the NHL level, $200,000 at the AHL level.

G James Reimer signed a 5 year, $3.4 million AAV contract with the Florida Panthers.

LW Milan Lucic has signed a 7 year deal with the Edmonton Oilers worth $6.000 million AAV.

D Michael Kostka signed a 1 year, two-way contract with the Ottawa Senators.

RW Colton Sceviour signed a 2 year deal with the Florida Panthers.

F Jonathan Marchessault signed a 2 year, $750,000 contract with the Florida Panthers.

G Anton Khudobin has signed a 2 year, $1.2 million contract with the Boston Bruins.

F David Perron signed a 2 year, $3.75 million contract with the St. Louis Blues.

C Frans Nielsen and the Detroit Red Wings agreed to terms on a 6 year deal worth $5.250 million AAV.

G Alex Stalock signed a 1 year deal with the Minnesota Wild.

C David Backes signed a 5 year, $6.000 million AAV contract with the Boston Bruins.

D John-Michael Liles signed a 1 year, $2.000 million contract with the Boston Bruins (re-signed).

D Brian Campbell signed a 1 year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks.

F Kyle Okposo signed a 7 year, $6.000 million AAV, contract with the Buffalo Sabres.

F Phil Varone signed a 1 year, two-way contact with the Ottawa Senators.

F Troy Brouwer signed a 4 year, $4.5 million AAV contract with the Calgary Flames.

C Eric Staal has signed a 3 year, $3.500 million AAV deal with the Minnesota Wild.

G Carter Hutton signed a 2 year, $1.125 million deal with the St. Louis Blues.

D Tom Gilbert signed a 1 year, $1.400 million deal with the Los Angeles Kings.

The Chicago Blackhawks signed F Sam Carrick and F Pierre-Cedric Larie to 1 year contracts.

F Jason Chimera signed a 2 year, $2.250 million contract with the New York Islanders.

G Chad Johnson signed a 1 year, $1.700 million deal with the Calgary Flames.

D Ben Lovejoy signed a 3 year, $2.666 million AAV deal with the New Jersey Devils.

C Casey Bailey signed a 1 year, two-way contract with the Ottawa Senators.

LW Matt Lorito signed a 2 year deal with the Detroit Red Wings.

F Chris Stewart signed a 2 year, $1.150 million AAV contract with the Minnesota Wild.

F Jamie McGinn signed a 3 year, $10 million contract with the Arizona Coyotes (worth $3.300 million AAV).

F Vernon Fiddler has signed a 1 year, $1.250 million contract with the New Jersey Devils.

D Adam Clendening signed a $600,000 contract with the New York Rangers, worth $300,000 at the AHL level.

D David Warsofsky signed a 1 year, two-way contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The San Jose Sharks signed D David Schlemko to a 4 year contract worth $2.100 million AAV.

D Klas Dahlbeck signed a 1 year, $750,000 contract with the Arizona Coyotes.

F Max McCormick signed a 1 year, two-way contract with the Ottawa Senators.

F Dale Weise signed a 4 year contract with the Philadelphia Flyers worth $2.350 million AAV.

D Cameron Gaunce signed a 1 year, two-way contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

D Zach Trotman signed a $650,000 contract with the Los Angeles Kings.

G Jonas Gustavsson signed a 1 year contract worth $800,000 with the Edmonton Oilers.

F Viktor Stalberg signed a 1 year deal with the Carolina Hurricanes.

F Christian Thomas signed a 1 year deal with the Washington Capitals.

D Chad Ruhwedel signed a 1 year, two-way contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

D Jamie McBain signed a two-way contract with the Arizona Coyotes.

F Michael Chaput signed a two-way contract with the Vancouver Canucks.

G Al Montoya signed a 1 year, $950,000 deal with the Montreal Canadiens.

F Shawn Matthias signed a 2 year deal with the Winnipeg Jets worth $2.125 million AAV.

F Andy Miele signed a 1 year deal with the Philadelphia Flyers.

F Devante Smith-Pelly signed a 2 year deal with the New Jersey Devils worth $1.300 million AAV.

D Matt Irwin signed a 2 year deal with the Nashville Predators.

F Andrew Miller signed a 1 year, two-way contract with the Carolina Hurricanes.

F Alexander Radulov signed a 1 year, $5.750 million contract with the Montreal Canadiens.

The New Jersey Devils signed D Jon Merrill to a 2 year contract.

D Dan Hamhuis signed a 2 year contract with the Dallas Stars worth $3.750 million AAV.

G Jeff Zatkoff signed a 2 year, $900,000 AAV deal with the Los Angeles Kings.

The New Jersey Devils re-signed F Beau Bennett to a 1 year contract worth $725,000 (they had acquired him at the NHL Draft).

F Michael Grabner and the New York Rangers agreed to terms on a 2 year contract worth $1.600 million AAV.

The Colorado Avalanche signed D Ryan Stanton and F Turner Elson to two-way contracts.

D Zach Redmond signed a 2 year, $1.225 million contract with the Montreal Canadiens.

F Nathan Gerbe signed a deal with the New York Rangers.

F Boyd Gordon and the Philadelphia Flyers agreed to a 1 year contract, worth $950,000.

F Michael Latta signed a 1 year deal with the Los Angeles Kings.

F Andrew Agozzino signed a 1 year deal with the St. Louis Blues.

D Chad Billins signed a contract with the Vancouver Canucks.

F Lee Stempniak signed a 2 year, $2.5 million AAV contract with the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Ottawa Senators signed F Chad Nehring to a 1 year, two-way contract.

F Pat Cannone signed a 1 year, two-way contract with the Minnesota Wild.

D Patrick Wiercioch signed a 1 year, $800,000 deal with the Colorado Avalanche.

C Joe Colborne signed a 2 year, $2.500 million AAV contract with the Colorado Avalanche.

D Fedor Tyutin signed a 1 year, $2 million contract with the Colorado Avalanche.

D Ian McCoshen signed an Entry-Level Contract with the Florida Panthers.

RW Brett Connolly signed a 1 year, $850,000 contract with the Washington Capitals.

D Justin Falk signed a 1 year, $850,000 contract with the Buffalo Sabres.

F Jeremy Morin signed a 1 year, two-way, deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

D Mikhail Sergachev signed a 3 year Entry-Level Contract with the Montreal Canadiens.

F Quinton Howden signed a 1 year, two-way contract worth $650,000 with the Winnipeg Jets.

D Kevin Connauton signed a 2 year deal with the Arizona Coyotes.

F Patrick Eaves signed a 1 year, $1 million contract with the Dallas Stars (re-signed).

F Greg Carey signed a deal with the Philadelphia Flyers.

D Will O’Neill and the Philadelphia Flyers agreed to terms on a contract.

D Philip Larsen signed a 1 year, $1.025 million contract with the Vancouver Canucks.

F Michael Bournival signed a 1 year, two-way contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

F Gabriel Dumont signed a 1 year, two-way contract worth $575,000 with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Montreal Canadiens signed LW Daniel Carr to a 2 year contract worth $725,000 AAV.

D Mark Fraser signed a 1 year, two-way contract with the Edmonton Oilers.

F Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond signed a 1 year deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

G Justin Peters signed a 1 year contract with the Arizona Coyotes.

F Matt Martin signed a 4 year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, worth $2.500 million AAV.

G Joe Cannata signed a deal with the Washington Capitals.

D Darren Dietz agreed to terms with the Washington Capitals.

F Thomas Vanek signed a 1 year, $2.600 million deal with the Detroit Red Wings.

F Ryan White signed a 1 year deal, worth $1.000 million, with the Arizona Coyotes.

F Steve Ott signed a 1 year, $800,000 contract with the Detroit Red Wings.

The Winnipeg Jets and D Brian Strait agreed to terms on a 1 year, $600,000 contract.

F Mikkel Boedker signed a 4 year contract with the San Jose Sharks.

D Victor Bartley  signed a 1 year, two-way contract, worth $650,000 in the NHL/$350,000 in the AHL with the Minnesota Wild.

F Spencer Abbott signed a 1 year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Dallas Stars signed D Andrew Bodnarchuk to a 2 year contract.

D Dustin Stevenson agreed to a 1 year contract with the Dallas Stars. 

F Michael Blunden signed a 2 year, two-way contract with the Ottawa Senators.

D Michael Paliotta agreed to terms with the New York Rangers.

D Karl Stollery signed a 1 year, two-way contract, worth $575,000 at the NHL level with the New Jersey Devils.

The Vancouver Canucks signed C Jayson Megna to a 1 year deal.

RW Borna Rendulic signed a 1 year, two-way contact with the Vancouver Canucks.

The Detroit Red Wings signed G Edward Pasquale to a 1 year contract.

F Chris Mueller signed a 1 year, two-way contract with the Arizona Coyotes.

F Dennis Yan signed a 3 year Entry-Level Contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

D Yannick Weber signed a 1 year contract with the Nashville Predators.

F Riley Nash signed a 2 year contract, worth $900,000 AAV with the Boston Bruins.

G Jeremy Smith signed a 1 year contract with the Colorado Avalanche.

The Colorado Avalanche also agreed to terms with F Jim O’Brien, F Mike Sislo and F Joe Whitney to 1 year deals.

F Reid Petryk and F Trent Vogelhuber signed 2 year deals with the Colorado Avalanche.

RW Carter Camper signed a 1 year, two-way contract, worth $575,000 at the NHL level with the New Jersey Devils.

D Andrew MacWilliam signed a 1 year, two-way deal with the New Jersey Devils, worth $575,000 at the NHL level.


Numbers Game: Top-5 Pending UFA Defensemen

By: Nick Lanciani

12:01 PM ET on July 1st (precisely) marks the start of the NHL’s free agency period, so of course, you’ve found yourself scavenging the Internet for the freshest hot takes and the best indications of where players will end up. Likewise, you probably just want to know who’s available out there (and I’m not talking about Tinder).

Well fear not, because I’m here to set things straight with a short series of posts about the Top-5 free agents in every category you can think of (UFA forwards, UFA defensemen, UFA goalies, RFA forwards, RFA defensemen and RFA goalies) in this latest edition of Numbers Game posts. So let’s continue our journey with the lackluster UFA defensemen market this summer.

Down the Frozen River- Smaller Circular Logo

1. D Jason Demers (7-16-23 totals with the Dallas Stars)- $3.400 million cap hit, 27 years old

Look, none of these defensemen are spectacular, but they’re all about to be paid ridiculous sums of money because of that good ol’ supply and demand factor. A lot of teams need to fix their blue line, not a lot of defensemen can do that for them. Your best bet is to trade for a defensemen if you can’t at least patch some wounds (and hope they turn out better than expected) with these guys.

To start, let’s take a look at Jason Demers who is the best of this group, in terms of age, experience and a chance to supply you a little more depth and stability. His season was cut short due to injury, but he managed to put up a respectable 23 points on the season in 62 games played, which almost matched his 25 point season in 2014-2015 in 81 games played with Dallas and the San Jose Sharks.

His career year was in 2013-2014 when he notched 5-29-34 totals in 75 games played for the Sharks, but judging from how he was tracking this season, despite the injury, he might have been able to pace, if not better, his career best totals.

A healthy Demers at only 27 years old is a risk worth taking if you are in desperate need of a guy or you cannot find a trading partner. His value will be driven up immensely compared to some of the other older UFA defensemen. Likewise, he’s better at the defensive aspect of the game than Kris Russell, so he’s sure to be a hot commodity if teams are smart.

2. D Brian Campbell (6-25-31 totals with the Florida Panthers)- $7.143 million cap hit, 36 years old

Brian Campbell was an almost 40 point scorer in 2013-2014 and he’s certainly nothing like his former self in 2007-2008 when he had 8-54-62 totals in 83 games for the Buffalo Sabres and the San Jose Sharks.

Although age doesn’t appear to be an issue for his competitiveness.

With proper balance on a lineup with some already mature defensemen, like the Chicago Blackhawks, where he has a distinct interest in returning, Campbell could have his minutes easily distributed and become a clutch asset for an organization in the waning years of his career. Because of that, a short term contract only seems logical.

In 82 games this season, Campbell had 6-25-31 totals with the Florida Panthers. That’s only five points shy of Aaron Ekblad’s sophomore season 36 points in 78 games, but one defenseman is sure to shine and the other will soon decline. Though it can’t hurt to take on Campbell while he’s still capable of producing.

3. D Luke Schenn (4-12-16 totals with the Philadelphia Flyers/Los Angeles Kings)- $3.600 million, 26 years old

Chalk Luke Schenn up as one of the best “why not, maybe he still has something to prove” potential UFA defensemen. Schenn’s been in the league since the 2008-2009 season and has played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers and the Los Angeles Kings.

Although he was kind of an afterthought in the late season acquisition by the Kings in the Vincent Lecavalier trade, we’re talking mostly depth guys that can solidify your top-6 defensive scope on the blue line this offseason.

Schenn usually ends up with somewhere around 20 points a year, ranging from a career low 3-8-11 totals in 47 games played during the 2012-2013 lockout shortened season to a career high 22 points in 2010-2011 (82 games played) and 2011-2012 (79 games played). His numbers this season could have been around 20 points or more, had he not played in only 72 games. Maybe there’s still hope if you find him the right pair.

Whatever you do, just don’t over pay or let him over stay. Give Schenn another chance to prove his worth and maybe things will work out. If not, he’ll be trade bait once again around the trade deadline, when teams are searching for just about any depth defenseman.

4. D Patrick Wiercioch (0-5-5 totals with the Ottawa Senators)- $2.000 million cap hit, 25 years old

Highly underrated and touted as a “should have been traded at the deadline while you still could’ve gotten an asset in return,” Patrick Wiercioch is a defenseman that might be able to help you now, but still has plenty of room to grow, develop and be groomed properly.

If you’re the Ottawa Senators you have got to be kicking yourselves for not trying. If you’ve seen the asset management around the league lately when it comes to trades, who knows, maybe the Senators would have been able to walk away with two or three decent draft picks and maybe even a roster player had they moved Wiercioch in March. I mean, I’m sure Don Sweeney would’ve taken that deal, based on how the Boston Bruins acquired John-Michael-Liles.

But enough about other guys, more on Wiercioch’s playing ability.

If there’s one positive for sure to signing Wiercioch in free agency it’s that he’s 25 years old. Defensemen normally start to reach their prime around 27 years of age and until then are very malleable in the right circumstances. The question is how much are teams willing to pay and how much is he going to drive the price up for his services because the ball is in his court— or should I say the puck is in his zone?

His services were dismal this season though, notching five assists in 52 games played. Granted, Ottawa juggled him in and out of the lineup more times than he could have been able to get any rhythm going. In 53 games in 2013-2014, Wiercioch had 4-19-23 totals as a young 23-year-old hungry for more.

5. D Kris Russell (4-15-19 totals with the Calgary Flames/Dallas Stars)- $2.600 million cap hit, 28 years old

In this year’s “bound to be overpaid, but since there’s no one else available, he’ll easily get overpaid and sign a long contract, reminiscent of Brooks Orpik’s deal with the Washington Capitals” category, we have Kris Russell.

In 62 games played he had 4-15-19 totals among his time with the Calgary Flames and the Dallas Stars this season. The trade deadline pickup by Stars GM Jim Nill didn’t pan out as well as he had been performing in Calgary, though, when Russell went from a top-4 to a top-6 defenseman (if that in Dallas).

Yes, his scoring was up in 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 from 29 points to 34 points, however, the secondary assist is still a thing that exists and the Flames as a whole have dramatically improved their offense with Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and company.

Buyer beware, Russell might be a top-5 pending UFA defenseman, but he’s really one of the worse options and has traveled around the league a bit from his rookie year with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2007-2008. He’s since made visits with the St. Louis Blues, Flames and Stars as the 28 year old has yet to play a full 82 game season and faces a shaky performance.

Honorable Mentions

D Eric Gryba (1-5-6 totals with the Edmonton Oilers)- $1.250 million cap hit, 27 years old

In 53 games played with the dismal Edmonton Oilers, Eric Gryba put up 1-5-6 totals, which is not good, but not bad either. If anything, it shows you that Gryba is an average guy, who, when not injured or out of the lineup as a healthy scratch, can be a dependable top-6 defenseman when you need a quick fix.

He’s no end all solution to any problem, by any means. He’s just a guy that in the right environment, could really take his career best 0-12-12 totals in 2014-2015 and at least match it, if not improve it and/or double it. A lot of teams see no more second chances in Gryba, but clearly Peter Chiarelli wanted him for something in Edmonton when he acquired him. Maybe now Gryba can find a better roster at his discretion.

D John-Michael Liles (6-15-21 totals with the Carolina Hurricanes/Boston Bruins)- $3.875 million cap hit, 35 years old

When you’re in a jam like Sweeney was, you go out and get a veteran defenseman to give you a better chance than a bunch of pylons. Okay, jokes aside about the Bruins defense, John-Michael Liles actually had a lot to contribute, before missing the last game of the regular season due to injury.

Liles floats around 20 points a season as one of those sturdy top-6, bottom pair, defensemen, that can play top-4 minutes when you need someone to step up. In 2010-2011 with the Colorado Avalanche, Liles had 6-40-46 totals in 76 games played. Likewise, his career best 14-35-49 totals in 82 games came back on a very different looking Avalanche roster of the 2005-2006 season. Liles was also a lot fresher then and highly underrated. But nowadays, he’s that quality veteran defensive voice on your roster that absolutely still has a place in this league for a few more years.

D Zach Trotman (2-5-7 totals with the Boston Bruins)- $625,000 cap hit, 25 years old

If you’re willing to take a risk on any pending-UFA defensemen and you don’t get one of the highly coveted players already mentioned, why not take a risk on young Zach Trotman? It’s perplexing when one analyzes Boston’s depth chart and their use of Trotman as to why they are not giving him at least one more year, but maybe he’s the next Matt Hunwick.

Disregarded as a potential top-4 defenseman, Hunwick and Trotman have a lot in common. They weren’t utilized properly. Hunwick’s now found his stride, albeit older and as a top-6/depth defenseman with the Maple Leafs, while Trotman has the chance to double his career totals, if only someone would let him play more than the 38 games he played this season. Perhaps the last pick of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft could be more valued than the top six picks of that draft year? Only time will tell, but one thing remains for sure, all six of those guys got traded.

March 14 – Day 151 – Panthers in Brooklyn

It was a back-and-forth game between the Penguins and Rangers, but a two goal third period helped Pittsburgh prevail 5-3 in yesterday’s Game of the Day.

The Pens‘ first goal came as a result of a J.T. Miller holding penalty at the 11:18 mark, as Patric Hornqvist scored 38 seconds later, assisted by Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang.  But, the Rangers would enter the intermission tied as Chris Kreider’s tip-in at the 18:06 mark, assisted by Second Star of the Game Derek Stepan (his 21st helper of the season) and Kevin Klein, set the score at one-all.

7:30 after resuming play, First Star Conor Sheary tipped-in Justin Schultz’ initial shot, giving him his ninth helper of the season, to give the Pens a 2-1 lead that lasted only 1:29 before Derick Brassard leveled the game yet again, assisted by Keith Yandle (his 35th helper of the season) and Stepan.  Pittsburgh earned their third lead of the afternoon with Sheary’s second goal of the period, and fifth of the season, at the 15:55 mark, assisted by Tom Kuhnhackl and Eric Fehr.  That lead held into the second intermission.

For the third time in the game, the Blueshirts scored a leveler, this time by Ryan McDonagh, who was assisted by Jesper Fast and Miller (his 18th helper of the season) at the 5:04 mark of the third period.  Pittsburgh‘s game-winner found the back of the net with 8:51 remaining in regulation, scored by Third Star Matt Cullen, who was assisted by Dominik Simon and Brian Dumoulin (his 15th helper of the season).  Crosby provided the lone insurance goal on an empty net (his 29th tally of the season) with only 39 seconds remaining, assisted by Kuhnhackl and Bryan Rust.

Marc-Andre Fleury earns the win after saving 24 of 27 shots faced (88.9%), while Henrik Lundqvist takes the loss, saving 28 of 32 (87.5%).

With the second straight road victory, the DtFR Game of the Day series now stands at 66-39-16, still favoring the home sides by 26 points over the roadies.

We’ve got six games to watch this evening, so get excited!  The action starts at 7 p.m. eastern with Florida visiting the New York Islanders, followed an hour later by Los Angeles at Chicago.  9 p.m. eastern brings with it two games (St. Louis at Calgary and Nashville at Edmonton), and this evening’s co-nightcaps trail an hour later (Winnipeg at Vancouver and New Jersey at Anaheim).

None of tonight’s games are between division rivals, but two are between teams currently qualifying for the playoffs (Florida at New York and Los Angeles at Chicago).

Although this evening will be Kyle Palmieri’s first visit back to Anaheim since since being traded to New Jersey this off-season, the most important game this evening is between the Florida Panthers and the New York Islanders.

Unknown-2New York Islanders Logo





Tonight’s game will be Florida‘s eighth in the Game of the Day series, where they own a 4-2-1 record.  Their most recent featured game was their 5-4 overtime loss on home ice to the Bruins exactly a week ago.  New York has been featured five times before tonight’s game, and own a 1-3-1 record in such contests, with their most recent occurring February 18, a 3-2 overtime loss on home ice to the Capitals.

The 38-21-9 Florida Panthers currently occupy second place in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference.  To get to that position, they’ve played the sixth best defense, paired with the eighth best offense, making them a formidable foe.

Led by Dmitry Kulikov’s 100 blocks, the Panthers have allowed only 1999 shots to reach 29-16-6 Roberto Luongo and co., of which they’ve saved a solid 92.1% for only 167 goals against, the sixth fewest in the league.  Although a step back for the Panthers, the penalty kill still ranks on the better side of the league average, as they neutralize 81.5% of their infractions for 42 power play goals against, the 12th best rate in the NHL.

The offense is only a step behind, as although they’ve fired only 1926 shots, a cool 9.6% have found the back of the net for 192 goals, the eighth most in the league.  The biggest hole for Florida has been their power play, which seems to be a trend for teams from the Sunshine State.  The Panthers have capitalized on only 16.67% of opportunities for 39 power play goals (led by Aleksander Barkov’s nine extra man tallies), the sixth worst rate in the NHL.

Florida is currently riding a two game winning streak, with their most recent being their 5-4 shootout victory over the Flyers on Saturday.  Should they keep their winning ways going tonight, or even if they lose in overtime, they will succeed Boston for the Atlantic Division lead, but a regulation loss would cause the Panthers to fall into third in the division to their in-state rivals.

The 37-21-8 New York Islanders currently occupy third in the Metropolitan Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference.  They’ve gotten to that position by playing the fifth best defense, paired with the ninth best offense.

Even with injured Calvin de Haan’s 145 blocks, the Isles have allowed 1993 shots to reach 18-7-4 Thomas Greiss and co., of which they’ve saved a great 92.3% for only 166 goals against, the fifth fewest in the league.  That defense has been partially led by an incredible penalty kill that ranks third best in the league, neutralizing 85.42% of opposing opportunities for only 28 power play goals against (13 fewer than the league average).  Further improving on that stat, New York has also scored six shorthanded goals, one more than the league average.

Just like the Panthers, New York‘s offense is only a step behind.  Led by John Tavares’ 207 shots, the Islanders have fired the puck 1991 times, with 9.3% finding the back of the net for 190 goals (led by Tavares’ 26 tallies, the ninth most in the league.  New York‘s power play has also been decent, successful on 20% of attempts for 38 power play goals, the 11th best rate in the NHL.

New York is currently riding a two game losing skid, with their most recent being a 3-1 loss in Boston on Saturday.  A win tonight is important for the Isles, as it would not only pull them within a point of their crosstown rivals in second place, but it would also extend their lead over Pittsburgh to two points for third.

Florida has already won the season series 2-0-0, but would like to earn the sweep with a win this evening.  Their most recent meeting was December 15, a 5-1 Panthers victory in New York.

Some players to keep an eye on in tonight’s game include Florida‘s Brian Campbell (+22 [tied for eighth best in the league]) and Luongo (four shutouts [tied for fifth most in the league] and 29 wins [tied for sixth most in the league]) & New York‘s Greiss (.928 save percentage [tied for second best in the league] and 2.26 GAA [eighth best in the league]).

Florida may have had the upper hand so far this season over the Islanders, but I’m feeling a New York winner this evening.  Although the power play isn’t necessarily important to the Panthers‘ success, I think New York‘s ability to quickly neutralize any threat could lead to some excitement, maybe even a shorty.

March 7 – Day 144 – Another potential Atlantic playoff pairing?

Although Minnesota put up quite the fight in the third period, St. Louis was able to hold on for the 4-2 win in yesterday’s Game of the Day.

The Blues notched their first goal only 7:44 into the game, courtesy of a Third Star of the Game Jori Lehtera slap shot, his eighth tally of the season.  The Blues doubled their lead only 1:53 later with a snap shot from Ryan Reaves, assisted by Kyle Brodziak and Jay Bouwmeester (his 14th helper of the season).  St. Louis would hold their 2-0 lead through the remainder of the period and into the intermission.

The goal that came to be the game winner found the back of the net only 21 seconds after the midway point of the game, scored by Patrik Berglund, assisted by David Backes (his 20th helper of the season).  That was the only score of the third, so the Blues‘ 3-0 lead held to the second intermission.

Minnesota began staging their comeback at the 11:02 mark of the final period courtesy of a Second Star Ryan Suter backhander, assisted by Zach Parise (his 22nd helper of the season).  Only 3:38 later, Matt Dumba cut the Blues’ lead to only a score on a backhander, assisted by Charlie Coyle and Mikko Koivu (his 31st helper of the season).  But, it was the Blues with the final goal, as Robby Fabbri fired a wrister at an empty net, assisted by Kevin Shattenkirk (his 24th helper of the season) to set the score at the 4-2 final.

First Star Jake Allen earns the win after saving 30 of 32 (93.8%), while Devan Dubnyk takes the loss, saving 13 of 16 (81.3%).  He was replaced after Berglund’s goal by Darcy Kuemper, who saved all 18 shots he faced for no decision.

The DtFR Game of the Day series now stands at 64-37-13, favoring the home sides by 30 points over the roadies.

This Monday’s schedule is a decent one, with seven games taking place.  The action gets started at the usual 7 p.m. eastern starting time with Tampa Bay visiting Philadelphia, followed half an hour later by two games (Buffalo at Toronto and Boston at Florida).  The next couple of games don’t drop the puck until 9 p.m. eastern (Arizona at Colorado [NBCSN] and San Jose at Calgary), trailed an hour later by Washington at Anaheim.  Finally, this evening’s nightcap, Vancouver at Los Angeles, gets started at 10:30 p.m. eastern.

Over half of this evening’s games are divisional rivalries (Buffalo at Toronto, Boston at Florida, San Jose at Calgary and Vancouver at Los Angeles), and two games will be contested between squads currently qualifying for the playoffs (Boston at Florida and Washington at Anaheim).

Although Alex Tanguay is making his first return to the Pepsi Center since being traded to Arizona at the deadline, the game that attracts my attention is the BostonFlorida game, as it is currently an Eastern Conference Quarterfinal matchup.






Tonight’s game will be Boston‘s 15th in the DtFR Game of the Day series, where they own a 5-8-1 record, with their most recent being a 4-1 loss to the Lightning on February 28.  Florida has been featured only six times before tonight’s game, and own a 4-2-0 record in such games.  Their most recent showing in the series was almost exactly a month ago, a three-goal shutout loss in Detroit on February 8.

The 36-23-7 Boston Bruins currently sit in third place in the Atlantic Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference.  To get to that position, they’ve played one of the strongest offenses in the game, but the defense ranks 12th worst.

Led by Patrice Bergeron’s 222 shots, the Bruins have fired the puck a solid 2070 times, with an even better 9.6% finding the back of the net for 202 goals (led by Brad Marchand’s 33 tallies), third most in the league.  Part of the reason for that success can certainly be attributed to the power play, as their 21.13% success rate, good for 41 power play goals (led by Bergeron’s 10 extra man tallies), ranks eighth best in the NHL.

It has been the defense that has been the issue for the Bruins this year.  Even with Kevan Miller’s 103 blocks, Boston has allowed 2016 shots to reach 26-18-6 Tuukka Rask and co., of which they’ve collectively saved 91.6% for 180 goals against, 12th most in the league.  That being said, the Bruins still host the 10th best penalty kill in the league, defending 82.19% of their infractions for 39 power play goals against.  Further improving that rate, the penalty kill is also responsible for eight shorthanded goals, led by Marchand’s four.

Boston‘s last game was a 2-1 overtime loss to the Capitals on Saturday.  With a win tonight, Boston would advance past Florida for the second seed in the Atlantic Division, important for home ice in at least the first round.  They could also be only one point behind Tampa Bay for the division lead, should the Bolts fall to the Flyers.

The 36-21-8 Florida Panthers currently occupy second place in the Atlantic Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference.  The name of the game in Sunrise has been their sixth best defense, paired with the 13th best offense.

Led by Dmitry Kulikov’s 95 blocks, the Panthers have allowed only 1913 shots to reach 27-16-6 Roberto Luongo and co., of which they’ve collectively saved 92.4% for only 156 goals against, the sixth fewest in the league.  Probably the biggest chink in their armor has been the penalty kill, but that still ranks 10th best in the NHL.  Florida neutralizes 81.19% of opposing power plays for 41 extra man tallies against.

Led by Vincent Trocheck’s 145 shot attempts, Florida has fired the puck only 1815 times, but 9.4% have found the back of the net for 177 goals, 13th most in the league.  This attack is peculiar in that the power play is not an integral part, as Florida‘s 16.44% success rate, good for 37 goals (led by Aleksander Barkov’s eight power play goals), ranks fourth worst in the NHL.

Florida is currently riding a two game losing skid, with their most recent being a 5-1 loss in Arizona on Saturday.  Since the beginning of February, the Panthers have gone 7-6-3, a far cry from their December and January dominance.  Because of this, they have ceded the division lead to the arch-rival Lightning, and run the risk of losing second place with a loss tonight.

Boston currently leads the season series 2-0-0, with their most recent meeting occurring December 12 in Boston, a 3-1 win for the home side.

Some players to keep an eye on in tonight’s game include Boston‘s Marchand (33 goals [third most in the league] and +20 [10th best in the league]) and Rask (four shutouts [tied for fifth most in the league]) & Florida‘s Brian Campbell (+22 [tied for eighth best in the league]) and Luongo (four shutouts [tied for fifth most in the league], .924 save percentage [tied for sixth best in the league] and 27 wins [tied for seventh most in the league]).

I’m always a fan of an underdog, or undercat in Florida‘s case, as they are rarely thought of as a successful club, but I’m worried the Original Six franchise might get the win this evening.  They have the win streak and the season series in their back pocket.  Florida is certainly capable, but I think it will be a Bruins winner.