Nick and Connor breakdown the St. Louis Blues (#SchennZen), Brian Boyle’s success, the Disney deal with 21st Century Fox and preview the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Another Tuesday, another day to catch our collective breaths, as the NHL has scheduled only three games today before leaving only St. Louis off the schedule tomorrow.
As it usually does on a weeknight, tonight’s action finds its start at 7 p.m. with Vancouver at Philadelphia, followed an hour later by Edmonton at St. Louis (NBCSN) and Montréal at Dallas (RDS/TSN2) at 8:30 p.m. All times Eastern.
The best part is, I can almost come up with a reason for all three of these games to be tonight’s featured contest, as there’s a story in each matchup.
- Vancouver at Philadelphia: Hey Flyers fans, remember D Michael del Zotto? He’s back on Broad Street tonight with his new team.
- Edmonton at St. Louis: I could try to sell the return of F Brad Malone and RW Ty Rattie to St. Louis, but Malone never got called up from Chicago to the Blues and Rattie has yet to don an Oilers sweater.
- Montréal at Dallas: Welcome back to D-Town D Jordie Benn!
Considering Benn’s six years spent in Texas are three more than del Zotto’s tenure in Pennsylvania, it looks like we’re headed to the Lone Star State.
You know how
sometimes oftentimes you have to know somebody already working for the company you want to work for? Welcome to the life Benn, whose career is truly a testament to the positive effect of networking and a strong work ethic.
Usually, a North American NHL player finds his way into the league via the Entry Draft after a strong career at the major junior level or in the NCAA. Sometimes they have to serve some time in the AHL, but eventually, those with a strong hockey resume eventually get a shot in the senior league.
While that may be typical for stars, there’s others, like Benn, that go the unconventional route of going undrafted. Of course, he didn’t do himself any favors by playing in the Junior A British Columbia Hockey League, one level below the three Major Junior leagues of the CHL. Forgoing the opportunity to play college hockey (he at one point signed a letter of intent to attend Alaska-Fairbanks) Benn played four seasons in Victoria and amassed 24-90-114 totals, but it wasn’t enough to be drafted by any NHL clubs.
Many would have given up. Few would have given Benn a hard time if he decided to find a non-hockey related player job. But, he still had a trick up his sleeve: little brother F Jamie Benn.
Ja. Benn was drafted by the Stars during the 2007 NHL Entry Draft in the summer preceding Jo. Benn’s last season as a junior. Using their incredible networking skills, the Benn Bros. (the humor should not be lost that one Benn wears green and the other red) convinced Dallas management to give the defenseman a chance to progress through their system.
Thus, Jo. Benn began his professional hockey career in the 2008-’09 season with the Victoria Salmon Kings in the ECHL, and eventually earned his way onto the Texas Stars’ AHL roster for the entire 2010-’11 season.
Though the defenseman earned his first NHL playing time in 2011-’12 season, he played his rookie season in the league a season later by playing 26 games with Dallas to complete his quest from Junior A hockey and the ECHL to the greatest hockey league on the planet.
Since earning a regular position with Dallas during the 2013-’14 season, Jo. Benn has never looked back. Tonight will be his 307th consecutive game in the NHL without stepping foot in an AHL arena, though this is his first at American Airlines Center since being traded to the Habs at the deadline last season.
The way things have gone this season, I’d guess Jo. Benn would prefer to still be playing with the Stars, because Montréal has struggled to an 8-11-2 record that is third-worst in both the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference.
Nothing epitomizes the Canadiens’ season like their last performance: receiving a 6-0 thrashing by Toronto 6-0 for their second-consecutive regulation loss. That game perfectly exemplified Montréal’s second-worst offense and third-worst defense (measured by goals-per-game).
This team is an absolute nightmare and is fortunate to not be even worse in the standings. RW Brendan Gallagher is having the best offensive production of anyone on the team with his 8-5-13 totals. Those numbers are decent for a third-liner like himself, but the fact that he leads the club’s attack as a player that doesn’t even crack the list of top-50 scorers in the league is a major problem.
Of course, Montréal isn’t helped much by having its top-two goaltenders on injured reserve – which has necessitated claiming 0-4-0 G Antti Niemi off waivers. Fortunately, 3-7-1 G Carey Price seems to be very close to returning to the ice, but it is probably too late for him to salvage the season.
All things considered, 3-3-1 G Charlie Lindgren has filled in for Price remarkably well, and he’ll hope to put his last two games, allowing 10 goals on a .831 save percentage, behind him. At the young age of 24-years-old, he’s managed a solid .923 season save percentage, but his defense hasn’t helped him very much. He’s already faced 222 shots this season (31.7 per start), and as a result he has to bear the burden of a 2.49 GAA.
Meanwhile, things aren’t exactly peachy for 10-9-1 Dallas either, as it currently sits in 11th place in the Western Conference. Expectations were high for this club given its additions, but the offense still has yet to find a true rhythm, as it averages only 2.9 goals-per-game, the (t)13th-fewest in the NHL.
Of course, that’s no fault of Ja. Benn, who has proven time and time again that he should have been drafted way before the fifth round. He’s already managed 11-10-21 totals on the Stars’ top line with the help of former Canadien RW Alexander Radulov (7-12-19), and is backed by F Tyler Seguin (8-10-18) on the second team. The Stars also have a potent weapon in D John Klingberg, who has managed 4-15-19 totals, including eight power play points to tie Ja. Benn and Radulov in the statistic, from the blue line.
Of course, it’s hard to get too hard on Dallas’ offense after it’s last showing. Against Edmonton Saturday, the Stars scored a whopping six goals – their highest total of any game all season. Given, it was against less-than superior Oilers defense, but any positive momentum is a step in the right direction for the Stars to get back in the running for a top-three spot in the Central Division.
Picking this game is easy, especially if Lindgren continues his performance from his past two games. I expect the Stars’ offense to take advantage and continue to trend in the right direction with a third-straight win tonight.
After a nine-round shootout, the Anaheim Ducks were able to beat the San Jose Sharks 3-2 at the SAP Center in yesterday’s DtFR Game of the Day.
San Jose scored a goal apiece in the odd-numbered periods, while the Ducks registered both their regulation tallies in the middle frame. First Star of the Game W Joonas Donskoi (F Logan Couture) gave the Sharks an early one-goal lead 3:31 into the game, and that advantage lasted until the 45 second mark of the second frame when W Corey Perry (D Brandon Montour and F Rickard Rakell) leveled the game with a wrist shot.
This time it was Anaheim’s turn to take a lead, and it did with 8:21 remaining in the second frame when Rakell (Perry and Montour) buried a wrister that was not answered until Donskoi (F Tomas Hertl and F Daniel O’Regan) potted a power play backhanded shot at the 8:19 mark of the final frame.
Since Donskoi couldn’t complete his hat trick with an overtime winner, this game truly began by reaching the shutout.
- With the Sharks playing at home, they decided to take the first attempt at the shootout and sent Couture onto the ice. His shot was saved by Second Star G Reto Berra.
- Perry took advantage of the opportunity and scored on Third Star G Martin Jones, earning a break point in the shootout.
- Next up for San Jose was F Joe Pavelski, who blatantly missed the net.
- Though his shot was on target, Jones saved Rakell’s backhanded offering to keep the shootout score at 1-0 through two rounds.
- Why Head Coach Peter DeBoer waited to deploy Donskoi, I don’t know. Regardless, the best goalscorer of the night found the back of the net again to keep the Sharks alive in the shootout.
- With an opportunity to end the shootout with a goal, W Jakob Silfverberg could not get the job done with his snap shot attempt. Jones made the save necessary to force a sudden death shootout that proved to be far from sudden.
- Even though he’s still looking for his first true goal of the year, D Brent Burns finally found the back of the net for the first time this season to give the Sharks a 2-1 advantage in the shootout and force a miss-and-lose situation for the Ducks.
- As luck would have it, D Cam Fowler was just the man for Head Coach Randy Carlyle‘s bunch to keep this game going. He ripped a shot past Jones to level the shootout at two-all.
- W Kevin Labanc did not live up to his name in his second shootout attempt of the season. Instead, his wrister was saved by Berra.
- Similarly, F Kevin Roy‘s backhander met the same fate at the hands of Jones.
- Hey, look at that! A shootout goal from D Tim Heed to give the Sharks another shot at victory.
- That is, only if Jones could stop Montour. Since he couldn’t, Anaheim tied the shootout at three-all to keep the action rolling.
- O’Regan’s wrister was saved.
- As was RW Logan Shaw‘s snapper.
- Make it three saves in a row, thanks to Berra stopping C Chris Tierney‘s wrister.
- D Josh Manson‘s shot didn’t need a save, because he straight missed the net.
- Like the last two shooters, Hertl’s backhanded offering was stopped by Berra.
- F Antoine Vermette apparently grew tired of all this shootout nonsense, as he scored the game-winning goal to earn the Ducks the bonus point.
Berra earned the victory after saving 40-of-42 shots faced (.952 save percentage), leaving the shootout loss to Jones, who saved 28-of-30 (.933).
Anaheim’s road victory snapped a three-game winning streak by home teams in the DtFR Game of the Day series, but the 26-17-6 hosts still hold a nine-point advantage over the roadies.
St. Louis Blues
46-29-7, 99 points, third in the Central Division
Eliminated in the Second Round by Nashville
Subtractions: LW Kenny Agostino (signed with BOS), C Jori Lehtera (traded to PHI), W David Perron (drafted by VGK), RW Ty Rattie (signed with EDM), RW Ryan Reaves (traded to PIT), W Nail Yakupov (signed with COL)
Offseason Analysis: The Blues’ biggest struggle last season was finding offensive production from someone not named Vladimir Tarasenko, the right wing that led his team with 75 points – 20 more than second-best F Jaden Schwartz.
Enter Flyer-turned-Note Schenn.
The fifth-overall pick in the 2009 Entry Draft has improved almost every season of his career. Starting with his rookie campaign in 2011-’12, Schenn has averaged .58 points-per-game, including .72 points-per-game for the past two seasons even though he played for the ninth-worst offense in the NHL during that time.
For those wanting more moves, you’ll have your wish next offseason when eight NHL contracts will expire. Until then, St. Louis is putting almost the exact same product on the ice as it did at last season’s end. Since that’s the case, the Blues’ goal of a seventh-straight playoff appearance will require a return to form from a few offensive pieces that had down years last season – particularly C Paul Stastny (18-22-40 totals), who has yet to match his career .8 points-per-game in a Blues sweater.
Of course, the main reason Stastny struggled to post numbers similar to his 10-39-49 totals from 2015-’16 was a lower-body injury suffered in March that forced him out of action for the last 10 games of the regular season and most of the Minnesota series. And he wasn’t the only one to face extended time off the ice, as a February ACL injury landed F Robby Fabbri on injured reserve. It was a disappointing halt to an excellent season for Fabbri, who had posted 11-18-29 totals in 51 games before going down.
Of course, it is these injuries that provided 21-year-old Ivan Barbashev his opportunity to explode onto the scene. In only 30 games, Barbashev was able to notch 12 points and helped the Blues close the season on a 12-2-2 run. It seems a safe assumption that he’s earned his way onto the Blues’ starting roster – at least until December when Patrik Berglund should return from his shoulder surgery.
Another task facing the Blues is identifying their new two-way defenseman, a role Kevin Shattenkirk filled for the past seven seasons. In the 20 regular season games following Shattenkirk’s trade to Washington, Captain Alex Pietrangelo more than stepped into that role by notching 5-13-18 totals for .9 points-per-game, far superior to the .5 points-per-game rate he managed in his opening 60 games.
With four assists in 11 playoff contests, Pietrangelo didn’t necessarily disappear from the scoresheet during the postseason, but his offensive contributions from the blue line were dwarfed by those of Joel Edmundson (3-3-6 totals) and Colton Parayko (2-3-5 totals). Drafted in 2012, 24-year-old Parayko has long been tapped as Shattenkirk’s replacement – especially given that he’s posted two consecutive 33+ point NHL seasons – but the Blues are cautiously hoping last April was Edmundson’s (another 24-year-old) coming-out party.
Will that dream pan out? Probably not. Edmundson has only managed 31 total points in two years of regular and postseason NHL play. But, if it somehow proves to be true, it will be hard to argue that St. Louis’ Edmundson (who’s playing for a contract this year, by the way), Parayko and Pietrangelo form one of the most dynamic defensive corps in the league.
Another interesting transition for this club is employing Thorburn as their new enforcer. For seven seasons, Reaves was charged with protecting the likes of Pietrangelo, Alex Steen and Tarasenko, but he’s looking after Pittsburgh’s stars now. With the likes of Duncan Keith still roaming the division, Thorburn – himself a four-year Central veteran – will need to assert himself early to protect St. Louis’ elite players.
Offseason Grade: B-
For the room it had on its roster (read: not much), St. Louis made a great addition in Schenn that should make a noticeable improvement on the offensive end.
But are the Blues a playoff team? I feel pretty confident saying they are. Do they make it to the Western Finals for the second time in three years or – God save me – qualify for the Stanley Cup Finals? Many of the pieces are still there, but there are more than a few talented teams in the mix. Then again, this team has proven in the past that when it’s hot, it’s en fuego. If the Notes are riding one of those highs in April, there’s no telling how far they could go.
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.
The Toronto Maple Leafs re-signed G Garret Sparks to a 2-year, $1.300 million ($650,000 cap hit) contract and G Curtis McElhinney to a 2-year, $1.7000 million ($850,000 cap hit) contract extension.
D Oleg Sosunov signed a 3-year entry level contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
F Garrett Wilson signed a 2-year, two-way, contract extension worth $650,000 AAV at the NHL level with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
D Alex Petrovic signed a 1-year extension with the Florida Panthers.
F Sam Gagner agreed to terms with the Vancouver Canucks on a 3-year contract worth $9.450 million ($3.150 million cap hit).
D Michael Del Zotto signed a 2-year deal, worth $3.000 million AAV with the Vancouver Canucks.
Vancouver signed G Anders Nilsson to a 2-year contract worth $5.000 million ($2.500 million cap hit).
G Steve Mason signed a 2-year deal worth $4.100 million AAV with the Winnipeg Jets.
D Dan Girardi agreed to terms with the Tampa Bay Lightning on a 2-year contract worth $3.000 million a year.
The Detroit Red Wings and D Trevor Daley have agreed on a 3-year contract worth $3.178 million per year.
G Brian Elliott agreed to terms with the Philadelphia Flyer on a 2-year, $5.500 million ($2.750 million per year) contract.
The Buffalo Sabres signed G Chad Johnson to a 1-year, $2.500 million deal.
F Patrick Sharp signed a 1-year, $1.000 million deal with the Chicago Blackhawks.
G Jonathan Bernier signed a 1-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche worth $2.750 million.
F Evgeny Dadonov signed a 3-year contract with the Florida Panthers.
Florida also signed F Michael Haley to a 2-year contract.
G Ondrej Pavelec signed a 1-year, $1.300 million contract with the New York Rangers,
G Ryan Miller agreed to terms with the Anaheim Ducks on a 2-year contract worth $4.000 million ($2.000 million AAV).
The Dallas Stars reached a 3-year, $14.250 million contract agreement with F Martin Hanzal. The deal carries a $4.750 million cap hit.
D Karl Alzner signed a 5-year, $23.125 milion ($4.625 cap hit) contract with the Montreal Canadiens.
F Nick Bonino agreed to terms with the Nashville Predators on a 4-year contract worth $4.100 per year.
F Nate Thompson and the Ottawa Senators agreed to a 2-year contract worth $1.650 million AAV.
D Ron Hainsey signed a 2-year contract, worth $3.000 million AAV, with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Winnipeg Jets signed D Dmitry Kulikov to a 3-year contract worth $4.330 million AAV.
G Harri Sateri signed a contract with the Florida Panthers.
D Matt Hunwick signed a 3-year, $6.750 million ($2.250 cap hit) contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
F Brian Boyle and the New Jersey Devils agreed to a 2-year contract worth $2.550 million per year.
D Benoit Pouliot signed a 1-year, $1.150 million contract with the Buffalo Sabres.
G Antti Niemi agreed to a 1-year, $700,000 contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
F Justin Williams signed a 2-year, $9.000 million contract with the Carolina Hurricanes. Williams will carry a cap hit of $4.500 million.
F Tommy Wingels signed a 1-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Carolina Hurricanes signed F Josh Jooris to a 1-year, $775,000 contract.
G Jean-Francois Berube and D Jordan Oesterle signed 2-year contracts with the Chicago Blackhawks.
F Tyler Pitlick signed a 3-year, $3.000 million ($1.000 million cap hit) deal with the Dallas Stars.
F Peter Holland ($675,000 AAV) and F Byron Froese ($650,000 AAV) signed 2-year contracts with the Montreal Canadiens.
D Adam Clendening signed a 1-year, $650,000 contract with the Arizona Coyotes.
D Ryan Murphy signed a 1-year, $700,000 contract with the Minnesota Wild.
F Mike Cammalleri signed a 1-year, $1.000 million deal with the Los Angeles Kings.
The Washington Capitals officially re-signed RFA F Brett Connolly to a 2-year contract worth $3.000 million ($1.500 million cap hit).
D Patrick Wiercioch signed a 1-year, $650,000 contract with the Vancouver Canucks.
D Paul Postma signed a 1-year, $725,000 contract with the Boston Bruins.
F Kenny Agostino signed a 1-year, $875,000 contract with the Boston Bruins.
F Landon Ferraro and F Cal O’Reilly agreed to 2-year, two-way, contracts with the Minnesota Wild. Ferraro and O’Reilly will earn $700,000 at the NHL level, $375,000 with the Iowa Wild in the AHL.
G Jeremy Smith signed a 1-year, two-way, contract worth $750,000 at the NHL level with the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Nashville Predators signed F Scott Hartnell to a 1-year, $1.000 million deal.
G Michael Leighton signed a 1-year, two-way contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
G Anders Lindback signed a 1-year, two-way contract worth $650,000 at the NHL level with the Nashville Predators. Lindback will earn $100,000 in the AHL.
G Cal Petersen signed a 2-year entry level contract with the Los Angeles Kings.
Los Angeles also signed D Christian Folin to a 1-year, $850,000 deal and agreed to terms with D Stepan Falkovsky on a 3-year entry level contract.
F Chris Thorburn signed a 2-year, $1.800 million contract ($900,000 cap hit) with the St. Louis Blues.
F Alexander Burmistrov signed a 1-year, $900,000 contract with the Vancouver Canucks.
D Alex Grant signed a 1-year, two-way contract worth $700,000 with the Minnesota Wild.
The Dallas Stars re-signed D Patrik Nemeth to a 1-year, $945,000 contract.
F Brian Flynn signed a 1-year contract worth $700,000 with the Dallas Stars.
D Luke Witkowski signed a 1-year, $750,000 deal with the Detroit Red Wings.
F Lance Bouma signed a 1-year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks.
The St. Louis Blues re-signed RFA F Oskar Sundqvist on a 1-year, $650,000 contract.
F Beau Bennett signed a 1-year, $650,000 contract with the St. Louis Blues (and promptly updated his Twitter profile pic).
D Matt Tennyson signed a 2-year contract with the Buffalo Sabres.
F Anthony Peluso signed a 1-year, $650,000 deal with the Washington Capitals.
F Ty Rattie agreed to a 1-year, $700,000 contract with the Edmonton Oilers.
G Matt O’Connor signed a 1-year, $650,000 contract with the Nashville Predators.
F Derek Grant came to terms on a 1-year, $650,000 contract with the Anaheim Ducks.
The Winnipeg Jets signed F Michael Sgarbossa to a 1-year, $650,000 contract.
D Matt Taormina and the Montreal Canadiens agreed to terms on a 2-year contract.
F Seth Griffith signed a 1-year, $650,000 contract with the Buffalo Sabres.
The Carolina Hurricanes re-signed D Dennis Robertson to a 1-year, two-way contract. Robertson will earn $650,000 at the NHL level ($100,000 in the AHL). Additionally, the Hurricanes signed D Brenden Kichton to a 1-year, two-way deal, worth $700,000.
G Niklas Svedberg returned to the NHL on a 1-year contract, worth $700,000, with the Minnesota Wild.
F Tyler Randell signed a 1-year, $700,000 contract with the Ottawa Senators.
D Cameron Gaunce signed a 2-year deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
G Adam Wilcox signed a 1-year deal with the Buffalo Sabres.
D Kevin Shattenkirk signed a 4-year, $6.650 million AAV contract with the New York Rangers.
The Buffalo Sabres signed F Kevin Porter and F Kyle Criscuolo to 2-year, two-way contracts.
F Radim Vrbata signed a 1-year, $2.5 million deal with the Florida Panthers.
D Joe Morrow signed a 1-year deal worth $650,000 with the Montreal Canadiens.
F Joe Thornton re-signed with the San Jose Sharks, agreeing to a 1-year contract extension.
The Tampa Bay Lightning inked D Jamie McBain to a 1-year contract worth $650,000. Tampa also signed D Mat Bodie to a 1-year, two-way contract worth $650,000.
The Minnesota Wild signed F Kyle Rau to a 1-year, two-way contract worth $700,000 at the NHL level ($200,000 in the AHL) and agreed to terms on a 1-year, $1.250 million contract with D Kyle Quincey.
F Nick Cousins signed a 2-year contract extension with the Arizona Coyotes worth $2.000 million ($1.000 million AAV).
The New York Islanders signed D Seth Helgeson and D Kane Lafranchise to 1-year, two-way contracts.
F Dominic Moore signed a 1-year, $1.000 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Boston signed F Jordan Szwarz to a 1-year, two-way contract extension.
F Chris Kunitz signed a 1-year, $2.000 million contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
G Mike McKenna signed a 1-year, two-way contract with the Dallas Stars.
The Philadelphia Flyers re-signed F Mike Vecchione and F Corban Knight to 2-year contracts. Additionally, Philadelphia signed F Phil Varone to a 2-year deal.
F Max Reinhart signed a 1-year, $650,000 contract with the Ottawa Senators. Ottawa also signed F Ben Sexton to a 1-year, $725,000 deal.
D Erik Burgdoerfer signed a 2-year contract worth $650,000 AAV with the Ottawa Senators.
F Buddy Robinson signed a 1-year, $650,000 contract with the Winnipeg Jets.
G Danny Taylor signed a 1-year, $850,000 contract with the Ottawa Senators.
D Andre Benoit signed a 1-year contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
F Paul Carey agreed to terms with the New York Rangers on a 1-year, $650,000 contract.
The Calgary Flames signed F Marek Hrivik to a 1-year deal.
The Pittsburgh Penguins signed D Chris Summers, D Jarred Tinordi, D Zach Trotman and F Greg McKegg to two-way contracts worth $650,000 at the NHL level. Summers signed a 2-year deal, while Tinordi, Trotman and McKegg inked 1-year deals.
Pittsburgh also re-signed F Tom Sestito and D Frank Corrado to 1-year, two-way deals worth $650,000. The Penguins signed G Casey DeSmith to a 2-year, two-way contract, worth $650,000 AAV, marking the first time DeSmith has signed an NHL contract with the club (he had previously played for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on an AHL contract).
D Cameron Schilling reached a 1-year, two-way contract agreement with the Winnipeg Jets worth $650,000.
F Alex Gallant signed a 1-year, two-way contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
D Brent Regner signed a 1-year, two-way contract with the Dallas Stars.
The Toronto Maple Leafs signed F Colin Greening to a 1-year contract and F Chris Mueller and D Vincent LoVerde to 2-year contracts. Greening’s 1-year deal is worth $750,000 AAV, while Mueller’s 2-year deal carries a $650,000 AAV price tag and LoVerde will earn $725,000 AAV over his 2-year contract.
The New Jersey Devils signed F Brian Gibbons to a 1-year, two-way contract worth $650,000 at the NHL level and F Bracken Kearns to a 1-year, two-way contract worth $650,000 at the NHL level.
Arizona signed F Zac Rinaldo, F Michael Sislo, D Andrew Campbell and D Joel Hanley to 1-year, two-way contracts.
F Cole Schneider signed a 2-year contract worth $650,000 AAV with the New York Rangers.
The Edmonton Oilers signed F Mitch Callahan and D Ryan Stanton to 2-year contracts. Additionally, the Oilers reached agreements with F Grayson Downing, F Brian Ferlin, D Keegan Lowe and G Edward Pasquale on 1-year deals.
G Antoine Bibeau signed a 1-year, two-way contract with the San Jose Sharks.
The Colorado Avalanche signed F Andrew Agozzino and D David Warsofsky to 2-year contracts, as well as G Joe Cannata to a 1-year contract.
G Darcy Kuemper signed a 1-year, $650,000 contract with the Los Angeles Kings.
F Jacob Josefson signed a 1-year, $700,000 deal with the Buffalo Sabres.
The Vegas Golden Knights signed D Brad Hunt to a 2-year contract worth $650,000 AAV.
D Chris Casto signed a 1-year deal worth $650,000 at the NHL level with the Vegas Golden Knights.
G Maxime Lagace agreed to a 1-year deal worth $650,000 at the NHL level with the Vegas Golden Knights.
F Paul Thompson signed a 1-year contract with the Vegas Golden Knights worth $650,000 at the NHL level.
The Vegas Golden Knights and F Stefan Matteau agreed to a 1-year deal worth $650,000 at the NHL level.
F T.J. Tynan signed a 2-year contract worth $650,000 AAV at the NHL level with the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed D Justin Schultz to a 3-year, $16.500 million contract (worth $5.500 million AAV).
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:
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Something, something non-hockey sports reference. Who cares? There’s hockey on!
Well, we have to take that with a grain of salt. While it is true there’s hockey being played today, we only have three games on the schedule. The shotgun gets underway at noon with Los Angeles at Washington (NBC), followed an hour later by Edmonton at Montréal (RDS/SN). Finally, Calgary at the New York Rangers (SN360) clean things up at 2 p.m. All times eastern.
Three really good games today. The entire trio is being contested between teams currently qualifying for the playoffs. That being said, one still stands out above the rest.
Nothing says Super Bowl Sunday like the only game of the day between two Canadian teams.
The Oilers makes their lone trip of the season to Montréal with a 28-18-8 record, good enough for third place in the Pacific Division even though they’re currently on a three-game losing skid. The reason they’ve usually been able to find that success? It’s been their knockout offense, which has already buried 152 goals – the ninth-most in the NHL.
For those that haven’t heard: Captain Connor McDavid is a good hockey player. To prove that, we need only to look at his
team- league-leading 60 points, 13 more than Leon Draisaitl‘s. Opposing gaoltenders (in today’s case, Carey Price) shouldn’t look past Draisaitl though, as he has the team-lead with 20 tallies.
Playing host this evening are the 30-16-7 Canadiens, the best team in the Atlantic Division by a decent margin even though they’re riding a two-game losing skid. What’s really been impressive about the Habs so far this season has been their strong offense. It’s accounted for 157 tallies so far this season, the seventh-most in the NHL.
He’s not quite the scoring monster McDavid is, but Max Pacioretty is still pretty darn good. His 44 points are most on the team, as are his 25 goals.
Where the Habs have been truly deadly has been their power play. They find success on 22.8% of attempts, the third-best rate in the league. Pacioretty handles the even-strength work, but Shea Weber takes control command of the man-advantage. His 18 power play points are tops on the team and tied for ninth-most in the league. Even more impressive, especially for a blueliner, is the fact that 10 of those points have been goals, and that is once again the benchmark in Montréal – and tied for third in the league.
The glaring deficiency for the Canadiens continues to be their Swiss cheese-impersonating penalty kill. They’ve stopped only 79.1% of opposing power plays, the ninth-worst rate in the league. Montréalais looking to cast blame should not include Alexei Emelin or Weber in their scolding, as both share the clubhouse lead in shorthanded shot blocks with 27 apiece – tying for fourth in the league in the statistic.
Some players to keep an eye on this afternoon include Edmonton‘s McDavid (60 points on 42 assists [both lead the league]) and Cam Talbot (26 wins [tied for fourth-most in the NHL], including four shutouts [tied for fifth-most in the league) & Montréal‘s Pacioretty (25 goals [tied for third-most in the NHL]) and Price (23 wins [eighth-most in the league]).
If you like offense, you’ll enjoy this game. That being said, I pick Montréal to win today not just because they have home ice, but also because I trust Price more than Talbot to keep pucks out of the twine.
- Don Cherry (1934-) – More known for his coaching and announcing careers, Cherry did play defenseman for exactly one game in the NHL: a playoff game for Boston, the team he would also coach with much success for five seasons.
- Larry Hillman (1937-) – This blueliner was a longtime Maple Leaf, playing eight of his 19 NHL seasons in Toronto. By the time his career in the greatest hockey league in the world was through, he’d been named to five All-Star games and won four Stanley Cups.
- Richard Matvichuk (1973-) – 14 seasons the eighth-overall pick in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft by the North Stars played, spending most of his time in Dallas. Sticking with the club certainly payed off, as he was a member of the 1999 Stanley Cup-winning team.
- Tomas Kopecky (1982-) – This center was the 38th-overall pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft by Detroit, but he spent most of his NHL career in Florida. He’s only played for one other club in the league, and that’s where he hoisted his lone Stanley Cup: Chicago.
- Linus Omark (1987-) – Edmonton picked this left wing in the fourth round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, and that’s where he’s earned his most playing time in the senior league. Nowadays, he’s skating for Salavat Yulaev Ufa of the KHL.
- Ty Rattie (1993-) – The 32nd-overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft by St. Louis, this right wing could never bust into the Blues lineup. He was claimed off waivers during this season by Carolina, his current club.
For those that love high-scoring affairs, yesterday’s DtFR Game of the Day was for you. 11 goals were scored between the Maple Leafs and Bruins, with Toronto coming out on top 6-5 courtesy of Third Star of the Game James van Riemsdyk‘s late tally.
Everything got started with Second Star David Pastrnak‘s (Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara) wrister only 2:17 into the game to give the Bruins an early lead. It lasted until 8:45 remained in the frame when First Star William Nylander (Nazem Kadri and Auston Matthews) leveled the game at one-all, the score that held at the end of the period.
The second frame was absolutely nuts. Van Riemsdyk (Mitch Marner) buried his first goal of the night at the 8:31 mark, followed 38 seconds later by Goal #2 for Nylander. The rookie completed his hat trick (Connor Brown and Matthews) on the power play with 9:43 remaining in the second, setting the score at 4-1. The comeback was on for Boston, starting with Pastrnak’s (Bergeron and Chara) second tally of the night only 38 seconds after Nylander’s third, and Torey Krug (Pastrnak and Ryan Spooner) burying a power play goal with 4:07 remaining before intermission. Once the dust had settled and both teams were in their dressing rooms, the score read 4-3 in favor of the Leafs.
The comeback was completed with 9:54 remaining in regulation by Spooner’s (Chara and Dominic Moore) eighth tally of the season, but Brown (Zach Hyman and Matthews) gave the Maple Leafs a 5-4 lead only 5:09 later. The Bruins were able to find another equalizer with 2:54 remaining in regulation from Bergeron (Krug and Brad Marchand), but van Riemsdyk (Tyler Bozak and Marner) was undeterred. He buried his winning wrister with 96 seconds remaining on the clock to secure the Leafs‘ victory.
Frederik Andersen earns the victory even though he saved only 36-of-41 (87.8%), leaving the loss to Zane McIntyre, who saved 10-of-12 (83.3%). He replaced starter Tuukka Rask in the second period following Toronto‘s fourth goal (aka Nylander’s third) after Rask had saved only 10-of-14 (71.4%).
Coincidentally, the last two road teams to win when featured in the DtFR Game of the Day are Toronto and… Toronto. The Leafs snapped a five-game winning streak by the home teams in the series, pulling them within 10 points of the 59-36-16 hosts.
The day we’ve all been waiting for is finally upon us: Opening day of the NHL season. It’s time to see if *insert the name of your favorite team’s GM here* made any good decisions during the off-season, or if you’ll just spend the next seven months cursing at your television set.
Oh wait, you’ll be doing that even if your team is good? Carry on, then.
Just like last year’s opener, we’ve got four games on the docket. Some stats about them? Sure, I thought you’d never ask!
Two contests will occur in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, and the other two will be under the red and white maple leaf where many citizens of the first nation might be headed after November’s election. Similarly, no teams will be crossing any national borders, meaning that it will be American vs. American and Canadian vs. Canadian clubs. Each timezone will also be represented in this evening’s festivities, beginning in Eastern time and traveling across the map towards the Pacific.
Tonight will feature Toronto visiting Ottawa in the Battle of Ontario at 7 p.m. (SN and TVAS), followed an hour later by St. Louis at Chicago (NBCSN). 10 p.m. marks the puck drop of Calgary at Edmonton (SN and TVAS2), the first installment of the Battle of Alberta this year, followed half an hour later by Los Angeles at San Jose (NBCSN) to start this season’s Battle of California. All times eastern.
Which one to pick… which one to pick…
I know: all of them.
That’s right, each game is too special not to watch this evening, so we’re going to break tradition (does a series only in its second year have traditions?) and feature all four of tonight’s games. So without further to do, let’s get some quick previews in before you get watching.
This game is a special one not simply because of the rivalry that exists between these squads, but that it is also the first official game that the Leafs will be sporting their new logo as well as the first wearing of their road whites. As explained here, the level of symbolism in the new crest is pretty cool, including references to the 1931 opening of the Maple Leaf Gardens (hint: count the points of the leaf), the 1917 foundation of the franchise and their 13 Stanley Cup titles (hint: count the veins, and note a majority of their locations above the word mark).
Beyond that, this is also a rivalry game, and probably one of the four most circled dates on the Sens‘ calendar (the other three being the remainder of this series). Ottawa swept the season series last year and certainly has intentions of continuing that success after the summer break.
If you’re a little bit old-school and enjoy a good hockey scrap, this is probably your game this evening – this series leads the league in fights and penalty minutes.
This has been one of the best rivalries in recent years, and that has only intensified – twice – since the end of April, which witnessed St. Louis beating the Blackhawks in Game 7 to advance to the Western Semifinals, and eventually the Western Finals. Chicago will look to exact revenge against a Notes squad that ended their title defense earlier than they would have liked.
Further dirtying the waters, the Blues and Blackhawks played a preseason game only 11 days ago. My opinions on division rivals contesting exhibitions deserves another post, but the net result was a questionable blow from Niklas Hjalmarsson against Ty Rattie. The defenseman was suspended for the remainder of the preseason as well as tonight’s game for throwing a leaping shoulder at the right wing’s head. Although he was not injured, Rattie’s linemates were quick to converge on Hjalmarsson, and I fully expect there to be some carryover both tonight and November 9 after the defenseman returns.
The third of our four rivalries this evening, this edition of the Battle of Alberta is special in a similar way to the Battle of Ontario. This will be the first official game played in Rogers Place after 42 years at Rexall Place, and what better way to commemorate it than with naming Connor McDavid the youngest captain in NHL history.
And you thought Sidney Crosby was a baby-faced captain.
The Oil‘s new home, located almost dead-center in downtown Edmonton, increases their seating capacity by almost 2000 and moves them to the bottom of the list of oldest arenas – a list they ranked second in a year ago.
Speaking of new beginnings, the Oilers hope to continue rebuilding towards the days of old with this year’s first rounder, Jesse Puljujärvi. Perhaps this game will be a sampler of how Todd McLellan intends to use his offensive youngsters this season.
The final game of the night should be one of the better ones. The Battle of California has extended into the playoffs for three of the last four seasons, including San Jose advancing to the Western Semifinals, and eventually the Stanley Cup Finals, over the Kings in five games last season. This should be a fantastic game, one well worth staying awake for if you’re tuning in from the East Coast.
Best of luck to your team if they’re playing this evening. If not, we’ll see you tomorrow!
- Jaroslav Drobný (1921-2001) – Tennis aficionados are raising their eyebrows at this one. Drobný may be more commonly known for his three major titles (including two French Opens), but he was also a highly successful amateur hockey player. In 1947, he was a part of the Czechoslovakian team that took gold at the World Ice Hockey Championships, where he scored 15 goals in seven games, including a hat trick against the Stars and Stripes. He also helped Czechoslovakia to the silver medal in the Winter Olympics a year later, “falling” to Canada in a goalless championship game. He scored nine goals in eight games in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Drobný impressed the Boston Bruins in that tournament, and they offered him a $20,000 contract. If he hadn’t declined to focus on his tennis career, he would’ve been the first European to play in the NHL (instead, Swede Ulf Sterner takes that title, joining the Rangers 16 years later in 1965). He was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 1997.
- Denis Brodeur (1930-2013) – Father of Devils‘ legendary goaltender Martin Brodeur, Denis also knew his way around the crease. He was on the Canadian team that took bronze in the 1956 Winter Olympics at Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy.
- J.J. Daigneault (1965) – The defender made his NHL debut during the 1984-’85 season with Vancouver, but the 10-team journeyman will be most known for his days with the Canadiens. He played six seasons and seven games in Montréal, 39% of his 900 regular season-game career. He currently serves as an assistant coach with the Habs, a position he’s held since 2012.
- Dwayne Roloson (1969) – This goaltender made his NHL debut during the 1996-’97 season with the Calgary Flames. He played in 606 regular season games, most of which were with the Edmonton Oilers (193 games over four seasons).
- Mike Green (1985) – Although this is his second season in Detriot, this will be the defenseman’s 12th season in the league. Most of that time was spent in Washington, where he played in 575 regular season games and seven postseasons.
- Sean Monahan (1994) – Entering Year Four of his career, Monahan has gotten his start in Calgary. The sixth player selected in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, the center has appeared in 237 regular season games already and has 159 points his credit. Also, this kid is younger than me, so take that for what it’s worth.