NHL News & Notes to 04 March 2019

The Leafs are on their annual Western Canada road trip and won their first game Monday night in Calgary. A lot of people were expecting a close game between two good teams but the Leafs won easily 6-2. As a fan of both teams, it was a lot of fun to watch the game. There are a lot of Leafs fans here in Calgary and it will be the same on the teams next two stops, Wednesday night in Vancouver and Saturday night in Edmonton. Leafs forth line forward Tyler Ennis scored his first career hat trick against Calgary on Monday with his parents in the stands.

Here are some news & notes items from around the league.

League-related

  • Ottawa Senators,  the LeBreton Flats Project & finding an new Ottawa-based location for a new Senators arena
    • LeBreton Flats is an area in downtown Ottawa that runs along the Ottawa river and it’s where the Senators had hoped to build a new arena. It’s a $4.1 B project. John Ruddy, an Ottawa property developer who owns Ottawa-based Trinity Development Group, and Sens owner Eugene Melnyk were partnering in the project but seems the plans have fallen apart. A mediator, Warren Winkler, tried unsuccessfully to resolve the difference between the two sides. Senators owner Melnyk indicated his organization is going to start to look at alternate Ottawa locations to build a new hockey arena. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said he is aware of the recent developments and the league supports Melnyk’s efforts to find an alternate, Ottawa-based, location for a new Senators arena.
  • Commissioner Gary Bettman was in Raleigh, North Carolina last week visiting with the Hurricanes organization. I believe it was just a stop in to check how things are going and talk to owner Tom Dundon. It was one year this past January that Dundon bought the Hurricanes. The team would like to host an outdoor game and the commissioner indicated the soonest the organization may be able to is the 2020-21 season.
  • There is a NHL General Managers meeting this Tuesday and Wednesday, March 5 & 6, in Boca Raton, Florida. Some of the items that are supposedly on the agenda:
    • Seattle update
    • CBA talks update
    • General brainstorming / discussing possible rule adjustments such as:
      • In the standings, if teams have the same number of points, the current tie breaking rule is wins then OT wins breaks the tie. The GM’s are looking at making the tie breaker just regulation wins and tossing the OT wins from the equation.
      • In games when a major penalty is about to be called, the GM’s are going to discuss the possibly of allowing the refs to look at video review to help them get the call right. I heard Monday this is likely not to go forward as the GM don’t want to slow the games down any further.
      • When puck goes out of play in the offensive zone and does not go off an opposing player – crossbar as example – instead of the face-off coming outside the offensive zone, keep it in the offensive zone. This would lead to possibly more scoring chances.
      • Coaches challenge – there is a penalty for failed offside challenge after a goal but no penalty for failed goaltender interference after a goal. Discussion around if they want to have a 2 minute penalty for failed goaltender interference challenge after a goal. The GM’s will review the stats around these two situations which currently show that 24% of the time, the coaches get a goalie interference called that nullifies a just scored goal. With offside, the data shows the coaches have been right 75% of the time when challenging for offside (of course teams have coaches in the press box with access to video review for this).
      • Discussion around possibly having a one minute penalty in overtime instead of the 2 minutes.
  • Safety Summit
    • Representatives from Hockey Canada, USA Hockey, IHL, AHL & CHL are meeting in Boca Raton – but it’s not part of the GM meetings – to discuss how the game can be made safer for all. David Branch, president the Canadian Hockey League is one person known to be attending but I expect Tom Renney, CEO of Hockey Canada, would also be in attendance.

Coaching & GM’s

  • Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson is representing the team at this weeks GM meetings. I heard he wants to talk to people about his vacant GM posting. Some of the names being mentioned as people the Oilers want to interview include:
    • Vegas AGM Kelly McCrimmon
    • Ducks AGM Dave Nonis
    • Oilers acting GM Keith Gretzky
    • Hockey Canada’s Sean Burke
    • LA AGM Mike Futa
    • OHL London Knights GM Mark Hunter
  • With Kelly McCrimmon, Vegas GM George McPhee doesn’t want his AGM talking to other teams until Vegas’ season concludes. I am not sure whether the Oilers are willing to wait. McCrimmon is also reportedly at the top of the expansion Seattle franchise list of possible GM’s. Seattle is apparently looking to hire their first GM this summer which is two years before their first season.
  • Reports out of Detroit indicate the Red Wings will extend the contract of head coach Jeff Blashill. Blashill is in the final year of a 4 year deal. Although the team has missed the post-season 3 straight seasons, including this one, GM Ken Holland reportedly likes the development of the Red Wings key young players, namely Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou and Tyler Bertuzzi. Holland said Blashill has relied on their young talent in key situations and the players have responded and grown each season under Blashill. Holland additionally has said Blashill has improved in each of his first 4 season’s as an NHL head coach. No deal has been signed between Blashill and the Wings but it’s expected to happen at season’s end. GM Ken Holland has just next season left on his contract. Experts link Tampa Bay Lightning former GM & now Special Assistant Steve Yzerman to the Red Wings but it’s just speculation.
  • Jets head coach Paul Maurice has moved into 8th all-time in coaching wins with 685. Maurice is still young, 52, and has a chance to get to top 5 all-time in coaching wins if he continues to coach at the NHL level. He’s 95 wins from 5th place which is held by the late Al Arbour.
  • Islanders head coach Barry Trotz is one win away from being just the 4th person to win 800 games as an NHL head coach. Only Bowman (1244 wins), Quenneville (890) and Hitchcock (842) have more wins than Trotz. Many people expect Trotz to win the Jack Adams award as Coach of the Year. It would be his second Jack Adams. The Islanders went from giving up the most goals last season to the fewest this season and the team has already surpassed their point total from all of last season (80 points) with 20% of the season remaining.
  • In Ottawa, Marc Crawford takes over from fired Guy Boucher. Boucher had a 94-108-26 in 3 season’s and the team was one game from the Cup finals two seasons ago. Boucher was in the final season of this contract and apparently GM Dorion already made the decision to not bring him back next season. Crawford added former Sens player Chris Kelly to his coaching staff. Crawford had not been a head coach in the league since 2011 when he was head coach of the Dallas Stars but has 550 wins as an NHL head coach. Crow is 1-1 since replacing Boucher.
  • Last season there were no coaches fired during the season (Alain Vigneault was fired after the final Rangers game of the season). This season, we’ve seen the following coaches fired:
    • LA John Stevens
    • Chicago Joel Quenneville
    • St. Louis Mike Yeo
    • Oilers Todd McLellan
    • Flyers Dave Hakstol
    • Ducks Randy Carlyle
    • Sens Guy Boucher

Post Trade Deadline Scuttlebutt

  • The Red Wings tried to get both defenseman Nick Jensen and forward Gustav Nyquist signed to new contracts but were unable to. Nyquist waived his no trade clause to go to San Jose and Jensen went to Washington where he signed a 4 year, $10 M deal. Jensen is suppose to be good on the PK and that is part of the reason Washington traded for him. The Caps are currently 24th in the league on the PK at 78.5%.
  • Sabres forward Jeff Skinner did not move and was not expected to as he has a full no move clause in his contract. He is reportedly asking for $9 M / season on a long-term deal with the Sabres and wants to stay in Buffalo. He is a July 1, 2019 UFA. Skinner has 36 goals (5th most in the league) in 66 Sabres games played this season. Apparently, the Sabres don’t want to pay him the $9 M /season and are going wait to see what happens in the summer.
  • Mark Stone, also a pending UFA, reportedly verbally agreed to a 8 year deal at $9.5 M /season but nothing official has been announced. There is no state tax in Nevada so it’s a desirable location for the players. The Senators reportedly offered Stone $10.5 M /season on a 5 year deal but Stone did not want to stay with Ottawa. Vegas is 4-0 since the Stone trade. Stone is playing on Vegas’ second line with Max Pacioretty and Paul Stastny. The Panthers said they were close to getting Stone but Ottawa preferred the Vegas deal more.
  • Former Wild forward Mikael Granlund went to Nashville for Kevin Fiala. New Wild GM Paul Fenton knows Fiala well from being the AGM with Nashville where Fiala was drafted 11th overall in 2014. Fenton says Fiala has high end skill (he has 32 points on 10 goals in 67 games this season and is 22 years old). Mikael Granlund’s girlfriend went into labour on the day of the trade and the Preds gave him a few extra days to travel to Nashville. The Preds have the 31st ranked PP in the league and the team is hoping Granlund can spark both the PP and the team’s second line (Granlund-Turris-Jarnkrok). Granlund (49 points in 64 games) has one more year on his deal before he’s unrestricted.
  • The Flames were interesting in acquiring Jason Zucker from the Wild but apparently the deal fell through at the last minute. The return for the Wild was suppose to be a high draft pick and forward Michael Frolik. Flames GM Brad Treliving also inquired about Canucks defenseman Alex Edler but Edler was not willing to waive his no trade clause. The Flames were also in on Wayne Simmonds but Simmonds did not want to play in Calgary.
  • Dallas tried to add scoring help and traded for Mats Zuccerello but Zucc suffered a broken arm blocking a shot in his first Stars game. He required surgery and will be out 4-6 weeks. There is only 6 weeks left in the regular season. The Stars are holding onto the final wild card position in the West.
  • Carolina looked at moving pending UFA Micheal Ferland but ending up keeping him. I heard Toronto was interested in acquiring him. Hurricanes GM Don Waddell indicated Ferland is a big part of their team and well liked by the players. Waddell says they’ll re-visit trying to sign him to a contract in the summer.
  • Canucks traded forward prospect Jonathan Dahlen to the Sharks for Linus Karlsson. Many people were surprised the Canucks gave up on Dahlen. He was, at one time, a highly rated prospect of the organization and was drafted in the second round in 2014. The Canucks say he asked to be traded and the player denies that but says he wasn’t happy with his progression with the AHL affiliate of the Canucks. GM Jim Benning said Dahlen wasn’t willing to work harder to get more opportunities. In the AHL this season, Dahlen had recorded 29 points in 50 games on 14 goals. Linus Karlsson is a Sweden-born center that in 50 games has recorded 17 points on 4 goals. He was drafted by the Sharks in the 3rd round of the 2018 draft. Karlsson just turned 19 years old.
  • Leafs Connor Brown was linked to the Oilers. Brown has 22 points in 65 games on 5 goals. He plays 14 mins / game. He really skates well but seems to struggle to putting up points.
  • San Jose got a very good player in forward Gustav Nyquist who is having a career season. Nyquist has 49 points on 16 goals this season and on pace for a career nigh 63 point season. He is a UFA this summer. The Sharks gave up a second round draft pick in 2019 and a conditional 3rd round draft pick (the pick turns into a second round draft pick if Nyquist re-signs in San Jose or the Sharks advance to the Cup final) in 2020 for the player. Nyquist knows fellow Swede Erik Karlsson well. The Sharks have an excellent team and there only apparent weakness is in goal where Martin Jones and back-up Aaron Dell both have a SV% below .900. The Sharks are one of the top teams at home with a terrific 21-5-5 record; they’ve lost just 2 home games since November 15th. Only Tampa (27), Boston (24) and Winnipeg (22) have more home wins this season.
  • Columbus apparently never got close to trading either of Sergei Bobrovsky or Artemi Panarin and added Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel and defenseman Adam McQuaid. The Blue Jackets, though, have lost 3 of 4 games since the trade deadline. McQuaid was a healthy scratch in one of the games for Columbus.
  • The Jets got a quality center in Kevin Hayes and he’ll be the team’s second line center. Bryan Little was the team’s second line center but he’ll move to the wing.
  • Recently traded Ottawa players Matt Duchene, Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel had accounted for 41% of Ottawa’s goals this season.

Team News

  • Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold sent a video message to season ticket holders assuring them that the team is not in a rebuild and called it more of a “re-tool”. Leipold indicated the organization has cap space and will be active in free agency this summer.
  • Islanders owner Jon Ledecky said recently the opening of the Islanders new arena in the Belmont Park area of Long Island is still on track for the start of the 2021-22 season. The development not only includes a new arena but hotel and entertainment facilities. The Oak View Group plus NYC-based Sterling Equities are partnering in the new development.
  • The Canucks have their longest home stand of the season starting March 20th when they play 7 straight home games. The team has fallen out of the playoff race though as they are 8 points back of a playoff spot.

Hart Trophy Race

  • Seem the race for the Hart trophy for most valuable to his team is between Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov and Hawks Patrick Kane.
  • Kucherov
    • First player in Tampa Bay Lightning history to record multiple 100 point seasons and the first player since Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr in 1996 to reach 100 points before March 1.
    • Set a new Lightning record with 70 assists in a season
    • Set a new career high in points & assists. Has 106 points with 75 assists in 66 games this season. Previous career high in points was 100 (last season) and previous career high in assists was 61 (also last season).
    • About to set a Lightning franchise record for points in a season. Vincent Lecavalier recorded 108 points back in the 2006-07 season. Kucherov is at 106 points with 16 Lightning games remaining.
  • Patrick Kane
    • Kane has reached 40 goals for the second time in his career.
    • Has 40 goals and 94 points in 65 games this season and on pace for a career high in goals (50) and assists (67) & points 117.
    • Had a 20 game point streak.
  • Seems Kucherov is the odds on favorite to win his first Hart. Kane won his first Hart back in 2016. He was the first American born player to win the Hart.

Teams streaks

  • Arizona has won 6 straight games for the first time since the 2011-12 season and sit 2 points from a Western Conference wildcard spot. Goaltender Darcy Kuemper is 12-3-3 since the start of the year with a .925 SV% and a 2.29 GAA. The Coyotes have a 6 year playoff drought. Experts say head coach Rick Tocchet should be in the Coach of the Year award discussion.
  • The Bruins went the entire month of February (13 games) without a regulation loss (11-0-2) and are 12-0-4 in their past 16 games. I don’t hear head coach Bruce Cassidy get much Coach of the Year talk.
  • Tampa Bay went 12-1-2 in the month of February and had a franchise record 10 game win streak. Tampa reached the 100 point mark in 63 games. It’s one of the quickest to 100 points in league history.
    • Montreal in 1976-77 needed just 62 games to reach 100 points
    • Montreal in 1977-78, 62 games to 100 points
    • Boston in 1971-72, 63 games
    • Lightning 2018-19, 63 games
  • Combined, the Lightning, Bruins and Blues went 35-2-4 in the month of February. Incredible.
  • Carolina went 10-3 in the month of February and are 21-6-1 since December 30, 2018. It’s the most wins and points in the month of February in franchise history. The Hurricanes are currently in a playoff position and looking to break a 9 year playoff drought.

Leafs

  • The Leafs have won 5 of their past 6 games and in the 5 wins they scored at least 5 goals in each game. Marner has 12 points in his past 6 games and three 3 point games in his past 4 games. Zach Hyman has set in new career high in goals with 16 and missed 10 games with injury.
  • Marner became the first Leafs player since Phil Kessel in the 2013-14 season to reach 80 points. Kessel reached 80 points in 82 games and Marner this season has reached it in 66 games. Marner set another record recently as well, most points by a Leafs aged 21 or younger. Daniel Marios recorded 76 points in the 1989-90 season and Mitch is already at 81 points.
  • Frederik Andersen recently played in his 300th career game (175 with the Leafs). Turk Broda leads the Leafs franchise in goaltender games played with 629 (he recorded 302 wins). Andersen recently reached the 30 win mark which ties him with Turk Broda, Johnny Bower and Curtis Joseph for most 30 wins seasons in Leafs history. Andersen also became the fastest goalie to record 100 wins with the team (in 177 games). There are 8 goalies in franchise history with 100 career wins with the Leafs.
  • Defenseman Morgan Rielly has reached the 60 point mark for this first time in his career. His previous career high in points was 52 which he recorded last season. He’s on pace for 78 points.
  • Seems the team wanted to get bigger at the trade deadline and were inquiring on Micheal Ferland but nothing worked out. Coach Babcock said if he could, he’d have a Zach Hyman on every line but there aren’t enough of those type of players around.
  • Jake Gardiner is out week to week with ongoing back problems. Head coach Mike Babcock said the other day it does not look like surgery will be necessary, if he back heals as they expect it will. Gardiner averages 21 minutes of ice time per game this season.
  • Nazem Kadri joined the team for their morning skate in Calgary after skating on his own for about a week. He is trying to recover from a concussion he suffered on February 19th in St. Louis. He’s missed 7 games with the injury.
  • The team has not fared well against John Tavares former team, the Islanders. The Leafs have lost both games by a combined score of 10-1. Both games were the Leafs second game in as many nights but I would of hoped they’d be better since many fans have been so hostile to Tavares. The teams play one more regular season game, on April 1 at Nassau Coliseum.
  • The team has the 8th highest ranked PP at 22.4%. The Lightning lead the league with an amazing 29.3% PP,
  • The team is 32-0 when leading after 2 periods. They are the only team undefeated when leading after 2 periods.
  • Tavares is one goal from tying his career high in goals (38).
  • Patrick Marleau now ranks 7th all-time in games played (1642 games).
  • Auston Matthews became the first player in franchise history to start his career with 3 straight 30 goal seasons.
  • Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner are the only two Leafs players ever to start their Leafs careers with 3 straight 60 point seasons.
  • With the Par Lindholm for Nic Petan deal, GM Dubas said it was they wanted to get Trevor Moore into more games and Lindholm was a pending UFA. Lindholm recorded 1 goal and 12 points in 61 games for the Leafs. Petan is a RFA this summer. In 13 Jets games this season, Petan recorded 2 assists. He’s a former second round draft selection of the Jets and had been mostly playing with the Jets AHL team. Petan’s agent spoke out and said the Jets didn’t give his client a chance at the NHL level. Dubas indicated the Leafs can use Petan on the wing or at center. Coach Babcock speaks glowing of Moore saying he’s very tenacious and doesn’t turn the puck over.
  • With Travis Dermott out 4 weeks with a shoulder injury. Justin Holl or Igor Ozhiganov slots in on the 3rd pairing with Martin Marincin. Holl had not seen much NHL action since late December. Marlies top defenseman Calle Rosen and Andreas Borgman are apparently also currently injured.
  • It was reported last week that the team made a push to sign forward Andreas Johnsson (59 GP, 19 G, 17 A) but the player wants to wait until the end of the season. This is the same stance as Kasperi Kapanen (19 G, 23 A)- they want to wait until the summer to discuss new deals. The Leafs may not be able to keep all their quality forwards due to the salary cap. Some experts say the Leafs will get inquiries on both players as they’ve been very good this season and other teams know the Leafs may not be able to fit all their player salaries under the cap. The cap goes from $79.5 M to approximately $83 M in 2019-20.

Streaks & Milestones

  • Panthers forward Mike Hoffman recently played in his 400th career game and has set a new career high in goals this season already with 30 goals. Hoffman is having his most offensively productive season in his first year with the Panthers (30 G & 57 points) and is on pace for a career high in goals, points and assists. Hoffman has one more season left on his contract at $5.2 M/season.
  • Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau is is one pace for career highs in points. He has 65 points in 63 Panthers games this season.
  • Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle has played 778 consecutive games. Yandle’s consecutive games streak started in March of 2009. It’s the 5th longest iron man streak in league history. Doug Jarvis holds the record at 964 consecutive games.
  • Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo has moved into 3rd all-time in wins with 485. The top four goaltender in wins all-time are:
    • Martin Brodeur 691
    • Patrick Roy 551
    • Luongo 485
    • Ed Belfour 484
  • Islanders forward Casey Cizikas is on pace for a career high 23 goals. This career high before this season was 9.
  • Sabres captain Jack Eichel has recorded at least 20 goals in all four of his seasons with the Sabres.
  • Avs forward Gabe Landeskog (173 G, 227 A) is the second player from the 2011 draft class to reach 400 career points. Nikita Kucherov (176 G, 257 A) is the other.
  • LA Kings forward Trevor Lewis recently played in career game number 600.
  • Blue Jackets star defenseman Seth Jones scored his 7th career OT goal which set a new franchise record for OT goals (Rick Nash had 6).
  • Blue Jackets forward Artemi Panarin is one of only 3 players that were not drafted and started their career with three 70 point seasons. The others Gretzky and Peter Stastny.
  • Blue Jackets forward Boone Jenner recently played in his 400th career game.
  • Lightning forward Tyler Johnson recent recorded his 300th career point.
  • Bruins forward Brad Marchand has tied a Bruins franchise record with 25 career shorthanded goals.
  • Canadiens goaltender Carey Price needs just 1 more wins to tie Jacques Plante for most wins by a Canadiens goaltender. Price has 313 wins. Plante was a Canadiens star in the 1950’s so Price setting the wins record is fairly significant.
  • Flyer captain Claude Giroux recently played in his 800th career game. Only Bobby Clarke (1144) and Bill Barber (903) have played more games with the Flyers organization. Seems the plan to have Giroux retire a Flyer.
  • Avalanche star forward Nathan MacKinnon reached the 30 goal mark for the second straight season. He’s the first to do that since GM Joe Sakic recorded three straight 30 goal seasons from 2003-2007.
  • Caps forward Alex Ovechkin needs 3 OT goals to tie former player Patrik Elias for most OT goals in league history. Ovi has scored 34 OT goals.
  • Sabres 18 year old defenseman Rasmus Dahlin is one point from tying Bobby Orr for second most points for an 18 year old defenseman all-time. Orr had 38 points. The leader is Dahlin’s head coach Phil Housley with 57 points as an 18 year old defenseman.
  • Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask is 14-0-3 in his past 17 decisions.
  • Sidney Crosby has 21 points in his past 10 games and people say he’s carrying the Penguins right now.
  • Forward Jake Guenztal has recorded 30 goals for the first time in his career.
  • Evgeni Malkin is 5 points from 1,000 career points. Gino has played 842 games (.85 PPG). Malkin won the Hart trophy once, Art Ross twice (most points in regular season), a Calder for rookie of the year and has won 3 Cups. Seems he has a good chance to make the Hockey Hall of Fame when his career concludes.
  • Penguins forward Matt Cullen will play his 1500th career game Tuesday against the Panthers. Cullen is the oldest active player in the league at the age of 42. He’ll be the 20th player all-time to play 1500 games.
  • Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl has 17 goals in his past 18 games and is second in the league with 41 goals. The Oilers have won 5 of their past 7 games and are 6 point back of a wild card spot.

Injuries

  • Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi had hip surgery on both hips Monday in New York and won’t be ready to play until next season. Puljujarvi had 9 points in 46 games with Edmonton before the injury. The player went 4th overall in 2016 and has struggled to make it at the NHL level. Puljujarvi is also in the final year of his entry level contract and needs a new deal this summer.
  • Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson will be out of action again, for at least 7-10 days. It’s the same groin problem that caused him to miss 2 weeks earlier in February.
  • New Jersey Devils forward Taylor Hall had arthroscopic knee surgery on his left knee and it’s undetermined, but seems doubtful, he will play again this season. Hall has already missed 31 games this season; he hasn’t played in a game since December 23rd, 2018.
  • Hawks goaltender Corey Crawford recorded his first win since December 16, 2018 last week. Crawford has been out of action with a concussion.
  • Bruins GM Don Sweeney indicated forward David Pastrnak will be in a cast for 2 more weeks for the broken thumb he suffered.
  • Avs defenseman Ian Cole just got back into game action. He’d been on the sidelines with a broken orbital bone that occurred in a fight. Cole required surgery on his eye & his vision is still recovering.
  • Vegas forward Erik Haula has started skating but there is no time frame on his return. He was injured November 6, 2018 in Toronto and hasn’t played since. There is a chance Haula won’t be able to play again this season. Haula, 27, had 29 goals and 55 points last season for the Golden Knights.

Transactions

  • Arizona extended defenseman Jordan Oesterle for two more years at $1.4 M /season. Oesterle was a pending UFA. The ‘Yotes also signed forward Conor Garland to a two year deal.
    • Year One: $750,000
    • Year Two: $800,000
  • Minnesota Wild signed pending UFA Eric Staal to a 2 year extension, for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 season. Staal cap hit in year one and year two is $3.25 M. Staal, 34, has had a terrific career. In 1156 GP, he’s recorded 413 G &  552 A for an an average of .83 PPG.
  • The Ducks reached an agreement with pending UFA forward Jakob Silfverberg. It’s a 5 year deal with an average annual value $5.25 M /season. Silfverberg, 28, would of been a UFA this summer.
  • The Panthers signed forward Frank Vatrano to a 3 year, $7.6 M deal ($2.53 M /season) effective the start of next season. In 62 games this season, Vatrano has recorded 20 goals and 33 points.
  • Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly was placed on waivers last week and cleared. He has since been sent to the AHL.
  • Ducks placed forward Patrick Eaves on waivers and he was not claimed. He was then sent to the Ducks AHL team, the San Diego Gulls. Eaves has dealt with injuries the past 1.5 years including missing almost all of last season with some sort of virus.

Odds & Ends

  • Lightning third year player Brayden Point was a healthy scratch recently. Head coach Jon Cooper indicated Point missed a team meeting and was held out for discipline reasons. Some people speculate that Point, 22, could get an offer sheet from another team. He’s on pace for 100 points and 45 goals in the final year of his entry level contract. Point also leads the league in PP goals with 18.
  • Canucks Elias Pettersson ranks first in the league in shooting percentage at 23%.
  • Sharks Czech forward Tomas Hertl has set new career in goals, assists and points and is on pace for 37 goals and 73 points. His previous highs were 22 goals and 46 points. Hertl has speed, size and strength and just, at age 25, coming into his own.
  • Hurricanes forward Nino Neiderreiter has 15 points (9 G, 6 A) since the trade from Minnesota on January 17th (Victor Rask went to the Wild). Rask has recorded 1 G and 1 A for the Wild in 10 games.
  • Chicago seems to have found a quality defenseman in Swede Erik Gustafsson. He leads the team in defenseman scoring with 47 points in 62 games on 12 goals while averaging 22 minutes of ice time per game. Gustafsson is just 3 goals behind league-leader Leafs Morgan Rielly for defenseman goals scored. The 26 year old had, prior to this season, be back and forth between the Hawks and their AHL team in Rockford.
  • Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom is having an excellent season. Since December 6, 2018, in 29 appearances Markstrom has a goals against average of 2.29 and a SV% of .926.
  • Lightning back-up goaltender Louis Domingue has recorded 19 wins and 5 losses this season with a 2.92 GAA and a .908 SV%. He had a franchise record 11 game winning streak that was stopped this past Thursday.
  • Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury recently reached the 30 win milestone again. Most 30 win seasons all-time:
    • Martin Brodeur 14
    • Patrick Roy 13
    • Henrik Lundqvist 11
    • Marc-Andre Fleury 9
    • Ed Belfour 9
  • Avs goaltender Semyon Varlamov is a UFA this summer but he recently said he wants to re-sign in Colorado. The 30 year old has recorded a 18 W 16 L recorded with a .911 SV% and a 2.83 GAA.
  • Hurricanes 21 year old center Sebastian Aho is only the second player in franchise history to record a 70 point season before his 22nd birthday (Eric Staal the other). Aho is the Hurricanes franchise cornerstone player. His entry level contract expires this summer.
  • Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said the other day there is a feeling among the Lightning players that it’s their year.
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