NHL News & Notes to 05 Jan 2020

Here are a few news & notes from around the NHL.

League

  • The 2020 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic, Nashville Predators vs Dallas Stars at Dallas’ Cotton Bowl stadium, was a tremendous success.  With 85,630 fans attending, a reported 20,000 of those traveling from Nashville, it was the second highest attended New Year’s Day Winter Classic since alphabol the league started the tradition back in 2008 (the 2014 game featuring the Leafs vs the Red Wings at Michigan Stadium drew the most fans for a New Year’s Day Outdoor game with 105,491 fans attending). Dallas won this years game 4-2 overcoming first period 2-0 deficit. Stars forward Corey Perry knocked Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis out of the game in the first period with an elbow to the head. Perry was thrown out and subsequently suspended for 5 games. Ellis was placed on the Predators injury reserve list which means he’ll miss at least three games.
  • Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the state of Minnesota, Target Field in Minneapolis, will host next years Winter Classic with the Minnesota Wild playing a yet-to-be-named opponent.
  • The league’s 29 outdoor games have drawn an average attendance of 54,431 fans/game so the event has be very successful.
  • The NHL and the Bridgestone tire company have a partnership agreement in place for the Winter Classic that runs until 2021 and there is some talk they may try to extend it. This years game in Dallas was expected to generate about $30 – $35 M in economic impact to the city of Dallas.
  • Unrelated to the Winter Classic, it’s not clear where the New York Islanders will play their home playoff games. During this regular season, they are scheduled to play 20 home games at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and 21 home games at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. Last season, the Islanders split their post season games between Brooklyn and Nassau playing their first round series against the Penguins in Brooklyn and their second round series on Long Island. Bettman recently indicated Nassau Coliseum is not a suitable facility for major league sports events but the Islanders have a loyal fan base on Long Island/Nassau County and it’s where their new arena is being built (in an area called Belmont Park). The new facility is two years away from being ready for games. An announcement on the location of the Islanders post season games for this year should be made soon.
  • The NHL and NHL Players Association had been discussing the possibility of a having a World Cup style tournament next season, tentatively scheduled for February 2021, but the two sides were not able to agree on it plus they felt there was not enough time to get it organized so the idea has been shelved for now. The NHLPA are now looking at having a World Cup type tournament in 2024 and 2028. The league has not been involved in an international event since the 2016 World Cup event that was held in Toronto.
  • The Washington Capitals and owner Ted Leonsis are pushing the league to have a Capitals game in Russia. This could potentially be added as part of the NHL Global Series that has been, so far, held in Europe. NHL players seem to really enjoy having a game or two in their home country and a possible Russia-based game would star Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin plus Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov, defenseman Dmitri Orlov and rookie goaltender Ilya Samsonov. Commissioner Bettman indicated the league has started discussions internally around having a regular season game or two in Russia for either next season or the following one. The NHL already has two games scheduled in Europe for next season as part of the Global Series: the Bruins will play the Predators in the Czech Republic to open the 2020-21 Regular Season and later in the Fall the Blue Jackets will play the Avalanche in Finland.
  • The expansion Seattle team is expected to announce their team name plus logo and colors sometime in late February or early March of 2020. One team name I keep hearing is the Seattle Sockeyes. The OakView Group recently indicated construction on their building, formerly known as KeyArena but will get a new sponsorship name in the near future, is on track.
  • The NHL All-Star game is scheduled for January 25th at Enterprise Center in St. Louis. Players not going to the game will get a mid season one week break. 
    • Team captains, as voted by fans, for the game were recently announced:
      • *Alex Ovechkin (Metropolitan)
      • David Pastrnak (Atlantic)
      • Nathan MacKinnon (Central)
      • Connor McDavid (Pacific).
    • Ovechkin already announced he will skip the game and rest instead which means he has to sit out one game either before or after the All-Star game. No Metropolitan Division replacement has been announced yet.
    • Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was voted as the Pacific Division starting goaltender but also announced he will skip the game. Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom will replace Fleury on the Pacific roster.
  • The All-Star coaches are:
    • Pacific: Gerard Gallant (VGK)
    • Central: Craig Berube (STL)
    • Atlantic: Bruce Cassidy (BOS)
    • Metro: Todd Reirden (WSH)

Team Management News

  • The Dallas Stars (24-14-4) fired their head coach Jim Montgomery and replaced him with assistant coach Rick Bowness. Seems something away from the rink happened with Montgomery and Stars GM Jim Nill did not really want to discuss details to protect those involved. Montgomery announced this past Friday he is undergoing treatment for alcohol issues so hopefully he get can get back on track and healthy. The Stars under Bowness are 7-3-1. Bowness, 64, is a very well respected hockey coach having worked with Winnipeg, Boston, Ottawa, the New York Islanders, Phoenix, Vancouver, Tampa Bay and now the Stars organization in either a head coach or assistant coach. 
  • The Stars recently named Hall of Fame inductee Sergei Zubov as Senior Consultant to their Hockey Operations group. Zubov reports to Stars GM Jim Nill and will be involved in all hockey operation activities including the NHL Stars, the AHL Texas Stars and the organization’s prospects.
  • Chicago Blackhawks (18-18-6) assistant coach Marc Crawford was re-instated on Jan. 2, 2020 after missing a month while the team and league investigated claims by former players that Crawford’s coaching tactics cross the line into abusive behaviors toward players. Crawford acknowledged in the past he did cross the line and he connected with players who spoke out with the hopes of learning to be better going forward. Crawford says he underwent professional counselling to understand why he acted the way he did adding he appreciated players speaking out saying he wants to be part of the solution around the topic of hockey culture. The Blackhawks other coaches and players were reportedly happy to have him back and said he’s been stellar during his time (just this current season) with the ‘Hawks.
  • St. Louis Blues (26-10-7) head coach Craig Berube set a franchise record with 61 coaching wins in his first 100 games coached with the Blues. The Blues have in the past employed coaches such as Scotty Bowman, Ken Hitchcock, Joel Quenneville and none have recorded more wins in their first 100 games coached in St. Louis than Berube.
  • Columbus Blue Jackets (19-15-8) head coach John Torterella was fined $20 K for recently complaining about the refs in a post-game press conference. The league also said he will be fined $25,000 if he publicly complains about officiating within one year, until December 29, 2020. Tortorella has now been fined 9 times and suspended 3 times in his NHL coaching career. He was complaining that the refs screwed up the game clock in overtime which caused a Blue Jackets overtime goal to be disallowed. Blue Jackets starting goaltender, Joonas Korpisalo, was injured (out 4-6 weeks with torn cartilage in his right knee) in the ensuing shootout. Korpisalo was voted an Eastern Conference all-star but will now miss the game. 
  • There have now been 5 head coaching changes this season:
    • Leafs – Sheldon Keefe in and Mike Babcock out (Leafs are 15-4-1 since Keefe took over)
    • Calgary – Geoff Ward in a Bill Peters out (Flames are  10-5-1 since Ward took over)
    • San Jose – Bob Boughner in and Peter DeBoer out (Sharks are 4-5-2 since Boughner took over)
    • New Jersey – Alain Nasreddine in and John Hynes out (Devils are 6-7-2 since Nasreddine took over)
    • Dallas – Rick Bowness in and Jim Montgomery out (Dallas is 7-3-1 under Bowness)
  • Winnipeg Jets (22-15-4) head coach Paul Maurice is apparently in the final year of his contract and recently said he does not want to leave Winnipeg saying it’s home for him and his family. Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, when asked, didn’t really want to comment on a possible contract extension for his coach saying that will wait until the summer.
  • Calgary recently announced assistant general manager Chris Snow has been diagnosed with ALS also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Snow is 38 years old and has started treatment. From what I read, there is no cure for the disease but Snow has entered into a clinical trial program developed at the University of Miami which involves gene therapy treatment.

Scuttlebutt

  • Arizona Coyotes forward Taylor Hall is not expected to sign a contract with the Coyotes until, the earliest, this off-season. The talk is he will wait until July 1 and assess his options. Hall has scored 2 goals and added 6 points in 9 Coyotes games. Coyotes GM John Chayka called the move acquiring Hall a calculated gamble adding they hope once Hall settles in he’ll want to stay longer term.
  • The Winnipeg Jets have not ruled out injured defenseman Dustin Byfuglien returning to the team. Byfuglien is recovering from ankle surgery. The player filed a grievance through the NHLPA because he was suspended without pay for not reporting to Jets training camp but later said he was injured. It’s not clear where the grievance process is at but Jets GM Cheveldayoff recently said his medical care is not under Jets doctors supervision but they’ve not ruled out a return for the player.
  • Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad (11 G & 8 A for 19 points) is apparently available via trade. Saad has one more season remaining on his deal at $6 M /season,
  • The Oilers and the agent for defenseman Darnell Nurse have been in discussions about a contract extension for the player. Nurse is a summertime RFA (2.5 season’s from UFA) who has a $3.2 M cap hit. Nurse has 20 points on 3 goals in 44 Oilers games this season. He is second on the Oilers in ice time with an average of 22.5 mins/game.
  • The Oilers also want to reach an agreement with pending UFA forward Zack Kassian. The player has scored 13 goals and added 15 assists for 28 points. Seems as though he wants to stay with the Oilers if possible as he often plays on the Oilers top line with McDavid. Kassian is making $1.95 M this season. He adds a physical element among the forwards which is valuable.
  • Sabres veteran defenseman Zach Bogosian has asked the organization for a trade as has teammate /forward Evan Rodrigues. Rodrigues has 3 assists in 24 Sabres games played but has recently been a healthy scratch.
  • Canucks forward Sven Baertschi has asked for a trade from Vancouver. GM Jim Benning indicated recently there is not much of a market for the player as he was recently placed on waivers and cleared. He’s now playing with the Canucks AHL team in Utica.
  • Both Chicago goaltenders, Corey Crawford & Robin Lehner, are summertime UFA’s. Reports indicate the ‘Hawks are trying to reach an agreement with Lehner. No terms have been made public. Lehner is 12-7-4 this season with a 2.92 GAA and a .922 SV%. Heard him interviewed recently and he said he believes he has been playing as as well as he ever has in his NHL career.
  • Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom is in contract discussions with the team as he is a UFA this summer. The team wants to re-sign him and Backstrom, 32, wants to stay in Washington but the player wants a 5 year deal while the team only wants to do 3 years.
  • Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau is on pace for a 113 point season and 35 goals. Teammate Alex Barkov set a Panthers franchise record with a 96 point season last season. Huberdeau is an underrated star player. He was drafted 3rd overall in 2011. 
  • Seems the mid-season leading Hart trophy candidates are Sabres Jack Eichel and Avalanche Nathan MacKinnon. Eichel is 7th in the league in points with 26 G & 29 A in 42 games played (a 50 goal/106 point pace). Eichel had a 18 game point streak this season where he recorded 16 goals and 16 assists for 32 points (1.78 PPG) and was plus 19 during the 18 games. Nathan MacKinnon is 3rd in the league in points with 25 goals and 39 assists for 64 points in 42 games or 1.62 PPG. MacKinnon was a Hart finalist last season.
  • Rumors are pointing to the Carolina Hurricanes signing UFA forward Justin Williams. Williams has been skating the past month and it appears he is looking to return to the league. The only caveat is reaching a financial agreement with the player. Williams has won 3 Cups in his career, with LA, Washington & Carolina, plus won one Conn Smythe as playoffs MVP.
  • Experts say with New Jersey trading pending UFA forward Taylor Hall, the Devils are now Nico Hischier team. Hischier, drafted first overall in 2017, is apparently strong both defensively and offensively. This season the player has recorded 9 goals and 15 assists for 24 points in 36 Devils games. He has also had an ‘A’ added to his jersey for assistant captain. Current Devils captain Andy Greene is 37 year old, a off-season UFA and some say Hischier could take over as Devils team captain. Hischier just turned 21 years old.
  • New York Rangers forward prospect Lias Andersson has asked the team for a trade. Drafted 7th overall in the 2017, Andersson has been unable to make the Rangers and was recently playing for the Rangers AHL team in Hartford before he left last week and went home to Sweden.
  • The Capitals appear to have a good goaltender in back-up Russian Ilya Samsonov (drafted 22nd overall in 2015). He has an 11-2-1 record this season with a 2.33 GAA and a .918 SV%. On the road this season, Samsanov has an 8-0-0 record with a 2.18 GAA and a .924 SV%. The goaltender set a NHL record with the 8 roads wins being the only goaltender in NHL history to win his first 8 road starts. With starter Braden Holtby a summer time UFA, it seems as though Samsanov will take over as the Caps #1 next season.
  • The season’s trade deadline day is Monday, February 24th. Some names that are expected to move, all pending unrestricted free agents:
    • Penguins forward Alex Galchenyuk is expected to be dealt. He has not excelled in Pittsburgh after being traded there for Phil Kessel this summer. In 32 games played with the Penguins, Galchenyuk has scored 4 goals and added 5 assists.
    • LA Kings forward Tyler Toffoli (11 G & 13 A). Colorado has been linked to Toffoli.
    • Senators forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Having a career year with 19 goals and 11 assists for 30 points on not a very good Senators team.
    • New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider. Has 12 goals and 14 assists at the mid way point of the season. 
    • Ducks defenseman Michael Zel Zotto is a UFA and could be moved.
    • LA Kings players Kyle Clifford and Trevor Lewis could be moved. Neither player puts up many points but both have each won two Stanley Cups. There is some talk the Kings may try and sign Clifford as they like his toughness.
    • Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug is also a pending UFA and has been in contract discussion with the Bruins. Has 28 points in 35 Bruins games this season. Seems the Bruins will keep him even if they are not close to signing him as he is a strong playoff performer.
    • Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo (35 points in 43 Blues games this season) also UFA and not expected to be traded. It doesn’t sound as though contract discussions with the Blue have progressed very far.
    • Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom is UFA and having a stellar season for the Canucks and the team is trying to reach a contract agreement with him.

Teams News

  • The Capitals are the first team to 60 points this season. They are 17-5-1 on the road this season and have recorded more road wins this season than any other team has at home.
  • Columbus is 8-1-4 in their past 13 games but will be tested with their starting goaltender, Joonas Korpisalo, out for four weeks with a knee injury.
  • The league’s top 5 teams are:
    • Washington
    • St. Louis
    • Boston
    • Pittsburgh
    • Colorado
  • Buffalo will be without forward Jeff Skinner (39 GP 11 G 8 A) for the next 2-3 weeks as he is dealing with a upper body injury. Additionally rookie of the year candidate Victor Olofsson (42 GP 16 G & 19 A) will be out 5-6 weeks with a lower body injury. The Sabres have 3 W 6 L in their past 9 games and sitting 5 points out of a wild card position. The Sabres have a league leading 8 season playoff drought.
  • The Jets are not winning at the same clip that they were earlier in the season. They are 3-5-2 in their past 10 games. Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck is 3-5-2 with a .886 SV% and a 3.85 GAA in his past 10 games.
  • The New York Islanders announced they will retire John Tonelli’s No. 27 on Feb. 21 and Butch Goring’s No. 91 on Feb. 29. 

Player News

  • New York Rangers forward Artemi Panarin is on pace for a career high 44 goals and 110 points. The Rangers haven’t had a 100 point player since Jaromir Jagr back in 2004-05. Panarin was recently voted by fans to go to his first All-Star game.
  • Carolina Hurricanes 19 year old sophomore Andrei Svechnikov is on pace for an 80 point / 34 goal season. The organization has to be ecstatic with the development of the player drafted second overall in 2018. 
  • Predators defenseman Roman Josi is having a career season, on pace for 29 goals and 88 points. Josi leads the Preds in points with 43 in 40 games. Josi also has an active 10 game point streak going which is a Predators record for longest point streak for a defenseman.
  • Though Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl is tied with McDavid for most points in the league, Draisaitl is a -17 on the season and -14 in his past 10 games. As much as Draisaitl is putting up points, defensively he’s on the ice for a lot goals against. McDavid is -7 on the season.
  • Penguins points leader, Jake Guentzal, recently recorded his 200th career point plus his 20th goal of the season. Unfortunately, he crashed into the end boards after scoring his 20th and will miss 4-6 months recovering from shoulder surgery. Guentzal was selected to his first All-Star game but will now miss the game.
  • Habs forward Max Domi has an active nine game point streak (6 G 8 A). Domi is on pace for a 62 point season (he recorded 72 points last season). He’s an RFA this summer.
  • Senators forward Anthony Duclair has set a career high in goals with 21 in 41 Sens games this season. Duclair, 24, will be a summertime RFA.
  • Lightning forward Alex Killorn is on pace for a career high 34 goal, 74 point season. He had 35 points last season on 16 goals.
  • Philadelphia Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom was recently diagnosed with a medical condition called Ewings sarcoma. It’s a form of cancer. He has already started treatment and will miss the rest of the regular season. Flyers captain Claude Giroux said recently the players are dedicating the season to Lindblom.
  • Avalanche second line center Nazem Kadri already has 15 goals on the season. He had 16 all of last season with the Leafs.
  • Montreal signed forward Ilya Kovalchuk to a one year 2 way deal worth $700,000 /season at the NHL level. Apparently the Habs are hoping Kovalchuk can help on the PP which is the 9th rank PP in the league (22.9%). People who watched him in LA this season say he can’t keep up with the fast pace of the games any longer plus he doesn’t buy into a team concept. Hope it works out for him in Montreal. GM Beregvin said Kovalchuk has to buy in to a team concept adding it’s probably his final NHL chance.
  • Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook is out the rest of the season. He needs shoulder surgery plus surgery on both his hips. Sounds insurmountable to me for a player that turns 35 in April and has already lost a step. Fellow Blackhawks defensemn Calvin de Haan also will miss the rest of the season as he needs shoulder surgery.
  • Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon is just the second Avs player in franchise history to reach at least 25 goals at the half way point of the season. GM Joe Sakic had 28 goals at the midway mark in the 1995-96 season.
  • Blackhawks 22 year old forward Alex DeBrincat is on place for 20 goals, half of the 41 he scored last season.
  • New Jersey goaltender Cory Schneider was placed on waivers, went unclaimed and is now playing with the Devils AHL affiliate in Binghamton. In 7 appearances in the AHL so far, Schneider has a 3.15 GAA and a .887 SV%. Schneider is under contract to the Devils for this season and two more at a $6 M cap hit.
  • Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot, 22, is leading the league in time on ice per game with an average of 26:11 minutes. Chabot has recorded 23 points in 39 games this season. His 8 year contract at $8 M/season starts next season.
  • St. Louis Blues forward David Perron has set a Blues franchise record by scoring four overtime goals this season. He’s set the record in just 39 Blues games. In NHL history only Chicago’s Jonathan Toews has also done the same.

Trades

  • Montreal traded defenseman Mike Reilly to Ottawa for forward Andrew Sturtz & a 2021 5th round draft pick. Reilly was a healthy scratch most of the season in Montreal and Ottawa has a few injuries on their blueline.
  • Buffalo traded defenseman Marco Scandella to Montreal for 2020 4th round draft pick.
  • Calgary traded pending UFA forward Michael Frolik to Buffalo for a 2020 4th round draft pick. Frolik was overpaid at $4.3 M in the final year of his contract and Calgary was happy to get some needed cap space. Frolik is about a 15 goals /season player who is good on the PK.

Leafs

  • Leafs have won 9 of their last 10 games and have a 15-4-1 record under new head coach Sheldon Keefe. They are on pace for a 100 point regular season – same total as last season.
  • Keefe is the first Leafs head coach to win 15 of his first 20 games.
  • Players say Keefe has implemented a more puck possession style while also allowing the offensive players to be more creative.
  • The team have outscored teams 28-10 in first periods under Keefe. He recently said that getting a lead is key.
  • Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews have a combined 32 points in the last 9 games.
  • Auston Matthews is the first Leafs player to record 25 goals in each of his first four seasons. He’s on pace for 53 goals and 96 points. Leafs haven’t had a 50 goal scorer since Dave Andreychuk back in 1993-94.
  • Forward William Nylander is playing as well as he ever has as a Toronto Maple Leaf. Since Sheldon Keefe took over, Nylander has recorded 11 goals and 10 assists for 21 points in 20 games. Nylander is on pace to set career high in goals (36) and points (72).
  • Forward Mitch Marner is on pace for 87 points despite missing 11 games with an ankle injury. Marner had 94 points last season.
  • Forth line forward Jason Spezza is on pace for a very respectable 37 points.
  • GM Kyle Dubas signed defenseman Justin Holl to a 3 year deal for $2 M /season. The new contract starts next season. Holl was to be a July 1, 2020 UFA. Holl has scored one goal and added 11 assists in 41 games played this season. He also leads the team in plus/minus with a plus 17.
  • Back-up goaltender Michael Hutchinson is 3-0 in his recent 3 starts with a .945 SV%, a 1.65 GAA and one shutout.
  • Auston Matthews and Frederik Andersen were voted by the fans as NHL All-Stars. Matthews has made the NHL All-Star game in each of his first four seasons in the league. It will be Andersen’s first All-Star game.
  • Andreas Johnsson, injured since December 4th (leg fracture), has started skating and appears to be close to returning to the line-up. Trevor Moore (concussion) has also started skating.
  • Goaltender Frederik Andersen recently reached the 200 win mark. He achieved the milestone in the 5th fewest games in NHL history. Only Ken Dryden (309 games), Braden Holtby (319 games), Jacques Plante (340 games) and Chris Osgood (344 games) reached 200 wins faster.
  • Alex Kerfoot reached the 100 point mark in his career, took him 194 games. He has really fit in well in his first seson in Toronto. He has both skill and speed. He has 17 points in 38 games played as the team’s third line center.
  • Forward Ilya Mikheyev (ligament damage in his wrist) will be out three months. Mikheyev and his agent Dan Milstein were very appreciative of how the Leafs handled Mikheyev’s recent skate laceration injury. The wrist laceration from a New Jersey Devils players skate severed an artery in his wrist. Apparently, the Leafs head trainer and the New Jersey Devils medical staff jumped to get the player immediate medical attention. It could have been a career ending injury not to mention blood was pouring out of the wrist. Leafs GM Kyle Dubas stayed in New Jersey with the player for 2 days and even bought him clothes to wear. Both Mikheyev and his agent said they were very grateful to Dubas. The player hardly speaks any English having come over from Russia last summer. In his first season in the NHL, Mikheyev has recorded 8 goals and 23 points. He expected to be out of game action for the rest of the season.
  • Defenseman Jake Muzzin (broken foot) is week-to-week.
  • The team plays on consecutive nights 14 times this season having already played 10 of them and are, so far, 2-7-2 in the second game.
  • The Marlies have a 20-11-2-1 record and are 15-6 at home which is good since they’ve lost a number of players to the Leafs plus their head coach. Marlies goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo has a 11-4-1 record.
  • Marlies defenseman Rasmus Sandin competed for Team Sweden at the just wrapped up World Juniors and was named the tournament’s top defenseman. Sandin led all defensemen in points with 3 goals and 7 assists in 7 games played. Experts say Sandin could get time with the Maple Leafs in the second half of the season.
  • After playing 8 of their last 13 games on the road, the Leafs play five of their next 6 games at home.
    • Mon, Jan 6 vs Edmonton
    • Wed, Jan 8 vs Winnipeg 
    • Sun, Jan 12 at Florida
    • Tue, Jan 14 vs New Jersey 
    • Thu, Jan 16 vs Calgary
    • Sat, Jan 18 vs Chicago 

Penguins

  • The Pens are forth in the league in points with 55 (23-11-5 record) and are 15-5-4 since Crosby has been out of the line-up recovering from November 14th sports hernia surgery (skating but still not cleared for practice).
  • Forward Evgeni Malkin has stepped up to lead offensively in Crosby’s absence recording 33 points in 22 games or 1.50 PPG.
  • During the month of December and without Crosby, the team had a 10 win and 2 loss record.
  • Head coach Mike Sullivan is the mid-season leading candidate for the Coach of the Year award. 
  • Forward Bryan Rust is tracking towards a 43 G and 43 A (86 points) season. His career high in goals is 18, assists 25 and points 38. Rust is in the second year of a four year contract that pays him $3.5 M /season.
  • Tristan Jarry, 24, has taken over from Matt Murray as the team’s number one goaltender. In 19 games played this season, Jarry has a 1.94 GAA, a .935 SV% and 3 shutouts. Murray will be a RFA this summer and in the final year of a deal that pays him $3.75 M. 
  • Crosby has started skating but has not been cleared for contact though it seems he will be back playing soon.
  • Defenseman Justin Schultz, a pending UFA, is injured and it’s week to week at this point. In 27 games played his season, Schultz has recorded 8 points on 2 goals.
  • The only Penguins players to play in all of their games this season are:
    • Brandon Tanev
    • Dominik Simon
    • Marcus Pettersson
    • Teddy Bleuger
    • Zach Aston-Reese
  • Head coach Mike Sullivan recently coached his 500th game becoming just the 13th active head coach with at least 500 games coached.

Bruins

  • Though the Bruins have lost 11 of their past 15 games, they still lead the Atlantic Division by 6 points (over the Leafs). Experts say fatigue from a long post-season run (game 7 of the Cup finals) last season could be a factor in their mid-season struggles.
  • Bruins forward David Pastrnak leads the league with 31 goals and is on pace for a 59 goal season. He also has an active 10 game point streak.
  • Pastrnak and Marchand are the first Bruins teammates to collect at least 60 points prior to the team’s 45th game of the season since Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr back in the 1974-75 season.

Canucks

  • The Canucks have won 7 straight games for the first time since December 2013 and are 14-5-3 at home this season. They’ve scored first in each of the 7 games and are 16-3-9 when scoring first this season.
  • The team’s top line of Elias Pettersson between JT Miller and Brock Boeser is one of the league’s top lines. Pettersson is tracking towards an 86 point sophomore season (had 66 in his rookie season), Miller is having a career year (on pace for 78 points) and Boeser is on pace for 76 points (career high is 56 points).
  • The team’s record this season when Elias Pettersson scores a goal is 11-2-1.
  • Rookie defenseman Quinn Hughes is on pace for 59 point season and, if he can stay healthy, has a chance to win the organization’s second straight Calder trophy for rookie of the year.  Hughes (41 GP) required the fewest games by a Canucks rookie defenseman to collect his 30th point of a season.
  • The Canucks lead in league in powerplay goals with 40; players from their top line, Miller-Pettersson-Boeser, have accounted for 45% of the team’s PP goals.
  • The organization is trying to reach an agreement with pending UFA goaltender Jacob Markstrom. Markstrom said he considers Vancouver home and wants to re-sign with the Canucks.

Milestones

  • Lightning captain Steven Stamkos recently recorded his 800th career point. He reached the milestone in 779 games. Only Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier have reached 800 points as Tampa Bay Lightning players.
  • Dallas Stars captain Joe Pavelski recently played in his 1,000 career game. The Stars players bought him a trip for four to Scotland and GM Jim Nill presented Pavelski with a silver stick.
  • San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic recently played in his 1,000 career game. Vlasic has 392 points in his career.
  • Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson recently played in his 700th career game and Taylor Hall played in his 600th.
  • Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury recently won his 455 career game which ranks him 6th all-time.
  • Penguins star Evgeni Malkin became the 8th active player and forth player in Penguins history to reach 400 career goals.
  • Oilers assistant captain Ryan Nugent-Hopkins recently recorded his 400th career point.
  • Jets forward Blake Wheeler recently played in his 900th career game (256 G & 476 A for 732 points or .81 PPG) this past week.
  • San Jose Sharks forward Joe Thornton recently skated in his 1,600 career regular season game. He is the first player drafted first overall to play as many games. Thornton has recorded over 400 goals, 1,000 assists, and 1,400 points in his career. He is 7th all-time in assists with 1,080.
  • Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin recently scored his 256th career power-play goal in the regular season to move past Teemu Selanne (255) for sole possession of third place all-time.
  • Ottawa Senators defenseman Ron Hainsey recently played in his 1,100 career game.

Odds & Ends

  • Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane had the most points in the last decade with 802. Alex Ovechkin scored the most goals, 437, and Nicklas Backstrom recorded the most assists with 512.
  • Team Canada won the Spengler Cup on Dec. 31, 2019. They defeated the Czech team 4-0 in the championship game. Former NHL goaltender and now hockey executive Sean Burke was the team’s General Manager and Shane Doan was AGM. Former player and Oilers executive Craig MacTavish was head coach and former Oiler Paul Coffey was an assistant coach. It was the Canadians forth Spengler Cup win in the past 5 tournaments. There were very few former NHL players on the roster with the team comprised mostly of Canadian players that have played in Europe.
  • Patrick Kane is getting his #88 London Knight jersey retired by the team on Jan. 17th in a pre-game ceremony. Kane played just one season in London, the 2006-07 season. He recorded 62 goals, 145 points in 58 Knights games that season.
  • The Blackhawks have an 518 game (456 regular season games and 64 playoff games) sellout streak going and they lead the NHL in average attendance this season with an avg 21,398 fans / game. 
  • Arizona has had 6 home sellouts already this season (after 22 home games). They had 6 all of last season.

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