Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dallas Stars Trade For Erik Cole, Give Montreal Michael Ryder and Draft Pick


Erik Cole was sent to the Dallas Stars by the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday, in exchange for Michael Ryder and a third round draft pick in 2013.  The Stars General Manager, Joe Nieuwendyk indicated that he was a player who could immediately help their team.  

Cole is under contract for two more years at $4 million per year.  Ryder meanwhile, will become an unrestricted free agent after the current season.

Goals have come at a premium for Cole this season, as he has notched three in 20 fames to go with three assists. Ryder meanwhile has six scores in 10 games to go with eight assists.

This is a case where Dallas must have thought that Cole would return to his productive ways with a change of scenery. The added benefit is that he is a player under contract for two more seasons, while Ryder will be looking for a new deal after this campaign.  


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

NHL Injury Update: Brodeur, Nash, Backstrom

Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger reports that the New Jersey Devils have recalled goaltender Keith Kincaid as Martin Brodeur continues to be day-to-day with a sore back.

Greg Wyshynski reports on the Puck Daddy Blog at Yahoo! that although star Rick Nash has not been able to play lately, the New York Rangers have been very quiet about what Nash's injury might be.

Forward Niklas Backstrom is hopeful to play for the Washington Capitals against the Carolina Hurricanes as reported in the Washington Post by Katie Carrera. Casey Wellman has been recalled from the AHL Hershey Bears in the event that Backstrom cannot play.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

2013 NHL Free Agents - Robyn Regehr

The Buffalo Sabres will have five free agent defensemen at the end of the 2013 season according to capgeek.com.   Of those, three will be unrestricted free agents, including Robyn Regehr.

Regehr has spent most of his NHL career with the Calgary Flames, being traded to the Buffalo Sabres in 2011, along with Ales Kotalik and a second round draft pick for Chris Butler and Paul Byron.  The second highest paid defenseman on Buffalo's squad was in the midst of a five year deal worth roughly $20 million at the time of the trade.  That deal comes to an end after this season.

Although Regehr has shown ability to provide offensive assistance, his forte is his defensive awareness.  He positions himself well, hits hard and stymies the opposing offense.

Outlook
Although Regehr provides a strong physical presence on defense for the Sabres, given the lowered salary cap and Buffalo's struggles this season, it would be a surprise to see him get a contract with the team at his current salary rate.  It would be expected that Regehr will test the free agent market to see what team's might be interested in his services at or near his current salary.

NHL Snap Shots: Ruff, Allen and Anisimov

Former Buffalo Sabres Lindy Ruff still has the passion to coach, as reported on ESPN.com.  He gave a news conference at the First Niagra Center and was gracious and thankful.  It's widely expected that Ruff will be able to find a head coaching job in the NHL without too long of a wait.

Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen has been sent back to their AHL affiliate in Peoria after a 3-1-0 record this season in the NHL, to go with a 2.62 goals-against-average.  The 22 year-old was one of three available goalies for the Blues, and with a stretch of inactivity for St. Louis, it appeared to be the proper time to get Allen some work back in the AHL.

The Columbus Blue Jackets' Artem Anisimov has been released from a Detroit hospital according to foxsports.com.  Anisimov was struck in the head during the recent contest with the Red Wings and taken off the ice on a stretcher.  The big center has 6 points in 15 games so far this season with Columbus.  It's reported in the Columbus Dispatch that rookie Sean Collins will most likely see ice time with Anisimov out of the lineup.   

Friday, February 22, 2013

Rick DiPietro Placed on Waivers by New York Islanders

Rick DiPietro has been placed on waivers by the New York Islanders according to a recent report at NHL.com. It is expected that he will go to the Isles' AHL affiliate Bridgeport Sound Tigers if he clears waivers.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ron Rolston to Coach Buffalo Sabres

As reported on NHL Gamecenter, Ron Rolston will be the Buffalo Sabres interim head coach, after the Sabres relieved Lindy Ruff of his head coaching duties.
Rolston had been the head coach of the Sabres' AHL affiliate Rochester Americans. Prior to that, he coached the United States National Team Development Program for several years. Rolston is the brother of longtime NHL player Brian Rolston.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

NHL Injuries: Howard and Hossa

Marian Hossa went down with a hit to the back of the head in the Chicago Blackhawks recent victory over the Vancouver Canucks according to NHL.com. It wasn't known at the time if concussion symptoms had occurred.

NHL.com also reports that Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard was injured in the first period of his team's contest with the Nashville Predators. Jonas Gustavsson replaced Howard in net.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

NHL Snap Shots: Bruins and Habs

Sounds like the flu is going around the Boston Bruins hockey team as seven players reportedly missed practice with flulike symptoms according to Boston.com. On a positive note Milan Lucic was back at practice for the Bruins.

Peter Budaj looked good in net for the Montréal Canadiens as he shut out the Carolina Hurricanes at the Bell Center. Carey Price will be back in net however according to the Montréal Gazette when the New York Rangers are matched up against the Habs on Tuesday evening.

Monday, February 18, 2013

2013 NHL Free Agents - Alexander Semin

Alexander Semin signed a one-year deal last July, worth $7 million with the Carolina Hurricanes.  He currently sits at the top of the unrestricted free agent pay scale according to capgeek.com.

Semin is a goal creator and a goal scorer, with 200 goals and 218 assists for his 482 game regular season career, as of this writing.  His absence may be a large contributor to the struggles that the Washington Capitals have endured this season.

So far, he seems to fit well in Carolina, notching 10 points in 13 games (3 goals and 7 assists).  The Hurricanes also sit atop the Southeastern division in the Eastern conference.

Outlook
The Hurricanes are going to compete this season.  No doubt.  And Semin will remain with the team through the end of this season.  They certainly could use an offensive threat like Semin for the long-run, but his asking price will tell the tale of whether or not he is signed to a long-term contract with the team.  The team has several free agents coming up after this season according, and is projected to be just over $12 million under next year's lower cap total, without any signings, according to records at capgeek.com.  If Semin will take an  annual salary pay cut, and I don't see how he couldn't given the new salary cap, then there is a chance he remains with the Hurricanes.  If not, he'll wind up on a team well under next year's cap, like the New York Islanders.  

2013 NHL Free Agents - Sergei Gonchar

Sergei Gonchar, the 38 year-old defenseman, is at the end of a three year deal with the Ottawa Senators, paying him $5.5 million per season, according to capgeek.com.

Although Gonchar has been an NHL mainstay since he was 20, some 18 years ago, he continues to produce.  Last season saw him garner 37 points in 74 regular season games.  This season, with the injury to Erik Karlsson, he has become ever more valuable.

Season Age Tm GP G A PTS +/- PIM PP SH S S% ATOI
1994-95 20 WSH 31 2 5 7 4 22 0 0 38 5.3
1995-96 21 WSH 78 15 26 41 25 60 4 0 139 10.8
1996-97 22 WSH 57 13 17 30 -11 36 3 0 129 10.1
1997-98 23 WSH 72 5 16 21 2 66 2 0 134 3.7
1998-99 24 WSH 53 21 10 31 1 57 13 1 180 11.7 23:55
1999-00 25 WSH 73 18 36 54 26 52 5 0 181 9.9 21:46
2000-01 26 WSH 76 19 38 57 12 70 8 0 241 7.9 22:26
2001-02 27 WSH 76 26 33 59 -1 58 7 0 216 12.0 23:51
2002-03 28 WSH 82 18 49 67 13 52 7 0 224 8.0 26:35
2003-04 29 TOT 71 11 47 58 -14 56 6 0 161 6.8 27:26
2003-04 29 WSH 56 7 42 49 -20 44 4 0 127 5.5 27:57
2003-04 29 BOS 15 4 5 9 6 12 2 0 34 11.8 25:32
2005-06 31 PIT 75 12 46 58 -13 100 8 0 192 6.3 24:40
2006-07 32 PIT 82 13 54 67 -5 72 10 1 191 6.8 26:34
2007-08 33 PIT 78 12 53 65 13 66 8 0 173 6.9 25:55
2008-09 34 PIT 25 6 13 19 6 26 5 0 71 8.5 25:11
2009-10 35 PIT 62 11 39 50 -4 49 6 0 138 8.0 24:24
2010-11 36 OTT 67 7 20 27 -15 20 5 0 107 6.5 23:12
2011-12 37 OTT 74 5 32 37 -4 55 2 0 131 3.8 22:15
2012-13 38 OTT 12 1 6 7 1 4 1 0 28 3.6 24:30
Career 1144 215 540 755 36 921 100 2 2674 8.0 24:29
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/18/2013.

Outlook
Although Gonchar is not young by NHL standards, he still has some game in him.  Ottawa is not at a stage where it needs to rebuild, by any means.  Once Spezza and Karlsson are healthy, they should be in contention for the Cup once again.  Look for the Senators to reload with Gonchar on a one-year deal at the end of this season.  


2013 NHL Free Agents - Ryan Whitney

Ryan Whitney, the big defenseman from Boston, will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2013 season, according to capgeek.com.  His last contract was for 6 years at a total of $24 million.

The Edmonton Oilers will have five free agent defenseman at the end of the season, unless they make moves prior.  Four of them will be unrestricted free agents, including Whitney.  There has been some speculation that Edmonton would trade Whitney to a team like Ottawa.  But Whitney has the skill that the Oilers can certainly use, particularly on offense.

Before an ankle injury sidelined him for the remainder of the 2010-11 season, Whitney  notched an impressive 27 points in 35 games.  This season has seen him tally 3 points in 11 games, and he has been a healthy scratch in a few games.

Outlook
If Whitney finds his offensive touch, assisting on more goals this season, and the Oilers are in playoff contention, there is a chance that Edmonton will re-sign him.  If not, it may be that he needs a change of scenery to move his game forward.  Detroit, Ottawa, Philadelphia or another team dealing with a slew of injuries could be a destination if a trade were to occur.

NHL Snap Shots: Flyers, Devils and Sabres

The slow start by the Philadelphia Flyers has not put head coach Peter Laviolette and general manager Paul Holmgren in any imminent danger of losing their positions, according to a report by Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer, published at miamiherald.com.  The President of the Flyers' parent company indicated that patience was required.  

Both GM Lou Lamoriello and head coach Pete DeBoer expect forward Jacob Josefson to be back in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils later this season, according to Tom Gulitti at Fire and Ice.  

The Buffalo Sabres' head coach Lindy Ruff, and general manager Darcy Regier are both in their 16th years and coming under increasing scrutiny by fans and media according to a report by Mike Harrington at buffalonews.com.   The Sabres have 13 points and are at the bottom of the Northeast division in the Eastern Conference.


Chris Kreider to Remain With New York Rangers

With an injury sustained by Darroll Powe in the New York Rangers contest against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, the New York Post reports that young centerman Chris Kreider will likely remain with the team after being recalled from the Connecticut Whale recently.

In 7 games this season, Kreider had a goal and an assist with a 2 in the plus/minus column, and just over 10 minutes of ice time per game.  He was sent to Connecticut from the Rangers for only one game, before being recalled to the NHL with the Rangers.

According to the Post article, Powe hit his head on the ice after colliding with the Capitals' Matt Hendricks in the second period.  

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Andrei Loktionov Called Up by New Jersey Devils

According to Mike Vorunov of The Star-Ledger, the New Jersey Devils have called up Andrei Loktionov and sent Jacob Josefeson to the Albany Devils.  Loktionov was recently acquired from the Los Angeles Kings for a draft pick.  He wanted more opportunity to play center in the NHL, and it looks like he will get that chance with the New Jersey Devils.  What makes this situation all the more interesting is that Loktionov's former and current teams matched up in last season's Stanley Cup.

Josefson, the Devils first round draft pick in 2009, had one assist in 15 games this season with New Jersey.  It's expected that Loktionov will get ice time with the Devils when they match up with the Ottawa Senators in a Monday matinee.  

NHL Snap Shots: Leafs, Bruins and Canadiens

Ben Scrivens, goalie for the Toronto Maple Leafs, picked up his first NHL career shutout with a victory over the Ottawa Senators.  Read more in the Toronto Sun article here.

According to boston.com, Milan Lucic will miss Sunday's Boston Bruins game against the Winnipeg Jets.

Goaltender Peter Budaj got his first win of the season for the Montreal Canadiens, according to the Montreal Gazette, as starter Carey Price was out of the lineup with flu-like symptoms.


NHL Snap Shots: Rangers, Ducks and Islanders

Mark Hale of the New York Post reports that Rick Nash may not play in tonight's contest for the New York Rangers and that Chris Kreider has been recalled from the AHL Connecticut Whale.

Viktor Fasth has been perfect for the Anaheim Ducks in net, garnering the victory in a 3-2 game against the Nashville Predators.

John Tavares netted a hatrick and his New York Islanders handed the New Jersey Devils just their third regulation loss of the season.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

2013 NHL Free Agents - Nathan Horton

Nathan Horton has garnered a reputation for being "clutch" with the Boston Bruins.  The 27 year-old is in the final year of a 6 year deal worth $24 million, according to capgeek.com, which began with the Florida Panthers.

The top-line winger has an active 14.8% shooting percentage, which is among the best in the NHL.  See his full NHL career stats as of this post date here:
Season Age Tm GP G A PTS +/- PP S S% ATOI
2003-04 18 FLA 55 14 8 22 -5 6 81 17.3 13:20
2005-06 20 FLA 71 28 19 47 8 3 162 17.3 16:53
2006-07 21 FLA 82 31 31 62 15 7 217 14.3 18:04
2007-08 22 FLA 82 27 35 62 15 9 212 12.7 18:44
2008-09 23 FLA 67 22 23 45 -5 5 131 16.8 17:51
2009-10 24 FLA 65 20 37 57 -1 7 159 12.6 20:53
2010-11 25 BOS 80 26 27 53 29 6 188 13.8 16:17
2011-12 26 BOS 46 17 15 32 0 6 90 18.9 15:56
2012-13 27 BOS 12 4 3 7 2 0 33 12.1 18:30
Career 560 189 198 387 58 49 1273 14.8 17:26
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/16/2013.

Horton has fought back admirably from a concussion suffered last season, and has proven a valuable offensive asset.  With Horton's strong contributions, and a lower salary cap next season, there is speculation that it may be difficult for Boston to retain Horton.

According to an article by Bud Barth at telegram.com:
Horton is in the final year of his $4 million-a-year contract, and there’s rampant speculation that if he has a good season, he’ll price himself right out of Boston. The salary cap will go down drastically next season, which would make it difficult to re-sign Horton anyway. Besides, the Bruins also have to worry about negotiating new deals with goalie Tuukka Rask and defenseman Andrew Ference

Outlook 
We'll see what the remainder of the season brings, as far as the Bruins' playoff chances and Horton's play.  But, it does look like it will be hard for Boston to re-sign Horton, with a projected $7.1 million of available cap space for 2013-14 according to capgeek.  If Boston falls out of the playoff race, which is not likely, the Bruins would likely try to move Horton to a playoff contender.   If they are set for a playoff run, Boston will keep Horton, and try to re-sign him for 2013-14 and beyond.  They just may not have the available funds under the cap to afford Horton, unless they make some other trades to lower their payroll a bit.  

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