Kris Versteeg trying to ignore trade talk

Kris Versteeg will be getting some attention at the trade deadline,
but it’s certainly not because of how great he’s been playing lately.
The right wing has just one point in his last eight games and hasn’t
scored a goal since January 9th. For the season he has just 13 goals in
58 games and with the Blackhawks facing salary-cap hell, there’s almost a
certainty he’ll be traded.

Of course, teams might be a bit
hesitant. Here’s another example of a player underperfoming after
signing a big contract, this time worth $3 million a year. What has to
be frustrating for the Hawks, who will want to get max value for a young
player, not just dumping salary, is that Versteeg was actually playing
worse as the Olympic break approached.

Versteeg is one of several players who entered the break in a slump,
which included playing only 4:54 in the Hawks’ last game. He said the
looming trade deadline hasn’t been a factor, although
others have said it could be a distraction.

”I just have to go out there and work hard. Whatever happens
happens,” he said.

There’s no doubt teams will be very interested — Versteeg has just
two NHL seasons under his belt; hard to say he’s not living up to his
potential now. But you have to wonder if his one good season last year
was an anomaly, or if he truly peaked and a 15-20 goal scorer is what he
is. That’s not bad; but is that worth trading for and acquiring a $3
million per year contract?

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    Kings’ AHL affiliate gives Emery PTO

    Ray Emery
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    Ray Emery has agreed to join the Ontario Reign on a professional tryout, according to a team release.

    The Reign are the minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings.

    Emery attended Tampa Bay’s training camp on a PTO, but he was released after the team claimed Kevin Poulin on waivers from the Islanders.

    The 33-year-old had a 10-11-7 record with a 3.06 goals-against-average and a .894 save percentage in 31 games with the Flyers last season.

    Even with starter Jonathan Quick struggling, it’s hard to envision this move leading to a return to the NHL for Emery.

    The Kings have Quick and Jhonas Enroth with the big club, while veteran Peter Budaj was signed to a two-way contract on Friday.

    Goalie nods: Reimer makes first start of the season

    James Reimer
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    James Reimer will get his first start of the 2015-16 season on Saturday night against Ottawa.

    Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock made it clear from the beginning that Jonathan Bernier was going to start on Wednesday against Montreal and Friday in Detroit, while Reimer would get in against the Sens.

    “I’ve known this for a long time that (Bernier is) starting and he’s starting on Wednesday and he’s starting on Friday. Reims is starting on Saturday,” Babcock said before the season began.

    Things haven’t gone according to plan for Toronto through two games.

    Not only have they lost both contests, but Bernier was pulled in yesterday’s 4-0 loss to the Red Wings, and the team has scored only one goal this season.

    Reimer, who stopped 12 of 13 shots in just under 40 minutes of action against Detroit, will go up against Craig Anderson.


    Cam Talbot will try to get his first win as an Oiler as they travel to Nashville to take on the Predators. Pekka Rinne will start for the Predators.

    Carey Price and Tuukka Rask will face-off when the Canadiens and Bruins renew hostilities at the TD Garden in Boston.

    Petr Mrazek will be between the pipes when the Red Wings take on the ‘Canes in Carolina. Cam Ward gets the nod for the Hurricanes.

    Keith Kinkaid for the Devils. Braden Holtby makes his first start of the year in the Capitals’ season opener.

    Steve Mason for the Flyers. Roberto Luongo for the Panthers in their opener.

    -Columbus hasn’t confirmed who their starter will be in the back half of their home-and-home with the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist will start for New York.

    Jake Allen makes his first start of the regular season for St. Louis. Devan Dubnyk for the Wild.

    -The Islanders have yet to confirm their starter for tonight’s game in Chicago. Scott Darling for the ‘Hawks after Corey Crawford helped spoil the party in Brooklyn yesterday.

    Antti Niemi gets the call for Dallas after he blanked the Penguins in his first start. Semyon Varlamov for Colorado.

    Jonas Hiller for Calgary. Ryan Miller for the Canucks.

    -The Penguins haven’t confirmed who their starter will be in Arizona tonight. Mike Smith will likely play in back-to-back games after beating the Kings on Friday.

    -The Ducks have yet to confirm their starter. Martin Jones will start for San Jose.