Nieuwendyk and Stars quiet at the deadline

ribeiro.jpgWith the rest of the Pacific division (not San Jose, they’re good to go) improving at the trade deadline, or least attempting to improve, the Dallas Stars stood by and remained quiet. Six teams didn’t make a move yesterday and two of those, Dallas and the New York Islanders, are not in a playoff spot. In fact Ottawa, San Jose and Chicago are all in the top three in their conference and one could argue that perhaps they didn’t need to make many moves. Ottawa added Andy Sutton earlier in the week, so maybe we could say that was their deadline move.

Yet the Stars are in a tough spot. They are attempting to play for this season (two points out of 8th place) while also trying to build for the future. The spoke in the wheel with this plan is an ownership situation that has GM Joe Nieuwendyk handcuffed financially.

Now the Stars did trade for Kari Lehtonen before the Olympic break and
were able to get Steve Ott signed, so it’s not as if they were
completely docile. But it had to be tough to just sit by idly while the
teams ahead of you in the division got better.

“We would have loved to get a few draft picks, and we were
listening to people, but there was nothing realistic that we could get
done,” [Joe Nieuwendyk] said. “So now we’re prepared to move forward
with what we
have. This is sort of how we went into it. We believed we made our deals
already with getting Kari Lehtonen and signing Steve Ott,
so we really didn’t expect much today.”

There were certainly a number of 2nd round draft picks being thrown
around, but I just don’t think the value was there this year to make
drastic moves worth it. You saw it a number of times (mainly from
Edmonton) but teams were trading away decent players and the most they
were getting in return was either a prospect or a draft pick.

The Stars have five players scheduled to be free agents this summer, and
none would be able to fetch anything resembling that high of a price.
So the Stars were basically forced to stay still. Perhaps the Steve Ott contract extension is crippling, but for those that were looking for a big Brenden Morrow or Mike Ribeiro trade..that wasn’t happening. It didn’t happen anywhere else in the NHL.

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    PHT Morning Skate: Columnist argues McDavid’s already NHL’s most important player

    Connor McDavid
    AP Photo
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    PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

    Although Connor McDavid‘s NHL career has only just gotten started, is he already the league’s most important player? (Sportsnet)

    While we’re on the subject of McDavid, what should we expect from him for the remainder of his rookie campaign? (NHL Numbers)

    Jack Jablonski was paralyzed on Dec. 30, 2011 at the age of 16 while playing high school hockey, but that hasn’t ended his pursuit of a career in hockey. He’s spent the last two years hosting a weekly hockey-talk radio program and has now joined the Los Angeles Kings as a communications intern. (Orange County Register)

    Arizona State has earned its first NCAA victory. (Arizona Republic)

    The 2015 Calder Cup champion Manchester Monarchs got their rings. (LA Kings Insider)

    The Anaheim Ducks and the Make-A-Wish Foundation gave 13-year-old Kai Quinonez, who was diagnosed with aplastic anemia four years ago, a tremendous experience. (Orange County Register)

    Canucks spoil Ducks’ home opener via shootout

    Adam Cracknell, Ryan Miller

    ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Ryan Miller and the Vancouver Canucks have already found a groove just three games into the regular season. The Anaheim Ducks are still looking for a way to get their offense going.

    Radim Vrbata and Alex Burrows scored in the shootout, and the Canucks spoiled Anaheim’s home opener with a 2-1 victory Monday night.

    Miller made 28 saves and Adam Cracknell scored in regulation for Vancouver, which beat the Ducks for just the third time in their last 12 meetings.

    Vancouver improved to 2-0 on the road in the young season, with Miller yielding just one goal in each game. That’s encouraging to the veteran, who played in only four games after Feb. 22 last season while dealing with a knee injury.

    “I’m just trying to go out there and battle and compete,” said Miller, who stopped a third-period redirection by Carl Hagelin with his mask. “That was my mindset coming off an injury. That’s what it really comes down to, getting back the focus early on. I didn’t play hockey for a while. The technical stuff I worked on this summer and I pay attention to in practice.”

    Even with twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin combining for just one shot, the Canucks won the new season’s first meeting between the Pacific Division’s top two teams last year. Anaheim won its third straight division title, while Vancouver finished a surprising second before losing in the opening round of the playoffs.

    Sami Vatanen scored and Frederik Andersen stopped 24 shots for the Ducks, who have scored just one goal while going winless in the first two games of a season that begins with Stanley Cup aspirations.

    Anaheim was shut out in San Jose on Saturday in its opener before returning to Honda Center for its first real game on home ice since Game 7 of the Western Conference finals, when Chicago advanced to win the Stanley Cup.

    Kevin Bieksa played nearly 24 1/2 minutes in his second game with the Ducks. Anaheim acquired the veteran defenseman from Vancouver last summer after he played 10 years with the Canucks, who drafted him in 2001. Bieksa was reunited with Ryan Kesler, the longtime Vancouver forward who moved to Anaheim before last season.

    “We fought back a lot better than we did in San Jose,” Bieksa said. “So we need to keep building on this in the rest of this homestand here. If we do that, we’re going to be all right.”

    After the Ducks failed to score on a power play during their first official taste of 3-on-3 overtime hockey, Vrbata and Burrows got stuttering, halting shots past Andersen, who stopped Burrows’ shot before watching it trickle under him.

    “I’ve done that move a few times against a few goalies, but I don’t think I’ve ever done it against Freddie,” Burrows said. “So I tried it, and I’m lucky it went in tonight. It hit his stick and trickled in.”

    Jakob Silfverberg scored in the shootout for the Ducks, who lost their home opener for just the second time in six seasons. Anaheim’s talented offensive players aren’t clicking so far, but nobody is panicking yet.

    “I think we’re doing things the right way now,” Vatanen said. “We battled hard. We got some good chances. The season is long, so we’re going the right way.”

    Both teams opened at a furious pace, with end-to-end chances throughout. After a scoreless first period, Vatanen got the Ducks’ first goal of the season when his long, low shot went through Mike Santorelli‘s screen.

    Cracknell evened it later in the period with a sharp-angled shot that somehow deflected off Andersen’s shoulder or stick and landed behind the goalie. The journeyman got his first regular-season NHL goal since April 4, 2013, and just the seventh of his 85-game NHL career.

    “Pretty fortunate goal on their part,” Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said.

    NOTES: A small group of vocal protesters gathered outside Honda Center to call for the suspension of Ducks D Clayton Stoner, who faces charges in Canada related to a 2013 grizzly bear hunt. … Cracknell hadn’t scored a goal in his last 49 regular-season games, although he got a postseason goal in 2014 for St. Louis.