Senators' defensive woes continue

Kuba.jpgFlip Kuba doesn’t practice, could miss third straight game.

The Ottawa Senators were one of the few teams that I thought would make a serious push to acquire veteran defensive help at the trade deadline. Some maneuvering would be needed, considering how tight the Sens are against the cap, but if they are serious about making a focused push into the playoffs and beyond, there’s no question they would need more defensive help.

The Senators have allowed 187 goals this season; certainly not that far off the pace from Pittsburgh and Washington above them in the standings. Yet they are 4th-best in the NHL in shots allowed per game, while 20th in goals-against average. The goaltending and defense isn’t bad necessarily, but the Senators’ overall offense is not good enough to keep up with the Eastern conference powers.

If they had hoped to make some noise in the postseason, some form of help would be needed to get a young defensive corps shored up. Well, they added Andy Sutton. And Erik Karlsson is coming on strong.

But now the team is faced with the possibility of Filip Kuba missing significant time. He’s missed the past two games and doesn’t look likely for tomorrow’s game either. In those two games, the Senators have been outscored 8-2 and the goaltending has been atrocious. Would Kuba’s presence have helped? Tough to say, especially considering the fact that the Senators have not allowed less than three goals in a game since February 3rd, and that was against Buffalo.

It’s not entirely out of the question for the Senators to be able to continue winning without having added defensive help; heck they were finding some way to do it before the Olympic break. But to add Andy Sutton and say “Yep, we’re good to go for the playoffs” is a bit ignorant. Especially when you lose Kuba for the next week or so.

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    Kings sign Andreoff to two-year extension

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    The L.A. Kings have brought back pending restricted free agent forward Andy Andreoff.

    The Kings announced Saturday that they have re-signed Andreoff to a two-year deal worth an annual average value of $677,500.

    He appeared in only 36 games last season, spending time on injured reserve, adding two assists. The previous year, however, he played in 60 games for L.A., scoring eight goals with 10 points.

    At 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, Andreoff is known more for his physical style and checking abilities than offensive production, with 146 penalty minutes combined over the last two seasons.

    Stars hope they got a second-round steal in Robertson

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    CHICAGO — His stats jump right off the page.

    On a Kingston Frontenacs squad that really struggled to score, Jason Robertson had 42 goals as a 17-year-old. Nobody else on his team had more than 26 goals.

    For that reason, the Dallas Stars are hoping they got a steal in the second round of the NHL Entry Draft. Robertson, a winger, went 39th overall Saturday at United Center. A lot of scouts had him pegged as a first-rounder.

    So why didn’t he go earlier?

    Probably his skating.

    “Everyone needs to work on stuff,” Robertson said. “Obviously, for me, I need to work on that. It’s something I’m always going to keep working on.”

    But skating didn’t stop Robertson (6-2, 192) from shooting up the prospect rankings in 2016-17. At the midpoint of the season, NHL Central Scouting had him as the 34th-best North American skater. By season’s end, he was 14th.

    “I think a lot of it came from confidence,” he said. “I gained more confidence in my game, my skating, my shot. Once I did that in the second half of the year, I really took off.”

    He sure did, with 30 of his 42 goals coming in the final 40 games of the regular season. He then added five goals and 13 assists in 11 playoff games.

    Robertson was born in Los Angeles, where his dad and grandpa were Kings season-ticket holders. He started playing hockey in L.A., then moved to Detroit when he was 10.

    Isles keep dealing, send Hamonic to Calgary (Updated)

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    It’s been rumored for days that Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic might be on the move.

    And now it’s happened.

    Per Sportsnet, the Isles have dealt Hamonic to Calgary. It’s the second significant move of the draft weekend from GM Garth Snow who, on Thursday, acquired Jordan Eberle from Edmonton in exchange for Ryan Strome.

    Hamonic, 26, is coming off a difficult campaign in which injuries limited him to just 49 games. That said, he’s still a well-regarded blueliner that will make Calgary’s defense one of the deepest in the league.

    There, he’ll play alongside Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton and T.J. Brodie, putting the Flames in the conversation with Nashville for the best top-four in the NHL.

    Hamonic had made waves during the ’15-16 campaign, when it was learned he’d requested a trade from the Islanders due to a family issue. That request had since been rescinded.

    It’s worth mentioning that Hamonic has one of the more club-friendly deals in the league. He has three years left on a seven-year, $27 million deal, one that carries a $3.857M average annual cap hit. For a top-four defenseman that can log big minutes and post solid possession metrics, that’s a pretty low price to pay.

    No word yet on what the return is for New York. The Isles selected a pair of defensemen — Robin Salo and Benjamin Mirageas — with their second- and third-round picks on Saturday morning.

    UPDATE: Looks as though the Isles are only getting picks in return.

    If Calgary misses the playoffs on 2019, the Isles get the pick that year. That condition stems from an earlier one in which Arizona would get the Flames’ second-rounder in 2019 if the Flames make the playoffs.

    Got all that?

    There’s widespread speculation Snow isn’t done dealing. The bounty of draft picks acquired could be utilized in a future trade, which would be the likely direction for a club that’s in “win-now” mode.

    Jets extend Chiarot — two year, $2.8 million

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    Winnipeg has retained some of its defensive depth, re-signing Ben Chiarot to a two-year deal worth $2.8 million.

    It’s a $1.4 million average annual cap hit for the 26-year-old, and a nice pay bump from the $850,000 he was making on his previous deal.

    Chiarot had a nice campaign in ’16-17, scoring a career-high 12 points while appearing in 59 games. The season ended on a down note, however, as he suffered an upper-body injury in mid-March and was shut down for the year.

    Looking ahead, Chiarot will likely continue to serve in a depth role for the Jets. The club is bringing back nearly all of the same defensemen it had last year, and it’s expected youngster Josh Morrissey will take on an even bigger role.