Wolski and Mueller fitting in with new teams

It’s always interesting when two players traded for each other face off against their former teams, but when it happens just days after that trade goes down I pay attention even more closely. Maybe it’s just the human drama behind trades that I’m fascinated with, the psyche behind going against ex-teammates you were just sitting next to on the bench. Do you hold up on the big hit, or do you put some extra oomph into it to show that you’ve moved on and this is your new team now? Does it feel good to score on your old team, almost like a jab at the team that that traded you away? Of course, some moves are made purely for business, while other can be a bit more personal so each situation is different. It’s still fascinating.

Which brings us to the Wojtek Wolski and Peter Mueller swap between the Avalanche and Coyotes. Both players were a bit of a headache on their respective teams, and new starts with a new team could be good for both the players and the teams themselves. The potential and talent level is comparable, so it will be interesting to see how each ultimately fares with their new team.


On Wednesday night, the same day he was traded for, Mueller scored a
goal for the Avalanche and impressed his teammates with his skill and
hard work. Thursday night, Colorado traveled to Phoenix to take on the
Coyotes in an arena where the fans are finally starting to come alive.
Mueller was booed everytime he touched the puck (I guess his
outspokenness didn’t sit well with fans), but it was Wolski who got big
welcome.

With 23 seconds remaining in regulation in a tie game, Wolski scored the
game winning goal with a nifty one-timer from the slot. I doubt Mueller
was given a big welcome by his former team, but Wolski made it a point
to stick around after the game to shake the hand of his former
teammates. But his immediate desire to become a leader on the Coyotes
that’s most impressive.

“I think we got a lot of chances, and I think it’s only gonna get
better each game,” Wolski said. “We’re all excited about playing with
each other.

“(Friday) we’re gonna address some (power play) stuff and try and
work on some plays, and I think that’s the biggest thing. When you know
where guys are going, it’s much easier.”

Comparing Wolski and Mueller for the rest of their careers with their
new teams isn’t very fair, but that’s just the nature of when two
similar players are exchanged. But for now, the two are already fitting
in with their new teams and have moved on from the trade that swapped
them.

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    Caps re-sign Copley, who could be Holtby’s future backup

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    Pheonix Copley, who returned to Washington this season as part of the Kevin Shattenkirk trade with St. Louis, has signed a two-year extension worth $1.3 million, the Caps announced on Wednesday.

    The key wrinkle in the deal is that year one is of the two-way variety, while year two is of the one-way.

    It’s worth mentioning because Philipp Grubauer — Washington’s current backup to starter Braden Holtby — is currently a restricted free agent, and believed to be have No. 1 potential.

    The 25-year-old has capably served under Holtby for the last two years. He’s coming off an excellent campaign — 13-6-2, .926 save percentage, 2.05 GAA — and sounds like he’s ready to make the next step in his career.

    “I would like to stay here; Washington is awesome and the whole organization’s been awesome the last couple of years,” Grubauer said, per the Post. “But I’m ready if the opportunity comes to make the next step and try to be a starting goalie somewhere.”

    Grubauer was made available to Vegas at the expansion draft, but Golden Knights GM George McPhee opted to take blueliner Nate Schmidt instead. There are still rumblings that Washington might dangle Grubauer in trade talks.

    Copley has a very small NHL resume — just two games, both with St. Louis — but fared very well with AHL Hershey last year. In 16 regular-season games he went 11-5-0 with a .931 save percentage and 2.15 GAA and, in the playoffs, went 5-4 with a .933 save percentage and 2.13 GAA.

    Report: Ryan Miller may land in Anaheim

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    The Anaheim Ducks might be getting a former Vezina Trophy winner as their backup.

    According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, “there is a lot of expectation of Ryan Miller to Anaheim for approximately $1 million, although I’m not sure if bonuses will be added to that.”

    Miller, an unrestricted free agent, has spent the last three years in Vancouver. The Canucks would like to keep him; however, his wife, Noureen DeWulf, is an actress, so Southern California has always been a potential landing spot.

    Also, let’s face it, Miller would have a much better shot at winning the Stanley Cup with the Ducks, and that’s something the 36-year-old has never done.

    As for the Ducks’ motivations, signing Miller would give them a viable starting option should John Gibson struggle or get hurt again. Recall that Anaheim’s last backup, Jonathan Bernier, had a tough time after he was forced into action in the Western Conference Final.

    Related: What does the future hold for Ryan Miller?

    Jets have contacted Mason about goalie gig

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    Though most signs point to Brian Elliott in goal for Winnipeg next season — see here and here — there are other options out there.

    Per the Winnipeg Sun, the Jets have reached out to ex-Flyers netminder Steve Mason during the free agent interview window.

    Mason, 29, just wrapped the last of a three-year, $12.3 million deal with a $4.1M average annual cap hit. He’s spent the last four-plus seasons with the Flyers but, over the last two, had been part of a platoon with Michal Neuvirth.

    Mason played 58 games to Neuvirth’s 28 this year, but didn’t fare especially well, finishing with a .908 save percentage.

    We bring this up because whoever signs in Winnipeg will likely have to concede some starts to Connor Hellebuyck, the one-time goalie of the future that struggled mightily through ’16-17. Hellebuyck is still only 24 and the hope is that last year can be spun as a positive learning experience.

    “We went through a growing period and the goaltenders were exactly like that,” head coach Paul Maurice said of Hellebuyck’s campaign, per the Free Press. “Put them back in the net after a tough night, yanked [Hellebuyck] early a bunch of times.”

    The Sun reports that Winnipeg was “one of several teams that inquired about Mason,” which isn’t surprising. He’d make for a high-caliber backup and a likely upgrade in a number of markets.

     

    Bruins re-sign Acciari — two years, $1.45 million

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    Looks like Noel Acciari will be around Boston for the foreseeable future.

    Acciari, who has spent most of his career shuttling between AHL Providence and the NHL, has signed a two-year, one-way deal worth $725,000, the B’s announced on Wednesday.

    Acciari’s contract comes after he appeared in 29 games for the Bruins last year, scoring five points. He also appeared in four of the club’s opening-round playoff games against Ottawa, scoring once.

    The former Providence standout, who went undrafted, caught on with Boston in ’15-16 and quickly worked his way into the mix at the NHL level.

    There’s a pretty decent chance he’ll eclipse the 29 games played last year, especially if the club doesn’t return veteran forwards Dominic Moore and Drew Stafford, both of whom become unrestricted free agents on Saturday.