Patrick Kane closing in on 100-point mark

It’s not outside the realm of possibility but it’s still a long shot.
With 16 games
left to go in the season and already at the 75 point mark
, Patrick
Kane has a chance of becoming the first Blackhawks player to have 100
points in a season since Jeremy Roenick did so 17 years ago.

Of
course, that would mean Sharp would have to average almost two points a
night to beat that record. That’s ridiculous, right?

“I’d by lying to you to say I wouldn’t be thinking about
it,” Kane said. “You do think about it, about having a good stretch.
But if you worry about that too much it sinks in a little bit and you
don’t play as well.

“For me personally, I just have to worry about playing
the game hard and trying to make something happen and be determined to
make something happen every shift. Then that stuff will taker care of
itself.”

Kane is already at a career high in the midst of an
exceptional season with the Blackhawks. Whether or not he hits 100
points is entirely irrelevant, but perhaps the chase will give him some
extra push as the regular season draws to a close. I know that
individual awards and accolades shouldn’t affect how a player performs,
but we all know that’s the case.

Good for him if he makes it, and it would certainly take
a remarkable run to get there. But I bet anything I have that
Blackhawks fans would much rather their team be playing as best they
could — as a team — against focusing on an individual points mark for
Kane. The good news is that Kane’s success in the chase will directly
and positively impact the team’s performance overall.

So what do I know. Maybe individual goals are
good for the team.

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    Methot confident he can compliment Stars’ offensive d-men

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    Talk about a hectic few days for Marc Methot.

    Methot started last week as a member of the Ottawa Senators but was left unprotected when Dion Phaneuf opted not to waive his no-movement clause. He was plucked during the expansion draft process by Vegas and then dealt to Dallas, as the Golden Knights recouped another draft pick and a prospect goalie.

    For the Stars, their offseason plan was simple: Improve their goaltending and improve on defense.

    Putting that plan into action is certainly easier said than done, but general manager Jim Nill has made the necessary moves to address those areas, acquiring and then signing Ben Bishop and most recently acquiring Methot. Their new head coach is Ken Hitchcock, who has gained a reputation across the league for defensive structure.

    Methot will never be known for his offensive production. He didn’t score a goal in 68 regular season games during the 2016-17 campaign, though he changed that with a pair of goals and four points in the playoffs. What the Stars see in Methot is a “steady defenseman that can play well with an offensive-minded partner,” Nill said two days ago.

    It remains to be seen exactly who Methot will be paired with to start next season. Of all the Stars’ defensemen, John Klingberg packs the most offensive punch. In three seasons with Dallas, he’s never gone below the 40-point plateau, hitting 58 points in 2015-16.

    “I complement well an offensive-minded player,” Methot told NHL.com. “It allows whoever I’m playing with to roam around a little bit more and take more opportunities offensively. At the same time that doesn’t mean your partner can skate around all over the place at free will. I think you still as a tandem have to be fairly good in your own end.”

    The Stars have struggled in that last department. But they’re also in a window to win right now, as their offseason moves have illustrated.

    Report: Red Wings re-sign Lashoff to two-year, two-way deal

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    The Detroit Red Wings are bringing back defenseman Brian Lashoff.

    According to Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports, the Red Wings have re-signed Lashoff to a two-year, two-way contract worth $650,000 per season. He re-signed with Detroit last year for the same amount of money, only on a one-year contract.

    Lashoff has been with the Red Wings organization since 2008, eventually joining its AHL team in Grand Rapids. He has since gone on to play 122 career NHL games, all with the Red Wings, with a total of two goals and 13 points.

    This past season, Lashoff played five games in Detroit, while spending the majority of the year with the Griffins, who won the Calder Cup.

    Meanwhile, the Red Wings still have interest in defenseman — and former first-round pick — Dylan McIlrath. (CapFriendly reported Wednesday evening that Detroit had re-signed him to a two-year, two-way deal.)

    From the Detroit Free Press:

    McIlrath towers at 6-foot-5, 236 pounds. He’s not a skill guy, but he’s great at keeping the waters calm for young defense prospects – and this coming season the Griffins’ fold will include Filip Hronek, the 53rd overall pick from 2016 and Vili Saarijarvi, the 73rd overall pick from 2015. McIlrath creates a lot of room because of his size, and that should help young defense partners adjust to pro hockey.

    McIlrath was selected 10th overall by the New York Rangers in 2010. He was dealt to Detroit at this year’s trade deadline.

    Report: Canucks meet with pending UFAs Gagner, Weal

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    The Vancouver Canucks reportedly met with a pair of pending unrestricted free agent centers on Wednesday, as Sam Gagner and Jordan Weal were said to be in town.

    That is according to TSN’s Frank Seravalli and Darren Dreger.

    Vancouver’s top three centers for the 2017-18 campaign appear to be in place, with Henrik Sedin, Bo Horvat and Brandon Sutter. However, center is an area the Canucks especially need to improve going into next season and for the future.

    Horvat’s development the past three years has provided hope he can eventually take over as the No. 1 center, and, as a pending restricted free agent, the Canucks need to get him under contract. Meanwhile, Henrik Sedin is 37 in September and in the final year of his contract, along with brother Daniel, following a difficult year for the brothers. Sutter has four more years remaining on his deal, but his time in Vancouver has been disrupted by injury.

    Gagner and Weal could provide interesting options for the Canucks.

    Playing this season on a one-year contract worth only $650,000, Gagner ended up having his most productive campaign with 18 goals and 50 points, despite the fact he averaged less than 14 minutes of ice time per game, and barely over 11 minutes at even strength under John Tortorella.

    Read more: Gagner has been ‘a great story’ for surprising Blue Jackets

    Where he made his mark was on the power play, with 18 points. That number would’ve led the Canucks, who were dismal on the power play with a 14.1 per cent efficiency rating, good enough for 29th overall. At 27 years of age, and nearing 700 career games played, almost 30 per cent of Gagner’s career points have come on the power play, so perhaps Canucks’ management may look to him as a possible remedy for that ailment when next season begins.

    But after giving big money and term — and a no-movement clause — to Loui Eriksson last summer, it would be wise for the Canucks to be a little more sensible in their spending, especially during a rebuilding phase.

    Weal is from the Vancouver area, and is hoping to turn a productive two-month stretch (12 points in 23 games) with the Flyers into a raise from the $650,000 he made at the NHL level last season. At last check, Weal and the Flyers appeared good on term but weren’t on the same page when it came to compensation, leading the 25-year-old forward to check out other possible opportunities across the league.

    He’s had no problem putting up big numbers in the AHL, reaching 70 points in 76 games three years ago. And the Canucks could desperately use more offensively gifted players in their lineup, particularly if they have age and time on their side.

    When it comes to the Canucks, there is another free agent forward with apparent interest. That would be former No. 1 overall pick Nail Yakupov.

    NHL teams can now talk to pending unrestricted free agents to gauge potential interest, however no contracts can be signed until July 1.

    Ducks add Konowalchuk, Morrison to Carlyle’s staff

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    Anaheim has added two assistants to Randy Carlyle’s coaching staff — longtime NHLer Steve Konowalchuk, and AHL Manitoba assistant Mark Morrison.

    Konowalchuk, 44, comes over after a successful stint as the bench boss in WHL Seattle. Last year, he led the Thunderbirds to a league title and a spot in the Memorial Cup. He has history with Carlyle from their days together in Washington — Konowalchuk as a player, Carlyle as an assistant coach.

    Konowalchuk also has NHL experience, having served two years as an assistant in Colorado.

    Morrison, 54, has spent the last six years with the Moose/IceCaps, Winnipeg’s AHL affiliate. Prior to that, he was the head coach of ECHL Victoria.

    Today’s moves after the Ducks parted ways with Paul MacLean. He’d been with the organization for two seasons, serving under both Carlyle and Bruce Boudreau.