Checking up on the East's free agents to watch

Thumbnail image for backstromandtheo.jpgA couple weeks ago, I broke down the pending free agents (unrestricted and restricted alike) for each conference. (East hereWest here)

Let’s take a gander at how some of the most noteworthy free-agents-to-be fared so far. Obviously, for players on half the teams, they won’t get another chance to show off their skills. Now let’s move on to the East. This might not be a comprehensive list, so apologies if your favorite pending free agent is left out.

Washington

Nicklas Backstrom – Loss or not, Backstrom was very effective at times with 9 points – trailing only Alex Ovechkin.

Jose Theodore – Didn’t make it very far in the playoffs. His regular season helped his career, but this didn’t.

Montreal

Have you heard of that Jaroslav Halak guy? He might make himself a bit of cash this summer.

Carey Price didn’t do much to improve his value, but Tomas Plekanec had some nice moments as a pending free agent forward.

New Jersey

Ilya Kovalchuk’s career 1-8 playoff record must give some teams at least a little doubt. Unlike Kovalchuk, the steady Paul Martin will likely return to the Devils … but I could be guessing wrong there.

Philadelphia

Not much to talk about with the Flyers, free agent wise.

Buffalo

Raffi Torres struggled to the point of being a healthy scratch, so that didn’t go well for him.

Boston

Mark Recchi has had a fantastic playoff run for a guy from prehistoric times.

Pittsburgh

Sergei Gonchar – 6 points and big ice time make Gonchar about as appealing a free agent defenseman as there is this year.

Alexei Ponikarovsky and Bill Guerin are serviceable but unspectacular.

Ottawa

Anton Volchenkov might see a pretty nice payday. Will it be with Ottawa?

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    Video: The Stars had six skaters on the ice and still didn’t cover Tarasenko on breakaway goal

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    Vladimir Tarasenko can be elusive to the opposition at five-on-five. Apparently that also applies to when the opposition has six skaters on the ice and their goalie still in the crease.

    Tarasenko opened the scoring for the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 on Thursday, sneaking in behind the Stars defense for a breakaway goal on Kari Lehtonen. The Stars, by the way, had six skaters on the ice as the puck was turned over in the St. Louis zone.

    Despite Dallas clearly having too many skaters, the play wasn’t blown down and Tarasenko found himself in the one-on-one situation. He made no mistake.

    (Here’s a screen grab of the turnover inside the St. Louis end, leading to the breakaway. Six Dallas skaters.)

    Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 5.50.07 PM

     

    WATCH LIVE: Sharks at Predators – Game 4

    Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber (6) and center Colin Wilson, right, celebrate after Weber scored a goal against the San Jose Sharks during the second period in Game 3 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinal playoff series Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. San Jose Sharks left wing Patrick Marleau is at left. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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    The Nashville Predators have a chance before the home crowd to even up their second-round series with the San Jose Sharks on Thursday. You can catch Game 4 between these teams on CNBC (9 p.m. ET) or the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

    Here are some links to check out for this game:

    Ribeiro likely scratched, again, as Preds look to even series with Sharks

    Predators smash Sharks to get back in series

     

     

    Gerard Gallant, Lindy Ruff and Barry Trotz named finalists for Jack Adams Award

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    The list of finalists for the Jack Adams Award has been released. Gerard Gallant (Florida Panthers), Lindy Ruff (Dallas Stars) and Barry Trotz (Washington Capitals) are the three nominees for the award, which goes to the head coach that “contributed the most to his team’s success.”

    The winners will be announced June 22 during the 2016 NHL Awards in Las Vegas.

    Gallant was behind the bench for a Panthers team that included an interesting blend of youth (Aaron Ekblad, Jonathan Huberdeau, Vincent Trocheck and Aleksander Barkov) and experience (Jaromir Jagr and Roberto Luongo), locked into a franchise-record 12-game winning streak and took the Atlantic Division with a 47-26-9 record — another new standard for the franchise. The Panthers’ season ended with an opening-round playoff loss to the New York Islanders.

    After missing the playoffs last season, Ruff coached the Stars to top spot in the Western Conference standings with a 50-23-9 record and a team that includes top-end talent from the likes of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza and John Klingberg, playing a game of speed and skill. The Stars led the league in goals for (265) and goals-for per game (3.23).

    Trotz, in his second season in Washington, helped the Capitals to a Presidents’ Trophy for the 2015-16 regular season, besting the second-best team, the Stars, by 11 points. The Capitals finished the season with a record of 56-18-8, setting them up as Stanley Cup contenders when the playoffs began last month. Armed with 50-goal scorer Alex Ovechkin, the Capitals also finished second in the league in goals for (248).

    This is Gallant’s first nomination for the award. Ruff and Trotz are each three-time award finalists, with Ruff winning in 2006, as per NHL.com.

    Last season’s winner, Bob Hartley, was fired by the Calgary Flames earlier this week. He’s not the first Jack Adams Award winner to be dismissed from his job the following year.

    WATCH LIVE: Stars at Blues – Game 4

    St. Louis Blues center Kyle Brodziak, right, fights with Dallas Stars left wing Curtis McKenzie in the first period of Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinals against the Dallas Stars, Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in St. Louis. (Chris Lee/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)  EDWARDSVILLE INTELLIGENCER OUT; THE ALTON TELEGRAPH OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT
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    The St. Louis Blues can move to within one win of the Western Conference final with a victory on home ice at Scottrade Center tonight. The Dallas Stars will be hoping to send this series back to Texas all even. You can catch Game 4 between these teams on NBCSN (8 p.m. ET) or the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

    Here are some links to check out for this game:

    ‘Just worried about safety of friends and family’: NHL donates $100K to Fort McMurray fire relief effort

    If the Stars don’t get some better goaltending, their GM will have some explaining to do

    Fights, hits and a blown kiss: Stars and Blues get nasty