New Hab Lars Eller aims to make the the team out of training camp

Eller.jpgI’m sure that most Montreal Canadien fans are still a bit bitter over
the Habs’ decision to stick with Carey Price instead of handing
Jaroslav Halak a big contract extension. After all, Halak was the
goaltender that claimed the starting position and helped lead the
Canadiens to the brink of the Stanley Cup finals.

To help ease the sting of that trade, the Canadiens are receiving the
Blues’ top prospect in Lars Eller, a talented Danish forward who made a
great impression during his first season in North America. The 13th
overall pick for the Blues in 2007, he had 18 goals and 57 points in 70
games for the Peoria Rivermen last season at 21 years old, and seems
poised to be ready to make the full time jump to the NHL next season
after appearing in seven games last year for the Blues.

It’s likely he’ll start off in the AHL, unless he forces his way onto
the roster in training camp, but it won’t be long before he’s making
his debut before the Montreal crowd. Judging by Pierre Gauthier’s
comments yesterday, that appears to be the early plan.

Of course, Eller is approaching the offseason with the intent of
starting the season with the Canadiens. From
Jeremy Rutherford:

“That was my goal in St. Louis, to make that club this
year. I’m going to have the same mindset coming into Montreal. I know
that Montreal has a big fan base and there are big expectations for the
team and the players as well. But I put pressure on myself. I see this
in a positive way.”

The Habs will certainly give
Eller the chance to make the team, especially after trading away Halak
to acquire him, and the big and talented center should be a big part of
the future of this team. There’s a reason he was so highly regarded
three years ago before even playing above the junior level in the SEL.

I
understand that Habs fans are angry over this trade, but getting Eller
coming the other way should be more than just a consolation prize.

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    Mumps outbreak hits Canucks, five players to miss Sharks game

    BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 11: Troy Stecher #51 of the Vancouver Canucks skates against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on February 11, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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    The mumps are back.

    Three years after a league-wide outbreak sidelined a slew of players, the Canucks have announced that d-man Troy Stecher has been diagnosed with mumps, while four other players — Chris Tanev, Nikita Tryamkin, Mike Chaput and Markus Granlund — have presented symptoms.

    More, from the club:

    The team has worked from the outset with the Vancouver Health Authority, NHL, NHLPA and BC Centre for Disease Control to minimize transmission of the illness.

    In keeping with BC Centre of Disease Control and Vancouver Coastal Health guidelines, players presenting symptoms are immediately being tested and quarantined in isolation for a five-day period from the onset of symptoms or until test results prove negative.

    Vaccines are also being administered to minimize further risk of contraction along with universal preventative hygiene measures as recommended by Vancouver Coastal Health including disinfecting all dressing room areas.

    Vancouver’s in the midst of its bye week. Saturday’s home date against the Sharks will be its first since a 3-2 loss to Philly on Sunday.

    Given that Stecher’s out and the other four are being quarantined, the Canucks project to be severely undermanned tomorrow. There was no immediate announcement for AHL recall plans, or emergency roster replacements.

    Following Saturday’s game, Vancouver is back in action again on Tuesday, when it hosts Detroit.

    Stars trade Patrick Eaves to Ducks

    NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 17: Patrick Eaves #18 of the Dallas Stars skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on January 17, 2017 in New York City. The Stars defeated the Rangers 7-6.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    The Anaheim Ducks have acquired winger Patrick Eaves in a trade with the Dallas Stars. The cost was a conditional second-round draft pick in 2017.

    Eaves, 32, is enjoying a career year with 21 goals in 59 games. A pending unrestricted free agent, his cap hit is just $1 million. It was expected that he’d be traded prior to next week’s deadline.

    Eaves join a Ducks team that could use a few more goals. Of note, Corey Perry has struggled offensively, scoring just 11 times in 62 games.

    Below is the condition on the draft pick, which could turn into a first-round selection.

    Based on draft position, Dallas will receive the middle pick of Ottawa, San Jose or Toronto’s second-round selections in 2017 per the conditions in which Anaheim acquired the pick from Toronto in a previous trade. Should Anaheim advance to the third round of the postseason and Eaves plays in 50% or more of their games in the first two rounds, the selection becomes the Ducks first-round selection in the 2017 NHL Draft.

    Related: The Wild have options in search for forward depth

    Bickell to play first game since MS diagnosis

    WINNIPEG, MANITOBA - OCTOBER 13: Paul Postma #4 of the Winnipeg Jets and Bryan Bickell #29 of the Carolina Hurricanes head to the Carolina zone during NHL action on October 22, 2016 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba. (Photo by Jason Halstead /Getty Images)
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    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Carolina Hurricanes forward Bryan Bickell is expected to skate in his first hockey game since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

    The Hurricanes assigned Bickell to their AHL affiliate in Charlotte on Friday and say he’s expected to play for the Checkers on Saturday night.

    The move came a day after he was placed on waivers in a procedural move that allowed the team to send him to the minors.

    Bickell, 30, has been out since October, was diagnosed with MS in November and was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 11.

    The three-time Stanley Cup winner with Chicago has been practicing with the Hurricanes for the past month.

    Rutherford says Schultz extension ‘definitely a priority’ this summer

    NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 06:  Justin Schultz #4 of the Pittsburgh Penguins looks on before a face off against the New Jersey Devils on March 6, 2016 at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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    Justin Schultz‘s career has done a virtual 180 since joining Pittsburgh at last year’s trade deadline, and the Pens have made it clear they’d like to keep him around beyond this season.

    “We have not [discussed an extension with Schultz],” GM Jim Rutherford said, per the Post-Gazette. “But he will definitely be a priority for us in the offseason.”

    Acquired for a third-round pick last February, Schultz proved to be one of Rutherford’s best moves (part of the reason why Rutherford captured NHL GM of the Year). The former Oilers rearguard had seven points through 18 regular-season games and then thrived once getting into the playoff mix, helping Pittsburgh win the Stanley Cup.

    He was signed to a modest one-year, $1.4 million extension last summer, which has turned out to be another Rutherford masterstroke.

    Schultz has been vitally important for a Pittsburgh defense decimated by injury. His TOI is way up — 19:15 per game — and his offensive contributions have been outstanding. The 26-year-old has nine goals and 39 points through 56 games, putting him tops among all Pens d-men (and tied for seventh among all NHL blueliners).

    Schultz is a pending RFA, and in line for a pretty big raise. The Post-Gazette suggested it could cost Pittsburgh $4-$5 million annually to keep him around, meaning Rutherford will have his work cut out. Chris Kunitz, Nick Bonino and Trevor Daley are all pending UFAs, while fellow d-man Brian Dumoulin is also restricted come July 1.

    Rutherford will also need to deal with the Marc-Andre Fleury issue, specifically how to mitigate Fleury’s $5.75 million cap hit.