With news that Tim Thomas and Jason Spezza are looking less likely to
be traded, the number of big moves we were expecting before (or after)
the draft is dwindling. Teams are locking up their potential free agents
and the big names that might have been traded appear to be staying put
— for now.
So what is left out there that we could see happen
before, and during, tonight’s draft?
– It appears that Kris
Versteeg is still being made available for trade by the Blackhawks, but
that Chicago doesn’t appear in dire need of trading the winger. With the
blockbuster trade with Atlanta, the Hawks gave themselves some needed
space under the cap — although that’s just $6 million under with just
13 players under contract. We’re still expecting some sort of move by
the Hawks to further alleviate their salary issues, but it doesn’t seem
that Versteeg will be the one to go.
There’s also been talk that
Patrick Sharp isn’t going anywhere either. So who knows exactly what the
Blackhawks have planned as far as their roster goes, but for now it
seems this team is going to look just a bit different a few months after
winning the Stanley Cup.
– There are a number of first round
picks being made available to be traded, which is either a sign that
team’s aren’t happy with the first round depth this year or are more
concerned with getting maximum value out of the draft. It’s been known
for a while that Columbus is shopping the 4th overall pick, while
Atlanta (#8) and Florida (#15) are also looking to trade down as well.
Columbus will want a high caliber, NHL-ready player for that fourth pick
as whichever team slides into that spot will have a choice at a prime
– I’m still getting word that a Mike Riberio
trade is very likely, although there have yet to be any rumblings of
anything resembling a legitimate offer for the center. With Spezza and
Marleau off the market, Ribeiro’s value via trade has significantly
risen and the Stars could be poised to get a handsome return, although
GM Joe Nieuwendyk won’t hesitate to keep the center if the offers aren’t
as high as he’d like.
Born in Scottsdale, AZ., Auston Matthews has taken the NHL by storm in his rookie season as an elite talent headlining an impressive freshman class.
Taken first overall last June, Matthews made history with four goals in his debut, surely a dizzying experience for Maple Leafs fans accustomed to heartbreak and frustration. And he really hasn’t slowed down since.
On Sunday against the Carolina Hurricanes — and on Hockey Day in America — the 19-year-old Matthews once again put on a show, scoring his 28th goal of the season. That gave Toronto a two-goal lead.
As he’s often done in his brief time in the NHL, this goal was of the spectacular variety, as he broke in off the left wing and, as he was getting hauled down to the ice, slid the puck five-hole on Cam Ward.
Related: Auston Matthews is having a rookie season for the ages
For about a month now, Evander Kane has enjoyed a particularly productive stretch for the Buffalo Sabres.
Kane scored with 5.6 seconds remaining in the first period of Sunday’s game versus the Chicago Blackhawks, converting on a nifty pass from Jack Eichel and going top shelf on Scott Darling.
He now has goals in three straight games, and 15 points in 14 games as the Sabres have fought their way back into the playoff race in the Eastern Conference.
Of course, this latest run comes just before the trade deadline, and Kane’s name has consistently been in speculation about a possible move — in addition to off-ice issues. While GM Tim Murray has said earlier this month that he’s not actively shopping Kane, he also didn’t absolutely rule out trading the 25-year-old left winger, now into his second season in Buffalo.
(Murray: “Is there a crazy deal that somebody could throw at me that would force me to do it? I guess there is.”)
Most impressive about Kane’s numbers — remember he missed time earlier this season with a rib injury and then had a slow start, which drew the ire of the coach — is that he’s done the vast majority of his scoring, 20 of 21 goals, at five-on-five.
The Boston Bruins are back from their bye week, looking to continue a three-game winning streak since Bruce Cassidy took over as head coach from Claude Julien.
The Bruins can extend their streak Sunday, when they visit the San Jose Sharks (8:30 p.m. ET). You can check out the game on NBCSN or online with NBC Sports’ Live Extra.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:
The NHL’s bye week experiment is still a work in progress
Pre-game reading: Are the Bruins and Avalanche on verge of trade?
Sharks have reason to wait on Thornton, Marleau extensions
Jacob Trouba could be getting a call from the NHL Department of Player Safety for a hit to the head of Ottawa Senators forward Mark Stone.
The incident occurred during the third period of Sunday’s game, as Stone was passing the puck after he entered the zone. Trouba stepped up and delivered a high hit, resulting in only a minor penalty for an illegal check to the head.
Stone, who dealt with a concussion that was reported in September, remained down on the ice before eventually going to the dressing room.
As you can see from the video, Senators coach Guy Boucher was furious officials on the ice decided this was only worth a minor for Trouba.