We’ve speculated since before Ilya Kovalchuk signed that perhaps once he did get his name on the dotted line that action in both the free agent and trade markets would pick up and things would get interesting once again. One of the names that floated around in trade speculation before the start of free agency was Boston’s Marc Savard. With Ilya back in New Jersey, James Murphy of ESPN Boston looked into things to see if perhaps interest in the Bruins center was reinvigorated.
The Internet then buzzed with talk of other deals, including a possible Savard trade, that could follow soon. It was all pure speculation, but according to numerous sources around the NHL, more teams could inquire about the center that the Bruins reportedly have explored trading to gain some salary cap space (currently $587,229).
Savard, who is signed for six more seasons with an average annual cap hit of $4 million, reportedly has a no-movement clause that will allow him to be dealt only to the Ottawa Senators or Toronto Maple Leafs. But that doesn’t mean other teams can’t inquire about the pivot who led the Bruins in scoring in three of his first four seasons with the team.
“There’s teams that will want to explore what it would take to get him,” one NHL source said late Monday. “Yes, he has to waive the no-movement, but I’m sure from what I’ve been told he will at least look at other options.”
There is growing sentiment around the Bruins organization that Savard will be sporting the spoked B when the team opens its season, and another league source said Monday that he expected that to be the case unless the Bruins could deal Savard to a Western Conference team.
In an odd twist of fate, and one that isn’t entirely unsurprising given Savard’s no-trade clause and apparent limited wish list of places he’d like to go, all Ilya Kovalchuk’s signing did for Marc Savard was to ensure that Savard would almost certainly remain a Boston Bruin. Certainly keeping Savard and his offensive output are crucial to the immediate future of the Bruins success in the Eastern Conference. With how the Penguins, Flyers and Devils have all loaded up in a Cold War-esque brand of arms race, those teams as well as the Washington Capitals show that getting through the Eastern Conference will not be simple.
That said, Simon Gagne’s story yesterday told us that sometimes no-trade clauses are meant to be broken so a team can function in a fiscally feasible manner. While players do have some control over where they want to go, sometimes all it takes is a phone call from an interested general manager to convince a player that they might be a better fit for their team.
Raanta rewards Rangers for starts over Lundqvist by blanking Blackhawks
If someone told you that the New York Rangers started a goalie on back-to-back nights, and that goalie wasn’t Henrik Lundqvist, you’d probably wonder if he was hurt or retired.
Nope. It just so happens that Antti Raanta is playing at an incredibly high level, Alain Vigneault noticed, and that decision paid dividends on Friday night. Raanta won both nights of a back-to-back, allowing a single goal (with the Rangers protecting him, being that he only needed to stop 43 of 44 shots during that span).
Raanta and the Rangers blanked the Chicago Blackhawks with a 1-0 overtime win, at least briefly climbing to first place in the massively competitive Metro Division:
1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP
Nick Holden ended up scoring the only goal of the game:
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks lost but at least salvaged a standings point and it seems like Patrick Kane is OK after this injury scare:
Raanta improved to 7-1-0 on the season, allowing two goals or less in all but one of his appearances so far this season. That’s the kind of work you’d expect to see if you’re going sit a guy who’s, you know, a living legend.
Blue Jackets remain in thick of things in Metro on tough night for Red Wings
As the Columbus Blue Jackets keep rolling, the Detroit Red Wings are probably just happy to get Friday behind them.
For the second straight game, the Blue Jackets beat their opponent 4-1.
They’re now on a five-game winning streak, and like the climbing St. Louis Blues, things look great if you go back a little further. They’re 10-1-2 in their last 13 games and 13-2-3 since November began.
The New Jersey Devils have been incredibly difficult to beat at home. Lately, the St. Louis Blues have been on a roll just about anywhere.
On Friday night, the Blues were the hotter team, handing the Devils their first home loss in regulation in 2016-17. And it wasn’t particularly close, with St. Louis winning 4-1.
It’s a convenient time to note that the Blues rank among the hottest teams in the NHL. Most recently, they’re 5-1-1 in their last seven games, but they’ve been especially impressive since they flirted with .500 at 7-6-3. Beginning with a 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 15, the Blues are on a 8-2-1 tear.
This leaves them second in the Central with a 16-8-4 record.
That’s impressive stuff.
This 4-1 win was quite the showcase for Robby Fabbri and Vladimir Tarasenko, in particular. Tarasenko collected three assists while Fabbri scored two goals on Friday night. His second goal was particularly slick:
The Blues are right in saying that this was a pretty fitting opportunity to drop a “Holy Jumpin.”
Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”
Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).
Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.