Capitals trade prospect Stefan Della Rovere for Blues enforcer D.J. King

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djking1.jpgWhile the Washington Capitals summer has been quiet, unless you count Maxime Talbot calling Alexander Ovechkin names news. Today, however, the Capitals made a definitive splash of sorts sending prospect Stefan Della Rovere to St. Louis for oft-injured enforcer D.J. King.

D.J. King is plain and simple, an enforcer. Guys in St. Louis loved him as defenseman Erik Johnson tweeted this afternoon. Another now former Blues tough guy teammate Cam Janssen had something else to share with fans and for D.J. King though.

Hey DJ, BTW… Wed, Dec 1 Caps at Blues….its ON!

Let’s just hope that Michael Buffer isn’t busy that night so he can introduce the combatants. Let’s also hope that King is healthy enough to play. Over the last four seasons, King has played in a total of 101 games in the NHL with 61 of those coming in 2007-2008. Last season, King played 12 games with St. Louis and ten with Peoria in the AHL. Keeping him healthy enough to fend off the heavyweight fighters in the Eastern Conference might be a struggle.

As for Stefan Della Rovere, referring to him as a prospect is a bit debatable. He was the Caps seventh round pick in 2008 but he’s made appearances with the Canadian World Junior team in 2009 and 2010, winning the gold in 2009. Della Rovere has also never played in the AHL to this point having stayed with Barrie in Canadian juniors. He’s yet to show what he’s capable of doing as a professional and that’s where the mystery comes in.

His career in juniors and the World Junior Championships is scattered with different questionable hits and incidents and he even got into a fight recently at the Capitals prospect camp. Perhaps the Caps motivation was to get a known quantity and give up a guy who they’re not quite sure what he’ll bring to the table as a pro. At least, I hope that’s what their motivation is, as on paper the deal doesn’t appear to make a world of sense. Perhaps the Caps have a better idea than we do at our computers as to what’s actually going on with Della Rovere.

Therrien refutes report that Price is likely done for the season

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Contrary to a report by La Presse newspaper, Montreal head coach Michel Therrien says that Canadiens goalie Carey Price could still play again this season.

“We know what’s going on with Carey,” Therrien told reporters today. “It takes more time, obviously, than we were expecting. Like I said, he’s working extremely hard and he’s put in a lot of hours to make sure that he’s going to make that comeback. The fact that he’s working extremely hard is not to make sure that he’s going to look good this summer on the beach; he wants to come back and play for the Montreal Canadiens.”

That being said, Price does not appear close to a return. He’s yet to practice with teammates. He’s yet to even skate in goalie gear.

The Habs have 27 games left to get back into a playoff spot. They close out the regular season on April 9, less than two months from today.

Related: With Price possibly done for the season, Scrivens has Dubnyk-like opportunity

With trade deadline approaching, Canucks announce Edler out 6 weeks, Sutter 6-8 weeks

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The Vancouver Canucks announced today that they’ll be without defenseman Alex Edler (fractured fibula) for six weeks and center Brandon Sutter (broken jaw that required surgery) for six to eight weeks.

So basically those two are gone for the remainder of regular season, save for possibly a few games at the tail end of the schedule.

For a bubble team that doesn’t boast a ton of depth, the injuries are significant. Edler leads the Canucks in ice time, averaging almost 25 minutes per game. Sutter, arguably their best defensive center, already missed a big chunk of games earlier in the season following sports-hernia surgery.

But GM Jim Benning still isn’t giving up on the playoffs. Yesterday, he went on Vancouver radio and suggested the Canucks could actually be buyers at the trade deadline.

Benning only has a couple of weeks to decide what to do with pending unrestricted free agents defenseman Dan Hamhuis and winger Radim Vrbata. The trade deadline is Feb. 29.

The Canucks, currently just two points back of Nashville for the final wild-card spot, have a pair of winnable games coming up. They host Toronto Saturday and Minnesota Monday.

Related: Preds entering key (and tough) stretch before trade deadline

Jets activate Pavelec from IR, send Hellebuyck back to minors

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Winnipeg’s goalie of the future is off to continue his development in the AHL.

On Friday, the Jets activated veteran netminder Ondrej Pavelec from injured reserve and, in a subsequent move, sent rookie netminder Connor Hellebuyck back to their affiliate in Manitoba.

Hellebuyck, 22, arrived in Winnipeg with great fanfare, having starred for Team USA at the 2015 Worlds while being named an AHL All-Star as well.

This was his first-ever stint with the Jets, and it went OK — Hellebuyck posted an 13-11-1 record, .918 save percentage and 2.34 GAA — but he did struggle of late, getting hooked in two of his last three outings.

Now, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with Pavelec.

His numbers prior to getting hurt weren’t any better than Hellebuyck’s — .906 save percentage, 2.82 GAA — and there will be considerable rust to knock off, given he’s been out since late November with a knee issue.

There’s also the long-term implication.

Pavelec, a lightning rod for criticism over the last few seasons, has one year left on his five-year, $19.5 million extension, meaning he’ll be an unrestricted free agent in July of ’17.

It could be his last season in Winnipeg (assuming he’s not bought out of the final year of his deal), which makes one wonder what GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has in store.

It’s also worth noting there’s a third goalie in this equation: Michael Hutchinson, who’s a pending RFA.

Kuznetsov passed concussion test, expected to play Saturday

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov, from Russia, celebrates his goal during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, in Washington. The Capitals won 5-3. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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Feel free to breath a sigh of relief, Capitals fans — Evgeny Kuznetsov is okay.

“During the end of the third period, Evgeny underwent and passed all tests pertaining to the league’s concussion protocol evaluation,” the Caps said today in a statement. “We expect him to take the morning skate tomorrow and play against the Stars later that night.”

Kuznetsov left last night’s game versus the Wild in the third period after appearing to take the butt-end of Mikael Granlund’s stick to the face.

Kuznetsov leads the Caps with 54 points.