With Peter Mueller out, could Devils and Avalanche talk trade?

Thumbnail image for Langenbrunner.jpgWith the news coming yesterday that Avalanche forward Peter Mueller would be out indefinitely thanks to receiving a concussion during a pre-season game the other night, the Avs are potentially in the hunt for a replacement. While there’s not too much left going on with the free agent wire, scouting for trade possibilities could be in the best interests of the Avalanche front office if they’re unsure of when the now concussion susceptible Mueller will be out.

One team jumps out immediately for readily-available help and The Denver Post’s Adrian Dater starts sniffing around heavily at the New Jersey Devils to see what they could offer Colorado.

The Devils have three forwards who are definitely available and whom the team would probably dearly love to move. They are former Av Brian Rolston, Jamie Langenbrunner and Dainius Zubrus. While I loved Rolston as a player in Boston and Minnesota, he is coming off a terrible first year in Jersey after signing a huge contract (he’s got two years left on a deal with a $5.062 million cap hit). He’s also 35. His age and contract make it highly, highly improbable the Avs would even think of trying to get him back. But he is a left winger who is capable of good hockey I believe, and the Avs have tons of cap room.

Still, assuming Rolston is a no-go, Langenbrunner and Zubrus are possibilities. Neither really fits in with the “Young Guns, rebuild with youth (and do it on the cheap)” new philosophy of Avs management. But the Avs can’t live in this dream world of doing it with kids all the time, when injuries strike. Sometimes you need some quick veteran help, and these two could give some.

brianrolston2.jpgWe’ve talked a lot about the Devils and their need to shed salary as well as about who they’d be looking to deal, but Langenbrunner is the one guy that gets left out of the discussion and with good reason. Langenbrunner is the captain of the Devils and after going through a seemingly tumultuous year with former coach Jacques Lemaire has a clean slate to deal with in John MacLean.

Chances are that if anyone is going to be dangled to Colorado, Rolston will be the first and foremost discussed guy. Whether or not the Avs would want a guy making over $5 million on the cap for the next two seasons that could be on a fast downside of his career seems unlikely. Getting under the salary cap can create strange bedfellows, however, and if Peter Mueller is slated to be out for a while, Colorado and New Jersey make sense as potential trade partners.

After years of hype, McDavid to play first NHL game

Connor McDavid
1 Comment

The hype surrounding Connor McDavid couldn’t be much greater, but finally expectations will start to give way to results.

The NHL career that’s been talked about for years will begin tonight when his Edmonton Oilers face St. Louis.

“It’s something that you dream of for so long,” McDavid told NHL.com. “The draft is one thing, but to finally be in this situation is another, so I’m really excited. It’s been a long road; it’s been a lot of hard work. I think a lot of guys’ stories are different in how they get here, but the one common theme is hard work and my story is not any different that way.”

McDavid has transformed the Oilers with his mere presence. Its breathed fresh optimism into a city that have watched this team struggle in its efforts to dig out of the NHL basement. One also has to wonder if Peter Chiarelli would be the team’s new general manager and Todd McLellan its new head coach if Edmonton hadn’t won the draft lottery.

But where will he lead Edmonton? Will he be just the sixth 70-point rookie of the salary cap era? Will he struggle out of the gate, putting the hype into question? Perhaps he’ll draw comparisons to Steven Stamkos, who had a modest rookie campaign by the standards of a highly regarded top pick, but has nevertheless gone on to become a superstar.

That would surprise Stamkos as the Lightning captain feels McDavid is better than he is currently. Just further proof that those lofty expectations are coming from all sides.

“You don’t want to put too much weight on his shoulders; he’s an 18-year-old kid,” Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli said. “I don’t care how good he is or how good he’ll be, it’s a lot to shoulder if you’re supposed to be the guy and you’re the only guy. Fortunately we have a lot of high-pedigree players that are high picks who have gone through similar situations that he’s going through.”

Edmonton certainly has no shortage of first overall picks, but none as highly regarded as McDavid. But then, few ever are.

Related: There’s ‘a real positive vibe’ in Buffalo, where Eichel will make NHL debut tonight

There’s ‘a real positive vibe’ in Buffalo, where Eichel will make NHL debut tonight

Connor McDavid
1 Comment

Jack Eichel didn’t disappoint in the preseason, finishing with six points in four games, including two shorthanded goals.

Tonight in Buffalo, his NHL career will start for real when the Sabres host the Ottawa Senators in regular-season action.

“It’s something I’ve dreamed of my whole life, stepping foot on that ice and making the NHL,” Eichel said, per NHL.com. “It’s kind of been a whirlwind, but you’re finally playing hockey for a living and everything you’ve done your whole life is to get to this point. It’s pretty special.”

The 18-year-old’s debut was front-page news this morning in Buffalo, where the Sabres have been among the NHL’s worst teams since last making the playoffs in 2010-11.

Eichel front page

Granted, even with the additions of Eichel, Ryan O'Reilly, Evander Kane, Robin Lehner and Cody Franson, expectations for 2015-16 remain modest for the new-look Sabres. Certainly, a spot in the playoffs would count as a surprise.

But for the fans of a team that’s barely possessed the puck the past couple of years, it’s night and day.

“People are excited,” GM Tim Murray said earlier this week. “It’s great. They think we’ve improved, and there’s a real positive vibe, I believe.

“That’s what I said to our coaches, ‘I want everybody to be positive. I’m the only guy in the organization allowed to be negative.’ That’s the way I wanted it. If I’m the most negative guy in the city about the team, that’s pretty good.”