Mattias Ohlund will miss at least two weeks with inflammation in right knee

mattohlundinjured.jpgTough news out of Tampa Bay this morning: the Lightning announced that veteran defenseman Mattias Ohlund will miss at least two weeks after aggravating a knee injury that required surgery this off-season. Damian Cristodero has the news.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mattias Ohlund will be out at least two weeks with inflammation in his right knee, GM Steve Yzerman said. Captain Vinny Lecavalier also missed Monday’s practice with a foot contusion sustained Saturday against the Panthers. It is not considered serious. As for Ohlund it is the same knee on which Ohlund was scoped during the summer. Yzerman said Ohlund had an MRI exam on Sunday that revealed the irritation. Ohlund also has fluid on the knee. Yzerman said no other decisions on treatments will be made until it is seen how the knee reacts to rest. The good news for Tampa Bay is defenseman Randy Jones (finger) is back at practice, giving the team eight healthy blueliners. The team must decide whether to go with seven or eight defensemen by 3 p.m. Wednesday, when the 23-man rosters must be submitted to the league.

The 34-year-old defenseman’s knee issues must be a worry to GM Steve Yzerman and the Lightning brass in general. Only Vincent Lecavalier owns a longer term contract with Tampa Bay, as Ohlund’s deal runs all the way through the 2015-16 season and costs an annual salary cap hit of $3.067 million according to CapGeek.com.

It’s natural to wonder if Yzerman & Co. are hoping they can buy Ohlund out or send him to the minors at some point. While his slightly above $3 million cap hit is far from an abomination, it might become quite cumbersome as the team deals with current contracts for Lecavalier and St. Louis while trying to retain Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman and possibly Simon Gagne.

As Cristodero noted, the Lightning have some depth-based decisions to make and could elect to go with eight defensemen in order to give themselves options while Ohlund is out.

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    Habs address blueline, acquire Schlemko from Vegas

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    Having already moved on from Nathan Beaulieu, Alexei Emelin and Mikhail Sergachev, the Habs continued to remodel their defense on Thursday by acquiring David Schlemko from Vegas.

    Schlemko, who spent last season with the Sharks, was acquired by the Golden Knights at last night’s expansion draft. Vegas will receive Montreal’s fifth-round pick in 2019 as part of the deal.

    Signed to a four-year, $8.4 million deal last summer, Schlemko had high expectations in San Jose. GM Doug Wilson trumpeted him as a “solid puck-moving defenseman” and while Schlemko did show it at times, he also had his low points.

    He was a healthy scratch midway through the year, and missed some time with a lower-body injury. All told, he had 18 points in 62 games, while averaging 16:45 TOI per night.

    It’s unlikely that Habs GM Marc Bergevin is done here. While Schlemko is a decent pickup, he’s only one of five d-men under contract for next season, along with Shea Weber, Jeff Petry, Brandon Davidson and Jordie Benn. Andrei Markov is an unrestricted free agent, and it’s unclear if he’ll be brought back.

    Related: Vegas has 15 d-men, but won’t keep them all

     

    Kings add ‘tremendous all-around teacher’ Nachbaur to coaching staff

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    John Stevens has added a familiar face to his coaching staff.

    On Thursday, the L.A. Kings announced the hiring of Don Nachbaur as an assistant coach.

    Nachbaur has spent the last seven seasons as bench boss of the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs. He has worked with Stevens before, although it’s been a while.

    Their paths crossed during their playing days with the Philadelphia Flyers and American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears in the late 1980s. After that, they coached together with the Philadelphia Phantoms in the AHL. Nachbaur was an assistant coach with the Phantoms for two seasons (2000-01 and 2001-02) while Stevens was the head coach.

    They made the playoffs both years but didn’t go beyond the second round.

    “Don is a great addition to our coaching staff. I personally have known him 30-plus years,” said Stevens. “I played with him and have coached alongside him. He has played the game at a high level and he is a tremendous all-around teacher who is very well-rounded.”

    Nachbaur joins a Kings staff that includes assistant coach Dave Lowry and goaltending coach Bill Ranford.

    Here’s the new first-round draft order

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    A week ago, we released the full order of selections for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

    Well, some stuff has happened since.

    So here’s the new order for the first round, which will be selected Friday evening at United Center in Chicago:

    1. New Jersey Devils
    2. Philadelphia Flyers
    3. Dallas Stars
    4. Colorado Avalanche
    5. Vancouver Canucks
    6. Vegas Golden Knights
    7. Arizona Coyotes
    8. Buffalo Sabres
    9. Detroit Red Wings
    10. Florida Panthers
    11. Los Angeles Kings
    12. Carolina Hurricanes
    13. Vegas Golden Knights (from Winnipeg)
    14. Tampa Bay Lightning
    15. Vegas Golden Knights (from NY Islanders)
    16. Calgary Flames
    17. Toronto Maple Leafs
    18. Boston Bruins
    19. San Jose Sharks
    20. St. Louis Blues
    21. New York Rangers
    22. Edmonton Oilers
    23. Arizona Coyotes (from Minnesota)
    24. Winnipeg Jets (from Columbus via Vegas)
    25. Montreal Canadiens
    26. Chicago Blackhawks
    27. St. Louis Blues (from Washington)
    28. Ottawa Senators
    29. Dallas Stars (from Anaheim)
    30. Nashville Predators
    31. Pittsburgh Penguins

    That order could still change, as there’s been plenty of speculation that some of the top picks could be in play.

    Are teams like the Devils, Flyers, and Stars willing to deal?

    We’ll find out soon.

    Trade: Isles get Eberle from Edmonton for Strome

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    Everyone knew this was going to be a massive offseason for Islanders GM Garth Snow.

    And Snow has now responded in kind.

    Per TSN, the Isles are on the verge of acquiring Jordan Eberle from Edmonton. No word yet on what’s headed to New York in return. Sportsnet has confirmed the move, saying all involved parties are being informed of the move.

    Update: Ryan Strome headed to Edmonton in exchange, per TSN’s Darren Dreger.

    The move comes after weeks of speculation about Eberle’s future with the Oilers. He had a solid regular season in Edmonton, with 20 goals and 51 points through 82 games, but struggled mightily in the postseason. He went scoreless through 13 games, finishing with just two points while watching his ice time dwindle to 14:32 per night.

    Eberle is still a quality offensive talent, though, and should be thrilled about the prospect of playing with Isles captain John Tavares. Tavares, in turn, will undoubtedly be pleased with Snow’s bold move to bring in additional scoring up front, which could go a long way towards signing an extension with the Isles.

    It’s safe to assume Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli will feel some heat for this deal. While he did get out from under Eberle’s contract — $6 million annually for each of the next two years — Strome is coming off a disappointing year, and was exposed by the Isles at last night’s expansion draft.

    That said, Chiarelli does have bigger fish to fry. Connor McDavid, the Hart Trophy winner, is eligible to sign an extension soon. Ditto for Leon Draisaitl.

    Needless to say, those two contracts could be rather large.