Rounding up today's roster cuts

With teams paring down their rosters to prepare for the start of the regular season on Thursday, getting the last round of roster cuts can provide some fascinating results. Today was no different across the NHL and here’s your tour of links to show you some of what went down.

nazemkadri1.jpgToronto sends down Kadri, Caputi, and Hanson

A lot of attention was paid to what the Leafs would do roster-wise and sending down Luca Caputi, Nazem Kadri, and Christian Hanson gives a guy like Tim Brent the chance to start in the NHL. With Matt Lashoff and Brett Lebda both on the injured list, the Leafs roster isn’t completely finished, but opting to start those three players in the AHL is certainly getting noticed. The fact is, none of those three proved they deserved a spot and until then, they can get better in the AHL. As it is, all three players are still incredibly young. They’ll get their time eventually.

Edmonton cuts eight players but no goalies… Yet

So you thought Jeff Deslauriers or Devan Dubnyk would be put on waivers. Turns out that didn’t happen today but they did send, among others, Liam Reddox, Alexandre Giroux and Linus Omark down to the AHL. Omark isn’t very pleased about being sent down, calling the demotion “political.” I believe this tactic of showing the team who’s boss comes from the book, “How To Not Impress Your Boss.”

jeremymorin1.jpgChicago sends down Jeremy Morin

The young winger obtained from the Atlanta Thrashers in the off-season came very close to winning a spot out of training camp. He showed flashes of brilliance and a knack for the net, but it was not meant to be just yet for Morin. Viktor Stalberg will instead get the job in Chicago. With the Hawks worries on defense after Brian Campbell’s knee injury, they’ll be carrying extra help there including 19 year-old Nick Leddy.

Kings waive Erik Ersberg and Rich Clune

Clune isn’t the big deal here as Ersberg was Jon Quick’s backup last year. Now with prospect Jonathan Bernier signing a two-year extension and winning the backup job out of camp, Ersberg could be ticketed to go back to Manchester if he’s not snagged on waivers. Ersberg did all right in a backup job last year, but Bernier is clearly targeted to be the man of the future in Los Angeles. Ersberg could be useful to another team. One team that won’t be, apparently, is Nashville as Predators head coach Barry Trotz stated that the team has no interest in him.

severinblindenbacher1.jpgDallas sends four players down, kill our dream of greatest name in NHL

The Stars sent down training camp hero Aaron Gagnon as well as Philip Larsen, Thomas Vincour and Swiss Olympic star Severin Blindenbacher. Blindenbacher had a solid camp for the Stars, but alas, our dream of seeing and hearing the name “Blindenbacher” in the NHL is on hold. We can only hope that when he does get the call in the NHL that Stars color commentator Daryl Reaugh can give us some fantastically colorful language in which to discuss his play. After all, he’s already given Philip Larsen the nickname of “Lego” for his Danish heritage. Can we get a nickname of “Toblerone” for Severin Blindenbacher here? Corporate synergy here, people. He’s Swiss, Toblerone is a legendary Swiss chocolate. Let’s make magic happen. 

Vancouver’s Shane O’Brien and Darcy Hordichuk clear waivers

With a glut of defensemen and a ton of depth, the Canucks had to make room somehow and clearing out a pair of penalty-prone enforcer types made the job a bit easier for GM Mike Gillis and coach Alain Vigneault. You feel bad for the players, but for the team, to have the sort of depth where cutting these guys makes it OK is pretty fantastic.

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    PHT Morning Skate: Tarasenko gives young fan an unforgettable birthday gift

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    Vladimir Tarasenko gave 11-year-old fan Arianna Dougan the birthday gift of a lifetime. Dougan, who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma when she was three, was given a trip for two on the team’s charter flight to Arizona and Colorado for her 11th birthday. “I was crying in the background,” said Arianna’s mom, Lorie Zucker. “She’s so over the moon she doesn’t realize what she’s got yet. It won’t hit home until she gets in the car. This has been the best birthday ever.” (NHL.com/Blues)

    –To many, Mike Babcock or Joel Quenneville being the best coaches in hockey is a foregone conclusion. But what if they’re not? Yahoo’s Ryan Lambert makes a case for Wild bench boss Bruce Boudreau. “Boudreau didn’t inherit a sleeping giant of any sort when he took this job. The Wild were decent. He turned them into a team that’s not quite among the elites of the league, but is certainly a very good team that could do some damage in the playoffs.” (Yahoo)

    –At one point, it looked like the Carolina Hurricanes were going to make a serious push for a playoff spot, but they quickly faded and went back to being a non-contending team. If the Oilers make the playoffs this year, the Hurricanes would own the longest playoff drought in the NHL. Sportsnet’s Luke Fox explains that the ‘Canes need to sacrifice some of their depth on defense so they can acquire an offensive weapon up front. (Sportsnet)

    –Don’t look now, but the Florida Panthers are making a serious run at a playoff spot. The team turned the corner once they got injured forward Jonathan Huberdeau back into their lineup and they haven’t looked back. In the 51 games he missed, the Panthers scored just 2.33 goals per game. Since he’s been back, they’re averaging over four goals per game. (The Hockey News)

    –Former NHLer Jeremy Roenick knows what it feels like to be traded. Roenick told SI.com that the first trade he experienced was “horrifying”. He also described just how tough it is to go to battle with a team one day and be on a different squad the next. (Sports Illustrated)

    –On Monday, the Calgary Flames acquired Michael Stone from the Arizona Coyotes. A few hours after the deal, Flames forward Mikael Backlund posted this funny tweet about Stone running him over when they were in junior:

    Little-known Langhamer spurns Ducks comeback for Coyotes

    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 14:  Ryan Getzlaf #15 of the Anaheim Ducks skates with the puck during the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on January 14, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. The Ducks defeated the Coyotes 3-0.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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    Both of Monday’s games could have gone beyond regulation, yet the St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks were left kicking themselves after failing to generate standings points.

    In the case of the Ducks, they simply couldn’t overcome a lousy start to the Arizona Coyotes. They erased most of a 3-0 deficit but ultimately fell 3-2 on Monday.

    Again, it was an ugly opening for Anaheim.

    Randy Carlyle turned to John Gibson to start the second period and the red-hot goalie didn’t give up a goal; even so, his strong work wasn’t rewarded with anything but nice numbers.

    Ryan Getzlaf scored both of Anaheim’s goals, including one with less than 30 seconds remaining in the third period and the Ducks’ net empty. You’d think that would be the end of the drama, but that wasn’t the case.

    Mike Smith needed to leave the net during the third, likely because of a collision with Jakob Silfverberg. (Sounds like he’s OK, though.)

    This forced Marek Langhamer to close out the game, meaning he had to deal with Anaheim’s endgame barrage. That included making quite the clutch stop against Sami Vatanen, spurning quite the attempt to tie:

    Wow.

    A quick primer on Langhamer: he was a seventh-round pick by the Coyotes (then Phoenix, 184th overall in 2012). He’s spent chunks of this season in both the AHL and ECHL, so this must be quite the moment for the 22-year-old.

    As cool as that story is, the Ducks have to be kicking themselves. Instead of going ahead of the Edmonton Oilers for the second spot in the Pacific, both teams remain locked at 72 points (with Edmonton holding two games in hand).

    Coyotes fans might have mixed feelings about the returns for Michael Stone, but beating their division rivals had to feel like a resounding win.

    Yes, the Florida Panthers are indeed on fire

    SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 09:  Michael Sgarbossa #48 of the Florida Panthers is congratulated after scoring a goal during a game against the Los Angeles Kings at BB&T Center on February 9, 2017 in Sunrise, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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    The Florida Panthers are on a ridiculous roll right now. They’re even hotter than the also-quite-hot St. Louis Blues.

    You could practically hear the air leave the building in St. Louis as Vincent Trocheck‘s goal made it 2-1 with just five seconds remaining in regulation. To little surprise, that ended up being the final score on Monday in what was otherwise quite the goaltending duel between James Reimer and Jake Allen.

    The Panthers won all five games of what seemed to be a harrowing road trip on paper:

    Feb. 11: 7-4 win against Predators
    Feb. 15: 6-5 OT win against Sharks
    Feb. 17: 4-1 win against Ducks
    Feb. 18: 3-2 win vs. Kings
    Tonight: 2-1 win over St. Louis

    The Panthers now face a four-game homestand to close out February and also play seven of eight in Florida. (Actually, eight of nine, as they close out that run by visiting the Lightning on March 11).

    Anyway, the Cats are in the catbird seat, and they finish the night back in front of the Boston Bruins for third in the Atlantic Division:

    1. Canadiens – 70 points in 59 GP
    2. Senators: 68 in 57
    3. Panthers – 66 in 58

    Bruins – 66 in 59
    Maple Leafs – 65 in 58
    Sabres – 62 in 60
    Lightning – 60 in 58
    Red Wings – 58 in 59

    As you can see, games in hand stand as Florida’s advantage over Boston, but with the Bruins holding the second wild card spot, the Panthers’ position in the playoff picture is clear (if vulnerable).

    Again, it wasn’t like the Panthers outright dominated the Blues.

    St. Louis and Florida both looked sharp in this one, but the Blues have lost two straight games in regulation after reeling off a six-game winning streak. With a ton of road games on the docket through the next month, the Blues will just need to keep fighting.

    At least Mike Yeo has an easy team to point to in explaining how the Blues can overcome such challenges.

    Video: Reimer, Allen shut down dangerous one-timers

    SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 09:  James Reimer #34 of the Florida Panthers makes a save during a game against the Los Angeles Kings at BB&T Center on February 9, 2017 in Sunrise, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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    In an ideal world, goalie equipment wouldn’t be such an issue. Teams would be able to “get goalies moving” with great passing and chances just about no one could stop.

    Then again, there are also those saves that a select handful of humans can pull off. A big reason why there’s only been one goal between the Panthers and Blues tonight is the lateral movement shown by both James Reimer and Jake Allen.

    First, watch as Reimer robs Jori Lehtera on what’s likely the save of the night:

    Allen really hasn’t been that far behind Reimer, right down to making a similar stop:

    Considering the two nearly identical one-timer goals scored by Arizona against Anaheim in finding seams for big passes through opposing defenses, tonight’s goalies might want to do some extra stretching during intermissions.