With the NHL taking a day off yesterday it gave us all time to clear our heads and get acquainted with other sports for the day. Tonight, the league bounces back into action with all guns blazing with… Wait, three games? Jeez, getting out of the way of the World Series sure makes hockey fans get bored. Anyhow, here’s tonight’s light schedule and, as always, times listed are Eastern.
Chicago @ NY Rangers
Gotta love the Original Six games, especially when these two teams meet up so rarely. The Rangers are coming off of disposing another Original Sixer in Toronto on Saturday night while Chicago disposed of the Wild. The Rangers are hoping that they can find ways to crack through Chicago’s defense and Marty Turco. Turco’s been great so far this season for the Hawks but they’ll have a tall order themselves in dealing with Henrik Lundqvist. Chicago’s got the offensive edge in the game, but less so without Marian Hossa.
Carolina @ Philadelphia
If the Flyers weren’t winning games, the trials and tribulations of Nikolay Zherdev would likely be a bigger deal than they are now. Zherdev has just two goals this year and was a healthy scratch for their game against the Islanders on Saturday night. Having to deal with the spunky Hurricanes and possibly without Daniel Briere who awaits a potential suspension for cross checking Isles forward Frans Nielsen will provide a decent battle for Philly. The Flyers, however, won’t have to deal with Cam Ward as his backup Justin Peters will get the start in goal.
New Jersey @ Vancouver
Zach Parise won’t be playing in this one for New Jersey, meanwhile Keith Ballard may be making his return to the Canucks lineup in a game that features a battle between Team Canada goalies Martin Brodeur and Roberto Luongo. We’ve written more than enough about the problems the Devils have had to start the year, and while Vancouver is certainly doing better than they are, they’ve been a little bit off themselves going 4-3-2 to start the year. Of course, any issues the Canucks have had to start the year seem to be run of the mill kinds of things, meanwhile the Devils can’t seem to score at all. It makes for an intriguing match up to say the least.
The Montreal Canadiens have signed 39-year-old defenseman Mark Streit to a one-year contract worth a reported $700,000.
This will actually be Streit’s second stint with the Habs. He started his NHL career in Montreal, all the way back in 2005.
Streit split last season between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. In the playoffs, he only appeared in three games for the Penguins, all of them in the Eastern Conference Final against Ottawa when Justin Schultz was hurt.
What the Streit signing means for Andrei Markov remains to be seen. Streit, like Markov, can run a power play, so it’s tempting to conclude that Streit is Markov’s replacement.
That being said, almost all of Streit’s contract could be buried in the AHL if necessary, so that conclusion may be premature. This could even be a move by GM Marc Bergevin to gain leverage and convince Markov to sign.
Markov, 38, remains an unrestricted free agent. The Canadiens want him back, but only at a certain price.
The New Jersey Devils have signed defenseman Mirco Mueller to a two-year contract extension with a cap hit of $850,000.
Mueller, a first-round draft pick of the Sharks in 2013, has only played 54 NHL games, scoring two goals with four assists. In June, after spending most of 2016-17 in the AHL, San Jose traded the 22-year-old to the Devils.
In New Jersey, Mueller should get a good chance to crack a rebuilding roster.
“Mirco is adding another piece to what we’re trying to build here,” Devils coach John Hynes said, per NJ.com. “He’s a young player, he can play with pace. He’s a very good skater. He’s got size, which is something we need on the back end. He makes a good first pass. He allows you to get out of your own zone because he can break out, he can end plays defensively, get possession, make the pass to be able to transition yourself out of defensive situations.”
The Devils have also re-signed goalie Scott Wedgewood and forward Joseph Blandisi.
The New York Rangers have locked up a key piece of their future, signing center Mika Zibanejad to a five-year deal with a cap hit of $5.35 million.
Zibanejad had an arbitration hearing scheduled for today, but that won’t be required anymore.
The 24-year-old had 14 goals and 23 assists in 56 games last season. It was his first year in New York after getting traded from Ottawa for Derick Brassard.
With Derek Stepan in Arizona now, Zibanejad is arguably the Rangers’ No. 1 center. Kevin Hayes is in that conversation as well, and perhaps Lias Andersson will be soon.
But getting Zibanejad signed long term was a top priority for GM Jeff Gorton this offseason. Hayes can become a restricted free agent next summer, but that’s a bridge to cross at a later date.
Related: Andersson to get ‘every opportunity’ to make Rangers next season
Matt Nieto won’t need his arbitration hearing on Monday.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Nieto has agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract with the Colorado Avalanche.
Nieto split last season between San Jose and Colorado, which claimed him off waivers in January.
In 43 games for the Avalanche, the 24-year-old forward scored seven goals with four assists.
Nieto was the only Colorado player on this summer’s arbitration list. However, the Avs still have a restricted free agent in Nikita Zadorov, who could be off to the KHL next season.