Around the rink – Tuesday, November 9th

Now with the Hockey Hall of Fame hoopla over and done with, the NHL gets back into more regular working order with a scintillating slate of seven games. Is that enough alliteration for you? All times listed are Eastern because that’s the way we lean.

7:00 pm

Edmonton @ Carolina

It’s crazy to think that it was just five seasons ago that these two teams met in the Stanley Cup finals, isn’t it? Youth will dominate the headlines here with Edmonton’s trio of talent in Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and Magnus Paajarvi going up against leading rookie scorer Jeff Skinner in Carolina. The Oilers could use another win here to build off their win over Chicago on Sunday.

7:30 pm

Washington @ NY Rangers

The Rangers might be in a bad way right now, but playing the Caps is something that seems to bring the best out of them win or lose. The Caps are coming in hot though, living high off beating the Flyers on Sunday and a lot of that success coming thanks to Alexander Semin. Semin’s got nine goals so far this year and leads the team in goals. Yes, even ahead of Alex Ovechkin. The Rangers, meanwhile, might be counting down the days until Thursday when Marian Gaborik may be rejoining the team.

Vancouver @ Montreal

Vancouver hits the road with a six game win streak and gets to deal with the unfriendly confines of Montreal to kick things off. Vancouver is doing well and have player of the week Raffi Torres to thank for it. Torres’ hot start is helping keep a balanced attack going so teams can’t solely focus on the Sedin twins. Montreal looks to bounce back after a rough game against Ottawa in which they saw Alex Kovalev almost single-handedly beat them. The Habs could stand to get the offense going as they rank 20th in the league in goals scored.

Atlanta @ Ottawa

The Senators roll into this game seemingly having figured things out. The Sens lost five of their first six games to start the season, but now they’re winners of five out of their last six games and they’ve got goalie Brian Elliott to thank for it. Elliott’s played strong of late and the offense hasn’t been too bad either. Atlanta, meanwhile, can’t keep opponents off the board as they come into the game with the second-most goals allowed in the league. The Thrashers are getting plenty of their own goals but Chris Mason and Ondrej Pavelec have had issues in goal of late.

Toronto @ Tampa Bay

Fans in Toronto are grumbling about head coach Ron Wilson and the natives are getting restless after seeing the Leafs lose their last five games, their last two coming in shootouts. They’ve lost eight of their last nine games and the offense has been nowhere to be seen. As for Tampa Bay, they’ll be happy to no longer be on the road after getting rough treatment on their west coast swing going 1-2-1 on the trip. A game with the Leafs might be all the Lightning need to get back on a roll.

9:30 pm

Calgary @ Colorado

All right so which Flames team will we see tonight? Which Avalanche team will show up? The Avalanche have been inconsistent while the Flames have been downright streaky. Calgary enters the game losers of their last four games, a streak that came on the heels of a three-game win streak. Go figure. Colorado, meanwhile, is living well so far without Craig Anderson as Peter Budaj has played more than solid while Anderson’s out with an injury including earning a shutout against Dallas his last time out.

10:30 pm

Anaheim @ San Jose

Will it be fight night for these two teams again? These two clearly don’t care for each other and now they’re both playing relatively well all things considered. The Sharks got a big win in their first game without Joe Thornton thanks to Patrick Marleau’s two goal night. Anaheim, meanwhile, is getting it done thanks to both goalie Jonas Hiller and ageless wonder Teemu Selanne. Go ahead and tell us you predicted that before the season started and we’ll happily call you a liar.

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    Bruins sign Dominic Moore to one-year, $900K deal

    Dominic Moore
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    Dominic Moore preached patience when it came to navigating potential opportunities and destinations as a veteran NHL free agent.

    After being on the market for almost two full months, Moore is now under contract.

    On Tuesday, the Boston Bruins announced that they had signed the 36-year-old center to a one-year, one-way deal worth $900,000.

    Moore has never been known for his offensive abilities. His career-high in points was 41, back in 2008-09 with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

    But he can add veteran depth up the middle for the Bruins.

    He spent the last three seasons with the New York Rangers, scoring six goals and 15 points in 80 games last season. He also won more than 55 per cent of his faceoffs, and averaged 2:09 of ice time on the penalty kill.

    Veteran center Stoll to attend Blue Jackets training camp on a PTO

    Jarret Stoll
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    The Columbus Blue Jackets will have veteran center Jarret Stoll at training camp on a professional tryout, the club announced Tuesday.

    Stoll, 34, is approaching 900 career regular season games played in the NHL. He split last season between the New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild, with a total of four goals and nine points recorded in 2015-16.

    He was waived by the Rangers in December and claimed the following day by the Wild, as that club looked to add depth up the middle heading into the second half of the season.

    Stoll’s most productive days, offensively, are well behind him. But he is still capable in the faceoff circle, winning almost 57 per cent of his draws in his 51 games with Minnesota.

    The Blue Jackets have made a couple of moves this summer in addressing the center position.

    At the beginning of this month, the Blue Jackets dipped into the secondary free agent market to land Sam Gagner — a right-shot center — on a one-year contract.

    They also drafted Pierre-Luc Dubois at third overall.

    Dubois believes he can play up the middle as a true first-line center, which, as per the discussion for months now, is a position the club needed to focus on after dealing Ryan Johansen last season.

    Related:

    After plenty of ‘disappointment’ last season, Torts hopes to lead Jackets back to the playoffs

    For Frederik Andersen, the spotlight’s on

    LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 21:  Frederik Andersen of the Toronto Maple Leafs speaks with the media during a press availability on June 21, 2016 at the Encore Ballroom in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 2016 NHL Award Ceremony will by held on June 22 at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    This post is part of Toronto Maple Leafs day at PHT…

    James Reimer, Jonathan Bernier, Ben Scrivens and Jonas Gustavsson.

    Over the last half decade, those four were tasked with the responsibility of being Toronto’s No. 1 goalie. Reimer was the lead dog, with 153 starts over five years, followed by Bernier (140 over three), Gustavsson (96 over three) and Scrivens (28 over two).

    As the figures suggest, those four had plenty in common. They each spent multiple years in Toronto, and had a shot at the No. 1 gig.

    Now they have something else in common, too.

    None of ’em play in Toronto anymore.

    It’s been a revolving door — one pushed by fans and media, some would argue — and the Leafs tried to halt it this summer, striking a bold move to finally solidify their goaltending position.

    Frederik Andersen, the lanky Dane that rose to prominence in Anaheim, was acquired for a pair of high picks, then quickly signed to a lucrative five-year, $25 million deal.

    That trade was profound, and so was the payday. The contract nearly quintupled what Andersen made on his previous pact, and made him one of the highest-paid players on the active roster.

    The Leafs insisted it was money well spent.

    “Whenever you have the opportunity to acquire a goaltender who has proven to have success in the playoffs, is at the prime age, has the reputation on and off the ice that he has, and the players love playing in front of him — I don’t know how you cannot try to acquire a goaltender like this,” GM Lou Lamoriello said upon acquiring Andersen. “We’ve acquired a 6-foot-4 goaltender who has athleticism.

    “Right now we’re extremely comfortable with our goaltending.”

    And it’s true — Andersen has all the attributes of a quality No. 1. He’s shouldered a heavy workload before, making 53 starts during the ’14-15 campaign, followed by another 16 in the playoffs as Anaheim advanced to Game 7 of the Western Conference Final.

    He’s also in the “sweet spot” as far as development goes. Andersen had plenty of seasoning in Europe and the American League before making his NHL debut at 24.

    Now he’s a veteran of three full campaigns, with 125 regular season and nearly 30 playoff games on his resume.

    And he only turns 27 this October.

    Those are the positives.

    How about some negatives?

    For starters, he’s going from a pretty good team (the Ducks finished sixth in the NHL last year) to a pretty bad one (the Leafs, as you might’ve heard, finished dead last). He’s also going from a relatively laid back market to one of the most frenzied in the league.

    Canadian cities can be tough on goalies, something that Reimer, Bernier, Gustavsson and Scrivens all experienced to some degree during their times in Toronto.

    It happens elsewhere, too.

    “It takes a certain temperament to play in Canada,” former NHL goalie and current TSN analyst Jamie McLennan told the National Post. “Roberto Luongo was a star in Florida, goes to Vancouver and stars there and then the fans turn on him because he doesn’t deliver a Cup and then leaves and it’s like, ‘Oh geez, we lost a really good goalie.'”

    So, how will Andersen adjust to the spotlight? The Leafs did well to take some pressure off by inking veteran Jhonas Enroth to be the backup, but Enroth is exactly that — a backup.

    Toronto fans will see how Andersen deals with increased attention this September, as he projects to be Team Europe’s No. 1 for the World Cup of Hockey — which, of course, will be played in Andersen’s new home rink, the ACC.

    It’ll be like a dress rehearsal prior to the live show.

    But for Andersen, the stakes might feel a little bit higher.

    Poll: Will the Leafs have a captain this year?

    Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock stands on the bench during the first period of the team's NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Toronto. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)
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    This post is part of Toronto Maple Leafs day at PHT…

    There are six teams currently without a captain — Carolina, Edmonton, Florida, Nashville, Winnipeg and Toronto — and of the six, it’s the latter that seems furthest from filling the role.

    Back in April, head coach Mike Babcock said he didn’t expect the Leafs to have a captain this season. That news hardly came as a surprise — Toronto had just wrapped a difficult first year of what figures to be a lengthy rebuild, and didn’t seem to have any leading candidates to inherit the “C” from Dion Phaneuf, who was traded to Ottawa in February.

    Of course, things have changed since then.

    The biggest, by far, was Toronto landing phenom Auston Matthew with the first overall pick at the draft. GM Lou Lamoriello also locked in two of the club’s better young players — Nazem Kadri and Morgan Rielly — to matching six-year deals, and added a physical veteran presence in free agency by signing former Islander Matt Martin.

    All of this makes for a different dynamic in the dressing room, but will it impact the captaincy?

    Hard to say.

    At first glance, the Leafs still seem to lack a leading candidate, at least for the present. If Lamoriello and team president Brendan Shanahan wanted to go the veteran route, they could anoint Brooks Laich or Matt Hunwick as a placeholder, though neither projects to play a significant role on the team beyond this year and into the future.

    Rielly could be the guy but, at 22, he’d be awfully young.

    The same can be said of Matthews, though many do expect him to eventually captain the Leafs. But asking him to shoulder that responsibility now — as an 18-year-old rookie — would be the most anti-Lamoriello move of all time, so you can rule that out.

    Anyway, here’s how this will work. The poll will be a straight yes-no and, if you vote yes, put your pick for captain in the comments section.