Disgruntled Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner is going back to the place he began his career. The New Jersey Devils are trading Langenbrunner to the Dallas Stars for a conditional draft pick in the 2011 entry draft. The pick will be a third round pick unless the Stars win in the first round of the playoffs or if Langenbrunner re-signs with the Stars before July 1. In those situations it will be a second round pick that goes to New Jersey.
For the Stars, landing Langenbrunner means getting a tried and true right wing to play for them. The Stars have been running out a host of guys that play off-wing or out of position from center on the right side. It’s a natural fit for them and helps strengthen their Pacific Division-leading team. As it is, their only true right wingers are Adam Burish, Brandon Segal, and Krys Barch. It’s a position that’s been a glaring weakness for them and being able to get a guy that’s played in Dallas before helps make it easier for Langenbrunner to blend in.
This also provides Langenbrunner to get out of a situation that’s been mostly toxic for him the last year and a half. From the Devils failures this year to his famous conflicts with Jacques Lemaire, it’s clear that he hasn’t been the same kind of player. This season in particular has been bad for him scoring just four goals and adding ten assists through 31 games.
For the Devils getting Langenbrunner and his recently sour demeanor out of the locker room may be what they need to move along and help the host of younger players that have come up this year to develop on the fly in Newark. With things being as bad as they have been this year in New Jersey, having that extra distraction does no one any favors.
Langenbrunner began his career in Dallas back in 1994 and became a full-time player for the Stars during the 1996-1997 season. Langenbrunner was a key member of the Stars team that won the Stanley Cup in 1999. In 2002, he was traded to New Jersey as part of the deal that sent Joe Nieuwendyk to the Devils in exchange for Jason Arnott and Randy McKay. Langenbrunner then helped the Devils win the Stanley Cup in 2003. Moving back to Dallas might just be the best thing for both sides in this deal.
Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”
Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).
Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.
Read more about his rise here.
In his fifth NHL game, intriguing Washington Capitals prospect Jakub Vrana scored his first NHL goal (and point).
Let’s be honest, though; Evgeny Kuznetsov deserves plenty of the credit, as he sent a fantastic pass for Vrana’s tap-in tally.
See it for yourself:
Even if that was mostly Kuznetsov, Vrana has been getting his chances so far.
He generated four shots on goal in two separate occasions so far in his four games of NHL action, so maybe he was due for a chance like this.
Considering he’s just 20 years old, the Capitals could get used to Kuznetsov to Vrana.
Update: The Capitals won 4-1, and Vrana’s first goal wasn’t the only noteworthy “first.” After piling on shots, John Carlson finally scored his first goal of the season:
No one’s going to confuse Dmitry Kulikov with Jack Eichel, but the Buffalo Sabres are likely happy to have him back after a long absence, too.
The Sabres have been on an upward trend lately (5-2-2 in their last nine games), and now they get a key defenseman back against the Washington Capitals on Friday night.
Kulikov last played on Nov. 9 and hasn’t recorded a point in 12 games, making for a tough start to his stint with the Sabres. Maybe he’ll begin to get a little more traction with his new team tonight?
He’s far from the only returning Buffalo player, either, as Josh Gorges and Nicolas Deslauriers are also back in the mix. Kulikov is slated to be on the Sabres’ second pairing with Cody Franson.
Buffalo sent Brendan Guhle to the AHL to make room for these tweaks.
The Columbus Blue Jackets will be without captain Nick Foligno because of an illness on Friday, opening up an opportunity for interesting prospect Oliver Bjorkstrand.
The team tweeted out his linemates as Matt Calvert and Lukas Sedlak as a solid fourth line facing the Detroit Red Wings.
He failed to generate much (zero points, two shots on goal) in three games so far with Columbus this season, receiving about 25 minutes of ice time over that span.
With eight goals and 12 points in 19 AHL games so far in 2016-17, there’s the thought that he could eventually make the next step to becoming a decent contributor for the Blue Jackets.
Perhaps this will constitute his first real step in that direction?
Apparently this is a pretty abrupt situation for the 21-year-old: