Daniel Sedin, Jonas Hiller and Jose Theodore named NHL’s three stars of the week

Each week, the NHL chooses the three players whose play stood out the most. Sometimes the league’s most talented skaters make the list; other times some unexpected names pop up.

This week’s winners were Vancouver Canucks winger Daniel Sedin, Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller and Minnesota Wild backup Jose Theodore. Let’s take a look at the weeks experienced by the three players, with a combination of our observations plus tidbits from the league’s press release.

First star: Daniel Sedin

Watching the Sedin twins play together is a true treat for connoisseurs of the game, unless they’re working their bewildering cycle against your team. Then it’s an unnerving process of inevitable doom that is reminiscent of the feeling you get watching a character in a horror movie who decides to investigate a loud noise.

Sedin led all players in goals (five) and points (seven) last week, helping the Canucks post a 3-0-1 record and claim first place in the NHL overall standings. Sedin recorded goals in all four starts, beginning with a one goal, one assist performance in a 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks Jan. 3.

(snip)

Daniel has notched points in 18 of his past 21 games with a +16 rating in that span, during which the Canucks have posted a 17-1-3 record.

Second star: Hiller

People unfamiliar with the Swiss goalie received an example of what he’s now doing for the Anaheim Ducks during the 2010 Olympics, as Hiller kept the over-matched team in hockey games against the U.S. and Canadian teams. The impressive franchise goalie makes a lot of starts and faces a lot of shots thanks to the Ducks’ rebuilding defensive corps, so he’ll need to keep producing great netminding for Anaheim to make the playoffs.

Hiller posted a 2-1-0 record, 0.67 goals-against average and .977 save percentage in three starts, concluding the week with consecutive shutouts and an active scoreless streak of 154:50.

(Snip)

Hiller also tops all NHL goaltenders in saves (1,156), is tied for second in victories, ranks third in save percentage and is tied for fourth in shutouts (four). He is the first Ducks goaltender to post back-to-back shutouts since J.S. Giguere had three straight from Dec. 8-15, 2002.

Third star: Theodore

There’s been some speculation that Wild franchise goalie Niklas Backstrom might be in danger of missing significant time, so Theodore might need to justify his expensive-for-a-backup salary of $1 million. It’s early, obviously, but so far so good. He looked solid even when he allowed four goals in a loss against the Dallas Stars last night.

Theodore posted a 3-1-0 record with a 1.50 goals-against average and .946 save percentage in four starts last week as the Wild swept a three-game east coast road trip.

Hurricanes give Di Giuseppe a two-way deal for 2017-18

Getty
Leave a comment

The Carolina Hurricanes signed forward Phil Di Giuseppe to a one-year, two-way contract on Thursday.

The team announced that Di Giuseppe’s deal is worth $725K at the NHL level and $125K in the AHL in 2017-18.

Di Giuseppe, 23, was the 38th pick of the 2012 NHL Draft. He’s been getting some looks at the NHL level with Carolina:

2015-16: 17 points in 41 games
2016-17: seven points in 36 games

He’s also been splitting time between the AHL and NHL lately, so a two-way deal works well enough.

Carolina doesn’t have much more to do on the free agent front, but that doesn’t mean that their off-season is wrapped up, as there’s still that whole ownership situation to settle.

Habs president Molson pens glowing farewell letter to Markov

Getty
Leave a comment

Another bold move by GM Marc Bergevin, another statement from Montreal Canadiens president/CEO Geoff Molson.

However Molson actually feels about the franchise’s decision to let Andrei Markov leave for the KHL, he provided quite the goodbye letter regarding the 38-year-old defenseman. One can’t help but wonder how Molson feels about Montreal’s overall makeover, whether you believe Mark Streit is really “replacing” Markov or not.

Anyway, that will need to wait. In the meantime, here’s the very kind statement from Molson to Markov:

“On behalf of the entire organization, I would like to thank Andrei for his great contributions during his 16 seasons as a proud member of the Montreal Canadiens. Arguably one of the best defensemen in franchise history, Andrei was a model of dedication to the great game of hockey. A respected figure around the league and among his teammates, Andrei demonstrated leadership both on and off the ice. Andrei’s commitment to our franchise was second to none, proven by his overcoming three serious and potentially career-ending injuries. I would like to wish Andrei the best of luck in the next step of his career, and happiness with his family.”

Speaking of Canadiens all-timers, Larry Robinson had plenty of nice things to say about Markov, too.

Related

Markov, Habs officially part ways.

Markov is headed to the KHL.

Sabres re-sign Eichel’s buddy Rodrigues for two years

Getty
Leave a comment

The Buffalo Sabres might have signed Evan Rodrigues back in 2015 in part because he enjoyed so much success as a college linemate with Jack Eichel at Boston University, but the undrafted forward seems like he’s making a case that he’ll be a part of their future in his own right.

The Sabres handed Rodrigues a two-year deal that is two-way in 2017-18 and one-way in 2018-19. Whenever he’s at the NHL level, it’s worth $650K per season.

Rodrigues debuted in 2015-16, scoring a goal and an assist in two games. He managed to play in 30 regular-season contests for the Sabres last season, collecting six points.

He’s shown quite a bit of improvement at the AHL level, in particular. After collecting 30 points in 72 games for the Rochester Americans in 2015-16, he scored 30 again in 2016-17, although he only needed 48 contests to do so. Rodrigues isn’t quite Matt Moulson to Eichel’s John Tavares just yet, but it’s possible that he might at least develop into a regular NHL player.

Buffalo’s work isn’t done for the summer just yet, as RFAs Zemgus Girgensons and Nathan Beaulieu still need deals.

Andrei Markov opts for KHL after saying goodbye to Canadiens

Getty
Leave a comment

Andrei Markov wanted to play his entire career with the Montreal Canadiens. With that option officially off the table, Markov announced that he’s headed for Russia and the KHL.

“I didn’t see myself with any other NHL team,” Markov said during a conference call wrapping up his lengthy stay with the Habs. “I didn’t see myself wearing another jersey.”

(At least not the jersey of another NHL team.)

The 38-year-old also noted that he hasn’t closed the door to a return to Montreal. That makes sense since it seems like it was largely the Canadiens’ decision to part ways with Markov, essentially replacing him with Mark Streit at a heavily discounted rate.

Beyond the comforts of home, Markov was almost certainly motivated to play in the KHL because of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

The veteran blueliner did not mention which KHL team he’ll end up playing for. There were some rumblings that Markov might sign with the Florida Panthers, but that turned out to not be true.

If it’s a one-year deal, a return to the Habs is at least feasible in 2018-19. Considering his age, it sure seems like this is the end of Markov’s lengthy run with the Canadiens, though.