When you’re an enforcer in the NHL, your life mission is clear and cut: Your job is to fight and stand up for your teammates against those heathen aggressors on the opposing team. For former Sabres and Devils enforcer Andrew Peters, he found out his skillset wasn’t as in demand as it once was and with that he announced his retirement at the age of 31 after six NHL seasons.
In six seasons, Peters played in 229 games and scored just four goals and three assists. He finished his career with 650 penalty minutes and a legacy that’s seen him be one of the few forwards in NHL history to fight a goalie as he did with Ray Emery back in 2007. The legacy of a fighter in the NHL isn’t one filled with glamorous goals and highlight-reel skating, but is instead loaded with brawls both amazing and pointless at times.
Over his NHL career, and according to fantastic website HockeyFights.com, Peters went toe-to-toe with an opponent 80 times in the regular season over his career and left his mark on the NHL in his rookie season fighting 23 times. When you come out thundering like that right away, it sets the bar awfully high the rest of the way and for Peters he was never able to reach such heights again. It likely didn’t help him much that his sole skill was to intimidate and fight opponents. Other enforcers of his age developed the ability to either be more of a physical presence as a checker or an ability to help even a little bit offensively.
As a goon aficionado, I can appreciate what Peters did over his short career and the incredible Buffalo-Ottawa brouhaha in 2007 still serves to make an incredibly bizarre highlight reel (we’re sure Martin Biron is forever grateful for Peters sticking up for him) but in an age where the enforcer is a bit of a dying breed, we salute you and your Clubber Lang-like fists of fury Andrew Peters.
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: