Stephen Weiss is a trade target, says he’ll play in Florida as long as they’ll let him

It’s that time of year: GMs are looking to make their teams better. Fans are clamoring for their team to make a move—any move. Some websites will make up trade rumors and some websites will report actual trades. And the players who are actually traded? Well, they’re just waiting for the deadline trying to get through it as painlessly as possible.

One of the major players being thrown around this year is Florida Panthers center Stephen Weiss. With Dale Tallon hired with the mandate to rebuild, a player like Weiss could bring quite the reward for the first-year Panthers GM. It’s a simple formula: a talented player with leadership qualities on a team rebuilding. It’s not hard to figure out how these rumors get started.

Apparently, Weiss is hearing the rumors as well.

“I try to not listen to it, but to be honest, it’s weighing on my mind. The unknown, not knowing what’s going on. I’ve never been in this position before. It’s a first, a new thing for me.

I’ve talked to some guys who have been through it, and they say that you can’t think about it and keep playing. I know that already. But, certainly, it is a little bit different and it’s been bugging me a little.”

Even though he has a no-movement clause (which he has not been asked to waive), it certainly sounds like Weiss is bracing himself for a move before February 28. But if he is moved, it won’t be his decision. As he’s always stated in the past, his desire is to keep his talents in South Beach and see it through for the long-haul. For what it’s worth, Panthers’ head coach Peter DeBoer would like for him to stick around as well.

“This is a guy who deserves to see the fruits of where this is going to go. He’s obviously been through the tough times and deserves to see the other side when we get there.”

Weiss’s situation just serves as a reminder that players all over the league are in a holding pattern in the days leading up to the trade deadline. Fans will look back to players from a different generation and wonder why players don’t stick with teams for their entire career anymore. Hey, even Wayne Gretzky was traded twice. But like Weiss, the movement is not necessarily the players’ fault. For every Dany Heatley or Chris Pronger who asks for a trade, there’s a Stephen Weiss who’d rather not waive a no-trade clause in his contract.

“I just feel tired from talking about it,” Weiss said of the rumors. “I’ll stay here until my career’s over if they let me.”

A career is a long time. For now, we’ll see if they let him stay more than 10 days.

Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)

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Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.

Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.

McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).

Islanders grab precious points by beating Rangers

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The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.

They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.

The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.

Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.

The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.

The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.

Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style

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Rick Nash has his critics stemming from his playoff struggles in the past, but for those who support him, moments like these are satisfying.

Why? Because you’d be absurd to discredit how hard he tries when Nash scores goals like he did for the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

Nash went all-out for his 20th goal of the season, sprawling after scoring against Thomas Greiss. It’s quite a sight, and Getty Images really was on top of that one.

via Getty Images

The Rangers may need more from him tonight, however, as the Islanders just went up 3-2. Watch the remainder of the contest on NBCSN.

Leafs pass Bruins for third in Atlantic after gutsy win against Columbus

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It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.

Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:

Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games

This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.

The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.

This game was all about William Nylander‘s brilliant start:

And also Toronto surviving a long penalty kill after that Polak hit:

Nazem Kadri‘s 30th goal really put the game out of reach, helping Toronto nab a significant victory.

The Blue Jackets can wallow in this defeat and Oliver Bjorkstrand‘s injury, either, as they turn around to face the Washington Capitals in a big one tomorrow.