Former Nordiques great Peter Stastny rips Avalanche management for recent trade

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Blockbuster trades always find a way to reverberate through the league in ways. The Colorado Avalanche trade with St. Louis centering around power forward Chris Stewart and defenseman Erik Johnson certainly more than qualified as a blockbuster and opinions on the deal have been varying.

While Erik Johnson was busy saying he hopes he can make the Blues regret they ever traded him away, another figure was looking at things a bit more harshly. Former Nordiques great and hall of famer Peter Stastny sounded off to KMOX radio in St. Louis about what he thought of the Avalanche dealing away Stewart and McClement (audio here) and suffice it to say he’s not very pleased as Adrian Dater of The Denver Post transcribed.

“This young team was ready to challenge, almost, for a Stanley Cup this season. They were so good. All they needed was some more chemistry, and some synergies. Instead, they destroyed the team. I mean, that was a one-way deal. Mr. Armstrong will look like a genius. I don’t know what they were thinking in the Colorado organization. I should not have said this, but I’m so, so mad what they’ve done to this team. They’ve moved the team about two to three years back again.”

All right so perhaps Stastny is wearing the homer hat proudly here. After all, this is his franchise and it’s also the team that employs his son Paul. It’s probable that Peter isn’t exactly looking at things with the clearest of minds for how much his heart is involved in matters, but we haven’t seen anyone in his position speak up so loudly and pointedly about this deal.

Saying that Avalanche GM Greg Sherman “destroyed” the franchise and set them back two or three years because of the deal is some pretty hardcore hyperbole though. Seeing that Stastny cares this much for the franchise is pretty incredible but is he speaking with a clear mind about things? Tough to say as anything that directly affects people in your family, and in this case his own son, makes it all hit home a little harder. This time around, Peter is sounding off like the angry sports dad throwing a tantrum at his kid’s game.

After all, it’s not as if Paul Stastny and Erik Johnson don’t know each other. They were Olympic teammates after all and Dater points out that they were even roommates in Vancouver. We’re sure that won’t make for too awkward of a conversation during the Avs next practice. Colorado runs a really tight ship when it comes to how things are run there and having a franchise icon speak out this way against them makes for quite the fun media circus. Peter Stastny isn’t some nobody after all and as we’ve seen with Mario Lemieux, when a hall of famer speaks out, people pay attention.

Isles sign Northeastern captain Stevens

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John Stevens, who just wrapped a four-year career at Northeastern University, has signed a two-year, entry-level deal with the Islanders, the club announced on Monday.

Stevens, 22, went undrafted but emerged as a valuable player for the Huskies, culminating with a senior season in which he served as captain and averaged better than a point per game (28 in 25 contests).

Stevens is the son of longtime L.A. Kings associate coach John Stevens, who formerly served as the bench boss in Philly.

A third member 0f the Stevens clan, Nolan, also played this season at Northeastern — his junior campaign — and was taken by St. Louis in the fifth round of last year’s draft.

McElhinney to start for Leafs tomorrow

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Curtis McElhinney will start in goal for the Maple Leafs when they host Florida tomorrow.

Which means Toronto’s regular starter, Frederik Andersen, will not.

Andersen, hurt Saturday in Buffalo, only lasted 20 minutes of practice this morning. The Toronto Star, citing a Leafs source, is reporting that Andersen “took a blow to his jaw from a player in Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the Sabres.”

McElhinney is 4-5-0 with a .919 save percentage in 10 appearances for the Leafs this season. He told reporters that tomorrow will be the biggest start of his NHL career.

It remains to be seen who will back up McElhinney against the Panthers. The Leafs have recalled goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL on an emergency basis. All three netminders were on the ice today.

Update:

Expect Sparks to be the back-up tomorrow.

Toronto has a three-point playoff cushion, with eight games remaining.

The Leafs also recalled forward Kasperi Kapanen, the 22nd overall draft pick in 2014. Kapanen, 20, has 18 goals and 25 assists in 43 games for the Marlies this season. He’s expected to replace Ben Smith on the fourth line, alongside Brian Boyle and Matt Martin.

Habs sign d-man Mete, who ‘does everything’ for junior team

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Victor Mete, Montreal’s fourth-round pick at last year’s draft, has signed his three-year, entry-level deal, the club announced on Monday.

Mete, 18, is in his third year with OHL powerhouse London, and finished this season with 15 goals and 44 points in 50 games. He’s developed a reputation as a terrific skater, and often plays alongside fellow Knights d-man Olli Juolevi, who the Canucks took fifth overall at last year’s draft.

London assistant coach Dylan Hunter had high praise for Mete this season.

“When it comes to little nuances of his game, stick on puck, knowing when to make a play and when there isn’t a play to just get it out, he’s one of the best there is right now,” Hunter said, per the London Free Press.

“He does everything for us.”

Mete has one year of junior eligibility remaining, so it’s likely he’ll be back in London next season. At 5-foot-10 and just 180 pounds, he’s undersized and could use another year of development before turning pro.

 

After ‘great’ senior year, Pens sign Union standout Taylor

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Pittsburgh wasted little time in getting Jeff Taylor in the mix.

Taylor, the Union College senior defenseman who had his collegiate career end over the weekend, signed a two-year, entry-level deal on Monday, and also inked an ATO to join the club’s AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Taylor, the club’s seventh-round pick in 2014, enjoyed a career year at Union, helping the Dutchmen advance to the NCAA Tournament by setting career highs in goals (9) and points (33) in 38 games.

Back in December, Pens assistant GM Bill Guerin spoke glowingly about Taylor’s last collegiate campaign, saying he was in the midst of a “great” senior season.

“This is a kid we’ve been looking forward to getting since we drafted him,” Guerin said, per the Post-Gazette. “I remember his first development camp, everybody was like, ‘Oh, wow, look at this kid. He can move the puck, he can skate, he’s quick. He thinks the game well.’ And it hasn’t stopped.

“He’s an undersized guy, but he has the ability to get himself out of trouble because he’s got great feet and he thinks the game well.”