Minnesota Wild v St. Louis Blues

Too little, too late? Blues activate Jaroslav Halak from injured reserve

The St. Louis Blues have been in a bit of a bad way of late. Despite their shootout win over Columbus last night in which Jackets goalie Steve Mason couldn’t keep his five hole from being scored upon, the Blues have done rather miserably. Without Jaroslav Halk in goal, times have been rough but today, the Blues activated  Halak off of injured reserve to try and help things get steadier in goal. Ben Bishop was sent back to the AHL to make room for Halak.

When we last saw Halak in goal, it was Valentine’s Day and the Blues had just beaten Vancouver and spirits were sky high about the Blues potentially making a run at the playoffs. Since then with the duo of Bishop and Ty Conklin the Blues have gone 4-7-0 and fallen back to 13th in the Western Conference, 10 points behind eighth place Los Angeles.

The road for St. Louis to make a run at the playoffs is a tough one. James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail tracks teams in their quest to reach the playoffs. In the Western Conference, you generally need to have a shot of reaching the postseason by getting 96 points. For the Blues to get there, they’ll need to go 14-1-1 in their final 16 games. There’s no room for error for the Blues and they’ve been beset by nothing but errors of late.

If Halak can jump back in the lineup and get the Blues to get that hot to close out the year, the Halak signs that were so popular in Montreal last year for the playoffs will be out in force in St. Louis. Realistically it seems highly unlikely that such a run is in the Blues especially with a schedule that sees them still facing Detroit and Minnesota twice and one final brutal swing on the west coast to face the Kings, Ducks, Sharks, and Coyotes.

Slepyshev earns final Oilers roster spot; Draisaitl to AHL

Anton Slepyshev, Anton Lander
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The Edmonton Oilers have assigned center Leon Draisaitl to AHL Bakersfield.

The demotion of Draisaitl, 19, means 21-year-old rookie Anton Slepyshev has made the opening-day roster after scoring twice and adding two assists in exhibition action.

The Oilers experimented during the preseason with Draisaitl, a natural center, on the wing. He didn’t have a particularly poor camp, finishing with one goal and three assists in six games.

But Slepyshev apparently impressed more.

“He’s a young player but he’s played pro hockey before,” coach Todd McLellan told the Edmonton Journal. “You can see it.”

Slepyshev played 58 games in the KHL last season, scoring 15 goals for Salavat Yulaev Ufa.

Canucks roll the dice on rookies, waive Vey and Corrado

Jared McCann, Connor McDavid, Ben Hutton

A preseason push by a number of Vancouver Canucks youngsters has left forward Linden Vey and defenseman Frank Corrado on waivers today.

The more surprising name of the two is Corrado, the 22-year-old who entered the season with an excellent chance of making the opening-day roster. However, it seems that rookie d-man Ben Hutton, 22, has been given the nod after finishing an eye-opening preseason with one goal and four assists in seven games. (This despite Hutton being waiver exempt. So it’s a risk for the Canucks, to be sure.)

It was the play of 19-year-old rookie Jared McCann that led, in part, to the waiving of Vey. (For more on that, click here.) Veteran Adam Cracknell remains with the team as well, to some surprise.

Rookie winger Jake Virtanen is also expected to be on Vancouver’s opening-day roster, though that’s no big shock.

Defenseman Alex Biega is also on waivers, as expected.