With day two of the NHL Draft under way, the Calgary Flames got busy wheeling and dealing. The long rumored deal with Buffalo involving Robyn Regehr was finalized sending Regehr and one-time Sabres forward Ales Kotalik to the Sabres in exchange for defenseman Chris Butler and young forward Paul Byron. Buffalo also gets Calgary’s second round pick in 2012.
For Calgary the main thing they get is salary relief. Regehr has two years left on his contract with a cap hit of $4.02 million per season. Kotalik has one year left on his deal worth $3 million. In getting Chris Butler, the Flames get a young depth defenseman who proved to be serviceable in Buffalo the last two seasons. Byron should prove to be a nice addition to their AHL team in Abbotsford.
Buffalo gets their man in Regehr, giving them a physical force on the blue line they’ve lacked for a long time. Regehr teamed up with Tyler Myers gives Buffalo a “thunder and lightning” top pairing. Regehr will provide a physical snarl to the Sarbes blue line and ensure that teams won’t be able to push them around near the net. Ryan Miller will be more than thankful for his presence.
Welcoming back Ales Kotalik is a bit odd, but he had great success in his years with the Sabres. He’s useful on the power play and has 20-goal ability. If he can recapture his old form to a degree with Buffalo, they’ll be happy to have him.
Calgary wasn’t done doing business however as they also signed forward Alex Tanguay to a five-year extension worth $17.5 million. The length of the deal is stunning considering Tanguay had a bounce back season after one terrible year in Tampa Bay. His production last season alongside Jarome Iginla made him an invaluable part of that top line. The money isn’t too terrible, but if Tanguay slips back into the form he had in Tampa Bay, it’ll be an awful contract to keep around. Tanguay’s been consistent throughout his career as a point producer and as long as he’s with Iginla he should do all right.
Ken Hitchcock wants the Blues to spend more time attacking and less time defending.
Because hockey isn’t rocket science, that’s why.
“To score and win games in the National Hockey League…you have to spend as much time in the offensive zone as you can,” Hitchcock told the Post-Dispatch.
“When you’re occupying the offensive zone more, you’re forechecking more. When you’re occupying the offensive zone more, the goalie has to make saves. They’re having to defend more. And the opposing team takes penalties on you. So they’re all connected. … What I want to see from us is staying on the puck for longer stretches.”
According to the stats, the Blues have not been spending as much time in the offensive zone as we’re used to seeing from them. In fact, in their last 20 games, they rank in the bottom third of the league in score-adjusted Corsi. That compares to their first 20 games when they were in the top third.
The result is fewer shots, and more importantly, fewer goals. The Blues have fallen all the way to 25th in offense, averaging just 2.37 goals per game. Last year, they finished fifth (2.91).
Yes, some of that may be due to the absence of Jaden Schwartz, and he should be back soon. But there’s a reason people are watching GM Doug Armstrong as the Feb. 29 trade deadline approaches. This team could probably use another piece up front.
The Blues host Minnesota Saturday.
St. Louis has scored just five goals in its last five games.
Tonight in Anaheim, Anders Lindback will make his first start for the Arizona Coyotes since Jan. 16.
The Coyotes have been riding rookie Louis Domingue since just before Christmas, but Domingue has allowed five goals in each of his last three starts, including last night’s 5-4 loss to Chicago.
Lindback’s last appearance came Tuesday in relief, when he allowed one goal on 10 shots in a 6-2 loss to the Kings.
Lindback was in goal for one of Arizona’s three victories this season over Anaheim, stopping 33 of 36 shots in a 4-3 overtime win on Nov. 9. However, his .896 save percentage ranks among the lowest in the league.
Frederik Andersen is expected to start for the Ducks.
— No word yet on a Penguins starter in Tampa, but Ben Bishop will go for the Bolts.
— Cam Ward will start for the Hurricanes in Winnipeg, where Connor Hellebuyck is expected for the increasingly desperate Jets.
— Joonas Korpisalo was solid last night in Vancouver, but the Blue Jackets have not announced their starter for tonight’s game in Calgary. Karri Ramo will be in goal for the Flames.
The latest Penguins injuries, these ones to Evgeni Malkin and Eric Fehr, have led to an opportunity for Oskar Sundqvist.
Sundqvist will make his NHL debut for the Penguins tonight in Tampa. The 21-year-old center has five goals and 11 assists in 39 AHL games this season.
“Sunny’s a pretty solid two-way player,” coach Mike Sullivan said, per the Tribune-Review.
“I don’t think he’s going to dazzle you with flashy plays, but I think he’s a guy who plays the game the right way. He’s hard to play against because of his size. He’s got a long reach, and he’s got a good stick.”
Sundqvist was selected 81st overall by the Pens in 2012. He’ll become the fourth player out of that Pittsburgh draft class to make his NHL debut, after Olli Maatta, Derrick Pouliot, and Matt Murray.
Veteran Matt Cullen will replace Malkin on the second line, skating with wingers Carl Hagelin and Phil Kessel.
Related: Nick Bonino out ‘at least a month’ with hand injury
As if John Scott wasn’t already having a great week, now he’s the proud father of twin girls.
The Montreal Canadiens shared the good news via their Twitter account today.
Scott, the unlikely 2016 All-Star Game MVP, is currently back home in Michigan; however, he’s expected to resume his career at some point with Montreal’s AHL affiliate in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
When, exactly, he suits up for the IceCaps remains to be seen, but it won’t be tonight or tomorrow.
Related: Therrien on Canadiens possibly recalling John Scott: ‘You never know’