A pair of minor deals went down today and one of them featured a former first round pick. Columbus dealt struggling 2008 first round pick Nikita Filatov to Ottawa for their third round pick in the draft, 66th overall. With that pick the Blue Jackets selected Notre Dame forward T.J. Tynan.
Filatov’s failure to live up to his potential in Columbus is one smothered in controversy. Filatov was ushered into the NHL at 19 years-old under former head coach Ken Hitchcock. With Hitchcock being a strict defensive minded coach and Filatov meant to be a pure offensive talent, the two did not blend well together. Filatov was allowed to go play in the KHL for a season last year and spent most of this season playing for the Jackets’ AHL affiliate in Springfield. Perhaps a change of scenery is the medicine he needs to find his game and become an NHL player. The Senators certainly hope that that’s the case.
The Rangers sent a struggling Russian prospect of their own in Evgeny Grachev to St. Louis for their third round pick, 72nd overall. With that pick, the Rangers picked Minnesota high school forward Steven Fogarty. Grachev couldn’t quite get things going at all in the Rangers organization and Rangers GM Glen Sather said he’d been trying to deal him for the past year.
Perhaps Grachev will get a chance to find his game in a new location in St. Louis. Other forwards have been able to do that there in guys like Matt D’Agostini. That’s not to say Grachev is on that level, but the opportunity is there to be had.
Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)
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).
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
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.