While the Buffalo Sabres try to convince Christian Ehrhoff to join their team after trading a fourth rounder for his negotiating rights, the Chicago Blackhawks didn’t hesitate to lock down Steve Montador after acquiring his rights from Buffalo for a seventh round pick. Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman gave Montador a four-year, $11 million contract (amounting to a $2.75 million annual cap hit).
That’s a hefty cap hit for a journeyman defenseman such as Montador. He bounced around the league following the lockout, going from Calgary to Florida to Anaheim to Boston and finally Buffalo before parking in Chicago now.
Chicago’s rivals were worried about all the cap space created by the Brian Campbell trade, yet it’s been pointed out that the takeaway really might just be Montador, mediocre forward Rostislav Olesz and $1 million in cap space. To be fair, the Blackhawks’ savings are still better in the long term since Olesz’s deal runs out in 2013-14 and Montador’s does in 14-15 while Campbell’s lingers until 15-16. Still, it’s tough to argue that Chicago didn’t exactly maximize the benefits of their opportunity.
Of course, the Blackhawks won’t really care what we think if Montador ends up being the dependable defenseman they’re hoping for. The versatile but limited blueliner averaged a career-high 19:43 minutes per game in 2010-11 and can score a little bit (four seasons with 20+ points), so he’s not a total waste of space. It just seems like he’ll take more cap room than he should.
Pulling Anders Nilsson didn’t stop the bleeding for the Edmonton Oilers. Instead, it really just spread the “wealth.”
The New York Islanders are up 7-1, so don’t be surprised if there’s some ugly stuff in the final frame.
Zack Kassian is an author of at least one outburst, as he was tagged with 19 penalty minutes for a display that included fighting Brian Strait, as you can see in the video above.
It’s not the only fight stemming from the blowout, either, as Eric Gryba just tangled with Matt Martin.
Could there be more?
There was a time when Anders Nilsson seemed like the best bet in the Oilers’ net this season. This … is not that time.
Less than 12 minutes into Sunday’s game, the New York Islanders roared to a 3-0 lead, and that was enough for Edmonton to give Nilsson the hook.
He allowed those three goals on 10 shots, so to be fair, that’s a pretty impressive chunk of chances (almost a shot on goal per minute).
Still, the Oilers were likely hoping to give Cam Talbot a breather, and instead he was rushed into action. Nilsson hadn’t played since Jan. 19, and he’s only appeared in three games in 2016.
As if this didn’t sting enough for Nilsson, consider the fact that he began his NHL career with the Islanders, who eventually decided he wasn’t worth keeping.
Alex Ovechkin scored to join Wayne Gretzky and Mike Gartner as only players with at least 30 goals in each of their first 11 NHL seasons, and Matt Niskanen netted the game winner as Washington beat the Flyers 3-2 at Verizon on Super Bowl Sunday.
Michael Del Zotto and Nick Schultz replied for the Flyers, who suffered their second straight loss.
The win was the Capitals’ third in a row.
It didn’t always look as though Washington would emerge the victor, however. The Caps were out-shot 35-30 on the day and looked disjointed at times, finishing with 12 giveaways (Philly was credited with just five, for comparison’s sake).
But good teams find ways to win when they’re not playing especially well, and the Caps are a pretty good team — especially when Braden Holtby is on his game.
Holtby, atop many Vezina lists at the moment, had another terrific outing on Sunday, making 33 saves, perhaps none better than this one on Mark Streit in the second period:
Holtby’s counterpart, Steve Mason, had a solid outing as well, finishing with 27 stops.
Looking ahead, the Caps will now head out on a three-game Western Conference swing through Minnesota, Nashville and what promises to be a high-octane game in Dallas on Feb. 13.
The Flyers, meanwhile, will now kick off a three-game homestand against Anaheim, Buffalo and New Jersey.
Winnipeg forward Drew Stafford will meet with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for his high stick on Colorado’s Nick Holden on Saturday night, the DoPS announced this afternoon.
There was no immediate video of the incident available. Stafford wasn’t penalized on the play, which occurred during the third period; Holden finished the final frame with 10 shifts for 6:46 of ice time.
Stafford, 30, has a clean disciplinary history and hasn’t been fined or suspended during his 10-year NHL career.