The bone-dry ranks of unrestricted free agent defensemen received an interesting boost once it became clear that Sheldon Souray’s flamethrower slap shot, Mike Commodore’s ruggedness/red afro and Cam Barker’s untapped potential will be added to the mix.
After possibly adding a big chunk of unrestricted free agents to the market on accident thanks to their Dale Tallon-esque qualifying offer issues, the Nashville Predators actually intentionally added one of their players to the unrestricted free agent ranks today. The Predators bought out forward J.P. Dumont, breaking down the $4 million salary from the last year of his contract into a $1.3 million cap hit in both 2011-12 and 12-13.
Dumont could be an interesting gamble for another NHL team (wait for it …) if the price is right. His hot-and-cold game went frigid in 2010-11 as he only scored 19 points in 70 games while averaging a bit more than 11 minutes per night. After peaking in Nashville in 06-07 (66 points), 07-08 (a career-high 72) and 08-09 (65 points), Dumont’s game kept dropping the last two seasons. He went from 45 points in 09-10 to that abysmal 19-point showing in 10-11.
Still, some teams might look at that not-too-long-ago run and wonder if he might be productive on a more offense-first squad. Much like Souray, Dumont doesn’t work at his inflated salary but he might be considered an interesting piece if he keeps his economic goals reasonable. He’s probably a more enticing buyout-turned-free-agent than banged up center Chris Drury, if nothing else.
It’s an understandable move by the Predators, but times could be really tough if the NHLPA’s grievance ends up giving them some serious free agent headaches. Stay tuned for the resolution to that and many other issues during this off-season.
The low penalty minutes and high point totals are in, and thus we have the 2016 NHL Awards’ three finalists for the Lady Byng Trophy: Aleksander Barkov, Loui Eriksson and Anze Kopitar.
OK, the actual definition for the award is that it goes “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”
Same difference, eh?
Barkov really made a breakthrough this season with the Florida Panthers, scoring 59 points versus just eight penalty minutes. He only has 34 PIM in 191 career regular season contests.
You can see Eriksson and Kopitar representing their respective countries in this post’s main image. Eriksson enjoyed his best (and maybe last?) season with the Boston Bruins while Kopitar hopes to win the 2016 Selke as the Los Angeles Kings’ defensively adept – yet apparently courteous – forward.
It’s unclear who wins this “fight,” but one would assume it wouldn’t be a dirty one.
The Stanley Cup playoffs continue with two games on Saturday. You can catch tonight’s games via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.
Can Sidney Crosby and the Penguins even things up against Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals? Will the Lightning avoid dropping both games at home against the Islanders? We’ll find out on NBC.
NY Islanders at Tampa Bay (3:00 p.m. ET)
The TV broadcast of Game 2 will be on NBC. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.
Pittsburgh at Washington (8:00 p.m. ET)
The TV broadcast of Game 2 will also be on NBC. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.
Some reading to get you pumped up:
– The Penguins are keeping chatty Marc-Andre Fleury from speaking to the media(reportedly).
– Tom Wilson received a fine, not a suspension, for that knee-to-knee hit.
– T.J. Oshie was the difference-maker for Washington in Game 1.
– Don’t expect Steven Stamkos to face red-hot John Tavares anytime soon (or at all, maybe).
– Read about the Isles’ Game 1 win
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Patrick Eaves won’t be able to play for the Dallas Stars against the St. Louis Blues in their upcoming Game 2.
The last time we saw Eaves, he was leaving the ice by gliding on one foot after being hit by a teammate’s shot. He needed help to the locker room and was seen on crutches according to Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News.
The bad news is that Eaves cannot go. The good news is that the Stars can replace him with a player who boasts considerable offensive skill, as Valeri Nichushkin will take Eaves’ place.
Nichushkin wasn’t very effective in five postseason games so far, failing to score a point and only managed three shots on goal.
Still, if the frenetic pace of Game 1 carries on through this series, Nichushkin could very well make an impact.
Update: the Stars have other options at forward after making recalls:
Both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals might look a little different in Game 2 on Saturday after that blistering Game 1.
As the team down 1-0, it’s not too surprising that the Penguins boast the more significant lineup questions, although they lean toward health concerns rather than performance tweaks.
Conor Sheary was able to return during Game 1 after Tom Wilson‘s controversial knee-to-knee hit, and he appears to be in for tonight’s contest as well. Chris Kunitz isn’t quite a guarantee, as he’s currently labeled a game-time decision.
For what it’s worth, Kunitz himself believes he’ll be in. Whether he plays on Saturday or not, it sounds like Kunitz is taking extra safety measures going forward.
The Penguins stayed vague with Marc-Andre Fleury, merely claiming that he’s making “progress.”
Generally speaking, Matt Murray has been playing well for the Penguins. Of course, the scrutiny will rise if Pittsburgh loses Game 2 on Saturday.
The Capitals are also considering a tweak. CSN Mid-Atlantic reports that Barry Trotz is pondering replacing Dmitry Orlov with Taylor Chorney.
“They told me to be prepared as if I’m going to be playing,” Chorney said. “We’ll just see how it goes.”
As you may notice, Chorney isn’t the only one in wait-and-see mode heading into Game 2, which you can watch on NBC.