Ryan Miller

Did You Know? It’s Hobey Baker night in Buffalo


The “Did You Know?” series ties in the news of the day with some little-known hockey factoids and/or trivia. It’ll be fun. Trust me.

Tonight in Buffalo, three former Hobey Baker Award winners will play in the same game — Sabres netminder Ryan Miller (who won in 2001), Sabres defenseman Jordan Leopold (2002) and Lightning defenseman Matt Gilroy (2009).

While this might not seem like such a momentous occasion, do keep in mind there are just nine Hobey Baker winners currently in the NHL: Miller, Leopold, Gilroy, Brendan Morrison, Mike Mottau, Matt Carle, Kevin Porter, Blake Geoffrion and Andy Miele.

Of the three playing tonight, it’s interesting to note how many future NHLers they suited up with in college. All three played for prominent programs — Miller was at Michigan State, Leopold at Minnesota and Gilroy at Boston University — so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Still, it’s cool to look back.

Miller’s teammates at Michigan State included Duncan Keith, Shawn Horcoff, John-Michael Liles, Adam Hall, Jim Slater and Mike Weaver.

Leopold’s teammates at Minnesota included Keith Ballard, Paul Martin, John Pohl and Jeff Taffe.

Gilroy’s teammates at BU included Brandon Yip, Colin Wilson and Kevin Shattenkirk.

The Hobey Baker is definitely a curious award. For every winner that goes on to NHL success — Neal Broten, Paul Kariya, Chris Drury — there are those that fail to register even the slightest blip on the NHL radar, guys like Brian Bonin, Chris Marinucci and, most recently Marty Sertich.

Which makes it all the more curious when three former winners manage to appear in the same game.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.