Tonight’s Ducks-Red Wings game in Detroit instead of being a marquee battle between two teams loaded with talent is instead a battle of teams in desperate need of a slump buster. Detroit has famously lost six in a row while the Ducks have lost four straight and seven of their last eight.
U-G-L-Y they ain’t got no alibi, they ugly.
Who blinks first here? Anaheim has been competitive in their losses while the Red Wings have looked like a team sapped of any and all confidence. On the upside, for Detroit their offense will eventually come around.
It’s statistically unlikely that they’ll be able to continue shooting just 6.2% on the season. Getting their power play back to its lofty levels from last season would help out as well. Instead of having one of the top units in the league, they’re in the middle of the pack. Getting Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg rolling would do a world of good.
For Anaheim, they’ve gotten solid scoring from their top line of Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan, and Ryan Getzlaf as well as from Teemu Selanne. Getting any kind of help from the rest of the lineup would be a huge boost to a team that’s essentially rolling with just four guys doing anything. Making sure that Jonas Hiller continues to bounce back from his awful start against Washington would help too.
Perhaps all these two need to settle things out is to have their two best players duke it out one more time and get it out of their system. What do you say Pavel, Corey? One more time? (Courtesy of HockeyFights.com)
Cal Petersen, the Notre Dame standout drafted by Buffalo four years ago, won’t be signing with the Sabres, new GM Jason Botterill said on Friday.
“I’ve spoken to Cal. At this time I think he’s going to probably move to free agency and we’ll go from there,” Botterill said, per the Buffalo News. “Disappointed, but we’ll move on.”
Petersen, 22, is coming off a great junior year for the Fighting Irish. He went 23-12-5 with a .926 save percentage and 2.22 GAA, helping the club advance to the Frozen Four. Petersen was also named a finalist for this year’s Mike Richter Award, given annually to college hockey’s top goalie.
In April, he was named to the U.S. team at the World Hockey Championships in France and Germany. He was one of three goalies on the squad — along with Connor Hellebuyck and Jimmy Howard — but didn’t appear in any games.
This is a blow to the organization. The Sabres have some major question marks in goal, given presumptive No. 1 Robin Lehner is a restricted free agent and it’s unclear what the ceiling is on recently re-signed Linus Ullmark. What’s more, Buffalo has only drafted two goalies in the last four years — Petersen, and Sweden’s Jonas Johansson (third round, ’14).
Oilers to sign Russell to reported four-year, $16 million extension
When the Edmonton Oilers traded Jordan Eberle over the weekend part of the reasoning was so they could clear salary cap space, presumably to help re-sign veteran defenseman Kris Russell.
On Friday, they completed that series of transactions.
According to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie, the Oilers will announce a four-year contract for Russell later on Friday that will pay him a total of $16 million.
That comes out to a salary cap hit of $4 million per season. TSN’s Ryan Rishaug adds that the deal could also include a modified no-trade clause.
Russell has become an extremely polarizing player in the NHL over the past few years so this deal is sure to receive equal amounts of praise and criticism depending on what exactly you’re looking for from a defenseman.
He has never been a strong possession player and doesn’t have a lot of offensive ability — two things teams seem to be looking for on their blue lines right now — which leads to criticism from the analytics side of the sport. But because he is one of the NHL’s most fearless shot-blockers and consistently among the league leaders in that category he is loved as an old-school, defensive-defenseman. That ability was a big talking point for much of the 2016-17 season as the Oilers had their best season in more than a decade (Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Cam Talbot played a pretty significant role, too).
Another part of the justification for the Eberle trade was the fact the Oilers needed some additional salary cap space because of the need to re-sign both McDavid and Draisaitl to long-term contract extensions.
Eberle on his own was going to account for $6 million in salary cap space this season.
Ryan Strome (the player acquired for Eberle) and Russell will account for $6.5 million.
Are the Oilers better off with Strome and Russell than they would have been had they simply let Russell walk and kept Eberle? That remains to be seen, but obviously the Oilers think they are.
It’s pretty obvious what sits atop Philly’s shopping list this weekend at the NHL Draft in Chicago:
“We’re going to look for the best option, and we’ll act on it,” Flyers GM Ron Hextall said, per CSN Philly. “The option is figuring out the timing and who is available.”
Currently, the Flyers only have two goalies under contract — Michal Neuvirth and Anthony Stolarz. The former will be in Philly’s mix next year, but the latter’s situation is more complex. Stolarz is coming off major knee surgery and, at 23, lacks experience at the NHL level. He looked good in a seven-game cameo last season (4-2-1, 2.07 GAA, .928 save percentage), but that’s still a pretty small sample size.
So not surprising to hear the following, from CSN Philly:
Hextall would prefer to get a jump on free agency this weekend by making a deal to obtain a veteran goaltender that has two years or less on his contract and is not looking to break the bank.