One of the most underrated trades in recent NHL history occurred Feb. 12, 2010, when the Blackhawks sent Cam Barker to the Wild for Nick Leddy.
Leddy, drafted 16th overall in 2009, has since developed into a premier puck-moving defenseman, logging 21:42 a game for Chicago, where the 20-year-old currently leads all blue-liners in scoring with two goals and 12 assists.
Moreover, Leddy’s ascension allowed general manager Stan Bowman to trade Brian Campbell to Florida this summer, freeing up valuable cap space without losing much in the process.
After 20 games, the Blackhawks (12-5-3) sit first overall in the league with 27 points. And if that’s not sweet enough for their fans, the GM has a pile of money to spend if the opportunity should arise.
“We’re not in a rush to spend money,” Bowman said Friday, as reported by the Chicago Tribune. “It’s really a bit of an oddity for us. In the last couple of years … we’ve been playing things day-by-day — literally — in terms of sending guys down and shuttling them back and forth. In an ideal world you would like to try to keep your guys here and have room if you do have injuries or if you have an opportunity to improve your team. That’s how we’re going to approach it.
“We do have a lot more cap space than we’ve ever had. When the time is right, if that opportunity comes, we won’t be hesitant to move on it. Right now, we don’t have any things that we’re close to doing or looking at, but we’re always looking ahead about what might be there.”
To which the rest of the league replied, “Hey…awesome.”
Somebody tell the Boston Bruins there’s a goal-scoring crisis in the NHL.
This afternoon, for the 14th time this season, a Bruins game featured at least six goals. The final score was 4-3, as Boston came back to beat the Rangers in a wildly entertaining Thanksgiving Showdown on NBC.
David Krejci scored the winner with 1:43 remaining. Krejci’s goal came just 2:03 after teammate Ryan Spooner had tied it on the power play.
Today’s win was the Bruins’ fifth straight. Though the defensive mistakes remain…
…Claude Julien’s troops have been finding ways to overcome them.
The future of Winnipeg’s goaltending will be on display tonight in Minnesota.
Connor Hellebuyck, the highly-touted prospect that starred for Team USA at the 2015 World Hockey Championships, will make his NHL debut today when the Jets take on the Wild at Xcel.
Hellebuyck is up with the Jets following an injury to No. 1 (or, “No. 1”) netminder Ondrej Pavelec, who’s out until January with a lower-body injury. An AHL All-Star a year ago, Hellebuyck arrived in Winnipeg with great fanfare and it’ll be interesting to see how he responds to the hype and pressure that come along with his first-ever big league start.
For the Wild, Devan Dubnyk‘s in goal.
— Corey Crawford goes for Chicago in Anaheim. No word yet on who the Ducks will have in goal.
— Braden Holtby starts again for Washington, as the Caps host the Bolts. Tampa Bay has yet to name a starter, much like the Ducks.
— Marc-Andre Fleury takes on Sergei Bobrovsky in Columbus tonight, as the Blue Jackets host the Penguins.
— Mike Condon is back in the starter’s role for Montreal with Carey Price sidelined, and his first order of business is a road date against Cory Schneider and the Devils in New Jersey.
— Cam Ward faces Chad Johnson as Buffalo welcomes the ‘Canes.
— The Isles will start Jaroslav Halak in Florida. The Panthers will counter with Roberto Luongo.
— Cam Talbot finally gets back into the starter’s role tonight in Detroit. Jimmy Howard will go for the Wings.
— It’s Ryan Miller versus Antti Niemi as the Canucks take on the Stars in Dallas.
— Even though Jonas Hiller is healthy and Joni Ortio‘s in the minors, Calgary will stick with Karri Ramo in Arizona. The Coyotes are going with their No. 1, Mike Smith.
For the first time since Nov. 5, Zach Parise will suit up for the Minnesota Wild.
The team confirmed today that Parise will be in the lineup tonight at home versus Winnipeg. The 31-year-old forward has missed the last eight contests with a sprained MCL.
The Wild were 7-2-2 before Parise got hurt. They lost the game against Nashville in which he suffered the injury, then went 4-3-1 without him.
“I’m just hoping to get back to form as quick as possible and go from there,” Parise told the Star Tribune. “I’m not thinking I need to score right out of the gate, I just want to play. … We’re still right in the hunt for everything. We’ll be fine.”
The Vancouver Canucks will face a pretty motivated Dallas Stars team tonight at American Airlines Center.
Blame the Ottawa Senators. They were the ones who smoked the Stars, 7-4, on Tuesday.
“It brings you back down to earth,” captain Jamie Benn told the Stars’ website. “You learn that any team can come in here and whip your butt. It was embarrassing for us, especially in our home rink and in front of our home fans. We don’t want that to happen again.”
The Stars have had their way with the Canucks in recent years. The last time Vancouver won in Dallas was Feb. 21, 2013. Since then, victories have included scorelines like 5-1, 4-1, 6-1, and 6-3.
The Stars have already hosted the Canucks once in Dallas this season. On Oct. 29, they fought back from a 3-1 third-period deficit to win, 4-3, in overtime.
Dallas (17-5-0) has yet to lose consecutive games this season.