Anaheim Ducks v Nashville Predators

Ducks GM says Selanne, Koivu are only ‘untouchables’

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The Anaheim Ducks made a stunning run to a playoff spot last season, but in a way, that might have deceived management into thinking that the team is better than it actually is. The 2011-12 season has been a cruel reality check, but Randy Carlyle’s firing might not be the only big move.

Ducks GM Bob Murray spoke with The Los Angeles Times’ Helene Elliott, revealing that veteran forwards Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne are the only players who might be “untouchable” in trades. As much as that has to do with Selanne retiring with the Ducks, the biggest reason might be that Selanne and Koivu’s contracts have no-movement clauses. (In other words, Selanne could get his way if he asks for a trade.)

The biggest – and maybe most worrisome – takeaway is that Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan could be had at the right price. Murray said that he’s not looking to rebuild and give up on this season, but core players will decide if they stay by how they play.

Murray could be playing with fire

Look, there’s no denying that the Ducks’ big three of power forwards are coming up small. The problem is that Anaheim is a low-budget team that often competes largely based on Selanne + those three, who carry affordable cap hits. Here’s what those players are getting in terms of cap hits and their all-important yearly salaries via CapGeek.com:

Ryan Getzlaf: 2011-12 cap hit: $5.325 million; 2011-12 salary: $5.75 million
2012-13 cap hit: $5.325 million; 2012-13 salary: $6.125 million;

Corey Perry: 11-12 cap hit: $5.325 million; 11-12 salary: $5.375 million
12-13 cap hit: $5.235 million; 12-13 salary: $4.875 million

Bobby Ryan: 11-12 cap hit: $5.1 million; 11-12 salary: $5.263 million
12-13 cap hit: $5.1 million; 12-13 salary: $5.623 million
13-14 cap hit: $5.1 million; 13-14 salary: $5.623 million
14-15 cap hit: $5.1 million; 14-15 salary: $5.623 million

OK, so maybe that trio isn’t earning the $16 million-or-so that they’re receiving this season, but you’re not going to find much better value in a trio of scorers than that. This thought is especially true since their current struggles and Murray’s back-against-the-wall situation will only encourage rival GMs to exploit the situation with low-ball offers.

Deep down, Getzlaf-Perry-Ryan should be the Ducks’ only untouchables,* but we’ll just have to see if cooler heads prevail.

* – Yes, that means trading Selanne should be considered, especially if they can get some quality talent in exchange for what might be his final NHL season.

Goalie nods: Backup extraordinaire Montoya gets the call versus Wings

Florida Panthers goalie Al Montoya watches game action against the New Jersey Devils' during the second period of a NHL hockey game in Sunrise, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
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The Florida Panthers have had no problem giving Roberto Luongo the odd night off this season. That’s because Al Montoya has been one of the best backups in the league.

Montoya (8-2-1, .931) will get the call tonight in Detroit, with Luongo (23-13-5, .930) expected to start tomorrow in Buffalo.

The Panthers have the highest team save percentage in the NHL, at .926 (which includes empty-net goals).

“They both give us a chance to win every night,” Panthers d-man Brian Campbell told the Miami Herald recently. “Both make huge saves for us at times. You need consistent saves every night and they both bring it. Montoya gets put into a tough spot a lot of times and nothing seems to change.”

Beyond Montoya, other NHL backups with particularly good numbers include the Flyers’ Michal Neuvirth (.933), the Kings’ Jhonas Enroth (.931), the Blues’ Brian Elliott (.930), the Islanders’ Thomas Greiss (.929), and the Wild’s Darcy Kuemper (.928).

Petr Mrazek will start for the Red Wings. He used to be Detroit’s backup, but he’s since surpassed Jimmy Howard for the starting job.

Elsewhere…

Cory Schneider for the Devils at MSG, versus Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers.

John Gibson for the Ducks in Pittsburgh, versus Marc-Andre Fleury for the Penguins.

— Andrei Vasilevskiy for the Lightning in Ottawa, versus Craig Anderson for the Sens.

Blues put Pietrangelo on IR with knee injury

Pietrangelo-Coyle
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Not good news for the St. Louis Blues — the club announced this morning that defenseman Alex Pietrangelo has been placed on injured reserve with a right-knee injury. He’ll be re-evaluated in three weeks.

Pietrangelo suffered the injury Saturday in a knee-on-knee collision with Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle.

Based on the timeline provided, the Blues will be without their leader in average ice time (26:40) until at least the end of the month. St. Louis plays 10 times between now and Feb. 29, which also happens to be the trade deadline.

The big question, of course, is whether Pietrangelo will be ready to go upon re-evaluation.

The first day of the playoffs is April 13.

Update:

Related: Armstrong wants Blues to get healthy before any trades are made

“I wonder if that’s Crosby, what happens?’ — AV upset after McDonagh concussed by Simmonds

Alain Vigneault
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Alain Vigneault took another shot at the NHL’s Department of Player Safety today.

This time, the Rangers head coach was upset about the lack of supplementary discipline for Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds in the wake of Saturday’s altercation with New York captain Ryan McDonagh.

“An All-Star player gets sucker-punched, goes down,” Vigneault said, per The Record. “I wonder if that’s (Sidney) Crosby, what happens? What are the consequences? And, on top of that, a player breaks his stick, throws it at the referees. In the rulebook, that’s automatic. It’s three games. Nothing happens. It’s not even on the sheet after the game.”

Simmonds’ punch left McDonagh concussed and unable to play tonight versus New Jersey, with no timetable for his return.

Earlier this season, Vigneault voiced his frustration with the league after Rangers center Derek Stepan suffered broken ribs in Boston on a hit from Bruins forward Matt Beleskey.

Vigneault felt the hit was late.

“I remember Aaron Rome in this building, .6 seconds late, getting suspended four games in the Stanley Cup Final,” the former Vancouver Canucks coach said, recalling the contentious 2011 final.

Beleskey was not suspended.

Crosby, Karlsson and Trocheck are NHL’s three stars of the week

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby celebrates his goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, and Panthers center Vincent Trocheck have been named the NHL’s three stars for the past week.

From the NHL:

Crosby led the League in goals and points (5-3-8) in three games as the Penguins (26-18-7, 59 points) earned four of a possible six points to secure the second Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference.

Karlsson led the League in assists and ranked second in points (0-7-7) in three games as the Senators (24-23-6, 54 points) won one of three starts for the week.

Trocheck notched six points (3-3—6) in three games, helping the Panthers (31-15-6, 68 points) widen their lead atop the Atlantic Division to six points.

Related: Red-hot Crosby could make Pens a flawed (but dangerous) dark horse