PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
After winning seven straight, the Wild are winless in their last seven (0-6-1). Worse yet, Michael Russo drops the dreaded F-bomb on the team: Fragile (Star Tribune)
Peter Laviolette says that Danny Briere was inspiring against the Ottawa Senators. No, not the three goals he scored, but the rare fight for the 179 pound Briere. (CSN Philly)
Tyler Myers is back from a broken wrist—and according to head coach Lindy Ruff, it doesn’t look like he’s missed a game. (Tonawanda News)
Finally, there are people that are giving Nashville the proper respect it deserves for growing into a good hockey market. (Backhand Shelf)
Who do you think is leading the Central Division? The Chicago Blackhawks? The Detroit Red Wings? Try the St. Louis Blues. (Post-Dispatch)
It’s that time of year: it’s awards season! Well, midseason awards season. (Buffalo News)
Those are good stories. Here’s a Top 10 list that most players would rather avoid—the first-half flops (QMI Agency)
We all knew that getting traded could be rough on a player, but Brendan Mikkelson breaks down the logistics of changing addresses mid-season. (Tampa Tribune)
Talk about a Honeymoon period. The Anaheim Ducks have struggled all season, but fans are still lining up to meet the new guy behind the bench. Randy Carlyle probably wouldn’t have had the same kind of reception. (OC Register)
Who says they’re trying to take hitting out of hockey? Theo Peckham demonstrates how to knock a burgeoning star onto his wallet. (NHL)
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.
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.