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–Former NHL defenseman Dennis Wideman has been named an assistant coach with the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers. (KitchenerRangers.com)
–The Columbus Blue Jackets have put together a decent amount of wins, but scoring goals hasn’t been easy for them. (Columbus Dispatch)
–Houston has been rumored to be in the mix for an NHL team lately. That talk has opened up discussions about the Calgary Flames and the city’s lack of desire to build a new arena for the team. Could they be on the move? (Flamesnation.ca)
–Slapperandstats.com explains how compliance buyouts and escrow came back to bite the players over the last couple of years. (Slapperandstats.com)
—Blake Wheeler is one of the more underrated stars in the NHL. Since 2015-16, only Patrick Kane, Sidney Crosby, Nikita Kucherov and Jamie Benn have put up more points than the Jets forward. (Fanragsports.com)
–Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist has created plenty of scoring chances this season, but he’s capable of finding the back of the net with a little more regularity. His coach is pleased with his effort, now he just needs to translate that into success. (Detroit News)
–Earlier this week, the Morning Skate looked at the Top 5 moments from Auston Matthews‘ first 100 NHL games. Now, The Hockey News looks at some of the incredible numbers he’s put up during that span. (The Hockey News)
–The NWHL and CWHL have no issue admitted that they are open to including everyone. “I think that we’re our own — I don’t want to say circle or bubble — but at (CWHL) events it’s 100 percent inclusive,” Boston Blades goaltender Lauren Dahm said. “It’s OK to be who you are. Hearing stories about other leagues or just in society in general where that’s not the case is eye opening.” (Sporting News)
Boeser, 20, has been lights out over the past four games for the Vancouver Canucks, scoring six times during his current four-game goal-scoring streak (he also has points in five straight) as Keller’s stock has cooled.
The Arizona Coyotes 19-year-old rookie has failed to score in each of his past eight games after a blistering start that saw him score 11 times in 16 contests.
Keller’s slump has allowed Boeser to grab hold of the rookie scoring lead, which he did on Wednesday, scoring twice — the second time he’s done so in as many games — in a 5-2 rout of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
He’s now one point ahead of Keller and Barzal, the latter of which is heating up as well with points in his past four games.
As you can see by the above video, Boeser’s release puts his name on a pedestal with few others in the NHL. The Athletic’s Justin Bourne wrote glowingly of Boeser’s shot ability on Wednesday.
Boeser’s scoring prowess has him in the conversation with another talented Russian in Pavel Bure.
Bure, who won the Calder Trophy in 1992, scored 34 times for the Canucks that season. Boeser is on pace to hit the 40-goal mark, which would smash that record.
Boeser is the first rookie to score in four consecutive games this season. According to the NHL, only one rookie in Canucks franchise history has scored in more than four consecutive team games – Dennis Ververgaert had a six-game goal streak in 1973-74.
Boeser is scoring on nearly 21 percent of his shots, and while TSN’s Scott Cullen points out that that number isn’t likely to hold, his 2.8 shots per game are still very much conducive to goal scoring.
And winning. Boeser has three game-winning goals for the Canucks, who are 11-8-3 this season, two points out of first place in the Pacific Division in the Western Conference.
The Philadelphia Flyers feel they are right there, which is an interesting statement from a team that’s lost six straight and eight of their past 10.
Ah, the lies we tell ourselves in times of trouble.
The Flyers did fair better on Wednesday night in a 4-3 shootout loss against the New York Islanders, which prompted goaltender Brian Elliott to make the declaration that his team just needs to turn the corner.
It’s tough to turn when you’re falling backwards, however.
Indeed, finding positives when few appear to be in sight in a skid like the Flyers are in is a tough ask in the City of Brotherly Love. Flyers fans have had to come to terms with a few things this season.
It must pain fans to see Brayden Schenn lighting the lamp over and over again in St. Louis. Schenn was traded to the Blues in the offseason. The return looked half decent for a team looking to rebuild with a youth movement.
The Blues gave up two first-round picks for Schenn along with Jori Lehtera. And while it remains to be seen what the Flyers gain from the trade in future drafts, Lehtera has been an utter disappointment, one magnified many times more by Schenn’s incredible start.
Lehtera was a healthy scratch for Wednesday’s game, the second time in his past four games he’s watched rather than played. He’s sitting on two assists this season in 14 games. Schenn, by comparison, 10 goals and 30 points, including 19 in his past eight games.
It hasn’t been all Lehtera’s fault. Oh, no.
The Flyers penalty kill has been atrocious. They rank 28th in the league at 75 percent and have allowed seven goals in their past 13 kills over the past three games.
Andrew MacDonald can’t return soon enough, especially after one of their better penalty killers tried to behead a man last week.
Scoring could be better as well.
Claude Giroux has gone six games without a goal, this after scoring nine times in his first 16 games. Jordan Weal has just one goal in his past 18 games and was bumped to the fourth line on Wednesday. And ever since he 17 times in 64 games two years ago, Shayne Gostisbehere has only eight goals in his past 95 games and none in his past 13.
But the real reason for the Flyers struggles this season might just be something they can’t control: youth.
The Flyers iced 11 players under 25 years of age on Wednesday night. Their top defenseman, Provorov, is 20 years old. Their second line centre, Nolan Patrick, is 19.
These are the growing pains of a team getting younger, and it could get worse yet before it gets better.
Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side, sometimes it isn’t.
The two focal points of the biggest trade this season so far in the National Hockey League find themselves on opposite sides of the old expression.
On the ‘grass isn’t’ side, we find Matt Duchene, now an Ottawa Senators player after getting shipped to Canada’s capital from the Colorado Avalanche in a three-team deal (that also included the Nashville Predators, but more on that in a moment) earlier this month.
Duchene, unhappy in the Colorado Rockies, has now gone six games without a point in his new threads.
On the ‘greener side,’ we find Kyle Turris, now a member of the Nashville Predators, who was shipped out of Canada’s capital after contract negotiations between his former team, the Senators, “did not see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Unlike Duchene, (his trade partner?) Turris has found new life in Music City. In six games, Turris has two goals and three assists and scored this five-hole goal on Wednesday to help the Predators get past the struggling Montreal Canadiens 3-2 in the shootout.
Turris’ arrival on the Predators’ second line has been of great assistance to 21-year-old forward Kevin Fiala as well.
Fiala has six points, including two multi-point outings, since Turris arrived on Nov. 5 and is well on his way to eclipsing his rookie season point total of 16 last year with two goals and 11 assists in 20 games this season.
It was no secret the Senators wanted Duchene, badly, in the days leading up to the deal that finally got done. Turris and the Sens couldn’t reach an agreement on an extension and thus the 28-year-old became expendable. The results thus far, at least on the scoresheet, haven’t matched the steep price required to get Duchene.
But it’s not all bad. Some consolation for Sens fans:
And it’s not to say results won’t come.
Duchene has 23 shots in those six games. There would be more concern if he wasn’t getting chances.
An immediate winner in any high-profile swap is always hotly debated. Turris has had a strong start in Nashville, but he went to a team that is a few months removed from being in the Stanley Cup Finals and are looking like strong contenders once again.
Duchene is a highly-skilled player who scored 30 goals two years ago. The chemistry with Bobby Ryan just hasn’t blossomed just yet. Give it time.
The thing about trades is this: a clear-cut winner is often never determined a few weeks after the deal is made.
“I’ve said it many times, a season is full of peaks and valleys and 10 games from now, we could be having a totally different conversation.