Jeff Carter

Which teams could be interested in Jeff Carter?

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There’s no shortage of reasons for NHL general managers to pass on Jeff Carter at the trade deadline. The Columbus forward is injury-prone, his attitude has been called into question, he’s earned a reputation for partying a little too hearty, and last but not least, there’s his contract that stretches all the way through 2021-22 with a cap hit of $5.3 million.

All that said, TSN insider Darren Dreger isn’t convinced Carter’s untradeable.

The L.A. Kings have moderate interest. The Calgary Flames may take a run, though contractually it’s hard to imagine how Jay Feaster finds the fit. And as much as Leafs GM Brian Burke loathes the mega-contracts, Jeff Carter is the player Toronto is looking for in a lot of ways.

The Kings speculation makes a certain amount of sense, as L.A. needs scoring badly. Plus, it would allow Carter to reunite with his old Flyers teammate, Mike Richards. (Sure, those two were a little out of control when they were together in Philadelphia, but when was the last time anyone partied in Los Angeles?)

Calgary? Seems unlikely, but the Flames did make a run at Brad Richards over the summer, plus Olli Jokinen’s a pending UFA.

Dreger rightly notes the Leafs are in desperate need of a first-line center like Carter, and have been for a while. The holdup would be the contract – both the length and the front-loaded structure. Burke has been among the most uppity outspoken when it comes to that kind of contract.

“These deals that are front-end loaded and have small amounts on the back end in my opinion are designed to circumvent the salary cap,” Burke said during the summer. “I won’t do them, I never have, I’m not going to.”

One last team I’ll throw out there (after which I’ll get ridiculed in the comments section) is Washington. No, not just because Nicklas Backstrom is out indefinitely with a concussion – that’s a short-term problem (hopefully). And yes, Carter’s a center – but he can play the wing.

Adding Carter would obviously give Washington another goal-scoring threat, which could subsequently take some of the opponent’s defensive focus off Alex Ovechkin. But it would also allow the Caps to let Alex Semin walk away on July 1, or even trade him prior to the deadline.

Therrien refutes report that Price is likely done for the season

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Contrary to a report by La Presse newspaper, Montreal head coach Michel Therrien says that Canadiens goalie Carey Price could still play again this season.

“We know what’s going on with Carey,” Therrien told reporters today. “It takes more time, obviously, than we were expecting. Like I said, he’s working extremely hard and he’s put in a lot of hours to make sure that he’s going to make that comeback. The fact that he’s working extremely hard is not to make sure that he’s going to look good this summer on the beach; he wants to come back and play for the Montreal Canadiens.”

That being said, Price does not appear close to a return. He’s yet to practice with teammates. He’s yet to even skate in goalie gear.

The Habs have 27 games left to get back into a playoff spot. They close out the regular season on April 9, less than two months from today.

Related: With Price possibly done for the season, Scrivens has Dubnyk-like opportunity

With trade deadline approaching, Canucks announce Edler out 6 weeks, Sutter 6-8 weeks

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The Vancouver Canucks announced today that they’ll be without defenseman Alex Edler (fractured fibula) for six weeks and center Brandon Sutter (broken jaw that required surgery) for six to eight weeks.

So basically those two are gone for the remainder of regular season, save for possibly a few games at the tail end of the schedule.

For a bubble team that doesn’t boast a ton of depth, the injuries are significant. Edler leads the Canucks in ice time, averaging almost 25 minutes per game. Sutter, arguably their best defensive center, already missed a big chunk of games earlier in the season following sports-hernia surgery.

But GM Jim Benning still isn’t giving up on the playoffs. Yesterday, he went on Vancouver radio and suggested the Canucks could actually be buyers at the trade deadline.

Benning only has a couple of weeks to decide what to do with pending unrestricted free agents defenseman Dan Hamhuis and winger Radim Vrbata. The trade deadline is Feb. 29.

The Canucks, currently just two points back of Nashville for the final wild-card spot, have a pair of winnable games coming up. They host Toronto Saturday and Minnesota Monday.

Related: Preds entering key (and tough) stretch before trade deadline

Jets activate Pavelec from IR, send Hellebuyck back to minors

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Winnipeg’s goalie of the future is off to continue his development in the AHL.

On Friday, the Jets activated veteran netminder Ondrej Pavelec from injured reserve and, in a subsequent move, sent rookie netminder Connor Hellebuyck back to their affiliate in Manitoba.

Hellebuyck, 22, arrived in Winnipeg with great fanfare, having starred for Team USA at the 2015 Worlds while being named an AHL All-Star as well.

This was his first-ever stint with the Jets, and it went OK — Hellebuyck posted an 13-11-1 record, .918 save percentage and 2.34 GAA — but he did struggle of late, getting hooked in two of his last three outings.

Now, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with Pavelec.

His numbers prior to getting hurt weren’t any better than Hellebuyck’s — .906 save percentage, 2.82 GAA — and there will be considerable rust to knock off, given he’s been out since late November with a knee issue.

There’s also the long-term implication.

Pavelec, a lightning rod for criticism over the last few seasons, has one year left on his five-year, $19.5 million extension, meaning he’ll be an unrestricted free agent in July of ’17.

It could be his last season in Winnipeg (assuming he’s not bought out of the final year of his deal), which makes one wonder what GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has in store.

It’s also worth noting there’s a third goalie in this equation: Michael Hutchinson, who’s a pending RFA.

Kuznetsov passed concussion test, expected to play Saturday

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov, from Russia, celebrates his goal during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, in Washington. The Capitals won 5-3. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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Feel free to breath a sigh of relief, Capitals fans — Evgeny Kuznetsov is okay.

“During the end of the third period, Evgeny underwent and passed all tests pertaining to the league’s concussion protocol evaluation,” the Caps said today in a statement. “We expect him to take the morning skate tomorrow and play against the Stars later that night.”

Kuznetsov left last night’s game versus the Wild in the third period after appearing to take the butt-end of Mikael Granlund’s stick to the face.

Kuznetsov leads the Caps with 54 points.