David Moss, Ben Bishop, Alex Pietrangelo

Halak’s illness could provide audition for Bishop

Remember all that talk about the St. Louis Blues possibly trading big Ben Bishop? He might just get a chance to increase his trade value soon. Jeremy Rutherford reports that Jaroslav Halak is fighting off a flu, which might prompt the Blues to recall Bishop.

Halak was primed to start for St. Louis tomorrow, but Brian Elliott will get the nod instead. Ken Hitchcock says that the decision regarding Bishop won’t be made until Halak’s status is clear.

“We’ll just see how Jaro feels later on,” Hitchcock said. “We’ll look at bringing Ben in if Jaro doesn’t feel good tonight.”

Chances for Elliott and Bishop

This ultimately might be more of a chance for Elliott to get a better share of the starts in the Blues’ rotation, but if the Minnesota Wild manage to bludgeon the All-Star, it might open the door for Bishop’s first appearance of the season.

Going further, if Halak’s flu-like symptoms don’t subside, the Blues might be wise to give the over-sized netminder a start.

Bumping up Bishop’s value

With Halak and Elliott established as the clear duo for the near future, Bishop would be stuck in the minors (where he’s putting up dazzling numbers). While it’s great to have that kind of organizational depth, it’s reasonable to picture Bishop being part of a package that nets St. Louis that one extra piece that pushes its profile to an undeniably elite level. Moving him is likely to be the best way to get the most value out of the situation.

Then again, Halak could load up on Emergen-C and be good enough to back up Elliott tomorrow, making this all moot.

It brings us back to a familiar refrain ever since Hitchcock came into the fold: the Blues’ options in net rank as a great “problem” to have.

Ducks name Kesler alternate captain

Ryan Kesler
Leave a comment

For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”

On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.

With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.

“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”

As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.

It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.

Diaz could leave Rangers for Europe

Raphael Diaz, Mike Sislo
Leave a comment

Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?

We’ll know in a month.

Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:

The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.

The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.

If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.

Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”

And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.

While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.