Jonas Hiller

Jonas Hiller is the NHL’s First Star of the Week


After posting a 3-0-1 record with a 0.98 GAA and .961 save percentage and strengthening Anaheim’s once-dead playoff chances, Jonas Hiller has been named the NHL’s first star of the week.

The Ducks goalie was stellar in helping his team earn seven of a possible eight points — all of them on the road. Hiller stopped 17 of 18 shots in a 2-1 win over Minnesota, 25 of 26 in a 2-1 win over Pittsburgh, 25 of 27 in a 3-2 shootout loss to New Jersey and finished with a 31-save shutout against Florida on Sunday.

“I think everybody has been playing pretty well lately, which makes life easier for me too,” Hiller told the OC Register after shutting out the Panthers. “I know the guys are playing tight on their guys. I can focus on stopping the puck. I don’t have to worry about backdoor plays and stuff like that.”

Second star went to Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler. The 25-year-old Minnesota native has quietly put together a career year (11G, 35A, 46PTS) for the Jets and was huge last week as his team pulled even with Toronto for eighth in the Eastern Conference. Wheeler had a league-best eight points (1G, 7A) including a four-assist effort in Sunday’s 5-1 win over Colorado. Wheeler now leads Winnipeg in scoring and sits ahead of some prominent names on the league leaderboard, including Alex Ovechkin.

Third star went to Ottawa’s Jason Spezza. Earning a weekly star honor is becoming old hat for the Sens’ leading scorer — Spezza was named second star on Oct. 24 and first star on Dec. 19 — as he continues on his outstanding campaign. The nine-year veteran scored seven points (3G, 4A) in two games and now has 63 points on the year, good enough for sixth in the NHL.

Leafs prospects Nylander and Kapanen heading to AHL

William Nylander
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The Toronto Maple Leafs trimmed their training camp roster by 16 players on Sunday.

Two of the Leafs’ top prospects, William Nylander and Kasperi Kapanen, are heading to the the Toronto Marlies of the AHL.

For the full list of cuts, click here.

Nylander was Toronto’s first round pick, eighth overall, in 2014.

The 19-year-old scored an impressive 14 goals and 32 points in 37 games with the Marlies in 2014-15.

Kapenen, 19, was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Phil Kessel trade.

He had one goal and one assist in a brief four game stint with Pittsburgh’s farm team last season.

The rebuilding Maple Leafs have no issue being patient with their top young prospects. Both players could make their NHL debut at some point this season, but they may have to wait a little while longer before they become regulars at the next level.

The Leafs now have 24 players on their training camp roster. They have until Tuesday to put the finishing touches on their lineup. Toronto needs to cut at least one more player.

Torres suspended pending hearing

Raffi Torres, Cory Schneider
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According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Raffi Torres has been suspended pending his disciplinary hearing with the league for his hit on Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Torres was assessed a match penalty for targeting Silfverberg’s head on Saturday night.

The 33-year-old missed all of last season with a knee injury, and it looks like the start of his regular season will be delayed once again.

Head coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have come back into the game, but he was held out for precautionary reasons.

Ducks center Ryan Kesler didn’t hide his feelings after the contest.

“(Torres) is the same player every year,” Kesler told reporters. “He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”