Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray speaks to reporters about trading forward Alex Kovalev to the Pittsburgh Penguins at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011. In return, the Senators receive a conditional seventh-round pick in this summer’s draft. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)
The San Jose Sharks are confident that forward Matt Nieto will be available for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in Pittsburgh on Monday night. Whether he actually plays or not is a different story.
The 23-year-old suffered an upper-body injury in Game 6 of San Jose’s second round series against Nashville and he hasn’t suited up since.
Nieto might not be one of the biggest names on the Sharks roster, but he’s definitely a useful piece of the puzzle.
“He brings speed,” head coach Peter DeBoer said, per NHL.com. “He’s one of our faster forwards. He’s another guy that gives us a little bit of a different dimension and a little bit of a different element.
“I’ll know more by Monday, but I’d anticipate that he’d be available.”
Nieto practiced with his teammates on Saturday, but he didn’t skate on any of the Sharks’ top four lines. It doesn’t look like DeBoer will make changes from the team that beat St. Louis in Game 6 of the conference final, but a lot can change between now and the start of Game 1.
Nieto has one goal and three points in 11 postseason games in 2016.
Alex Chiasson has been in Ottawa for each of the last two seasons, but he’s fallen way short of expectations.
Chiasson was a key piece of the trade that saw Jason Spezza head to Dallas in 2014. The Sens received two prospects, a draft pick and Chiasson in the deal. During his two years in Ottawa, he’s scored 19 goals and 40 points in 153 games. It simply hasn’t worked out the way either side had hoped.
Now, it sounds like his camp is expecting him to be moved before the start of next season.
“I think that’s a potential scenario, but I don’t know if you ever really know if anything materializes until it happens,” agent Kent Hughes said, per The Hockey News. “But yeah, (a trade) wouldn’t surprise me.”
Chiasson may have struggled in the last two years, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see multiple teams inquire about him. He’s still just 25-years-old, he has size (6’4, 205 pounds), and he’s set to become a restricted free agent on July 1st. Whatever contract he signs will likely be pretty affordable.
“I think at the end of the day, for a lack of a better term, it’s the lack of a successful marriage, I guess,” added Hughes. “You get to a point where you either decide you’re going to say to an organization, ‘move on’ or you’re going to continue to try, but as you continue to do that, your asset continues to diminish in value.”
Just about any contending hockey nation will force some “snubs” heading into the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. Snubs feel especially inevitable for Canada, though.
P.K. Subban has taken some confidence hits, relative to his abilities, when it comes to international play. Maybe that explains why he essentially shrugged off not making the team, as Sportsnet notes.
“I mean, everybody wants to make the team, right? And there’s a bunch of guys that I’m sure wanted to be on the team. But that’s the way it goes,” Subban said. “Listen, at the end of the day, we could take four or five teams to this thing. When I was speaking to [Team Canada GM] Doug Armstrong, my number one thing was I just want to see Canada win gold. So, I’ll be there cheering just like everybody else.”
Let’s face it, it’s probably pretty easy for Subban.
He’s super-rich, generally beloved and has a gold medal to his name. That probably makes it easier to shake off a snub.
That said, he also brings up a fun idea. If the Team North America idea runs out of steam, wouldn’t it be fun to watch Canada A vs. Canada B, or something of that nature?
Hey, if you’re bored, feel free to fantasy draft a second Canadian team for such a scenario. Or, you know, each a sandwich instead.
In other Subban news, he had fun with the Toronto Blue Jays:
Erlendsson points to these comments made by Lightning GM Steve Yzerman, with the last sentence likely being most pertinent:
“I think we’re in a fantastic position,” Yzerman said. “We have two outstanding goaltenders, based on what we’ve seen from Andrei both last year and this year and in particular, him coming in in the Pittsburgh series, I think we have a brilliant young goaltender and a proven, I don’t even want to call Bish a veteran because he’s still relatively young in terms of years played and games played, but we’ve got two outstanding goaltenders. I know that at some point, when that is, we may for expansion or cap reasons, have to make a decision.”
Yes, at some point Yzerman would be forced to make a decision. Assuming an extension doesn’t come early, both Bishop’s $5.95 million cap hit and Vasilevskiy’s rookie deal ($925K cap hit) will expire after 2016-17.
One would think that this would be the fork in the road moment … but what if Yzerman decides to be proactive and trade Bishop now?
Still, this is expected to be an expensive offseason, whether it’s literal (locking all or more of those big pieces) or more figurative (possibly losing franchise player Stamkos). As great as Bishop has been, his near-$6 million could go toward locking down those pieces, especially if management already expects Vasilevskiy to be The Guy.
Granted, the Lightning have seen firsthand how crucial it can be to have two starting-quality goalies (at least for however long you can hold onto them).
Quite a conundrum, right?
If nothing else, it’s a point to consider, even while acknowledging Bishop’s strong work.
More on the Lightning off-season
Steven Stamkos on the situation
The Bolts want to bring back Jonathan Drouin