Justin Schultz,  Zach Budish

Reports: Ducks might file tampering charge regarding Justin Schultz


It’s not often that a team fails to sign a prospect at Justin Schultz’s level,* but all indications are that the Anaheim Ducks won’t ink him in the 30-day exclusive negotiating window they’ve been granted. Then again, if you believe a rather interesting rumor floated by Michael Russo (via Chuck Schwartz), the Ducks might not have been the only NHL team whispering in Schultz’s ear.

The ins and outs of the actual negotiation process get a little fuzzy as you dig deeper, but there are two essential points to note that may or may not be interrelated.

1. Russo reports that the Ducks might go after a “team that already has gotten to Schultz” by filing a tampering charge. (By tampering, they’d mean negotiating with Schultz before it was “legal” to do so.)

2. Russo “guesses” that Schultz has “already made up his mind” to join the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Russo grounds that second guess in a variety of reasons including the fact that Schultz was once teammates with Jake Gardiner and both blueliners were drafted by former Ducks GM and current Leafs GM Brian Burke.

One might connect the dots that the Ducks will accuse the Maple Leafs of tampering, yet that’s not a guarantee, especially in a situation that’s more than a little cloudy.

Why you should care

The situation is worth watching because Schultz has emerged as a hot prospect. As detailed in this post, Bob McKenzie pegs him as the best potential unrestricted free agent behind Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Former general manager Craig Button even compared him to Drew Doughty.


With the 30-day window of negotiation just beginning, it’ll be a while before any of these things can happen. Who knows; the Ducks might even find a way to convince him to sign an entry-level contract. Either way, the 2012 WCHA defenseman of the year might make almost as big an impact off the ice as he could on it if tampering charges and other controversies come to pass.

* – I’m not sure that Blake Wheeler is in the same class as Schultz from a “ceiling” standpoint, but this reminds me a bit of his refusal to sign with the Phoenix Coyotes.

Video: Evgeni Malkin leaves Oilers spinning

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Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.

It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.

His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:

These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”

Lightning’s first fight this season: Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo

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Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.

Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.

It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.

Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.

Oilers GM doesn’t want to force a trade for the sake of a trade

Peter Chiarelli

It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.

Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.

You can see and hear his full comments below:

If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.

Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.

Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.

Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.

Slump busters: Simmonds, Couturier end long scoring droughts in win over Rangers


It’s been a good few days to be a fan of the Philadelphia Flyers, as their team delivered not once, but twice during Thanksgiving weekend.

The Flyers picked up a 3-2 OT win over the Predators on Friday before shutting out the New York Rangers, 3-0, on Saturday.

It was a good afternoon for three players in particular.

Both Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier ended long scoring slumps.

Simmonds’ two goals were his first in seven games, while Couturier scored for the first time in his last 13 contests.

Goaltender Steve Mason also had a solid outing against the Rangers.

The 27-year-old turned aside all 24 shots he faced including this great save on Dominic Moore:

The Flyers lost defenseman Nick Schultz to an upper-body injury in the first period after he took a big hit from Dylan McIlrath.

Luke Schenn defended his fallen teammate by dropping the gloves with McIlrath, which didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates.

The Rangers are now on a season-high three-game losing streak. Their lack of effort has to be concerning for their head coach Alain Vigneault.

The Flyers outshot the Rangers 30-14 over the final 40 minutes.