PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
The San Jose Sharks are having a “fast and furious” campaign filled with extreme highs and lows, so analyzing the first half of the season is a difficult task. Still, Kevin Kurz did just that by taking a step back and going over what’s worked and hasn’t for the Sharks. (CSN Bay Area)
The Chicago Blackhawks have waived 33-year-old defenseman Steve Montador. Assuming no team claims his $2.75 million annual cap hit, the expectation is that he’ll report to the AHL and work on his conditioning as he attempts to return from a concussion. (Chicago Tribune)
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson will turn 25 on March 21. Will the 2006 first overall draft pick ever live up to his potential? (Denver Post)
A look at the rise of shot blocking. (New York Newsday)
What are the chances that the Edmonton Oilers will trade 23-year-old forward Sam Gagner? He’s scheduled to become a restricted free agent this summer and get a sizable raise if he keeps up his nearly point-per-game pace. (Edmonton Journal)
Will the Philadelphia Flyers end up regretting the trade of goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky? (Philadelphia Inquirer)
With the exception of their losses to the Islanders and Rangers over the weekend, the Washington Capitals have effectively stopped the bleeding after a horrendous start to the season. All the same, they have a ton of work ahead of them if they want to claw their way back into the playoff picture. (Washington Post)
Shawn Matthias recently vented his frustrations about the Florida Panthers’ struggles, and that’s understandable considering he’s been one of the few bright spots for the team lately. (Sun Sentinel)
The Ryan Nugent-Hopkins trade speculation may have died down since it peaked at the draft in late June, but it’s not entirely dead.
The 23-year-old former first overall draft pick was asked to address the ongoing rumors Monday at an Oilers charity golf tournament.
“I try not to pay attention too much,” Nugent-Hopkins said, per the Edmonton Journal. “If it happens, it happens. I know it’s definitely a different group than the one we finished with last season.”
Indeed it is. Most notably, Taylor Hall is in New Jersey now, traded for defenseman Adam Larsson. The Oilers also signed Milan Lucic and drafted Jesse Puljujarvi.
What’s still lacking is an offensive defenseman who can run the power play, which is why the names Tyson Barrie (Avalanche) and Matt Dumba (Wild) have been floated as potential targets.
The Wild in particular could use a good, young center like Nugent-Hopkins, and the expansion draft is looming for a Minnesota club that already has defensemen Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon, Jonas Brodin, and Marco Scandella locked up in long-term contracts.
Barrie, meanwhile, has an arbitration hearing scheduled for Friday.
Blues d-man Kevin Shattenkirk is another name that’s come up; however, he can become an unrestricted free agent after next season, and whether he’d re-sign in Edmonton is in doubt.
Chalk up another arbitration hearing that won’t be required. This time it’s Brandon Manning‘s. The 26-year-old defenseman has agreed on a two-year, $1.95 million deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, according to CSN Philly.
Manning’s hearing was scheduled for next Tuesday. He was the last restricted free agent on the Flyers, after Brayden Schenn re-signed Monday.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was the first to report the Manning signing.
Manning played 56 games for the Flyers in 2015-16, his first full season in the NHL. He had one goal and six assists while logging an average ice time of 16:32.
The Chicago Blackhawks are reportedly parting ways with defenseman David Rundblad. The two sides have agreed to a contract termination, according to Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Rundblad, 25, was set to earn $1.1 million this season, per General Fanager. His cap hit was $1.05 million, meaning the ‘Hawks will gain $100,000 in cap space by not having to bury his contract in the AHL next season.
Rundblad was unlikely to make the Blackhawks in 2016-17 — not after the additions of Brian Campbell and Michal Kempny, and also the re-signing of Michal Rozsival.
It remains to be seen where Rundblad will end up. One possibility is back in Switzerland, where he spent part of last season before dressing three times for the ‘Hawks in the playoffs.
Darryl Sydor, after being let go by the Minnesota Wild, has joined the Chicago Wolves as an assistant coach.
The St. Louis Blues, the parent club of the AHL Wolves, made the announcement Monday. It was also announced that former NHLer Daniel Tkaczuk would join Sydor as an assistant on new head coach Craig Berube’s staff.
Sydor, who won two Stanley Cups as a defenseman, spent five years as an assistant on Mike Yeo’s staff in Minnesota. His time with the Wild was marred by an arrest in 2015 for drunk driving. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail and sought treatment.
“I know now that alcoholism is a disease and I’m powerless over alcohol,” he told Kamloops This Week in January. “I can never have a drink again and I’m fine with that.”