With Marian Hossa out of the Chicago Blackhawks’ lineup with an upper-body injury, Patrick Kane saw more ice time, getting double-shifted Wednesday against the Anaheim Ducks.
It was a battle between the Western Conference-leading Blackhawks and the Anaheim Ducks, second in the conference but with only three regulation losses all season.
At the end, the Ducks were on the winning side of a 4-2 hockey game, thanks three-goal explosion in the final six minutes of the third period.
The best players needed to be the best players, and Kane didn’t feel he played his way into that category Wednesday.
“I was fine,” Kane told NHL.com, speaking about how he felt with the increase in ice time.
“It will be nice to get a little break here for me and hopefully we can get some injuries resolved and come back with a better game next game. But I could have done better tonight and obviously I wasn’t good enough, and [that’s] the reason we lost the game.”
A look at the standings shows the top two teams in the Western Conference are even closer after tonight.
The Blackhawks, thanks to that historical start to the season, are still tops in the West with a 24-3-3 record and 51 points.
The Ducks entered the game five points back of Chicago. They’ll wake up Thursday only three back, and with a record of 22-3-4, and a game in hand.
Trevor Moore, an undrafted junior out of the University of Denver, has opted to bypass his senior campaign by signing a three-year, entry-level deal with the Leafs, the club announced on Tuesday.
Here’s what Moore, 21, has accomplished over the last three years:
[Moore] skated in 40 games with the University of Denver (NCHC) this past season, collecting 44 points (11 goals, 33 assists) and eight penalty minutes. He finished tied for sixth in the conference scoring race with 35 points (nine goals, 26 assists) in 31 games.
In 121 career games at Denver, the Thousand Oaks, California native registered 120 points (47 goals, 73 assists). Moore was named to the NCHC First All-Star Team and was the conference’s forward of the year during the 2014-15 season. In 2013-14, Moore was named to the NCHC All-Rookie Team.
Moore scored his ELC after performing well at Toronto’s prospects camp earlier this month, and looks to be on his way to the Marlies for next season.
If you’re wondering why Moore was passed over at the draft, do consider the Pioneers website lists him — perhaps generously — at 5-foot-9, 175 pounds.
Of course, Toronto does have a similarly diminutive player right near the top of the organizational prospect pool in Mitch Marner, currently listed at 5-foot-11, 160 pounds. It’s probably worth noting that Moore and Marner skated together at prospects camp.
Nashville has retained the services of depth defenseman Petter Granberg, inking him to a two-year, two-way, $1.225 million extension ahead of his Aug. 3 arbitration hearing, per CBC.
The contract will pay $575,000 at the NHL level in year one, and $650,000 in year two.
Claimed off waivers from Toronto in November, Granberg appeared in 27 games for the Preds last season, scoring two points while racking up 13 PIM.
He was a healthy scratch for all of Nashville’s playoff run.
Looking ahead, Granberg could be in line for a bigger role with the Preds next season. He only turns 24 in August, and the team did buy out the remainder of veteran Barret Jackman’s contract in late June.
That should open up some minutes on the back end, though Granberg will likely compete with free agent signings Yannick Weber and Matt Irwin for those depth spots.
There’s nothing too flashy about Danny DeKeyser‘s game.
“Basically,” he told reporters today, “my game, I just try to move the puck well, play solid defensively, chip in some points or goals here or there when I can, and just try to be a good team player and do things that help the team win.”
For that, the Red Wings gave the steady defenseman a six-year, $30 million contract, avoiding an arbitration hearing in the process. Yes, it’s a significant amount of money for a d-man that doesn’t contribute a ton of offense, but as we’ve already seen this offseason, players like DeKeyser have significant value. The Edmonton Oilers gave up Taylor Hall to get one.
Re-signing DeKeyser is not expected to stop GM Ken Holland from trying to add to his blue line. The Wings have a surplus of forwards, and Holland has said he’d “love to get a top-three defenseman” prior to the start of next season.
If Holland can’t swing a deal, Detroit’s pairings could look something like this:
DeKeyser — Mike Green
Jonathan Ericsson — Niklas Kronwall
Brendan Smith — Alexey Marchenko
It’s not a particularly young group. Kronwall is 35, Ericsson is 32, and Green is 30. The Red Wings chose not to re-sign veteran Kyle Quincey, and so far he has not been replaced. In June, they drafted a defenseman in the first round, but Dennis Cholowski is a ways away from playing in the NHL; he’s off St. Cloud State in the fall. There are a few other young blue-liners in the system, like Joe Hicketts, Ryan Sproul and Robbie Russo, but they all still have some developing to do.
At the very least, Holland now has some cost certainty with DeKeyser. The next step will be getting Petr Mrazek‘s deal done, possibly with the aid of tomorrow’s arbitration hearing. After that, it’ll be working to get that defenseman he covets.
Related: Blues GM says he might just keep Kevin Shattenkirk
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.