Tyler Seguin

Blockbuster: Boston sends Seguin, Peverley to Dallas for Eriksson, prospects

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Apparently those Tyler Seguin trade rumors at the NHL Entry Draft were more than just talk.

The Boston Bruins have sent Seguin, Rich Peverley and minor-leaguer Ryan Button to Dallas in exchange for Loui Eriksson, Joe Morrow (a key return from the Brenden Morrow trade), 2009 third-rounder Reilly Smith and 23-year-old winger Matt Fraser.

The biggest storyline is Boston moving Seguin, the former No. 2 overall pick and key acquisition from the highly-publicized Phil Kessel trade.

While the return for Seguin is significant, Boston trading away its leading scorer from two years ago is a major gamble.

Seguin, who turned 21 in January, has superstar-level talent. That said, Boston GM Peter Chiarelli recently expressed concern about Seguin’s maturity level and ability to grow as a player.

“He’s got to commit his mind and focus to the one task at hand,” Chiarelli said, per the Boston Globe. “He’s got to become more of a professional. You know what? I can say that about a lot of 21-year-olds. I know he got criticized for playing on the periphery and all that stuff. He did.

“He’s got to commit to being a professional and focusing on the game. Simple as that.”

This came after Seguin slogged through a disappointing playoff, scoring just one goal in 22 games while being reduced to third-line duty.

Peverley, meanwhile, had a tough 2013 campaign, scoring just 18 points in 47 games while boasting an ugly minus-9 rating. His ice time went down to 15:15 per night and he had just two points in 21 playoff games.

CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty confirmed Peverley waived his no-trade clause to join the Stars.

Peverley had been a solid contributor for Boston prior to the lockout-shortened season. He scored 12 points during the ’11 Cup run and averaged over 21 minutes per game in Boston’s first-round loss to Washington in 2011-12.

As for Dallas, this marks the first bold, signature move from general manager Jim Nill.

“Tyler is a dynamic player that will be a part of our core group for a long time to come,” Nill said in a statement.  “A player at his age, position and talent level are extremely difficult to acquire and we’re thrilled to bring him into our organization.”

While there is a history between Boston and Dallas from the Jaromir Jagr deal, that move was orchestrated by ex-Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk. Nill’s only other significant transaction thus far was acquiring defenseman Sergei Gonchar from Ottawa, then inking him to a two-year, $10 million deal.

It’s likely that Seguin’s and Peverley’s former Bruins teammate, Mark Recchi, had a role in this deal — he was hired as one of Dallas’ front-office advisors in mid-January.

In Eriksson, Boston gets an elite winger who shoots left, but can play both sides.

He scored at least 70 points in each of his last three full seasons (2009-12), made the 2011 NHL All-Star Game and scored 29 points in 48 games last year.

Eriksson, 27, has spent his entire seven-year career in Dallas and served as one of the Stars’ alternate captains. He has waived his no-trade clause to accept the move to Boston, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

Important to note Eriksson has three years remaining on his six-year, $25.5 million deal, and his average annual cap hit — $4.25 million — is significantly less than Seguin’s $5.75 million, which kicks in next season.

Regarding the other pieces Boston acquired:

— Morrow, 20, was Pittsburgh’s first-round pick (23rd overall) at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. He split last season between AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Texas, and tied for the Stars’ team goalscoring lead in the playoffs.

— Smith, 22, scored nine points in 37 games for Dallas last year, and 35 points in 45 games for AHL Texas.

— Fraser appeared in 12 games for Dallas last year, but did finish second in the AHL in goals last year, with 33.

Kucherov continues to be clutch for the Bolts this postseason

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 03:  Nikita Kucherov #86 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates against the New York Islanders in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Barclays Center on May 03, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Lightning defeated the Islanders 5-4 in overtime.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) The bigger the playoff moment, the more Nikita Kucherov shines.

The young Russian has a knack for scoring when Tampa Bay needs it most, which is one of the reasons the Lightning are within one victory of reaching the Stanley Cup final for the second straight year.

Kucherov has found the back of the net a NHL-leading 11 times in 15 games this postseason, seven of them in situations in which he’s either tied the score or given his team a lead.

The 22-year-old’s latest addition to his impressive playoff resume he began compiling last year was a late goal Sunday to force overtime against Pittsburgh in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals. He also notched an assist on Tyler Johnson‘s winner less than a minute into the extra period.

The 4-3 victory on the road gave Tampa Bay a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 6 in Tuesday night at Amalie Arena.

“When you’re a rising star in this league, as he is … every team’s got one of those guys at some point,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “It just seems the bigger the moment, the bigger they rise to the occasion. He is proving that last year wasn’t a fluke. He’s just a gifted, skilled, determined player. He’s really a pleasure to coach.”

Kucherov had 10 goals in 26 playoff games a year ago, including a pair of overtime winners that helped the Lightning to the Stanley Cup final, where they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games. One more victory and Tampa Bay will become the first team to make consecutive trips to the championship round since the Penguins and Detroit Red Wings did it in 2008 and 2009.

“He keeps climbing the ladder, and he keeps getting better. But what has really been remarkable for me this year in watching him is the timeliness of his game. He’s not scoring one goal in a 6-1 loss or the sixth goal in a 6-1 win,” Cooper said Monday.

“He’s getting the game-tier, game-winner; sets up the biggest of the biggest goals, and that says a little bit about the type of player you are,” the coach added. “When you need him, he’s the one ultimately, more often than not, that’s there for you. I think that’s the one thing that’s remarkable about him.”

Pittsburgh has gone from a 2-1 series lead to facing elimination for the first time this postseason after losing consecutively for the first time since January.

Coach Mike Sullivan said he won’t make a decision on a starting goaltender for Game 6 until Tuesday morning. Marc-Andre Fleury made his first start in nearly two months in Game 5, and was unable to protect leads of 2-0 and 3-2.

Rookie Matt Murray started the first four games of this series and is 9-4 with a 2.33 goals-against-average and .923 save percentage.

“I thought Marc made some big saves for us, especially early in the game,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said, adding it was difficult to gauge how much the long layoff impacted Fleury’s performance.

“It’s a tough circumstance. We believe in the guys we have. We think we have quality people, but it’s an imperfect situation,” Sullivan said before the team flew south to Florida on Monday. “All things considered, we’re trying to make the best decisions we can.”

The Penguins are confident than can rebound Tuesday night and take the series back home for a seventh game.

“I believe in my team. I believe in myself, and we can come back to Pittsburgh for sure,” Penguins star Evgeni Malkin said.

“Every game you shake off, win or lose,” Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz said.

“This group has done a terrific job all year of just staying in the moment and not dwelling on the past, not getting ahead of itself, and just trying to focus on that one game in hand,” Sullivan said, “and that’s what we’re going to have to do.”

Tampa Bay plans to approach it the same way.

The Lightning beat the New York Rangers on the road to take a 3-2 lead in last year’s conference finals. They returned home and were trounced 7-3 in Game 6.

“You can’t sit here and dictate or guarantee what the result’s going to be, but our mindset going into the game has got to be a heck of a lot different,” Cooper said. “And our group is well aware of that.”

 

PHT Morning Skate: Nobody is better at predicting the Stanley Cup playoffs than actor Will Arnett

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–Will Arnett knows a thing or two about making good Stanley Cup predictions. (Top)

–Some concept jerseys for the Las Vegas Aces. (BarDown)

–Sharks center Joe Thornton really is a nice guy. (ESPN)

–Watch the highlights from last night’s game between the Sharks and Blues:

–The IIHF’s updated world rankings. (IIHF.com)

Marc-Edouard Vlasic has done a good job against Vladimir Tarasenko.

–Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine put together some solid performances at the worlds. (NHL.com)

Datsyuk ‘wants to make sure the Wings have options,’ says his agent

TAMPA, FL - APRIL 21:  Pavel Datsyuk #13 of the Detroit Red Wings checks his stick before a face-off against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period in Game Five of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on April 21, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
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Pavel Datsyuk‘s future with the Detroit Red Wings and in the National Hockey League has been up in the air for a while now, as he’s linked to rumors of a return to Russia and the KHL.

His agent, Dan Milstein, recently explained to the Detroit Free Press that Datsyuk’s future should become clear in mid-June after meeting with Red Wings general manager Ken Holland.

As per General Fanager, Datsyuk has one more year left on his current deal, which comes with a cap hit of $7.5 million.

From the Detroit Free Press:

“He would like to leave, but at the same time, he wants to make sure the Wings have options,” Milstein said. “He wants to help the team any way he can with the salary cap issue.”

Wings general manager Ken Holland has said there are no loopholes. Because Datsyuk signed his last contract after he turned 35, his $7.5 million salary cap hit remains in tact even if Datsyuk departs. The Wings’ only option is to trade his contract to a team such as Arizona or Carolina that could use the hefty cap hit in order to be above the salary cap minimum.

At the age of 37, his career in the league started in 2001-02, and has spanned 953 regular season games in which he’s accrued 918 points.

He’s had a highly decorated career, with two Stanley Cup championships with the Red Wings, three Selke and four Lady Byng trophies.

Allen or Elliott? Another goalie decision looms for Hitchcock

ST LOUIS, MO - MAY 23:  Jake Allen #34 of the St. Louis Blues tends goal against Nick Spaling #16 of the San Jose Sharks during the third period in Game Five of the Western Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center on May 23, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The St. Louis Blues need to win Game 6 on Wednesday, or their season is over. Who they decide to turn to in net is likely to be a talking point — heated debate, maybe? — leading up to that contest.

Do they go back to Jake Allen for a third consecutive start, despite the fact he allowed four goals on 25 shots in Monday’s Game 5 loss to the San Jose Sharks? Or, will head coach Ken Hitchcock turn once again to Brian Elliott, who started every single game from the series opener of the first round versus Chicago to Game 3 of the Western Conference Final.

Hitchcock at least felt that going with Allen over Elliott in Game 4 provided the necessary spark for his team, as the Blues evened the series.

But on Monday, the Sharks, on the strength of two Joe Pavelski goals, eventually overpowered the Blues for the win, moving San Jose one victory away from the Stanley Cup Final.

“I thought he was fine. I don’t know, those are decisions we make in a day or so. But I thought he was fine today. He stopped some point-blank shots, especially early, three times early,” Hitchcock told reporters.

“I don’t know. That’s stuff we’ll talk about tomorrow.”