ALBANY — Brian Lashoff had one of the more up-and-down seasons a young player can have. When the lockout ended there wasn’t much expectation he’d see time in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings.
While he was doing his part to hone his game in Grand Rapids of the AHL during the work stoppage, the call came early on in the NHL season when injuries hit in Detroit. In just the second game of the season, Lashoff was making his NHL debut against Columbus and scoring his first career goal.
After 31 games with Detroit, he closed his year out winning a Calder Cup with the Griffins. With a roller coaster season like that, Lashoff says the experience was huge for him and the rest of the young guys (Gustav Nyqvist, Tomas Tatar, Joakim Andersson, Danny DeKeyser) who split time between the two leagues.
“We went through a lot of adversity in the playoffs in Grand Rapids,” he said. “Whether it was a tornado in the middle of the Oklahoma City series or dropping a game or two, we always found a way to come back and it was good. It was fun to watch and be a part of. I think it’s going to be fun more than anything to go into next season with these guys.”
The only subtraction from last year’s defensive group is Carlo Colaiacovo due to a buyout and Lashoff knows competition to get a top-six spot will be tough. With seven guys going for it in a mostly young group, he’s got all the motivation he needs.
“I think you bring those guys in and it’s been really nice to be able to have that kind of confidence to go into training camp just the same way I’ve gone into training camp since I was 18. I’ve got something to prove and it doesn’t matter if I’m 18 or 23.
“I’ve got something to prove and I’ve got to go in with a chip on my shoulder and make that top six and that’s my only priority right now.”
Lehner (forearm contusion) to miss preseason game versus Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs play the Buffalo Sabres on Friday. But No. 1 overall pick Auston Matthews won’t be in the lineup, according to multiple reports.
“Sooner or later, he’s going to get in, but not tonight,” said assistant coach Jim Hiller, as per the Toronto Sun.
“The lineups are day by day. They (World Cup players such as Matthews, Milan Michalek, Leo Komarov and James van Riemsdyk) went through a solid three weeks. It’s a little break, a little down time. There are tons of games coming. They’ll get a lot of ice time. They’ll get in shortly.”
(The report also notes that Matthews is not dealing with a health issue, which is obviously good news for the Leafs.)
Matthews played for Team North America at the World Cup held in Toronto. He had two goals and three points in three round robin games, but the young North American team was unable to advance to the semifinal round.
The Maple Leafs play the Montreal Canadiens at home on Sunday.
McLellan: Maroon’s lower-body injury not considered serious
It appears Patrick Maroon‘s injury from Wednesday’s preseason game against the Vancouver Canucks looked worse than it is.
The Edmonton Oilers forward was in obvious pain immediately after he went hard into the boards from an awkward hit delivered by James Sheppard just past the midway point of the third period. Maroon needed help to the bench and was unable to put much, if any, pressure on his left leg.
Anticipation has been building since the Winnipeg Jets officially took Patrik Laine with the second overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft.
On Friday, Laine, the highly coveted Finnish forward, will make his preseason debut for the Jets when they play the Edmonton Oilers in Winnipeg, as the home fans get the chance to take in the occasion.
The Jets have done a nice job of amassing good young forwards in their organization. Laine, who has the gifts to be a prolific scorer in the NHL, is at the top of that prospect list.
Laine enters this season with high expectations placed on him from fans and media, after coming to the NHL following a standout career in Finland as a teenager. He’s aware of the expectations, but toned down the hype with the usual statements of just playing his game.
“Just be brave on the ice and show everybody I will earn my spot on the team,” he told reporters.
Laine has already seen game action this month. Not with the Jets, but with Finland’s entry at the World Cup of Hockey.
Following offseason knee surgery, Laine wasn’t happy with his performance in Finland’s first pre-tournament game. In three tournament games, Laine failed to register a point, despite a team-best 10 shots on goal, as Finland was quickly eliminated in the round robin.