On the heels of Sean Couturier’s cheap contract extension, Philadelphia Flyers fans might wonder: who’s next?
The Philadelphia Inquirer targets two other young, promising players with one year left on their current contracts: Brayden Schenn and Matt Read.
Read, 27, could become an unrestricted free agent if the Flyers don’t sign him to a contract extension. This coming season will be his third in the NHL, but he’s made the most of his time so far, scoring 35 goals and 71 points in 121 games.
He averaged a shade more than 18 minutes per game in 2013, so his agent could argue he’s worth quite a bit. Then again, the Flyers might be wise to seek a “prove it” season since he’s managed an impressive – but perhaps unsustainable – 15.4 percent shooting efficiency so far.
Schenn is one of those players who has generated hype for long enough that it’s surprising he’s only 21. He generated a career-high 26 points in 47 games in 2013 after managing 18 in 54 during his first campaign with Philly in 2011-12.
Unlike Bemidji State University product/undrafted free agent Read, Schenn shares Couturier’s distinction of being a high draft pick. That hype might give Schenn a little boost at the negotiating table.
With Read’s potential unrestricted status and the looming possibility of a breakthrough for Schenn, one can see why the Flyers might want to follow in the footsteps of the Couturier extension by snatching those two up sooner rather than later.
Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”
Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).
Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.
Read more about his rise here.
In his fifth NHL game, intriguing Washington Capitals prospect Jakub Vrana scored his first NHL goal (and point).
Let’s be honest, though; Evgeny Kuznetsov deserves plenty of the credit, as he sent a fantastic pass for Vrana’s tap-in tally.
See it for yourself:
Even if that was mostly Kuznetsov, Vrana has been getting his chances so far.
He generated four shots on goal in two separate occasions so far in his four games of NHL action, so maybe he was due for a chance like this.
Considering he’s just 20 years old, the Capitals could get used to Kuznetsov to Vrana.
Update: The Capitals won 4-1, and Vrana’s first goal wasn’t the only noteworthy “first.” After piling on shots, John Carlson finally scored his first goal of the season:
No one’s going to confuse Dmitry Kulikov with Jack Eichel, but the Buffalo Sabres are likely happy to have him back after a long absence, too.
The Sabres have been on an upward trend lately (5-2-2 in their last nine games), and now they get a key defenseman back against the Washington Capitals on Friday night.
Kulikov last played on Nov. 9 and hasn’t recorded a point in 12 games, making for a tough start to his stint with the Sabres. Maybe he’ll begin to get a little more traction with his new team tonight?
He’s far from the only returning Buffalo player, either, as Josh Gorges and Nicolas Deslauriers are also back in the mix. Kulikov is slated to be on the Sabres’ second pairing with Cody Franson.
Buffalo sent Brendan Guhle to the AHL to make room for these tweaks.
The Columbus Blue Jackets will be without captain Nick Foligno because of an illness on Friday, opening up an opportunity for interesting prospect Oliver Bjorkstrand.
The team tweeted out his linemates as Matt Calvert and Lukas Sedlak as a solid fourth line facing the Detroit Red Wings.
He failed to generate much (zero points, two shots on goal) in three games so far with Columbus this season, receiving about 25 minutes of ice time over that span.
With eight goals and 12 points in 19 AHL games so far in 2016-17, there’s the thought that he could eventually make the next step to becoming a decent contributor for the Blue Jackets.
Perhaps this will constitute his first real step in that direction?
Apparently this is a pretty abrupt situation for the 21-year-old: