Emerson Etem

Ducks look to young forwards for secondary scoring

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We already touched on the high expectations that will be placed on Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf due to their new, big contracts, but even if they both have superb seasons, Anaheim is going to still need some secondary scoring if they want to get very far. That’s especially true when the playoffs start and the importance of depth increases.

Anaheim traded away Bobby Ryan and it remains to be seen if Teemu Selanne will return for another campaign. As things currently stand, the Ducks are hoping that some of their young forwards will help fill that the void. Fortunately they have some very promising players in that regard and we’re going to take a look at some of the ones that could make a difference in 2013-14.

Jakob Silfverberg — Acquired from the Ottawa Senators when they traded Ryan, Silfverberg might find himself starting the season on a line with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Silfverberg, 22, was a dominant scorer in the Swedish Elite League and earned comparisons to Alfredsson. After getting a taste of the NHL during the 2012 playoffs, he made a full transition to North American hockey in 2012-13. With the NHL locked out, he started the campaign in the minors and recorded 13 goals and 29 points in 34 games before the players and owners could agree to a new CBA. He played in all 48 of the Senators’ regular season contests, scoring 10 goals and 19 points.

Emerson Etem — Etem destroyed the competition in the WHL with 61 goals and 107 points in 65 games in 2011-12. After that, he made his pro debut last season, but averaged just 11:28 minutes per game with Anaheim. Consequently, he was limited to three goals and 10 points in 39 contests. He didn’t get much more ice time in the playoffs, but he did make his presence known with three goals, two assists, and a plus-four rating in seven games. The 21-year-old will be competing for a larger role with the team out of training camp and is regarded as one of Anaheim’s top prospects.

Peter Holland — Holland has excelled in the AHL, but so far he hasn’t been able to fully establish himself with the Anaheim Ducks. He logged just 11:35 minutes per game in the NHL last season and ended up with five points in 21 NHL contests. With the goal of making the Ducks’ opening game roster in his mind, he attended their recent development camp even though he was under no obligation to due so at the age of 22. Coach Bruce Boudreau was very pleased with that decision and told the Orange County Register that Holland displayed the kind of effort that’s needed.

Kyle Palmieri — Unlike the other players on this list, Palmieri has burned through his entry-level contract, so the Anaheim Ducks inked him to a three-year, $4.4 million deal. It might not be long before that cap hit looks like a steal as Palmieri already took a big step forward last season with 10 goals and 21 points in 42 games. He also contributed in the playoffs with three goals and five points in their seven-game series against the Detroit Red Wings. Palmieri, 22, even managed to earn an invitation to America’s Olympic camp, which highlights how highly regarded he is as well as how much his stock has risen.

Simmonds tells AV ‘I’m not a dirty player,’ says he had ‘no intention of hurting’ McDonagh with punch

Toronto Maple Leafs v Philadelphia Flyers
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Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds has taken exception to criticisms from Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault, in the wake of Simmonds concussing Blueshirts captain Ryan McDonagh with a punch over the weekend.

“Vigneault can say whatever he wants. He’s the coach, that’s his opinion,” Simmonds said, per CSN Philly. “I don’t really care. I’m protecting myself; guy comes to cross check you in the head. I didn’t know what he expected. I had no intention of hurting him and I feel bad about that. That’s not what I want.

“I may play physical and I like to take the body. I fight occasionally. But by no means am I a dirty player, trying to run around and injure guys.”

Simmonds was tossed from Saturday’s game after punching McDonagh, but wasn’t suspended by the league. McDonagh missed New York’s next game — Monday’s 2-1 win over the Devils — and the lack of supplemental discipline incident irked Vigneault, who had words for both the officials and Simmonds.

“An All-Star player gets sucker-punched, goes down,” Vigneault said following the Flyers game, per The Record. “I wonder if that’s (Sidney) Crosby, what happens? What are the consequences?”

At this point, it’s probably worth noting the Flyers and Rangers play each other on Sunday night (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Worth circling that one on the ol’ calendar, methinks.

Goalie nods: ‘The losses have gotten to’ Dubnyk, so Wild turn to Kuemper

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Devan Dubnyk has started Minnesota’s last four games — all of them losses — so in an effort to try and right the ship, head coach Mike Yeo is going with Darcy Kuemper against Dallas this evening.

“This has definitely not been Dubnyk’s fault,” Yeo said of the Wild’s losing skid, per the Pioneer Press. “Even watching his game and evaluating it closely afterwards, I’m not going to say he’s playing badly. He’s not. But you can tell he’s grinding right now like everybody. The losses have gotten to him.

“Kuemper has been part of this, but not to that level, so he’s probably got a little bit of a different mindset and a little bit of a fresher mind coming into the game.”

Kuemper has been pretty solid this year, going 5-2-4 with a .928 save percentage and 2.06 GAA. That said, he’s only made four appearances in 2016 and his last was a brief one, playing just over 11 minutes in relief against the Isles.

For Dallas, Kari Lehtonen is likely to get the start.

Elsewhere…

— No definitive announcements out of Boston, but Tuukka Rask is likely for the Bruins, and Jonathan Quick is likely for the Kings.

— It’s Roberto Luongo for the Panthers in Buffalo. Sabres are going with Robin Lehner.

Cory Schneider‘s going back-to-back for the Devils after stopping 35 shots in a loss to the Rangers on Monday. Cam Talbot starts for the Oilers.

John Gibson is not going back-to-back after getting shelled by Pittsburgh last night. Frederik Andersen starts in Philly, Steve Mason for the Flyers.

— Columbus will keep rolling with Joonas Korpisalo as it hosts the Islanders. Jaroslav Halak gets the nod after getting hooked against the Red Wings over the weekend.

Ben Scrivens will look to win his third game in a row when the Habs host the Bolts. Ben Bishop‘s in for Tampa Bay.

— Barry Trotz heads back to Nashville and will continue rolling with Braden Holtby in goal. Trotz’s former workhorse, Pekka Rinne, starts for the Preds.

— It’s Connor Hellebuyck versus Brian Elliott as the Blues host the Jets in St. Louis.

— Good matchup in Chicago tonight, as the in-form Corey Crawford starts for the ‘Hawks. The Sharks will counter with Martin Jones.

— After Ryan Miller started the last four, Jacob Markstrom goes for the Canucks in Colorado. The Avs are starting Semyon Varlamov.

— Fresh off today’s blockbuster Dion Phaneuf trade, the undermanned Leafs are going with James Reimer in goal in Calgary. The Flames will give Jonas Hiller another start after he beat Vancouver on Saturday night.

Here’s what TCF Bank Stadium will look like for Minnesota’s outdoor game

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What you’re looking at is an architectural rendering of TCF Bank Stadium for the upcoming outdoor game between the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday, Feb. 21.

The current forecast for that day in Minneapolis is a high of 27° F and a low of 19° F, with only a 20 percent possibility of precipitation, i.e. snow.

Which is to say, that guy in the Toews jersey is gonna be cold. At least roll up your sleeves, man. Don’t be a hero. 

The game, scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET, will be broadcast live on NBC as part of Hockey Day in America, while Hockey Night In Canada and TVA Sports will have the action for the folks up north.

50 years ago today, the NHL’s ‘great expansion’ begins

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 15: The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers fight during the first period in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on April 15, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers defeated the Penguins 8-4. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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“This is the year of the great expansion. For the first time, the league will be composed of twelve teams.”

Those were the words of former NHL president Clarence Campbell as he ushered in six new franchises to join the Original Six for the 1967-68 season.

We only mention this because it was 50 years ago today, in 1966, that the league awarded conditional teams to Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Minneapolis-St. Paul and St. Louis.

(To read more, click NHL.com’s anniversary piece. The Los Angeles Times also has a story on the birth of the Kings, while CSN Philly remembers the Flyers’ beginnings.)

For all you youngsters out there, San Francisco’s team, originally named the California Seals, ended up playing in Oakland, but not for long due to attendance issues. The franchise would move to Cleveland in 1976, where in 1978 it ceased operations and merged with the North Stars.

The North Stars also eventually relocated, though that didn’t happen until 1993 when they moved to Dallas. The expansion Wild were born a few years later.

Of the five surviving franchises of the “great expansion,” only the Blues have never won the Stanley Cup.

The Flyers were the first expansion team to hoist the Cup. They did it in 1974.

Related: Foley is ‘9.5’ out of 10 confident that NHL will expand to Vegas