MattMoulson

Moulson ‘definitely’ considering signing in Buffalo

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Pegged by many as a movable asset for the Sabres at the trade deadline, Matt Moulson might end up staying in Buffalo beyond Mar. 5.

“Definitely, I think there is,” Moulson told CBC when asked about the possibility of re-signing in Buffalo. “I don’t know what they think of me. I love playing for Teddy [Nolan].”

Acquired from the Islanders in late October for as part of the Thomas Vanek deal, Moulson has performed well for the Sabres, scoring six goals and 15 points in 24 games.

(Comparatively, Vanek has nine goals and 17 points in 22 contests.)

When the trade first broke, Moulson — a UFA at season’s end — looked like he’d be on the move soon again. The Sabres were losing, the youth movement was underway and it seemed like a full-scale rebuild was on, hardly the kind of situation 30-year-old free agent longs to be in.

But, things changed.

The Sabres turfed Ron Rolston and Darcy Regier, hired Nolan and Pat LaFontaine, sent a crop of youngsters back to the AHL/Juniors and, over the last two weeks, actually started playing some good hockey — Buffalo is 4-4-2 in its last 10, pulling off impressive victories over the likes of Boston and Phoenix.

“From where we were to where we want to be is obviously a process,” Moulson explained. “But I think we’ve made some huge strides.”

Moulson — in the last of a three-year, $9.4 million deal — isn’t the only key veteran UFA Buffalo has to deal with. Goalie Ryan Miller is still twisting in the wind, and has remained noncommittal about his future.

“I think they’re trying to figure out guys they want to hang on to and they think they can build a core around,” Miller said, per the Buffalo News. “We’ll see how it goes.”

Wherever Miller ends up signing, it doesn’t sound like he’ll be doing it for cheap. Not after Henrik Lundqvist got a seven-year, $59.5 million extension with the Rangers, a deal that Miller feels “sets the standards” for goalies.

At 33 years old, the next contract Miller signs figures to be his last big one. If it’s going to be with the Sabres, he wants more than promises that the team will be back out of the NHL’s basement soon.

“I’ve heard a lot of talk over my time,” he said “It’s about actions at this point. I’m not going to sit around and let promises get thrown around.”

Avalanche say ankle injury ends Nikita Zadorov’s season

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 14: Nikita Zadorov #16 of the Colorado Avalanche congratulates Matt Duchene #9 after his goal against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Pepsi Center on December 14, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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As if the Colorado Avalanche needed another miserable element to 2016-17: Nikita Zadorov suffered a season-ending injury during the same practice that Erik Johnson returned.

Zadorov injured his ankle after being tangled up with Mikko Rantanen during a Monday practice, according to the Denver Post.

Update: The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers reports that it’s a fractured ankle. Yikes.

Zadorov, 21, is a big defenseman with the pedigree that would inspire teams to imagine better things in the future (16th pick in 2013 by Buffalo). So far, that potential hasn’t really manifested itself in production, whether you judge a player by points, plus/minus or possession numbers.

He may be able to put it together at some point – again, he’s young – so perhaps he’ll remember this as a low point before he turns things around.

At the moment, it’s just another grim part of a bleak time for the Avs.

Kings may just lean on Budaj as Quick progresses toward return

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 08:  Goaltender Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles Kings stands on the ice during a preseason game against the Colorado Avalanche at T-Mobile Arena on October 8, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Colorado won 2-1 in overtime.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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LA Kings Insider provided a mostly positive update about Jonathan Quick‘s gradual recovery from what’s been a season-long injury. Still, it’s difficult to get a truly concrete idea about the team’s plans.

Quick told Jon Rosen that “everything’s coming along really well,” but they didn’t give a hard date on when he may suit up again for Los Angeles.

(NHL.com and Rosen’s report remind us that the general aim is for “the first half of March.”)

The Kings were mulling over the possibility of recalling former Stars first-round pick Jack Campbell to attempt to ease the surprisingly large burden on journeyman goalie Peter Budaj, but Rosen reports that such discussions have been “tabled.”

Jeff Zatkoff has been a mixture of inactive and ineffective for the Kings, so what about getting help elsewhere for Budaj? That part’s a little fuzzy, though it’s clear that Budaj – Zatkoff is the duo for the moment.

Darryl Sutter backs that up, via Rosen:

But, according to a source, Campbell’s recall has been tabled, as it appears as though Budaj and Zatkoff will be the duo until Quick is able to return, and that no cut-off will be necessary as Quick is “on that path” towards being game-ready, according to Sutter.

None of this explicitly shuts down at least the thought of trading for goaltending help, though it doesn’t give you the impression that such a move is pressing for the Kings. They’re not laying out a deadline, whether it be a self-imposed one or the trade deadline itself.

Some of this seems a little unclear, though it currently follows the pattern of this season: it falls on Budaj, at least until Quick is back. Whenever that may be.

Trouba suspended two games for ‘high, forceful’ headshot on Stone

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Jets blueliner Jacob Trouba has been suspended two games for his headshot on Ottawa forward Mark Stone, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced on Monday.

“Trouba steps up and delivers a high, forceful blow that makes the head the main point of contact, on a hit where such head contact was avoidable,” the DoPS explained. “The onus here is on Trouba to deliver a full body hit through his opponent’s core. Instead, Trouba takes a poor angle of approach, picking Stone’s head.”

The incident occurred in Winnipeg’s 3-2 win over Ottawa on Sunday. Trouba was given a two-minute minor on the play, much to the displeasure of Ottawa head coach Guy Boucher.

Stone didn’t return to the game following the hit but, according to the DoPS, “suffered no apparent injury.”

Trouba will now miss tomorrow’s game in Toronto, then Winnipeg’s next game following the bye week — on Feb. 28, against Minnesota. He’s eligible to return on Mar. 3, when the Jets host the Blues.

Trouba will also forfeit $33,333.34 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Sens extend depth blueliner Claesson — one year, $650,000

OTTAWA, ON - APRIL 5: Fredrik Claesson #49 of the Ottawa Senators skates against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Canadian Tire Centre on April 5, 2016 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
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Ottawa made a minor move on Monday, agreeing to terms with d-man Fredrik Claesson on a one-year extension worth $650,000.

The deal is of the one-way variety.

Claesson, 24, has appeared in 19 games for the Sens this year, scoring five points. He’s averaging just 10:27 per game but has been a more regular lineup fixture regularly, having played in five of Ottawa’s last six games.

The Swedish rearguard has also appeared in nine games for AHL Binghamton. Since coming over from SHL outfit Djurgardens in 2013, Claesson has been up and down between Bingo and Ottawa frequently, though this latest deal would suggest he’s in line for a more permanent NHL gig.