Scrivens gets to play for the Oilers, his childhood team

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Despite good-to-great play, Ben Scrivens finds himself on his third team in 12 months after being traded to the Edmonton Oilers. As he mentioned in an interview 630 CHED’s Reid Wilkins, those experiences highlighted to the pending free agent that this is ultimately a business … but a pretty fun one, in that.

It doesn’t hurt to play for the team you cheered for as a kid, as Scrivens regaled in stories of the scrappy 90’s Oilers teams that pushed the Dallas Stars and Detroit Red Wings as underdogs in playoff series.

“Growing up around Edmonton, that was my team growing up, so it’s going to be fun to throw on that jersey and play for that logo,” Scrivens said.

The natural question is: how long will Scrivens get to wear that logo, though? Oilers GM Craig MacTavish seems open-minded, yet also noted to the Canadian Press that this begins as a trial.

“We really felt for everybody it was a time for change with Devan [Dubnyk],” MacTavish said. “It gives us an opportunity to bring in another goalie in Ben Scrivens who’s had, statistically, a very good season so far, and gives us an opportunity to have a pretty good look at him going forward here from now to the end of the year to see where he possibly could fit in to our longer-term goaltending plan.”

It doesn’t hurt that Scrivens, 27, has plenty of experience playing for the Toronto Marlies with current Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins.

Scrivens’ former teammate Joffrey Lupul points out that the underrated netminder has a positive disposition under many circumstances, which might be worthwhile consider all that movement and a severe weather change from sunny Los Angeles to … not sunny Edmonton.

“Scrivy, he’s a good guy and it doesn’t matter if it’s minus-30, he’ll still be smiling,” Lupul said.

Unfortunately Mrs. Scrivens might not be quite as happy in the cold, but ultimately, it’s an opportunity for the goalie to continue to prove himself. Even if that means wearing another logo in the near future.

Kings give another kid a look, recall AHL All-Star Brodzinski

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Last summer, Kings head coach Darryl Sutter stressed that some of the club’s young prospects needed to make an impact at the NHL level.

And now it’s happening.

Following the recalls and NHL debuts of Adrian Kempe and Paul LaDue, the Kings have brought up Jonny Brodzinski from AHL Ontario, the club announced on Thursday.

Brodzinski, 23, made the AHL All-Star team this year and leads the Reign in goals, with 25 through 56 games. The former St. Could State sniper left school early two years ago to join the Kings organization, after L.A. took him in the fifth round of the ’13 draft.

As mentioned above, this recall is in lockstep with what’s developed throughout the year. Kempe, 20, was the club’s first-round pick (29th overall) in ’14 and has fared well since joining the big club, with six points in 16 games.

LaDue, 24, was a sixth-round pick in ’12 that — like Kempe and Brodzinski — fared well in the American League before getting recalled in February. LaDue has appeared in 15 games for the Kings, scoring five points while averaging 16:25 TOI per night.

Los Angeles is still technically in the playoff race, but sits eight points back of Nashville for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference — with just 10 games to play. As such, the focus might now shift to giving some youngsters NHL experience.

Brodzinski will have to wait for his, however. Per LA Kings Insider, it doesn’t look like he’ll play tonight, when the Kings host the Jets at Staples.

 

 

Polak gets two games for boarding Bjorkstrand

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Roman Polak‘s hit on Oliver Bjorkstrand has drawn more than the ire of Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella.

Today, the NHL announced that Polak, a defenseman for the Toronto Maple Leafs, has been suspended two games for boarding Bjorkstrand Wednesday in Columbus.

In making the ruling, the league’s Department of Player Safety determined that Polak sent Bjorkstrand “violently” into the boards from behind, causing an injury. The DoPS also noted that the hit was avoidable, with the onus on Polak to “ensure that he avoids this hit entirely, or at the very least, minimizes the force of the impact.”

You can watch the full ruling below:

Wild prospect Kunin leaves Wisconsin, turns pro

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Minnesota is getting one of its prized youngsters in the mix.

Luke Kunin, the club’s first-round pick (15th overall) at last year’s draft, is leaving the University of Wisconsin following his sophomore campaign, per the Star-Tribune. Kunin will reportedly join Minnesota’s AHL affiliate in Iowa on an amateur tryout.

Kunin, 19, is coming off a pretty successful campaign. He was the first soph to captain the Badgers in over 40 years, and led the team in goals (22) and points (38). That came after he captained the U.S. to gold at the world juniors, scoring four points in seven games.

Per TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Kunin will play out this year in the minors, and his entry-level deal will kick in next season. That means he won’t be with the Wild at all this year — regular season or playoffs.

As mentioned, Kunin is just one of the many talented prospects Minnesota has in the fold. Russian Kirill Kaprizov, Sweden’s Joel Eriksson-Ek and Kunin’s U.S. junior teammate, Jordan Greenway, all showed extremely well at the worlds.

Hurricanes sign Finnish prospect Kuokkanen

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The Carolina Hurricanes have another talented, young Finn under contract.

The ‘Canes announced this morning that they’ve signed forward Janne Kuokkanen to a three-year, entry-level contract.

Kuokkanen was drafted in the second round, 43rd overall, in 2016. The 18-year-old is currently with the OHL’s London Knights. He finished the regular season with 26 goals and 36 assists in 60 games.

“Janne was outstanding in our rookie tournament in Traverse City in September, and stayed in North America to continue his development in the Ontario Hockey League,” said ‘Canes GM Ron Francis in a release. “He’s a smart, skilled forward and we look forward to the start of his professional career.”

The ‘Canes already have two Finnish forwards in Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen.

Aho and Kuokkanen were teammates in the Karpat (Liiga) development system in Finland.