Mark Fraser

Trade: Oilers acquire Fraser from Toronto


The Edmonton Oilers added some grit on defense Friday, acquiring Leafs rearguard Mark Fraser in exchange for Cam Abney (currently in the ECHL) and Teemu Hartikainen (currently in the KHL).

Fraser, 27, was an original Devils draftee that signed with Toronto as a depth defenseman last season and surprised, appearing in 45 of 48 regular season contests and four of seven playoff games. He averaged nearly 17 minutes a night during the regular season and notched a career-high eight points, but struggled to maintain his position on the club this year thanks to a knee injury and the ascension of rookie Morgan Rielly.

For the Leafs, the trade amounts to giving Fraser a fresh start elsewhere — he only appeared in 19 games this season — getting his $600,000 cap hit off the books and possibly developing something in either Abner or Hartikainen.

Hartikainen, 23, has 13 points in 52 career NHL contests but left the Oilers last season to try his hand in the KHL. Abney, 22, was Edmonton’s third-round pick at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, but has spent the majority of his pro career in the East Coast league.

It’s worth noting that Fraser is yet another ex-Marlie acquired by Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins. Others include Ben Scrivens, Ryan Hamilton and Will Acton.

As for Oilers GM Craig MacTavish, give him credit — while his moves might not be “bold,” they have been aplenty:

Edmonton trades Dubnyk to Preds for Hendricks

Oilers get Scrivens from L.A.

Alberta swap: Oilers send Smid to Flames

Oilers sign Bryzgalov to one-year deal

MacTavish also dealt Linus Omark and Jason LaBarbera away for late-round draft picks.

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?