Ryan Miller

Sabres send Miller, Ott to Blues for package including Halak, Stewart

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Hockey fans didn’t need to wait until Wednesday for a huge trade. The St. Louis Blues acquired Ryan Miller and Steve Ott from the Buffalo Sabres in a deal that includes Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, prospect William Carrier, a first-round draft pick in 2015 and a third-round draft pick in 2016.

Update: This post explains how that third-rounder could become a first-round pick.

The Blues announced that Ott and Miller will meet the team in Phoenix, so there’s at least a chance both could debut on Sunday.

Let’s take a glance at each piece of the deal.

Miller, 33: The centerpiece of this trade, Miller’s contract expires after this season. The 33-year-old has maintained strong individual numbers even as the Sabres have struggled to provide him with an adequate supporting cast many years. He won’t have that excuse in St. Louis.

Click here for Miller’s emotional reaction.

Halak, 28: Another goalie with an expiring contract, it remains to be seen if Buffalo sticks with him or tries to stockpile an even more impressive set of assets by moving him again. The Blues made headlines by pledging their support for him not so long ago.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie adds a minor detail:

Ott, 31: Another expiring contract in this deal, Ott is one of the NHL’s most agitating pests. His versatility might explain why he wore the captain’s “C” in Buffalo, however, as he can win faceoffs and chip in a little bit of offense here and there. In other words, the kind of player Ken Hitchcock loves.

Stewart, 26: Stewart has been a part of a blockbuster trade in the past, as the Colorado Avalanche sent him to St. Louis in a deal that also included Erik Johnson and Kevin Shattenkirk. Stewart is a streaky scorer who can be dangerous when he’s trending up; he has 15 goals and 26 points in 58 games after scoring 18 goals and 36 points in 48 games last season. His career-high is 28 goals from 2009-10 with Colorado.

He’s an interesting piece in this deal (and maybe a future deal?) as his contract doesn’t expire until after the 2014-15 season. He carries a $4.15 million cap hit.

Carrier: Carrier, 19, was the 57th pick of the 2013 NHL Draft. He has 15 points in 20 games with the QMHJHL’s Drummondville Votigeurs this season.

Picks: Buffalo continues to load up on draft picks. With Matt Moulson still in tow and even these new assets carrying at least some trade potential, new GM Tim Murray could revamp this roster in a hurry.

Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead

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For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”

They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:

  • Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
  • This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
  • By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.

Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).

Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.

Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.

Blackhawks fall to Ducks in OT, lose Hossa to injury

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The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.

(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)

Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)

You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:

It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.

Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:

Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).

Understatement: Saturday was a rough night for Panthers

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) checks Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.

You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.

The pain goes beyond that … literally so.

For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.

(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)

The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.

Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.

Fractured jaw from fight sidelines Chris Stewart for 4-8 weeks

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It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.

The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).

The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.

One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.