Dallas Stars v Ottawa Senators

Despite injury, Stars’ Robidas draws trade interest

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Dallas Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas hasn’t played since Nov. 29 due to a frightening injury, yet NHL teams are showing the veteran blueliner some serious interest as the trade deadline approaches.

One anonymous NHL executive told CSNNE.com that the 36-year-old “will be moved” and named the Boston Bruins as a leading candidate.

“A lot of teams covet [Robidas],” The executive said. “He’s a veteran right-hander that competes like a bastard. He’d be a perfect fit for the Bruins.”

TSN’s Bob McKenzie backs up that report, also adding the Anaheim Ducks to the list of teams that would likely be most interested in the one-time All-Star.

Robidas seems like the prototypical missing piece defenseman from a playoff standpoint despite being absent from the postseason since the 2007-08 campaign. He can play a rough, penalty-killing role but also has some offensive potential with 41-point and 30-point seasons on his resume.

Again, there’s extra risk involved considering that he’s recovering from a broken leg, but teams seem willing to take that gamble on the pending unrestricted free agent.

Also of note regarding the Stars at the trade deadline: GM Jim Nill told ESPN that they’re open-minded to trades but aren’t looking for “rentals.” They might just sell Robidas off as one, however.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.