The St. Louis Blues are third in the league in goals per game without having a single player in the top-30 of the NHL’s scoring race.
They’ve accomplished that feat by having a balanced squad where almost any player can be the hero in any given game. On Saturday, it was Oshie that made his presence known, beating Avalanche defenseman Nate Guenin one-on-one with an impressive deke before shoving the puck to David Backes to put the Blues on the board in their eventual 2-1 victory.
You can view his maneuver below:
“It’s crazy what he does out there and I’m the beneficiary,” Backes said after the game, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I’m just going to the net like I’m supposed to, and he makes a fantastic play. Then the vision as he’s going down to find me backdoor, that’s 100 percent his goal all the way.”
The Blues have now won four straight games to improve to 43-14-6 this season. It’s debatable whether you want to refer to any of their forwards as a star, but they certainly have plenty of scoring depth and when you combine that with one of the best defenses in the league and newly acquired goaltender Ryan Miller, you have a team that could go far in the playoffs.
Anton Forsberg, the former Columbus goalie Chicago acquired in the Brandon Saad-for-Artemi Panarin blockbuster, has signed a two-year extension with the ‘Hawks.
Forsberg, 24, came to North America in the ’13-14 campaign and has spent most of his time with Columbus’ AHL affiliate. He helped the club capture the Calder Cup in 2016, and that performance was part of the reason Chicago GM Stan Bowman went out and acquired him.
In the aftermath, Bowman said Forsberg would get the “first crack” at the No. 2 gig behind Corey Crawford. The ‘Hawks have been without a backup since sending Scott Darling to Carolina.
While Forsberg is the favorite for the gig, he’s not a lock. He only has 10 games of NHL experience — a pretty small sample size — and lost out on a similar opportunity with Columbus. Forsberg and Joonas Korpisalo were battling to be Sergei Bobrovsky‘s understudy, with Korpisalo eventually winning out.
In other Chicago news, the club gave depth forward Tomas Jurco a one-year extension today. Jurco was acquired from Detroit at last year’s trade deadline and appeared in 13 games for the ‘Hawks, scoring one goal. He didn’t dress for the club’s first-round playoff sweep at the hands of Nashville.
No word yet on financials for either guy.
Gustav Olofsson, the Minnesota defenseman taken in the second round of the ’13 draft, has signed a two-year, $1.45 million extension, per the Star-Tribune.
Olofsson was a restricted free agent, having just wrapped his entry-level contract. This new deal will pay him $725,000 per season and, importantly, it’s of the one-way variety.
The Star-Tribune reports Olofsson is expected to play in the Wild’s top-six defense next season, especially since GM Chuck Fletcher appears primed to trade one of Jonas Brodin, Marco Scandella or Matt Dumba. Fletcher needs cap space to finalize new deals for RFA forwards Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund.
Speaking of contracts, the Wild opted against making a qualifying offer for d-man Christian Folin. This means he’ll be able to test free agency, though it’s reported Minnesota might try to re-negotiate with him as a UFA.
The Hockey Hall of Fame will welcome five players and two builders into its doors as part of the 2017 class.
Teemu Selanne, Paul Kariya, Dave Andreychuk, Mark Recchi and Danielle Goyette were officially inducted as players on Monday afternoon, while former Canadian collegiate coach Clare Drake and Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs were inducted under the builders category.
Overall it is an extremely impressive class of players. Selanne, Andreychuk and Recchi are all among the top-20 goal scorers in league history, while Goyette was a 10-time gold medalist for the Canadian women’s hockey team, including twice at the Olympics. Drake was the long-time coach of the University of Alberta Men’s ice hockey team, coaching the team to six University Cup championships in 28 years. He coached the Edmonton Oilers for one season in 1975-76 when they were still in the WHA. Overall his coaching career spanned 40 years at various levels of Canadian hockey.
Selanne’s induction seemed to be an obvious one, but for Andreychuk and Recchi it ends what were pretty lengthy waits to finally have their names called.
Prior to Monday’s announcement, Recchi, Selanne and Andreychuk were the only retired players in the top-30 of the NHL’s all-time points list to not already be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The only active players in that group are currently Jaromir Jagr and Joe Thornton, and both seem like locks to eventually get in once their careers end (Jagr certainly is a lock).
Pierre Turgeon, 31st all time with 1,327 points, is now tops among retired scorers to not yet be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Justin Schultz took a significant pay cut to re-sign with the Pittsburgh Penguins last year.
He doesn’t begrudge the deal he signed, as the Penguins have been a big part of turning his career around.
One assumes winning a couple of Stanley Cups has been pretty fun, too.
That being said, the 26-year-old defenseman wants a raise.
“We took a one-year, discounted deal to come back from last year and build upon what he did,” Schultz’s agent, Wade Arnott, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “The player took a lot of the risk. The player performed. Now the player should be rewarded.”
Schultz, a restricted free agent, had a career-high 51 points in 78 games last season. Those 51 points were the seventh most among NHL defensemen — just five fewer than this summer’s biggest UFA, Kevin Shattenkirk, managed.
Schultz then added 13 more points in the playoffs, as the Penguins managed to win it all without Kris Letang.
For the record, Schultz wants to stay in Pittsburgh. The question is whether the Pens can afford to keep him, or if they’d be better off selling high in a trade.
“We’ll probably have some more direction here this week with where we’re going with [a possible extension],” Arnott said. “But we’ve had some good discussions.”