Los Angeles Kings forward Marian Gaborik has already had some big performances in the 2014 playoffs and he isn’t slowing down. The 32-year-old forward is on a four-game point streak and is tied for first in the league with six goals in 10 contests.
He’s made those around him, and Anze Kopitar in particular, better too. In many ways, Gaborik has provided the missing element to jumpstart the Kings’ offense for the most important time of the year.
“It was something that we were missing for a long time here,” Kopitar said, per the Edmonton Sun. “A left winger, a left shot, it was obviously exciting.”
He’s more than that though.
“He’s a constant threat with his shooting ability and his scoring ability,” Kopitar added. “Every time he comes into the offensive zone, everyone is paying attention to him, maybe that gives me a few more inches to work with. Giving the puck to him in the slot is always a good option.”
Not every trade deadline deal works out. In fact, often times a team that gets a major contributor right before the playoffs don’t live up to expectations, but this isn’t the first time the Kings have made it work.
They also acquired Jeff Carter from the Columbus Blue Jackets ahead of the 2012 postseason and he helped lead them to a Stanley Cup championship. One common element between the two — aside from Columbus — is that both players were having rough seasons, in part due to injuries. In both cases, the player being acquired was hungry for a fresh start.
The Kings hope that this is one case where history will continue to repeat itself.
Aaron Ekblad has been medically cleared by Florida Panthers doctors, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.
That’s a big relief for everyone involved after Ekblad was injured while representing Team North America in the World Cup. The injury was originally reported as a “mild” concussion, though it was later called a neck injury.
The 20-year-old has since been back on the ice working out.
“Ekblad is going to be fine,” Panthers coach Gerard Galant said. “You see him out there skating already. I think it was a little scary, but he feels real good. He’s going to skate and see how he feels, but everything looks good.”
The first overall pick in the 2014 draft, Eklbad had already dealt with at least one concussion during his playing career. He suffered one in an international exhibition game during the summer of 2014, just prior to his outstanding rookie season with the Panthers.
It didn’t take long for one of the top picks at this year’s draft to be sent packing from training camp.
On Wednesday, Ottawa announced that Logan Brown — the 11th overall selection in June — has been sent back to his junior team in OHL Windsor.
Brown, the son of ex-NHL defenseman Jeff Brown, played in Monday’s exhibition win over Toronto and scored once. He didn’t play in Tuesday’s OT loss to Buffalo.
Though he wasn’t expected to make the team this season, Brown, 18, is considered to be a high-end prospect, which makes his early dismissal a bit curious.
At 6-foot-6 and 210 pounds, he has terrific size and the Sens wasted little time locking him in after the draft, signing him to a three-year, entry-level deal in August.
Related: Get to know a draft pick — Logan Brown
Dennis Seidenberg is expected to sign with the New York Islanders after the World Cup, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.
It’s a one-year, $1 million deal, per Dreger.
Seidenberg is currently playing a significant role for Team Europe, a surprise finalist against the heavily favored Canadians.
The 35-year-old defenseman was unexpectedly bought out by the Boston Bruins over the summer. He had two years remaining on his contract, with a cap hit of $4 million.
Seidenberg was a key part of the Bruins’ Stanley Cup champion team in 2011, but injuries limited him to just 61 games last season, and his average ice time fell below 20 minutes for the first time since he was with the Hurricanes in 2007-08.
He’ll likely take on a bottom-pairing role with the Islanders, below Nick Leddy, Travis Hamonic, Johnny Boychuk, and Calvin de Haan. He may even be the extra defenseman, pushing the likes of Thomas Hickey, Ryan Pulock, Adam Pelech, and Scott Mayfield for a spot in the lineup.
Related: Seidenberg shocked by Bruins’ decision
New Jersey needed some blueline depth after this summer’s blockbuster Adam Larsson-for-Taylor Hall trade and now, they’ve addressed it.
On Wednesday, GM Ray Shero announced the club signed veteran defenseman Kyle Quincey to a one-year, $1.25 million deal.
Quincey, 31, spent the last four seasons in Detroit, emerging as a regular fixture on defense — but ’15-16 was hardly a positive campaign.
He missed 35 games with a serious ankle injury and, upon his return, never seemed to find his way into head coach Jeff Blashill’s good graces.
Blashill even scratched Quincey in Game 3 of Detroit’s opening-round playoff loss to Tampa, and didn’t provide a reason why — a pretty bold move for a player that, in ’13-14, appeared in all 82 games for the Red Wings, averaging nearly 21 minutes per night.
Overall, this move seems like a pretty reasonable gamble from the Devils. Quincey has his flaws, but the term is short and the money is relatively low.
(Especially considering Quincey’s coming off a two-year, $8.5 million deal that paid $4.25M annually.)
Shero could end up getting a nice return on his investment. Quincey projects to challenge for top-four minutes in New Jersey, looking to break into a group that features the likes of Andy Greene, Damon Severson, John Moore and Ben Lovejoy.
Jon Merrill, Steve Santini and Brandon Gormley are also in that mix, though likely to be challenging for spots on the bottom pair.