Brayden Schenn

Brayden Schenn deal is Philly’s ‘first priority,’ says Hextall


Ron Hextall was part of the Kings managerial group that took Brayden Schenn fifth overall at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, so it’s no surprise that, five years later, retaining Schenn’s services is at the top of Hextall’s to-do list.

“Schenn would be our first priority,” the Flyers GM said, per CSN Philly. “But he’s restricted, so there’s not a timeline there where you say, ‘It’s going to be done by this time.’

“Brayden’s a good young player, and we’d like to get him under contract as soon as possible. But again, there’s timelines there. It might be training camp, it might be July. I really can’t say. But obviously he’s a priority.”

Schenn, 22, appeared in all 82 games for the Flyers this year and posted career highs in goals (20) and points (41). One of the key pieces that came to Philly in the Mike Richards trade — Hextall was the assistant GM in L.A. at the time — Schenn just wrapped the last of his three-year, entry-level deal (a complex one, laden with bonuses) and will now go into what’s usually a tricky negotiation as a first-time RFA.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of deal Schenn gets. One comparable would be fellow ’09 draftee Nazem Kadri who, after scoring 44 points in 48 games during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign, scored a two-year, $5.8 million extension with the Leafs.

Another comparable? Schenn’s teammate, Sean Couturier, who signed a two-year, $3.5 million extension that kicks in next season. In fact, the Couturier deal might be more applicable because the Flyers think there’s still plenty of maturation still to come for Schenn — much like they did with Couturier upon extending him last July.

“There’s a lot more room for growth. I think Brayden’s defensive game has gotten better,” Hextall explained. “Numbers wise, he’s gotten better, there’s room for growth there. This year, he was a little all over the place, he was on the wing, he was in the middle, he was with different players.

“I’d kind of like to try to stabilize that a little but, but we’ve got to find the right fit there, and easier said than done.”

Metro’s best? Capitals keep winning, pass Rangers for division lead

Jonathan Bernier; Matt Niskanen; Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau
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If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:

“Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”

The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.

Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:

With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.

Measuring stick stretch begins

Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.

This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.

It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.

In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.

Video: Evgeni Malkin leaves Oilers spinning


Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.

It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.

His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:

These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”

Update: It wasn’t enough for a win, however, as the Oilers beat the Penguins 3-2 via a shootout.

Lightning’s first fight this season: Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo

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Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.

Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.

It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.

Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.

Oilers GM doesn’t want to force a trade for the sake of a trade

Peter Chiarelli

It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.

Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.

You can see and hear his full comments below:

If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.

Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.

Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.

Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.