Chuck Fletcher

Vanek, Stastny, Niskanen, Mitchell on Minnesota’s shopping list


Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher has a shopping list for free agency and it’s rather juicy.

Michael Russo of The Star Tribune reports the Wild have been in contact with the agents for forwards Thomas Vanek and Paul Stastny as well as defensemen Matt Niskanen and Willie Mitchell.

Chasing Vanek isn’t a surprise as we’ve heard about the mutual interest between the two for a while now. Russo says they may not be thinking long-term with the Austrian star forward.

Vanek, 30, the former Gophers star who lives in Stillwater, might have to consider a one- to three-year deal from the Wild if he wants to play at home in Minnesota.

The reason for that is because the Wild want to go heavily after Niskanen, another Minnesota native.

His breakout season with the Penguins has made him one of the hottest targets in free agency and he’d cure some power play ills for the Wild if he signed there.

The interest in Stastny makes sense because he’d give the Wild another solid player up the middle who can score as well as play strong defensively. Having him line up with Mikko Koivu as the top two centers would give them a very strong setup.

As for Mitchell, he’s a former member of the Wild and showed to be a strong contributor and mentor to younger blue liners like Slava Voynov and Alec Martinez with the Los Angeles Kings. With the host of young blue liners in the Wild’s stable, adding Mitchell would provide depth and a guy for others to learn from.

Blues’ Shattenkirk suffers lower-body injury

Kevin Shattenkirk
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This hasn’t been the best night for St. Louis sports fans.

Obviously, the MLB’s Cardinals getting bounced from the playoffs is a bigger deal, but the Blues face bad news, too.

While they’re currently leading the Calgary Flames by a score of 4-3, they’ll need to hang on without Kevin Shattenkirk, whose night is over thanks to a lower-body injury.

There’s no word yet on how severe the issue might be.

Naturally, the Blues must hope that it’s minor, as Shattenkirk is one of the NHL’s truly underrated assets on the blueline.

Stephanie (@MyRegularFace) tracked down a moment when the injury may have happened:

It’s not all rosy for the Flames, either, as Lance Bouma suffered an injury as well.

Measure of revenge? Red Wings bottle Lightning


In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.

For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.

Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.

Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.

They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.

Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.