Dustin Penner: Solid resume (four-time 20-goal scorer, two Stanley Cups), less than solid reputation — the latter is probably the main reason Penner, 31, remains unsigned. There are questions about his fitness and conditioning and, in light of that, he could be a prime candidate for a tryout to essentially show his worth and fight for a job. Penner was already linked to a PTO in Philly, a rumor GM Ron Hextall later shot down.
Jamie McBain: There aren’t many 26-year-old defensemen with nearly 300 games of NHL experience out there, which should play into McBain’s favor. The former University of Wisconsin standout has shown good offensive ability in the past — he had a career-high 30 points in 76 games with Carolina three years ago — and played a fair bit in Buffalo last year (69 games, scoring 17 points).
Shane O’Brien: The well-traveled veteran has plenty of experience (528 regular season and 40 playoff games) and only just turned 31 last month. While he’s earned himself a reputation as party guy — most notably during his time in Vancouver — he’s still a physical specimen (6-foot-3, 230 pounds) that can provide a big-bodied presence on the blueline. Per a report from Sportsnet producer Josh Rimer, O’Brien could be on his way to Florida for a tryout.
Ryan Malone: A six-time 20-goal scorer and former U.S. Olympian, Malone is hoping to catch on somewhere and revive a career that’s in tatters. He was bought out of his contract in Tampa Bay following an April arrest for DUI and cocaine possession; prior to the arrest, Malone was already being faded out of the picture in Tampa as injuries and a lack of foot speed often saw him banished to the press box as a healthy scratch. That said, there are reports that teams have expressed an interest — the Rangers were apparently speaking to Malone, while agent Mike Liut said a couple clubs were inquiring about his client’s services.
Andrei Loktionov: Only 24 years old, the Russian center has already garnered the attention of a few NHL clubs (per his agent.) Loktionov is a skilled guy and did show some promise with New Jersey during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign — scoring eight goals and 12 points in 28 games — but he’s also still recovering from surgery for a shoulder injury, suffered while playing for Russia at the Worlds.
Flames keep showing life, Stars stumble once again
If you think the Dallas Stars are struggling because of defense more than anything else, then you’ll make sure to keep the video above “on file.”
There Kari Lehtonen was, helpless on a 2-on-0 rush for the Calgary Flames, which Johnny Gaudreau finished with calm and ease. For some, that goal is the symbol of the Stars’ season.
Either way, it was a painful goal in the Flames’ 2-1 win against the Stars. Calgary won despite Dallas firing 30 shots on goal versus the Flames’ 20.
One team climbing, the other stumbling
With that, the Flames are now on a four-game winning streak. Since falling to 5-10-1 on Nov. 12, the Flames have gone 9-3-1 in their last 13 games, pushing them to 14-13-2 overall. Gaudreau coming back is the icing on the cake after Chad Johnson really took charge of the Flames’ top job.
During a similar span, the Stars can’t seem to get it together. Dallas stood at 6-6-3 after beating the Oilers 3-2 on Nov. 11. They’re now 10-11-6, essentially standing in place as a .500 team.
Dallas can’t seem to get momentum going, a thought that might have left them envious of the team on the other end of the ice on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, it wasn’t just about Jack Eichel vs. Connor McDavid. Instead, it was a clash between a fleet of young scorers who were in their prime, with the Buffalo Sabres coming up on top against the Edmonton Oilers.