With their 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night the Dallas Stars were winners for the third game in a row and the fifth time in the past seven games. That stretch (where they have picked up 11 out of a possible 14 points) has helped them move back into a playoff spot in the Western Conference for the time being.
They will get even more good news on Saturday night when one of their top forwards is expected to return to the lineup.
Stars coach Lindy Ruff announced on Friday that veteran forward Patrick Sharp has been cleared to return to game action and should be in the lineup on Saturday when the team hosts the Florida Panthers and looks to extend its current winning streak — its best of the season to this point — to four games.
Sharp has been sidelined since the first week of December with a concussion and missed 12 games because of it. The injury originally happened in October when he was hit Los Angeles Kings defenseman Brayden McNabb. After missing nearly a month he returned in late November before being sidelined again when the symptoms returned in early December.
This was the hit that originally put Sharp out of the lineup.
The 35-year-old forward has only appeared in 11 games for the Stars this season due to the concussion symptoms and has recorded just two points (one goal, one assist). Still, he is one of the best forwards on the roster and should be a big boost to a team that is finally starting to put it together after a disappointing start to the season, one that has significantly been impacted by a rash of injuries.
Watson, 25 (1/13/92), set career highs in goals (5), assists (7), points (12), penalty minutes (99) and games played (77) during the 2016-17 season as he established himself as an integral member of the Nashville roster. The 6-foot-4, 204-pound winger then added four goals and nine points in 22 postseason contests as the Predators advanced to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final. Watson also appeared in 57 games for the Predators during the 2015-16 season, recording three goals and 10 points.
Ryan Spooner‘s arbitration hearing with the Boston Bruins is scheduled for Wednesday. And if it goes ahead, it could be a rather contentious one.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Spooner is seeking $3.85 million on a one-year deal, while the B’s are thinking almost half that at $2 million.
Spooner, a 25-year-old forward, will certainly be able to sell his offensive statistics. He had 49 points in 2015-16, then 39 points last season.
“Ryan’s a talented player,” said GM Don Sweeney, per CSNNE.com. “He’s had a lot of success. Our power play is better when he plays as well as he’s capable of playing, and he can really be a good complement to our group.”
But the knock on Spooner has always been his defensive play. The past two seasons, he’s a combined minus-17. Back in May, it was reported that the B’s were entertaining trade offers for him.
Dumoulin, 25, has been a key component to the Penguins’ back-to-back Stanley Cup championships, as he played in all 49 playoff games in that span, and recorded 14 points (3G-11A). In the 2017 playoffs, Dumoulin had an average ice time of 21:59 minutes, the most of any Penguins skater, and his plus-9 paced all team defenders. He assisted on Carl Hagelin‘s empty-net goal that sealed the 2-0 victory in the decisive Game 6 of the Cup Final against Nashville.
Dumoulin is coming off of a contract that paid him just $800,000 in each of the past two seasons.