Getty

Streaking Silfverberg ‘on another level’ for Ducks

1 Comment

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Jakob Silfverberg isn’t terribly well-known outside Anaheim, where Ducks fans love his scintillating two-way game.

Silfverberg is playing far too well to stay a secret this year.

John Gibson made 34 saves in his third shutout of the season, and Silfverberg had a goal and an assist in the Ducks’ 2-0 victory over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night.

Silfverberg scored a power-play goal in the second period, and the surging Swedish forward set up Andrew Cogliano‘s top-shelf shot with 5:18 to play. Their line with center Ryan Kesler combined for 17 shots and largely dominated play for the Ducks, who wrapped up their five-game homestand with four wins.

“He’s on another level right now,” Cogliano said of Silfverberg. “I’ve always thought he was one of the most underrated in the league. When you play with him, you appreciate him more about what he does with his stick battles and how hard he is on pucks. When he’s playing well, he’s usually the best player on the ice.”

The Ducks stayed even with San Jose atop the Pacific Division with their fifth win in seven games overall.

Anaheim finally snapped its 0-for-16 drought on the power play when Silfverberg pounced on a fat rebound of Corey Perry‘s shot in the slot for his 12th goal.

Late in the third period, Silfverberg surged ahead on a rush and threaded a cross-ice pass for an exceptional top-shelf shot by Cogliano, who ended his eight-game goal drought.

“Our line has been doing pretty good as of lately,” Silfverberg said. “I’ve always said we do the job defensively, but we have the aspects to produce and help the team score goals. We’ve been getting bounces lately. We’re shooting pucks and going hard to the net. We’re getting rewarded for that.”

Both teams played without their injured captains. Dallas’ Jamie Benn missed his fourth straight game with a foot injury, and Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf also missed his fourth straight game with a lower-body injury.

Dallas also lost defenseman Jamie Oleksiak to an upper-body injury shortly before Patrick Eaves went to the dressing room with an undisclosed problem in the third period. Stars coach Lindy Ruff said Oleksiak could be out “for a little bit of time,” while Eaves’ injury doesn’t appear serious.

“We’ve been (dealing with injuries) all year, since the start of the year,” Ruff said. “I thought the guys worked hard. It’s a tough back-to-back. Last night was a tough game (in Los Angeles). I thought we were right there to at least tie the game.”

Antti Niemi stopped 36 shots for the Stars, who wrapped up their three-game road trip with their fourth loss in five games overall.

“They weren’t going to give us much off the rush,” Dallas’ Jason Spezza said. “To get that power play goal, it forced us to open the game up a little bit. I think that’s when they scored the last one.”

Gibson played in his ninth consecutive game for the Ducks and earned his ninth career shutout – his second in four starts. After sharing the Jennings Trophy with Frederik Andersen last year, Gibson has been increasingly solid following a slow start to his first season as Anaheim’s unquestioned No. 1 netminder.

NOTES: Perry’s goal drought reached 13 games since he last scored, Dec. 13 against the Stars. The 2011 NHL MVP has only seven goals in 43 games this season after scoring 110 goals in the previous three seasons. … Niemi had a solid start after mopping up for struggling Kari Lehtonen in the final minutes of Monday’s victory at Los Angeles. Lehtonen, who gave up four goals to the Kings, has yielded 11 goals on the last 68 shots he has faced. … After the game, Anaheim acquired goalie Jhonas Enroth from Toronto for a seventh-round pick in 2018. Enroth, the Kings’ backup goalie last season, will play for the Ducks’ AHL affiliate in San Diego. … Cogliano led the Ducks with eight shots on goal.

UP NEXT

Stars: Host Detroit on Thursday night.

Ducks: At Colorado on Thursday night.

These 2017 NHL Draft picks lacked hype … but not swagger

Getty
Leave a comment

The interview process for draft prospects must be a real beating. Then again, it’s also an opportunity for hopefuls to push back.

In the case of two smaller prospects, it meant providing some swagger in their answers, possibly impressing their new teams. If nothing else, Kailer Yamamoto and Michael DiPietro generated some refreshingly confident quotes.

One would assume that the Edmonton Oilers picked Yamamoto with the 22nd choice for more than just a great answer alone … but still.

Nice, right?

Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek related a similar story about DiPietro, who the Vancouver Canucks nabbed with the 64th pick.

Funny story: When one team at the NHL told him “We don’t think you can play in the NHL with our team, you’re too small” at the combine, he fired back with “well, I guess you have a problem with winning, then.” How do you not like that?

If nothing else, those two aren’t shy.

As a bonus story, check out the bumpy path Will Reilly – aka the “Mr. Irrelevant” of the 2017 NHL Draft – took to being chosen last overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins, via Puck Daddy’s Sean Leahy. From the sound of things, there are worse feelings than going 217th.

The 2017 NHL Draft may have been “pumped down” from a hype perspective, yet it sounds like many of these prospects at least bring some moxie to the table.

Kings, Golden Knights labeled 2017 NHL Draft winners; Bruins, not so much

Getty
Leave a comment

It’s nearly certain that we won’t be able to determine the “winners and losers” of the 2017 NHL Draft until, say, 2022. If not later.

Still, what fun is that?

Quite a few outlets pegged some winners and losers, though sometimes the choices were more about themes like nations or player types than specific teams.

For example: Puck Daddy gives a thumbs down to the “green room” experiment.

Let’s take a look at some of the consensus picks.

Winners

Vegas Golden Knights

GM George McPhee was dealt a bad hand when it comes to the lottery draft, so he instead made his own luck. And then he selected three players who could improve this team going forward.

Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek especially liked the last two of their three first-rounders (Nick Suzuki and Erik Brannstrom), viewing Cody Glass as more of a no-brainer. Plenty of others were on board.

Los Angeles Kings

Gabe Vilardi fell to Los Angeles, whether it was because of shaky skating or some other reason. That potential steal (and some other shrewd moves) impressed the Hockey News’ Ryan Kennedy, who assembled draft profiles for PHT.

Again, Vilardi’s loss was considered the Kings’ gain, as slower skaters were considered losers by the likes of Post Media’s Michael Traikos.

Philadelphia Flyers

Boy, Ron Hextall is good at this thing, isn’t he? Philly drew high marks even beyond the layup of landing Nolan Patrick. The main area of disagreement revolved around the Brayden Schenn trade, though plenty came out on Hextall’s side there, too.

Arizona Coyotes

Boy, that negative press didn’t last long, did it? Between landing Niklas Hjalmarsson, Derek Stepan, and Antti Raanta in trades and savvy picks, they were a popular choice.

Themes

Smaller players, Sweden, and Finland drew semi-serious mentions as “winners.”

Losers

Boston Bruins

The perception is that they played it too safe.

Colorado Avalanche, for now?

OK, this was more about draft weekend than picks, but people are criticizing Joe Sakic for standing pat. That could change, but the negative sentiment is there.

Detroit Red Wings

Another common choice. Some believe that their draft was the worst of them all, which isn’t great considering the declining opinion of GM Ken Holland overall.

New York Rangers

Lias Andersson was viewed as a reach by plenty, and his connection to the trade to Arizona might intensify the scrutiny.

Themes

Not a great draft for Russian-born players and/or guys who don’t skate quite swiftly.

***

So, those are some of the near-consensus choices for winners and losers, via the brave souls who made rapid reactions to the 2017 NHL Draft.

Ducks ink D Holzer to two-year deal reportedly worth $1.8M

Getty
1 Comment

As the dust settled on the expansion draft, the Anaheim Ducks’ defense is coming into focus.

Sunday continued that pattern; the Ducks signed Korbinian Holzer to a two-year contract worth $1.8 million, according to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie.

You can break down the Ducks defense as more expensive players (Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen, Cam Fowler, and Kevin Bieksa) and cheaper ones (Holzer, Brandon Montour, and Josh Manson).

Only Vatanen, Lindholm and Holzer see contracts that go beyond 2017-18 – at least without an extension yet for the likes of Fowler and Manson – so Holzer provides a little bit of certainty.

Is the $900K a minor overpay, though? Holzer played in 32 games for the Ducks this season after appearing in 29 in 2015-16. His impact has been pretty minimal, generating seven points while averaging 13:31 in ice time per contest (down from 14:45 the previous season).

Granted he may get more opportunities to show what he’s capable of if the Ducks lose another piece. Then again, at 29, the Ducks likely know what they have.

2017 Hockey Hall of Fame class to be named Monday; Selanne + who?

Getty
6 Comments

The 2017 Hockey Hall of Fame class is expected to be announced on Monday, and every indication is that Teemu Selanne will be on the list. Beyond that, well, there are a lot of question marks.

NHL.com notes that there’s at least a possibility that Selanne will be the only NHL name to be part of this class, which would mark a first since 2010 (when Dino Ciccarelli was the lone addition).

It’s a nice way to continue what’s been a buffet for hockey fans: the 2017 Stanley Cup Final’s conclusion, the expansion draft and then the 2017 NHL Draft. The HHOF announcements are a nice appetizer before free agency gets, well, frenzied?

“The Finnish Flash” was also an obvious top choice in last year’s poll to see who should be in the class.

Now, that doesn’t mean he is the only interesting name.

For one thing, Daniel Alfredsson will be eligible for the first time, much like Selanne. “Alf” falls in the “Maybe” category with some interesting, debatable other options: Mark Recchi, Dave Andreychuk, Alex Mogilny, Jeremy Roenick, Paul Kariya, Chris Osgood, and more.

The 2016 Hockey Hall of Fame class included Eric Lindros, Rogie Vachon, Sergei Makarov, and Pat Quinn.