LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 10:  Mike Smith #41 of the Arizona Coyotes makes a save during the second period against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on November 10, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Mike Smith, happy in Arizona, has not considered waiving no trade clause

With the Arizona Coyotes sitting in 29th place in the NHL standings and in the middle of a full-scale rebuild it is only natural to assume they are going to be one of the sellers heading into the trade deadline over the next month.

Martin Hanzal, an upcoming unrestricted free agent, is one player on the team that has had his name in the rumor mill for a few weeks now.

Another veteran that could be intriguing to a contender might be veteran goalie Mike Smith, who still has two more years after this remaining on a six-year, $34 million dollar contract.

That deal also includes a no-trade clause, which could help Smith dictate where he goes if the Coyotes decide they want to move him.

On Saturday, Smith told Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic that he has not considered waiving his no-trade clause and that he is happy with the direction of the team and wants to be a part of it what it can become in the future.

From McLellan:

“Obviously, everyone wants to be in a position to win and get in the playoffs and be a competitive team and that’s no different for me,” he said. “I think I want to be in a position to have a chance to win before my career’s over, but I feel like this is moving in the right direction. Things can turn around fairly quickly here. I want to be a big part of that.”

Smith also talked about the Coyotes giving him a chance to play as a full-time starter and the comfort that comes for him and his family being able to stay in one place for an extended period of time.

Smith is representing the Coyotes at this weekend’s All-Star game with a .917 save percentage in his 30 appearances. He has been with the Coyotes since the start of the 2011-12 season and has been a fairly consistent average to above average starter in the NHL. A lot of teams in the league can do a lot worse for a starter.

If the Coyotes did decide to move him, and if Smith did consider waiving his no-trade clause, he could probably be useful for a number of teams around the league that are challenging for playoff spots or missing a goaltending to help put them over the top.

The St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars being two of the more obvious potential landing spots should it get to that point. The Philadelphia Flyers, currently sitting with a sub-.900 save percentage and two goalies that are unrestricted free agents after this season could be another sleeper team in that market.

The problem the Coyotes would run into if they went in that direction are the fact that Smith, at 34, still has two years remaining on his deal at a salary cap hit of more than $5.6 million per season. That is a big price tag to take on for a goalie that age, especially for a contender that might already be pressed against the cap this season and in future seasons.

There is also the fact teams in the market for a starting goaltender could have other options.

With the Tampa Bay Lightning facing an uphill battle to reach the playoffs, and with Ben Bishop on the verge of becoming an unrestricted free agent, it seems logical to assume he would be available before the deadline. The Pittsburgh Penguins still have their goaltending situation to address and even though it doesn’t seem likely to happen during the season, there is still the possibility of Marc-Andre Fleury being available.

The Coyotes enter the All-Star break on a three-game winning streak with Smith getting the win in all three games, stopping 87 of the 92 shots (.945 save percentage) he faced.

Their 16-28-6 record is better than only the Colorado Avalanche, but a promising farm system loaded with young talent (seven of which have already made their NHL debut this season) offers some hope for the future.

Early thoughts – and praise – for Capitals landing Kevin Shattenkirk

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Jaws dropped around the hockey world when news broke that the Washington Capitals landed Kevin Shattenkirk in a blockbuster trade. Heads were then scratched as people tried to make sense of the “conditions” of a conditional second-rounder involved in the move.

With a little time for the smoke to clear and with the assets revealed, here are some scattered thoughts.

PHT will likely cover more of the fallout on Tuesday and beyond, though, so stay tuned.

Brian MacLellan deserves consideration as a top GM

Judging an executive can be really tricky; while a GM of the Year award is easy to justify, it’s also easy to mock. Even the best managers inherit a roster (aside from MacLellan’s predecessor George McPhee, who will build one in Vegas), so you have to credit some successes to the guy who came before.

And, yes, McPhee helped put together a core that includes Alex Ovechkin, Braden Holtby and Nicklas Backstrom.

Even so, MacLellan evokes Stan Bowman in masterfully adding tremendous electrons to a fantastic nucleus.

He added Matt Niskanen (and, admittedly, flubbed it with Brooks Orpik) to beef up a defense to help the shrewd hiring of Barry Trotz as head coach. Trotz seems like he’s ending what was a busy procession of shaky bench bosses.

MacLellan really nailed it the next summer, trading for T.J. Oshie and signing Justin Williams to a bargain deal. A year later, the Capitals added a fantastic third-line center option in Lars Eller via a smart trade.

And now this. It’s not clear where Kevin Shattenkirk will fit in the Capitals’ lineup, but either way, he boosts an already formidable group.

Misc.

Let’s lightning round some other thoughts.

  • Scottie Upshall joked about all the one-timers Shattenkirk is primed to set up for Alex Ovechkin … but he has a point.
  • It’s difficult to imagine the Capitals re-signing Shattenkirk, putting continued emphasis on the talk of Washington being in the last season of a “two-year window” to make their greatest push for a Stanley Cup. At the same time, there aren’t a lot of problem contracts beyond Orpik’s in Washington, so the plus side is that MacLellan can also show how he might be Bowman-like in making the right calls in who to bring back. Make no mistake about it, getting Shattenkirk is about now, not later.
  • Oh yeah the Capitals also got a nice sneaky bonus in landing Pheonix Copley, who better have the nickname “typo.”

All things considered, it’s no surprise that the Capitals are excited.

There’s at least a chance Shattenkirk might be able to suit up for Washington as soon as Tuesday’s game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, but either way, this sure looks like a slam dunk.

Wild just wouldn’t stay down, edge Kings in OT

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Don’t blame Ben Bishop if, deep down, he was glad that he didn’t make his Los Angeles Kings debut on Monday.

After seeing the kind of speed, drive and all-around electric play displayed by the Minnesota Wild, you can understand a goalie shuddering at the often wide-open action. Despite falling behind four times against the Kings, the Wild ultimately edged Los Angeles 5-4 in an overtime thriller.

Mikael Granlund‘s 20th goal of the season ended it in OT, and quickly. And it was beautiful:

…. Unless you’re Jonathan Quick and the Kings, that is.

Granlund is absolutely on fire right now.

Ryan White made a great first impression for the Wild, scoring a goal and an assist (while displaying great flow). Martin Hanzal wasn’t able to score, though he did make his presence felt with five hits. And, again, Bishop might have secretly been relieved to put his Kings debut on hold.

Marian Gaborik turned back the clock a bit to his Wild prime, scoring a goal and an assist. He generally made quite a bit happen for Los Angeles.

It was a tough one for Anze Kopitar, meanwhile, who was unable to generate offense and suffered a -3. He wasn’t able to stop Granlund in OT, though who could?

The Wild still must worry as mumps sidelined at least Zach Parise and Jason Pominville, but for now, they’re battling on. Just ask the Kings how resilient this group really is.

Sell this: Kucherov, Lightning put trades behind them, blast Senators

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The Tampa Bay Lightning might be in sell mode, but that doesn’t mean their players are quitting on this season.

After shipping Ben Bishop and Brian Boyle out of town, they could have rolled over against a hungry Ottawa Senators team. Instead, they blew them out, winning 5-1 on Monday.

Nikita Kucherov was the biggest standout, collecting a natural hat trick, which you can watch above. (He also generated an assist.)

Jonathan Drouin had a big night in his own right, assisting on all three of Kucherov’s goals. Victor Hedman and Tyler Johnson generated two assists apiece, as well.

And, yes, Andrei Vasilevskiy inspired at least a few “Ben who?” jokes by making 39 out of 40 saves, including this beauty:

As you can see, Ottawa actually had a 1-0 lead at that point, so it could have been a different game if the agile goalie did do the splits there.

The Lightning are still five points out of the final wild card spot, trailing Boyle’s new team in the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Senators, meanwhile, find themselves slipping a bit out of the race to win the Atlantic Division, especially considering Montreal’s comeback win against New Jersey.

Tampa Bay may may not be done making moves and recognizing painful truth that the odds are against them rallying to a playoff spot. That said, nights like these make you wonder if a run is at least possible.

Canadiens’ big guns trigger comeback OT win against Devils

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 27:  Max Pacioretty #67 of the Montreal Canadiens celebrates the game winning power play goal by Alex Galchenyuk #27 at 2:54 of overtrime against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on February 27, 2017 in Newark, New Jersey.  The Canadiens defeated the Devils 4-3 in overtime.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Things were looking a little grim there for the Montreal Canadiens on Monday.

The New Jersey Devils had, at one point, a 2-0 lead. At least in some corners there were murmurs about a bad start for Claude Julien. Then their big guns swung the game.

The comeback started with Alex Radulov, though the drama was just beginning:

Travis Zajac made it 3-1 for the Devils on the power play, only for Radulov to assist on two Max Pacioretty goals to send the game to overtime.

From there, Alex Galchenyuk scored the overtime-winner for Montreal on the man advantage. Radulov got yet another secondary assist – he ended up with four points tonight – while Shea Weber nabbed the primary helpers on the last two tallies.

Long story short, the Canadiens biggest names came through, allowing Julien to maybe utther a sigh of relief.