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PHT Morning Skate: Is it time for the Kings to move on from Darryl Sutter?

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–Michael Nylander was able to watch his sons, William and Alex, go head-to-head in the NHL for the very first time. Here’s an interview he gave during the game. (Sportsnet)

–As you probably heard, the NHL has decided not to go to the 2018 Winter Olympics. So what happens if players decide to go on their own? There could be a lot of chaos coming in the next few months if some owners tell their players to go to the Olympics, while others decide they want their players to stick around. (Yahoo)

–Despite missing 35 games with an upper-body injury and four games in the playoffs because of a lower-body injury, Nolan Patrick is still expected to go first overall in this summer’s NHL Entry Draft. He’s still the top prospect on Central Scouting’s latest rankings. “Nolan’s situation is part of the game and for NHL clubs it’s a talking point in draft deliberations and from many recent discussions with NHL personnel it will have absolutely no negative implications or bearing on Nolan’s Draft status.” (NHL.com)

–Is it time for the Los Angeles Kings to make some sweeping changes? The Hockey News argues that after missing the playoffs in two of the last three season, it might be time to move on from coach Darryl Sutter.  Jared Clinton writes: “A lack of offense plagued Los Angeles almost from the outset of the campaign, and it continued to haunt them as their season officially slipped away. The loss that eliminated the Kings from playoff contention was a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Arizona Coyotes. These are the same Coyotes who’ve allowed the second-most goals against, 249, in the entire league.” (The Hockey News)

–Prior to last night’s game between the Panthers and Canadiens in Florida, a plane flew over the BB&T Arena with a banner that said “ROWE MUST GO! CALL HIM A CAB!” Obviously, this fan has an issue with Tom Rowe being behind the bench, and he still isn’t happy with the way Gerard Gallant was treated after his dismissal. (Yahoo)

–Blackhawks top prospect Alex DeBrincat is used to people doubting him because of his size (he stands just 5-foot-7), but he, his teammates and junior opponents all believe he has what it takes to become solid NHLer. “Ever since scouts started to watch me my minor-midget year it’s always been ‘you’re too small, you’re not going to be able to play at the next level. If people doubt you, you just have to go out and play your game and try to change their mind. That’s kind of what I’ve been doing the past three years.” (Chicago Tribune)

Report: Blue Jackets RFA Anderson in contact with Hockey Canada about 2018 Olympics

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The preseason is well underway and Josh Anderson is still without a contract.

Anderson, who scored 17 goals and 29 points last season for the Columbus Blue Jackets, is one of two remaining restricted free agents without a new deal. The other is Andreas Athanasiou of the Detroit Red Wings.

While there were reports this summer about Athanasiou potentially going to the KHL for this season, John Shannon of Sportsnet reported on Thursday that Anderson’s representatives have reached out to Hockey Canada’s staff about the 2018 Olympics. 

Anderson’s entry-level contract, with an AAV of just over $894,000, expired at the end of last season.

Meanwhile, here is the latest on this ongoing contract situation.

Making an impression: Sergachev has ‘NHL written all over him’

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Mikhail Sergachev has, over the summer, stated his belief he can play in the NHL this season.

He had a small taste of NHL action last season, appearing in four games for Montreal — the team that selected him ninth overall in 2016 — before getting sent back to junior and then being traded in June to Tampa Bay, as part of a blockbuster involving Jonathan Drouin to the Habs.

Well, Sergachev made a statement Wednesday in his preseason debut for the Lightning.

He scored once. He also played more than 22 minutes, which led all Lightning players on the night. That included time on the power play and penalty kill. If he was looking to make a favorable impression, to show that he belongs at the NHL level when the regular season begins, this seems to be another step in that direction.

“You watch this kid skate, shoot, stickhandle, he’s got NHL written all over him,” Tampa Bay’s associate coach Rick Bowness told the Tampa Bay Times. “Now we’ve got to give him experience. How much can he handle?”

There is competition on the blue line, with eight defensemen under contract in Tampa Bay for this season. That includes Sergachev, who is still only 19 years old. After getting sent back to junior last season, he recorded 43 points in 50 games with Windsor and then won the Memorial Cup that spring. That said, he’s made it a point of saying going back to junior “is not an option” for him.

Related:

Looking to make the leap: Mikhail Sergachev

Report: Lupul will have ‘independent medical exam’

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Joffrey Lupul issued a statement Wednesday, saying he wouldn’t seek a second medical opinion after the Maple Leafs announced he didn’t pass his training camp physical.

A day later, reports have surfaced that the 33-year-old forward will, in fact, undergo another, independent medical test.

That is according to James Mirtle of The Athletic:

Earlier this week, Lupul made accusations against the Maple Leafs on Instagram.

“I’m ready … just awaiting the call,” Lupul wrote in the comments section of the Instagram post, per a screen grab. “haha failed physical? They cheat. Everyone lets them.”

Lupul, who didn’t pass his physical for a second year in a row, issued an apology yesterday. But those comments — which have since been deleted — seem to have grabbed the attention of the league.

Darren Dreger of TSN added to that, saying it’s the NHL pursuing a second medical opinion on this matter.

“The National Hockey League has that right to pursue the second opinion. That’s exactly what they’re engaging in right now,” Dreger reported Thursday.

“The reasoning behind it is because of the comment that Lupul made on social media. I’ll go back a year ago. The league didn’t step in a year ago but Lupul stayed quiet at that point. So they want to make sure — ‘They’ being the National Hockey League — that the medical evaluation from the Toronto Maple Leafs is 100 per cent above the board.”

Team USA won’t include NHL draft-eligible prospects at 2018 Olympics

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) General manager Jim Johannson has ruled out the possibility of the U.S. men’s hockey team having NHL draft-eligible prospects competing at the Winter Olympics in February.

Johannson tells The Associated Press he doesn’t view anyone from the 18-and-younger pool of prospects capable of cracking the projected lineup of non-NHL players, many of whom are opening this season playing in Europe.

USA Hockey’s assistant executive director says he’s also targeting a number of established college players, and would not rule out keeping a spot or two open for members of the U.S. team competing at the World Junior Championships this winter.

Johansson spoke in Buffalo, New York, on Thursday, where he is attending USA Hockey’s sixth annual All-American Prospects game. The game features the top 42 U.S.-born players eligible to be selected in the NHL draft in June.