The best hockey goals of 2017 (PHT Year in Review)

(Pro Hockey Talk is taking a look back at the year in hockey. We’ll be presenting you with the best goals, saves, moments, players and much more as we bring you the best of 2017.)

One of the great things about Twitter is just how fast a goal can be scored and the highlight be blasted across the interwebs for all to see, no matter what part of the globe the game took place. This list of the best goals of 2017 isn’t limited to NHL highlights. We’ve scoured the Internet for the best moves and efforts that resulted in goals and broken them down in different categories.

You’ll see great individual efforts, creative attempts and even a slew of goalie goals.

We hope you enjoy.


Andreas Athanasiou vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, Jan. 14

AA has wheels. AA has hands. He combined those two skills to embarrass the Penguins.

Laura Horwood vs. Union, Jan. 21

If you’re going to stop Horwood from taking a scoring chance, you apparently need to do a little more than hand out a few chops and trip her up.

Auston Matthews vs. Carolina Hurricanes, Feb. 19

The 2017 Calder Trophy winner routinely made goaltenders look silly, as Cam Ward discovered. This effort, a twisty backhander that went five-hole was all sorts of ridiculous.

Sidney Crosby vs. Buffalo Sabres, March 21

The 2016-17 Sabres were bad, bad, bad, so it’s no surprised that to defend Crosby, they parted the seas and allowed the Penguins captain to one-hand a shot by Robin Lehner.

Alex Radulov vs. New York Rangers, April 16

Radulov was electric in his NHL return with the Montreal Canadiens last season. That was on full display during the first-round of the playoffs when he undressed Henrik Lundqvist with this one-handed beauty.

Mike Hoffman vs. Bruins, April 17

This is a complete package of a goal. Not only do we get a marvelous Hail Mary pass from Erik Karlsson that lands on Hoffman’s tape, we then get a Nilsson/Forsberg move to top it all off.

David Farrance vs. Finland, Aug. 4

Coast-to-coast goals are a thing for Farrance. He showed that once again with the U.S. National Team Development Program during August’s World Junior Summer Showcase.

David Pastrnak vs. Vancouver Canucks, Oct. 19

The Canucks were just like us on this goal, admiring a wonderful end-to-end rush by the Bruins star.

Jack Hughes vs. Green Bay Gamblers, Oct. 23

We’ll be hearing a lot about Hughes in the next few years as he prepares for the 2019 NHL Draft with the USNTDP. Here he is giving us a taste of what’s to come.

Adam Henrique vs. New Jersey Devils, Dec. 18

“It’s good to be back in New Jersey. Now here’s a highlight-reel goal.” – Henrique, probably.

It’s not just the big kids who can score pretty goals:


Pontus Aberg vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, May 31

Poor Olli Maatta, getting posterized on a national stage like the Stanley Cup Final.

Viktor Arvidsson vs. Carolina Hurricanes, Nov. 27

The Nashville Predators forward pulled this same move off against the St. Louis Blues a year ago. That scouting report appeared to get lost.

Dmitry Orlov vs. Dallas Stars, Dec. 19

Orlov is still playing for the Capitals, which means no one reported him to the authorities after he pulled this move on John Klingberg.


Jared Spurgeon vs. New Jersey Devils, Jan. 17

It’s not so much the Minnesota Wild defenseman batting away here, it’s the wherewithal to catch and release in such a small amount of time that puts this one on another level.

Patric Hornqvist vs. Florida Panthers, March 19

This might be the closest thing we get to an alley-oop in hockey. Great timing and connection here between Hornqvist and Phil Kessel.


Chad Kolarik vs. Dusseldorf, Sept. 17

These types of goals are never not be enjoyable every single time you watch. Just the sheer confidence alone to decide to pull this move off during a game — a close one in this instance — is enough to warrant praise.

Robert Farmer vs. Sheffield Steelers, Oct. 14

Silky. Smooth. Call it whatever you want. Farmer pulls this is off in a very calm manner like he’d done it before.

Josh Bailey vs. San Jose Sharks, Oct. 21

Bailey does it all here. He intercepts the pass, makes Joe Pavelski look silly and then gets tricky inside Aaron Dell‘s crease.

Boris Sadecky vs. Lokomotiv, Oct. 25

Sadecky was feeling it this night in October. He not only embarrasses a defenseman on his way to the net, he then was feeling supremely confident that he felt that going backhand or forehand wasn’t the way to go.

Kenny Agostino vs. Utica Comets, Dec. 10

In what turned out to be the 2,000th win in franchise history, Agostino needed only 26 seconds of overtime to deliver this absolute beauty.


Kalle Kossila vs San Jose Barracuda, Jan. 20

You have to admire the patience of the San Diego Gulls forward here. It’s clear he badly wants to attempt the lacrosse-style shot and he’s just waiting out the defenseman to give him the space needed to do it. Success.

Matthew Strome vs. Ottawa 67’s, Nov. 25

Just like The Spanish Inquisition, no goalie ever expects the scoop shot.


Étienne Montpetit vs. Quebec Remparts, Jan. 7

Montpetit put a different spin on things by taking advantage of the Remparts emptying their net trying for a goal while on a power play. A shorthanded goalie goal.

Mike Smith, All-Star Skills Competition, Jan. 28

If Smith had accomplished this feat during an intermission, he probably would have won himself a brand new car or some cash.

Dylan Wells vs. Kingston Frontenacs, April 13

Really one of the best parts of a goalie goal is when they take part in the bench fly-by. It’s always well-deserved.

Mikhail Berdin vs. Muskegon Lumberjcks, Nov. 20

Not only did Sioux Falls Stampede fans get to enjoy a win during Teddy Bear Toss Night, they also got to see Berdin strut his stuff in celebration after he scored the first goal of his career.



Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Which trade deadline acquisition has made the biggest impact so far?

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It has been nearly one month since the NHL trade deadline came and went, so let’s check in with how some of the key acquisitions are doing for their new teams.

Obviously this is a pretty ridiculously small sampling of games, and a lot can still happen over the next few weeks and months (and over the next several years!) but we can still get an idea as to which moves have made an immediate impact and which ones have not.

First, a bunch of numbers involving all of the key players traded between Feb. 20 and the Feb. 26 trade deadline.

So … how about Ryan Spooner?

Included as part of the trade that sent Rick Nash to Boston, Spooner has taken full advantage of his increased role with the rebuilding Rangers and made a pretty significant impact with his new team and has already recorded five multiple point games. He only had four with the Bruins before the trade.

It is going to create an interesting dilemma for the Rangers heading into the offseason as Spooner will be a restricted free agent and eligible for a new contract. Do they re-sign him for what will probably be at least $3 million per season (keep in mind he already makes $2.85 million this season) or try to capitalize on what is a pretty obvious hot streak and see if they can flip him for more assets around the draft?

The biggest concern at this point is that his possession numbers have plummeted with the Rangers (some of that has to be the result of going from Boston, one of the best teams in the league, to whatever is left of the Rangers) and there is no way he is going to maintain that sort of assist pace. But he has a track record of at least being a 40-50 point player the past few years without getting huge minutes, so there might be something there the Rangers can work with if they choose to.

Just below him is one of the players the Rangers shipped out of town as part of their roster purge, forward J.T. Miller.

With injury limiting defenseman Ryan McDonagh to just two games with the Lightning, the other player acquired in that trade has already made quite an impact recording at least one point in five of his first seven games with the team, including his first career hat trick.

Meanwhile, in San Jose, Evander Kane has been a shots on goal machine for the Sharks and finally had a breakout game on Friday night when he scored four goals in a huge 7-4 win over the Calgary Flames. It is doubtful that he will be anymore more than a rental for the Sharks, but he has made a pretty significant impact so far and is probably going to get them into the playoffs, and they really didn’t give up all that much in terms of future assets to acquire him.

Probably the biggest surprise trade of the season came when the St. Louis Blues, still very  much in the playoff race, traded Paul Stastny to Winnipeg to help make an already powerful Jets offense even better. That trade has not disappointed for the Jets. Stastny has recorded at least one point in all but one game he has played with his new team while the Jets are 5-2-1 with him in the lineup.

At the other end of the spectrum the Devils have not really received much production from Michael Grabner. He went eight games without a point before recording a goal and an assist in their big win over Vegas. Still, he brings an element of speed to a lineup that is suddenly one of the faster ones in the league. He can still be a dangerous, impactful player even if he is not scoring goals.

Vegas gave up a lot of draft assets to get Tomas Tatar and he has not really produced a ton yet, but he has proven to be a pretty consistent 25-goal winger in the NHL and is signed through next season, something that could be important if the Golden Knights are not able to re-sign James Neal or David Perron after this season.

Tomas Plekanec, going from Montreal to Toronto, is the only key player moved during deadline week that is still pointless with his new team. He has played less than 10 minutes in each of the Maple Leafs’ past three games.


Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.


NHL Playoff Push: Lightning, Bruins fight for top spot in Atlantic

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Friday turned out to be a big night in the NHL playoff race with Dallas and Calgary dropping key games, the Sharks and Ducks getting huge wins and the Nashville Predators becoming the first team to clinch a spot in the postseason.

The Flames loss might prove to be a devastating loss as it drops them four points back of the competition, while the Stars are clinging to that second wild card spot by the slimmest of margins.

Saturday is going to be another pivotal day in the race, and not just for teams that are on the playoff bubble, but also for teams that are playing for seeding.

The Eastern Conference playoff race has some huge games on Saturday. The Panthers, entering the day three points back of the New Jersey Devils for the second spot and coming off of a huge win against Boston, are hosting Edmonton for an afternoon game while the Devils are in Los Angeles. The Panthers still have the games in hand edge working in their favor against both Columbus and New Jersey but we are at a point here where if they drop a game or two, and the others pick up an additional win, it is going to make that gap really difficult to overcome. The Devils have slowed down in recent weeks (5-5-0 in their past 10) while the Blue Jackets and Panthers keep stacking wins.

The Blue Jackets are at home against Ottawa today looking to run their winning streak to seven games and potentially jump back into the top-three spot in the Metropolitan Division depending on what happens with the Philadelphia Flyers game against Carolina. The Flyers are trending in the wrong direction lately with losses in seven of their past eight.

The most intriguing game of the day though is probably in Tampa Bay where the top two teams in the East meet in a crucial game in the Atlantic Division race. The Lightning enter the day four points ahead of the Bruins and a win (especially one in regulation) could go a long way toward securing the division title and the top spot in the Eastern Conference. A regulation win moves them six points up with 11 games to play (12 for Boston). A Boston win, however, would close the gap to two points while the Bruins would still have a game in hand and two head-to-head games remaining after Saturday.

[The 2018 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs begin April 11 on the networks of NBC]

The schedule in the Western Conference for Saturday is not quite as intriguing as a lot of the key players in the playoff race have the day off.

The Blues are still trying to cling to a playoff spot but have five points to make up on a bunch of teams ahead of them. They are playing the New York Rangers on Saturday night. This is pretty much a must-win for the Blues.

Meanwhile, the Sharks, coming off of a huge win against Calgary on Friday, are in Vancouver to play a Canucks team that has lost six in a row, nine out of 10, and have not scored a goal in more than three games. They have only scored three goals in their past five games. A Sharks win on Saturday would go a long way toward deciding their playoff fate and would put them five points clear of the teams on the outside of the playoff picture.

If The Playoffs Started Today

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New Jersey Devils
Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Boston Bruins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

Nashville Predators vs. Dallas Stars
Vegas Golden Knights vs. Colorado Avalanche
Winnipeg Jets vs. Minnesota Wild
San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings

Saturday’s Key Games

Edmonton Oilers vs. Florida Panthers
New Jersey Devils vs. Los Angeles Kings
Boston Bruins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Carolina Hurricanes
Ottawa Senators vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
New York Rangers vs. St. Louis Blues
San Jose Sharks vs. Vancouver Canucks


Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Ilya Kovalchuk aiming for NHL return after 5 years away

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MOSCOW (AP) Former NHL forward Ilya Kovalchuk says he wants to return to the league this summer and play there for “several more years.”

Kovalchuk tells Russian state sports channel Match TV that if he doesn’t try again to win a Stanley Cup, “I won’t forgive myself for it when I get older.”

Kovalchuk, who won the Olympic gold medal last month, says he’s focused on winning the Kontinental Hockey League with SKA St. Petersburg, “but in the summer I’m going to examine offers” from the NHL.

He adds that he wants to match Russian teammate Pavel Datsyuk as a member of the so-called triple gold club of players who have won the Olympic gold medal, world championship, and Stanley Cup.

Kovalchuk walked out on the New Jersey Devils in 2013 to return to Russia, where he has since won two KHL titles.

The Buzzer: Kane nets four; Preds first to clinch

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Players of the Night:

Evander Kane, San Jose Sharks: It took him 565 NHL games and three teams, but Kane now has his first NHL hat trick. Then he made sure to grab his first four-goal NHL game for the hell of it. Kane has five goals and 10 points in eight games since the trade deadline, the most of any player dealt this year on deadline day.

Mike Hoffman, Ottawa Senators: Hoffman had an assist in regulation and then one-timed his fifth game-winning goal of the season in overtime to help the Senators past the Dallas Stars.

Nashville Predators: For no other reason than they claimed first blood in a 4-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche, becoming the first team this season to clinch a playoff spot.

Highlights of the Night:

Bravo, Johnny:

Kane’s hat trick goal:



Factoids of the Night:


Senators 3, Stars 2 (OT)

Capitals 6, Islanders 3

Predators 4, Avalanche 2

Sharks 7, Flames 4

Ducks 4, Red Wings 2

Wild 4, Golden Knights 2

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck