Zach Werenski


PHT Morning Skate: Nugent-Hopkins for Hoffman makes sense; OAR dominate Slovenia

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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at

• Team USA veterans like Brian Gionta and Matt Gilroy have helped young players feel comfortable. (NBC Olympics)

• Slovenia managed to beat Team USA, but they weren’t so fortunate against the Olympic Athletes of Russia. (NBC Olympics)

• The puck used to score Korea’s first goal at the Olympics is heading to the Hockey Hall of Fame. (Yonhap News)

• American Matt McIlvane has the opportunity of a lifetime to be part of Team Germany’s coaching staff. (NBC Olympics)

Be sure to visit and NBC Olympic Talk for full hockey coverage from PyeongChang.

• The Kings probably won’t have to make a trade to get an offensive boost, as Jeff Carter is closing in on a return. (LA Times)

• A trade involving Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Mike Hoffman makes a lot of sense for the Sens and Oilers. (

• It’s been a rough year for the Blackhawks, but it looks like they have a plan moving forward. (ESPN)

• Dave Lozo writes an interesting piece about how every team should make the playoffs! (Vice Sports)

• Sabres could Chad Johnson could be on the move before the trade deadline. (Buffalo Hockey Beat)

• How will Lightning GM Steve Yzerman approach the trade deadline? (Raw Charge)

• Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers has a hard time scoring on breakaways. (Jets Nation)

Zach Werenski showed off his elite vision while shopping for furniture. (1st Ohio Battery)

• Here’s the story of a young hockey player that left Canaan to come to Canada to pursue his dream of playing in the NHL. (Times of Israel)

• Certain Sabres have stepped up in Jack Eichel‘s absence. (Die By the Blade)

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

The Buzzer: Faulk the natural; Tavares hits 600


Be sure to visit and NBC Olympic Talk for full hockey coverage from PyeongChang.

Player of the Night: Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes

There were some other great performances on Tuesday, including Mark Scheifele powering the Jets past the Capitals with three points and Zach Werenski collecting three points of his own as a defenseman in Columbus’ win, but Faulk takes the cake when he correct for rarity.

Faulk generated not just a hat trick, but also a natural one, becoming just the fifth player in NHL history to achieve such a feat. You can see footage of that in the video above this headline.

Highlights of the Night

The Predators managed quite the comeback against the Blues on Tuesday, rallying from a 3-0 deficit almost halfway through the third period to send the game into overtime. Filip Forsberg took the cake in OT, locking down the win with a penalty shot. Watch all of their goals, which included a beautiful set of passes to set up one of Austin Watson‘s two tallies:

It’s been a middling season for the Red Wings, but Dylan Larkin has enjoyed a fantastic rebound. This time around, it was all about the takeaway:

This probably ranks as a lowlight, but still:


As lousy as that 4-1 loss was for the Islanders, John Tavares did collect his 600th career point. He hit that milestone in just the 645th game of his NHL career. Outstanding, especially for a guy who hasn’t always had the greatest linemates.

Another feather in the cap for the Vegas Golden Knights:

Put this in Taylor Hall‘s Hart Trophy file:

Then again, there’s this in Patrice Bergeron‘s favor:

Hot take: they’re both excellent. (No punches pulled.)


Bruins 5, Flames 2
Sabres 5, Lightning 3
Blue Jackets 4, Islanders 1
Devils 5, Flyers 4 (SO)
Penguins 6, Senators 3
Hurricanes 7, Kings 3
Red Wings 2, Ducks 1
Predators 4, Blues 3 (OT)
Wild 3, Rangers 2
Jets 4, Capitals 3 (OT)
Golden Knights 5, Blackhawks 2
Coyotes 2, Sharks 1

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.


Associated Press
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Atlantic Division


Steven Stamkos
Nikita Kucherov
Brayden Point
Auston Matthews
Aleksander Barkov
Brad Marchand
Jack Eichel


Erik Karlsson
Mike Green


Andrei Vasilevskiy
Carey Price

[Best, funniest, most heartwarming 2018 Skills Competition moments]

Metropolitan Division


Alex Ovechkin
Brian Boyle
Sidney Crosby
Josh Bailey
John Tavares
Claude Giroux

[Alex Ovechkin fires hardest shot at 2018 All-Star Skills Competition]


Zach Werenski
Noah Hanifin
Kris Letang


Henrik Lundqvist
Braden Holtby

[Brian Boyle ‘thankful’ to be a part of NHL All-Star Weekend]

Central Division


Patrick Kane
Nathan MacKinnon
Blake Wheeler
Brayden Schenn
Eric Staal
Tyler Seguin


P.K. Subban
Alex Pietrangelo
John Klingberg


Pekka Rinne
Connor Hellebuyck

[NHL All-Star Game returns to thriving Tampa Bay market]

Pacific Division


Connor McDavid
Johnny Gaudreau
Brock Boeser
James Neal
Rickard Rakell
Anze Kopitar

[2018 NHL All-Star Skills Competition Fastest Skater: Connor McDavid]


Drew Doughty
Brent Burns
Oliver Ekman-Larsson


Mike Smith
Marc-Andre Fleury

[Coolest hair wasn’t enough, Boeser wins accuracy competition]

WATCH LIVE: NHL All-Star Skills Competition

Getty Images


Fastest skater challenge:

Brayden Point, Tampa Bay Lightning
Zach Werenski, Columbus Blue Jackets
Rickard Rakell, Anaheim Ducks
Noah Hanifin, Carolina Hurricanes
Josh Bailey, New York Islanders
Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche
Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres
Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

[NHL All-Star Game: Top moments from the Fastest Skater competition]

Passing challenge:

Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
Brayden Schenn, St. Louis Blues
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona Coyotes
Eric Staal, Minnesota Wild
Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues
Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins
Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings

[A simple request for future NHL All-Star Skills Competitions]

Save streak:

Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers, vs. Central Division
Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets, vs Pacific Division
Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators, vs. Metropolitan Division
Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights, vs. Atlantic Division
Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning, vs. Central Division

[NHL All-Star Game: Fun Skills Competition moments]

Puck control relay:

Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames
Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers
Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators
John Tavares, New York Islanders
Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs
Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks

[NHL All-Stars see lack of Olympic participation as ‘missed opportunity’]

Hardest shot:

John Klingberg, Dallas Stars
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
P.K. Subban, Nashville Predators
Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning

[NHL All-Star Game: Top moments from the Hardest Shot competition]

Accuracy shooting:

Brian Boyle, New Jersey Devils
Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg Jets
James Neal, Vegas Golden Knights
Brock Boeser, Vancouver Canucks
Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins
Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning

[NHL All-Star Game: Top moments from the Accuracy Shooting competition]

The Tampa Bay Lightning, who are celebrating their 25th season, and the city of Tampa will host the 2018 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend. The League’s midseason showcase will take place at AMALIE Arena and will include the 2018 GEICO NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Saturday, Jan. 27 (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS) and 2018 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Sunday, Jan. 28 (3:30 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).

Zach Werenski to replace Seth Jones on Metro All-Star Team


We have another change to make to the Metropolitan Division All-Star team.

The Columbus Blue Jackets announced on Friday afternoon that defenseman Zach Werenski will replace Seth Jones on the roster.

Jones, according to the team, is dealing with an illness and will not make the trip to Tampa.

According to Aaron Portzline of the Athletic, the Blue Jackets have been informed by the NHL that Jones will not have to miss a regular season game and will be eligible to play when the team returns from the break on Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild. Typically players that are chosen for the game that miss the festivities are forced to sit out at least one regular season game before or after the break but this is being viewed as a legitimate illness and not an excuse to skip out on the game.

Jones played more than 24 minutes on Thursday night in the Blue Jackets’ 2-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes, recording an assist on an Alexander Wennberg power play goal early in the third period.

Werenski is a fitting replacement for Jones as both players are having equally outstanding seasons and are both long-term building blocks for the Blue Jackets’ defense.

In 45 games this season the 20-year-old Werenski has 11 goals and 11 assists and is a 56 percent possession player.

Jones has eight goals and 24 assists is a 55 percent possession player.

The two have spent much of the season playing alongside one another, and when they are on the ice together during 5-on-5 play the Blue Jackets are attempting more than 56 percent of the total shot attempts and have outscored their opponents by a 30-24 margin.

This is the second change to the Metropolitan Division All-Star team in the past 24 hours. On Thursday night the NHL announced that New Jersey Devils forward Brian Boyle will replace Taylor Hall.


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