James O'Brien


Avalanche place Varlamov on IR; claim Wagner


The Colorado Avalanche claimed Chris Wagner off of waivers from the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday.

On paper, this seems like a pure depth move … but the Avs have their own “way of doing things,” so who knows. Perhaps he’ll make a bigger impact there than he did in Anaheim?

In case you’re asking “Who?” here are a few quick facts.

  • Wagner failed to score a point in 11 games with the Ducks. His production has been pretty modest in the AHL.
  • He was a fifth-round pick (122nd overall) in 2010.
  • OK, that’s about it.

So, there you go.

Any other moves coming for Colorado? Matt Duchene and Tyson Barrie are names that are floating around, although each situation seems far fetched.

Update: The Avalanche also placed Semyon Varlamov on IR, retroactive to Nov. 10.

It’s unclear if how long he’ll be out, as that retroactive date means he wouldn’t need to miss much time. Theoretically.

Then again, with Reto Berra on a tear, maybe they can take a slow-and-steady approach?

Report: Tyson Barrie could find himself on trading block

Tyson Barrie

The Colorado Avalanche are pretty hot on the ice right now, yet they also seem to be boiling on the hot stove.

Earlier this week, PHT touched on rumors about Matt Duchene‘s name possibly coming up in trade talks.

During Saturday’s latest Headlines segment on Sportsnet (worth a full watch, by the way), Elliotte Friedman said that defenseman Tyson Barrie might just get bandied about if the Avalanche believe that they cannot re-sign him.

Friedman points out that Barrie, a pending restricted free agent, holds arbitration rights.

He’s currently registering just a $2.6 million cap hit, and considering his offensive skills and the fact that he’s just 24, one would imagine a feeding frenzy. Perhaps historic rival the Detroit Red Wings might throw their name in the hat?

It’s tough to imagine the Avalanche parting with such a promising young defenseman, especially considering how hard they are to come by. Then again, that would really give him a lot of trade value, and maybe it would be best to move him if he’s not viewed as a “core” guy?

Report: No fine or suspension coming for Toews or Backes


There was quite a bit of carnage between the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues on Saturday, but a fine or suspension won’t come out of it.

That’s the word from the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Lazerus this morning, following Chicago’s 4-2 victory.

So nothing extra for Jonathan Toews, David Backes or Marko Dano.

Keep in mind that’s not official, yet it seems to more or less follow the league’s pattern of decisions.

As a sleepy Sunday bonus, check out the video of the Toews – Backes squabble in the video above this post.

John Klingberg can’t be ignored, especially after Saturday

John Klingberg

The Dallas Stars already have two of the highest scoring forwards in Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, but don’t sleep on their high-octane defenseman.

John Klingberg was already making a serious impression, yet Saturday’s performance may have been a true breakout for those who were reluctant to hop on the bandwagon.

In a 3-2 overtime victory for the Stars against the Minnesota Wild, Klingberg factored into every goal, including scoring the OT game-winner.

With that three-point outburst, Klingberg now comfortably leads all NHL defensemen with an impressive 20 points. He’s also among the top scorers in the league, as he’s in a three-way tie for sixth place with Taylor Hall and Blake Wheeler.

One needs to stretch to be pessimistic with Klingberg, and Dallas-area sports fans might get that familiar feeling, as maybe some will attribute his success to Benn and Seguin. It might not be far off from those decrying Emmitt Smith as a guy who merely benefited from a great offensive line.

As frustrating as that might be, the implication is that those people are likely jealous, and it’s easy to see why.

Benn, Seguin and Klingberg are all on cheap contracts and they’re all young. Specifically with Klingberg, he’s 23 and locked up with a killer $4.25 million cap hit through 2021-22.

In other words, critics better hope that Klingberg isn’t as promising as he looks.

Voracek picks great time (overtime) for first goal of season


You know things weren’t going well for Jakub Voracek when you see stats crop up like “Luke Schenn has just as many points.”

That didn’t stand, as Voracek scored his first goal of 2015-16 in glorious fashion: an overtime game-winning goal.

He found some humor in it, too.

You can watch Voracek’s goal in the video above. To reward your fastidious clicking, here’s Patrick Marleau‘s overtime clincher against Buffalo, which may or may not have prompted a few “Trade this!” headlines/quips.