Author: James O'Brien

Carolina Hurricanes v Minnesota Wild

Hurricanes sign McClement to two-year, $2.4M extension


He wasn’t exactly a big trade target, but cross another name off the deadline list, as the Carolina Hurricanes signed Jay McClement to a two-year contract extension on Sunday.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that the contract is worth $1.2 million per season (thus $2.4 million overall).

The 31-year-old has been hot – in relative terms – lately. He scored two goals on Saturday and has three of his season’s six tallies in the past three games.

Naturally, preventing goals is McClement’s focus instead of producing them.

He currently leads the Hurricanes in shorthanded ice time per game with 2:24. While his zone starts aren’t quite as absurd as they were in Toronto, he’s still a guy who has a pretty thankless job, as he’s only begun 38.5 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone.

(He was under 30 regularly with Toronto, which is very rare.)

He’s not just on the ice for tough minutes, either, as it sounds like the Hurricanes have had a pretty successful penalty kill:

McClement may not be an impact player, but despite only 11 games of playoff experience in his career, he seems like the type who can make life easier for Carolina’s bigger money forwards.

Report: Bruins balked at asking price for Vermette

Detroit Red Wings v Arizona Coyotes

Sports are full of interesting “What if?” questions, and it sounds like armchair GMs can add “What if the Boston Bruins traded for Antoine Vermette?” to that list.

The Bruins were intrigued about the forward, but ultimately balked at throwing the first-round pick the Chicago Blackhawks ultimately gave up to get him, according to report by’s Joe Haggerty.

In some ways, the 32-year-old seems like a great fit for Boston. He can win faceoffs and score in decent quantities.

That said, the Blackhawks have more motivation to go “all-in” while the Bruins don’t exactly know where their first-rounder will fall just yet. Beyond that, many think that the Blackhawks paid far too much for Vermette:

Many others may only weigh in on this rumor with hindsight. If Boston misses the playoffs, some may say that Vermette would have put them over the top. Then again, if he underwhelms in Chicago, others will claim that Boston dodged a sizable bullet.

Then again, maybe the real question is: will this keep the door open for a different Bruins trade?

Burgled: Sens’ Hammond shuts out Kings

Andrew Hammond

The most common reactions to Ottawa Senators goalie Andrew Hammond are quickly changing from “Who is this guy?” to “How can we beat him?”

While Jonathan Quick continued his own excellent work for the Los Angeles Kings, Hammond was even better, powering the Senators to a startling 1-0 win on Thursday.

Hammond, 27, now has two shutouts in as many nights. He stopped all 35 shots by the red-hot Kings and now owns a 172:22 shutout streak (stopping 123 of the last 126 shots he’s faced).

This is all coming from an undrafted player at an advanced age who didn’t even really have remarkable numbers at lower levels.

Yes, there was some luck. He somehow stopped a point-blank Tyler Toffoli chance while the Kings were pressing on a late power play. There was also an obvious Justin Williams goal that was blown dead because the official lost sight of the puck.

The Senators have now won four games in a row, all with Hammond in net. While they still have a ways to go, they have to be taken seriously in the East wild card race, especially as Boston, Florida and Philadelphia lost at least their most recent games.

At worst, it’s a great story. At best, it’s the beginning of something special for a guy few heard of before Feb. 18.

He’s already acknowledging his nickname, too: