All the latest from the crease …
Giving Gibson the ball
Could we see at least a mild goalie battle for the Anaheim Ducks, albeit a few months later than expected?
Going into the season, it seemed like John Gibson and Frederik Andersen would trade starts on a playoff-caliber team. Anaheim’s remained a playoff team, but Andersen ran with the top job when Gibson got hurt. Now Gibson seems like he’s taking advantage of the opportunity he received when Andersen was injured.
The interesting wrinkle is that Andersen seems ready to play again, yet as the OC Register’s Eric Stephens notes, head coach Bruce Boudreau is going with the “winning hand” in Gibson.
While Andersen’s record (29-8-5) towers over that of Gibson (7-5-0), his .916 save percentage is only slightly shinier than Gibson’s .914 mark. Perhaps Boudreau will merely ride the hot/winning hand for the rest of 2014-15, then?
Sunday serves as a good opportunity for another win for Gibson – at least on paper – as the Ducks face the struggling Dallas Stars with Jhonas Enroth in net.
Kings at Jets: Likely Jonathan Quick, while Michael Hutchinson is a safe bet.
Blue Jackets at Penguins: Curtis McElhinney vs. Marc-Andre Fleury.
Lightning at Panthers: A good chance of Ben Bishop, while Al Montoya is confirmed.
Leafs at Capitals: Leaning toward James Reimer vs. Braden Holtby, but neither team has confirmed those choices.
Blues at Canucks: Jake Allen vs. Eddie Lack.
The Philadelphia Flyers are looking to trade defenseman Braydon Coburn by Monday’s trade deadline, according to CSNPhilly.com’s Tim Panaccio.
Panaccio notes that “teams are calling,” something TSN’s Darren Dreger can back up in a broader sense, as he reports that the Flyers are fielding calls about their defense in general.
Coburn, 30, will see his $4.5 million cap hit expire after the 2015-16 season (when he brings in a $4 million salary), so the lure would be relief next season, not just in 2014-15. Considering the staggering amounts of cash involved, this seems far fetched, but at least one journalist wonders if a team might take a rough contract off Philly’s hands to land Coburn (or another Flyers blueliner):
Coburn is currently in his ninth season with the Flyers. Injuries have caused him some obvious issues this year, limiting him to 39 games played.
He’s also seen a significant drop in ice time – perhaps due in part to injury issues – as he’s logging 20:14 per night as opposed to the 22+ minutes he’s averaged the past three seasons.
Even with that overall drop, Coburn could be quite desirable to a team hoping for a veteran to soak up tough minutes; his 3:01 shorthanded average easily tops all Flyers skaters and ranks 19th overall in the NHL.
This isn’t the first time Coburn’s name has surfaced in trade rumors – the Edmonton Oilers have been cited as a possible suitor more than once – but it’s at least a situation to watch considering how shallow the talent pool is this year.
The NHL named New York Islanders forward Anders Lee the rookie of the month for February.
He topped all rookies with 15 points in 15 February games, finishing comfortably ahead of the likes of Ottawa Senators forwards Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone (who generated 12 points apiece).
Lee, 24, has really taken advantage of his opportunity to play as one of John Tavares’ wingers, as he’s found some nice chemistry alongside Josh Bailey. As of this moment, his six game-winning goals is the most of any rookie this season.
Considering his status as a sixth-rounder (152nd overall in 2009), this is quite the accomplishment, especially on a team as loaded with young talent as the Islanders.
Check out some stats from his breakout month:
Date Opponent G A PTS Result
Feb. 3 FLORIDA 2 0 2 4-2 loss
Feb. 5 at Philadelphia 0 0 0 3-2 win (SO)
Feb. 7 at Boston 0 0 0 2-1 loss
Feb. 8 at Buffalo 1 0 1 3-2 win
Feb. 10 EDMONTON 0 1 1 3-2 win
Feb. 12 TORONTO 2 0 2 3-2 win
Feb. 14 COLUMBUS 0 4 4 6-3 win
Feb. 16 NY RANGERS 0 0 0 6-5 loss
Feb. 17 at Carolina 1 0 1 4-1 win
Feb. 19 NASHVILLE 0 1 1 5-2 win
Feb. 21 at Washington 0 1 1 3-2 loss (SO)
Feb. 22 VANCOUVER 0 0 0 4-0 loss
Feb. 24 ARIZONA 1 0 1 5-1 win
Feb. 27 CALGARY 0 0 0 2-1 win
Feb. 28 CAROLINA 0 1 1 5-3 loss
Total 7 8 15 9-5-1
The Washington Capitals acquired forward Curtis Glencross from the Calgary Flames on Sunday, according to various reporters including TSN’s Darren Dreger.
Update: Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reports that the Flames received a second and third-round pick (both Capitals’ picks* in 2015) for Glencross. No salary was retained in the trade, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.
Glencross, 28, is in the final year of a contract that carries a modest $2.55 million cap hit.
He has nine goals and 28 points in 53 games so far in 2014-15. His best work came a few seasons ago, particularly when he generated 26 goals and 48 points in 67 games during the 2011-12 season with Calgary.
One could see Capitals head coach Barry Trotz deploying Glencross in a number of ways. The most tantalizing idea is that he could finally give Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom a stable linemate, as they’ve seen a parade of wingers on their line in 2014-15. Glencross could also ease some of the pressure on that duo by bolstering Washington’s scoring depth.
Quick note: TSN’s Bob McKenzie points out that the official call hasn’t happened yet:
* – Washington has a third-rounder from Buffalo, but Calgary was unable to pry that one loose.
With a big Sunday game against the Los Angeles Kings coming up, the Winnipeg Jets regain a key reinforcement as Blake Wheeler was activated from IR.
The 28-year-old last played on Feb. 21 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He’s been a big part of Winnipeg’s most dangerous line alongside Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little, generating 16 goals and 44 points in 61 games.
While the Jets and Kings are separated by divisional and wild card brackets at this very moment, Los Angeles is essentially a bubble opponent for Winnipeg, so today’s game serves as a key matchup. Winnipeg has to be delighted to get one of its key forwards back as they strive to put a little distance between themselves and the pack (especially since a team like the Kings holds two games in hand, making a three-game standings deficit quite deceptive).
The Jets demoted Carl Klingberg to the AHL to make room for the American winger.