<span class="vcard">James O'Brien</span>

Winnipeg Jets v Calgary Flames

Flames place Giordano on IR

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Familiarity isn’t the only justification for the Calgary Flames picking up Dave Schlemko: it looks like they did so in part because they also placed Mark Giordano on injured reserve Sunday.

Giordano, 31, managed to warm up before a Feb. 27 contest against the New York Islanders but ultimately opted against playing. The would-be Norris Trophy candidate was injured late in a Feb. 25 game against the New Jersey Devils, so one would expect this IR move to be retroactive to that date.

If it’s indeed retroactive to Feb. 25 and Giordano’s issue isn’t long-term, the Flames could see their captain back in action relatively soon:

Obviously, losing such a key component would be a huge blow to a Flames team that is unexpectedly fighting for a playoff spot.

On the bright side, at least this injury cropped up before the trade deadline. If Calgary wants to bolster its blueline for a postseason push, they have that option.

An IR stint doesn’t necessarily mean that Giordano will miss a ton of time, yet it’s obviously not a great sign, either. We’ll see if this presses Calgary into a deadline deal or if they stay put and hope that this scrappy bunch will keep finding ways to win.

Leafs claim Erixon, Ducks waive Bourque

Chicago Blackhawks v Colorado Avalanche
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With the 2015 trade deadline rapidly approaching, it’s no surprise that NHL teams are using waivers to open up space (and occasionally grab low-risk players). Let’s take a quick look at recent announcements in that regard.

Claimed: The Toronto Maple Leafs claimed defenseman Tim Erixon (pictured) off of waivers. The Calgary Flames grabbed Dave Schlemko.

A little more on Erixon:

Here’s some added perspective on why the Flames made their move:

Cleared: Philadelphia Flyers goalie Rob Zepp, Washington Capitals tough guy Aaron Volpatti and Brandon McMillan of the Vancouver Canucks all cleared waivers.

Waived: Anaheim Ducks forward Rene Bourque headlines the latest batch of players who’ve been waived. Also on the list: Craig Cunningham (Boston Bruins), Keith Aulie (Edmonton Oilers), Paul Carey (Colorado Avalanche) and Tye McGinn (San Jose Sharks).

HNIC’s Elliotte Friedman lays out a few roster details after the trade deadline:

NHL on NBCSN: Ducks take on fading Stars

Anaheim Ducks v Dallas Stars
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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the Dallas Stars host the Anaheim Ducks at the American Airlines Center at 8:00 p.m. ET tonight. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.

The middle of February got a little rocky for the Anaheim Ducks, but they’ve now won four of their last five games. They hope to start March off on a high note as they visit the Dallas Stars today.

While the Ducks have their feet back under them, the Stars continue to stumble with Tyler Seguin sidelined. Dallas has dropped six of seven contests (1-4-2) since Seguin suffered his injury, and things look pretty bleak right now for its playoff hopes, as Sports Club Stats gives the Stars just a 2.3 percent chance to make the postseason.

Anaheim isn’t that far removed from a mini-crisis of confidence, but the Stars almost seem like they’re falling apart, especially when it comes to Kari Lehtonen’s play.

(It looks like Jhonas Enroth will actually start against Anaheim, so Lehtonen won’t get a chance to prove himself tonight.)

In the grand scheme of things, the Ducks are in a comfortable spot, but this stands to be a challenging month.

To kick things off, they play five of seven games on the road. Only five of their 15 March contests take place at home. That may not be the kind of stretch that costs them a Pacific Division title, yet it could hurt Anaheim from a home-ice standpoint, at least if they stumble.

Dallas might be ailing at the moment, but the Stars are dangerous enough that the Ducks can’t just waddle into this one thinking that it will be an easy one.

Enjoy a final tune-up before the trade deadline on NBCSN tonight.

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

Carolina Hurricanes v Minnesota Wild
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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
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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 CSNNE.com’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?