<span class="vcard">Jason Brough</span>

Here are the 10 youngest skaters in the NHL


A couple of days ago, we wrote a post about the oldest players in the NHL.

Today, let’s do the opposite.

The following are the 10 youngest skaters to play in a game this season, headlined by 18-year-old Daniel Sprong:


Jack Eichel is the oldest 18-year-old on the list. His birthday is coming up, on Oct. 28. The five below him are all 19 (drafted in 2014).

Sprong is a particularly interesting story. He was the 46th overall pick in the 2015 draft.

“Certainly, after draft day, it’s not a name that we thought we were going to see to start the season,” Pittsburgh GM Jim Rutherford told Sportsnet.

From that Sportsnet story (which is worth a read), on why Sprong fell to the second round despite piling up points in junior:

One NHL team had concerns about his size. (The Penguins list him at six-feet, 180 pounds). Another, according to a senior member of their front office, said Sprong gave “funky” answers during pre-draft interviews. A third team was worried that he’s so driven to succeed personally that he wouldn’t gain acceptance from teammates.

Anyway, it remains to be seen how many on the list will remain in the NHL all season. Sprong could be returned to junior, as could Vancouver’s Jared McCann and/or Jake Virtanen (most likely McCann), while Mikko Rantanen and Noah Hanifin are both eligible for the AHL.

The rest are probably safe.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, Ottawa’s Matthew O'Connor is the youngest goalie to have started a game this season. He’s 23.

Bennett is ‘injured’ and won’t play tonight versus Sens

Robin Lehner Beau Bennett

The winless Pittsburgh Penguins will be without forward Beau Bennett when they host Ottawa tonight.

“Beau Bennett is injured,” said coach Mike Johnston. “He’ll be out for tonight’s game. We will start to get some news on how long that injury will be.”

No specifics were provided on the nature of the injury.

Bennett, 23, is one of only three Pens to actually score a goal this season. His tally came Tuesday in a 3-2 loss to Montreal. Playing mostly with new center Nick Bonino, he’s also been one of his team’s better possession players.

There’s reason to believe Bobby Farnham could come into the lineup for Bennett.

Related: Pens’ Bennett looking ‘a lot more confident’

Habs are ‘working a lot more on puck possession’


A more active defense is helping the Montreal Canadiens become less reliant on Carey Price.

That’s the gist of an article by NHL.com’s Arpon Basu, who notes that the Habs’ 4-0-0 start has seen them take “54.34 percent of the shot attempts at 5-on-5, ninth in the NHL prior to games Wednesday.”

Puck possession was not a strength last year for the Canadiens. In fact, if not for their netminder’s Hart Trophy season, it’s not outlandish to suggest they could’ve missed the playoffs, as opposed to winning their division with 110 points.

“We’re working a lot more on puck possession,” said coach Michel Therrien. “It’s not that we didn’t want to last season, but we hadn’t reached that step yet as a team.”

As for that active defense, it’s helped the Habs enter the attacking zone with control of the puck, which is preferable to dumping and chasing. Captain Max Pacioretty thinks the performance of the guys on the back end is the “main reason we’ve played so well so far in the first four games.”

Montreal, by the way, has a chance to start 5-0-0 for the first time in franchise history tonight at home versus the Rangers.

Wings could get DeKeyser and Helm back this weekend


The Detroit Red Wings could have a couple of injury returnees Saturday in Montreal.

Coach Jeff Blashill told reporters today that d-man Danny DeKeyser “looks real good” in practice and could possibly play against the Habs. DeKeyser has been out with a foot injury. His return could mean Alexey Marchenko is assigned to AHL Grand Rapids.

Meanwhile, forward Darren Helm (concussion, shoulder) is also getting closer to making his season debut.

“Close,” Blashill said. “I’d say we’re shooting probably Helmer for Saturday as well in Montreal. But still day-to-day and that could change.”

So far, the undefeated Wings (3-0-0) have fared just fine without DeKeyser and Helm. They host winless Carolina on Friday before hitting the road in Canada to play Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.

Gustavsson expected to get start over struggling Rask

Jonas Gustavsson, Rick Nash

The Boston Bruins are expected to have three new faces on the ice when they try to get their first win of the season tonight in Denver against the Avalanche.

Most notably, Jonas Gustavsson appears to be the starting goalie. No huge surprise there after Tuukka Rask allowed 14 goals in Boston’s first three games, all losses. Gustavsson signed a one-way contract with the B’s earlier this month. He had a .933 save percentage in two preseason appearances, but only got into seven contests last year for Detroit (.911).

The two other new faces are forward Tyler Randell and d-man Tommy Cross, both of whom will be making their NHL debuts, according to Bruins radio announcer Dave Goucher. Veteran Max Talbot will be scratched for Randell. Cross was called up yesterday after Joe Morrow was put on IR.