Jason Brough

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Flyers’ Del Zotto out 4-5 weeks with reported knee injury

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Flyers defenseman Michael Del Zotto will miss 4-5 weeks with a lower-body injury, the club announced today.

The team did not say how Del Zotto was injured. The 26-year-old logged 16:34 in Thursday’s preseason game against the Rangers. It is reportedly a knee injury.

The Flyers announced just yesterday that defenseman Brandon Manning was week-to-week with an upper-body injury, and also that forward Scott Laughton would be out 3-4 weeks with a lower-body injury.

Manning said this morning that he hopes to be ready for Friday’s opener is Los Angeles, but if it wasn’t a given before that 19-year-old Ivan Provorov will start the season in the NHL, it surely is now.

Related: Impressive Travis Konecny pushing for roster spot in Philly

Rangers waive Glass and Gerbe, opening-night roster appears to be set

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The New York Rangers put a couple of veteran forwards, Tanner Glass and Nathan Gerbe, on waivers today, presumably to send them to the AHL should they clear.

Glass, 32, had just four goals in 57 games last season, while struggling badly in terms of possession. He has one year left on his contract, at a cap hit of $1.45 million. (His cap hit will be reduced to $500,000 while he’s in the minors.)

Gerbe, 29, was signed to a one-year, $600,000 deal on July 1. But the addition of Jimmy Vesey in August didn’t help Gerbe’s chances of making the opening-night roster.

The Rangers are now down to 24 players, and that includes Oscar Lindberg, who will reportedly start on injured reserve after having offseason hip surgery.

So in reality, the Rangers have made all the cuts they need to make. They start the regular season Thursday at home to the Islanders. They finished their preseason schedule with a record of 2-2-2.

Related: Pavel Buchnevich is looking to make the leap

IOC says Jan. 15 is the deadline for agreement to send NHLers to Olympics

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A drop-dead date has apparently been set to reach an agreement to send NHLers to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

“When it comes to the final participation … there is a date set at Jan. 15 to find an agreement,” the IOC’s Christophe Dubi said, per the Associated Press. “Until then it will be work between all parties involved to make sure that we get the participation of the very best, and that’s for both Pyeongchang and Beijing (in 2022).”

The IOC’s decision to no longer cover expenses like travel and insurance is the biggest impediment to an agreement.

“I’m pretty sure that our teams are not really interested in paying for the privilege of disrupting our season,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has said.

And even if there’s a solution to the costs issue, there’s no guarantee an agreement will get reached. Even when costs were covered, NHL owners weren’t all that keen about Olympic participation.

That being said, according to the AP story, the NHL has agreed to visit South Korea later this month for an inspection.

Which begs the question: if the league were dead set against further Olympic participation, would it bother to inspect the next host country?

Related: Alex Ovechkin vows to play in the Olympics, even if NHL doesn’t participate

About that Yakupov-to-Chicago trade rumor…

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Do the Chicago Blackhawks have interest in Edmonton winger Nail Yakupov?

That was the rumor a Chicago-based blogger, Ryan Brandell of Barstool Sports, tweeted earlier today, and it’s since been validated by the biggest insider in the business, TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

According to McKenzie, the ‘Hawks have indeed had talks with the Oilers about Yakupov; however, no deal is imminent.

McKenzie went on to suggest that if Chicago’s youngsters (Tyler Motte, Vincent Hinostroza, Nick Schmaltz, Alexandre Fortin, Ryan Hartman, etc.) can’t adequately fill all the offseason departures at forward, then perhaps they’ll look closer at Yakupov.

Yakupov, 23, was the first overall draft pick in 2012, but has struggled to fulfill expectations. Last season, he only had eight goals in 60 games.

In March, Yakupov’s agent, Igor Larionov, suggested a “fresh start” with another team could help.

A couple of more tweets to consider…

First from Chicago:

Now here’s the view from Edmonton:

 

Canucks place Pedan on waivers, hope he won’t be another Corrado

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The Vancouver Canucks got down to nine defenseman today, placing 23-year-old Andrey Pedan on waivers with hopes of being able to assign him to the AHL.

The Canucks lost a young defenseman, Frank Corrado, to waivers last year, so fingers will be crossed that Pedan — a big, physical blue-liner — will clear. Pedan is not a top prospect, but he’s depth that the Canucks may need should they run into injuries again.

Yesterday, Vancouver sent d-man Olli Juolevi, the fifth overall draft pick in 2016, back to junior.

So, as mentioned, there are still nine defenseman on the roster. The emergence of Troy Stecher has complicated matters considerably. The 22-year-old rookie doesn’t require waivers to be sent to the AHL, but so far in the preseason he’s outplayed NHL returnee Philip Larsen, who was brought in to run the power play.

Other complicating matters include Nikita Tryamkin‘s reported out-clause that allows him to return to Russia should he be assigned to the AHL.

There’s also next summer’s expansion draft to consider, in that each team must expose at least one defenseman who is a) under contract in 2017-18 and b) played in 40 or more NHL games the prior season, or who played in 70 or more NHL games in the prior two seasons. That gives the Canucks reason to keep (and play) Luca Sbisa and/or Alex Biega, neither of whom qualify to be exposed yet.

Alex Edler, Chris Tanev, Erik Gudbranson, and Ben Hutton are the four locks to start the season on Vancouver’s defense.

Related: There’s one ‘vision’ in Vancouver this season, and that’s winning