Already strong on defense, it sounds like the St. Louis Blues have a couple of young blue-liners who are making a good impression at camp.
Their names are Joel Edmundson and Colton Parayko. Both are just 22 years old.
“Yeah, I would say that’s the biggest story,” coach Ken Hitchcock told the Post-Dispatch. “They’re pushing veteran players hard for jobs. None of them today went away. I think they made a good account of themselves. I don’t think any of them went away. They certainly haven’t lost any status on the team, that’s for sure.”
Edmundson and Parayko are both exempt from waivers, so making the opening-day roster may not be realistic. But according to goalie Jake Allen, “they’ve opened a lot of people’s eyes.”
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When Jonathan Drouin was drafted third overall in 2013, many felt he could be the ideal winger for Lightning center Steven Stamkos.
At five on the five, the two did play a bit together last season, though not a ton.
And while they may be together more in 2015-16, Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper is warning not to read too much into preseason line combos.
“I just want to caution everyone, just because you’re using someone in camp, doesn’t mean that’s how everything is going to play out,” Cooper told the Tampa Bay Times.
“But we do want to see them together, and see if some chemistry starts coming together, and this is the time to do that. While they’re on the same line, we like to see what they can do.”
Stamkos and Drouin have been skating together since the start of camp and are expected to be on the same line tonight against the Panthers, along with Nikita Kucherov.
Stamkos is one of the NHL’s top goal-scorers. Drouin was a prolific playmaker in junior. Hence, the belief that they could form an effective duo.
“We hope that a little bit more chemistry comes about with these two, because they’re both great talents,” said Cooper.
Buffalo’s Jason Akeson will not be punished for his hit on Ottawa’s Colin Greening.
“Akeson’s skates are on the ice at impact, so the hit was not a charging violation,” the NHL’s Department of Player Safety determined.
“And while there was some head contact, we deemed it was unavoidable under Rule 48.1(ii).”
Greening reportedly “left the ice on wobbly legs” after the second-period collision on Wednesday night. Ottawa’s Travis Ewanyk reacted by instigating a fight with Akeson.
No penalty was assessed for the hit.