Jason Brough

Voracek: Flyers’ playoff hopes rest on ‘these next six games’

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According to the website Sports Club Stats, the Philadelphia Flyers still have an 18.1 percent chance of making the playoffs.

But according to winger Jakub Voracek, if they don’t take advantage of their next six games — all of them at home, with most of them against non-playoff opponents — it’ll pretty much be over.

“We’ve got to make at least 10 points out of these next six games,” Voracek said, per NHL.com.

“This is going to define if we’re going to make the playoffs or not; this home stand.”

The Flyers host the Wild tonight, followed by visits from the Coyotes, Flames, Oilers, Blue Jackets and Lightning.

So 5-1-0 is a possibility.

Or maybe it’s 4-0-2.

Adding to the current challenge, however, is the absence of captain Claude Giroux. He’ll miss his third straight game tonight and remains day-to-day with what’s believed to be a concussion.

Obviously, if the Flyers are going to take a run at qualifying for the postseason, it would help to have their leading scorer in the lineup. Because there’s nothing coming in the form of deadline additions; GM Ron Hextall confirmed that yesterday.

To make the playoffs, it’s estimated the Flyers will need to go in the neighborhood of 14-7-2 in their final 23 games.

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Report: JVR likely done for season

James van Riemsdyk
AP
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James van Riemsdyk is likely done for the season, according to Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos.

Kypreos reports that the Maple Leafs winger has suffered a setback in his rehab from a broken foot. The Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle adds that van Riemsdyk was at Air Canada Center this morning wearing a “boot/cast,” with crutches.

Van Riemsdyk had 14 goals and 15 assists in 40 games before he was forced to the sidelines.

Because the former second overall draft pick plays for a rebuilding team that isn’t expected to be competitive for a few years, there has been speculation about his future with the club.

The 26-year-old is signed through 2017-18 for a cap hit of $4.25 million.

A potential trade target, Russell will be game-time decision for Flames

EDMONTON , AB - SEPTEMBER 21:  at Rexall Place on September 21, 2015 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.(Photo by Dan Riedlhuber/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** McDavid;

Flames defenseman Kris Russell will be a game-time decision tonight in Calgary against the Islanders.

Russell has missed the last five games with a lower-body injury. The 28-year-old has four goals and 11 assists in 51 games while averaging 22:52 of ice time. His 174 blocked shots are the second most in the NHL behind Colorado’s Francois Beauchemin (191).

He’s also a pending unrestricted free agent who may or may not be traded prior to Monday’s deadline.

There is a wide range of opinions on Russell.

Some think he’s got significant value:

Some do not:

Regardless, he may be tough for the Flames to re-sign, as they’ve already got Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, T.J. Brodie, Dennis Wideman and Deryk Engelland under contract through at least next season.

Russell’s current cap hit is $2.6 million.

The Flames have two games prior to Monday’s 3 p.m. ET deadline — tonight and Saturday (versus Ottawa).

Report: Blackhawks have ‘serious interest’ in Hamhuis and Vrbata

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The Chicago Blackhawks, according to TSN’s Farhan Lalji, have “serious interest” in a pair of pending unrestricted free agents on the Vancouver Canucks — defenseman Dan Hamhuis and winger Radim Vrbata.

Assuming the report is true, click here and here to better understand it from Chicago’s perspective.

It’s still not known if Hamhuis is willing to waive his no-trade clause. That’s a decision with which the 33-year-old has been wrestling.

“If you look at it from a pure hockey aspect — if I was chasing the money — leaving would be the best option to have the most exposure, if I was traded to a top-end team,” he told The Province recently. “But there’s more to it than that in my decision. I look at it that it’s a great situation in Vancouver for me and for my family. I certainly would consider what that would do to the family, too.”

As for Vrbata, some are skeptical about Chicago’s interest in the 34-year-old who’s currently out with an injury:

That being said, there have reportedly been scouts from the ‘Hawks taking a look at him.

As for a potential return, the Canucks could theoretically have interest in a young defenseman like Ville Pokka. It’s worth wondering if they’d be willing to take on Bryan Bickell’s contract to sweeten any deal.

Hamonic’s agent sees trade as more likely to happen in the offseason

Travis Hamonic, Tyson Strachan
AP
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When Travis Hamonic‘s trade request became public knowledge in November, he quickly let it be known that he’d be willing to finish the season with the Islanders.

And that, according to his agent, remains the most likely scenario.

“I think it’s more of a trade that happens draft time, offseason,” Kevin Epp told TSN 1040 radio yesterday. “He’s playing such good hockey and the Islanders are in a playoff position.”

Hamonic, 25, leads the Isles in average ice time (23:44) and has four goals and 10 assists in 54 games. He’s under contract through 2019-20 for a cap hit just below $4 million.

It’s believed he’d like to be moved somewhere in Western Canada — if not Winnipeg (where he’s from), then possibly Edmonton, Calgary, or Vancouver.

The Oilers, of course, are desperate to upgrade their defense, and they’re willing to deal.

Related: With Byfuglien signed, what is Trouba’s future in Winnipeg?