Author: Mike Halford

Montreal Canadiens v Boston Bruins

B’s recall AHL goals leader Vatrano, Koko sent packing


The Bruins are swapping out one young forward prospect for another.

Frankie Vatrano, the AHL’s reigning rookie of the month and leading goalscorer with 10 in 10 games, has been recalled from Providence — and to make room for him, Boston has sent back talented Russian forward Alexander Khokhlachev.

Khokhlachev, 22, was recalled earlier this week and appeared in two games, going pointless with three shots on goal and two PIM, averaging around 14:30 per night.

Thrown into a pretty good position — he was replacing David Pastrnak on the David KrejciLoui Eriksson line — “Koko” failed to generate much offense at the NHL level. This latest demotion probably won’t be a welcome development, as he’s previously voiced his displeasure about languishing in the American League and not getting a real shot with the B’s.

In that light, it’ll be interesting to see what Vatrano can do in Boston.

An undersized guy with a fire hydrant build — 5-foot-9, 201 pounds — Vatrano, 21, signed with Boston last year as an undrafted free agent, on the heels of an 18-goal, 28-point season at UMass-Amherst.

After four-game absence, Getzlaf (appendectomy) back for Ducks

Ryan Getzlaf
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For the first time all season, things are starting to go Anaheim’s way.

Ryan Getzlaf, who’s missed the last four games to an appendectomy, will make his return to the Ducks lineup tonight when they take on the Blue Jackets at the Honda Center.

“I don’t think I’ve ever come back in a game where I wasn’t ready to play,” Getzlaf said, per the team’s Twitter. I don’t expect to be limited. I just want to go play.”

It’s a big get for the Ducks, who return their captain while riding their first two-game winning streak of the season.

Getzlaf manned his usual top-line center position at Friday’s morning skate, rushing alongside usual running mate Corey Perry. Perry, of course, snapped a terrible scoring drought in Wednesday’s 3-2 shootout win over Florida, snapping an 11-game goalless drought to begin the campaign.

In related Ducks news, forward Rickard Rakell — who’s been one of the team’s better scorers this year, with two goals and four points — is sidelined with an upper-body injury and won’t play tonight. Anaheim called up Harry Zolnierczyk from AHL San Diego to fill the roster spot.

Yeo: Parise out ‘couple of games,’ doesn’t think injury’s ‘month-to-month’

Zach Parise

There’s a bit more optimism out of Minnesota regarding Zach Parise than there was last night.

On Friday, head coach Mike Yeo ruled Parise out for the “next couple of games” after Parise exited Thursday’s loss to Nashville following a heavy hit from Preds forward James Neal.

Yeo then added that he didn’t believe the injury to his leading goalscorer was long-term:

Given the Wild wasted no time ruling Parise out of Saturday’s game against Tampa Bay, news that he’d miss the next couple of games was hardly a surprise.

As for the “what now?” part…

— Yeo didn’t get into any potential timetable for return, only confirming that Parise is meeting with doctors today.

— The Wild haven’t made any recalls from AHL Iowa, and may temporarily hold off due to cap ramifications.

— With Parise out, Friday’s lines looked like this:

Jason ZuckerMikko KoivuNino Niederreiter

Jason PominvilleMikael GranlundCharlie Coyle

Thomas VanekErik HaulaJordan Schroeder

Chris PorterRyan Carter

— Yeo said any recall could slide into either of the bottom two lines, but the top two would remain the same regardless of who gets added to the roster.

Veteran d-man Wilson signs in KHL

Ryan Wilson
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Ryan Wilson, who appeared in 230 NHL contests with the Avalanche over the last six seasons, has signed on with KHL club AK Bars Kazan.

Wilson, 28, spent this fall in Calgary’s training camp on a PTO after the Avs opted not to re-sign him.

Injuries derailed the latter stages of his time in Colorado — after an impressive first three years in the league (scoring 58 points in 187 games), Wilson battled through concussion, shoulder, knee and ankle injuries, appearing in just 43 games over the last three years.

With Ak Bars, Wilson will play alongside ex-NHLers Alexander Svitov, Jussi Rynnas and Oscar Moller.

Blues sign Havlat, release Zubrus from PTO

Martin Havlat

Martin Havlat will play a 15th NHL campaign.

On Friday, the Blues announced that Havlat made good on his professional tryout, signing the veteran winger to a one-year, two-way deal worth $600,000 at the NHL level, per TVA.

In another move, St. Louis released Dainius Zubrus from his PTO.

Havlat, 34, will join a Blues team that’s been wrecked by injuries at forward. Patrik Berglund, Jaden Schwartz and Paul Stastny are all sidelined long-term, and the club got a further scare when Steve Ott sustained an upper-body injury against Chicago on Wednesday.

To make room for Havlat, the Blues sent prospect Ty Rattie to AHL Chicago.

It’ll be interesting to see how Havlat fits in the St. Louis lineup. The club’s had success with other veterans that came arrive through the PTO route, as Scottie Upshall and Scott Gomez both scored contracts out of training camp.

Upshall has two goals in nine games this year while averaging 12:11 of ice time per night. Gomez has four points in eight games, and is averaging 11:09.

Havlat will undoubtedly have some rust to shake off, having not played since March, when he was a member of the Devils.

Speaking of the Devils, today’s move will reunite Havlat with Gomez, his teammate in New Jersey last year.