If Melker Karlsson and Joonas Donskoi have shown anything, it’s that San Jose GM Doug Wilson knows how to find NHL talent in Europe.
Now, we’ll see if that applies to Marcus Sorensen.
Sorensen, the speedy 24-year-old forward signed out of the Swedish League last summer, has been recalled by San Jose and could make his NHL debut tomorrow when the Sharks take on the Sabres.
Sorensen’s recall comes after he scored 13 goals and 27 points in 39 games for the AHL Barracuda, in what is his first professional season in North America.
Previously, the former Ottawa draftee (fourth round, 2010) had spent the better part of his career with SHL outfit Djurgardens IF.
As mentioned above, Wilson and the Sharks are hopeful Sorensen can follow in the footsteps of Karlsson and Donskoi. The former was signed out of Sweden in 2014 — age the age of 23 — and the undrafted forward spent a short time in the AHL before transitioning to the Sharks that same year.
Karlsson has since become a lineup fixture for the Sharks, and has six goals and 13 points through 46 games this year.
Donskoi, a former Florida draftee, signed with San Jose in 2015 after capturing Finnish League MVP honors. Like Karlsson, he was 23 at the time of singing and, like Karlsson, wasted little time making an impact in San Jose. Donskoi jumped straight to the NHL and had a solid rookie campaign, with 11 goals and 36 points in 72 games.
What’s old is new again in Buffalo.
Derek Grant, who the Sabres lost on waivers to Nashville last month, is back in the fold — on Monday, the Sabres claimed him back from the Preds.
The 26-year-old appeared in six games during his brief spell in Nashville, registering a single assist. His departure coincided with the Preds acquiring veteran depth center Vern Fiddler in a trade with New Jersey over the weekend.
In his first go-round with the Sabres, Grant appeared in 35 games but failed to score a single goal, and had just three assists. Buffalo was disappointed to lose his services — head coach Dan Bylsma later admitted the club was trying to sneak Grant through to AHL Rochester — so it’s not surprising the Sabres were quick to jump on the chance to re-acquire him.
It’s been a nice run lately for Carolina’s Sebastian Aho.
Last week, he was narrowly edged out for January’s rookie of the month honors by Leafs forward Mitch Marner.
Over the weekend, Tucker profiled Aho’s stellar freshman campaign, which included GM Ron Francis calling the 19-year-old “extremely competitive, extremely smart and extremely talented.”
Today, another feather in Aho’s cap — he was named the NHL’s first star of the week.
From the league:
Aho tied for the League lead with four goals (4-1—5) including two game-winning tallies as the Hurricanes (24-20-7, 55 points) won all three of their games.
On Jan. 31, Aho recorded his first career hat trick, including the game-winning goal, and added one assist in a 5-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.
He added another game-winning goal in a 2-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Feb. 3 before being held pointless in a 5-4 overtime victory over the New York Islanders on Feb. 4.
Chosen 35th overall by Carolina in the 2015 NHL Draft, the 19-year-old Rauma, Finland native ranks third among rookies with 16 goals and tied for sixth with 31 points (16-15—31).
One has to wonder if Aho can work his way into this year’s Calder discussion. It’s a loaded one, with the likes of Marner, Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, Matt Murray, William Nylander and Matthew Tkachuk all in the mix — but if Aho continues to score at this clip, he’ll almost certainly be in the conversation.
Buffalo has re-upped with depth defenseman Justin Falk.
Falk, who’s appeared in 35 games this season, has signed a one-year extension worth $650,000, the club announced. The 28-year-old has averaged 13:11 TOI through those 35 games, while chipping in with three assists.
A veteran of over 200 career NHL contests, Falk — a big body, at 6-foot-5, 222 pounds — could be someone the Sabres choose to expose in this year’s expansion draft.
He’s closing in on that “40/70” threshold that’s reportedly part of the expansion draft rules, in which teams must expose at least two forwards and a defenseman that have played 40 games this year, or 70 over the two previous years combined.
Falk, obviously, is five games away from 40.
We’re starting to see more and more expansion draft-related moves lately. Last week, the Wild inked AHL netminder Alex Stalock to a two-year deal, with the first year of the contract being of the one-way variety, as he looks to be the goalie Minnesota will expose.
Matt Murray has all but locked up the No. 1 gig in Pittsburgh — we wrote about Marc-Andre Fleury’s side of things earlier — and tonight, Murray will make his eighth straight start when the Pens host the Jackets at PPG Paints.
Murray hasn’t been lights-out over this recent stretch — 2.72 GAA, .916 save percentage — but Pittsburgh has gotten results, going 5-2-0. Tonight’s game will also be a shot at redemption, because the last time Murray faced the Jackets, he got lit up. Columbus scored six times on 23 shots before head coach Mike Sullivan mercifully gave Murray the hook.
For the Jackets, Sergei Bobrovsky‘s in goal.
More: Torts, Sully renew ‘rivalry’ tonight
— The red-hot Thomas Greiss, who’s won five of six while posting a .955 save percentage, will start for the Isles in Detroit. The Red Wings will counter with Petr Mrazek.
— James Reimer, who’s wife gave birth earlier this week, returns to action for Florida as the Panthers host the Ducks. John Gibson, who has been on fire lately, will go for Anaheim.
— “Win and you’re in” continues for the Flames, as Brian Elliott makes his third-straight start. The host Devils will go with Cory Schneider, coming off a 27-save win over Detroit on Tuesday.
— No surprises from the Oilers, who will yet again start Cam Talbot in goal. Cam Ward, another of the league’s busiest workhorses, should be in for Carolina, though head coach Bill Peters classified him as a game-time decision.