Mike Halford

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 05: Forward William Nylander #21 of Sweden moves the puck against Slovakia during the Bronze medal game of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship on January 05, 2015 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images)
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Prized Leafs prospect Nylander shaken up after big hit at World Juniors (Updated)

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Unfortunate start to the 2016 World Junior Hockey Championships for Sweden and Toronto forward William Nylander.

Nylander was taken out in the first period of Sweden’s tourney-opening game against Switzerland, following this massive hit from Chris Egli:

Nylander left immediately following the incident and, at the time of writing, had yet to return. Egli was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for an illegal check to the head.

We’ll continue to monitor the situation but, at first glance, it doesn’t look good.

Nylander, 19, has shown why the Leafs made him the No. 8 overall pick in 2014 — he currently leads the American Hockey League in scoring, with 34 points in 28 games for the Marlies, and is one of the organization’s top young talents.

While he’s yet to play for the parent club, the Leafs would hate for Nylander to miss any developmental time in what’s been a great second year playing pro in North America.

Update:

With Berra hurt, Avs recall Pickard

DENVER, CO - MARCH 10:  Goalie Calvin Pickard #31 of the Colorado Avalanche warms up prior to facing the Los Angeles Kings at Pepsi Center on March 10, 2015 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Just prior to the Christmas break, Colorado goalie Reto Berra suffered an ankle injury while playing hallway soccer before to a game against Toronto.

While the severity of said injury is still unknown, the Avs have made a move to bring in Berra’s replacement.

Calvin Pickard has been recalled from AHL San Antonio, per the league website. Pickard, 23, made his big-league debut last year for the Avs and showed very well, going 13-6-7 with a .932 save percentage and 2.35 GAA.

While things haven’t gone as well this year for the former second-round pick — he’s made a pair of relief appearances for Colorado, allowing four goals on 25 shots — Pickard is still regarded as one of the better young goaltending prospects out there, and really pushed Berra for the No. 2 gig behind Semyon Varlamov in ’14-15.

Colorado is back in action tomorrow, when it hosts Arizona.

Merry Christmas! Here are PHT’s Top 5 Moments from 2015 (Video)

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Ah, 2015. What a year. Quite a bit happened over the last 12 months, as the video suggests.

“McEichel” and “Babwatch” became things.

The Blackhawks were a major storyline throughout, for both good and bad reasons.

The NHL implemented 3-on-3 overtime, with its debut — a crazy 137-second stanza between the Flyers and Lightning — earning widespread acclaim from fans and media.

Other moments that nearly cracked the Top 5:

— Ottawa rallying from a 14-point deficit to make the playoffs.

Jamie Benn winning the scoring title with 8.5 seconds left in the final game of the season.

— Playoff hockey returning to Winnipeg for the first time since relocation from Atlanta.

— Tampa Bay becoming the first team ever to beat the Rangers in a Game 7 at Madison Square Garden.

Merry Christmas from PHT!

<> on December 24, 2015 in Seoul, South Korea.
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Oh, hello there. Thanks for taking the time out of your day to stop by. We’d like to think it’s because you love and cherish the site, but realize it’s probably because you’re avoiding things like peeling potatoes, and family. (By that we mean you’re avoiding family, not avoiding peeling your family.)

But hey, the reason you’re here isn’t important.

It’s that you’re here.

Sha na na naaaaa…

Anyway, onto the business at hand. PHT has a bunch of stuff in store for you today: listicles, videos, midseason awards picks, and more listicles.

Check back often, on your PC and mobile devices!

Before we head off to drink our body weight in eggnog, we’d like to thank all our readers and commenters for the past year. All the positive feedback we got about the new site design was truly overwhelming. So much so that we’re planning another one for 2016!

(Kidding, kidding.)

Seriously though, thank you. We appreciate all the time and effort you’ve put into making PHT what it is, and hope that continues into next year and beyond.

Hitchcock raves about Paajarvi, who’s ‘playing the best hockey for us right now’

NEWARK, NJ - NOVEMBER 10:  Magnus Paajarvi #56 of the St. Louis Blues celebrates his goal in the third period against the New Jersey Devils on November 10, 2015 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.The St. Louis Blues defeated the New Jersey Devils 2-0.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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On a St. Louis team loaded with talented players, one has stood out above the rest in recent weeks — but it’s probably not the one you’d expect.

“The guy that’s gone unnoticed here is probably the guy that’s playing the best hockey for us right now is [ Magnus] Paajarvi,” Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock said, per the Post-Dispatch. “Never mind the best I’ve seen him play.

“He looks like a heck of a hockey player in the National Hockey League right now.”

Having skated recently on a line with Vladimir Tarasenko and Paul Stastny, Paajarvi has gone from an afterthought — he opened the year in AHL Chicago, and spent seven games there — to an integral part of the St. Louis lineup.

He has five points in 23 contests, but two of those have come in his last two games. He assisted on Tarasenko’s game-winning goal against Boston on Tuesday and, against Calgary last week, played a season-high 16:35.

Considering Paajarvi’s career path, what’s happening is a bit of a surprise.

Taken 10th overall by the Oilers in 2009, Paajarvi spent three largely ineffective years in Edmonton (and AHL Oklahoma City) before getting flipped to St. Louis in ’13 for David Perron.

Paajarvi started reasonably well with the Blues — 12 points in 55 games in ’13-14 — but, the following year, was subjected to waivers, cleared, and spent most of his time with the Wolves.

He was waived again at the start of this season and, like the first time, there were no takers.

So it was off to Chicago. Again.

But when injuries ravaged the Blues’ forward group, Paajarvi — who, it has to be said, is still only 24 years old — took advantage of his opportunity, and made himself a lineup regular.

And now it sounds like he’ll be in St. Louis for a while.

“If this is the tempo and the pace and the game that he’s going to bring forward,” Hitchcock said, “he’s going to be a valuable player for us the rest of this year.”