Mike Halford

Ryan Hartman

Still looking for offense, ‘Hawks recall ’13 first-rounder Hartman


Give the Blackhawks credit — they’re doing whatever they can to try and find some goals.

On Friday, the club went down to the farm again, this time recalling ’13 first-rounder Ryan Hartman from AHL Rockford.

Hartman, 21, was the 30th overall pick in his draft year and has three goals and five points in eight games for the IceHogs this season.

With just 11 goals in its last seven games, Chicago has been looking for some kind of spark. This week, Rockford scoring leader Tanner Kero was brought up and given his NHL debut and, last night, Teuvo Teravainen was healthy scratched.

The likes of Kyle Baun and Vincent Hinostroza have also been given looks this year, with middling success.

It’s not surprising that head coach Joel Quenneville wants to try some new ideas among his forward group. While top-end guys like Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov have produced reasonably well, there’s a tremendous lack of secondary scoring in Chicago.

Andrew Shaw, Marcus Kruger, Ryan Garbutt, Bryan Bickell, Viktor Tikhonov and Andrew Desjardins have failed to score a single goal this season.

One has to wonder when Chicago might call up Marko Dano, one of the key pieces acquired in the Brandon Saad-to-Columbus trade.

Pens demote Porter, paving way for Fehr’s debut

Kevin Porter

Pittsburgh sent veteran winger Kevin Porter to AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday, a move that pretty much ensures Eric Fehr will make his regular season debut — and Penguins debut — on Saturday in Toronto.

Fehr, who signed a three-year, $6 million deal with the Pens this summer, has been on injured reserve after undergoing offseason elbow surgery. He was hoping to return Wednesday to face his former Caps team, but was ineligible to come off IR in time for the contest.

The 30-year-old has been skating with Pittsburgh for nearly two weeks.

It’ll be interesting to see where head coach Mike Johnston utilizes Fehr. Pittsburgh’s top two lines look set — Sidney CrosbyPascal DupuisPatric Hornqvist, Evgeni MalkinPhil KesselDavid Perron — but Fehr’s ability to play both center and wing could see him in a variety of roles to start.

Regardless of where he plays, Fehr will be a solid addition to a Pittsburgh team that’s won three straight, and “exploded” for four goals in a victory over Buffalo on Thursday.

No Jagr tonight for Panthers

Florida Panthers v Ottawa Senators
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The lower-body injury that knocked Jaromir Jagr out of Tuesday’s 4-1 win over Colorado will keep him sidelined for tonight’s tilt against Boston, the Panthers announced.

Jagr, the NHL’s oldest player at 43, briefly took part in the club’s morning skate but apparently didn’t fell well enough to go this evening. The ailment is believed to be minor, and it’s possible the Panthers — off to a solid 5-3-1 start — are simply being cautious with their leading scorer.

Still, playing without Jagr against the B’s will be tough.

Florida was already without the services of No. 1 center Aleksander Barkov (broken hand) who, along with Jagr and Jonathan Huberdeau, formed the club’s dynamic top line.

Nick Bjugstad has jumped up to replace Barkov as the top pivot, and it looks like former Bruin Reilly Smith might get a shot at replacing Jagr on the wing.

It’s also possible that Logan Shaw, called up from the AHL earlier this week, will make his big league debut tonight.

Shaw, 23, was a third-round pick in 2011 and has two goals in five games for the Portland Pirates this season.

Veteran d-man Meszaros signs in KHL

New York Rangers v Buffalo Sabres
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After failing to catch on with Colorado out of training camp, Andrej Meszaros is headed overseas.

On Friday, KHL club Sibir Novosibirsk announced it had signed Meszaros through the remainder of this season.

Meszaros, 30, spent last year with Buffalo, scoring seven goals and 14 points in 60 games. Despite those relatively decent offensive numbers, his lack of foot speed and defensive inefficiencies kept him from landing a contract in free agency, which led to attending Avs camp on a PTO.

The Slovak d-man was dropped from camp at the end of September.

Meszaros heads to Russia with a fairly impressive NHL resume. He appeared in 645 games for the Sabres, Bruins, Lightning, Sens and Flyers, with his best years coming in Ottawa and Philly.

He finished seventh in Calder voting during his rookie year with the Sens — scoring a career-high 39 points — and was tied for the lead among d-men scorers during the Flyers’ 2011 postseason.

Injuries really slowed Meszaros in the latter half of his career, especially a torn Achilles in ’12.

Preds in ‘ongoing’ contract talks with Seth Jones

Seth Jones

On the heels of Mattias Ekholm’s six-year, $22.5 million extension, the focus in Nashville now turns to yet another talented young defenseman — Seth Jones.

“Ongoing conversations with Seth’s agent,” Preds GM David Poile told The Tennessean this week. “But there’s clearly nothing imminent. I have no timetable on it.”

Jones, the fourth overall pick at the ’13 draft, is a pending restricted free agent and one of the best young blueliners in hockey. The 21-year-old has been a lineup fixture right from his rookie campaign, and avoided the dreaded sophomore slump last year by upping his goal (eight) and point (27) totals from his freshman year.

If Poile sticks with his playbook, Jones could be in line for a long-term deal.

Nashville’s made a habit of gambling early on its defensive prospects, opting to give them term at a relatively young age. Two summers ago, Poile signed then 23-year-old Roman Josi to a seven-year, $28 million deal.

This summer, Poile inked Ryan Ellis, also 23, to a five-year, $12.5 million deal.

In both instances, the Preds’ moves paid off. Josi, who plays alongside captain Shea Weber, scored a career-high 55 points last year and finished fifth in Norris voting — all for the price of $4 million annually.

Ellis has emerged as a good offensive d-man, scoring nine goals and 27 points last year in just 58 games. Again, he’s at tremendous value at just $2.5 million per.

Locking up Jones long-term would also stabilize the Nashville defense for years to come. Weber, Josi, Ellis and Ekholm are all currently signed through 2019.