Mike Halford

Martin Havlat

Hurting at forward, Blues bring in Havlat and Zubrus on PTOs


St. Louis had some success bringing in veterans Scott Gomez and Scottie Upshall this season on professional tryouts.

So why not try it again?

On Tuesday, the club announced it had signed Martin Havlat and Danius Zubrus to PTOs. The moves come with three key Blues forwards out injured: Paul Stastny (broken foot), Jaden Schwartz (fractured ankle) and Patrik Berglund (shoulder surgery).

Havlat, 34, was in camp earlier this fall with Florida, but failed to secure a deal. He played last year with the Devils, scoring 14 points in 40 games.

Zubrus, 37, also spent last year with the Devils, scoring 10 points in 74 games before getting bought out this summer. He was a longtime teammate of Blues assistant GM Martin Brodeur in New Jersey.

Some additional context for these PTOs:

While it’s possible one — or, both — could be signed to Brodeur-like contracts (last season he inked a to a one-year contract worth a pro-rated base pay of $700,000) to temporarily fill the void, neither Havlat nor Zubrus seem like they’re long for St. Louis.

That said, nobody expected much from the Gomez and Upshall PTOs, either, and those have turned out reasonably well. Upshall has two goals in five games thus far, while Gomez has an assist through four games.

Wings confirm prized rookie Larkin will stick with team


Well, it’s official — Dylan Larkin is staying in Detroit.

GM Ken Holland confirmed as much to ESPN on Tuesday, news that doesn’t come as a huge surprise but is still of great significance. Larkin, 19, has been a major factor for the Red Wings this season — seven points through his first eight games — but this isn’t a team that traditionally keeps teenagers at the NHL level.

The last to spend the year in the bigs?

Jiri Fischer, who turned the trick nearly 15 years ago.

Detroit had the option to send Larkin to AHL Grand Rapids prior to the nine-games-played mark, and avoid “burning” the first of his three-year, entry-level deal. But that option never seemed likely, especially with the way Larkin’s producing offensively; it’s also worth noting the Wings can still send him to the American League this year, should he begin to struggle or appear overwhelmed.

For now, though, the University of Michigan product will focus on the task at hand — game No. 9, which is tonight against Carolina. Larkin will center Detroit’s second line, between Tomas Tatar and Teemu Pulkkinen.

Domi & Duclair show rolls through Boston tonight


Predictions are a funny thing.

The Arizona Coyotes, picked by many to finish last in the NHL, head into Tuesday’s action atop the Pacific Division, paced by a pair of 20-year-old rookies that were linemates at last year’s World Juniors

How many figured that would happen?

Probably no one, and those that did are probably lying. But tonight, Max Domi — Arizona’s leading point-getter — and Anthony Duclair, the club’s top goalscorer, will take their act into Boston to face the Bruins.

Domi was the hero in last night’s 4-3 win over the Leafs, scoring his first goal Toronto, the city his dad spent 12 years in.

“It’s a really good story right now for an unbelievable kid,” Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett said of Domi, per the club website. “There is a lot of pressure and spotlight on him, and he’s handled it well.”

Last night’s goal was Domi’s 10th point of the season, moving him past Edmonton’s Connor McDavid for the rookie scoring lead.

Duclair was held off the scoresheet against the Leafs, but still leads the Coyotes in goals, with five, putting him in a tie with McDavid and Rangers forward Oscar Lindberg for the freshman lead.

It’ll be interesting to see how Domi and Duclair fare tonight, in their second meeting of the season against Boston.

Last time out, a 5-3 B’s win in Arizona, was one to forget for both. The pair failed to notch a single point and mustered just two shots on goal — both from Domi — despite a healthy dose of power-play time.

But that was one of the few low points in an otherwise terrific start to the year, a start the Bruins are well aware of. Even though they fared well against the Coyotes the last time out, they’re still regarding them as a dangerous club.

“They’re a good team, they’re a fast-paced team, they have a lot of skill,” Patrice Bergeron said. “We need to be ready to face that tonight.”

Goalie nods: Berra goes for slumping Avs in Florida

Reto Berra
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Reto Berra will start for Colorado tonight ahead of the struggling Semyon Varlamov — but we’re not to read too much into that decision, per head coach Patrick Roy.

“That was what we planned to do,” Roy told the Denver Post, just days after his club handed Columbus its first win of the season on Saturday night.

While starting Berra in Florida may have been the strategy all along, it’s hard not to view this as something more.

Varmalov has been bad this year (1-3-1, .869 save percentage, 3.93 GAA), Berra has been good (1-1, .975, 0.85) and Avs really need a win, having lost three straight.

For the Panthers, Roberto Luongo will get the start.


Frederik Andersen goes for Anaheim in Dallas, on the heels of last night’s 1-0 OT loss to the ‘Hawks in Chicago. Andersen has been excellent this season with a .940 save percentage and 1.71 GAA, but the Ducks’ complete lack of offense has him winless in five starts. Antti Niemi is likely for the Stars.

Mike Smith vs. Tuukka Rask in Boston. Smith played last night in Arizona’s 4-3 win over Toronto.

Cory Schneider‘s in for the Devils, and it looks like Sergei Bobrovsky will start for Columbus.

— It’s Chad Johnson vs. Steve Mason in Philly, as Johnson gets back in after allowing seven goals on 26 shots in last Friday’s ugly loss to Montreal. Mason gets another start after a brilliant outing against the Rangers on the weekend, making 37 saves in a 3-2 win.

— Detroit’s giving Petr Mrazek the nod at home against Carolina. No word yet on a ‘Canes starter, though Cam Ward is expected to go.

Jonathan Quick, who’s won four straight while posting a 0.99 GAA and .966 save percentage, is likely to start in Winnipeg. The Jets will probably counter with Ondrej Pavelec, after Michael Hutchinson played against Minnesota on Sunday.

Cam Talbot starts for Edmonton in Minnesota tonight. The Wild are going with Devan Dubnyk.

— St. Louis native Ben Bishop goes for the Bolts tonight at Scottrade, while the Blues will give Jake Allen the start with Brian Elliott (flu) feeling under the weather.

— No confirmations from the late Habs-Canucks start in Vancouver, but it’s expected both No. 1s, Carey Price and Ryan Miller, will be in goal.

Welcome Dennis Wideman to the trade rumor mill

Los Angeles Kings v Calgary Flames

Off to a horrid start with losses in six of their last seven, the Flames are reportedly trying to shake things up.

At the center of the rumblings?

Veteran d-man Dennis Wideman.

Per TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Calgary GM Brad Treliving’s “working the phones hard” to snap his team out of its current funk. McKenzie and other pundits (like former Denver Post scribe Adrian Dater) have floated Wideman as the rumored trade candidate, largely due to Calgary’s surplus of defensemen and the fact that, at age 32, he’s one of the oldest guys on Calgary’s blueline.

Moving Wideman won’t be easy, though.

With two years left on his five-year, $26.25 million deal — a $5.25M cap hit — it’s a lot of money for a team to take on.

There’s also the issue of Wideman’s current market value.

While head coach Bob Hartley continuously went out of his way to praise Wideman last year (see here and here and here), it’s hard to ignore his bad possession metrics over the last two seasons, and the fact he turns 33 in March.

That said, Wideman brings offense to the table. Plenty of it.

Only three defensemen in the NHL scored more points than his 56 last year — Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns and P.K. Subban. That’s some pretty elite company.

There’s also this, from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman:

Wideman’s played very well for [the Flames], one of the few who’s been above water during this ugly start.

“I’ve changed my opinion of him,” another GM said last week.

This could be enough for an offensively-challenged team to make a move.

Assuming, of course, it has the cap space.

Related: Down in Flames: Isles hand Calgary sixth loss in seven