Author: Mike Halford

Montreal Canadiens v Columbus Blue Jackets

Columbus goalie prospect Dansk bolts for Sweden

7 Comments

Oscar Dansk is headed home.

Dansk, taken 31st overall by Columbus at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, has decided to return to play in his native Sweden next season, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

The decision comes after Dansk struggled in his first professional campaign in North America. He split time between Columbus’ AHL affiliate in Springfield and ECHL Kalamazoo, posting relatively weak numbers while getting passed by other young goalies on the organizational depth chart, most notably Anton Forsberg and Joonas Korpisalo.

The development has to be a disappointment for both the Blue Jackets and Dansk. Just three years ago, he was regarded as one of the better young goaltending prospects around; he backstopped Sweden to silver at the 2014 World Juniors (with a 1.79 GAA and .929 save percentage) and, in his draft year, was the third goalie taken behind Andrei Vasilevskiy and Malcolm Subban.

Last May, Columbus signed Dansk to a three-year, entry-level contract.

It’s worth noting this is the third prospect the Blue Jackets have had issues with this summer. University of Minnesota defenseman Mike Reilly, the club’s fourth-round pick in 2011, has held off on signing his ELC with the club and appears primed to hit free agency. There are also rumblings that Kerby Rychel, the club’s first-round pick in 2013, has been made available for trade.

Wild re-sign AHL Iowa assists leader Keranen

Petteri Lindbohm, Michael Keranen
3 Comments

The Minnesota Wild have re-upped with Michael Keranen on a one-year, two-way deal, the club announced on Friday.

Keranen, 25, arrived in North America last year with some fanfare, joining the Wild after a successful stint in the Finnish League that culminated with him winning the Lasse Oksanen Award as the top player during the regular season.

Though he didn’t play in Minnesota in 2014-15, his play with Iowa did merit a recall in mid-Ferbruary, when Tomas Vanek was dealing with an injury. Overall, Keranen finished his first AHL campaign with a team-high 27 assists, to go along with 37 points and 147 shots on goal.

Keranen could compete for a big-league job next season. Minnesota is relatively tight to the cap and may need to part ways with a few of its veteran UFA forwards (Minnesota has four in Kyle Brodziak, Ryan Carter, Sean Bergenheim and Chris Stewart). All of their futures are likely tied to how GM Chuck Fletcher handles his two biggest priorities this offseason, RFA forward Mikael Granlund and UFA goalie Devan Dubnyk.

Bolts rule Carle (undisclosed) out for Game 4

Matt Carle
5 Comments

Tampa Bay d-man Matt Carle will miss his first game of the postseason tonight when the Bolts host the Rangers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final at Amalie Arena.

Carle, shook up following a collision with Derek Stepan during Game 3 — a hit that forced Carle from the game — was officially ruled out this morning by head coach Jon Cooper, who wouldn’t reveal what he’d do in terms of a lineup replacement.

From today’s media availability:

Q. So maybe get a guy like [Mark] Barberio in there?

COACH COOPER: Maybe. Our full 21 guys are playing, so you have to show up tonight to see which guy is out. But he’s one of the guys I told might be in.

Q. Either way, if you do go 7 [defensemen], you have a guy that hasn’t played for a while in the lineup. What kind of things go into that?

COACH COOPER: This is where you find out if guys are pros or not. It’s a game we all love to play, but it’s also in some respects, it’s your job. These guys are expected to, when your name is called, to come in and do the best you can and keep yourself in shape. Our guys and our staff have done a great job with players that haven’t been in the starting line-up, but potentially could come in. You look at everybody from, you know, if it is Barberio to [Jonathan] Drouin, [Vladislav] Namestnikov, [Jonathan] Marchessault, go down the list.

Carle, 30, was averaging 16:35 TOI per night prior to getting hurt, with two points and a minus-6 rating.

‘Hawks swap: Vermette and Teravainen out for Game 3, Nordstrom and Versteeg in

St Louis Blues v Chicago Blackhawks
7 Comments

Joel Quenneville is shaking things up for Game 3 of the Western Conference Final — Antoine Vermette and Teuvo Teravainen have been scratched in favor of Joakim Nodstrom and Kris Versteeg, who will both play for the first time since the Nashville series.

Vermette, who played over 21 minutes in the triple-OT win in Game 2, has been a lineup fixture after struggling to draw in to begin the playoffs. He’s emerged as one of Chicago’s better faceoff guys and played well against Anaheim on Tuesday night, finishing with three shots on goal.

Teravainen, like Vermette, got plenty of action on Tuesday — over 22 minutes — and finished with four shots on goal. That said, he’s been held pointless since Game 2 of the Minnesota series.

A healthy scratch since the first round, Versteeg impressed Quenneville recently in practice, and the head coach acknowledged how difficult sitting has been on the veteran forward.

“He’s had a great week of practicing,” Quenneville said earlier today. “He’s not happy. He wants to play in the worst way. Puts himself as a candidate to get in the lineup. We’ve had some decisions along the way. Last game we could have inserted him. We’ll see. I like his approach. I told him we expect him in this series.”

As for Nordstrom, he only appeared in two games this postseason — the first two of the Nashville series — and was parked after going minus-2 in a 6-2 loss on Apr. 17.

Bylsma free to pursue any coaching gig, says Rutherford

Bylsma
17 Comments

Teams wanting to interview Dan Bylsma for their head coaching position will no longer need to ask permission.

Bylsma, who’s been out of work since getting fired by Pittsburgh last season, is free to pursue any other job across the NHL, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said on Thursday.

More, from the Associated Press:

Rutherford made his comment Thursday in response to a question as to whether Sabres have asked him permission to interview Bylsma for their vacancy. Though Bylsma was fired last June, he remains on the Penguins’ payroll because his contract runs through the end of next season.

San Jose, New Jersey and Detroit also have openings.

Both the Sabres and Sharks have reportedly asked permission to speak with Bylsma. Many assume the Devils will eventually check in on Bylsma, given the strong connection at play; New Jersey’s new GM is Ray Shero, Bylsma’s former boss with the Penguins (the two won the Stanley Cup together in 2009.)

As for Rutherford, his first move upon being hired as Penguins GM was to dismiss Bylsma, so this latest move doesn’t come as a huge surprise.