Mike Halford

Ryan Murphy
AP

‘Canes send trade target Murphy to AHL on conditioning stint

Last week, we welcomed Carolina d-man Ryan Murphy to the trade rumor mill.

Today, another development on the Murphy front — he’s been sent to AHL Charlotte on a conditioning stint.

The 12th overall pick in 2011, Murphy missed the start of the year with a lower-body injury and made his season debut on Nov. 1. From there, he played in just three more games — for a grand total of four — and hasn’t suited up since going minus-3 in a 4-2 loss to Anaheim 11 days ago.

All told, Murphy is averaging just over 13 minutes per night, and has scored just a single point. TSN’s Darren Dreger reported that Murphy “doesn’t seem to be a fit for Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters,” adding the 23-year-old blueliner “will likely be on the move.”

The former OHL standout could have some value across the league. He’s a right-handed shot, which is vital, and a good skater with nice passing vision. Injuries have been a problem throughout his four-year career, though, and he’s never played more than 48 games in a single season.

Heading to Charlotte shouldn’t be a huge shock for Murphy. He’s spent considerable time there in the past, including 32 games last year.

Zatkoff ‘good to go,’ so Kings send Campbell back down

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 07:  Goaltender Jeff Zatkoff #37 of the Los Angeles Kings stands on the ice during a break in a preseason game against the Dallas Stars at T-Mobile Arena on October 7, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Dallas won 6-3.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Getty
1 Comment

Yesterday, we passed along word that the Kings were getting healthier at forward, and now it appears that’s happening in goal as well.

Jeff Zatkoff, who was forced to leave last week’s game against Ottawa with a groin injury, said he’s ready to return ahead of tomorrow’s home tilt versus the Devils.

That means Jack Campbell, who played a grand total of 20 minutes at the NHL level this year, is headed back down to AHL Ontario.

“I feel 100 percent confident now,” Zatkoff said, per LA Kings Insider. “I feel it’s good to go, so now I’ll just keep working on getting back up to game speed.”

It’ll be interesting to see when Zatkoff makes his return. His injury, along with the one to starting netminder Jonathan Quick, basically forced head coach Darryl Sutter to ride Peter Budaj almost exclusively over the last four weeks.

Budaj, who projected to spend most of this year in the AHL, has fared well as the temporary No. 1, going 8-6-1 with a .914 save percentage and 2.12 GAA.

Zatkoff was signed this summer to be Quick’s backup, though, so logic would assume he’ll be in soon.

Hertl leaves road trip, will undergo MRI in San Jose

DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 24:  Tomas Hertl #48 of the San Jose Sharks awaits a face off against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on February 24, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Getty

The Sharks will finish their six-game road swing on Saturday in Arizona, and they’ll probably be glad to see it end.

Having lost their last two games — 1-0 in Carolina, and 3-2 in St. Louis — the Sharks have also lost the services of a key forward, as Tomas Hertl has been returned to San Jose to undergo an MRI.

“Any time you’re sending a guy back early on a trip to get looked at there’s concern, but you look around the league, everyone is dealing with injuries,” head coach Peter DeBoer said. “A lot of injuries to key guys.”

Per CSN Bay Area, it’s possible Hertl re-injured his right knee, which has given him problems throughout the last few years.

Hertl played just over 10 minutes in last night’s loss to the Blues, and was last seen limping up the tunnel during the second period. Losing him for any length of time will hurt — Hertl has been a steady producer for the Sharks this year, with four goals and five assists for nine points in 16 games.

“He’s a big part of this team,” Logan Couture said, per CSN Bay Area. “Great player. Really come into his own these last couple years. Some nights he’s our best player on the ice.

“Big hole to fill if he is to miss some time. Hopefully it’s not too bad.”

The Sharks are thin at forward right now. Melker Karlsson, along with Hertl, missed Friday’s practice and there’s no update on his status for tomorrow’s game. Karlsson is dealing with a left ankle ailment.

Goalie nods: Flames stick with Johnson for a third straight start

CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 18: Chad Johnson #31 of the Calgary Flames in action against the Buffalo Sabres during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on October 18, 2016 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
Getty

Interesting times in Calgary.

The Flames host the Blackhawks tonight and, for the third straight game, it’ll be Chad Johnson getting the nod ahead of No. 1 netminder Brian Elliott.

To his credit, Johnson is full value for the start. He’s posted back-to-back wins and looked sharp, stopping 47 of 48 shots for a .978 save percentage. For a Flames team looking to get things on track after a rough October, it’s something of a no-brainer.

But it’s not without controversy.

At the draft in June, GM Brad Treliving made a fairly big splash in acquiring Elliott from St. Louis, calling him “one of the best goaltenders in the league for the last number of years.” The belief was Elliot would finally solve Calgary’s longstanding goalie problem and, at the tail end of the preseason, there were reports the two sides were discussing a contract extension.

Then the regular season happened.

Elliott got off to a poor start. And though he’s had a couple of quality outings since, his overall numbers reflect that sluggish beginning — he’s 3-8-0 with a .882 save percentage, and 3.36 GAA.

This situation will be one to monitor moving forward. An important factor to consider is that both Johnson and Elliott are pending UFAs.

For Chicago, Corey Crawford starts in goal.

Elsewhere…

— After getting knocked out of an ugly 7-1 loss to Washington on Wednesday, Matt Murray is back in goal for Pittsburgh. The Isles will counter with Jaroslav Halak, who’s shouldered a heavy workload recently.

Jimmy Howard is back in for the Red Wings, who take on the Caps in Washington. He’ll be up against Braden Holtby.

— Quality matchup in Columbus, where a pair of former Vezina winners, Henrik Lundqvist and Sergei Bobrovsky, go head-to-head.

— The Habs are in the first of a back-to-back, so Al Montoya goes in Carolina (Carey Price will, presumably, start tomorrow against Toronto). The ‘Canes are going with Cam Ward fresh off a 22-save shutout against San Jose on Tuesday.

Slumping Oilers waive Lander

Toronto Maple Leafs v Edmonton Oilers
Getty

This morning, Brough touched on the struggling Edmonton Oilers, who lost their fifth straight game last night and are now barely above. 500.

Shortly thereafter, the club made a move.

Forward Anton Lander, who’s appeared in 16 of Edmonton’s 19 games this season, has been placed on waivers. The move comes with Lander having scored just three points in those 16 games, averaging 10:15 TOI per night.

(He was scratched for Thursday’s loss to L.A.)

The 40th overall pick in 2009, Lander has enjoyed some good times in Edmonton, most notably during the ’14-15 campaign when he scored 20 points in 38 games.

The Oilers locked him into a two-year, $1.97 million extension that summer — good for an average annual cap hit of $985,000 — but Lander struggled in year one of the deal, scoring just three points in 61 games last season.

Should he clear waivers, the 25-year-old Swede — a veteran of over 200 NHL contests — could be off to the Oilers’ AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.