The Vancouver Canucks feature two of the 10 youngest skaters in the NHL and they’ve decided to keep both of them for the rest of the season.
They made that official with an announcement today that 19-year-old forwards Jake Virtanen and Jared McCann won’t be returned to their respective junior teams.
Vancouver had to make a decision soon because they’re both approaching the 10 games played mark and once they reach that milestone, this will count towards the first campaign of their entry-level contracts.
Virtanen has been used sparingly so far, but he has the potential to develop into a great power forward as well as a fan favorite given his British Columbia roots. Vancouver took him with the sixth overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and he followed that up with a campaign where he recorded 21 goals, 52 points, and 82 penalty minutes in 50 contests with WHL Calgary.
McCann was also taken in the first round of the 2014 draft (24th overall). While his playing time has been limited as well, he’s made a big impact with five goals in nine contests. Vancouver acquired the pick used to take him in the Ryan Kesler trade with Anaheim and while this obviously has to be taken with a grain of salt, McCann currently has just one less goal than all of the Ducks’ forwards combined.
It will be interesting to see if Virtanen and McCann’s roles grow as the season progresses. If nothing else they are a big part of the group that represents the Canucks’ hopes for the future, especially given the team’s aging core.
Related: Canucks roll the dice on rookies, waive Vey and Corrado
The San Jose Sharks won their first four games of the season on the strength of goalie Martin Jones‘ hot start. He allowed just two goals over that span, but has gone on to lose three of his last four contests while San Jose has won just one of its last six games.
To be fair, Jones held the Nashville Predators to just two goals on Wednesday and still got the loss. That’s just one example of why San Jose’s recent struggles aren’t even close to being his alone to bear. Additionally, it is worth emphasizing that he’s been great overall with a 1.74 GAA and .938 save percentage in eight contests.
Still, the Sharks need everyone to be at their best this afternoon when they look to rebound against goaltender Semyon Varlamov and the equally hungry Colorado Avalanche.
— Andrei Vasilevskiy has completed his conditioning stint and might play for the Tampa Bay Lightning for the first time since being diagnosed with a blood clot near his collarbone. Although it’s not official, Carolina is likely to counter with Cam Ward.
— With Carey Price out at least a week with a lower-body injury, the Montreal Canadiens will turn to backup Mike Condon for their game against Winnipeg. The Jets will start Michael Hutchinson.
— Jaroslav Halak started in the Islanders’ 3-2 shootout loss to New Jersey on Saturday, so New York might opt to start Thomas Greiss tonight against the Sabres. Chad Johnson will probably play at the other after getting a breather on Friday.
— Nashville used Pekka Rinne in their 4-3 overtime loss to Los Angeles on Saturday, so this might end up being one of the rare night’s off for him. Frederik Andersen, who is still winless despite his 2.05 GAA, will probably get the nod for Anaheim.
John Tortorella’s most famous dealings with the media tend to be the ones with, let’s say an edge to them, but the new Blue Jackets bench boss was calm and reflective following last night’s 3-2 loss to Winnipeg.
The general theme was that the Blue Jackets need to rebuild their confidence.
“I know it’s in the room, I know they’re better players offensively. We’re going to try to allow them to play and hopefully something happens the right way and it snowballs,” Tortorella said.
Some might have hoped that event already happened when the Blue Jackets won back-to-back contests, ending their season-opening eight-game losing streak. However, they’ve lost two games since then, dropping to 2-10-0 this season.
All of Columbus’ recent contests have been close and that at least is a change. Still, the at best mixed results towards the end of the month emphasize just how deep a whole the Blue Jackets are in. After all, this is a team that’s already nine months behind in the playoff race.
Tortorella did briefly touch on something else during the presser: That this is a young squad. There was a fair amount of hype about Columbus going into the campaign, which makes what’s happened all the more painful, but the core of this squad is almost entirely compromised of players still in their 20s. Brandon Saad and Ryan Johansen are just 23 and they could end up being a great duo for years to come.
So there’s still reason for cautious optimism in Columbus, even if this campaign is already looking bleak.
You can see Tortorella’s full press conference here:
Nothing is official, but the Buffalo News’ sources don’t believe Patrick Kane is likely to face any criminal charges related to the allegations that he raped a woman.
Kane has been playing for the Chicago Blackhawks during the investigation.
This follows a report in mid-September that Kane’s DNA was found on the alleged victim’s shoulder and under her fingernails, but not on her genitals or undergarments.
There were also claims of evidence-tampering, which Erie County district attorney Frank Sedita refuted. With regards to the alleged evidence of tampering he said, “We believe the complainant’s mother has carried out an elaborate hoax.”
With regards to the latest report that Kane isn’t likely to face charges, Sedita said, “I am waiting for the investigation to be completed to my satisfaction and to confer with the assigned prosecutor, who is on her vacation six time zones away, before announcing anything further.”
The reigning Vezina and Hart Trophy winner will not be available to the Montreal Canadiens tonight.
The Canadiens announced that goaltender Carey Price is dealing with a lower-body injury. They’ve recalled Dustin Tokarski as a result.
After a commanding 2014-15 campaign, Price picked up where he left off by posting a 2.01 GAA and .936 save percentage in eight games last month. He got Friday’s contest off, so he likely would have played tonight against the Winnipeg Jets if he was healthy.
Montreal will instead go with Mike Condon, per TSN’s John Lu. Condon is a 25-year-old rookie with only three games worth of NHL experience under his belt, but he’s won all of those contests and has only allowed a total of five goals.
The Canadiens lead the league with a 10-2-0 record going into today’s action. Winnipeg earned a 3-2 win over Columbus last night to improve to 7-3-1.
Update: Price will be out for at least a week, per the Canadiens’ Twitter feed.