NHL teams made some final roster decisions on Friday, and in many cases, that meant that some familiar faces didn’t make the cut.
Here’s a roundup of hopefuls on paid tryouts who didn’t manage to stick with squads.
Did any of these players deserve to make those teams? Feel free to discuss prospects who deserved an extended NHL look, too, if you feel the urge.
One thing we’re sure to see plenty of in the next few days is seeing veteran players get invites to this week’s abbreviated training camp.
One such player is former Sharks and Blues forward Brad Winchester who has landed an invitation to camp with the Calgary Flames. The professional tryout gives him a chance to earn a spot with the veteran club and fortunately for him, the Flames are a team that could use veteran depth up front.
Last season with San Jose, Winchester played in 67 games scoring six goals with four assists as well as 88 penalty minutes. With Calgary likely not bringing back free agent Tom Kostopolous, Winchester could fill a grinder role on the third or fourth line should he make the team.
Another day, another questionable shot to the head by an NHL player. This time, its Dane Byers landing a shoulder/elbow to the head of Sharks center Andrew Desjardins only three minutes into the second period of Columbus’ game against San Jose. Desjardins’ teammate Bard Winchester immediately came to his aid by trying to punch Byers in the face and Byers received a match penalty for “intent to injure,” but the stiffer punishment could come from Brendan Shanahan in the coming days.
Unfortunately, Desjardins headed to the locker room and did not return for the final 17 minutes of the first period. For Byers’ part, he was playing in his fifth game this season and the 11th contest of his career. In 11 games though, he’s already been suspended once by the league for an illegal hit in 2009 while a member of the New York Rangers.
That’s right—he’s only played 11 career games and his current five game stretch for the Blue Jackets is his first cup of coffee in the NHL since 2009; yet he’s still a “repeat offender.”
Take a look at the hit and let us know what you think. Do you think Byers deserves a suspension? If so, how long should he be forced to sit? The comment section beckons…
Chances are you aren’t that familiar with Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jay Harrison, so allow us to bring you up to speed — he’s 29 years old, a former Maple Leafs draft pick, a one-time member of Swiss league team EV Zug, and a guy Carolina brought on board for next to nothing (he’s making $700k annually.)
This year he’s been a big contributor for the ‘Canes, recording 15 points through 34 games, while leading all defensemen in goals.
He also knows how to jam, man.
Recently, Fox Sports Carolina caught up with Harrison to discuss his off-ice passion — playing guitar.
— Harrison notes his love of 90s alternative music and Sirius/XM’s “Lithium” (aka “the flannel channel”). As a regular listener and fellow grunge aficionado, I can confirm that Lithium rules, though it tends to go a little heavy on the Smashing Pumpkins.
— At the 1:16 mark…does Harrison bust out a Radiohead/”Paranoid Android” riff? I believe he does. That’s pretty good.
— According to Harrison, San Jose’s Brad Winchester and Buffalo’s Drew Stafford are regarded as the NHL’s premier axe men. Intriguing. I knew about Stafford (he and Ryan Miller once played a charity concert with the Buffalo Philharmonic) but Winchester was a surprise. He’s from Wisconsin, I bet he’s really into the Violent Femmes (admittedly, that’s the only Wisconsin band I know.)
— Harrison’s really well-spoken. He made it through the entire interview without once saying “f—in rights!” which, based on everything I learned from HBO 24/7, is the most popular expression in the NHL.
Tonight is your night, Brad Winchester. According to MercuryNews.com, San Jose’s tough guy is likely to skate on the first line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski against Dallas at HP Pavilion. Meanwhile, struggling forward Patrick Marleau will be dropped to the third line with Michal Handzus and Jamie McGinn.
The Sharks have lost four of their last five, and with three of those losses coming at home, it’s no surprise coach Todd McLellan felt the need to shake it up.
“Patty, Jumbo and Pavs have been outscored by the other team’s lines the last three games in a row,” McLellan said. “That has to change.”
Jumbo, Pavs and, uh – Winchy? – could be a tough trio for the Stars to handle from a physical standpoint.
“[Winchester] has a way of burrowing himself right in the blue paint,” McLellan said. “Maybe that’s an ingredient that Pavs and Jumbo need right now.