Florida Panthers

Wild waive veteran forward Veillieux


The Minnesota Wild have placed 33-year-old winger Stephane Veilleux on waivers, per Sportsnet.

Veilleux, who’s appeared in over 400 career contests for the Wild, has played 12 games this year, scoring two points while averaging 7:42 TOI per night. It seems as though he’s the odd man out following the Sean Bergenheim trade; in last night’s 4-2 win over Nashville, Bergenheim made his Wild debut (playing 13:41) while Veilleux sat as a healthy scratch.

Should Veilleux clear waivers, he’ll be returned to AHL Iowa.

Panthers thrilled to get Jagr, who might be more than a rental


The Florida Panthers’ young core of forwards got a reinforcement and new mentor on Thursday when GM Dale Tallon acquired 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr from the New Jersey Devils.

To say that he brings a wealth of knowledge to the table would be an understatement. His NHL career started in 1990 while the Florida Panthers made their debut in 1993. Jagr has participated in 202 playoff contests. Florida has been in 38.

“(The message is) that we’re buyers and committed to winning,” Tallon said, per the Sun Sentinel. “[Owner Vinnie Viola] and we all said we want to win a championship. We’re putting the pieces together step by step. Hopefully, Jaromir can lead these young guys to the promised land. It’s a win-win for us.”

The future Hall of Famer will play alongside either 19-year-old Aleksander Barkov or 22-year-old Nick Bjugstad in his Panthers debut on Saturday. In addition to his keadership role, the Panthers are also hoping Jagr can bolster their offense as the team has averaged just 2.28 goals per contest. That lack of firepower is the single biggest reason Florida is two points shy of the Boston Bruins and the second Wild Card spot.

While Jagr’s experience isn’t in question, his production isn’t what it used to be. He has 11 goals and 29 points in 57 contests in 2014-15 and saw his role with the New Jersey Devils decrease following the firing of head coach Pete DeBoer in December. At the same time, Jagr can still contribute and has made it clear that he doesn’t want this to be his last season in the NHL.

In Tallon, it seems Jagr has found a man that’s on the same page.

“I’d love to see him play another year or two here,” Tallon said, according to the Miami Herald. “That’s what his goal is. His fitness level is second to none.”

Meanwhile, the new Jagr jerseys have already been prepared:

Blackhawks deny rumors of locker room fight


The Chicago Blackhawks are battling the Florida Panthers on Thursday night, but many wonder if they’re also battling each other. If something happened, key figures in the organization are quick to deny it.

Head coach Joel Quenneville said that word of a locker room fist fight is “all news” to him, according to CSNChicago.com’s Tracey Myers. Myers passes along word from a source that said there’s “no truth” to the rumors.

It sounds like it’s already becoming a running joke among team members, as the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc reports:

Publicly, it seems like the team is bottling this up, but the only people who know what happened for certain were in the Blackhawks locker room.

The good news might just be that the team won’t have to linger on any issues – if there are any – as their plate is pretty full. They’re working to integrate Teuvo Teravainen into the Patrick Kane-less lineup and might make some significant moves as the trade deadline approaches.

One might wonder if they’ll take whatever issues out on Alex Petrovic tonight, even if Quenneville (sort of) denies it.

Panthers acquire Jagr from Devils


The Florida Panthers have made a big splash prior to Monday’s trade deadline, acquiring 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr from New Jersey in exchange for in exchange for a second-round draft pick in 2015 and a conditional third-round draft pick in 2016.

Jagr has scored 11 goals and 29 points in 57 games for the Devils this season, but recently complained about his lack of ice time and the club’s narrowing (virtually closed) window for making the playoffs. While there’s no guarantee he’ll get there with Florida, the Panthers do have a better shot — heading into tonight’s action they’re just two points back of Boston for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Florida will mark Jagr’s eighth NHL stop, having previously spent time in Pittsburgh, Washington, New York (Rangers), Philadelphia, Dallas, Boston and New Jersey. It’s also worth pointing out that his last foray into the playoffs came during the Bruins’ run to the 2013 Stanley Cup Final — and now, Jagr’s playing for a Florida team that’s chasing the B’s in the standings.

The Panthers clearly made this move with veteran playoff experience in mind. In their release, they note that Jagr is now the sixth Stanley Cup-winner on the active roster, joining Dave Bolland, Brian Campbell, Tomas Kopecky, Willie Mitchell and Shawn Thornton.

Much will also be made of Jagr’s age, given how many youngsters Florida has in the fold. To put things in perspective, Calder Trophy candidate Aaron Ekblad, 18, was born in 1996 — the same year Jagr scored a career-high 67 goals and 149 points.

Some trade details, per ESPN:

A healthy scratch in Florida, Bergenheim to debut on Wild’s top line


Acquired Tuesday in from Florida, Sean Bergenheim will make his Wild debut tonight in Nashville (on NBCSN).

And after his role with the Panthers was diminished to the point where he requested a trade, the veteran forward will make that debut on Minnesota’s top line, skating with center Mikko Koivu and right winger Thomas Vanek.

“We think that where he’s at with Mikko, the way that Mikko has been playing, that line has an ability to create,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said, per NHL.com.

“But we also think that they need somebody who is going to be on the puck. Somebody who is going to hound pucks, somebody who is going to forecheck, somebody who is going to go to the net, and also somebody who is going to be responsible at both ends of the ice. We’ll see how it works out.”

Bergenheim left Florida with eight goals and 10 assists in 39 games for the Panthers this season.

“I’m pretty happy with how I’ve played this season in the role I’ve been given,” he told the Star Tribune. “But I know there’s a lot more energy in me to play a better role.

“I want to bring energy, I want to bring forechecking, I want to bring pressure in the offensive zone. I want to get the pucks to the net, get myself to the net, and hopefully score some goals. I think in that sense I can help the team.”