Tag: Manny Malhotra

Montreal Canadiens v Arizona Coyotes

Habs cutting ties with Gonchar, Malhotra, Weaver


Three of the oldest players on the Montreal roster are on their way out.

Manny Malhotra, Mike Weaver and Sergei Gonchar — the Habs’ elder statesman this year, at 41 — won’t be brought back for next season, GM Marc Bergevin confirmed during Friday’s end-of-season presser.

The moves don’t come as a huge surprise, given all were pending UFAs and none played in the playoffs. Malhotra had the biggest role on the team during the regular season, appearing in 58 games, and Gonchar did provide some offense on the back end, racking up 13 points in 45 games.

Weaver, a renowned shot-blocker that played regularly in last year’s run to the Eastern Conference Final, was largely a spare part this season and appeared in just 31 games, one of the lowest totals of his career.

It’ll be interesting to see what each player does next. The 34-year-old Malhotra, the youngest of the three, said he wants to keep playing; Weaver, who just turned 37, has played for six different teams over the last 13 years and always seems to find somewhere to sign. Gonchar could very well be done.

Finally, it’s worth noting that over $7 million comes off the books with Gonchar, Weaver and Malhotra leaving town. Important, because the club has said that re-signing pending UFA d-man Jeff Petry is a priority, and Petry isn’t going to come cheap.

Habs add forward depth, acquire Flynn from Sabres

Buffalo Sabres v Columbus Blue Jackets

The Montreal Canadiens stayed busy after acquiring d-man Jeff Petry this morning, picking up forward Brian Flynn from Buffalo.

In exchange, the Sabres will receive a fifth-round pick at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, per TSN.

Flynn, 26, has enjoyed a relatively successful campaign with the Sabres, scoring five goals and a career-high 17 points in 54 games played. A former University of Maine standout, Flynn has spent his entire professional career with the Buffalo organization, playing two years in AHL Rochester before becoming a full-time NHLer last season (in 79 games, he had six goals and 13 points).

In Montreal, Flynn — who’s in the last of a two-year, $1.275M deal with a $637,500 cap hit — will challenge for minutes at the center position. He played there regularly for the Sabres (was fourth on the team in faceoffs) and will now be in the mix for bottom-six minutes along with rookie Jacob De La Rose and Manny Malhotra.

Bournival to make season debut, KHL team acquires Sekac’s rights

Detroit Red Wings v Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens say they aren’t panicking after Sunday’s blowout home loss to Calgary — but they are making a change.

Sophomore Michael Bournival will make his season debut tonight against Chicago, the club has announced, while TVA reports that KHL Club AK Bars Kazan has acquired the rights to rookie forward Jiri Sekac… who’s been a healthy scratch for the last six games.

Sekac, an undrafted free agent that signed with Montreal after good success in the KHL, was a lineup presence early in the season, getting a career-high 15:23 TOI against Philly on Oct. 11 before scoring his first NHL goal in a 6-4 win over Boston five nights later.

Bournival, who had a breakout rookie campaign last year by scoring seven goals and 14 points in 60 games, has also had a tough time cracking the lineup this season. He’s expected to play on the fourth line tonight with Brandon Prust and Manny Malhotra, which will likely send Travis Moen to the press box (where he’ll sit with Sekac).

Bieksa’s eye injury not ‘as serious as what people think it is’

Nashville Predators v Vancouver Canucks
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From the Vancouver Sun’s Elliott Pap, after Canucks defensemen Kevin Bieksa left last night’s game versus Nashville with an apparent eye injury:

You’ll forgive Canucks fans for fearing the worst. This is an organization, after all, that’s had to deal with two serious eye injuries, to Mattias Ohlund in 1999 and to Manny Malhotra in 2011.

Bieksa will apparently join the Canucks on their upcoming road trip, though he’s questionable for Tuesday’s game in Denver. If he can’t play, expect Ryan Stanton to take his spot.

Also expect rookie Bo Horvat to make his NHL debut versus the Avs, in place of injured forward Tom Sestito.

Workhorse goalies, forwards from last season


It’s Labor Day, so this seems like an appropriate time to consider hard work in hockey.

Sure, these players are all well-compensated for their efforts, but perhaps this will provide a little thematic entertainment. We took a look at the “hardest working” defensemen in this post, but now let’s consider goalies and forwards.

A few ground rules before you get too angry on your day off:

1. This is based on 2013-14 stats.

2. Quantity generally beats out quality in many cases, so players who logged 70+ games have a much better chance than someone who was injured but faced tough assignments when healthy.

3. By no means is this a comprehensive list and this isn’t meant to judge subjective things like “effort.” It’s mainly based on how a player was deployed. In other words, team styles and coaching in general made a big impact.

Got it? Let’s roll:

Anze Kopitar

At this point, leaving the Los Angeles Kings’ center off any “best forward in hockey” discussion is foolish. SB Nation’s Adam Gretz does a great job summarizing his all-around brilliance:

Since the start of the 2011-12 season with Kopitar on the ice at even-strength, the Kings have attempted 60 percent of the shot attempts (the third best mark in the NHL, behind only Kopitar’s teammate Justin Williams and Bergeron) and scored more than 61 percent of the goals. He’s also averaged more than two minutes of shorthanded ice-time per game over that stretch (tops among Kings forwards) and has 53 power play points.

Sean Couturier

Much like overall shorthanded time leader Braydon Coburn, playing for the league’s most penalized team probably inflates Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier’s PK numbers … but they still tower above other forwards expected to chip in at least some offense (sorry Manny Malhotra). Couturier’s only competition in total penalty killing time among forwards was Jay McClement, but Couturier logged more than four minutes of total ice time per game than the former Toronto Maple Leafs defensive specialist, giving him more all-around duties.

(Flyers fans are justified in smiling at the fact that his cap hit will only be $1.75 million for the next two seasons.)

Tomas Plekanec

It’s tempting to place Patrice Bergeron here being that he’s arguably the best two-way forward in the NHL (with a handful of others making a strong argument). Just look at this chart, which is one way of showing much opposing shooters struggle to score when Bergeron’s on the ice:

So consider that a mention of sorts, but the Boston Bruins probably share the defensive burden better than most (Bergeron averaged just under two minutes of shorthanded time per game, a healthy but not outrageous average). One might look to Boston’s hated rivals in Montreal for a guy who carries a remarkable workload for a quality scorer.

Tomas Plekanec wasn’t all that great at draws, yet he won the most shorthanded faceoffs in the league for a good reason: he was on PK duty a lot. Plekanec averaged 2:57 shorthanded time per game, not all that short of Couturier’s daunting 3:25 average. On top of that, Plekanec began only 38 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, which essentially places him alongside “defensive specialists.”

His offensive output of 20 goals and 43 points looks pretty solid considering all of that heavy lifting.

Sidney Crosby, Claude Giroux, Ryan Getzlaf and other scorers under pressure

While Erik Karlsson carries a staggering amount of offensive responsibilities in Ottawa, there are plenty of forwards who are expected to score on a nightly basis. Sidney Crosby was involved in 42.9 percent of the Pittsburgh Penguins 242 goals while Claude Giroux (36.9 of Philadelphia’s tallies) and Ryan Getzlaf (33 percent of Anaheim Ducks’ 263 goals) weren’t far behind. Getzlaf boasted one of the better alternate Hart arguments when you consider his 2:07 shorthanded time per game combined with his second-best scoring output.

Semyon Varlamov

It’s easy to see why the Colorado Avalanche’s No. 1 goalie pushed Tuukka Rask in the Vezina voting, as Varlamov was crucial to his team’s surprising season.

Varlamov easily topped all goalies in save attempts (2,013) and saves (1,867) as Kari Lehtonen came in distant second with 1,888 attempts and 1,735 saves. Varlamov’s 63 games played wasn’t short of the largest workload, finishing just two contests behind Lehtonen. All things considered, it’s really impressive that Varlamov topped all goalies with 41 wins while generating an impressive .927 save percentage.

(In case you’re wondering, Rask made 1,568 saves with an outstanding .930 save percentage.)

With a nod to Ryan Miller absorbing buckets of shots in Buffalo, it’s hard to make an argument for any goalie’s job being tougher than Varlamov’s last season. Should the Avs be worried about the goaltending equivalent of the NFL running back “Curse of 370,” then?


Maybe even more than the defensemen list, omissions are likely here in part for space reasons (Ryan Kesler’s an honorable mention, for one). Feel free to add some names to consider in the comments, then.