Nick Holden

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Should Winnipeg Jets stand pat at trade deadline?


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There are whispers that the Winnipeg Jets could stand pat at the trade deadline and get away with it.

It’s not necessarily the most popular opinion, but one that has gained a small following given how their season has shaped up to this point.

The growth of rookie forward Kyle Connor, who scored his 21st goal of the season on Sunday, has been impressive. Connor went from a mediocre training camp that saw him begin the season in the American Hockey League to play a vital role on Winnipeg’s top line with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler.

Jack Roslovic began the season in the AHL and was only called up recently to fill in the gaps as Winnipeg’s health began to deteriorate. Now, Roslovic, a dynamic player with speed and play-making ability, has performed so well that he likely won’t see the minors again.

The Jets are also anticipating the return of towering center Adam Lowry (out with an upper-body injury) and defenseman Jacob Trouba (out with a lower-body injury) by the time the playoffs roll around, turning into quasi-trade deadline additions.

The Jets, who have scored 13 goals in their past two games, are as good as any other team in the league when they’re firing on all cylinders. A recent adjustment to their lines — one that included putting 20-plus goal scorers Nikolaj Ehlers and Patrik Laine on the third unit — has diversified Winnipeg’s top-nine to a scary extent.

The Jets have three lines that are capable, at the moment, of putting up a lot of points on any given night. So the argument that the Jets don’t need to add someone to their top-six, or even their top-nine, has some merit.

That said, as the old sports cliche goes: there’s always room to improve. The Jets could still use some depth on the fourth line. Matt Hendricks, while a good presence in the room and a decent penalty killer, isn’t the quickest player on the ice. Joel Armia shows flashes of brilliance and then goes on long stretches where he’s mostly invisible. The return of Brandon Tanev from injury will be useful in that regard. But adding a budget center could be the shrewd move general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff needs to solidify a solid fourth-line combo.

On defense, Ben Chiarot has played admirably in place of Trouba but he may be a surplus to requirements when Trouba returns. One wonders what Cheveldayoff is thinking when it comes to Toby Enstrom, however. The diminutive defenseman had a tough outing in the physical department during the Jets last playoff appearance — their only visit since returning to Winnipeg — during the 2014-15 season. And his injury history should have the Jets thinking about at least shoring up that possibility.

The Jets could turn to Chiarot’s size and physicality in a similar scenario or could turn to the trade market for another option.

This is a good headache for any general manager. The Jets are one of the top teams in the NHL without having made a trade thus far this season.

Their goaltending has been spectacular, their power play has been lethal and their penalty kill is up near the top. Bell MTS Place has become a place teams go to die and the Jets, at the moment, would have home-ice advantage in the first round.

It makes for an interesting week leading up to Monday’s trade deadline.

Here’s a look at what the Jets could be/are considering:


Rick Nash: A pricey rental player that would add size and scoring to the Jets top-six. But pricey is the key word here and it’s unlikely the Jets want to dig into the farm to own a guy for a couple months.

Mike Hoffman: Skilled and quick with the ability to score. He would be a good fit for the Jets, but as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported on the weekend, Hoffman has a limited no-movement clause and Winnipeg is on the list. With term left on his deal, the price wouldn’t be cheap either.

Patrick Maroon and Mark Letestu: Two depth forwards that would bolster Winnipeg’s bottom end. Maroon isn’t the fastest guy around, and he’s not scoring 27 goals like he did last season playing with Connor McDavid. But a fresh start after not getting a contract in Edmonton might be just what Maroon needs to get his confidence up and running. Letestu, meanwhile, offers bottom-six depth up the middle. Matt Hendricks, currently occupying the fourth-line center role, didn’t play in last year’s playoffs for the Oilers. He could make way again depending on what the Jets do at the deadline. These would be cheaper options.

Ryan Hartman: It would be odd for the Chicago Blackhawks to trade a 23-year-old budding forward to a divisional rival, but stranger things have happened. Hartman had 19 goals in his rookie season last year and is playing on a very poor Blackhawks team this year. The price tag is likely high on him as well.

Mats Zuccarello: The New York Rangers announced they were holding a yard sale, and Zuccarello is a name that’s been thrown around when it comes to the Jets. Zuccarello is a good penalty killer and plays a game, not unlike Mathieu Perreault, who the Jets covet. Zuccarello also comes with an extra year on his contract. and could help the Jets beyond this season.


Nick Holden: Continuing with the Rangers fire sale, Holden could be an option. He’s a left shot defenseman that could fill in for an injury to Enstrom. Holden’s possession metrics don’t jump off the page, but he’s a serviceable third-pairing guy who can play bigger minutes in a pinch.

Jan Rutta: One player the Blackhawks may be willing to part ways with is defenseman Rutta, who is on a one-year entry-level deal that’s set to expire at the end of this season. Rutta shoots right and has better possession metrics than Holden.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Avs eyeing left shot defensemen in free agency


According to Mike Chambers of The Denver Post, the Avs’ top priority heading into free agency is to add left-handed shooting defensemen.

Chambers previously reported the club is unlikely to re-sign pending unrestricted free agent defensemen Jan Hejda or Ryan Wilson. Both are left shots.

“As a coach, yes, we’d like to have somebody to play with EJ (inaudible) and Tyson. Obviously, we have (Nick) Holden and (Brad) Stuart, who are left shots, but we’d like to add a defenseman in the top four,” Patrick Roy said. “I think it will help our team tremendously.”

According to, there are currently 60 left shot blue liners set to hit the open market on July 1.

Chambers suggests the Avs will focus on Andrej Sekera, Christian Ehrhoff, Matt Irwin, Johnny Oduya and Paul Martin. Sekera is the Avs’ top target, according to Chambers.

The 29-year-old split the 2014-15 season between the Carolina Hurricanes and L.A. Kings scoring three goals and 23 points in 73 games while averaging nearly 22 minutes a night in ice time.

Kings’ GM Dean Lombardi said the team was in negotiations with Sekera last month and believes the blue liner wants to remain in Los Angeles.

Colorado could have as much as $13 million to play with in free agency.

“It’s definitely and exciting time for everybody — stressful as well,” GM Joe Sakic said of free agency. “We’ve got guys that we’re looking to see what we can do about adding to our lineup and see if something fits. It’s a two-way street. You can like somebody but they have to … players pick where they want to go. We have guys in mind that we’d like to come on board and help us win … We’re working and things keep coming up.”

Coyotes don’t get a single shot in second period, fall to Avs


Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov earned his 16th victory tonight as Colorado topped Arizona 5-2. It doesn’t seem like a stretch to say this one was easier than his previous 15 wins.

Arizona only recorded five shots on goal in the first period and they weren’t credited with a single shot in the second frame. That’s the first time in nearly 12 years that Arizona has gone an entire period without a shot and just the third time it’s happened in franchise history, per the Arizona Republic’s Sarah McLellan. Colorado had a 5-1 lead through 40 minutes, which means that the Avalanche wouldn’t have been losing the contest at that point even if Varlamov had failed to make even a single save.

Remarkably the Coyotes managed to avoid setting a new single game franchise low as they recorded 12 shots in the third period. Varlamov wasn’t around for that though as Avalanche coach Patrick Roy decided to let him rest after he faced just five shots over 40 minutes. Reto Berra stepped in and made 11 saves.

Nick Holden netted the game-winning goal for Colorado. Jarome Iginla recorded two assists to put him ahead of Vincent Damphousse in the NHL’s all-time points list. Iginla has 1,207 points, which is just two shy of 44th place and Bernie Nicholls.

Colorado also beat Dallas on Saturday, giving the Avalanche a 24-22-11 record this season. At this point their chances of advancing to the postseason are slim.

Avalanche recall Rendulic

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The Colorado Avalanche have recalled forward Borna Rendulic from the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League, the club announced via Twitter.

From the Denver Post:

Rendulic will be in Denver on Wednesday to play against the Philadelphia Flyers at Pepsi Center.

The Avs had a shortened 20-man roster Monday at St. Louis with no healthy scratches. They used defenseman Nick Holden as a forward on the fourth line. He played a little more than eight minutes, with one shot on goal. The Blues won easily, 3-0.

Originally from Croatia, the 22-year-old Rendulic has played three games for the Avalanche this season. Signed as a free agent in May, he was originally recalled to Colorado in early December. In three NHL games, he has yet to record a point while averaging 6:48 of ice time.


Video: Avs’ Tanguay scores highlight-reel goal


The Colorado Avalanche fell 4-3 in overtime to the Calgary Flames Thursday night; however, Alex Tanguay scored a highlight-reel goal to give the Avs a 3-2 lead in the third period.

Matt Duchene and Nick Holden had the other goals for the Avs, who have failed to pick up a win in back-to-back games on their three-game road trip.

Dennis Wideman had a two-goal night for the Calgary Flames. He now has 10 on the season, which matches his goal totals for the past two seasons combined. He had 11 in 2011-12 while with the Washington Capitals and a career-high of 13 goals, which reached in 2007-08 and 2008-09 while a member of the Boston Bruins.

Curtis Glencross also scored for the flames.

Johnny Gaudreau had the overtime winner.

The win was Bob Hartley’s 400th of his coaching career.