Tampa Bay Lightning

Yzerman, Sather, Murray finalists for GM of the Year


The NHL GM of the Year award has come down to Tampa Bay’s Steve Yzerman, the New York Rangers’ Glen Sather, and Anaheim’s Bob Murray.

For Murray its an opportunity to become the first general manager to win the award twice since it was first given in 2010. Anaheim won its division for the third straight year and is fighting the Chicago Blackhawks for a berth into the Stanley Cup Final.

Murray helped bring the Ducks to the next level in the playoffs by acquiring Ryan Kesler from Vancouver in the summer of 2014 in exchange for Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa, and two draft picks. Kesler had a solid campaign and has been a big help in the postseason with four goals, nine points, and a 61.2 faceoff winning percentage in 12 contests. Perhaps the biggest move was the one Murray didn’t make though. He let goaltender Jonas Hiller walk as a free agent and rather than replace him, Murray put his trust in the idea that one of his two young netminders, Frederik Andersen or John Gibson, would be able to fill the void. So far that’s worked out for Anaheim.

Yzerman’s Tampa Bay Lightning had a 50-24-8 record in the regular season and advanced to the 2015 Eastern Conference Final. Yzerman inherited Steven Stamkos, but he’s done a great job of building a strong team around the superstar. The Lightning have a number of young offensive weapons, including Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov, and Ondrej Palat, all of which were acquired during Yzerman’s watch. Kucherov was a late second round selection in 2011 while Palat slipped all the way to the seventh round of the same draft. Johnson meanwhile was never drafted and Yzerman instead lured him over with an entry-level contract in 2011.

The Lightning general manager also acquired a vital piece of the puzzle in 2013 when he sent Cory Conacher and a fourth round pick to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Ben Bishop.

Sather has been running the Rangers’ front office since in 2000 and oversaw their Presidents’ Trophy-winning 2014-15 campaign. He’s made a habit of trading for or signing high-profile players with varying degrees of success. The most recent example is defenseman Keith Yandle, who he pried away from Arizona in March. Some of the other big names he’s acquired in recent years include Rick Nash, Martin St. Louis, and Dan Boyle.

WATCH LIVE: Rangers at Lightning, Game 4 of Eastern Conference Final


The Rangers got through the first two rounds on the strength of 2-1 victories, but in Games 2 and 3 of the Eastern Conference Final they weren’t able to contain the Tampa Bay Lightning. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers will be looking to bounce back tonight after surrendering six goals in each of those contests.

The game is scheduled to start at 8:00 p.m. ET and you can tune in as early as 7:00 for pregame coverage. The contest will air on NBCSN and it can also be streamed via NBC Sports Live Extra:


Here are some relevant links:

It goes to eleven: Lightning edge Rangers in track meet

Brian Boyle is right, ‘The Triplets’ are scary good

All eyes on Lundqvist

Twins joining Triplets? Watch out if Stamkos, Killorn keep heating up

Bolts rule Carle (undisclosed) out for Game 4

Columbus goalie prospect Dansk bolts for Sweden


Oscar Dansk is headed home.

Dansk, taken 31st overall by Columbus at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, has decided to return to play in his native Sweden next season, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

The decision comes after Dansk struggled in his first professional campaign in North America. He split time between Columbus’ AHL affiliate in Springfield and ECHL Kalamazoo, posting relatively weak numbers while getting passed by other young goalies on the organizational depth chart, most notably Anton Forsberg and Joonas Korpisalo.

The development has to be a disappointment for both the Blue Jackets and Dansk. Just three years ago, he was regarded as one of the better young goaltending prospects around; he backstopped Sweden to silver at the 2014 World Juniors (with a 1.79 GAA and .929 save percentage) and, in his draft year, was the third goalie taken behind Andrei Vasilevskiy and Malcolm Subban.

Last May, Columbus signed Dansk to a three-year, entry-level contract.

It’s worth noting this is the third prospect the Blue Jackets have had issues with this summer. University of Minnesota defenseman Mike Reilly, the club’s fourth-round pick in 2011, has held off on signing his ELC with the club and appears primed to hit free agency. There are also rumblings that Kerby Rychel, the club’s first-round pick in 2013, has been made available for trade.

Bolts rule Carle (undisclosed) out for Game 4


Tampa Bay d-man Matt Carle will miss his first game of the postseason tonight when the Bolts host the Rangers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final at Amalie Arena.

Carle, shook up following a collision with Derek Stepan during Game 3 — a hit that forced Carle from the game — was officially ruled out this morning by head coach Jon Cooper, who wouldn’t reveal what he’d do in terms of a lineup replacement.

From today’s media availability:

Q. So maybe get a guy like [Mark] Barberio in there?

COACH COOPER: Maybe. Our full 21 guys are playing, so you have to show up tonight to see which guy is out. But he’s one of the guys I told might be in.

Q. Either way, if you do go 7 [defensemen], you have a guy that hasn’t played for a while in the lineup. What kind of things go into that?

COACH COOPER: This is where you find out if guys are pros or not. It’s a game we all love to play, but it’s also in some respects, it’s your job. These guys are expected to, when your name is called, to come in and do the best you can and keep yourself in shape. Our guys and our staff have done a great job with players that haven’t been in the starting line-up, but potentially could come in. You look at everybody from, you know, if it is Barberio to [Jonathan] Drouin, [Vladislav] Namestnikov, [Jonathan] Marchessault, go down the list.

Carle, 30, was averaging 16:35 TOI per night prior to getting hurt, with two points and a minus-6 rating.

Twins joining Triplets? Watch out if Stamkos, Killorn keep heating up


The Tampa Bay Lightning’s “Triplets” line has done something remarkable: knock Steven Stamkos off the marquee, at least for a little while.

The scary thing for the New York Rangers – and maybe the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks – is that the Lightning’s “other” big combo is really starting to generate points and havoc, as well. With Ryan Callahan still recovering from emergency surgery and Valtteri Filppula a little less noticeable on the line, the duo of Stamkos and Alex Killorn is being dubbed “The Twins” by the Ottawa Sun.

There’s no word on how Henrik and Daniel Sedin feel about such a nickname, as Stamkos stands out is pretty easy to distinguish from just about any other player, really:

New Yoprk Rangers v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Three
Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images

Granted, Ondrej Palat, Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson don’t look alike, either. Instead, they blend together by being so dominant and cohesive, and the startling thing about the last game-and-change is that Killorn has been as impressive as Stamkos.

Jon Cooper singled Killorn and Palat out in Game 3, in particular:

Of course, it’s scarier for opponents to see Stamkos on his game, and he definitely asserted himself on Wednesday. His all-out-effort on his 2-1 goal really made a statement:

In the past two games, Stamkos has two goals and two assists. Killorn has been even more productive with three goals and two helpers, and it’s more than that, as his overwhelming Game 3 effort included nine shots on goal.

If this keeps up, opponents face the unsettling “pick your poison” proposition: do you focus on “The Triplets,” Killorn – Stamkos or risk spreading yourself thin? Call each line what you want, but on their best days, they amount to a matchup nightmare.