Tag: Willie Mitchell

Jaromir Jagr Sightings In Prague

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:

Report: Polak ‘coveted’ by Kings

Nashville Predators v Toronto Maple Leafs

The Globe and Mail’s Eric Duhatschek has a column today about the upcoming NHL trade deadline, and how it’s shaping up to be a buyer’s market.

In it, Duhatschek lists a number of potential rental defensemen, including the “Coyotes’ Zbynek Michalek, the Carolina Hurricanes’ Andrej Sekera, the Edmonton Oilers’ Jeff Petry or the Maple Leafs’ Roman Polak, a player coveted by the Kings.”

We presume Duhatschek, a well-respected hockey reporter, isn’t just pulling those last six words out of thin air and that the Kings do, indeed, have an interest in Polak.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if they do. Polak, 28, is a rugged, right-shooting defender that could add depth and experience to a Kings’ blue line that no longer has Willie Mitchell and may not have Slava Voynov for a while, or even ever again.

Polak, Toronto’s leader with 183 hits, is signed through next season for a cap hit of $2.75 million. He was traded to the Leafs by the Blues in June.

With Kings sliding, will Lombardi make a trade?

Calgary Flames v Los Angeles Kings

Dustin Brown thinks it’s a matter of emotion. And maybe there’s something to his argument. The way the Kings play when they’re successful takes commitment.

But Darryl Sutter disagrees. He doesn’t think his team’s problems have as much to do with emotion as they do with a different “personnel.”

“We’re not the same team,” Sutter said after last night’s 4-0 loss to Washington, per L.A. Kings Insider. “It’s a quite a bit different team.”

The biggest difference is on the blue line, where Willie Mitchell is no longer and Slava Voynov may or may not be again. The result is Drew Doughty and Jake Muzzin logging around four minutes more per game — Doughty’s averaging 29:20, compared to 25:42 last season — and Brayden McNabb playing, period.

And it makes one wonder if frustrated GM Dean Lombardi will be active at the trade deadline, perhaps acquiring one of the available right-shooting defensemen to replace Voynov.

Because make no mistake, the Kings are in trouble. Nobody’s counting them out — never count out the Kings — but according to Sports Club Stats, their chances of making the playoffs have fallen to 30.9 percent.

The Kings play Thursday in Florida and Saturday in Tampa Bay before finishing off their five-game road trip Monday in Columbus.

Panthers waive former first-rounder Olsen

Vancouver Canucks v Florida Panthers

An interesting name on the waiver wire today — Dylan Olsen, the Florida defenseman taken 28th overall at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

Olsen, 24, was acquired by Florida from Chicago in last year’s Kris Versteeg trade, and started brightly with the Panthers by scoring nine points in his first 17 games.

He’s had a tougher go of things this year, though, and has been a healthy scratch on a few occasions; the arrivals of Willie Mitchell and Aaron Ekblad pushed Olsen into a bottom-pairing role and he played just 11:42 in his last game, a 5-4 loss to Detroit on Tuesday.

In a move that’s connected to putting Olsen on waivers, the Panthers called up d-man Alex Petrovic from AHL San Antonio on Wednesday.

Olsen is in the first of a two-year, $1.55 million deal that carries a $775,000 annual cap hit. He’ll be a RFA when it expires in 2016.

Whatever the Kings decide with Richards, they’re ‘going to have to play better’

Joe Pavelski, Jonathan Quick

Darryl Sutter still thinks Mike Richards can be a good NHL player, and he’s frustrated by the media coverage of the Kings’ decision to place the 29-year-old center on waivers.

“This is hockey, and some of you guys don’t get it, period,” the coach told reporters today, per LA Kings Insider. “Lots of players go on waivers and lots of players clear waivers, and lots of players still have great years in front of them.

“It’s just that there are people in the media who continue to want to beat people up because they can’t do it themselves. It’s frustrating. I think Mike’s still got lots of hockey left.”

Whatever the team decides to do with Richards, both in the short- and long-term, the Kings, to most everyone’s surprise, find themselves outside the playoff picture heading into Wednesday’s home game versus Chicago, after which they’ll head out on a tough, five-game road trip with stops in Boston, Washington, Florida, Tampa Bay, and Columbus.

All-Star forward Anze Kopitar was asked this weekend to pinpoint why the defending champions had such a modest record (20-15-12) after 47 games.

“I don’t think you can pinpoint,” he said. “We’ve played a lot of hockey the last few years. Maybe there was a little bit of a fatigue factor. But we’re all professionals. We’ve got to get ready for each and every game.”

The statistic that really stands out about this season’s Kings is their goals-against average. At 2.53, it’s only the 13th-lowest in the NHL. Last season, it finished at 2.05, better than everyone.

Blame the goaltenders. Blame the players in front of the goalies for not being in a “checking mood” often enough. Blame the absence of Slava Voynov, or the departure of Willie Mitchell. Blame the shootout. Blame fatigue. The fact is, no defending champion since the 2006-07 Carolina Hurricanes has missed the playoffs, and the Kings would like to keep it that way.

“I think we’re one point out of a playoff spot,” said Kopitar. “That’s encouraging. And we realize we’re going to have to play better the second half of the year. We have a pretty long road trip coming up, and this is a good time to get going and turn things around.”

Related: Mike Richards clears waivers