How much trouble are the Ducks, Flames, Jackets in?

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Wes Gilbertson recently wrote about Calgary’s struggles and in that piece, he had an interesting statistic that applies to more than just the Flames.

Per the Calgary Sun:

Over the past decade, since the introduction of the shootout resulted in more three-point contests than ever before, only 11 NHL outfits had previously collected five points or less in their first 10 dates. (The Flames have company this fall, with the Anaheim Ducks and Columbus Blue Jackets scratching out just four points apiece through 10 showings.)

Of those, only the 2013 Washington Capitals rebounded to earn a playoff invite.

Be sure to check out the rest of the piece, which was written prior to Calgary’s 6-2 loss to Montreal last night, if you want to get into more detail about the Flames’ issues specifically, but that statistic certainly puts those three teams’ weak start into context.

There will be some that downplay a slow start by saying that it’s only October and while it’s certainly true that there is a lot of time left to stage a comeback, making up ground can be very difficult, especially in an era that awards a consolation point for making it to overtime.

For example, Columbus is already seven points behind in the Wild Card race and even that’s misleading because the Blue Jackets have played two more games than the Boston Bruins, which occupy the second Wild Card spot.

If it takes 98 points to make the playoffs — as it did in the Eastern Conference last season — then that means that Columbus needs to get 94 points in 71 contests, which translates to 47-24-0 or 42-19-10. Even if you assume that last season was an anomaly when it came to the minimum standard to make the playoffs and go with the more traditional 93 points it took in 2013-14, then that’s 44-26-1 or 39-21-11.

In other words, it would already take a remarkable turnaround.

For Calgary and Anaheim, things are arguably a little less bleak because the Pacific Division as a whole isn’t looking too strong so far this season. Right now you don’t have to meet the standards of the second Wild Card spot to earn the third seed in the Pacific and that’s a trend that might persist throughout the campaign.

Beyond that, they might all have something else in common with the 2013 Washington Capitals: They’re arguably talented teams that underperformed out of the gate. Because keep in mind, there’s a fourth team that can join the Ducks, Flames, and Blue Jackets in this unfortunate category with a loss tonight: The Toronto Maple Leafs.

That’s not an interesting addition because not much was expected of Toronto going into the campaign. But that’s the thing: Sometimes a poor start is reflective of the team’s talent and other times it’s in spite of it.

The Flames, Ducks, and Blue Jackets all arguably fall into the second camp, but those squads have to act fast because they’re already fighting against history, even though it’s only October.

Related: Murray will be ‘patient’ with ‘severely under-performing’ Ducks

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

caufield surgery
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MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

matty beniers
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SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.