‘Something to be said for chemistry’ – Contenders wary of trade deadline

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The Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals rank among the teams who’ve paid up big for trade deadline rentals, only to see mixed results (especially recently). For that reason, they’re sending signals that they might be quiet this time around.

“You see so many guys that are traded for pretty high picks and have very minimal impact,” Barry Trotz told the Washington Post.

Indeed, the Blackhawks paid an especially high price in 2015-16, giving up two high draft picks, Marko Dano and Phillip Danault (currently playing a significant role for the Montreal Canadiens) for an ineffectual group of rentals in Andrew Ladd, Dale Weise and Tomas Fleishmann. That’s like coming home from Blockbuster with a bunch of Ernest movies.

Sometimes it’s about the price or the quality of players, but don’t disregard the crash course a rental often faces in adjusting to a new city and new linemates. It makes it easier to see why Trotz views Lars Eller as Washington’s equivalent to a deadline acquisition.

“There’s something to be said for chemistry and keeping your guys together and not having someone come in externally, swoop in and try to find a role for him,’’ Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. ‘‘So we’ll see. Things change quickly. But as we look at it today, I’m not expecting a big addition like that.”

Such thoughts resonate even with teams that might make a big splash.

While Pierre LeBrun reported in Tuesday’s edition of TSN Insider Trading that the Nashville Predators have inquired about Matt Duchene, they also wonder if another tide-turning trade would be too much for a team that finally seems like it’s on the same page.

And it’s also worth noting that teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning aren’t going to happily give up pieces like Ben Bishop for cheap, not after seeing teams mortgage their longer term future for quick fixes during previous deadlines.

In other words, if you’re watching pundits awkwardly try to pass time during a quiet 2017 trade deadline, it might just come down to teams learning from the past.

Here’s hoping they don’t take history’s lessons so seriously that we don’t get to enjoy a little quality intrigue and entertainment, though.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

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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

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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

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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.