Red Wings GM ‘not prepared to pay future assets to protect players’ from expansion draft

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With the NHL expansion draft just one week away the rest of the league’s general managers are no doubt engaged in constant talks with Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee in an effort to protect players from selection in the upcoming draft.

In past expansion drafts teams have been willing to part with players or draft picks to convince a new team to stay away from certain players that had to be exposed, or to push them in the direction of a particular player. There are already several reports of Vegas being willing to select certain players in exchange for an asset or two.

Do not expect the Detroit Red Wings to be one of the teams willing to pay such a price.

Holland made it very clear on Wednesday that he is not willing to trade any future assets to Vegas to prevent McPhee from taking one of his players. He also acknowledged the Red Wings will be utilizing the seven forward, three defenseman, one goalie approach to the draft instead of the eight skaters (any combination of forwards and defensemen) and goalie option.

“I’m not prepared to pay any future assets to protect players on our team,” Holland told Sportsnet 960 on Wednesday. “We’re submitting seven, three, and one, and when we submit that list then [McPhee has] obviously the decision to make which player he’s going to take off our roster.”

He also said a trade is possible before the NHL roster freeze kicks in on June 17.

Probably the biggest decision Holland has to make is deciding which goaltender to make available — Jimmy Howard or Petr Mrazek. Howard was the superior goalie this past season, but Mrazek is eight years younger and has shown the potential to be a No. 1 goalie in the NHL, even if his play badly regressed in 2016-17. Mrazek is signed for one more year at $4 million before becoming a restricted free agent after next season. Howard still has two years left on his deal with a salary cap hit of $5.2 million per season.

The Red Wings are in a tough spot this offseason. They are clearly not a Stanley Cup contender at this point and just missed the playoffs for the first time in 25 years. So giving away future assets in any context is probably not something they want to do. But Holland and the front office also do not seem willing to fully commit to a complete teardown and rebuild, especially with the team going into a brand new arena this upcoming season.

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.