Trade-happy Devils get Maroon from Oilers

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It’s probably fair to call the New Jersey Devils “the team that trades built” at this point.

GM Ray Shero continued to be aggressive in that regard, adding another piece during the waning moments of the 2018 trade deadline by acquiring Patrick Maroon from the Edmonton Oilers.

The trade: Devils receive Maroon; Oilers get a third-round pick and J.D. Dudek.

Why the Devils made the trade: Clearly they’re addicted to trades.

Kidding. The Devils are enjoying a big jump to playoff contention in 2017-18, in large part thanks to trade additions such as Taylor Hall, Kyle Palmieri, and Cory Schneider. They’ve been adding lately, too, with Marcus Johansson (currently sidelined) and Sami Vatanen being recent additions while they also landed Michael Grabner around deadline time.

Much like Grabner, Maroon stands as a rental who cost the Devils a pick (and Dudek). New Jersey has some space to re-sign one or both of those wingers if they’d like to.

While Grabner brings speed and all-around play, Maroon is a big body with some recent successes alongside Connor McDavid. After struggling to find his footing early in his NHL career, Maroon scored 27 goals and 42 points for Edmonton last season and has 16 goals and 30 points in 57 contests during 2017-18. Those numbers are likely inflated by outstanding linemates, so the Devils might want to take Maroon for a test drive before considering keeping him around (if they have any plans as such).

As great as Hall and a handful of others have been for New Jersey, the Devils likely desire more scoring support, especially without doing a whole lot to bolster a shaky-on-paper defense. Adding Grabner and Maroon could really help bolster that supporting scoring, and the Devils didn’t move a first-round pick.

Why the Oilers made the trade: Edmonton’s not necessarily looking to rebuild, but they need to go to the drawing board a bit.

This trade accomplishes two things: it lands the Oilers futures and also keeps them from hastily handing what could be a foolish extension to Maroon. This team has some key decisions to make regarding pending free agents such as Darnell Nurse, not to mention if they want to keep the likes of Ryan-Nugent Hopkins around.

Maybe the Oilers would even consider bringing Maroon back during the off-season, but why not answer bigger questions before keeping a non-core player around? That said, he could be back.

Seeing the prices flying around today, this haul might be a little disappointing. Really, a lot of this likely comes down to Maroon not being sold at a high point. It happens, but at least Edmonton got something.

Who won the trade?

Maroon has his doubters, while other teams yielded better returns for their rentals. So maybe it’s a case of modest returns for both teams? That said, it doesn’t seem like much of a gamble for either side, either.

MORE: PHT’s 2018 Trade Deadline Tracker.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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.

Kuzmenko signs 2-year extension with Canucks

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Forward Andrei Kuzmenko signed a two-year contract extension with the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.

The deal has an average annual value of $5.5 million.

The 26-year-old Kuzmenko has played in 47 games for the Canucks this season with 21 goals and 22 assists, four penalty minutes and a plus-4 defensive ranking.

Kuzmenko ranks second on the team in goals and power-play goals (nine) this season.

His 43 points are also tied for third on the team in overall scoring, while his 32 even-strength points (12 goals, 20 assists) are second on the Canucks.

Kuzmenko leads all Vancouver skaters in shooting rate (24.7%) and ranks third in the NHL in that category (minimum of 20 games).

He leads all first-year NHLers in almost every offensive category, including goals, assists, points, points per game (0.91), power-play goals, and power-play points.

He has also had 14 multi-point games so far this season (second most on the Canucks), highlighted by his first-career NHL hat trick and season-high four-point game against Anaheim on Nov. 3.

A native of Yakutsk, Russia, Kuzmenko spent his first eight professional seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) with CSKA Moscow and SKA St. Petersburg, getting 200 points (85-115-200) in 315 regular-season games. He set career highs in goals (20), assists (33), and points (53) last season, ranking second in the league in scoring.

Kuzmenko has also represented his country on the international stage on multiple occasions, totaling 16 points (10-6-16) and six penalty minutes in 37 games played. He was originally signed by Vancouver to a one-year, entry-level contract on July 13, 2022.