Olympic Stock Watch: Stamkos up for Canada; Troy Terry in U.S. mix?

2022 Winter Olympics
NBC Sports

The NHL currently plans on sending players to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, with an early February break in the schedule. For some Olympic men’s hockey teams, most roster spots are no-brainers. That said, there’s room to move. Players can work their way off or onto Olympic rosters. In some cases, a fringe player could end up being key.

PHT’s Olympic Stock Watch monitors ups and downs for players for the U.S. men’s ice hockey team, Team Canada, and other countries hunting for medals.

Click here for the first Olympic Stock Watch from early November. Also, please note that stats were noted before Monday’s games.

Olympic Stock: Up

• American forwards Troy Terry and Kyle Connor

You know what I always say*, it’s key to load up your team with people who have two first names. Of all the forwards in the running to make the U.S. Olympic men’s ice hockey team, few have risen quite like Kyle Connor and Troy Terry.

With Kyle Connor, this isn’t totally out of the (red, white, and?) blue. When PHT picked Olympic rosters, Connor was a frequent choice for the U.S. team, though not by all. Meanwhile, Troy Terry likely ranked as a “hipster” or Ducks homer choice, at best.

It’s interesting to consider how Terry and Connor are similar (two first names, possibilities as U.S. Olympic forwards) and how they’re different. One could imagine an analytics-inclined person making a Terry Olympic argument coming into this season, when Terry quietly distinguished himself as a sneaky-strong two-way player. On the other hand, Connor’s long been someone who looked a bit shabby by “fancy stats,” but loaded up on goals.

Now both Terry and Connor’s Olympic arguments can at least begin with stats as simple as goals and assists.

[More on Troy Terry’s hot start]

On the strength of an impressive 16-game point streak, Terry now has 13 goals and 23 points in just 21 games. (Those already represent career-highs; Terry set previous career-highs last season with seven goals and 20 points [48 GP]. Again, you had to look deeper to realize his potential — before this season.)

Troy Terry Olympics 2018
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Connor’s hot start was easier to see coming (14G, 24 points in 21 GP), yet it’s still the hottest he’s been. Interestingly, Terry competed for the U.S. team in the 2018 Winter Olympics, so he has a chance to be a rare player who may appear consecutively.

“I think I’ve put myself in a position where I could see it happening, and if it does, it would be just a huge honor,” Terry told NHL.com’s Nick Cotsonika earlier this month.

Don’t count out Chris Kreider (15G, 3A for 18 points in 20 GP), either.

* – I never say this.

• Stamkos, Mangiapane, other rising forwards for Team Canada

Speaking of the expected-if-maybe-on-the-bubble (Steven Stamkos) and the unexpected (Andrew Mangiapane), Team Canada also has some rising Olympic hopeful forwards to consider.

Really, it’s not an NHL-eligible Olympic season without at least a little bit of intrigue for Stamkos. In the past, injuries presented a hurdle for Stamkos’ Olympic dreams. This time, he looked borderline thanks to another cruel factor: Father Time.

Yet, through 20 games, Stamkos has been fantastic. With 24 points, he’s tied with Connor and Brad Marchand for eighth in the NHL. Add in Jon Cooper coaching Team Canada (and teammate Brayden Point‘s Olympic availability not totally certain), and Stamkos’ Olympic hopes look strong.

If you jumped in a time machine and told 16-year-old Andrew Mangiapane that he’d have a chance to represent Team Canada at the Olympics, he probably would have “laughed at” you. That’s what he told The Athletic’s Hailey Salvian (sub. required).

[Over/under: how many goals will Mangiapane, Kreider, others score?]

Mangiapane’s start to the season parallels that of Chris Kreider. As two sneaky-good players, they often seem like they could break through if they simply got a lot of bounces. Now, both are.

Mangiapane’s tied with Kreider for third in goals with 15. Similarly, they both don’t have many assists (Mangiapane: two; Kreider: three), and both figure to cool down (Mangiapane: 27.3 shooting percentage; Kreider: 25%). Yet, both forwards proved they were useful even when they weren’t scoring up a storm.

Sure, the odds are still stacked against Mangiapane making Team Canada. He’d probably agree that it’s a heck of an accomplishment that this gets a mention — and shouldn’t be laughed off.

• Tristan Jarry and the continuing Canadian Olympic goalie mystery

If you expected Tristan Jarry to receive mentions for Team Canada’s goalie, and you’re not a friend or family member, you’re … probably lying. C’mon.

Sure, people were a little harsh after Jarry suffered through a miserable finish to last season, including a brutal playoff OT goal vs. the Islanders. Even so, there’s a rebound, and then there’s Jarry earning Vezina buzz.

Currently on a five-game winning streak, Jarry’s record is at 10-4-3. He’s generated a fabulous .936 save percentage, and by Hockey Reference’s version of GSAA, he’s saved 11.97 goals above average. (Second only to Jack Campbell’s 16.88.)

After this hot start, Tristan Jarry’s generated at least some buzz as a goalie option for Team Canada. No doubt, some of that’s a matter of “process of elimination.”

  • It’s not yet clear if Carey Price will be an option for Team Canada.
  • No, Marc-Andre Fleury hasn’t been as bad lately, but it’s still been a tough season.
  • Carter Hart‘s .920 save percentage is comforting. On the other hand, the Flyers are in a bit of a funk, and that might mute optimism about Hart’s Olympic utility.
  • Few, if any, possible Canadian Olympic goalie options have been lights-out. While someone like Cam Talbot might be an OK “bus driver,” he’s not necessarily looking like an inspired choice (yet).

Even if Jarry stays hot, Team Canada might not look at him as a potential No. 1 Olympic goalie. But as one of three options? Might as well have a mix of established names and hot hands. Lately, Jarry qualifies as the latter.

Quick hits: some Olympic players whose stock is down

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.

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    NHL top prospect Connor Bedard draws comparisons to Connor McDavid as draft approaches

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    Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports

    BUFFALO, N.Y. — The NHL is going to have another Connor to contend with very shortly.

    For everything two-time NHL MVP Connor McDavid has accomplished in Edmonton since being selected No. 1 in the 2015 draft, Connor Bedard is on the same trajectory in being pegged as this year’s top eligible draft prospect, Central Scouting director Dan Marr said Friday.

    “He’s right up there with Connor McDavid, it’s just the next generation,” Marr said in touting Bedard’s quickness, shot and ability to read and adapt. “So Connor McDavid started that trend, and Connor Bedard is going to lead it into the next trend.”

    The annual NHL pre-draft combine in Buffalo, New York, is resembling more of a coronation for the 17-year-old Bedard, who has spent the past two years putting up generational numbers with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League while also shining against his peers on the international stage.

    “I think you can use a lot of adjectives to describe it,” Regina coach John Paddock told The Associated Press recently in comparing Bedard’s production at the same age level to McDavid and Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.

    “That’s quite a high ceiling,” said Paddock, a former NHL coach and player. “But there’s no indication he’s not going to do that based on what he’s done to date.”

    The Chicago Blackhawks own the No. 1 pick, and are highly anticipated to use it on Bedard when the draft opens in Nashville, Tennessee, on June 28.

    Bedard held his latest meeting with the Blackhawks at the combine in a relationship that began at a top-prospects camp in Toronto last summer.

    Bedard’s arrival would coincide with the franchise in transition, with Chicago moving on from its aging core after trading 2007 No. 1 pick, Patrick Kane, and with captain Jonathan Toews’ future uncertain.

    “Yeah, it’d be awesome,” Bedard said of the possibility of being selected by the Blackhawks. “The history of that organization, that city with sports would be unbelievable. We’ll see what happens, but to be selected, that would be a huge honor.”

    Bedard said he’s following McDavid’s advice to stay in the moment and not peak too far ahead. He added, his dream to play in the NHL began no different than those of his colleagues: the moment he picked up a hockey stick growing up in North Vancouver, British Columbia.

    What separates Bedard, however, is his exceptional skating ability and a hard shot, which is even more lethal given his quick release.

    With Bedard the likely top pick, the intrigue at the draft is likely to revolve around who rounds out the remainder of the top five selections.

    University of Michigan’s Adam Fantilli is second among North American skaters on Central Scouting’s final list, followed by top American prospect, William Smith, who played for USA Hockey’s developmental program. The top two European skaters are also considered in the mix with Sweden’s Leo Carlsson and Russia’s Matvei Michkov.

    Anaheim is scheduled to pick second followed by Columbus, San Jose and Montreal.

    Marr gives the edge to Bedard while also being impressed with Fantilli – just the third freshman to win the Hobey Baker Trophy awarded to college hockey’s top players – in a draft class considered very deep with offensive-minded forwards.

    “You’re going to win with both,” Marr said. “And whoever gets these two players they’re going to help define a franchise.”

    What distinguishes Bedard, who doesn’t turn 18 until next month, has been his consistency.

    Last season, his 71 goals in just 57 games were the most in the WHL since Pavel Brendl scored 73 in 1998-99. Bedard’s 143 points were the most in the CHL since three players topped that mark in 1995-96. And it was a season in which he enjoyed 10 games with five or more points, and just five games in which he failed to register a point.

    In 2020-21, Bedard became just the third WHL 16-year-old to reach 100 points, and was the youngest to score 50 goals in finishing with 51.

    He’s also made a splash on the international stage. Bedard led Canada with nine goals and 23 points at the world juniors last winter, and his combined production of 17 goals and 36 points in just 16 games ranks fourth on the career tournament list.

    Bedard has honed his talent by spending countless hours practicing shots in his backyard, which he referred to as his “Happy Place.” He was so dedicated to work on his shot that he preferred practicing than joining his family for a vacation to Disneyland, and eventually vacationed in Hawaii but only after he was allowed to bring his inline skates and sticks to practice.

    Noted for being soft-spoken, Bedard said he’s not yet allowed himself to envision being drafted or making his NHL debut yet.

    “It’s hard kind of think of that. But of course, I’ll work as hard as I can to try to achieve that goal,” he said. “And hopefully I do.”

    Blue Jackets acquire D Damon Severson from Devils after he signs 8-year deal

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    Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

    The Columbus Blue Jackets acquired Damon Severson from the New Jersey Devils on Friday after the veteran defenseman and soon-to-be free agent signed an eight-year $50 million contract.

    Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen sent a third-round pick, 80th overall, in this month’s draft to the Devils for Severson, who will be under contract through the 2030-31 NHL season.

    Severson had 58 goals and 205 assists in 647 career appearances with the Devils since making his NHL debut in 2014-15. He scored seven game-winning goals and averaged more than 21 minutes of playing time during his nine seasons. The 28-year-old had seven goals and 26 assists this season, including two game-winning goals, in 81 games.

    “Damon is a versatile defenseman who has great vision, moves the puck extremely well, has good size and can play heavy minutes at both ends of the ice,” Kekalainen said.

    The Canadian was selected in the second round in the 2012 draft. He has collected 30 or more points five times in his career and twice notched 11 or more goals. He played in every game in three straight seasons from 2018-21 and has played 80 or more contests four times in his career.

    With the addition of the third-round pick, New Jersey now has six selections in the draft, including its own picks in rounds two, four, five, six and seven.

    Matthew Tkachuk returns from big hit in Stanley Cup Final, adds more playoff heroics

    James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
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    Matthew Tkachuk was down, out briefly and then back with plenty of time to make a difference.

    The Florida Panthers star left early in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final after a big hit from Vegas Golden Knights forward Keegan Kolesar, and he missed most of the first period and didn’t return immediately following intermission while being evaluated for a concussion. After looking as if he might be lost for the night, Tkachuk returned in the second and then came through with more of his now trademark playoff heroics.

    Tkachuk scored the tying goal with 2:13 left in regulation, forcing overtime and giving the Panthers new life. He then provided the screen on Carter Verhaeghe‘s OT goal for a 3-2 victory that cut Florida’s series deficit to 2-1.

    The 25-year-old said he knew he was coming back when he left the game, pulled by concussion spotters. That absence felt like a long time ago in the aftermath of another big win he was largely responsible for.

    “I felt great – I feel great,” Tkachuk said. “I’m ready to go. Everybody’s excited that we’re in this position right now.”

    Florida is in this position rather than facing elimination in Game 4 on Saturday thanks in large part to Tkachuk, who also set up Brandon Montour‘s goal that opened the scoring less than five minutes in.

    Not long after, Tkachuk stumbled getting up after the hit from Kolesar and skated to the bench. He took a shift on Florida’s power play before going down the tunnel at the demand of concussion spotters mandated by NHL protocol.

    At that point, there was zero clarity, even on the Florida bench.

    “You’re not informed at all: It’s a complete shutdown,” coach Paul Maurice said. “You are completely in the dark on those. You don’t know when the player’s coming back. There’s not an update.”

    Players insist they were not worried. Montour called it a no-brainer.

    “He’s going to come back no matter what,” captain Aleksander Barkov said. “He’s really tough guy, and he’s going to battle through everything.”

    Tkachuk rejoined his teammates on the bench a few minutes into the second. When he stepped back onto the ice for his first shift since leaving, fans cheered and chanted, “Chucky! Chucky!”

    The crowd was even louder and threw rats when Tkachuk scored his biggest goal of many during this run to tie it. He didn’t get an assist on Verhaeghe’s goal but made it happen with a tape-to-tape pass in the neutral zone and was in front of Adin Hill when it happened.

    Asked if he was happy Tkachuk returned, Maurice joked that it was after midnight.

    “It was fine,” he quipped.

    Panthers rally, top Golden Knights 3-2 in OT of Game 3 of Stanley Cup final

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    Sam Navarro/USA TODAY Sports

    SUNRISE, Fla. — Carter Verhaeghe scored 4:27 into overtime and the Florida Panthers pulled off some more postseason dramatics to beat the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on Thursday night.

    Matthew Tkachuk tied it with 2:13 left in the third period for the Panthers, who got the franchise’s first title-series game win in seven tries. Florida had to fend off a power play to start overtime, and Verhaeghe got the winner from the slot to get the Panthers within 2-1 in the series.

    Game 4 is Saturday night.

    Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 25 shots for Florida. Adin Hill made 20 saves for Vegas, but got beat on the only shot that came his way in overtime.

    Brandon Montour also scored for Florida, which pulled Bobrovsky down 2-1 late in the third for the extra attacker and Tkachuk — who left for parts of the first and second periods after taking a big hit — made that move pay off when he tied the game.

    His goal breathed life into a very nervous building. But the Panthers were furious — and replays showed they had a case — when Gustav Forsling was sent to the box with 11.2 seconds remaining for tripping. Florida survived that scare, and a few minutes later, had life in the series again.

    The odds are still long, but the Panthers at least have a bit more statistical hope now. Of the previous 55 teams to trail 2-1 at this point of the Stanley Cup Final, 11 have actually rallied to hoist the trophy.

    It’s improbable, sure. So are the Panthers, who were the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, were down 3-1 to Boston in Round 1, were 133 seconds away from trailing this series 3-0 — and now have tons of reasons for optimism.

    Jonathan Marchessault and Mark Stone each had power-play goals for Vegas.

    Marchessault’s goal was his 13th in his last 13 playoff games, his fourth of this series and his third with the man advantage.

    As if all that wasn’t enough, there was a little history in there as well. Vegas joined the 1980 New York Islanders as the only team with at least two power-play goals in three consecutive games in the Cup final. And Marchessault became the third player in the last 35 years to score in each of the first three games of a title series — joining Steve Yzerman in 1997 with Detroit and Jake Guentzel with Pittsburgh in 2017.

    But it wasn’t enough to give Vegas a 3-0 lead in the series.


    Before Thursday, Florida’s last home game in the title series was June 10, 1996, when Uwe Krupp scored in the third overtime for a 1-0 win as Colorado finished off a four-game sweep of the Panthers for the Cup. … Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was in the crowd, as was NBA great Charles Barkley, and former Dolphins star Dan Marino was the celebrity drummer to welcome the Panthers onto the ice.