NHL Rink Wrap: Some hockey games to go with those trades

NHL Rink Wrap: Some hockey games to go with those trades
Rich Graessle/Getty Images

Saturday’s top NHL player

David Perron, Blues

If you’re not a fan of his current team (often, sometimes intermittently, the Blues), David Perron can be one of those players who slips under the radar a bit. Despite being a bit of a journeyman, he just keeps scoring.

And his two-way impact isn’t too shabby, either.

Every now and then, David Perron produces at a level that can’t be ignored. He’s a fair choice for Saturday NHL player of the night, as Perron generated a hat trick and an assist. Remarkably, his four points weren’t enough for the Blues, though, as they fell to the Blue Jackets.

Following that four-point surge, Perron now sits at 40 points in 47 games this season. The 33-year-old continued one heck of a hot streak overall. Perron’s currently on a six-game goal and point streak (9G, 2A). He’s also generated at least one point in nine of his last 10 games.

While the Blues aren’t the most prominent contenders, their intriguing variety of offensive weapons could make them an upset threat if things come together. (Granted, that formula didn’t translate to a win on Saturday.)

Saturday NHL highlights

Watch as David Perron collected the seventh hat trick of his career (six with the Blues):

Brock Nelson netted a hat trick as the Islanders handed the Stars a loss that could sting.

With 211 goals, Filip Forsberg now holds the Predators’ franchise record for goals, passing David Legwand.

Mika Zibanejad scored the game-winner for the Rangers over the Lightning with about 16 seconds remaining in regulation:

Nice game-winner finished by Ryan Hartman, too:

Saturday NHL Takeaways

Panthers boldly trade for Claude Giroux

Apparently the race to trade for Claude Giroux really only came down to the Florida Panthers. Just your neighborhood GM’s latest reminder that a no-movement clause shouldn’t be handed out without some forethought.

There’s a solid chance that Giroux will end up being the headliner of the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline. If not, he’ll likely be the biggest name to move.

(Maybe there will be a better fit, needs-wise, or something.)

Either way, it should be a ton of fun — and more than a bit surreal — to see Giroux join an already-loaded Panthers offense. The Atlantic Division is bonkers, so prepare for a really good team (if not two) to get bounced in the first round.

The Panthers aren’t immune to that risk, making this trade that much spicier.

Bruins go big, too, with Hampus Lindholm trade

From a zesty, bold meal to something more meat-and-potatoes. Well, considering how much Hampus Lindholm cost the Bruins, maybe these were “artisan” meats and potatoes. One of those pricey “farm-to-table” joints, perhaps?

Either way, the Bruins have been strong defensively by underlying metrics this season, but not as formidable as far as name value goes. Lindholm could be the opposite: a reputation that arguably eclipses recent results.

Perhaps the Bruins will put Lindholm into situations to succeed, while the Ducks simply didn’t have that luxury? Overall, the Bruins could still really use a second-line center, and maybe a few other pieces, but this is an interesting upgrade.

For the Ducks, it’s another big boost for their rebuild. Expect more on that subject later on Sunday.

Oilers complete perfect five-game homestand

After a strong early showing under Jay Woodcroft, the Oilers lost six of eight games during a road-heavy stretch. Starting on March 9, the Oilers had a lot to prove with a five-game homestand.

Perhaps this is just another example of that Oilers toilet seat going up and down, but Edmonton nailed it. They’ve now won five games in a row, starting with two games against strong teams in the Lightning and Capitals. Four of those five contests ended in regulation.

Evander Kane‘s been productive, especially during that stretch, scoring at least one point in four of the past five games (4G, 2A).

Whether it be a goalie or depth help, the Oilers wouldn’t be outrageous to add at the trade deadline. This latest swing at least inspires confidence that they can credibly be buyers.

Sunday’s big story

Capitals part of intriguing Metro picture; Stars just want to hang in there

With Sunday’s games, teams are eyeing two things: the impact on the standings, and extra nudges to buy or sell at the (Monday, 3 p.m. ET) 2022 NHL Trade Deadline.

Ideally, leaving a game against the Capitals with zero points vs. two points shouldn’t really determine much for the Stars, but who knows? The Stars have choices to make, particularly with John Klingberg. Maybe they’ll even mix buying and selling? Either way, dropping a game against a non-playoff team like the Islanders (upset threat or not) can’t make the Stars feel totally certain they’ll hang in the West playoff picture.

Wouldn’t it be wiser to get something for Klingberg, and hope to make the playoffs anyway? Generally, that doesn’t seem like the way the Stars do things.

The Stars’ opponent factor into an interesting Metropolitan Division picture. It’s difficult to ask the Capitals to catch the three teams ahead of them, including two who face off on Sunday (the Hurricanes and Rangers). But with Washington heating up, and minor slippage from Carolina, there’s room for at least a chance at movement up and down the rankings.

Would that competition prompt a Metro team to spend somewhat like the eager Atlantic? We won’t need to wait long to find out.

Saturday NHL scores

Islanders 4, Stars 2
Wild 3, Blackhawks 1
Oilers 6, Devils 3
Golden Knights 5, Kings 1
Blue Jackets 5, Blues 4
Penguins 4, Coyotes 1
Canadiens 5, Senators 1
Predators 6, Maple Leafs 3
Rangers 2, Lightning 1
Flames 5, Canucks 2
Kraken 4, Red Wings 2

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.

Scroll Down For:

    Capitals sign Dylan Strome to five-year, $25 million extension

    Chase Agnello-Dean/Getty Images
    0 Comments

    FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Washington Capitals signed forward Dylan Strome to a five-year extension worth $25 million.

    The team announced the contract during NHL All-Star Weekend, which is taking place in South Florida – the place Strome was drafted third in 2015.

    Strome will count $5 million against the salary cap through the 2027-28 season. He was set to be a restricted free agent this summer.

    “Dylan is an intelligent and skilled center and has been a great addition to our organization,” general manager Brian MacLellan said. “We are pleased to sign him to a long-term contract. We feel his skill set is a great fit for our team as he enters the prime years of his career at an important position.”

    Strome is getting a raise from the $3.5 million deal he signed with the Capitals after the Chicago Blackhawks opted not to tender him a qualifying offer and made him a free agent. Strome has 11 goals and 25 assists in 36 games this season and ranks third on Washington’s roster with 14 power-play points.

    The Mississauga, Ontario, native who played his junior hockey alongside Connor McDavid with the Erie Otters has 206 points in 325 regular-season NHL games with the Arizona Coyotes, Blackhawks and Capitals.

    Golden Knights captain Mark Stone undergoes back surgery

    mark stone surgery
    Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports
    2 Comments

    LAS VEGAS — Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone is out indefinitely after undergoing back surgery in Denver, the club announced.

    The Knights termed the procedure as successful and that Stone “is expected to make a full recovery.”

    This is the second time in less than a year that Stone has had back surgery. He also had a procedure May 19, 2022, and Stone said in December this was the best he had felt in some time.

    But he was injured Jan. 12 against the Florida Panthers, and his absence has had a noticeable effect on the Knights. They have gone 1-5-2 without Stone, dropping out of first place in the Pacific Division into third.

    Stone is second on the team in goals with 17 and in points with 38.

    Devils associate coach Andrew Brunette charged with DUI

    brunette dui
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
    1 Comment

    DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. — New Jersey Devils associate coach and former Florida Panthers head coach Andrew Brunette was arrested in South Florida while driving home from a bar in his golf cart, authorities said.

    Brunette, 49, was pulled over just blocks from the ocean in the Deerfield Beach area, north of Fort Lauderdale, according to a Broward Sheriff’s Office arrest report. He was charged with one count of driving under the influence and two counts of disobeying a stop or yield sign. Brunette was released on $500 bond.

    The Devils said in a statement that the team was aware of Brunette’s arrest and gathering additional information.

    According to the arrest report, a deputy was in the process of giving Brunette’s illegally parked golf cart a ticket around midnight when Brunette walked out of a nearby bar and told the deputy he was about to leave. The deputy said Brunette seemed unsteady on his feet and slurred his speech, and when he was joined by his wife, the deputy said he overheard the wife tell Brunette not to drive while the deputy was there.

    The deputy remained in the area and reported watching the couple drive away about 17 minutes later, according to the report. The deputy said he watched the golf cart run two stop signs before pulling Brunette over on a residential street about a mile away from his home. According to the report, Brunette had difficulty following instructions during a field sobriety test before eventually quitting and asking for an attorney. He also declined to take a breathe test to measure his blood-alcohol level, officials said.

    Online jail and court records didn’t list an attorney for Brunette.

    Brunette is in his first season as associate coach of the Devils. He was interim coach of the Florida Panthers last season after taking over when Joel Quenneville resigned for his connection to a 2010 Chicago Blackhawks sexual abuse scandal.

    The Panthers fired Brunette after they lost in the second round of the playoffs last spring despite him leading them to the Presidents’ Trophy as the league’s top team during the regular season.

    The Sudbury, Ontario, native played 1,159 NHL games for Washington, Nashville, Atlanta, Minnesota, Colorado and Chicago from 1995-2012. He was a Wild assistant in 2015-16 and worked on Florida’s staff from 2019-2022.

    Stars aligned with new coach DeBoer, Nill-constructed roster

    Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
    1 Comment

    DALLAS — General manager Jim Nill sensed things were coming together for the Dallas Stars even before the season started with new coach Pete DeBoer and a roster mixed with proven veterans, up-and-coming young players, and even a teenaged center.

    At the NHL’s All-Star break, after 51 games together, these Stars are leading the Western Conference.

    “Every year you start, you put a team together, and there’s always going to be question marks,” said Nill, in his 10th season as the Stars GM. “You have ideas how you think you’re going to come together, but there’s always the unknown. . This year has been one of those years where right from the start, you could just see everything was kind of jelling.”

    The Stars (28-13-10, 66 points) have their trio of 2017 draft picks that just keep getting better: All-Star winger Jason Robertson, goaltender Jake Oettinger and defenseman Miro Heiskanen. The seemingly ageless Joe Pavelski, at 38 and already re-signed for next season, is on the high-scoring top line with Robertson and point-a-game winger Roope Hintz. Wyatt Johnston, their first-round pick in 2021 and half Pavelski’s age, has 13 goals.

    There is also the resurgence of six-time All-Star forward Tyler Seguin two years after hip surgery and 33-year-old captain Jamie Benn, who already has more goals (19) than he did playing all 82 games last season.

    The Stars have a plus-40 goal differential, which is second-best in the NHL. They are averaging 3.37 goals per game, more than a half-goal better than last season when they were the only team to make the playoffs after being outscored in the regular season. They are also allowing fewer goals, and have improved on power plays and penalty kills.

    “Where we sit at this break, I think guys are happy with that,” Seguin said, before being asked the keys to the Stars leading the West and on pace for a 100-point season with their new coach.

    “Our style, our team speed, our puck speed, being predictable. All the clichés, knowing where the puck’s going. Really how we play the five-man unit,” he said. “Our pace this year, it’s been a lot quicker. There’s been some solid depth scoring this year while we’ve got one of the best lines in hockey.”

    The Stars went into the break on their only three-game losing streak of the season, all 3-2 overtime losses at home.

    “Those aren’t real losses,” said DeBoer, who twice has gone to the Stanley Cup Final in his first season with a new team. “I’m happy where we’re at. I like how we’re playing.”

    Plus, Dallas won’t have to worry in the playoffs about 3-on-3 hockey, which has been the only real stain on their season so far. Only one team has more than its 10 losses after regulation.

    “We’ve played a lot of good hockey. We’ve made a lot of good strides in our game,” DeBoer said. “We still have another level we have to get to when we get back, but there are a lot of good things that have happened. They’ve worked to have us where we are right now in the standings. Good spot to be in.”

    The Stars have 31 games left in the regular season. The first four after the break at home, like the last four before their week-long hiatus.

    Robertson’s 33 goals rank sixth in the NHL, and the 23-year-old has the same number of assists while averaging 1.29 points a game even after he missed most of training camp before signing a four-year, $31 million contract. Pavelski has 48 points (14 goals, 34 assists) while playing every game, and Hintz 46 points (20 goals, 26 assists) in only 43 games.

    Oettinger, who is 21-7 in regulation, has a .923 save percentage and 2.26 goals against average since signing his three-year, $12 million contract. That deal came after 223 saves in a seven-game playoff series against Calgary last May, capped by 64 in the series finale that went to overtime.

    Nill said Robertson’s production has improved even with the league adjusting to the high-scoring forward, and that Oettinger is proving to be one of the league’s best goalies. But they are just part of what has been a tremendous team effort.

    “They kind of had that mojo right from the start, and it was kind of this team’s got the right mix,” Nill said. “It’s come together well, and it’s shown in the standings. It’s been good to watch.”