Stanley Cup champion Avalanche steadily returning to health

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Had his coach been watching, this might have made for an anxious moment: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar catching an edge and falling in the fastest skater contest.

Jared Bednar wasn’t tuned in, though, and had no idea what happened in the skills contest over All-Star weekend. Only that Makar emerged from his crash into the boards just fine.

These days, things are definitely looking up for the Stanley Cup champions on the injury front. Defenseman Bowen Byram returns to the lineup, along with forward Valeri Nichushkin. Defenseman Josh Manson is creeping closer to a return. Same for captain Gabriel Landeskog, who’s yet to play this season. Forward Darren Helm is progressing, too.

In spite of all their bumps and bruises, the Avalanche entered the All-Star break in a playoff spot. To weather the injury storm, Colorado has relied on 39 different skaters this season, a mark that’s tied for the most in a single season since the team relocated to Denver in 1995.

“Anybody we can get back right now is huge,” said Makar, whose team kicks off a three-game trip Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.

Byram returns after being sidelined with a lower-body injury since early November. He was an integral part of their Stanley Cup run a season ago, when he led all rookies with nine assists in the postseason. Byram was off to a fast start this season – two goals and three assists in 10 games – before his injury.

“He’s looking great. He’s buzzing out there,” Makar said of his fellow blue liner. “Hopefully it doesn’t take him too long to get back into game mode. But I think he’s a guy that can turn it on pretty quickly.”

Byram missed a chunk of games last season as he dealt with concussion symptoms. This time, he was able to be around the team as he worked his way back.

“I was just happy it wasn’t my head,” Byram said. “It was a lot easier to be out when you’re still feeling good and feel like yourself. … I’m just excited to get going again.”

Count on Byram for as many minutes as necessary, too.

“I’m 100%, so no reason to ease into it,” Byram said. “I’m confident with jumping back in.”

Manson will join the Avalanche on the trip so he can skate with the squad. He’s been out with a lower-body injury since the start of December.

“I do think it helps to get on the road, be around the guys,” Bednar said.

Landeskog could be back “fairly soon,” Bednar said, but didn’t have a definitive timeline quite yet. The longtime Avalanche captain has been sidelined since knee surgery in October.

The Avalanche entered the All-Star break on quite a roll, winning seven of their last eight. They’ve amassed 57 points, which trails Dallas (66 points at the All-Star break), Winnipeg (65) and Minnesota (58) in the Central Division.

One thing the Avalanche are guarding against is another slow start out off the break. It happened over Christmas when the team had a few days off and promptly went 0-4-1 upon their return.

“It’s just shifting the mentality back to game mode. No more vacation,” Makar said. “We still have a long way to go. We’re not where we want to be right now. But there’s a lot of time left.”

Avalanche offseason questions: Injuries, free agents, salary cap future

Avalanche offseason questions: Injuries, free agents, salary cap future
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During the 2022 Stanley Cup Final, the Lightning drew a lot of attention for the injuries they fought through. The Avalanche weren’t exactly skipping trips to the trainers’ room, either, though.

That wear-and-sometimes-literal-tear can be used to glorify taking health risks that are maybe ill-advised.

Beyond that discussion, the Avalanche face a more practical question. How might lingering injuries affect offseason plans as the Avalanche already need to weigh big questions regarding free agents, possible franchise-altering contract extensions, and the salary cap in general?

After witnessing their dominant run to a Stanley Cup win, a thought lingered: the Avalanche have the pieces in place to win more. Even so, you need a lot of skill, luck, and foresight to go from having the potential to do something, to actually pulling it off.

Avalanche faced painful playoff injuries on way to Stanley Cup win

Altitude’s Vic Lombardi tweeted out a daunting Avalanche playoff injury list, covering Darcy Kuemper‘s process recovering from an eye injury, plus issues for Valeri Nichushkin, Andre Burakovsky, Nazem Kadri, Samuel Girard, and Darren Helm:

Kuemper celebrated his journey from that scary injury to Stanley Cup win:

This photo of Valeri Nichuskin’s possibly broken foot is especially gnarly.

These situations also bleed (figuratively, hopefully) into the free agent/salary questions for the Avalanche this offseason.

Darcy Kuemper, or a different goalie?

Before the playoffs, pending unrestricted free agent goalie Darcy Kuemper already loomed as an interesting Avalanche free-agent question.

At 32, Darcy Kuemper isn’t exactly a baby. We’ve also already seen an example of the Avalanche balking on risky term with a goalie.

After all, Philipp Grubauer left town after ending up being a 2021 Vezina Trophy finalist. As shocking as that was, it’s the Kraken who likely carry regrets from that exchange.

So, the Avalanche were already likely aware of the inherent risks of signing Darcy Kuemper instead of allowing him to become a free agent. Now stack on his eye injury as an other risk factor. What if Kuemper struggles to read plays and track the puck going forward?

(While Kuemper’s at a higher level than where Carter Hutton was, I can’t help but think of Hutton’s eye/tracking issues.)

[Avalanche pulled off a rare feat by overcoming bumpy playoff netminding]

Considering Kuemper’s challenges, it’s all the more surprising that the Avalanche didn’t turn to Pavel Francouz more often. The Avs re-upped Francouz, 32, for two years at a $2M cap hit back in March.

Do the Avs view Francouz as a pure backup, or a 1B goalie in a “platoon?”

To an extent, the Avalanche showed that you can win a Stanley Cup even with iffy playoff goaltending. It’s not necessarily a magic trick you want to attempt year after year, though.

Avalanche must balance salary cap with threat of free agent departures of Kadri, Burakovsky, Nichushkin

According to Cap Friendly, the Avalanche enter an important offseason with an impressive $25.685 million in salary cap space. That’s unusual wiggle room for a team coming off such a dominant run.

Of course, the goalie situation alone tells you how quickly that money can start to evaporate. Cap Friendly’s salary structure projection only covers 14 Avalanche roster spots.

Josh Manson, Andrew Cogliano, Darren Helm, and Nico Sturm rank among veteran free agents. Artturi Lehkonen‘s the most interesting pending RFA.

But, if you’re looking at the toughest non-Darcy-Kuemper conundrums regarding Avalanche free agents, the trio of Nazem Kadri, Andre Burakovsky, and Valeri Nichushkin all present riddles.

Evolving Hockey’s contract projections spit out some possibilities for those four prominent Avalanche free agents:

  • Kadri, 31: seven years, $8.469M (average term: about five years (4.9), average cap hit: $7.74M).
  • Burakovsky, 27: seven years, $6.903M (average term: 5.3 years, average AAV: $6.415M).
  • Nichushkin, 27: seven years, $6.357M (average term: 5.6 years, average AAV: $6.05M).
  • Kuemper, 32: six years, $3.15M (average term: 4.4 years, average AAV: $5.998M).

Frankly, Kadri might be in line for an even bigger raise than that.

That said, the Avalanche at least have a chance to bring back some of those free agents thanks to that relatively robust salary cap space. But should they?

Can they find “the next” Valeri Nichushkin, or is the ferocious forechecker too precious?

These decisions will really test this team and its pro scouts. Just look at this xGAR chart from the past three seasons to see how much Burakovsky, Kadri, and Nichushkin meant to the Avalanche (via Evolving Hockey):

Avalanche offseason questions: Injuries, free agents, salary cap future Evo
via Evolving Hockey

So, the Avalanche face the immediate questions of keeping or losing those free agents.

It goes deeper, too. They also must weigh keeping players like Nichushkin vs. the risk of losing others down the line.

Avalanche salary cap management: contract extensions for MacKinnon, Byram?

For years, the Avalanche have clearly set aside salary cap space to keep core players in place. As Elliotte Friedman mentioned in a recent “32 Thoughts Podcast,”  that may have meant offering less term to star free agents such as Artemi Panarin.

From Cale Makar to Gabriel Landeskog, there are players with big term. There’s also medium term to core pieces such as Mikko Rantanen and Devon Toews.

As early as this offseason, the Avalanche could settle one of their biggest questions: how much will Nathan MacKinnon‘s next contract cost? If they’re wise (and if the interest is there), they’d sign sign Bowen Byram to a contract extension, too.

Really, MacKinnon (26, in the last year with a bargain $6.3M cap hit) can essentially name his own price. Whatever the number is, at least Colorado would gain some cost certainty.

Buy low on Byram

Signing MacKinnon to a contract extension won’t be cheap, but it’s basically a no-brainer. To some, it might be less obvious to extend 21-year-old defenseman Bowen Byram.

But forward-thinking teams tend to sign (or at least try to sign) players before their value skyrockets. With Byram, you almost expect Houston to count down his lift off.

Quietly, Bowen Byram managed promising regular-season stats (17 points in 30 games, or 46-47 over a full season) despite dealing with frightening concussion issues. Yet, it was his playoff breakthrough that turned many heads.

Through eight games, Byram averaged a modest 15:49 TOI. Yet, the Avalanche unleashed Byram once Samuel Girard was injured. For the next 12 playoff games, Byram averaged 21:43, only trailing Cale Makar and Devon Toews as Avalanche ice time leaders. Rather than shrinking in the big time, Byram only become more prominent. He logged 28:25 TOI in Game 4 and 25:48 in a tight Stanley Cup-clinching Game 6. Remarkably, Byram topped all Avalanche players period with 24:52 TOI at even-strength in Game 6.

He wasn’t just killing time, either. Byram’s underlying stats jumped off the page.

Imagine if Bowen Byram hit the net instead of the crossbar or post on some key chances. Even with bad puck luck (zero goals) Byram generated nine useful assists in 20 playoff games.

In 2022-23, Byram could really put up the sort of numbers that gain him more mainstream attention. A smart team like the Avalanche will be proactive.

… At least, if they can. It’s up to Byram and/or his reps to actually want a contract extension instead of betting on himself.

Just look at the breakthrough for Valeri Nichushkin, and you’d think the Avalanche would kick themselves if they don’t at least ask Byram about a contract extension. If the Avs pulled that off, then look out.

Overall, a slew of questions for Avs, but they’re not in a bind

As you can see, there’s a long to-do list for the Avalanche offseason. Naturally, there’s room for swerves. Maybe the Avalanche could convince a key free agent or two to take less term. Priorities can shift — extensions for MacKinnon and/or Byram fall closer to “best practices” than absolutely mandatory.

Overall, there are a lot of tough decisions. That being said, the Avalanche are in an unusually flexible position to read and react.

It’s not all that different from the Avalanche’s brilliant breakout. Sure, there are risks — ones that other teams would flinch away from. Yet, the Avs might just find all the right angles to make their opponents sweat.

Blizzard of brilliance: How Colorado Avalanche were built

It’s settled: the Tampa Bay Lightning will face the Colorado Avalanche in the 2022 Stanley Cup Final. So, how did each team get here? Let’s look at how each Stanley Cup finalist was built, starting with the West’s top team, the Avalanche.

If the NHL is a “copycat league,” then rival general managers probably want to know how the Avalanche built such a juggernaut of a team. Is there a blueprint that could be snatched?

Maybe you can swipe some overarching principles. Unfortunately, with the Avalanche (and Lightning), there isn’t really a “gimmick.” Generally speaking, the Avalanche are exploiting a blizzard of brilliant moves — and, sure, at least a flurry of luck.

Let’s break down how the Avalanche built a juggernaut team that kicked down the door to a Stanley Cup Final after knocking on it for years.

Like other powerhouse teams, Avalanche were bad enough to stock up on high draft picks

Yes, the NHL features a select few contenders built in unusual ways. The Blues and Wild have been competitive without landing many top-five first-rounders. The Golden Knights struck gold in ways that approach the zany.

Generally speaking, though, contenders stock up on “blue chip” prospects in the draft. The Penguins did so with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews powered the Blackhawks. Alex Ovechkin himself announced the Capitals’ pick of Nicklas Backstrom.

All of those teams made smart moves to supplement that good fortune, but to an extent, it’s about being at the right place, at the right time.

[Stunning Numbers from the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs]

With the Avalanche, that meant losing … a lot.

From 2010-11 to 2016-17, the Avalanche missed the playoffs in six of seven seasons. Their lone postseason appearance rode the back of a fluke Patrick Roy run that ended in the First Round.

Now, not every first-rounder from that era worked out.

Concussions derailed the career of Joey Hishon (17th overall in 2010). Connor Bleackley (23rd, 2014) hasn’t played an NHL game. The Avalanche traded Tyson Jost (10th in 2016) for depth forward Nico Sturm around deadline time.

[Looking at Avalanche stars beyond Makar and MacKinnon]

Yet, the Avalanche were bad enough long enough to knock a few way out of the park.

Again, there’s some luck involved here. Things have to fall nicely for you to get the first pick in a draft with a superstar like Nathan MacKinnon available.

But, here’s a thought for fans, and maybe also the Philadelphia Flyers trying to throw Ron Hextall under the bus. There’s no guarantee that a different team would give Cale Makar the freedom he needs to be, basically, the defenseman of the future. More than a few NHL head coaches would fixate on the natural risks that come with “roving,” missing the big picture of the good massively outweighing the bad.

So, give the Avalanche credit with developing stars, not just drafting them. Sure, there’s a heavy element of luck. To get to another level, you have to “make your own luck,” too.

Acing trades essentially since turning lemons into lemonade with Matt Duchene

Truly, the Matt Duchene trade (and Patrick Roy’s bizarre exodus) marked a true turning point for the Colorado Avalanche.

This was a situation people were mocking enough to score Matt Duchene’s glum faces to the memorable lyrics “Hello darkness, my old friend …”

With their backs against the wall, the Avalanche pulled off a brilliant Matt Duchene trade. Honestly, from that point, other GMs probably should have just ignored all incoming calls from Joe Sakic.

[For a deep dive on a remarkable run of trades, check out this breakdown from PHT’s Adam Gretz.]

In short:

  • The Duchene trade netted the Avalanche a package highlighted by Samuel Girard, and the pick they used to land Bowen Byram.
  • Exploiting a cap-strapped Islanders team, the Avs traded for Devon Toews for pennies on the dollar. Toews doesn’t generate the highlight-reel hype of Cale Makar, but he’s absolutely a big-time blueliner.
  • Sensing that the Maple Leafs kinda had to trade Nazem Kadri after consecutive playoff suspensions, the Avalanche pounced. They sold high on Tyson Barrie, and Kadri’s been a revelation.
  • Sprinkle in plenty of other smart and solid trades, including value-driven finds in Artturi Lehkonen.

Impressive patience sometimes means not buying high or selling low

Sometimes, it’s also about the trade or signing you don’t make.

  • The Avalanche could’ve overreacted to another Nazem Kadri playoff suspension. Instead, cooler heads prevailed, and he’s delivered a career-best masterpiece of a season.
  • Maybe the Avalanche would’ve paid a first-rounder to trade for Claude Giroux if he wasn’t so Florida-focused. They didn’t, though, and my end up glad they haven’t chased too many splashy rentals.
  • Sure, it cost quite a bit to trade for Darcy Kuemper. Yet, credit the Avalanche for not boxing themselves into a corner, goaltending-wise. There are only a few goalies anywhere near Andrei Vasilevskiy, and you can tie yourself in knots trying to chase false hope. If nothing else, the Avs have remained flexible regarding goalies. (Hot take: Kraken probably wish Philipp Grubauer was still with Colorado.)

Speaking of flexibility, the Avalanche aren’t particularly heavy on no-trade or no-movement clauses. It all speaks to a franchise that is cool, calm, and collected while others are prone to overreactions.

Fancy stats, free agents, and an underrated coach

Early in Joe Sakic’s run, the Avalanche were banking on Patrick Roy’s system, one that almost seemed to spit in the face of “analytics.” Contrary to Pierre McGuire’s belief, the Avalanche eventually made a heavy emphasis on analytics, “fancy stats,” or whatever you’d like to call a focus on information beyond one’s gut.

The team’s analytics department includes director Arik Parnass, an early pioneer of sorts, as well as Dawson “DTM About Heart” Sprigings.

How much did that staff figure into analytics-leaning moves, such as trading for Devon Toews? That’s a matter of speculation. Credit whomever you want, but this overall approach has paid off handsomely for the Avs.

[Back in 2018, Sean Leahy interviewed Avalanche coach Jared Bednar]

Again, the sheer volume of competent choices really separates the Avalanche.

After a bumpy start, Jared Bednar now ranks among the NHL’s most underrated coaches. While he’s been blessed with incredible talent, Bednar’s shown skill in navigating annual injury headaches.

Generally, the Avalanche have relied as much on free agents as they have built on drafting and trades. That said, they’ve found gems here and there.

One free-agent highlight was the low-risk, high-reward signing of Valeri Nichushkin. Chances are, even a savvy front office like Colorado’s probably didn’t expect the supposed Stars bust to be this much of a find. Again, though, sometimes you “make your own luck.”

More Goals Above Replacement than MacKinnon and Landeskog this season. Impressive. (Via Evolving Hockey)

In building this team, the Avalanche consistently made smart moves — selling high, and buying low. Whatever role analytics, “the eye test,” and other factors played, the bottom line is that other franchises face a tall task in keeping up with the Avalanche.

Both on the ice and off the ice.

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.

Veteran Johnson, rookie Byram form tight bond on ‘D’ for Avs

johnson byram
Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

DENVER (AP) — There’s a 13-year age gap in the pairing of Colorado Avalanche defensemen Erik Johnson and Bowen Byram. They play different styles, too.

But their chemistry on the ice is undeniable and their stories have another link, too, as both have dealt with the lingering effects of concussions.

Longtime NHL veteran Johnson and rookie Byram have been quite a combination on the blue line for an Avalanche team heading back to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2001. Game 1 against Tampa Bay is Wednesday night in Denver.

Go ahead, make all the age jokes. They do.

“He’s been playing forever,” cracked Byram, who turns 21 on Monday.

Almost.

Johnson’s experience over 14 NHL seasons, though, is rubbing off on Byram, the fast-moving, make-things-happen defenseman who is crafted in the same sort of mold as dynamic teammate Cale Makar. Byram brings out the best in Johnson, too, a physical defenseman who’s not afraid to jump in and help in the offensive zone.

“He’s kind of got an old-school soul,” the 34-year-old Johnson said of the kid. “He’s so young but has that throwback style to him, how he is off the ice. If he played all year, he’d be in the running for rookie of the year.”

Earlier this season, Byram dealt with concussion symptoms. He even took a break from the team to mend. Johnson knows all about the topic, playing in just four regular-season games during 2020-21 and missing out on a postseason when Colorado was eliminated by Vegas in the second round.

His light-hearted presence was missed.

“I’m old on our team, not old in life,” Johnson said earlier this season. “I still act a little like a goofball. I feel like one of the guys, not an old guy. Just try to have fun every day.”

[Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info]

He’s a team-first player, too, and waived a no-movement provision last summer during the expansion draft of the Seattle Kraken. It allowed Colorado to protect players such as Makar, Nathan MacKinnon, Nazem Kadri and Mikko Rantanen. The Kraken took Colorado’s Joonas Donskoi, electing to pass on Johnson’s salary and injury history.

“I obviously love Denver and didn’t want to leave but rolled the dice and figured they wouldn’t take me,” Johnson explained. “Luckily, I’m back here and happy.”

Thriving, too, in the postseason next to Byram, who was held to 30 games but still tied for third among NHL rookie defensemen in goals with five. Byram wasn’t with the team for personal reasons from mid-January to late March. He went on a conditioning assignment with the Colorado Eagles in the AHL before rejoining the team April 5 in Pittsburgh.

“The organization did a great job of helping me get the help I needed,” Byram said. “So it’s in the rearview mirror. Now I’m just focused on playoffs.”

Johnson has been a sounding board for Byram, whose skating reminds the veteran a lot of Hall of Fame defenseman Scott Niedermayer’s.

Simply one high draft pick helping another — Johnson was taken No. 1 overall by St. Louis in 2006 and Byram fourth by Colorado in 2019. Byram has become an astute student and soaks in Johnson’s advice. Byram has seven assists so far in the postseason, with Johnson recording a goal and four assists.

“He’s only getting better and better,” said Johnson, who was traded to Colorado in February 2011 and currently is the longest tenured athlete of Denver’s four major sports teams. “If I can expedite that process … glad to do so.”

When the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in 2001, they boasted a blue-line core that included Adam Foote, Rob Blake and Ray Bourque. This version runs just as deep, with Devon Toews and Makar paired together, along with 35-year-old Jack Johnson and Josh Manson, and Byram and Johnson. Samuel Girard is out after suffering a broken sternum on a hit in the St. Louis series.

It was recently pointed out to Byram that he was four days away from being born when the Avalanche took home the title in ’01 in seven games over the New Jersey Devils.

“Saw a tweet about that the other day, got a chuckle out of it,” Byram said. “It would be nice to win a Cup here.”

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar had an inkling this pairing would work.

“But you never know when you first put guys together what kind of chemistry they’re going to have,” Bednar said. “Erik is a pretty vocal guy, not all our players are, but he’s pretty vocal and he’s pretty tuned in to what’s going on. So having a guy back there that’s kind of relaxed and is able to talk is important. Erik and Bowen have done a good job stepping up. I have liked them together.”

It’s already a deep bond even with the age difference.

“We like to goof around, joke around off the ice a little bit and give each other a hard time,” Johnson said. “But on the ice, we’ve found a good chemistry and we’re playing well together.

“It’s been a good marriage, a good partnership for us. So, yeah, really enjoy him a lot. A great kid and the sky’s the limit.”

Hurricanes’ Jarvis, Raanta start offseason in recovery mode

hurricanes jarvis raanta
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RALEIGH, N.C. — Carolina Hurricanes rookie Seth Jarvis took a beating in the Stanley Cup playoffs, including a jarring hit that left him with an apparent concussion and spotty memories in the aftermath.

He’s feeling better now that the headache has faded, at least. But he’s still feeling in a “fog” and sluggish with lingering dental work ahead from a separate injury, a sign that the first part of the offseason will be about recovery for both him and goaltender Antti Raanta following a playoff loss to the New York Rangers.

“Whatever sport you play, it’s going to take a toll in different ways,” Jarvis said Thursday. “Obviously hockey is a fast, physical sport so it’s going to kind of wear and tear you a little bit more. But if I worried about (injuries), I wouldn’t be playing hockey.”

Jarvis and Raanta were both left Monday’s Game 7 second-round loss early, starting with Jarvis being leveled by Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba with a high hit in open ice during the first period. Raanta went down in the second after extending his right leg for a stop on New York’s Mika Zibanejad, then falling face down on the ice.

Raanta had taken on the starting role after No. 1 goaltender Frederik Andersen went down to a a left-knee injury in mid-April. Andersen said Wednesday it was a torn medial collateral ligament and that he had been “really close” to returning.

Now Raanta is dealing with his own MCL injury, a sprain that would’ve likely had him out 6-to-8 weeks had Carolina advanced. He showed up for Thursday’s season-ending interviews with reporters with a limp and a black brace on his right knee, and now must dive into offseason rehab.

“It’s kind of where you’re not going to take any vacation right now,” Raanta said. “It’s just to get back out there and get everything done.”

As for Jarvis, the 20-year-old blossomed into a top-line forward with the toughness to tussle around the crease despite his 5-foot-10, 175-pound frame for the Hurricanes, who won the Metropolitan Division title and posted the NHL’s third-best record. But he had a painful first postseason.

The scariest moment came on the Trouba hit, which left Jarvis capable only of crawling back to the bench. Once there, he was too wobbly to even sit upright and needed assistance from multiple teammates to direct him toward the locker room for the rest of the game.

Jarvis said remembers images of watching the game on TV and teammate Jesperi Kotkaniemi driving him home, but nothing more until “halfway through the next day probably.”

“It’s a little bit scary when you don’t remember anything,” Jarvis said. “I have the doctors telling me what I was doing in the dressing room, and I don’t even remember the hit, getting off the ice or anything. So seeing that stuff and hearing from other people is definitely a little bit scary.”

Jarvis’ first playoff run included being injured after taking a puck to the groin on teammate Brendan Smith’s slapshot in Game 4 of the first-round series against Boston.

Then, in Game 5 of the New York series, Jarvis dove to stop Rangers forward Ryan Strome’s shot from the slot and ended up being hit the mouth with the shaft of Strome’s stick on his followthrough. That left Jarvis bleeding with multiple upper teeth “all bent in” but still in place, though he later returned to the game.

His lip swelling has gone down, but Jarvis said he needs another set of X-rays and possibly “a couple” of root canals. Asked whether his teeth were going to stay bent back, he quipped he was trying to get a “nice little deal” from Invisalign, a Hurricanes sponsor that makes teeth aligners.

“If anyone’s watching from Invisalign, help me out,” he said with a grin.

Despite all that, Jarvis said, there’s no reason “to stop being fearless” on the ice.

“Obviously the concussion with your head, you want to be careful with that,” he said. “But I’ve been banged up a lot of the year. You always go through nicks and bruises. So It’s nothing too new and nothing I think I’m very concerned about at all.”