Alex Tanguay

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So, who’s left? Jason Demers headlines list of remaining free agents (Updated)

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The sprint that occurred at the beginning of NHL free agency has, for the most part, settled into more of a marathon.

General managers were quick to throw around cash and term to the first wave of coveted free agents (click here to recap who has signed where), but there are still some notable names remaining on the board:

Jason Demers: He’s a defenseman with a right shot, which are two qualities in high demand for NHL teams. In 62 games last season with the Dallas Stars, he had seven goals and 23 points, and now at the end of a two-year, $6.8 million contract.

Related: UFA of the Day: Jason Demers

Kris Russell: Acquired by the Dallas Stars at the trade deadline, as that club looked to add to its blue line for the playoffs, Russell is now on the open market after a 19-point regular season between Dallas and the Calgary Flames. He’s often criticized in the analytics community for poor puck possession numbers.

Related: UFA of the Day: Kris Russell

Kyle Quincey: The writing had been on the wall for a while that Quincey was likely to hit the open market. The 30-year-old defenseman, at the end of a two-year, $8.5 million deal, had four goals and 11 points in 47 games for the Red Wings. In November, Quincey underwent ankle surgery, causing him to miss 35 games.

Justin Schultz: Schultz won a Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins following a trade from Edmonton earlier in the season. However, the Penguins didn’t extend Schultz a qualifying offer, meaning the 25-year-old right-shooting defenseman the open market today.

Shane Doan: Doan has spent his entire career with the same franchise (he began his career with that franchise in Winnipeg, went through the relocation to Phoenix and all the tumultuous times it has gone through since). He’s now 39 years old, but despite his age, he scored 28 goals and 47 points with Arizona last season.

Update:

Related: UFA of the Day: Shane Doan

Radim Vrbata: Vrbata’s time in Vancouver started well, after he signed with the Canucks as a free agent two years ago. He scored 31 goals in the 2014-15 season, playing on the right wing with Daniel and Henrik Sedin. But his second season in Vancouver was the polar opposite. He had stretches of bad luck and a lack of production and his season was eventually cut short due to injury.

Related: UFA of the Day: Radim Vrbata

Jiri Hudler: Acquired prior to the trade deadline by the Florida Panthers, the 32-year-old Hudler scored six goals and 11 points in 19 games with the Panthers in the regular season, but had only one assist in six post-season games.

Related: UFA of the Day: Jiri Hudler

Brad Richards: Richards saw his production dip this season with the Red Wings. Now 36 years old, he scored 10 goals and 28 points in 68 regular season games. Despite age and drop in production, he still feels he can play hockey.

Sam Gagner: Gagner, 26, appeared in 53 games for the Philadelphia Flyers this season, scoring eight goals and 16 points. He was also put on waivers, eventually cleared and loaned to the Flyers’ AHL affiliate.

Other notables:

Kris Versteeg: Right wing | 30 years old | 77 GP, 15 G, 23 A, 38 PTS

Brandon Pirri: Center | 25 years old | 61 GP, 14 G, 15 A, 29 PTS

Alex Tanguay: Left wing | 36 years old | 70 GP, 8 G, 27 A, 35 PTS

Luke Schenn: Defense | 26 years old | 72 GP, 4 G, 12 A, 16 PTS

Roman Polak: Defense | 30 years old | 79 GP, 1 G, 15 A, 16 PTS

Pending UFA Boedker isn’t ruling out a return to the Avalanche

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The opening of free agency isn’t far off now, but it seems there is at least a chance pending unrestricted free agent Mikkel Boedker could return to the Colorado Avalanche.

Acquired from the Arizona Coyotes at the trade deadline, Boedker had 12 points in 18 games for the Avalanche, which sent Alex Tanguay and prospects Kyle Wood and Conner Bleackley to the Coyotes as part of that deal and then missed the playoffs in the Central Division.

Boedker, who matched his single-season career high in points with 51, doesn’t turn 27 years old until December and could now walk away from the Avalanche for nothing if he chooses the open market.

(The Coyotes won’t sign Bleackley, so they’ll take the second-round compensation pick as a result.)

But Boedker’s camp hasn’t exactly ruled out a return.

“We’ve come this far on shorter deals, now we’re at the point where he can pick a team,” Boedker’s agent Jarrett Bousquet told ESPN.

“We’re going to definitely weigh all the options and make the best decision for Mikkel. He liked everyone from the coaches and the players to the fans in Colorado. It’s definitely a place that’s up there on his list.”

Just a few days ago, Avalanche GM Joe Sakic said that both Boedker and pending UFA Shawn Matthias would test free agency, but added he’d like to have one of those players back for next season.

Blues’ comeback win puts them in first-place tie in Central Division

Associated Press
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ST. LOUIS (AP) The St. Louis Blues showed up to the rink on short rest only to find out they’d be two players short.

After a rocky start, the team stepped up in a major way.

Vladimir Tarasenko got his 37th goal midway through the third period for the go-ahead score, and the Blues scored five straight goals in a 5-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night to tie for first place in the Western Conference.

“It kind of didn’t start so well, I don’t even know how to describe it,” said goalie Brian Elliott, who gave up two goals in the first period and then stopped the last 16 shots. “We got stronger as the game went on.”

The Blues and Stars each have 105 points, also tied for the Central Division lead, with two games to play. Dallas holds the tiebreaker with more regulation wins.

St. Louis scored five goals for the second straight night and plays at Chicago on Thursday. The regular season ends for the Blues at home Saturday against Washington, which is first overall in the NHL.

“We have a lot at stake right now,” Elliott said. “It’s funny how it always comes down to the last games no matter what.”

Checking line forward Kyle Brodziak scored twice, Troy Brouwer and Patrik Berglund also scored and Elliott, who didn’t make the trip to Colorado for a 5-1 victory on Sunday, won his 10th consecutive decision.

“I think we just weren’t as sharp as we needed to be and sometimes that happens (when) you come home late,” Brodziak said. “I thought the energy in the room after the first was really, really good and we got ourselves re-focused.”

St. Louis is 11-0-1 in its last 12 games against Arizona, including 3-0 this season.

The Blues ruled out captain David Backes and goalie Jake Allen for the rest of the regular season earlier in the day, both with lower-body injuries. Hitchcock said both would be re-evaluated on Monday before the playoffs. Backes’ injury late in Sunday’s victory came as a bit of a surprise.

“I don’t think anybody really knew,” Brodziak said. “It’s unfortunate and hopefully it’s not very bad and we’ll see him soon.”

Antoine Vermette scored his 16th goal and Anthony Duclair got his 20th for the Coyotes, who are out of the playoff race and have dropped three of four.

“You can’t lose momentum and you can’t give a team energy,” forward Alex Tanguay said. “That’s what we did.”

Brouwer started the comeback with a power-play goal in the second and Brodziak’s short-handed goal tied it at 2 early in the third.

Tarasenko went nearly coast to coast before beating goalie Mike Smith unassisted with a quick shot from near the right faceoff dot at 10:42. The goal matched his career high set last season and gave him 17 points in his last 15 games.

Tarasenko assisted on a power-play goal by Berglund 2:18 later to put the Blues ahead by two and Brodziak made it a three-goal gap late. Berglund got his 10th goal with a one-timer.

Coach Ken Hitchcock had been worried before the game about the effects of coming down from altitude and playing the following night. The Blues won 5-1 at Colorado on Sunday night, but Arizona shut out Washington in its last game the day after the Capitals beat the Avalanche on the road.

Arizona is tied for the second-fewest road victories in the NHL, going 13-22-3 on the road.

“We were flat after the first,” Duclair said. “I don’t know if we thought it was going to be easier, but we definitely got away from the things we were doing right.”

Brodziak has seven goals, three of them short-handed.

Tanguay assisted on the first two goals for the Coyotes, giving him five in five games.

Brouwer’s deflection on a power play got past Smith and cut the deficit to one in the second.

NOTES: Duclair leads Arizona with nine road goals. … Arizona rookies entered the game leading the NHL with 50 goals and 132 points. … Brouwer has 14 points in his last 13 games, six of them goals.

WATCH LIVE: Arizona Coyotes at Colorado Avalanche

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Patrick Roy might put the onus on Semyon Varlamov, but ultimately, these are the types of nights in which playoff-caliber teams need someone to step up.

Both the Colorado Avalanche and Arizona Coyotes are currently on the outside of the West playoff picture, but Colorado has a decent shot at fighting its way back into the mix. Beating Arizona is tougher than its record may indicate, however.

Beyond the postseason implications, these teams were trade partners, so it should be interesting to see how Alex Tanguay and Mikkel Boedker fare against their former teams.

You can watch the game on NBCSN and stream it via the link below.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

NHL on NBCSN: Boedker, Tanguay meet for the first time since being traded for one another

Associated Press

NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2015-16 campaign tonight when the Colorado Avalanche host the Arizona Coyotes at 9:00 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.

Exactly one week ago, the Avalanche and Coyotes completed a trade that saw Mikkel Boedker go to Colorado for Alex Tanguay, Conner Bleackley and Kyle Wood.

The Avs acquired Boedker-a pending unrestricted free agent- for their playoff push. The big deadline day acquisition hasn’t paid off just yet. Boedker has a goal and an assist in three games, but the Avalanche are just 1-2-0 since the trade.

The St. Louis Blues did Colorado a huge favor on Sunday, as they were able to take down the Minnesota Wild in regulation. The Avalanche trail the Wild by two points in the race for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.

After acquiring Tanguay, the Coyotes let him ease in to his new surroundings. Head coach Dave Tippet allowed his veteran forward to heal up from some minor injuries. Tippet’s patience ended up paying off. Tanguay made his Coyotes debut against the Panthers on Saturday night. The 36-year-old found the back of the net twice and added an assist, as the Coyotes won 5-1.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Tanguay said of facing the Avs, per the Arizona Republic. “This is going to be fun. It’s going to be one of those nights where those are friends that last Saturday I was still playing with in the outdoor classic. It’s going to be difficult, but I’m (an Arizona) Coyote now, and I’m going to try to play my hardest for them.”