Chris Terry

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It’s Detroit Red Wings day at PHT

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Each day in the month of August we’ll be examining a different NHL team — from looking back at last season to discussing a player under pressure to focusing on a player coming off a breakthrough year to asking questions about the future. Today we look at the Detroit Red Wings.

2017-18

30-39-13, 73 points (fifth in Atlantic, 13th in Eastern Conference)
Missed playoffs

IN:

Jonathan Bernier
Thomas Vanek
Chris Terry

OUT:

Xavier Ouellet
Jared Coreau
Eric Tangradi
Ben Street

RE-SIGNED:

Dylan Larkin (yesterday)
Anthony Mantha
Mike Green
Tyler Bertuzzi
Andreas Athanasiou
Martin Frk

The 2017-18 season was rough for the Red Wings, but you could argue that it was “the right kind” of rough. Or at least close enough.

As underwhelming as the Red Wings were, they remarkably finished ahead of three other teams in the Atlantic, which says a lot about the disparity between the haves and the have-nots in that division. Nonetheless, management could continue to prattle on about the team’s “culture,” as they enjoyed some of the fruits of tanking without fully doing so.

(Granted, the team would be better served pulling off the Band-Aid, but asking Ken Holland to go to a full-on rebuild seems like a waste of energy at this point.)

The Red Wings did acknowledge reality to a decent extent during the trade deadline, sending Tomas Tatar to Vegas for three picks and Petr Mrazek to the Flyers for a lesser package. Some wanted more – was there really no market for Mike Green? – but this is about as committed as you’ll see this proud franchise get to really trying to load up on future assets.

And, hey, it paid off quite nicely.

By just about all accounts, the Red Wings nailed it with their first-rounders, seeing two interesting forwards drop to them (Filip Zadina at sixth, Joe Veleno all the way down to 30th). It was a busy draft weekend overall, as the Red Wings drafted two players in the second round, three in the third, and then had the usual selection in rounds 4-7. We may look back at those 10 selections as the turning point for a franchise that seemed to be stuck in neutral for a while after their peak window closed.

Again, the regular season wasn’t much to write home about, although it was nice to see some young players thrive.

Dylan Larkin enjoyed the best year of his NHL career, and he received a healthy contract on Friday. Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou were signed to bridge deals after promising seasons, while Tyler Bertuzzi showed some evidence that he could be a useful pro for Detroit.

There are some good things to consider, even if there’s also some darkness to wade through (Henrik Zetterberg‘s health issues are a real bummer) and confusion to shake away (did this team really need to hand contracts to veterans Green and Vanek?).

The Red Wings have a long way to go, and they honestly probably would be better served stinking to an even higher level in 2018-19. This past draft was promising, but getting a true gem – Jack Hughes, perhaps? – would be crucial to go along with the nice players they’re starting to collect and nurture.

This might not be easy to watch next season, yet at least there’s hope.

Prospect Pool

  • Filip Zadina, RW, 18, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) – 2018 first-rounder

For much of the year heading into the 2018 NHL Draft, Zadina was the consensus third overall pick. In a rather surprising turn of events, the intriguing sniper instead slipped to No. 6 for Detroit. He’s already talking about haunting the teams who passed on him by filling their nets with pucks, but if the Red Wings have their way, he’ll be doing that to opponents who never got the shot to land him, too.

Zadina’s already captivating with slick highlights.

The 2018 draft haul drew rave reviews, while the 2017 edition inspired far more criticism. Rasmussen is a giant human, no doubt, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the ninth pick of 2017 make an impact on the Red Wings’ roster as early as 2018-19.

Can he prove he’s more than just a big body with decent skills? We’ll find out soon enough.

  • Filip Hronek, D, 20, Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL), 2016 second-rounder
  • Dennis Cholowski, D, 20, Portland Winterhawks (WHL), 2016 first-rounder

We might as well group these two defensemen together, as you could start a spirited debate among hardcore Red Wings fans regarding who has the brighter future. Hronek has already received quite a bit of seasoning at the pro level considering his work in the AHL, and showed some signs of being a useful offensive weapon. Cholowski is the first-rounder with the bigger body, so who knows which guy will pan out to a larger degree?

The Red Wings would prefer “both.”

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.

Hobbling Habs: Sven Andrighetto is hurt now, too

Friday was a bad night for the Montreal Canadiens, and not just because of a 4-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks that left Carey Price fuming.

Before the game, word surfaced that Andrew Shaw would be out Friday and Saturday due to concussion issues. Now it looks like Sven Andrighetto will miss Saturday’s game against the Washington Capitals, too, after the fall into the boards you can see in the video above.

Chris Terry‘s been recalled and Andrighetto won’t travel with the team, according to LNH.com’s Arpon Basu.

To recap, the Canadiens are now without Shaw, Andrighetto, David Desharnais and Alex Galchenyuk in their forward corps and Greg Pateryn on defense.

Montreal starts a potentially ruinous road stretch on Dec. 23, so as bad as this is right now, the Habs have to cross their fingers that some of those guys are at least going to return to the lineup soon.

Meet the 29-year-old journeyman making his NHL debut tonight for Carolina

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It’s been a difficult last few days in Carolina, as the club traded away captain Eric Staal, veterans John-Michael Liles and Kris Versteeg, and lost Andrej Nestrasil to a season-ending vertebra injury.

So, it’s an appropriate time for a feel-good story.

That’s exactly what the ‘Canes will get tonight as Derek Ryan, 29, will play his first-ever NHL game — just one day after getting his first-ever NHL recall.

A former standout with WHL Spokane — where he played under ‘Canes head coach Bill Peters — Ryan has been all over the place over the last nine years. There was a stop in Kalamazoo (of the now-defunct United Hockey League), a four-year stint at the University of Alberta, three years in the Austrian League and, last season, a terrific campaign in Sweden.

With Orebro, Ryan scored a whopping 80 points in 55 games en route to capturing SHL Forward of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards. He parlayed that into a one-year, two-way deal with the ‘Canes this summer and, after being assigned to AHL Charlotte to begin this season, has enjoyed a very solid AHL campaign, leading the Checkers in scoring with 42 points.

(It should be mentioned this is Ryan’s first-ever AHL campaign, too.)

Per ‘Canes Country, Ryan skated on a line with Brock McGinn and Chris Terry during this morning’s skate.

Skinner! Hurricanes defeat Sharks to storm closer to East Wild Card spot

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Jeff Skinner scored the key goals and Eric Staal finally got a point again. They helped the Carolina Hurricanes keep pushing for a playoff spot.

Skinner scored twice in the third period and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the San Jose Sharks 5-2 on Friday night.

Chris Terry and Joakim Nordstrom also scored, and Jordan Staal added an empty-netter.

The Hurricanes began the day four points outside of a wild-card spot and bounced back from a 4-2 loss at Ottawa on Thursday night. They haven’t lost consecutive games in regulation in more than two months.

“We’re fighting and scratching to pick up points,” said a relieved Eric Staal, who went seven games without a point before assisting on Skinner’s first goal.

“This is a fun time of year to be involved and to be playing,” he added. “We’re in the mix. We’ve put ourselves in that (position) and we’ve got to fight, we’ve got to win and we’ve got to pick up points every night.”

Brent Burns and Tomas Hertl scored for San Jose, which has the league’s second-best road record. The Sharks had won three straight and were 4-0-1 in their last five games.

“We’ve been consistently good for a long time,” coach Peter DeBoer said. “You’re going to have those once in a while. It’s how we respond to it. I think we just have to throw it away and get ready for the next one.”

Cam Ward was back in the lineup after missing two games with a lower-body injury and made 22 saves for the Hurricanes, prompting coach Bill Peters to say “we’re going to ride a guy and it’ll be Cam.”

Martin Jones stopped 32 shots for the Sharks.

The biggest goals of this one belonged to Skinner.

He made it 3-1 just 39 seconds into the third period with a score that initially was waved off. Skinner pushed in the rebound of Eric Staal’s shot inside the right post but the officials disallowed it, saying there was incidental contact on Jones. Peters challenged and after a 2-minute review, that on-ice call was reversed.

That score became even more significant after Patrick Marleau cashed in on Ward’s misplay behind the net, feeding Hertl for an easy goal to pull within 4-2 with 9:22 left.

Skinner then restored Carolina’s two-goal lead with 4:28 left with a hard shot from the slot and Staal tacked on his empty-netter with 2:25 left.

That helped the Hurricanes improve to 19-9-6 in their last 35 games after a miserable start to the season. They haven’t lost back-to-back games in regulation since Dec. 3, and now face some big decisions before the trade deadline Feb. 29.

“It’s a big time of year,” Skinner said. “It seems like every game you come to the rink, those two points are big.”

Carolina went up 2-1 when Nordstrom beat Jones with a blast from behind the circles with 7:35 left in the second off a smooth pass from Jordan Staal.

That came after Carolina scored first at 7:03 when Noah Hanifin uncorked a shot from the corner point and Terry deflected it past Jones with his stick waist high. Burns tied it at 14:07 with a shot from the slot.

“They took the game over” in the second, DeBoer said. “We didn’t have an answer. We pretty much got what we deserved.”

NOTES: Jordan Staal has points in 11 of his last 14 games, including four straight, and has 16 points (5 goals, 11 assists) in that span. … Hurricanes C Riley Nash, who assisted on Terry’s goal, has five points in four games. … San Jose C Tommy Wingels (upper body) was scratched.

 

New York, New York: Rangers snap slump, Isles win second straight

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It was a good night in NYC.

In Manhattan, the Rangers snapped a three-game losing streak with a win over the ‘Canes at MSG and, while that was going on, the Isles won their second straight with a victory over the Avs in Brooklyn.

Nice little Monday, that.

Let’s begin with the Rangers.

Heading into tonight’s action in arguably their worst slump of the season, the Blueshirts got goals from Mats Zuccarello, Oscar Lindberg, Chris Kreider and Derick Brassard to edge the ‘Canes. While it was hardly an oil painting — New York was out-shot 36-22 — the club will gladly take the win, and the positives that came with it.

Like the power play, that went 2-for-4 on the night with Zuccarello’s and Lindberg’s tallies. And the fact the club was able to withstand the loss of d-man Kevin Klein, who exited early in the first period — despite missing a steadying presence that plays over 21 minutes per night, the Rangers’ remaining five d-men (Ryan McDonagh, Keith Yandle, Dan Girardi, Dan Boyle and Marc Staal) all played at least 20 minutes save Yandle, who clocked in at 19:43.

The Rangers also got a solid outing from Henrik Lundqvist, who made 33 saves on 36 shots. Jordan Staal, Victor Rask and Chris Terry scored for Carolina.

Now, over to Barclays.

The Isles overcame Blake Comeau‘s game-opening tally in the first to win 5-3, thanks to a three-goal barrage in the final period.

Head coach Jack Capuano will no doubt be pleased with the balanced scoring across the board, as five different Isles found the back of the net: Cal Clutterbuck, Kyle Okposo, Ryan Strome, Casey Cizikas and Mikhail Grabovski, with Cizikas’ goal proving to be the eventual game-winner.

The win was also sweet given it came with backup netminder Thomas Greiss in goal. The victory pushed him to an impressive 7-3-2 on the year, putting him in the conversation among the NHL’s top second-string goalies.

For the Avs, tonight’s loss will sting. It was another unremarkable outing from Semyon Varlamov (four goals on 27 shots, an .852 save percentage) and a forgettable night for three of Colorado’s best players. Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene combined to go pointless on the night, with a minus-8 rating.

And yes, I just referenced plus-minus.

Update: As longtime and cherished PHT commenter bcislesman pointed out, I neglected to mention Wednesday’s Rivalry Night game on NBCSN — between the Rangers and Isles! Don’t worry, we’ll have plenty on it in the coming days. A reminder the game will be available on TV and via NBC Sports’ Live Extra at 8 p.m. ET.