Blackhawks GM Bowman looking forward to Caggiula’s addition

NBC’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with the 2019 Winter Classic between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks. Coverage begins at 1 p.m. ET from Notre Dame Stadium on Tuesday. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

By Jay Cohen, (AP Sports Writer)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has been interested in Drake Caggiula for a while.

He finally got his man.

Chicago acquired Caggiula and defenseman Jason Garrison in a trade with Edmonton on Sunday for defensemen Brandon Manning and Robin Norell. Caggiula will report to the Blackhawks once he resolves a visa issue, while Garrison is headed to the minors if he clears waivers.

The 24-year-old Caggiula played college hockey at North Dakota with former Blackhawks forward Nick Schmaltz and Luke Johnson, a minor leaguer with Chicago. Bowman said he tried to sign Caggiula before he opted for Edmonton instead.

”We didn’t get him then, but we followed his progress over the last couple years, and I love the way he plays,” Bowman said Monday in his first public comments on the deal. ”I think he’s going to complement our team. He’s another young forward that brings a lot of energy.”

Caggiula has seven goals and four assists in 29 games this season. He had a career-best 13 goals in 67 games last year.

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”He’s got that combination, he plays pretty intense – he’s a smaller guy, but you wouldn’t know it the way he plays,” Bowman said. ”Obviously he was a prolific scorer in college, so he’s got the ability to contribute offensively, he’s versatile, plays wing, plays center, so when we had an opportunity to make the deal, I thought we had to take advantage of it.”

The Blackhawks play the Boston Bruins in the Winter Classic at Notre Dame Stadium on Tuesday. Bowman said they are hoping to have Caggiula’s visa issue resolved by the end of the week.

Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Trades: Oilers add two defenders, including McDavid nemesis Brandon Manning

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After hiring Ken Hitchcock earlier this season the Edmonton Oilers went on a brief, Connor McDavid-driven hot streak that made it look like they might be turning their season around.

Now that they have followed that up by losing six games in a row, and seven out of their past eight, they are once again on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture and looking like another season of McDavid’s prime is on the verge of being completely wasted.

In response, general manager Peter Chiarelli has attempted to go into job-saving mode and spent Sunday frantically rearranging the deck chairs on his sinking ship by making a pair of trades to address his team’s horrendous blue line.

First, he sent Chris Wideman and a 2019 third-round draft pick to the Florida Panthers for Alex Petrovic. From an Oilers perspective, it’s not likely to move the needle in any meaningful direction. It’s probably more noteworthy from a Panthers perspective only because Petrovic was one of the four defenders they felt the need to protect in the expansion draft a year ago when they lost Jonathan Marchesseault and Reilly Smith to the Vegas Golden Knights.

But that was just the opening act for the trade that would really raise some eyebrows.

Later in the day the Oilers announced that they acquired Brandon Manning and Robin Norell from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Drake Caggiula and Jason Garrison.

Yes. That Brandon Manning.

The Brandon Manning that ended Connor McDavid’s rookie season on a play that resulted in the two players developing some pretty significant beef with one another, including McDavid calling Manning “classless” a year later.

Just a quick refresher on all of that here…

Now they are on the same team. As an added layer to the absurdity McDavid, TSN’s Ryan Rishaug noted on Twitter that McDavid and Caggiula (the player that was just traded for a player that broke McDavid’s collarbone and that McDavid called classless) were really close.

Just a remarkable day all the way around.

In the end, all the Oilers got out of it was a couple of players that might — might — be an upgrade on their third defense pairing. It is nobody that is going to make a meaningful difference for this team in its current position. That is what makes it so absolutely incredible that one of the players they happened to trade for is one that their franchise player has a history with on — and off — the ice. Even if that issue is in the past the optics of it all are incredibly bad. It’s like the roster transaction version of whatever it was that happened in Dallas this past week, where management does something to purposely anger its best player.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

PHT Morning Skate: Talbot’s playoff guarantee; Eberle’s bounce back season

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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• Up top, check out the highlights from last night’s game between the Predators and Blackhawks.

• We’re really going to miss everything about Jaromir Jagr. (Vice Sports)

Jordan Eberle has put together a strong year in Brooklyn, and that’s reflected in his five-on-five numbers. (TSN)

• The AHL’s Rochester Americans have signed Brian Gionta to a one-game contract. The veteran we’ll use that tilt as a tune up game for the Olympics. (Amerks.com)

• There’s a special connection between Ducks forward Rickard Rakell and cancer survivor Katie Hawley. (ESPN)

• Why is Golden Knights defenseman Jason Garrison going up and down between the NHL and minors so frequently? (Sinbin.Vegas)

• Isles owner Jon Ledecky believes that splitting home games between Barclays and the Coliseum will be enticing to free agents and John Tavares. (The Sports Daily)

• No matter what anybody says, the Sens moving into a downtown arena is nothing but good news. (Welcome to your Karlsson Years)

• Oilers goalie Cam Talbot kind of guaranteed that his team was going to make the playoffs this year. (Oilers Nation)

• A company from London, Ontario is studying a hockey stick that is believed to be the oldest in the world. (CBC)

• With the NHL not going to the Olympics this year, women’s hockey will finally grab all the attention. (Fan Rag Sports)

• The IIHF announced their procedure for offside reviews and goalie interference calls for the upcoming Olympics. (IIHF)

• Here’s Hilary Knight on being a role model for others just like Cammi Granato was for her:

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Golden Knights waive struggling Jason Garrison

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The Vegas Golden Knights’ roster activity continued on Friday as they waived Jason Garrison, who carries the highest cap hit ($4.6 million) among Golden Knights defensmen, per Cap Friendly. The move allowed them to activate Erik Haula from injured reserve.

This move also follows the most recent demotion of Vadim Shipachyov, who could end up involved in a trade out of Sin City.

Garrison’s been in quite a decline since 2014-15, his first season with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He’s stayed pretty healthy, but his production has dropped from 30 points in ’14-15 to 11, 9 and down to one this season. He’s only suited up for four games after being one of Vegas’ expansion draft picks and averaged 18:53 of ice time per night.

His booming shot could help a power play and given he’s in the final year of his deal, that would make him an attractive pickup for another club (along with his $2.5 million salary), as opposed to Shipachyov, who’s on a two-year deal.

Vegas has an abundance of blue liners in their organization, but it’s clear general manager George McPhee was unable to flip one of this defensive assets hence Friday’s moves. One quote he gave on Thursday referring to Shipachyov’s status could apply to Garrison, 32, in this case.

Via Sin Bin Vegas: “Unfortunately, we have a lot of players here, and we have certain people that have really blossomed and are playing extremely well right now, and they deserve to be in the lineup.”

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

One thing that won’t fade for Vegas Golden Knights this season

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Plenty of smart writers and number-crunchers have tackled the subject of “How good are the Vegas Golden Knights?” or “How long will this last?” Today’s Morning Skate collected some of the best. 

Allow this hot take: while the wins and points are likely to dry up – to at least some extent – there’s one thing that shouldn’t go away for this edition of the Vegas Golden Knights: motivation. For better or worse, we’ve rarely seen an NHL team brimming with so many players fighting for careers, reputations, and millions of dollars.

If the bottom falls out as far as the standings go, it will still be interesting to follow these situations. Contending teams may feel the same way during the trade deadline, at least when it comes to Vegas’ many expiring contracts.

With that in mind, let’s break down this roster to examine the not-so-quiet desperation in Vegas.

Contract years

If you want a quick look at how open-ended the Golden Knights’ future is at the moment, consider their spending this season vs. in the future.

By Cap Friendly’s numbers, the Golden Knights are committed to a $70.87 million cap hit in 2017-18; that number goes down to $36.92M to 14 players in 2018-19 as of this moment.

James Neal: Coming into this season, the narrative felt like a solid power forward who gets a raw deal. Early on in this franchise’s young life, he’s turned into a hero.

He has little reason to stop pushing, at least considering this fork in the road. There are millions on the table for Neal, making him a great source for bad gambling metaphors (if you’re into that kind of thing).

David Perron: In many ways, he’s a lower-profile version of Neal. They both have shown dynamic scoring ability, though sometimes they’ve been frustrating. Each forward has a lot to prove and has also been around the league quite a bit. They’ve even both been traded by the Pittsburgh Penguins. They both face crucial contract years where they can turn heads with strong seasons.

And, hey, Perron had his own hero moment for the Golden Knights last night:

Jonathan Marchessault – Currently injured, but also in a prominent spot where his next contract could vary wildly.

A slew of defensemen – The Golden Knights’ logjam on D isn’t necessarily going to last long. There are only three notable blueliners – and as you likely know, Vegas has a ton of them – with more than one year on their deals: Nate Schmidt, Griffin Reinhart, and Brad Hunt.

The likes of Jason Garrison and Luca Sbisa have seen better days. Even so, maybe the fear of a dull free agent market and/or getting benched for one of Gerard Gallant’s many other options will push their “compete levels” to new heights?

Something to prove

Speaking of Gallant, there’s little doubt that he likely has a chip on his shoulder stemming from the way things ended with the Florida Panthers.

He has quite the opportunity on his hands: a relatively competent roster for an expansion team, yet he’s also graded on a curve because this is an expansion team. Has Gallant already locked up at least some top-five Jack Adams votes?

Goalies Marc-Andre Fleury and Malcolm Subban – Both being on two-year deals provides some inherent motivation, but even considering their very different careers up to this point (“MAF” has more Stanley Cup rings [3] than Subban has NHL wins [2]), they each likely have some fire in their bellies.

“The Flower” handled the end of his Pittsburgh Penguins days with incredible grace. You have to think that he wants to prove that they made the wrong choice, or at least that he still “has it.”

Subban’s inspiration is even more obvious, as the former first-rounder aims to prove that he’s a true NHL goalie. While his development did slip in the Bruins organization, it’s not as if he was downright awful in the AHL.

Vadim Shipachyov – He didn’t just have to wait until age 30 for his first crack at the NHL. Due to the multitude of defensemen, “The Ship” also had to wait to make an impression in Vegas. Expect him to make up for lost time.

Reilly Smith – There are players who were claimed with things to prove even with relative comfort in Vegas; Cody Eakin probably feels insulted by the Stars exposing him to the expansion draft.

Smith is a rare case of a quality everyday NHL player who was just given away in a trade. The Panthers didn’t need to give up both Smith and Marchessault, but they did. That should give him at least a short-term boost, right?

The weird mascot: You think that “Chance” the Gila Monster hasn’t seen your disparaging tweets?

(Kidding. And also afraid.)

***

Look, ignore the hot takes. Most professional athletes care deeply and work hard. Sidney Crosby‘s future has been set since day one, and yet look at how he attacks a meaningless training moment with Brad Marchand:

Still, human nature plays a role in these things, and you will see many players in “survival mode” in Vegas.

That might not be great for tanking purposes, but it sets the stage for a fascinating season for the Golden Knights.

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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