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PHT Morning Skate: Senators fans trapped; Sabres issued challenge

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.

• Ottawa Senators fans are trapped in hell (Vice Sports)

• The day after the trade deadline, Canucks Editon (Nucks Misconduct)

• He’s not the savior, and Mark Letestu doesn’t need to be in Columbus (1st Ohio Battery)

• GM Jason Botterill issues challenge to Sabres after trade deadline (Buffalo Hockey Beat)

• What it’s like for NHL players to be traded twice in the same day (Sports Illustrated)

• A look at potential European free agents for the Ottawa Senators (Eyes on the Sens)

Nico Hischier talks a little footy, including his love for Manchester City (NBC Sports)

• Over the Boards: Seattle taking nothing for granted on NHL bid (Toronto Star)

• Friedman outlines potential Karlsson-Vegas trade framework (FanRag)

• It’s not me, it’s you: An open letter to Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk (Last Word on Hockey)

• Canucks expected to be named hosts of the 2019 NHL Draft (The Province)

• Pop-up hockey: How the NHL creates outdoor ice rinks for just one game (Washington Post)

• The forgotten black hockey players (OZY.com)

• Blues hold unfavorable opinion around the league according to former GM (ESPN)


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

The Buzzer: Jones helps Blue Jackets rout Capitals, Kucherov leaves with injury

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Players of the Night

Seth Jones, Columbus Blue Jackets: Columbus jumped all over the Washington Capitals on Monday night, scoring four goals in the first period on their way to a 5-1 win. Leading the way for the Blue Jackets was defenseman Seth Jones as he finished with three points (one goal, two assists) in close to 20 minutes of ice time. The Blue Jackets also received three points from Cam Atkinson in the win and two more from Artemi Panarin. Mark Letestu, playing in his first game back in Columbus after being picked up just before the trade deadline, also scored in the win.

Petr Mrazek, Philadelphia Flyers: Mrazek picked up his third consecutive win since joining the Flyers and helped them extend their point (and winning streak). They also moved into first place in the Metropolitan Division thanks to their win and the Capitals’ loss. Mrazek stopped all 28 shots he faced through regulation and overtime for his 14th career shutout.

Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche: The Colorado Avalanche are on the playoff bubble at the moment but they are definitely hanging in the race. They got some big help on Monday night with a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks thanks to a big game from Nathan MacKinnon. MacKinnon scored two goals in the win to help the Avalanche keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race.

Kucherov leaves with injury

On the same day they pulled off a huge trade with the New York Rangers to add Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller they had a couple of injury concerns in their 4-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs as Nikita Kucherov, the league’s leading scorer, and Tyler Johnson both suffered injuries. Kucherov left the game with what the team is calling an upper body injury and did not return, while Johnson appeared to have a leg injury before returning for overtime. At this point Kucherov’s injury does not seem to be too serious and he could be ready for Tampa Bay’s next game. So there is at least some good news though. Injuries decimated the Lightning a season ago and played a huge role in them missing the playoffs. They have been one of the healthier teams in the league this season.

Highlight of the Night

Oh, just Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury mixing curling and hockey together.

Highlight of the Night Part 2

Curling was probably the highlight night of the Fleury because just as it seemed as if he was going to backstop the Golden Knights to a win, Anze Kopitar scored with 10 seconds to play in regulation to send the game to overtime. Check out the pass by new addition Dion Phaneuf to set it up.

Dustin Brown would end up winning the game on a power play in overtime to help the Kings keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race.

The Kings were losing 2-0 with less than 10 minutes to play in regulation before rallying for the win. Along with goals from Kopitar and Brown, Jeff Carter also scored his first goal of the season in the win to get the comeback started.

Factoid of the Night

Andrei Vasilevskiy picked up another win for the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night and is closing in on a franchise record.

Scores

Columbus Blue Jackets 5, Washington Capitals 1

Philadelphia Flyers 1, Montreal Canadiens 0

Tampa Bay Lightning 4, Toronto Maple Leafs 3

Colorado Avalanche 3, Vancouver Canucks 1

Los Angeles Kings 3, Vegas Golden Knights 2

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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.

Matt Calvert ejected for butt-ending Alex Ovechkin

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There was some chaos in first period of Tuesday’s Capitals-Blue Jackets game in Columbus.

First, the Blue Jackets jumped all over the Capitals with four goals in the opening frame, including one from one of their recent trade deadline acquisitions, veteran center Mark Letestu.

That offensive outburst led to Capitals goalie Braden Holtby being pulled for the start of the second period.

But it wasn’t just the scoreboard that had some fireworks. As the first period came to a close there was an altercation behind the Columbus net that resulted in Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert being given a match penalty for butt-ending Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin right in the face.

Here is a look.

If you are wondering about potential supplemental discipline it is probably worth pointing out that since the NHL’s Department of Player Safety was formed prior to the start of the 2011-12 season no player has ever actually been suspended for butt-ending a player.

Six have been fined for it.

When the two teams came back out for the start of the second period the cameras caught Ovechkin and Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella having a pretty animated conversation.

Ovechkin was the lone bright spot for the Capitals in the first period, scoring his league-leading 39th goal. That goal also brought him one closer to 600 for his career, giving him 597 as of this posting.

It has been an interesting night in Columbus to say the least.

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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.

NHL Trade Deadline: Winners and losers

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We are trying something a little different with this week’s version of the PHT Power Rankings.

Instead of ranking each team on its current play or spot in the standings, we are looking at their performance in the days and weeks leading up to the NHL trade deadline.

Consider this your winners and losers post because, well, rushing to judgements on trades is one of the most entertaining aspect of trades.

Again, I can not stress enough these power rankings are not a reflection of play on the ice or where they stand based on their performance this season. This is strictly ranking teams based on their roster moves leading up to the NHL trade deadline. 

To the rankings!

The winners

 1. Tampa Bay Lightning — The transformation into the New York Rangers is nearly complete after swinging another massive trade with the blue shirts. They added to an already loaded team by getting Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller without having to give up Mikhail Sergachev or Brayden Point. Vladislav Namestnikov is a good player, but what is the gap between him and Miller? Miller has also not spent most of the season riding shotgun next to Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos.

2. Winnipeg Jets — Hoo boy. An already loaded offense that is among the best in the league picks up Paul Stastny. They went years without doing anything of significance in terms of roster transactions them came out of nowhere on trade deadline day to say “yeah, we think this is our year.” Good move.

3. New Jersey Devils — This was a vintage Ray Shero trade deadline performance, swapping some draft picks and a mid-tier prospect for a couple of rentals. But they are good rentals! By adding Michael Grabner they add another speedy winger to a team that already has Taylor Hall and Miles Wood, and Patrick Maroon is scoring at a 25-goal pace again.

4. Columbus Blue Jackets — Thomas Vanek does one thing well at this point in his career: He can produce on the power play. The Blue Jackets have an awful power play. Ian Cole and Mark Letestu (also a pretty good power play option) are also nice additions for relatively little cost.

5. San Jose Sharks — I don’t think I would want Evander Kane on my team (too many headaches and problems and questions off the ice and he’s only okay but not great on it is a bad combination) but he was one of the top rentals available and they did not have to give up a lot to get him. So I guess that makes them a winner.

You paid a lot, but it might be worth it

6. Pittsburgh Penguins — Ian Cole will leave a bit of a hole on defense (especially when that hole is being filled by Matt Hunwick), and Filip Gustavsson is a really good goalie prospect, and they trade first-round picks like they are burning a hole in their pocket, but with Derick Brassard now in the mix after the three-team trade they might have an even better quartet of centers than they did the past two seasons.

7. Nashville Predators — They paid a steep price to get Ryan Hartman, but he is a pretty good player, he is still young, he is still under team control for a while, and even though he will be due for a raise after this season as a restricted free agent the Predators absolutely have the salary cap space to afford him. A really good depth player for a Stanley Cup contender, which the Predators will be for the foreseeable future.

8. Vegas Golden Knights — Their inclusion in the Brassard trade with the Penguins and Ottawa Senators was a little weird, but I admire their apparent strong push to land Erik Karlsson. The big question is should a first-year team that still needs to build an organization from the ground up trade so many draft picks for Tomas Tatar? It is a legitimate question, but Tatar adds another scoring option to a team that already has a deep, well-rounded group of forwards and the best record in the league (based on points percentage). I will allow it.

9. Boston Bruins — Given the price of rentals they paid a pretty steep one for Rick Nash, but he’s still a really good two-way player that can help in all three phases of the game. I am not sure what Brian Gionta and Tommy Wingels will do for them, but Nash is a good pickup for a team that has a legitimate shot to win it all.

The Sellers that did well

10. Chicago Blackhawks — Hartman could have been someone that was around for a while, but if his value is a first-round draft pick and a decent prospect you would be crazy not to cash that in when you have the chance. They did a nice job replenishing the draft pick cupboard by picking up four picks over the next two years.

11. New York Rangers — They turned Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh, J.T. Miller, and Nick Holden into six draft picks (including two first-round picks and a second-round pick that could become another first) and eight other players. That is a lot of assets coming into the organization. The key questions though are whether or not any of those eight players are high upside players that can be a part of a rebuild, and what they do with those draft picks. That’s a lot of first-round picks, but they could all be really late first-rounders which don’t really carry a ton of value.

12. Detroit Red Wings — Not getting anything for Mike Green is a little tough but that may have been out of their control. His health was a concern, he had a big say in where he could go, and there just may not have been a huge market. They did add a ton of draft picks for Tatar and Petr Mrazek. They now have eight picks in the first four rounds of the 2018 draft and another six in the first round rounds of the 2019 draft. They have to rebuild sooner or later and they now have a ton of draft pick currency.

You didn’t hurt yourself

13. Philadelphia Flyers — They added Petr Mrazek, mostly out of desperation, and did nothing else of note other than claiming Johnny Oduya on waivers. That’s okay. The Flyers are a really good team that is playing extremely well over the past three months and has a lot of young talent. No need to mess with it right now. Their window is just opening.

14. Toronto Maple Leafs — Tomas Plekanec is a nice depth addition to a team that could use a responsible, veteran forward in its bottom-six.

15. Washington Capitals — They didn’t make the big trade they have been accustomed to making in recent seasons and instead went for a couple of depth moves on defense. Not the worst case scenario. They may not be as good as their record and you don’t want to do something crazy in a season where you are probably more than one player away. You don’t want to trade Filip Forsberg for Martin Erat. Again.

16. Los Angeles Kings — Dion Phaneuf is a fraction of what he used to be but he will probably give them a little more value than Marian Gaborik would have, and Tobias Rieder adds a little bit of speed and upside to a lineup that was lacking in both of those things.

17. Montreal Canadiens — Their standing here is mostly do to the fact that they did not trade Max Pacioretty at a point where his value is so low. They really didn’t do much of significance. Maybe Mike Reilly can be okay? Basically I am just giving Marc Bergevin credit for not doing something that would hurt the team.

18. Florida Panthers — Frank Vatrano is a pretty decent buy-low gamble. Maybe a fresh start and a change of scenery where he can play a bigger role helps him realize some of that potential.

19. Arizona Coyotes — They sold Rieder at what might be a lowpoint, which isn’t ideal, but they did end up with a pretty good goaltending option in Darcy Kuemper.

The incompletes

20. Calgary Flames — Does Nick Shore for a seventh-round draft pick do much for you? No? Good. It shouldn’t. They did add Chris Stewart on waivers so I guess that is something.

21. Carolina Hurricanes — Every year we are told this could be the year Jeff Skinner gets traded, then he never gets traded. That is actually a good thing for the Hurricanes because Jeff Skinner is really good. Their only move was a minor league deal to send Josh Jooris to Pittsburgh for Greg McKegg.

22. Colorado Avalanche — They traded Chris Bigras for Ryan Graves. I have nothing else to add.

23. Dallas Stars — They did nothing. Nothing to see here.

24. Minnesota Wild — They lost Stewart on waivers and traded Reilly for a draft pick. Nashville and Winnipeg loaded up in their division in an arms race. At the moment, they would have to get through those two teams in the first two rounds of the playoffs. Oof.

What is happening here?

25. Ottawa Senators — They deserve their own category because I really do not know where to put them. They did pretty well for Brassard by getting a first-round pick and a really good goalie prospect, and they were able to flip Cole for another pick and prospect as an extension of that trade tree, but there are still a ton of questions here. The Karlsson situation remains unresolved and it is hard to imagine his value increasing at the draft when the team trading for him is guaranteed even less time with him. The rest of the team remains in place. Maybe you have not noticed but the rest of the team kind of stinks at the moment.

The losers

26. New York Islanders — You have John Tavares, Mathew Barzal, Josh Bailey, Jordan Eberle and Anders Lee all having great seasons. You have an offense that can score goals at a level few teams can match. You had all season to do something to fix the shortcomings on defense and in net. You traded Jason Chimera for a younger version of Jason Chimera, and also traded a draft pick for a defenseman that was available on waivers a couple of months ago. Something tells me those Snow Must Go chants will not be going away anytime soon at the Barclays Center.

27. Edmonton Oilers — Maroon is a 20-25 goal forward, carries a relatively decent salary cap hit for the rest of this season, and all Edmonton has to show for him is a mid-level prospect and a third-round draft pick two drafts from now. Their trade deadline consisted of them trading Maroon, Letestu, and Brandon Davidson for Pontus Aberg, J.D. Dudek and two draft picks in 2019.

Actually, this might be the most damning statement of all when it comes to the 2017-18 Edmonton Oilers.

28. St. Louis Blues — One point out of a playoff spot and they trade one of their top scorers for futures. That six-game losing streak where the offense has disappeared is not sitting well with the front office it would seem.

29. Buffalo Sabres — Evander Kane was supposed to be one of the top rentals available and their return does not even guarantee them a first-round draft pick. They also got a 24-year-old “prospect” and a mid-round draft pick. Not sure if that says more about the Sabres front office or Evander Kane.

30. Vancouver Canucks — Jim Benning said he would have preferred a draft pick in the trade for Thomas Vanek but there just wasn’t an opportunity to get that. There were 18 draft picks that exchanged hands across the league on Monday alone. A team in the bottom-five in the standings re-signed Erik Gudbranson, traded Vanek for a marginal prospect and a player that is actually older than Vanek, and did nothing else.

31. Anaheim Ducks — They traded for a 38-year-old forward (Chimera) that has two goals and 11 total points in 58 games this season and signed a 35-year-old forward (Chris Kelly) that has seven goals and seven assists in 93 NHL games since the start of the 2015-16 season and managed zero goals and only two assists in 15 games in the AHL this season, presumably because he had a couple of good games in the Olympics against non-NHL talent.

MORE: PHT’s 2018 Trade Deadline Tracker.

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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.

Pro Hockey Talk 2018 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker

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The PHT NHL Trade Deadline Tracker is your one-stop shop for completed deals.

Feb. 26 – Tampa Bay Lightning acquire Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller from New York Rangers for Vladislav Namestnikov, Libor Hajek, Brett Howden, a 2018 first-round pick and a conditional* 2018 second-round pick. (Conditional pick becomes a first rounder if Tampa wins the Stanley Cup in 2018.) | PHT analysis

Feb. 26 – Vegas Golden Knights acquire Tomas Tatar from Detroit Red Wings for a 2018 first-round pick, 2019 second-round pick (Originally belonging to New York Islanders) and a third-round pick in 2021. | PHT analysis

Feb. 26 – Pittsburgh Penguins acquire Josh Jooris from Carolina Hurricanes for Greg McKegg.

Feb. 26 – Boston Bruins acquire Tommy Wingels from Chicago Blackhawks for a 2018 conditional* fifth-round pick. (Pick becomes a fourth-rounder if Boston advances out of the first round in 2018 playoffs or if Wingels re-signs with Bruins.)

Feb. 26 – New Jersey Devils acquire Patrick Maroon from Edmonton Oilers for a 2019 third-round pick and J.D. Dudek. | PHT analysis

Feb. 26 – Calgary Flames acquire Nick Shore from Ottawa Senators for a 2019 seventh-round pick.

Feb. 26 – Minnesota Wild acquire 2019 fifth-round pick from Montreal Canadiens for Mike Reilly.

Feb. 26 – Montreal Canadiens acquire a 2018 fourth-round pick from the Winnipeg Jets for Joe Morrow.

Feb. 26 – Columbus Blue Jackets acquire Thomas Vanek from the Vancouver Canucks for Jussi Jokinen and Tyler Motte.

Feb. 26 – San Jose Sharks acquire Evander Kane* from the Buffalo Sabres for Danny O'Regan, a conditional 2019 first-round pick and a 2019 fourth-round pick. (*If Kane re-signs with the Sharks or San Jose wins Stanley Cup, Buffalo gets the first-round pick, which is lottery protected. If he walks, the pick goes to the second round in 2019.) | PHT analysis

Feb. 26 – New York Islanders acquire Chris Wagner from the Anaheim Ducks for Jason Chimera.

Feb. 26 – Vancouver Canucks acquire Brendon Leipsic from the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for Philip Holm.

Feb. 26 – Winnipeg Jets acquire Paul Stastny* from the St. Louis Blues for a conditional 2018 first-round pick, a conditional 2020 fourth-round pick and Erik Foley. (*St. Louis retains 50 percent of Stastny’s salary. If the Blues fail to sign Foley before Aug. 16, 2019, they will get the Jets’ fourth-round pick in 2020. Should Winnipeg somehow end up with one of the top three picks in the draft, St. Louis gets Winnipeg’s first-round pick in 2019. If not, they will get that pick in 2018.) | PHT analysis

Feb. 26 – Nashville Predators acquire Ryan Hartman and a 2018 fifth-round pick from Chicago Blackhawks for Victor Edjsell and a 2018 first- and fourth-round pick. | PHT analysis

Feb. 26 – Columbus Blue Jackets acquire defenseman Ian Cole for forward Nick Moutrey and a third-round draft pick. | PHT analysis

Feb. 25 – Nashville Predators acquire Brandon Bollig and Troy Grosenick from the San Jose Sharks for 2018 sixth-round pick.

Feb. 25 – Nashville Predators acquire Mark Letestu from the Edmonton Oilers for Pontus Aberg. Predators then trade Letestu to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a fourth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. | PHT analysis

Feb. 25 – The Toronto Maple Leafs acquire Tomas Plekanec* and Kyle Baun from the Montreal Canadiens for Rinat Valiev, Kerby Rychel and Toronto’s second-round draft pick in 2018. (*The Canadiens will retain 50 percent of Plekanec’s salary.) | PHT analysis

Feb. 25 – The Boston Bruins acquire Rick Nash* from the New York Rangers for a 2018 first-round pick, a 2019 seventh-round pick, Matt Beleskey*, Ryan Spooner and the rights to Ryan Lindgren. (*The Rangers will retain 50 percent of Nash’s salary, while the Bruins are retaining half of Beleskey’s salary.) | PHT analysis

Feb. 24 New York Islanders acquire Brandon Davidson from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a 2019 third-round draft pick. | PHT analysis

Feb. 23 – Vegas Golden Knights acquire Ryan Reaves and a 2018 fourth-round pick; Pittsburgh Penguins acquire Derick Brassard, Vincent Dunn, Tobias Lindberg and a 2018 third-round pick; Ottawa Senators acquire Ian Cole, Filip Gustavsson, a 2018 first-round pick and a 2019 third-round pick. | PHT analysis

Feb. 22 – New Jersey Devils acquire Michael Grabner from New York Rangers for 2018 second-round pick and Yegor Rykov. | PHT analysis

Feb. 22 – Florida Panthers acquire Frank Vatrano from Boston Bruins for 2018 third-round pick. | PHT analysis

Feb. 21 – Washington Capitals acquire Jakub Jerabek from Montreal Canadiens for a 2019 fifth-round pick.

Feb. 21 – Los Angeles Kings acquire Tobias Rieder* and Scott Wedgewood from Arizona Coyotes for Darcy Kuemper. (*Arizona retains 15 percent of Rieder’s salary.) | PHT analysis

Feb. 20 – Boston Bruins acquire Nick Holden from New York Rangers for Rob O’Gara and a 2018 third-round pick. | PHT analysis

Feb. 20 – San Jose Sharks acquire Eric Fehr from Toronto Maple Leafs for 2020 seventh-round pick.

Feb. 19 – Washington Capitals acquire Michal Kempny from Chicago Blackhawks for a conditional* 2018 third-round pick. (*Chicago will receive the higher of Washington’s own third-round draft choice or the third-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Washington acquired the Toronto draft pick from the New Jersey Devils as part of the Marcus Johansson trade on July 2, 2017.) | PHT analysis

Feb. 19 – Philadelphia Flyers acquire Petr Mrazek* from Detroit Red Wings for a conditional* 2nd round pick in 2018 or a 3rd round pick in 2018 or a 4th round pick in 2018 and a conditional* 3rd round pick in 2019 (*Red Wings retain half of Mrazek’s salary. *The 2018 fourth-round pick turns into a third-round pick if the Flyers make the playoffs and Mrazek wins five games during the regular season. That pick will become a second rounder if the Flyers win two playoff rounds and Mrazek wins six games. The 2019 third rounder becomes Red Wings property if Mrazek signs with the Flyers.) | PHT analysis

Feb. 15 – Chicago Blackhawks acquire Chris DiDomenico from Ottawa Senators for Ville Pokka.

Feb. 15 – St. Louis Blues acquire Nikita Soshnikov from Toronto Maple Leafs for 2019 fourth-round pick.

Feb. 13 – Los Angeles Kings acquire Dion Phaneuf*, Nate Thompson from Ottawa Senators for Marian Gaborik and Nick Shore. (*Senators retain 25 percent of Phaneuf’s salary.) | PHT analysis