You've heard the expression "let's get busy?" Well, Mike Halford is a blogger who gets "biz-zay!" Consistently and thoroughly.

Sharks waive Nieto, their first-ever Californian draft pick


For some time, Matt Nieto‘s been a cool story in San Jose. The Long Beach native was the first-ever Californian to be drafted by the team — 47th overall in 2011 — and, after a solid rookie year in which he scored 10 goals and 24 points in 66 games, looked to be a key part of the Sharks’ future.

Today, that narrative took an abrupt turn.

Nieto was placed on waivers Wednesday, after a difficult season that saw him dress for just 16 of San Jose’s 38 games, failing to score a single goal. Nieto has been out of the lineup since mid-December, when he played just under 12 minutes in a win over Ottawa.

Long regarded for his speed and skating ability, Nieto will almost certainly have suitors on waivers. He posted a career-high 10 goals and 27 points in ’14-15, and only turned 24 in November.

What’s more, Nieto has over 200 games on his resume and some good postseason experience as well — in that aforementioned rookie campaign of ’13-14, he scored five points in seven games, then dressed for 16 games during San Jose’s Stanley Cup Final run last spring.

He’s also affordable, currently on a one-year deal worth $735,000.

‘Canes claim Rattie off waivers from Blues

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St. Louis tried to pass Ty Rattie through waivers, and it didn’t work.

On Wednesday, Sportsnet reported that Carolina claimed Rattie, one day after the Blues exposed him and over a month since his last game action at the NHL level. Rattie has been out of the Blues lineup since Nov. 29 and, all told, has appeared in just four games this year, registering no points.

He also played three more on a conditioning stint in the AHL, registering one assist.

The 32nd overall pick in the 2011 draft, Rattie was once a highly touted prospect. He put up huge numbers in the WHL with the Portland Winterhawks, and he continued to produce after he graduated to the AHL.

Last season, he had 46 points in 62 games for the Chicago Wolves.

Rattie’s always had issues breaking into the St. Louis lineup, however. He made his big league debut back in ’13-14, but has never appeared in more than 13 games in a single season.

With Carolina, he should have more of an opportunity.

The club has suffered some losses up front this season. Power forward Bryan Bickell has been sidelined since his multiple sclerosis diagnosis, and Elias Lindholm is currently sidelined with an upper-body injury.

This move also fits with GM Ron Francis’ penchant for taking waiver fliers on other team’s prospects. Previously, the ‘Canes scooped Detroit’s Martin Frk and Arizona’s Klas Dalhbeck; two years ago, Francis claimed Andrej Nestrasil from the Red Wings and Nestrasil has turned out well, scoring a career-high 23 points in just 55 games for the ‘Canes last season.

“We feel that Ty has a high skill level,” Francis said in a statement, confirming the Rattie acquisition. “We believe that he can help improve our team.”

Flames prospect Parsons starts for U.S. in big WJC tilt against Russia


Tyler Parsons, who backstopped the U.S. past Switzerland in the quarterfinal round, has been tabbed by head coach Bob Motzko as the starter for today’s big semifinal tilt against Russia, per NHL.com.

Parsons, taken 54th overall by Calgary at last year’s draft, has largely split netminding duties with Leafs prospect Joe Woll, who beat Canada in the group phase and has the highest save percentage (.935) in the tournament.

Parsons has been the lead dog, however, getting five games to Woll’s three, including the aforementioned quarterfinal win over Switzerland. Parsons was arguably the best U.S. player on Tuesday — despite only facing 16 shots, he made several tough saves late to push the Americans to a narrow victory.

The 19-year-old now gets another shot at defeating the Russians in this tournament. Parsons made 25 saves in a 3-2 win back in the group stage and, per fellow Flame Matthew Tkachuk — who Parsons played junior with in OHL London — the talented ‘tender was full value for the win.

“He was unbelievable in the game against Russia,” Tkachuk said, per the Flames’ website. “In my opinion, he won them that game.”

Panthers send McIlrath to minors for conditioning


Dylan McIlrath, the former 10th overall pick Florida acquired from the Rangers in November, has been sent to the Panthers’ AHL affiliate on a conditioning loan, the club announced on Wednesday.

The decision comes after McIlrath had appeared in just four games since being acquired. His last came on Dec. 15, when he played sparingly (6:09 TOI) in a shootout loss to Winnipeg.

A big (6-foot-5, 236 pounds), physical defenseman, McIlrath came into the league high on promise but has failed to materialize, due in large part to his average skating ability and lack of offense.

There was hope within the Panthers organization he would add some needed snarl to the lineup, but neither head coach — Gerard Gallant or Tom Rowe — dressed McIlrath enough to make an impact.

Conditioning loans are of the two-week variety, so this will give McIlrath a chance to play some games. But it’s hard to see him jumping back into the Panthers lineup after that, especially if the club is still in the thick of the playoff chase.

Crosby, Subban, Price, McDavid named All-Star Game captains


The votes are in, and the four divisional captains have been named for the 2017 All-Star Game in Los Angeles.

From the NHL:

Forwards Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers, defenseman P.K. Subban of the Nashville Predators and goalie Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens topped their respective divisions in fan votes in the 2017 NHL All-Star Fan Vote to earn the first spots and captaincy in the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Game in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 29.

Price and Crosby captured the most votes in the Atlantic Division and Metropolitan Division, respectively, while Subban led the Central Division and McDavid topped the Pacific Division.

Today’s announcement shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, given all four were leading their respective divisions when the NHL last updated voting totals.

Last year, in Nashville, John Scott captained the Pacific Division to victory over the Jaromir Jagr-led Atlantic in the tournament final. John Tavares captained the Metro, while Patrick Kane wore the “C” for the Central.