Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland was busy at the NHL trade deadline adding Mike Green, Andreas Athanasiou, and Tyler Ennis to his roster in an effort to improve its depth. But just two games later his team has already lost one of those new players to injury.
The Oilers announced on Friday that Green, acquired from the Detroit Red Wings for Kyle Brodziak and a draft pick, will be sidelined for the next 3-4 weeks due to an MCL sprain.
That is the way things seem to be going for the Oilers right now as injuries keep adding up throughout their roster.
What matters more: a hat trick, or a two-goal, two-assist night? Maybe the tiebreaker can be who ends up the winner.
I’m going with that, and thus handing Sunday’s top star to Karlsson. “Wild Bill” broke a 20-game goal drought with the third hat trick of his NHL career. The Ducks almost ended up spoiling his big night (more on that here, and in a moment), but Vegas held strong. Now the Golden Knights are on a six-game winning streak.
For all we know, a Karlsson hot streak could be the difference between Vegas winning the Pacific Division or not.
Both Henrique and Ritchie authored those two-goal, two-assist nights discussed in the first star section.
Henrique provided the greatest dramatics, as his two goals unexpectedly sent Sunday’s Golden Knights – Ducks game to OT.
Henrique now has 23 goals and 37 points in 62 games this season. It would be tempting to call the 30-year-old a possible trade deadline target, but his $5.825M AAV extends to 2023-24, so I’m not sure teams really want to take that type of risk.
The Oilers managed remarkably well without number 97, but it must have been exhilarating to get him back. Perhaps it even gave Oilers GM Ken Holland the extra push to trade forMike Green later on Sunday?
Either way, it was a promising return by McDavid. The all-world player scored a goal and two assists, pushing his 2019-20 totals to 31 goals and 84 points in just 56 games. It’s pretty staggering that players are skilled enough to generate such numbers in a very clamped-down NHL (even if games are slightly higher scoring lately).
Anders Lee (2G, 1A), Jordan Binnington (32 out of 33 saves) and Anton Khudobin (31 out of 32) rank as other players worthy of honorable mentions. When in doubt, go with McDavid, especially during a return from injury.
Highlight of the Night (yes, from a great return by Connor McDavid)
Is it wrong to describe this as “vintage McDavid?” McDavid celebrated his return with a triumphant, very “McDavid” goal:
The Blues have only allowed two goals total over the last four games, all wins. That’s only the eighth time they’ve managed to allow two or fewer over a four-game span during their history. Remarkably, they last pulled off the feat in February 2019. (NHL PR)
Overall, this seems like a no-brainer for the Red Wings. They need to stockpile picks, so getting a fourth that could become a third — especially in 2020 — is pretty nifty. That’s especially true because, frankly, Green’s perceived value has never been lower.
So far in 2019-20, the 34-year-old only has three goals and 11 points in 48 games.
That’s a far cry from his days as a near-Norris-winning high-scorer. If the knocks on Green’s game were unfair back then, they feel more accurate now. Consider, for instance, his poor showings by Evolving Hockey’s RAPM Charts:
He’s very limited overall, but as a specialist who can potentially boost the Oilers’ offense? That makes him more interesting. There’s no denying that Ken Holland approves of Green’s game, being that he was his GM in Detroit and now Edmonton.
What do you make of the Oilers’ decision to trade for Mike Green? Was the price right or a little too rich? Again, I think Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman did very nicely with this one.
The Athletic’s Jonathan Willis is very much plugged into what the Oilers need, and he provided pretty effusive praise. At worst, it’s not much of an investment for Edmonton, although I’d still argue it’s solid work by Detroit.
This was a pretty good puck-moving defence for the Oilers tonight; Dave Tippett praised both Bear and Jones post-game.
Add a healthy Klefbom and then Green to the mix and this might be the best passing D Edmonton has iced in ages.
Not much is going right for the Detroit Red Wings this season. They have what is by far the worst record in the league, are on track for one of the worst seasons in franchise history and of the entire modern era in the NHL, and enter Wednesday’s game against the Minnesota Wild (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN) on a five-game losing streak.
They will also be without two more veterans in that game as defenseman Mike Green and forward Frans Nielsen will be sidelined after exiting Monday’s game in Colorado.
Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill announced on Tuesday that Green will likely be sidelined for a few weeks, while Nielsen’s injury seems to be more short-term.
Green and Nielsen are two of the veteran players on the Red Wings’ roster and are both struggling to produce when healthy. The Red Wings as a team have missed more than 200 man-games due to injury this season. Along with Green and Nielsen, the Red Wings are also currently without Anthony Mantha (more on him in a second), Andreas Athanasiou, Danny DeKeyser, and goalie Jonathan Bernier.
Mantha still at least a month away
Mantha’s injury has been one of the most significant. He has been sidelined on two different occasions this season, and most recently since mid-December with an upper-body injury.
Blashill said on Tuesday that Mantha is still at least a month away from returning and that it’s “going to be a while before he is healed.”
Even though Mantha has played in just 29 games for the Red Wings this season he is still the team’s third-leading goal scorer (12 goals) and fifth in total points (24 points). He scored 25 goals (with 48 total points) in 67 games a year ago. Since becoming a regular in the Red Wings’ lineup he’s scored at a 30-goal pace over 82 games. The 25-year-old forward is a restricted free agent after this season.
1. Mikko Rantanen, Colorado Avalanche. After being sidelined for more than a month Rantanen returned to the Avalanche lineup on Saturday and picked right up where he left off, recording four points in a complete destruction of the Chicago Blackhawks. He is now up to 16 points in 10 games this season, and with him back in the lineup the Avalanche dominant duo of Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon is going to start taking over games again. They are still without Gabriel Landeskog but have managed to keep piling up points thanks to the brilliance of MacKinnon and the improved depth throughout the roster. Given all of the salary cap space they still have they are going to have a chance to add a major piece before the trade deadline and be a force in the Western Conference playoffs. Joonas Donskoi also had four points for the Avalanche on Saturday, while MacKinnon added three. This game also featured one of the most random and unexpected fights of the season when Chicago’s Alex DeBrincat squared off against Colorado defenseman Samuel Girard.
2. Chris Driedger, Florida Panthers. With big-money free agent Sergei Bobrovsky off to a terrible start this season, the Panthers turned to the 25-year-old Driedger for his first career start on Saturday against the Nashville Predators. He made quite an impact turning aside all 27 shots he faced as the Panthers began a nine-game homestand. Before Saturday Driedger had only made three relief appearances (all with the Ottawa Senators) in his very brief NHL career.
3. Tanner Pearson, Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks have been waiting for some of their depth players to make an impact offensively this season, and it has finally started to happen over the past couple of games. Pearson had a huge game in their 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers, scoring two goals and adding two assists. Unlike Wednesday’s game in Pittsburgh, they were able to hold on to this three-goal third period lead to snap what had been a brief two-game losing streak.
Other notable performances from Saturday
Alex Ovechkin became just the fifth player in NHL history to record 15 consecutive 20-goal seasons to begin a career. He also moved into 10th place all-time with his 24th career hat trick. Read all about it here.
The San Jose Sharks won their 11th game in November, tied for their second-most wins in any month in franchise history. [NHL PR]
The Capitals are only the second time in the past 12 years to score at least 100 goals before December. [NHL PR]
The Islanders’ win on Saturday extended their current home points streak to 11 consecutive games. [NHL PR]
New York Rangers 4, New Jersey Devils 0
Philadelphia Flyers 4, Montreal Canadiens 3 (OT)
Calgary Flames 3, Ottawa Senators 1
Washington Capitals 5, Detroit Red Wings 2
Carolina Hurricanes 3, Tampa Bay Lightning 2
Florida Panthers 3, Nashville Predators 0
New York Islanders 2, Columbus Blue Jackets 0
San Jose Sharks 4, Arizona Coyotes 2
St. Louis Blues 5, Pittsburgh Penguins 2
Colorado Avalanche 7, Chicago Blackhawks 3
Los Angeles Kings 2, Winnipeg Jets 1
Vancouver Canucks 5, Edmonton Oilers 2