Vancouver Canucks

PHT Morning Skate: Sharks have historical edge; Holland’s philosophy

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.

Here’s the NBC Sports Stanley Cup playoff update for May 8

• The Sharks’ power play and the Avalanche penalty kill have been in a heated battle during their second-round series. (Fear the Fin)

• History tells us that the Sharks will have an advantage on the Avs heading into Game 7. (The Hockey News)

Joe Pavelski is still day-to-day for the Sharks heading into Game 7. (NBC Sports Bay Area)

J.T. Compher told Avs fans that he would be a difference maker for them, and he was in Game 6. (Mile High Sports)

• The Bruins and Hurricanes will kick off the Eastern Conference Final on Thursday night. (WEEI)

Tuukka Rask is performing at an incredibly high level for the Bruins right now. (NBC Sports Boston)

• Scott Walker has a lot of memories when it comes to battles between the Hurricanes and Bruins. (News & Observer)

• The Hurricanes aren’t just jerks. They’re hard workers that have found a way to get the job done in the playoffs. (Wralsportsfan.com)

• Now that we know he’ll be back with the Leafs, Mike Babcock has to find a way to make some changes to his coaching philosophies. (Sportsnet)

• Just how bad was Evgeni Malkin‘s “bad” season? (The Sports Daily)

• What can Oilers fans expect from a veteran GM like Ken Holland? (Oilers Nation)

• David Staples explains what Holland’s team-building philosophy is heading into his tenure with the Oilers. (Edmonton Journal)

• Holland admitted that a scouting trip with the Detroit Red Wings convinced him that he still had a desire to be a GM. (Detroit News)

• NHL players have a long love affair with iconic hair styles. Who can forget the Jagr mullet? (ESPN)

• Georges Laraque joined the Grand Stand Central Podcast to discuss veganism, politics and much more. (Grand Stand Central)

• Flyers fans are left wondering how Ian Laperiere still has a job with the organization. (Broadstreet Hockey)

• Rotoworld’s Corey Abbott breaks down what went wrong with the Los Angeles Kings this year. (Rotoworld)

• Does it make sense for the Canucks to present an offer sheet to a restricted free agent? (Vancourier)

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.

Flyers add Yeo, Therrien to coaching staff; Gordon returns to AHL

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The Philadelphia Flyers will have plenty of head coaching experience and lot of familiar names behind their bench for the 2019-20 season.

The team announced on Monday that former head coaches Michel Therrien and Mike Yeo have been added to Alain Vigneault’s staff as assistants, where they will be joining returning coaches Ian Laperriere (assistant), Kim Dillabaugh (goaltending) and Adam Patterson (video).

“I am excited to add Michel and Mike on our coaching staff to work alongside Ian Laperriere, Kim Dillabaugh and Adam Patterson,” said Vigneault in a statement released by the team.

“Both men have enjoyed success at all levels throughout their coaching careers, including working together at the NHL level. Each brings a considerable amount of experience and knowledge to our group, which I have no doubt will help lead our team to immediate success.”

The Flyers also announced that Scott Gordon, who finished the 2018-19 season as the team’s interim head coach replacing Dave Hakstol, will return to be the head coach of the Flyers’ AHL team in Lehigh Valley. Philadelphia finished the season with a 25-22-4 mark under Gordon, briefly making a little bit of a run to climb back into playoff contention before once again fading down the stretch. The team definitely had a better record after he took over, but a lot of that was due to the significantly better goaltending than it had received earlier in the season under Hakstol, and not necessarily the coaching.

Vigneault was announced as the team’s newest head coach in mid-April.

The trio of Vigneault, Therrien, and Yeo has more than 2,500 games of head coaching experience at the NHL level with multiple teams (Vigneault with the Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers; Yeo with the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues; Therrien with the Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins) throughout their careers. It is also another sign that the NHL’s coaching recycling bin remains very, very, very active.

Related: Flyers hire Alain Vigneault as newest head coach

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.

Pettersson, Binnington, Dahlin are Calder Trophy finalists

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The NHL announced on Saturday the three finalists for the Calder Trophy, the award that is handed out annually to the league’s top rookie.

The finalists for the 2018-19 season are Vancouver Canucks forward Elias Pettersson, St. Louis Blues goalie Jordan Binnington, and Buffalo Sabres defender Rasmus Dahlin, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NHL draft.

The award is voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

The NHL’s top rookie has been honored since 1936 when Frank Calder, president of the NHL, began purchasing a trophy that was to be handed out to the top rookie every year. Following Calder’s death in 1943 the league began presenting the Calder Trophy in his memory.

The winner will be announced on June 19 (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN) at the 2019 NHL Awards in Las Vegas.

[NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

The case for Pettersson: He was not only an impact player from the moment he arrived in the NHL, but also a constant highlight reel for the Canucks. He finished the regular season with the most goals (28) and points (66) among all rookies even though he missed 11 games due to injury. No other rookie in the NHL finished the season with more than 22 goals or 45 points. He was so far ahead of the pack offensively that the gap between him and the second-leading rookie scorer, Ottawa’s Brady Tkachuk, was the same as the gap between Tkachuk and the 17th leading rookie scorer (Minnesota’s Jordan Greenway.) He also had multiple five-point games during the season, something only five other rookies have done during the expansion era of the NHL. This is the second year in a row the Canucks will have a Calder Trophy finalist after Brock Boeser was the runner-up this past season.

The case for Binnington: Simply put, Binnington was a season-saver for the Blues along with new coach Craig Berube. When he made his first NHL start on Jan. 7 the Blues had one of the worst records in the NHL, had an unsettled goaltending situation that had been sinking their team through the first half of the season, and seemed to be a team that was simply going nowhere. All Binnington did that night was stop all 25 shots he faced in a 3-0 shutout over the Philadelphia Flyers and then never stopped winning. He finished the regular season with a 24-5-1 record and a .927 save percentage that was fourth among all NHL goalies that appeared in at least 30 games, trailing only Ben Bishop, Robin Lehner, and Jack Campbell. That performance helped the Blues not only make the playoffs, but also make a late run at the Central Division title. He has continued that strong play into the postseason where he has helped lead the Blues to a Round 2 matchup with the Dallas Stars.

The case for Dahlin: The No. 1 overall pick in 2018, Dahlin stepped right into the Sabres lineup and immediately became one of their go-to defenders as an 18-year-old. He had a huge year that saw him play more than 20 minutes per game and finish with 44 points, third among all rookies. The truly impressive thing about that point total is that only one other defender in the history of the league had a higher total during their age 18 season. Phil Housley, Dahlin’s coach during his rookie season, had 66 points during the 1982-83 season. If Dahlin wins the award he would be only the 12th defender to win it, and only the third since 1998 (Barrett Jackman, Tyler Myers, and Aaron Ekblad).

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 draft lottery set, with US center Jack Hughes the prize

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TORONTO (AP) — Jack Hughes will have a pretty good idea of where he’ll be headed after Tuesday night.

Expected to be the top pick at June’s NHL draft, the 17-year-old center with the U.S. national development team will be on hand when the lottery results are revealed in Toronto.

The 15 teams that failed to qualify for the 2019 playoffs – or franchises that acquired the first-round picks of nonplayoff clubs – will participate in the lottery.

The Colorado Avalanche, who open the postseason Thursday against the Calgary Flames, have the best odds of landing the first pick at 18.5% after acquiring the selection from the Ottawa Senators in the trade for Matt Duchene in November 2017.

Ottawa, which finished 31st in the overall standings, could have sent the team’s first pick at last June’s draft to Colorado, but decided instead to keep the selection before drafting winger Brady Tkachuk at No. 4.

Tuesday’s draft lottery will consist of three separate drawings – for first, second and third overall -meaning the Avalanche can pick no later than fourth.

The top-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting, Hughes had 12 goals and 36 assists in 24 games for the USNDT this season.

[NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

Finish winger Kappo Kakko, meanwhile, is ranked as the top European skater.

The Los Angeles Kings have the second-best odds at 13.5%, followed by the New Jersey Devils (11.5%), Detroit Red Wings (9.5%), Buffalo Sabres (8.5%), New York Rangers (7.5%), Edmonton Oilers (6.5%), Anaheim Ducks (6%), Vancouver Canucks (5%), Philadelphia Flyers (3.5%), Minnesota Wild (3%), Chicago Blackhawks (2.5%), Florida Panthers (2%), Arizona Coyotes (1.5%) and Montreal Canadiens (1%).

The 12 clubs not selected in three lottery draws will be assigned draft selections four through 15, in inverse order of regular-season standings.

This year’s draft is set for Vancouver’s Rogers Arena on June 21 and 22.

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

Panthers’ Barkov looks to overtake Bure in final game of the season

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When the Florida Panthers step on the ice tonight at BB&T Center, it will be the last time they do so until the fall.

There won’t be a playoff series this season for the third year running but rather a quiet send off and a season that will all soon be forgotten. The postmortems are surely coming. What went wrong, what were the positives and how can a team that appears to have some pretty solid talent figure out its issues in goal will all be discussed in the coming days and weeks.

But before garbage bag day takes place, the Panthers can help one of their stalwarts break a record that’s stood for nearly 20 years.

Aleksander Barkov enters Game 82 of the regular season with 94 points in the bag. His 34 goals and 60 assists are both career highs in what’s been an incredible personal season for the Finn.

And that season can gain an exclamation point beside it if Barkov is to notch a single point in their game against the New Jersey Devils. Barkov sits level with Pavel Bure for most points in a single season. Bure put up 58 goals and 94 points during the 1999-2000 season in his first full ride with the team.

Despite where the team sits heading into the final game, the points record is not lost on Barkov’s teammates.

“I told him that we’ve got to do it early, just get it out of the way,” Panthers forward Jonathan Boudreau said on Saturday morning. “Last game he didn’t get a point, but I feel we’ve got to get him a point and beat Bure. It would be great for him.”

If Barkov can get a point (and the odds are good with 10 points in 14 career games against the Devils), then it will be the second Bure record to fall this season.

On the other side of the continent, Bure’s rookie points record with the Vancouver Canucks was broken by Elias Pettersson last month. Bure had 60 points during his rookie year in 1991-92. Pettersson notched his 61st point on March 18 and has 65 now with a game to go.

It hasn’t been a kind year for the Russian Rocket, at least not in the record books. But it’s been a great season for two young players following in his wake.


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