Zach Bogosian

Connor McDavid shines in return The Buzzer
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The Buzzer: Connor McDavid does not miss a beat in return

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Three Stars

1. William Karlsson, Vegas Golden Knights

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.

2. Adam Henrique and Nick RitchieAnaheim Ducks

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.

3. Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

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 for Mike 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:

Factoids

  • 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)
  • Speaking of the Blues, they will face the Wild in the 2021 Winter Classic.
  • If Calgary makes it into the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, chalk it up to being scrappy. They’re an NHL-best 14-4-1 on the road since Nov. 23. (Sportsnet Stats)
  • The Canadiens traded Ilya Kovalchuk to the Capitals, while the Oilers snagged Mike Green from the Red Wings. Zach Bogosian signed with the Lightning.
  • For better or worse, the Stars continue to play with a small margin for error. They’re tied with the Blue Jackets for the most wins in one-goal games this season with 18. (NHL PR)
  • Sabres goalie Jonas Johansson earned his first NHL win. (Sabres)

Scores

WSH 5 – PIT 3
BUF 2 – WIN 1
DAL 2 – CHI 1
NYI 4 – SJS 1
CGY 4 – DET 2
STL 4 – MIN 1
VGK 6 – ANA 5 (OT)
EDM 4 – LAK 2

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.

Lightning add defensive depth by signing Zach Bogosian

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With the trade deadline nearing, teams are coughing up picks and prospects, even for sheer depth. By that standard, the Lightning got a deal in merely signing Zach Bogosian off of the scrap heap. The team announced that it is a one-year deal with a prorated $1.3 million AAV.

Tampa Bay locked up Bogosian not long after he parted ways with the Sabres.

Injuries may have played a role in the signing, as the Bolts are a bit banged-up. Looking at the defense alone, Erik Cernak joins Ryan McDonagh and Jan Rutta as blueliners dealing with bumps and bruises. The Lightning didn’t want to chalk up a slight hiccup (two straight losses) to injuries, but they’re worth noting.

“It’s easy to blame that. That’s not who we are,” Victor Hedman said, via the Lightning website. “We’ve been battling injuries for a long time. I think we’ve done a great job of overcoming that. Bottom line is we’ve got to play better and not give up as many goals and just be better as a team.”

Bogosian mainly brings depth to Lightning

Expecting too much from Bogosian wouldn’t be wise. Injuries limited Bogosian to 19 games played so far in 2019-20. When he’s played, the impact has been minimal, with just five points and generally mediocre underlying stats. Gander at his RAPM charts at Evolving Hockey and you’ll gain further evidence that he’s mainly just a depth option.

That said, Bogosian brings experience, size, and a right-handed shot to the table. The Lightning don’t even need to give up a low-end pick for Bogosian, either, so that’s a nice luxury this late into the season.

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.

Sabres waive Bogosian, plan to terminate contract

Zach Bogosian’s time with the Buffalo Sabres seems to be over.

After suspending him this week for failing to report to the American Hockey League, the team announced on Friday that the veteran defenseman has been placed on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract.

Assuming he clears waivers (it seems likely that he will) he will become an unrestricted free agent. The key, though, is that he will have to sign with a team by Monday’s NHL trade deadline (3 p.m. ET) in order to be eligible to play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The 29-year-old Bogosian has played in just 19 games this season for the Sabres due to injuries and a significantly decreased role with the team.

He had requested a trade earlier this season.

While he may not be an attractive option at his current salary cap number (over $5 million) he could find a home as a free agent for a potential playoff team looking to add some depth to its blue line. Calgary, Vegas, Edmonton, and maybe even Toronto could be potential landing spots. If nothing else it can not possibly hurt to have another NHL caliber defenseman on the roster for a playoff team. It remains to be seen how much he has left to offer, but it’s also kind of hard to judge based on the way things unfolded for him in Buffalo this season.

MORE: PHT’s 2020 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker

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.

Sabres suspend Zach Bogosian for failure to report to AHL

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The Buffalo Sabres announced on Monday afternoon that they have suspended veteran defenseman Zach Bogosian after he refused to report to the Rochester Americans of the AHL.

Buffalo placed Bogosian on waivers on Friday. After going unclaimed, he was assigned to Rochester to create a lineup spot in Buffalo.

The Sabres said they will not have any further comment or information at this time. Bogosian’s agent also said they are aware of the suspension notification and also have no comment.

It has been a brutal season for Bogosian in Buffalo as a hip injury as taken him in and out of the lineup, while he has also found himself as a healthy scratch on occasion. He has played in just 19 games this season.

He also requested a trade earlier this season.

Bogosian is currently in the final year of his contract that carries a $5.14 million salary cap hit.

The Sabres initially acquired him during the 2014-15 season along with Evander Kane from the Winnipeg Jets. He has appeared in 243 games with the team, scoring 13 goals and adding 54 assists.

As John Vogl of the Athletic points out, the Sabres can continue to attempt to negotiate a trade while he is suspended (though he probably does not have much value — unless the Sabres are willing to retain salary), they negotiate a contract termination, or simply let him sit out.

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.

Sabres put injury-plagued D-man Zach Bogosian on waivers

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BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Sabres placed Zach Bogosian on waivers Friday in a move that could give the injury-plagued defenseman a new home and open a spot on Buffalo’s crowded blue line.

Bogosian goes on waivers just over a week before the NHL trade deadline. He asked for a trade earlier this season.

The 29-year-old has been in and out of the lineup with hip injuries and has also sat as a healthy scratch. He missed the first 22 games of this season recovering from offseason hip surgery – his second in there years – and has been a healthy scratch in seven of Buffalo’s past eight games.

Bogosian counts $5.14 million against the salary cap in the final year of his contract.

He would be assigned to Rochester of the American Hockey League if he clears waivers and would still count $4.07 million against Buffalo’s cap.

Bogosian joined the Sabres in 2015 in a multiplayer trade with Winnipeg that was then-general manager Tim Murray’s attempt to rebuild the roster. The deal hasn’t panned out for Buffalo, which is now on its third coach and second GM and is in jeopardy of extending the NHL’s longest active playoff drought to nine years.

He has a goal and four assists in 19 games this season and 53 goals and 141 assists in 636 regular-season games with the Atlanta Thrashers, Winnipeg Jets and Sabres.

The Sabres then freed up another roster spot by assigning defenseman Lawrence Pilut to the minors. The two moves leave Buffalo with just six defensemen on its roster.

Buffalo is coming off a 4-3 overtime win over Columbus and off until hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday night.