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2022 NHL Pro Try-Out (PTO) Tracker

This tracker updates every time an NHLer signs a Professional Try-Out (PTO) agreement with an NHL team ahead of this month’s training camps.

Last updated: 10/2/22

NamePosAge2021-22 TeamPTO TeamResult
Nathan BeaulieuD29Pittsburgh/WPG (NHL)Anaheim DucksSigned 10/1 (1x$850K)
Nikolas BrouillardD27San Diego (AHL)Anaheim DucksReleased 9/30
Brent GatesC25San Diego (AHL)Anaheim DucksReleased 9/30
Josh HealeyD28Milwaukee (AHL)Anaheim DucksReleased 9/30
Dmitri OsipovLW25Rockford (AHL)Anaheim Ducks
Rocco GrimaldiW29Milwaukee (AHL)Anaheim Ducks
Chris GibsonG29Charlotte (AHL)Arizona CoyotesReleased 9/29
Alex ChiassonRW31Vancouver (NHL)Arizona Coyotes
Cody EakinC31Buffalo (NHL)Calgary Flames
Sonny MilanoLW26Anaheim (NHL)Calgary Flames
Michael StoneRD32Calgary (NHL)Calgary Flames
Derek StepanC32Carolina (NHL)Carolina Hurricanes
Grigori DronovLD24Metallurg (KHL)Carolina Hurricanes
Calvin De HaanRD31Chicago (NHL)Carolina HurricanesSigned 10/1 (1x$850K)
Liam HawelC23St. Francis (USports)Columbus Blue JacketsReleased 9/29
James NealW34Springfield (AHL)Columbus Blue Jackets
Victor RaskC29Minnesota (NHL)Columbus Blue Jackets
Ben HarpurLD27Nashville (NHL)Columbus Blue Jackets
Alex GalchenyukF28Arizona (NHL)Colorado AvalancheReleased 9/28
Jake VirtanenW26Spartak Moscow (KHL)Edmonton Oilers
Jason DemersRD34Ak Bars (KHL)Edmonton Oilers
Eric StaalC37Iowa (AHL)Florida Panthers
Jean-Francois BerubeG31Cleveland (AHL)Florida Panthers
Nate ThompsonC37Philadelphia (NHL)Los Angeles Kings
Zach SenyshynW25Boston/OTT (NHL)New Jersey Devils
Thomas HickeyD33Ontario (AHL)New Jersey Devils
Jimmy VeseyW29New Jersey (NHL)New York Rangers
Matt BartkowskiD34Wilkes-Barre (AHL)New York Rangers
Michael Dal ColleW26Bridgeport (AHL)Ottawa SenatorsReleased 10/2
Derick BrassardF34Philadelphia/EDM (NHL)Ottawa Senators
Artem AnisimovC34Yaroslavl (KHL)Philadelphia Flyers
Antoine RousselW32Arizona (NHL)Philadelphia FlyersReleased 9/29
Scott HarringtonD29Columbus (NHL)San Jose SharksSigned 9/30 (1x$750K)
Daniel SprongW25Wash’ton/SEA (NHL)Seattle Kraken
Tyler PitlickRW30Calgary/MTL (NHL)St. Louis Blues
Zach Aston-ReeseF28Anaheim/PIT (NHL)Toronto Maple Leafs
Dylan FergusonG23Henderson (AHL)Toronto Maple Leafs
Danny DeKeyserLD32Detroit (NHL)Vancouver Canucks
William RiedellLD25Ohio State (NCAA)Vegas Golden KnightsReleased 9/27
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The Scoring Touch’s 2022 NHL Entry Draft Consolidated Ranking

Via NHL.com

Picking out players for a mock draft last year was horrendous. I only got a few players right, some bold takes backfired on me hard, it was tough. Instead of a mock draft, I opted to do a consolidated list, where the teams whose own picks don’t matter, as I just rank the players 1-32. A ton of work went into it, and I welcome the idea of conversation, so please let me know if you agree, or disagree.

#1 – Shane Wright – C – Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)

The best player in this 2022 Entry Draft hasn’t changed one bit, it’s Shane Wright. Wright has been challenged for the number one spot, but I won’t budge. Wright shows flashes of offensive greatness, with an outstanding shot and great vision. He has a great possibility of being a captain in the NHL one day as he shows leadership qualities and great compete. Many people are concerned with the production of Wright, with 32 goals and 62 assists for 94 points in 63 games. After a slow start, he put up around a 1.8 point-per-game pace in the second half of the year after being upgraded to Kingston’s 1st line center. Wright looks to be an immediate impact at the NHL level in his first year.

#2 – Logan Cooley – C – USNTDP (USHL)

Another amazing center, this time being Logan Cooley of the USNTDP. Cooley is this year’s top two-way center. While being an offensively skilled center, he maintains an all around defensive game. Having great faceoff numbers, and seeming to be all over the ice, many believe that Cooley has a high ceiling. In the USHL this season in 24 games, Cooley scored 13 goals, and added 23 assists for 36 points. In the U18s, he had 10 points in only six games. Logan Cooley has decided to take the college route, and will be an asset for the University of Minnesota for at least the next season.

#3 – Simon Nemec – RHD – HK Nitra (Slovak League)

The top ranked defender in this draft is Slovak defeseman Simon Nemec. He has the most stability, he can make plays under pressure, and has great offensive tools. He has a solid frame, being 6’1″, 192 lbs. Nemec has a great slap shot, but didn’t shoot as much in the regular season in the Slovak League. In 39 games, Simon scored a single goal, but added 25 assists. However in the playoffs, he scored five goals and 12 assists, for 17 points in 19 games. In draft interviews, Nemec confirmed that he would be making the move to North America to play next season, whether in the NHL or AHL, which could be attractive for some teams. While nothing super special about his game, he is one of the safest picks in the first round.

#4 – Juraj Slafkovsky – TPS (Liiga)

Probably the most polarizing player of the whole entire draft, Juraj Slafkovsky comes in at number four. He could go as high as the first pick, or as low as the fifth pick. The Olympic Slovak star might have one of the biggest cases of recency bias we’ve seen in a long time. One thing that always concerns me, is a player that struggles to score in their main league, but when it comes to the international stage, they light it up. A great example of this is Buffalo Sabres forward Casey Mittelstadt. Coming from high school and the USHL, after putting up okay numbers, but after an exceptional WJC-18 showing, he jumped to the eighth pick. Since then, he’s failed to be a consistent producer, and failed to do one pull up at the NHL Draft Combine. I’m not comparing the two players, because they are not similar at all, but the scenario could be a reality.

Slafkovsky has the tools to be a great power forward winger, his production needs to come, as his shot is lethal, and he can use his physicality and size to his advantage. Many compared him to now Stanley Cup champion, Mikko Rantanen, which is a very fair comparison, yet I believe Rantanen was more flashy in the Liiga, although finding clips from back them proved to be challenging.

#5 – David Jiricek – RHD – HC Plzen (Czechia League)

It hurts putting David Jiricek at number five, I love him as a player. He has arguably the highest ceiling in the draft, with elite offensive capabilities and a lock that can’t be picked when it comes to defense. It’s just a matter of if he can translate that game to North America. His way of playing defense is aggressive, which is something that you don’t typically see in the NHL with the growing speed of young forwards. He has a booming slap shot and can walk the blue line to perfection. Standing at 6’3″, and weighing in at 190 lbs, he has the frame many NHL scouts and executives find appealing.

#6 – Matthew Savoie – C – Winnipeg (WHL)

If Mat Savoie was given just two or three more inches in height, he could absolutely push to be a top-3 selection in this draft, as he stands at 5’9″ and weighs 180 lbs. He has the highest offensive ceiling out of every forward in the draft I believe, with great vision all over the ice, and outstanding hockey IQ. In 65 games this past season, he scored 35 goals and totaled 90 points. One major area of concern for Savoie would be his health. He’s dealt with multiple concussions throughout his entire junior career, making him one of the more risky picks in this draft.

#7 – Joakim Kemell – W – JYP (Liiga)

The best goal scorer in the draft is Joakim Kemell, from JYP of the Liiga. As a teenager, he has shown his goal scoring abilities throughout the season, and has made it apparent to teams in need of a goal scorer, that he is the guy. In 39 games in the Liiga this past season, Kemell scored 15 goals and totaled 23 points. A vast higher production rate than Juraj Slafkovsky. Kemell has an elite level shot and goal scoring ability, so whoever ends up taking him, will love the selection.

#8 – Frank Nazar – F – USNTDP (USHL)

The eighth best player in the draft in my eyes is Frank Nazar. Nazar is a speedy forward with great edge-work and an extremely creative player. In 24 games for the USNTDP this past season, Nazar recorded 15 goals and 35 total points. Frank Nazar is committed to the University of Michigan where he will look to be another flashy piece for Mel Pearson’s team. Standing at 5’10” and weighing 180 lbs, Nazar has a solid frame and can be a real good asset for any team in one to two years.

#9 – Jonathan Lekkerimaki – F – Djurgardens IF (SHL)

Since 2019, Djurgardens IF has had a first round pick in each draft. This includes Tobias Bjornfot in 2019, Alexander Holtz in 2020, and William Eklund in 2021. Safe to say, Jonathan Lekkerimaki will continue that streak. Lekkerimaki has a great hockey sense, and can play in almost any position you need him in. I see him as a potential riser who could go as high as #5, but should be a top-10 lock. He’s a natural goal scorer, most compare him to the likes of Vancouver Canucks young forward, Brock Boeser. He should absolutely go back to Sweden for a year or two, but you’ll get the best of his play as a center.

#10 – Marco Kasper – C – Rogle BK (SHL)

Back to back Swedes in the top-10, something that happened last year, when Simon Edvinsson and William Eklund were taken with picks six and seven. Marco Kasper is a late riser on my list, as something that truly stands out to me is his work ethic and the fight he puts up in the SHL to be a solid contributor to Rogle BK. He scores a lot of his goals in front of the net, jamming at loose pucks, doing anything he can to help his team. He works hard in the corners to win puck battles, and owns some very good leadership qualities. In 46 games in the SHL this past year, Kasper scored seven goals and added four assists for 11 points. The 6’2″, 187 lbs power forward could be another riser, as many NHL executives think fondly of him and his play.

#11 – Cutter Gauthier – C – USNTDP (USHL)

Another American born center, this time, Cutter Gauthier. A very popular pick amongst scouts in the NHL, Gauthier is a player with great size standing 6’3″, weighing in at 201 lbs. He commands the play with a 200 ft. game, very physical, and impressive in his interviews. He has a lot of potential to jump as high as number five or six, but with his true skill set, I believe he’ll fit in the 8-12 range. He will be getting some seasoning at Boston College, under new head coach, Greg Brown.

#12 – Ryan Chesley – RHD – USNTDP (USHL)

Probably one of my favorite defenseman in the draft behind David Jiricek, Ryan Chesley of the US National Team Development Program. Ryan Chesley is a popular player amongst his teammates. Many of them say he is the hardest defenseman to get around on the team. He has lots of characteristics of being a very solid top-4 to top pairing defenseman. Very reliable, plays a simple game, and is very positioned. Talking with many scouts, we all agree that Chesley is one of those players who isn’t made for junior hockey, but will succeed in the professional leagues. Standing 6’0″, and weighing in at 200 lbs., it makes too much sense for a team that needs some stability on the back end to take him higher than many have him placed. Chesley is committed to the University of Minnesota, a team with a history of developing great blue liners such as Nate Schmidt, Erik Johnson, and Ryan Lindgren.

#13 – Danila Yurov – W – Magnitogorsk (MHL)

What a tough player to crack when figuring out his ceiling and floor. The first Russian on the list, Danila Yurov is quite an interesting prospect. Skill level alone, he can easily be a top-7 pick in this draft. In my first write-up of the consolidated players list, Yurov ended up as the 3rd best player. Months later, in the midst of the Russian-Ukraine War, a battle for playing time, and much more hurdles, Yurov has faced many issues in his draft year. In the KHL, looking directly at the numbers, Yurov seems to be an easy-miss. No points in 21 games, he shouldn’t be anywhere near the top-20. Except, in those 21 games, he’s averaged less than four minutes on the ice, making it incredibly challenging to decide where he is right to be picked. He can find open areas on the ice and has a wicked shot. He has the tools, it’s just about the Russian factor. In the MHL, Yurov totaled 36 points in 23 games, scoring 13 goals. Yurov can fall, a lot, especially with the bone-chilling news the hockey world has learned about Flyers goaltending prospect, Ivan Fedotov and the Russian military. He’ll be a gamble, but he’s a great player.

#14 – Brad Lambert – F – JYP/Pelicans (Liiga)

Another player with a challenging year, Brad Lambert really did feel the pressure this season. Coming into this year, Lambert was a consensus second overall pick. As an under-ager in the Liiga, he scored seven goals and eight assists for 15 points in 46 games for JYP. Fast forward to this season, between JYP and then a mid season trade to the Pelicans, he scored four goals, six assists for 10 points in a total of 49 games. He has a skill set to be a great player at the next level, but he’s still a gamble. He isn’t the fastest skater, and he seems lazy and unmotivated at times, but I bring up the point to scouts that haven’t played much hockey that when it comes to some players, when things aren’t going right, they really aren’t going right. He could easily be a top-6 forward, but the biggest challenge will be finding his confidence again.

#15 – Conor Geekie – C – Winnipeg (WHL)

Conor Geekie is yet another weird player. Taller in size, standing at 6’4″, Geekie has many critics in the scouting department. He’s been criticized for his skating, his lengthiness, and his hockey IQ. I think those who can push that aside are getting a solid player, one who wants to improve, but is also very self-aware of his play. He will no doubt need some time to season in either the WHL or AHL. The two year route for WHL seems to make the most sense. In 63 games, he assisted 46 times and scored a total of 70 points. Before you ask, yes, he is the younger brother of Seattle Kraken forward Morgan Geekie, and he does have another brother Noah, who plays division II baseball. One player I do see a lot in him is Brian Boyle, who was never an elite talent, but made his career in the NHL last.

#16 – Denton Mateychuk – LHD – Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)

Denton Mateychuk is becoming a favorite for me. Mateychuk might be one of the most mature prospects in this draft. He holds accountability in the locker room, and on the ice, but that on its own isn’t enough to be a top end draft pick. Mateychuk is an excellent skater who has great defensive capabilities. He has decent size at 5’11”, and can play a physical brand of hockey. He handles the puck so well, and can be such an important piece to any team building from the back-end up.

#17 – Liam Ohgren – W – Djurgardens IF (SHL)

Another player coming from the Djurgardens system, Liam Ohgren is a very skilled player. Ohgren is a speedy and skilled winger, owning a 200 ft. game. His vision on the ice is some of the best in the draft, as he can throw a slick pass to a teammate for an easy tap-in. His offensive skill makes him one of the biggest potential risers in the draft. In 25 SHL games this season, he only tallied two points, but in the J20 Nationell, he scored 33 goals and racked up 58 points. He can easily jump up a few spots, but his lack of SHL production keeps him away from the top-15.

#18 – Isaac Howard – W – USNTDP (USHL)

Yet another USNTDP graduate, Isaac Howard should be a lot higher with his offensive tools. He won’t be the most defensive-responsible on the team, but his goal scoring makes up for it. He has a deceptive shot, beating goalies clean. He has a nose for the net, and benefits easily off powerplays where he can make quick passes and help any cycle game. He’s said it himself, he’s a hungry goal scorer, no amount will satisfy him. He has a lot of Kyle Connor traits, but we think he’s still a lot better. Howard will be playing next season at University of Minnesota-Duluth, so he will be playing where Alex Iafallo once reigned supreme.

#19 – Pavel Mintyukov – LHD – Saginaw Spirit (OHL)

I’ll be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of Pavel Mintyukov. I believe that in the NHL, you don’t win with defensemen who don’t play defense. You can probably notice a certain defenseman who has fallen, a lot. There’s no doubt in my mind that Mintyukov has offensive talent, this guy posted 62 points in 67 OHL games. His core problem, like previously stated, is his defensive play. He seems lost a lot in his d-zone, chasing a hit or losing a guy. He’s going to need two to three years of seasoning in the OHL or AHL, but I also give him benefit of the doubt because talking to scouts, the system Saginaw plays is very aggressive, which isn’t always suitable for defenders.

#20 – Noah Ostlund – C – Djurgardens IF J20 (J20 Nationell)

Another smart Swedish player, Noah Ostlund cracks the top-20. Ostlund is a very capable forward. He has the speed and skating ability to make it at the NHL-level, he can play a dynamic cycle game, where like Isaac Howard, he can make quick seem passes, and fool opponents. One thing about his game however, is that he plays a perimeter game, where in the NHL, players with his skill level fight in tight for the puck. He played 11 SHL games but failed to register a point. In the J20 Nationell, he scored nine goals, 33 assists, and amounted to 42 points.

#21 – Jiri Kulich – C – HC Energie Karlovy Vary (Czech League)

Jiri Kulich is another one of my favorite prospects for this draft. I changed my mind about him before the U18s where he truly shined for 11 points in six games, but afterwards, that solidified my projection. In the Czech League, he scored nine goals and added five assists for 14 points in 49 games. Kulich can be a two-way center who brings intensity and leadership. I see him as a middle-6 center, a very capable third line center, but not a black hole if needed to be bumped up. He can also play the wing, but he’s a better player down the middle. Kulich is another potential steal, as his ability to play a two-way game, and still be a solid point producer, will look well to NHL scouts.

#22 – Filip Mesar – F – HK Poprad (Slovak League)

Filip Mesar is a highly skilled winger who stood out for the silver medal-winning Slovakian team at the Hlinka-Gretzky tournament. He’s a great puck carrier that has a lot of skill when it comes to the offensive zone. He’s slick and has smooth skating, has great vision when looking for potential passes, but also knows when to shoot, something very valuable in the NHL. Playing in the Slovak League, Mesar tallied eight goals, eight assists, for 16 points in 37 games. Not terrible, as he can be a value pick, for a team that wants to mold a prospect with raw talent into a solid top-6 playmaker.

#23 – Rutger McGroarty – C – USNTDP (USHL)

Coming from Lincoln, Nebraska, Rutger McGroarty is another power forward from the US National Team Development Program. He has an NHL-ready shot and doesn’t need a ton of space to let it rip. However, that won’t stop him from finding space on the ice where he can work his magic. A combination of his shot, size, and hockey sense makes him a player that many should keep an eye on, as he could go higher. Scouts believe that his skating could use improvement, a common theme in this draft. Committed to the University of Michigan, McGroarty will look to balance his game and work out the small kinks in his game.

#24 – Owen Pickering – LHD – Swift Current Broncos (OHL)

Thanks to his 6’5″ frame, Owen Pickering has jumped up many draft boards from the later rounds, to the late first round, or second round. Yes, one NHL General Manager will see that size and believe that he’ll be a Norris candidate one day, but his game is tricky. After talking to scouts, I’ve learned that he only recently had a growth spurt, adding five or so inches to his height. This may explain why he only weighs 179 lbs. He’s aware of what’s being said about him, but he needs time to simmer in the junior league. To be confident in him, an organization with a good dietetics team should take the chance, assuring that before he plays one NHL game, he adds 20 or so pounds. Besides that, he uses his long reach for stick checks, but is questionable when it comes to a physical game. He’s also the cousin of potential first rounder, Denton Mateychuk. He’s an athletic player, also playing baseball, but he will get his chance to play in the show, but his development is extremely important.

#25 – Jagger Firkus – Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)

Talk about going from extreme to extreme, moving from a 6’5″ defenseman, to a 5’10” forward. Jagger Firkus is an exceptional offensive player. 80 points, 36 goals, in 66 games for Moose Jaw. His weight is concerning. 154 lbs. only. That scares scouts, as adding 20 lbs only gets him to around 175. Yes, smaller players are thriving in the NHL as of recently, but when it comes to weight, they get thrown around. Firkus has the talent to be in the first round, no doubt. A team has to take their chance with someone this size, as it may keep him from playing there for a few years.

#26 – Jimmy (James) Snuggerud – F – USNTDP (USHL)

Jimmy Snuggerud is a player that can literally go anywhere in this draft. I’ve seen him as high as 11, I’ve seen him around 16/17. I have him at 26, obviously. Snuggerud can be an offensive weapon. He has a great shot, and relies heavily on his IQ to read plays. He has a larger frame, standing at 6’2″, and is in the works of developing a great two-way game. Following the many great two-way players in this draft, he’ll be taking his talents to the University of Minnesota next season. For the USNTDP this past season, Snuggerud scored six goals and notched 20 apples. I would like to see him shoot a lot more, something that can almost easily be worked on. He’ll be a name to watch come draft time.

#27 – Kevin Korchinski – LHD – Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)

To some of the readers not familiar with my work, this will come as a major surprise. To my common followers, this won’t be one at all. Yes, Kevin Korchinski will absolutely go higher than 24, there isn’t a doubt in my mind. As he should, he’s a great offensive tool to have on the back-end. He assisted on goals 61 times in the WHL this past season. He’s a good player, don’t get me wrong, but you won’t see me at any of his fan club gatherings. As I’ve previously stated, I don’t believe you win in the NHL with no-defense defenseman. Of course, it’s the offensive blue liners who get the Norris votes. I don’t believe Korchinski has much of a defensive game, or has the desire to develop one. I hope he proves me wrong, and goes into the NHL and kills it. For now, I’m low on him, and I hope he embarrasses me five years down the road.

#28 – Lian Bichsel – LHD – Leksands IF (SHL)

Another 6’5″ defenseman, Lian Bichsel has been lethal in the SHL for Leksands IF. The Swiss d-man is a physically demanding player, almost someone who you see across the ice and fear for your life. He weighs 225 lbs., which is nice knowing he’s grown into his body. He isn’t a special player offensively, so teams looking for a puck mover should probably look away. He’ll use another year or so in the SHL before coming to North America where he’ll be a feared defenseman for years to come.

#29 – Lane Hutson – LHD – USNTDP (USHL)

What a character Lane Hutson is. I’ll start off by saying how his teammates love him in the locker room, which is always a good sign when selecting someone of his caliber. He has never-ending energy, he’s always smiling, and it affects his teammates in a positive way. Now onto his play. He has elite offensive ability, as he seems to skate and move the puck at great speed. His defense is pretty solid too, he spent his time in the USNTDP playing with Ryan Chesley. They made great partners. If he’s so good, why is he at 26? Well, many are aware that he’s 5’8″ and weighs 160 lbs. According to sources, he did bring in a doctors report stating that he can grow to 5’10”, which I thought left great impressions on scouts and General Managers. He will be playing next year over at Boston University, so yet another collegiate player playing in Massachusetts.

#30 – Ivan Miroschnichenko – W – Omskie Krylia (VHL)

Earlier in the season, Ivan Miroschnichenko was ranked as the 2nd best player in this draft on my board. I was very high on him. Good shot, good passing, every aspect of the offensive game, he had. Unfortunately, many know his downfall had been his diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Doctors have cleared him to continue his hockey career, but the risk has grown significant, especially being overseas in Russia. He has elite skating, and with all his assets, probably has the best all-around offensive game this draft has to offer. I believe a team, who has a great prospect pool, and a great team, will take a risk pick here. He deserves it. He’s battled hard, and has come a long way.

#31 – Jack D. Hughes – C – Northeastern Univ. (NCAA)

I get it, the production, or the lack there of, has been a concern for a lot of scouts. I believe there is more to Jack D. Hughes’ offensive game than what he showed this year. In 39 games, he scored seven times and added nine assists for 16 points. Not outstanding numbers, I agree. However, I do think he has a great defensive game, he’s very reliable. No, I’m not making that Patrice Bergeron comparison. I hate those. It’s way too overused. I do think he won’t just have a cup of tea in the NHL. He will adjust to whatever his coaches tell him, and he learns a lot of that from his father, new GM of the Montreal Canadiens, Kent Hughes. I think people are too harsh on him, and he could end up falling a lot more.

#32 – Gleb Trikozov – F – Omskie Yastreby (MHL)

To wrap up the 32 list, we have Gleb Trikozov. A smart offensive player, great shot, good hockey IQ and vision. Pretty much the classic Russian player. He has the potential to be a top-6 player. He did play in the VHL season, recording a goal and an assist for two points. The MHL is where he did his magic, producing 23 goals and 45 points in 35. The Russian-factor could play a major role in Trikozov’s case, as he isn’t the most flashy of players, so teams might not risk it.

Honorable Mentions:

Alexander Perevalov – W – Loko Yaroslavl (MHL)

Luca Del Bel Belluz – C – Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)

Owen Beck – C – Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)

Featured

NHL Injury Report

Full roundup of all injuries and unavailable players from around the NHL, updated on the fly! Players with red text are on Injured Reserve (IR), and players with purple text are on Long-Term Injured Reserve (LTIR).

Last updated: 9/17, 12:00am ET

9/16 Changelog – Scroll Down for Full NHL List – Click on red link to visit item source:

Added:

  • x

Edited:

  • x

Removed:

  • x

Red = IR / Purple = LTIR

PlayerStatusDescription
G, Tuukka Rask (BOS)Out 4-5 monthsTorn labrum (hip).
F, Jack Eichel (BUF)UndisclosedHerniated disc (neck)
G, Ben Bishop (DAL)UndisclosedTorn meniscus.
D, Oscar Klefbom (EDM)Out for seasonShoulder injury.
G, Alex Stalock (EDM)Out for seasonPossible heart condition.
D, Shea Weber (MTL)Out for seasonLower-body injuries.
F, Sidney Crosby (PIT)Out 4-6 weeksWrist injury.
F, Evgeni Malkin (PIT)UndisclosedKnee injury.
D, Cal Foote (TBL)Out 4-6 weeksPinky finger surgery.
Featured

The Scoring Touch’s 2021 First Round NHL Mock Draft

It’s that time of year again where many young talents in the game of hockey get introduced to the NHL. This year, many prospects haven’t played full seasons, making this draft one of the hardest to scout in history. 32 (31) prospects are looking to have their name called, who do I have going in the first round?

#1 Buffalo Sabres – Owen Power D Michigan

Going first overall in this mock draft is the 6″5, 215 lb freshman defenseman for the University of Michigan, Owen Power. There has been some debate whether he or Matthew Beniers will fight for the top spot, but knowing Buffalo and their lack of a scouting department, they’ll go with who everyone else has as their top pick. No knock on Power, he put up 16 points on the blue line in 26 games and has the body size and frame to be an impact NHLer. I think Power needs a year in the AHL or another in college before making his jump, but in Buffalo, everyone is thrown into the fire.

#2 Seattle Kraken – Matthew Beniers C Michigan

With their first ever draft pick, barring a trade, the Seattle Kraken go with Michigan freshman Matthew Beniers. He was a point-per-game player, posting 24 points in 24 games and is very reliable. His two-way game and offensive upside draws comparisons to former Selke winner Sean Couturier. The Kraken’s first pick should be gold.

#3 Anaheim Ducks – Fabian Lysell W Lulea HC

To some, the pick may seem a little off the board. For anyone whose watched Fabian Lysell play, this is the perfect pick. Besides the likes of Trevor Zegras and Maxime Comtois, the Anaheim Ducks don’t have much young scoring power, and ranked 30th out of 31 for goals per game with 2.21. Lysell is very crafty, a speedy swede, who is said to be a loyal player to their franchise. With his high level skill and ceiling, Anaheim needs to take his talents third overall.

#4 New Jersey Devils – Luke Hughes D USNTDP

It’s essential if he’s available. If Luke Hughes is available at four, the New Jersey Devils will absolutely take him. It isn’t a secret that the Devils have holes on defense, Hughes can and will fill that hole. The 6″1 University of Michigan commit is sneaky, smart, and has an elite skating level. Some may look at his defensive game as a red flag, but the coaches at Michigan will work out those kinks and form him into a balanced puck moving defenseman. Of course, this pick may also be influenced by Luke’s brother, Jack Hughes, which will make both of them probably very happy.

#5 Columbus Blue Jackets – William Eklund W Djurgardens

If the Columbus Blue Jackets manage to leave the draft with William Eklund, it’s hard to imagine they’d be any less than ecstatic. In 40 games this SHL season for Djurgardens, he put up 11 goals and 12 assists for 23 points. He’s visible in all three zones, and has great offensive instincts. His shot is at an elite level, and his passing is outstanding. Eklund himself says that he wants to be in the SHL another year so he can properly develop into a top-6 winger in the show, and I agree. His offensive game is great, but another year of development can do wonders.

#6 Detroit Red Wings – Jesper Wallstedt G Lulea HF

From his time in Tampa Bay, fans know that Steve Yzerman isn’t afraid to take a goalie in the first round. The Detroit Red Wings have done outstanding when it comes to drafting, picking guys like Filip Zadina, Joe Veleno, Moritz Seider, and Lucas Raymond with previous first round selections. To round out a great young core would be getting a goalie, and a great one in that in Jesper Wallstedt. Wallstedt has great positioning and a speedy reaction time. This and his great showings in the SHL and international tournaments make him the best goalie prospect this year.

#7 San Jose Sharks – Dylan Guenther F Edmonton Oil Kings

The projected top five pick falls right to San Jose. Dylan Guenther has had a small sample size, which is why I think he drops, but in that small sample size, he’s impressed. in the WHL for the Oil Kings, Guenther posted a goal per game, and an assist per game average, giving him 24 points in 12 games. His biggest comparable is Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson (minus the size difference of course). A pure goal scorer, but puts up lots of assists, and is a big team player. San Jose goes best player available at seven.

#8 LA Kings – Brandt Clarke D HC Nove Zamky

If Brandt Clarke falls to Los Angeles, they would round out their prospect pool in amazing fashion. Clarke is a great two way defender who played in the Slovakian League for HC Nove Zamky and in 26 games he put up five goals and 10 assists for 15 points. He’s a great decision maker and has insane vision which is valuable as a defender. He has the tool set to be an elite defender at the NHL level, and the Kings would be happy to take him.

#9 Vancouver Canucks – Simon Edvinsson D Frolunda HC

With the #9 pick, Vancouver looks to upgrade their weak defense core. Simon Edvinsson is this year’s big “boom or bust” selection. His defensive play is very good, shutting down players on the rush, and breaking up passes all highlight his strengths. His breakout passes and decision making are two concerns to look out for, especially watching his few SHL games. In 10 games he only recorded one assist, but in the U-18 World’s, he put up one goal and three assists in seven games. Like Owen Power, development is key for Edvinsson.

#10 Ottawa Senators – Kent Johnson C Michigan

Talk about an absolute steal at the 10th pick. In this whole draft, Kent Johnson has the highest upside and can create scoring chances from many different places on the ice. Johnson’s vision and patience highlights his complete skill set. He has the intensity and poise to be a star in the league, and just like that, Ottawa adds to their elite prospect pool.

#11 Arizona Coyotes – Forfeited

Due to the Arizona Coyotes violating the Combine Testing Policy during the 2019/20 season, they have forfeited their 2021 first round selection.

#12 Chicago Blackhawks – Cole Sillinger C Sioux Falls Stampede

Cole Sillinger is a play driving forward with elite offensive instinct. His most notable tool is his shot. His wrister and snap shot are lethal to any goalie at any level. He played his 2020-21 season in the USHL with the Sioux Falls Stampede, posting 24 goals and 46 points in 31 games. With Jonathan Toews’ career entering the twilight, especially after missing the whole 2021 campaign, a one-two punch of Kirby Dach and Sillinger down the middle can be great for the Blackhawks.

#13 Calgary Flames – Mason McTavish C EHC Olten

By far, the most confusing prospect as for placement this year is Mason McTavish. Before the year, I’d placed McTavish at the 29 spot. I’ve seen a vast amount of people put him in the top 10, he’s staying at 13 for me. His upside is a 2nd line center, something the Flames desperately need. Due to the OHL suspending operations for the year, he played in the Swiss National League for EHC Olten. In 13 games, he put up nine goals and two assists. He provides a net front presence and has the ability to score goals in the crease and will take a physical toll in order to do so. He also played for team Canada in the U18’s where he put up five goals and six assists in seven games. He has very small sample sizes this year, but he can be a very good player.

#14 Philadelphia Flyers – Nikita Chibrikov W SKA St. Petersburg

Nikita Chibrikov is your typical Russian forward. An elite talent with a mighty skill set. Chibrikov passes at an elite level, and carries the puck through the neutral zone with speed. He can be a key contributor to any power play unit with his zone entries. He’ll find any way to get a pass through creatively, and surely a presence the Flyers would love to have. In the WJC U18’s this year, as the captain, he had four goal and nine assists in seven games, nearly going two points per game.

#15 Dallas Stars – Xavier Bourgault C Shawinigan Cataractes

If developed correctly, Xavier Bourgault can be one hell of a player. Bourgault can be molded into any type of player the team who drafts him would like. His best player comparison is Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ondrej Palat. He can play in any scenario and is wicked smart. His numbers aren’t eye popping, 20 goals and 40 points in 29 games, but he’s a well rounded player.

#16 New York Rangers – Chaz Lucius C USNTDP

Small sample sizes was the name of the game this past year due to Covid, and despite only 25 games of Chaz Lucius, he has impressed. The University of Michigan commit was a part of the USNTDP, and in 12 games in the USHL, put up 13 goals and 18 points. In the USDP, Lucius played in 13 games, same number of goals, and added two more assists for 20 points. He’s offensively skilled, and a threat anywhere in that zone, and is a hard worker in front of the net. He could blossom to be a solid middle-6 scorer.

#17 St. Louis Blues – Simon Robertsson W Skelleftea AIK

Simon Robertsson is a well rounded offensive player. On the offensive side, he doesn’t have any glaring red flags. He isn’t great defensively, but few wingers at this age are. Robertsson fore checks hard with his stick and wins puck battles. His best asset according to his coach Anders Eriksen is his shot. If the Blues are going to lose Vladimir Tarasenko to a trade, we aren’t saying Robertsson and Tarasenko are comparable, but one player with a good release out, one back in.

#18 Winnipeg Jets – Corson Ceulemans D Brooks Bandits

The Winnipeg Jets have been looking for a defender like Corson Ceulmans for a while. Someone who can pinch in the right scenario, has the offensive talent to do so, with the vision and speed to recognize a potential scoring chance for the opponent, and to shut it down. With this, Ceulemans has been bashed for his positioning, but has the tools top be a great top-4 defender in the NHL. The University of Wisconsin commit posted 11 points in eight AJHL games this past season.

#19 Nashville Predators – Sasha Pastujov W USNTDP

Puck possession is the name of the game for Sasha Pastujov. Pastujov uses everything he has to keep the puck away from defenders, creating many scoring chances for himself and his teammates. The Notre Dame commit is said to pass at a high level and has a scoring touch few in this draft have. The Predators would a winger like this would could fit in their lineup, though don’t expect to see him so soon. Pastujov should use two years in college, and another in the AHL to develop him to his full potential.

#20 Edmonton Oilers – Sebastian Cossa G Edmonton Oil Kings

Taking a quick look at the depth charts, the Oilers are in need of a goalie, and are in a position to get a great one in Sebastian Cossa. The 6″6 Canadian net minder posted a .941 Sv% in 19 games, going 17-1-1 for the Oil Kings. Cossa’s got great positioning, rebound control, and has the mental toughness to be a goalie at the NHL level.

#21 Boston Bruins – Carson Lambos D Winnipeg Ice

Carson Lambos was one of the hardest prospects to place on this list. He 19 games across four leagues, all with different age levels. A U18 team, a U20 team, the Liiga, and WHL. He’s very crafty in the offensive zone. Lambos is active, looking and creating passing lanes. He’s shaped up to be a top-4 defenseman at the NHL level, and a great power play quarterback.

#22 Minnesota Wild – Aatu Raty C Karpat

I can remember a year ago today when the 2021 NHL Entry draft was known as the “Raty Draft”. Flash forward 12 months, and he’s fallen a little more than a few spots. In no way shape or form is Aatu Raty a bad player. He had a rough few months, and he knows that. There isn’t a ton of defensive show, but he has a hard shot, and will do anything to score a goal or generate offense. Don’t be surprised if he goes higher, he’s poised to have a big year in the Liiga for Karpat.

#23 Detroit Red Wings (Washington) – Fyodor Svechkov F SKA St. Petersburg

Fyodor Svechkov is a very interesting prospect. I’ve seen him go in the top ten, I’ve seen him fall to the second round. He’s a part of a rare breed of Russian forwards who have a solid two-way game. He plays with great pace. Scouts say his vision is at an elite level, and Steve Yzerman would have a potential steal in the later stages of the first round.

#24 Florida Panthers – Oskar Olausson W HV71

One of the best skaters this draft has to offer is Oskar Olausson. His speed allows for easy entrance into the neutral zone in combination with his 6″2 frame. He’s very creative in what he will do in the neutral zone. In the SHL he posted three goals and added an assist in 16 games. In eight international games between the U20’s, he was held scoreless. He’s more of a goal scorer than not, and after a few seasons of development, he should be a great NHLer.

#25 Columbus Blue Jackets (Toronto) – Stanislav Svozil D HC Kometa Brno

This draft’s best defensive defenseman is Stanislav Svozil. The 6″0 Czech positions himself to close out defenders, and is closed doors in the neutral zone. Svozil is a great stick and body checker. He doesn’t have much of an offensive upside, only three points in 30 games, but if his defensive game translates, he’s going to be a big time underrated NHLer.

#26 Minnesota Wild (Pittsburgh) – Mackie Samoskevich W Chicago Steel

There aren’t many more prospects I’m excited to see at the NHL level than Matthew “Mackie” Samoskevich. The University of Michigan commit is lethal in the offensive zone. Don’t give him any room, because Samoskevich will take it and fly with it. He’s always ahead of the game, and knows where his teammates are all the time. If the Wild can put him with the right line mates, they have a real player on their hands.

#27 Carolina Hurricanes – Matthew Coronato W Chicago Steel

What a season it was for Chicago Steel’s Matthew Coronato. In 51 games he posted 48 goals and 37 assists for 85 total points. He has a “pucks on net” mentality, and has a pretty good shot for it. His coaches describe him as an offensive dynamo as a great puck handler. The 5″10 winger is set to take his talents to Harvard University, and could be a late round steal for the Carolina Hurricanes.

#28 Colorado Avalanche – Zachary Bolduc C Rimouski Oceanic

Zachary Bolduc hasn’t always gotten the spotlight, and it’s a hard thing to do when you’re teammates with former first overall pick, Alexis Lafreniere. Bolduc’s speed can catch defenders and goalies off guard, and along with his shot, he has the tool set to be an offensive force. In 27 games, he posted 10 goals and 19 assists for 29 points. His stick handling is noticeable, and he wins puck battles. Someone who can fit in with the Colorado Avalanche.

#29 New Jersey Devils (NYI) – Brennan Othmann W Flint Firebirds

Brennan Othmann is one of the most transitional players in this draft. He loves to carry the puck and start the rushes and scoring chances making him a valuable power play component to any NHL franchise. He has speed and high pace. Othmann is great at fore checking and isn’t afraid to use his 6″0 frame. In the Swiss League, he put up seven goals and nine assists in 34 games. He has the potential to be a valuable power forward at the NHL level.

#30 Vegas Golden Knights – Francesco Pinelli C HDD Jesenice

With the 30th pick, I have Francesco Pinelli going to the Golden Knights. Pinelli is a great leader and a skilled playmaker. He always finds himself in the open ice to collect the puck and within seconds it’s off his stick. He hasn’t played many games this year, 13 games in a Slovenian league. Five goals and six assists for 11 total points in those 13 games. It looks as if he’s going to be in the OHL playing for the Kitchener Rangers last year, he’s expected to need a few seasons for development.

#31 Montreal Canadiens – Zachary L’Heureux W Halifax Mooseheads

The home town boy, Zachary L’Heureux is known as the QMJHL’s Brad Marchand. L’Heureux’s NHL comparable is the recently retired Andrew Shaw. Very chippy, with some offensive upside. Attitude issues may be glaring, and it could be the reason why he falls, but it’s hard to believe Montreal will pass on the Quebec kid. He’s a pain to play against, but is a team favorite in the locker room.

#32 Columbus Blue Jackets (Tampa) – Sean Behrens D USNTDP

Rounding out the first round is USNTSP defender Sean Behrens. Behrens is a solid two-way defender, and is committed to the University of Denver. He’s a great skater, and amazing with his stick defensively. He had a great showing as the assistant captain at the U18’s putting up four points in five games. The positioning is pin point, and he’s a player that the Blue Jackets would love to add.

Featured

2021 Arena Capacity Tracker

Introducing an all new Arena Capacity Tracker for the 2021 season, with dated updates from all 31 NHL teams on their ability to host fans, or not, for home games this season. All updates include links to official sources to prevent misinformation.

Scroll to the bottom for a streamlined graph breakdown of estimated capacities for the teams that do allow fans, and link to our 2021 attendance logs.

Have a tip? Email us at scoringtouch@gmail.com or send us a DM on our social platforms.


Anaheim Ducks – Team president of business operations confirmed to Bally Sports that the team will begin hosting fans at 10% capacity (1,717) beginning April 16. (4/4)

Arizona Coyotes – Team announced it has increased fan capacity from 3,450 to 7,900 (46.1%) for the remainder of this season. Had received permission to host up to 8,500 (approx 50%) from local officials, but NHL protocol (temporary restrictions on no seating behind benches and penalty box) restrict to 7,900. (4/12)

Boston Bruins – Team announced it has been approved to increase capacity from 12% to 25% (approximately 4,391) beginning on May 10. (4/27)

Buffalo Sabres – Team announced it will begin hosting fans at select home games beginning March 20, at a 10% capacity (1,907) at KeyBank Center. (2/10)

Calgary Flames – Will have most of the season without fans until local authorities ease COVID-19 restrictions. (12/9)

Carolina Hurricanes – Team announces it will welcome fans back to PNC Arena at 15% capacity (2,802) for home games beginning on March 4 vs Detroit. (12/21)

Chicago Blackhawks – Team announced they will host fans at 25% capacity for their final two home games of the season vs Dallas on May 9 and May 10. (4/29)

Colorado Avalanche – Team announced it will begin hosting a maximum of 4,050 fans (22.7%) at games beginning April 2. (3/18)

Columbus Blue Jackets – Team announced they will be hosting fans at 25% capacity (4,536) beginning March 9 vs Florida – an increase from 10% after just one game following Ohio gov’s approval. (3/3)

Dallas Stars – Team has told season ticket holders they have been approved to increase capacity for home games and will do so incrementally. Currently up to 6,014 – previously at 4,214 capacity. (4/19)

Detroit Red Wings – Team has increased their capacity from 500 to 750, matching maximums from relaxed COVID-19 measures in the state of Michigan. (2/10)

Edmonton Oilers – Will not have fans in attendance for the start of the season. (1/4)

Florida Panthers – Team has told season seat owners that the club will expand capacity to 47% (approx 9,047) for round 1 of the playoffs, and could go as high as 100% if they advance further. (4/23)

Los Angeles Kings – Team will begin hosting fans at 20% capacity (3,646) beginning on April 20. (4/14)

Minnesota Wild – Team says they will be increasing capacity to 25% (4,488) for the first round of the playoffs, up from the previous 3,000. (3/12)

Montreal Canadiens – No fans to start, but owner Geoff Molson hopes to have fans at some point this season. Team has drawn up socially-distanced plans for attendances between 4,000 and 12,000. (12/16)

Nashville Predators – Team president announced that attendance limits will increase from 15% to 1/3 capacity (33.33% = 5,704) effective immediately. (1/21)

New Jersey Devils – Team announced they are increasing capacity from 10% to 20% (3,303 or 3,600) for Friday’s game and beyond. (3/29)

New York Islanders – Team announced it will begin hosting fans at 10% capacity (1,390) starting March 18th. Isles will also host 1,000 Northwell Health frontline workers as guests at the March 11th game as a show of appreciation for their efforts over the last year fighting the pandemic. (2/24)

New York Rangers – Team intends to host 1,800 fans for every home game, beginning Feb 26 vs Boston, following NY governor Cuomo’s announcement of re-opening large stadiums and arenas at 10% capacities. (2/10)

Ottawa Senators – Ontario minister of sport Lisa MacLeod says full crowds in Sens and Leafs buildings are “very unlikely in the immediate future.” (2/10)

Philadelphia Flyers – Now operating at a capacity of 3,908 (20%), increased from previously announced 15%. (4/5)

Pittsburgh Penguins – Team announced it is increasing fan capacity from 15% to 25% (4,672) for games beginning on April 15. (4/1)

San Jose Sharks – Sharks will begin hosting fans at games at a limited capacity, around 500-1,000, and hope to increase it for each remaining home game this season. (4/26)

St. Louis Blues – Team announced capacity increase to 4,100 starting on March 26. (3/23)

Tampa Bay Lightning -Team told season-ticket members it will be increasing fan capacity to 7,000 (36.6%) for the start of this year’s playoffs. Was previously 4,200 (22.0%). (4/22)

Toronto Maple Leafs – Ontario minister of sport Lisa MacLeod says full crowds in Sens and Leafs buildings are “very unlikely in the immediate future.” (2/10)

Vancouver Canucks – Will begin the season without fans at games. (1/13)

Vegas Golden Knights – Team received approval for their submitted plan to host 50% capacity, but they will likely allow around 7,000 fans (40% ish) for their final three regular season home games. (5/1)

Washington Capitals – Announced they will begin hosting fans at 2,133 (11.5%) capacity beginning April 27. (4/12)

Winnipeg Jets – Will begin the season without fans at games. (1/6)

BOS – 2,191 – increase May 10 / FLA – currently 4,- increase for playoffs / MIN – 3,000 – increase for playoffs / TBL – 4,200 – increase for playoffs / CHI – starts May 9

^ Buffalo, Detroit, Nashville, and St. Louis have not announced public attendance figures and are thus omitted from our 2021 attendance logs and team averages.

Nils Lundkvist Trade Review

Via Frank Franklin II

The New York Rangers traded Nils Lundkvist to the Dallas Stars in exchange for a 2023 conditional first round pick, and a 2025 conditional fourth round pick.

Nils Lundkvist was the former 28th overall selection in 2018, and is a highly touted defensive prospect.

The conditions for the first round pick is that the pick is top-10 protected. This means that if Dallas were to finish in the bottom-10 in the standings, then the pick would transfer over to 2024, in which it would NOT be top-10 protected

The conditions for the fourth round pick are that if Lundkvist scores 55 points between this upcoming season, and the season following, the 2025 fourth rounder becomes a 2024 third rounder.

Analysis

Nils Lundkvist was a late first round pick, so receiving a first rounder in this deal makes this at least a stalemate for the Rangers. However, if we take a closer look, this trade could prove to be one of the Ranger’s sneakiest.

The 2023 first round pick is a protected pick, which can indicate that Dallas isn’t confident that they will keep up their standards from last season, and make the playoffs. Every year, there is turnover in the playoffs so it would be reasonable to assume that one of the first round exits could possibly see themselves outside of the playoffs. This could very well be Dallas, as they around the middle of their division.

Colorado is by far the favorite to win their division again. St. Louis is another popular pick to rank high within their division, and Nashville bolstered their ranks with veteran additions like Ryan McDonagh and Nino Niederreiter, with another season of Eeli Tolvanen and Philip Tomasino. Minnesota could be a team that many see falling off, with the loss of Kevin Fiala, but that could be offset with Matt Boldy and Marco Rossi, given a chance to join the team full-time. That leaves Winnipeg, Chicago, and Arizona as teams that Dallas could be ranked above, which would leave Dallas as fifth in their division. It could be good enough to make the playoffs, or they could miss, and end up with a lottery pick. Something the Rangers have had an abundance of.

In the event that the addition of Lundkvist does not cause Dallas to make the playoffs, the Rangers could be looking at either a mid-first round pick, or a pick that’s so high it gets transferred over to next season, where we roll the dice once again. In the event that Lundkvist is the game-changer Dallas needed after losing John Klingberg, then the Rangers end up with a late-first round pick as well as a third round pick.

These picks are so important to the Rangers, not because we are rebuilding and need to stockpile picks, but for another reason: the trade deadline. Being able to lose non-player assets at the trade deadline is invaluable, and losing a first round pick that isn’t even your own? That’s invaluable. This trade could be the catalyst that the Rangers need to win a cup, or it could provide the Rangers with another young prospect they could use within their ranks, provided a player like Chris Kreider or Artemi Panarin loses their touch with age.

To summarize, the Rangers trade a player who wouldn’t have had a role in their current system in exchange for trade assets at the deadline. The return of this trade succeeded many of the expectations that Rangers fans had, as well as getting fair value for a player in a situation where the Rangers had little wiggle room.

Grade: A+

Hurricanes Announce 2022-23 Training Camp Roster

Via NHL.com

The Carolina Hurricanes released their 2022-23 training camp today. The roster is comprised of 47 skaters and six goaltenders. The full roster can be found here. Although the roster isn’t full of too many surprises, there are still a few very important things to note.

The most interesting being that Hurricanes defenseman Jake Gardiner is not listed on the training camp roster. Gardiner spent the entirety of last season on LTIR and it looks as if that will be the case again this year. Interestingly enough, forward Max Pacioretty is listed on the roster despite not being able to play until early 2023 due to a torn Achilles.

Former Hurricane Calvin de Haan will be attending training camp on a professional tryout. De Haan signed to a 4-year deal with the Canes in 2018 before being traded to the Blackhawks after just one season with the club. Forward Derek Stepan is also attending camp on a PTO. Stepan was signed to a 1-year deal in July of 2021 and scored 19 points in 58 games with the Hurricanes last season. The veteran looks to once again earn an NHL contract.

Ryan Dzingel last played for the Hurricanes in 2021 and re-signed with the team on a 2-way deal this past summer after short tenures in Ottawa, Arizona, Toronto, and San Jose. It will be interesting to see if Dzingel can earn a roster spot as the forward struggled his first go-around with the team. Dzingel had 33 points in 75 games as a Cane.

Standout prospect Jack Drury (2018 R2) is expected to make the opening night roster and training camp will be a make or break moment for him. Drury had one of the most memorable moments of the season last season after scoring in his first career NHL game. Other notable prospects, among others, are Jamieson Rees (2019 R2) and Noel Gunler (2020 R2). Although it’s a long shot, they both have the ability to impress the coaching staff and potentially earn a roster spot.

The Canes have many positional battles but the most important one will be the third defense pair. As of now, it looks to be Ethan Bear and newcomer Dylan Coghlan on that pairing, but those spots are very much up in the air. Especially with the rumors of the Vancouver Canucks still having significant interest in trading for Bear.

Training camp begins at Invisalign Arena on September 22nd and the Hurricanes’ first preseason game will be on September 27th against Tampa Bay.

Winnipeg Jets Shake Up Their Leadership Group

Via Jetsnation.ca

September 16, 2022 is the day a new era began for the Winnipeg Jets. The results of this change could go both ways. Is it a promising change for the team or will it hinder their progression? Only time will tell.

Since 2016, Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler has been captain of the team. That all changed before training camp even got going for the 2022-23 season.

New head coach Rick Bowness addressed the elephant in the room, that being the uncertainty within his leadership group. The decision was made that the team would start the season with Wheeler being stripped of his C and moving forward with a group of assistant captains instead. Bowness went on to say…

“Some of the best leaders I played with and coaches never had an A, never had a C. What we’re trying to do now is get …. more guys in that group to take that responsibility and be proud of it”

-Rick Bowness

What now for Wheeler?

Wheeler seems to be saying all the right things after losing his captaincy, but let’s be honest, stripping a 36 year old nearing the end of his career can’t sit well. Maybe this move helps him focus on his on ice play and perform at a higher level without having to worry about carrying the leadership role on his shoulders.

It feels more like a Matthew Tkachuk and the Calgary Flames exit. Say all the right things to force a trade out of Winnipeg, and end up on a competitive team with a chance to win a Stanley Cup. Blake Wheeler is further on in his NHL career than Tkachuk. If he were to take a negative approach and imply a potential departure from Winnipeg, he could end up playing for a team in full rebuild mode with cap space like the Arizona Coyotes as a salary dump. That wouldn’t be an ideal way to finish a career.

This story is far from over, but it’s a must needed good step in the right direction. It should make the Winnipeg Jets an interesting team to follow this season and beyond.

Not Just Wheeler

What can’t be forgotten here is last season, defenseman Josh Morrissey and forward Mark Scheifele were the two assistant captains, no commitment was made to that happening again for the 2022-23 season, therefore also putting them on notice that they need to prove themselves as leaders.

What’s next for the Winnipeg Jets

Looking at some of the teams players who are signed long term, there are few options for a new leadership group.

Kyle Connor is the first player who comes to mind to become the next captain based on his on ice play having scored 47 goals and adding 46 assists in 79 games played in 2021-22.

Nikolaj Ehlers should be part of the next leadership group. His on ice play is untapped, has never been the center of controversy and just goes out and plays the game the way it should is enough to warrant a letter on his jersey.

Adam Lowry comes to mind but not many third line centers captain a team. His no-nonsense approach and willingness to stand up for teammates warrants consideration to become an assistant.

Pierre-Luc Dubois is the biggest wildcard of the group. If the jets are willing to name him their next captain, maybe it’ll convince him to stay long term. Which would be a massive win-win for Winnipeg.

Neal Pionk is a player to keep an eye on. Personally, I feel he was under utilized last season and should be ahead of Josh Morrissey when it comes to ice time and power play usage. Can he be a leader? Give him a chance to prove it.

Mark Scheifele and Josh Morrisey of the two, maybe Morrisey gets the assistant captain role back.

Scheifele’s golf tournament interview with Sara Orlesky, the appearance with Tim & Friends, and being part of the NHL media tour isn’t enough to convince me all is well in Winnipeg. His ego definitely got in the way last spring after the season ended. It also wouldn’t hurt to prove he can buy into Rick Bowness’ team first philosophy.

Uncertainty Ahead

Winnipeg Jets fan will need to have some patience to see how this team reacts to change. They have the talent to compete and prospects coming up, but it’s not a tear it down and start over scenario. That being said it won’t be fixed overnight, there are too many questions still needing to be answered.

Kevin Cheveldayoff has his work cut out for him but history shows he tends to figure things out at his own pace, and for the most part, does a good, if not great job doing so.

Stay tuned Jets fans. Training camps open this week.

Stamkos’ Multiple Potential Plateaus Headline NHL’s Milestones for 2022-23 Campaign

Via Getty Images

A big hit last year, we looked at some possible milestones NHLers could hit. Whether it was 500 goals, 1,000 games played, or 1,000 points, Some NHLers hit their milestones, some didn’t. Here, we’ll look at some potential plateaus leading into next season?

Ovechkin Chases 800, while Stamkos Closes in on 500

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 10: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals looks on before the game against the Boston Bruins at Capital One Arena on January 10, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

A pair of the best goal scorers in the entire NHL in the 2010’s are inching close to their respective milestones. Alex Ovechkin, captain of the Washington Capitals, will look to take one big step closer to Wayne Gretzky’s record of 894 goals. He needs just 20 goals until he hits the big 800. In an 82 game season, and someone the caliber of the Great 8’s, it shouldn’t be much of an issue. His chase for greatness has been magnificent to watch, and it’s about to make it’s next pit stop, barring any constraints. Also worth mentioning, he’s 21 goals away from tying Gordie Howe for 2nd all time for goals in NHL history, and 22 from passing him.

On the other hand, two-time Stanley Cup Champion, Steven Stamkos is deadlocked for 500 goals. Coming off a 42 goal season, Stamkos is only 19 tucks away from joining the 500 goal club. Coming off of a 42 goal season, and a career-high 106 points, this shouldn’t be hard for him whatsoever barring of course any injuries or other barriers.

Malkin, Tavares, Benn Among Others to Play 1,000 Games

Last year, the NHL saw guys like Blake Wheeler, Claude Giroux, and Jakub Voracek all play in their 1,000th game. This year, we have some key notables such as the players in the subheading, and others like Kris Letang and Ryan O’Reilly. Any NHL player who plays in 1,000 games is commemorated by receiving a silver stick, gifted from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and the NHL.

NameCurrent TeamPositionGames to 1k
Alex GoligoskiMinnesota WildDefense4
Josh BaileyNew York IslandersForward7
Evgeni MalkinPittsburgh PenguinsCenter19
David PerronDetroit Red WingsWinger27
Sam GagnerWinnipeg JetsCenter33
Alexander EdlerLos Angeles KingsDefense34
David KrejciBoston BruinsCenter38
Derick BrassardOttawa Senators (PTO)Center49
John TavaresToronto Maple LeafsCenter51
Jamie BennDallas StarsWinger52
Kris LetangPittsburgh PenguinsDefense59
Ryan O’ReillySt. Louis BluesCenter62
Cal ClutterbuckNew York IslandersForward67

Bergeron, Stamkos, Kessel Most Likely to Score 1,000 Points

Via Winslow Townton

Last season, we saw only two player score 1,000 points, that was Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom, and Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf. This year, we believe that three players will hit that mark.

Starting off, Patrice Bergeron was a big question for the Boston Bruins this past summer. Whether he played or not was a thought that many fans had, after signing a deal, Bergeron looks to score 1,000 points, as he’s only 18 away from the milestone. With a Boston roster that’s already taken a few injury blows, Bergeron will be looked at to spark some offense.

Continuing on, Steven Stamkos who’s already on his way to being a 500 goal scorer, will look to be a 1,000 point player too. Stammer is just 28 points away from 1,000 points, and assuming that he stays healthy, and keeps a scoring pace like he did the previous season, this should be no challenge.

Phil Kessel, who will be brought up later for a separate milestone, signed to the Vegas Golden Knights on a one year deal. Kessel whose production has been slowly dwindling with age, needs 44 points to hit 1,000. With more talent and a winning culture surrounding Kessel, this should be doable.

Two more players we’ll mention are Claude Giroux and Joe Pavelski. Claude Giroux recently signed a new deal with his hometown team, the Ottawa Senators. Needing 77 points to 1,000, we aren’t sure if Giroux can keep that pace up, as he’s turning 35 years of age mid-January. It’s absolutely possible, it’s not something we’re expecting. Same goes for Joe Pavelski. He’s 38 years old, and needs 76 points to hit 1,000. After signing a one-year extension in Dallas, he’ll look to provide some offense, but we don’t believe he can replicate his monstrous campaign last season, where he potted 81 points in 82 games.

Marc-Andre Fleury Passes Roy for 2nd All Time in Wins

Via Getty Images

Last year, Marc-Andre Fleury made our milestone list by winning his 500th game. This year, there’s a solid possibility that the flower passes Patrick Roy for second on the all-time wins list. Roy has 551 wins, while Fleury has 520, needing only 31 to tie him, 32 to pass. On a very good team, and with Cam Talbot being traded to the Ottawa Senators, a 30+ win season for Fleury is a great possibility. Fleury can continue his Hall of Fame career resume this season, and we’re all for it.

Phil Kessel Plays 1,000 Straight NHL Games

Via Vegas Golden Knights

Finally, we touch on Phil Kessel a little more. We’d already stated his potential in hitting 1,000 points, but a more crucial milestone would be in him being the NHL’s all time consecutive games played man, which can happen in the middle of the season. After Flyers defenseman Keith Yandle was healthy scratched, ending his iron man streak at regular season 989 games, Kessel has the chance to pounce on not only passing Yandle for most consecutive games played, but also hitting 1,000.

Currently, Kessel has played in 982 straight games, just seven shy of Yandle’s current record, he’s 18 shy of hitting 1,000. With Kessel signing a new contract over the season with the Vegas Golden Knights, NHL fans hope he hits the milestone.

All You Need to Know About 2022 Winnipeg Jets Young Stars Classic

Via NHL.com

Winnipeg Jets prospects will hit the ice September 16-19 for the 2022 Young Stars Classic in Penticton, British Columbia at the Okanagan Events Centre. This will mark the first time the tournament has been played since 2019 due to the Covid pandemic.

They will play three games in four nights:

  • Friday, September 16th: Jets vs Flames at 6 PM CST
  • Sunday, September 18th: Jets vs Canucks at 4 PM CST
  • Monday, September 19th: Jets vs Oilers at 1 PM CST

Here’s a list of prospects participating in the 2022 Young Stars Classic:

Forwards

  • Chaz Lucius (pictured)
  • Brad Lambert
  • Daniel Torgersson
  • Simon Lundmark
  • Tyler Boland
  • Chase Bertholet
  • Wyatt Bongiovanni
  • Greg Meiereles
  • Brandon Cutler
  • Thomas Caron
  • Henri Nikkanen
  • Danny Zhilkin
  • Isaac Johnson

Defencemen

  • Tyrel Bauer
  • Dmitry Kuzmin
  • Dean Stewart
  • Anton Johannesson
  • Simon Lundmark
  • Wyatt Wilson
  • Ethan Cap
  • Simon Kubcek

Goalies

  • Arvid Holm
  • Oskari Salminen
  • Domenic Divincentiis

With NHL training camps slated to start next week, the 2022 Young Stars Classic will give the Winnipeg Jets an early look at some of their youth and determine which ones can perform at the NHL level with the Jets, or AHL level with the Manitoba Moose.

Analyzing Nathan MacKinnon’s Looming Extension

Via NHL.com and CapFriendly

Nathan MacKinnon is the cornerstone player of the Avs’ current team. He’s a past first overall draft pick, stud superstar center, and fodder for highlight reels, but his relatively ‘cheap’ $6.3 million cap hit is about to run out. And, even though MacKinnon said he would “take less” to benefit the team’s cap situation in a 2019 Forbes article, it seems he’s now leaning towards a large contract over a discount, according to Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman on 32 Thoughts on August 25th.

Back in 2016, when MacKinnon’s Entry-Level Contract expired, the Avs and GM Joe Sakic lucked out as MacKinnon had yet to have his breakout season. Sakic signed him to 7 years at $6.3 million, a contract that quickly become one of the best values in the NHL following MacKinnon’s 2017-18 explosion.

Since then, MacKinnon’s play has been superstar level with 442 points since 2018, good for third in the NHL behind Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in that time frame. He’s also a 2014 Calder Trophy winner, three-time Hart Trophy finalist – including second in 2018 and 2020, 2018 Lady Byng winner, and 2022 Stanley Cup Champion. It seems criminal he’s yet to achieve the 100-point mark, a litmus test for forward greatness — though it’s hardly his fault with two Covid-shortened seasons and multiple injuries.

Now, MacKinnon is looking for a large and expensive contract.

The Avalanche want to re-sign MacKinnon to a lengthy extension. Joe Sakic and new GM Chris MacFarland have stated it’s one of their highest priorities for this offseason. His high price tag, however, will require roster movement and cap math for the cap-crunched team.

With his level of success and production, he’s bound to earn it, whether in Colorado or elsewhere.

How Much?

According to 32 Thoughts, MacKinnon may be looking to become the highest-paid player in the NHL. There are a few ways to look at that statement. Currently, the highest contact cap hit belongs to Connor McDavid at $12.5 million, but contracts like Shea Weber’s 2012 14-year deal with the Nashville Predators have a higher overall value. Further, the highest yearly salary belongs to Joe Sakic at $16.45 million. However, with the way the salary cap and contract limitations are now structured, there is no way for MacKinnon to sign for longer than eight years or make more than $16.5 million.

So, if Nathan MacKinnon is set the become the highest-paid player in the league, he’ll likely sign an 8-year $13-14 million contract with the Avalanche through some mix of base salary and bonuses to protect against lost money due to lockouts. It’s also likely the contract is front-loaded like McDavid and Mitch Marners’ contracts.

Whether the contract settles at $13 million or $14 million or somewhere in that range doesn’t matter, Nathan MacKinnon’s next contract will most likely double his previous cap hit.

That’s not a pill the Avalanche are prepared to easily swallow.

Avalanche Sacrifices

If MacKinnon is set to sign in the $12-14 million range, the Avalanche’s cap situation will experience stress in a way they’ve managed to avoid for years. As it currently stands, CapFriendly reports the Colorado Avalanche with $3.9 million in cap space for the 2022-23 season with a roster of 21. Next season, the league will see the cap raise $1 million to $83.5 million, but the notable contracts of J.T. Compher, Bowen Byram, Alex Newhook and Erik Johnson are set to expire in addition to MacKinnon’s.

While Erik Johnson’s contract ($6 cap hit) will clear up some space, the Avs must move a player or two to fit MacKinnon’s new contract. Most likely, this means J.T. Compher will hit free agency at the end of the 2022-23 season unless he’s willing to sign for at the same or less as his current cap hit of $3.5 million. With Bowen Byram and Alex Newhook coming off ELCs, even that seems like too much. The Avs will have to look to cheap internal promotion at league minimum to fill Compher’s spot. Even with J.T. gone, it would not be shocking to see the likes of Newhook or Byram wearing a new sweater, especially if the two young players break out this season, where they are expected to see more responsibility and games respectively. Devon Toews is another player will an expensive contract on the way, one the Avs probably won’t give.

While it always hurts to see a team-drafted or successful player leave, that’s the reality for the Avs moving forward from a MacKinnon extension. Or, at least until the expected cap jump in a few seasons.

Bottom Line

The Avalanche would be stupid to let a cornerstone player like Nathan MacKinnon walk over an expensive contract. They’ll pay the price of his extension, no matter the cost. It’ll lead to a few player losses and years of cramped cap space, but the expected rise following the 2023-24 or 2024-25 season will provide a measure of relief for the team.

It’s also important to note that the issue of cap space is not unique to Colorado Avalanche. The majority of the league is currently above, at, or within $1 million of the cap ceiling and, while LTIR can solve some problems, it isn’t magic. In this era of NHL hockey, every team is playing salary cap math.

If the Avs want to re-sign MacKinnon to a $100+ million contract, they need to join in. And they should, MacKinnon is the type of player worth a few sacrifices.

Everything You Need to Know About Nils Lundkvist, and Reviewing Mock Trades

Via NHL.com

The Rangers are trying to trade Swedish defensive prospect, Nils Lundkvist, ahead of training camp, so let’s see what type of player he is, and what teams could use him.

Who is Nils Lundkvist?

Nils Lundkvist was drafted 28th overall in 2018. A highly touted prospect when he was drafted near the end of the first round, he only raised his stock in the year after his draft year as he completed his transition from the J20 SuperElit league to the SHL. In 2019-20, Lundkvist’s play skyrocketed as he scored 11 goals and 31 points in 45 games, breaking the league record for points by a U20 defenseman, as well as earning the eliteprospects.com SHL Junior Player of the Year award, won by players such as Elias Pettersson and Moritz Seider. However in 2020-21, Lundkvist’s D+3 year, he put up similar point totals of 14 goals and 32 points in 52 games, which didn’t exactly see him progress in any aspect of his game, although he didn’t necessarily regress. Having spent 3 years after his draft year in the SHL, it was time to come over to the US in 2021-22, as Lundkvist joined the Rangers AHL affiliate in Hartford. This season saw him adjust to the North American game, as he put up three goals and 15 points in 34 AHL games, also adding one goal and four points in 25 NHL games. It is clear that this was an adjustment period for the young defenseman, as despite putting up lackluster point totals, he still performed well on the ice as he was a net positive offensively.

Despite all of the success and accolades that Lundkvist has acquired, the Rangers and Lundkvist are working together in order to facilitate a trade. While it seems preposterous that the Rangers would trade such a solid defensive prospect, the reason for him being moved really is quite simple. It is the fact that the Rangers just have too many good defensemen, leaving no room for Lundkvist to grow into the top-4 defenseman he could be one day. There is no need to read into the Rangers lack of ability to develop prospects; however that doesn’t necessarily mean that isn’t true, Lias Andersson being proof of that. Adam Fox and Jacob Trouba rank ahead of him on the right side, and Braden Schneider seems to have fit into that 3RD role quite well. Ryan Lindgren and K’Andre Miller are the cemented top 2 LD, and Zac Jones is next in line to break into that 3 LD role, as Lundkvist is a right shot, right side defenseman.

Right shot defensemen are not a dime-a-dozen in the NHL, so the Rangers should still be seeking a package with value, despite it being known that Lundkvist is on the block. Lundkvist’s scoring prowess in the past is reason enough for teams to take a chance on him, and they will be willing to give up assets to get him as seen in the past with defensemen such as the Rangers own Adam Fox. With all of that said and done, let’s look at the top teams that Lundkvist could be moved to, and what a return package might look like.

Teams that could trade for Lundkvist and what they could trade

Anaheim Ducks: Anaheim seems to have the right side of their defense set, yet it’s only Jamie Drysdale who will look to be there long term. Unless things go well with John Klingberg, it appears that the Ducks will only have Drysdale on the right side. Jamie Drysdale and Nils Lundkvist could be a treat for Ducks fans. The Ducks also have the stock necessary to trade for Lundkvist, and not lose much.

TO ANA: Nils Lundkvist

TO NYR: 2023 2nd round pick (highest), Derek Grant

Arizona Coyotes: Arizona seriously lacks any strong defensive prospects besides Victor Söderström. Nils Lundkvist would be given a clear shot at a top-4 spot, with little to no one standing in his way. Despite this, they don’t have much to trade out for him, aside from picks.

TO ARZ: Nils Lundkvist

TO NYR: Barrett Hayton

Buffalo Sabres: The idea of a top-4 of Owen Power, Rasmus Dahlin, Nils Lundkvist, and Mattias Samuelsson/Henri Jokiharju should get Sabres’ fans salivating. While they don’t necessarily lack defensive star power, adding Lundkvist would make the Sabres’ top four one of the best in the league.

TO BUF: Nils Lundkvist

TO NYR: Zemgus Girgensons, 2023 2nd round pick

Chicago Blackhawks: While it may not necessarily be the smartest trade, a Patrick Kane for Nils Lundkvist deal might be what the Rangers are looking for. This deal however would age poorly, as Kane is exiting his prime as Lundkvist enters his.

TO CHI: Nils Lundkvist, Kaapo Kakko

TO NYR: Patrick Kane (40% retained)

Detroit Red Wings: While Moritz Seider seems to be the number one for years to come, the Red Wings do not have much else besides Simon Edvinsson. Lundkvist could slot in nicely as the 2 RD, as well as a secondary power-play quarterback giving Detroit a deadly one-two punch combo.

TO DET: Nils Lundkvist

TO NYR: Oskar Sundqvist, 2024 2nd round pick

Montreal Canadiens: Much like other rebuilding teams like the Coyotes and the Blackhawks, the Habs would love to snag a top right shot defenseman to add to their ranks. However much like the Coyotes, the Canadiens seem eager to add draft picks as opposed to older prospects.

TO MTL: Nils Lundkvist

TO NYR: Jesse Ylönen

Ottawa Senators: The newly revamped Sens offense has caused fans to realize that they lack defensive strength. While Artem Zub, Erik Brännström, and Travis Hamonic are serviceable, fans are waiting for the emergence of Jake Sanderson and Jacob Bernard-Docker to make this defense a scary one. Adding Lundkvist to this core lead by Thomas Chabot could possibly turn the Senators defense into a top 10 defense core league wide.

TO OTT: Nils Lundkvist

TO NYR: 2024 2nd round pick, 2024 4th round pick

Seattle Kraken: While Adam Larsson is a great defensive defenseman, the Kraken severely lack that star power that most successful NHL teams have. They also are lacking in strong defensive prospects, and were near the bottom of the league in power-play percentage as well, so the addition of Lundkvist could turn this team from a bottom feeder into a playoff contender.

TO SEA: Nils Lundkvist

TO NYR: John Hayden, 2023 2nd round pick

Vancouver Canucks: With their window seemingly now open with the recent signing of J.T. Miller, the Canucks’ strength on the right side is nonexistent. The addition of Lundkvist would bolster the Canucks defense considerably, and would only make their power-play stronger.

TO VAN: Nils Lundkvist

TO NYR: Michael DiPietro, 2023 3rd round pick

What the Rangers Want Back

Those are just some hypothetical trade options that the Rangers could look at, as it all depends on what they want as a return for Lundkvist. But most of these trades will revolve around adding either a pick or a forward, because the Rangers are likely seeking future assets or bottom-6 players, as the Rangers are entering their window of competition. Teams that I thought could possibly trade for Lundkvist, but are either at a win-now position where they are not seeking much change, or are not yet ready to add that top-4 NHL-ready prospect include the Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, San Jose Sharks, Washington Capitals, and Winnipeg Jets.

The Rangers are stocked on defense, so trading for any defenseman seems futile. On the forward front, they have a similar problem, as the top-3 lines seem stocked with talent. Still, with the development of Kaapo Kakko and Filip Chytil being imminent, and more players coming up through the wings, it could possibly see them price themselves out of New York. With that in mind, it is possible that the Rangers look to trade for a possible shake up in that bottom-6, although nothing is certain until training camp. It is also possible for the Rangers try another young prospect with Chytil and Vitali Kravtsov, leaving for a second version of the kids line if 2021 first round pick Brennan Othmann is not yet ready. The Rangers, however, have an embarrassment of riches within their roster, so it is just as likely that we see Lundkvist get traded for simple draft picks to use in future deals.

What to make of the Ryan Murray signing?

Via TheDenverPost

The Edmonton Oilers announced Friday that they have signed Ryan Murray to a one year contract. Murray, coming off a Stanley Cup championship with the Colorado Avalanche, will add a depth presence to the Oilers blue-line.

From @NHL_Sid who covers the Oilers at Oilersnation, he isn’t the best Rush Defender at all and has been closer to average defensively the past few years. However, he excels in High Danger Passes and is generally a solid offensive defenseman. Another knock on Murray is that he’s known to be injury prone. For a one year 750k deal, there is essentially no risk here. I like this signing a lot.

However, before signing Murray, the Oilers were already over the cap space by ~6 million. Adding the league minimum deal for Murray brings them closer to 7m. Sure, Oscar Klefbom and Mike Smith can be put on LTIR but they would still be over by 500k. As well, they still need to re-sign RFA Ryan McLeod. So, where do the Oilers go from here?

Configuration of the D-Corps

Before I get into what I believe happens to make the cap space work, here’s what the Oilers D core may look like come Oct 12.

Nurse-Ceci

Kulak-Bouchard

Broberg-Barrie

Murray

Darnell NurseCody Ceci played top-pair minutes the moment Jay Woodcroft came in and that will not change. Brett Kulak brought out the best from Tyson Barrie but with Duncan Keith retiring, and Philip Broberg coming in as a rookie, it’d be wise to play Kulak on the second pair. Evan Bouchard coming off an amazing offensive season will continue to make strides with the calming presence of Kulak. Now, the third pair is kinda scary. Broberg will be playing in his first full NHL season, but I’d rather him play with a defensive guy and not Barrie, who’s known for his offense. Now, you can definitely just play Murray on the third pair to address this issue, but this means either making a 4.5M Barrie the 7th defenseman, or you’re risking sitting a rookie in Broberg which you don’t want to do. So, to fix the D-corps and solve the cap space issues and what I believe the Murray signing is signalling is a trade.

Tyson Barrie Trade

I believe Tyson Barrie will be traded. Ryan Murray and Brett Kulak can easily play the right side if needed, and the Oilers already have an elite offensive defenseman in Evan Bouchard. Clearing up his 4.5m plus the 6.4m from Smith and Klefbom would give the Oilers around 4.17 million to sign Ryan McLeod AND another depth forward in free agency. Teams that would look at Barrie could include the Seattle Kraken, Ottawa Senators, or the Montreal Canadiens. As for a price point, I think a mid round pick is very fair value for Tyson.

In the end, your D core now looks like:


Nurse-Ceci

Kulak-Bouchard

Broberg-Murray

Niemelainen

This is a better puck moving, cost efficient and defensive D-core which is exactly what the Oilers need to succeed in their quest for the Stanley Cup.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more Oilers content to come!

Turbulence Ahead: Free Agent Fits (Winnipeg Jets)

Via NHL.com

The 2022-23 season is about to get under way. Training camps open in short order. Preseason play around the NHL starts September 24th, with the Winnipeg Jets opening their preseason the following night in Edmonton vs. the Oilers on September 25th.

Unhappy, unsettled Winnipeg Jets fans seem to be hoping for more activity leading up to 2022 NHL training camp. Fans should keep these three players in mind to help fill the bottom-6 forward group with more experience and skill.

Sonny Milano – LW/RW

In the 2021-22 campaign, Sonny Milano showed he could be a consistent NHLer playing alongside Anaheim Ducks star, Trevor Zegras. In 66 games he scored 14 goals and added 20 assists.

A bit of a late bloomer, yet still only 26 years old he’s worth the risk on a one year prove it deal.

Evan Rodrigues – C

With injuries to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in Pittsburgh last season, Evan Rodrigues proved early in the season to a reliable source of offense when called upon. In 82 games Rodrigues put up 43 points (19 G, 24 A).

Question marks a plenty up the middle of the ice in Winnipeg. Rodrigues would be a perfect fit on a win-now Jets team and provide depth at center.

Brett Connolly – RW

Brett Connolly was bought out by the Chicago Blackhawks on July 11, 2022. A professional tryout contract (PTO) could be a possibility with him. Now Winnipeg head coach Rick Bowness was part of the coaching staff in Tampa Bay when Connolly played for the Lightning.

The sixth overall pick in the 2010 NHL draft played 37 games in the AHL for the Rockford IceHogs producing 35 points. In nine NHL games, he had just one point.

A projected forward lineup would look very strong going into the 2022-23 season if Winnipeg were to sign these three players:

  • Line 1: Connor – Dubois – Perfetti
  • Line 2: Ehlers – Schiefele – Wheeler
  • Line 3: Milano – Lowry – Appleton
  • Line 4: Harkins – Rodrigues – Connolly
  • Extras: Barron, Toninato

With a shallow prospect pool of NHL ready forwards ready to fill out the bottom-6 and $6,279,634 in salary cap room, there is room to add.

The top two lines could be your top line or second line any given night depending on match ups, and if Cole Perfetti shows ready to take the next step.

Milano and Rodrigues would give the forward group some flexibility to move players around if injuries arise or younger players don’t step up early in the season. New head coach Rick Bowness showed in Dallas he isn’t afraid to balance out line combinations.

Connolly could fill a role through training camp and preseason to let Winnipeg evaluate their younger players and determine if they are ready for an 82 game NHL schedule. While also giving himself a chance to show what he has left at the NHL level, if anything.

Something is better than nothing when it comes to roster moves for Winnipeg Jets fans who are starting to become more discouraged with the direction the team is going, especially after a spring of misleading press conference exit interviews and a summer of who wants out and the lack of free agent spending.

Joe Thornton Appears Unlikely to Return to Panthers for 2022-23 Season

Via Jasen Vinlove (USA TODAY Sports)

NHL legend and current Florida Panthers winger, Joe Thornton seems to have moved on from his time within Florida’s organization. Thornton’s wife, Tabea, posted a message of goodbye on her Instagram last Wednesday.

“South Florida, I loved our time together! This break-up hurts and I will miss you,”

– Joe Thornton’s wife, Tabea

It became apparent that the Panthers were ready to move on from Thornton after they inked veteran forward Eric Staal to a professional tryout on July 13. Thornton, who has played 24 NHL seasons since making his debut in 1997 with the Bruins, turned 43 in July.

What will Jumbo Joe do next?


Thornton has recently agreed to become the new director of the Spengler Cup, which is an international competition that takes place in Davos, Switzerland annually. The tournament hasn’t taken place since 2019 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thornton is no stranger to hockey in Switzerland, as he has spent time with HC Davos of the Swiss National League (NL) on multiple occasions throughout his career. His most recent stint with HC Davos came before the 2020-21 NHL season in which he recorded five goals and six assists for a total of 12 points before returning to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

What are the implications for the Panthers and their lineup?


Simply put, this won’t be too tough of a pill to swallow for Florida. Thornton, who signed a one year contract with the Panthers prior to the 2021-22 campaign in an attempt to finally win an ever-elusive Stanley Cup, only played in 34 regular season games, the lowest amount in his career. He was able to muster five goals and five assists in a somewhat limited role, where he averaged just over 11 minutes of ice time per game. Nonetheless, he was penciled in as a healthy scratch most nights. Thornton’s vacated spot leaves room for newly acquired players like Colin White, who suited up in 24 games for the Senators last year, and intriguing prospects like 2018 first round pick Grigori Denisenko to draw into the lineup and get an expanded look in the NHL.

Thornton’s Career Wrap Up


At this point, it appears highly unlikely that Thornton latches on with another team for a 25th season. Thornton and veteran defenseman Zdeno Chara, who also remains a UFA, are the only two active players in any of the four major North American sports leagues who have played in the 1990’s. If this is truly the end of Jumbo Joe’s time in the NHL, what a career it was. Thornton suited up in an incredible 1,714 NHL games, good for sixth most all time in NHL history. He put up a stunning 1,539 points in that span, including 430 goals and 1,109 assists. This places him 12th on the list for all time points leaders in the NHL. Thornton’s swift passing ability, high hockey IQ, and hard nosed style of play allowed him to cement himself as one of the true legends of the game. His career accolades include six NHL all-star selections, an Art Ross and Hart Trophy win in 2006 when he put up 125 points with the Bruins and Sharks, and an NHL First All-Star Team selection also in 2006.