Since the implementation of the salary cap in 2005, early-season NHL trades have become rare. Even the ability for teams to absorb part of a player’s salary failed to spark an increase in player movement during a season’s opening weeks.
That partially explains why it took a month for this regular season’s first trade to occur, when the Dallas Stars shipped aging defenseman Sergei Gonchar to the Montreal Canadiens for forward Travis Moen. Since that deal there’s anticipation over when the next NHL trade will take place. Read more
That the Buffalo Sabres are struggling this season is no surprise. Are they a bit worse than anticipated? For now, yes. But it’s not like the team is devoid of talent. We know the organization has a lot of potential wrapped up in its youth and even though he’s a little older, towering defenseman Tyler Myers still has a lot of upside.
With a tally late in an Oct. 27 contest against the Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers winger Mats Zuccarello became the highest goal-scoring Norwegian NHLer of all-time.
His 31st career marker was one more than Espen Knutsen, who the 27-year-old Zuccarello trails by only 14 total points. Knutsen’s 111 points has been the high-water mark for Norwegian NHLers and has stood since he left the league in 2005.
With the young Ranger well on his way to surpassing Knutsen’s mark and becoming the most prolific Norwegian to play in the NHL, it’s time to look at some of the other great scorers from similar sized nations. Read more
What does a slow start mean in the NHL? In some cases, it’s a harbinger of more poor play. Other times, it’s bad puck luck, which is correctable. Regardless of the cause, however, poor starts make heads roll every year. The advanced stats tell us GMs are often too hasty to axe their coaches, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. The most common victims are bench bosses who ended the season prior on thin ice. They often get the boot as soon as they give their GMs an excuse to do so.
Here are five coaches who have to think about updating their resumes in the near future.
This season could be the last for defenseman Paul Martin as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 33-year-old blueliner will be eligible for unrestricted free agency in July, leading some observers to suggest he might not finish the season with the Penguins.
The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson notes Martin lost his power-play spot to youngster Olli Maatta, and wondered if the Penguins will bother to re-sign him or deal him before his UFA eligibility. Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun also took note of Martin’s reduced role. He speculates the blueliner will be gone before the deadline, but not before Maatta returns from his upcoming surgery to remove a cancerous tumour from his neck. Read more
The big prospect news of the week came with Buffalo sending Sam Reinhart back to junior after a nine-game tryout and one assist. I’m totally on board with this move. Reinhart now gets a chance to do some serious damage at the world juniors for Canada and pull the Western League’s Kootenay Ice out of an early season funk. He’ll get his NHL shot again next year and perhaps one day, the players listed below will, too.
After going winless in October, the Carolina Hurricanes opened November with their first two victories of the season, downing the hapless Arizona Coyotes and the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. This recent bout of success, however, won’t stem the growing tide of trade speculation dogging the Hurricanes this season.
ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun reports Hurricanes GM Ron Francis is getting phone calls from other clubs interested in making deals with him. Francis claims none of them are willing to make a hockey trade which that makes sense for his club, as they’re attempting to dump bad contracts upon the Hurricanes. Read more
SI.com columnist Allan Muir observes it was around this time a year ago the first significant trades of 2013-14 took place, most notably the Buffalo Sabres shipping Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders for Matt Moulson and two draft picks. Muir, Sarah Kwak and Brian Cazeneuve speculated about which NHL teams could be the first to swing a significant trade this season.
Cazeneuve notes “a lot of teams” would love to land Buffalo Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers. Though he doesn’t recommend it, he believes moving Myers could fetch a return to address several areas on the Sabres requiring short-term help. Kwak points out injuries to the respective defense corps of the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers could force them into the trade market, though the market is currently thin for blueliners. Read more