Given how important the youth have been to Finland this year, it’s probably not a shocker that the final seven roster spots for the nation’s World Cup of Hockey team skew young. But it is nice to see the kids rewarded.
Scott Luce has been either the director of scouting or director of player personnel with the Florida Panthers since 2002. And like literally every other person in the talent evaluation business, he has some home runs and he has some skeletons in his closet.
So when the Panthers said they relieved him of his duties, saying they wanted a new voice when it came to scouting, there’s no reason not to take them for their word. Luce’s recent work has been splendid, but that many years in one position is a long time for anyone in this business.
The Edmonton Oilers need for a top-pairing defenseman remains a hot topic among the media. With their depth in young scoring forwards, it’s assumed one of them will be dealt to address the Oilers’ blueline needs.
Appearing last Friday on 630 CHED radio, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman discussed with host Bob Stauffer what it might take for the Carolina Hurricanes to pry center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins out of Edmonton. Stauffer feels it’ll take more than defenseman Justin Faulk while Friedman countered it could take more than Nugent-Hopkins to land Faulk.
If the Oilers and Hurricanes are discussing Faulk, the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson points out Hurricanes assistant GM Rick Olczyk used to hold a similar position with the Oilers. He could help GM Ron Francis assess Oilers right winger Jordan Eberle or Nugent-Hopkins. Read more
Finland has won gold again – get used to it.
Led by superstar 2016 draft prospect Jesse Puljujarvi, the Finns dusted off archrival Sweden in the final of the World Under-18 Championship in North Dakota on Sunday. Puljujarvi scored a hat trick in the 6-1 demolition, while the home-side Americans earned bronze with a 10-3 walloping of a disorganized Canadian squad.
If it sounds like the Finns have been on the podium a lot lately, it’s because they have. This is the third junior-level gold in three years for Suomi, when the 2016 and 2014 world junior titles are added in. So how are they doing it?
The NHL has yet to make a formal decision on expansion but it seems increasingly likely that if the league does decide to expand, the lone expansion team will be granted to Las Vegas. However, with an NHL-ready building waiting for a big league tenant in Quebec City, rumors have been swirling about the potential for relocation.
One of the most persistent rumors is that the Hurricanes would be on the move, but Carolina’s owner Peter Karmanos made sure to snuff out those talks when speaking with Le Journal de Quebec’s Stephane Cadorette. Karmanos bluntly told Cadorette that, “the Hurricanes will not become the Nordiques.”
“I swear to you that the team is not going to Quebec,” Karmanos told Cadorette. “I’m not saying this because I have anything against Quebec, but because we have commitments that we value (in Carolina). We have an excellent lease, I love (PNC Arena) and I am deeply committed to this market.” Read more
Everything is happening right now, as Bob Cole would say. You’ve got the Jimmy Vesey saga in Nashville, Zach Werenski signing with Columbus and Pittsburgh grabbing college free agent Ethan Prow out of St. Cloud State. Plus, the CHL playoffs are in full swing, with a couple upstarts threatening the top seeds. In the OHL for example, Sarnia is in trouble thanks to a surging Sault Ste. Marie squad, while Edmonton is giving powerhouse Brandon fits in the WHL. Oh, and the Frozen Four is set, with Quinnipiac, Boston College, North Dakota and Denver all in the mix for April 7. Let’s keep the prospect party going:
With the way the NHL Department of Player Safety has been handling spearing this season, it wouldn’t be shocking in any way if Hurricanes center Jordan Staal is slapped with a $5,000 fine for some stick work on Penguins winger Bryan Rust.
Carolina and Pittsburgh had been battling for most of the first two periods, and the only infraction called was a Rust boarding penalty for a hit on the ‘Canes Brett Pesce. But midway through the second period, shoving matches were regularly breaking out and things for Staal and Rust came to a head with seven minutes left in the second frame.
Staal had stumbled and slid into the Penguins’ zone, collected himself off the ice and was exiting the zone when he took the opportunity to deliver a crosscheck to Rust, who turned around and returned the favor. Staal and Rust squared up, and then Staal delivered a jab with his stick that looked as if it caught Rust below the belt: Read more
More than a few eyebrows were raised at the trade deadline when the Vancouver Canucks didn’t move pending UFA defenseman Dan Hamhuis. Carrying a full no-movement clause, the 33-year-old blueliner gave the Canucks few acceptable destinations (Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars) via trade.
Canucks management received grief from Vancouver fans and pundits over their inability to trade Hamhuis for a return. The blueliner, meanwhile, hasn’t ruled out re-signing with the Canucks this summer.
If Hamhuis and the Canucks part ways in July, he won’t lack for suitors via free agency. Despite his age and recent injury history, the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports the Blackhawks, Stars, Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins had “genuine interest” in the veteran defender. While that undoubtedly stemmed from his status as a potential playoff rental at the trade deadline, one of those clubs could revisit their interest in him.