Top five trade destinations for Jets star Evander Kane

Evander Kane (Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Jets Thursday placed Evander Kane on Injured Reserve retroactive to Feb. 2, but after the revelations of discord in the dressing room between the winger and other members of the team, the winger may have played his final game in a Winnipeg uniform.

If that’s true and Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff pulls the trigger on an off-season deal that sends Kane out of town, what teams would be the best fit for him? Here’s our best guess:

5. Boston Bruins. The veteran-laden Bruins are in win-now mode, and their struggles to score could be addressed in the summer with a deal for Kane. To work under the salary cap, the deal would almost certainly need to include someone (say, a Brad Marchand), but in a major city like Boston, Kane could disappear away from the rink and use that relative anonymity to get back to the 30-goal plateau he reached in 2011-12. Read more

Prospect Hot List: Meet the D-man filling Aaron Ekblad’s skates in Barrie

Rasmus Andersson (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

After a one-day weather delay, Boston’s famed Beanpot tournament kicks off tonight with Northeastern vs. Boston College and Harvard vs. Boston U. I’ll be heading out to cover the final of the college classic next week, so in the meantime, here’s a look at a couple recruits for future Beanpots, plus more prospects making noise around the hockey world right now.

Rasmus Andersson, D – Barrie Colts (OHL)

When Andersson decided to leave his home in Sweden for North America, one of the reasons was that he would get more ice time than he had received last year with Malmo. But there was also some trepidation, as the Colts would need a lot of minutes filled due to the loss of another defenseman: Aaron Ekblad, who was headed to the NHL after Florida selected him first overall in the summer. Luckily, the pressure hasn’t been an issue.

“I thought it would be a lot of worse, but it’s been nothing at all,” Andersson said. “Guys have been taking care of me and no one has said anything about him.”

Andersson wasn’t content with his start in Barrie, but after an initial 15-game trial period, he has been producing at more than a point-per-game rate. Familiarity helps and it only makes sense that a kid raised on the European game would need time to adjust, even though his father Peter played a couple seasons in the NHL with the New York Rangers and Florida Panthers.

“I have really good billets and a really good coach who has taught me about the Canadian style of hockey,” Andersson said. “I’m comfortable in Barrie and they’ve taught me a lot.”

Scouts would like to see his conditioning and lateral movement improve, but they also like Andersson’s tools. A great offensive weapon on the back end, he uses his shot, playmaking ability and smarts on the point to make things happen. On the power play, he and Buffalo pick Brendan Lemieux have been lethal together, with Lemieux leading the OHL in power play goals and Andersson tied for third in assists.

“We work a lot on shot tips,” Andersson said. “We try to keep it positive between each other and not too fancy. Get a lot of shots, tips, criss-cross here and there. And we score a lot of goals.”

And while Barrie fans won’t forget Ekblad, that kind of production certainly serves as a nice consolation prize. Draft eligible in 2015.

Ryan Shea, D – B.C. High Eagles (Mass. HS)

A polished blueliner with an offensive bent, Shea is a converted forward, which explains why he’s pretty comfortable putting up points. The Northeastern commit has four points in his past two games for the Eagles and his skating is also a great asset. Draft eligible in 2015.

Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, C – Omaha Lancers (USHL)

A smart pivot with a good worth ethic, ‘JFK’ has been hot for the Lancers, notching six points in his past three games. The Boston University commit is one of the highest scorers in the United States League and put in a good effort for the losing side at the USHL Top Prospects Game last month. Draft eligible in 2015.

Jeremy Bracco, RW – U.S. NTDP (USHL)

Team USA will play at a Five Nations tournament in Russia this week and the other teams better pay attention to Bracco, a scintillating offensive talent who has been hot lately. The Boston College commit has speed to burn and his 54 points in 38 games is best among 2015 prospects on the team. Draft eligible in 2015.

Oliver Bjorkstrand, RW – Portland Winterhawks (WHL)

He was incredible for Denmark at the world juniors and Bjorkstrand has continued his excellence back in Portland, where he has always been a big producer. Fast and blessed with sizzling hands, the right winger has nine points in his past two games and is up to 70 through 40 contests. Drafted 89th overall by Columbus in 2013.

Samuel Montembeault, G – Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL)

While guessing which goaltenders will become NHLers has become a grisly task for scouts, Montembeault is at the top of the list for this year’s crop. The lanky 6-foot-3 stopper won seven of his 10 starts in January and has become a lot more confident in the crease this season. Draft eligible in 2015.

Adam Tambellini, C – Calgary Hitmen (WHL)

One of the top snipers in the ‘Dub,’ Tambellini boasts great size and a sick shot release, which gives fits to defenders trying to thwart him in the offensive zone. He moves well for a big guy and is riding a seven-game point streak where he has put up four multi-point games. Drafted 65th overall by the New York Rangers in 2013.

Roope Hintz, LW – Ilves (Fin.)

Big and fast, Hintz looked pretty good for the underwhelming Finns at the world juniors, but he has really been solid on the local scene. Playing against men back home in Finland’s top league, the 6-foot-2 teenager has 15 points in 33 games, putting him second among all rookies. Draft eligible in 2015.

Dante Salituro, C – Ottawa 67’s (OHL)

Between Travis Konecny and Salituro, the 67’s are getting good things out of small packages. The 5-foot-9, 178-pound Salituro just had a seven-game point streak snapped, but he had 15 points during that span. A lethal shooter with great quickness, Salituro leads Ottawa in scoring. Draft eligible in 2015.

Zach Hyman, RW – University of Michigan Wolverines (Big Ten)

The Wolverines have awoken from their early-season slumber and are wrecking the Big Ten now. Hyman, an alternate captain, has been a big part of that success. The two-way senior (who is also a children’s author) leads the conference in scoring with 36 points in 23 games. Drafted 123rd overall by Florida in 2010.

Blue Jackets can’t catch a break, Jeremy Morin sidelined with accelerated heart rate

Jared Clinton
(Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

If you thought the Pittsburgh Penguins had it bad with injuries this season, imagine being a fan of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

With six Blue Jackets already on the shelf with injuries ranging from groin, to back, to knee, to triceps, Jeremy Morin is joining the other players already on injured reserve with what the team is simply calling an upper body injury. Morin’s injury may be a bit more serious, however. Read more

Johansen and Foligno did Columbus proud this weekend

Ryan Kennedy
All-Star captain Nick Foligno and Ryan Johansen (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

COLUMBUS – You could argue that Jakub Voracek was the true MVP of the game, you could make the case that Nick Foligno was an odd choice to be a captain in the first place, but in an event that is all about the fans, does any of that really matter?

When the cannon smoke cleared at Nationwide Arena, the two representatives of the hometown Columbus Blue Jackets, Foligno and MVP Ryan Johansen, sat in front of the media and had one last jokey yet heartfelt chance to bask in the glory of All-Star Weekend.

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Predators’ Filip Forsberg will replace Evgeni Malkin at all-star game

Filip Forsberg (Getty Images)

The NHL didn’t take long to fill the all-star game void created by injured Penguins star Evgeni Malkin, naming Predators rookie Filip Forsberg as his replacement at the 2015 game in Columbus.

Malkin was declared unable to play early Thursday afternoon due to a lower-body injury, and Forsberg was a relatively easy choice to replace the veteran center. The 20-year-old Swede leads all Preds scorers with 15 goals and 40 points in 45 games, and was already scheduled to participate in this year’s all-star festivities as one of six freshmen selected to take part in the skills competition. Read more

Pens take more wind out of all-star weekend, announce Sidney Crosby & Evgeni Malkin won’t play

Crosby & Malkin (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

Early Thursday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced superstar center Evgeni Malkin would not participate in the 2015 NHL all-star game in Columbus due to a lower-body injury. Early Thursday evening, they took even more wind out of the event by removing fellow phenom Sidney Crosby from all-star weekend for the same reason. The team specified no timetable for Malkin’s return to action, while Crosby is expected to miss approximately one week and won’t be allowed to play in Pittsburgh’s Jan. 27 game.

Having both players back in the lineup is obviously the proper priority for Penguins management, but the undeniable reality is the absence of both stars is a big blow to an all-star game that’s going to be without hometown hero Sergei Bobrovsky for injury reasons and without P.K. Subban for preposterous reasons – and it underscores how much lustre the game has lost.

In some ways, it’s not the league’s fault the all-star game has become more of a contractual burden than an event that captures the heart of the hockey-watching public outside of the host city. All-star games in general are an anachronism from a pre-satellite TV era, and in the NHL’s case, the novelty of modern inventions such as the Winter Classic have pushed the all-star game into the shadows.

But in other ways, the league should have seen this coming. Read more

With Bobrovsky hurt, time for Columbus to trade for the future

Matt Larkin
If 'Bob' is hurt badly, it's obviously a lethal blow to Columbus' season. If not, the Jackets still shouldn't rush him back. (Getty Images)

Chins up, Columbus Blue Jackets. No one likes an excuse maker, but, honestly, you deserve an exception. You were simply cursed in 2014-15. We loved your chances to contend this season – I had you going all the way to the Eastern Conference final – but some witch in some basement impaled an entire collection of team bobblehead dolls with pins. Nothing you can do.

According to mangameslost.com’s Jan. 20 update, the Blue Jackets lead the NHL with 283 man games lost this season. For context, the 10th-ranked team, the Dallas Stars, have lost less than half that many. The horseshoe-infused Montreal Canadiens sit last at 37.

And it’s not like the Jackets have lost one or two role players to season-long injuries that jack up the number. Virtually every important cog has missed time. Nathan Horton’s back threatens his career altogether. There was Boone Jenner’s broken thumb and back, Scott Hartnell’s broken finger, Artem Anisimov’s torn triceps, Ryan Murray’s knee injury…I’ll stop there lest I explode my word count. Let’s just say any Jacket who hasn’t endured an injury this season may feel like a dressing room outcast.

Sergei Bobrovsky’s misfortune looks like the last straw for Columbus in 2014-15. He’d already missed time with a fractured finger and brief illness, and his lower-body injury Wednesday night against the Winnipeg Jets looked grim. The extent won’t be clear until his MRI results come in, but Bobrovsky had to be helped off the ice.

Now it’s time for GM Jarmo Kekalainen to swallow his pride and realize this season wasn’t meant to be. If Bobrovsky is seriously hurt, it’s obviously a knockout blow for a team 14 points out of a playoff spot. And if the injury is, say, a minor sprain, there’s no reason to rush back a precious commodity freshly signed to a four-year, $29.7-million contract extension. The Jackets are finished.

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After 22 seasons, Ray Whitney officially announces retirement

(John Russell/Getty Images)

When you think of players who scored 1,000 points in the NHL, the last name to come to mind is often Ray Whitney. And on Wednesday, one of the NHL’s best and quietest scorers called it a career.

Whitney, 42, was prolific with every team he ever went to, and a model of consistency. He was a 10-time 20-goal scorer, nine-time 60-plus point getter, yet was only named to any of the league’s season-ending all-star teams on one occasion, a second team nod in 2011-12. Read more