Rumor Roundup: Columbus shopping Wisniewski, Carolina squashes Staal talk

James Wisniewski (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

The Columbus Blue Jackets made defenseman James Wisniewski a healthy scratch for Sunday’s game against the New York Rangers. At the time it was reportedly a coach’s decision. Of course, whenever a notable healthy player becomes a late scratch at this time of year, it’s assumed he’s about to be traded.

NBC Sports’ James O’Brien thought it was an odd move, citing the 31-year-old Wisniewski’s solid puck-possession stats. He pointed out the veteran blueliner has two years remaining on his contract at an annual cap hit of $5.5 million. O’Brien also cited a tweet from TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie speculating Wisniewski could be traded. Read more

Oilers, Roy reportedly working on deal, in part due to chemistry with Yakupov

Jared Clinton
(Andy Devlin/Getty Images)

With the trade deadline inching ever closer, it would have made sense had the Edmonton Oilers started to think about moving veteran center Derek Roy. However, it seems that’s not in the cards.

According to Edmonton Oilers play-by-play announcer Jack Michaels, Oilers GM Craig MacTavish said the team is looking to re-sign Roy before he heads to unrestricted free agency. A big reason for that? Roy is meshing well with 2012 first overall pick Nail Yakupov. Read more

Viktor Fasth’s new mask will haunt your dreams

Jared Clinton
Viktor Fasth's new mask (DaveArt/Facebook)

Viktor Fasth is no stranger to having creepy masks, but his brand new lid takes the cake.

Working with DaveArt’s David Gunnarsson, Fasth came up with a brand new lid that mixes the cogwheels and oil that have become staples on the masks of Oilers netminders with his a childhood fear of many – a frightening looking clown. Be warned – if you wanted to sleep well tonight, Fasth’s new mask might throw a wrench in those plans. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Canadiens looking to load up for playoffs

Lars Eller

The Montreal Canadiens entered this week perched atop the Eastern Conference standings. Despite their success thus far, there are some areas of concern. The Habs are among this season’s lowest-scoring teams while giving up a high number of shots-against per game. That’s prompted questions about their prospects for a lengthy playoff run.

Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin tends to work more quietly on trades than many of his peers. He has acquired playoff rental players in the past. In 2013 he shipped Erik Cole to Dallas for Michael Ryder. He pulled off the steal of the 2014 trade deadline, shipping a prospect and a draft pick to the New York Islanders for winger Thomas Vanek.

That’s why there’s growing anticipation Bergevin could pull off a significant move or two by this season’s trade deadline. It’s rumored he’s in the market for a scoring forward and a top-four defenseman. Read more

Blake Wheeler scores shootout goal, dekes Oilers goalie Viktor Fasth out of game with an injury

Adam Proteau
Blake Wheeler (Lance Thomson/NHLI via Getty Images)

Jets right winger Blake Wheeler is one of Winnipeg’s top point-producers this season. And against the Oilers Monday night, he produced not only a shootout goal, but an injury to Edmonton goalie Viktor Fasth.

The teams remained tied after overtime in Winnipeg when Wheeler skated in on Fasth for the home side’s first shootout shot. The 28-year-old stickhandles a number of times, and Fasth lunged out to his right in a failed attempt to stop the puck, injuring himself in the process: Read more

“Nice try, chump” – Dustin Byfuglien is all about good sportsmanship and encouragement

Adam Proteau
Dustin Byfuglien (Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

As one of the better players on the ice whenever he sets foot on it, Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien is a constant target for opponents. And on Monday night against the Oilers, he easily shook off an opponent who took a healthy run at him – and then responded verbally with a memorable, if unimaginative smackdown.

Oilers left winger Ryan Hamilton was the opponent who played the body on Byfuglien, curling around the net before throwing his shoulder at the Winnipeg star on a dump-in. Hamilton is no small package at 6-foot-2 and 219 pounds, but he barely moved the 6-foot-5, 265-pound Jets blueliner into the end boards. And he certainly didn’t do enough damage to stop Byfuglien from immediately taunting him: (video from streamable via reddit user Grizzy19) Read more

Retooling Senators are miles ahead of rebuilding Oilers

Josh Elliott
Ottawa Senators

What would you rather have: three players with 30-goal potential, or seven players with 20-goal potential?

Do the math and it sounds easy – you’d probably rather have 140 goals over 90 goals, right?

But put some names in the conversation like Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on one side, and Clarke MacArthur and Kyle Turris on the other side, and it’s easy to lose sight of the numbers.

The Edmonton Oilers rebuild has been critiqued from many angles, but those critiques usually involve the same handful of teams. They’re doing what Chicago and Pittsburgh did by getting bad and drafting high, yet they can’t seem to improve. They’re not patching holes like the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have tried to rebuild on the fly for about as long as the Oilers have been trying to rebuild from the ground up.

But Edmonton might have more to learn from smaller-market Canadian teams like Ottawa and Winnipeg, who have more of the same organizational challenges.
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Former NHLer Steve Thomas’ son, Christian, scores his first NHL goal

Christian Thomas (Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

In nearly two decades as an NHLer, Steve Thomas played 1,235 regular-season games and scored 421 goals. And, more than a decade after he retired from competition in 2003-04, his son, Christian, scored his first NHL goal Thursday night as a member of the Montreal Canadiens.

Twenty-two-year-old Christian Thomas, who’d been held off the scoresheet in his first 14 career NHL games – all but one of which have come with the Habs; the other came with the New York Rangers, who drafted him 40th overall in 2010 – finally broke through late in the first period of Montreal’s home game against the Edmonton Oilers. After picking up a loose puck that had ricocheted back into Edmonton’s zone, Thomas quickly fired a wrist shot over the shoulder of goalie Viktor Fasth: Read more