Wild pay tribute to state, Blackhawks to city with Stadium Series uniforms

Jared Clinton
Wild and Blackhawks Stadium Series jerseys (via NHL Shop)

There’s no more need for guesswork when it comes to what threads the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks will wear when they face off for the Stadium Series contest at Minneapolis’ TCF Bank Stadium on Feb. 21.

Tuesday morning, both the Wild and Blackhawks officially unveiled their uniforms for the Stadium Series contest, with both teams electing for a traditional look with slight alterations made for the outdoor tilt.

For the Wild, the green jersey keeps the primary logo the same while introducing a brand new shoulder patch, while the Blackhawks elected to rehash a look similar to what was worn in 2015 at the Winter Classic contest against the Washington Capitals. Read more

The six most cost-effective players in the NHL this season

Tomas Fleischmann (Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

The salary cap era has made it incredibly important to find players who can contribute offensively while not breaking the bank. Usually, these players fill in bottom-six roles and eat up the minutes not reserved for the top-line players. Put it this way: it’s not often you find a winger making league minimum playing on the top power play unit.

But every so often, a team will find a steal of a deal. Be it a veteran coming into camp late or a player coming off their entry-level deal that is just hitting their stride, the cost-effective players are the ones that can help make or break a season. The cap flexibility doesn’t hurt, either.

Before we build the most cost-effective roster possible though, some guidelines. First, the players on this list have to have at least eclipsed the 10-point plateau. As nearly every team is closing in on the 20-game mark, the truest value players will be chipping in a point every other game while taking up a fraction of the cap. Second, in order to cut out the players on cheap deals by virtue of being on entry-level contracts, only players on standard player contracts have been included. So even though Nathan MacKinnon is tearing it up for Colorado, the Avalanche playmaker won’t be on this cost-effective list.

Here are the six players providing their clubs with the most bang for their buck: Read more

Go west young man: Handicapping Travis Hamonic’s preferred trade destinations

John Tavares (left) and Travis Hamonic  (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

Travis Hamonic is 25 years old. He’s a mobile, physical defensemen who can munch minutes and has a reasonable amount of offensive potential. He’s a steal against the salary cap, currently leads all defensemen in hits, is a right-shot defenseman and has favorable numbers when it comes to analytics. And his best years as an NHL player could very well be in front of him.

So from the standpoint of New York Islanders GM Garth Snow, there could never be a better time to trade him. But when the player not only asks for a trade, but limits his destination to one of four teams, any leverage Snow had over his possible trade partners is wiped out. There’s nothing the drops a player’s trade market value more dramatically than a desperate need to move him and a limited number of destinations.

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Wild’s Vanek embarrasses Jets’ Postma, goes top shelf on Pavelec for gorgeous goal

Jared Clinton
Thomas Vanek (Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

Minnesota Wild left winger Thomas Vanek is having a great start to his season, and he added to his point totals Tuesday night with beautiful move on Winnipeg Jets defenseman Paul Postma finished off with a picture perfect snipe over the shoulder of netminder Ondrej Pavelec.

The goal, which was Vanek’s second of the night, came after a brutal giveaway by Jets blueliner Mark Stuart. Stuart threw the puck up ice, which landed right on the tape of Minnesota’s Mikael Granlund. Granlund saw Vanek streaking through the neutral zone, put the puck perfectly on his tape and let him do the rest of the work.

With Postma attempting to defend him, Vanek patiently waited to slip the puck between his legs so that he could beat Postma to the outside, then Vanek used what little space he had left between himself and Pavelec to find the top shelf over Pavelec’s glove: Read more

Wild’s Zach Parise out week-to-week with ‘best-case scenario’ MCL sprain

Jared Clinton
(Bill Wippert/Getty Images)

After suffering a knee injury in Thursday’s game against the Nashville Predators, Minnesota left winger Zach Parise will be out on a week-to-week basis, according to the Wild. And while that sounds lethal for the Wild, who are in tough in the Central Division, it could have been much worse.

“All things considered, in terms of knee injuries, it was the best-case scenario,” Wild GM Chuck Fletcher said Saturday in an update, saying Parise had suffered a “sprained MCL in his right knee.”

The hit that injured Parise was a knee-on-knee collision with Predators right winger James Neal. While some Minnesota fans were calling for Neal to receive supplemental discipline, the league determined the hit was not worthy of any punishment. For what it’s worth, Neal did not receive a penalty on the play, either. Read more

Wild lose Zach Parise to lower-body injury after hit by Predators’ James Neal

Jared Clinton
James Neal hits Zach Parise (via Streamable)

Minnesota’s Zach Parise was off to a great start in 2015-16 with seven goals and nine points in 11 games, but the Wild left winger may be on the shelf following a collision early in Thursday’s contest against the Nashville Predators.

Less than two minutes into the tilt, Parise chased a puck into the Nashville end. He was using his body to ward off Predators blueliner Ryan Ellis, whom Parise had beaten to the loose puck, when Nashville right winger James Neal made an attempted hit that resulted in his knee knocking into Parise’s. Upon contact, Parise fell to the ice and attempted to get back to his feet: Read more

Rumor Roundup: Contract talks on hold, but don’t expect Jets to deal Byfuglien

Lyle Richardson
Dustin Byfuglien. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien frequently popped up in the off-season rumor mill. His eligibility next summer for unrestricted free agency and the Jets reputation as a budget club fuelled speculation he could be dealt this season.

ESPN.com’s John Buccigross was asked by one of his readers if the Detroit Red Wings might take a run at Byfuglien. While Buccigross believes the Wings are well set for cap space, he doubts they’ll target “Big Buff” because the 30-year-old blueliner isn’t an organizational pillar.

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Suspend him or not: Matt Dumba levels Lauri Korpikoski with open-ice hit

Jared Clinton
Matt Dumba hits Lauri Korpikoski (via Streamable)

Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba suited up for 58 games and threw 42 hits in 2014-15. Through eight games this season, he’s already been credited with knocking around 10 opponents. So it’s no secret the 21-year-old defenseman doesn’t shy away from physical contact.

Dumba’s proclivity for laying the body is even helping him do some good. This season he started Dumba’s Hit For Heroes, which sees him donate $100 to a charity, Defending The Blue Line, for every hit he throws on home ice.

Dumba has been able to walk the fine line between laying clean, hard hits and landing himself a conversation with the league’s Department of Player Safety. But Tuesday night, Dumba’s physical side may have gotten him in a spot of trouble. With Edmonton visiting the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center, Dumba lined up Oilers left winger Lauri Korpikoski as he was exiting the zone and laid him out with a borderline hit: Read more