Five of this season’s most surprising success stories

Jared Clinton
Shayne Gostisbehere (Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

To say the expectations surrounding Vincent Lecavalier when he came in Los Angeles weren’t high would be an understatement.

In Philadelphia, Lecavalier was a healthy scratch more often than not and had contributed just 21 points over his final season and a half with the Flyers. His contract seemed a burden in Philadelphia and it looked like Lecavalier may retire sooner than he’d ever become a regular in the Flyers lineup again. So when Philadelphia swung him to Los Angeles, he seemed like a depth piece that could maybe help out, but wasn’t likely to make a difference for the Kings.

Much to everyone’s surprise, though, the 35-year-old center has found some offensive spark. In his past three games, he’s scored three goals and he’s up to four points with the Kings in six games. That’s great production from a veteran brought in with the hope he could be a half-decent depth contributor. If Lecavalier keeps it up, he could pot at least 20 points in the back half of the campaign, and it’d be hard to think of a more unlikely success story this campaign than Lecavalier’s.

Whether or not the former 50-goal scorer keeps up his scoring pace is to be seen so it’s too soon to crown him one of the great stories that no one saw coming. There are five players who have been unexpectedly turning heads this season, though. Read more

Watch Flyers’ Medvedev steals goal from Leafs’ Parenteau with last-second stick save

Jared Clinton
Evgeny Medvedev (via NHL/YouTube)

P-A Parenteau has struggled to find the back of the net with any consistency prior to this season, but he’s on his way to becoming a 20-goal scorer for the second time in his career. Through 44 games with the Maple Leafs, Parenteau has 11 goals, but he would have had 12 were it not for a last-ditch effort by Flyers defenseman Evgeny Medvedev.

At the tail end of a Toronto power play in the second period, the Maple Leafs executed a slick passing play that saw the puck go from Tyler Bozak behind the net to Brad Boyes at the side of the goal to Parenteau sitting across the crease. The quick passing sequence saw Philadelphia netminder Steve Mason down and out of position with Parenteau having a wide-open net to shoot at.

Parenteau pulled the trigger and released a low, hard shot, but Medvedev came out from behind the net, stuck out his stick and kicked out his foot to send the puck sailing out the other side: Read more

Watch Brayden Schenn lay out Torey Krug, drop the gloves with Kevan Miller

Jared Clinton
Brayden Schenn hits Torey Krug (via Hockey Fights/YouTube)

Philadelphia Flyers winger Brayden Schenn doesn’t have the prototypical power forward build. He’s barely over six feet tall and he weighs less than 200 pounds, but that doesn’t mean Schenn shies away from throwing his weight around.

Wednesday night, Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug felt every bit of Schenn’s ability to lay the body. Less than five minutes into the game, the Flyers dumped the puck into the Bruins’ zone and gave chase. Boston’s Ryan Spooner was the first to the puck and he shovelled it up the boards to Krug. But as soon as Krug went to turn up ice and make a play on the puck, he was met head on by the hit from Schenn: Read more

Prospect Need to Know: Sabres pick Will Borgen proud of his Spud roots

Will Borgen (photo courtesy of St. Cloud State)

I’m back from Finland and things are not slowing down. The home team took gold at the world juniors in one of the best games I’ve ever seen live and the talent overall was incredible in Helsinki. But a whole slew of trades have gone down in the CHL since we last gathered, while the USHL Top Prospects Game runs tonight in Omaha. Names to watch in Nebraska include Cam Morrison (Notre Dame commit), William Knierim (Miami) and Matt Filipe (Northeastern). As for everything else prospect, let’s get to the list.

 

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Flyers rookie Shayne Gostisbehere suffers lower-body injury

Jared Clinton
Shayne Gostisbehere (Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Shayne Gostisbehere didn’t start the season with the Philadelphia Flyers, but the rookie blueliner has quickly made himself a fixture of the starting lineup and has even put himself in the conversation for the Calder Trophy. Bad news struck Thursday night, though, as Gostisbehere was forced to leave the game with a lower-body injury.

The Flyers haven’t specified what is ailing Gostisbehere, but he did take a knee-on-knee hit in the first period of Thursday’s game from Wild captain Mikko Koivu. The hit left Gostisbehere down for a moment, and Koivu was whistled for tripping on the play: Read more

Kings betting on Lecavalier’s honesty and character and it’s a smart move

Vincent Lecavalier (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

If the Los Angeles Kings are betting on Vincent Lecavalier’s sense of integrity and his word, and they are, then they’re betting on the right guy. Lecavalier’s all-world talents have declined to be sure, but one thing that has not is his reputation of being a man of his word and an all-round stand-up person.

So when Lecavalier assured the Los Angeles Kings that he would retire after this season, thereby making it possible for the Kings to acquire him and defenseman Luke Schenn from the Philadelphia Flyers yesterday, that was obviously good enough for the Kings. Because the fact is, Lecavalier could throw this entire thing off the rails by waking up tomorrow morning or any other between now and the end of this season and decide he actually wants to keep playing beyond this season and there’s not a thing the Kings or Flyers could do about it.

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Kings acquire Vincent Lecavalier, Luke Schenn from Flyers for Jordan Weal, third-round pick

Jared Clinton
Vincent Lecavalier (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Vincent Lecavalier is going to get one last shot at chasing a Stanley Cup. The Los Angeles Kings announced Wednesday they have acquired Lecavalier and defenseman Luke Schenn from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for center Jordan Weal and a third-round pick in the 2016 draft.

Lecavalier, 35, had a trying tenure as a Philadelphia Flyer. Following a buyout by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2013, Lecavalier signed a five-year, $22.5-million deal with Philadelphia, but hasn’t been able to find a fit on the roster. In his first season with the club, Lecavalier had a decent season and was able to rack up 20 goals and 37 points in 69 games, but he slipped to eight goals and 20 points in 2014-15 while being forced to sit out more than a handful of games as a healthy scratch.

Things haven’t been much better for Lecavalier this season. He was scratched for the first eight games of the season and has been a healthy scratch 20 times this season. Lecavalier has also been out the past 11 games with a back injury. All told, the one-time 50-goal man has played just seven games this season and has one assist. Read more