The playoffs are almost upon us in major junior, while the NCAA conference tournaments are in full swing. Since some teams have already been eliminated, early signing season has begun too, with Brandon Montour leaving UMass for Anaheim and Ben Hutton ending his career in Maine to ink a deal with Vancouver. More are sure to come, but until then, here’s a look around the world of prospects.
Senators goalie Andrew Hammond continued his tremendous play Sunday night with a 2-1 shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers – and one of his adoring fans in Ottawa paid tribute to the man known as “The Hamburglar” by throwing a hamburger onto the ice at Canadian Tire Centre.
The 27-year-old Hammond, who improved his record this season to 10-0-1 with the win over Philly, stopped 27 of 28 Flyers shots in regulation and overtime, then shut out the trio of Jake Voracek, Wayne Simmonds and captain Claude Giroux in the shootout to keep the Sens within five points of the Boston Bruins for the final wild card playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. For his hard work, an Ottawa fan saluted him with a reference to his now legendary nickname: Read more
The NHL spotlight shines hotter for goaltenders than it does any other position player in the league, and while that pressure can be a burden, it can also produce some incredible feel-good stories.
Setting aside the typical injuries and starter/backup drama we see every season, there’ve been some pretty amazing goalie stories this year. Here are five goalies who you can’t help but feel happy for.
Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman is known as one of the hardest-working GMs in the NHL, and in the wee hours of Monday morning, he showed why by pulling off two separate trades that address both his team’s present and future: the first sent blueliner Radko Gudas and Tampa’s first-and-third-round draft picks in 2015 to Philadelphia for veteran defenseman Braydon Coburn; the second moved out young right winger Brett Connolly to Boston for the Bruins’ second-round draft picks in both 2015 and 2016.
The Coburn/Gudas deal has the more immediate impact on the Bolts, as the 30-year-old Coburn comes in and adds depth, edge and post-season experience to a defense corps that already was formidable thanks to players such as Victor Hedman, Anton Stralman and Matt Carle. Coburn’s average ice time of 20:14 in 39 games for Philly this year is down more than two minutes from last season (22:27), but he’s a big body (6-foot-5) and he’s got enough snarl left in him to make up for the loss of Gudas, who had been lost for what was presumed to be the rest of the season after knee surgery in January. Coburn also is signed through next season at a manageable $4.5 million salary cap hit, and his 72 games of playoff experience are going to help Tampa once the regular-season ends. Read more
Steve Mason’s favorite player in the entire league as of Saturday night is New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider. Why, you ask? Kreider saved Mason from officially allowing a laugher from center ice, that’s why.
Just seven seconds in to Saturday’s game against the Rangers, Derek Stepan collected a loose puck in the neutral zone, spun and rifled it down into Philadelphia’s zone. The puck then skipped, hopped, bounced, dipped, dove and found its way through Mason and into the net.
Judging by Mason’s reaction after allowing the goal, Kreider might be getting a gift from a secret admirer in the next couple of days. Watch the goal below: Read more
Early during the first period of Chicago’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Blackhawks announced that they have acquired defenseman Kimmo Timonen from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a 2015 second-round pick and conditional fourth-round pick in 2016.
The trade comes just days after the Blackhawks lost blueliner Johnny Oduya to an upper-body injury and winger Patrick Kane to a broken clavicle. Timonen, 39, hasn’t suited up all season due to blood clots in his legs, but recently took the ice again with the Flyers for practice leading some to believe he could be back on the ice as soon as this week. Read more
With the Eastern Conference about as wide open as it gets in the parity-laden NHL, the trade deadline could be huge in the Metropolitan Division. Who knows if, come deadline day, a GM from one of the three main contenders swings a deal that changes their team’s fate.
The New York Islanders made their biggest splash in the off-season, trading for blueliners Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy, the latter of whom was signed to a seven-year extension on Tuesday. The New York Rangers are right at the top of the standings thanks to a red hot Rich Nash. And the Pittsburgh Penguins… well, the Penguins have two guys by the name of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin who can be game breakers at any time. But don’t count out the Capitals.
Even the lowly Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets are making some noise heading into the deadline, which could make the Metropolitan extremely active come deadline day. Read more