THN Trade Deadline preview: Metropolitan Division

(Andy Marlin/Getty Images)

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

Eric Lindros files lawsuit against Huffington Post, former referee

Jared Clinton
lindros-136301606

Eric Lindros has filed a $250,000 lawsuit against former NHL referee Paul Stewart and the Huffington Post following a column written by Stewart that ran on the news website.

The column Lindros has taken umbrage with was posted on July 16, 2014 and outlined run-ins Stewart allegedly had with Lindros. One of the incidents that Stewart wrote about saw Lindros tear up autographed posters that the former referee had gotten signed for donation to a charity auction. Read more

Flyers’ rebound puts them in tempting spot as trade deadline nears – but they need to stay patient

Adam Proteau
Claude Giroux (Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

With just one regulation time loss in their past 13 games, the Philadelphia Flyers have played themselves back into the Eastern Conference playoff race. And this is where it gets tricky, because of who the Flyers are as an organization: under the ownership of Ed Snider, a hunger for winning permeates the franchise, but that can be to its benefit as well as its detriment. Despite being an above-average identifier and developer of young talent, Philadelphia has been quick to turn over its roster as fans often are when changing their fantasy hockey team. But as Snider told THN in October, the process that led to the team’s only two Stanley Cup wins in the 1970s was one of patience with its youth, and he vowed GM Ron Hextall would have full backing on a slow build back to being a powerhouse and legitimate championship contender.

That would have been so much easier if Philly had began the calendar year 2015 as poorly as they played in the 2014 part of the ’14-15 campaign. But in starting the season 14-18-7, the Flyers dug themselves a massive crater to climb out of in the second half. Captain Claude Giroux & Co. get full credit for the resolve it takes to scratch and claw their way back to where they are at the moment – four points behind the Boston Bruins for the final wild card berth in the East – but it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if, instead of making a trade or two for a veteran to help them in the here and now, management and ownership simply stayed the course with their youngsters. And that goes regardless of whether they wind up making the playoffs this year. Read more

How the Flyers’ post-break play has them in the playoff picture

Jared Clinton
Rob Zepp and the Philadelphia Flyers celebrate their victory over the Nashville Predators (Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

On Jan. 22, as players went their separate ways for the all-star break, the Philadelphia Flyers sat 12 points out of a playoff spot, had gone on a five-game losing streak less than a month earlier and their hopes for postseason hockey looked bleak.

Now, one month later, the Flyers sit just four points back of a wild-card spot. Once trailing each of Toronto, Ottawa, Florida, Boston and Washington in the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia now only sits one point behind Florida and are hot on the tail of the Boston Bruins. They’ve leapt past Ottawa and Toronto and have taken a point out of 11 of their last 12 games.

Could Philadelphia complete one of the more improbably post-all-star break turnarounds in recent memory and make the playoffs? Flyers GM Ron Hextall has made it clear he’s not willing to mortgage the team’s future at the trade deadline and that he’s not going to be a buyer. But even without the help from the trade market, the Flyers have a serious shot at making it. So, what has been the reason the huge turnaround? Read more

Rumor Roundup: Blackhawks, Flyers, Senators and Hurricanes trade buzz

Chicago Blackhawks Clint Reif featured

The Chicago Blackhawks remain among this season’s Stanley Cup contenders, but they face some difficult decisions regarding their salary-cap space for 2015-16. With nearly $65 million invested in 14 players and uncertainty over the projected cap ceiling, the Blackhawks face shedding salary in order to reach the 23-man roster limit.

Defensive depth has also become an issue this season for the Blackhawks. Though they possess the league’s best penalty kill, they’re 15th in shots-against per game. Sloppy defensive play has proven costly in several games, prompting speculation the Hawks could shop for a blueliner. Read more

Ray Emery may not be so young anymore, but he can still rob you of a goal

Adam Proteau
Ray Emery (Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

Veteran Flyers goalie Ray Emery is a 10-year NHL veteran who will turn 33 in September. But as he showed in spectacularly robbing Buffalo’s Tyler Ennis of a shootout goal Thursday in Philadelphia, Emery has still got the capability of rising to the occasion and getting the job done.

The Sabres and Flyers were tied at two goals apiece after overtime, and with Philly still within six points of the final wild card berth in the Eastern Conference playoff race, the extra point mattered for the home team. That urgency was reflected in Emery’s play when Ennis stepped up to take Buffalo’s third shootout shot of the night: Read more

Flyers, Nick Schultz reach two-year, $4.5 million deal

Jared Clinton
Nick Schultz (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Take another defenseman off the market come trade deadline day. The Philadelphia Flyers and Nick Schultz have come to terms on a two-year deal worth $2.25 million per season.

In 55 games with the Flyers this season, Schultz has registered two goals and 13 points, while skating just over 19 minutes per night. Schultz, 32, was originally signed by the Flyers in the off-season to a one-year, $1.25 million contract. The signing comes just days after word came that the Flyers and Schutlz were working on an extension. Talk about a quick negotiation. Read more