Darryl Sutter has stepped down as Calgary's GM. I think we can all agree - he didn't have the vision. The prospect pool was pretty bare when he went in (I'd give it a 2 out of 10) and it's pretty bare now (I'd give it a 3 out of 10). His top centers are 60-point players if they had a huge huge second half, Jay Bouwmeester is a No.3 defenseman who is paid like a No.1, and the cap space is non-existent. So no help is on the way. In fact, if the Flames had a fire sale, shed salary and got younger - they would probably be a better team.
St. Louis has signed winger Marek Svatos as an unrestricted free agent, a two-way deal. He will need to clear waivers before he joins the Blues. He will clear waivers, because he sucks. What you'll see is an early spark - probably six goals and two assists in his first nine games. This will be followed by two goals and two assists in his next 10 games. And then 10 games with just one goal. That's when the healthy scratches/AHL demotions will start. Favorite these ramblings and refer to them at the trade deadline and let me know how I did.
Rene Bourque has just three points in his last nine games. A streaky player, he will soon put together a big eight-game I'm run I'm sure. The problem is - no linemates. Morrison sucks and Glencross is a third liner.
Morrison has five points in his last 19 games and that's probably as hot a run as you'll get, going forward. I remember saying after they signed him: "he had 16 points in the first 20 games last campaign, so an early hot start is feasible. If you're going to pick him up, do it now and trade him within three weeks. In the last 54 games he had just 26 points and was a healthy scratch several times."
Matt Stajan has two points in nine games and his ice time has slipped into the 10-minute range. With Olli Jokinen starting to produce (nine points in nine games), I'm not sure if Stajan can ever get back on track enough to get 45 points.
Jiri Hudler got his chance and he took full advantage of it. Taking Cleary's spot on the line with Bertuzzi and Filppula, Hudler rang off a couple of points and saw some PP time to boot. I reinstate my "pick him up" suggestion.
Nick Lidstrom - four points last night. His second four-point night in seven games. How old is he again? He is on pace for 74 points.
Jan Mursak played just 6:55 in his first career NHL game. He is the NHL's second Slovenian - Kopitar is the other one.
Mats Zuccarello picked up his first career NHL point, an assist, in the big 7-2 win.
Since returning from his string of healthy scratches, Matt Gilroy has three points and is plus-4. The team is 1-0-1 and has scored 10 times. Look for Torterella to ride that and continue to dress Gilroy and give him secondary PP time. He's worth a short-term pick up for sure.
Just what the doctor ordered for Steve Mason. A goal-challenged opponent and Jose Theodore in the opposing net. That's practically a guaranteed win and no more than two goals allowed. Well, Mason allowed three, but close enough. He has a W - just his second one in five weeks.
Give Michael Frolik 10 points in his last 10 games.
Top producers of the last month:
St. Louis 18
That "Brown" name really jumps out.
Steven Stamkos: 38 points in 22 games, and christened a part of the Big 4, entering the stratosphere currently populated by Crosby, Malkin and Ovechkin. Since then - 12 points in 14 games. By comparison, Marty St. Louis has 18 points in that span.
It's important that we treat the Big 3 as the Big 3 in keeper leagues that don't require positions. Why? Because they currently have the ability to post the points of 1.5 players and yet take only one roster spot. And they have the ability to one day produce like 2.0 players. You fill the rest of your roster with dime-a-dozen players and you'll still compete for the win. Just because you own one of the Big 3. In this format (points only, no positional requirements), they are gold and nobody touches them.
As for Marty St. Louis - he doesn't get enough respect. I'm as guilty as the next guy. Vincent Lecavalier goes nutty three years ago and I have him among the elite. Stamkos does it this year and - same result. But what's the common denominator? St. Louis. Lecavalier fades, and I blame his injuries, but I also need to consider that he no longer has St. Louis on his wing. Martin St. Louis is making superstars out of stars. He could make a Matt Stajan or a Tyler Bozak into 80-point players.
Brian Boyle, with three points last night, has eight in his last six and 17 in his last 25. He's also posted a tidy plus-6 in his last six games and is on pace for about 80 PIM. With his ice time now consistently up over 15 minutes, I think we can trust him to keep producing at a reasonable rate.
Jason Williams (remember him?) has signed a tryout agreement with the Connecticut Whale of the AHL.
The word on Jason Spezza is six weeks with his shoulder injury, but no surgery required. The Sens are in dire straits right now. With Chris Kelly playing so well, look for him to finally see some PP time and try and build on that momentum. He may be worth a pickup now if you need a No.4 pivot.
The Devils have recalled Vladimir Zharkov finally. I think he was sent down for cap reasons, as he should have made this team in the first place. He has 18 points in 29 games for Albany.
Steve Sullivan is out for two weeks with an LBI. The Preds have signed Chris Mueller, who has been playing well for Milwaukee. He has 20 points in 33 AHL games, second on the team. I don't expect much from him. I do however like Linus Klasen on a line with Sergei Kostitsyn. I can see those two doing nice things.
Out of the Max Pacioretty shadow, Montreal prospect David Desharnais was the AHL player of the week last week. He had five points in two games, including two shorthanded goals.
Don't forget - the Midseason Guide is out in 10 days. I'll also put out an addendum to it a week later. And I'm still selling last year's Midseason Guide for two bucks if you want to preview what you're getting without shelling out the dough.
Patrick Kane is probable for tonight.
Jordin Tootoo has entered the NHL's substance abuse program.
David Legwand is probable for tonight's contest.
Steve Downie (ankle) still has not practiced with the team.
Interesting - Jakub Voracek was a healthy scratch last night for the Jackets.
Sharks/Kings highlights - CHECK OUT ABOUT 2:14 IN - WOW!