Ehrhoff is doubtful for tomorrow's game. Look for Keith Ballard to draw in. Don't expect to see Aaron Rome, either. Could see Chris Tanev or Andrew Alberts.
Manny Malhotra continues to improve each day...
Sounds like if/when Winnipeg joins the league, they will stay in the Southeast for scheduling reasons. I'm sure those divisional road trips to Miami/Tampa will be a nice quick flight...
One free agent to watch - Jussi Jokinen. Carolina has been a good fit for him - can he play the same game and get more ice time elsewhere? He is very inconsistent and pretty soft - could work well with a big, strong center.
Want to clarify my comments re: McGinn hit. I said it was boneheaded, but I didn't say why (no, it isn't because I root for Vancouver). The hit was borderline boarding, but it wasn't dirty or malicious. I say boneheaded because he takes a healthy run while his team is up three goals late in the game.
McGinn will counter that he did his job (something he said to the papers today, injured two Canuck defensemen), but if the Canucks somehow score three on that PP and win the game in OT, he is the goat. Finishing checks is essential in the playoffs, but they must be reigned in a bit, especially when up three goals.
I didn't get to watch the Boston/TB game today - looking forward to checking it out now. Do the Lightning go with Smith? I think Roloson's leash is long enough to warrant another start.
Penalties galore in the Vancouver/San Jose game last night.
Dan Boyle had a great game recording two points, and he saw almost 14 minutes of PP time.
Joe Thornton is playing fantastic hockey right now - six points in the first three games, including three helpers last night.
Antti Niemi made several huge early game saves that ended up being the difference.
Second series in a row that Jamie McGinn has taken a boneheaded major penalty for charging/boarding/roughing/whatever you want to call it. Absolutely drilled Aaron Rome from behind, knocking out cold and out of the game. The Canucks got two goals on the powerplay.
Hamilton lives to play another day - they won again and are now down 3-2 in the series against Houston. Aaron Palushaj had another strong game. He'll get a look at Montreal training camp for a top nine spot on the wing. Small, but skilled and smart.
Kyle Woodlief is never one to shy away from making bold predictions with his draft rankings. I enjoy his stuff over at the Red Line Report. Check his May rankings out.
Chicago signed one goalie yesterday, and they continued that today and signed another. Alexander Salak signed a two-year deal. The first year is two-way, the second year is one-way (although I have also read that both years of the deal are one-way). Unless the Hawks want to bring a veteran in to back Crawford up, Salak should be the frontrunner for the position.
More Prospect Report treats from previous years…
Claude Giroux, RW
The diminutive left-winger finished fourth in QMJHL scoring last season. Blessed with tons of hockey sense, blazing speed and great hands, Giroux would fit right in on a Philly team that has an abundance of size. The main reason that holds a small player back is the fact that the NHL team already has a small player on a scoring line. In the case of the Flyers, there is no such player.
For that reason, the 19-year-old dynamo will not have to wait as long as his undersized brethren – he has a shot right away. Put the odds at 25 per cent for the coming year and assume that Giroux will be a regular for sure by 2008-09. Whichever year is his rookie campaign, he is a Calder candidate. He was a steal last year at 22nd overall – he probably should have been closer to 12 or 15.
Potential: Paul Kariya (in Nashville) (45-50-95, 60 PIM)
Rich Peverley, C
Peverley is a late bloomer. He was never drafted, but started to put up solid offensive numbers in the NCAA in his sophomore year. Consistent big numbers in the ECHL earned him a call to the AHL, where he didn’t miss a beat. Suddenly, 131 AHL games and 114 points later and his hard work has paid off – a call to the big club. He will have to work hard to keep the momentum going, but a good showing in this fall’s camp could earn him a job as the third-line center. From there, with (injury-prone) Jason Arnott and (Band-Aid boy) David Legwand ahead of him, who knows how well this guy can do? There are a lot of ifs. A LOT of ifs, but he should be watched.
Potential: With a few bounces, second-line center (30-35-65, 70 PIM).
Michal Neuvirth, G
While terribly inconsistent throughout an OHL career, poor play wasn't the reason for 2006 second pick Michal Neuvirth's three-team experience in 2007-08. Indeed, it was simply a case of him being too good. A Plymouth Whaler in 2006-07, Neuvirth became the victim of a numbers game in net that many blamed for the team's poor Memorial Cup showing. Determined to hand over the reigns to Preds prospect Jeremy Smith ASAP, the Whalers chose not to wait for the February trade deadline, and instead sent him to Windsor for the best package available. Windsor, in turn, took advantage; a young team with little chance of contending, the Spitfires flipped Neuvirth to Oshawa in January for a better package.
While a poor performer for the Generals, Neuvirth is AHL-eligible in 2008- 09 and has little to prove at the OHL level. He’ll be ready in two years; he’s not that far away.
Upside: Star starter
Certainty (NHLer; Upside): 75%, 60%
Alex Goligoski, D
Just when poolies had things figured out in terms of the future of the blueline in Pittsburgh, along comes this guy. With Sergei Gonchar signed for two more years, Ryan Whitney given a monster long-term contract, and Kris Letang starting to look like the real deal, where does Goligoski fit in? After a slow start in the AHL, the 22-year old picked up two points during a three-game stint in Pittsburgh. He had a strong finish for Wilkes-Barre, but absolutely exploded in the postseason with 14 points in the first 10 games in leading the team to the final four.
He is NHL ready, but the Penguins already have three defensemen capable of manning the power play. Goligoski is a trade candidate, or he could also come in and steal some of Whitney’s PP time. Until Gonchar’s contract runs out, things will be confusing with this situation – but if you can get lucky with whichever rearguard you go with, the dividends could be huge.
Upside: No. 3 defenseman, PP QB (15-45-60+)
Certainty (NHLer; Upside): 90%; 45%