In my latest for the Canucks Army, I take a look at some top four defensemen who could become available at the trade deadline in a few months.
Jeff Skinner could have had six or seven points last night. He absolutely dominated every single shift against the Edmonton defense. He finished with a goal and eight shots in over 17 minutes of ice time.
Devan Dubnyk really struggled, as did the defense in front of him.
Justin Faulk and Jamie McBain both played over 20 minutes, and both saw a steady dose of PP time as well. Faulk doesn't even turn 20 years old until next March.
Tomas Kaberle played more PP time than both (over five minutes), and he recorded two helpers. About as "buy low" as you can get here.
Amazing how much can change in a few months. Back in the spring, Gragnani was playing a huge role as an offensive catalyst down the stretch and in round one for the Sabres. He has been a defensive nightmare this season, and his turnover in OT last night was the cherry on top.
A fresh start or a demotion would do him some good. Buffalo is relying on some youth (Brayden McNabb is up with the team too) because of some injuries, most notably to Tyler Myers.
The Crosby news is extremely concerning to me. He passed baseline tests, but the team is sitting him out for two games. This isn’t merely precautionary. Precautionary would be having him sit out practice. These are important games that count towards the standings.
After watching the hit on Tuesday night, 4-6 weeks with an MCL sprain is great news for David Booth and the Canucks. Kevin Porter hung his leg out and Booth’s knee buckled in a very ugly way.
Montreal wrecking ball defenseman Alexei Emelin is on pace for over 300 hits. To put that total in perspective, Luke Schenn led all NHL defensemen with 251 hits last season. There were only seven defensemen with 200 or more hits in 2010-11.
An MCL sprain is eons better and more manageable than a torn ligament (especially ACL, which was my prediction after seeing the knee hyperextend). With Booth out…
I’d expect Hansen, Raymond, and Higgins to rotate on the second line with Ryan Kesler. Hansen has looked great lately, and Higgins has been great all season.
Claude Giroux won 11 of the 17 draws he took. Oh, and he also had four points and now leads the NHL in scoring.
The Jagr experiment has been a huge success so far in Philadelphia. Jagr scored a beauty last night and was involved in a lot of offense.
Calder candidate Matt Read scored his 11th of the season.
Christian Ehrhoff had a rough game. He played almost 30 minutes, but was the goat on a few goals. The Sabres are playing him too much. He excelled in Vancouver because he was put in a role where he thrived (protected shorthanded, put with stars at even strength, and given a heavy PP workload).
Voracek had an assist – his first point in four games.
Ville Leino looked good last night (two points). Dobber made the point on Twitter – perhaps he needs more size on his line to open some ice up? He thrived in Philly with Scott Hartnell, and he played with Kassian and Adam last night.
Ovechkin scored a beauty late in the game, and he seemed like a different player after. He was more involved physically, and had that old “shoot from everywhere” mentality back.
He also got away with a spear on Chris Neil. Not only did Ovechkin avoid penalty, but Neil got two for diving on the play – reputation call, much?
A significant portion of Nick Foligno’s goals are of the highlight reel variety. Evidence below.
John Carlson had three points (his second consecutive three-point game), four shots on goal, and played over 27 minutes. He and Wideman are seeing a lot of ice time with Green still on the shelf.
Zack Smith continues to produce. He’s a gritty forward but he’s pretty skilled offensively, as well. His production this season is reflecting a bigger role, as well as more consistent ice time.
With Setoguchi out for a while (no set determination yet), look for Nick Johnson and Casey Wellman to see bigger roles with the team.
Michael Sauer is out with a concussion after Dion Phaneuf rocked him into another galaxy on Tuesday. Anton Stralman will take his spot (although the two defensemen play very different roles).
Mikael Samuelsson is likely playing for the Panthers tonight (put your hand up if you had completely forgotten about him).
Foligno's goal from last night: