Blake Wheeler has 13 points in his last six games. Wow.
Lost in the amazing season from Malkin, and the concussion issues surrounding Crosby, is Jordan Staal. He's having a great season - scoring goals at a 40-goal pace (over a full season). Not many assists, but he's not really playing with much on his wings.
According to Pierre Lebrun, the Kings made a significant offer to Columbus for both Carter and Nash. Which has me guessing... what was it? Brown, Johnson, Bernier, futures? Any guesses?
Cory Schneider was fantastic for the Canucks in New Jersey last night. Not much else to report from a pretty tight-checking game.
Life after Carter for Columbus is going much like life with Carter. The Jackets were shut out 5-0 by Colorado last night.
David Jones did well to boost his trade value, scoring twice and adding an assist.
Steve Downie had two points, as did my pick for the Calder, Gabriel Landeskog.
Erik Johnson has points in five of his last six games.
Tom Wandell scored twice for the Stars last night. Even without Jamie Benn, he played less than 13 minutes.
It is rare I have no idea who a player is, but that is the case with Ryan Garbutt, who played last night for Dallas.
Columbus has waived defenseman Grant Clitsome - he'll likely get claimed. The Islanders have waived Brian Rolston.
The Rangers have shipped winger Wojtek Wolski to the Florida Panthers. Analysis will be up later on today.
The Canucks have placed Keith Ballard on the long-term injury reserve, freeing up his salary to use on a replacement ($4.2 million). They will definitely be using it - will be an interesting next couple of days.
Call me crazy, but I like the Hemsky signing (two years, $10 million total) for Edmonton. A few reasons:
1. The shorter term is great. Doesn’t have any effect on long-term situations for Nugent-Hopkins, Hall, or Eberle. The team could have likely gone four years at $4 million per (just a guess, of course).
2. When healthy, Hemsky is a really good player. He’s also a right winger, a position the Oilers are very thin at.
3. The Oilers weren’t getting a better player via trade or free agency for comparable money.
I mentioned yesterday how Andrei Loktionov is the loser in the Carter trade – the Kings have to find a way to get the kid some ice time before he thinks about leaving to go back to Russia. He’s really skilled and doesn’t have much left to prove at the AHL level. He’s been tried on the wing, but he is better up the middle. It will be interesting to see how they handle him – one would think a team starved for goals would give a skilled young player a long look after he showed some initial success.
Some minor news to pass along – Nashville traded depth forward Jerred Smithson to Florida for a 6th round draft pick. Smithson is a gritty checking line forward who has absolutely no fantasy relevance.
The Kings re-signed Willie Mitchell to a two-year extension (cap hit of $3.5 million). He’s a rock defensively and has shown no effects of the serious concussion he suffered in Vancouver a few years ago.
Is America’s best college hockey player from Texas? Find out here. Austin Smith is a 23-year-old senior at Colgate (the Dallas Stars hold his rights after drafting him late back in 2007, of course). He has 33 goals in 32 games to lead the entire country in scoring – 10 more goals than any other player. Pretty impressive stuff.
Copper and Blue’s title of their latest piece says it all – ‘Jack Johnson is Not Good.’
Some interesting quotes… this is from Kings GM Dean Lombardi from back in early 2010:
"Jack was a thoroughbred out there. But he was all over the place. He was awful as a hockey player. As an athlete, you’re going, wow! Look at the way he skates, shoots, he can pass. But he had no idea where he was going. At times, he was playing forward at Michigan. You had no idea what position he was playing. But he had always been the star and he always got his numbers. Then he turns pro and for the first time, we’re telling him ‘whoa, just make the first pass and learn to play in your own end.’ How about making a read in your own end about the right guy to pick up? He was awful."
“So there you have it. Jack Johnson has some power play ability and a big reputation. He's a black hole who drags down his teammates at even strength.”
I’d give the piece a read. Obviously Johnson may thrive in a new situation, but pretty telling statistical evidence is offered.
Pierre Lebrun put together a really good piece for ESPN on PK Subban a few days ago. I forgot to pass it along… until now. I really like PK – he’s great for the game. He has some maturing to do, obviously, but a 22 year old with his skill set and personality is going to have some ups and downs in a magnified market like Montreal.
"I want to be one of the best defensemen that's ever played in the NHL," Subban said. "I want to be like Nick Lidstrom and be able to have that presence on and off the ice. That comes with time. Every day that goes by I understand that sometimes it's experience, things take time, you can't push it. You want to be that guy but you just have to go about your daily job and next thing you know, one day you will be that guy. But it takes time. I'm enjoying every moment of it. Hopefully one day I can be as successful as a guy like Lidstrom."
Rhys Richards takes a look at the Quincey reacquisition by Detroit – clever title, too.
“While an understated trade now, Quincey could very well play like he did in the 2007 playoffs, re-sign this off-season, then slot into the top four when Stuart signs somewhere on the West Coast as expected. Quincey will likely require a slight raise on the $3.25 million he is making this season. If Stuart departs and Quincey re-signs and plays like he did in Los Angeles, Holland and Detroit’s brass will be thanked yet again by Red Wings fans.”
I enjoyed reading Martin Brodeur’s insights from yesterday on Roberto Luongo, dealing with pressure, and more. I’d recommend spending a few minutes to read some wisdom from one of the best ever.
“I’ll take that any day for that one opportunity to win a Stanley Cup. I’ve lost one to Colorado (in 2001) and I lost a Game 7 in double overtime against the Rangers (in the 1994 conference finals) and you know what? There’s a lot of good things you do. You need to learn how to lose sometimes in a way to be able to win. This guy has everything for him. He has a good team. He’s got a good coach, a good system in front of him. It’s just a matter of being patient and not worrying too much.”
Brodeur also offers some glowing praise for Cory Schneider (who he faced off against last night):
“He’s one of the young, great goalies that we have in the league,” said Brodeur, who will start for the Devils tonight. “I think he’s going to be in demand pretty soon. A lot of teams will look at this guy to be the next coming if you can’t get somebody off of the draft and I think Vancouver knows they have a great asset in him and they keep playing him in good games also to try to keep him sharp.”