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Welcome back to another edition of the Betway Bets of the Day!

The Bets of the Day are brought to you by NHL odds site Betway!

Our first bet of the day will be taking Nathan MacKinnon to take over 4.5 shots on goal. These odds sit at -134.

Nathan MacKinnon loves to shoot the puck, there’s no denying that. The super star has taken 269 shots so far this season, averaging 4.72 per game. While it’s down from the staggering 5.15 he took last year, it’s still an elite number and over his last 25 games, his 13.1 shots per hour are third among regular forwards playing tonight. Given the Avalanche’s matchup against the Detroit Red Wings, a team that allows the seventh most shots per hour this season, this is a spot I love tonight.


THE BETS OF THE DAY ARE PRESENTED BY BETWAY


Our second bet of the day will be taking Sidney Crosby to take over 3.5 shots on goal. These odds sit at -134.

He may not be able to do it, but Sidney Crosby is going to do his damnest to drag the Pittsburgh Penguins into the playoffs. Crosby, who has a great matchup against the Montreal Canadiens tonight, has taken 9.8 shots per hour in his last 25 games, most among all Pens forwards, while the Habs have given up the third most shots against per hour this season.

Record: 75-93 (-12.95u, -7.35 ROI%)

Yesterday: 2-1 (+.59u, +19.67 ROI%)
Last 7: 4-8 (-5.61u, -43.16 ROI%)
Last 30: 18-33 (-17.78u, -3039 ROI%)
2022-23 season: 155-149 (+16.82u, +5.55 ROI%)

*Odds available at the time of publishing and are subject to change. All suggested bets are for one unit unless otherwise noted.


Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.


Was it a legal hit? Will the NHL hand out a suspension? How does the appeal process work? Who is the heavyweight champ? Every Tuesday, Ryan Pinder & former NHLer Jay Rosehill are in your Department of Discipline. Tune in to catch their takes on some of the most scrutinized parts of hockey. Check it out and subscribe to catch the latest episodes!

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Auston Matthews has been getting a lot of the spotlight lately, which is great, but at some point, the spotlight gets to be a little too much. That’s why, tonight, he decided to tone things down a little by scoring only one goal.

The rest of the team, on the other hand, looked like the ‘96 Chicago Bulls. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs are going streaking, folks. And what better way to put a firm stamp on the notion that you’re serious about winning than by beating the reigning cup champions 7-3 in their own barn?

You would think that on a night like this, the usual suspects were all over the board. Perhaps a hat trick from Matthews, a trio of assists from Mitch Marner, maybe one or two goals from William Nylander. Instead, the goals came from the second line, the third line, the fourth line, and the shutdown defensive pairing. 

Not to be outdone by his fellow teammate competing for ice time in Bobby McMann, Pontus Holmberg had himself his best game of the season. All night, he was driving the play on a line that made the once-unplayable duo of Ryan Reaves and David Kampf look like pro bowlers. He scored an insurance goal in the second period (a filthy goal too, he always seems to get those) and assisted on Matthews’ modest 52nd goal in 55 games on the season. 

Also deserving of a shoutout is Max Domi, who’s given the Leafs’ middle six a spark they’ve desperately needed for a while. It took a bit for him to find his footing, starting off on the wing and eventually working his way into a heavily-sheltered third-line centre role, but lately, he’s been looking a lot like the guy the Leafs thought they were getting when they signed him in July. He added two goals tonight and his willingness to battle for his teammates and stand up for them when things get physical has been on full display over the past couple of games. While it took longer than some people probably hoped, it would appear as though Sheldon Keefe has found his optimal lines. 

Morgan Rielly’s return to the lineup was THE main headline heading into this game, but there’s not really much to say about his return. He didn’t necessarily look great alongside William Lagesson tonight, but it was a necessary price to pay in order to keep the other two defensive pairings together. The Simon Benoit-Jake McCabe unit has been a strong one since they started skating together, and two players who have had their ups and downs all season in Timothy Liljegren and T.J. Brodie have suddenly found their groove alongside each other. Probably best to assume your longest-tenured player can handle a little bit of time with a new partner until the trade deadline comes. 

Needless to say, the Leafs have been playing their most impressive brand of hockey over this stretch of games. Not just in the wins themselves, but the way they’re getting them. They’re scoring goals early and holding their leads, they’re standing up for each other when things get physical, and they’re tightening up their mistakes defensively. How far they can take this thing remains to be seen, but they’re not going to lose many games playing the way they did Thursday night.

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The Calgary Flames got back into the win column on Thursday night. Facing the powerhouse Boston Bruins, the Flames had a great start and then leaned on their goaltender, ultimately beating the Bruins by a 3-2 score in overtime after one heck of a period of extra time.

Your pals Cami Kepke and Rhett Warrener broke everything down on Thursday edition of the FlamesNation After Burner.

Make sure to subscribe to the FlamesNation YouTube channel for all your favourite Flames audio and video content! Subscribe so you never miss your favourites!

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In a surprising move, the Tampa Bay Lightning placed forward Alex Barré-Boulet on waivers this morning, as reported by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. 

Barré-Boulet wouldn’t hurt the Canucks’ salary cap thanks to his near-league minimum contract that expires at the end of this season, a deal that carries a cap hit of just $758,333.

With only 12 goals and 18 points in his young 68-game NHL career, the 26-year-old is still finding his way in the NHL. He has shown flashes this season, registering six goals and nine points in 36 games. 

Here are a handful of his stats at 5-on-5:

In the limited ice time that Barré-Boulet has played this year—roughly 10:07 per game—his individual contributions are impressive, especially at 5-on-5. Despite his frame, he’s a forward in the top 5 or 10 of multiple statistical categories you’d want a league-minimum forward to lead in while playing in your lineup at 5-on-5.

  • Individual expected goals created per 60 (iXG/60): 6th
  • Individual unblocked shots attempted per 60 (iFF/60): 9th
  • Individual scoring chances created per 60 (iSCF/60): 7th
  • Individual high-danger scoring chances created per-60 (iHDCF/60): 5th
  • Takeaways/60: 6th
  • Penalties drawn/60: 12th
  • Giveaways/60: 11th

Where Barré-Boulet falls short is his lack of hits and penalty killing while being an extremely low rate-shooter with a low volume of rush attempts and rebounds created at 5-on-5. HockeyViz.com shows that most of his attempts on goal at 5-on-5 have come from the dirty areas around the net—

You can see in this clip how Barré-Boulet uses his small, slick frame to sneak past defenders to crash the net and how he’s rewarded with a goal.

Barré-Boulet has shown he can play up and down the Lightning’s lineup. He has spent most of his time in a bottom-six role but has also played on a top-line featuring Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov. 

Playing with two premiere players will bump your offensive numbers, but he wasn’t dragging them down, either.

Though brief, the Lightning had a slightly better control of expected goals (xGF%), scoring chances (SCF%) and high-danger scoring chances (HDCF%) with Point and Kucherov playing with Barré-Boulet on their line than they did with that duo playing with Steven Stamkos, their most frequent linemate at even-strength this season. 

While nothing is guaranteed, it’s proof of concept that, in a pinch, Barré-Boulet could chip in on top-six spot duty, like Sam Lafferty or Phil Di Giuseppe did earlier this year in the Canucks’ top-six.

The Canucks have shown interest in picking up a potential cost-efficient depth already, with Phil Kessel continuing to practice with the Abbostford Canucks.

What is most attractive about an addition like Barré-Boulet is the acquisition cost. It costs the Canucks nothing but a little bit of their salary cap, even if only temporary, to add a potential energy boost to an anemic power play and a forward group that is only now being tested by injuries.

Let’s be honest: Vancouver’s forward core has gotten fairly lucky with the injury bug this season, only now just missing games from Dakota Joshua and his upper body injury. The playoffs are right around the corner, and the added physicality of games means having players like Kessel and Barré-Boulet in the reserves could be the difference between an abrupt playoff run and a lengthy one.

With the current waiver rules, it’s a longshot to expect the Canucks to actually land Barré-Boulet, as they have the lowest claim priority due to their place as top seed in the NHL standings.

Darn. Champagne problems!

There’s a chance he goes unclaimed. This isn’t the first time that Barré-Boulet has been thrown on waivers by the Lightning, so either the league is wise to what he brings to the table and passes through unclaimed, or Vancouver takes a swing and wins the coveted Barré-Boulet sweepstakes. 

So what do you think Canucks fans? Would you put in a claim for Alexander Barré-Boulet if you were the Canucks?

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Edmonton Oilers prospect Philip Broberg is dealing with a deep bruise that is expected to keep him out of the AHL Bakersfield Condors lineup for “a few weeks.”

This is according to Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli, who reported the news of Broberg’s injury on Thursday.

Broberg, 22, was injured in a Feb. 10th game with the Condors taking on the San Jose Barracuda. The injury happened early in the second period of that game, when Broberg went to retrieve a puck behind the Condors net.

As he touched the puck, he was bowled over by a forechecking Barracuda forward.

Broberg has been a significant story for the Oilers this season as their top-ranked prospect. He played just 10 games through the first two months of the season in the NHL, struggling to break into the lineup and earn a consistent spot. Reports surfaced that the Oilers granted he and his agent the ability to seek a trade, but nothing has materialized despite other reports suggesting that Edmonton could trade him in a package to clear Jack Campbell’s salary off the books.

The Oilers, however, don’t appear eager to move on from Broberg as a prospect, going so far as telling teams they aren’t willing to move him for a rental. He was, after all, Ken Holland’s first draft pick with the eighth overall pick in 2019.


THE NHL NOTEBOOK IS PRESENTED BY BETWAY


Stone heads to IR

The Vegas Golden Knights have placed winger Mark Stone on the injured reserve.

It comes days after the veteran was injured during the second period of a Tuesday game against the Nashville Predators. According to Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli, the injury is a lacerated spleen, and the team has said it will keep him out on a “week-to-week” basis.

Stone, 31, has remained healthy up to this point of the season for the first time in recent years, scoring 16 goals and 53 points in 56 games. Last year, he dealt with a back injury that kept him out of over half the season freeing up the cap space that allowed the Golden Knights to acquire Ivan Barbashev, Teddy Blueger and Jonathan Quick ahead of the deadline.

There’s no word yet if Stone will land on the long-term injured reserve, which would clear his $9.5-million off Vegas’ books and open up the ability to add a big-name player.

Seravalli reported that the “ever-aggressive” Golden Knights have been “active in seeking an impact winger” even before Stone’s injury, so they can’t be ignored as the trade market heats up.

Flower staying in Minny?

Trade deadline plans may be changing in Minnesota after a recent 6-3-1 run has got them back into the Western Conference’s Wild Card race.

Sitting just two points out of the second spot heading into Friday’s games, Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reported that the Wild are likely going to keep goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, instead of potentially trading him to a contender.

Here’s what Seravalli said on Friday’s edition of Daily Faceoff Live:

Frank Seravalli: I would say it’s down to about a 10% shot that Marc-Andre Fleury moves. A big reason for that is the Wild are back in the race. They are only two points back. They are a team that I think in some ways actually has the inside track to be that 8th seed in the West and I think Fleury would love nothing more than to help that team get in. I don’t think he’s itching for a trade, I know the Wild don’t want to move him, and so unless he comes to them and says “hey we’re definitively out, I’d like to keep my playoff streak going”, I don’t think he’s going to move.

So you’ve got three teams that are in the mix for goaltending: Colorado, New Jersey and Carolina. And look, there’s not very many goalies available that are of impact and/or substance. I think that leaves the Montreal Canadiens in a great spot with Jake Allen, who can also retain, you have him for this year and next, sub-$2 million if they retain 50%, they’ve kept their retention slot open. I’m told it’s been pretty quiet on the Allen front this week, but certainly you have to keep in mind that he’s probably pretty likely to be on the move if they can find a taker for him, because they don’t really want to carry three goalies for the last quarter of the season.


Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.


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The debate surrounding how the Leafs should operate ahead of this year’s trade deadline continues to rage on, and it has as much to do with the team’s performance on the ice as it does with their limited pool of trade assets. They have significantly depleted their draft capital through trade over the last few seasons, and they don’t have a top-tier prospect pool, but there are still some young players in the organization who should draw interest from potential sellers before March 8th.

General manager Brad Treliving finds himself in a tough spot. The Leafs have underperformed for most of the season, leading to questions about how much sense it makes to expend their limited assets to make a push this season, but they have been rattling off wins over the last couple of weeks, and it is difficult to justify standing pat when with star players like Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, and Morgan Rielly all in the prime years of their NHL careers. Fans can rest assured that Treliving is doing his due diligence in talking to other teams around the league, but given the state of his team on the ice and what he has to work with in terms of tradeable assets, he will have to spend wisely.

The Leafs still have some picks to work with, and young roster pieces like Matthew Knies and Nick Robertson are sure to draw interest, but they will likely have to draw from their pool of upcoming talent if they are going to make any significant additions to their roster. Their pipeline is built more upon depth than high-end talent, but they do have two prospects who stand above the rest in terms of value on the trade market.

If Easton Cowan isn’t untouchable, he’s the closest thing the Leafs have to an untouchable prospect. He has arguably been the best player in the OHL this season, and he has been on a steady upward trajectory going back to last year’s OHL playoffs. Currently riding a 24-game point streak and leading the league in points per game with 27 goals and 48 assists through just 42 contests, Cowan has established himself as a legitimate grade-A prospect in his draft+1 season.

For a team that desperately needs an injection of cheap, young talent, it would take a lot for Treliving to consider including Cowan in a trade. We’re talking about a legitimate game-changer with team control beyond this season, and even then, the Leafs would likely hesitate to cash out on their most recent first-round pick. If such a player is made available before the deadline, Treliving will have to consider everything, but moving Cowan seems unlikely at this point.

If the Leafs are big game hunting for a significant addition under team control, opposing teams will likely be pushing for Cowan to be included in the deal. While the Leafs clearly value Minten, they’d probably prefer to move him because of the offensive upside that Cowan represents. That’s not to say Minten is bereft of offensive talent, but he projects more safely as a middle-six, two-way forward, whereas Cowan represents a bit of a higher ceiling.

Minten’s proximity to the NHL at just 19 years of age makes him an enticing young piece, and he should only be considered in trades that would bring the Leafs a legitimate upgrade this season and beyond. Even then, the Leafs will be hesitant to move on from a player who could conceivably fill a role for them as early as next season.

Beyond Cowan and Minten, the Leafs have a collection of mid-level prospects who could help push a deal over the line, with Topi Niemelä and Dennis Hildeby representing the upper tier of that group. Given how thin the Leafs’ group of defensive prospects is, they’ll be hesitant to include Niemelä in any deal for a pure rental, but he could be included alongside a package of draft picks to bring in a more ready-made piece that helps the team in the immediate future. With Hildeby, it’s tough to gauge how teams will value a goaltender who has shown great potential in a limited sample size, and he probably holds more value to the Leafs than he does on the trade market, but it only takes one team with interest and the right piece on the block for conversations to get serious.

Another netminder in the Leafs’ system, Artur Akhtyamov, could also draw interest with how he has performed in the KHL and VHL over the last two seasons. He doesn’t have the standout physical traits that Hildeby has, and he has yet to debut in North America, so that will limit his value on the trade market, but his numbers are difficult to ignore, and the Leafs could be open to moving him because of how Hildeby has progressed with the Marlies this season. Akhtyamov is unlikely to fetch a significant return on his own, but he could be of interest to sellers as part of a package deal.

Nikita Grebyonkin holds a similar position to Akhtyamov as a player who has excelled in Russia over the last couple of seasons, but there is still some uncertainty regarding his NHL potential. Unlike Akhtyamov, he is not yet signed to an NHL contract and that will hurt his value, but he is still without a contract in the KHL for next season as well, and there is a belief that he is ready to make the jump to North America. With assurances that they’ll be able to sign the player, Grebyonkin could be an interesting piece for opposing teams looking to accumulate pieces for expiring contracts.

It gets a little murkier from there, with players like Ryan Tverberg, Nick Moldenhauer, Roni Hirvonen, Ty Voit, and Noah Chadwick representing varying levels of NHL potential. Tverberg has been a great story this season, going from being a seventh-round pick back in 2020 to becoming an impactful player for the Marlies as a rookie. His ceiling is likely that of a third liner, but his relatively high floor as a prospect adds to his value. Moldenhauer is still a year or two away from turning pro and probably doesn’t hold a ton of value on the trade market today, but he had some buzz in his draft year and could still be of interest as a secondary piece in a trade.

It’s been a nightmare season for Hirvonen and Voit, with Hirvonen suffering a scary eye injury that kept him out for the first half of the campaign, while Voit was limited to just one AHL appearance before a shoulder injury ended his first professional season. Both players are probably at a low point in terms of their trade value, and the Leafs are probably better off waiting to see if they can re-establish themselves moving forward.

As for Chadwick, he is enjoying a breakout season in the WHL and has already been signed to an ELC just a few months after being drafted in the sixth round. A player with his physical tools and offensive ability on the backend should carry some value, but he is still very early in his development and won’t be a focal point in any significant trade.

Outside of upgrades to their NHL roster, the Leafs could also look to improve their stock of defensive prospects with minor deals. Players like Alex Steeves and Nick Abruzzese still hold some level of NHL potential, but they are unlikely to carve out roles on a team that fancies themselves a contender. If the Leafs are looking to provide them with a change of scenery, bringing back a defenceman of comparable age and upside will likely be the focus.

The Leafs will certainly have to get creative if they are going to improve their roster in a meaningful way ahead of the March 8th trade deadline. They have two high-end assets in Cowan and Minten who could be primary pieces of big trades should the Leafs be willing to take that plunge, but after that, it will come down to how each individual team values their mid-level pieces. Toronto’s prospect pool is more about quantity than quality, and that isn’t always conducive to making trades happen, but they do have the ability to put together a package of assets that could bring in some immediate help.

 

Statistics from EliteProspects.com

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On today’s episode of Barn Burner, Boomer, Pinder and Rhett had TSN Insider Jamie McLennan on the show to reminisce about his former teammate Miikka Kiprusoff ahead of his jersey retirement night on March 2 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

McLennan, a teammate of Kiprusoff during both the 2003-04 and 2006-07 campaigns will be speaking during the pre-game celebration of the legendary Flames goaltender. He led by sharing a story about former equipment manager, Mark DePasquale, and a one eyed hamster he got for his children.

“That game, every time Kipper came to the bench for a TV timeout to drink water. He would be staring at [DePesquale] and have one eyed closed. He would ask for a towel, a water, whatever, but always had the one eye closed. He did it all game. I think we went into overtime and then a shootout that night. Kipper comes to the bench and he’s staring at [DePesquale] with his eye closed and he didn’t say a word, he just skated back to the net. That was Kipper in a nutshell.”

One thing that made Kiprusoff so popular amongst his teammates was his ability to be one of the best at his positions, while also keeping things light in the process. Rhett, also a former teammate of Kiprusoff, hammered that point home later in the conversation:

“That’s part of his strength as a goaltender and as an athlete. Even though he’s having fun with it, he’s not failing at what he’s good at. It doesn’t take him away from his performance.”

McLennan, a journeyman in the NHL playing for six different franchises during his 12 year career, was amazed at the ability of Kiprusoff to never waiver his emotions whether the team was up three goals or down three.

“It was just incredible how cerebral he was and how he saw things with the game that were so far ahead…. It was always cool. I never had that ability I was a nervous player, I overthought the game a million times in my head where Kipper was the other way. He knew how good he was and that he could perform to his capability while also keeping it light.”

Check out today’s episode in full here:

Make sure to tune in to the show live Monday to Friday at 10 AM.

You can find Barn Burner on the FlamesNation YouTube channel as well as Facebook and Twitter. Don’t be afraid to subscribe and follow us while you’re there.

Can’t catch the show live? No problem! Barn Burner is also available as a podcast on all the platforms you get your podcasts.

GAME DAY hosted by Flamesnation & Barn Burner at Greta Bar YYC is BACK! Join the crew at our favorite Game Day Watch Party spot, Greta, on Saturday Feb 24, 2024 for the next BOA! Doors open at 7pm. Tickets are $10 with proceeds going to support Closer to Home Community Services! Good food, a good cause and a guaranteed good time. This event is brought to you by McLeod Law LLP and Village Honda. Get your tickets at nationgear.ca before they sell out!

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The Vancouver Canucks have made a few roster moves to make room for Jett Woo’s return to the team.

Woo, 23, was recently recalled to Vancouver on February 12th but did not see any game action before being sent back to Abbotsford for the club’s two-game homestand against the Calgary Wranglers.

Dakota Joshua and Carson Soucy were both retroactively placed on injured reserve and LTIR, respectively, to give the Canucks enough flexibility to call up Woo. While Woo was down in Abbotsford, the club recalled forward Arshdeep Bains, who made his NHL debut Tuesday night against the Colorado Avalanche.

Joshua was ruled “week-to-week” last Friday after suffering a hand injury, presumably during his fight with Chicago Blackhawks forward MacKenzie Entwistle on February 13th. Soucy has been out of the lineup since sustaining a hand injury while blocking a shot in a game on January 20th.

The roster moves leave the Canucks with roughly $3.6-million in available cap space heading into their Thursday night game against the Seattle Kraken.

While it is certainly possible that Patrik Allvin might be cooking something up on the trade front, this move is more likely to give the Canucks more call-up flexibility in case some of their current defensemen aren’t ready to play on Thursday.

Nikita Zadorov and Noah Juulsen were both shaken up in Tuesday’s loss to the Avalanche but did finish the game. Zadorov left early in the first after a scary collision with a skate blade, and Juulsen blocked a slapshot point-blank with his hand. If either, or both, need a night off for recovery, Rick Tocchet would be able to slot in either Mark Friedman or Jett Woo in a pinch.

Should Woo get into the lineup, this would be the second straight game where a Canuck made his NHL debut. Woo would be doing so on the backs of two assists in two games after his brief return to Abbotsford.

The Winnipeg native has recorded 18 points (five goals and 13 assists) through 44 AHL games this season.

Vancouver will look to snap their three-game skid when they head to Seattle to conclude their road trip, with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m. PST.

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In a career marked by determination and perseverance, Stuart Skinner of the Edmonton Oilers is poised to etch another significant milestone in his journey as he steps onto the ice at Rogers Place tonight. Skinner, the 25-year-old goaltender selected 78th overall by his hometown club, will make his 100th career start in the National Hockey League against the formidable Boston Bruins.

Skinner’s path to this moment has been one of resilience, determination, and working his way through the Oilers’ system with success at every level. Drafted by the Oilers in the third round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, Skinner has steadily progressed through the ranks, honing his skills and proving his mettle at each level of competition. From his junior days with the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos to his tenure with the Oilers’ AHL affiliate, the Bakersfield Condors, Skinner has demonstrated a steadfast determination to reach the pinnacle of the sport.

Tonight’s game not only marks Skinner’s 100th career start but also his 39th start of the 2023-24 NHL season. Such a feat speaks volumes about the confidence that the Oilers’ coaching staff and management have in the young netminder, entrusting him with the responsibility of guarding the crease night in and night out. With a record of 25-12-1 for the season, Skinner has been a reliable presence between the pipes, consistently giving his team a chance to win with his calm style of goaltending.

As Skinner prepares to face the Bruins, he will reach this milestone in front of a hometown crowd that he used to be a part of as an Edmonton youth. The Bruins, perennial contenders in the NHL, present a formidable challenge, boasting a potent offensive lineup led by the likes of David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand. However, Skinner has shown time and again his ability to rise to the occasion, embracing the pressure and delivering clutch performances when his team needs him most.

In addition to his impressive win-loss record, Skinner has posted commendable statistics this season after what was a dreadful start to the campaign for both he and the club, boasting a 2.57 goals-against average (GAA) and a .906 save percentage. Such numbers underscore his importance to the Oilers’ success and solidify his status as a cornerstone of the team’s future.

As the puck drops tonight at Rogers Place, all eyes will be on Stuart Skinner as he reaches an impressive marker on what we hope will be a long and success career. It’s a momentous occasion that symbolizes the culmination of years of working on his craft, sacrifice, and dedication. For Skinner, it’s not just about reaching a milestone, it’s about embracing the journey and continuing to strive for greatness with each passing game.

Regardless of the outcome tonight, Stuart Skinner’s legacy as a homegrown talent comes further into focus—a testament to his talent, resilience, and the way he’s living out a childhood dream. And as he takes his place between the pipes once again, fans will certainly celebrate the moment while also feeling excited about what the future holds for this rising star in the world of hockey.

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Fifteen days. That’s all that is remaining until we have to come up with practical ideas about how the Maple Leafs improve instead of just saying “trade for this guy and everything will be fixed.” It’s getting close and if you are already exhausted by trade season, the end is in sight, but the worst is still yet to come.

Still, in the spirit of the trade deadline season, it’s worth acknowledging what is going to be on the move more than anything else and those are draft picks. There are already five first round picks that have been firmly dealt for this year. There are another four that have conditions on them, as well as the hilarious situation where the Ottawa Senators have to choose whether to forfeit a 1st round pick in 2024, 2025, or 2026 (SPOILER: they choose 2026). With draft pundits claiming this is a 20 player draft it seems likely that the 10 teams currently sitting in a playoff position (including the Maple Leafs) that still own their first rounders, could be looking to make moves given the lack of depth in this draft class.

Looking at the above table the Leafs find themselves presently sitting in an interesting position in regard to whether or not dealing the first round pick is a good idea. The simple math says that if this is a 20 player draft and you are pick 23, you are probably out of luck.

On the other hand, that would be only requiring three teams to whiff on their picks out of 20 and there is a good chance that if you are not a playoff team, you are probably whiffing on your scouting on occasion. There is also the matter of playoff upsets and if the Leafs don’t make it out of the first couple of rounds. If it is possible for teams below the Leafs to advantage into the conference finals, their final draft seeding will improve. Of course, the Leafs could also see their record improve a lot in the final stretch, move beyond the 23rd spot and possibly even make it out of the first couple of playoff rounds too meaning they would be dealing a later pick. It comes down to how much Treliving wants to bet on the Leafs this year.

As for the Leafs later picks, the conditions on the Leafs 5th rounder are that Toronto gets the lowest held 5th rounder of the Blackhawks, and presently the pick they received from Calgary is that 5th.

When it comes to sizing up who will potentially be tough to compete with in the trade market, the Rangers and Golden Knights are the two teams that stand out. Both of these teams will trade their first round pick without giving it a second thought. Edmonton has also been a living for today team in the final year of Ken Holland as the GM, and both Colorado and Dallas are pretty much guaranteed to part with their 1sts if the opportunity arises as well.

In general, the Carolina Hurricanes look to be in the best position to deal futures at the trade deadline, as no other contending team has more picks within the first couple of rounds, with the exception of the Flyers or Predators, both of whom seem more concerned about selling than worrying about doing damage in the playoffs.

As for the 2025 draft, the Leafs find themselves in a tougher spot than most. No first round pick. No second round pick. And with that lack of flexibility and a shallow prospect pool, the difficulty level is going to go up and will likely have some influence on what is done this season too.

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Welcome back to another edition of the Betway Bets of the Day!

The Bets of the Day are brought to you by NHL odds site Betway!

Our first bet of the day will be taking Nathan MacKinnon to take over 4.5 shots on goal. These odds sit at -134.

Nathan MacKinnon loves to shoot the puck, there’s no denying that. The super star has taken 269 shots so far this season, averaging 4.72 per game. While it’s down from the staggering 5.15 he took last year, it’s still an elite number and over his last 25 games, his 13.1 shots per hour are third among regular forwards playing tonight. Given the Avalanche’s matchup against the Detroit Red Wings, a team that allows the seventh most shots per hour this season, this is a spot I love tonight.


THE BETS OF THE DAY ARE PRESENTED BY BETWAY


Our second bet of the day will be taking Sidney Crosby to take over 3.5 shots on goal. These odds sit at -134.

He may not be able to do it, but Sidney Crosby is going to do his damnest to drag the Pittsburgh Penguins into the playoffs. Crosby, who has a great matchup against the Montreal Canadiens tonight, has taken 9.8 shots per hour in his last 25 games, most among all Pens forwards, while the Habs have given up the third most shots against per hour this season.

Record: 75-93 (-12.95u, -7.35 ROI%)

Yesterday: 2-1 (+.59u, +19.67 ROI%)
Last 7: 4-8 (-5.61u, -43.16 ROI%)
Last 30: 18-33 (-17.78u, -3039 ROI%)
2022-23 season: 155-149 (+16.82u, +5.55 ROI%)

*Odds available at the time of publishing and are subject to change. All suggested bets are for one unit unless otherwise noted.


Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.


Was it a legal hit? Will the NHL hand out a suspension? How does the appeal process work? Who is the heavyweight champ? Every Tuesday, Ryan Pinder & former NHLer Jay Rosehill are in your Department of Discipline. Tune in to catch their takes on some of the most scrutinized parts of hockey. Check it out and subscribe to catch the latest episodes!

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Auston Matthews has been getting a lot of the spotlight lately, which is great, but at some point, the spotlight gets to be a little too much. That’s why, tonight, he decided to tone things down a little by scoring only one goal.

The rest of the team, on the other hand, looked like the ‘96 Chicago Bulls. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs are going streaking, folks. And what better way to put a firm stamp on the notion that you’re serious about winning than by beating the reigning cup champions 7-3 in their own barn?

You would think that on a night like this, the usual suspects were all over the board. Perhaps a hat trick from Matthews, a trio of assists from Mitch Marner, maybe one or two goals from William Nylander. Instead, the goals came from the second line, the third line, the fourth line, and the shutdown defensive pairing. 

Not to be outdone by his fellow teammate competing for ice time in Bobby McMann, Pontus Holmberg had himself his best game of the season. All night, he was driving the play on a line that made the once-unplayable duo of Ryan Reaves and David Kampf look like pro bowlers. He scored an insurance goal in the second period (a filthy goal too, he always seems to get those) and assisted on Matthews’ modest 52nd goal in 55 games on the season. 

Also deserving of a shoutout is Max Domi, who’s given the Leafs’ middle six a spark they’ve desperately needed for a while. It took a bit for him to find his footing, starting off on the wing and eventually working his way into a heavily-sheltered third-line centre role, but lately, he’s been looking a lot like the guy the Leafs thought they were getting when they signed him in July. He added two goals tonight and his willingness to battle for his teammates and stand up for them when things get physical has been on full display over the past couple of games. While it took longer than some people probably hoped, it would appear as though Sheldon Keefe has found his optimal lines. 

Morgan Rielly’s return to the lineup was THE main headline heading into this game, but there’s not really much to say about his return. He didn’t necessarily look great alongside William Lagesson tonight, but it was a necessary price to pay in order to keep the other two defensive pairings together. The Simon Benoit-Jake McCabe unit has been a strong one since they started skating together, and two players who have had their ups and downs all season in Timothy Liljegren and T.J. Brodie have suddenly found their groove alongside each other. Probably best to assume your longest-tenured player can handle a little bit of time with a new partner until the trade deadline comes. 

Needless to say, the Leafs have been playing their most impressive brand of hockey over this stretch of games. Not just in the wins themselves, but the way they’re getting them. They’re scoring goals early and holding their leads, they’re standing up for each other when things get physical, and they’re tightening up their mistakes defensively. How far they can take this thing remains to be seen, but they’re not going to lose many games playing the way they did Thursday night.

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The Calgary Flames got back into the win column on Thursday night. Facing the powerhouse Boston Bruins, the Flames had a great start and then leaned on their goaltender, ultimately beating the Bruins by a 3-2 score in overtime after one heck of a period of extra time.

Your pals Cami Kepke and Rhett Warrener broke everything down on Thursday edition of the FlamesNation After Burner.

Make sure to subscribe to the FlamesNation YouTube channel for all your favourite Flames audio and video content! Subscribe so you never miss your favourites!

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In a surprising move, the Tampa Bay Lightning placed forward Alex Barré-Boulet on waivers this morning, as reported by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. 

Barré-Boulet wouldn’t hurt the Canucks’ salary cap thanks to his near-league minimum contract that expires at the end of this season, a deal that carries a cap hit of just $758,333.

With only 12 goals and 18 points in his young 68-game NHL career, the 26-year-old is still finding his way in the NHL. He has shown flashes this season, registering six goals and nine points in 36 games. 

Here are a handful of his stats at 5-on-5:

In the limited ice time that Barré-Boulet has played this year—roughly 10:07 per game—his individual contributions are impressive, especially at 5-on-5. Despite his frame, he’s a forward in the top 5 or 10 of multiple statistical categories you’d want a league-minimum forward to lead in while playing in your lineup at 5-on-5.

  • Individual expected goals created per 60 (iXG/60): 6th
  • Individual unblocked shots attempted per 60 (iFF/60): 9th
  • Individual scoring chances created per 60 (iSCF/60): 7th
  • Individual high-danger scoring chances created per-60 (iHDCF/60): 5th
  • Takeaways/60: 6th
  • Penalties drawn/60: 12th
  • Giveaways/60: 11th

Where Barré-Boulet falls short is his lack of hits and penalty killing while being an extremely low rate-shooter with a low volume of rush attempts and rebounds created at 5-on-5. HockeyViz.com shows that most of his attempts on goal at 5-on-5 have come from the dirty areas around the net—

You can see in this clip how Barré-Boulet uses his small, slick frame to sneak past defenders to crash the net and how he’s rewarded with a goal.

Barré-Boulet has shown he can play up and down the Lightning’s lineup. He has spent most of his time in a bottom-six role but has also played on a top-line featuring Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov. 

Playing with two premiere players will bump your offensive numbers, but he wasn’t dragging them down, either.

Though brief, the Lightning had a slightly better control of expected goals (xGF%), scoring chances (SCF%) and high-danger scoring chances (HDCF%) with Point and Kucherov playing with Barré-Boulet on their line than they did with that duo playing with Steven Stamkos, their most frequent linemate at even-strength this season. 

While nothing is guaranteed, it’s proof of concept that, in a pinch, Barré-Boulet could chip in on top-six spot duty, like Sam Lafferty or Phil Di Giuseppe did earlier this year in the Canucks’ top-six.

The Canucks have shown interest in picking up a potential cost-efficient depth already, with Phil Kessel continuing to practice with the Abbostford Canucks.

What is most attractive about an addition like Barré-Boulet is the acquisition cost. It costs the Canucks nothing but a little bit of their salary cap, even if only temporary, to add a potential energy boost to an anemic power play and a forward group that is only now being tested by injuries.

Let’s be honest: Vancouver’s forward core has gotten fairly lucky with the injury bug this season, only now just missing games from Dakota Joshua and his upper body injury. The playoffs are right around the corner, and the added physicality of games means having players like Kessel and Barré-Boulet in the reserves could be the difference between an abrupt playoff run and a lengthy one.

With the current waiver rules, it’s a longshot to expect the Canucks to actually land Barré-Boulet, as they have the lowest claim priority due to their place as top seed in the NHL standings.

Darn. Champagne problems!

There’s a chance he goes unclaimed. This isn’t the first time that Barré-Boulet has been thrown on waivers by the Lightning, so either the league is wise to what he brings to the table and passes through unclaimed, or Vancouver takes a swing and wins the coveted Barré-Boulet sweepstakes. 

So what do you think Canucks fans? Would you put in a claim for Alexander Barré-Boulet if you were the Canucks?

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Edmonton Oilers prospect Philip Broberg is dealing with a deep bruise that is expected to keep him out of the AHL Bakersfield Condors lineup for “a few weeks.”

This is according to Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli, who reported the news of Broberg’s injury on Thursday.

Broberg, 22, was injured in a Feb. 10th game with the Condors taking on the San Jose Barracuda. The injury happened early in the second period of that game, when Broberg went to retrieve a puck behind the Condors net.

As he touched the puck, he was bowled over by a forechecking Barracuda forward.

Broberg has been a significant story for the Oilers this season as their top-ranked prospect. He played just 10 games through the first two months of the season in the NHL, struggling to break into the lineup and earn a consistent spot. Reports surfaced that the Oilers granted he and his agent the ability to seek a trade, but nothing has materialized despite other reports suggesting that Edmonton could trade him in a package to clear Jack Campbell’s salary off the books.

The Oilers, however, don’t appear eager to move on from Broberg as a prospect, going so far as telling teams they aren’t willing to move him for a rental. He was, after all, Ken Holland’s first draft pick with the eighth overall pick in 2019.


THE NHL NOTEBOOK IS PRESENTED BY BETWAY


Stone heads to IR

The Vegas Golden Knights have placed winger Mark Stone on the injured reserve.

It comes days after the veteran was injured during the second period of a Tuesday game against the Nashville Predators. According to Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli, the injury is a lacerated spleen, and the team has said it will keep him out on a “week-to-week” basis.

Stone, 31, has remained healthy up to this point of the season for the first time in recent years, scoring 16 goals and 53 points in 56 games. Last year, he dealt with a back injury that kept him out of over half the season freeing up the cap space that allowed the Golden Knights to acquire Ivan Barbashev, Teddy Blueger and Jonathan Quick ahead of the deadline.

There’s no word yet if Stone will land on the long-term injured reserve, which would clear his $9.5-million off Vegas’ books and open up the ability to add a big-name player.

Seravalli reported that the “ever-aggressive” Golden Knights have been “active in seeking an impact winger” even before Stone’s injury, so they can’t be ignored as the trade market heats up.

Flower staying in Minny?

Trade deadline plans may be changing in Minnesota after a recent 6-3-1 run has got them back into the Western Conference’s Wild Card race.

Sitting just two points out of the second spot heading into Friday’s games, Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reported that the Wild are likely going to keep goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, instead of potentially trading him to a contender.

Here’s what Seravalli said on Friday’s edition of Daily Faceoff Live:

Frank Seravalli: I would say it’s down to about a 10% shot that Marc-Andre Fleury moves. A big reason for that is the Wild are back in the race. They are only two points back. They are a team that I think in some ways actually has the inside track to be that 8th seed in the West and I think Fleury would love nothing more than to help that team get in. I don’t think he’s itching for a trade, I know the Wild don’t want to move him, and so unless he comes to them and says “hey we’re definitively out, I’d like to keep my playoff streak going”, I don’t think he’s going to move.

So you’ve got three teams that are in the mix for goaltending: Colorado, New Jersey and Carolina. And look, there’s not very many goalies available that are of impact and/or substance. I think that leaves the Montreal Canadiens in a great spot with Jake Allen, who can also retain, you have him for this year and next, sub-$2 million if they retain 50%, they’ve kept their retention slot open. I’m told it’s been pretty quiet on the Allen front this week, but certainly you have to keep in mind that he’s probably pretty likely to be on the move if they can find a taker for him, because they don’t really want to carry three goalies for the last quarter of the season.


Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.


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The debate surrounding how the Leafs should operate ahead of this year’s trade deadline continues to rage on, and it has as much to do with the team’s performance on the ice as it does with their limited pool of trade assets. They have significantly depleted their draft capital through trade over the last few seasons, and they don’t have a top-tier prospect pool, but there are still some young players in the organization who should draw interest from potential sellers before March 8th.

General manager Brad Treliving finds himself in a tough spot. The Leafs have underperformed for most of the season, leading to questions about how much sense it makes to expend their limited assets to make a push this season, but they have been rattling off wins over the last couple of weeks, and it is difficult to justify standing pat when with star players like Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, and Morgan Rielly all in the prime years of their NHL careers. Fans can rest assured that Treliving is doing his due diligence in talking to other teams around the league, but given the state of his team on the ice and what he has to work with in terms of tradeable assets, he will have to spend wisely.

The Leafs still have some picks to work with, and young roster pieces like Matthew Knies and Nick Robertson are sure to draw interest, but they will likely have to draw from their pool of upcoming talent if they are going to make any significant additions to their roster. Their pipeline is built more upon depth than high-end talent, but they do have two prospects who stand above the rest in terms of value on the trade market.

If Easton Cowan isn’t untouchable, he’s the closest thing the Leafs have to an untouchable prospect. He has arguably been the best player in the OHL this season, and he has been on a steady upward trajectory going back to last year’s OHL playoffs. Currently riding a 24-game point streak and leading the league in points per game with 27 goals and 48 assists through just 42 contests, Cowan has established himself as a legitimate grade-A prospect in his draft+1 season.

For a team that desperately needs an injection of cheap, young talent, it would take a lot for Treliving to consider including Cowan in a trade. We’re talking about a legitimate game-changer with team control beyond this season, and even then, the Leafs would likely hesitate to cash out on their most recent first-round pick. If such a player is made available before the deadline, Treliving will have to consider everything, but moving Cowan seems unlikely at this point.

If the Leafs are big game hunting for a significant addition under team control, opposing teams will likely be pushing for Cowan to be included in the deal. While the Leafs clearly value Minten, they’d probably prefer to move him because of the offensive upside that Cowan represents. That’s not to say Minten is bereft of offensive talent, but he projects more safely as a middle-six, two-way forward, whereas Cowan represents a bit of a higher ceiling.

Minten’s proximity to the NHL at just 19 years of age makes him an enticing young piece, and he should only be considered in trades that would bring the Leafs a legitimate upgrade this season and beyond. Even then, the Leafs will be hesitant to move on from a player who could conceivably fill a role for them as early as next season.

Beyond Cowan and Minten, the Leafs have a collection of mid-level prospects who could help push a deal over the line, with Topi Niemelä and Dennis Hildeby representing the upper tier of that group. Given how thin the Leafs’ group of defensive prospects is, they’ll be hesitant to include Niemelä in any deal for a pure rental, but he could be included alongside a package of draft picks to bring in a more ready-made piece that helps the team in the immediate future. With Hildeby, it’s tough to gauge how teams will value a goaltender who has shown great potential in a limited sample size, and he probably holds more value to the Leafs than he does on the trade market, but it only takes one team with interest and the right piece on the block for conversations to get serious.

Another netminder in the Leafs’ system, Artur Akhtyamov, could also draw interest with how he has performed in the KHL and VHL over the last two seasons. He doesn’t have the standout physical traits that Hildeby has, and he has yet to debut in North America, so that will limit his value on the trade market, but his numbers are difficult to ignore, and the Leafs could be open to moving him because of how Hildeby has progressed with the Marlies this season. Akhtyamov is unlikely to fetch a significant return on his own, but he could be of interest to sellers as part of a package deal.

Nikita Grebyonkin holds a similar position to Akhtyamov as a player who has excelled in Russia over the last couple of seasons, but there is still some uncertainty regarding his NHL potential. Unlike Akhtyamov, he is not yet signed to an NHL contract and that will hurt his value, but he is still without a contract in the KHL for next season as well, and there is a belief that he is ready to make the jump to North America. With assurances that they’ll be able to sign the player, Grebyonkin could be an interesting piece for opposing teams looking to accumulate pieces for expiring contracts.

It gets a little murkier from there, with players like Ryan Tverberg, Nick Moldenhauer, Roni Hirvonen, Ty Voit, and Noah Chadwick representing varying levels of NHL potential. Tverberg has been a great story this season, going from being a seventh-round pick back in 2020 to becoming an impactful player for the Marlies as a rookie. His ceiling is likely that of a third liner, but his relatively high floor as a prospect adds to his value. Moldenhauer is still a year or two away from turning pro and probably doesn’t hold a ton of value on the trade market today, but he had some buzz in his draft year and could still be of interest as a secondary piece in a trade.

It’s been a nightmare season for Hirvonen and Voit, with Hirvonen suffering a scary eye injury that kept him out for the first half of the campaign, while Voit was limited to just one AHL appearance before a shoulder injury ended his first professional season. Both players are probably at a low point in terms of their trade value, and the Leafs are probably better off waiting to see if they can re-establish themselves moving forward.

As for Chadwick, he is enjoying a breakout season in the WHL and has already been signed to an ELC just a few months after being drafted in the sixth round. A player with his physical tools and offensive ability on the backend should carry some value, but he is still very early in his development and won’t be a focal point in any significant trade.

Outside of upgrades to their NHL roster, the Leafs could also look to improve their stock of defensive prospects with minor deals. Players like Alex Steeves and Nick Abruzzese still hold some level of NHL potential, but they are unlikely to carve out roles on a team that fancies themselves a contender. If the Leafs are looking to provide them with a change of scenery, bringing back a defenceman of comparable age and upside will likely be the focus.

The Leafs will certainly have to get creative if they are going to improve their roster in a meaningful way ahead of the March 8th trade deadline. They have two high-end assets in Cowan and Minten who could be primary pieces of big trades should the Leafs be willing to take that plunge, but after that, it will come down to how each individual team values their mid-level pieces. Toronto’s prospect pool is more about quantity than quality, and that isn’t always conducive to making trades happen, but they do have the ability to put together a package of assets that could bring in some immediate help.

 

Statistics from EliteProspects.com

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On today’s episode of Barn Burner, Boomer, Pinder and Rhett had TSN Insider Jamie McLennan on the show to reminisce about his former teammate Miikka Kiprusoff ahead of his jersey retirement night on March 2 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

McLennan, a teammate of Kiprusoff during both the 2003-04 and 2006-07 campaigns will be speaking during the pre-game celebration of the legendary Flames goaltender. He led by sharing a story about former equipment manager, Mark DePasquale, and a one eyed hamster he got for his children.

“That game, every time Kipper came to the bench for a TV timeout to drink water. He would be staring at [DePesquale] and have one eyed closed. He would ask for a towel, a water, whatever, but always had the one eye closed. He did it all game. I think we went into overtime and then a shootout that night. Kipper comes to the bench and he’s staring at [DePesquale] with his eye closed and he didn’t say a word, he just skated back to the net. That was Kipper in a nutshell.”

One thing that made Kiprusoff so popular amongst his teammates was his ability to be one of the best at his positions, while also keeping things light in the process. Rhett, also a former teammate of Kiprusoff, hammered that point home later in the conversation:

“That’s part of his strength as a goaltender and as an athlete. Even though he’s having fun with it, he’s not failing at what he’s good at. It doesn’t take him away from his performance.”

McLennan, a journeyman in the NHL playing for six different franchises during his 12 year career, was amazed at the ability of Kiprusoff to never waiver his emotions whether the team was up three goals or down three.

“It was just incredible how cerebral he was and how he saw things with the game that were so far ahead…. It was always cool. I never had that ability I was a nervous player, I overthought the game a million times in my head where Kipper was the other way. He knew how good he was and that he could perform to his capability while also keeping it light.”

Check out today’s episode in full here:

Make sure to tune in to the show live Monday to Friday at 10 AM.

You can find Barn Burner on the FlamesNation YouTube channel as well as Facebook and Twitter. Don’t be afraid to subscribe and follow us while you’re there.

Can’t catch the show live? No problem! Barn Burner is also available as a podcast on all the platforms you get your podcasts.

GAME DAY hosted by Flamesnation & Barn Burner at Greta Bar YYC is BACK! Join the crew at our favorite Game Day Watch Party spot, Greta, on Saturday Feb 24, 2024 for the next BOA! Doors open at 7pm. Tickets are $10 with proceeds going to support Closer to Home Community Services! Good food, a good cause and a guaranteed good time. This event is brought to you by McLeod Law LLP and Village Honda. Get your tickets at nationgear.ca before they sell out!

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The Vancouver Canucks have made a few roster moves to make room for Jett Woo’s return to the team.

Woo, 23, was recently recalled to Vancouver on February 12th but did not see any game action before being sent back to Abbotsford for the club’s two-game homestand against the Calgary Wranglers.

Dakota Joshua and Carson Soucy were both retroactively placed on injured reserve and LTIR, respectively, to give the Canucks enough flexibility to call up Woo. While Woo was down in Abbotsford, the club recalled forward Arshdeep Bains, who made his NHL debut Tuesday night against the Colorado Avalanche.

Joshua was ruled “week-to-week” last Friday after suffering a hand injury, presumably during his fight with Chicago Blackhawks forward MacKenzie Entwistle on February 13th. Soucy has been out of the lineup since sustaining a hand injury while blocking a shot in a game on January 20th.

The roster moves leave the Canucks with roughly $3.6-million in available cap space heading into their Thursday night game against the Seattle Kraken.

While it is certainly possible that Patrik Allvin might be cooking something up on the trade front, this move is more likely to give the Canucks more call-up flexibility in case some of their current defensemen aren’t ready to play on Thursday.

Nikita Zadorov and Noah Juulsen were both shaken up in Tuesday’s loss to the Avalanche but did finish the game. Zadorov left early in the first after a scary collision with a skate blade, and Juulsen blocked a slapshot point-blank with his hand. If either, or both, need a night off for recovery, Rick Tocchet would be able to slot in either Mark Friedman or Jett Woo in a pinch.

Should Woo get into the lineup, this would be the second straight game where a Canuck made his NHL debut. Woo would be doing so on the backs of two assists in two games after his brief return to Abbotsford.

The Winnipeg native has recorded 18 points (five goals and 13 assists) through 44 AHL games this season.

Vancouver will look to snap their three-game skid when they head to Seattle to conclude their road trip, with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m. PST.

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In a career marked by determination and perseverance, Stuart Skinner of the Edmonton Oilers is poised to etch another significant milestone in his journey as he steps onto the ice at Rogers Place tonight. Skinner, the 25-year-old goaltender selected 78th overall by his hometown club, will make his 100th career start in the National Hockey League against the formidable Boston Bruins.

Skinner’s path to this moment has been one of resilience, determination, and working his way through the Oilers’ system with success at every level. Drafted by the Oilers in the third round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, Skinner has steadily progressed through the ranks, honing his skills and proving his mettle at each level of competition. From his junior days with the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos to his tenure with the Oilers’ AHL affiliate, the Bakersfield Condors, Skinner has demonstrated a steadfast determination to reach the pinnacle of the sport.

Tonight’s game not only marks Skinner’s 100th career start but also his 39th start of the 2023-24 NHL season. Such a feat speaks volumes about the confidence that the Oilers’ coaching staff and management have in the young netminder, entrusting him with the responsibility of guarding the crease night in and night out. With a record of 25-12-1 for the season, Skinner has been a reliable presence between the pipes, consistently giving his team a chance to win with his calm style of goaltending.

As Skinner prepares to face the Bruins, he will reach this milestone in front of a hometown crowd that he used to be a part of as an Edmonton youth. The Bruins, perennial contenders in the NHL, present a formidable challenge, boasting a potent offensive lineup led by the likes of David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand. However, Skinner has shown time and again his ability to rise to the occasion, embracing the pressure and delivering clutch performances when his team needs him most.

In addition to his impressive win-loss record, Skinner has posted commendable statistics this season after what was a dreadful start to the campaign for both he and the club, boasting a 2.57 goals-against average (GAA) and a .906 save percentage. Such numbers underscore his importance to the Oilers’ success and solidify his status as a cornerstone of the team’s future.

As the puck drops tonight at Rogers Place, all eyes will be on Stuart Skinner as he reaches an impressive marker on what we hope will be a long and success career. It’s a momentous occasion that symbolizes the culmination of years of working on his craft, sacrifice, and dedication. For Skinner, it’s not just about reaching a milestone, it’s about embracing the journey and continuing to strive for greatness with each passing game.

Regardless of the outcome tonight, Stuart Skinner’s legacy as a homegrown talent comes further into focus—a testament to his talent, resilience, and the way he’s living out a childhood dream. And as he takes his place between the pipes once again, fans will certainly celebrate the moment while also feeling excited about what the future holds for this rising star in the world of hockey.

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Fifteen days. That’s all that is remaining until we have to come up with practical ideas about how the Maple Leafs improve instead of just saying “trade for this guy and everything will be fixed.” It’s getting close and if you are already exhausted by trade season, the end is in sight, but the worst is still yet to come.

Still, in the spirit of the trade deadline season, it’s worth acknowledging what is going to be on the move more than anything else and those are draft picks. There are already five first round picks that have been firmly dealt for this year. There are another four that have conditions on them, as well as the hilarious situation where the Ottawa Senators have to choose whether to forfeit a 1st round pick in 2024, 2025, or 2026 (SPOILER: they choose 2026). With draft pundits claiming this is a 20 player draft it seems likely that the 10 teams currently sitting in a playoff position (including the Maple Leafs) that still own their first rounders, could be looking to make moves given the lack of depth in this draft class.

Looking at the above table the Leafs find themselves presently sitting in an interesting position in regard to whether or not dealing the first round pick is a good idea. The simple math says that if this is a 20 player draft and you are pick 23, you are probably out of luck.

On the other hand, that would be only requiring three teams to whiff on their picks out of 20 and there is a good chance that if you are not a playoff team, you are probably whiffing on your scouting on occasion. There is also the matter of playoff upsets and if the Leafs don’t make it out of the first couple of rounds. If it is possible for teams below the Leafs to advantage into the conference finals, their final draft seeding will improve. Of course, the Leafs could also see their record improve a lot in the final stretch, move beyond the 23rd spot and possibly even make it out of the first couple of playoff rounds too meaning they would be dealing a later pick. It comes down to how much Treliving wants to bet on the Leafs this year.

As for the Leafs later picks, the conditions on the Leafs 5th rounder are that Toronto gets the lowest held 5th rounder of the Blackhawks, and presently the pick they received from Calgary is that 5th.

When it comes to sizing up who will potentially be tough to compete with in the trade market, the Rangers and Golden Knights are the two teams that stand out. Both of these teams will trade their first round pick without giving it a second thought. Edmonton has also been a living for today team in the final year of Ken Holland as the GM, and both Colorado and Dallas are pretty much guaranteed to part with their 1sts if the opportunity arises as well.

In general, the Carolina Hurricanes look to be in the best position to deal futures at the trade deadline, as no other contending team has more picks within the first couple of rounds, with the exception of the Flyers or Predators, both of whom seem more concerned about selling than worrying about doing damage in the playoffs.

As for the 2025 draft, the Leafs find themselves in a tougher spot than most. No first round pick. No second round pick. And with that lack of flexibility and a shallow prospect pool, the difficulty level is going to go up and will likely have some influence on what is done this season too.