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So the 2021-22 season is not even a week old yet and the Leafs are already in full chaos mode with all of the news circulating this morning in regards to the lineup and the status of some injured players.

We begin with the biggest story of them all, which is the Leafs being short on cash and resorting to unique methods to get around that problem.

What, David Ayres was not available?

Jokes aside, this must be huge for Alex Bishop who has posted decent numbers during his time in the QMJHL and USports. He is in his senior year at the University of Toronto so this will surely be a moment he will never forget. He will most likely sit on the bench for the entire game, but it wouldn’t shock me if Sheldon Keefe were to do him a solid and let him play the final few minutes depending on how things go in the game.

The reason for this is because Leafs ran out of cap space and have yet to play one game where they are short a body in order to invoke their emergency call-up. Our noted insider Nick Barden reported yesterday that Michael Hutchinson was not at Marlies practice, so all signs point to him being brought up for the time being while Petr Mrazek recovers from his groin injury. If I were to guess, we can expect the Leafs to make the call-up at some point on Sunday in order to prepare for their next game on Monday against the Rangers.

Liljegren set to make his season debut

When the news of Bishop slotting in as the EBUG began to circulate, some were quick to point out that the Leafs should have sent down Timothy Liljegren so that Hutchinson could more easily get brought up. That proved to not be the case because Liljegren will actually be playing.

Liljegren has an impressive camp and finally earned a spot on the Leafs roster to begin the season, cementing the team’s belief in him being part of their long-term plans. Having only played a combined 13 NHL games in the previous two seasons, this is a massive opportunity for him to showcase his skills and make Keefe’s life harder when setting up the lineup as the season progresses.

Speaking of Keefe, he told the media that the reason for Justin Holl’s absence is due to him having cold symptoms and taking precautionary measures to ensure that it isn’t COVID-19. This is part of the new reality of the NHL as the pandemic continues to rage on and there are no signs of it coming to an end anytime soon. Holl has had a rough first two games so some time away from the rink could help him get back on track and return to the strong form he showed throughout the 2021 campaign. Get well soon, Justin!

An update on Matthews and Mrazek

As mentioned earlier, Mrazek will be on the shelf for a bit after suffering a groin injury in the final moments of the second period during Thursday night’s game against the Senators. There was a sense of dread when the PR report came out that he would be out of commission for a while, but Keefe believes that the newly signed goalie will not miss much time:

It’s an encouraging sign that Mrazek will likely avoid being placed on LTIR because one of the big concerns last season was Jack Campbell’s longevity and it forced the team to ease back on his playing time throughout the campaign. Mrazek has fallen into injury trouble over the past few seasons which was one of the risks of a tandem including him and Campbell, so here’s hoping he will return to the crease in due time. With the upcoming week being pretty lean in terms of games played, there is a possibility he could be back in time for his first matchup against his former mates in Carolina since free agency.

Meanwhile, Auston Matthews continues to make strides in his recovery from wrist surgery.

Keefe said he spoke with the Leafs’ star forward after practice and pointed out that things are going well for him and appears on track to make his season debut soon. While he did not specify when Matthews will be back in the lineup, things seem to be moving in a positive direction.

He was slated to miss the first three games of the regular season but there was no indication that he would be ready for Monday’s contest. Judging by the fact that he remains in the grey jersey and wasn’t on the ice with the rest of his teammates, my best guess is he will likely be given the game against the Rangers off and will make his return on Friday when the Sharks come to town.

Today’s practice was no doubt an eventful one and the craziness of the day appears to just be getting started. With an EBUG on the roster for tonight, who knows what crazy shenanigans could lie ahead on the first HNIC broadcast of this brand new season.

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Alert! There are Sharks ahead in San Jose located at the SAP Center, although not to worry, they haven’t taken a bite out of the competition over the last few seasons – ok, that’s enough of the shark puns.

After falling 4-1 in the 2021-22 season opener, the Winnipeg Jets have travelled to Northern California for a Saturday night date against the San Jose Sharks, who haven’t enjoyed a winning season since 2018-19. But similar to the Anaheim Ducks, nothing should be taken for granted against this rebuilding team, because as we all know, games aren’t played on paper.

Luckily for the Jets, who failed to sneak more than one goal past Ducks netminder John Gibson, they won’t have to encounter an all-star goaltender during their second game of the season as Adin Hill will draw the start in goal during the Sharks’ regular-season opener.

For Hill, the 25-year-old has displayed some encouraging flashes at the NHL level, but has only appeared in 49 career games over four seasons, resulting in a 2.79 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage.

With Winnipeg searching for its first win of the season, here are three storylines fans should be aware of ahead of this matchup:

Mark Scheifele Returns From Suspension 

Since forward Mark Scheifele only served three-quarters of his four-game suspension during last season’s playoffs, the 28-year-old was forced to sit out Winnipeg’s season opener back on Wednesday. But now, he’s eligible to return to the team’s active roster, which certainly missed his presence in Anaheim.

Coming off a shortened campaign where he registered 21 goals, 63 points and a career-best 1.13 points per game through 56 contests, Scheifele will surely be looking to add some much-needed intensity to the Jets’ offence. Though the club’s top line was centred by veteran Paul Stastny a few nights ago, he’s been returned to the third line, allowing No. 55 to be reunited with Nos. 26 and 81.

Sure, the trio of Kyle Connor, Blake Wheeler and Scheifele may seem a bit of a recycled idea at this point, which is a reasonable argument to make, especially given this unit’s defensive metrics in 2020-21. But with coach Paul Maurice at the helm, no one should be expecting anything less this early in the schedule.

For now, let’s hope the Jets’ first line can create plenty of havoc in the offensive zone without surrendering an overwhelming amount of scoring chances inside the defensive zone.

Cole Perfetti Remains in Starting Lineup 

After making his NHL debut Wednesday, almost everyone was expecting rookie Cole Perfetti to draw out of the lineup in place of Scheifele during the following contest, however, the 19-year-old won’t be spending his Saturday night in the press box – a fairly shocking development.

Confirming this news following Winnipeg’s morning skate, Maurice announced Evgeny Svechnikov will serve as the team’s 13th forward in San Jose, making him a healthy scratch. As a result, Perfetti will remain on the third line and will be joined by Adam Lowry once again, who’s expected to continue serving as a mentor to the talented young skater.

Additionally, Stastny is also expected to be positioned alongside these two skaters, in turn, bumping Kristian Vesalainen down to the club’s fourth line.

While this is great news for Perfetti and the Jets, unfortunately, he might be hard-pressed to increase his ice time from last game, which came in at just 9:49 minutes. Unless the coaching staff decides to adjust the power-play units, the former first-round pick will likely be limited to 5-on-5 opportunities for a second consecutive contest.

Still, it’ll be extremely important for the 5’10” forward to build off the success he enjoyed against the Ducks, where his impressive puck carrying and hockey senses each proved to be eye-catching through all three periods.

Priority on Starting Strong in Opening 20 Minutes, Again

Similar to the season-opener in Anaheim, Winnipeg is aiming to start strong out of the gate for a second straight game, this time in San Jose. In saying that, this club is also hoping its skaters can be more effective with their shot selections, which plagued them last time out.

Despite out-shooting the Ducks 15-6 in the opening period, only three of the Jets’ scoring chances were located in high-danger areas. Making matters worse, none of them occurred at 5-on-5, with all three taking place with the man advantage.

This time around, it’ll be crucial to create several line rushes to the Shark’s net while also creating plenty of traffic in front of Hill during both even-strength and power-play situations. In addition, replicating the impressive puck movement that was on full display a few nights ago is also expected to be a focal point, as doing so will likely open up additional shooting lanes in the offensive zone.

With Scheifele back in action, paired with a top-six group that includes Connor, Wheeler, Nikolaj Ehlers, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Andrew Copp, this west-coast showdown has the potential for a much more successful outcome in favour of the Jets.


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After a few weeks of hockey leagues playing games in fits and starts, the floodgates opened over the past week or so. When it comes to the Calgary Flames, almost all of their prospects are now playing meaningful hockey games.

Friends, let’s check out how all these youngsters are faring.

This and that:

  • Glenn Gawdin is on the Flames’ roster right now, while Johannes Kinnvall and Connor Zary are on the injury reserve list after suffering training camp injuries. Tyler Parsons is non-roster currently.
  • In exhibition action, Stockton beat Bakersfield 3-0 on Friday. Dustin Wolf earned the shutout, while Ryan Olsen (on a try-out), Ryan Francis and Emilio Pettersen scored goals. Stockton’s Sunday exhibition game was cancelled. Stockton begins their regular season on Friday against Tucson.
  • Harvard (home of Flames first rounder Matthew Coronato) plays an exhibition game on Saturday against the University of Ottawa, then begins their regular season on Oct. 29.

Jack Beck – RW, Ottawa 67’s, OHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 3 3 2 5 2 5 2 44.14
Change from last week 3 3 2 5 2 5 2 +44.14

Small sample size alert, but Beck’s off to an excellent start to his season. Yes, he only has a pair of even strength points, but he’s been a driver of offense for the 67’s so far.

Jake Boltmann – D, University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish, NCAA/Big10

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 24.76
Change from last week 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 +24.76

On one hand, Boltmann is currently slotted as Notre Dame’s seventh defenseman. On the other hand, he finally registered his first NCAA point with an assist in Notre Dame’s first game of the season.

He won’t be a point-per-game player often.

Lucas Ciona – LW, Seattle Thunderbirds, WHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 3 1 1 1 1 2 1 16.51
Change from last week 2 1 0 1 1 1 1 -8.25

Ciona was Very Ciona this week. He had a goal in a Seattle win. He also had 13 penalty minutes.

Lucas Feuk – LW, Västerviks IK, HockeyAllsvenskan / Nybro Vikings IF, HockeyEttan

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Allsvenskan up to date 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Change from last week
HockeyEttan up to date 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 n/a
Change from last week 1 0 0 0 0 0 0

Things aren’t looking too rosy for Feuk. Unable to get regular minutes with Västerviks, he was loaned to Nybro in the Swedish third division (HockeyEttan). He got dinged for 12 penalty minutes in his debut game for a checking from behind incident.

Emil Heineman – LW, Leksands IF, SHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 9 2 0 2 2 2 2 10.86
Change from last week 2 1 0 1 1 1 1 +3.88

Heineman is playing a depth role for Leksands so far, but he’s doing a strong job of it. He’s bouncing around their bottom six, but he’s playing a consistent two-way role and chipping in goals here and there.

Cole Huckins – LW, Acadie-Bathurst Titan, QMJHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 5 0 3 3 2 2 1 13.97
Change from last week 3 0 3 3 2 2 1 +13.97

Huckins bounced back from a quiet initial week for the Titan, putting up three points in three games – he had games of zero, one and two points, respectively.

Cole Jordan – D, Moose Jaw Warriors, WHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Change from last week n/a

Jordan missed Moose Jaw’s games this week with an undisclosed injury.

Rory Kerins – C, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, OHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 26.49
Change from last week 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 +26.49

In his first game back in the OHL after being drafted by the Flames in 2020, Kerins had two points. In his second game back, he had zero points. It’ll take awhile for him to settle in, probably.

Demetrios Koumontzis – LW, Arizona State University Sun Devils, NCAA/Ind.

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Change from last week 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 n/a

Koumontzis is a third line player for Arizona State as a senior. He has yet to hit the scoresheet.

Mitchell Mattson – C, Michigan State University Spartans, NCAA/Big10

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0..00
Change from last week 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 n/a

Mattson dressed for one game as Michigan State’s 13th forward, then was a healthy scratch in their next game. He’s a senior.

Josh Nodler – C, Michigan State University Spartans, NCAA/Big10

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 2 1 2 3 1 2 1 40.96
Change from last week 2 1 2 3 1 2 1 +40.96

Small sample size alert, but Nodler had a superb start to his junior year with the Spartans. He’s playing as their top centre after a bunch of graduations within the team. MSU might not be a huge powerhouse this season, but Nodler is going to be playing a ton in every key situation.

Ilya Nikolaev – C, Tri-City Storm, USHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 3 0 1 1 0 0 0 7.65
Change from last week 2 0 1 1 0 0 0 +7.65

Nikolaev registered his first USHL point, a power play assist. He’s playing as Tri-City’s third line centre.

Jérémie Poirier – D, Saint John Sea Dogs, QMJHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 5 0 1 1 1 0 0 4.66
Change from last week 3 0 1 1 1 0 0 +4.66

Poirier finally got on the scoresheet with a secondary assist this weekend.

William Strömgren – LW, Rögle BK, J20 Nationell

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 12 3 7 10 7 7 5 13.19
Change from last week 2 0 1 1 0 0 0 -1.05

Strömgren continues to chug along. He’s playing top six minutes for Rögle and chipping in points consistently. He has yet to suit up for their pro side yet this season, though.

Cameron Whynot – D, Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 4 0 2 2 0 1 0 11.64
Change from last week 2 0 2 2 0 1 0 -11.65

Whynot quieted down offensively this week, failing to hit the scoresheet in a pair of games.

Arsenii Sergeev – G, Tri-City Storm, USHL

GP TOI SV%
Up to date 3 180 .956
Change from last week 1 60 +.023

Sergeev continues his strong start to his USHL career. He had a shutout and remains undefeated.

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Vasily Podkolzin scored his first career goal, and it was a thing of beauty.

The Russian winger, who the Canucks drafted in 2019, started tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers on a line alongside Elias Pettersson and JT Miller. Although the lines were juggled throughout the night and Podkolzin found himself on the fourth line in a hurry, he wasted little time showing everyone that he’s capable of absolutely letting it fly.

It truly was a thing of beauty:

Understandably so, Podkolzin was absolutely elated after the puck went in.

And yes, Chris Faber was also very happy to see the guy he’s spent countless hours (and pretty unreasonable ones too!) watching score his first NHL goal.

Stay tuned for the CanucksArmy post game report shortly after the final whistle!

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It’s Friday afternoon and that can only mean one thing — a brand new episode of Oilersnation Radio to help you finish off your week with an hour of all things Edmonton Oilers. On this week’s show, we looked back at the season opener, ahead at tomorrow’s Battle of Alberta, did another round of Ask the Idiots, and a whole lot more.

To kick off the podcast, we got started with a look at the season opener and what was our biggest takeaway from the first game against the Vancouver Canucks. Obviously, it wasn’t a perfect game by any means but the Oilers were able to cash out a win that didn’t look like a sure thing after Vancouver tied the game late in the third period. Whether it was Hyman’s brilliant debut or the second pairing trying to stay afloat, the boys offered their early-season takes on what happened on night one and whether those first impressions are indicative of what’s to come. Sticking with the opener, three of the four of us were at the game on Wednesday night so I asked them what it was like to be back at Rogers Place for the first time in 581 days. As you’ll hear, the boys had plenty to say about what went well and what could have gone better after so much time away from the rink. Next up, we previewed tomorrow’s game against the Calgary Flames and offered up our boldest takes as for what to expect for the first Battle of Alberta of the season.

Listen to this week’s podcast below:

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Previous Episodes:

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This summer for Lou Lamoriello and the New York Islanders was all about keeping the band together.

The Islanders came into the offseason pressed right up against the salary cap, but, as always, Lamoriello worked his magic and found a way to make it all work out. Their only additions were league-minimum deals to a pair of veterans while the focus otherwise was on getting players already on the roster locked up to new contracts.

The pesky Islanders, who have reached the Conference Final in back-to-back seasons only to lose to the Tampa Bay Lightning, are locked and loaded and ready to take another stab at getting over the hump.

They’ll have a bit of an uphill climb, though, as the Islanders won’t play at home until their 14th game of the season when their new $1.1 billion stadium at Belmont Park is ready.

What happened in 2021?

Despite a poor start to the season, which was highlighted by an ugly five-game losing streak in late January, the Islanders pulled themselves together and grabbed the fourth spot in the East Division standings.

The East was a top-heavy division in 2021, with perennial contenders like the Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins at the top of the standings. A couple of months in, the Islanders found themselves in the mix with the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers jockeying for the fourth spot in the division.

The Islanders pulled off a big nine-game winning streak in March at the same time the Flyers and Rangers went sideways and they ultimately grabbed the fourth spot and ran with it.

Come playoff team, New York pulled off an upset over the top-seeded Penguins in the first round and then beat the Bruins in six games in the second round. They then took the Lightning to the limit but wound up getting dropped in Game 7 by a score of 1-0.

At the very least, the season featured a beautiful send-off of Nassau Coliseum.

What did they do in the offseason?

Notable Additions: Zdeno Chara, Zach Parise, Richard Panik.

Notable Subtractions: Jordan Eberle, Nick Leddy, Travis Zajac, Braydon Coburn.

The Islanders moved on from a couple of veterans in order to free up salary cap room over the summer.

They left Jordan Eberle exposed in the Expansion Draft and the Seattle Kraken happily picked him up. They also dealt Nick Leddy to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Richard Panik and a second-round pick.

New York didn’t make many additions over the summer. The two players they signed were a pair of veterans who came in at the league minimum. There’s Zach Parise, a player who Lamorellio knows well from his time in New Jersey, and there’s also Zdeno Chara, who’s back with the Islanders after a 20-year absence.

Rather than bringing new players in, New York priority was getting everyone from their successful last two seasons signed to new deals.

Casey Cizikas signed a six-year deal with a microscopic $2,500,000 cap hit, a pair of restricted free agents, Anthony Beauvillier and Ilya Sorokin, got three-year bridge deals, and Kyle Palmieri, who was acquired ahead of the trade deadline, got a four-year contract.

The biggest play for Lamorellio was getting his top defensive pairing inked long-term. Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock both got eight-year contracts at a combined cap hit of $11,900,000. That’s pretty tidy business when Seth Jones pulls $9,500,000 annually.

What to expect in 2021-22?

The Islanders will move back to the very, very competitive Metro Division in 2021-22, arguably the deepest in hockey.

They’ll be competing with aforementioned perennial contenders Pittsburgh and Washington, along with the Carolina Hurricanes, who had the best record in the Eastern Conference last season. The Flyers and Devils also got better over the summer and the Rangers boast a wealth of young talent. The only weak spot here is Columbus.

Despite that difficult competition, the Islanders might be the team to beat here. They’ve continually proved everybody wrong in the Barry Trotz era with their rock-solid defence, timely scoring, and elite goaltending, and there’s no reason to believe that’ll change.

While losing Eberle and Leddy is unfortunate, there are internal options who could step up and make a difference. A pair of former top picks, Oliver Wahlstrom and Noah Dobson, appear ready to take on larger roles and become key contributors.

One bold prediction…

The Islanders finally get over the hump and reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2022.


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The post Offseason Review: Lamoriello’s Cap Magic Has Made Isles Cup Contenders appeared first on Daily Faceoff.

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Toronto Marlies hockey is back.

Training camp is finally over, and now it’s time to get down to business. And that starts with a back-to-back at home against the Manitoba Moose on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

The Marlies are looking forward to a new season with some different faces. One positive is getting to play in front of fans again. Some players haven’t done that since the pandemic began in March of 2020.

I’m just grateful to be able to play hockey for a living.” Said Marlies captain, Rich Clune about playing in front of fans. “Obviously, being from Toronto, it means a little bit more playing here. A lot of family and friends in the stands, but anytime I can get into a game I’m excited.

Toronto is going to be a challenging team to play against this season. They have returning players like Nicholas Robertson, Joseph Duszak, Joey Anderson, and Kristians Rubins. But they also have newcomers like Alex Biega, Carl Dahlstrom Josh Ho-Sang, Mikhail Abramov, and Alex Steeves (who’s still out with a shoulder injury).

It’s a good mix of both young and old players this season. That will be beneficial for the Marlies this year because players will be able to bounce off one another. From being at practices in the last two weeks, it seems as though this team is a tight-knit group.

It’s no secret — on paper we look pretty good and we have a pretty skilled lineup.” Said Biega of his new team on Friday. “I think they do a great job in this organization in terms of development and winning through development. So, I think, we have a lot of talented players in this group and it’s just a matter of being consistent every day. No different than the Leafs are right now.

But what was also echoed throughout the Marlies’ last practice was structure. Similar to last year with Greg Moore, structure is something that helps you win games. If you have structure, you can do a lot of great things.

And it’s clear early that the Marlies believe they have the structure built and want to see what it can do.

Every year it’s so important for a team to be on the same page and be structured with how they play.” Said Moore. “It’s been a great week, the buy-in and the energy towards our focus have been in a real positive place. So, tomorrow, we’re gonna get a feel for the regular season, back here in our building, we’re really excited and it’ll be important for the players to come out and have that structure to start to get us off on the right foot.

The same observation was repeated by the Marlies’ captain on Friday.

I think this team’s about structure.” Said Clune. “I think there’s just so much talent in that room that if we can really get our structure down and get all on the same page, we’re going to do some damage.

Another word is talent. The Marlies have a lot of skilled young players who can drive this team. It’ll be crucial for them to start on time in every game this year.

It’s really exciting. We have a lot of talent, a lot of depth.” Said Moore about the talent of his team. “Something we had mentioned the other day was the importance of buying into their roles. You might say that with how much talent we have, there’s not enough puck to spread around, but we have really quality character guys who are going to buy into what their purpose is and who they’re playing with and it’ll be really important for us as a group to have that.

What I’ve learned about this team and the organization itself is that it’s one day at a time. There’s no thinking a week down the road or even a month. Everything is in the now.

The Marlies’ now is getting a win tomorrow afternoon in front of their home crowd at Coca-Cola Coliseum.

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Stockton Heat hockey is back!

The Calgary Flames’ American Hockey League affiliate will kick off its 2021–22 season tonight when the Tucson Roadrunners visit the Stockton Arena for a game at 7:00 p.m. local time (8:00 p.m. MT on AHL TV).

Friday’s game will be the first behind the bench for new Heat head coach Mitch Love, who replaced the promoted Cail MacLean during the off-season.

It’ll also be Stockton’s first game back in the United States since the 2019–20 season. The club spent the entire 2020–21 campaign playing out of Calgary’s Scotiabank Saddledome due to logistical concerns created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Note: AHL TV is running a free preview of their streaming service from Oct. 15 to 17, so you’ll be able to watch this game for FREE by signing up at https://www.watchtheahl.com/.

Projected lineups

Stockton

Stockton released its 30-man opening roster Friday morning, featuring 16 forwards, nine defencemen, and five goaltenders. Here’s our best guess as to what lineup the Heat will go with on Friday:

Forwards

Martin Pospisil – Adam Ruzicka – Matthew Phillips
Jakob Pelletier – Luke Philp – Walker Duehr
Justin Kirkland – Byron Froese – Emilio Pettersen
Dmitry Zavgorodniy – Mark Simpson – Ryan Francis

Projected scratches: Eetu Tuulola, Reid Perepeluk, Ryan Olsen, Alex Gallant

Defencemen

Connor Mackey – Andy Welinski
Kevin Gravel – Ilya Solovyov
Yan Kuznetsov – Nick DeSimone

Projected scratches: Greg Moro, Colton Poolman, Alec McCrea

Goaltenders

The Heat have five goaltenders on the roster: Adam Werner, Dustin Wolf, Matt Greenfield, Andrew Shortridge, and Daniil Chechelev.

We expect Werner will get the start on Friday with Wolf backing him up.

Tucson

Here is the Roadrunners’ opening roster:

Forwards

Michael Carcone, Blake Speers, Boko Imama, Ryan McGregor, Jan Jenik, Ben McCartney, Hudson Fasching, Travis Barron, Barrett Hayton, Cameron Hebig, Matias Maccelli, Liam Kirk

Defencemen

Cole Hults, Cam Dineen, Cameron Crotty, Vladislav Kolyachonok, Dysin Mayo, Ty Emberson, Janis Moser

Goaltenders

Josef Korenar, Ivan Prosvetov

Players to watch

Stockton Matthew Phillips. After a somewhat disappointing NHL training camp with the Flames, Phillips is back with the Heat to try and take another step forward in his quest to become a big-leaguer. He led the 2020–21 edition of the Heat with 22 points in 30 games, tying his linemate Adam Ruzicka for that distinction, but his production noticeably slowed down as the season progressed.

Tucson — Liam Kirk. The first British-trained player to be drafted by an NHL team, Kirk will make his AHL debut Friday with Tucson. He signed an entry-level contract with the Arizona Coyotes in the off-season after he tied for the 2021 IIHF World Championship tournament lead with seven goals.

How to watch

This game will be broadcast on AHLTV.com (subscription required) and on Spreaker (audio only), with the opening puck-drop set for 8:00 pm MT. Live game updates can be found on Twitter at @miketgould or online at TheAHL.com.

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On a night where Vasily Podkolzin scored his first NHL goal and was benched for the third period, the Vancouver Canucks gave up two goals late and snuck out a win in the shootout to kick off their road trip with three points in their first two games.

The Vancouver Canucks continued their road trip with a stop in Philadelphia to face the Flyers.

One of the big stories going into this game was seeing that Vasily Podkolzin was going to be playing on a line with Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller. We will see how long this one lasts as it was a massive opportunity for the youngster.

Thatcher Demko got the call for the Canucks with Carter Hart holding down the blue paint for the Flyers.

Lines

After a strong game in the season opener, Travis Green talked about Nils Höglander’s ability to jumpstart any line that he is on. This was a strong possibility as we saw Podkolzin playing on a top line to begin the game.

The third pairing stayed the same with Jack Rathbone and Kyle Burroughs showing well in the season opener. They received another chance to show their worth to the lineup as the third pairing in this game.

It’s an early puck drop and we are all set for it now.

Let’s go!

First Period

What happened

Tyler Myers took a penalty four minutes into the period and the Flyers went to work on their first power play of the game.

The Canucks were able to keep the puck out of the net for the two-minute duration but the Flyers got their first goal of the game just as the power play expired. Joel Farabee had a puck go off of Tucker Poolman in front of the net and Farabee found it, forcing the Canucks to play catch-up. 1-0 Flyers.

At the point of the goal, the Flyers had an 8-0 lead on the shot chart. They were sustaining pressure on the Canucks for what felt like the entirety of the opening eight minutes of the game.

The Canucks were able to scurry out of the first 10 minutes with a one-goal deficit on the back of some quality goaltending from Demko. He faced a handful of scoring chances in the opening half of the period and looked strong throughout.

The Canucks were able to get a bit of offence going as the halfway point passed through. They battled back with a few shots of their own to balance out the shots and scoring chances.

Play was continuous throughout the central portion of the period. The Canucks were able to somewhat balance out the shots on net count but the Flyers continued to have better chances. Demko was tested often and was the main reason that the score stayed at 1-0.

Podkolzin on the first line didn’t last through the first period. Höglander made his way up to the Pettersson and Miller line as Green pulled out his famous blender.

Thoughts from the first

After 20 minutes, the Flyers had a stronghold on the possession numbers. It’s nights like this where you have to appreciate having a strong goaltender like Demko, he was excellent and kept the Canucks in the game.

The Miller-Pettersson-Podkolzin experiment didn’t last long as Höglander got time with the top scoring line before the period expired. Podkolzin looked fine but wasn’t skating as hard as you’d like to see. Green has talked about him moving his feet more and that was lacking in the period.

Second Period

What happened

After being moved down in the lineup, Podkolzin found some open space as he came in on the right side. He looked to pass but then ripped a wrist shot over Hart’s shoulder for his first career NHL goal. 1-0 Canucks.

After the goal, the Flyers somehow took a high-sticking penalty on Myers and the Canucks received their first opportunity on the power play.

The first unit went to work and Pettersson had a shot that bounced off the end boards and off of Hart’s leg and in. 2-1 Canucks.

The Canucks’ two goals in 91 seconds gave them a lead and just seconds after the second goal, Rathbone took a holding penalty to give the Flyers another power play opportunity.

The Canucks were able to kill off the penalty and the Flyers took a delay of game penalty one minute later. This sent the Canucks’ power play unit back onto the ice to fire away at a shaken Carter Hart.

They were able to get a couple of shots off and Demko denied a shorthanded breakaway. With 35 seconds left in the power play, the Flyers took a too many men on the ice penalty and the Canucks went to a five-on-three.

With the two-man advantage just about to expire, Alex Chiasson received a great pass from Miller as the net-front presence and he smashed it past Hart to give the Canucks a two-goal lead. 3-1 Canucks.

They had 85 seconds remaining on the second power play.

The second unit had some quality scoring chances from Conor Garland and Höglander but was unable to finish on their attempts.

The Flyers fought back as Farabee made a great pass from behind the net to a streaking Cam Atkinson. He one-timed the shot and beat Demko to cut the lead to one. 3-2 Canucks after the Atkinson goal.

The period was full of action and we saw some more later in the period. Pettersson fired a shot on net from a sharp angle and Miller followed up and tapped the puck in as it sat on the goal line. 4-2 Canucks.

It was Miller’s third point of the game as the Canucks scored four goals on 11 shots in the second period.

Thoughts from the second

The Canucks were able to take advantage of bad goaltending and scored four goals in the period. They took a stranglehold on the momentum and it felt like it all came from the great play from Demko in their own end.

Garland was establishing his peskiness throughout the period as he threw a ton of hits and was under the skin of multiple Flyers. If he continues to play with this type of energy, he will quickly become a fan favourite.

Third Period

What happened

The period began with a Canucks power play as Garland drew a cross-checking call at the end of the period.

The Canucks were unable to score but dominated possession for the first five minutes of the period. They were cycling in the offensive zone and getting good quality shots off at even-strength.

Green was running through his top-three lines at the midway point of the third. With a game on the following night, shifts were short and quick as the Canucks protected a two-goal lead.

Podkolzin and Justin Dowling were stapled to the bench for the third period. Each of the two were without a shift through the period as Green attempted to protect a lead.

As the period was flying by, we reached the final few minutes. The Flyers pulled their goalie and Oliver Ekman-Larson took a slashing penalty.

The Flyers went to work at six on four and wasted no time. They scored a quick goal to cut the lead down to one. 4-3 Canucks.

There were just under two minutes remaining and the Flyers pulled their goalie once again to push the Canucks in an attempt to tie the game.

With 1:12 remaining, Claude Giroux called for a bank pass and fired home a goal from the left side to tie the game up with 72 seconds remaining in the period. 4-4 after the Giroux goal.

The seconds ticked away as Philadelphia Flyers fans were going nuts after their team put together a couple of late goals to force overtime.

Overtime

Pettersson had a clear-cut breakaway where he tried to slide the puck through Hart but he made a pad save.

Höglander had a dangerous shot from the right side as he earned the coach’s trust for some three-on-three action.

The Canucks had a few long shifts that had the Flyers’ players gassed as they were unable to change during the Canucks’ cycling.

No team was able to score in the extra frame and we were off to a shootout.

Sean Couturier shot first and he dangled to the forehand but Demko stuck with him and made the save.

Petterson went first for the Canucks and fired a wrist shot past Hart’s glove for a goal.

Giroux made a great dangle back to the forehand but Demko made a great save.

Miller shot next and buried it after a forehand deke to give the Canucks their first win of the season.

The Fancies

Top Performers

J.T. Miller had three points in the game and played over 24 minutes. He had a much better game two after some puck-bobbling in game one. Miller said that he felt that he didn’t possess the puck much in the first game but felt really good about his play in Friday night’s game.

Elias Pettersson had six shots on net to go with his goal and primary assist in Friday’s game. He was good defensively as well as his presence in the lineup was clearly missed last season. He makes a big difference in every game.

Wrap-Up

Though the Canucks played very passive in the third period, J.T. Miller believed that they were good in the period and outplayed them.

“I thought it was about as good of a third period that you could play on the road,” said Miller. “I thought we outplayed them in the third period. We don’t want to sit back there but they made some good plays. I don’t think they took the life back honestly. I thought we had an awesome third period.”

The Canucks received a combination of good bounces and bad goaltending on their goals. The weirdest had to be when Pettersson fired a shot on the power play that deflected off a Flyers defenceman, then off the boards and off of Hart’s leg and into the back of the net.

“Weirdest, luckiest, call it whatever you want,” said Pettersson when asked if that was the weirdest goal he’s ever scored in his life.

Pettersson went on to give high praise for Nils Höglander as he was moved to Pettersson’s wing late in the first period.

“He’s tiny or short but he’s so strong on the puck,” said Pettersson. “He’s just a small power forward who creates a lot and he’s fun to play with.”

The Canucks snuck out a win in a game where it almost fell out of their grasp. The Flyers scored two quick late goals that tied the game up and forced overtime. Miller and Pettersson clutched up in the shootout on top of a strong performance from Demko on the night.

Unfortunately, there is no time for rest as the Canucks head to Detroit for the second of a back-to-back. The game time is 4 pm on Saturday.

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Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin scored his team’s first goal of the 2021–22 season on Thursday after being formally introduced to fans as team captain in a pre-game ceremony.

Former Red Wings captains Red Berenson, Paul Woods, Nick Libett, Dennis Hextall, Steve Yzerman, Alex Delvecchio, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Henrik Zetterberg all helped welcome Larkin to the team’s pantheon of captains prior to puck-drop in Detroit’s season opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Red Wings named Larkin captain prior to the pandemic-shortened 2020–21 season, at which time fans were not allowed to enter Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.

While the rules in Michigan ultimately changed during the year to allow a limited number of spectators at the rink, Thursday’s Red Wings game was the first at full arena capacity since Larkin started donning the “C” for the team.

Fittingly, Larkin kicked things off for the Red Wings in their season opener. Exactly 14 minutes into the first period, he drove the net and slammed the puck home after an initial shot by teammate Robby Fabbri had trickled through the equipment of Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Here’s the video of the goal, as posted by the Wings’ official Twitter account:

Filip Zadina picked up the secondary assist on Larkin’s first goal of the season. The Red Wings currently lead the Lightning by the same 1-0 score after 20 minutes of play.


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So the 2021-22 season is not even a week old yet and the Leafs are already in full chaos mode with all of the news circulating this morning in regards to the lineup and the status of some injured players.

We begin with the biggest story of them all, which is the Leafs being short on cash and resorting to unique methods to get around that problem.

What, David Ayres was not available?

Jokes aside, this must be huge for Alex Bishop who has posted decent numbers during his time in the QMJHL and USports. He is in his senior year at the University of Toronto so this will surely be a moment he will never forget. He will most likely sit on the bench for the entire game, but it wouldn’t shock me if Sheldon Keefe were to do him a solid and let him play the final few minutes depending on how things go in the game.

The reason for this is because Leafs ran out of cap space and have yet to play one game where they are short a body in order to invoke their emergency call-up. Our noted insider Nick Barden reported yesterday that Michael Hutchinson was not at Marlies practice, so all signs point to him being brought up for the time being while Petr Mrazek recovers from his groin injury. If I were to guess, we can expect the Leafs to make the call-up at some point on Sunday in order to prepare for their next game on Monday against the Rangers.

Liljegren set to make his season debut

When the news of Bishop slotting in as the EBUG began to circulate, some were quick to point out that the Leafs should have sent down Timothy Liljegren so that Hutchinson could more easily get brought up. That proved to not be the case because Liljegren will actually be playing.

Liljegren has an impressive camp and finally earned a spot on the Leafs roster to begin the season, cementing the team’s belief in him being part of their long-term plans. Having only played a combined 13 NHL games in the previous two seasons, this is a massive opportunity for him to showcase his skills and make Keefe’s life harder when setting up the lineup as the season progresses.

Speaking of Keefe, he told the media that the reason for Justin Holl’s absence is due to him having cold symptoms and taking precautionary measures to ensure that it isn’t COVID-19. This is part of the new reality of the NHL as the pandemic continues to rage on and there are no signs of it coming to an end anytime soon. Holl has had a rough first two games so some time away from the rink could help him get back on track and return to the strong form he showed throughout the 2021 campaign. Get well soon, Justin!

An update on Matthews and Mrazek

As mentioned earlier, Mrazek will be on the shelf for a bit after suffering a groin injury in the final moments of the second period during Thursday night’s game against the Senators. There was a sense of dread when the PR report came out that he would be out of commission for a while, but Keefe believes that the newly signed goalie will not miss much time:

It’s an encouraging sign that Mrazek will likely avoid being placed on LTIR because one of the big concerns last season was Jack Campbell’s longevity and it forced the team to ease back on his playing time throughout the campaign. Mrazek has fallen into injury trouble over the past few seasons which was one of the risks of a tandem including him and Campbell, so here’s hoping he will return to the crease in due time. With the upcoming week being pretty lean in terms of games played, there is a possibility he could be back in time for his first matchup against his former mates in Carolina since free agency.

Meanwhile, Auston Matthews continues to make strides in his recovery from wrist surgery.

Keefe said he spoke with the Leafs’ star forward after practice and pointed out that things are going well for him and appears on track to make his season debut soon. While he did not specify when Matthews will be back in the lineup, things seem to be moving in a positive direction.

He was slated to miss the first three games of the regular season but there was no indication that he would be ready for Monday’s contest. Judging by the fact that he remains in the grey jersey and wasn’t on the ice with the rest of his teammates, my best guess is he will likely be given the game against the Rangers off and will make his return on Friday when the Sharks come to town.

Today’s practice was no doubt an eventful one and the craziness of the day appears to just be getting started. With an EBUG on the roster for tonight, who knows what crazy shenanigans could lie ahead on the first HNIC broadcast of this brand new season.

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Alert! There are Sharks ahead in San Jose located at the SAP Center, although not to worry, they haven’t taken a bite out of the competition over the last few seasons – ok, that’s enough of the shark puns.

After falling 4-1 in the 2021-22 season opener, the Winnipeg Jets have travelled to Northern California for a Saturday night date against the San Jose Sharks, who haven’t enjoyed a winning season since 2018-19. But similar to the Anaheim Ducks, nothing should be taken for granted against this rebuilding team, because as we all know, games aren’t played on paper.

Luckily for the Jets, who failed to sneak more than one goal past Ducks netminder John Gibson, they won’t have to encounter an all-star goaltender during their second game of the season as Adin Hill will draw the start in goal during the Sharks’ regular-season opener.

For Hill, the 25-year-old has displayed some encouraging flashes at the NHL level, but has only appeared in 49 career games over four seasons, resulting in a 2.79 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage.

With Winnipeg searching for its first win of the season, here are three storylines fans should be aware of ahead of this matchup:

Mark Scheifele Returns From Suspension 

Since forward Mark Scheifele only served three-quarters of his four-game suspension during last season’s playoffs, the 28-year-old was forced to sit out Winnipeg’s season opener back on Wednesday. But now, he’s eligible to return to the team’s active roster, which certainly missed his presence in Anaheim.

Coming off a shortened campaign where he registered 21 goals, 63 points and a career-best 1.13 points per game through 56 contests, Scheifele will surely be looking to add some much-needed intensity to the Jets’ offence. Though the club’s top line was centred by veteran Paul Stastny a few nights ago, he’s been returned to the third line, allowing No. 55 to be reunited with Nos. 26 and 81.

Sure, the trio of Kyle Connor, Blake Wheeler and Scheifele may seem a bit of a recycled idea at this point, which is a reasonable argument to make, especially given this unit’s defensive metrics in 2020-21. But with coach Paul Maurice at the helm, no one should be expecting anything less this early in the schedule.

For now, let’s hope the Jets’ first line can create plenty of havoc in the offensive zone without surrendering an overwhelming amount of scoring chances inside the defensive zone.

Cole Perfetti Remains in Starting Lineup 

After making his NHL debut Wednesday, almost everyone was expecting rookie Cole Perfetti to draw out of the lineup in place of Scheifele during the following contest, however, the 19-year-old won’t be spending his Saturday night in the press box – a fairly shocking development.

Confirming this news following Winnipeg’s morning skate, Maurice announced Evgeny Svechnikov will serve as the team’s 13th forward in San Jose, making him a healthy scratch. As a result, Perfetti will remain on the third line and will be joined by Adam Lowry once again, who’s expected to continue serving as a mentor to the talented young skater.

Additionally, Stastny is also expected to be positioned alongside these two skaters, in turn, bumping Kristian Vesalainen down to the club’s fourth line.

While this is great news for Perfetti and the Jets, unfortunately, he might be hard-pressed to increase his ice time from last game, which came in at just 9:49 minutes. Unless the coaching staff decides to adjust the power-play units, the former first-round pick will likely be limited to 5-on-5 opportunities for a second consecutive contest.

Still, it’ll be extremely important for the 5’10” forward to build off the success he enjoyed against the Ducks, where his impressive puck carrying and hockey senses each proved to be eye-catching through all three periods.

Priority on Starting Strong in Opening 20 Minutes, Again

Similar to the season-opener in Anaheim, Winnipeg is aiming to start strong out of the gate for a second straight game, this time in San Jose. In saying that, this club is also hoping its skaters can be more effective with their shot selections, which plagued them last time out.

Despite out-shooting the Ducks 15-6 in the opening period, only three of the Jets’ scoring chances were located in high-danger areas. Making matters worse, none of them occurred at 5-on-5, with all three taking place with the man advantage.

This time around, it’ll be crucial to create several line rushes to the Shark’s net while also creating plenty of traffic in front of Hill during both even-strength and power-play situations. In addition, replicating the impressive puck movement that was on full display a few nights ago is also expected to be a focal point, as doing so will likely open up additional shooting lanes in the offensive zone.

With Scheifele back in action, paired with a top-six group that includes Connor, Wheeler, Nikolaj Ehlers, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Andrew Copp, this west-coast showdown has the potential for a much more successful outcome in favour of the Jets.


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After a few weeks of hockey leagues playing games in fits and starts, the floodgates opened over the past week or so. When it comes to the Calgary Flames, almost all of their prospects are now playing meaningful hockey games.

Friends, let’s check out how all these youngsters are faring.

This and that:

  • Glenn Gawdin is on the Flames’ roster right now, while Johannes Kinnvall and Connor Zary are on the injury reserve list after suffering training camp injuries. Tyler Parsons is non-roster currently.
  • In exhibition action, Stockton beat Bakersfield 3-0 on Friday. Dustin Wolf earned the shutout, while Ryan Olsen (on a try-out), Ryan Francis and Emilio Pettersen scored goals. Stockton’s Sunday exhibition game was cancelled. Stockton begins their regular season on Friday against Tucson.
  • Harvard (home of Flames first rounder Matthew Coronato) plays an exhibition game on Saturday against the University of Ottawa, then begins their regular season on Oct. 29.

Jack Beck – RW, Ottawa 67’s, OHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 3 3 2 5 2 5 2 44.14
Change from last week 3 3 2 5 2 5 2 +44.14

Small sample size alert, but Beck’s off to an excellent start to his season. Yes, he only has a pair of even strength points, but he’s been a driver of offense for the 67’s so far.

Jake Boltmann – D, University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish, NCAA/Big10

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 24.76
Change from last week 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 +24.76

On one hand, Boltmann is currently slotted as Notre Dame’s seventh defenseman. On the other hand, he finally registered his first NCAA point with an assist in Notre Dame’s first game of the season.

He won’t be a point-per-game player often.

Lucas Ciona – LW, Seattle Thunderbirds, WHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 3 1 1 1 1 2 1 16.51
Change from last week 2 1 0 1 1 1 1 -8.25

Ciona was Very Ciona this week. He had a goal in a Seattle win. He also had 13 penalty minutes.

Lucas Feuk – LW, Västerviks IK, HockeyAllsvenskan / Nybro Vikings IF, HockeyEttan

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Allsvenskan up to date 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Change from last week
HockeyEttan up to date 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 n/a
Change from last week 1 0 0 0 0 0 0

Things aren’t looking too rosy for Feuk. Unable to get regular minutes with Västerviks, he was loaned to Nybro in the Swedish third division (HockeyEttan). He got dinged for 12 penalty minutes in his debut game for a checking from behind incident.

Emil Heineman – LW, Leksands IF, SHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 9 2 0 2 2 2 2 10.86
Change from last week 2 1 0 1 1 1 1 +3.88

Heineman is playing a depth role for Leksands so far, but he’s doing a strong job of it. He’s bouncing around their bottom six, but he’s playing a consistent two-way role and chipping in goals here and there.

Cole Huckins – LW, Acadie-Bathurst Titan, QMJHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 5 0 3 3 2 2 1 13.97
Change from last week 3 0 3 3 2 2 1 +13.97

Huckins bounced back from a quiet initial week for the Titan, putting up three points in three games – he had games of zero, one and two points, respectively.

Cole Jordan – D, Moose Jaw Warriors, WHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Change from last week n/a

Jordan missed Moose Jaw’s games this week with an undisclosed injury.

Rory Kerins – C, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, OHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 26.49
Change from last week 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 +26.49

In his first game back in the OHL after being drafted by the Flames in 2020, Kerins had two points. In his second game back, he had zero points. It’ll take awhile for him to settle in, probably.

Demetrios Koumontzis – LW, Arizona State University Sun Devils, NCAA/Ind.

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Change from last week 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 n/a

Koumontzis is a third line player for Arizona State as a senior. He has yet to hit the scoresheet.

Mitchell Mattson – C, Michigan State University Spartans, NCAA/Big10

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0..00
Change from last week 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 n/a

Mattson dressed for one game as Michigan State’s 13th forward, then was a healthy scratch in their next game. He’s a senior.

Josh Nodler – C, Michigan State University Spartans, NCAA/Big10

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 2 1 2 3 1 2 1 40.96
Change from last week 2 1 2 3 1 2 1 +40.96

Small sample size alert, but Nodler had a superb start to his junior year with the Spartans. He’s playing as their top centre after a bunch of graduations within the team. MSU might not be a huge powerhouse this season, but Nodler is going to be playing a ton in every key situation.

Ilya Nikolaev – C, Tri-City Storm, USHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 3 0 1 1 0 0 0 7.65
Change from last week 2 0 1 1 0 0 0 +7.65

Nikolaev registered his first USHL point, a power play assist. He’s playing as Tri-City’s third line centre.

Jérémie Poirier – D, Saint John Sea Dogs, QMJHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 5 0 1 1 1 0 0 4.66
Change from last week 3 0 1 1 1 0 0 +4.66

Poirier finally got on the scoresheet with a secondary assist this weekend.

William Strömgren – LW, Rögle BK, J20 Nationell

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 12 3 7 10 7 7 5 13.19
Change from last week 2 0 1 1 0 0 0 -1.05

Strömgren continues to chug along. He’s playing top six minutes for Rögle and chipping in points consistently. He has yet to suit up for their pro side yet this season, though.

Cameron Whynot – D, Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 4 0 2 2 0 1 0 11.64
Change from last week 2 0 2 2 0 1 0 -11.65

Whynot quieted down offensively this week, failing to hit the scoresheet in a pair of games.

Arsenii Sergeev – G, Tri-City Storm, USHL

GP TOI SV%
Up to date 3 180 .956
Change from last week 1 60 +.023

Sergeev continues his strong start to his USHL career. He had a shutout and remains undefeated.

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Vasily Podkolzin scored his first career goal, and it was a thing of beauty.

The Russian winger, who the Canucks drafted in 2019, started tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers on a line alongside Elias Pettersson and JT Miller. Although the lines were juggled throughout the night and Podkolzin found himself on the fourth line in a hurry, he wasted little time showing everyone that he’s capable of absolutely letting it fly.

It truly was a thing of beauty:

Understandably so, Podkolzin was absolutely elated after the puck went in.

And yes, Chris Faber was also very happy to see the guy he’s spent countless hours (and pretty unreasonable ones too!) watching score his first NHL goal.

Stay tuned for the CanucksArmy post game report shortly after the final whistle!

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It’s Friday afternoon and that can only mean one thing — a brand new episode of Oilersnation Radio to help you finish off your week with an hour of all things Edmonton Oilers. On this week’s show, we looked back at the season opener, ahead at tomorrow’s Battle of Alberta, did another round of Ask the Idiots, and a whole lot more.

To kick off the podcast, we got started with a look at the season opener and what was our biggest takeaway from the first game against the Vancouver Canucks. Obviously, it wasn’t a perfect game by any means but the Oilers were able to cash out a win that didn’t look like a sure thing after Vancouver tied the game late in the third period. Whether it was Hyman’s brilliant debut or the second pairing trying to stay afloat, the boys offered their early-season takes on what happened on night one and whether those first impressions are indicative of what’s to come. Sticking with the opener, three of the four of us were at the game on Wednesday night so I asked them what it was like to be back at Rogers Place for the first time in 581 days. As you’ll hear, the boys had plenty to say about what went well and what could have gone better after so much time away from the rink. Next up, we previewed tomorrow’s game against the Calgary Flames and offered up our boldest takes as for what to expect for the first Battle of Alberta of the season.

Listen to this week’s podcast below:

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Previous Episodes:

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This summer for Lou Lamoriello and the New York Islanders was all about keeping the band together.

The Islanders came into the offseason pressed right up against the salary cap, but, as always, Lamoriello worked his magic and found a way to make it all work out. Their only additions were league-minimum deals to a pair of veterans while the focus otherwise was on getting players already on the roster locked up to new contracts.

The pesky Islanders, who have reached the Conference Final in back-to-back seasons only to lose to the Tampa Bay Lightning, are locked and loaded and ready to take another stab at getting over the hump.

They’ll have a bit of an uphill climb, though, as the Islanders won’t play at home until their 14th game of the season when their new $1.1 billion stadium at Belmont Park is ready.

What happened in 2021?

Despite a poor start to the season, which was highlighted by an ugly five-game losing streak in late January, the Islanders pulled themselves together and grabbed the fourth spot in the East Division standings.

The East was a top-heavy division in 2021, with perennial contenders like the Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins at the top of the standings. A couple of months in, the Islanders found themselves in the mix with the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers jockeying for the fourth spot in the division.

The Islanders pulled off a big nine-game winning streak in March at the same time the Flyers and Rangers went sideways and they ultimately grabbed the fourth spot and ran with it.

Come playoff team, New York pulled off an upset over the top-seeded Penguins in the first round and then beat the Bruins in six games in the second round. They then took the Lightning to the limit but wound up getting dropped in Game 7 by a score of 1-0.

At the very least, the season featured a beautiful send-off of Nassau Coliseum.

What did they do in the offseason?

Notable Additions: Zdeno Chara, Zach Parise, Richard Panik.

Notable Subtractions: Jordan Eberle, Nick Leddy, Travis Zajac, Braydon Coburn.

The Islanders moved on from a couple of veterans in order to free up salary cap room over the summer.

They left Jordan Eberle exposed in the Expansion Draft and the Seattle Kraken happily picked him up. They also dealt Nick Leddy to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Richard Panik and a second-round pick.

New York didn’t make many additions over the summer. The two players they signed were a pair of veterans who came in at the league minimum. There’s Zach Parise, a player who Lamorellio knows well from his time in New Jersey, and there’s also Zdeno Chara, who’s back with the Islanders after a 20-year absence.

Rather than bringing new players in, New York priority was getting everyone from their successful last two seasons signed to new deals.

Casey Cizikas signed a six-year deal with a microscopic $2,500,000 cap hit, a pair of restricted free agents, Anthony Beauvillier and Ilya Sorokin, got three-year bridge deals, and Kyle Palmieri, who was acquired ahead of the trade deadline, got a four-year contract.

The biggest play for Lamorellio was getting his top defensive pairing inked long-term. Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock both got eight-year contracts at a combined cap hit of $11,900,000. That’s pretty tidy business when Seth Jones pulls $9,500,000 annually.

What to expect in 2021-22?

The Islanders will move back to the very, very competitive Metro Division in 2021-22, arguably the deepest in hockey.

They’ll be competing with aforementioned perennial contenders Pittsburgh and Washington, along with the Carolina Hurricanes, who had the best record in the Eastern Conference last season. The Flyers and Devils also got better over the summer and the Rangers boast a wealth of young talent. The only weak spot here is Columbus.

Despite that difficult competition, the Islanders might be the team to beat here. They’ve continually proved everybody wrong in the Barry Trotz era with their rock-solid defence, timely scoring, and elite goaltending, and there’s no reason to believe that’ll change.

While losing Eberle and Leddy is unfortunate, there are internal options who could step up and make a difference. A pair of former top picks, Oliver Wahlstrom and Noah Dobson, appear ready to take on larger roles and become key contributors.

One bold prediction…

The Islanders finally get over the hump and reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2022.


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The post Offseason Review: Lamoriello’s Cap Magic Has Made Isles Cup Contenders appeared first on Daily Faceoff.

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Toronto Marlies hockey is back.

Training camp is finally over, and now it’s time to get down to business. And that starts with a back-to-back at home against the Manitoba Moose on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

The Marlies are looking forward to a new season with some different faces. One positive is getting to play in front of fans again. Some players haven’t done that since the pandemic began in March of 2020.

I’m just grateful to be able to play hockey for a living.” Said Marlies captain, Rich Clune about playing in front of fans. “Obviously, being from Toronto, it means a little bit more playing here. A lot of family and friends in the stands, but anytime I can get into a game I’m excited.

Toronto is going to be a challenging team to play against this season. They have returning players like Nicholas Robertson, Joseph Duszak, Joey Anderson, and Kristians Rubins. But they also have newcomers like Alex Biega, Carl Dahlstrom Josh Ho-Sang, Mikhail Abramov, and Alex Steeves (who’s still out with a shoulder injury).

It’s a good mix of both young and old players this season. That will be beneficial for the Marlies this year because players will be able to bounce off one another. From being at practices in the last two weeks, it seems as though this team is a tight-knit group.

It’s no secret — on paper we look pretty good and we have a pretty skilled lineup.” Said Biega of his new team on Friday. “I think they do a great job in this organization in terms of development and winning through development. So, I think, we have a lot of talented players in this group and it’s just a matter of being consistent every day. No different than the Leafs are right now.

But what was also echoed throughout the Marlies’ last practice was structure. Similar to last year with Greg Moore, structure is something that helps you win games. If you have structure, you can do a lot of great things.

And it’s clear early that the Marlies believe they have the structure built and want to see what it can do.

Every year it’s so important for a team to be on the same page and be structured with how they play.” Said Moore. “It’s been a great week, the buy-in and the energy towards our focus have been in a real positive place. So, tomorrow, we’re gonna get a feel for the regular season, back here in our building, we’re really excited and it’ll be important for the players to come out and have that structure to start to get us off on the right foot.

The same observation was repeated by the Marlies’ captain on Friday.

I think this team’s about structure.” Said Clune. “I think there’s just so much talent in that room that if we can really get our structure down and get all on the same page, we’re going to do some damage.

Another word is talent. The Marlies have a lot of skilled young players who can drive this team. It’ll be crucial for them to start on time in every game this year.

It’s really exciting. We have a lot of talent, a lot of depth.” Said Moore about the talent of his team. “Something we had mentioned the other day was the importance of buying into their roles. You might say that with how much talent we have, there’s not enough puck to spread around, but we have really quality character guys who are going to buy into what their purpose is and who they’re playing with and it’ll be really important for us as a group to have that.

What I’ve learned about this team and the organization itself is that it’s one day at a time. There’s no thinking a week down the road or even a month. Everything is in the now.

The Marlies’ now is getting a win tomorrow afternoon in front of their home crowd at Coca-Cola Coliseum.

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Stockton Heat hockey is back!

The Calgary Flames’ American Hockey League affiliate will kick off its 2021–22 season tonight when the Tucson Roadrunners visit the Stockton Arena for a game at 7:00 p.m. local time (8:00 p.m. MT on AHL TV).

Friday’s game will be the first behind the bench for new Heat head coach Mitch Love, who replaced the promoted Cail MacLean during the off-season.

It’ll also be Stockton’s first game back in the United States since the 2019–20 season. The club spent the entire 2020–21 campaign playing out of Calgary’s Scotiabank Saddledome due to logistical concerns created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Note: AHL TV is running a free preview of their streaming service from Oct. 15 to 17, so you’ll be able to watch this game for FREE by signing up at https://www.watchtheahl.com/.

Projected lineups

Stockton

Stockton released its 30-man opening roster Friday morning, featuring 16 forwards, nine defencemen, and five goaltenders. Here’s our best guess as to what lineup the Heat will go with on Friday:

Forwards

Martin Pospisil – Adam Ruzicka – Matthew Phillips
Jakob Pelletier – Luke Philp – Walker Duehr
Justin Kirkland – Byron Froese – Emilio Pettersen
Dmitry Zavgorodniy – Mark Simpson – Ryan Francis

Projected scratches: Eetu Tuulola, Reid Perepeluk, Ryan Olsen, Alex Gallant

Defencemen

Connor Mackey – Andy Welinski
Kevin Gravel – Ilya Solovyov
Yan Kuznetsov – Nick DeSimone

Projected scratches: Greg Moro, Colton Poolman, Alec McCrea

Goaltenders

The Heat have five goaltenders on the roster: Adam Werner, Dustin Wolf, Matt Greenfield, Andrew Shortridge, and Daniil Chechelev.

We expect Werner will get the start on Friday with Wolf backing him up.

Tucson

Here is the Roadrunners’ opening roster:

Forwards

Michael Carcone, Blake Speers, Boko Imama, Ryan McGregor, Jan Jenik, Ben McCartney, Hudson Fasching, Travis Barron, Barrett Hayton, Cameron Hebig, Matias Maccelli, Liam Kirk

Defencemen

Cole Hults, Cam Dineen, Cameron Crotty, Vladislav Kolyachonok, Dysin Mayo, Ty Emberson, Janis Moser

Goaltenders

Josef Korenar, Ivan Prosvetov

Players to watch

Stockton Matthew Phillips. After a somewhat disappointing NHL training camp with the Flames, Phillips is back with the Heat to try and take another step forward in his quest to become a big-leaguer. He led the 2020–21 edition of the Heat with 22 points in 30 games, tying his linemate Adam Ruzicka for that distinction, but his production noticeably slowed down as the season progressed.

Tucson — Liam Kirk. The first British-trained player to be drafted by an NHL team, Kirk will make his AHL debut Friday with Tucson. He signed an entry-level contract with the Arizona Coyotes in the off-season after he tied for the 2021 IIHF World Championship tournament lead with seven goals.

How to watch

This game will be broadcast on AHLTV.com (subscription required) and on Spreaker (audio only), with the opening puck-drop set for 8:00 pm MT. Live game updates can be found on Twitter at @miketgould or online at TheAHL.com.

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On a night where Vasily Podkolzin scored his first NHL goal and was benched for the third period, the Vancouver Canucks gave up two goals late and snuck out a win in the shootout to kick off their road trip with three points in their first two games.

The Vancouver Canucks continued their road trip with a stop in Philadelphia to face the Flyers.

One of the big stories going into this game was seeing that Vasily Podkolzin was going to be playing on a line with Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller. We will see how long this one lasts as it was a massive opportunity for the youngster.

Thatcher Demko got the call for the Canucks with Carter Hart holding down the blue paint for the Flyers.

Lines

After a strong game in the season opener, Travis Green talked about Nils Höglander’s ability to jumpstart any line that he is on. This was a strong possibility as we saw Podkolzin playing on a top line to begin the game.

The third pairing stayed the same with Jack Rathbone and Kyle Burroughs showing well in the season opener. They received another chance to show their worth to the lineup as the third pairing in this game.

It’s an early puck drop and we are all set for it now.

Let’s go!

First Period

What happened

Tyler Myers took a penalty four minutes into the period and the Flyers went to work on their first power play of the game.

The Canucks were able to keep the puck out of the net for the two-minute duration but the Flyers got their first goal of the game just as the power play expired. Joel Farabee had a puck go off of Tucker Poolman in front of the net and Farabee found it, forcing the Canucks to play catch-up. 1-0 Flyers.

At the point of the goal, the Flyers had an 8-0 lead on the shot chart. They were sustaining pressure on the Canucks for what felt like the entirety of the opening eight minutes of the game.

The Canucks were able to scurry out of the first 10 minutes with a one-goal deficit on the back of some quality goaltending from Demko. He faced a handful of scoring chances in the opening half of the period and looked strong throughout.

The Canucks were able to get a bit of offence going as the halfway point passed through. They battled back with a few shots of their own to balance out the shots and scoring chances.

Play was continuous throughout the central portion of the period. The Canucks were able to somewhat balance out the shots on net count but the Flyers continued to have better chances. Demko was tested often and was the main reason that the score stayed at 1-0.

Podkolzin on the first line didn’t last through the first period. Höglander made his way up to the Pettersson and Miller line as Green pulled out his famous blender.

Thoughts from the first

After 20 minutes, the Flyers had a stronghold on the possession numbers. It’s nights like this where you have to appreciate having a strong goaltender like Demko, he was excellent and kept the Canucks in the game.

The Miller-Pettersson-Podkolzin experiment didn’t last long as Höglander got time with the top scoring line before the period expired. Podkolzin looked fine but wasn’t skating as hard as you’d like to see. Green has talked about him moving his feet more and that was lacking in the period.

Second Period

What happened

After being moved down in the lineup, Podkolzin found some open space as he came in on the right side. He looked to pass but then ripped a wrist shot over Hart’s shoulder for his first career NHL goal. 1-0 Canucks.

After the goal, the Flyers somehow took a high-sticking penalty on Myers and the Canucks received their first opportunity on the power play.

The first unit went to work and Pettersson had a shot that bounced off the end boards and off of Hart’s leg and in. 2-1 Canucks.

The Canucks’ two goals in 91 seconds gave them a lead and just seconds after the second goal, Rathbone took a holding penalty to give the Flyers another power play opportunity.

The Canucks were able to kill off the penalty and the Flyers took a delay of game penalty one minute later. This sent the Canucks’ power play unit back onto the ice to fire away at a shaken Carter Hart.

They were able to get a couple of shots off and Demko denied a shorthanded breakaway. With 35 seconds left in the power play, the Flyers took a too many men on the ice penalty and the Canucks went to a five-on-three.

With the two-man advantage just about to expire, Alex Chiasson received a great pass from Miller as the net-front presence and he smashed it past Hart to give the Canucks a two-goal lead. 3-1 Canucks.

They had 85 seconds remaining on the second power play.

The second unit had some quality scoring chances from Conor Garland and Höglander but was unable to finish on their attempts.

The Flyers fought back as Farabee made a great pass from behind the net to a streaking Cam Atkinson. He one-timed the shot and beat Demko to cut the lead to one. 3-2 Canucks after the Atkinson goal.

The period was full of action and we saw some more later in the period. Pettersson fired a shot on net from a sharp angle and Miller followed up and tapped the puck in as it sat on the goal line. 4-2 Canucks.

It was Miller’s third point of the game as the Canucks scored four goals on 11 shots in the second period.

Thoughts from the second

The Canucks were able to take advantage of bad goaltending and scored four goals in the period. They took a stranglehold on the momentum and it felt like it all came from the great play from Demko in their own end.

Garland was establishing his peskiness throughout the period as he threw a ton of hits and was under the skin of multiple Flyers. If he continues to play with this type of energy, he will quickly become a fan favourite.

Third Period

What happened

The period began with a Canucks power play as Garland drew a cross-checking call at the end of the period.

The Canucks were unable to score but dominated possession for the first five minutes of the period. They were cycling in the offensive zone and getting good quality shots off at even-strength.

Green was running through his top-three lines at the midway point of the third. With a game on the following night, shifts were short and quick as the Canucks protected a two-goal lead.

Podkolzin and Justin Dowling were stapled to the bench for the third period. Each of the two were without a shift through the period as Green attempted to protect a lead.

As the period was flying by, we reached the final few minutes. The Flyers pulled their goalie and Oliver Ekman-Larson took a slashing penalty.

The Flyers went to work at six on four and wasted no time. They scored a quick goal to cut the lead down to one. 4-3 Canucks.

There were just under two minutes remaining and the Flyers pulled their goalie once again to push the Canucks in an attempt to tie the game.

With 1:12 remaining, Claude Giroux called for a bank pass and fired home a goal from the left side to tie the game up with 72 seconds remaining in the period. 4-4 after the Giroux goal.

The seconds ticked away as Philadelphia Flyers fans were going nuts after their team put together a couple of late goals to force overtime.

Overtime

Pettersson had a clear-cut breakaway where he tried to slide the puck through Hart but he made a pad save.

Höglander had a dangerous shot from the right side as he earned the coach’s trust for some three-on-three action.

The Canucks had a few long shifts that had the Flyers’ players gassed as they were unable to change during the Canucks’ cycling.

No team was able to score in the extra frame and we were off to a shootout.

Sean Couturier shot first and he dangled to the forehand but Demko stuck with him and made the save.

Petterson went first for the Canucks and fired a wrist shot past Hart’s glove for a goal.

Giroux made a great dangle back to the forehand but Demko made a great save.

Miller shot next and buried it after a forehand deke to give the Canucks their first win of the season.

The Fancies

Top Performers

J.T. Miller had three points in the game and played over 24 minutes. He had a much better game two after some puck-bobbling in game one. Miller said that he felt that he didn’t possess the puck much in the first game but felt really good about his play in Friday night’s game.

Elias Pettersson had six shots on net to go with his goal and primary assist in Friday’s game. He was good defensively as well as his presence in the lineup was clearly missed last season. He makes a big difference in every game.

Wrap-Up

Though the Canucks played very passive in the third period, J.T. Miller believed that they were good in the period and outplayed them.

“I thought it was about as good of a third period that you could play on the road,” said Miller. “I thought we outplayed them in the third period. We don’t want to sit back there but they made some good plays. I don’t think they took the life back honestly. I thought we had an awesome third period.”

The Canucks received a combination of good bounces and bad goaltending on their goals. The weirdest had to be when Pettersson fired a shot on the power play that deflected off a Flyers defenceman, then off the boards and off of Hart’s leg and into the back of the net.

“Weirdest, luckiest, call it whatever you want,” said Pettersson when asked if that was the weirdest goal he’s ever scored in his life.

Pettersson went on to give high praise for Nils Höglander as he was moved to Pettersson’s wing late in the first period.

“He’s tiny or short but he’s so strong on the puck,” said Pettersson. “He’s just a small power forward who creates a lot and he’s fun to play with.”

The Canucks snuck out a win in a game where it almost fell out of their grasp. The Flyers scored two quick late goals that tied the game up and forced overtime. Miller and Pettersson clutched up in the shootout on top of a strong performance from Demko on the night.

Unfortunately, there is no time for rest as the Canucks head to Detroit for the second of a back-to-back. The game time is 4 pm on Saturday.

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Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin scored his team’s first goal of the 2021–22 season on Thursday after being formally introduced to fans as team captain in a pre-game ceremony.

Former Red Wings captains Red Berenson, Paul Woods, Nick Libett, Dennis Hextall, Steve Yzerman, Alex Delvecchio, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Henrik Zetterberg all helped welcome Larkin to the team’s pantheon of captains prior to puck-drop in Detroit’s season opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Red Wings named Larkin captain prior to the pandemic-shortened 2020–21 season, at which time fans were not allowed to enter Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.

While the rules in Michigan ultimately changed during the year to allow a limited number of spectators at the rink, Thursday’s Red Wings game was the first at full arena capacity since Larkin started donning the “C” for the team.

Fittingly, Larkin kicked things off for the Red Wings in their season opener. Exactly 14 minutes into the first period, he drove the net and slammed the puck home after an initial shot by teammate Robby Fabbri had trickled through the equipment of Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Here’s the video of the goal, as posted by the Wings’ official Twitter account:

Filip Zadina picked up the secondary assist on Larkin’s first goal of the season. The Red Wings currently lead the Lightning by the same 1-0 score after 20 minutes of play.


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