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By now we know a couple of things.

  1. The Leafs have a contract ready to go for Jake Muzzin, but do to the collective agreement the Leafs can’t announce it until March 1st.
  2. The contract is likely in the $5.5M range, it’s for four years, and it’s believed to be front loaded.

Via Darren Dreger:

“I believe there’s an agreement in place for Jake Muzzin to extend with the Toronto Maple Leafs [at] four years just over $5.5 million [per year],” Dreger said Thursday on Insider Trading. “I believe it’s a heavily front-loaded contract extension for Jake Muzzin. It will have some variety of forms of trade protection. Now, because of the tagging issues – the salary cap complications the Toronto Maple Leafs continue to wrestle with, I don’t believe that the Maple Leafs will announce are going to announce anything until perhaps later this month or early in March.”

All of these things fall into what should seemingly be considered good news, but given that Muzzin is older and showing some signs of wear and tear, we might need to take the long route to determining why this contract is good.

Before getting too far into this, first we’ll cover off why the contract isn’t happening until March 1st. It’s boring, but I’m sure some of you are mildly curious, and it has to do with tagging payroll for the summer and the upcoming season. The Leafs are presently limited to not exceeding the salary cap of this season for contract expenditures next year, that changes on March 1st, when teams can tag 10% above the current cap limit…

Article 50.5.c.ii.C

For all League Years of this Agreement except the 2012-13 League Year (in which case an Upper Limit of $70.2 million shall be used for the purpose of calculating Tagged Payroll Room as defined in Section 50.5(e)(iv)(C)(2)), beginning on March 1 of a given League Year through June 30 of that League Year, solely for purposes of calculating the amount of Tagged Payroll Room available to each Club, the Upper Limit shall be increased by ten (10) percent.

There. Neat. It makes sense, and once Muzzin is signed that pretty much puts all future re-signings on hold. The interesting thing here might be if the Leafs bring in additional salary at the trade deadline, which could push the Muzzin re-signing to a later date, but the safe bet is on Muzzin being signed on March 1st.

As for the contract itself, 4 years at $5.5M/yr is right in the heart of what we’ve seen for UFA defensive signings in the past few years. Last summer Anton Stralman signed a 3 year $5.5M/ur deal at the age of 32, and Alex Edler signed a 3 year $6M/yr deal at the age of 33. Going an extra year with Muzzin certainly is a concern, and spending money on any defenseman over the age of 30 comes with a substantial risk, that people are right to point out, but ultimately it’s not a bad deal and the Leafs don’t have a ton of defensemen to fall back on.

Frontloading to the rescue…

The Leafs have the luxury of being owned by two telecommunications monopolies that can print endless money. To their credit, they’ve given the Leafs permission to blindly spend that money. Where this impacts the Muzzin contract is that the Leafs can front load year one and two of Muzzin’s contract, the two years the Leafs will definitely see the value in having him on their roster, and make the back two years affordable to some of the lower payroll teams around the league, where they will have the luxury of a decent defenseman with a high cap hit with significantly less salary attached to the deal.

July 1st signing bonuses will be a big part of this in addition to the front loading, and if Muzzin is dealt after a signing bonus is paid it’s possible the Leafs would even be able to get out from the contract in year two if necessary. It seems crazy to be already planning on dumping a player, who has been pretty darn good for the Leafs, but thinking two or three steps ahead and mitigating risk in contracts has to be part of the GM’s consideration.

Ideally the final couple years of the contract will also be set up to be buyout friendly as well, but we’ll have to wait and see what the deal actually looks like. My best guess is the Leafs go with a $9.25M year one, $6.2M year two, $4.15M year three, and $2.78M year four, with signing bonuses being the bulk of the contract in years 1-3.

Options are limited

Looking to replace Muzzin seems like an uphill battle, and while I touched on the Stralman and Edler contracts, here are some other recent comparable UFA defensemen that have been signed…

PLAYER AGE TEAM TERM CAP HIT DATE SIGNED
JOSI 29 NAS 8 9.059 29-OCT-19
FAULK 27 STL 7 6.5 24-SEP-19
SPURGEON 29 MIN 7 7.575 14-SEP-19
GARDINER 29 CAR 4 4.05 6-SEP-19
MYERS 29 VAN 6 6 1-JUL-19
STRALMAN 32 FLA 3 5.5 1-JUL-19
EDLER 33 VAN 3 6 20-JUN-19
KARLSSON 29 SJ 8 11.5 17-JUN-19
SCHMIDT 27 VEG 6 5.95 25-OCT-18
ELLIS 27 NAS 8 6.25 14-AUG-18
HJALMARSSON 31 ARI 2 5 1-JUL-18
JOHNSON 31 PIT 5 3.25 1-JUL-18
GREEN 32 DET 2 5.375 30-JUN-18
VLASIC 30 SJ 8 7 1-JUL-17

It’s safe to say that Vlasic contract is a stern warning for the Leafs, but also when you look at the recent signings of Faulk and Myers, it’s clear that unrestricted free agent defensemen are likely to be priced out of Toronto, unless you look at Jake Gardiner, who should have been retained somehow.

Looking at who may be available this summer that could possibly be considered an upgrade or at least similar talent level wise to Muzzin, the options are seemingly limited to Alex Pietrangelo, Torey Krug, Sami Vatanen, T.J. Brodie, Travis Hamonic, and if we really want to stretch the options, Radko Gudas. Other than Radko Gudas, who I mainly just mention because I love Radko Gudas, all of these players are likely to get significant paydays if they hit free agency, and in the cases of Pietrangelo, Krug, and possibly Vatanen (depending on where he is traded to), they are likely to re-sign with their current clubs.

Muzzin is “blocking” Leafs youth

One of the arguments I’ve been hearing of late is that the Leafs shouldn’t re-sign Muzzin because he’s standing in the way of all the talent on the left side of the Leafs blueline. I think it’s important we take a moment to pause and chuckle at the idea of the Leafs defense being too talented.

While the Leaf side currently consists of Muzzin, Rielly, Dermott, and Sandin, which obviously pushes one of them either onto the Marlies, pressbox, right side, or out the door via trade, and there is some hope that Teemu Kivihalme could be a capable option next season as well, it’s a bit premature to assume that either Sandin or Dermott need top four minutes next season. It’s premature to assume that Rielly or Dermott can’t thrive on the right side, and it’s premature to assume that Rielly or Dermott’s contract will fit in with the direction the Leafs want to go. Muzzin is a safety net, and one that can allow for him to support the Leafs as much as they need over the next two years, and potentially be shown the door after that.

Muzzin’s first two years help run out the Sandin and Liljegren entry level deals. So if you want to look at it another way, the Leafs will be spending $7.36M on three defensemen over that time. That goes to $9.36M when you add in Justin Holl, and next season it’s $14.36M when you factor in Rielly, so that’s 5 out of 6 of your defensemen at less than 18% of your cap space. Given that’s 25% of your lineup card, that’s not bad and they can afford Muzzin at least for the short term.

TL;DR

In short, bringing Muzzin back is good. His contract is fine, and it appears it will have the necessary outs the Leafs will require. I’m sure it will include no trade or no movement clauses for Muzzin as well, but that’s all manageable. The Leafs aren’t in a situation where they can walk away from a player who has improved their blueline, even if his age is beginning to show. Replacement options are limited, and the Leafs have gone out of their way over the past half decade to show how difficult it is to acquire a good defensemen. Moving on from the one true success story they’ve had seems like a bad idea.

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Status: Extension
Date: 02/19/2020
Player: David Madlener (G)
From: Klagenfurter AC
To: Klagenfurter AC
Information: 1 year
Source: Link

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Status: Extension
Date: 02/19/2020
Player: Fredrik Styrman (D)
From: Luleå HF
To: Luleå HF
Information: 2 years
Source: Link

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Status: Extension
Date: 02/19/2020
Player: Martin Larsen (D)
From: Odense Bulldogs
To: Odense Bulldogs
Information: 1 year
Source: Link

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The Winnipeg Jets were supposed to easily beat up on the Los Angeles Kings who just traded away their top scorer and officially entered tanking mode. Things didn’t quite go as planned as the Jets got scored on during the opening shift. Luckily for Winnipeg, the third line was excellent for the second straight game as both Harkins and Appleton lit the lamp in the second period to give the Jets the lead. With a two goal lead heading into the third, the Jets made things interesting by allowing the Kings to score an early goal. The two teams battled for the rest of the period with Winnipeg taking the game with a 6-3 final. Don’t let the score fool you, the game was much closer than it needed to be.

First Period

The Jets have had a number of lacklustre starts in recent games and it happened again tonight as they allowed the Kings to score on the opening shift of the game. The Jets actually had the first chance of the game off the rush but the Kings came down the other way and put one past Hellebuyck. The first shot was stopped, but the rebound floated over the shoulder and into the net.

Definitely not an ideal start as the Jets were fighting from behind all period.

The Jets got the first powerplay of the game later in the period but they barely managed a shot on net. Laine had a nice one-timer opportunity but it shattered the stick of Doughty as the puck was blocked. The Jets didn’t really generate too many chances for the rest of the period as neither team looked very dangerous. The best chance was from the third line of Roslovic, Harkins, and Appleton as they got stopped on a wraparound attempt.

With nobody scoring since the opening shift, the Kings took their 1-0 lead into the first intermission.

Second Period

There wasn’t much going on at the beginning of the second period, but Winnipeg started to find their legs. A few minutes into the frame there was three consecutive shifts played in Los Angeles’ end. Even though they didn’t score, they used the great shifts as momentum to fuel their comeback.

It happened a few minutes later as the newly assembled third line scored once again. After getting the goals against Chicago, they struck again as Harkins tied the game at one. The puck came over the line on Laine’s stick and he fed a nice pass across the ice to Harkins who made no mistake.

After getting one goal the momentum was fully with the Jets as they kept up the pressure. A few shifts later it was the third line who scored the second goal of the game as Mason Appleton potted his fifth of the year. This goal came from a really nice passing play as the puck was worked up the ice with speed. On a partial break, Roslovic dropped the puck back to Appleton who found the back of the net and gave Winnipeg the lead.

The Jets weren’t done there as the top line wanted to get in on the action. The second period saw the same look as the third period in Chicago with Wheeler and Copp switching spots. This meant Ehlers, Scheifele, Wheeler were reunited. The move worked well as Ehlers fed the puck up to Scheifele who found Wheeler streaking to the net. All three forwards had a hand in the play as Wheeler easily tapped in the Jets’ third goal in just over five minutes.

After a very mediocre first period, things were much better in the second as Winnipeg had much better chances on the offensive end. With three straight goals in the period, the Jets headed into the third period up 3-1.

Third Period

With a two goal lead heading into the third, the Jets needed to play a clean, mistake-free period and walk away with an easy two points. However, Winnipeg wanted to make things interesting so they got scored on to open the period. Frk managed to beat Hellebuyck and suddenly the lead was back to one goal.

To make matters worse, Bealieu cleared the puck over the glass on the very next shift which sent the Kings to the powerplay.

The Jets managed to kill it off with no damage done. Right at the end of the penalty kill somehow Kulikov ended up with a breakaway but he was stopped as he made a move to the backhand.

With the game still at 3-2 the Jets needed an insurance marker. That came from Ehlers as Scheifele found him with a really nice pass on a two on one. That’s the second pass of the type from Scheifele as he also fed Wheeler on a two on one earlier in the game.

Now it was time to relax with the two goal lead restored… Wait, the Jets got scored one again? It came from an innocent looking point shot as Dustin Brown got a stick on it in the slot. It appeared to be a tip that was fairly close to high-sticking, but Paul Maurice decided not to challenge the play.

The lead was back down to one and things got even more nerve-wracking as Hellebuyck had to make a nice sliding save on the next shift. Somehow a player got left alone and they nearly potted the tying goal.

The Jets cleaned things up after that chance as Laine added an empty net goal before Wheeler tipped home a point shot in the final minutes.

TL;DR Why the Jets Won

The Jets started off poorly but had an excellent second period where they scored three straight goals. Those goals were able to give the Jets enough breathing room even though the Kings scored a few goals in the third period. The third line was excellent for the second straight game as they got the team back in it.

Jetsnation Top Gun

The Top Gun tonight is the third line for the club. Harkins, Roslovic, and Appleton got the team back on track after a weak first period. They scored the tying goal in the second before giving the team the lead later in the period. They played a very fast style and were tenacious around the net as they created a number of chances in and around the crease of Peterson.

Boxscore

Next Flight

The Jets hit the skies for the first time in two weeks as they have now finished their six game homestand. They head into Ottawa which is actually quite handy considering the Jets just acquired Senators’ defensmen Dylan Demelo earlier today. This kicks off a four game road trip as the Jets play Ottawa, Philadelphia, Buffalo, and Washington. Puck drop against the Senators is that 6:30 PM on Thursday.

 

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We’re less than a week away from the National Hockey League’s trade deadline! Who knows which Calgary Flames prospects will still be with the organization when the dust settles

In the meantime, how are the youngsters faring?

In case you missed it:

Lucas Feuk- LW, AIK, Superelit/Allsvenskan

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Superelit up to date 15 8 10 18 14 13 11 24.60
Change from last week 1 1 2 3 2 3 2 +2.64
Allsvenskan up to date 27 1 1 2 1 2 1 2.31
Change from last week

AIK only played once last week, but Feuk was superb. He had three points in a 7-6 win to keep AIK in good shape in the Superelit relegation playoffs.

Justin Kirkland- LW/C, Stockton Heat

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 45 6 20 25 14 17 12 23.03
Change from last week 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2.24

Kirkland had another quiet week, with no points in four games.

Demetrious Koumontzis- LW, Arizona State University, NCAA (Independent)

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 25 3 5 8 3 5 1 9.47
Change from last week

Koumontzis remains out with an injury. He hasn’t played in a month.

Carl-Johan Lerby- D, Malmo Redhawks, SHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 35 4 8 12 7 7 5 16.76
Change from last week 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 -1.57

Lerby had a quiet week, but he’s still having a pretty productive season on a playoff-bound team.

Linus Lindstrom- C/LW, Skelleftea AIK, SHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 41 6 10 16 10 11 7 19.07
Change from last week 3 0 3 3 2 2 2 +2.35

Lindstrom continues to push past his previous offensive career highs. He had three points in three games while toiling on Skelleftea’s fourth line.

Ryan Lomberg- LW, Stockton Heat

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 21 11 9 20 13 16 11 37.95
Change from last week

Lomberg remains out with an ankle injury.

Mitchell Mattson- LW, Michigan State, NCAA (Big 10)

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 16 0 1 1 1 0 0 1.71
Change from last week 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 -0.24

Mattson had zero points this week.

Andrew Nielsen- D, Stockton Heat

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 42 0 5 5 4 3 3 4.74
Change from last week 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 -0.37

Nielsen continues to have a quiet offensive season/career.

Ilya Nikolayev- C, Loko, MHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 49 17 14 31 23 24 19 16.08
Change from last week 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 -0.33

Nikolayev played once and had no points.

Joshua Nodler- C/RW, Michigan State

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 30 2 4 6 2 6 2 5.46
Change from last week 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 -0.39

Nodler has slid down the MSU rotation a bit, playing on the third line.

Jakob Pelletier- LW, Moncton Wildcats, QMJHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 47 27 45 72 42 53 32 35.68
Change from last week 4 3 5 8 7 4 3 +1.02

Pelletier has been somewhat quiet offensively since returning from his concussion, but he had a superb week. He had points in each game he played and had eight on the week. He’s 9th in QMJHL scoring right now.

Emilio Pettersen- C/LW, Denver Pioneers, NCAA (NCHC)

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 30 8 18 26 13 16 11 31.20
Change from last week 2 0 1 1 0 0 0 -0.94

Denver had a rough weekend with a pair of losses to North Dakota. But Pettersen got on the scoresheet with a power play assist.

Matthew Phillips- RW, Stockton Heat

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 30 14 17 31 23 27 21 41.18
Change from last week 2 0 1 1 1 0 0 -1.52

Phillips broke his kneecap at the end of December. He’s back roughly six weeks later, which is kind of bonkers considering the initial timeline was month to month. He had an assist in his second game back.

Luke Philp- C, Stockton Heat

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 45 17 10 27 21 25 21 23.91
Change from last week 4 1 1 2 2 2 2 -0.39

Philp isn’t scoring at the same torrid pace he was earlier this season, but he’s settled into a nice offensive rhythm of about a point every two games or so.

Martin Pospisil- C/LW, Stockton Heat

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 18 0 3 3 3 2 2 6.64
Change from last week 4 0 1 1 1 1 1 +0.95

Pospisil is playing a secondary role for the Heat right now, but he managed an assist this week.

Milos Roman- C, Vancouver Giants, WHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 54 21 17 38 24 34 23 17.43
Change from last week 4 4 2 6 4 5 3 +1.58

Roman had a hat trick and points in three of four games this week.

Adam Ruzicka- C, Stockton Heat

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 46 9 12 21 15 17 12 18.19
Change from last week 4 2 2 4 3 3 2 +2.06

Ruzicka hit the scoresheet in three out of four games this week, putting up a point per game average.

Filip Sveningsson- LW, IK Oskarshamn, SHL/Tingsryds AIF, Allsvenskan

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
SHL up to date 27 2 2 4 4 4 4 7.24
Change from last week
Allsvenskan up to date 2 1 0 1 1 1 1 15.58
Change from last week 2 1 0 1 1 1 1 +15.58

Sveningsson was loaned to Tingsryds AIF in the secondary HockeyAllsvenskan this week. He scored a goal in his second game, which is a nice start.

Eetu Tuulola- RW, Stockton Heat

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 43 7 9 16 9 11 7 14.83
Change from last week 4 1 2 3 1 1 2 +1.60

Tuulola hit the scoresheet in two games this week, including a two point game.

Rinat Valiev- D, Stockton Heat

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 41 2 7 9 7 5 4 8.75
Change from last week 4 0 1 1 0 1 0 +0.14

Valiev had an assist this past week. He continues to have a quiet offensive year.

Dmitri Zavgorodniy- C/RW, Rimouski Oceanic, QMJHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 33 23 35 58 29 40 23 40.93
Change from last week 2 1 2 3 0 2 0 -0.39

Zavgorodniy had points in both games he played. He’s 22nd in the QMJHL in points currently.

Jon Gillies- G, Stockton Heat

GP TOI SV%
Up to date 25 1410 0.907
Change from last week 2 122 -0.003

Gillies won once, lost once, and allowed eight goals across two starts.

Tyler Parsons- G, Kansas City Mavericks

GP TOI SV%
Up to date 20 1080 0.914
Change from last week

Parsons didn’t play this week. He dressed as backup once, then got saddled with an illness.

Nick Schneider- G, Kansas City Mavericks/Stockton Heat

GP TOI SV%
AHL Up to date 1 60 0.937
Change from last week
ECHL Up to date 34 1940 0.881
Change from last week 4 237 +0.001

Schneider allowed 14 goals over four starts, but managed to win one of ’em.

Dustin Wolf- G, Everett Silvertips, WHL

GP TOI SV%
Up to date 38 2223 0.937
Change from last week 2 120 +0.001

Wolf allowed two goals over two starts, both wins. Everett clinched a playoff spot.

Artyom Zagidulin- G, Stockton Heat

GP TOI SV%
Up to date 25 1388 0.898
Change from last week 1 130 +0.002

Zagidulin played in a pair of overtime games this week, but won them both.

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The Vancouver Canucks may be without Brock Boeser for the rest of the season with a rib injury. The club has also shut down Michael Ferland, and Josh Leivo, for the season.

Boeser suffered a fracture to rib cartilage, the club announced Monday, initially saying he would be out three weeks. However, Tuesday morning GM Jim Benning said Boeser may miss the remainder of the year.

Along with Boeser, Benning said Josh Leivo is out for the year and may return for post-season action.

The news comes a day after the Canucks made a huge move trading prospect Tyler Madden, Tim Schaller, and a draft pick to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Tyler Toffoli.

On Twitter: @zjlaing

BOESER’S SEASON SO FAR

Season GP G A P +/- PIM PPG PPP SHG SHP GWG OTG S S%
2019-20 56 16 29 45 5 14 5 14 0 0 3 0 166 9.6
NHL Career 196 75 86 161 -2 52 23 54 0 0 11 1 579 13

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Back in September there was a legitimate discussion to be had about Moritz Seider returning to Germany. Before training camp kicked off, Seider was a bit of an unknown coming out of the DEL, the top pro league in Germany. No player had ever made the DEL to AHL jump as an 18-year-old.

Whatever question marks were surrounding Seider’s transition to North America, boy, did he shut those down in a hurry.

Not only is Seider thriving with the Grand Rapids Griffins, he’s making an early case to crack the Red Wings next season. To the point where he might not even have to “bang the door down” like past first rounders Filip Zadina and Dennis Cholowski had to.

And, really, that’s because he’s performed exactly as advertised. A testament to Steve Yzerman & Co. for the boldness of the pick. It’s very evident that Seider plays with bite in his game, he embraces physicality. Very rare do you see the Mannheim product settle for rubbing out his man into the boards. He’s the type of match-up defender that is punishing down-low and physicality aggressive defending entries.

No doubt, physicality is the calling card to his game. But from watching him closely this season, I’ve seen equal progression in his defensive stick work. Most defensemen his age can get overwhelmed in their own zone, really just trying to survive on a shift-by-shift basis. Seider? Not only is he comfortable, he’s in control. It’s pretty remarkable how advanced he is in all facets of defending. Players his age simply don’t defend like this.

Seider’s evolution has been one to behold. The next step is to unlock his offensive potential. Since the start of the calendar year, I’ve noticed Seider is becoming less glued to the standard defensive position behind the play. Joining the rush is still a work in progress, but recently he has started to use his feet more. He ran Germany’s power play at the World Juniors and was quite aggressive with his shot. Creating chances from the point and cohesively creating offense in the attacking zone is where he needs to improve the most.

But take a step back and examine his ability to create offense in a more traditional sense for a defenseman, the puck moving and skating ability are there.

Sequences such as the ones below have come with time. It’s been a patient development but he’s finally finding a rhythm.

Do tell, a strong Summer could set him up for Detroit’s opening night roster in 2020-21. He’s proven his worth in Grand Rapids to handle the big leagues, or, at least earn the opportunity. That’s why it’s about time the Red Wings recall their blue-chip prospect for a look in the NHL.

Seider’s nine game tryout has basically already been confirmed, making it a matter of if, not when. And with the way the stars are aligning, his highly anticipated debut could be near.

The first reason being that Gustav Lindstrom’s time in Detroit is about to end. Lindstrom only has two games remaining on his tryout as of this writing, playing seven of the nine games. The team won’t let him go over that total to preserve the third year of his entry-level contract. Once Lindstrom wraps up his ninth game against the New York Islanders this upcoming Friday, he’ll be reassigned to Grand Rapids. That not only clears up a spot for Seider to join the main roster, but will also keep the Griffins down one D-man, rather than two.

There’s also the fact of the matter that the NHL trade deadline is this upcoming Monday. The likes of pending free agents Mike Green or Trevor Daley could be on the move as a cheaper option for contending teams. And even if they aren’t dealt, typically, basement teams will begin the recall process to experiment for next season. The trade deadline being in the rear-view mirror clears everything up and all that is left on the agenda is the remaining slate of games.

It’s the perfect storm to bring Seider up and get him some NHL experience. By the time the nine games are complete Seider can return to Grand Rapids with about a month to go in the regular season. Similarly to prospect counterparts Taro Hirose and Givani Smith, just getting a taste of the big leagues can do dividends for his confidence. Not to mention the jump-start it’ll give him for the Summer.

The time is now. Mo Seider has proven he’s ready for Detroit and Detroit should be ready for him.

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The Detroit Red Wings haven’t lost to the Montreal Canadiens this season.

That statement still is true after Tuesday night’s game.

The Red Wings won 4-3 at Little Caesars Arena, sweeping a season series against the Canadiens for the first time in franchise history.

Thoughts and Highlights

  • Another terrible start for the Red Wings, as they finished the first period with four shots. For context, the Canadiens had two goals.
  • Detroit made a push in the second period, owning 58.06% of the shot attempts for.
  • Early in the first period, a turnover in the defensive zone leads to a Nate Thompson goal and a 1-0 lead for the Canadiens.
  • Later in the first, with the Red Wings on the penalty kill, Jeff Petry blasted a shot past Jonathan Bernier to give Montreal a 2-0 lead.
  • Early in the second period, the Red Wings cut the lead to 2-1 off a Robby Fabbri wrister, which snapped a five-game pointless streak for the 24-year-old.

  • About 13 minutes into the second period, with the Canadiens on the power play, Nick Suzuki beat Bernier after a pretty tic-tac-toe passing play, Montreal’s second power-play goal.
  • Early in the third period, the Red Wings cut the deficit to 3-2, as Alex Biega made a nice pass between Xavier Ouellet‘s legs, and Andreas Athanasiou backhanded a shot past Carey Price.

  • The Red Wings completed the comeback, as Anthony Mantha fed a streaking Mike Green, who flubbed a shot through the legs of Price. It was Green’s 500th point.

  • About four minutes later, Athanasiou gave the Red Wings the lead off a nice pass from Tyler Bertuzzi.

GIF of the Game

What a roller coaster of a game.

Motor City MVP

Andreas Athanasiou

With two goals on his bobblehead night, Athanasiou has found his scoring touch late in the season. He now has five goals in his past six games, and he slowly is starting to up his trade value.

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A few news nuggets from around the NHL today suggest the Toronto Maple Leafs have inquired about Edmonton Oilers defenceman Adam Larsson and that the Oilers were willing to part with a 1st round pick for Blake Coleman.

Chris Johnston reported the Leafs news adding Larsson is among other top-four right-shot defencemen the Leafs have looked into.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, meanwhile, wrote in 31 thoughts that “a couple of teams said they heard he was the guy the Oilers would give up a first-rounder for.”

The Oilers and Maple Leafs have been quietly linked in trade discussions for some time and Adam Larsson’s name has been mentioned before. Toronto is in need of defencemen, and the Oilers are in need of top-nine scoring options — something the Maple Leafs have an abundance of.

Guys like Kaspari Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson have been mentioned, but Johnsson is now out eight weeks and may alter the Leafs’ plans.

The Oilers pursuit of Coleman, meanwhile, is interesting. The Lightning gave up a lot for him in a 1st round pick and a very good prospect in Nolan Foote.

I wonder how far the Oilers got into discussions with the Devils on the trade. Would the Oilers maybe have offered up a prospect like Ryan McLeod or Raphael Lavoie? Those are two of the most similar prospects, and to be honest, I would be hesitant to move either of them PLUS a first-round pick for Coleman.

Nonetheless, it’s interesting to see the Oilers being willing to dangle their first for a player who has one-year after this left on his contract in Coleman.

There’s less than a week away from the NHL’s Monday trade deadline, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens.

On Twitter: @zjlaing

LARSSON’S SEASON SO FAR

Season GP G A P +/- PIM PPG PPP SHG SHP GWG OTG S S%
2019-20 37 1 4 5 -6 25 0 0 0 0 0 0 47 2.1
NHL Career 535 21 105 126 10 313 0 4 0 6 4 1 615 3.4

 

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By now we know a couple of things.

  1. The Leafs have a contract ready to go for Jake Muzzin, but do to the collective agreement the Leafs can’t announce it until March 1st.
  2. The contract is likely in the $5.5M range, it’s for four years, and it’s believed to be front loaded.

Via Darren Dreger:

“I believe there’s an agreement in place for Jake Muzzin to extend with the Toronto Maple Leafs [at] four years just over $5.5 million [per year],” Dreger said Thursday on Insider Trading. “I believe it’s a heavily front-loaded contract extension for Jake Muzzin. It will have some variety of forms of trade protection. Now, because of the tagging issues – the salary cap complications the Toronto Maple Leafs continue to wrestle with, I don’t believe that the Maple Leafs will announce are going to announce anything until perhaps later this month or early in March.”

All of these things fall into what should seemingly be considered good news, but given that Muzzin is older and showing some signs of wear and tear, we might need to take the long route to determining why this contract is good.

Before getting too far into this, first we’ll cover off why the contract isn’t happening until March 1st. It’s boring, but I’m sure some of you are mildly curious, and it has to do with tagging payroll for the summer and the upcoming season. The Leafs are presently limited to not exceeding the salary cap of this season for contract expenditures next year, that changes on March 1st, when teams can tag 10% above the current cap limit…

Article 50.5.c.ii.C

For all League Years of this Agreement except the 2012-13 League Year (in which case an Upper Limit of $70.2 million shall be used for the purpose of calculating Tagged Payroll Room as defined in Section 50.5(e)(iv)(C)(2)), beginning on March 1 of a given League Year through June 30 of that League Year, solely for purposes of calculating the amount of Tagged Payroll Room available to each Club, the Upper Limit shall be increased by ten (10) percent.

There. Neat. It makes sense, and once Muzzin is signed that pretty much puts all future re-signings on hold. The interesting thing here might be if the Leafs bring in additional salary at the trade deadline, which could push the Muzzin re-signing to a later date, but the safe bet is on Muzzin being signed on March 1st.

As for the contract itself, 4 years at $5.5M/yr is right in the heart of what we’ve seen for UFA defensive signings in the past few years. Last summer Anton Stralman signed a 3 year $5.5M/ur deal at the age of 32, and Alex Edler signed a 3 year $6M/yr deal at the age of 33. Going an extra year with Muzzin certainly is a concern, and spending money on any defenseman over the age of 30 comes with a substantial risk, that people are right to point out, but ultimately it’s not a bad deal and the Leafs don’t have a ton of defensemen to fall back on.

Frontloading to the rescue…

The Leafs have the luxury of being owned by two telecommunications monopolies that can print endless money. To their credit, they’ve given the Leafs permission to blindly spend that money. Where this impacts the Muzzin contract is that the Leafs can front load year one and two of Muzzin’s contract, the two years the Leafs will definitely see the value in having him on their roster, and make the back two years affordable to some of the lower payroll teams around the league, where they will have the luxury of a decent defenseman with a high cap hit with significantly less salary attached to the deal.

July 1st signing bonuses will be a big part of this in addition to the front loading, and if Muzzin is dealt after a signing bonus is paid it’s possible the Leafs would even be able to get out from the contract in year two if necessary. It seems crazy to be already planning on dumping a player, who has been pretty darn good for the Leafs, but thinking two or three steps ahead and mitigating risk in contracts has to be part of the GM’s consideration.

Ideally the final couple years of the contract will also be set up to be buyout friendly as well, but we’ll have to wait and see what the deal actually looks like. My best guess is the Leafs go with a $9.25M year one, $6.2M year two, $4.15M year three, and $2.78M year four, with signing bonuses being the bulk of the contract in years 1-3.

Options are limited

Looking to replace Muzzin seems like an uphill battle, and while I touched on the Stralman and Edler contracts, here are some other recent comparable UFA defensemen that have been signed…

PLAYER AGE TEAM TERM CAP HIT DATE SIGNED
JOSI 29 NAS 8 9.059 29-OCT-19
FAULK 27 STL 7 6.5 24-SEP-19
SPURGEON 29 MIN 7 7.575 14-SEP-19
GARDINER 29 CAR 4 4.05 6-SEP-19
MYERS 29 VAN 6 6 1-JUL-19
STRALMAN 32 FLA 3 5.5 1-JUL-19
EDLER 33 VAN 3 6 20-JUN-19
KARLSSON 29 SJ 8 11.5 17-JUN-19
SCHMIDT 27 VEG 6 5.95 25-OCT-18
ELLIS 27 NAS 8 6.25 14-AUG-18
HJALMARSSON 31 ARI 2 5 1-JUL-18
JOHNSON 31 PIT 5 3.25 1-JUL-18
GREEN 32 DET 2 5.375 30-JUN-18
VLASIC 30 SJ 8 7 1-JUL-17

It’s safe to say that Vlasic contract is a stern warning for the Leafs, but also when you look at the recent signings of Faulk and Myers, it’s clear that unrestricted free agent defensemen are likely to be priced out of Toronto, unless you look at Jake Gardiner, who should have been retained somehow.

Looking at who may be available this summer that could possibly be considered an upgrade or at least similar talent level wise to Muzzin, the options are seemingly limited to Alex Pietrangelo, Torey Krug, Sami Vatanen, T.J. Brodie, Travis Hamonic, and if we really want to stretch the options, Radko Gudas. Other than Radko Gudas, who I mainly just mention because I love Radko Gudas, all of these players are likely to get significant paydays if they hit free agency, and in the cases of Pietrangelo, Krug, and possibly Vatanen (depending on where he is traded to), they are likely to re-sign with their current clubs.

Muzzin is “blocking” Leafs youth

One of the arguments I’ve been hearing of late is that the Leafs shouldn’t re-sign Muzzin because he’s standing in the way of all the talent on the left side of the Leafs blueline. I think it’s important we take a moment to pause and chuckle at the idea of the Leafs defense being too talented.

While the Leaf side currently consists of Muzzin, Rielly, Dermott, and Sandin, which obviously pushes one of them either onto the Marlies, pressbox, right side, or out the door via trade, and there is some hope that Teemu Kivihalme could be a capable option next season as well, it’s a bit premature to assume that either Sandin or Dermott need top four minutes next season. It’s premature to assume that Rielly or Dermott can’t thrive on the right side, and it’s premature to assume that Rielly or Dermott’s contract will fit in with the direction the Leafs want to go. Muzzin is a safety net, and one that can allow for him to support the Leafs as much as they need over the next two years, and potentially be shown the door after that.

Muzzin’s first two years help run out the Sandin and Liljegren entry level deals. So if you want to look at it another way, the Leafs will be spending $7.36M on three defensemen over that time. That goes to $9.36M when you add in Justin Holl, and next season it’s $14.36M when you factor in Rielly, so that’s 5 out of 6 of your defensemen at less than 18% of your cap space. Given that’s 25% of your lineup card, that’s not bad and they can afford Muzzin at least for the short term.

TL;DR

In short, bringing Muzzin back is good. His contract is fine, and it appears it will have the necessary outs the Leafs will require. I’m sure it will include no trade or no movement clauses for Muzzin as well, but that’s all manageable. The Leafs aren’t in a situation where they can walk away from a player who has improved their blueline, even if his age is beginning to show. Replacement options are limited, and the Leafs have gone out of their way over the past half decade to show how difficult it is to acquire a good defensemen. Moving on from the one true success story they’ve had seems like a bad idea.

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Status: Extension
Date: 02/19/2020
Player: David Madlener (G)
From: Klagenfurter AC
To: Klagenfurter AC
Information: 1 year
Source: Link

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Status: Extension
Date: 02/19/2020
Player: Fredrik Styrman (D)
From: Luleå HF
To: Luleå HF
Information: 2 years
Source: Link

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Status: Extension
Date: 02/19/2020
Player: Martin Larsen (D)
From: Odense Bulldogs
To: Odense Bulldogs
Information: 1 year
Source: Link

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The Winnipeg Jets were supposed to easily beat up on the Los Angeles Kings who just traded away their top scorer and officially entered tanking mode. Things didn’t quite go as planned as the Jets got scored on during the opening shift. Luckily for Winnipeg, the third line was excellent for the second straight game as both Harkins and Appleton lit the lamp in the second period to give the Jets the lead. With a two goal lead heading into the third, the Jets made things interesting by allowing the Kings to score an early goal. The two teams battled for the rest of the period with Winnipeg taking the game with a 6-3 final. Don’t let the score fool you, the game was much closer than it needed to be.

First Period

The Jets have had a number of lacklustre starts in recent games and it happened again tonight as they allowed the Kings to score on the opening shift of the game. The Jets actually had the first chance of the game off the rush but the Kings came down the other way and put one past Hellebuyck. The first shot was stopped, but the rebound floated over the shoulder and into the net.

Definitely not an ideal start as the Jets were fighting from behind all period.

The Jets got the first powerplay of the game later in the period but they barely managed a shot on net. Laine had a nice one-timer opportunity but it shattered the stick of Doughty as the puck was blocked. The Jets didn’t really generate too many chances for the rest of the period as neither team looked very dangerous. The best chance was from the third line of Roslovic, Harkins, and Appleton as they got stopped on a wraparound attempt.

With nobody scoring since the opening shift, the Kings took their 1-0 lead into the first intermission.

Second Period

There wasn’t much going on at the beginning of the second period, but Winnipeg started to find their legs. A few minutes into the frame there was three consecutive shifts played in Los Angeles’ end. Even though they didn’t score, they used the great shifts as momentum to fuel their comeback.

It happened a few minutes later as the newly assembled third line scored once again. After getting the goals against Chicago, they struck again as Harkins tied the game at one. The puck came over the line on Laine’s stick and he fed a nice pass across the ice to Harkins who made no mistake.

After getting one goal the momentum was fully with the Jets as they kept up the pressure. A few shifts later it was the third line who scored the second goal of the game as Mason Appleton potted his fifth of the year. This goal came from a really nice passing play as the puck was worked up the ice with speed. On a partial break, Roslovic dropped the puck back to Appleton who found the back of the net and gave Winnipeg the lead.

The Jets weren’t done there as the top line wanted to get in on the action. The second period saw the same look as the third period in Chicago with Wheeler and Copp switching spots. This meant Ehlers, Scheifele, Wheeler were reunited. The move worked well as Ehlers fed the puck up to Scheifele who found Wheeler streaking to the net. All three forwards had a hand in the play as Wheeler easily tapped in the Jets’ third goal in just over five minutes.

After a very mediocre first period, things were much better in the second as Winnipeg had much better chances on the offensive end. With three straight goals in the period, the Jets headed into the third period up 3-1.

Third Period

With a two goal lead heading into the third, the Jets needed to play a clean, mistake-free period and walk away with an easy two points. However, Winnipeg wanted to make things interesting so they got scored on to open the period. Frk managed to beat Hellebuyck and suddenly the lead was back to one goal.

To make matters worse, Bealieu cleared the puck over the glass on the very next shift which sent the Kings to the powerplay.

The Jets managed to kill it off with no damage done. Right at the end of the penalty kill somehow Kulikov ended up with a breakaway but he was stopped as he made a move to the backhand.

With the game still at 3-2 the Jets needed an insurance marker. That came from Ehlers as Scheifele found him with a really nice pass on a two on one. That’s the second pass of the type from Scheifele as he also fed Wheeler on a two on one earlier in the game.

Now it was time to relax with the two goal lead restored… Wait, the Jets got scored one again? It came from an innocent looking point shot as Dustin Brown got a stick on it in the slot. It appeared to be a tip that was fairly close to high-sticking, but Paul Maurice decided not to challenge the play.

The lead was back down to one and things got even more nerve-wracking as Hellebuyck had to make a nice sliding save on the next shift. Somehow a player got left alone and they nearly potted the tying goal.

The Jets cleaned things up after that chance as Laine added an empty net goal before Wheeler tipped home a point shot in the final minutes.

TL;DR Why the Jets Won

The Jets started off poorly but had an excellent second period where they scored three straight goals. Those goals were able to give the Jets enough breathing room even though the Kings scored a few goals in the third period. The third line was excellent for the second straight game as they got the team back in it.

Jetsnation Top Gun

The Top Gun tonight is the third line for the club. Harkins, Roslovic, and Appleton got the team back on track after a weak first period. They scored the tying goal in the second before giving the team the lead later in the period. They played a very fast style and were tenacious around the net as they created a number of chances in and around the crease of Peterson.

Boxscore

Next Flight

The Jets hit the skies for the first time in two weeks as they have now finished their six game homestand. They head into Ottawa which is actually quite handy considering the Jets just acquired Senators’ defensmen Dylan Demelo earlier today. This kicks off a four game road trip as the Jets play Ottawa, Philadelphia, Buffalo, and Washington. Puck drop against the Senators is that 6:30 PM on Thursday.

 

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We’re less than a week away from the National Hockey League’s trade deadline! Who knows which Calgary Flames prospects will still be with the organization when the dust settles

In the meantime, how are the youngsters faring?

In case you missed it:

Lucas Feuk- LW, AIK, Superelit/Allsvenskan

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Superelit up to date 15 8 10 18 14 13 11 24.60
Change from last week 1 1 2 3 2 3 2 +2.64
Allsvenskan up to date 27 1 1 2 1 2 1 2.31
Change from last week

AIK only played once last week, but Feuk was superb. He had three points in a 7-6 win to keep AIK in good shape in the Superelit relegation playoffs.

Justin Kirkland- LW/C, Stockton Heat

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 45 6 20 25 14 17 12 23.03
Change from last week 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2.24

Kirkland had another quiet week, with no points in four games.

Demetrious Koumontzis- LW, Arizona State University, NCAA (Independent)

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 25 3 5 8 3 5 1 9.47
Change from last week

Koumontzis remains out with an injury. He hasn’t played in a month.

Carl-Johan Lerby- D, Malmo Redhawks, SHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 35 4 8 12 7 7 5 16.76
Change from last week 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 -1.57

Lerby had a quiet week, but he’s still having a pretty productive season on a playoff-bound team.

Linus Lindstrom- C/LW, Skelleftea AIK, SHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 41 6 10 16 10 11 7 19.07
Change from last week 3 0 3 3 2 2 2 +2.35

Lindstrom continues to push past his previous offensive career highs. He had three points in three games while toiling on Skelleftea’s fourth line.

Ryan Lomberg- LW, Stockton Heat

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 21 11 9 20 13 16 11 37.95
Change from last week

Lomberg remains out with an ankle injury.

Mitchell Mattson- LW, Michigan State, NCAA (Big 10)

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 16 0 1 1 1 0 0 1.71
Change from last week 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 -0.24

Mattson had zero points this week.

Andrew Nielsen- D, Stockton Heat

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 42 0 5 5 4 3 3 4.74
Change from last week 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 -0.37

Nielsen continues to have a quiet offensive season/career.

Ilya Nikolayev- C, Loko, MHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 49 17 14 31 23 24 19 16.08
Change from last week 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 -0.33

Nikolayev played once and had no points.

Joshua Nodler- C/RW, Michigan State

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 30 2 4 6 2 6 2 5.46
Change from last week 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 -0.39

Nodler has slid down the MSU rotation a bit, playing on the third line.

Jakob Pelletier- LW, Moncton Wildcats, QMJHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 47 27 45 72 42 53 32 35.68
Change from last week 4 3 5 8 7 4 3 +1.02

Pelletier has been somewhat quiet offensively since returning from his concussion, but he had a superb week. He had points in each game he played and had eight on the week. He’s 9th in QMJHL scoring right now.

Emilio Pettersen- C/LW, Denver Pioneers, NCAA (NCHC)

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 30 8 18 26 13 16 11 31.20
Change from last week 2 0 1 1 0 0 0 -0.94

Denver had a rough weekend with a pair of losses to North Dakota. But Pettersen got on the scoresheet with a power play assist.

Matthew Phillips- RW, Stockton Heat

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 30 14 17 31 23 27 21 41.18
Change from last week 2 0 1 1 1 0 0 -1.52

Phillips broke his kneecap at the end of December. He’s back roughly six weeks later, which is kind of bonkers considering the initial timeline was month to month. He had an assist in his second game back.

Luke Philp- C, Stockton Heat

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 45 17 10 27 21 25 21 23.91
Change from last week 4 1 1 2 2 2 2 -0.39

Philp isn’t scoring at the same torrid pace he was earlier this season, but he’s settled into a nice offensive rhythm of about a point every two games or so.

Martin Pospisil- C/LW, Stockton Heat

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 18 0 3 3 3 2 2 6.64
Change from last week 4 0 1 1 1 1 1 +0.95

Pospisil is playing a secondary role for the Heat right now, but he managed an assist this week.

Milos Roman- C, Vancouver Giants, WHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 54 21 17 38 24 34 23 17.43
Change from last week 4 4 2 6 4 5 3 +1.58

Roman had a hat trick and points in three of four games this week.

Adam Ruzicka- C, Stockton Heat

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 46 9 12 21 15 17 12 18.19
Change from last week 4 2 2 4 3 3 2 +2.06

Ruzicka hit the scoresheet in three out of four games this week, putting up a point per game average.

Filip Sveningsson- LW, IK Oskarshamn, SHL/Tingsryds AIF, Allsvenskan

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
SHL up to date 27 2 2 4 4 4 4 7.24
Change from last week
Allsvenskan up to date 2 1 0 1 1 1 1 15.58
Change from last week 2 1 0 1 1 1 1 +15.58

Sveningsson was loaned to Tingsryds AIF in the secondary HockeyAllsvenskan this week. He scored a goal in his second game, which is a nice start.

Eetu Tuulola- RW, Stockton Heat

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 43 7 9 16 9 11 7 14.83
Change from last week 4 1 2 3 1 1 2 +1.60

Tuulola hit the scoresheet in two games this week, including a two point game.

Rinat Valiev- D, Stockton Heat

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 41 2 7 9 7 5 4 8.75
Change from last week 4 0 1 1 0 1 0 +0.14

Valiev had an assist this past week. He continues to have a quiet offensive year.

Dmitri Zavgorodniy- C/RW, Rimouski Oceanic, QMJHL

GP G A P 5v5 P P1 5v5 P1 NHLe
Up to date 33 23 35 58 29 40 23 40.93
Change from last week 2 1 2 3 0 2 0 -0.39

Zavgorodniy had points in both games he played. He’s 22nd in the QMJHL in points currently.

Jon Gillies- G, Stockton Heat

GP TOI SV%
Up to date 25 1410 0.907
Change from last week 2 122 -0.003

Gillies won once, lost once, and allowed eight goals across two starts.

Tyler Parsons- G, Kansas City Mavericks

GP TOI SV%
Up to date 20 1080 0.914
Change from last week

Parsons didn’t play this week. He dressed as backup once, then got saddled with an illness.

Nick Schneider- G, Kansas City Mavericks/Stockton Heat

GP TOI SV%
AHL Up to date 1 60 0.937
Change from last week
ECHL Up to date 34 1940 0.881
Change from last week 4 237 +0.001

Schneider allowed 14 goals over four starts, but managed to win one of ’em.

Dustin Wolf- G, Everett Silvertips, WHL

GP TOI SV%
Up to date 38 2223 0.937
Change from last week 2 120 +0.001

Wolf allowed two goals over two starts, both wins. Everett clinched a playoff spot.

Artyom Zagidulin- G, Stockton Heat

GP TOI SV%
Up to date 25 1388 0.898
Change from last week 1 130 +0.002

Zagidulin played in a pair of overtime games this week, but won them both.

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The Vancouver Canucks may be without Brock Boeser for the rest of the season with a rib injury. The club has also shut down Michael Ferland, and Josh Leivo, for the season.

Boeser suffered a fracture to rib cartilage, the club announced Monday, initially saying he would be out three weeks. However, Tuesday morning GM Jim Benning said Boeser may miss the remainder of the year.

Along with Boeser, Benning said Josh Leivo is out for the year and may return for post-season action.

The news comes a day after the Canucks made a huge move trading prospect Tyler Madden, Tim Schaller, and a draft pick to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Tyler Toffoli.

On Twitter: @zjlaing

BOESER’S SEASON SO FAR

Season GP G A P +/- PIM PPG PPP SHG SHP GWG OTG S S%
2019-20 56 16 29 45 5 14 5 14 0 0 3 0 166 9.6
NHL Career 196 75 86 161 -2 52 23 54 0 0 11 1 579 13

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Back in September there was a legitimate discussion to be had about Moritz Seider returning to Germany. Before training camp kicked off, Seider was a bit of an unknown coming out of the DEL, the top pro league in Germany. No player had ever made the DEL to AHL jump as an 18-year-old.

Whatever question marks were surrounding Seider’s transition to North America, boy, did he shut those down in a hurry.

Not only is Seider thriving with the Grand Rapids Griffins, he’s making an early case to crack the Red Wings next season. To the point where he might not even have to “bang the door down” like past first rounders Filip Zadina and Dennis Cholowski had to.

And, really, that’s because he’s performed exactly as advertised. A testament to Steve Yzerman & Co. for the boldness of the pick. It’s very evident that Seider plays with bite in his game, he embraces physicality. Very rare do you see the Mannheim product settle for rubbing out his man into the boards. He’s the type of match-up defender that is punishing down-low and physicality aggressive defending entries.

No doubt, physicality is the calling card to his game. But from watching him closely this season, I’ve seen equal progression in his defensive stick work. Most defensemen his age can get overwhelmed in their own zone, really just trying to survive on a shift-by-shift basis. Seider? Not only is he comfortable, he’s in control. It’s pretty remarkable how advanced he is in all facets of defending. Players his age simply don’t defend like this.

Seider’s evolution has been one to behold. The next step is to unlock his offensive potential. Since the start of the calendar year, I’ve noticed Seider is becoming less glued to the standard defensive position behind the play. Joining the rush is still a work in progress, but recently he has started to use his feet more. He ran Germany’s power play at the World Juniors and was quite aggressive with his shot. Creating chances from the point and cohesively creating offense in the attacking zone is where he needs to improve the most.

But take a step back and examine his ability to create offense in a more traditional sense for a defenseman, the puck moving and skating ability are there.

Sequences such as the ones below have come with time. It’s been a patient development but he’s finally finding a rhythm.

Do tell, a strong Summer could set him up for Detroit’s opening night roster in 2020-21. He’s proven his worth in Grand Rapids to handle the big leagues, or, at least earn the opportunity. That’s why it’s about time the Red Wings recall their blue-chip prospect for a look in the NHL.

Seider’s nine game tryout has basically already been confirmed, making it a matter of if, not when. And with the way the stars are aligning, his highly anticipated debut could be near.

The first reason being that Gustav Lindstrom’s time in Detroit is about to end. Lindstrom only has two games remaining on his tryout as of this writing, playing seven of the nine games. The team won’t let him go over that total to preserve the third year of his entry-level contract. Once Lindstrom wraps up his ninth game against the New York Islanders this upcoming Friday, he’ll be reassigned to Grand Rapids. That not only clears up a spot for Seider to join the main roster, but will also keep the Griffins down one D-man, rather than two.

There’s also the fact of the matter that the NHL trade deadline is this upcoming Monday. The likes of pending free agents Mike Green or Trevor Daley could be on the move as a cheaper option for contending teams. And even if they aren’t dealt, typically, basement teams will begin the recall process to experiment for next season. The trade deadline being in the rear-view mirror clears everything up and all that is left on the agenda is the remaining slate of games.

It’s the perfect storm to bring Seider up and get him some NHL experience. By the time the nine games are complete Seider can return to Grand Rapids with about a month to go in the regular season. Similarly to prospect counterparts Taro Hirose and Givani Smith, just getting a taste of the big leagues can do dividends for his confidence. Not to mention the jump-start it’ll give him for the Summer.

The time is now. Mo Seider has proven he’s ready for Detroit and Detroit should be ready for him.

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The Detroit Red Wings haven’t lost to the Montreal Canadiens this season.

That statement still is true after Tuesday night’s game.

The Red Wings won 4-3 at Little Caesars Arena, sweeping a season series against the Canadiens for the first time in franchise history.

Thoughts and Highlights

  • Another terrible start for the Red Wings, as they finished the first period with four shots. For context, the Canadiens had two goals.
  • Detroit made a push in the second period, owning 58.06% of the shot attempts for.
  • Early in the first period, a turnover in the defensive zone leads to a Nate Thompson goal and a 1-0 lead for the Canadiens.
  • Later in the first, with the Red Wings on the penalty kill, Jeff Petry blasted a shot past Jonathan Bernier to give Montreal a 2-0 lead.
  • Early in the second period, the Red Wings cut the lead to 2-1 off a Robby Fabbri wrister, which snapped a five-game pointless streak for the 24-year-old.

  • About 13 minutes into the second period, with the Canadiens on the power play, Nick Suzuki beat Bernier after a pretty tic-tac-toe passing play, Montreal’s second power-play goal.
  • Early in the third period, the Red Wings cut the deficit to 3-2, as Alex Biega made a nice pass between Xavier Ouellet‘s legs, and Andreas Athanasiou backhanded a shot past Carey Price.

  • The Red Wings completed the comeback, as Anthony Mantha fed a streaking Mike Green, who flubbed a shot through the legs of Price. It was Green’s 500th point.

  • About four minutes later, Athanasiou gave the Red Wings the lead off a nice pass from Tyler Bertuzzi.

GIF of the Game

What a roller coaster of a game.

Motor City MVP

Andreas Athanasiou

With two goals on his bobblehead night, Athanasiou has found his scoring touch late in the season. He now has five goals in his past six games, and he slowly is starting to up his trade value.

Rss

A few news nuggets from around the NHL today suggest the Toronto Maple Leafs have inquired about Edmonton Oilers defenceman Adam Larsson and that the Oilers were willing to part with a 1st round pick for Blake Coleman.

Chris Johnston reported the Leafs news adding Larsson is among other top-four right-shot defencemen the Leafs have looked into.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, meanwhile, wrote in 31 thoughts that “a couple of teams said they heard he was the guy the Oilers would give up a first-rounder for.”

The Oilers and Maple Leafs have been quietly linked in trade discussions for some time and Adam Larsson’s name has been mentioned before. Toronto is in need of defencemen, and the Oilers are in need of top-nine scoring options — something the Maple Leafs have an abundance of.

Guys like Kaspari Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson have been mentioned, but Johnsson is now out eight weeks and may alter the Leafs’ plans.

The Oilers pursuit of Coleman, meanwhile, is interesting. The Lightning gave up a lot for him in a 1st round pick and a very good prospect in Nolan Foote.

I wonder how far the Oilers got into discussions with the Devils on the trade. Would the Oilers maybe have offered up a prospect like Ryan McLeod or Raphael Lavoie? Those are two of the most similar prospects, and to be honest, I would be hesitant to move either of them PLUS a first-round pick for Coleman.

Nonetheless, it’s interesting to see the Oilers being willing to dangle their first for a player who has one-year after this left on his contract in Coleman.

There’s less than a week away from the NHL’s Monday trade deadline, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens.

On Twitter: @zjlaing

LARSSON’S SEASON SO FAR

Season GP G A P +/- PIM PPG PPP SHG SHP GWG OTG S S%
2019-20 37 1 4 5 -6 25 0 0 0 0 0 0 47 2.1
NHL Career 535 21 105 126 10 313 0 4 0 6 4 1 615 3.4

 


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