Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds projects to be one of the top rental forwards available between now and next month’s trade deadline. In an appearance on the NHL Network (video link), Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman mentioned that the Predators are a team that has been linked to the 30-year-old. Nashville has plenty of cap room to absorb Simmonds’ $3.975MM deal this season and has enough players on below-market contracts that it’s certainly possible that they could fit him in on an extension as well. His 15 goals on the year would rank second to only Filip Forsberg among Nashville players and GM David Poile is known for trying to make a splash around the deadline.
Tuesday: While Cave was claimed by the Edmonton Oilers, Di Giuseppe has cleared waivers once again and was assigned to the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL.
Monday: The Boston Bruins have placed Colby Cave on waivers today according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, exposing the 24-year old forward to the rest of the league. Cave will be joined on waivers by Phillip Di Giuseppe, who was only recently claimed by the Nashville Predators.
Cave has played 20 games for the Bruins this season after getting off to the best start of his minor league career, and has shown enough to perhaps draw some interest from around the league. The undrafted former WHL forward recorded 18 points in 15 games for the Providence Bruins, but could only contribute five during his stint in the NHL. Still, relatively young centers that can avoid getting filled in at even strength in the NHL aren’t all that easy to come by, meaning someone could take a chance on Cave tomorrow.
For Di Giuseppe, this is nothing new. The 25-year old forward had already been placed on and cleared waivers twice this season before the Predators claimed him on his third trip, meaning he very well could slip through this time around. Obviously the Hurricanes could choose to bring him back, but either way it doesn’t look like he’ll be getting regular minutes in the NHL anytime soon.
For the third year in a row, the NHL has scheduled a mandated multi-day break for each team in the middle part of the season. Meant to give each team a rest, much like the bye week in the National Football League, this break also includes limits on practice, including several days in which all team activities are prohibited. A seven-day break this season, on paper an increase from the original five-day break, the “bye week” is actually less intrusive this season than it has been in the past despite the longer length. All 31 teams will take their break either right before or right after the upcoming All-Star Weekend, with those two days counting toward the seven and simply extending what has always been a short break for non-participants. Below are the lists of teams who will take leave on one side of All-Star festivities or the other:
Before All-Star Weekend (January 20 – 24)
Columbus Blue Jackets
New Jersey Devils
New York Rangers
Tampa Bay Lightning
After All-Star Weekend (January 27 – 31)
Detroit Red Wings
Los Angeles Kings
New York Islanders
San Jose Sharks
St. Louis Blues
Toronto Maple Leafs
Vegas Golden Knights
How each team feels about taking an extended break in the middle of the season generally varies based on situational factors. While many players would enjoy getting to spend some time away with their families, others would rather keep the pedal to the metal mid-season. More specifically, a team that is playing well and stringing together wins would rather keep playing and not lose out on that momentum. Another team may be in a slump or struggling with injuries and desperately in need of a break. Either way, not every team will be in favor of the bye week each season.
There also remains some scheduling flaws with the mandated break, as most teams will only get the actual seven days or an eighth day off for travel, but others are set to go ten or eleven days without a contest. The “bye week” seems to be a move by the NHL that has enough support to continue in future seasons, but the league could work on sharpening the schedule so as to give teams as close to an even break as their competition as possible.
The New York Rangers have traded minor league forward Cole Schneider to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Connor Brickley. Both players will be able to report directly to their new organization’s minor league affiliates.
Amazingly, this is the fourth consecutive season that the Hartford Wolf Pack have seen their captain traded midseason. Joe Whitney, Mathew Bodie and Ryan Bourque have all previously suffered the same fate, which at this point has become a tradition of sorts. Schneider will be heading to the Admirals after another strong start to the season, as he currently has 25 points in 36 games. Hartford though has been one of the weaker teams in the AHL and find themselves sitting with an 18-17-4 record and 13th in the Eastern Conference.
Brickley meanwhile will be leaving the Predators organization after less than a year, having only signed with the team last summer. Once a second-round pick and top prospect of the Florida Panthers, Brickley has twice become a Group VI unrestricted free agent because of his lack of opportunity at the NHL level. In 67 games including 44 last season, the 26-year old has 17 points.
It’s a relatively busy Sunday for the NHL as six games are scheduled for today, including an afternoon tilt between the Nashville Predators and Carolina Hurricanes. While the league prepares for another important week, we’ll be here keeping track of all the minor moves.
- The San Jose Sharks have sent Rourke Chartier back to the minor leagues, given the team doesn’t play again until Tuesday. The 22-year old forward has played 13 games with the Sharks this season but has just a single goal. He very well could be recalled once again in a few days.
- The Columbus Blue Jackets have recalled Kole Sherwood, a 21-year old forward that spent time in the ECHL earlier this year. The hometown kid has seven points in 22 games for the AHL Cleveland Monsters, but will get a shot to see what life is like in the NHL for at least a little while.
- Jordan Kyrou and Jordan Nolan have bother been recalled by the St. Louis Blues, giving the team two forward options in very different situations. Kyrou is still trying to get his footing in his first season as a professional, but has recently found his way as the AHL Rookie of the Month for December. Nolan meanwhile is just trying to hold onto his NHL career after finding himself in the minor leagues this season for the first time since 2012-13.
- In a minor transaction, Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that St. Louis Blues’ goalie prospect Evan Fitzpatrick has been re-assigned from the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL to the Tulsa of the ECHL. The scribe adds the transaction is significant because it likely suggests that prospect Ville Husso might be ready to return from injury, which could provide the Blues with a solid emergency goaltender down the road. The 20-year-old Fitzpatrick has served as an emergency backup already, but has spent most of his season in Tusla.
- The Vancouver Canucks announced they have assigned center Adam Gaudette to the Utica Comets of the AHL as the team expects the return of Josh Leivo, who has been out with back spasms. The former Hobey Baker Award winner spent the early portion of the season with Vancouver, learning as a bottom-line player, but was sent to Utica to get more playing time in. He has been producing in Utica, posting three goal and seven points in seven games, including a two goal, three-point performance on Jan. 5th. He was then recalled after Elias Pettersson went down with his knee injury and scored a goal in his one appearance on Thursday against Arizona.
- The Arizona Coyotes announced they have recalled goaltender Calvin Pickard from the Tucson Roadrunners of the AHL now that his conditioning stint is over. The team claimed Pickard off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers due to injuries to both Antti Raanta and Darcy Kuemper. However, with Kuemper healthy once again and the emergence of Adin Hill, the Coyotes would have to keep Pickard around as a third goaltender, which they may not want to do. Pickard struggled in four appearances in Tuscon, despite a 3-0 record, posting a 3.47 GAA and a .889 save percentage.
Despite a recent report that the Winnipeg Jets might be one of the many suitors for power forward Wayne Simmonds at the trade deadline, that may not be the case, according to Winnipeg Sun’s Ken Weibe.
While the scribe writes that it makes perfect sense that the Nashville Predators and the Jets, the two top teams in the Central Division, would be interested in the 6-foot-2 winger who can score. However, with two impressive lines already, the team might be paying quite a bit to bring in a player for their third line, considering the team likely wouldn’t have enough money to sign him during the offseason anyway.
Wiebe adds that the team is more likely to either add a left-handed defenseman to add to their injury-depleted blueline or bring in a center for their second line, much like the team did a year ago when they went out and traded for Paul Stastny. That trade deadline acquisition was quite successful as Stastny gelled immediately with Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers, posting six goals and 17 points in the playoffs last season as they went all the way to the Western Conference Finals before losing to Vegas.
- Scott Powers of The Athletic (subscription required) writes that the Chicago Blackhawks may have found their goaltender of the future in Collin Delia. The 24-year-old has been impressive since being called up to fill in for the injured Corey Crawford. While six games is a small sample size, Delia has been tested often by opposing team as he’s faced 245 shots on goal, yet has posted an admirable .939 save percentage and helped the Blackhawks to 10 of a possible 12 points in the standings when he’s in net. With Crawford’s long-term status in Chicago a question mark, the team has some hope that they already have his replacement ready to go.
- The Athletic’s Evan Sporer (subscription required) writes that while the 2017-18 season suggested the St. Louis Blues’ winger Jaden Schwartz was as consistent a player as the team had, it has been the total opposite this season. Schwartz has just one goal in the last 17 games and has had trouble putting the puck in the net on a struggling Blues team as he has just three goals and 17 points in 29 games this season. Sporer digs deeper, noting that Schwartz is taking shots as he is taking shots at a career-high level this season and is on target to 180 shots in 69 games. Despite that, Schwartz has been getting very similar looks from last year, but just hasn’t been able to put it in this season with the scribe suggesting that his goal totals could start increasing soon.
If the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline is deep at any one type of player, it is power forward. As the February 25th deadline grows closer and teams begin to make tough decisions about who goes and who stays, it is becoming clear that many big, physical scoring forwards are about to be up for grabs before they hit free agency. Just this past week, it was reported that the Philadelphia Flyers’ Wayne Simmonds was likely to be moved and inferred that the Carolina Hurricanes and Micheal Ferland were unlikely to come to terms ahead of the deadline. And that’s just the beginning.
Outside of the 6’2″ Simmonds and 220-lb. Ferland, there are plenty of other names out there that fit the power forward mold. Since this summer, the New York Rangers’ Kevin Hayes has been earmarked for a deadline trade. If they cannot agree to an extension, the Ottawa Senators may be forced to move star Mark Stone. Should the New York Islanders or Colorado Avalanche fall out of the playoff race, Brock Nelson and Colin Wilson – neither of whom look like long-term fits on their respective teams – should be on the block. To some surprise, Patrick Maroon’s time with his hometown St. Louis Blues appears to be already running out. Even role player power forwards like New Jersey’s Brian Boyle and Florida’s Troy Brouwer should draw interest.
Many of these players feature on the trade bait lists from both The Athletic and TSN, as well as some non-UFA power forwards like the Blues’ Brayden Schenn, the Rangers’ Chris Kreider, the Wild’s Nino Niederreiter, and even young Jesse Puljujarvi of the Edmonton Oilers. While it may seem like too many names for too few teams – and it is a buyer’s market this year for sure – The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun mentioned a number of suitors for a power forward who could make a move for one or more of these trade candidates in the coming weeks. At the top, LeBrun sees some of the biggest contenders as likely landing spots, naming the Tampa Bay Lightning, Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets, and Calgary Flames as good fits for Simmonds, Ferland, and the like. He also adds the Boston Bruins and Vegas Golden Knights into that group. Of course, the Bruins and Jets also have needs down the middle and could be more ideal fits for Hayes or Nelson, while the wingers would appeal more to Tampa Bay and Nashville. While LeBrun casts doubt on the Toronto Maple Leafs being interested, if an arms race begins the team could feel pressured to add to their forward corps as well. The Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars, both in need of secondary scoring, could also jump in on the action, while the Patric Hornqvist injury could prompt the Pittsburgh Penguins to make another move.
With so many power forwards potentially available and prices expected to be low, it could be that the majority of playoff-bound teams decide to add a hired gun up front this season. You can never have too much size and grit in the postseason, not to mention scoring touch, and the 2019 deadline could be defined by many players possessing those exact traits heading to new teams. With plenty of talent available, one of the aforementioned players might just end up being the x-factor for the eventual Stanley Cup champions this year.
It’s another busy day in the NHL with 24 teams in action, including the Vegas Golden Knights and San Jose Sharks who are battling for position in the Pacific Division. As teams prepare for tonight we’ll be right here keeping track of all the minor moves.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs have recalled goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo once again, who will serve as backup for Michael Hutchinson tonight. Frederik Andersen is close to returning for Toronto but will be held out of at least one more contest as he continues to rehab from a groin injury. Kaskisuo played yesterday for the Toronto Marlies, and has still not received a single start in the NHL.
- Mackenzie MacEachern scored twice for the San Antonio Rampage last night and today he’s headed to the NHL. The St. Louis Blues have recalled the 24-year old forward for the first time this season. MacEachern is still waiting for his NHL debut, but has 15 points in 31 games for the Rampage this season.
- With Mike Green returning to the Detroit Red Wings lineup, the team has sent Brian Lashoff back to the minor leagues. Lashoff has been bouncing up and down, but is still waiting for his first chance to actually play in an NHL game this season.
- Brandon Pirri was returned to the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. However, hours later, he was recalled to Vegas, per the AHL’s Transactions Page. Pirri has scored seven goals and ten points in his eight appearances for the Golden Knights, but is in a tough situation as one of the only waiver-exempt players on the roster. Should Pirri play two more games with the Golden Knights he would become waiver eligible again.
- Troy Grosenick has been recalled under emergency conditions by the Nashville Predators. He’s taking the place of Juuse Saros who is day-to-day due to illness.
Tuesday: According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, the Buffalo Sabres have placed depth forward Scott Wilson on waivers. Wilson is currently on injured reserve. In addition, the Nashville Predators have placed another player on unconditional waivers, this time heading towards a contract termination with goaltender Miroslav Svoboda who has spent the early part of the season in the ECHL.
Because of his injury status Wilson actually could have gone to the minor leagues on a short-term conditioning stint, but the Sabres are hoping he’ll slip through and provide them with even more flexibility going forward. Should he clear waivers tomorrow he can be assigned to the Rochester Americans for a longer period of time, and be recalled when necessary. Given the expected return of Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart within the next few games, the depth forward wasn’t needed at the current time.
Wilson, who played for three different organizations last season, found a home in Buffalo in the second half. Registering 14 points in 49 games he showed that he could be a reasonably valuable bottom-six player for the club. He’s still waiting for his first opportunity of 2018-19, but there’s certainly no reason to think the Sabres have given up on him. After all, they did sign him to a two-year $2.1MM contract last July. That contract is cheap enough to be buried in the minor leagues if necessary, but also represents a commitment to Wilson that should not have disappeared at this point.
If you wanted to see some NHL hockey tonight’s the night, as 22 teams are in action across the league. Most notably perhaps is a clash between the Colorado Avalanche and Winnipeg Jets, two teams separated by just six points in the Central Division standings. These two teams could very well be on a collision course in the first round of the playoffs. As always, we’ll keep track of all the minor moves around the league as teams prepare for the busy night.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs lead off the moves once again by sending both Kasimir Kaskisuo and Trevor Moore back to the minor leagues, given they don’t play until Thursday. The Maple Leafs are hoping to save cap space with these daily moves while also giving Kaskisuo a chance to stay fresh playing for the Marlies.
- Yesterday the Florida Panthers recalled Ian McCoshen for the first time this season, after suiting up 35 times in the minor leagues. The former Boston College standout was considered “NHL-ready” when he left the NCAA in 2016, but failed to establish himself as a full-time player for the Panthers. He’ll get another chance soon, after recording nine points in those 35 AHL games this season.
- Dan Renouf has been recalled by the Carolina Hurricanes, an interesting move given their depth at defense. The team has several other options in the minors like Haydn Fleury, Jake Bean and Roland McKeown, but decided to reward Renouf for his solid play all year.
- The New York Islanders have sent Joshua Ho-Sang back to the minor leagues, making room to activate Valtteri Filppula. That move certainly won’t come with much fan support, given Ho-Sang’s obvious offensive talent and potential as a prospect. Still, the 22-year old has just two points in ten games for the Islanders this season.
- Days after clearing unconditional waivers and having his contract terminated by the New York Rangers, Vince Pedrie is on to a new team. The Milwaukee Admirals, affiliate of the Nashville Predators, have signed the 24-year-old defenseman to a contract, the AHL announced. Pedrie, a former Penn State University standout, left school early to sign with the Rangers as an undrafted free agent in the spring of 2017. However, that proved to not be the opportunity that he had hoped, as Pedrie did not get his shot at the NHL during the tail end of that season or any of last season. Instead, Pedrie remained with the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, where he failed to impress. Early this season, Pedrie has split his time between Hartford and the ECHL’s Maine Mariners before negotiating his release. While he is unlikely to earn an NHL contract this season, Pedrie could return to his college form with Milwaukee and try his hand at the free agent market this off-season.