Monday, October 23, 2017

NHL news: Niemi placed on waivers



                    The Pittsburgh Penguins have placed G Antti Niemi on waivers. He is not expected to be claimed.

                     Niemi was signed to replace Marc-Andre Fleury, who was claimed in the expansion draft. But, he has done the opposite of what Fleury did through three games, and has been one of the worst goalies in the league early on. It's probably why he was bought out by Dallas in the offseason. Sending Niemi doesn't hurt, and it can help him work on mechanics.

                     Niemi, 34, has a 7.50 GAA and .797 SV% in three games for the Penguins this year. In his NHL career for the Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks, Stars and Pens, Niemi has a GAA of 2.52 and a SV% of .912.

                     To replace Niemi, the Pens called up 26 year old netminder Casey Desmith from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (AHL).

                     Desmith has never played in the NHL. But, in three games in the AHL, Desmith has a 0.98 GAA and SV% of .965.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

NHL news: Leafs sign Polak



          The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed D Roman Polak to a one year, $1.1 million deal.

           Polak was a part of the Leafs team that made the playoffs last year. But, he sustained a knee injury in the first round on a hit by Brooks Orpik, and had surgery. Polak signed a PTO with the team, and was well-liked throughout the locker room. Being a tough defenseman brings that, especially on a young team like this one. He had an astounding amount of hits last season with 232, and 303 the season before.

             The one thing Leaf fans might not like is that this means that youngsters Calle Rosen and Andreas Borgman could be sent to the AHL. If so, the Leafs' pairings would look like this.

Morgan Rielly  - Nikita Zaitsev
Jake Gardiner - Connor Carrick
Ron Hainsey - Roman Polak

             Toronto could do this, or they could keep one of Rosen or Borgman, and put them in for Hainsey or Polak on some nights. Preferably Hainsey since both Rosen and Borgman or left-handed, like Hainsey, and unlike the right-handed Polak.

             Polak, 31, scored four goals and seven assists for 11 points in 75 games for the Leafs last season. In his NHL career for the Leafs, San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues, Polak has scored 23 goals and 92 assists for 115 points in 634 games.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

NHL trade review: Puempel goes to Wings for Sproul



           The Detroit Red Wings have acquired F Matt Puempel from the New York Rangers in exchange for D Ryan Sproul.

           For the Wings, Puempel is a 4th line-type of player that can net some goals here-and-there. He's going to go to Grand Rapids (AHL), but if there's an injury, Puempel can be called up. The Wings have a surplus of defensemen (though they are all the 7th d-man type). Trading Sproul doesn't hurt when you have Dylan McIlrath, Nick Jensen and Robbie Russo among others to play his exact same role.

             Puempel, 24, hasn't played in the NHL this year. In his NHL career for the Rangers and Ottawa Senators, Puempel has scored 10 goals and five assists for 15 points in 79 games.

             For the Rangers, they don't need Puempel after claiming Adam Cracknell a few days ago. Sproul still won't start, but he'll have a better role than he had in Detroit. Sproul will go to Hartford of the AHL.

             Sproul, 24, also hasn't played in the NHL this year. In his NHL career, only for Detroit, the defenseman has scored a goal and six assists for seven points in 28 games.

             I think this is an even trade. Both teams get a depth player, but at different positions. That's why it's an even deal.

NHL trade review: Pens, Wings swap Sheahan and Wilson



                The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired C Riley Sheahan and a 2018 5th round draft pick from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for F Scott Wilson and a 2018 3rd round pick.

                The Penguins badly need a 3rd line center. Greg McKegg is their current third line center, so you could see why they went out and made this trade. Sheahan's faceoff percentage of 50.6% last year was pretty solid. They only drop back less than two rounds, and that third could be nothing. Sheahan will take Wilson's roster spot, and McKegg will drop back to the 4th line. Sheahan is 25, so that's also a positive.

                Sheahan, 25, has no points in eight games this year. In his NHL career, all for the Wings, Sheahan has scored 38 goals and 60 assists for 98 points in 292 games.

                 For the Wings, things weren't working out for Sheahan last year. He scored just two goals the entire season, in 80 games! As a defenseman, that's okay, but for a forward, that can't happen. Wilson needed a change of scenery, because with the crowded forward core the Pens have, Wilson couldn't do much. Also, after signing RFA Andreas Athanasiou, the Wings needed to unload some cap, and got rid of Riley's $2.075 million hit.

                Wilson, also 25, has no points in three games this season. In his NHL career, all for Pittsburgh, Wilson has scored 13 goals and 19 assists for 32 points in 106 games.

                I think this is an even trade. Both players have much to prove. Sheahan needs to prove he can be a solid NHL 3rd line center, and Wilson needs to prove he's an NHL regular.

Should we be worried about the Habs?



                      With a 1-6-1 start (three points), the Montreal Canadiens are the league's second worst team, behind only the Arizona Coyotes (0-6-1), who were expected to be bad. But, the Habs won the Atlantic Division last year and were expected to be good this year. That leaves us to their million dollar question in the title: should we be worried about the Canadiens?

                      No. At least not yet. Every team has bad starts. Plus, they still have 74 games to go. I bet you that they'll have their hot streaks. Even the Colorado Avalanche, who had 48 points last season, had some good runs at some point.


                       What they really need is some better performances from Carey Price, their goalie who is considered to be the best worldwide. In seven of the Habs eight games, Price has a 3.95 GAA, with a .881 SV%.

                       But, you also need to take into account how bad their defense has been. Mark Streit was already released. After signing a five year, $4.625 million deal in the offseason, Karl Alzner may be the worst Canadien this season so far, with a -7 rating in eight games. And these are supposed to be his best years, as he's being paid $6 million this year. Rookie Victor Mete has struggled so far, and is a -6. In Tampa, rookie Mikhail Sergachev (who the Habs traded in the offseason for Jonathan Drouin) scored his first NHL goal a couple nights ago and is doing well in his new jersey. Jeff Petry is also a minus seven. The Habs goal differential of -20 is the worst in the league, and is amaing for just eight games.

                      The only thing to worry about for their team besides Alzner is the fact that center Alex Galchenyuk, who signed a new deal with a $4.9 million cap hit in the offseason, has been mistreated, and placed on the 4th line. As a result, Galchenyuk has just one goal in those eight games.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

NHL news: Carter out indefinitely; Kings sign Laich



                Los Angeles Kings center Jeff Carter is out indefinitely after being cut by the skate of Montreal Canadiens defensemen Jeff Petry in their eventual 5-1 win on Wednesday. The injury will require surgery. To replace him, forward Brooks Laich was signed to a contract.

                Losing Carter will be hard for the Kings. An all-star last year, Carter has scored at least 24 goals a season since being traded to Los Angeles in 2012. Rookie Alex Iafallo will get a higher role now. They are depending on some bottom six players to step up. Carter is the center on the famous 70s line featuring Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson.

                Carter, 32, has three points (all assists) in six games this season. He scored 32 goals and 34 assists for 66 points last year. In his NHL career for Kings, Columbus Blue Jackets and Philadelphia Flyers , Carter has scored 339 goals and 314 assists for 653 points in 883 games.

                 Laich could be one of two things. He could replace Carter's roster spot and be a depth forward. Or, he could go to the Ontario Reign (AHL), and get called up if another injury strikes. The veteran has a long NHL career, and could help the team chip in a few goals.

                  Laich, 34, scored two goals and 12 assists for 14 points in 81 games in 2015-16 (his last NHL season) for the Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs. In his NHL career for those two teams, plus one game for the Ottawa Senators, Laich has scored 134 goals and 197 assists for 331 points in 764 games.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

MLB news: Perkins not extended by Twins



                  Today, the Minnesota Twins decided not to pick up the option for 2018 on LHP and former closer Glen Perkins. If the option was exercised, Perkins would earn $6.5 million. This makes him a free agent.


                   From his age 30 season to age 32 season (2013-15), Perkins was an all-star, and had over 30 saves each season, but then, the injury bug came. Perkins has pitched in just 7.2 innings since the start of 2016, and has allowed eight runs, all earned, in them. Shoulder surgery is the reason for this.

                    Perkins, 34, has a 3.88 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 120 saves and 504 strikeouts in 624.1 career innings, all for the Twins in 12 seasons. He's only walked 158 batters in that span.

                   The Stillwater, Minnesota native said he'd be open to a minor league deal with his hometown team after his final performance on October 1st. Though he isn't expected to sign elsewhere, and could retire, Perkins could get a minor league deal anywhere and battle his way up the depth chart in one year.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

NHL news: Shipachyov recalled by Vegas, Haula to IR



                   The Vegas Golden Knights have recalled C Vadim Shipachyov from the Chicago Wolves (AHL).

                    Due to the fact that he's exempt for waivers, Shipachyov was sent to the minors before the season started. Then, he was held out of the first two AHL games. But he's still probably one of the best players on the team. Shipachyov signed a two year, $4.5 million deal in the offseason from St. Petersburg (KHL). His season debut will be his NHL debut.

                     Shipachyov, 30, scored 26 goals and 50 assists for 76 points in 50 games in Russia last year. That was his third consecutive point-per-game season.

                       The corresponding move was placing F Erik Haula on IR. Haula was injured while participating the first fight in Knights history, vs the Red Wings' Tomas Tatar in a 6-3 loss.

                        Haula, 26, was selected in the expansion draft by the Golden Knights from the Minnesota WIld. He has a goal and an assist in four games for the Knights this young season. In his NHL career for Vegas and the Wild, Haula has scored 43 goals and 48 assists for 91 points in 270 games.

Monday, October 9, 2017

NHL trade review: Tokarski to Flyers



                The Philadelphia Flyers have acquired goalie Dustin Tokarski from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for future considerations. Also, Leland Irving, another goalie, was traded from the Phantoms (Flyers AHL) to the Gulls (Ducks AHL) for future considerations.

                The Flyers have Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth as their goalies, and Anthony Stolarz and Alex Lyon in their organization, so Tokarski is just some depth. Also, Stolarz is injured. Tokarski will take Irving's place on the depth chart. Irving was just Lyon's backup in Lehigh Valley, and with prospect Carter Hart in the juniors, Irving didn't have a chance to make the NHL again.

                 Tokarski, 28, played one game in relief last year for the Ducks, making five saves on as many shots. He has a 2.84 GAA and .904 SV% in 34 career games for Anaheim, the Canadiens and the Lightning.

                 I'm not really sure why the Ducks did this, since I think Tokarski is better, and is a year younger. Irving will also take Tokarski's spot on the Ducks' chart.

                 Iving, 29, had a 2.18 GAA, and .923 SV% overseas last year. In his NHL career years ago for the Flames, he has a 3.25 GAA and a .902 SV% in 12 games.

NHL news: Cracknell claimed off waivers



                   The New York Rangers have claimed forward Adam Cracknell off waivers from the Dallas Stars.

                  After claiming Cracknell, the Rangers have 24 men on their roster, one more than the league maximum. Something I'm thinking is that so they don't burn a year on his entry level deal, Filip Chytil, an 18 year old who made the team, will go back to the Czech Republic. Maybe Paul Carey will be waived. Since they have eight defensemen, maybe Steven Kampfer goes. We will soon find out what the Rangers do. But anyways, Cracknell is a solid 4th line or 13th forward type player. He will most likely be a scratch most nights, but he will probably get 30-40 games this year.

                   Cracknell, 32, played in one game for the Stars this year, not scoring a point in just under nine minutes of ice time. Last season, he set career highs in goals (10), assists (6) and obviously points (16) in 69 games for Dallas, another career high. In his eight year NHL career for the Stars, Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks, Columbus Blue Jackets and St. Louis Blues, Cracknell has scored 21 goals and 22 assists for 43 points in 204 games.

                   After waiving Cracknell, the Stars have 12 forwads, eight defensemen, and Kari Lehtonen and Ben Bishop on their roster. That's 22 men, which is one less than the 23 men you normally have. This means that either Curtis McKenzie or Brian Flynn can be called up from Texas (AHL). I think it will be McKenzie over Flynn. Probably because of McKenzie's experience in the organization, while Flynn is a newcomer from Montreal.

Friday, October 6, 2017

NHL trade review: Pickard acquired by Leafs



                   The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired goalie Calvin Pickard from the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for forward Tobias Lindberg and a 6th round draft pick.

                  Behind starter Freddy Andersen, the Leafs' backup is Curtis McElhinney, who's 2.85 GAA with Toronto last year wasn't very impressive. Pickard struggled last year in Colorado since he was thrown to the wolves with that defense the Avs have. Also, he's fairly young for a goalie's standard. Lindberg and a sixth isn't too much of a price to pay for a solid goalie. But until he can prove himself to the organization, Pickard will report to the Marlies (AHL).

                  Pickard, 25, had a .904 SV% and a 2.98 GAA in 50 appearances for the Avalanche last year. In his three year NHL career, all for one team, Pickard has a .914 SV% and 2.77 GAA in 86 appearances. He was the first pick of the expansion draft this offseason by Vegas.

                  On Tuesday, the Knights claimed goalie Malcolm Subban off waivers from the Bruins. After that, they had a three goalie situation. Pickard was waived, but wasn't claimed. Vegas didn't need Pickard with Subban. Lindberg isn't too bad of a prospect also, and a 6th rounder can turn into anything.

                   Lindberg, 22, only played in the NHL in 2015-16, totaling two points, both assists in six games, for the Leafs. He was acquired in 2014-15 from the Senators in the Dion Phaneuf trade.

                    I think the Leafs win this trade. They get a good backup goalie for a prospect who isn't that young. Also, Lindberg scored just 16 points in 44 AHL games last year. That's why they win this trade.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

NHL trade review: Blackhawks acquire Martinsen



                     The Montreal Canadiens have made another trade, this time sending C Andreas Martinsen to the Chicago Blackhawks for forward Kyle Baun.

                      The Blackhawks have a bunch of players who would sit on other teams, but be in the lineup for them. And there is about 3-5 extra players like that. Martinsen will join that group. But, he was assigned to Rockwell (AHL) to start the season. Baun was just one of the IceHogs' forwards, and didn't have much of a chance of playing this year.

                    Martinsen, 27, scored three goals and four assists for seven points in 64 games for the Colorado Avalanche and Habs last year. He was traded mid-season for Sven Andrighetto. In his two year NHL career for those two teams, Martinsen has scored seven goals and 11 assists for 18 points in 119 games.

                    The Habs have a plethora of forwards, especially ones who are 4th line type players. Also, they recently acquired Nicolas Deslauriers from Buffalo. One of the forwards were bound to go at sometime, and it was Martinsen. A little disappointment is that Martinsen scored zero points in just nine games as a Hab, and the player he was traded for, Andrighetto, scored 16 points in 19 games after the trade. Baun is for depth at Laval (AHL), and is only two years younger.

                      Baun, 25, didn't play in the NHL last year. He was scoreless in five games between 2015-16 and 2014-15. He doesn't have much NHL history besides that, and that he is the grandson of Maple Leafs great Bobby Baun.

                      I think the Blackhawks win this trade. Both players aren't very notable, but Martinsen is better than Baun, and more experienced. That's why they win this trade.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

NHL trade review: Sabres, Habs swap Redmond and Deslauriers




                The Montreal Canadiens have acquired forward Nicolas Deslauriers from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for defenseman Zach Redmond.

                For the Habs, they get an extra forward. They've already set their 23 man roster, so Deslauriers will go to Laval (AHL). He's a 4th line grinder type of player that can surprise you every once in a while with a goal. Also, Redmond didn't make the team either, so this move really only affects the Rocket.

                Deslauriers, 26, scored two points, both assists, in 42 games last season. In his four year NHL career, Deslauriers (DIH-LORE-EE-AY) has scored 12 goals and 18 assists for 30 points in 211 games, all for the Sabres.

               Like the Habs and the Rocket, this move affects the Rochester Americans more than the Sabres. After forward Jordan Nolan was claimed off waivers by the club, Deslauriers was waived. Though they don't really need an extra defenseman, Redmond is a solid player to have just in case.

                Redmond, 29, scored five points, all assists, in 16 games last season in Montreal. In his five year NHL career for the Habs, Colorado Avalanche and Winnipeg Jets, Redmond has scored 38 points, nine being goals, and the other 29 assists.

                I think this is an even trade, only because it's kind of irrational. I think both of these teams have a surplus at the area they just added to, and this is just an AHL move. So, I'm not giving this one a rating.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

NHL news: M. Subban, Nemeth claimed on waivers



             With teams needing to finalize their 23 man rosters, some of their roster players from last years were placed on waivers. And for the Dallas Stars and Boston Bruins, they were not as lucky as others. The Bruins lost G Malcolm Subban to the Vegas Golden Knights, and the defenseman the Colorado Avalanche were bound to claim became Stars D Patrik Nemeth.

              The Avs were expected to go with Chris Bigras and Anton Lindholm, two young guys, for their third pairing, but they were also expected to pick up a defenseman just in case. At 25 years of age, Nemeth is also fairly young. He was waived because the Stars decided to go with John Klingberg, Marc Methot, Esa Lindell, Dan Hamhuis, Greg Pateryn, Stephen Johns, Julius Honka and Jamie Oleksiak as their eight defensemen. They'd obviously rather go with an extra forward and two extra defensemen than three extra defensmen and no extra forwards.

               Nemeth, 25, played in a career high 40 games last year, but only scored three points, all assists. In 108 career, all for the Stars, Nemeth has only 14 points, and somehow they are all assists. He's going for his first NHL goal this year.

                The Golden Knights, before they even had a name, and were just referred to as "The Vegas Team," were expected to go after Subban in the expansion draft. But, he was never able to get the job done. Last season, he was passed on the Bruins depth chart by Zane McIntyre, who's now behind just backup Anton Khudobin and starter Tuuka Rask. So, it makes sense that the B's waived him.

                  Subban, 23, played in just 31 minutes of a game last year, allowing three goals on 16 shots (5.81 GAA, .813 SV%). He's never played in a full NHL game. He's just played in two games, and just 31 minutes of them each. He's allowed six goals on 22 shots (.727 SV%, 5.81 GAA) in his NHL career.

NHL trade review: Penguins give up on Pouliot, trade him to Canucks



                    After being drafted 8th overall in 2012 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, defenseman Derrick Pouliot has just never lived up to expectations. And today, the defending champs gave up on him. Pouliot was traded to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for defenseman Andrey Pedan and a 2018 4th round pick.

                    Pouliot is finally waiver eligible. Afraid that someone would pick him up, the Pens shipped him away. Pedan is also waiver eligible, but he's less likely to be picked up. Also, they receive an extra draft pick. Pouliot didn't make the team, and neither will Pedan. I think Pedan will play for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (AAA).

                    Pouliot, 23, played in just 11 NHL games last year, totaling 0 points. In parts of three seasons, Pouliot has scored 14 points, with two of them being goals, and the other 12 obviously are assists. Also, his career -11 rating in those 67 games isn't impressive.

                    For the Canucks, you can't go wrong. Pedan is a year older than Pouliot, and Pouliot has more NHL experience, and higher potential. Maybe the Canucks also think he can actually still live up to the so far wasted potential. They give up an extra 4th rounder, but I think it's worth it.

                    Pedan, 24, made his NHL debut in 2015-16 for the Canucks, going scoreless in 13 games. He sat out every single game in 2016-17. He's a little bit of a troublemaker, with 18 PIM in those 13 games, and 100 last year in Utica (AHL).

                   I think the Canucks win this deal. It's pretty even. But if I had 100 points, and I had to give each team some of the points, I'd give 51 to Vancouver, and the other 49 to Pittsburgh. It's obviously pretty close.