Here are the latest news and notes from the Metropolitan Division:
- Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak is fully recovered from the groin injury he suffered late last season that caused him to miss the entire postseason, writes Newsday’s Arthur Staple. Not only is he back to full health, he has been skating for the last five weeks. He should be ready to reclaim the starting job for the Islanders and battle with Toronto’s Frederik Andersen (who is expected to play despite leaving an Olympic qualifying game Friday due to injury) for the top spot on Team Europe’s entry into the World Cup of Hockey.
- More from Staple, he spoke with Islanders netminder Thomas Greiss about his decision not to suit up for Germany in this week’s Olympic qualifying tournament. Greiss noted that it would be difficult to jump into games without a training camp which is why he passed on the opportunity to suit up. He will, however, be a part of Team Europe for the World Cup, likely as the third string goalie despite a very strong playoff effort where he posted a 2.46 GAA and a .923 SV% in 11 games.
- Count New Jersey goalie Cory Schneider as a fan of the Devils’ moves this offseason, as NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti notes. “Ray (Shero) has done a good job of clearing out some older guys. You loved playing with all of those guys, but he wanted to make us younger and faster, and I think he’s been doing that.” The team ranked dead last in goal scoring last year, averaging just 2.22 per game but have added some extra scoring depth in Vernon Fiddler and Beau Bennett while also bringing in a legitimate top line threat in Taylor Hall. While the team lost Adam Larsson in the Hall deal, Schneider believes the offensive improvements should be enough to help vault New Jersey back into the playoff hunt, especially as they continue to shift towards more of a speed-based attack.