Let’s recap the five biggest stories from the week of 1/2/2016 through 1/8/2016:
- The Columbus Blue Jackets occupy the top spot in the league due in large part to their recent 16-game winning streak. The team had a chance to tie a record set by the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins – a team led by “Super” Mario Lemieux and the ageless Jaromir Jagr – but the Blue Jackets came up short, falling to the Washington Capitals by the score of 5 – 0. Nonetheless, it’s an incredible feat accomplished by the Blue Jackets and an announcement to the rest of the league that they are indeed a team to be taken seriously.
- It’s been an up-and-down year in Winnipeg, but Jets rookie phenom Patrik Laine has been a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season. The 18-year-old Finn is currently tied for third in the league in goal scoring with 21 and has already established himself as one of the league’s most exciting young stars. Unfortunately, Laine is out indefinitely after suffering a concussion in Winnipeg’s 4 – 3 loss to Buffalo on Saturday.
- Colorado has certainly been one of the league’s biggest disappointments in 2016-17. An offseason coaching change was expected to spark a talented roster back into playoff contention but instead the Avalanche have been the worst team in the league and at this point are one of the few clubs who can safely be called “seller” in advance of the trade deadline. This of course has led to all kinds of rumors, with the most recent involving Boston. The Bruins reportedly inquired as to the availability Gabriel Landeskog with Colorado asking for rookie blue liner Brandon Carlo in return. While there appears to be no traction in trade discussions between the two teams, that could change closer to the March 1st deadline.
- It was a busy week on the waiver wire with several players switching teams by virtue of waiver claims. Reid Boucher changed clubs twice going from Nashville to New Jersey and finally on to Vancouver all via waivers. Ty Rattie went from St. Louis to Carolina and San Jose lost Matt Nieto to Colorado.
- Montreal winger Brendan Gallagher is slated to miss the next eight weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured hand. Gallagher was injured when a shot from teammate Shea Weber struck his hand during a recent game.