This offseason could be a very interesting one assuming that teams don’t lock all the potential unrestricted free agents to contract extensions in the coming months. The Athletic’s Craig Custance (subscription required) breaks down the top 25 UFA’s this coming offseason with an update on how contract negotiations are going.
One interesting note is for the No. 3 UFA in Columbus Blue Jackets’ Sergei Bobrovsky, who is rumored to be asking for Carey Price money (around $10.5MM). That might be too much money for Columbus to offer, especially for a 30-year-old goaltender. Custance adds that the team could easily get outbid for the netminder’s services by the New York Islanders who might be extremely aggressive in adding a franchise-changing goaltender. Islanders’ general manager Lou Lamoriello is known to be a big fan of impact goaltenders, which goes all the way back to Martin Brodeur when he was in New Jersey.
After all, in 315 games between Philadelphia and Columbus, Bobrovsky has a .922 save percentage, two Vezina Trophies and has finished in the top 10 in Vezina voting four times.
- The Philadelphia Flyers had lost four of six games before Saturday’s game and Sam Carchidi of Philly.com writes that head coach Dave Hakstol decided to make a change as he separated his top pair defensemen in Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov which turned out to be key in their 5-2 win over New Jersey. Gostisbehere was matched with Christian Folin, while Provorov was paired with Robert Hagg. The top four held to the Devils to just 21 shots on goal in the victory. Provorov was also much more noticeable on the offensive end of the ice. Previously held to just one point in the first seven games of the season, the 21-year-old posted two assists on Saturday. “(Hagg) is a little heavier body to play with Provy in some of those situations,” said Hakstol. “He obviously has a different look than Ghost. He doesn’t do as much with the puck, but he provides a heavier presence, so that changes the look of that pair.”
- Speaking of lines, the St. Louis Blues shook up their lines Saturday as well as center Ryan O’Reilly found himself with two new wingers Zachary Sanford and David Perron on the second line, according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jim Thomas. After his line put up two goals and three assists Saturday (including O’Reilly’s first goal as a member of the Blues), that line may not break up any time soon. “I thought ’O’Ry’ was outstanding obviously in all areas of the game,” Yeo said. “So that line gave us some really good minutes.”
- NHL.com’s Gary Lawless writes that some of the Vegas Golden Knights’ success in their last three games comes from moving defenseman Nick Holden into the top-four. The veteran defenseman was originally signed to serve as a third pairing defenseman this offseason, but with Nate Schmidt (suspension) and Deryk Engelland (injury) both out, Holden has filled in admirably, averaging 18:54 ATOI. Holden did have a similar role back in 2016-17 when he was with the New York Rangers, so the 31-year-old already has quite a bit of experience playing in that role.
- After a postseason run last year where Dallas Stars prospect Denis Gurianov was often a healthy scratch and was beginning to look like a bust, the 21-year-old seems to have turned the corner early this season as he has been dominant as he enters his third year with the AHL, writes SportsDay’s Matthew DeFranks. The 12th-overall pick in the 2015 draft is starting to show off his potential as he is riding a five-game scoring streak and has five goals and seven points in seven games.