With the recent re-signing of goaltender Pekka Rinne to a new extension with a no-movement clause, the Nashville Predators are likely to be heavily scouted over the next couple of years by the Seattle expansion team, who are expected to have their own expansion draft in 2020, assuming everything goes as planned. If that’s the case, then the Predators might be forced to expose young goaltender Juuse Saros in the expansion draft if they can’t convince Rinne to waive his NMC.
In a mailbag series, The Athletic’s Adam Vingan (subscription required) writes that with the expansion rules expected to be the same as Vegas, the Predators will likely be expected to protect all four of their top defensemen (assuming Roman Josi agrees to an extension), which might limit the amount of forwards they can protect down the road, suggesting that Seattle will either get a top-rated goaltender (in Saros or a willing Rinne) or receive a top-end forward to jumpstart their new franchise.
- Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad has had a rough go of it this week in practice. He took a puck to the face in practice Wednesday that required a lengthy trip to the dentist, according to Scott Powers of The Athletic (subscription required). Now, Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus reports that Saad then injured his arm in practice Friday, forcing him to miss today’s game and he is considered day-to-day for Monday’s game at Carolina.
- Sticking with the Blackhawks, Lazerus also points out that new head coach Jeremy Colliton has already pressed Patrick Kane into a big role. Already the biggest leader in minutes on the forward line, Kane played the most he’s ever played in a regular-season game, a record 27:43 Thursday against Carolina. He followed that up with 24:33 against Philadelphia Saturday. “It’s fun,” Kane said. “It’s always fun coming back to the bench after a shift and hearing your name called up for the next shift to go out. It’s exciting. I like it, it gets me into the game, too. I’ve actually been trying to figure out how to get that excitement and energy into my game in the first and second period, because there’s some crazy stats where I’ve got way more goals this year in the third period than any other period.”
- It looks like St. Louis Blues center Brayden Schenn will miss his third-straight game Sunday with what is believed to be a strained oblique muscle, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He did practice Saturday, suggesting he’s getting closer to a return. “I would say that he’s doubtful for tomorrow, but encouraging that he’s getting closer,” coach Mike Yeo said. “He looked good in practice today. I talked to him afterward. We just have to make sure we’re smart.”
- The Minnesota Wild’s Nino Niederreiter finally broke a 27-goal scoring streak Thursday when he scored his first goal of the season and was quick to point out that staying positive was the most challenging thing for him while waiting out that streak. He said the mental challenges were taxing on him and his play, according to the StarTribune’s Sarah McLellan. “That’s the toughest thing, staying positive in those moments,” Niederreiter said. “But it makes it a lot easier that we’ve been doing well, and as long as the team is winning, it makes it a lot easier. But it was definitely frustrating at some points.”