After just three games yesterday, the NHL has a full slate of 14 contests today. Bruins-Predators and Blue Jackets-Flyers begin the day as matinee match-ups, with several more afternoon games on the docket and even more teams squaring off later tonight. The league may be on a roster freeze, but teams are still busy preparing for a loaded weekend ahead of the holiday break. As they do, those minor moves not prevented by the freeze are bound to happen throughout the day:
- A day after going back to the minors, CapFriendly reports that the Colorado Avalanche have recalled Sheldon Dries from the AHL. Dries, 24, has been frequently reassigned back and forth between the Avs and Colorado Eagles this season. The undersized forward has four points in 16 NHL games and only two points in ten AHL games. He’s set to take the place of Colin Wilson who sustained a shoulder injury on Friday night against Chicago and has been placed on IR. In addition, the Avs have brought up winger A.J. Greer and goalie Pavel Francouz, per the AHL’s Transactions Page. Greer has averaged a point per game in 21 contests with the Eagles but is scoreless in four NHL contests. Meanwhile, this will be Francouz’s first NHL recall after signing with Colorado in May. The 28-year-old has fared well in the minors, posting a 2.61 GAA and a .921 SV% in 21 games.
- The San Jose Sharks sent forward Rourke Chartier back to the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda late yesterday, the team announced. Chartier has spent much of the season up with the Sharks but has been very productive in limited action with the Barracuda. in nine AHL games, the 22-year-old has logged eight points and a +8 rating. However, he has just one lone goal and no assists through 13 NHL games. Chartier has had no problem scoring in the minors so far in his pro career but needs to work on translating that ability to the next level.
- With Jake McCabe and Lawrence Pilut back to full health, the Buffalo Sabres announced that they have returned defenseman Brendan Guhle to the AHL. Guhle, 21, has been a major asset for the Rochester Americans this season with 13 points in 25 games and has especially stepped up alongside vet Zach Redmond since Pilut took on a full-time role in Buffalo. However, in two brief NHL appearances, Guhle has been a non-factor and still seems in need of seasoning in the minors.
- The Chicago Blackhawks have flipped forwards, announcing that they have recalled winger Jacob Nilsson from AHL Rockford while assigning center Luke Johnson to the IceHogs. Nilsson signed with Chicago back in May following a decent season in the SHL but he has yet to make much of a mark, collecting just 14 points in 31 minor league games this season. Meanwhile, Johnson has split the season between the Blackhawks and IceHogs. He has been productive in the minors with seven points in ten games but has just a single assist in 15 NHL contests.
- The Ottawa Senators revealed that have recalled goaltender Marcus Hogberg from AHL Belleville. Craig Anderson took a hard hit on Friday and didn’t finish the game so this appears to be some insurance if he’s unable to dress tonight. Hogberg has been the backup with Belleville this season, posting a 2.55 GAA with a .906 SV% in seven appearances. The Sens had an extra roster spot available so they don’t have to designate this as one of their two allowable 48-hour emergency recalls that would have allowed them to exceed the roster limit.
- When the Los Angeles Kings activated Ilya Kovalchuk today, the team had to free up a roster spot. The team announced they have placed defenseman Dion Phaneuf on injured reserve, retroactive to Dec. 11, with an upper-body injury that he suffered during the team’s game against the Buffalo Sabres on that date. The veteran defenseman has struggled mightily this season after being a significant addition when the team acquired him in a midseason trade from Ottawa. Phaneuf has just one assist in 32 games this season and averages just 14:58 per game this season, well under his career averages.
- The Nashville Predators announced that they have returned forward Tyler Gaudet to the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL. Gaudet was recalled Thursday and was a healthy scratch today against Boston.