While the official roster freeze is already in effect, tomorrow the real freeze begins. There are no games scheduled from the 24th through the 26th of December and teams are prohibited from practicing or traveling. The language of the CBA even prevents teams from granting permission to players to hold player-only workouts. The NHL is truly committed to a holiday break for all. However, they were also sure to load up the preceding weekend with action before the three-day hiatus. Today, 16 more teams take the ice, highlighted by the Carolina Hurricanes honoring their Hartford Whalers history as they play host to the former regional rival Boston Bruins. Five other contests are divisional battles, including an Original Six match-up between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs, while the Blackhawks look to extend a season-high three-game winning streak into the break as they take on the visiting Panthers. With multiple games on the docket ahead of an extended absence, expect a high volume of minor roster moves today:
- Tyler Lewington is on his way back to the minors after making his NHL debut last night, CapFriendly reports. The 24-year-old defenseman made his presence felt for the Washington Capitals last night, contributing four hits and a positive rating in his first big league appearance. Lewington has worked his way up from a seventh-round draft pick and ECHL cast-off to back-to-back strong seasons with the AHL’s Hersey Bears and now an NHLer. Yet, with the break upcoming, the Caps will send Lewington back down simply to shave off a small amount of salary cap expenditure.
- The Colorado Avalanche are moving substantially more salary cap contribution, as recent call-ups Pavel Francouz, A.J. Greer, and Anton Lindholm have all been reassigned to the AHL’s Colorado Eagles, per CapFriendly. Francouz, a free agent import from the Czech Republic, looked stellar in his NHL debut last night, making 21 saves on 22 shots in relief of Philipp Grubauer. However, behind Grubauer and starter Semyon Varlamov, Francouz is not guaranteed any more play time this season barring injury, even if the veteran keeper is deserving. Greer and Lindholm are no strangers to the Colorado lineup, but join Francouz back in the minors over the break.
- After several teases of NHL action, Trevor Moore is finally getting his chance. The Toronto Maple Leafs prospect has been recalled on an emergency basis per a team release and will fill in for the injured Tyler Ennis. The University of Denver standout has been very productive in three pro seasons with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, especially so far this year, and has earned a shot with the Leafs.
- The San Jose Sharks announced they have recalled center Rourke Chartier from the San Jose Barracuda of the AHL. The 22-year-old was sent down Saturday morning to get some work in with the Barracuda as he contributed an assist in the Barracudas’ win. He has played 13 games for the Sharks, posting one goal this season.