It’s a busy Saturday slate for the NHL, with 28 teams set to square off today. All seven Canadian clubs are set to play, as the nation celebrates Hockey Day in Canada, while in the U.S. ten teams will get an early start with 1:00pm ET puck drops. With several other games in the late afternoon, evening, and late night, it’s a true all-day affair for the league. While you enjoy all the action, keep up with what should be a busy day for transactions as well:
- Attached to the trade yesterday that saw Laurent Dauphin and Adam Helewka head to the Nashville Predators from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Emil Petterson was an AHL exchange as well. The Tuscon Roadrunners, affiliate of the ’Yotes, announced that they have acquired forward Jeremy Gregoire from the Preds’ affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals, for future considerations. Gregoire, a former Montreal Canadiens prospect, was not qualified by the team after last season and signed with the Admirals as a free agent. The 23-year-old center has 12 points in 42 AHL games this year. Arizona GM John Chayka has shown in the past that he values a postseason run for his minor league team, adding pieces at each of the past few trade deadlines to help his top prospects experience the postseason even if the Coyotes don’t qualify.
- CapFriendly reports that the Anaheim Ducks have recalled goaltender Kevin Boyle from the AHL’s San Diego Gulls. This is not a positive sign for the status of starter John Gibson, who left Thursday night’s game with an injury and did not practice yesterday. It seems likely that Boyle will back up Chad Johnson today when the Ducks visit the Philadelphia Flyers. Boyle, 26, has been with the Ducks organization for the past three seasons after signing as a free agent out of UMass – Lowell, but is still looking for his first NHL appearance.
- The Ottawa Senators have called up veteran grinder Darren Archibald, the team announced. Archibald, who turns 29 years old today, was acquired alongside Anders Nilsson from the Vancouver Canucks earlier this season. The big winger has two points in ten NHL games this year, but was held scoreless in his Ottawa debut early last month and then sent back down. Yet, as Archibald continues to quietly put together a productive AHL campaign and brings a heavy, physical presence to any lineup, he has earned another shot with the Senators. The impending UFA is trying to prove to possible suitors this off-season that he is more than just a minimum salary, two-way player.
- After their victory over Winnipeg earlier today, the Ottawa Senators announced they have returned Archibald to Belleville. He did not appear in today’s win.
- The New Jersey Devils have made a flurry of moves, according to CapFriendly. They report that the team has officially placed forward Miles Wood on the injured reserve and activated rookie winger Joey Anderson. Wood left the Devils’ last game with an arm injury, but his injury status had been unclear. Obviously, this is an injury that will keep Wood sidelined for some time. Hopefully Anderson can make up for his absence; the collegiate product had two points through eleven games this season before breaking his ankle in November. New Jersey has called up additional reinforcements from AHL Binghamton as well in forward Nick Lappin and recently-acquired defenseman Ryan Murphy. Lappin has yet to play in the NHL this season after suiting up for 49 games with the Devils over the past two years, but brings some added experience to the table among the options to replace Wood. Murphy, who came over from the Minnesota Wild last week, will hope to show that he can still produce at the NHL level. The 2011 twelfth overall pick has failed to live up to his draft position so far in his pro career.
- CapFriendly also notes that the St. Louis Blues have called up defenseman Chris Butler from the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL. The 32-year-old veteran has over 400 NHL games to his credit, but only 12 this season and 24 total over the past four seasons with St. Louis. However, Butler – the Rampage captain – has continued to be effective in the minors. With the Blues suddenly surging toward a playoff berth, a recent report indicated that they might prefer to hold on to one or both of their impending free agent defenseman on the roster, Jay Bouwmeester and Carl Gunnarsson. If that is the case, the team could be using this opportunity to showcase Butler for a potential trade to a contender so that they might walk away with some kind of return at the deadline without moving an established NHLer.
- Haydn Fleury’s recent stretch of bouncing back and forth between the NHL and the minors continues. The Hurricanes announced that they have sent the defenseman back to AHL Charlotte. It’s the third time in less than three weeks that they’ve done so with recalls coming shortly after each time, something that will likely be the case again this time. Fleury isn’t getting much playing time in Carolina so this is allowing him to at least get some game action in to stay ready in case he’s called upon by the big club.
- It didn’t take long for the Pittsburgh Penguins to get their starting goaltender back as Matt Murray is expected to back up Casey DeSmith Saturday. Therefore the Penguins announced they have returned Tristan Jarry to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL. Jarry was recalled Thursday on an emergency basis while Murray was out, Jarry’s trip didn’t last long and he didn’t see any action with the club either.
- With Travis Hamonic officially back, the Calgary Flames opted to make a roster move with eight defenseman on their roster. The Flames announced they have assigned defenseman Rinat Valiev to the Stockton Heat of the AHL. The 23-year-old was recalled last Saturday as an emergency defenseman, but never saw the ice.