While the update on the Phil Kessel situation yesterday drew the headlines, GM Jim Rutherford had another comment of note. Speaking with reporters, including Matt Vensel of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he indicated that he’s open to moving down from the 21st pick and would like to add another pick or two to their current set of picks (five in total). Rutherford is no stranger to not picking in the first round as they’ve only picked there once in his previous five years with the team. (That player, Kasperi Kapanen, was dealt one year later.) Vensel notes that goaltender Tristan Jarry could be dangled to try to add another selection while they could also look to move a surplus blueliner to accomplish that objective.
Elsewhere around the league:
- The Blackhawks aren’t likely to re-sign goaltender Anton Forsberg this summer, reports Jimmy Greenfield of the Chicago Tribune. The 26-year-old was once viewed as Chicago’s backup of the future but struggled when in that role, resulting in them signing Cam Ward last July and pushing Forsberg back to the minors in the process. With the emergence of Collin Delia as a potential number two to Corey Crawford and Kevin Lankinen showing that he’s ready for a larger workload in the AHL, there doesn’t appear to be room for Forsberg moving forward.
- Speaking of Chicago goalies, Blackhawks goalie prospect Wouter Peeters has inked a tryout deal with Tappara, the Finnish team announced (Twitter link). The 2016 third-round pick has not progressed as hoped and will need a big year in 2019-20 to have a shot at getting an entry-level contract. Chicago holds his rights until June 1st, 2020.
- Kings winger Nikita Scherbak is expected to sign with Avangard Omsk of the KHL, reports Igor Eronko of Sport-Express. The 2014 first-round pick had a tough season. He was injured early on in Montreal, struggled in a rehab assignment before getting injured again, and didn’t fare well with Los Angeles after they claimed him off waivers in December. The Kings can retain his NHL rights by issuing him a qualifying offer in the hopes that some time overseas can help his development.
- Meanwhile, from the same report, Eronko notes that Jets defenseman Bogdan Kiselevich is expected to return to CSKA Moscow of the KHL. He parlayed a good showing at the 2018 Olympics into a contract with Florida but played a minimal role with them before being flipped to the Jets at the deadline where he served as injury depth but never got into a game.