Some of the NHL’s best teams early on were at it last night. The Avalanche maintained their unblemished loss column with a comeback win over the Panthers in overtime; the Penguins added their sixth win by handing the Stars their fourth straight regulation loss; the Oilers moved to 7-1 with a win over the Red Wings, and the six-win Ducks edged out the six-win Hurricanes. It’s a busy slate on Saturday with 22 teams taking the ice, including several more top contests, such as Colorado-Tampa Bay, Vegas-Pittsburgh, and of course Boston-Toronto. With so much action and many teams looking to keep their strong starts going, follow along with what could be a flurry of activity today:
- After sending him to the AHL’s Rockford Ice Hogs to get his first taste of pro competition, the Chicago Blackhawks announced that they have recalled No. 3 overall pick Kirby Dach from his conditioning stint. Dach failed to record a point in three games with Rockford and it will be interesting to see where the Blackhawks go from here. The team can still give Dach nine games of NHL experience before burning the first year of his entry-level contract, so there is plenty of time before the team is forced into a tough decision. However, the early results of Dach’s pro career would seem to indicate that he is likely headed back to the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades this season.
- The San Jose Sharks have shuffled their depth. After sending rookie forward Danil Yurtaykin back to the AHL Barracuda yesterday, CapFriendly reports that fellow rookie forward Lean Bergmann will follow him to the minors. In a combined ten games, Yurtaykin and Bergmann have recorded one lone point this season and the Sharks can’t afford that inefficient production in the midst of a poor start to the season. Noah Gregor has earned his first NHL recall in their place, having recorded three points in three games with the Barracuda after an 88-point WHL campaign last year. They hope Gregor, a fourth-round pick in 2016, can provide an offensive spark right away.
- The Washington Capitals have reassigned rookie defenseman Martin Fehervary to the AHL’s Hershey Bears, the team announced. While Fehervary began the season in D.C. he had been demoted until recently, when he was recalled as a precaution while Jonas Siegenthaler dealt with injury concerns. Finally, with a healthy stable of their seven top defensemen, the Capitals have no room for Fehervary right now and would rather he play big minutes in Hershey. Fehervary, the team’s 2018 second-rounder, did not look out of place in the NHL level and will one day be there permanently, but he’s likely in for a full season in the minors this year barring more injuries to the Washington blue line.
- Carolina Hurricanes prospect netminder Pyotr Kochetkov has been traded in the KHL. Kochetkov, 20, is coming off a dominant 2018-19 season that earned him a second-round selection in June as an overage player. The young Russian keeper was stellar at the World Junior Championship and in Russia’s second-tier VHL last year, as well as in his first two KHL appearances late in the campaign. However, taking on the primary backup role with powerhouse SKA St. Petersburg this season, Kotchetkov has struggled in six KHL games, posting a 2.66 GAA and .887 save percentage. He is still young to be facing this level of competition, especially in the offensively-inclined KHL, but SKA needed a more reliable backup as a top contender. As a result, the team pulled off a blockbuster trade with Vityaz Podolsk, sending Kochetkov as part of the package for the more established Alexander Samonov. Although he was the backup for Vityaz, Samonov has arguably been the best goalie in the KHL this year, nearly untouchable with a 0.88 GAA and .976 save percentage through seven appearances. He’ll provide more stability for SKA, while Podolsk is happy to be patient with one of the top goalie prospects in the league. Although a Hurricanes draft pick, if Kochetkov follows a typical Russian goalkeeper development path, he could remain with Vityaz for another three or four years.
- With Joel Eriksson Ek injured, The Athletic’s Michael Russo reports that Gabriel Dumont will get the call for the Minnesota Wild. While Dumont may be a new name for Wild fans, the ten-year pro had been around for a while before signing in Minnesota this summer. With five points in five games for AHL Iowa, Dumont hopes to bring some offense with his experience as he joins the parent club. Russo notes that this is already the 28th player to grace the roster this season for the struggling Wild.
- After Daniel Carr cleared waivers on Wednesday, the Nashville Predators opted to keep him on the NHL roster while they dealt with an injury to Filip Forsberg. The team announced this morning that Carr has now been sent down to the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals. In his place, the Predators have recalled both long-time depth forward Miikka Salomaki and the untested Yakov Trenin. Trenin, a 2015 second-round pick, is in his third pro season but has played exclusively with Milwaukee – until now. With a team-leading five points in three games for the Admirals, Trenin has finally earned his call-up and will be an intriguing name to watch if he sees action in Nashville.
- With Jordan Oesterle dealing with a head injury after taking a shot to the back of the head on Thursday, the Coyotes will recall blueliner Aaron Ness from AHL Tucson, reports Craig Morgan of The Athletic. The 29-year-old is in his first season with Arizona after having a strong season with Hershey a year ago, one that saw him put up 55 points. That should help get him into some game action at some point during his recall.
- The Edmonton Oilers announced they have recalled center Sam Gagner from the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL, while assigning forward Gaetan Haas to Bakersfield. The 30-year-old Gagner was acquired at the trade deadline last year from Vancouver, and played 25 games last season with the Oilers, but didn’t make the team out of training camp this year and has been playing with the Condors this season. He has two goals and two assists in four games there so far. Haas signed with Edmonton in July this summer out of the NLA, but the 27-year-old has just one assist in five games. The Edmonton Journals’ Jim Matheson reports that Haas isn’t thrilled about spending weeks in the AHL and the scribe believes that Haas has an out-clause to return to the Europe if he stays there. The team was hoping for some more offense from their bottom-six players. The hope Gagner might be able to provide some of that offense. Through eight games so far this season, the team has gotten no goals from Riley Sheahan, Jujhar Khaira, Patrick Russell, Josh Archibald, Markus Granlund, Tomas Jurco and Haas as the team has received all its offense from their top-six.