29-year-old 220-game NHL veteran Kurtis MacDermid is known for bringing one thing to the NHL teams that employ him: physicality. The six-foot-five, 233-pound former Erie Otter has racked up 295 career penalty minutes and 162 career hits. For most of his career, MacDermid has played as a defenseman, contributing only very rarely to the offense. Now, though, it appears that might be changing.
According to The Athletic’s Peter Baugh, the Avalanche view MacDermid as a forward, not a defenseman, and discussed that sort of change at the end of last season. The change might suit MacDermid as he ages, as his lack of speed would be less likely to be exposed were he a winger rather than a defenseman potentially left to defend against aggressive rushing attackers. MacDermid is playing out the final season of a $987k AAV deal, meaning this position change could also have a financial implication as well, as if it allows him to get into the NHL lineup more regularly (he played in a little over half the Avalanche’s games last season) he could be in a better position hitting the open market.
Some other notes from across the NHL:
- Columbus Blue Jackets team reporter Jeff Svoboda reports that sniper Yegor Chinakhov is day to day with a back strain, which explains his absence from the ice at Blue Jackets training camp for the past few days. It’s an important camp for Chinakhov, 22, as he’s looking to carve out a spot for himself in new coach Pascal Vincent’s lineup. The Blue Jackets have a logjam at forward and quite a few players competing against Chinakhov for the same role, so the 2020 first-round pick will hope that he can get back on the ice quickly to make some progress in camp.
- The Pittsburgh Penguins have announced the hires of hired Mackenzie Braid as Skating Coach and Jeff Murray as Assistant Skating Coach. Per the club, “In their new roles, Braid and Murray will build out the club’s skating development program and work with the player development department and coaching staffs in Pittsburgh, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and Wheeling to implement that program.” Braid has previous NHL experience with both Vancouver and Anaheim, while Jeff Murray was last seen as a player playing fourth-division German hockey for ERV Schweinfurt in 2019-20.