It’s a quiet lineup for the NHL tonight, with just two games on the docket. Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers visit Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins, while the Anaheim Ducks look to snap a seven-game losing streak against the division rival Vancouver Canucks. However, more than just these four teams will be busy. With the NHL Trade Deadline just twelve days away, look for another flurry of activity today:
- Patrick Brown was promoted by the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday and just as soon demoted to the AHL on Tuesday night. The ’Canes announced after last night’s game that they have reassigned Brown to the Charlotte Checkers. The AHL captain did not suit up for Carolina in their win over the Ottawa Senators and still has not seen any NHL action since 2016-17. Yet, he remains a dependable producer in Charlotte and a capable depth option for the Hurricanes down the stretch.
- Also yesterday, the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda signed veteran forward T.J. Hensick to a contract for the remainder of the season, per a league release. Hensick, 33, had been playing in the ECHL with the Toledo Walleye, affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, and was leading the league with 58 points in 47 games. Hensick now brings that ability and experience back to the AHL as one of the more accomplished active players in the league’s history. It’s unlikely that Hensick – who has over 100 NHL games to his credit as well as a member of the Colorado Avalanche – will end up with a contract from the Sharks, but should be a positive locker room and on-ice presence for the Barracuda the rest of the way.
- The Boston Bruins have opted to fill David Pastrnak’s roster spot by giving a first-year pro his first NHL call-up. The team announced that Karson Kuhlman has been recalled from the AHL’s Providence Bruins and will join the team on their upcoming five-game west coast road trip. Kuhlman captained the University of Minnesota – Duluth to an NCAA Championship last year, was a standout in the preseason, and has been one of Providence’s most consistent contributors, so it was only a matter of time before the two-way winger earned an NHL recall. As the Bruins continue their pursuit for secondary scoring, Kuhlman is the latest to get a shot at earning a spot in Boston.
- Vinni Lettieri is headed back down to the minors. The New York Rangers announced that their most frequent recall has again been reassigned to the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack. Lettieri should not be surprised; while he’s been close to a point-per-game scorer for the Wolf Pack, he’s now been held scoreless in 18 games with the Rangers this season.
- The Tampa Bay Lightning have flipped their transaction from yesterday, calling up forward Mathieu Joseph – who never really left – and sending defenseman Jan Rutta back to the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch. Rutta, acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks last month, was brought up to be the extra defenseman with Erik Cernak sidelined, so this move would suggest Cernak is ready to go tomorrow against the Dallas Stars. Meanwhile, Joseph should return to his role as a capable bottom-six contributor.
- The Ottawa Senators have returned veteran grinder Darren Archibald to the AHL’s Belleville Senators. Archibald, acquired from the Vancouver Canucks alongside Anders Nilsson, has been sent back in forth by the Sens several times, but still has one lone appearance with the team back in January.
- CapFriendly reports that the Anaheim Ducks have swapped out a veteran defenseman for a young forward. Max Jones has been recalled by the team, while Korbinian Holzer has been reassigned. Neither player has had much of a role for the Ducks this season; Jones was held scoreless through four games earlier in the year, while Holzer has one point in two games since coming off season-opening injured reserve. However, it’s Jones who has a future in Anaheim and should compete for a starting job next season, so better to see him get some NHL minutes down the stretch. The big winger is a 2016 first-round pick who has 28 points in 40 games for the AHL’s San Diego Gulls in his first pro season.