Goals were not exactly hard to come by on Saturday, as 10 of 11 contests featured 5+ goals, including five games with 8+ goals. While there are only five games on the docket on Sunday, there is a good chance of at least one more high-scoring affair, as the Panthers host the Sharks in a match-up of the two teams tied for 29th in goals against average. While you follow along with the action today – five games starting over a span of five hours – keep an eye on the transactions made by those teams out of action today, preparing for the week ahead. Judging by the number of early moves, it could be a busy day:
- After last night’s win, the Carolina Hurricanes returned forwards Brian Gibbons and Clark Bishop to the AHL, as announced by the Charlotte Checkers. The duo have been on the move frequently this season and that is unlikely to change soon. With both being sent down, the Canes currently have just 12 forwards and 19 skaters on the active roster and are about to embark on a long, five-game road trip on Tuesday. They are unlikely to depart before filling at least one of their two remaining roster spots with another forward, highly likely to be either Gibbons or Bishop, if not both.
- Rookie forward J.C. Beaudin is headed back to the minors, as the Ottawa Senators announced that he has been reassigned to AHL Belleville. Beaudin, 22, has played in 15 games with Ottawa this season but has recorded one lone point. In five games with Belleville, he has also been held to just one point. The Senators would likely like to see him rediscover his scoring touch before bringing him back up.
- Joseph Blandisi is another player being demoted, as the Pittsburgh Penguins announced that the two-way veteran has been sent down to AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Blandisi has split his season evenly between the NHL and AHL, but with double the scoring in the minors, unsurprisingly. Now in his fifth pro season, Blandisi has grown accustomed to splitting his time between the two levels and playing very different roles depending on the locale. A top-six forward in the AHL, Blandisi has been almost exclusively asked to play a bottom-six role in Pittsburgh, as well as with previous teams.
- The Chicago Blackhawks have made a swap, sending Anton Wedin down to the AHL and recalling Dylan Sikura. Sikura, the former Northeastern University standout, has not played in the NHL this season after skating in 33 games last year. However, he has finally earned the call as he leads the Rockford Ice Hogs with nine goals and 16 points in 22 games. Wedin, a rookie in his first season in North America, also has a nice 4-7-11 line in 17 games with Rockford but was held off the scoresheet in four games with Chicago, prompting his return.
- Austin Poganski has been reassigned to the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage, the St. Louis Blues announced. The move comes more than a week after Poganski was recalled, yet the young forward did not make an appearance in that time with the Blues. Poganski is still searching for his NHL debut, two years removed from a strong run at the University of North Dakota.
- While the Boston Bruins placed defenseman Steven Kampfer on waivers earlier today, CapFriendly also noted that the Colorado Avalanche have put forward T.J. Tynan on waivers as well. The 27-year-old career minor-leaguer got an extended run with the Avalanche this year after only appearing in three NHL games prior to that. He got 14 games in Colorado, only picking up one assist in that span. Tynan has already appeared in 377 AHL games and would be an unlikely candidate to be claimed.
- The Edmonton Oilers announced they have activated forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins from injured reserve and have assigned forward Colby Cave to the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL. Nugent-Hopkins has missed the last six games with a hand injury, but will now return to the team and give their top-six a significant boost. Nugent-Hopkins has five goals and 16 points through the Oilers’ first 25 games before going down with the injury. Cave will return to Bakersfield where he has two goals and five points in 16 games.
- The Montreal Canadiens have recalled forward Riley Barber from the Laval Rocket of the AHL, according to Montreal Gazette’s Stu Cowan. The 25-year-old Barber, who signed with the Canadiens in the offseason after four years in the Washington Capitals system, leads Laval with 18 points, but has been much more impressive over the past two or three weeks and could help Montreal as a speedy fourth-line option.
- The Vancouver Canucks have returned goaltender Michael DiPietro to AHL Utica, notes TSN 1040’s Rick Dhaliwal. He had been up as the backup while Jacob Markstrom was away from the team but with Markstrom back, he’ll go back to the Comets to get some playing time.