- The Flyers announced that winger Jordan Weal is dealing with an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day. This marks the second time he has had an upper-body issue this season. In his first full NHL campaign, Weal has recorded two goals and four assists in 17 contests while averaging just under 14 minutes per game of playing time.
There is finally a concrete date for decision-making in regards to a developing story over the past two days. After yet another questionable dangerous play from Radko Gudas on Thursday night, the big Philadelphia Flyers defenseman has been on track for his third career suspension and second already this season. The NHL Department of Player Safety had offered Gudas an in-person hearing, however an announcement was made late last night that he has waived this right and has instead opted for a phone hearing which will take place Sunday.
The significance of the choices on both sides are two-fold. Player Safety may only suspend a player for five or more games following an in-person hearing, or at least if such a hearing is offered. While Gudas has waived his right to an in-person hearing, that does not change the fact that he may miss significant time due to his latest transgression. If history is an indicator, an offer for an in-person hearing tends to simply be a procedural way of informing a player that a long suspension is on its way. However, Gudas himself is essentially tacking on an extra game to his absence. By waiving his in-person hearing for the alternative, a phone hearing Sunday, he is not allowed to play for the Flyers until that phone hearing has been completed. That means that Gudas will be ineligible to play in Philly’s matinee match-up against the Calgary Flames tonight, a game in which the Flyers are looking to stay above .500.
Will this latest punishment for Gudas finally get through to him? It may be difficult for a player whose career has been built on physicality to suddenly clean up his act. Since the notorious checker entered the league in 2012-13, he is eighth overall in hits and second among defenseman with 1097. Per game, his 3.8 hits puts him in a class with only Matt Martin, Cal Clutterbuck, and Mark Borowiecki. Yet, only Martin has more penalty minutes in that time span than Gudas’ 12th-ranked 490 and Martin’s total includes 54 fighting majors – which do not leave the team short-handed – to only 94 minors, while Gudas is much more minor-heavy: 129 to 18. For all intents and purposes, Gudas is called for penalties more often than any of the other top hitters in the NHL in his career, and that’s not even counting game misconducts. Without much of an offensive game, it is clear that Gudas owes much of his $3.5MM salary to his physicality, but he is wandering down a dangerous road if he thinks he can continue to be the reckless checker he is now and remain well-paid or even employed in the NHL.
Friday: The Department of Player Safety has offered Gudas an in-person hearing, meaning they retain the right to suspend him for more than five games. The hearing does not have a date or time as of yet, but John Shannon of Sportsnet reports that Gudas cannot play for the Flyers until he has the hearing.
Thursday: It might be two days in a row that the NHL’s Department of Player Safety needs to hand out a substantial suspension, as Radko Gudas has been thrown out of the Philadelphia-Winnipeg game tonight. Gudas brought his stick down hard on a grounded Mathieu Perreault, and was given a five minute major for slashing and game misconduct penalty.
Should Gudas receive additional discipline, it wouldn’t be the first time. The Philadelphia Flyers defenseman has received six game misconducts in his career, but had avoided suspension until 2015-16. He’s since been suspended twice, once for an illegal check to the head of Mika Zibanejad and once for interference on Austin Czarnik. The latest suspension was for six games, and since he’s a repeat offender the league could come down hard on him for this incident.
Gudas has seen his minutes reduced this season with the young crop of Flyers defenders taking some more responsibility this season. Should he miss a long period of time, it would be interesting to see who Philadelphia would insert into the lineup. Mark Alt is up with the club as the seventh defender, but Samuel Morin could potentially be recalled from the minor leagues.
Paul Kariya, Teemu Selanne, Dave Andreychuk, Mark Recchi and Danielle Goyette will have their names enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame tonight, after spending all weekend in Toronto doing various events. The legends took to the ice yesterday in a game which team Messier won 10-9, one that saw Kariya and Selanne reunited after a mid-game trade. The pair would connect on another goal, hopefully not their last on the ice together.
As the legendary players of the past take a lap and enter the distinguished group of Hall of Famers, we’ll keep track of the next wave of NHL wanna-be stars. As always, all the minor transactions of the day will be right here.
- The Philadelphia Flyers have recalled Mark Alt from the AHL. Alt was only sent down for the weekend, and will now re-join the Flyers for their game tomorrow. Rookie Nolan Patrick is expected to skate with the team today, but there is still no confirmation of when he’ll be back in the lineup.
- With the Ottawa Senators off until Thursday, the team has sent Nick Paul, Ben Harpur and Jack Rodewald back to the AHL. The team will be able to bank cap space for a few days, while the three could get into a game on Wednesday with the Belleville Senators. The team also expects Bobby Ryan and Mark Borowiecki back before long.
- The Winnipeg Jets have assigned Brendan Lemieux to the AHL according to Jamie Thomas of JetsTV. With the return of Mathieu Perreault in today’s practice, Lemieux’s spot is no longer open on the team. He’ll go back to the Manitoba Moose and wait for his next opportunity.
- After placing Antti Niemi on waivers, the Florida Panthers have recalled Curtis Valk from Springfield. The undrafted Valk is off to an incredible start with the AHL Thunderbirds, scoring 15 points in 16 games. The undersized forward earned his first NHL contract this summer after starring with the Utica Comets last season.
- Buffalo has sent Justin Bailey back to the minor leagues, likely indicating he’s healthy enough to get back on the ice. Bailey hasn’t played since October 28th with a lower-body injury, but did have three points in his six previous games. He’ll likely be back with the team before long.
- The Calgary Flames have officially moved Rasmus Andersson back to the AHL, clearing room for Travis Hamonic to be activated from injured reserve. Andersson clearly has a future with the Flames, but will have to wait for another opportunity to get into a full-time role. In two career games he has yet to record an NHL point.
- The Boston Bruins have recalled Kenny Agostino and Peter Cehlarik under emergency conditions due to the absence of Brad Marchand and Anders Bjork from practice today. Marchand and Bjork aren’t travelling with the team as they continue to nurse injuries suffered against Toronto on the weekend. Cehlarik has yet to play for Boston this season after making his NHL debut last year. In 11 games, the 22-year old registered two assists.
- Zac Dalpe, who hasn’t played in the last few games, has been moved to injured reserve by the Columbus Blue Jackets. In his spot, the team has recalled Jordan Schroeder from the Cleveland Monsters. Schroeder has five points in nine games this season for Cleveland, but has never truly been able to lock down a full-time job at the NHL level. In 144 career games, the 27-year old has 40 points.
For the Philadelphia Flyers, offense seems hard to come by. The Flyers found themselves on the losing end of another shutout Saturday night against the Minnesota Wild — that’s the fourth time this year. According to Philly.com’s Sam Carchidi, Philadelphia is on pace to suffer through 19 shutouts this year. The most the Flyers have ever had was 10 back in the 1968-69 season. Nevertheless, the team needs to find its offense if they want to avoid this trend.
One issue is that one of the team’s top scorers, Wayne Simmonds, has been banged up with nagging injuries and has been held without a goal for nine straight games. The scribe suggests the team look to their AHL affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, to try to find someone who could invigorate their offense such as Danick Martel. This addition could give Simmonds some time off to heal.
Martel, who is a two-time 20-goal scorer with the Phantoms is having a breakout year as he’s already put up 14 goals in 15 games. The diminutive forward (5-foot-8, 166-pound forward) might be ready for the challenge of the NHL.
- The Athletic’s Scott Powers tweets that Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was asked about the play of Vinnie Hinostroza with the Rockford IceHogs this season and whether he might be called up soon. The 23-year-old wing, who played 49 games for the Blackhawks last season, didn’t make the team out of training camp, but has played well with his AHL team, putting up seven goals and eight assists in 14 games. Quenneville’s response was that Hinostroza is playing well, but calling him up is not an option since the team is healthy and “it’s not as if we’re disappointed with anyone up here.”
- The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch writes that while the team has lost Zack Smith to a dislocated thumb for three weeks, the team might be getting back forward Bobby Ryan soon. The 30-year-old Ryan who has been out for nearly a month with a broken finger could be back soon, although nothing will be decided until later this week. Ryan, who has six assists this season in eight games this year, has been skating while the club has been overseas in Sweden. He’s also been shooting the puck, which suggests he might be ready for Thursday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
- Washington Capitals goaltending prospect Vitek Vanecek is making his AHL season debut for the Hersey Bears today after missing time with a lower body injury, according to Hershey Bears’ Zack Fisch. The 2014 second-round pick played 39 games for the Hershey Bears last year, putting up a 2.54 GAA and a .909 save percentage.
Before the season even started, several names surfaced as options to be on the dreaded “first to be fired” list released by a number of outlets. Detroit’s Jeff Blashill led the pre-season predictions while Chicago’s Joel Quenneville was even included on the list. Other names included were Colorado’s Jared Bednar, and Winnipeg’s Paul Maurice. PHR ran a poll last week on this and Alain Vigneault and Claude Julien led the votes.
Heres a closer look at some of these names as teams approach completion of the first quarter of the season.
Raise your hand if you expected his name on this list before the season started. Edmonton, who was mentioned as a possible Stanley Cup contender during the preseason, has not only struggled in the first month of the season, but also had a heck of a time trying to score goals. Is it all on McLellan? It’s probably unfair to say so. But with giving up 13 more goals than scoring, and spared only by a dreadful Arizona team from being in last place, McLellan might be in trouble if the Oilers continue to slide.
Another coach who was expected to lead his team deep into the playoffs, Vigneault’s Rangers were sputtering for the first few weeks of the season. Just two weeks ago, New York Post writer Larry Brooks wondered if Vigneault would even make it out of October with a job. It’s amazing what can change in such a short time. The Blueshirts are riding a six-game winning streak and have racked up quality wins against Vegas, Tampa Bay, and Columbus. Vigneault will still be scrutinized but the latest change in fortune have certainly helped his job status.
After a brutal six game losing streak, Blashill’s seat was rumored to be scorching. Following a couple wins and a not-so-bad road trip, the Red Wings have 13 of their next 15 at home. This will most likely dictate Blashill’s fate, should there be a coaching change during the season. The third year coach can’t possibly be blamed for the roster, but the Red Wings want to be a perennial playoff participant. While that doesn’t seem realistic, an 8-8-1 record through 17 games is certainly not helping matters. Further, should the Red Wings not see progression with their younger players, it may seal Blashill’s fate.
Out of all the coaches who have been spoken of, Maurice’s name constantly pops up on the list. But so far this season, the Jets are 8-4-3 with 19 points and in second place in the Central Division. How many had him on the list is surprising since the veteran coach was not only extended back in September, but also has a winning mark in Winnipeg.
Mark it down as one of the biggest surprises that Colorado is 8-6-1 and are now sitting prettier after finally dealing Matt Duchene in what looks like a win for Joe Sakic. Bednar accepted the job after winning the Calder Cup with AHL Affiliate Cleveland before he endured the most miserable season in Avalanche history since moving to Denver in 1995. If the Avs continue to keep their head above water, Bednar would have a relatively cool seat.
It doesn’t seem right to put him on this list. A man who led the Blackhawks to three Stanley Cups is leading a team that is now older and shuffling a roster to remain cap-compliant. Firing him, regardless of what the Blackhawks do, seems like a cop out for a general manager who outside of a few players, has won off of his predecessor’s work. Fan Rag’s Craig Morgan wrote as much back in August.
After a torrid start, the Blackhawks have cooled, and are struggling to find the back of the net. The power play is in the bottom rung of the league at 13.6% (27th out of 31) and Quenneville has been employing a line blender to try and find something to work. Should Chicago run out of gas and be eliminated early again or worse, miss the playoffs, then it’s safe to say Coach Q is in trouble. However, if history has taught hockey fans anything, it’s to never count out the Blackhawks.
- Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald is expected to resume skating sometime next week as he continues to recover from a lower-body injury, notes Dave Isaac of the Courier-Post. He has been out of the lineup since October 22nd and he was originally expected to miss four-to-six weeks so it appears that his recovery is right on schedule. Although his contract ($5.5MM through 2019-20) is a burden on Philadelphia’s salary cap, the veteran has still played a fairly important role in the early going, averaging nearly 20 minutes of ice time per night.
As the first full week in November begins, teams are evaluating their first month’s performance and making tweaks to the roster to address both short-term needs and more long-term issues. Here are today’s minor moves:
- The Vancouver Canucks announced (via twitter) that they have assigned Jayson Megna to the Utica Comets of the AHL today. Megna has been with the team since he was recalled on Oct. 29. The 27-year-old center, who was called up for depth purposes, played in just one game and didn’t score any points. He filled in last week after Brock Boeser missed a game due to injury.
- The Minnesota Wild announced they have sent forward Landon Ferraro to the Iowa Wild of the AHL. He had been recalled back on Oct. 18 and recorded a goal in two games with the Wild, but the 26-year-old suffered a hip flexor injury in his second game on Oct. 20 and has been out for the last seven games. As reports have surfaced that he’s close to returning to the ice, a little time in Iowa might be just what he needs to get back into game shape. He has two assists in three games for Iowa this year.
- With veteran defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson out for a few days with an upper body injury, the Arizona Coyotes announced they have recalled defenseman Joel Hanley from the Tucson Roadrunners of the AHL to fill in for at least the first of the team’s three-game road trip. The 26-year-old has had four assists in nine games with Tucson. Signed away from the Montreal Canadiens this summer, Hanley has played in 17 NHL games for Montreal and has tallied six assists.
- The injury-plagued blue line of the Philadelphia Flyers is hopefully on its way back to full strength, so – for the time being – Will O’Neill has been returned to their AHL affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, per a team release. The long-time AHL veteran, who turns 30 in April, made his NHL debut Thursday in a limited bottom pair role for Philly. However, it was a symbol of hard work paid off more than anything for the Boston native, a 2006 seventh-round pick and former UMaine star who has had to work his way through the minors for the better part of this decade. With nearly 200 points in close to 350 AHL games, on top of an impressive NCAA resume, an NHL experience was the last thing left on O’Neill’s checklist. Now he just needs to stay motivated and earn a second call-up for the Flyers.
- The AHL’s Toronto Marlies have signed former New York Rangers goaltender Mackenzie Skapski to a one-year AHL contract, however he’ll likely be spending much of his time on the other side of North America from Toronto. Skapski has already been assigned to the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears, the Leafs’ and Marlies’ “AA” affiliate. Orlando recently lost veteran keeper Matt Hackett, who left the team to pursue other opportunities, and were hurting for depth in net. While the Marlies have arguably the best goalie group in the AHL – Garret Sparks, Calvin Pickard, and Kasimir Kaskisuo (currently on loan) – the team took it as an opportunity to add another goalie they were comfortable with to the mix. Skapski had been in camp with the Marlies for an extended period this fall, but left without a contract. Having seen him in action, the Marlies clearly felt they could add a reliable fall back to their impressive depth and help out their affiliate in one fell swoop. Skapski started two games for the Rangers back in 2014-15 at just 20 years old and performed admirably, but overall he has struggled in the pros and has settled into an ECHL role. Nevertheless, he presents a solid, experienced option for Orlando in 2017-18.
- The Boston Bruins have returned Zane McIntyre to the minor leagues, following the team’s loss against the Washington Capitals last night. McIntyre’s return likely means Anton Khudobin will be ready to dress in tomorrow’s matchup. McIntyre has been up several times this season, filling in for both Tuukka Rask and Khudobin as they nursed injuries, but hasn’t actually played a game. The sixth-round pick will have to wait for his next opportunity.
- The Calgary Flames will be without Travis Hamonic after the defenseman was injured in practice yesterday. Rasmus Andersson has been recalled as an insurance policy, but according to Roger Millions of Sportsnet Matt Bartkowski will be the replacement for Hamonic in the lineup. The Flames take on the New Jersey Devils tonight.
More to come throughout the day…
After being faced with a surplus of quality defensemen at the beginning of the season, the Flyers now find themselves in the exact opposite situation. They currently are without three blueliners in Shayne Gostisbehere, Andrew MacDonald, and Radko Gudas. To make matters worse, veteran T.J. Brennan, who likely would have been an early recall from AHL Lehigh Valley, is dealing with an injury as well while Samuel Morin, who broke camp with the team, is out for a couple of weeks with an undisclosed injury. On top of that, prospect Phillipe Myers is working his way back from a groin injury and isn’t ready to be recalled.
[Related: Flyers Depth Chart from Roster Resource]
As a result, they have had to dig deep on their farm team with veteran minor leaguers Mark Alt and Will O’Neill drawing into the lineup as of late; the latter making his NHL debut on Thursday at the age of 29.
With the injuries, some have speculated that Philadelphia could be on the lookout for some short-term help on the back end. However, GM Ron Hextall told reporters, including Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer, that he’s not on the market to add anyone to help get them through this rash of injuries:
“One reason you have depth is for when you get in situations like this. Unfortunately, some of our depth is hurt, too. But to add a guy for a week and [then others return], you have too many players. It doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
Of their injuries on the back end, Gostisbehere appears to be the closest to returning to the lineup as he continues to work his way back from concussion-like symptoms while Gudas remains day-to-day with an upper-body issue. MacDonald (leg) is out for the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, it appears the Flyers will continue to run with an inexperienced defensive lineup, one that has only one player with more than 100 games of NHL experience (Brandon Manning).
Given the rash of recent injuries on the Philadelphia blue line, it came as no surprise when the Flyers announced this evening that they had recalled rookie defenseman Samuel Morin from the AHL’s Adirondack Phantoms. Morin is expected to suit up for the team when they host the Arizona Coyotes tomorrow night.
In Saturday night’s contest against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Shayne Gostisbehere left early with injury and his status is still unknown. With Andrew MacDonald out long-term with a lower body injury, an extended absence for Gostisbehere would have left the Flyers down two starters with only five defenseman on the roster. Morin rounds that number back up to six and provides Philly with another capable defenseman.
However, the Flyers may need to think about looking around for another defenseman, if they aren’t already. The “future is now” mentality may be exciting, but Philadelphia will square off with the Coyotes tomorrow with three rookies – Morin, Robert Hagg, and Travis Sanheim – and 20-year-old Ivan Provorov, a severe lack of experience on the back end. Add in just two stay-at-home defenders in Radko Gudas and Brandon Manning as their veteran support, and Philadelphia could benefit from another body on the blue line. With four waiver-exempt assets, the Flyers have the flexibility to add another defenseman without causing themselves any sort of roster crunch down the road.