The IIHF World Championship gets underway in just a few weeks and USA Hockey has announced the first group of players that will be suiting up for them. GM Chris Drury released 17 names that will be taking part, including captain Patrick Kane. The group is an impressive list of NHL stars that could very well bring home the country’s first gold medal at the tournament in nearly 60 years. The roster so far is as follows:
It has been a rough year for Red Wings defenseman Mike Green. He missed the first three weeks of the season with a virus that was attacking his liver while also missing 13 games due to a lower-body injury. Unfortunately for Green, the virus is back which will cause him to miss the next seven-to-ten days, the team announced. Despite missing 22 games already, Green still leads Detroit in scoring from a defenseman with 26 points in 43 contests.
The Red Wings won’t need to make a corresponding roster move to take Green’s place, however, as veteran blueliner Trevor Daley will suit up tonight against Colorado after missing the last two games with an upper-body injury. He has also had issues staying healthy this season and has only suited up in 38 of their 65 contests.
Other injury notes from around the league:
- Penguins defenseman Kris Letang skated with teammates for the first time since suffering an upper-body injury just over a week ago, reports Jonathan Bombulie of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. However, there remains no firm timetable for his return. Pittsburgh could certainly use their number one blueliner as they remain in a dogfight for a playoff spot in the tight Eastern Conference. Fortunately for them, they got one defender back tonight as Brian Dumoulin returned after missing the past three games with a concussion.
- The Kings are expected to have defenseman Alec Martinez available tonight against Montreal, notes Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider. He has been out for nearly three weeks due to an upper-body injury. Meanwhile, winger Austin Wagner is still listed as day-to-day but he’s unlikely to suit up on their current homestand which wraps up on Thursday night.
The Los Angeles Kings may have moved one of their biggest trade chips several weeks ago in Jake Muzzin, but don’t expect the Kings to stand pat as the deadline nears. Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times writes that general manager Rob Blake has spoken to veteran winger Ilya Kovalchuk, who is seriously considering waiving his no-move clause to go to a contender.
However, Kovalchuk, who signed a three-year, $18.75MM deal last summer, might not fetch a big return for the Kings. A team has to be willing to take on two more years of the 35 year-old’s contract which carries an expensive $6.25MM AAV with it. He has scored 13 goals and has 28 points in 50 games so far this year, while dealing with injuries, but few teams would be willing to give up more than a lower-level prospect to take on Kovalchuk.
Elliott also points out that Los Angeles are far more likely to hold onto defenseman Alec Martinez, who might not bring back the return they were hoping for, while few teams have shown much interest in Jeff Carter so far.
- Sportsnet’s Marc Savard tweets that the Florida Panthers are getting a lot of calls on forward Mike Hoffman and the Arizona Coyotes, who are looking to make a late playoff run, are pushing hard to acquire the speedy winger. The 29-year-old is having a nice season as he has 26 goals and 51 points, which is in line for a career year. Hoffman could bring back a signficant return as he has another year on his deal at $5.19MM and would be another significant addition of scorers for the Coyotes.
- The Anaheim Ducks may make a quiet move or two, but after agreeing to a five-year extension with Jakob Silfverberg, the team lacks any significant trade assets to move at the trade deadline. However, The Athletic’s Eric Stephens (subscription required) writes that with the play of Max Jones and the Max Comtois (currently in juniors), winger Nick Ritchie might be expendable now and be potentially available. A holdout at the beginning of the season, Ritchie eventually signed an inexpensive three-year deal, totaling just $4.6MM, which some teams might covet. Ritchie, of course, hasn’t proven he can be anything more than a 15-goal scorer.
- Kevin Kurz of The Athletic reports that Erik Karlsson, who left in the second period of Saturday’s loss to Columbus, tweaked his groin injury in the game. No word on the severity of the injury, however. Karlsson already missed a month between January and February with that lower-body injury, and more missed time would be a setback for a Sharks’ team trying to work their way to the top of the Pacific Division. Head coach Peter DeBoer said he is concerned. “Absolutely,” said DeBoer. “I thought we were as conservative and cautious as you can be but muscle injuries you don’t know. Sometimes you get in positions or over-extend it. We’ll see where it’s at tomorrow.”
With the trade deadline fast approaching, we continue our look at the situation for each team over the coming weeks. Where do they stand, what do they need to do, and what assets do they have to fill those needs? As we continue with the Metropolitan Division, here is a look at the New York Islanders.
The New York Islanders are under new management and new general manager Lou Lamoriello has made a name for himself over the years with numerous big deals at the trade deadline during his time with New Jersey and Toronto. The question is whether Lamoriello intends to making a big move with his team being atop the Metropolitan Division.
The team has a core of pending unrestricted free agents who Lamoriello may or may not bring back next season and a number of impressive prospects that are either on the team or sitting with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL and has plenty of cap space to work with. Besides Mathew Barzal, the team still lacks a defining core to work and could use another big-name player or two to give the team several faces to the franchise, which is where the deadline could come in. The real question is do the Islanders want to take the chance of possibly damaging the chemistry the team has created so far this year under head coach Barry Trotz.
35-17-6, first in the Metropolitan Division
Serious to moderate buyer
Deadline Cap Space
$46.12MM in full-season cap hit, 0/3 used salary cap retention slots, 45/50 contracts per CapFriendly
Upcoming Draft Picks
2019: NYI 1st, CAL 2nd, NYI 5th, NYI 6th, NYI 7th
2020: NYI 1st, NYI 2nd, NYI 3rd, NYI 4th, NYI 5th, NYI 6th, NYI 7th
The team has a number of players it could package to a team for a big-name player as the team has five significant players who are approaching unrestricted free agency in the summer, including Jordan Eberle, Brock Nelson, Anders Lee, Valtteri Filppula and goaltender Robin Lehner. That doesn’t mean the team has any intention of trading even one of those players. That also doesn’t mean the team won’t let them walk away in free agency either. In fact, there is little known about what the team intends to do before next season and knowing what we know about Lamoriello, the team will make significant changes to their team before the start of next season. However, if Lamoriello intends to make a deal, those five could potentially be part of any package. One interesting storyline is Lehner, who is having a comeback season after struggling greatly in Buffalo and dealing with alcoholism. However, does the franchise feel that he is worthy of a long-term deal or could Lehner be used to work out a deal for a Sergei Bobrovsky?
The team also has a number of young players who could be sent out as well, including Michael Dal Colle, Kieffer Bellows, Joshua Ho-Sang, Otto Koivula, and Sebastian Aho to name a few and that doesn’t even include the talent they still have sitting in the junior ranks. Bellows could be a significant trade chip as the team’s 2016 first-rounder has had significant success on his way up, but has also had some struggles. He currently has 11 goals as a rookie in the AHL. Ho-Sang, who has showed some offensive flair over the years, hasn’t put it all together and has struggled with his attitude. One other significant asset the team has is a significant amount of cap space and the team could be willing to take on a bad contract or two if that can net them another talent.
1) Franchise Player: Other than Barzal, the team lacks that face-of-the-franchise player at the forward position who can take over games for the next eight years. The team does have Josh Bailey under contract for a few more years, but the rest of the top-six will have to be written, whether that includes re-signing some of their own unrestricted free agents or whether they attempt to trade for a player like Artemi Panarin, Matt Duchene, Mark Stone or even someone like Bobrovsky in net.
2) Upgrade on defense: The interesting thing about the Islanders’ defense is that it went from being one of the worst defenses in the league in the 2017-18 season as they allowed 3.57 goals per game (31st in the league) and suddenly the team has totally turned that around in 2018-19 as they have allowed just 2.29 goals per game (first in the league). And that’s with almost no changes on defensive personnel. The team lost defenseman Calvin De Haan, but basically returned the same group from the previous year. Obviously, much of the credit should be given to Trotz, but at the same time, the team needs to consider adding to that defense and improving its blueline like acquiring a Alec Martinez from Los Angeles or Cody Ceci from Ottawa.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
With the trade deadline fast approaching, we will be taking a closer look at the situation for each team over the coming weeks. Where do they stand, what do they need to do, and what assets do they have to fill those needs? Next up is a look at the Los Angeles Kings.
It’s been a rough season for the Kings who had high hopes before the season started. The team had a very successful season a year ago as they had a 45-29-8 season and even though they were the fourth seed, many teams expected them to dominate in the playoffs. Unfortunately, while they played the Vegas Golden Knights well, the team was swept out of the playoffs as Vegas’ speed overwhelmed the slower-moving Kings. The team tried to re-stock in the offseason when the signed Ilya Kovalchuk to a three-year, $18.75MM deal to add even more offense.
Then everything fell apart when the season commenced as the team struggled out of the gate and by early November, the team fired head coach John Stevens and replaced him with interim coach Willie Desjardins. The team found itself at the bottom of the standings throughout the league and have already began to fix their team as the team has already moved out forward Tanner Pearson to Pittsburgh and more recently when it sent defenseman Jake Muzzin to Toronto for a first-rounder and a pair of prospects. With the deadline just weeks away and the Kings looking to rebuild their aging franchise, the team may be making a number of moves to upgrade their team.
23-27-5, seventh in the Pacific Division
Deadline Cap Space
$7.608MM in a full-season cap hit, 0/3 used salary cap retention slots, 46/50 contracts per CapFriendly
Upcoming Draft Picks
2019: LAK 1st, TOR 1st, LAK 2nd, LAK 3rd, LAK 4th, LAK 5th, ARZ 5th, LAK 6th, LAK 7th
2020: LAK 1st, LAK 2nd, LAK 3rd, LAK 4th, LAK 5th, LAK 6th, LAK 7th
The team has several trade options if they want to totally rebuild the franchise. The Kings already moved Muzzin, but with a group of young defensemen, including Sean Walker, Daniel Brickley and Kale Clague waiting for their chance, Los Angeles could move Alec Martinez for a similar return that they got for Muzzin. Martinez has been a solid top-four defenseman with the Kings for years and will be highly sought after, especially in a market where there are so many buyers.
It might be hard to believe, but the Kings may also be ready to move on from their superstar goaltender Jonathan Quick. However, the 33-year-old has struggled with both injuries and hasn’t had his usually impressive season as he has a 2.99 GAA and a disappointing .902 save percentage in 28 games. While starting goaltenders are rarely moved at the deadline as most playoff teams already have a starting goaltender, this is an unusual year as a team like the Columbus Blue Jackets could conceivably move the unhappy Sergei Bobrovsky and could conceivably be looking to add a replacement goaltender. The Kings have Jack Campbell and rookie Calvin Petersen, who could take over and start the rebuilding process in net if L.A. decides to go that route.
Ilya Kovalchuk has also come up as a potential trade chip for the Kings. The 35-year-old winger has struggled with injuries and production slumps, but the veteran winger has 11 goals this year and could score even more on productive playoff team. Whether a team is willing to take on his $6.25MM salary for another two years after this is a whole different question, considering he’ll be 37 years old in the final year of his contract. When the team acquired Carl Hagelin in the Pearson deal, the main purpose of the trade was to free themselves of Pearson’s two extra years on his contract. Hagelin, however, will be an unrestricted free agent and could easily be flipped at the deadline for a pick or prospect. Unfortunately, Hagelin only has two goals and eight points this season in 33 games, but still could provide a franchise with a quality middle-six rental for a low cost.
1) Youth: With numerous aging veterans already locked up for the next three to five years with no way to escape from those deals, what Los Angeles needs more than anything are young talent that they can build on. The team already picked up a pair of interesting prospects from Toronto in Carl Grundstrom and Sean Durzi, but the more young talent and picks they can acquire to expedite the team’s rebuild the better.
2) Forwards: The team needs more offense. While they have a number of interesting defensive prospects, there are only a handful of scorers that the team has ready to step into their lineup with the possible exception of Gabriel Vilardi, who has been injured all season. There are other prospects, but the Kings need to start focusing on bringing in as much offensive talent to fix the team’s lack of speed and offensive woes.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
With the trade deadline fast approaching, we will be taking a closer look at the situation for each team over the coming weeks. Where do they stand, what do they need to do, and what assets do they have to fill those needs? As we continue to examine the Pacific Division, here is a look at the Edmonton Oilers.
The Edmonton Oilers have to be buyers, right? While it’s true that the team rostering Connor McDavid missing the playoffs any year, nevertheless two years in a row, is unacceptable, the reality is that much of the trade deadline pressure on the Oilers fell squarely on GM Peter Chiarelli and his job security. Ever since Chiarelli was relieved of his duties, it’s been awfully quiet on the rumor mill out of to Edmonton. It’s not clear how much authority interim GM Keith Gretzky has, but Gretzky is a draft guru anyway who is likely more comfortable adding picks and prospects at the deadline than acquiring rental help.
The fact of the matter is that – even with the front office turnover – Edmonton remains in the thick of the Western Conference wild card race, tied with the Arizona Coyotes, Chicago Blackhawks, and Anaheim Ducks with 51 points and just three points back of the Vancouver Canucks for the final playoff spot. As currently constituted, McDavid and the Oilers may not be favorites to make the postseason, but have a chance. There are many holes in the lineup and not much cap space with which to fill them at the deadline, but the Oilers could certainly push for a wild card spot if the team was able to add some pieces. But after that, they stand little chance of advancing past the first round. The team thus faces a decision of whether they should make trades, for rentals or long-term additions, without a new GM to guide them, to simply make an appearance in the postseason or instead make use of several pending free agents and add some draft capital and prospects to build with – or trade with – once the team has a more clear picture of their roster building plans, even if it hurts their playoff odds.
If the Oilers miss the playoffs again, it will hurt. However, this is a team that simply cannot afford to make any more trade mistakes. Expect Edmonton to play it safe and sell off their expiring contracts. Perhaps they’ll even make a minor hockey trade or two. The risks simply outweigh the benefits when it comes to being a buyer at the deadline this season. McDavid and company will be back in the postseason soon enough, but selling out to do so this year would be a mistake. It seems Gretzky and the interim regime understand that, but you never quite know in Edmonton.
23-25-5, sixth in the Pacific Division
Deadline Cap Space
$4.27MM in full-season cap hit, 0/3 used salary cap retention slots, 48/50 contracts per CapFriendly
Upcoming Draft Picks
2019: EDM 1st, EDM 2nd, NYI 3rd, EDM 4th, EDM 6th, EDM 7th
2020: EDM 1st, EDM 2nd, EDM 3rd, EDM 4th, EDM 5th, EDM 6th
The whole point of Edmonton being a seller and not a buyer at the deadline is to play it safe until a new GM is at the helm. As such, don’t expect the team to trade established contributors like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Darnell Nurse. It also seems unlikely, despite the hype, that draft-minded Gretzky will move 2016 fourth overall pick Jesse Puljujarvi unless he is blown away by an offer. The Oilers have plenty of impending free agents or short-term players that could be of interest to buyers that they don’t need to think big right now.
The one notable name who the Oilers will surely shop is goaltender Cam Talbot. Talbot, 29, had been supplanted as the starter this season by Mikko Koskinen, who Chiarelli signed to an extension on his way out the door. With Koskinen locked up, a handful of promising prospects in the pipeline, and an intriguing free agent market for goalies this summer, Talbot’s time in Edmonton is all but over, despite whispers they could re-sign him. Talbot could wind up being the top keeper on the trade market in the days leading up to the deadline, if Sergei Bobrovsky, Jimmy Howard, and Semyon Varlamov are not moved by their respective teams. Talbot should command a nice return for the Oilers, even in a down year. Third-string journeyman Al Montoya could also be up for grabs.
Up front, Edmonton has gotten little production outside of McDavid, Nugent-Hopkins, and Leon Draisaitl this season, but could find takers for several role players. Alex Chiasson could draw the most interest; the 28-year-old continues to be one of the more underrated players in the NHL and is on pace for a career-high 42 points while playing on a minimum contract. However, Chiasson has been a nice fit for the Oilers this season and it would not be a surprise if the team held on to him through the deadline, both as an “own rental” and in hopes of re-signing him. They likely aren’t as attached to a free agent addition that hasn’t worked out: Tobias Rieder. The impending restricted free agent is a talented and versatile forward, but hasn’t shown it in Edmonton. He has yet to score a goal this season and has just nine assists to show for 39 games. The Oilers surely won’t be qualifying Rieder anyway and will look to move him for the best offer. Another skilled player who hasn’t played well in Edmonton is Ryan Spooner, who recently cleared waivers and has been buried in the minors. If a team is willing to take on Spooner’s $3.1MM salary next season, the Oilers will likely give him away. Honestly, most of Edmonton’s forwards have fallen short of expectations to the point that the team would gladly move them for a reasonable price. RFA Ty Rattie, UFA Brad Malone, and even Zack Kassian and Kyle Brodziak, who have another year remaining on their contracts, could be trade bait. Of course, if anyone is willing to take the albatross that is Milan Lucic’s contract, the Oilers would jump at that chance. That obviously remains a long shot, though.
On the back end, there are fewer options for Edmonton to move, but value exists. Despite the fifth-worst goals against per game and second-worst penalty kill in the NHL, the Oilers have a defense corps that they like, led by Nurse, Oscar Klefbom, and Adam Larsson. Kris Russell and newly-acquired Brandon Manning are also signed beyond this season and are unlikely to move. Instead, UFA’s Alexander Petrovic – who the Oilers only traded for last month – and Kevin Gravel could be nice depth additions for contenders and Edmonton would be willing to give up. They could also entertain offers for Matt Benning, who has one year remaining on an affordable deal. Ethan Bear is a name that keeps showing up in trade rumors; it could be that the Oilers don’t see a fit for the young puck-mover and try to move him in a hockey trade for another young piece.
1) Young Forwards: When the majority of a team’s forwards can be listed as trade possibilities, it’s time for an overhaul. Outside of McDavid, Nugent-Hopkins, Draisaitl, and for their sake Puljujarvi, there are no other forwards currently on the Oilers roster who should compete for top-nine roles next season. Standout AHLers Kailer Yamamoto, Tyler Benson, and Cooper Marody will be given the opportunity to win full-time roles next year, but Edmonton could stand to add some competition. In trading away a valuable piece like Talbot or Spooner or swapping out another young player like Bear, the Oilers should target some young forwards who could challenge for NHL roles next season.
2) Draft Picks: The Oilers don’t want to be in a rebuild any more and, with arguably the best player on the planet on their roster, who can blame them. However, if Edmonton wants to trade for veteran difference-makers this off-season, it helps to have some trade capital. The pipeline is currently shallow and the NHL roster is largely devoid of upside outside of untouchables. Whether they flip the picks they obtain from these small rental deals to make a bigger trade or simply use them to draft replacements for the current prospects they deal away, the Oilers could use some more picks. They currently have just six selections in the upcoming draft and only two in the top 75.
3) Top Pair Defenseman: Again, the smart thing for the Oilers to do at the deadline is play it safe. They have far greater needs than just young forwards and draft picks, including a reliable goaltender, top-six wingers, and – their greatest need – another elite puck-moving defenseman, but they can be handled in the off-season by the new GM. However, if a reasonable offer comes their way that fills one of these needs, particularly the defender, it makes sense to entertain it. Edmonton may have seven veteran defenseman signed through next season, not including some promising prospects, but a top-pair defenseman remains one of their biggest needs. The Oilers get little production from the blue line outside of Nurse and Klefbom, neither of whom are racking up impressive points either. With names like Dougie Hamilton, Justin Faulk, and Alec Martinez floating around, the Oilers just need to keep their options open.
Just a few weeks ago, most people felt the New York Islanders would be sellers at the deadline as the team has a number of players ready to hit unrestricted free agency at the end of the season, including Jordan Eberle, Brock Nelson, Anders Lee, Valtteri Filppula as well as goaltender Robin Lehner. However, with a recent hot streak in which the team has gone 14-3 in their past 17 games dating back to Dec. 15, the New York Islanders suddenly have found themselves in first place in the Metropolitan Division and look like a team on the rise.
Larry Brooks of the New York Post writes that while no one ever knows what Islanders’ general manager Lou Lamoriello is thinking, he wouldn’t be surprise if the team decides to become a buyer rather than a seller at the trade deadline. The team could make a move in order to bring in a rental forward like Ottawa’s Matt Duchene or Mark Stone or even add to their defense by going after Los Angeles’ Alec Martinez or Jake Muzzin, or possibly both.
New York does have some tradeable assets as they have several young players trying to work their way onto the Islanders’ roster, including forwards Michael Dal Colle, Joshua Ho-Sang and Keifer Bellows as well as defenseman Sebastian Aho among others. And that doesn’t include top prospects that are currently playing for their junior teams. With many teams looking to get younger, the Islanders might have the right pieces to bring some of those players in as Lamoriello reshapes the roster to his design as the team currently has only a few players locked up to long-term deals.
While Brooks is guessing on what Lamoriello might target for his team, the scribe adds that moves may come soon as Lamoriello is well known for making deals well before the deadline.
The Los Angeles Kings have had a season to forget in 2018-19, sitting last in the entire NHL with just 40 points in their first 47 games. A lot of that failure is due to a lack of scoring as the Kings have only recorded 107 goals in those games, meaning any pieces they sell off at the deadline could very well come from the blue line instead. Of the available players, Jake Muzzin and Alec Martinez stand out as potential top-four options that the team could give away to the highest bidder.
We learned earlier this month that Martinez could likely be had for a second-round pick and a good prospect, but it wasn’t clear exactly what the Kings were after in exchange for Muzzin outside of a first-round pick. Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic (subscription required) now reports that the Kings are in “listening mode” on Muzzin and that the asking price is that first-round pick and an additional prospect. LeBrun is quick to point out that the Kings don’t have to move Muzzin, as he’s on a good contract for next season at just $4MM and has put together a successful season.
Still, for teams looking for an upgrade on defense there certainly seems to be a deal to be made in Los Angeles. The idea of adding even both of Martinez and Muzzin for a couple of draft picks and two prospects seems more than reasonable, especially considering that the duo only cost $8MM combined for next season (Martinez’ deal extends through 2020-21). It’s also important to note that neither has any trade protection, and can’t stop the team from dealing them.
Muzzin especially is a bargain at his $4MM cap hit. The 29-year old is logging more than 21 minutes once again for the Kings and comes in right behind Drew Doughty in scoring from the blue line with 20 points on the year. He leads in both blocked shots (85) and hits (108) while regularly contributing on both the powerplay and penalty kill. That kind of versatility and impact is incredibly difficult to find in today’s game, meaning there will be plenty of interest in Muzzin when the deadline rolls around.
The Los Angeles Kings will have one of their normal defenders back on the ice tonight after a month absence, one that very well could be moved before the February trade deadline. Alec Martinez has been activated from injured reserve and will play in his first game since December 8th while his name is continually bandied about in trade speculation.
Martinez, 31, has 11 points in 30 games this season has proved over the years to be one of the most reliable defenders in Los Angeles. That reliability is extremely attractive when paired with a reasonable $4MM cap hit for the next two seasons, and should draw plenty of interest over the next six weeks. Craig Custance of The Athletic (subscription required) recently listed Martinez on his trade bait board, reporting that the expected asking price for Martinez is a second-round pick and a good prospect. The Kings are heading into a quick retool mode and need to get some youth and speed into the lineup, including opening up some minutes on the back end.
Eating up those tough minutes is what Martinez is known for, once again being a part of the Kings penalty killing group and starting a good amount of his shifts in the defensive end. To get any sort of return at the deadline though, Martinez will need to prove he’s healthy enough to contribute down the stretch and get back to logging 20+ minutes a game, a threshold he had failed to crack for the four games before being taken out of the lineup due to injury. Any team willing to part with a good prospect and high draft pick will be expecting top-four contributions, something he’ll have to prove he can still provide.
The NHL trade season is upon us with only seven weeks until the deadline and teams falling out of the playoff race. With that, Craig Custance of The Athletic (subscription required) broke down his list of 20 players who could be on the move before February 25th. At the top of the list is Artemi Panarin, who is still without a contract extension as we head into the second half of the season. The Columbus Blue Jackets are trying to make a deep Stanley Cup run and have perhaps the toughest decisions in the league with Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky set to hit unrestricted free agency.
Deeper down the list though Custance provides some details on asking prices, explaining that a deal to acquire Jake Muzzin from the Los Angeles Kings would need to start with a first-round pick while Alec Martinez might cost just a second-round pick and a good prospect. The Kings still sit at the bottom of the Pacific Division and are the only NHL team to have scored fewer than 100 goals this season. There are changes coming for Los Angeles, but in a “strong buyers market” it will be interesting to see how much they really get back for some of their trade assets.
- Last week’s Three Stars have been revealed by the NHL, with Johnny Gaudreau taking home the top honors. Gaudreau recorded 11 points in four games and has led the Calgary Flames all season. Brent Burns takes home the second star, but most interesting might be Robin Lehner in the third position. Lehner looked to be on the brink of losing his NHL career when he went unqualified by the Buffalo Sabres, but has turned things around dramatically this season with the New York Islanders. With a .927 save percentage there is good reason to believe that Lehner could be one of the top goaltending options on the market this summer after his one-year deal expires, unless the Islanders can lock him up over the next few months.
- Noah Dobson might be best known to many hockey fans for his stick exploding in overtime for Canada in the recent World Junior Championship, but he’s also a dominant defenseman and leader in the QMJHL. The Islanders prospect is on the move thanks to a junior deadline deal that will send him to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies for the remainder of the season. The Huskies sent three first-round picks and a second-round pick for the right to acquire Dobson, who will give them another huge weapon on their quest for a Memorial Cup berth. The trade deadline for the OHL and WHL meanwhile passes on Thursday, meaning many more top prospects will be on the move.