The Penguins are optimistic that winger Brandon Tanev will be cleared to play for the start of the playoffs next week, notes Mike DeFabo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The veteran has been dealing with upper-body injuries in the second half of the season with his latest one keeping him out for more than a month. However, he has resumed skating with the team in recent days which bodes well for his return. Tanev was in the midst of his best offensive season before the injury bug struck as he has seven goals and nine assists in 32 games this season while his physicality (he’s averaging over 4.3 hits per game which is the highest rate of his career) will be a welcome addition for the grittier postseason style.
Elsewhere in the East:
- Although Devils defenseman P.K. Subban came off the COVID Protocol Related Absences List last Saturday, head coach Lindy Ruff told reporters including NHL.com’s Dan Rosen (Twitter link) that he still has not resumed skating and isn’t expected to play in New Jersey’s final two games this season. His year comes to an end with five goals and 14 assists in 44 games while averaging 22:22 per contest, second only to Damon Severson.
- While Chris Drury wasn’t the GM for the Rangers at the time that Anthony DeAngelo was dismissed from the team, he won’t be overturning that decision, reports Larry Brooks of the New York Post. DeAngelo was sent home early in the year following an altercation with teammate Alexandar Georgiev and while there was believed to be some interest in him at the trade deadline, the defenseman declined the offer to terminate his contract to allow him to catch on elsewhere. He has one more year left at a $4.8MM AAV, one that is all but certain to head for a buyout this summer.
- Also from Brooks’ column, contract talks are expected to pick up with defenseman Nils Lundkvist in the near future. The 20-year-old has had two productive seasons with Lulea of the SHL and is ready to make the jump to North America but when the Rangers fell out of the playoff race thereby effectively eliminating the need to get a deal done as soon as his season in Sweden came to an end, those were temporarily put on the back burner.