Connor Carrick doesn’t have to worry about his arbitration hearing later this month. He has re-signed with the New Jersey Devils, inking a two-year contract that will carry a $1.5MM average annual value. Carrick will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the deal.
There still remains a number of intriguing free agents available on the open market, including Jake Gardiner, Ryan Dzingel and Micheal Ferland. However, despite having $20.77MM in projected cap space remaining on their roster, it’s unlikely the New Jersey Devils will be adding one of them unless their asking price drops significantly, according to The Athletic’s Corey Masisak (subscription required).
That cap number is somewhat deceiving as New Jersey has several restricted free agents they must deal with, including Pavel Zacha, Will Butcher, Mirco Mueller and Connor Carrick, amongst others. No player should walk away with too significant a deal, meaning the Devils would have the cap space to sign one of those free agents, but that still seems unlikely. The team already made their major moves earlier, trading for P.K. Subban and signing winger Wayne Simmonds in free agency. That, however, doesn’t mean they are done making moves.
“I made some calls,” Shero. “This week will be the same thing, and we certainly would want to see what’s out there, if there’s a chance as we go into the summertime and the rest of the summer into training camp.”
- Sam Carchidi of Philly.com comes up with an early projection of the Philadelphia Flyers’ lineup with one interesting hole on the team’s third line. The scribe pencils in Nolan Patrick centering Oskar Lindblom, but lists the other wing position to a mystery man, likely to be battled during training camp. He notes that there are two logical candidates to win the role including veteran Scott Laughton as well as youngsters Morgan Frost and Joel Farabee. The 20-year-old Frost, a 2017 first-rounder, wrapped up his junior career last season and combined for 79 goals and 221 points over his last two years for the Soo Greyhounds of the OHL. The 19-year-old Farabee, a 2018 first-rounder, signed with the Flyers after one season with Boston University in which he scored 17 goals and 36 points in 37 games.
- While the discussions of whether the Washington Capitals will be able to retain goaltender Braden Holtby after next season has been discussed, the Washington Capitals have another significant free agent as well next offseason in Niklas Backstrom. The Washington Post’s Barry Svrluga suggests that the Capitals are almost certainly going to find a way to bring the veteran center back. Backstrom will be 32 by then, but has been such an integral piece to the first line next to Alexander Ovechkin, that it seems inconceivable the team will allow the veteran to walk away, especially without a young center waiting in the wings, which Washington does not have. Backstrom is still putting up solid numbers as he scored 22 goals and 74 points last season.
Last summer saw the launch of the Chicago Pro Hockey League (CPHL), a charitable offseason league meant to give fans a chance to see some of their favorite players for a reasonable price and give professionals a real game environment to hone their skills. Players like Vinnie Hinostroza and Ryan Hartman will return to the league this time around, though several other interesting names will be taking part. Perhaps most notable is Kendall Coyne-Schofield, who will be playing in the Pro Division after impressing at the All-Star festivities earlier this year. Coyne-Schofield has a long history of domination in women’s hockey, including seven World Championship medals, two Olympic medals and an Isobel Cup as NWHL champion this past season. She was also part of the recent boycott, which indicated that she and more than 200 other top women’s players will not play in the NWHL this year.
The full rosters:
Centric Wealth Management:
G Cam Rowe
Jack Phelan Auto Group:
Games will be played on Wednesday nights starting in July and proceeds will go to various charities including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Special Olympics Chicago.
The Boston Bruins have been in search of a top-six winger even after acquiring Charlie Coyle and have found their man in Marcus Johansson. The Athletic’s Joe McDonald was the first to report that the team had acquired Johansson from the New Jersey Devils. TSN’s Bob McKenzie adds that the return is a 2019 second-round pick and 2020 fourth-round pick. The Devils will also retain 40% of the impending UFA’s salary – approximately $1.833MM – so as to allow the Bruins room to allow room for bonuses in their year-end cap accounting.
The Bruins had been linked to nearly every major rental forward available at the deadline, but seemingly balked at the high prices. While Johansson isn’t exactly the right-shot goal-scoring forward that would have been the ideal fit, he will certainly help with the team’s lack of secondary scoring. While injury issues have limited Johansson’s offensive totals in New Jersey, his per-game production has been back at his regular career levels this season. His shooting percentage is also down, but could improve on a superior team. A creative offensive player, Johansson should add to Boston’s potent power play and could slot in on a line with David Krejci or the newly-acquired Coyle. Bruins GM Don Sweeney opted for the safe play at the deadline, but Johansson has the upside to fit in well in Boston (so long as he can put his past with Brad Marchand behind him).
Meanwhile, New Jersey GM Ray Shero deserves credit for the haul he has been able to bring in at the deadline for Brian Boyle, Ben Lovejoy, Keith Kinkaid, and now Johansson. The Devils picked up two seconds, a third, a fourth, and a fifth, as well as young defenseman Connor Carrick in exchange for expiring pieces that haven’t exactly been world-beaters this season. It’s been a nice deadline for New Jersey in an otherwise disappointing season.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have already pushed quite a few chips to the middle of the table, and now will throw a tip to the dealer. Adam McQuaid is the latest player to be acquired by the Blue Jackets according to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, while Darren Dreger of TSN adds that the New York Rangers will receive a 2019 fourth-round pick and a 2019 seventh-round pick. The Rangers’ confirmation of the deal adds that minor league defenseman Julius Bergman was also included in the return.
With this trade, the Rangers recoup the same picks they traded to the Boston Bruins to get McQuaid this off-season, essentially renting the physical blue liner for five months at the cost of depth defender Steven Kampfer. The asking price for McQuaid was rumored to be at least a third-round pick. Following the Dallas Stars’ acquisition of a similar veteran defenseman in Ben Lovejoy from the New Jersey Devils yesterday for a third-rounder and young defenseman Connor Carrick, that price was expected to go up. However, it seems the market never really developed for McQuaid despite the lack of quality rental defenders on the trade block.
The Blue Jackets made their two big trades before deadline day, adding former Ottawa Senators forwards Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel, but continue to address their depth in other areas with a second value addition today. After adding former New Jersey Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid as a solid third-string option in net for just a future fifth-round pick, they add a nice complementary piece on the blue line in McQuaid. Solidifying their defensive depth has been a need for the Blue Jackets and McQuaid fits the bill. The 6’4″, 210-lb. defender is an experienced pro with a Stanley Cup title to his name – the only Blue Jacket with that claim – and brings a strong, physical presence to the right side. McQuaid is likely to slot in as an everyday bottom-pair defenseman for Columbus down the stretch and in the postseason.
Columbus is likely done for the day and for good reason. Although they have addressed many needs and have found good value in several trades, the McQuaid acquisition leaves the Blue Jackets with just their own third-round pick and the Calgary Flames’ seventh-round pick to represent their entire 2019 draft class. GM Jarmo Kekalainen has undoubtedly decided to go all in this season to get Columbus deep into the postseason for the first time in franchise history, but has done so at the cost of the pipeline. The question now is whether it was all worth it.
With a trade already completed earlier today, the Dallas Stars are continuing to look for help at the forward position. To do that, and with the addition of Ben Lovejoy today, Dallas may be ready to part ways with defenseman Julius Honka who has worn out his welcome, according to The Athletic’s Sean Shapiro (subscription required).
The team has lost faith in the play of both Honka and Connor Carrick, who both were considered inconsistent and with the fact that the team has shown they would give more minutes to Gavin Bayreuther and Joel Hanley, both currently in the NHL, moving Honka would make sense. The 23-year-old was a first-rounder in 2014 and was highly-touted before arriving to the NHL, but he has struggled adjusting to the NHL, especially with his confidence. Regardless, many teams might be willing to give up a scorer to get their hands on a project like Honka.
Shapiro writes that while the Stars have some room under the salary cap and could acquire a player who makes up to $2.05MM, the team has a number of players who could be placed on long-term injured reserve, which could open up close to $8MM in cap room if needed due to the injuries of Martin Hanzal, Stephen Johns and Tyler Pitlick.
While general manager Jim Nill said that there are seven or eight forwards the team is looking at, there is no word who those might be, although Shapiro believes that the New York Rangers’ Mats Zuccarello is near the top of Dallas’ list.
- The Chicago Blackhawks have made it clear to inquiring teams they have no intention of moving defenseman Erik Gustafsson, according to Scott Powers of The Athletic (subscription required). The team has been impressed by his offensive skills as he has 43 points in 59 games this season. He’s also tied for second among all NHL defensemen with 11 primary assists in 5-on-5 play and tied for seventh among all defensemen with 20 primary assists in all strengths. However, the team is still trying to trade John Hayden, who has played less than 10 minutes in 17 of his last 19 games.
- Sticking with the Blackhawks, The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus writes that defenseman Brent Seabrook, who has been out since Feb. 16 with a abdominal strain, could potentially return Sunday. The 33-year-old still averages 19:47 in ATOI this year and has five goals and 23 points for Chicago this year. Marcus Kruger, who is out with a foot injury, remains day-to-day.
The Dallas Stars are looking to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race and have opted to strengthen their back end in that pursuit. The Stars have acquired veteran defenseman Ben Lovejoy from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for defenseman Connor Carrick and a 2019 third-round pick. The Devils have confirmed the deal.
The deal comes as a slight surprise, as the Stars are deep on the blue line, having carried eight defensemen for much of the year. However, Lovejoy does bring a veteran presence that the team lacked on defense outside of Roman Polak. He is also a strong penalty killer and will be a major boost for the Stars when shorthanded. Lovejoy isn’t much for offense, with seven points in 51 games, but the impending free agent plays a dependable defensive game and is a nice piece to have in the postseason. He also has ties to the organization, as cousin Gavin Bayreuther is also a defenseman for the Stars. It’s a nice pickup for Dallas and Lovejoy should fit in nicely as a reliable depth piece.
Dallas is not done though. The Stars are heavily rumored to be wanting to add more scoring, as they currently lack the firepower they will likely need to knock off a top seed in the West as a wild card team. The Devils did not retain any salary in the trade, so the Lovejoy acquisition does eat up some of their available cap space. At $2.67MM compared to Carrick’s $1.3MM, Lovejoy’s addition is not that taxing and still leaves the Stars with over $3.4MM to add another forward. Although two trade chips are now gone, expect the Stars to continuing exploring the market for both rental and long-term help up front.
The real story of this trade is the great return for the Devils. GM Ray Shero managed to turn Lovejoy, an expiring asset on the decline, into a young defenseman with team control and a mid-round pick. Carrick, who is also offensively challenged, is nevertheless growing into a capable bottom pair defender and by many metrics has outplayed Lovejoy this season. Carrick will be a restricted free agent this summer due a qualifying offer of just $1.1MM, so the Devils are likely to hold on to him to see what he can do next year. The worst case scenario is merely that Carrick doesn’t work out, but New Jersey still would net a nice pick. The Stars’ third-rounder becomes the Devils’ ninth pick in the upcoming draft. The Devils aren’t done either. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Marcus Johansson, who sat out of Thursday night’s game alongside Lovejoy, will sit again tonight and seems very likely to be traded.
The All-Star festivities ended with Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby winning an award he’s never won before, All-Star MVP, as he scored two goal in the All-Star Game finals Saturday night and had eight points total as Team Metropolitan defeated Team Central, 10-5. Crosby has already won three Stanley Cups, two Hart Trophies, two Conn Smythe awards, three Lester B. Pearson (now Ted Lindsay) awards, two Art Ross Trophies and two Maurice “Rocket” Richard awards. Now he can add an All-Star MVP. However, with the 2019 All-Star games concluded, many teams will start making roster adjustments as several teams will be back on the ice on Monday. Check back to see continuing updates throughout the day.
- The New Jersey Devils announced a number of roster moves today as the team started by placing defenseman Ben Lovejoy on injured reserve with an upper-body injury, retroactive to Jan. 15. That means the team can activate Lovejoy whenever they are ready. The team also recalled forward Kevin Rooney, defenseman Egor Yakovlev and goaltender Cam Johnson from Binghamton of the AHL. Both Rooney and Yakovlev were sent down a week ago to get some playing time in while the Devils were on break. The Devils play Monday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
- With a game coming up Monday as well, the Winnipeg Jets announced they have recalled defenseman Sami Niku from the Manitoba Moose of the AHL. Niku was sent down to get some playing time while the Jets were on their bye week and now will return. Niku has made 10 appearances for Winnipeg this season, but picked up his first two points on Jan. 17. He will fill in for the injured Dustin Byfuglien and Ben Chiarot, although both are rumored to be close to returning.
- The Philadelphia Flyers are getting ready to return from their bye week and have announced they have recalled goaltender Carter Hart and forward Mikhail Vorobyev from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the AHL. The team also added they have assigned forward Dale Weise to Lehigh Valley to make room for both transactions. Weise cleared waivers on Jan. 16 and will now spend time with the Phantoms. Hart has been impressive in 12 games for the Flyers this year, posting a 2.66 GAA and a .918 save percentage and will continue his development in Philadelphia. Vorobyev struggled after making the team out of training camp, playing just seven games. However, the 22-year-old has been impressive in the AHL and will get another chance to prove that he belongs with the Flyers.
- The New York Rangers announced they have recalled two players as they return from their bye week in forward Boo Nieves and goaltender Alexandar Georgiev from the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL. Both were assigned to Hartford to get extra playing time while the Rangers were off. Nieves has played 16 games for the Rangers and has two goals and seven points, while Georgiev has struggled as New York’s backup goalie with a 6-8 record, a 3.66 GAA and an .883 save percentage.
- The Dallas Stars announced they have recalled defenseman Connor Carrick from the Texas Stars of the AHL from his conditioning loan. He played four games with Texas, putting up a goal and an assist along with 13 shots on goal. The 24-year-old came over in a trade with Toronto at the beginning of the season, but has dealt with a lower-body injury and has appeared in just 13 games this season.
Ten teams are on bye this week, but the NHL schedule isn’t slowing down and neither will the transactions as we head toward the All-Star break and the trade deadline. Sunday’s slate of five games is spread throughout the day, with the Capitals and Blackhawks squaring off early this afternoon, two more later matinees, and then two night games. Highlighting the lineup is a battle between two teams active on the trade market and desperate for a postseason berth this season, the Hurricanes and Oilers. With both teams needing a win in the worst way to stay relevant in the playoff race, expect an intense match-up between two teams that normally have little ill will between them. Keep up with all of today’s moves – and there have already been a lot – right here:
- The Dallas Stars, one of the teams taking the week off, have sent several players to the minors for that stretch, including defenseman Connor Carrick, who is reassigned on a conditioning loan. Young forwards Roope Hintz and Denis Gurianov will also head to the AHL’s Texas Stars for at least the coming week. The trio have all seen limited play time in the NHL this season, so rather than let them sit for a week while healthy, Dallas has opted to give them the opportunity to get some work in with the AHL squad.
- The Carolina Hurricanes announced that they have recalled defenseman Haydn Fleury from the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers. Fleury, who played in 67 games with the ’Canes last season, has only been with the team for ten contests this year. The 22-year-old was the seventh overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, but thus far has been unable to show elite offensive ability at the top level. Carolina will continue to give him chances when they can, but behind a deep and talented group of defensemen, Fleury will have to do more with his opportunities moving forward.
- Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post suggests that the New York Rangers, also on bye, will send top pro defensive prospect Ryan Lindgren down to the AHL during the break rather than make him sit for a week. Lindgren’s recent recall received great fanfare from the Rangers’ faithful and this bye week demotion back to the Hartford Wolf Pack won’t change the team’s plans, which likely are to keep Lindgren in the starting lineup for as much of the remainder of this lost season as possible. Cyrgalis adds that another Rangers rookie, Brett Howden, will not be sent down, as the team hopes some time off will help him break his recent slump.
- The Pittsburgh Penguins have reassigned recently-acquired forward Joseph Blandisi to the AHL, the team announced. It wasn’t clear where Blandisi fit in the Pittsburgh lineup after the trade that sent Derek Grant back to the Anaheim Ducks, so the team will let him serve as minor league depth for the time being. Blandisi has found success as a scoring forward in the AHL and will be an asset to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, but he has been unable to translate that ability to the NHL in stints with the Ducks and New Jersey Devils and will need to adopt a more physical, energy line role to stick at the top level.
- The “bye week” claims another, as the resting Columbus Blue Jackets have sent Kevin Stenlund down to the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters. Stenlund made his NHL debut last week and did not look out of place in a bottom-six role, but nevertheless is better suited to get some additional work this week in the minors rather than sitting. Don’t be surprised to see the big 22-year-old center back up in Columbus after the break.
- CapFriendly reports that defenseman Anton Lindholm has been recalled by the Colorado Avalanche. Lindholm has been up and down several times for the Avs this season, but has only skated in two games with the team after suiting up for 48 games last year. The small, but solid stay-at-home defender has shown some more offensive ability with the AHL’s Colorado Eagles but until he can provide a little more production at the NHL level, he’s likely nothing more than a replacement-level depth option. The Avalanche also announced that forward Dominic Toninato has been recalled as well.
- CapFriendly also adds that the Winnipeg Jets have sent little-used defenseman Cameron Schilling down to the AHL’s Manitoba Moose for the bye week. The veteran has only skated in four games with the Jets in his first season with Winnipeg, but did record his first NHL point back in November. Schilling is a ways down the depth chart for the Jets, but has the experience to step in if need be down the stretch. To keep him sharp, they’ll send him back to the AHL, where he’s played 27 games this season. With no game until Jan. 28, the Jets also have assigned defenseman Sami Niku to Manitoba, according to CapFriendly. The 22-year-old has fared quite well filling in on Winnipeg’s blueline.
- Peter Cehlarik has played well alongside David Krejci and Jake Debrusk since his recall three games ago, but with the Boston Bruins hitting their bye week, they have announced that Cehlarik is headed back down to the AHL’s Providence Bruins. Cehlarik has been perhaps the closest thing to a solution on the Bruins’ second line all season and is sure to be back up after the break. In the meantime, The Providence Journal’s Mark Divver suspects that Cehlarik could replace the injured Ryan Fitzgerald at the AHL All-Star Game.
- The San Jose Sharks announced they have placed defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic on injured reserve today and have recalled defenseman Jacob Middleton. The team has been without Vlasic for eight games already with an undisclosed injury, so he can return to the lineup whenever he is ready. Vlasic’s number’s and play have dropped a little this season, but the team still misses his blueline skills as the Sharks have now lost two straight. The 23-year-old Middleton has appeared in one game for the Sharks this season. He has two goals and 12 points with the San Jose Barracuda of the AHL.
The Dallas Stars were one of two teams that had raised their roster numbers over the regular allowable limit during the holiday roster freeze, and needed to make a move today to get back under the 23-man threshold. Instead, they made several moves. Martin Hanzal and Jason Dickinson have both been placed on injured reserve with back injuries, while Connor Carrick was activated. Gavin Bayreuther, the odd man out on defense, has been sent back to the minor leagues.
The most notable transaction here is Hanzal, who only returned to the lineup for the first time this season three weeks ago. Back injuries have already stolen huge chunks of Hanzal’s career, and are clearly a chronic issue that will not go away entirely. That’s frightening for the Stars, who invested $14.25MM on a three-year deal in the big center in the summer of 2017 and have only received 45 games of mostly ineffective play. During his time in Dallas, Hanzal has only recorded 12 points while registering horrendous possession numbers and a -18 rating. That’s a terrible performance for a player carrying a $4.75MM cap hit, especially one who previously in his career was considered a potential Selke winner as a shutdown center.
Though Hanzal’s injury may never truly go away, Dickinson’s has been given a three to four week timeline according to Mark Stepneski of NHL.com. It’s terrible timing for a young player who was starting to establish himself as an everyday option, as Dickinson has 11 points in 34 games this season. The 23-year old was a first-round pick five years ago, but has had trouble shedding the minor league status and earning himself a real opportunity with the Stars. Now he’ll have to fight through injury to get back and not lose his latest chance.