- The Ottawa Senators have recalled Christian Wolanin from the minor leagues, sending Christian Jaros back to take his place. The swap gives them a different option for their trip to the west coast, which starts tomorrow with a game against the San Jose Sharks.
- The New Jersey Devils have sent both Jesper Boqvist and Josh Jacobs back to the AHL. Boqvist, 21, has played 35 games this season but has just four goals and zero assists. He’ll need to find his game again in the minors if he ever wants to be an impact player for the Devils.
- Jonas Johansson has been assigned to the Rochester Americans once again, leaving the Buffalo Sabres after two weeks. The big goaltender now has six games under his belt at the NHL level, with many more likely coming in the future.
- The Anaheim Ducks have returned goaltender Anthony Stolarz to AHL San Diego. He was recalled earlier this week to serve as the backup while Ryan Miller dealt with the flu but now that he has returned, Stolarz can return to his role as the starter for the Gulls. Anaheim has also returned defenseman Simon Benoit to San Diego, per the AHL’s Transactions Page. He was recalled for the second time this season on Wednesday but has yet to see NHL action.
- With Cody Ceci being activated off IR, the Maple Leafs have loaned defenseman Timothy Liljegren to the AHL’s Marlies. The 20-year-old got into 11 NHL games with Toronto, recording an assist while logging just over 10 minutes a night in ice time.
March 1st means one thing. The start of the Gagarin Cup in the KHL, the start of playoffs and playoff runs, which also will include the college playoffs. In the NHL, the Atlantic Division had a dominant day Saturday as the Tampa Bay Lightning broke a four-game losing streak, while the Toronto Maple Leafs picked up a key win over the Vancouver Canucks. However, those wins didn’t aid either team in the division as the Boston Bruins continued their dominance with a 4-0 shutout of the New York Islanders. Should be an interesting month coming up in that Atlantic Division. Teams will continue to make roster moves as we get closer to the playoffs, so keep an eye on these roster moves throughout the day.
- The Ottawa Senators announced they have assigned prospect Joshua Norris to the Belleville Senators. The 20-year-old got his feet wet with significant minutes in three games for Ottawa, but failed to register a point in that span. However, with a full schedule this week in Belleville and the fact that they are the top seed in the North Division, it’s likely the Senators will want to develop their young forward as a leader of an AHL playoff team.
- CapFriendly reports that the New Jersey Devils have assigned two players to the Binghamton Devils of the AHL. The team has sent forward Jesper Boqvist and also assigned defenseman Joshua Jacobs. Boqvist was recalled Saturday, but was not used and has been sent back already, while Jacobs was recalled Thursday, but still hasn’t made his season debut.
- The Winnipeg Jets announced they also have sent two players to the AHL. The team has assigned defenseman Nelson Nogier and forward C.J. Suess to the Manitoba Moose. Nogier was recalled on Thursday, but still hasn’t made his season debut, while Suess was recalled Friday, but did not play either. Suess has appeared in one game for the Jets this season.
- The Vancouver Canucks announced they he recalled forward Justin Bailey on an emergency basis from the Utica Comets of the AHL. The 24-year-old has been dominant in the AHL with 27 goals and 45 points in 49 games, but has appeared in just two games with the Canucks this season with no points. Bailey was recalled with the status of Jay Beagle considered questionable after blocking a shot Saturday.
- The Dallas Stars announced they have recalled forward Justin Dowling from his conditioning loan with the Texas Stars of the AHL. Dowling has missed 15 straight games with an undisclosed injury, but fared well with the Texas squad, picking up three assists in three games. The 29-year-old has three goals and six points in 27 games with Dallas.
- With Ryan Miller battling illness, the Anaheim Ducks announced the recall of goaltender Anthony Stolarz from AHL San Diego as well as blueliner Jani Hakanpaa. Stolarz ranks sixth in the AHL in save percentage this season with a .922 mark and will backup John Gibson in Miller’s absence. Meanwhile, Hakanpaa has yet to see any NHL action with Anaheim and has a goal and 12 assists in 47 minor league contests this season.
Today is leap day and a number of NHL teams will be looking to do just that when it comes to the standings. Saturday’s slate of a dozen games features ten games with at least one team in the thick of the playoff race, including six collisions between current playoff teams. The Bruins and Islanders kick off the action this afternoon; New York has a chance to pull into a tie with the Penguins for the final Metropolitan Division spot, but Boston has won their past ten road games versus the Isles. Later this afternoon, the Lightning – losers of four straight – look to get back on track as they host the Flames. The nighttime lineup begins with the Panthers, desperate for a win to keep up with the Maple Leafs, hosting head coach Joel Quenneville’s former club, the Blackhawks. Toronto will have their hands full themselves as they face the Canucks, who need to make the most of their games in hand to catch the red-hot Golden Knights. The new-look Hurricanes must do the same to keep up in the wild card race, as they visit the Canadiens. The Central Division could be in for a shake-up, as the streaking Avalanche take on the Predators while the equally hot Blues face the Stars. Finally, in late night action for those not on the west coast, the Jets and Oilers collide in a game that could make waves in the Western wild card chase, while the Penguins look to end the league’s worst current losing streak against the Sharks. With plenty of action, there very likely could be plenty of roster adjustments as well. Keep up with all those minor transactions right here:
- The Columbus Blue Jackets announced that they have recalled Ryan MacInnis from the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters. MacInnis, 23, has been up and down a number of times this season, but has recorded just one assist in nine games with Columbus. However, he has already set a new career high in points in the minors, with 30 points in 45 games. The two-way center appears to be adding more of an offensive touch to his game, but just needs to transition that ability to the top level.
- With the news that Blackhawks forwards Andrew Shaw and Zack Smith will not be returning this season due to their current injuries, there are opportunities for others to step up in the Chicago lineup. Brandon Hagel will get his chance, as the team has recalled the 21-year-old from the AHL’s Rockford Ice Hogs. The first-year pro has 19 goals and 30 points in 55 games with Rockford in an impressive debut campaign and will continue a year of firsts when he takes the ice for the first time with the Blackhawks. UPDATE: Unfortunately, for Hagel, the team announced they opted to return him just hours later as the Blackhawks did not need him.
- CapFriendly reports that the Colorado Avalanche have reassigned forward Logan O’Connor to the AHL’s Colorado Eagles. The University of Denver product has been a fixture of Colorado hockey for many years now, but still has yet to make much of an impact at the NHL level with just one point in 14 games over the past two seasons.
- The New Jersey Devils announced they have recalled forward Jesper Boqvist from the Binghamton Devils of the AHL. The team has been playing with 12 forwards and no reserves lately, but with three games in the next four days out on the West Coast, New Jersey is likely going to need some insurance at forward. Boqvist spent most of the season in New Jersey, posting four goals and no assists in 34 games, but was sent to the AHL on Jan. 19 to get more playing time. He has five goals and eight points in 15 games in Binghamton.
- CapFriendly reports that the Montreal Canadiens have activated defenseman Xavier Ouellet off of injured reserve. The blueliner has missed more than a week with a concussion, but could be in the Canadiens’ lineup later today. That move could also signal the end for Karl Alzner, who replaced him on the roster and is likely headed for Laval.
- The Philadelphia Flyers announced they have recalled forward Joel Farabee from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the AHL. Farabee was sent to the AHL last Monday, which allowed him to be eligible for the AHL playoffs. The 20-year-old has had an inconsistent rookie season with the Flyers, having posted seven goals and 20 points in 49 games, which included a January demotion to the Phantoms. He has two goals and three assists over his last nine games.
- The Vegas Golden Knights announced they have recalled forward Brandon Pirri from the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. That likely suggests that forward Tomas Nosek, who left Friday’s game with an undisclosed injury. Pirri was expected to play a bigger role in Las Vegas this season after potting 12 goals last year. However, after going scoreless after 11 games, he was sent to Chicago where he has had 15 goals and 35 points in 38 games.
The Buffalo Sabres got some good news as forward Jeff Skinner practiced with the team Sunday and is now considered day-to-day, according to the Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington. Skinner suffered an upper-body injury in late December and was deemed to be out three to four weeks.
Skinner, however, had already been skating on his own before the all-star break and many had hoped he might be ready for Tuesday’s game against Ottawa. Head coach Ralph Krueger said that he hopes that Skinner will be available on Tuesday. Skinner has been a bit of a disappointment so far this year after signing an eight-year, $72MM contract in the offseason with just 11 goals and 19 points in 39 games, a far cry from his 40-goal season last year. If Skinner is ready to play Tuesday, Buffalo will have to activate him off of injured reserve.
- Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien said that while none of his injured trio are expected to play on Monday against the Washington Capitals, two of his players are close to returning, according to Sportsnet’s Eric Engels. Forward Brendan Gallagher, who has missed nine of the team’s past 10 games with a head injury, still needs to be cleared by doctors, but Julien said he feels good and should be back in a few days. Jonathan Drouin is also supposed to be ready to return within the week, but Julien said he had no idea when that would be. Drouin has missed 31 straight games after having surgery on his wrist. Paul Byron is out “longer term.”
- The New Jersey Devils are expecting to get back a key player as well as forward Kyle Palmieri returned to practice Sunday and is expected to play Monday against Ottawa, according to NHL.com’s Amanda Stein. Palmieri missed four games before the break and missed the All-Star Game as well, with a foot injury. The 28-year-old has 16 goals and 31 points in 44 games for the Devils.
- Stein also adds that New Jersey Devils rookie forward Jesper Boqvist, who was assigned to the Binghamton Devils in the AHL before the break so he could continue playing while the team was off, will remain there for the time being to get some extra playing time. The 21-year-old has just four goals and no assists in 34 NHL games and has one goal in three games with Binghamton.
Following last night’s results, each of the top five teams in the Pacific Division are within one point of each other, top to bottom. The Vancouver Canucks stand alone in first place with 58 points, but with each of the following four teams sitting at 57. It is the first time since 1978 that the top five teams in an NHL division have all been separated by such a small margin after January 1. Of course, not all point totals are created equal; Vancouver and Edmonton have played just 49 games, while Calgary has 50 games played and Vegas and Arizona have 51. As such, the teams’ point percentages differ more than their total points, especially in the case of the Canucks versus the Knights and Coyotes. Nonetheless, it is still a tight division, and one that has been on the rise this season to now occupy both Western Conference wild card spots. The Central Division’s top three – St. Louis, Colorado, and Dallas – may all have better records than any team in the Pacific, but the rest of their division has been overtaken. The 57/58-point range at this point in the year is nothing to criticize either. There are currently eleven teams with 57 or 58 points, all of whom are in playoff positions or just outside. So while the likes of Washington, Boston, and St. Louis might make the high fifties look light, it is actually a great pace for a playoff hopeful. With such a tight postseason picture right now in both conferences, though specifically the Pacific Division, every game counts and every little move made impacts those games. Keep an eye on all of today’s transactions here, as you never know what minor move could shift a season:
- Many of “today’s” minor transactions occurred late last night, as 17 different teams are entering their bye week and many shuffled their young players to minors once their final game came to an end. The Ottawa Senators are one such example. The team reassigned young forwards Drake Batherson, Filip Chlapik, and Rudolfs Balcers to AHL Belleville following last night’s win.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs were in a similar boat, sending Adam Brooks and Tim Liljegren back to the AHL’s Marlies following last night’s game, which was also Liljegren’s NHL debut. Brooks has played in seven games with the Maple Leafs so far in his rookie season.
- The Arizona Coyotes also head on bye, and have demoted goalie Adin Hill, defenseman Kyle Capobianco, and forward Michael Chaput to the Tuscon Roadrunners. Hill has played a key role of late for the ‘Yotes, but the team hopes to have Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta at full strength on the other side of this time off.
- The St. Louis Blues made just one minor move before hitting their bye, assigning young defenseman Niko Mikkola to the San Antonio Rampage. Mikkola has looked good on the ice if not on the score sheet in five games with the Blues this season.
- Also making just a single demotion before the bye were the Dallas Stars, who sent forward Joel Kiviranta to AHL Texas. Kiviranta is still looking for his first NHL point after seeing limited ice time in seven NHL games and will benefit from an increased role in the minors for a while.
- Other bye week moves being reported by CapFriendly include the Los Angeles Kings sending forwards Matt Luff and Jaret Anderson-Dolan to the Ontario Reign, the San Jose Sharks shifting Joachim Blichfeld, Joel Kellman, and Antti Suomela to the AHL Barracuda locker room, and the Montreal Canadiens reassigning veteran Dale Weise to the Laval Rocket.
- This morning, the Buffalo Sabres announced their own flurry of moves, reassigning forwards Rasmus Asplund and Scott Wilson and defenseman Lawrence Pilut to the AHL’s Rochester Americans. While Pilut and Wilson have seen limited action, Asplund’s demotion is a bit surprising. Of every player sent down so far for their team’s bye week, none have played as many NHL games this season as Asplund’s 28. Yet, apparently the Sabres do not feel that he has earned the week off.
- The Chicago Blackhawks announced they have assigned forward Dylan Sikura to the Rockford Ice Hogs of the AHL. The 24-year-old had a more successful run with Chicago this year as he scored his first NHL goal and three points in nine games. He’ll continue to work on his game in Rockford where he has nine goals and 16 points in 22 games.
- The New Jersey Devils announced they have assigned three players to their AHL affiliate, the Binghamton Devils, including goaltender Cory Schneider and forwards Michael McLeod and Jesper Boqvist. It will be Boqvist’s first trip to the AHL as he made the New Jersey squad directly out of Sweden.
- The Edmonton Oilers announced they are sending injured defenseman Matt Benning to the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL on a conditioning stint. The 25-year-old blueliner has been out with a head injury since Dec. 1. The team has been extra cautious with Benning as its his second head injury this season. With the Oilers off until Jan. 29, Benning’s best chance of getting game experience is with the Condors, who have four games coming up this week. Benning has appeared in just 24 games this season, averaging just 13:42 of ice time.