The NHL All-Star Skills Competition is scheduled for this evening, and though Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon have both pulled out due to illness and injury there are still an incredible amount of talented players taking part. Most notable however may be the final entrant in the fastest skater competition: Kendall Coyne. A member of the US Women’s National Team, Coyne will take MacKinnon’s place after the Colorado Avalanche forward suffered a foot injury this week. The Olympic gold medalist is known for her speed and posted a 14.226 yesterday during event testing according to Emily Kaplan of ESPN. Though that wouldn’t have been enough to dethrone Connor McDavid last year, it would have put her ahead of Zach Werenski, Noah Hanifin and Josh Bailey in the competition. We’ll see what Coyne can do tonight, along with the rest of the competitors:
Though they have no bearing on the eventual winners, last season the Professional Hockey Writers Association brought back their Midseason Awards to give fans an idea of who was leading the charge around the NHL at the halfway point. Today those ballots have been tallied and the midseason trophies were given out:
Hart Trophy – Most valuable player
Norris Trophy – Best defenseman
Selke Trophy – Best defensive forward
Calder Trophy – Best rookie
Lady Byng Trophy – Sportsmanship & gentlemanly conduct
Vezina Trophy – Best goaltender
Jack Adams Award – Best coach
1. Barry Trotz, New York Islanders
2. Bill Peters, Calgary Flames
3. Jon Cooper, Tampa Bay Lightning
GM of the Year Award
1. Brad Treliving, Calgary Flames
2. Doug Wilson, San Jose Sharks
3. Lou Lamoriello, New York Islanders
Rod Langway Award – Best defensive defenseman
Comeback Player of the Year Award
The NHL has announced the four rosters for the 2019 All-Star Game today, scheduled to be held on January 26th in San Jose. Earlier today, Alex Ovechkin, who was elected captain of Metropolitan Division squad, told the league that he wouldn’t be attending and will accept the punishment of missing one game either before or after the break. Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon, and Auston Matthews will represent the Pacific, Central and Atlantic respectively, as the other captains. A replacement Metropolitan captain for Ovechkin has yet to be named.
The full rosters are as follows:
*Denotes team captain
One final skater spot on each roster has yet to be announced, as it will be determined by the “Last Man In” fan ballot, a concept borrowed from Major League Baseball. The format of the current All-Star Game, which requires one representative from each team on these smaller 3-on-tournament rosters, was bound to cause some confusion with the initial selections. Seven top-twenty scorers were not selected – Mitch Marner, Brayden Point, Leon Draisaitl, Sean Monahan, Matthew Tkachuk, Phil Kessel, and Gabriel Landeskog – and several will inevitably remain out of All-Star participation even after the fan ballot additions. Morgan Rielly, the league’s top-scoring defenseman, and Mark Giordano, enjoying an elite season on both sides of the puck, are two surprising omissions on the blue line. Several of the league’s top goalies are also going to miss out, ineligible for the fan ballot, including Ben Bishop, Frederik Andersen, and Andrei Vasilevskiy. The “Last Man In” will be an intriguing new addition to the All-Star process, with nominees to be named shortly, but more than a few notable names will be left out regardless. Meanwhile, the health of players like Price and Chabot for Team Atlantic and Hall for Team Metropolitan will bear watching, as those players may opt to skip the All-Star festivities, opening up more players to selection.
While many people may not have noticed as much with the impressive play of rookie Miro Heiskanen, the Dallas Stars have been missing their top defenseman John Klingberg for an entire month after suffering a hand injury. The team’s top defenseman, however, is closing on a return and is expected to be back somewhere around Christmas, according to NHL.com’s Mark Stepneski.
“The latest we would think would be Dec. 27, the game after Christmas,” Stars coach Jim Montgomery said earlier this week. “But he might be right before Christmas.”
Klingberg has already missed 13 games and is not expected to join the team for their upcoming four-game road trip starting on Sunday. However, the 26-year-old hopes to begin practicing with the team when they return from that road trip. While his hand has been improving, he still has trouble of doing specific things with his hand, which includes tying his skates. However, he has gotten clearance to do more with his hand.
“It’s been tough because I haven’t been able to lift anything with this hand,” Klingberg said. “I saw the hand doctor [Thursday], and they said they you are good to go and try as much as you can and no sharp pains. So, I am going to grab a stick next week and when the guys come back home we will see where I am.”
- Sarah MacLellan of the StarTribune writes that with Minnesota Wild Mikko Koivu returning to Minnesota to get his lower-body injury looked at, the team hopes that other players might step up with more minutes available. Koivu led all forwards this season in ATOI with 18:32. That could mean more minutes for guys like Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter as well as youngsters Joel Eriksson Ek and Jordan Greenway. “Mikko’s obviously a huge part of our team,” goalie Devan Dubnyk said. “He’s irreplaceable, but that’s a good opportunity for people to fill some different roles and get some more ice time. When we’re winning, we’re winning because we’re deep and everyone’s chipping in. That doesn’t change when somebody goes down.”
- While sitting out for the last week, Winnipeg Jets’ Josh Morrissey has been doing nothing but studying film in his off time, according to Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun. Morrissey has watched more than a dozen NHL games, including some of his own to see what’s missing from his game, while keeping an eye on future opponents. In the meantime, the defenseman has passed all of his tests, while recovering from a lower-body injury, and hopes to return to the Winnipeg lineup on Sunday.
- While the Chicago Blackhawks have liked what they see on the ice from 2016 second-round prospect Artur Kayumov so far in his early career, the 20-year-old picked up some negative publicity recently as the KHL announced that Kayumov has been suspended for 13 games after a hit to the head to Jokerit’s Jesper Jensen as well as punching a referee in the process. Kayumov, playing currently for Yaroslavl Lokomotiv, has 11 points and 55 penalty minutes this season.
The Winnipeg Jets recalled top prospect Sami Niku this weekend as a replacement for the injured Dmitry Kulikov, and he might get a longer than expected opportunity in the NHL. Kulikov has been moved to injured reserve and is out for at least four weeks according to Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun. The veteran defenseman suffered an upper-body injury, and will now have to fight his way back on the roster in a month’s time.
Kulikov had appeared in just six games this season for the Jets, averaging fewer than 11 minutes per game. That’s a far cry from the expectations placed on him when he signed a three-year $13MM deal in the summer of 2017, one that has not aged well given the rest of the big contracts Winnipeg needs to give out. The team has plenty of cap space at the moment, but will need to hand out deals to Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, Jacob Trouba and several other restricted free agents this summer.
- Brett Pesce’s absence at Carolina Hurricanes practice may have set off some alarm bells given the recent speculation about the team’s interest in William Nylander, but Michael Smith of NHL.com reports the defenseman is working through a minor lower-body injury. Pesce won’t play tonight for the Hurricanes, but is listed as just day-to-day for now.
- Meanwhile in Dallas, Stars’ defenseman Connor Carrick will miss at least three more weeks with his lower-body injury according to broadcaster Bruce LeVine. The Stars are without John Klingberg as well, leaving a lot of the puck-moving responsibility to young defensemen Miro Heiskanen and Julius Honka. Carrick has four points in nine games for the Stars since being acquired just prior to the beginning of the season. Importantly, that trade included a condition that would change the seventh round pick to a sixth round pick for Toronto if Carrick plays in 50 games. An injury like this puts that 50 game threshold very much in doubt.
- Viktor Arvidsson had just returned from a stint on injured reserve, but is headed back to the shelf after leaving the Nashville Predators recent game against Dallas. Arvidsson has been placed on injured reserve once again, meaning he’ll miss at least a week with his upper-body injury.
While many teams are curious to see if their team might capture the No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft headed by Jack Hughes, who is currently playing for the U.S. Development team in the USHL, others are preparing for the 2020 draft and TSN’s Craig Button released his top 20 for ’20 list, placing Rimouski Oceanic winger Alexis Lafreniere of the QMJHL way ahead of the pack.
Lafreniere tallied 42 goals last year in his rookie campaign in the QMJHL as a 16-year-old and already has posted 12 goals and 36 points in 21 games this year. Button adds that his impressive performances in the IIHF U18 World Championships and the Hlinka Gretzky Cup make him a solid selection as the top-rated player in the draft, followed by Sudbury Wolves center Quinton Byfield and Swedish winger Lucas Raymond.
- Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston writes that Nick Kypreos reports that former Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville would like to return to work immediately, but is not willing to take on a large rebuilding process like the one that Mike Babcock undertook when he took over the Toronto Maple Leafs. On top of that, any team that wants to hire Quenneville between now and the end of next season would have to assume a considerable portion of the $6MM per season salary that the Chicago Blackhawks still owe him, making it a small group of teams that would likely be interested in his services. Johnston, however, wonders if Quenneville might be willing to change his mind about coaching the Detroit Red Wings if an opening comes about since he’s a native of Windsor, Ont.
- With the recent loss of Dallas Stars’ top defenseman John Klingberg for four weeks, the team has placed their defensive hopes on rookie blueliner Miro Heiskanen, who suddenly is thrust into the role as the team’s No. 1 defenseman. That has been evident, which included a game-high 29:26 Saturday against the Nashville Predators. The Athletic’s Sean Shairo (subscription required) breaks down the film of the play of Heiskanen. Shapiro suggests that Heiskanen’s innate knack of stick angles and positioning is just one skill that few rookies have a keen grasp on as well as his ability to use his body well without being physical. That should bode well for a team that already has a high-quality No. 1 in Klingberg.
Navigating the Salary Cap is probably one of the more important tasks for any general manager to have. Teams that can avert total cap chaos by walking the tightrope of inking players to deals that match their value (or compensate for future value without breaking the bank) remain successful. Those that don’t see struggles and front office changes.
PHR will look at every NHL team and give a thorough look at their cap situation heading into the 2018-19 season. This will focus more on those players who are integral parts of the roster versus those who may find themselves shuttling between the AHL and NHL. All cap figures are courtesy of CapFriendly.
Current Cap Hit: $78,030,832 (under the $79.5MM Upper Limit)
The Dallas Stars got a big boost to their defense when they managed to get Heiskanen, the third-overall pick in 2017, to come over to the NHL from Finland. The talented defenseman should be both an offensive and defensive presence for years to come and should be one of the cornerstones of the franchise. The 19-year-old posted 11 goals and 23 points in 30 games in the Liiga last year and has made an immediate impact to the team. And at an entry-level price, should prove to be an even greater impact to the team’s salary cap.
Honka, the team’s first-round pick in 2014, has shown glimpses of being a dominant defenseman as well, but despite his offensive talents, his lack of defense has kept him out of the lineup and has caused him to doubt himself as he is dealing with confidence issues. There was a belief that with new head coach Jim Montgomery around, Honka was starting to develop into that top-four defenseman that the team was hoping for, but he has already been scratched twice, suggesting he’s still not there yet.
A team that lacks offensive depth should be thrilled that Hintz has made the roster. The 21-year-0ld is a 2015 second-round pick and is coming off a 20-goal campaign in his first season of the AHL and could provide some offense from the wing position.
One Year Remaining, Non-Entry-Level
F Jason Spezza ($7.5MM, UFA)
D Marc Methot ($4.9MM, UFA)
F Mattias Janmark ($2.3MM, RFA)
D Esa Lindell ($2.2MM, RFA)
F Brett Ritchie ($1.75MM, RFA)
D Roman Polak ($1.3MM, UFA)
D Connor Carrick ($1.3MM, RFA)
F Jason Dickinson ($875K, RFA)
F Gemel Smith ($720K, RFA)
This could be the last season for Spezza, and if not, it will be at a much lower AAV. Spezza is coming off one of the worst seasons in his career when he tallied just eight goals and 26 points last season as the 35-year-old struggled. While more determined to put up better numbers this year, the team likely will have to find top-six offense from someone else down the road. Methot is no different as his almost $5MM in salary could be better used elsewhere with the team’s defensive depth, although like Spezza, they could bring him back on a cheaper deal. The defensive specialist struggled with injuries last year, appearing in just 36 games.
The team may need a lot of that money for Lindell, who has developed into a solid top-four defender in Dallas. His defense has always been solid, but he has improved on offense, posting a career-high of 27 points and needs to be locked up to a long-term deal. The team also might consider locking up Janmark, who has improved each year since joining the team. The 25-year-old put up 15 goals back in the 2016-17 season and followed that up with an 19-goal season last year, suggesting he could be ready to take that next step this year and become that much-needed offensive weapon on their second line.
Two Years Remaining
The team still has two years of Hanzal remaining, who signed a three-year deal last offseason, but has struggled with back issues. The 31-year-old appeared in just 38 games last season, posting five goals and 10 points and remains injured at the moment. While he has been skating, there remains no timetable for a return. However, if Dallas can get him back healthy at some point this year, he could provide the Stars with some secondary scoring. Although he’s never been a 20-goal scorer, Hanzal adds a physical presence to the team.
Nichushkin is another player who the team has high hopes for after he agreed to return to the NHL after a two year stint in the KHL. The 2013 first-rounder put up just pedestrian numbers in his two years with CSKA Moscow, but the team believes he should fare well on their second line this season and should produce some offense. Khudobin is another important addition to the team as the team fell apart after the team’s starter went down late in the season at a critical moment. Without a solid backup (Kari Lehtonen), the team struggled and failed to reach the playoffs. Khodobin adds that much needed solid netminder who can fill in for Bishop, who has a history of injury issues.
The team also needs offense from Shore and Faksa. Both have shown the ability to produce, at times, on the bottom-six lines, but both have the potential to take their games up a notch if they can find the right chemistry. Shore has scored just 24 goals in two seasons combined, while Faksa, a defensive center, scored a promising 17 goals last year.
Three Years Remaining
The team has little to worry about in three years as it has just the veteran Comeau locked up and Johns. Comeau was brought on board to add a gritty, veteran presence to the team, while the 6-foot-4 Johns put up solid defensive numbers for the Stars and even provided eight goals.
Four Or More Years Remaining
F Jamie Benn ($9.5MM through 2024-25)
F Alexander Radulov ($6.25MM through 2021-22)
F Tyler Seguin ($5.75MM in 2018; $9.85MM through 2026-27)
G Ben Bishop ($4.92MM through 2022-23)
D John Klingberg ($4.25MM through 2021-22)
The team has several of their cornerstone players already locked up, the most significant came this summer when Seguin agreed to an eight-year extension to stay in Dallas long-term. Until he did so, there was plenty of speculation the team might have to move on from him, but with their franchise player locked in, the team can now focus on building the team around him rather than looking for a new franchise player. The 26-year-old posted a career-high 40 goals last year, but many feel that he is ready for a breakout season and might be able break out and take his game to the next level.
Benn is another player who the team counts on quite a bit on that fearsome first line. The 29-year-old is still a major offensive force who posted 36 goals and 79 points last season, bouncing back from a lesser 26-goal season in 2016-17. He continues to be a consistent scoring threat as he has never (strike shortened season excluded) scored less than 22 goals in his entire career. Radulov adds that third element for Seguin and Benn. The 32-year-old winger signed away from Montreal last summer was a perfect linemate on that first line as he tallied 27 goals of his own.
Bishop put up decent numbers last year as he played in 53 games for the Stars and put up a 2.53 GAA with a solid .916 save percentage. However, injuries knocked him out at a critical time and the team needs him to be healthy for a sustained playoff run. Klingberg had a great season for the Stars, despite seeing his goals scored drop to career-low eight. However, his career-high 59 assists suggested that he’s moving to the upper echelon of defenseman in the league and he even garnered some Norris Trophy consideration.
G Antti Niemi ($1.5MM in 2018-19)
Retained Salary Transactions
Still To Sign
Best Value: Klingberg
Worst Value: Hanzal
(Excluding entry-level contracts)
The key to the Stars plan was getting Seguin to sign on the dotted line and despite some early offseason concerns that it might not happen, the two sides were finally able to come to an agreement before training camp started. That allows the team and general manager Jim Nill to continue working towards adding pieces around a core of Seguin, Benn, Klingberg and Heiskanen by adding much-needed depth. The team looks to be in good shape for the extended future. Now they just have to win some games.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
With the NHL season now less than a week away, we continue our look at what each team has done this summer and what to watch for in the year to come. Next up is a look at the Dallas Stars.
Last Season: 42-32-8 record (92 points), sixth in the Central Division (missed the playoffs)
Remaining Cap Space: $4,445,835 per CapFriendly
Key Additions: F Blake Comeau (free agent, Colorado), F Erik Condra (free agent, Tampa Bay), D Joel Hanley (free agent, Arizona), G Anton Khudobin (free agent, Boston), F Michael Mersch (free agent, Los Angeles), D Roman Polak (free agent, Toronto).
Key Subtractions: D Andrew Bodnarchuk (free agent, Red Bull Munchen, DEL), F Brian Flynn (free agent, St. Louis), D Dan Hamhuis (free agent, Nashville), G Mike McKenna (free agent, Ottawa), F Curtis McKenzie (free agent, Vegas), D Greg Pateryn (free agent, Minnesota), F Antoine Roussel (free agent, Vancouver),
[Related: Stars Depth Chart From Roster Resource]
Player To Watch: F Tyler Seguin — The Stars have placed all their faith in Seguin to lead the team to the playoffs and beyond this summer when they signed the 26-year-old to an eight-year, $78.8MM extension this summer. While that $9.85MM AAV doesn’t kick in until the 2019-20 season, the team hopes that Seguin is finally ready to take that next step as an NHL elite player.
The center did post a 40-goal season for the first time in his career, but he has only surpassed 80 points once in his career. While he is expected to man the top line once again alongside veteran Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov, the team hopes he can take that next step and be a consistent 80 or 90-point player the team truly needs.
Key Storyline: What the team needs more than anything is secondary depth at forward. While the first line was impressive offensively, the remaining lines were the opposite of that as few players stepped up and showed they can score goals. The team had hopes last year that players such as Radek Faksa, Brett Ritchie, Jason Spezza and Martin Hanzal would make up the remaining bulk of the scoring, but none of them did. While Faksa’s defensive game took big strides, he still posted just 33 points last season. Ritchie was even worse, posting just seven goals and 14 points. Spezza’s game went down as well, going from 50 points in 2016-17 to 26 points last year, while Hanzal struggled with injuries all season.
This year, the team has hopes that they can get a solid return from 23-year-old Valeri Nichushkin, who played the last two years in the KHL, and now returns. They still hope Spezza can bounce back, while the team has high hopes that Mattias Janmark, Faksa, Tyler Pitlick and Comeau can increase that scoring. Whether that will happen is questionable as Nichushkin put up very pedestrian numbers in the KHL while he was away, so assuming he posts big numbers seems unlikely, while the 35-year-old Spezza will have to prove that the game hasn’t passed him by.
Overall Outlook: While the goaltending seems to be more solidified as the team replaced backup Kari Lehtonen with Khudobin, who should be a better stopgap if starter Ben Bishop goes down with another inconvenient injury and a much stronger defense with the addition of 19-year-old Miro Heiskanen and a more confident Julius Honka, the team has a solid defense behind him. Add in a new coach in Jim Montgomery, the team has a lot of promise, but where that offense will come from is a question that the team will have to prove if they have any chance in competing in a very competitive Central Division.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Athletic’s NHL Draft and prospects guru Scott Wheeler has released the first definitive list of candidates for the Calder Trophy in 2018-19, and the order may surprise some people. Admittedly, the list is in the context of fantasy hockey, but Wheeler’s rankings are true to how he thinks Calder voting will unfold if each rookie hits their stat projections. As such, it’s not this year’s first overall pick, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, at the top of the list, but presumptive top-six center for the Vancouver Canucks, Elias Pettersson. Pettersson will be put in a much better position to rack up points than will Dahlin, the next-best candidate, as potentially one of the three best scoring forwards for the Canucks and traditionally productive forwards have a better shot at the Calder than (relatively) equally productive defensemen.
Coming in at number three is Boston Bruins forward Ryan Donato, who led both the NCAA and Olympics in goals last season and will look to win a top-six role for Boston and continue to find the back of the net at an alarming rate. Playing alongside either Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron or David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk is an easy way for Donato to quickly become an elite scorer at the NHL level. The fourth-ranked candidate is second overall pick Andrei Svechnikov of the Carolina Hurricanes, who – like Pettersson – will be given an immense amount of responsibility right away as a top-six winger who is arguably already one of the three most skilled forwards on the team. However, Svechnikov is one of three Hurricanes rookies on Wheeler’s list, which could take away from his case. Rounding out the top five is Dahlin’s fellow rookie in Buffalo, center Casey Mittelstadt, who scored at nearly a point-per-game pace in the college ranks and in a brief stint with the Sabres to end the year. Mittelstadt should face favorable match-ups this season with the lines anchored by Jack Eichel and Patrik Berglund drawing considerable attention from the opposition.
Wheeler’s top twenty Calder Trophy candidates are as follows:
- C Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks
- D Rasmus Dahlin, Buffalo Sabres
- RW Ryan Donato, Boston Bruins
- RW Andrei Svechnikov, Carolina Hurricanes
- C Casey Mittelstadt, Buffalo Sabres
- RW Filip Zadina, Detroit Red Wings
- C Dylan Strome, Arizona Coyotes
- C Henrik Borgstrom, Florida Panthers
- C Martin Necas, Carolina Hurricanes
- D Miro Heiskanen, Dallas Stars
- RW Dylan Sikura, Chicago Blackhawks
- RW Eeli Tolvanen, Nashville Predators
- C Filip Chytil, New York Rangers
- LW Brady Tkachuk, Ottawa Senators
- LW Valentin Zykov, Carolina Hurricanes
- RW Kailer Yamamoto, Edmonton Oilers
- C Anthony Cirelli, Tampa Bay Lightning
- LW Kristian Vesalainen, Winnipeg Jets
- C Sam Steel, Anaheim Ducks
- RW Vitaly Abramov, Columbus Blue Jackets
Honorable Mentions: C Vladislav Kamenev, Colorado Avalanche; LW Jordan Greenway, Minnesota Wild; C Robert Thomas, St. Louis Blues; LW Andreas Johnsson, Toronto Maple Leafs; C Michael Rasmussen, Detroit Red Wings; C Lias Andersson, New York Rangers; D Sami Niku, Winnipeg Jets; D Evan Bouchard, Edmonton Oilers; RW Daniel Sprong, Pittsburgh Penguins
What do you think? Who will be the NHL’s Rookie of the Year and take home the Calder Trophy at the end of the season? The favorite? The first overall pick? Another top candidate? Or a name not even mentioned here?
While many people are talking about the impact that rookie defenseman Rasmus Dahlin will make on the Buffalo Sabres, many are forgetting that the Dallas Stars have an impact defenseman of their own entering the league this year in Miro Heiskanen. The third-overall pick from the 2017 draft is expected to make an immediate impact to aid the Stars’ defense, but he is expected to be brought along slowly to start the season, according to SportsDay’s Matthew DeFranks.
In a personal profile of the 19-year-old, the scribe writes that the team will likely ease him into the lineup as he will likely either be paired with shutdown defenseman Stephen Johns or fellow countryman Julius Honka on the second or third line, depending on how quickly he can adjust to the North American style of game. He has spent the last two seasons in Finland, playing against men in Liiga for HIFK, where he was named the league’s top defenseman last season.
- Tracey Myers of NHL.com writes that Chicago Blackhawks’ star Patrick Kane is ready to wipe the slate clean from last year’s disappointing season and the goal is to get the team back into the playoffs. Kane had a down season compared to the previous two years as he tallied 27 goals and 79 points. Normally a solid season, it still paled in comparison to the 106 points he posted in 2015-16 or the 89 points in 2016-17. “We all have that feeling within us where it’s like, we did some good things, but you’re restarting now and you have to prove yourself again,” Kane said. “It’s a long season, and I think maybe we got ahead of ourselves a little bit last year.”
- With all the talent the St. Louis brought in this season, including Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron, Tyler Bozak and Patrick Maroon, it might seem unlikely that the team’s two top prospects, Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou, might be shoved out of the way next season. In a mailbag story, St. Louis Post Dispatch’s Jim Thomas said that is very unlikely when it comes to Robert Thomas, saying that he can’t picture a scenario where the team doesn’t keep Thomas, who is likely to center the team’s fourth line next season. Thomas, who dominated the OHL last season, would either have to make the club or be returned to juniors for another year and the scribe believes sending him back to Hamilton isn’t going to help him. So he’s best off learning on the fly in the NHL. Kyrou, on the other hand, very likely will end up with the AHL San Antonio Rampage. Now that Kyrou is finished with juniors, he can learn in the AHL for a season before coming over. Thomas doesn’t have the AHL option open to him.
- In a mailbag article, The Athletic’s Sean Shapiro (subscription required) writes that it seems less and less likely that Dallas Stars prospect Denis Gurianov will be success in the NHL. The 12th-overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft struggled in the AHL at times this season. He finished the season with 19 goals in 74 games, but also was scratched during the Texas Stars’ playoff run. Shapiro writes that he doesn’t believe that Gurianov has the hockey IQ to be successful in the league. He is a hard worker, but doesn’t understand the game. When he was scratched, it was an organizational decision, according to Shapiro, not a coaching decision.