The St. Louis Blues have hired Darryl Sydor as their new assistant coach, re-joining Mike Yeo on his new club. Sydor worked with Yeo in Minnesota before taking a position with the Blues’ AHL affiliate this season. The former NHL defenseman and two-time Stanley Cup Champion played 1291 games in his career, scoring 507 points.
If anyone thought the status of St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong was up in the air after recent coaching turnover and the up-and-down season the Blues endured last year, don’t count on it. In an interview with the St. Louis Post Dispatch, team owner Tom Stillman said he never second-guessed the general manager and even though Armstrong has only one year remaining on his deal, the owner believes that Armstrong is the man for the job.
“No,” Stillman said about whether he was considering replacing Armstrong during the season. “You need to keep a longer view on things like that. You don’t evaluate the performance of a top-level manager based on the latest current losing streak or a rough patch. I felt confident that Doug was making the right decisions and looking at the long-term, and that’s our focus, being competitive not just this year but next year and the following year. In fact, I think Doug is unusual in that he was so focused on the long-term.”
The Blues struggled early in the season, going 24-21-5 which led to the firing of Ken Hitchcock on Feb. 1. Armstrong then promoted Mike Yeo and the team immediately won six of their first seven games. Looking to the future, the team then traded defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to the Washington Capitals and kept winning, eventually qualifying for the playoffs with a 46-29-7 record, good for third in the Central Division. They then knocked off the Minnesota Wild in the first round of the playoffs, only to fall to the Nashville Predators in six games in the second round.
“I don’t know that it surprised me because when you’re in that situation you know it could go any number of ways, but I will say that it impressed me,” Stillman said. “It impressed me the way the coaching staff performed … the way the players dug in. They were in a tough position and then we made it a little tougher on them by trading a top player and yet everybody dug in. They played for each other, played for the team and carved out a playoff position and played two rounds in the playoffs.”
Stillman continued by saying that promoting Yeo was a key move and the improved play of the team’s youth, including defensive pair Colton Parayko and Joel Edmundson as well as forwards Ivan Barbashev and Zach Sanford were a testament to Yeo’s coaching.
When the St. Louis Blues’ AHL affiliation with the Chicago Wolves was officially terminated on Wednesday in favor of partnership with Las Vegas, an important aspect of the deal was overlooked by many around the league. The St. Louis Blues will still provide players to the Wolves, but only their best players are likely to see action, as the Golden Knights hold primary ownership. Given the Knights’ situation, why play borderline prospects of an outside organization, who you are still technically competing with? They will need warm bodies for years to come, but Knights prospects will always be valued higher.
This association may not seem like a huge deal, considering that NHL teams have used AHL partnerships in years past. However, St. Louis will be the only team dealing with this handicap in the upcoming season, and it’s not a situation that will help their organization gain advantage over a tough Central division. A team hasn’t dealt with this sort of turmoil in the minors since the 2009-10 season when the Anaheim Ducks had no affiliate whatsoever. The Ducks that year? They finished 11th in the conference and missed the playoffs.
Although Vegas, without an abundance of pro-ready prospects, may appreciate this arrangement for AHL competitiveness reasons, it can only mean a step back for St. Louis. There is no tangible benefit to having your third and fourth line hopefuls lose valuable playing time to outside players. One need only look to the role players of this year’s playoff teams to realize that having a deep bench in case of injuries is always worthwhile. The Penguins for example, have Carter Rowney, Josh Archibald, and currently injured Tom Kuhnhackl performing important spot-duty. Derrick Pouliot even has an outside shot of seeing playing time this series. If any of these had played on a split-squad in the AHL, there is a strong probability they would not have the requisite experience to be inserted into NHL playoff hockey.
GM Doug Armstrong says he has a “comfort level” with Las Vegas GM George McPhee, and that eases his mind about the situation. Regardless of comfort, Blues ownership failed the team and its prospects by not securing a primary home for their players. The Blues need to have a solid farm system, which they had seemingly started to build with a dominant 1st-overall performance this past season. The likes of Jordan Schmaltz, Magnus Paajarvi, and Ivan Barbashev all benefited from a successful AHL outing. Going forward, securing a stable location for all of its players is a must for St. Louis. It’s a disadvantage from the beginning of summer until the end of the season.
Sharks right winger Joel Ward has undergone successful surgery, the team announced. In their press release, GM Doug Wilson notes that the veteran had the choice to have the procedure done or opt for rehab instead but clearly he opted to go under the knife.
Ward battled with this issue throughout the season which could very well be a contributing factor to his offensive decline. In 2015-16, his first season in San Jose, the 36 year old scored 21 goals while adding 22 assists; his 43 points coming in as the second best output of his career. However, he only tallied 28 points (10-19-29) this season in 78 games.
Ward is expected to make a full recovery and will be ready to suit up once training camp gets underway in September.
Other notes from around the league:
- After it was reported earlier this week that Kelly Buchberger is a candidate to join the Islanders’ coaching staff, Newsday’s Arthur Staple reports that former NHL center Scott Gomez is also under consideration for a role on head coach Doug Weight’s staff. Gomez retired back in early September after an NHL career that spanned over 1,000 games. Staple speculates that the 37 year old could potentially be tasked to work on a power play unit that ranked 28th in the league this season with a 14.9% success rate. Gomez is no stranger to power play success as 255 of his 756 career points came with the man advantage.
- The Blues are set to have several notable forwards left unprotected in next month’s expansion draft and Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch suggests in a reader chat (fifth panel) that winger Ryan Reaves is worthy of the final protection slot, even if that means exposing a more productive forward like David Perron. He notes that secondary scoring is typically easier to find in free agency than a forward like Reaves, who took some strides forward offensively this year, setting a career high in points. Rutherford adds Dmitrij Jaskin as another candidate to get the last protected spot up front despite only scoring once in 51 games in 2016-17.
The NHL’s newest team has announced their AHL affiliate for the 2017-18 season. As expected, the Vegas Golden Knights have signed a multi-year partnership with the Chicago Wolves to work as their affiliate. The club wanted to wait until the Wolves season had finished, as it did on Saturday at the hands of the Grand Rapids Griffins. The Wolves made it back to the playoffs under the leadership of former Philadelphia Flyers head coach Craig Berube. The team has previously been the affiliate of the Atlanta Thrashers and Vancouver Canucks, winning two Calder Cups (2002, 2008) along the way.
Chicago has been the affiliate of the St. Louis Blues since 2013, and despite expectations that the two franchises would share the team this season, it won’t be exactly an even split. The Blues have not extended their agreement, but will “associate with the Vegas Golden Knights and supply players to the Golden Knights’ AHL affiliate next season.” Vegas will have full control of Wolves, including staffing decisions.
The Wolves actually play in Rosemont just outside of Chicago, but remain much closer geographically to the Blues than the Golden Knights. As teams try to get their AHL affiliates closer and closer, the Wolves don’t offer much long-term stability for the expansion franchise. Despite the current multi-year deal, a move to somewhere closer to Vegas seems inevitable down the road. There is no word on where the Blues’ next affiliate will be, but it won’t come until 2018-19 at the earliest.
As of this moment, the Golden Knights don’t have any players ticketed for the AHL as just Reid Duke and Vadim Shipachyov are under contract. That will change soon enough though, as the team selects 30 players in the expansion draft and another crop in the entry draft. Duke is likely to spend this year in the minors, as are several of the young options the team has in the expansion draft.
The St. Louis Blues cleared house today, firing coaches Ray Bennett, Steve Thomas, Rick Wilson and Ty Conklin. The quartet had hugely varying experience levels, from Wilson’s 27 seasons as an NHL assistant to Thomas’ three. Conklin may be the most surprising though, as he was part of the team—along with assistant GM Martin Brodeur—to turn around Jake Allen’s season after goaltending coach Jim Corsi was fired. Allen’s second-half turnaround continued into the playoffs and helped the Blues make a splash, recording an amazing .935 save percentage in the postseason.
Brodeur is also not returning as the team’s goalie coach, but is heading up a search for a new one. Many would have presumed that Conklin would have been a front-runner given his familiarity with Allen, but apparently they will go in another direction. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet tweets that both Craig Berube and Darryl Sydor are “good bets” to move up from the Chicago Wolves and take places in the St. Louis coaching staff next season.
- On Wilson, Friedman believes that he may immediately head to Dallas to reunite with Ken Hitchcock a long-time friend and coaching associate. Wilson was behind the Stars bench going all the way back to the Minnesota North Stars days, and was present for Hitchcock’s entire first run with the team. They won a Stanley Cup together in 1999.
- The lack of an announcement for next year’s All-Star Game had people wondering if the league was holding out a sliver of possibility of still heading to the Olympics, but it seems as though the announcement will come soon on the host city. After Friedman broke that it may be heading to the southeast this morning, Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Lightning are the likely candidates. Though it’s “not a done deal yet” Smith writes that Tampa obviously has the capacity to host big events. The city has held several huge sporting events over the years including Super Bowls and Frozen Four tournaments. If the All-Star festivities are announced with the full schedule, it likely means any ray of hope that the league will head to the Olympics is finished. Once plans are set in motion for the city, it would be near-impossible to go back on.
Chicago GM Stan Bowman insists that his firing of assistant coach Mike Kitchen was not a “warning shot” toward head coach Joel Quenneville. He emphasized their strong relationship as GM and coach and will involve Quenneville in the hiring process for insight. Quenneville certainly has a longer leash than most coaches, as he has almost assuredly earned himself in the Hockey Hall of Fame for his 3 championships with the Blackhawks in under a decade. Quenneville was reportedly taken aback by the firing, and there was speculation he was irritated by the move. Bowman will have a difficult task ahead if he hopes to alter his roster in any meaningful way. As noted earlier, their cap situation is incredibly tight.
Whether Quenneville would survive another early playoff exit at this juncture is pure conjecture. After two consecutive disappointments, if the Hawks start off slow, Coach Q could find himself on the hot seat. Bowman has shown in the past that he is quick to change what isn’t working, even if it means moving away from comfort zones.
- The St. Louis Blues are also dealing with the aftermath of an underwhelming playoff run, report the St. Louis Dispatch. The overhaul last summer didn’t result in the success they were anticipating. Jake Allen was perhaps the lone bright spot in a team performance that saw them be dominated by the lower-seeded Nashville Predators. 20 of their players are under contract for next season, and RFA Colton Parayko is the only expiring contract that will draw major focus from management. GM Doug Armstrong is looking desperately for a bonafide top-six center with the cupboards bare in the prospect department at that position. Re-signing Vladimir Sobotka helps this position, and if Ivan Barbashev could take a step forward it would go a long way. Ultimately, the team is still in a position to compete next season, but will need to fine tune their strategies going forward. A solid draft or trading for a top-tier prospect should be the focus this summer.
- Penguins fans are currently dealing with a scare, as Patric Hornqvist is not skating with the group on his off-day. The tough winger has been banged and bruised throughout the season and playoffs, the most visible being the swollen mark under his eye from a skate to the face. Whether this is merely a maintenance day or something more long-term is something that remains to be seen, but his loss would be substantial in a tight-checking series. The also ailing Carl Hagelin took his spot in line rushes this afternoon, slotting in alongside Nick Bonino and Conor Sheary on the third unit. Notably, Carter Rowney also did not skate. He had been inserted in Game 7 of the previous series and performed admirably, helping earn his 4th line multiple shifts at the end of Game 1. His surprising speed along with his physicality have gone a long way toward earning him a 4th-line center position next season with the club. Trevor Daley is supposedly still progressing, but did not take the ice with the team. Considering how many injuries the Penguins are already dealing with, every new bit of bad news is magnified. UPDATE: Hornqvist and Rowney took “maintenance days” while Daley apparently did take the ice on his own.
With the conference championships underway, we’re left with just four teams remaining in the hunt for the Stanley Cup. For the rest, they can take a look at the major trades made up to and on March 1st this year and gauge whether they were a mistake or a success. It’s somewhat of a mixed bag this year, with no deadline acquisition fueling their team to postseason dominance and no scapegoat whose underwhelming performance is to blame for an epic collapse. With that said, over two months later, it is safe to say that there were some clear winner and loser trades at the 2017 NHL Trade Deadline.
Winner: Anaheim Ducks – Patrick Eaves
Eaves has quietly been one of the most consistent contributors in the NHL this season and that did not change when he moved from the Dallas Stars to the Ducks ahead of the deadline. A versatile, two-way winger, Eaves has fit in well in Anaheim as is the lone major deadline addition who is still playing in the conference championships. After scoring 37 points in 59 games with the Stars, about .63 points per game, he registered 14 more in the final 20 regular season games for the Ducks, boosting his scoring to .7 points per game down the stretch in his new home. He even has two goals and two assists in seven playoff games, despite battling injuries. Anaheim may be down 1-0 in their pursuit of the Campbell Bowl and a Stanley Cup berth and their postseason success has bumped the price for Eaves up from a 2017 second-round pick to a first-rounder, but with a one in four chance at a title and a chance to re-sign Eaves, the Ducks cannot be more pleased with how this deal has played out thus far.
Loser: Minnesota Wild – Martin Hanzal
A team that is not so happy with their first-round investment is Minnesota. The Wild had been one of the best teams in the league all season long when they surprised many by acquiring one of the top trade deadline targets in Hanzal. The power forward performed admirably post-trade, putting up half as many points as his season total in Arizona in less than half as many games, 26 in 51 versus 13 in 25. He even added a playoff goal. However, his time in the playoffs, by no fault of his own, was much shorter than expected. The Wild were upset by the St. Louis Blues in five games and just like that they’re Stanley Cup hopes were gone. Falling so short despite high expectations makes the cost of adding a piece that didn’t matter much more difficult to swallow. Minnesota owes the Arizona Coyotes a top pick this season and a second-rounder next season plus another conditional pick and prospect, with little to show for the price.
Winner: New York Rangers – Brendan Smith
While the Rangers were underwhelming in their semi-final series against the Ottawa Senators, one many expected them to win, their exit is still not all that surprising given their status as a wildcard seed. Helping them to upset the Montreal Canadiens in Round One and take the Senators to six games was deadline acquisition Smith. While some initially mocked the deal – a 2018 second-round pick and 2017 third-round pick for a defenseman with just five points – Smith proved to be an excellent fit in New York. He scored four points in 18 games with the Rangers and also played better in his own end, earning him more play time. A disappointing start to the season in Detroit for the career-Red Wing quickly turned into a career revival with impressive play for his new squad. The postseason brought yet another four points and continued high-level play for Smith. Unfortunately, perhaps his worst game as a Ranger came in the elimination loss to the Senators when he was exposed on defense multiple times. Yet, in the big picture he was a success in New York. There is no word yet on whether there is mutual interest between both sides in an extension, especially since the Rangers carry many expensive blue line contract, but regardless this deal has to be considered a win for the Blueshirts.
Loser: Los Angeles Kings – Ben Bishop
Bishop may be happily settling in to his new home in Dallas after signing a nice six-year deal, but his time in Los Angeles did little to help him secure that contact. The Kings and the keeper were strange bedfellows to begin with, as now ex-GM Dean Lombardi traded red-hot backup goalie Peter Budaj, 2015 second-round defenseman Erik Cernak, and a 2017 seventh-round pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Bishop, just as starter Jonathan Quick was returning to health. The Kings needed scoring, not better goaltending, if they wanted to make the playoffs, but ended up with neither from the Bishop trade as he picked up only two wins in seven appearances with L.A. and posted just a .900 save percentage. The Kings finished 10th in the Western Conference and eight points out of a playoff spot, not even all that close to a berth, and now need to find a new backup goalie for 2017-18. The Bishop trade makes as little sense now as it did then and undoubtedly figured in to Lombardi’s firing.
Winner: Boston Bruins – Drew Stafford
The Bruins may have lost in the first round of the playoffs, but they likely wouldn’t have if four of their six starting defenseman didn’t miss all or most of the series. Even with those major injuries, the Ottawa Senators still had a difficult time eliminating the Bruins and Stafford was a thorn in their side with two goals and consistent two-way contribution. Add in four goals, matching his total earlier in the season with the Winnipeg Jets, and four assists in 18 regular season games as well as an outstanding +8 rating, and Stafford was an excellent addition for Boston. Acquired for just a sixth-round pick, Stafford was easily the steal of the trade deadline and ongoing talks of an extension would only add more value to a shrewd deal by GM Don Sweeney.
Loser: Florida Panthers – Thomas Vanek
Vanek was having a great season for the Detroit Red Wings when the Trade Deadline rolled around. He had 38 points in 48 games and was sniping with accuracy unseen over the past five years. When the Florida Panthers struck a deal to acquire that level of talent for just a 2017 third-round pick and struggling prospect Dylan McIlrath, there was a consensus that they had won the trade considering the affordable cost. Yet, the counter to that argument was that, even if he maintained the same rate of production, Vanek alone was likely not enough for the Panthers to make the playoffs. In the end, that proved to be true. Vanek’s scoring dropped off to just two goals and ten points in 20 games and his shooting percentage fell almost ten points, but even if it hadn’t, the Panthers wouldn’t have qualified for the postseason. They finished 13th in the Eastern Conference, 14 points shy of a playoff spot. At the end of the day, acquiring the impending free agent and missing the playoffs by that much was simply a waste of a third-round pick for a team that is still building.
Loser: New York Islanders – No One
The idea that you can’t lose at the Trade Deadline if you don’t make a deal is incorrect. Case in point: the 2016-17 Islanders. New York ended up missing the postseason by just one point and their playoff hopes were alive up to the final day of the season. Had the Isles made a trade, even a small one, that could have won them one more game down the stretch, they might have been a playoff team after all. Given their need to convince star John Tavares to stick around, the Islanders should have been more willing to do something – anything – to transform into a playoff team.
With perhaps the most complete team top-to-bottom in franchise history, the Washington Capitals believed they had all the pieces to finally propel themselves past the arch-rival Pittsburgh Penguins and into the Eastern Conference Final for the first time in Alex Ovechkin’s 12-year NHL career. However, after yet another disappointing defeat at the hands of the Penguins, Washington must now once again go back to the drawing board in search of the right formula. Unlike in years past when the roster’s shortcomings were easy to identify, Capitals GM Brian McLellan will have a much tougher time this summer identifying an obvious solution to the team’s deficiencies, as Isabelle Khurshudyan of The Washington Post writes.
As Khurshudyan notes, since assuming the top job with the Caps, MacLellan has strategically set about filling holes on the roster as he attempted to construct a championship team. First he went to work to address the team’s defense corps, inking veteran blue liners Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik as free agents in the summer of 2014. The next year, the GM brought in Justin Williams and T.J. Oshie via free agency and trade respectively, to “bolster the top-six.” Last summer, MacLellan dealt two draft picks to Montreal for Lars Eller and signed Brett Connolly to add more speed and skill to the team’s third line. The cherry on top was acquiring prized, puck-moving defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk at the trade deadline, adding an impact player to an already stacked lineup while at the same time keeping him from going to a conference rival (it was believed Pittsburgh and the N.Y. Rangers were also in the Shattenkirk sweepstakes). While it all added up to perhaps the best team in the league on paper, in the end Washington couldn’t exorcise their postseason demons and once again are left wondering what could have been.
Clearly MacLellan will again try to construct a Stanley Cup-caliber club but with Oshie, Shattenkirk, Karl Alzner and Williams all scheduled to be UFA’s, and with less than $22MM available in projected cap space, it’s likely the team will lose at least two key contributors from that group. Complicating matters is the fact that Evgeny Kuznetsov, Andre Burakovsky and Dmitry Orlov will be RFA’s and in line for significant raises over their 2017 salaries. Barring some savvy salary cap maneuverings this summer, it’s quite possible the Capitals best chance to win a Stanley Cup with Ovechkin on the roster just passed them by.
More from the Metro:
- Though many suspected the New York Rangers would land the aforementioned Shattenkirk at the trade deadline, the team instead balked at paying the higher price and made a less expensive move for fellow blue liner Brendan Smith. Like many deadline acquisitions, Smith struggled at times while settling into a new organization and adapting to a different system but the veteran blue liner found his stride in the postseason, providing much needed bite and steady play on the back end for the Blueshirts. It’s common knowledge the Rangers will attempt to upgrade the puck-moving ability and mobility on the team’s blue line but Smith showed he may be part of that solution and the Rangers might be wise to consider re-signing the pending UFA. For his part, Smith would welcome a return to Manhattan, according to Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post, saying: “I really enjoyed being here. I like the guys, the group.” After making $2.75MM in 2016-17, Smith will undoubtedly be able to generate offers in the range of $4MM annually on the open market. But at just 28 years old, re-signing Smith to a three or four-year pact at that price point might prove to be more prudent than luring the top prospective UFA blue liner, Shattenkirk, to the Blueshirts.
- While the 2016-17 campaign will go down as a disappointing one for the Philadelphia Flyers, Dave Scott, president and CEO of the club’s parent company, Comcast Spectacor, would rather focus on the successful development of the organization’s younger players, as Sam Carchidi of Philly.com writes. GM Ron Hextall has avoided quick fixes in the free agent and trade markets and instead patiently rebuilt the team, focusing on the draft-and-develop model. Even though the team failed to qualify for a postseason berth, the successful debut of prized defense prospect Ivan Provorov served notice that Hextall’s plan is beginning to bear fruit. Carchidi noted that Scott is also excited about the potential of prospects Oskar Lindblom and Mike Vecchione. It also doesn’t hurt the Flyers rebuild that Philadelphia jumped several spots in the draft lottery, snagging the #2 overall selection and the opportunity to select one of Nolan Patrick, the consensus top talent in this draft for much of the last year, or Nico Hischier to further bolster an impressive pool of young talent. If Hextall can find a competent starting goaltender, either in free agency or via trade, it wouldn’t be out of the question to see Philadelphia make a huge leap in the standings in 2017-18 and qualify for the postseason.
- The New Jersey Devils may not have enjoyed much on-ice success in 2016-17 but those struggles were mitigated at least somewhat by overcoming the odds to win the NHL draft lottery. Now the Devils will have the chance to add an impact offensive talent to a roster that badly needs more skill. But lost in the shuffle of New Jersey’s good fortune is the fact the team also has two second-round choices, their own and Boston’s courtesy of the 2016 trade deadline trade of Lee Stempniak to the Bruins. While not nearly as valuable as the first overall selection, boasting two second-round picks will give the club a chance to add two more good young players to the system. However, as Chris Ryan of NJ.com notes, Devils GM Ray Shero does not have a particularly good track record of success in the second round. Going back to his days as GM in Pittsburgh, Shero and his teams have made a total of eight choices in the second round. Of that group, Scott Harrington (#54 overall in 2011) leads the way in NHL games played (47), goals (1) and points (4). Of course it is fair to point out that Shero’s recent selections are still young enough to carve out successful big league careers. In fact, goaltender Tristan Jarry (#44 overall in 2013) would be in line to assume the understudy role in Pittsburgh, assuming the team moves Marc-Andre Fleury after the season. Still, if New Jersey’s rise back to relevance is to happen sooner rather than later, Shero would do well to find quality players with the team’s two second-rounders in June.
Changes are coming in Colorado, according to Joe Sakic. The Avalanche GM was on Altitude Sports 950 yesterday (h/t Sportsnet) and was quite clear with his plans for this summer. Sakic said there will be a “lot of turnover” this offseason, and that the team is going to get younger. When Sakic named his untouchables earlier in the season, he only listed Nathan MacKinnon, Tyson Jost, and Mikko Rantanen, three of the youngest players on the team.
While there were many rumors of Matt Duchene potentially being moved at the deadline, it seems an inevitability that the young center—if he is indeed considered a center around the league still—is moved before the 2017-18 season begins. Sakic mentioned Jost and J.T. Compher in particular as future centers for the Avalanche, which wouldn’t leave much room for Duchene in the future.
- Sakic also confirmed that the team has reached an agreement with Andrei Mironov, but is just waiting for the official KHL release before announcing the contract. The GM did caution though that anything can happen before the release is announced, though he certainly hopes it will come through in the next few days. Mironov is currently playing in the World Championships with Russia.
- Vladimir Sobotka will be skating against Mironov, as the Blues’ forward is heading to the World Championships for the Czech Republic. Sobotka finally returned from the KHL to help the Blues in the playoffs, who held onto him despite the interest over the years from teams around the league. Sobotka will be a big part of the Blues going forward as he starts in on a three-year contract extension next season. Able to play both center and the wing, he’ll fit in somewhere on a team that will have their sights set on the playoffs once again.
- Matt Murray won’t start game 7 for the Penguins tonight, but he will be in uniform. The goaltender has recovered enough to backup Marc-Andre Fleury, posing a bit of a dilemma for the next series should Pittsburgh defeat the Capitals and move on. After injuring himself in warm up during the first game of the first round, Murray hasn’t played a single minute of these playoffs. The 22-year old led the Penguins to the Stanley Cup last spring, but will now wait for the veteran Fleury to falter in order to get back into the lineup.