With five days left in the NHL Regular Season, many people are already turning their attention to the opening round of the Playoffs which start early next week. The Pittsburgh Penguins will be back to try to defend their title from last year’s playoffs, as other teams like the Canadians and Senators seem poised to make a run of their own at the crown.
Only three playoff spots currently remain unsettled, and all of them being from the Eastern Conference. The other 13 spots have been clinched with 5 days to go still in the rest of the season.
Between injuries and turnover-related benchings, defenseman Michael Del Zotto has had a disappointing third season with the Flyers.
The Ontario native, an unrestricted free agent July 1, hopes to re-sign with the Flyers and mentor the young defensemen who are expected to be with the team next season.
Hextall said over the weekend in Pittsburgh, he would be inclined to sell. Tuesday’s 4-0 massacre of Colorado has to be taken with a large dose of reality (see story). The Avs are the worst team in the league.
Florida and Washington will offer considerably more of a challenge this week.
“We haven’t gotten results,” Hextall said last Friday. “We need to get results. It’s not about moral victories or playing good against Washington. That’s fine and dandy but not good enough. We have to win games.”
Kings are trying to trade Marian Gaborik. Kings are trying to improve the team again today.
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) March 1, 2017
— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) February 28, 2017
Multiple sources in the NHL are telling me the Lightning are not done. They're still working the phone to look at trade possibilities.
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) February 28, 2017
Also on Wings: Multiple teams after Sheahan, Tatar and Nyquist still being talked about, Ott's out there. There's activity in Detroit.
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) February 28, 2017
If the price tag is reasonable to rent, say, Dallas’ Patrick Sharp or Arizona’s Radim Vrbata, the Blueshirts could then shift Michael Grabner to the fourth line with Oscar Lindberg (presuming he wouldn’t be part of the return package) and Jesper Fast.
Interested to see if Garth Snow goes big game hunting. Oilers say Eberle isn't moving. Duchene is a good fit for Isles…1/2
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) February 28, 2017
Coreau is finishing up his fourth year of pro hockey, ending his waiver exemption. The Wings need to shed one goaltender, if not through the expansion draft, then via trade. If Howard is able to come back and continue playing as well as he was, it would help his trade value. If not, Mrazek could be shopped, and the Wings would go into next season with Howard and Coreau.
Having put Joffrey Lupul, Stephane Robidas and Nathan Horton on long-term injured reserve at the beginning of the season, the Maple Leafs have more than $13 million in cap space to work with in the midst of a playoff race.
“We will just have to wait and see if there are any opportunities,” the typically tight-lipped GM said Sunday. “You make a call, you get a call. It’s nothing new. It’s that time of the year.”
While his team took off Sunday for a three-game trip to California, starting Tuesday in San Jose, Lamoriello remained in Toronto to deal with possible trades.
It still might come down to which young defenseman — or defensemen — the Carolina Hurricanes ultimately are willing to include in a package for Duchene. Go too far down the Hurricanes’ organizational list, and it’s a setup for failure. It’s remains doubtful the ‘Canes will agree to part with Erie High grad Jaccob Slavin, but that still should be the goal … as a start.
Beyond that, the Avalanche will continue its attempt to unload — or, to put it more nicely, find an immediate new home for — its pending veteran unrestricted free agents. From the current roster, that list starts with, most notably, Jarome Iginla, but also includes Fedor Tyutin, John Mitchell, Rene Bourque, Cody Goloubef and Jeremy Smith.