Thursday, September 21, 2017

Morning Preseason Injury Notes (Sep 21)

The Boston Bruins gave an injury update on Thursday morning and it sounds like Torey Krug will be on the shelf for a little bit yet.  Krug took a puck to the face on Tuesday night and it was found that he suffered a fractured jaw and he will be reevaluated in three weeks time.  It goes without saying that he'll miss the remainder of the preseason and it sounds like he'll be missing at least the first week of the regular season as well.

I'm taking his projections down a little bit, as it could take him a little extra time to get going this season, especially given that he'll miss these next few weeks and he might have to shake off a little extra rust, when he comes back into the fold.

Last Night's Preseason Performers (Sep 21)

There was no Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin... no Phil Kessel or Patric Hornqvist.  That didn't matter, Jake Guentzel is trying to lift himself among those names and a 5-point effort against the Red Wings will give him a hand up on that idea.  The Penguins, on the shoulders of their budding young superstar, narrowly beat the Red Wings, 6-5 in overtime, for an exhibition win.

Also having a good game for the Penguins were Conor Sheary, who had a 3-point night, while a 23-year old rookie Adam Johnson and Justin Schultz had a couple of points each.  The depth in Pittsburgh looks promising again this year, which is definitely a scary thought.

The Red Wings still scored a handful of goals as well, which shouldn't be overlooked.  Gustav Nyquist, who may have been a tad disappointing in 2017, had a good start to his preseason with 2 goals and 2 assists on the night.  The Red Wings, if they want to be competitive this season, will need him.  Prospect defenseman Joe Hicketts also chipped in with a pair of assists as well, but he'll have a hard time cracking this blueline this season.

The Devils and Rangers took part in what looked to be a very back-and-forth affair at Madison Square Garden last night, with the Rangers capping off the game with an overtime winner, taking the game, 4-3.

The Rangers' big prize in the off-season, defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, got off to a great start, notching 3 assists in the win.  Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello each came away with 2 points a piece, as the vets were the ones coming up big for the home side in their win.

New signing Drew Stafford and tryout member Jimmy Hayes were both decent for the Devils in this one, each posting 2 points in the loss.  The Devils have some bubble spots for Hayes, if he can earn a job, but there could be a push from their youth, which might also keep Hayes unemployed too.

The Islanders and Flyers had a neutral site game as the first game of their split squad double-header on Wednesday night, playing at the PPL Center in Allenstown, PA, with the Flyers, of course, being the home team.  The home-ice advantage worked out in their favour, with a 3-2 overtime victory over Long Island.

Taylor Leier finished with a pair of goals, while Shayne Gostisbehere had one and one and Dale Weise had a pair of helpers.  There are a couple bubble spots up front for Leier to try and capitalize on and a pair of goals will get him a longer look, I'm sure.

At the Barclay's Center, the Islanders were going to take advantage of their home half of the split squad affair with the Flyers and they certainly did, taking their game 3-2 as well, but theirs was done in regulation.

The Islanders didn't have a multi-point player in the win, but the Flyers had an impressive outing from sophomore forward Travis Konecny, who had a goal and an assist in the loss.  Konecny might have a tough time finding some big time minutes, especially with Nolan Patrick coming to town.

The Lightning and the Hurricanes were at it again on Wednesday night and the result was somewhat similar, as the visiting team was the one walking away with the victory in the preseason match-up.  The Lightning posted a 4-3 victory in the game, but the scoring was so even, that no player finished with more than a single point for the winning side.

The home side, however, did have one familiar name hit the scoresheet more than once and that was Elias Lindholm, who posted a couple of helpers in the game.  Lindholm is one of three Hurricanes players that I have projected in the 50-point range and if the Hurricanes can get their game together, the 22-year old could easily surpass expectations.

The Washington Capitals took a pretty good squad to the Bell Centre in Montreal on Wednesday night and they were rewarded with a pretty full effort from their guys, taking a 4-2 win away from this one.

Evgeny Kuznetsov was the headliner in this game, as the only player with multiple points in the win, as he finished with a goal and a pair of helpers.  Kuznetsov and his restricted free agent contract was one of a couple that incited some change within the Capitals roster this summer and he's off to a start, where the team can feel confident that they made the right decision.

The St. Louis Blues held their own with the Columbus Blue Jackets in town on Wednesday night, but still needed overtime to dispatch their division rivals, 3-2.

Vladimir Tarasenko scored a pair of goals, including the overtime winner, while Jaden Schwartz had a pair of assists as well.  The Blues will need both of these guys to hit their stride early on, if they are going to make a splash, back into the playoffs this year,

The Jackets saw a pair of goals from Zac Dalpe, a bubble player in this training camp, and Sonny Milano, a long-time prospect in their system, still looking to finally crack this roster.  Neither are expected to make an impact, but you never know.

It was a fairly veteran-laden roster for the host Winnipeg Jets, but that wasn't enough for a win for the home fans on Wednesday night, as they dropped a 4-1 decision to an Edmonton Oilers team that didn't bring all of its weapons.

Okay, the Oilers didn't have all their big weapons, but this was a good time for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to reassert himself into a top six spot in the lineup for opening night and he did well, with a trio of assists in the win to lead the way.  Newcomer Jussi Jokinen was also on top of his game, scoring a goal and adding a pair of assists, while veteran forward Mark Letestu had a goal and an assist as well.

The young Canucks were in Calgary, as the veterans were getting ready in China, taking on the Flames in a different kind of preseason tilt for both sides.  The Canucks were giving extended time to the young guys to make an impact, while the Flames were already trying to pare down their roster for those key roster cuts in the coming days.  A quick start for the Flames wasn't enough, as the kids clawed their way back from a 3-1 deficit to win 5-3 on Wednesday.

Young defenseman Jalen Chatfield was the best Canucks player on the scoresheet, picking up a goal and a pair of assists, while Jake Virtanen went one and one and Cole Cassels had a pair of assists.

Flames junior prospect Dillon Dube had a couple of assists, while the Flames jumped out to that big lead, but obviously, it wasn't enough.

Lots of chatter about an improved Arizona Coyotes team on paper and that product may have translated fairly well on the ice last night, as their group laid a 5-1 beating on a fairly young Anaheim Ducks team.

For the Coyotes, it was all names that you are hoping to see as a poolie, as both Clayton Keller and Christian Fischer each had a pair of goals and an assist for 3-point nights, while Max Domi had a goal and an assist to also make his mark on the blog post.  Let's see how the Coyotes fare against some more veteran laden teams, but they are off to a good start anyways.

This game was more about this morning, than it was last night, but since the post was going to be published after the game finished, we'll count it here.

It was a 5:30am MT start for the Canucks and Kings in Shanghai this morning, the first of two games to be played in China, helping to grow the game ahead of the 2022 Olympic Games in China and one could argue that the display of the new penalty calls may not have been the wisest way to get the game growing, but that's neither here nor there.  It's a big deal and any hockey is better than no hockey!

It was the Kings getting the better of the Canucks in the first game, as they had a bit more jump in their game, capitalizing on some turnovers and a somewhat lethargic opponent.  Defenseman Alec Martinez came out as the top player in the game, finishing with a goal and 2 assists, while Tanner Pearson had a pair of goals, Jeff Carter went one and one and Jake Muzzin had a couple of assists as well.  Jonathan Quick made 31 saves, playing the entire game and earning the win as well.

Game two will go on Saturday morning, a 1:30am MT start, which should be part of the Saturday morning post.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Noon Preseason Injury Notes (Sep 20)

The St. Louis Blues have been far from fortunate in this training camp/preseason time of year, as they have lost another key veteran for the start of the regular season, as Alexander Steen left last night's game against the Stars with a hand injury and the team won't be reevaluating him for another three weeks.

Steen will now miss the remainder of the preseason and at least the first week of the regular season, which kicks off on October 4th.  If he's not reevaluated until the 11th, the likely start will be the 12th in Florida.

I have Steen projected at about 50 points this season, but he is a member of the Injury Prone List, so do take that into account, when you're looking at him at draft time.

Morning Preseason Injury Notes (Sep 20)

Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug left last night's game against the Red Wings after taking a puck to the face in the 2nd period and he didn't return to action on the night.  There was no immediate update in the evening, but it will be one thing to look for in the next day or two, as the Bruins ramp up their preseason action, moving towards the regular season.

I have Krug projected for another 50-point season (or thereabouts), so his facial situation is an important one, leading up to the draft.  Can't imagine that it is too serious, unless a concussion was suffered, which isn't necessarily new in this case, but fairly rare.

The Florida Panthers also lost a key piece of their puzzle on Tuesday night, as Vincent Trocheck left the second half of the Nashvile double-header with an upper-body injury, not to return.  Couldn't find any immediate information about the the injury, so we'll wait and see what the team says, before we start making any speculations.  He'll be day-to-day with the upper-body injury, until otherwise posted.

The expectation for Trocheck this season is that he's going to hit the 60-point mark for the Panthers, which would be a huge lift for them, as they will need to dig deep for some offense this season.  Here's hoping that this injury doesn't derail that process.

Last Night's Preseason Performers (Sep 20)

How about the rare preseason double-header in the NHL? The Nashville Predators were playing host to the Florida Panthers at the Bridgestone Arena for two games and in the early one, the visitors were making the best of the early start, winning the game, 5-3.

The Panthers were led by AHL regular Connor Brickley, who picked up a pair of goals and an assist in the win.  He's got a low-cost, minor league-esque deal, but if he can string a few of these games together, he'd be a cheap piece of the lineup for the Panthers.  The Panthers also saw multi-point games from Denis Malgin and tryout Jonathan Ang as well.

A couple of Nashville regulars got their names on the board nice and early in this preseason, as Viktor Arvidsson had a goal and an assist, while P.K. Subban had a couple of assists.  The Predators could very well be the real deal again in the 2018 season with these two already firing.

Do you want to know how to get an NHL contract from a professional tryout agreement? You go out in your first preseason game, play a ton, lead the team in scoring for the night and play it off like it's no big deal.

Cody Franson was one of four Blackhawks players to register 2 points in a 5-2 win over the Blue Jackets on Tuesday night, as he tries his best to earn a contract for the coming season.  Nick Schmaltz, Tomas Jurco and prospect Graham Knott were the other three to hit the scoresheet twice, as the Blackhawks look solid early on.

Seth Jones scored the 2 goals for the Jackets, getting off to a great start to the preseason, while Carter Camper picked up a couple of assists as well.

The Boston Bruins welcomed the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night and they took advantage of a Detroit team that struggled in the off-season with their cap situation, beating them 4-2 in this one.

It wasn't a big night on the score sheet, as the Bruins were led by Austin Czarnik, who had a goal and an assist in the win, while the Red Wings had a notable player in Anthony Mantha, who also went one and one in this one.  It's a couple of young players who have a leg up on a spot, heading into camp, doing their best to keep it that way.

Anton Khudobin got the whole game in this one, making 20 saves for the victory.  Of course, he's the leader for the back-up job this year.

It was a southern Atlantic Division match-up down in Tampa tonight, with the Hurricanes and the Lightning going head-to-head.  It was the Teuvo Teravainen and Trevor Carrick show for the Hurricanes early on, both posting a pair of points on the opening two goals of the game and that was all Carolina needed in this one, as they won, 2-1.

Teravainen is a lock for this roster this season, while I do have Carrick penciled in as the seventh defenseman for this club, a 2-point game certainly helps his cause to start the preseason.

In the evening half of the double-header, the home side were able to sneak one game out as a victory for their fans, as the second group of Predators were able to post a 3-2 overtime victory over the Panthers.

The connection of Miikka Salomaki and Freddie Gaudreau were the big story for this game, as Salomaki scored a pair, including the winner, while Gaudreau assisted on both.  Both players started the preseason on the bubble for the Predators and either could go either way, staying up or going down, but with a good performance like this, it'll certainly help their cause.

Looked like it was a pretty solid shootout in the Big D on Tuesday night, as the Blues and Stars went head-to-head in a Central Division preview battle last night.  A 3-goal outburst by the Stars in the 3rd period was what led to a big 5-3 win, as Dallas is out to prove that they will be a team that will be one to be reckoned with, offensively that is.

Returning from injury last season, forward Mattias Janmark had a goal and an assist in his first action in quite some time, while defenseman Stephen Johns added a pair of assists in the win.  Janmark is going to be one of those sneaky picks this year, one that you might be able to sneak out late, but he's probably a guy you want to have a firm idea of a projection on and snap him up there.

One rookie that is really turning heads in camp and now in the preseason is Blues forward Samuel Blais, who had a goal and an assist last night.  With the long-term injury to Zach Sanford, that may have opened up a spot for Blais, who appears to be nestling himself in for a long winter.

It was sure nice of the NHL to ease the Golden Knights into the preseason, giving them two of the weaker teams from last season to get their feet wet and earn a couple of wins, as both the Canucks and Avalanche work on developing their depth.  Last night, it was the latter of the two teams that felt the wrath of the Knights, losing 4-1, and making Vegas 2-0-0 to start the preseason.

Tomas Hyka makes a return to the post, scoring a goal and an assist in this one, while Jason Garrison debuted for the club last night with a pair of assists.  Both players appear to be locks for the roster, but there are still questions about what level Garrison is going to be able to play at, especially on this team.  Will he be pool worthy by the end of the year?

The Anaheim Ducks, on paper, at least, are still one of the favourites for being there at the end of it all, still standing as the lone Western Conference team in June.  So, getting thumped 5-0 in the preseason by state rivals from San Jose shouldn't really be a concern.. it's only the preseason.  Still, the Sharks are probably not going to be slouches this year.

Backup goalie Aaron Dell got the call for the whole game for the Sharks, making 24 saves for the shutout win over a less than impressive Ducks lineup on Tuesday night.  The Sharks didn't dress a great deal of stars either, as they were led by Danny O'Regan and Barclay Goodrow up front and Tim Heed from the blueline, the only other three players with 2 points in the game.  All three are solid bubble players with NHL time under their belts already.