Sunday, April 01, 2018
Morning Player Notes in the Draft (Apr 1)
Arizona Coyotes forward Christian Dvorak missed his first game of the regular season on Saturday, dealing with a lower-body injury. Dvorak has quietly gone about having a reasonably productive season, scoring 15 goals and 37 points in 78 games, ranking 216th overall after Saturday's action. He's currently listed as out day-to-day and I'm sure he'd like to finish this season on a strong note, as he could be one of the key players for the team moving forward, once they can get this franchise rolling in a positive direction.
Brenda & Seward picked up Dvorak in the Waiver Draft and couldn't be too disappointed for what they collected since he was activated... 12 goals and 22 points in 48 games. He wasn't the best player taken in the Week Nine swap, but he was productive.
The Edmonton Oilers decided against dressing forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on Saturday night, for the final Battle of Alberta game against the Flames. He is reportedly dealing with a lower-body issue and was deemed unfit to go. Nugent-Hopkins and the Oilers don't have a whole lot left to play for, so there was no sense in risking further injury or at least, that's what the team is going with on this one. The Oilers pivot had an okay season, playing in only 60 games, scoring 22 goals and 45 points, currently good enough for 161st overall in pool scoring.
Unfortunately for Stacey C., this was not a bargain pick for him, as his personal instructions for his picking team got him about a round (or more) too early, in the 137th overall spot. In all likelihood, Stacey's team will finish where it is right now, in 22nd.
Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter went into the end boards behind his own net rather awkwardly against the Dallas Stars on Saturday night and it looks like an ankle injury will sideline him for a while. Some of the early reports after the game were suggesting that the Wild do not expect him back in their lineup for the remainder of the regular season, which will work out to the next four games, and he's questionable to be ready for the playoffs.
This is a pretty big blow to Dale B.'s team, with only a week left to go. His team lost 2nd place to Benson and now lost a key player like Suter for the last week. His team holds a 10-point lead over 4th place and now it's going to get dicey.
In order to make room for Eeli Tolvanen and give one of their key players the night off for a rest, the Nashville Predators opted to make Filip Forsberg their scratch for the night, forcing him to miss the game against the lowly Buffalo Sabres. You could certainly argue that they took that game for granted, losing 7-4, but a key player rested and a new and exciting player made his debut, so it wasn't all bad, I guess. Okay, that's not entirely true... there was some more bad news. Viktor Arvidsson also left the game with an undisclosed injury and didn't return, but there was no update on his condition either.
Benson's team didn't seem to care so much, as they rolled on without Forsberg, moving into a share of the Mover & Shaker lead and into 2nd place overall with the big Saturday. I would imagine Forsberg will be back next week too. Kristy & Don may have lost a key piece for a bit, in Arvidsson, as their team narrowly holds down 7th place.
Pittsburgh Penguins scoring forward Phil Kessel was also off a bit prematurely on Saturday night, leaving the game against the Canadiens in the 3rd period, shortly after scoring the 4-2 goal for his team. There was very little mention of it in the material I had gone through and the Pittsburgh coaching staff is pretty tight-lipped. With the playoffs just around the corner, I don't imagine we'll see too much and if anything, it could be a good rest for Kessel... if we're looking for positives.
Dale C.'s team fell down below the equator this season, but his 30-point week in Week Twenty-Six has at least got his team back in the conversation for 13th (or better). If the Kessel injury isn't significant and he can come back right away, the 3-point gap between his team and 13th is one good game away.
So, it sounds like the official word from the Canucks was that goaltender Anders Nilsson was feeling under the weather and that was enough to allow the team to recall Thatcher Demko from the AHL and give him his first NHL start against Columbus. Nilsson is currently day-to-day and could very well be back before too long, but it will be interesting to see how long Demko can stay up for.
Just like Dale C.'s team above, Brian's team is also hunting for the equator in the pool standings, 13th place. His team is 15th and is only 1 point back of Dale's team, so the race for absolute mediocrity is on for the last week of the season. I'm not sure how interesting it will be, but it's something.
It was a good day for returns as well, as the Boston Bruins welcomed both David Backes and Jake DeBrusk back to their lineup, which was good news for Neil and Cam for their final week of the season. Johnny Gaudreau came back from his family matter back east, which gives Steve a body back. Wes got his goon Micheal Haley back and he was productive for the Panthers last night, picking up 7 minutes. Joonas Donskoi missed a few weeks for the Sharks, but was back last night and picked up a point for Eric's team. And finally, Jacob Trouba also returned to the Jets lineup for the match-up against Toronto, more good news for Stacey M..