Archive for the ‘NHL’ Category

The Carolina Hurricanes may be looking to add to their forward depth.

“They’ve made inquiries, and one of them is Josh Ho-Sang,” TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported on Thursday’s edition of “Insider Trading.” “Jesse Puljujarvi … that’s another player that I’m told the Hurricanes have kicked tires on.”

The New York Islanders selected Ho-Sang 28th overall in 2014, but the forward has struggled to crack their NHL roster. He’s appeared in just 53 games since being drafted.

Puljujarvi, who was taken fourth overall in the 2016 draft by the Edmonton Oilers, has also failed to produce with his club, registering 37 points in 139 games. He began this season playing in the Finnish Elite League, where he’s put up 12 points in 12 games.

“At some point in time, I think the Hurricanes, who are off to a good start, feel they need to add one more top-nine forward in their lineup,” LeBrun added.

The New Jersey Devils have signed 2017 first overall pick Nico Hischier to a seven-year contract extension with an average annual value of $7.25 million, the team announced Friday.

Hischier is in the final year of his entry-level contract. He joins a list of several prominent players to sign new deals before hitting restricted free agency next summer, which includes Alex DeBrincat, Samuel Girard, Clayton Keller, and Thomas Chabot.

Keller, a fellow forward, offers the best comparison. The Arizona Coyotes winger inked an eight-year extension with a cap hit of $7.15 million.

Hischier finished seventh in Calder Trophy voting in 2017-18 after recording 52 points in 82 games. The 20-year-old center picked up 47 points in 69 games last season while the Devils regressed to the NHL’s basement, and he’s tallied two assists in six contests during the team’s tough start this year.`

The Devils now hold $23.7 million in projected cap space for next season, according to CapFriendly, giving them plenty of room to sign pending UFA Taylor Hall.

Vegas Golden Knights forward Valentin Zykov has been suspended 20 games without pay for violating the NHL/NHLPA performance-enhancing substances program, the league announced Thursday.

The team issued the following statement, agreeing with the league’s ruling:

“We were notified by the NHL and NHLPA that Valentin has violated the terms of the NHL/NHLPA performance-enhancing substances program. We monitor the nutrition, supplement intake, and overall diet of our athletes on a continual basis throughout our entire season. Valentin knowingly used a banned substance without the consent, recommendation, or knowledge of our team. We support the NHL/NHLPA performance-enhancing substances program and respect the decision here.”

This is the second time in as many years that a Golden Knights player has been booked for PEDs, as defenseman Nate Schmidt received a 20-game ban to begin last season. 

The team took a vastly different stance with Schmidt’s suspension, though, stating at the time that it “strongly disagreed” with the ruling. During the appeal, it was revealed that only seven-billionths of a milligram of the substance was found in Schmidt’s system – equivalent to a pinch of salt in an Olympic swimming pool. An expert concluded that there was no evidence of intentional use.

Zykov says he isn’t sure how the banned substance got into his body.

“While I haven’t been able to discover how I tested positive, I understand that I am responsible for what is in my body and will accept this penalty,” he said in a statement. “I want to apologize to my family, my teammates, and the Golden Knights organization and fans. I will work hard during my suspension to ensure that I put myself in the best possible position to contribute to my team when my suspension is over.”

However, contrary to Zykov’s own statement, general manager George McPhee said Zykov told him yesterday that he knowingly took the substance and has taken that sort of substance for four years, according to The Athletic’s Jesse Granger.

Zykov’s agent, Rolland Hedges, said his client was taking an “over-the-counter supplement that has been approved” and was unaware of any banned substances in the supplement.

Hedges added that Zykov won’t be appealing the suspension.

The 24-year-old winger had two assists in seven games this season while playing in a bottom-six role.

Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares will miss a minimum of two weeks after suffering a broken finger in Wednesday’s loss to the Washington Capitals, the team announced on Thursday.

Tavares was hurt late in the contest, and medical staff will reassess him after the initial set time frame. The Leafs play six games – including back-to-back games twice – over the next two weeks.

The 29-year-old pivot has been incredibly durable throughout his career, suiting up in at least 77 games in each of the past five seasons. However, he was ruled out of the World Championship in May due to an oblique injury that sidelined him for a month. 

Tavares had registered three goals and four assists before suffering the injury. He’s in his second season with the Maple Leafs and was named team captain earlier this month.

Connor McDavid‘s latest efforts have him in rarefied air.

The Edmonton Oilers superstar tied a career high with five points and established a new career best with four assists in a 6-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night.

McDavid became the second player in Oilers history to notch 17 points through the first seven games of a season, joining Wayne Gretzky, who did it five times in the 1980s.

The Oilers captain also became the 15th different NHL player in the modern era, and the third in the last 26 years, to record 17 or more points through the first seven contests of a campaign, joining Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.

McDavid scored a tremendous goal Wednesday and has five markers to go along with 12 helpers to begin the season. He was held off the scoresheet Monday against the Chicago Blackhawks but has at least a point in every other contest, including multi-point efforts in five of seven.

The 22-year-old’s five-point output Wednesday night vaulted him to the top of the leaderboard in the early Art Ross Trophy race.

The Toronto Maple Leafs and defenseman Jake Muzzin have yet to discuss a contract extension, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported on Wednesday’s edition of “Insider Trading.”

“Jake Muzzin, their best defender early this season, there have been no contract talks at all. Not this summer, not early in the season between his camp and the Toronto Maple Leafs,” LeBrun said.

Muzzin is an impending unrestricted free agent and is eligible to sign an extension at any time. Yet the Leafs are reportedly waiting to see how blue-liners Tyson Barrie and Cody Ceci fit before engaging in contract discussions with any of their other defensemen. Barrie and Ceci were acquired in July and are also impending UFAs.

Toronto’s contract extension with Mitch Marner, among several other transactions over the offseason, presumably pushed a potential Muzzin extension down the team’s list of priorities. However, Morgan Rielly is the club’s only blue-liner under contract beyond this season.

Muzzin was acquired by the Maple Leafs in January for a 2019 first-round pick, as well as prospects Carl Grundstrom and Sean Durzi. He currently carries a cap hit of $4 million.

The 30-year-old has been rock solid for Toronto so far this season. In seven games, Muzzin has notched three points while averaging over 23 minutes per night. He also has strong underlying numbers, sporting a 55.11% Corsi For rating and 52.66% of expected goals, according to Natural Stat Trick.

Toronto has a projected $65.5 million committed to its 2020-21 roster.

Three bench bosses for struggling clubs reportedly aren’t on the hot seat just yet.

Bruce Boudreau of the Minnesota Wild, John Hynes of the New Jersey Devils, and Jim Montgomery of the Dallas Stars are all safe for now, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Bob McKenzie, and Pierre LeBrun.

“In speaking with (Wild general manager) Bill Guerin on Tuesday, he said, ‘Listen, I respect Bruce Boudreau, I’m going to be patient here,’ and when he says ‘patient,’ not just with him but with the entire roster before he starts making big changes,” LeBrun reported on Tuesday’s edition of “Insider Trading.”

McKenzie said there was no truth to the notion shared by a fake Twitter account Tuesday that Hynes had been fired.

“It was not true at all, and it’s not something that general manager Ray Shero is considering at this time,” McKenzie said in the same segment, before adding that while Shero may have to eventually do something to shore up his lineup, “firing the coach at this moment in time is not one of those considerations.”

Dreger then addressed the situation in Dallas.

“The Stars organization believes that they are a better team than their record clearly indicates,” he said. “There’s no sense of panic coming from management or the coaching staff.”

The Wild fell to 1-5-0 following a loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night. Minnesota’s lone win came against the rebuilding Ottawa Senators.

Expectations are high in New Jersey after the Devils traded for P.K. Subban and Nikita Gusev while drafting Jack Hughes first overall. However, the team is winless with only two points in the standings through six games.

The Stars are 1-5-1 through their first seven contests.