All of the big names in the NHL rumor mill from just one month ago may be off the market. The playoff chase and the collapse of the middle of the Western Conference have put several sellers in playoff positions. Big names such as Michel Ferland of the Carolina Hurricanes to whom the Pittsburgh Penguins were continually linked and the St. Louis Blues stars who were on the block are no longer being offered around as Carolina, St. Louis, Minnesota and even Philadelphia have climbed back in the playoff race.
Ferland may still be available but Carolina is within one point of the Penguins for the final playoff spot. One can speculate that Carolina may hang on since no team met their high demands.
Winnipeg and Nashville are the top dogs in the Western Conference and both are getting itchy. Their top prospects could be in play if and when Ottawa makes Matt Duchene and Mark Stone available (Sportsnet)
The Penguins power play gave up its league-leading 12th shortie Saturday night (My favorite take: I saw some blogs RT’d which downplayed that significance. I assure you, the Penguins are not downplaying it). There is one easy fix which may ruffle one player’s feathers but keep the top unit mostly intact and stop the insanity (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
The Penguins power play isn’t the only star-laden troop which is struggling. Toronto fired 23 power-play shots at New York Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev, 56 shots overall and lost (Sporting News)
It’s nice to the Orange County Register provide Anaheim Ducks coverage today. However, the circumstances are a bit ugly. The Ducks collapsed and Randy Carlyle got the boot. GM Bob Murray is going behind the bench to inspect the damage (OC Register)
Older Penguins fans may remember Craig Patrick doing the same in 1989-90 as the Penguins without Mario Lemieux stumbled. Carlyle really had a good structure in Anaheim, it was a joy to do the film study on Marcus Pettersson in December but injuries and a black cloud hung over the team.
By the way, Daniel Sprong is scoring goals. He’s got 13 points (9g, 4a) in 27 games. That’s a low 40’s pace for an entire season– About 30 goals but only 14 assists. Credit to him and Anaheim, I didn’t see it in him when he was here. And I looked for it. I’d love to link to an article examining his season, but a Google search of Ducks coverage turned up no such stories.
TSN’s Frank Seravalli dove into the Western Conference teams pulling back the big names on the market (TSN)
For many NHL owners, playoff revenue is the lifeblood. So, even if a team isn’t a Stanley Cup contender, there aren’t many owners who would say sell, despite being in a playoff seeding. The going rate used to be about $2 million per home game. That figure has probably inched up over the last few years.