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Dan’s Daily: Penguins Load Up Prospects, Flyers Trade Talk, Playoff Meltdowns

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John Tortorella, Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguinsa analysis, NHL news

The Pittsburgh Penguins loaded up the prospect pool Monday for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins playoff series against Lehigh Valley. The Penguins brought in four intriguing prospects, including Ville Koivunen, whom we’re going to put eyes on later Tuesday morning (I’m writing the Daily at 4:30 a.m. so I can get to the WBS practice and chat with a few). Elsewhere in the Daily, the Philadelphia Flyers are stirring the NHL trade rumors with possible big-name moves, New York Islanders had a commanding lead but absolutely melted in the third period. Auston Matthews dragged his Maple Leafs team past the Bruins with a late charge, and VGK LTIR king Mark Stone scored in Game 1.

I kid about Mark Stone. He timed his injury and rehab to be ready for Game 1. He was legitimately injured. However, the Flyers aren’t messing around.

I’m off to WBS a day earlier than planned. The Penguins prospect assignments on Monday convinced me to be at practice at 10 a.m. Now, don’t think I’m doing this to stay in the fancy four-star Wilkes-Vegas resorts. I’m staying in the cheapest possible place with a rating above 6.5—the lovely Motel 6 near Mohegan Sun Arena. A double bed, bad cable TV, and the nearby Wendy’s awaits.

If you ever doubt what the job means to me…  Join this band of Pittsburgh media rebels–much of the WBS content will be paywalled. I’ll give you $10 off as you help fund this scouting adventure. Join PHN+.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Load ’em up. Playoff hockey and big-name prospects. Owen Pickering and Villie Koivunen headline the Penguins prospect class the team signed or assigned to the WBS Penguins.

Here’s the Final Word appearance that had Paul Zeise and Chris Carter shaking their head and me laughing maniacally (on the inside). I don’t get to watch as much other sports as I’d like, but I keep up, so I hijacked the show for 30 seconds to make a surprise point.

Dave Molinari and I have begun the offseason analysis and grading process. He began with a young player who progessed, and progressed a bit more until he was a bonafide staple of the lineup. Dave talked with Drew O’Connor about his big leap.

And that’s how it’s suppsoed to work. The NHL isn’t a developmental league. OC is on a similar career arc as Bryan Rust.

Player Grades: I began by grading a more controversial player. Fifteen points in the first 13 games. Sixteen points in the last 14. But in between was a rocky road of apologies, frustration and acceptance. Here’s the grade for Evgeni Malkin and what comes next.

And Erik Karlsson will join team Sweden for the World Championships.

NHL Trade Talk, News & National Hockey Now

Philly Hockey Now: The trade winds are blowing in Philadlephia. A rebuild, a late collapse and the Cinderella season for naught. A few names on the block make sense, but Joel Farabee?? The Flyers trade talk.

NYI Hockey Now: A third period meltdown. The New York Islanders had too many this season and it killed thme in Game 2 against the Carolina Hurricanes. The game was encouraging then discouraging for the Islanders.

Boston Hockey Now: It seemed Boston was in complete control … and then they weren’t. Auston Matthews’s breakaway goal put Toronto ahead and it was a defeat chowder for the Boston Bruins.

Vegas Hockey Now: Mark Stone scored in his first game back. Poor Dallas. They’re really, really good, but they have to go through Vegas in Round One?! It was a Game 1 win as the vets came through for the Vegas Golden Knights.

NHL.com: The Edmonton Oilers boatraced the LA Kings out of the barn. We’re going to have a battle royal with Edmonton, Vegas and Colorado, aren’t we? The Oilers are hot.

Buffalo Hockey Now: Is this deja vu all over again? This is noteworthy for the team and for the Penguins, as a talented team is getting a discipined coach. For 16 years, Lindy Ruff was the coach of the Buffalo Sabres. Guess the new coach of the Buffalo Sabres–yes, Lindy Ruff.