James Quick continues to lead our FHS Playoff Pool as a pretty incredible 13 of his 21 players are still alive including all three of his goalies (Quick, Lundqvist & M.Smith)... Kenny Dzwonkowski holds down 2nd and Zach Wiggs has pulled into 3rd
No movement in our FHS Staff Invitational League either as i12swim continues to dominate and nobody looks like they have the stamina to catch him
Congrats to Russia on taking the WC gold yesterday as they breezed through the tourney winning 10 straight with a 44-14 goal differential... not too shabby. Evgeni Malkin was the MVP & leading scorer with 11+8=19 in 10 games. I'll have more on some learnings from the WC in the coming days.
Anze Kopitar was held off the scoresheet for the first time in his last seven games yesterday and while Dustin Brown has been a real beast in the playoffs, Kopitar has also really stepped up with 4+6=10 & plus-8 in his last seven games.
It was a tough loss for Jonathan Quick yesterday, his first in nine games but he kept his streak alive of not allowing more than two goals in a game (now at nine games) and in what must be a total coincidence, the Kings have not allowed more than 29 shots in any of the past nine games either!?!
Poor showing in the playoffs from Carl Hagelin as the Rangers rookie has just 3A in 14 playoff games... he really impressed in the regular season and looked like he was on his way to big things but this has to make you go... hmmm.
Hagelin's surprising rookie shoes have been filled by Chris Kreider as the kid now has goals in three straight games and five for the postseason. Again, I could be very wrong here but, I ain't climbing aboard the Kreider bandwagon as the kid's production has never been anything special. In fact, if I owned him in any league (which I don't) I'd be shopping him as it will be difficult for the kid to live up to the massive hype next season.
Dwight King has been a bit of a revelation in the playoffs with five goals in his last six games. Despite that I wouldn't get too excited about this kid's long term prospects as he hasn't been a big goal scorer at the AHL level over the past three seasons and doesn't do much else either.
It sounds as though Alexander Semin and the Caps will end their relationship over the summer as the UFA doesn't look likely to re-sign. He has slumped to 54 points in each of the past two seasons after 73+ points in three of the previous four years. Lots of talent here so somebody will surely give him a major role (and major money) but we'll have to see if he has his head on straight before projecting a comeback season.
May this have been the last we see of Nikita Filatov as he has signed to play for Ufa in the KHL next year? Disappointing as there is a lot of potential there but his attitude and the lack of opportunities held him back.
One of the next Russian phenoms who will be looking to not pull a "Filatov", Blues prospect Vladimir Tarasenko, hasn't decided if he'll commit to the NHL for next season. A potential work stoppage could throw a wrench into the Blues plans to get him across the pond. The kid had a great season as he was top 10 in KHL scoring during the regular season (23+24=47 in 54 games) and then went off during the playoffs with 10+6=16 in 15 games.
The Lightning are looking at all sorts of avenues to address their goaltending situation as there is chatter that they might be interested in bringing Riku Helenius back over from Europe. Helenuis was a former 1st round pick of Tampa back in 2006 who was so-so in two seasons in NA before more of the same in Europe the past two years. But maybe the 24-year-old has found a new gear as he was lights-out in the SM-Liiga this year leading his team to the championship (.947 in 13 playoff games) and was named the league's top tender along the way (.936 in 33 regular season games). If Yzerman does convince him to come over, I'm betting he has to start in the minors.
Speaking of starting the in minors, it sounds like that's where the Panthers want Jacob Markstrom next season. The kid has looked great (.936 in his last 27 AHL regular season games this year) but has missed chunks of time with injuries during his two AHL seasons and the team would like him to get a full year as the #1 guy under his belt... remain patient here, it should be worth the wait.
The Avs are employing the sign-and-see-what-sticks method for their scouting of goaltenders as they recently signed three of their draft picks, Sami Aittokallio, Kieran Millan & Kent Patterson, to ELCs and will now have to find a place for them all to play as they'll likely have Cedrick Desjardins & Calvin Pickard minding the store in the AHL. Out of these three, Aittokallio is the one I'd pay attention to as he is just 19 and has two seasons as a backup in the SM-Liiga on his resume.
Saku Koivu has re-signed with the Ducks for another season, the 37-year-old was still an effective playmaker at evens last year but his PP duties have been diminished and he doesn't really do enough in any peripheral categories to warrant a roster spot in most fantasy leagues.
Milan Hejduk also re-upped with the Avs and while he's coming off the worst season of his career, he isn't ancient yet (just 36) and I think there is potential here for a bounceback year. I'm not talking 70 points, just to somewhere around 50 is reasonable and I like the fact that he's been relatively healthy lately, 81 games last year and 70+ games in eight of his last nine NHL seasons.
It will be a long summer of rehab for Ryan Kesler as he had shoulder surgery which is expected to take six months to fully recover from and he is already hinting that he won't be pushing to come back early and it may not be until December before he returns.
Claude Giroux was apparently playing in the playoffs with a pair of injured wrists, which both required surgery. Six weeks of recovery time is the prognosis so his offseason training shouldn't be put off too much.
Kari Lehtonen suffered a knee injury at the WCs and was held out of the remaining Finland games but it is not believed to be anything serious and he should be fine. Knee injuries with this guy don't trouble me too much, it's been back & groin injuries that have felled him in the past.