Three Stars 1. Mackenzie Blackwood, New Jersey Devils If the Devils are going to dig themselves out of the big hole they made to start 2019-20, it’s highly likely that Blackwood will be the goalie who helps them do it. Lately, the 22-year-old has been rotating nice wins (.968 save percentage or higher in three victories) with tough losses (.889 or lower in three defeats). Friday represented one of the nicest wins yet, as he stopped 38 out of 39 of the Penguins’ shots to help the Devils steal a 2-1 decision. Natural Stat Trick places the Penguins’ expected goals at 3.55, and their high-danger chances at 14 at all strengths, so Blackwood was the clear difference-maker in that narrow triumph. 2. Tomas Tatar, Montreal Canadiens The Habs got revenge on the scoreboard after Alex Ovechkin landed that devastating hit on Jonathan Drouin, and Tatar was a big catalyst for that rally. Yes, his goal was an empty-netter, but Tatar already had a top-three-worthy night when he piled … [Read more...] about The Buzzer: Bruins end slump; Blackwood baffles Penguins
It was the longest wait for a first Stanley Cup win in NHL history. Was. The St. Louis Blues won their first Stanley Cup in their 51st season on Wednesday night, ensuring an eraser would be taken to their name among the pantheon of teams that remain. The Blues came into Game 7 vs. the Boston Bruins tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs for the longest drought without a championship banner at 50 years. The Maple Leafs will take sole possession of that crown now at 51 seasons. The Blues also took their name off the list of teams that have never won a Cup. They went to the finals in the first three years of their franchise history beginning in the 1967-68 season and couldn’t get it done on either occasion, including the last time they were there, losing to the Bobby Orr and the Boston Bruins in 1970. While Toronto sits first, they’re followed closely by the Buffalo Sabres and the Vancouver Canucks, each who have now gone 48 seasons without a Cup win. The Sabres and the Canucks … [Read more...] about Blues latest team erased from Stanley Cup drought list
Friday was the deadline for arbitration eligible restricted free agents to file for salary arbitration. There were 40 players that elected to go that route. The most notable players to file were St. Louis Blues Stanley Cup winning goalie Jordan Binnington, recently acquired New York Rangers defender Jacob Trouba, and Boston Bruins forward Danton Heinen. Binnington’s arbitration case would be by far the most interesting one if it reaches that point. On one hand, he is still a bit of an unknown having played just 59 games (regular season and playoffs combined) in the NHL at the age of 25, so anything the Blues give him on a long-term contract would be a bit of a gamble. But he did help turn the Blues’ season around and backstopped the team to its ever first ever Stanley Cup so he has a pretty strong argument in his corner. Hearing dates have yet to be set, but teams can continue to work on new contracts with each player in an effort to avoid arbitration. Most of these players … [Read more...] about Binnington, Trouba, Heinen among 40 players to file for salary arbitration
With a tight salary cap situation that might just force intriguing forward Nikita Gusev out of town, it’s no surprise that the Vegas Golden Knights are going status quo (and cheap) when it comes to their backup goalie. The Golden Knights are bringing back 25-year-old goalie Malcolm Subban to back up 34-year-old Marc-Andre Fleury in 2019-20, with Subban receiving a one-year, $850K contract. So you can cross Subban’s name off of the salary arbitration hearing list. “We are pleased to announce this one-year contract for Malcolm. He’s been a valuable contributor to our team over the last two seasons,” Golden Knights GM George McPhee said. “We are excited to continue to work with Malcolm and help him reach his full potential as an NHL goaltender.” [ProHockeyTalk’s 2019 NHL free agency tracker] Potential is an interesting word with Subban. The Boston Bruins made him an increasingly rare first-round pick, taking him 24th in 2012. So far, Subban … [Read more...] about Golden Knights bring back Subban; Will Vegas ease Fleury’s burden?
What a difference Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final makes. Heading into Wednesday’s winner takes all contest, PHT wondered if anyone else had a chance to win the Conn Smythe, what with Tuukka Rask‘s numbers towering over everyone else’s stats. I thought that Rask deserved it even if the Boston Bruins lost. The Bruins did lose, and it turns out that Rask didn’t get a single first place vote. Oops. Instead, Ryan O'Reilly took home the Conn Smythe, and the St. Louis Blues beat the Bruins 4-1 to win their first-ever Stanley Cup. Jordan Binnington outplayed Rask by a huge degree in Game 7, and PHWA voters understandably weighed that decisive game heavily. ROR was a fine choice, but for those who like to peek behind the curtain, it might be interesting to look at the results. The PHWA released all of the voting results, with media members selecting a top three: Jordan Binnington received five first-place votes, while Rask joined Alex Pietrangelo among those who … [Read more...] about Conn Smythe voting results shed interesting light on O’Reilly, Rask