Adam Gaudette is starting to show a lot of promise.
Gaudette was taken by Vancouver with the 149th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, but he's developed nicely in the NCAA. He has 23 goals and 49 points in 31 contests with Northeastern University and plays a two-way game. Canucks president Trevor Linden recently saw Gaudette play and was encouraged. "The details in his game are very good and he has a real motor to him in that he never stops," said Linden. "He has a great shot, looks to shoot, can change his angles and plays in all situations. And the coach (Jim Madigan) puts him out in every conceivable situation. He’s still finding his way physically and he can get stronger, but it’s his willingness to work at his game, and with that his confidence continues to grow." That need to develop physically is the key for Gaudette, which makes this coming summer an important one. He'll likely spend at least one more season in the NCAA and after that he might transition to the AHL.
Kris Letang ranks fourth among defensemen in points per game.
Letang is averaging 0.83 points, which is behind just Victor Hedman, Erik Karlsson, and Brent Burns. Of course, Letang isn't near them in total points because he's been limited to just 40 games this season. "This year has been tough," Letang said. "I haven’t had a chance to build up my game." Letang went on to note a play where he failed to connect with Sidney Crosby when the Penguins forward was on a breakaway, but despite Letang's criticisms of himself, he's having a superb season. The issue is as it has unfortunately been for many years of his career: Injuries are holding him back in terms of total production.
Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News is wondering if Shayne Gostisbehere might be better suited as a forward.
As Donnellon notes, Gostisbehere is neither big or physical, but he is offensively gifted. Given that the Flyers also have a good group of defensive prospects on the way, they might also be able to fill the void if Gostisbehere is moved up front. Gostisbehere wouldn't be the first defenseman to make that shift. Two noteworthy examples are Brent Burns and Dustin Byfuglien, who both spent extended times as a forward at points in their respective careers, though both of them are presently serving as blueliners. None of this means that Gostisbehere will end up playing as a forward someday. This is just food for thought.
The Philadelphia Flyers might end up trading Michael Del Zotto prior to the deadline.
Del Zotto is in the final season of a two-year, $7.75 million deal and can become an unrestricted free agent this summer. The offensive defenseman would likely bring a decent return for the Flyers as a rental, but the question is if the Flyers see themselves as sellers. They're only three points back in the Wild Card race, but given the tight competition for that spot, Philadelphia's chances of making the playoffs aren't great.
The New York Islanders are beginning a critical nine-game road trip on Tuesday.
The Islanders are just two points behind in the Wild Card race and have played a game less than the primary team they're currently chasing, the Boston Bruins. However, the Islanders have a terrible 7-13-4 road record this season. If this lengthy trip is reflective of their previous struggles, then the Islanders almost certainly won't be making the playoffs.
Jake Muzzin isn't happy with how the 2016-17 campaign has gone for him.
Muzzin has seven goals, 18 points, and a minus-17 rating in 58 games this season. That's after he reached the 40-point mark in each of his previous two campaigns. "It’s tough to answer because it’s not the level of play I want to be playing at," he said. "I mean, I’ve kind of been struggling with the consistency of the game. I’ve just got to get back to the basics and what makes me a good player and get my foundation back and go from there." He might still rebound to some extent, but he certainly hasn't started that as he has an assist and minus-eight rating in his last seven contests.
Darnell Nurse (ankle) might make his return on Friday or Sunday.
As previously reported, Nurse will miss Edmonton's games on Tuesday and Wednesday, but the fact that he might return shortly after that is encouraging. He hasn't played since Dec. 1, so getting into the swing of things during the final push might be an issue, but Nurse is optimistic about that. "It’s a tough time to come back because everybody’s pushing and teams are going full steam, but it’s not like I haven’t played in the league before or I’ve been out all year. Way I look at it is I’ll be fresh, I can bring some legs and energy," said Nurse.
The Calgary Flames will no longer be employing a "win and you’re in" policy with regards to the goaltending situation.
Flames coach Glen Gulutzan began that policy about a month ago, but he's decided to make a change. "Internally, we used that, ‘win and you’re in,’ to get out of that little spin we were in," Gulutzan said. "We needed somebody to grab a hold of it and we got what we wanted out of that." We might see Brian Elliott start on Tuesday after Elliott and Calgary suffered a 2-1 overtime loss to Vancouver on Saturday.