Scrivens Breaks NHL Record

Goaltender Ben Scrivens breaks an NHL record by making 59 saves in a 3-0 victory against the San Jose Sharks. The previous record was held by Phoenix’s current goaltender Mike Smith who made 53 saves. The Oilers finally have some hot goaltending to ride on which may be the key to the end of their rebuild. Scrivens was acquired from L.A. for a 3rd round draft pick only a few weeks ago to replace Devan Dubnyk.

Quick Rumor Update

I have heard Shane O’Brien’s name being discussed and now these reports are true as Brian Burke says that the Flames will try to make a trade with a contender giving them Shane O’Brien. Despite clearing through waivers along with Detroit’s Mikael Samuelsson, Burke still believes he can get a deal done and that O’Brien’s contract was the killer of any chance for him to be claimed. I’m also hearing Winnipeg may take action before the Olympic Trade Freeze in February. Ryan Miller rumors are heating up and St. Louis looks to be the front runner so far. I’ll keep you posted on these rumors, stay tuned.

Habs & Avs In Talks

Well today there has been a lot of buzz about the Avs reportedly trying to trade off winger P.A. Parenteau. A rumor was spread saying that the Avs offered Parenteau for Rene Bourque. Apparently the rumor also said the Habs had declined the trade offer. This doesn’t make much sense because Parenteau had a great season last year and even this year with his scoring slump, statistics show he is a much better player than Bourque. Maybe the Canadiens were concerned about Parenteau’s salary but if I were the Habs I would’ve still made the move for a player who could help the Habs make a deep playoff run this season. On the other hand it doesn’t make sense to me as to why the Avalanche want to trade Parenteau for Bourque. Parenteau and Bourque are both wingers so it isn’t about the position the player plays and Parenteau has more points then Bourqe so it’s obviously not about production either. So that leaves you with maybe Bourque’s potential to be a better player and their leadership skills. I don’t know how either guys are in the locker room so that may be a factor as well. This rumor may have been false about the deal being rejected but many sources have told me that the Habs and speaking to the Avs about a trade. More to come later…

NHL Standings January 19th

1.) Anaheim Ducks 79 PTS

2.) Chicago Blackhawks 75 PTS

3.) Pittsburgh Penguins 70 PTS

4.) St. Louis Blues 69 PTS

5.) San Jose Sharks 68 PTS

6.) Colorado Avalanche 67 PTS

7.) Los Angeles Kings 64 PTS

8.) Boston Bruins 63 PTS

9.) Tampa Bay Lightning 61 PTS

10.) Montreal Canadiens 59 PTS

11.) Vancouver Canucks 59 PTS

12.) Minnesota Wild 59 PTS

13.) Phoenix Coyotes 55 PTS

14.) Philadelphia Flyers 55 PTS

15.) New York Rangers 55 PTS

16.) Toronto Maple Leafs 55 PTS

17.) Columbus Blue Jackets 52 PTS

18.) Detroit Red Wings 52 PTS

19.) Washington Capitals 52 PTS

20.) Ottawa Senators 51 PTS

21.) New Jersey Devils 51 PTS

22.) Dallas Stars 50 PTS

23.) Carolina Hurricanes 49 PTS

24.) Nashville Predators 49 PTS

25.) Winnipeg Jets 49 PTS

26.) New York Islanders 45 PTS

27.) Florida Panthers 43 PTS

28.) Calgary Flames 39 PTS

29.) Edmonton Oilers 36 PTS

30.) Buffalo Sabres 33 PTS

Rangers Letting Go Of Cally?

        Are the Rangers seriously considering to let their captain Ryan Callahan leave New York?  It might just happen.  Callahan is a UFA this Summer and might not be in Blue and Red as long as most think.  Apparently, Callahan may be on the trading block and the Rangers wouldn’t feel bad letting him go.  Steve Zipay from Newsday says that there hasn’t been any formal contract talks between the Rangers and Callahan so that adds to the suspicion that he may be moved.  Many teams would love to have Callahan on their roster.

Flyers Resign Mason

        The Philadelphia Flyers have decided to resign starting goaltender Steve Mason for a 3 year deal worth 12.3 million dollars which averages to about 4.1 million dollars a year.  The deal seems fair enough for Mason but this deal might not be the best if Mason becomes like Ilya Bryzgalov who was bought out this offseason and then acquired by the Edmonton Oilers.  The Flyers finally seem to have found their number one goalie after questioning on whether Mason can be consistent with goaltending.  Realistically, this deal isn’t too risky but does put some pressure on Mason to not have any slumps in his game.

Kings Trade Scrivens & Oilers Trade Dubnyk

        The LA Kings have traded backup goaltender Ben Scrivens to the Edmonton Oilers for a 3rd round draft pick.  Scrivens was acquired to replace Devan Dubnyk who was traded earlier today for Matt Hendricks from the Nashville Predators.  I personally think the Kings may have lost out on this deal because Scrivens has played pretty well so far this season and a 3rd round pick isn’t that much of a return and puts more pressure on Martin Jones to step in permanently.  As for the Dubnyk deal I believe that the Predators have won this trade because Dubnyk has played with a mediocre defense and almost definitely will improve in a new start.  Maybe the Oilers have even more moves to make considering that Scrivens isn’t a proven starter. 

This Offseason’s Top Unrestricted Free Agents

This offseason will definitely be a busy one for many teams with top unrestricted free agents (UFA).  Among these names includes the following:

RW Marian Gaborik

C Michael Cammalleri

C Patrick Marleau

D Dan Boyle

C Paul Stastny

LW Thomas Vanek

G Ryan Miller

C Joe Thornton

D Andrei Markov

G Martin Brodeur

RW Ryan Callahan

G Jaroslav Halak

G Jonas Hiller

D Joni Pitkanen

LW Matt Moulson

D Brooks Orpik

C David Legwand

D Dan Girardi

RW Radim Vrbata

RW Jaromir Jagr

RW Jarome Iginla

Those names mentioned above are only a taste of what’s available on the market.  This offseason will be a time for lower end teams to get some solid veterans on contracts and for playoff contenders to stock up for a deep run.  Free agency is for top teams to lose and bottom teams to win.

Ranking The Best Young Goaltenders In The League This Year

Well this season has been quite chaotic with all the new adjustments to the rules and the realignment caused by the CBA made last year during the lockout period.  Overlooking this however shows you the differences in the way certain teams and players have played.  You see new up and coming star forwards, some new stellar defenseman, some new coaches and general managers but one position most people forget about is the goaltending on a team.  I’d like to rank the rookie goalies who entered the league this year and played great.

8.) Jeff Zatkoff Pittsburgh Penguins.  In 9 games so far this season he is going 7-2 with a 2.52 GAA (goals against average) and a .910 save percentage.  He currently has one shutout in this nine games.  Overall Zatkoff isn’t really a goalie with much potential because he’s well past the general rookie’s age being 27 and was drafted by the Kings 74th overall in 2006.  It looks like Zatkoff will provide quality backup goaltending for the Pens in the future.

7.) Marek Mazanec Nashville Predators.  In 23 games in this season currently Mazanec has an 8-9-3 record with a 2.84 GAA and a .903 save percentage.  Marek also posted two shutouts.  These numbers aren’t particularly amazing but for a 22-year-old it’s pretty good.  Mazanec will likely serve as Pekka Rinne’s backup when he returns to their lineup.

6.) Antti Raanta Chicago Blackhawks.  The undrafted 24-year-old has played very well this season for the Blackhawks.  In 16 games he has a record of 11-1-3 including a 2.27 GAA and a .911 save percentage.  Raanta will be a very valuable backup to Corey Crawford in the future and maybe even become the starter eventually.

5.) Frederik Andersen Anaheim Ducks.  The Ducks had shown the NHL last year their immense goaltending depth with the emergence of Viktor Fasth and solid play from Jonas Hiller but this year the Ducks have yet another up and coming goaltender in Frederik Andersen.  A 3rd round draft pick in 2012, Andersen has participated in 12 games so far and is going 10-2 on a very successful Ducks team this season.  He has a 2.07 GAA and a .923 save percentage this season.  The outstanding play from all 3 goalies makes one of them expendable for trade.

4.) Philipp Grubauer Washington Capitals.  Grubauer, a 22-year-old German goaltender has played very well for the Caps who haven’t been able to find definite starter and backup positions with variation of play from Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth. I expect Neuvirth to be traded and the Caps will end up using Holtby and Grubauer as their one-two-punch for goaltending.  Grubauer has piled together a 6-2-3 record in 12 games including a 2.27 GAA and a .931 save percentage.

3.) Cam Talbot New York Rangers.  After an unexpected retirement by Martin Biron earlier this season, Rangers’ fans were not sure who’d fill in for him.  It turns out Cam Talbot got called up from the AHL to backup elite goalie Henrik Lundqvist.  So far Talbot has gone above all expectations posting a 9-3 record with a 1.66 GAA and a 9.38 save percentage and 2 shutouts.  Talbot has really played outstanding for the Rangers this season and there is only room for improvement.

2.) Eddie Lack Vancouver Canucks.  With Cory Schneider being traded to the Devils Eddie Lack was given the call to the NHL.  He responded to the call-up by going 8-3-3 with a 2.19 GAA and a .923 save percentage in 17 games so far this season.  As Lu0ngo ages, Lack will get better and better and maybe take the starting position from Luongo.

1.) Martin Jones Los Angeles Kings.  With Jonathan Quick going down with a groin injury in November, Jones was there to take over.  Many fans were thinking the Kings would struggle to win games but they got just the opposite.  Jones put up the best numbers out of any of the other goalies on this list with a 8-3 record and a 1.41 GAA as well as a .950 save percentage.   To top it all off Jones got 3 shutouts in his 11 total games.  Jones was sent back down to the minors after to further improve his skill and get more starts.

Ultimately, all of these goaltenders are very talented and will propel each of their respective franchises forward in the future when some become starters themselves.

Brian Rafalski Back To The NHL?

Remember Brian Rafalski?  You know the guy who retired after Detroit’s playoff exit in 2011?  Yeah that guy.  Well guess what?  He’s coming back.  Rafalski an American born defenseman signed a contract with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL to prepare for a return to the NHL.  In his career Brian boasts of being a three-time Stanley Cup Champion and winning two silver medals in the Winter Olympics.  Apparently Brian was reminded of his extensive love of hockey after playing the Winter Classic Alumni Showdown a couple of weeks ago.  “I’m just excited to get back on the ice again and see where God takes me on this journey,” Rafalski said.  All hockey fans alike should be glad to see a familiar face reenter the league again after a brief retirement.  “He played in the Winter Classic alumni game and got the bug,” said Everblades’ coach Greg Poss.  I wonder where Rafalski will go once he reaches the NHL.  Will he return to the Red Wings or go elsewhere?  We’ll have updates on Rafalski’s case when anything happens.