With minimal cap space, as per usual, what creative moves can the Penguins make to shore up their shaky third line? — @TopesWriter
I agree. It’s more of a third-line issue for the Penguins, especially if Jason Zucker can stay healthy and be effective on the second line with Yevgeny Malkin and Bryan Rust. You know what you’re getting out of the top line that features Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel and Rickard Rakell. Between those top two lines, you’ve got two that will drive the bus and they can take turns if needed. But the Penguins know all too well that to win in the Stanley Cup Playoffs you need at least three lines that can produce, and a fourth that is at least a threat. Their third line could use more juice. I think forwards Max Dome is someone that could provide it at a reasonable price.
Domi is a pending unrestricted free agent after signing a one-year, $3 million contract with the Chicago Blackhawks this past summer. So right away you know he’s affordable and attainable, especially with the Blackhawks expected to try to trade active players, especially those on expiring contracts, for future parts before the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline on March 3. Domi is productive with 23 points (11 goals , 12 assists) in 33 games for Chicago this season. He has 11 points on the power play, so he could be effective in that role for the Penguins too. Domi was traded at the deadline last season too, from the Columbus Blue Jackets to the Carolina Hurricanes by way of the Florida Panthers. It was a solid move for the Hurricanes. He had six points (three goals, three assists) in 14 playoff games with Carolina. He gave them more depth. He would do the same for the Penguins.
Domi, a left-handed shot, could join Jeff Carter and either Kasperi Kapanen or Brock McGinn on the third line. He could play center or left wing. He would take strong side face-offs. And it would allow the Penguins to drop McGinn, who has 10 goals, or Kapanen to the fourth line. Domi is effective, affordable and attainable. I think he would fit right in.
Who are some realistic trade deadline targets for the Boston Bruins? — @Tellier37
Ivan Barbashev is the player I have in mind for the Bruins. Barbashev’s availability hinges on the St. Louis Blues being sellers in advance of the trade deadline. The forward is a pending unrestricted free agent. The Blues, currently fifth in the Central Division, might be thinking that their championship window has closed with the current core and could be looking to move out some players on expiring contracts for future assets. Vladimir Tarasenko could be one of those players too, but Barbashev with a $2.25 million NHL salary cap charge is more affordable and easier to get than Tarasenko with his $7.5 million cap charge. Barbashev has 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) in 35 games with the Blues. He could replace Craig Smith, who recently cleared waivers and remains with the Bruins despite limited playing time. The issue is Barbashev is a left-handed shot who plays left wing and the Bruins real need is at right wing if they’re looking to replace Smith. But Boston coach Jim Montgomery knows Barbashev and his game well. Montgomery was a St. Louis assistant the past two seasons. Barbashev had an NHL-best 60 points (26 goals, 34 assists) in 81 games last season.
Another blues forward, Noel Acciari, could also be a target for the Bruins. Acciari, who is from Rhode Island, played for Boston from 2015-19, helping it reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2019 before losing to St. Louis. Acciari signed a one-year, $1.25 million contract with St. Louis in the offseason. He has nine goals in 35 games.
If Pheonix Copley continues to play the way he is for the Los Angeles Kings does Cal Petersen spend the rest of the season in the AHL? — @e_hodgens
Copley’s play since he was recalled from Ontario of the AHL on Dec. 1 has given the Kings stability at what was their most unstable position. The 30-year-old goalie is 7-1-0 with a 2.43 goals-against average and .912 save percentage. Petersen was 5-3-2 with a 3.75 GAA and .868 save percentage prior to being waived on Nov. 30 and loaned to Ontario on Dec. 1. But your question can’t be limited to the one if you mention the other.
Copley won’t go anywhere if he continues to stay healthy and play well. Jonathan Quick will be the Kings goalie too if he stays healthy and plays well. If both happen, there would be zero reason for the Kings to recall Petersen from Ontario. He’s in the AHL because his game in the NHL wasn’t good enough. But he’s 4-2-0 with a 2.01 GAA and .938 save percentage in six games with Ontario, so if the Kings wanted to recall him, they could do so confidently knowing he rediscovered his game in the AHL.
Remember, though, the Kings have a lot invested in Petersen after signing him to a three-year, $15 million contract on Sept. 22, 2021. The contract kicked off this season. My guess is it wouldn’t take much of a dip in Copley’s game for the Kings to bring Petersen back. He’s 28 years old and he’s supposed to be the heir apparent to Quick, who is 36 and in the last year of his contract. Copley turns 31 on Jan. 18. He’s supposed to be the Kings’ third goalie. My guess is the depth chart gets arranged back in order eventually and Petersen is back in LA
The World Junior Championship has begun. For those who don’t watch hockey overseas and aren’t up to date on all the prospects, can you give us one player from each country to keep an eye on this tournament? Are there players that are less known who could raise their value this WJC? — @theashcity
I like to think I know a lot about hockey, though some would obviously argue with me on that point. But if you listen to the “NHL @TheRink” podcast (I urge you to listen, by the way) you will know that I never have and never will fancy myself an expert or even something moderately close to that about the IIHF World Junior Championship . I’ll watch, but I don’t analyze. I leave that up to the actual NHL.com experts on this subject, Mike G. Morreale and Adam Kimelman, who co-host the “NHL Draft Class” podcast that you should also listen to. But I like this question, so I went straight to the source, if you will. I asked Morreale for his list of him. I gave him some names to prove I know a little, but the list below is the one provided by Mike, who is covering the World Juniors.
Austria: David Reinbacher, D (2023 NHL Draft eligible)
* Received a B rating by NHL Central Scouting on their preliminary players to watch list released Oct. 25. Players with a B rating are projected to go in the second or third round.
* Plays for Kloten in the Swiss National League A.
Canada: Adam Fantilli, F (2023 draft eligible)
* Received an A rating (first round prospect) by NHL Central Scouting.
* Leads the University of Michigan with 26 points in 16 games this season.
Czechia: David Jiricek, F (Columbus Blue Jackets)
* Has 20 points (five goals, 15 assists) in 19 games for Cleveland in the American Hockey League.
* Has no points in two games with the Blue Jackets, who selected him with the No. 6 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.
Finland: Brad Lambert, F (Winnipeg Jets)
* Has three points (two goals, one assist) with Manitoba in the AHL this season.
* Selected by the Jets with the No. 30 pick in the 2022 draft.
* His uncle is Lane Lambert, the coach of the New York Islanders.
Germany: Julian Lutz, F (Arizona Coyotes)
* Currently playing for EHC Red Bull Munchen in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga in Germany.
* Selected by Arizona with the No. 43 pick in the 2022 draft.
Latvia: Dans Locmelis, F (Boston Bruins)
* Plays for Lulea in the Swedish Hockey League.
* Selected in the fourth round (No. 119) by the Bruins in the 2022 draft.
Slovakia: Simon Nemec, D (New Jersey Devils)
* Has 11 points (three goals, eight assists) for Utica in the AHL this season.
* Was the No. 2 pick in the 2022 draft.
Sweden: Leo Carlsson, F (2023 draft eligible)
* Is an A rated prospect by NHL Central Scouting.
* Plays for Orebro in the SHL.
Switzerland: Lian Bichsel, D (Dallas Stars)
* Plays for Leksands in the SHL.
* The 6-foot-6, 227-pound defenseman was the No. 18 pick in 2022.
United States: Charlie Stramel, F (2023 draft eligible)
* Stramel is an A rated draft prospect by NHL Central Scouting.
* Has seven points in 18 games for the University of Wisconsin this season.