Devils’ Vatanen lands on IR, Hischier out for 3rd straight game

The New Jersey Devils are dealing with injuries to a couple of key players.

Sami Vatanen was placed on injured reserve by the club Saturday, and Nico Hischier remains day to day, but isn't in the lineup for Saturday's matinee against the Detroit Red Wings, Devils head coach John Hynes told reporters pregame.

Vatanen's IR designation is retroactive to Thursday, when he left a win over the Philadelphia Flyers with an apparent leg injury. He has to remain out for seven days from the retroactive date, meaning he won't play in the Devils' next three games, including Saturday's contest.

Hischier has already missed two with what's Chris Ryan reports is a left wrist injury. He was hurt in Sunday's loss to the Winnipeg Jets.

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3 NHL games to watch Saturday

An 11-game schedule means more than 70 percent of the NHL's teams are in action Saturday, and there are a few contests in particular that you won't want to miss.

A couple of all-Canadian matchups and a battle between two intriguing clubs highlight the busy slate.

Here are three contests worth watching Saturday:

Buffalo Sabres at Minnesota Wild

Bruce Kluckhohn / National Hockey League / Getty

Two of the NHL's most interesting teams clash at 6 p.m. ET when Jack Eichel, Jeff Skinner, and the Sabres try to solve Devan Dubnyk and the Wild.

Minnesota has the fourth-best record in the league so far this season and Dubnyk is the biggest reason why, going 9-4-2 with a .926 save percentage and a 2.32 goals-against average in his first 15 games.

Skinner has been red-hot in his first campaign with Buffalo, a team that has now won four straight games. The 26-year-old has 21 points in 19 contests and his 14 goals are second only to Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak. Eichel hasn't exactly been filling the net, but he's set up plenty of teammates, notching 16 assists for 20 points.

Throw in first-overall pick Rasmus Dahlin for the Sabres, along with dynamic Wild winger Mikael Granlund and resurgent veteran Zach Parise, and there's no shortage of reasons to tune in for this one.

Montreal Canadiens at Vancouver Canucks

Dave Reginek / National Hockey League / Getty

Elias Pettersson has been sensational for the surprising Canucks, leading all NHL rookies with 10 goals and 17 points despite missing six games with a concussion.

The Calder Trophy favorite has helped his team climb into a playoff spot in the early going, while Bo Horvat, Jake Virtanen, and the injured Brock Boeser (when healthy) have given Vancouver fans hope for both the present and future. Even 33-year-old Loui Eriksson seems to have taken a drink from the fountain of youth, ranking third on the team with 12 points.

Montreal has also exceeded early-season expectations, thanks in large part to trade acquisitions Max Domi and Tomas Tatar, who rank first and second on the team in points, respectively. Few thought the Canadiens would be competitive this year, but they lead the NHL in five-on-five goals and came into Saturday occupying a wild-card spot despite up-and-down play from Carey Price.

Edmonton Oilers at Calgary Flames

Derek Leung / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Battle of Alberta rarely disappoints. That's particularly true these days with Connor McDavid and Johnny Gaudreau involved.

McDavid needs a deeper supporting cast, but he seems to do something special almost every time he touches the puck. The Oilers' superstar is producing at his usual torrid pace, sitting tied for second in the league with 26 points while averaging more than 22 minutes of ice time.

The Flames have some star power and young talent of their own, with Gaudreau on a point-per-game pace and 20-year-old Matthew Tkachuk leading all Calgary skaters with 21 points.

David Rittich has kept the Flames competitive with his strong play in the crease, but McDavid will obviously present a rather large challenge for the Calgary goaltender - even if he didn't want to think about it Friday night.

Bold strategy, David. Let's see if it pays off.

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Report: Chara to miss 4-6 weeks with left knee injury

The Boston Bruins will reportedly be without captain Zdeno Chara for the next four-to-six weeks after the veteran defenseman suffered a left knee injury during Wednesday's game, a source told Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic.

Chara hobbled off the ice after appearing to injury himself while making an awkward hit on Colorado Avalanche forward Carl Soderberg. The Bruins, who are currently on a west coast trip, sent Chara back to Boston for further evaluation.

The 41-year-old has three goals and one assist in 18 games, while averaging 21:30 in ice time. Chara has been one of the league's most durable players despite his age, having appeared in at least 73 games in each of the last three seasons.

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Archibald suspended 2 games for hit to Hartman’s head

The NHL has suspended Arizona Coyotes forward Josh Archibald two games for a hit to the head of Nashville Predators forward Ryan Hartman, the Department of Player Safety announced Friday.

The incident occurred Thursday night and resulted in a two-minute minor.

Hartman went to the Predators' dressing room immediately after the hit but returned in the third period.

Archibald has suited up in nine games with the Coyotes this season, failing to record a point. Hartman, meanwhile, has five goals and four assists in 19 contests.

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Report: Coyotes’ Demers out for season with knee injury

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jason Demers will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a knee injury during Thursday's game against the Nashville Predators, according to 98.7 FM Arizona Sports' John Gambadoro.

Demers went down awkwardly after Predators forward Kyle Turris bumped him.

His injury comes at a bad time for the Coyotes.

Goaltender Antti Raanta hasn't played since Nov. 2, defenseman Alex Goligoski is on injured reserve, and fellow blue-liner Jakob Chychrun, who made his season debut on Tuesday after recovering from a season-ending knee injury in 2017-18, is back on the shelf with an upper-body injury.

Arizona's depth will now be challenged. Defensemen Robbie Russo and Dakota Mermis have been recalled from the AHL over the past two days.

Demers registered a goal and two assists in 18 games this season.

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Oilers trade Strome to Rangers for Spooner

The Edmonton Oilers have dealt forward Ryan Strome to the New York Rangers in exchange for forward Ryan Spooner, the clubs announced Friday.

The Rangers will retain $900,000 of Spooner's $4-million salary to balance out the money, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman. Strome's salary is $3 million this season and $3.2 million next season for an annual cap hit of $3.1 million.

Both players are under contract through the 2019-2020 campaign. Spooner is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of his deal, while Strome will be a restricted free agent.

Strome mustered one goal and one assist in 18 games with the Oilers this season, while Spooner managed the same output in 16 contests with the Rangers.

The Rangers acquired Spooner from the Boston Bruins in the Rick Nash trade this past February. The Oilers landed Strome from the New York Islanders in exchange for Jordan Eberle in June 2017.

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Vasilevskiy out 4-6 weeks with fractured foot

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy will miss four-to-six weeks with a fractured left foot, the team announced Friday.

The Lightning revealed on Thursday that the injury occurred during Wednesday's practice. Vasilevskiy was sent back to Tampa Bay to be re-evaluated by doctors with the team in the midst of a four-game road trip.

With Vasilevskiy out, backup goaltender Louis Domingue is expected to shoulder most of the workload between the pipes. The 26-year-old back-stopped the Lightning to a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night.

Vasilevskiy has been a rock this season, going 9-3-1 with a 2.30 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage.

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What could a Nylander trade look like? 3 logical deals for the unsigned Swede

The Maple Leafs are testing the trade market for unsigned forward William Nylander, so it's only fitting to draw up potential trade scenarios that both Toronto and other teams may consider.

If Nylander isn't signed by Dec. 1, he'll be ineligible to play this season. Toronto could still theoretically move him after Dec. 1 and before the Feb. 25 trade deadline, but it would essentially rule out any trade partner with playoff aspirations.

For the sake of this article, let's assume Nylander agrees to a six-year, $42-million contract with whatever team he is traded to. This deal would include a $7-million base salary in each season and no signing bonus in year one. Here's how his cap hit would vary depending on his signing date, according to CapFriendly.

Signing date Nov. 16 Nov. 30
Year 1 cap hit $8.8M $9.6M
Years 2-6 cap hit $6.7M $6.6M

It's possible Nylander is unwilling to accept $7 million annually from any team, but this is what we're going with.

Carolina Hurricanes

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty
Hurricanes get Leafs get
William Nylander Justin Faulk*
Warren Foegele

*Faulk's contract includes a 15-team trade list.

Why it makes sense for Maple Leafs

Faulk would be an excellent fit for the Maple Leafs. He's a right-handed shooting defenseman, only 26 years old, and is signed through 2019-20 with a $4.83-million cap hit. The affordable salary is key for next season when Auston Matthews' and Mitch Marner's cap hits will rise dramatically. Patrick Marleau will also be entering the final year of a contract that pays him $6.25 million annually.

Handedness and contract aside, Faulk would mesh well in Toronto. The offensively gifted blue-liner is capable of making the stretch passes that the Maple Leafs' system requires. He would also likely see an increase in production playing for a superior team.

Foegele, a third-round pick in 2014, would provide Toronto with a potential top-nine forward. He has five points in 18 games so far in his rookie season.

Why it makes sense for Hurricanes

The Carolina Hurricanes have a surplus of defensemen - specifically right-handed ones. They'd likely be more inclined to part with Faulk than Dougie Hamilton, who they acquired in the offseason, or 23-year-old Brett Pesce, who's under contract through 2023-24. Moreover, the Canes had previously discussed moving Faulk even before Hamilton joined the team.

With this trade, Carolina would still have a strong defense corps, but would add a much-needed game-breaking talent in Nylander. The Hurricanes could use Nylander alongside Sebastian Aho on the top line or as the team's second-line center, bumping Jordan Staal down to a more fitting third-line role.

Even though Aho and Teuvo Teravainen both need new contracts after this season, the Hurricanes still have more than enough cap room to sign Nylander to a long-term deal.

Anaheim Ducks

Debora Robinson / National Hockey League / Getty
Ducks get Leafs get
William Nylander Brandon Montour
Jakob Silfverberg
Nick Ritchie

Why it makes sense for Maple Leafs

Montour would provide Toronto with a right-handed shooting defenseman who can play top-four minutes. He's 24 years old and is under contract through next season with a $3.3875-million cap hit. He only has 127 NHL games under his belt, so there's still room for improvement, but his skating and puck-moving skills would already make him a nice fit with the Maple Leafs.

Silfverberg's contract expires at the end of the season, and considering the salary-cap bind the Leafs will be in next summer, he'd simply be a rental. But the reliable two-way winger is the type of player head coach Mike Babcock would adore. He's capable of playing in any role.

Ritchie has failed to live up to the expectations of a top-10 draft choice. Ironically, he was taken only two picks after Nylander. He lacks the hands and quickness to become a legitimate offensive threat, but he could still develop into a capable top-nine forward.

Why it makes sense for Ducks

Not only do the Ducks struggle to score, but they fail to generate offense at all, as they rank near the bottom of the league in shots. Nylander would provide some much-needed speed and skill to Anaheim's offensive attack.

Losing Montour isn't ideal for Anaheim, especially since Cam Fowler is sidelined with a facial fracture. However, Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, and Josh Manson are all locked up to long-term contracts. One of the Ducks' top-four blue-liners would have to be dealt eventually in preparation for a potential Seattle expansion draft, otherwise they risk losing one of them for nothing.

Furthermore, the Ducks have Jacob Larsson - their first-round pick in 2015 - and Marcus Pettersson - a second-rounder in 2014 - who could help eat up Montour's minutes.

The Ducks are right up against the cap this season, so losing Silfverberg - who they could potentially get back next year in free agency - and Ritchie is necessary in order to sign Nylander to a long-term deal, which, as previously mentioned, comes with a higher cap hit in year one.

Minnesota Wild

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty
Wild get Leafs get
William Nylander Matt Dumba
Jake Gardiner* Charlie Coyle
Frederik Gauthier Eric Fehr
Conditional draft pick** Conditional draft pick**

*Maple Leafs retain 50 percent of Gardiner's remaining cap hit.

**If Gardiner re-signs in Minnesota, Wild receive Maple Leafs' fifth-round pick in 2020, Maple Leafs receive Wild's third-rounder in 2020. If Gardiner doesn't re-sign in Minnesota, Wild get Maple Leafs' first-round pick in 2020, Maple Leafs get Wild's fifth-rounder in 2020.

Why it makes sense for Maple Leafs

Dumba would erase any questions about Toronto's back end. Whether he'd be paired with Morgan Rielly or on a separate pairing (which probably makes more sense), it'd give the Leafs a one-two punch on defense. The 24-year-old fits the timeline too, as he's signed through 2022-23 at a $6-million average annual value.

Gardiner's days as a Maple Leaf are numbered, considering he's a free agent after this season and they likely won't be able to afford him. Moreover, Travis Dermott is ready for an expanded role on the left side.

Coyle, who was once the centerpiece of Minnesota's return for Brent Burns, has underperformed since a breakout 2016-17 season, but the 26-year-old could find his offensive touch while potentially playing on a line with Auston Matthews. He's affordable too, carrying a $3.2-million cap hit through next season.

The Leafs are expected to be annual contenders for the foreseeable future, so losing a first-rounder if Gardiner re-signs in Minnesota isn't a big deal.

Why it makes sense for Wild

The Wild are playing well and may not want to shake things up at the moment, but if Minnesota's new general manager Paul Fenton is anything like his former mentor - Predators GM David Poile - he won't shy away from making a splash.

A player with as much skill as Nylander could flourish with an offensive-minded coach like Bruce Boudreau. He could finish this season on the wing, but potentially move to center over the next few seasons if the Wild lose Eric Staal or Mikko Koivu.

Gardiner grew up in Minnetonka, Minnesota - about 30 minutes from the Xcel Energy Center. It's safe to assume he'd be willing to sign a long-term deal with his hometown team, but if not, the Wild would be compensated with a first-round pick. While he's a different style of defenseman (and handedness) than Dumba, he'd be able to pick up the lost minutes.

As mentioned, Coyle hasn't lived up to the high expectations he was handed - fair or not. With Nylander, a right winger/center joining the lineup, Coyle's services would no longer be required.

Fehr and Gauthier, each team's current fourth-line center, are simply included for cap reasons.

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