All posts by Josh Wegman

Report: Hurricanes among teams to call Stars about Klingberg

The Carolina Hurricanes have contacted the Dallas Stars about defenseman John Klingberg, reports Sportsnet's Jeff Marek.

"Trade chatter is starting to pick up, and a lot of it revolves around John Klingberg of the Dallas Stars. A few teams have expressed interest there (and) contacted the Dallas Stars," Marek said during Saturday's "32 Thoughts" TV segment.

"The one team we know that has called are the Carolina Hurricanes."

Klingberg is set to become an unrestricted free agent at season's end. The blue-liner is seeking an eight-year extension worth somewhere in the mid-$60-million range, which Dallas hasn't been willing to meet yet, Marek added.

"I'm not saying that the Dallas Stars want to trade John Klingberg right now, they have playoff aspirations as we all know of their own," Marek said. "But that's not stopping teams from calling."

The Stars entered Saturday sitting sixth in the Central Division with a 9-7-2 record.

Klingberg has recorded seven assists in 14 games this campaign. The right-handed shooting Swede has averaged 56 points per 82 contests over his eight-year career. He'll turn 30 years old in August.

Carolina lost stalwart right-handed defenseman Dougie Hamilton as a UFA to the New Jersey Devils in the offseason. Instead of making a major splash to replace him, the Canes added Ethan Bear and Tony DeAngelo to help fill the void on the right side of their blue line.

The 15-3-1 Hurricanes entered Saturday atop the NHL's standings.

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Sabres’ Girgensons ejected for boarding major on Bruins’ McAvoy

Buffalo Sabres forward Zemgus Girgensons received a five-minute major and game misconduct for boarding Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy on Wednesday.

McAvoy, Boston's top blue-liner, was forced to exit the game, but Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said postgame the 23-year-old "is good" after getting stitches.

"Let's hope he wakes up feeling good tomorrow and is ready to go Friday," Cassidy said.

Girgensons, 27, has never been suspended in his eight-year NHL career.

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Pacioretty returns vs. Predators after missing 17 games with fractured foot

The Vegas Golden Knights have their triggerman back.

Max Pacioretty is in the team's lineup for Wednesday's game against the Nashville Predators, the team announced. He's missed the last 17 games with a fractured foot.

The 33-year-old sniper has two goals and an assist in two games this season. He led Vegas with 24 goals last year.

Pacioretty is skating in his usual spot on the team's top line with Chandler Stephenson and Mark Stone.

The Golden Knights have been beleaguered by injuries and COVID-19 absences this season. The team is still without Nolan Patrick, William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, and Alec Martinez, while the recently acquired Jack Eichel is recovering from neck surgery.

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Ducks assign McTavish to OHL

The Anaheim Ducks have decided one of their top prospects needs further seasoning.

The club assigned forward Mason McTavish to the OHL's Peterborough Petes on Saturday.

"While we are happy with Mason's development to date, we believe it is in his best long-term interests to continue his development playing in the OHL for the remainder of this season and, hopefully, for Team Canada in the upcoming World Junior (Championship)," Ducks interim general manager Jeff Solomon said.

"Among other things, this move should afford Mason the opportunity to gain additional experience playing his natural center position, which we believe will be beneficial to Mason and the Ducks in the long run."

McTavish skated in nine games with Anaheim this season, recording two goals and an assist while averaging 13:05 of ice time per contest. A 10th NHL appearance by McTavish in 2021-22 would burn a year off his entry-level contract.

The 18-year-old is eligible to play for Team Canada at the 2022 World Junior Championship.

The Ducks selected McTavish third overall in the 2021 draft.

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Bettman to meet with Quebec premier to discuss potential Nordiques return

Quebec Premier Francois Legault is set to meet with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to discuss the possibility of bringing the defunct Nordiques back to Quebec City.

"I’ve spoken with Bettman already, and there are meetings that are planned during the coming months," Legault said Thursday on RDS' Le 5 Γ  7, as translated by theScore.

"You have to look to know who is ready to invest. We have an (arena) already built in Quebec (City), and we are in contact with commissioner Gary Bettman to find out what we need to bring back the Nordiques."

Quebec City's Videotron Centre is an 18,259-seat arena that opened in 2015. It's the seventh-largest indoor arena in Canada and the largest that doesn't house an NHL team. The QMJHL's Quebec Remparts are currently the primary tenant.

The Quebec Nordiques were an NHL team from 1979-95 before relocating to Colorado and becoming the Avalanche.

The NHL has expanded from 30 teams to 32 over the last few years with the additions of the Vegas Golden Knights and the Seattle Kraken. No further expansion plans are publicly known.

There has been much speculation about the Arizona Coyotes' future in the desert, especially after the city of Glendale informed the team in August that the 2021-22 campaign will be its last at Gila River Arena. But team president Xavier Gutierrez said at the time the franchise is "100% committed to finding a long-term arena solution here in Arizona."

The Coyotes submitted a bid in September to build an arena in nearby Tempe, Arizona, but their plans for the 2022-23 season are unknown.

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Brown, Murray among 8 Sens players removed from COVID-19 protocol

The Ottawa Senators removed eight players and associate coach Jack Capuano from COVID-19 protocol on Saturday morning.

Forward Drake Batherson and defenseman Nikita Zaitsev remain in protocol.

The Senators had three contests postponed due to their COVID-19 outbreak. Their next game is scheduled for Monday against the Colorado Avalanche.

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Canadiens’ Bergevin tests positive for COVID-19

Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin has tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced Friday.

"He is being monitored by the Canadiens medical staff and will follow the protocols set forth by the National Hockey League and the public health authorities," the club said in a statement.

Bergevin has been Montreal's GM since 2012-13 and has overseen six playoff appearances during his tenure, including a trip to the Stanley Cup Final this past spring.

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Oilers place Nurse on IR, recall Broberg from AHL

The Edmonton Oilers will be without stalwart defenseman Darnell Nurse for at least seven days as the club placed him on injured reserve Friday with an undisclosed ailment.

The Oilers also added blue-liner Slater Koekkoek to IR, moved goaltender Mike Smith from IR to long-term injured reserve, and recalled defensemen Philip Broberg and William Lagesson from the AHL's Bakersfield Condors.

Nurse is averaging a team-high 26:06 of ice time per game this season. He's also chipped in 11 assists in 16 games.

Meanwhile, Koekkoek has played sparingly, averaging 9:48 per contest in 11 appearances.

Here's Edmonton's updated depth chart on the back end:

LD RD
Duncan Keith Evan Bouchard
Kris Russell Cody Ceci
Philip Broberg Tyson Barrie
William Lagesson

Broberg is in line to make his NHL debut due to the absences of Nurse and Koekkoek. The eighth overall pick in 2019 has excelled in his first AHL season, tallying 10 assists in 13 games.

The 25-year-old Lagesson has 27 career NHL games under his belt - all with the Oilers.

Smith, meanwhile, hasn't played since Oct. 19 due to a lower-body injury.

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Sharks’ Labanc to have hearing for slew-footing Blues’ Bozak

San Jose Sharks winger Kevin Labanc will have a hearing with the NHL's Department of Player Safety on Friday for slew-footing St. Louis Blues center Tyler Bozak on Thursday.

Labanc was assessed a two-minute minor for tripping on the play.

"It wasn't anything intentional," Labanc said postgame, per the Mercury News' Curtis Pashelka. "I didn't look at the replay of it, but I think I was just trying to battle hard."

Labanc has never been suspended in his six-year NHL career.

Bozak was able to stay in the game.

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Benning: It’s ‘upsetting’ to hear Canucks fans chanting for GM change

Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning is aware the fans have grown impatient with him.

The Rogers Arena faithful could be heard chanting "Fire Benning" during Wednesday's loss to the Colorado Avalanche - the team's fifth straight defeat.

Benning addressed those chants on Thursday during a press conference, calling it "upsetting," according to The Athletic's Thomas Drance.

The Canucks sit seventh in the Pacific Division at 5-10-2.

"This is something I didn’t expect to happen after the moves we made this summer," Benning said.

The Canucks were busy this offseason, bringing in Conor Garland and Oliver Ekman-Larsson in a blockbuster trade with the Arizona Coyotes. Vancouver also added Jason Dickinson, Tucker Poolman, and Jaroslav Halak, among others.

Garland is third on the team with 13 points, but the rest of the moves haven't quite panned out.

Benning said he feels responsible for the team's struggles this season, but isn't worried about his job security.

"This is wearing on all of us, but I believe in this group of players," Benning said, adding his team is "fragile" right now.

Despite his belief in the current roster, Benning said he's made some calls around the league.

Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini held a meeting with Benning on Tuesday to discuss the team's struggles, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.

Benning has been Vancouver's general manager since 2014-15. The Canucks have made two playoff appearances under his guidance, never advancing past the second round.

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