All posts by Sean O'Leary

Puljujarvi’s agent suggests change of scenery may be beneficial

Jesse Puljujarvi's agent, Markus Lehto, spoke out Friday on the situation surrounding his client and the Edmonton Oilers, suggesting a change of scenery might be best for the struggling winger.

"I think it's hard to reset," Lehto told Sportsnet's Mark Spector. "It's like, when the player isn't trusting anymore ... 'Do these guys really want me here? Do they really trust me to be a top-six guy? A top-nine guy? An offensive player?' The player is uncertain.

"Are we reaching the point that for the team and for the player, it might be actually beneficial for going different paths, different routes?"

Lehto's comments come after TSN's Ryan Rishaug reported that the Oilers are open to trading Puljujarvi if a proper return can be found.

Puljujarvi was drafted fourth overall by the Oilers in 2016 with tremendous hype after he recorded 17 points in seven games while winning gold for Finland at the world juniors. His NHL career thus far hasn't yielded anything close to the same success; Puljujarvi's notched just nine points in 45 games this season entering Friday while averaging 12 minutes per contest.

He's had three different stints with the AHL's Bakersfield Condors since being drafted, most recently in November, when he recorded four points in four games.

Puljujarvi is currently playing out the final year of his entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent at season's end.

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Report: Golden Knights, Jets showing interest in Stone

The Vegas Golden Knights and Winnipeg Jets are keeping Mark Stone on their radars prior to the Feb. 25 trade deadline.

Vegas has shown heavy interest in acquiring the Ottawa Senators superstar, according to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun. Meanwhile, Garrioch notes that Winnipeg is also in heavy pursuit of Stone, describing the Jets as "one of the most aggressive teams" in their pursuit of the Manitoba native.

Stone - a premier two-way player and pending unrestricted free agent - is one of the biggest names said to be available prior to the deadline, but the Senators are still pushing to sign the 26-year-old to a contract extension before being forced to trade him or risk losing him for nothing in the offseason, Garrioch adds.

The veteran winger was drafted 178th overall by the Senators in 2010 and has spent his entire career with the organization. Stone leads the club with 26 goals and 57 points in 57 games this season.

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Ehlers out 1-3 more weeks with injury

The Winnipeg Jets will be without forward Nikolaj Ehlers longer than they expected.

The 22-year-old suffered an upper-body injury Jan. 4. He was initially projected to return in mid-February, but that's no longer the case.

"He didn't have a setback, but he just had an appointment yesterday. We're looking at another week or two," head coach Paul Maurice said Wednesday. "He was getting close to the end of the window and wasn't feeling a whole lot better. Then we had it checked again. It's going to be longer than we thought."

Maurice added that it could be "one-to-three weeks before he can play."

The Jets have gone 11-5-1 in Ehlers' absence to remain atop the Central Division.

Before being hurt, Ehlers had recorded 27 points in 40 games.

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Pastrnak out at least 2 weeks after thumb surgery

Boston Bruins star David Pastrnak underwent surgery on his left thumb and will be re-evaluated in two weeks, general manager Don Sweeney announced Tuesday.

Pastrnak was injured Sunday night after falling while leaving a sponsorship dinner, Sweeney added. He's expected to play again this season.

Boston sits third in the Atlantic Division with 70 points - one point back of the Toronto Maple Leafs and one point clear of the Montreal Canadiens. Pastrnak's recovery timeline leaves the Bruins without their leading scorer at least until the trade deadline, but his absence won't change the club's approach leading up to the big day, Sweeney said.

Pastrnak, 22, has been dynamite for the Bruins this season. He ranks seventh in the NHL with 66 points in 56 games and second among all players with 29 power-play points.

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Malkin doesn’t think he’ll be suspended for swinging stick at Raffl

Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Evgeni Malkin believes his impending hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety will merely result in a warning.

Malkin's under the microscope after he swung his stick at the head of Philadelphia Flyers forward Michael Raffl on Monday night:

"I didn't hit him in the face," Malkin told The Athletic's Josh Yohe. "If I had touched him in the face, for sure, I would get suspended. It's a high stick, but it's not like I broke his face. I think I won't get suspended."

Following the play, Malkin was given a five-minute major and was ejected from the game. Meanwhile, Raffl wasn't assessed a penalty despite appearing to punch the Pens center in the back of the head.

"It was a little bit dangerous," Malkin added of his stick swing. "But nothing real bad, I didn't think. It's my fault, for sure. The refs thought it was dangerous. Next time, I need to play smarter."

Monday was Malkin's first game since Jan. 30 after being sidelined with an upper-body injury. In 51 contests this season, the 32-year-old has recorded 56 points.

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Canadiens acquire Nate Thompson from Kings for 4th-round pick

The Montreal Canadiens have acquired forward Nate Thompson and a fifth-round draft pick from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a fourth-round selection, the team announced Monday.

Neither of the picks originally belonged to the teams trading them; the selection sent to Montreal was the Arizona Coyotes' and the pick going to Los Angeles came from the Calgary Flames.

Thompson has suited up in 53 games for the Kings this season, recording four points in 12:55 per contest while winning 53 percent of his draws. He'll likely slot in as the Canadiens' fourth-line center.

The 34-year-old carries a cap hit of $1.65 million before hitting unrestricted free agency at season's end.

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Ducks fire Carlyle, GM Murray takes over as interim HC

The Anaheim Ducks fired head coach Randy Carlyle on Sunday, the team announced. General manager Bob Murray will take over on an interim basis.

Anaheim has lost 19 of its last 21 contests and was handed a seventh consecutive defeat Saturday.

"We thank Randy for everything he has done for the organization," Murray said. "Leading the team to a Stanley Cup and three conference final appearances, he has accomplished so much in Anaheim. Difficult decisions need to be made when times are tough, and our play has clearly been unacceptable. We have a tradition of success in Anaheim and we need to get back to that."

Carlyle had two stints as Ducks head coach, the first stretching from 2005-12 and highlighted by a championship in 2007. After four-plus years in Toronto, he landed back in Anaheim in 2016-17 and made the playoffs in each of his first two campaigns before the wheels came off this season.

Anaheim currently sits in 28th place with 51 points through 56 games but owns the league's worst goal differential by a wide margin at negative-55. The Ducks also rank dead last in shots per game (27.5) and 29th in shots against per game (34.3) while owning the 29th-ranked power play at 14.9 percent.

Murray has never coached at the NHL level, but he'll guide the Ducks down the stretch until the club begins its search for a full-time replacement in the offseason.

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Tkachuk says Matthews’ 5-year deal ‘set the bar’

Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk will be a member of the NHL's stacked restricted free-agent class of 2019, so he paid special attention to Auston Matthews' new five-year deal on Tuesday worth $11.634 million per season with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"I feel like every year there's a couple guys, a couple big names every year who kind of change the way a little bit," Tkachuk told Daniel Austin of the Calgary Sun. "I think Auston changed it, too, going with the approach (of) a five-year deal, too. Maybe people haven't seen that in a couple years, but it's not like, uncommon. Guys used to do that all the time. He definitely set the bar."

However, unlike Matthews, Tkachuk said he prefers to play out the rest of the season and worry about his new contract in the summer.

Tkachuk was selected five spots after Matthews (sixth overall) in the 2016 draft, and the two were teammates at the world juniors and with the U.S. National Development Program.

The winger has taken his game to a new level this season, as he's recorded a career-high 57 points through 53 games for the first-place Flames. The 21-year-old is one of several key young players up for a new contract after this season, along with Mitch Marner, Sebastian Aho, Patrik Laine, and Mikko Rantanen, among others.

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Preds reacquire McLeod from Rangers for 2020 7th-rounder

The Nashville Predators acquired winger Cody McLeod from the New York Rangers on Wednesday in exchange for a seventh-round pick in 2020, the team announced.

It's Nashville's second deal of the day after adding center Brian Boyle from the New Jersey Devils for a second-round pick earlier in the afternoon.

Before joining the Rangers, McLeod spent parts of two seasons with the Predators, suiting up in 54 combined games during 2016-17 and 2017-18.

In 31 games this season, the 34-year-old McLeod has recorded one goal and 60 penalty minutes while averaging less than seven minutes of ice time per contest. He'll give the Predators more forward depth with Austin Watson suspended indefinitely.

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Flyers place Lehtera on waivers

The Philadelphia Flyers have placed forward Jori Lehtera on waivers, general manager Chuck Fletcher announced Wednesday.

Lehtera was accused of buying eight grams of cocaine from a distribution ring in his native Finland over the summer. He's one of 22 people charged in the case.

The 31-year-old hasn't suited up for the Flyers since Jan. 19 and had recorded just three points in 27 games this season. His contract expires at the end of the 2018-19 campaign, owning a cap hit of $4.7 million.

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