Vancouver Canucks’ J.T. Miller says it’s ‘dangerous’ to rush team back after COVID-19 outbreak


Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller thinks his team is being rushed onto the ice after a COVID-19 outbreak, saying it is “dangerous to a lot of players.”

“What we’re being asked to do is not going to be too safe, if you’re asking me,” Miller told reporters on Wednesday.

Miller added: “It’s kind of frustrating, if I’m being honest with you. We try to talk about the No. 1 priority being the players health and their families’ safety, and it’s almost impossible to do what they’ve asked us to do here on our return.”

The Canucks haven’t played since March 24 as the team was ravaged by an outbreak involving a variant of the virus. Many players were symptomatic. The team is back on the ice this week and Vancouver is scheduled for a game Friday against the Oilers. To complete its 56-game schedule, Vancouver must play its remaining 19 games in 31 days.

“It’s kind of crazy,” Miller said. ” I know everyone has a job to do but to expect our entire team to be ready to play in one practice and a pre-game skate is a little bit hard to comprehend.”

One player told ESPN on Tuesday that although doctors have told him he is no longer contagious after contracting the virus, he is still experiencing some after effects, like brain fog. The player told ESPN that he is planning to resume play with the team, though he is concerned about “the unknown.”

All players must be cleared by a cardiologist as well as a team doctor before they are cleared to get back to on the ice.

After Miller’s comments, Canucks players had a video conference meeting with the NHLPA on Wednesday night. The sides expect more clarity Thursday after a medical evaluation of the players.

Miller was one of the few players on the Canucks that did not test positive for COVID-19.

“Mentally, for me, this hasn’t been the easiest year,” Miller said. “I’m coming up on 50 days of quarantine just in this past year. It’s been a rough go for a lot of people, and I’ve definitely been thinking about my teammates and their families every day. I feel fortunate that we weren’t as affected as they were.”

As of Wednesday, there were still seven Canucks players on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list; nine players were removed a day earlier.

“I hope people don’t take this the wrong way, I’m a super competitive guy,” said Miller, a nine-year NHL veteran who also played for the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning. “But this isn’t about hockey for our team. This is about the health and safety of our players, their family and their children. This isn’t about making the playoffs.”

To accommodate the Canucks games, the NHL has the North Division now ending its schedule May 16; the regular season was originally scheduled to end on May 11.

The NHL said there is a chance that the Stanley Cup playoffs begin for the three United States-based divisions while the North Division still finishes up regular season play.

The Canucks are 10 points behind the Montreal Canadiens for the fourth playoff spot in the North Division.

Many infected players and their families were symptomatic, including some who had fatigue, body aches, chills and dehydration. At least one player required an IV, sources told ESPN. Miller said he had some teammates that were “struggling to breathe going up and down steps.”

Players in the United States have begun to get vaccinated, however rollout has been much slower in Canada.

General manager Jim Benning said last week that no Canucks players have said they want to opt out of the rest of the season.

“I know talking to players, they’re worried about their families and stuff. And we’ll get through all that,” Benning said. “But these guys, they’re competitive guys and they want to get back playing again when they know that they’re going to be safe, their families are going to be safe.”



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Washington Capitals sign Conor Sheary to two-year, $3M extension


ARLINGTON, Va. — Forward Conor Sheary re-signed with the Washington Capitals for two years and $3 million on Wednesday.

The 28-year-old Sheary is fourth on the Capitals with 11 goals this season, including 10 in five-on-five play.

He also has eight assists in 40 games this season.

Sheary scored one goal and added two assists Tuesday night in the East Division-leading Capitals’ 6-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Washington has won three games in a row.

In the game before that, Sheary netted a pair of goals as Washington beat the Boston Bruins 8-1 on Sunday.

He has career totals of 83 goals and 86 assists in 365 regular-season NHL games with the Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres. He was a part of two Stanley Cup winning teams in Pittsburgh.

Sheary signed with the Penguins in 2015 as an undrafted free agent after playing college hockey at UMass.



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Dallas Stars goalie Ben Bishop, wing Alexander Radulov done for year


Dallas Stars goalie Ben Bishop and winger Alexander Radulov will both miss the rest of the 2020-21 season due to injury in a blow to the team’s fading playoff hopes.

There was some hope at the trade deadline that Radulov could return to spark the Stars, but general manager Jim Nill said on Wednesday that the 34-year-old right winger will require surgery to repair a core muscle injury.

Radulov had 12 points in 11 games this season before leaving the lineup on March 18 with the injury. He had previously missed 15 games this season due to a lower-body injury. Dallas is 6-3-2 with the dynamic winger in its lineup this season and 9-11-10 without him.

Bishop, 34, had surgery last October to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. At the time, the prognosis was that he would return in five months. Bishop hasn’t played a game this season, with veteran Anton Khudobin and rookie Jake Oettinger splitting time in goal for Dallas. Nill said, “It has been determined that Bishop will not return to play this season, allowing him time to continue his rehabilitation.”

Both Radulov and Bishop are expected to be ready for the start of the 2021-22 season.

Dallas has also been playing this season without star forward Tyler Seguin, who underwent right hip arthroscopy and labral repair last October.

After being Stanley Cup finalists last postseason, the Stars have struggled to sixth in the Central Division with a .512 points percentage. They’re seven points behind fourth-place Nashville for the final playoff spot but do have three games in hand.

The Stars’ season was interrupted three times this season: twice for COVID-19 outbreaks on the team and once during the winter storm that hit Texas in March.



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Buffalo Sabres’ Jack Eichel to miss rest of season with neck injury


Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel will miss the remainder of the season because of a herniated disc in his neck. The team made the announcement Wednesday, adding that Eichel is “expected to be healthy and ready to play at the beginning of the 2021-22 season.”

It’s been a brutal season in Buffalo. Eichel has been out since March 7. The team endured an 18-game winless streak, the longest in the salary-cap era, and fired coach Ralph Krueger in March.

The Sabres are poised to miss the playoffs for the 10th consecutive season and unloaded Taylor Hall, Brandon Montour and Eric Staal before Monday’s trade deadline.

Eichel, 24, recorded 18 points (two goals, 16 assists) in 21 games this season. He was on a four-game point streak at the time of his injury. Interim coach Don Granato told ESPN earlier this month that he was “hopeful” Eichel would return this season.

“I had Jack in the U.S. program when he was 16,” Granato told ESPN. “I got to know him then, and I thought the world of him then. It’s something I’m excited to be a part of when he’s back — because we expect him back, we’re hopeful he’ll be back before the end of the year — and I look forward to that, now in the position of head coach.

“He means a lot to me personally. I love the fact that he has such strong and visible emotions of the game. I’ve reminded him numerous times that he’s got to make sure he finds the fun in all of this, too. Sometimes a lot of these great athletes are so intense, and there’s so much demand on them that they feel like they can’t have fun. It becomes such a business. They’re judged on different levels. I’m speaking generally now, but when you lose that, or you stop being aware of that, it becomes even harder.”



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NHL Playoff Watch Daily – Who will win the West Division’s fourth playoff spot?


One of many unique aspects of the 2021 NHL season is that teams are playing all of their regular season games against division opponents — and those divisions were realigned for this season as well. They will continue this intradivisional format through the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs. In other words, these teams are quite familiar with one another.

In the West Division, three teams have distanced themselves from the pack a bit: the Colorado Avalanche, Vegas Golden Knights and Minnesota Wild all have a 99.1% chance or better of going to the playoffs, per Money Puck.

And then there’s the No. 4 spot.

After a strong start, the St. Louis Blues — Cup champions in 2019 — have left the door open for the Arizona Coyotes and the San Jose Sharks. And hey, even the Los Angeles Kings still have an 8.5% chance of getting into the postseason bracket.

All eight West Division teams will be in action Wednesday, starting with the Coyotes-Wild game at 2 p.m. ET, and all the way through Sharks-Ducks at 10:30 p.m. ET streaming on ESPN+.

As we enter the final stretch of the regular season, it’s time to check in on all the playoff races — along with the teams jockeying for position in the 2021 NHL draft lottery.

Note: Playoff chances are via Money Puck. Tragic numbers are courtesy of Damian Echevarrieta of the NHL.

East Division

play

0:33

Anthony Mantha makes a positive impression with a goal in his Capitals’ debut, and Alex Ovechkin records his 728th career goal in Washington’s 6-1 win over Philadelphia.

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 23
Playoff position: E1
Games left: 13
Next game: vs. BUF (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 99.4%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: E2
Games left: 14
Next game: @ BOS (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 98.7%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 56
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: E3
Games left: 14
Next game: vs. PHI (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 98.3%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 50
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: E4
Games left: 16
Next game: vs. NYI (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 77.6%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 46
Regulation wins: 17
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 14
Next game: vs. NJ (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 19.6%
Tragic number: 25

Points: 44
Regulation wins: 13
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 14
Next game: @ PIT (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 6.5%
Tragic number: 22

Points: 34
Regulation wins: 11
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 15
Next game: @ NYR (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: 14

Points: 27
Regulation wins: 7
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 14
Next game: @ WSH (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: 5


Central Division

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0:23

Frank Vatrano rips a power-play goal in overtime to propel the Panthers to a 3-2 victory over the Stars.

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: C1
Games left: 15
Next game: vs. NSH (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 99.9%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 24
Playoff position: C2
Games left: 14
Next game: vs. FLA (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 99.9%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: C3
Games left: 13
Next game: @ TB (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 99.6%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: C4
Games left: 12
Next game: @ CAR (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 61.9%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 45
Regulation wins: 13
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Next game: @ DET (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 9.3%
Tragic number: 22

Points: 42
Regulation wins: 13
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 15
Next game: vs. CBJ (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 29.3%
Tragic number: 23

Points: 39
Regulation wins: 11
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Next game: @ DAL (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 0.1%
Tragic number: 14

Points: 36
Regulation wins: 13
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Next game: vs. CHI (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: 11


North Division

play

0:31

Elias Lindholm passes to Johnny Gaudreau, who dekes the goalie and scores the goal to lift the Flames past the Maple Leafs in overtime.

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 22
Playoff position: N1
Games left: 13
Next game: vs. WPG (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 53
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: N2
Games left: 14
Next game: @ OTT (Apr. 14)
Playoff chances: 99.5%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 52
Regulation wins: 23
Playoff position: N3
Games left: 14
Next game: @ VAN (Apr. 16)
Playoff chances: 96.9%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 45
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: N4
Games left: 17
Next game: vs. CGY (Apr. 14)
Playoff chances: 92.4%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 39
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 14
Next game: @ MTL (Apr. 14)
Playoff chances: 8.5%
Tragic number: 22

Points: 35
Regulation wins: 11
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 19
Next game: vs. EDM (Apr. 16)
Playoff chances: 2.7%
Tragic number: 28

Points: 32
Regulation wins: 10
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Next game: vs. WPG (Apr. 14)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: 13


West Division

Points: 62
Regulation wins: 26
Playoff position: W1
Games left: 14
Next game: @ STL (Apr. 14)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 22
Playoff position: W2
Games left: 15
Next game: @ LA (Apr. 14)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 51
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: W3
Games left: 16
Next game: vs. ARI (Apr. 14)
Playoff chances: 99.1%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 44
Regulation wins: 13
Playoff position: W4
Games left: 15
Next game: vs. COL (Apr. 14)
Playoff chances: 42.5%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 43
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Next game: @ MIN (Apr. 14)
Playoff chances: 33.3%
Tragic number: 26

Points: 40
Regulation wins: 12
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 15
Next game: vs. ANA (Apr. 14)
Playoff chances: 16.7%
Tragic number: 26

Points: 38
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 15
Next game: vs. VGK (Apr. 14)
Playoff chances: 8.5%
Tragic number: 25

Points: 33
Regulation wins: 8
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Next game: @ SJ (Apr. 14)
Playoff chances: 0.1%
Tragic number: 15


Race for the No. 1 pick

The NHL uses a draft lottery to determine the order at the top of the first round, so the team that finishes in last place is not guaranteed the No. 1 selection. New for 2021, a team may move up a maximum of 10 spots if it wins the lottery, so only 11 teams are eligible for the draw for the No. 1 pick. Full details on the process can be found here.

Points: 27
Regulation wins: 7

Points: 32
Regulation wins: 10

Points: 33
Regulation wins: 8

Points: 34
Regulation wins: 11

Points: 35
Regulation wins: 11

Points: 36
Regulation wins: 13

Points: 38
Regulation wins: 14

Points: 39
Regulation wins: 11

Points: 39
Regulation wins: 15

Points: 40
Regulation wins: 12

Points: 42
Regulation wins: 13

Points: 43
Regulation wins: 15

Points: 44
Regulation wins: 13

Points: 45
Regulation wins: 13

Points: 46
Regulation wins: 17





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NHL Power Rankings – 1-31 poll, plus the hinge player for every team down the stretch


With the 2021 NHL trade deadline in the rearview mirror, we now have a much clearer picture of what the final month of the season will look like. For this week’s power rankings, we identified the “hinge” player for every team down the stretch — as in, who could have the most outsized impact on the team in the last month?

How we rank: The ESPN hockey editorial staff submits selections ranking teams 1 to 31 — taking into account game results, injuries and upcoming schedule — and those results are tabulated in the list featured here.

Note: Previous ranking for each team refers to our Week 12 edition, published on April 7. Points percentages are through the games of April 13.

Previous ranking: 1
Points percentage: .738
Next seven days: @ STL (Apr. 14); vs. LA (Apr. 16, 18); @ STL (Apr. 20)

Colorado’s trade deadline was all about making an already dangerous team even deeper. Even though some pressure is relieved with the additions of Jonas Johansson and Devan Dubnyk, there’s still pressure for Philipp Grubauer to stay healthy and keep performing at this high level.

Previous ranking: 3
Points percentage: .698
Next seven days: vs. BUF (Apr. 15); @ PHI (Apr. 17); @ BOS (Apr. 18)

The Capitals sent a lot to Detroit (Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik, a 2021 first-rounder, a 2022 second-rounder) for Anthony Mantha. He has a lot of qualities teams covet — speed, size, strength, scoring touch — but will he translate all of that to production in a new environment of mostly established veterans?

Previous ranking: 6
Points percentage: .707
Next seven days: @ LA (Apr. 14); @ ANA (Apr. 16, 18); vs. SJ (Apr. 19)

Mark Stone recently went on a 10-game stretch where he had zero goals and four points (other Golden Knights forwards were struggling too). That simply won’t fly for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations. Stone broke out of his slump in a comeback win against the Kings on Monday.

Previous ranking: 7
Points percentage: .698
Next seven days: vs. WPG (Apr. 15); @ VAN (Apr. 17, 19)

GM Kyle Dubas clearly sees the opportunity to win two playoff rounds against North opponents and emerge to the NHL’s final four, which is why he was so active at the trade deadline. If Frederik Andersen remains out, can the trio of Jack Campbell, Michael Hutchinson and David Rittich take Toronto there?

Previous ranking: 5
Points percentage: .690
Next seven days: vs. FLA (Apr. 15, 17); vs. CAR (Apr. 19, 20)

So GM Julien BriseBrois, after suggesting it would be very difficult for the Lightning to pull off anything at the trade deadline, found a way to make it work. Tampa Bay gave up a first-round pick for David Savard, who will be expected to play a huge role. He’ll begin on the top pairing with Victor Hedman.

Previous ranking: 4
Points percentage: .707
Next seven days: vs. NSH (Apr. 15, 17); @ TB (Apr. 19, 20)

The Canes decided to largely stick with the group they have at the trade deadline. Carolina is still waiting on details about a Teuvo Teravainen return. The top-line winger (concussion) has been limited to 13 games, and could offer a huge boost.

Previous ranking: 9
Points percentage: .690
Next seven days: @ BOS (Apr. 15, 16); @ PHI (Apr. 18); vs. NYR (Apr. 20)

The Islanders view their two new additions — Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac — as the key to finishing strong down the stretch, and getting over the playoff hump. You can’t replace captain Anders Lee with one player, but maybe you can with two.

Previous ranking: 2
Points percentage: .674
Next seven days: @ TB (Apr. 15, 17); vs. CBJ (Apr. 19, 20)

Nobody is suggesting that Brandon Montour is Aaron Ekblad. But the Panthers clearly wanted a replacement for their 25-year-old top defenseman (out through at least the regular season after leg surgery). Montour, whose career stalled a bit after 123 games in Buffalo, is tasked with filling some of the void.

Previous ranking: 8
Points percentage: .667
Next seven days: vs. PHI (Apr. 15); @ BUF (Apr. 17, 18); vs. NJ (Apr. 20)

It has been a frustrating season of injuries in Pittsburgh, mostly at center. “It’s been unfortunate that we’ve been hit with it all at the same position at different parts of the season,” coach Mike Sullivan told ESPN last week. Enter veteran Jeff Carter, who could provide an answer.

Previous ranking: 10
Points percentage: .638
Next seven days: vs. ARI (Apr. 14); vs. SJ (Apr. 16, 17); @ ARI (Apr. 19)

The Wild stood pat on Monday, but hope they’re getting their own deadline “addition” in Marcus Foligno, who returns after missing 15 games with a broken ankle. “It’s great to have him back,” GM Bill Guerin said. “It’s like making a trade.”

Previous ranking: 12
Points percentage: .631
Next seven days: @ OTT (Apr. 14); @ TOR (Apr. 15); vs. EDM (Apr. 17)

The Jets didn’t do too much at the deadline, not compared to the division-leading Maple Leafs. Winnipeg’s biggest trade at the deadline was a depth defenseman, Jordie Benn. That means the burden is still falling on goalie Connor Hellebuyck to carry the back end.

Previous ranking: 13
Points percentage: .619
Next seven days: @ VAN (Apr. 16); @ WPG (Apr. 17); vs. MTL (Apr. 19)

The Oilers opted not to add much at the deadline, other than Dmitry Kulikov as a depth defenseman. That’s fine since GM Ken Holland wants to hold on to draft picks, but it means Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are once against tasked with carrying this team.

Previous ranking: 11
Points percentage: .625
Next seven days: vs. NYI (Apr. 15, 16); vs. WSH (Apr. 18); @ BUF (Apr. 20)

Bruins GM Don Sweeney made a splash by acquiring Taylor Hall to help the Bruins’ offense. Even though Hall is taking on a lesser role than in Buffalo, there’s a ton of pressure on him to produce — especially if he wants to sign an extension in Boston.

Previous ranking: 18
Points percentage: .557
Next seven days: @ CAR (Apr. 15, 17); vs. CHI (Apr. 19)

Predators GM David Poile didn’t end up trading any players at the deadline after all, thanks to his team’s recent resurgence into playoff position. Now the focus is on coach John Hynes, to see if they can exceed more expectations, which would mean less turnover this summer.

Previous ranking: 16
Points percentage: .548
Next seven days: vs. NJ (Apr. 15, 17); @ NJ (Apr. 18); @ NYI (Apr. 20)

The Rangers view Vitali Kravtsov, the talented 2018 first-rounder, as their own deadline “addition.” Kravtsov is likely going to keep moving up the lineup, getting looks with Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad, as he continues his NHL transition.

Previous ranking: 14
Points percentage: .577
Next seven days: vs. CGY (Apr. 14, 16); vs. OTT (Apr. 17); @ EDM (Apr. 19)

Newcomer Tyler Toffoli continues to pace the team in goals, while Josh Anderson (also in his first season in Montreal) is right behind him. Jesperi Kotkaniemi has flashed brilliance this season, but needs to find a way to more consistently end up on the score sheet.

Previous ranking: 17
Points percentage: .524
Next seven days: @ PIT (Apr. 15); vs. WSH (Apr. 17); vs. NYI (Apr. 18)

The Flyers decided to re-sign Scott Laughton to a five-year extension instead of trading him. There was a lot of interest from competing teams who thought Laughton could be this year’s Blake Coleman or Barclay Goodrow, but Philly wanted Laughton around, too, as it keeps playoff hopes flickering.

Previous ranking: 22
Points percentage: .537
Next seven days: vs. COL (Apr. 14); @ ARI (Apr. 17); vs. COL (Apr. 20)

The Blues didn’t do anything at the trade deadline. That means GM Doug Armstrong viewed a trio of pending free agents — Tyler Bozak, Mike Hoffman and Jaden Schwartz — as more valuable to the team’s playoff hopes than draft picks would be for the future.

Previous ranking: 20
Points percentage: .523
Next seven days: @ DET (Apr. 15, 17); @ NSH (Apr. 19)

Since the Blackhawks didn’t end up trading Nikita Zadorov, it appears they’d like the defenseman to be part of their future. He’ll have an interesting contract negotiation this summer. The physical blueliner is making $3.2 million in 2021, and will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

Previous ranking: 15
Points percentage: .500
Next seven days: @ MIN (Apr. 14); vs. STL (Apr. 17); vs. MIN (Apr. 19)

After some speculation and hoopla, the Coyotes didn’t end up trading Conor Garland, their second-leading point scorer. He’ll be expected to produce offense down the stretch. It’s the last year of Garland earning under $1 million; he’s due for a raise as a pending restricted free agent this summer.

Previous ranking: 21
Points percentage: .512
Next seven days: vs. CBJ (Apr. 15, 17); vs. DET (Apr. 19, 20)

Tyler Seguin has missed the entire season as he rehabs a hip surgery. He’s getting closer to a return. The center will spend two weeks with the taxi squad before he’s ready to join the lineup, GM Jim Nill said. The Stars could use scoring help as they make a late push for a playoff spot.

Previous ranking: 19
Points percentage: .488
Next seven days: vs. ANA (Apr. 14); @ MIN (Apr. 16, 17); @ VGS (Apr. 19)

The Sharks traded Devan Dubnyk in part because they wanted to give their younger goalies a chance. But also because Martin Jones has turned things around. Can Jones keep up the pace and lead San Jose, surprisingly, to the playoffs?

Previous ranking: 23
Points percentage: .473
Next seven days: vs. EDM (Apr. 16); vs. TOR (Apr. 17, 19)

The Canucks are hoping to just get back onto the ice after a COVID outbreak has kept them out of action since March 24. A lot of focus will be on Elias Pettersson, who has been injured, hasn’t had his best season production-wise, and is up for a new contract this summer.

Previous ranking: 24
Points percentage: .463
Next seven days: vs. VGS (Apr. 14); @ COL (Apr. 16, 18); vs. ANA (Apr. 20)

Another year, another emotional trade deadline for the Kings. They said goodbye to veteran Jeff Carter, a leftover from the Cup days. They were also happy to reach an agreement with Alex Iafallo on a new contract, knowing he’ll continue to play a big role going forward.

Previous ranking: 27
Points percentage: .464
Next seven days: @ MTL (Apr. 14, 16); vs. OTT (Apr. 19)

Calgary’s big trade-deadline moves were trading away goalie David Rittich to Toronto and center Sam Bennett to Florida. There’s a lot of pressure on Johnny Gaudreau down the stretch. He’s on the Flames for now, but it seems increasingly likely he could get traded this summer, signifying the end of an era for this club.

Previous ranking: 25
Points percentage: .443
Next seven days: @ DAL (Apr. 15, 17); @ FLA (Apr. 19, 20)

It hasn’t been the smoothest transition for Patrik Laine and the Blue Jackets, but the rest of the season is a chance to see if he should figure into Columbus’ long-term plans. Our hunch says yes, especially after goals like this.

Previous ranking: 26
Points percentage: .415
Next seven days: @ NYR (Apr. 15, 17); vs. NYR (Apr. 18); @ PIT (Apr. 20)

There has been a ton of turnover on the Devils’ roster in the past two weeks, and New Jersey is left with a very young team; Andreas Johnsson is the oldest forward, at 26. These final weeks will be a critical period for Nico Hischier, the youngest captain in the league, as he is close to returning to the lineup.

Previous ranking: 28
Points percentage: .409
Next seven days: vs. CHI (Apr. 15, 17); @ DAL (Apr. 19, 20)

In a shocking deadline move, GM Steve Yzerman parted with one of his core players (Anthony Mantha) and got a huge return from the Capitals. Jakub Vrana is now a Red Wing, and becomes a restricted free agent this summer, so this is his time to prove he should be a core player going forward.

Previous ranking: 29
Points percentage: .372
Next seven days: vs. WPG (Apr. 14); @ MTL (Apr. 17); @ CGY (Apr. 19)

After signing a four-year, $25 million contract with Ottawa in the offseason, Matt Murray has struggled. The 26-year-old had a .880 save percentage through 22 appearances, which forced the Senators to replace their goaltending coach last week.

Previous ranking: 30
Points percentage: .384
Next seven days: @ SJ (Apr. 14); vs. VGS (Apr. 16, 18); @ LA (Apr. 20)

Ryan Getzlaf has been on the Ducks since 2005-06. A few teams expressed interest in Anaheim’s captain, but he and the Ducks decided it was worth it for him to stick around, even in a rebuilding year, with basically no shot at the playoffs.

Previous ranking: 31
Points percentage: .321
Next seven days: @ WSH (Apr. 15); vs. PIT (Apr. 17, 18); vs. BOS (Apr. 20)

The dust has settled after the deadline, and now all eyes are on the potential return of Jack Eichel. Interim coach Don Granato has stressed they expect him back this season; can the captain help the team finish on a high note after a rough 2021?





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Disappointing Columbus Blue Jackets start new chapter


COLUMBUS, Ohio — General manager Jarmo Kekalainen sees the overhaul of the Columbus Blue Jackets as “an opportunity to reload” rather than a rebuilding job.

Whatever he wants to call it, the Blue Jackets already look different after the trade deadline. The offseason could bring even more big changes.

When a March swoon made it likely that the string of four straight playoff appearances under coach John Tortorella would end, the Blue Jackets traded a core of popular veterans with expiring contracts for future draft picks.

The biggest name was Nick Foligno, 33, the beloved Blue Jackets captain and a cornerstone of a team that was turned around under Tortorella. He was dealt to Toronto the day after 30-year-old defenseman David Savard, another of the team’s longest-tenured players, was moved to Tampa Bay.

Injured center Riley Nash, in his third season with the Blue Jackets, was traded to Toronto on Friday.

In all, the Blue Jackets ended up with two first-round draft picks in the 2021 draft, and second-, fourth- and seventh-round picks in 2022. That means they’ll have three first-round picks — and nine overall — in the draft this July, a rare situation made possible partly by a flat salary cap that hampered blockbuster trades and forced teams to get creative at the deadline to load up for the playoffs.

Columbus was in the unfamiliar position of being a seller. But Kekalainen, who called the losing season “an anomaly of some kind,” insisted the team can return as a contender in 2021-22.

“I think the return was good,” Kekalainen said. “We’re happy with it. I think it gives us an opportunity to reload, is what we call it, and it gives us plenty of different opportunities to do it. There are going to be some interesting decisions this offseason with the expansion draft coming and the flat salary cap.”

Earlier in the season, star center Pierre-Luc Dubois, who clashed with Tortorella and grew unhappy playing in Columbus in his first four seasons in the league, was traded to Winnipeg for Patrik Laine, who had two goals in Monday night’s 4-3 overtime loss to Chicago. Jack Roslovic, who also came as part of that trade, has played well and may also end up being part of the team’s new, younger foundation.

“Not to get nostalgic — I’m not going to do that — but it is kind of a little bit like the breaking up of the band because we went through a lot together as we tried to build this,” Tortorella said.

“It’s part of what our world is here in Columbus now,” he said. “We’ve got to start looking towards what we’re going to be again.”

Tortorella’s future is another question. After replacing the fired Todd Richards seven games into the 2015 season, Tortorella steered Columbus to four straight playoffs and won his second Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach in 2016-17. He was a finalist for the honor last season.

With his two-year contract expiring at the end of this season, he and the team have said little about his future.

“We’ll make all those decisions in due time,” Kekalainen said.

One of Columbus’ excellent goaltenders also could be somewhere else by next fall. Joonas Korpisalo or Elvis Merzlikins could bring some badly needed offensive help if the team decided to deal one of them.

With Foligno gone, Columbus won’t name a captain for now. Cam Atkinson, now the longest-tenured member of the team, and Seth Jones will continue as alternate captains.

“We built this culture, it took a long time to get us where we are, and I’m sure as hell not going to let this thing slide,” said the 31-year-old Atkinson, who is signed through 2024-25. “We have an obligation to ourselves, and to this organization especially, to steer this in the right direction.”

Foligno’s family is staying in Columbus, and he has let the team know he would be open to signing with the Blue Jackets as a free agent after trying to win a Stanley Cup with the playoff-bound Maple Leafs.

“We’ve gone through a lot here in Columbus,” said Foligno. who came via a 2012 trade with Ottawa. “We’ve grown this thing to a point where we had a great little run.”



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Memorial Cup canceled for second year due to coronavirus pandemic


The 2021 Memorial Cup tournament has been canceled, marking the second straight year in which the storied Canadian junior hockey championship will not be handed out due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Canadian Hockey League made the announcement Tuesday in conjunction with the Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Last year, the CHL canceled the Memorial Cup for the first time in the 102-year history of the tournament.

“The CHL is committed to the health and safety of our players, their families and billets, our teams, staff and officials, and the communities in which we play. That has driven all of our difficult decisions for the last year as we have dealt with this global pandemic,” said CHL President Dan MacKenzie. “The decision was made based on the limitations on travel, border restrictions, and quarantining requirements that would make it impossible to produce league champions.”

The WHL and QMJHL are in the midst of shortened seasons. The OHL has been in continuing return-to-play discussions with the Ontario government. The CHL said it waited as long as it could to make the decision, but that “we do not see a path in which we will be able to produce champions in our three member leagues.”

The format of the Memorial Cup tournament features the three champions from the regional leagues and the host city. Further decisions regarding the timing and location of the 2022 Memorial Cup will be announced at a later date.



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Fantasy hockey rankings Week 12 update


Let’s get down to brass tacks.

Some teams only have a dozen games left in the fantasy season. There are no more excuses for a player, no more wait-and-see approach. If a player isn’t putting up points on your fantasy roster, you don’t need him.

With the head-to-head playoffs underway and just barely a month left in the rotisserie season, the rankings also give no quarter to a lack of production. The biggest purge from these rankings of the season this week includes 38 players booted from the list for reasons ranging from injury to lineup changes and from lack of scoring to too much of it allowed.

Every little fantasy points has a major swing on how to look at these rankings. And I mean that literally. Using projections to look at the remainder of the season, a single power-play goal is the actual difference between being ranked No. 120 and about No. 175 among skaters. Andrei Vasilevskiy is still projected to get the most fantasy points over the remainder of the season, but all it would take is two extra wins by Connor Hellebuyck to leapfrog his projection. Every boost or brake in production gets magnified under a dwindling number of games to play.

Speaking of the number of games remaining to be played, the new Canucks schedule means at least two NHL games will not count in ESPN.com fantasy leagues this season. The final two games against the Calgary Flames fall outside the (already extended) cut-off for leagues of May 13. It means two fewer games for those players on your team, which is unfortunate but not surprising in this season.

The number of remaining games has a massive impact on the remaining fantasy schedule. The Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets only have 12 games, while the Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks have 17 (remember that two of the Canucks 19 remaining don’t count here). While four games in hand made a minimal difference at the start of the season, that now represents a third of the remaining schedule for the teams on the low end of games played.

It’s yet one more things that makes Taylor Hall‘s acquisition by the Bruins a polarizing and intriguing prospect for fantasy.

Forwards on the move

Taylor Hall, W, Boston Bruins (ranked No. 39): Boosting Hall into the top 40 off this move is a risk, but it’s a calculated one. Forget his MVP season for a moment and just look at the games he played in 2018-19 before his knee troubles: Hall posted 2.48 fantasy points per game (FPPG) during that span, scoring 11 goals in 33 games. Say for a moment he simply approaches that pace and manages 2.3 FPPG as a Bruin — that would result in 39.1 fantasy points, which is more than current projections hand out to all but 10 skaters in the league. The Bruins are expected to debut Hall with David Krejci on the second line, but shaking things up and exposing him to the top line isn’t off the cards. Hall will also get every chance to succeed on the power play. While he’s ranked top 40 here, the upside is actually top 10. (And yes, that’s the same thing we said before this season started of Hall’s chances with the Sabres, but it doesn’t make it less true).

Elias Pettersson, F, Vancouver Canucks (ranked No. 35): The Canucks are still slated to return to play on Friday and, by all accounts, a chance to get back on the ice for some team members went well on Monday. Not only do they get a significant fantasy boost across the board by having a stacked remaining schedule of 17 games, but it looks like the club could return with star forward Pettersson back to health. Out since March 2, Pettersson’s overall numbers this season are disappointing, but he was heating up just before injury struck. He’s been dropped in more than 10 percent of leagues, which is enough to take the time and check the free-agent list in yours.

Anthony Mantha, W, Washington Capitals (ranked No. 97): Before this relatively disastrous season for the Red Wings offense, Mantha had been building toward something special. Starting in 2017-18, his FPPG totals have been building over three years before this season: 1.55, 1.75 and 2.08. But Mantha has posted just 1.3 FPPG this season as the connection with Dylan Larkin failed to take the next step (to the detriment of both of them). This fresh start with the Caps could spark him back to that upward trend, as a scoring winger entering his prime. Let’s say a role in the top six and some decent power-play minutes vaults him back to 1.8 FPPG — that would push him into the top 100 skaters for the remainder of the season. He’s a must-add out of the trade deadline, as there’s wiggle room for him to not meet that threshold and still have fantasy value.

Defensemen on the move

Brandon Montour, D, Florida Panthers (ranked No. 94): To re-iterate a point from our ESPN.com fantasy trade deadline recap: Keith Yandle is not performing on the power play and Montour has the chops to do it. Montour is not the all-around defender that Aaron Ekblad is and is not going to replace him overall, but the power play is all he needs to drive some fantasy success here.

Goaltenders on the move

Not highlighting a specific players here, but rather pointing out that the minimal number of games left distills goaltender stats even further than skaters. Not that you should be using Elvis Merzlikins in fantasy but, as an example, he has played 53% of the Blue Jackets games over the past month and they have 12 left. So he has, what, at most about six games left to help your team?

Some crease shares from the past month of action that stand out and could perhaps inform your decision-making: Cam Talbot: 75.6%, Juuse Saros: 68.9%, Thatcher Demko: 84.6% (and 17 games left!), Jack Campbell: 65.0%, Martin Jones: 71.0% (and respectable 3.77 FPP60), Ilya Sorokin: 44.6%

New to rankings

Brandon Montour (No. 94), Anthony Mantha (97), Vince Dunn (103), Martin Jones (110), Tanner Pearson (111), Joel Edmundson (142), Travis Hamonic (152), Jesper Bratt (157), Alex Goligoski (168), Travis Zajac (172), Joshua Norris (173), Tyler Myers (175), Connor Brown (183), Mikael Backlund (185), Ryan Hartman (189), Kevin Labanc (191), Corey Perry (192), Pavel Zacha (201), Scott Mayfield (202), Alex Galchenyuk (205), Phillip Danault (215), Craig Smith (216), Nate Schmidt (217), Dmitry Orlov (219), Ryan Suter (224), Brock Nelson (227), Adam Lowry (229), Adin Hill (233), Jaden Schwartz (241), Viktor Arvidsson (242), Gabriel Vilardi (243), Nikita Gusev (244), Anthony Beauvillier (245), Calle Jarnkrok (246), Nikita Zaitsev (247), Josh Manson (248), Luke Kunin (249), Jeff Skinner (250).

Dropped out

Alexander Radulov, Kaapo Kahkonen, Adrian Kempe, Ilya Samsonov, Dominik Kubalik, Cam Atkinson, Kailer Yamamoto, Boone Jenner, Oliver Bjorkstrand. Clayton Keller, Kevin Hayes, Conor Garland, Christian Dvorak, Jordan Binnington, Sean Monahan, Maxime Comtois, Denis Gurianov, Teuvo Teravainen, Scott Laughton, Jack Hughes, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Zach Werenski, Elvis Merzlikins, Brian Elliott, Andre Burakovsky, Calvin de Haan, Jack Roslovic, Mattias Ekholm, Rasmus Dahlin, Alex Killorn, Dylan Larkin, Mikael Granlund, Jakub Vrana, Jordan Greenway, Joonas Korpisalo, Jason Dickinson, Ty Smith, Darcy Kuemper.

Fantasy hockey top-250 rankings

1. Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, TB (G1)
2. Auston Matthews, C, Tor (C1)
3. Connor McDavid, C, Edm (C2)
4. Philipp Grubauer, G, Col (G2)
5. Brad Marchand, LW, Bos (LW1)
6. Nathan MacKinnon, C, Col (C3)
7. David Pastrnak, RW, Bos (RW1)
8. Aleksander Barkov, C, Fla (C4)
9. Alex Ovechkin, LW, Wsh (LW2)
10. Patrice Bergeron, C, Bos (C5)
11. Connor Hellebuyck, G, Wpg (G3)
12. Leon Draisaitl, LW, Edm (LW3)
13. Max Pacioretty, LW, Vgs (LW4)
14. Adam Fox, D, NYR (D1)
15. Alec Martinez, D, Vgs (D2)
16. Mikko Rantanen, RW, Col (RW2)
17. Victor Hedman, D, TB (D3)
18. Mika Zibanejad, C, NYR (C6)
19. Mitchell Marner, RW, Tor (RW3)
20. Vincent Trocheck, C, Car (C7)
21. Sidney Crosby, C, Pit (C8)
22. Artemi Panarin, LW, NYR (LW5)
23. Jake Guentzel, LW, Pit (LW6)
24. Gabriel Landeskog, LW, Col (LW7)
25. Roope Hintz, C, Dal (C9)
26. Tyler Toffoli, RW, Mon (RW4)
27. Dougie Hamilton, D, Car (D4)
28. John Carlson, D, Wsh (D5)
29. Jeff Petry, D, Mon (D6)
30. Mark Stone, RW, Vgs (RW5)
31. Kris Letang, D, Pit (D7)
32. Kirill Kaprizov, LW, Min (LW8)
33. Thatcher Demko, G, Van (G4)
34. Darnell Nurse, D, Edm (D8)
35. Elias Pettersson, C, Van (C10)
36. Mike Smith, G, Edm (G5)
37. Joe Pavelski, RW, Dal (RW6)
38. Drew Doughty, D, LA (D9)
39. Taylor Hall, LW, Bos (LW9)
40. Jacob Trouba, D, NYR (D10)
41. Ivan Provorov, D, Phi (D11)
42. Juuse Saros, G, Nsh (G6)
43. Shea Weber, D, Mon (D12)
44. Cale Makar, D, Col (D13)
45. Sebastian Aho, C, Car (C11)
46. Mark Scheifele, C, Wpg (C12)
47. Pavel Buchnevich, RW, NYR (RW7)
48. Evander Kane, LW, SJ (LW10)
49. Sean Couturier, C, Phi (C13)
50. Ryan O’Reilly, C, StL (C14)
51. Cam Talbot, G, Min (G7)
52. Bo Horvat, C, Van (C15)
53. Josh Anderson, RW, Mon (RW8)
54. Nicklas Backstrom, C, Wsh (C16)
55. J.T. Miller, C, Van (C17)
56. Ryan Strome, C, NYR (C18)
57. Brayden Point, C, TB (C19)
58. Anze Kopitar, C, LA (C20)
59. Jared Spurgeon, D, Min (D14)
60. Kevin Fiala, C, Min (C21)
61. Shea Theodore, D, Vgs (D15)
62. Brent Burns, D, SJ (D16)
63. Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Vgs (G8)
64. Tomas Hertl, C, SJ (C22)
65. Charlie McAvoy, D, Bos (D17)
66. T.J. Oshie, RW, Wsh (RW9)
67. Nick Suzuki, C, Mon (C23)
68. David Perron, RW, StL (RW10)
69. Martin Necas, C, Car (C24)
70. Vitek Vanecek, G, Wsh (G9)
71. Kyle Connor, LW, Wpg (LW11)
72. Semyon Varlamov, G, NYI (G10)
73. Jakob Chychrun, D, Ari (D18)
74. Ondrej Palat, LW, TB (LW12)
75. Alex Pietrangelo, D, Vgs (D19)
76. Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, Fla (LW13)
77. Brady Tkachuk, LW, Ott (LW14)
78. Alex DeBrincat, LW, Chi (LW15)
79. Jack Campbell, G, Tor (G11)
80. Blake Wheeler, RW, Wpg (RW11)
81. Tyson Barrie, D, Edm (D20)
82. Brock Boeser, RW, Van (RW12)
83. Nikolaj Ehlers, LW, Wpg (LW16)
84. Kevin Lankinen, G, Chi (G12)
85. Chris Kreider, LW, NYR (LW17)
86. Tomas Tatar, LW, Mon (LW18)
87. Steven Stamkos, C, TB (C25)
88. Devon Toews, D, Col (D21)
89. Bryan Rust, RW, Pit (RW13)
90. Miro Heiskanen, D, Dal (D22)
91. John Klingberg, D, Dal (D23)
92. Justin Faulk, D, StL (D24)
93. Patrick Kane, RW, Chi (RW14)
94. Brandon Montour, D, Fla (D25)
95. Kyle Palmieri, RW, NYI (RW15)
96. Roman Josi, D, Nsh (D26)
97. Anthony Mantha, RW, Wsh (RW16)
98. Jason Robertson, LW, Dal (LW19)
99. Jean-Gabriel Pageau, C, NYI (C26)
100. Petr Mrazek, G, Car (G13)
101. Jordan Staal, C, Car (C27)
102. Seth Jones, D, Cls (D27)
103. Vince Dunn, D, StL (D28)
104. Yanni Gourde, LW, TB (LW20)
105. Shayne Gostisbehere, D, Phi (D29)
106. Ilya Sorokin, G, NYI (G14)
107. Colton Parayko, D, StL (D30)
108. Jonas Brodin, D, Min (D31)
109. Neal Pionk, D, Wpg (D32)
110. Martin Jones, G, SJ (G15)
111. Tanner Pearson, LW, Van (LW21)
112. Evgeni Malkin, C, Pit (C28)
113. Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, StL (RW17)
114. Igor Shesterkin, G, NYR (G16)
115. Joel Eriksson Ek, C, Min (C29)
116. Mark Giordano, D, Cgy (D33)
117. Matt Grzelcyk, D, Bos (D34)
118. Jamie Benn, LW, Dal (LW22)
119. Tyler Motte, LW, Van (LW23)
120. Tristan Jarry, G, Pit (G17)
121. Quinn Hughes, D, Van (D35)
122. John Tavares, C, Tor (C30)
123. Rasmus Ristolainen, D, Buf (D36)
124. Adam Larsson, D, Edm (D37)
125. Chris Driedger, G, Fla (G18)
126. Thomas Chabot, D, Ott (D38)
127. Connor Murphy, D, Chi (D39)
128. Travis Konecny, RW, Phi (RW18)
129. David Krejci, C, Bos (C31)
130. Jake Muzzin, D, Tor (D40)
131. Casey DeSmith, G, Pit (G19)
132. Alexander Edler, D, Van (D41)
133. Alex Iafallo, LW, LA (LW24)
134. Carter Verhaeghe, C, Fla (C32)
135. Josh Morrissey, D, Wpg (D42)
136. Tom Wilson, RW, Wsh (RW19)
137. Robin Lehner, G, Vgs (G20)
138. Mathew Barzal, C, NYI (C33)
139. Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Fla (G21)
140. Patric Hornqvist, RW, Fla (RW20)
141. Mathew Dumba, D, Min (D43)
142. Joel Edmundson, D, Mon (D44)
143. Jonathan Marchessault, LW, Vgs (LW25)
144. Zach Hyman, LW, Tor (LW26)
145. Jack Eichel, C, Buf (C34)
146. Ryan Graves, D, Col (D45)
147. Elias Lindholm, RW, Cgy (RW21)
148. Logan Couture, C, SJ (C35)
149. Jakub Voracek, RW, Phi (RW22)
150. Ryan Pulock, D, NYI (D46)
151. Esa Lindell, D, Dal (D47)
152. Travis Hamonic, D, Van (D48)
153. Joonas Donskoi, RW, Col (RW23)
154. Filip Forsberg, LW, Nsh (LW27)
155. Jaroslav Halak, G, Bos (G22)
156. William Karlsson, C, Vgs (C36)
157. Jesper Bratt, RW, NJ (RW24)
158. Anton Khudobin, G, Dal (G23)
159. Dustin Brown, RW, LA (RW25)
160. Patrik Laine, RW, Cls (RW26)
161. Morgan Rielly, D, Tor (D49)
162. Mats Zuccarello, RW, Min (RW27)
163. Claude Giroux, LW, Phi (LW28)
164. Alex Nedeljkovic, G, Car (G24)
165. Mikhail Sergachev, D, TB (D50)
166. Matthew Tkachuk, LW, Cgy (LW29)
167. Timo Meier, RW, SJ (RW28)
168. Alex Goligoski, D, Ari (D51)
169. Joel Farabee, LW, Phi (LW30)
170. Eeli Tolvanen, LW, Nsh (LW31)
171. Kirby Dach, C, Chi (C37)
172. Travis Zajac, C, NYI (C38)
173. Joshua Norris, C, Ott (C39)
174. Andrew Copp, C, Wpg (C40)
175. Tyler Myers, D, Van (D52)
176. Samuel Girard, D, Col (D53)
177. Jeff Carter, C, Pit (C41)
178. Tyler Seguin, C, Dal (C42)
179. Calvin Petersen, G, LA (G25)
180. Erik Karlsson, D, SJ (D54)
181. Pierre-Luc Dubois, C, Wpg (C43)
182. Brett Pesce, D, Car (D55)
183. Connor Brown, RW, Ott (RW29)
184. Nick Ritchie, LW, Bos (LW32)
185. Mikael Backlund, C, Cgy (C44)
186. Johnny Gaudreau, LW, Cgy (LW33)
187. Sam Reinhart, RW, Buf (RW30)
188. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, Edm (C45)
189. Ryan Hartman, RW, Min (RW31)
190. Andrei Svechnikov, LW, Car (LW34)
191. Kevin Labanc, RW, SJ (RW32)
192. Corey Perry, RW, Mon (RW33)
193. Nino Niederreiter, RW, Car (RW34)
194. Oliver Wahlstrom, RW, NYI (RW35)
195. Jared McCann, LW, Pit (LW35)
196. Victor Olofsson, RW, Buf (RW36)
197. Tuukka Rask, G, Bos (G26)
198. Torey Krug, D, StL (D56)
199. Evgeny Kuznetsov, C, Wsh (C46)
200. Miles Wood, LW, NJ (LW36)
201. Pavel Zacha, C, NJ (C47)
202. Scott Mayfield, D, NYI (D57)
203. Phil Kessel, RW, Ari (RW37)
204. Duncan Keith, D, Chi (D58)
205. Alex Galchenyuk, LW, Tor (LW37)
206. Nick Foligno, LW, Tor (LW38)
207. Jacob Markstrom, G, Cgy (G27)
208. William Nylander, RW, Tor (RW38)
209. Justin Schultz, D, Wsh (D59)
210. Jordan Eberle, RW, NYI (RW39)
211. Jaccob Slavin, D, Car (D60)
212. Carey Price, G, Mon (G28)
213. Brayden Schenn, C, StL (C48)
214. Ryan McDonagh, D, TB (D61)
215. Phillip Danault, C, Mon (C49)
216. Craig Smith, RW, Bos (RW40)
217. Nate Schmidt, D, Van (D62)
218. Rickard Rakell, C, Ana (C50)
219. Dmitry Orlov, D, Wsh (D63)
220. Wayne Simmonds, RW, Tor (RW41)
221. Chandler Stephenson, C, Vgs (C51)
222. James van Riemsdyk, LW, Phi (LW39)
223. Adam Boqvist, D, Chi (D64)
224. Ryan Suter, D, Min (D65)
225. Eric Staal, C, Mon (C52)
226. Keith Yandle, D, Fla (D66)
227. Brock Nelson, C, NYI (C53)
228. Brandon Tanev, LW, Pit (LW40)
229. Adam Lowry, C, Wpg (C54)
230. Robby Fabbri, C, Det (C55)
231. Jonathan Bernier, G, Det (G29)
232. David Savard, D, TB (D67)
233. Adin Hill, G, Ari (G30)
234. Nazem Kadri, C, Col (C56)
235. P.K. Subban, D, NJ (D68)
236. Frederik Andersen, G, Tor (G31)
237. Drake Batherson, C, Ott (C57)
238. Alex Tuch, RW, Vgs (RW42)
239. Anthony Cirelli, C, TB (C58)
240. Frank Vatrano, LW, Fla (LW41)
241. Jaden Schwartz, LW, StL (LW42)
242. Viktor Arvidsson, RW, Nsh (RW43)
243. Gabriel Vilardi, C, LA (C59)
244. Nikita Gusev, LW, Fla (LW43)
245. Anthony Beauvillier, LW, NYI (LW44)
246. Calle Jarnkrok, C, Nsh (C60)
247. Nikita Zaitsev, D, Ott (D69)
248. Josh Manson, D, Ana (D70)
249. Luke Kunin, C, Nsh (C61)
250. Jeff Skinner, LW, Buf (LW45)



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Fantasy hockey – NHL trade deadline wrap


The NHL trade deadline has come and gone, bringing with it many players swapping jerseys. Missed out on any major moves? ESPN’s Senior Fantasy analysts Sean Allen and Victoria Matiash have got you covered with every deal that fantasy players need to know, whether they were phoned in down to the wire, or in the middle of the night (cough, Mr. Hall…).


Taylor Hall, LW/C, Boston Bruins: There are two ways to look at what Hall has done this season with the Buffalo Sabres. Either his two goals in 37 games are a product of his surroundings or his lack of offensive output is a continued decline since his knee surgery in 2019. We are all aware of his actual MVP season in 2017-18 (2.74 fantasy points per game), but he was almost as good through December the following season (2.48 FPPG) before he started missing time for what would eventually end with knee surgery. Since then, Hall posted 1.84 FPPG in a season split between the New Jersey Devils and Arizona Coyotes, and then there is this season in Buffalo with 1.1 FPPG. That said, he hasn’t looked like the troubles with the Sabres were his fault and his shooting percentage is a shockingly low 2.3 percent (it was 14.0 percent in his MVP season), so I am inclined to think the old Hall is still in there waiting to come out.

Hall has been justifiably dropped in 20 percent of ESPN leagues, but he’s an obvious must-grab in the wake of this news. The Bruins have done plenty of experimentation of late by breaking up the dominant line of Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand (which in hindsight looks like preparation for this move). Hall could earn a spot with Bergeron and Marchand, where Craig Smith has played in games lately. This also means Nick Ritchie‘s fantasy-relevant role on the power play is gone, with Hall assuming those duties. (Sean Allen)

Anthony Mantha, RW/LW, Washington Capitals: The Capitals relinquished much too much – Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik, 2021 first-round pick, 2021 second-round pick – to tuck the former Red Wing forward away in their bottom-six. A slot alongside center Nicklas Backstrom, and post on the power play, should reap immediate scoring dividends for the struggling power forward. Mantha has not only seen a big drop-off in his scoring numbers this season, but in shots and attempted shots as well. He isn’t hitting as much either. Clambering up the standings from dead-last in the Central to top spot in the East should do the imposing skater a world of good. Still available in nearly half of ESPN.com leagues, Mantha should be scooped up in all but the shallowest of competition. (Victoria Matiash)

Nick Foligno, LW/RW, Toronto Maple Leafs: With the way the Leafs offense has been humming along this season, it’s sometimes easy to forget there are wedges still for a new player to find a fantasy role on what has been a fairly fluid offense. Toronto has already played with the Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner pairing this season by using Joe Thornton or Zach Hyman there at different times — and Foligno has the physical profile to his game to also pencil in on that role. Alex Galchenyuk is also occupying a top-six spot at the moment that could fall to Foligno.

Foligno doesn’t need much to bump into fantasy relevance, thanks largely to his hits profile that has him 12th among forwards in the NHL this season. In fact, remove anyone not named Tkachuk from that list and Foligno is among the best for points and hits combined. So a meaningful role on the Leafs offense would likely see Foligno bump closer to the 1.86 FPPG he tallied in 2016-17 – though that might be asking a lot given that those numbers also came with significant power-play time. As it is, he probably remains closer to the fringe 1.5 FPPG he is currently posting this season while adding to the stable of former captains the Leafs now boast heading in the postseason. (Allen)

Jeff Carter, C/RW, Pittsburgh Penguins: Call this Evgeni Malkin insurance. Carter still has a touch of offense to his game, though it’s muted and he’s only been playing 16 minutes per game for the Kings. But, as recent weeks have proven, the Penguins do not have the center depth to create two scoring lines without both Sidney Crosby and Malkin dressed. Carter should give them coverage until Malkin (skating again) returns from injury and coverage should another injury befall their core stars.

With Carter’s ability to play both center and wing, he could find himself in the mix for an extended run among the team’s top six, but it’s hard to envision power-play time over Jake Guentzel or Bryan Rust. It’s easier to see a clearer path to production for Carter than it is for Foligno, so he is arguably the better fantasy pickup — but it’s close and we aren’t talking about a league-changing move either way.

Carter has posted 1.4 FPPG this season and hasn’t topped that since the Tyler ToffoliTanner Pearson line days in 2016-17 and 2017-18. (Allen)

Sam Bennett, LW/C, Florida Panthers: After six predominantly frustrating years in Calgary, Bennett is finally getting a shot at redemption elsewhere. A disappointment since potting 18 goals and 18 assists in his rookie season with the Flames, the 2014 fourth-overall draft pick could certainly use a fresh slate. There are two key elements to watch for following this transaction: Where Bennett fits into the lineup and how he responds to Joel Quenneville. A scoring role – not out of the question – and good relationship with his new head coach could translate into an upswing, however brief, for the RFA-to-be. That Bennett posted at least one assist in his past four games with the Flames doesn’t hurt in the confidence department. He might be worth monitoring in deeper fantasy leagues. (Matiash)

Carl Soderberg, C, Colorado Avalanche: The veteran forward enjoyed the most productive year of his career – 23 goals and 26 assists – only two years ago with this very same Colorado squad. A return to the third-line center’s role, between Brandon Saad and Joonas Donskoi perhaps, and spot on the secondary power play could result in the now 35-year-old revisiting a similar scoring clip. Soderberg can also be counted on to regularly throw a hit and block the odd shot. There’s some value to be enjoyed here in the deepest of fantasy leagues. (Matiash)

David Savard, D, Tampa Bay Lightning: For fantasy value, Savard did quite the yo-yo. News that Zach Werenski was down for the season would have meant Savard steps from the fringes of fantasy relevance to a great free-agent addition to teams, but the trade to the Lightning takes him right off the radar again. He drives consistent value from blocked shots and hits, so an opening to add points would have pushed him over the top for fantasy. But with the Lightning he becomes the fourth option for scoring from the blue line and won’t get a whiff of any power-play time. (Allen)

Brandon Montour, D, Florida Panthers: It was clear the Panthers needed to do something to address the absence of Aaron Ekblad for the remainder of the season, and Montour checks the boxes for the power play. Keith Yandle has not managed to pick up the slack on the man advantage since Ekblad’s injury. Montour is an immediate pickup for fantasy given the success of this power play this season when a strong quarterback is on the blue line. The Panthers were fifth in power-play goals this season until Ekblad’s injury, but have fallen to eighth in the two weeks since.

Montour has and has flashed his power-play chops in the NHL before. In 2017-18, he posted a respectable 12 power-play points when handed 180 minutes on the man advantage (nine goals and 32 points that season) for the Anaheim Ducks. He would be traded the next season and fall in the PP pecking order to both Ramus Dahlin and Rasmus Ristolainen with the Sabres. If you have holes on your defense, Montour looks like a solid speculative add out of this trade deadline.

Nikita Gusev, W, Florida Panthers: Here’s hoping the Panthers see in Gusev what interim Devils coach Alain Nasreddine saw last season. In the 43 games under Nasreddine, Gusev potted eight goals and 32 points, including 14 points on the power play. In the 43 games Gusev has played for other coaches, he’s posted seven goals and 17 points, including two on the power play. It’s an even and stark split. The Panthers have been very fluid of late with the lines, partially fueled by some key injuries. But with most of the offense healthy again (Anthony Duclair perhaps the exception), we’ll have to see what kind of role Gusev can carve out. It very well could include a scoring line with some power-play action, so you very much want to stash him on your fantasy bench if you can. (Allen)

Devan Dubnyk, G, Colorado Avalanche: No question, Philipp Grubauer is the guy between the pipes in Denver. But if – an if no one wants to see flush out – the Avalanche’s No. 1 should fall hurt, Dubnyk will become exceptionally busy in a very big hurry. Grubauer has never competed this much/often during his NHL career. It’s worth keeping a view to how he holds up as the season starts to wind down. Boasting a better chance at winning with his new club than in San Jose, Dubnyk remains overwhelmingly available in ESPN.com leagues. (Matiash)

David Rittich, G, Toronto Maple Leafs: If Frederik Andersen doesn’t recover soon from a lower-body injury and if Jack Campbell also gets injured, Rittich will have some fantasy value. Without those two things being true, he has no relevance to fantasy rosters. (Allen)


Vacuums left by trades

Jeff Skinner, LW, Buffalo Sabres: I don’t have any interest unless Jack Eichel returns to the ice in short order. But, if the Sabres get Eichel back and with Hall out of the mix, there is a strong argument for the team to run out the season with Skinner back at his side. As a brief reminder, Skinner posted 1.86 FPPG as a linemate to Eichel in 2018-19. (Allen)

Jaret Anderson-Dolan, C, Los Angeles Kings: The departure of Carter could open up more ice time for Anderson-Dolan as a member of the Kings’ second line and second power-play unit. This is interesting because he has been quietly posting tidy fantasy production in limited minutes. While averaging just 14:30 in ice time this season, Anderson-Dolan has 5.64 fantasy points per 60 minutes (FPP60). Some of his contemporaries for that mark this season include Evgeni Malkin (5.67), Nick Ritchie (5.62) and even Jack Eichel (5.60). If the Kings give him 16 to 18 minutes per game, Anderson-Dolan could be a spot starter for your lineup. (Allen)





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