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2021 World Championship commitment tracker

2021 World Championship commitment tracker

13/05/2021, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 30326323

The 2021 IIHF World Championship runs from May 21 to June 6 in Riga, Latvia. Follow along for all of the roster commitments ahead of the tournament opener.

Belarus

Player Position NHL/club team
Yegor Sharangovich F New Jersey Devils

Canada

Player Position NHL/club team
Jaret Anderson-Dolan* F Los Angeles Kings
Connor Brown* F Ottawa Senators
Michael Bunting F Arizona Coyotes
Max Comtois* F Anaheim Ducks
Justin Danforth* F Columbus Blue Jackets/Vityaz (KHL)
Dillon Dube* F Calgary Flames
Liam Foudy* F Blue Jackets/Cleveland Monsters (AHL)
Brandon Hagel F Chicago Blackhawks
Adam Henrique* F Ducks
Andrew Mangiapane* F Flames
Nick Paul* F Senators
Cole Perfetti* F Manitoba Moose (AHL)/Winnipeg Jets
Brandon Pirri* F Blackhawks/Rockford IceHogs (AHL)
Gabe Vilardi* F Kings
Kevin Bahl* D Devils
Nicolas Beaudin* D Blackhawks
Mario Ferraro* D San Jose Sharks
Colin Miller* D Buffalo Sabres
Owen Power* D University of Michigan (NCAA)
Braden Schneider* D Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL)/Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)/New York Rangers
Troy Stecher* D Detroit Red Wings
Sean Walker* D Kings
Michael DiPietro* G Vancouver Canucks/Utica Comets (AHL)
Adin Hill G Coyotes
Darcy Kuemper G Coyotes

*Expected to participate

Czech Republic

Player Position NHL/club team
Filip Chytil* F Rangers
Dominik Kubalik F Blackhawks
Libor Hajek* D Rangers

*Expected to participate

Germany

Player Position NHL/club team or rights
Lukas Reichel F Blackhawks/Berlin (DEL)

Slovakia

Player Position NHL/club team
Marian Studenic F Bratislava Slovan (Tipos Extraliga)
Adam Huska* G Rangers

*Expected to participate

Switzerland

Player Position NHL/club team
Nico Hischier F Devils
Jonas Siegenthaler D Devils

Russia

Player Position NHL/club team
Alexander Barabanov F Sharks
Mikhail Grigorenko F Blue Jackets
Vladislav Gavrikov D Blue Jackets
Nikita Nesterov D Flames
Ivan Provorov D Philadelphia Flyers
Nikita Zadorov D Blackhawks
Artem Zub D Senators

United States

Player Position NHL/club team
Justin Abdelkader* F EV Zug (Swiss National League)
Colin Blackwell* F Rangers
Conor Garland F Coyotes
Kevin Rooney* F Rangers
Matt Hellickson D Binghamton Devils (AHL)/New Jersey Devils
Zac Jones* D Rangers
Matt Tennyson D Devils

*Expected to participate

Copyright © 2021 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.



https://www.thescore.com/nhl/news/2170740
Best bets to win the Stanley Cup

Best bets to win the Stanley Cup

13/05/2021, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 30326313

The league has not yet announced an official start date for the postseason, but all signs point to the NHL playoffs commencing on Saturday, with the North Division getting underway a few days later.

NHL playoff time is one of the greatest times of the year, and with the first round just around the corner, these next few days are for watching "History Will Be Made" commercials and past playoff montages while revisiting the Stanley Cup oddsboard.

TEAM ODDS
Colorado Avalanche +350
Vegas Golden Knights +350
Tampa Bay Lightning +550
Toronto Maple Leafs +600
Carolina Hurricanes +700
Boston Bruins +1000
New York Islanders +1000
Washington Capitals +1400
Pittsburgh Penguins +1500
Florida Panthers +1700
Minnesota Wild +1700
Montreal Canadiens +1800
St. Louis Blues +2200
Winnipeg Jets +2200
Edmonton Oilers +2500
Nashville Predators +3200

Carolina Hurricanes (+700)

I've been beating this drum since before the season, and you best believe I'm not stopping now. All the Hurricanes did this year was win a gauntlet of a division, despite Teuvo Teravainen and Petr Mrazek playing for just 31 games combined. The club went 10-3-3 against the Panthers and Lightning and absolutely dominated the Predators, their first-round opponent.

It's not just that Carolina won, it's also about how the team won, finishing top five in xGF%, CF%, and HDCF%. The Hurricanes also allowed the fewest goals in the league by a wide margin (both overall and five-on-five) while ranking second on the power play and third on the penalty kill. The only reason Carolina isn't priced among the favorites is because of the reputations of the clubs above them - we're getting a squad every bit as good as Colorado and Vegas at double the price.

The Hurricanes winning the Central Division also works in their favor, presenting a much more appealing first-round date with the Predators while Florida and Tampa beat up on one another. It also ensures Carolina will have home-ice advantage through at least the first two rounds, and likely three - a massive boost for a team that went 20-3-5 at PNC Arena this season.

Boston Bruins (+1000)

The Bruins lost 8-1 to the Capitals on April 11 to drop to 21-12-6, fourth in the East Division, and just four points into a playoff spot. Boston had a goal differential of plus-five. Later that night, the franchise acquired Mike Reilly and, a little over an hour later, Taylor Hall. The Bruins have gone 11-3-1 since then with a plus-28 goal differential, and they come into the playoffs as the NHL's hottest team.

Boston leads the league over that span with an outrageous 61.71 xGF% at five-on-five, while ranking second in CF% and fourth in xGF/60. It's been an impressive turnaround for the Bruins, which were among the league's worst offensive teams through the first half of the campaign. Injuries also played a big part in Boston's earlier struggles, with the club ranking top five in man-games lost among playoff teams. The Bruins were hit especially hard on the back end and in goal, with Tuukka Rask limited to just 24 games.

Hall has since filled a massive void in the squad's top six, joining what has become a dynamic second line with David Krejci and Craig Smith behind a first line that's been among the NHL's best for the past five years. The bottom six is among the league's stronger groups, while Reilly's emergence has solidified a now healthy blue line. There are few holes in this roster as Boston gears up for yet another run at the Stanley Cup.

Edmonton Oilers (+2500)

If you're strictly looking for value, the Oilers being offered at 25-1 at theScore Bet fits the bill. You won't find better odds anywhere on Edmonton, which ranges between 16-1 and 20-1 elsewhere.

Now I'm not particularly high on the Oilers - and those reservations will keep me off them at anything 20-1 or shorter - but it's hard to look away with such a generous price here. Edmonton will only go as far as Connor McDavid takes them, but there's no one better to hitch your wagon to than the best player on the planet who's coming off one of the most dominant seasons in sports history.

The path out of the North isn't particularly daunting, and while the Oilers are a class below the Leafs, Toronto's goaltending situation is a red flag. If Mike Smith can pick up where he left off in the regular season, finishing sixth among all goalies in GSAA and seventh in GSAx, this club can be a real problem. Edmonton is not without its flaws, but the star power up front, the NHL's top-ranked power play, and a born-again Smith between the pipes are enough reasons to buy in at this price.

Alex Moretto is theScore's supervising editor of sports betting. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.

Copyright © 2021 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.



https://www.thescore.com/nhl/news/2157592
Kraken sign 1st player, Luke Henman, to entry-level deal

Kraken sign 1st player, Luke Henman, to entry-level deal

13/05/2021, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 30326279

The Seattle Kraken completed their first-ever player transaction.

Luke Henman inked a three-year, entry-level contract with the expansion franchise, the Kraken announced Wednesday. It's a standard two-way deal.

The 21-year-old center is in the midst of the QMJHL playoffs with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. He's scored six goals in seven postseason games this spring after collecting 16 markers and 27 helpers in 32 contests during the regular season.

"Luke has put up the numbers in the 'Q' and he is team captain," Kraken general manager Ron Francis said. "He has solid character. We do think he needs to get stronger. We are excited to sign him as our first player.

"He's still a little bit light," Francis added. "But he thinks the game well and has the skating and hockey skills we like when scouting players."

Henman, who's listed at 6-foot and 168 pounds, is in his fifth campaign with the Armada. The Carolina Hurricanes drafted him 96th overall in 2018, but he ultimately didn't sign with them.

The Kraken will fill out their roster during the expansion draft on July 21. The NHL's 32nd team is scheduled to begin play in the 2021-22 season.

Copyright © 2021 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.



https://www.thescore.com/nhl/news/2171509
Kraken sign 1st player, Luke Henman, to entry-level deal

Kraken sign 1st player, Luke Henman, to entry-level deal

13/05/2021, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 30326270

The Seattle Kraken completed their first-ever player transaction.

Luke Henman inked a three-year, entry-level contract with the expansion franchise, the Kraken announced Wednesday. It's a standard two-way deal.

The 21-year-old center is in the midst of the QMJHL playoffs with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. He's scored six goals in seven postseason games this spring after collecting 16 markers and 27 helpers in 32 contests during the regular season.

"Luke has put up the numbers in the 'Q' and he is team captain," Kraken general manager Ron Francis said. "He has solid character. We do think he needs to get stronger. We are excited to sign him as our first player.

"He's still a little bit light," Francis added. "But he thinks the game well and has the skating and hockey skills we like when scouting players."

Henman is in his fifth campaign with the Armada. The Carolina Hurricanes drafted him 96th overall in 2018, but he ultimately didn't sign with them.

The Kraken will fill out their roster during the expansion draft on July 21. The NHL's 32nd team is scheduled to begin play in the 2021-22 season.

Copyright © 2021 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.



https://www.thescore.com/nhl/news/2171509
Matthews continues ascent, Eichel destinations, and revisiting predictions

Matthews continues ascent, Eichel destinations, and revisiting predictions

13/05/2021, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 30326261

Boris Dorozhenko, the accomplished skating and skills coach based in Scottsdale, Arizona, can't help but think of fine art when tuning into Toronto Maple Leafs games. Watching his longtime student Auston Matthews, Dorozhenko sees an artist whose latest masterpiece - an absurd 40 goals in 50 games - is equal parts stunning and predictable.

"When we recognize the work of some famous painter, it's beautiful. And then the next one is even better," Dorozhenko said during a phone interview earlier this week. "So I think there's no limits to the type of improvement."

Dorozhenko uses the analogy to help contextualize the trajectory Matthews has been on since breaking into the NHL in 2016-17. Matthews arrives at training camp every year with something new to showcase: A mastered shooting technique, a greater dedication to defense, a leaner body. And every year, we're amazed, yet not necessarily surprised, by the improvement.

Jeff Vinnick / Getty Images

Dorozhenko believes Matthews is unique among most of his peers because whenever the 23-year-old adds something to his toolbox - say, a terrifying one-timer prior to the 2019-20 season - other parts of his game don't sag.

Matthews isn't simply satisfied with being elite. He continues to build on his base year after year, elevating his ceiling as an NHL player.

"Auston has a very analytical mind, and it's helped him every year to get better. There's no question," said Dorozhenko, who has been training Matthews for 16 years through his Next Generation Hockey school.

"I think," he later added, "we are observing a legendary player."

Good luck crafting a competent counterargument, given Matthews' prolific production this year. Heading into Toronto's final two regular-season games - Wednesday against the Ottawa Senators and Friday against the Winnipeg Jets - he's scoring at a pace we haven't seen since peak Alex Ovechkin.

With a goals-per-game rate of 0.80, Matthews' season is sandwiched between Ovechkin's 65 goals in 82 games in 2007-08 (0.79) and Mario Lemieux's 35 goals in 43 games in 2000-01 (0.81). And to think, Matthews was flirting with the elusive 50 goals in 50 games feat until a nagging wrist injury interrupted his blazing start to the season back in February.

Looking over Matthews' career shot profile, there are a few notable changes in 2020-21. First of all, he's pumping more shots on goal than ever before, averaging 4.3 per game. Secondly, according to MoneyPuck.com, he's been shooting the puck closer to the opposing goalie, with his average unblocked shot attempt distance now listed at 22.3 feet. Lastly, wraparounds: Despite appearing in just 50 games, Matthews has 11 recorded wraparounds, surpassing a previous high of 10 in his 82-game rookie season.

All three changes could be a byproduct of his ice time continuing to increase year over year; his wrist not being healthy enough to unleash as many long-range shots; and/or all-world facilitator Mitch Marner feeding him a variety of passes. It's most likely those things and Matthews' ability to burn the opposition in countless ways. He's the full package - a 6-foot-3, 220-pounder armed with a deceptive release and accurate shot, plus the skating, dangles, hand-eye coordination, and playmaking chops to keep defenses guessing.

Impressively, Matthews is credited with 12 game-winning goals but no empty-netters, suggesting he hasn't piled up a bunch of tallies in low-leverage situations. He isn't in the middle of a shooting percentage bender, either. At 18.7% for the season, he's up just 2.5% on his career average.

Ready for an unbelievable Matthews stat? When filtered through Hockey-Reference.com's "era-adjusted" equation, his production this year is tied for 12th all time in single-season goals, at 65. Let that sink in for a moment. Matthews, hurt wrist and all, managed to snag a spot barely outside the top 10 on a list attempting to fairly rank the greatest goal-scoring seasons ever.

If Matthews can remain healthy down the road, hitting the 50-goal milestone feels inevitable. How about 60 over a full season? Is that a realistic target?

"I believe he can score even more (than 60)," Dorozhenko said.

Best fits for Eichel

John Russell / Getty Images

Now that the dust has settled on Jack Eichel's explosive comments regarding the "disconnect" between him and the Buffalo Sabres, it's time to identify some reasonable offseason landing spots for the likely-to-be-traded captain.

It's a complicated situation. There's no clarity on Eichel's neck injury, which presumably affects the market for acquiring his services. Also, who knows which direction Sabres brass wants to take this mess - full-on rebuild or significant retool. For this exercise, we'll assume they're tearing it down.

The one club Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams should be clamoring over is the Los Angeles Kings. L.A. is stocked with enticing prospects and first-round picks to build a trade package around. With the Kings on the rise again after taking time to retool for a second wind in the Drew Doughty-Anze Kopitar era, Eichel's availability aligns well with L.A. making a big splash.

The New York Rangers are in a similar spot to the Kings; another big-market franchise with a promising future and enough assets to chase an Eichel trade. Keep in mind that the rumor mill has linked Eichel to the Rangers in the past. Plus, Eichel's agents represented new general manager Chris Drury during his playing career.

The Detroit Red Wings can't be counted out, seeing as they have an abundance of cap space, draft capital, and plenty of desirable prospects. GM Steve Yzerman is methodical and patient, so it doesn't make intuitive sense. Then again, players of Eichel's caliber are rarely in play on the trade market.

The Vegas Golden Knights are always lurking thanks to the ballsy ownership and management trio of Bill Foley, George McPhee, and Kelly McCrimmon. The relatively new franchise has proven A) it isn't afraid to chase stars, and B) it can stickhandle its way around complications surrounding the salary cap.

The Columbus Blue Jackets seem destined for seismic change and desperately need a No. 1 center. They own five first-round draft picks over the next three years, including three in the upcoming draft, and could easily part with one of their NHL goalies - either Elvis Merzlikins or Joonas Korpisalo.

That's five teams and there's surely 10 more who will at least be kicking tires.

'Yotes got Chychrun's best

Hands up if you can name the goal-scoring leader among defensemen.

Anyone … ?

It's Jakob Chychrun, who scored 18 in 56 games for the Arizona Coyotes. The 23-year-old would be talked about far more often if he didn't play in Glendale.

This three-goal performance in early April shows off his lethal wrist shot:

It's easy to glean from the tape why outgoing Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet played Chychrun a team-high 23:23 a night - three minutes more than captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson. The two-way Chychrun loves to roam around the entire ice surface in a similar way to reigning Norris Trophy winner Roman Josi.

Chychrun, picked 16th overall in the 2016 NHL Draft by former GM John Chayka, is already five years into his career. He missed a combined 82 games due to injury in his previous four seasons - which is a shame because he's developed a reputation for being one of the sport's fittest players.

"Injuries are something that's a part of the game. I have had a little bit of bad luck with a couple of them, but I don't get down on myself," Chychrun said in January when asked if getting through a season unscathed was a top priority.

"I continue to take care of myself, take care of my body, and just put myself in the best situations to be available for my team. I make sure I stay on top of my everyday rituals of staying healthy. For sure, that's a goal of mine."

Mission accomplished.

Revisiting predictions

In January, we published my 21 predictions for the 2020-21 season. Five months in, why not quickly revisit a handful of them - you know, for fun.

Prediction: Pierre-Luc Dubois stays longer than Patrik Laine

This one was a total fail, considering the two disgruntled 20-somethings were, in fact, traded for each other. The awkward part is neither Laine in Columbus nor Dubois in Winnipeg have found success in their new hockey homes.

Prediction: The Wild are exciting - for a change

Bingo. Wild games have been wildly entertaining in the Kirill Kaprizov era. Really, Kaprizov alone - with that mesmerizing skill set and those late-game heroics - has skyrocketed Minnesota up the NHL watchability rankings.

Prediction: Taylor Hall finds better chemistry with Eric Staal than Jack Eichel

Complete whiff. Hall's stay in Buffalo was disastrous, and a lack of chemistry was at least part of the problem; he's now thriving in Boston. Plus, Staal is in Montreal and Eichel wants out. Ah! Sabres issues used to be so quaint.

Prediction: Analytics darling Ondrej Kase (finally) breaks out

To be determined? Kase has played a grand total of three games this season - the first two in January, the third on Monday. The winger was injured and then injured again, so this supposed breakout has either been delayed or killed.

Prediction: Tkachuk brothers post Gordie Howe hat tricks in the same game

Super ambitious prediction, and it definitely didn't come to fruition. Brady Tkachuk recorded his first Gordie Howe hat trick (goal, assist, fight) versus the Vancouver Canucks in late April, but brother Matthew still doesn't have one.

Prediction: League save percentage dips below .910

Hit. The NHL SV% is currently .908, which matches the mark in 2008-09, the last time it dipped below .910. As an interesting side, goals scored per game dropped ever so slightly, from 3.02 per team in 2019-20 to 2.93 this year.

3 parting thoughts

Jack Adams: Writers don't vote on coach of the year. If we did, I'd go: 1. Joel Quenneville, 2. Rod Brind'Amour, 3. Mike Sullivan, 4. Dean Evason, and 5. Sheldon Keefe. Florida hasn't missed a beat since Aaron Ekblad's injury.

Andre Ringuette / Getty Images

Ding!: With the regular season nearly over, the early winner of the Most Iron Hit Award is ... Nathan MacKinnon, who's dinged a league-high 10 posts or crossbars (eight posts; two crossbars). Kyle Connor and Leon Draisaitl have both struck iron nine times this season, while four others are tied for fourth.

Michael Martin / Getty Images

Connor McDavid: Sorry, Devils fans, but this tweet from Monday afternoon is pure gold. Are we sure McDavid is mortal? Oh, and the Oilers captain went on to pick up another two points - including the overtime goal - a few hours later.

Note: The original version of this piece noted the relationship between coach David Quinn and Jack Eichel. This piece has been edited to reflect Quinn's dismissal by the Rangers on Wednesday.

Note: The original version also included an observation about who might be the first player signed by the Seattle Kraken. We guessed it might be Seattle Thunderbirds' overager Keltie Jeri-Leon. On Wednesday, the team signed Luke Henman.

Takes, Thoughts, and Trends is theScore's monthly hockey grab bag.

John Matisz is theScore's senior hockey writer. You can follow John on Twitter (@MatiszJohn) and contact him via email (john.matisz@thescore.com)

Copyright © 2021 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.



https://www.thescore.com/nhl/news/2170348
Matthews continues ascent, Eichel destinations, and revisiting predictions

Matthews continues ascent, Eichel destinations, and revisiting predictions

13/05/2021, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 30326198

Boris Dorozhenko, the accomplished skating and skills coach based in Scottsdale, Arizona, can't help but think of fine art when tuning into Toronto Maple Leafs games. Watching his longtime student Auston Matthews, Dorozhenko sees an artist whose latest masterpiece - an absurd 40 goals in 50 games - is equal parts stunning and predictable.

"When we recognize the work of some famous painter, it's beautiful. And then the next one is even better," Dorozhenko said during a phone interview earlier this week. "So I think there's no limits to the type of improvement."

Dorozhenko uses the analogy to help contextualize the trajectory Matthews has been on since breaking into the NHL in 2016-17. Matthews arrives at training camp every year with something new to showcase: A mastered shooting technique, a greater dedication to defense, a leaner body. And every year, we're amazed, yet not necessarily surprised, by the improvement.

Jeff Vinnick / Getty Images

Dorozhenko believes Matthews is unique among most of his peers because whenever the 23-year-old adds something to his toolbox - say, a terrifying one-timer prior to the 2019-20 season - other parts of his game don't sag.

Matthews isn't simply satisfied with being elite. He continues to build on his base year after year, elevating his ceiling as an NHL player.

"Auston has a very analytical mind, and it's helped him every year to get better. There's no question," said Dorozhenko, who has been training Matthews for 16 years through his Next Generation Hockey school.

"I think," he later added, "we are observing a legendary player."

Good luck crafting a competent counterargument, given Matthews' prolific production this year. Heading into Toronto's final two regular-season games - Wednesday against the Ottawa Senators and Friday against the Winnipeg Jets - he's scoring at a pace we haven't seen since peak Alex Ovechkin.

With a goals-per-game rate of 0.80, Matthews' season is sandwiched between Ovechkin's 65 goals in 82 games in 2007-08 (0.79) and Mario Lemieux's 35 goals in 43 games in 2000-01 (0.81). And to think, Matthews was flirting with the elusive 50 goals in 50 games feat until a nagging wrist injury interrupted his blazing start to the season back in February.

Looking over Matthews' career shot profile, there are a few notable changes in 2020-21. First of all, he's pumping more shots on goal than ever before, averaging 4.3 per game. Secondly, according to MoneyPuck.com, he's been shooting the puck closer to the opposing goalie, with his average unblocked shot attempt distance now listed at 22.3 feet. Lastly, wraparounds: Despite appearing in just 50 games, Matthews has 11 recorded wraparounds, surpassing a previous high of 10 in his 82-game rookie season.

All three changes could be a byproduct of his ice time continuing to increase year over year; his wrist not being healthy enough to unleash as many long-range shots; and/or all-world facilitator Mitch Marner feeding him a variety of passes. It's most likely those things and Matthews' ability to burn the opposition in countless ways. He's the full package - a 6-foot-3, 220-pounder armed with a deceptive release and accurate shot, plus the skating, dangles, hand-eye coordination, and playmaking chops to keep defenses guessing.

Impressively, Matthews is credited with 12 game-winning goals but no empty-netters, suggesting he hasn't piled up a bunch of tallies in low-leverage situations. He isn't in the middle of a shooting percentage bender, either. At 18.7% for the season, he's up just 2.5% on his career average.

Ready for an unbelievable Matthews stat? When filtered through Hockey-Reference.com's "era-adjusted" equation, his production this year is tied for 12th all time in single-season goals, at 65. Let that sink in for a moment. Matthews, hurt wrist and all, managed to snag a spot barely outside the top 10 on a list attempting to fairly rank the greatest goal-scoring seasons ever.

If Matthews can remain healthy down the road, hitting the 50-goal milestone feels inevitable. How about 60 over a full season? Is that a realistic target?

"I believe he can score even more (than 60)," Dorozhenko said.

Best fits for Eichel

John Russell / Getty Images

Now that the dust has settled on Jack Eichel's explosive comments regarding the "disconnect" between him and the Buffalo Sabres, it's time to identify some reasonable offseason landing spots for the likely-to-be-traded captain.

It's a complicated situation. There's no clarity on Eichel's neck injury, which presumably affects the market for acquiring his services. Also, who knows which direction Sabres brass wants to take this mess - full-on rebuild or significant retool. For this exercise, we'll assume they're tearing it down.

The one club Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams should be clamoring over is the Los Angeles Kings. L.A. is stocked with enticing prospects and first-round picks to build a trade package around. With the Kings on the rise again after taking time to retool for a second wind in the Drew Doughty-Anze Kopitar era, Eichel's availability aligns well with L.A. making a big splash.

The New York Rangers are in a similar spot to the Kings; another big-market franchise with a promising future and enough assets to chase an Eichel trade. Keep in mind that the rumor mill has linked Eichel to the Rangers in the past. Plus, Eichel's agents represented new general manager Chris Drury during his playing career.

The Detroit Red Wings can't be counted out, seeing as they have an abundance of cap space, draft capital, and plenty of desirable prospects. GM Steve Yzerman is methodical and patient, so it doesn't make intuitive sense. Then again, players of Eichel's caliber are rarely in play on the trade market.

The Vegas Golden Knights are always lurking thanks to the ballsy ownership and management trio of Bill Foley, George McPhee, and Kelly McCrimmon. The relatively new franchise has proven A) it isn't afraid to chase stars, and B) it can stickhandle its way around complications surrounding the salary cap.

The Columbus Blue Jackets seem destined for seismic change and desperately need a No. 1 center. They own five first-round draft picks over the next three years, including three in the upcoming draft, and could easily part with one of their NHL goalies - either Elvis Merzlikins or Joonas Korpisalo.

That's five teams and there's surely 10 more who will at least be kicking tires.

'Yotes got Chychrun's best

Hands up if you can name the goal-scoring leader among defensemen.

Anyone … ?

It's Jakob Chychrun, who scored 18 in 56 games for the Arizona Coyotes. The 23-year-old would be talked about far more often if he didn't play in Glendale.

This three-goal performance in early April shows off his lethal wrist shot:

It's easy to glean from the tape why outgoing Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet played Chychrun a team-high 23:23 a night - three minutes more than captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson. The two-way Chychrun loves to roam around the entire ice surface in a similar way to reigning Norris Trophy winner Roman Josi.

Chychrun, picked 16th overall in the 2016 NHL Draft by former GM John Chayka, is already five years into his career. He missed a combined 82 games due to injury in his previous four seasons - which is a shame because he's developed a reputation for being one of the sport's fittest players.

"Injuries are something that's a part of the game. I have had a little bit of bad luck with a couple of them, but I don't get down on myself," Chychrun said in January when asked if getting through a season unscathed was a top priority.

"I continue to take care of myself, take care of my body, and just put myself in the best situations to be available for my team. I make sure I stay on top of my everyday rituals of staying healthy. For sure, that's a goal of mine."

Mission accomplished.

Will Kraken go local too?

Christopher Mast / Getty Images

Who's going to be the Seattle Kraken's Reid Duke?

Duke, you may recall, became the first-ever player signed by the Vegas Golden Knights in March 2017. Now a four-year AHLer, Duke has yet to make his NHL debut, but he'll forever be the answer to a popular trivia question.

There are many players who could, in theory, become the Kraken's first, though the Seattle Thunderbirds' Keltie Jeri-Leon has an especially compelling case - assuming the Kraken hope to check off similar boxes with their first signee.

Let's break down those boxes by comparing Duke and Jeri-Leon.

Duke, then a 21-year-old free agent in the middle of a point-per-game season in the WHL, wasn't local to Vegas, but Kelly McCrimmon knew him well. The Golden Knights' then-assistant GM owned the Brandon Wheat Kings, Duke's junior team, and the familiarity clearly factored into the timing of the signing.

"We're delighted he's actually the first guy," McCrimmon said after the historic deal was inked. "(Duke) embodies everything that we want in hockey players and sets a great example for all the other young men who are going to sign."

Pro potential: Check. Familiar face: Check. Role model: Check.

Jeri-Leon is 21, unsigned, and fresh off a strong showing in his fifth and final WHL season. On a mediocre Thunderbirds squad, the 5-foot-10, sharpshooting forward racked up 17 goals and 10 assists for 27 points in 23 games. Scouts like his hockey IQ and wicked wrist shot.

Team captain Tyrel Bauer spoke glowingly about Jeri-Leon this past weekend after Seattle's season-ending win over the Spokane Chiefs.

"That was an emotional one, and I’m super glad we could (get) that (win) for him," Bauer told 710 ESPN, referring to Jeri-Leon and his two-point WHL finale. "It's never easy to see. It's the hardest part of playing in the league, but at the end of the day, Keltie has so many opportunities ahead of him, and he’s a first-class person. There are only great things coming for that guy."

Pro potential: Check. Familiar face: Check. Role model: Check.

Revisiting predictions

In January, we published my 21 predictions for the 2020-21 season. Five months in, why not quickly revisit a handful of them - you know, for fun.

Prediction: Pierre-Luc Dubois stays longer than Patrik Laine

This one was a total fail, considering the two disgruntled 20-somethings were, in fact, traded for each other. The awkward part is neither Laine in Columbus nor Dubois in Winnipeg have found success in their new hockey homes.

Prediction: The Wild are exciting - for a change

Bingo. Wild games have been wildly entertaining in the Kirill Kaprizov era. Really, Kaprizov alone - with that mesmerizing skill set and those late-game heroics - has skyrocketed Minnesota up the NHL watchability rankings.

Prediction: Taylor Hall finds better chemistry with Eric Staal than Jack Eichel

Complete whiff. Hall's stay in Buffalo was disastrous, and a lack of chemistry was at least part of the problem; he's now thriving in Boston. Plus, Staal is in Montreal and Eichel wants out. Ah! Sabres issues used to be so quaint.

Prediction: Analytics darling Ondrej Kase (finally) breaks out

To be determined? Kase has played a grand total of three games this season - the first two in January, the third on Monday. The winger was injured and then injured again, so this supposed breakout has either been delayed or killed.

Prediction: Tkachuk brothers post Gordie Howe hat tricks in the same game

Super ambitious prediction, and it definitely didn't come to fruition. Brady Tkachuk recorded his first Gordie Howe hat trick (goal, assist, fight) versus the Vancouver Canucks in late April, but brother Matthew still doesn't have one.

Prediction: League save percentage dips below .910

Hit. The NHL SV% is currently .908, which matches the mark in 2008-09, the last time it dipped below .910. As an interesting side, goals scored per game dropped ever so slightly, from 3.02 per team in 2019-20 to 2.93 this year.

3 parting thoughts

Jack Adams: Writers don't vote on coach of the year. If we did, I'd go: 1. Joel Quenneville, 2. Rod Brind'Amour, 3. Mike Sullivan, 4. Dean Evason, and 5. Sheldon Keefe. Florida hasn't missed a beat since Aaron Ekblad's injury.

Andre Ringuette / Getty Images

Ding!: With the regular season nearly over, the early winner of the Most Iron Hit Award is ... Nathan MacKinnon, who's dinged a league-high 10 posts or crossbars (eight posts; two crossbars). Kyle Connor and Leon Draisaitl have both struck iron nine times this season, while four others are tied for fourth.

Michael Martin / Getty Images

Connor McDavid: Sorry, Devils fans, but this tweet from Monday afternoon is pure gold. Are we sure McDavid is mortal? Oh, and the Oilers captain went on to pick up another two points - including the overtime goal - a few hours later.

Note: The original version of this piece noted the relationship between coach David Quinn and Jack Eichel. This piece has been edited to reflect Quinn's dismissal by the Rangers on Wednesday.

Takes, Thoughts, and Trends is theScore's monthly hockey grab bag.

John Matisz is theScore's senior hockey writer. You can follow John on Twitter (@MatiszJohn) and contact him via email (john.matisz@thescore.com)

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https://www.thescore.com/nhl/news/2170348
Sabres GM: Team will proceed 'with the people who want to be here'

Sabres GM: Team will proceed 'with the people who want to be here'

13/05/2021, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 30326199

Kevyn Adams is doing his best to put out the figurative fire Jack Eichel ignited earlier this week, but the Buffalo Sabres general manager didn't exactly extinguish it Wednesday.

Two days after Eichel revealed a "disconnect" between himself and the organization over the handling of one of his injuries, Adams made his feelings on the situation clear.

"We are going to get this right with the people who want to be here," the GM said, before adding the club's biggest disconnect is with the fans, not the players, according to The Athletic's John Vogl.

Eichel implied Monday he wants to have surgery on the herniated disc in his neck but that the team won't allow it. Adams said Wednesday that experts recommended rehab over surgery and that the procedure Eichel's camp wants has never been performed on an NHL player, which makes the Sabres' doctors uncomfortable.

When Adams was asked how he'd respond as a player if his team told him he couldn't have the surgery he was seeking, the GM sided with the professionals.

"I would make sure I was listening to the doctors," he said, before adding he's confident in the club's medical personnel.

Adams added Eichel hasn't requested a trade. The 24-year-old forward said Monday he's "a bit upset" with how his injury has been handled, and he's focused on playing next season "wherever that might be."

The talented center is under contract through 2025-26 with a cap hit of $10 million. Eichel has served as the Sabres' captain for the last three seasons, and he's spent his entire six-year career with Buffalo. The team drafted him second overall in 2015.

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https://www.thescore.com/nhl/news/2171433
Flames shut down Monahan ahead of planned hip surgery

Flames shut down Monahan ahead of planned hip surgery

13/05/2021, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 30326149

Calgary Flames forward Sean Monahan won't play in his team's four remaining regular-season games as he's scheduled to undergo hip surgery next week, the team announced. He's expected to be ready for full participation at training camp.

The Flames were officially eliminated from playoff contention earlier this week. The team's final four games of the season are all against the Vancouver Canucks.

It's unclear how long Monahan has been playing through the ailment. He recorded 10 goals and 18 assists in 50 games this season. This would equal a 46-point pace in an 82-game campaign, which would be the lowest total of his career since his rookie season.

The 26-year-old has already undergone a number of procedures throughout his career, including wrist, groin, and two hernia surgeries in 2018. He also had wrist surgery in 2017.

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https://www.thescore.com/nhl/news/2171431
Maple Leafs' Foligno expected to play vs. Senators

Maple Leafs' Foligno expected to play vs. Senators

13/05/2021, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 30326131

Nick Foligno appears to be good to go for Wednesday night's game against the Ottawa Senators.

Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said he has the forward in the lineup for the contest, according to TSN's Kristen Shilton.

Foligno took part in the team's optional skate Wednesday. The veteran missed the club's last two games - both against the Montreal Canadiens - after getting hurt during a loss to the same opponents on May 3.

Foligno was the Maple Leafs' biggest acquisition ahead of the 2021 trade deadline. He collected four assists in his first five games with Toronto.

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