Allen Injured in Preseason


By Mike Meyer

St. Louis Blues

 

Blues starting goaltender, Jake Allen, left the preseason game against the Chicago Blackhawks with an apparent leg injury. Hawks forward, Richard Panik tripped defenseman, Carl Gunnarsson with his stick, forcing him to fall on Allen. Allen was able to come out to the crease before the second period started, however, he immediately returned to the locker room and was replaced by Hutton. Though no report has been confirmed on the severity of the injury, video suggests that it could be an issue with his left ankle.

 

The Blues do have a worthy backup in newly signed, Carter Hutton. However, if this could turn in to a long(er)-term injury, is he ready to be a starting goaltender for the Note?  To date, Hutton has played in 76 career NHL games posting a 33-24 record, with a 2.56 GAA and .910 SV%. With a better defensive system in front of him with St. Louis, Hutton could prove to be very successful. The Blues do have a few options in their system with netminders Pheonix Copley and Ville Husso having impressive training camps.

 

More details to come*

 

For more insight and articles from Mike, check out his page on the NHL’s Central Division

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BREAKING NEWS: Blues Acquire Yakupov


By Mike Meyer

St. Louis Blues Writer

Edmonton Oilers Writer

 

The St. Louis Blues have come out of nowhere and dealt again with Edmonton Oilers. This time, former first overall draft choice Nail Yakupov. And what for? AHL player Zach Pochiro and a conditional 2017 3rd round draft pick. The condition being if Nail scores just 15 goals this season, the 3rd round draft choice becomes a 2018 2nd round pick. 15 goals might not seem that much, but Nail has only reached over 15 once in his career which came in his rookie season from 2012-13.

Yakupov will join a cast of young Blues stars as they transition from David Backes and Troy Brouwer to the likes of Robby Fabbri, Jaden Schwartz, and Vladimir Tarasenko. St. Louis should hope for plenty of talent and structure to help bring the best in this low risk, high reward trade.
Yakupov has played 252 NHL career games where he has posted 50 goals and 111 total points.

Injuries Spark Opportunity for Fontaine


By Mike Meyer

Dallas Stars Writer

 

With injuries already in the offseason and preseason training to players such as: Tyler Seguin, Mattias Janmark, Cody Eakin, Devin Shore, Radek Faksa, Jason Dickinson, and Ales Hemsky, Dallas Stars General Manager, Jim Nil was in luck to find an experienced, young NHLer to help with his club. Just days after being released from his PTO with the Florida Panthers, Dallas has signed forward Justin Fontaine to a new PTO. If a fit arises, Fontaine could play up and down the lineup, and provide the Stars with experience that up-and-coming players from the AHL Texas Stars and junior leagues may not have just yet.

 

Fontaine, 28, played the last 3 seasons with the Minnesota Wild where he has posted 68 points in 197 career games. Fontaine came in to the Wild’s system as a free agent in 2011 and suited up in the NHL for the first time in 2013. Through constant line shuffling and line mates, and at times watching from the press box to make room in the lineup for veterans, Fontaine arguably never had a way to grow at a consistent rate in Minnesota. With the ability to play perhaps with a better system and opportunity, Fontaine could find success in Dallas through Lindy Ruff’s system. If signed, Fontaine can quickly become a very sneaky and underrated asset for the Stars.

Blackhawks Training Camp Standouts


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By Sam Yoder

Chicago Blackhawks Writer

 

On September 24th 2016 the Chicago Blackhawks held their 8th annual training camp festival. This is the main event of the training festival and features a “Red vs White” scrimmage of prospects and current NHL players. The roster for this year’s game included well known Blackhawks players such as Brent Seabrook, Scott Darling, Andrew Desjardins, and Michal Rozsival, alongside top tier prospects such as Alexander DeBrincat, Nick Schmaltz, and Mark McNeill. The format for the event is a regulation NHL game followed by a 10 minute 3v3 fourth period, with players approximately evenly split between the two teams. After attending the event a few people players stood out, and I will mention a few of them here.

 

Firstly, 22 year old center Vincent Hinostroza should be relatively well known to most avid Blackhawks fans after playing his first 7 games last season, and he stood out for team Red after scoring two goals in the 3v3 period, both of which were after some impressive personal efforts in the slot. He was defensively and offensively responsible all game, and was consistently in the right place, doing the right things, with and without the puck. If he gets the chance I can see him slotting in on the third line as a real depth contributor this season, most likely on the wing instead of down the middle.

 

Another young player I was happily surprised by was 2016 second round draft pick Alexander DeBrincat. He is generously listed at 5’7” and in the thick of it he does look small compared to the other players. You quickly forget this as you watch him weave through defensemen and work his way towards the net. He plays a fearless brand of hockey around the net, and if he grows an inch or two and puts a few pounds on he will be a rock solid prospect, and don’t forget he is only 18!

 

Another player with a lot to prove is Richard Panik. The first line left wing role is still very much open to all comers and Panik seems to be one of the best options. He might not bring the same amount of pure talent as previous Blackhawks players such as Sharp and Saad, but he is absolutely relentless, and can snipe a shot from time to time. His ability to both cause and pounce on turnovers impressed me a lot last year, and his performance in this game was a great illustration of this. I think he would be a great compliment to Jonathan Toews up front, and I think it would be a shame if he doesn’t get the chance.

 

Lastly I must mention a player who stood out to me in a negative way. Jordin Tootoo was recently signed by the Blackhawks to fill a hole which doesn’t exist. There are plenty of tough players on this team, and there isn’t room for a player who’s main method of contribution is simply being a rough and tumble guy who hits everything who moves (especially on a team that already has 6’4”, 220lbs Brandon Mashinter on an incredibly budget friendly $0.575M contract). In contrast to the aforementioned players he was consistently out of position, he constantly dropped passes and gave the puck away, and the rare times he actually was in position to take a shot they tended to end up high and wide. I appreciate the idea of having a veteran presence on a progressively younger team, but if his most impressive stat is his ability to consistently amass 100+ penalty minutes a season, I think he might be better served in the press box, letting some “kids” have their shot at the big time.

Trouba Requests Trade From Jets


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By Sie Nicole

Staff Writer

 

Jacob Trouba has requested a trade from the Winnipeg Jets and will not be attending their training camp this week. Trouba is currently a restricted free agent. The 22 year old former first round pick has been in negotiations since May to depart from the Jets, as revealed in a statement from his agent.

 

The statement also states that Trouba isn’t seeking a larger paycheck, but rather, a larger on-ice role.

 

There has been no negotiation regarding the terms of a contract between our client and the Jets over the course of the last several months. The situation is not about money; it is solely about our client having the opportunity to realize his potential as a right shot NHL defenseman.

 

To the Jets credit, the club has two outstanding right shot veteran defensemen and our client simply wants the opportunity to have a greater role. As a consequence of the Jets depth on the right side, we believe it is in both parties’ best interest to facilitate a mutually advantageous trade.

 

Trouba is coming off a rough year with the Jets. Being partnered with Mark Stuart found him as a bottom D-pair and his play suffered. Trouba consistently performed better with any other pairing, notably performing well with Dustin Byfuglien, but still found himself partnered with the aging Stuart. He also spent this month as the seventh defenseman for the World Cup of Hockey’s Team North America, playing two games after Aaron Ekblad was injured.

 

As a young right handed defenseman, he’s a hot commodity and should have no problem finding ample opportunity for a larger role elsewhere. As such, the price for Trouba will be hefty. The Jets are likely going to being looking for a left side defenseman in exchange, and that’s just the starting price.

 

No stranger to trade rumors, Trouba was reportedly being shopped at the trade deadline, with teams including Detroit and Boston expressing interest. Being a former Wolverine and Rochester native makes him very appealing to Detroit, a team with five Michiganders currently on their roster and issues with their blueline. The Bruins are fairly desperate for elite defenseman and that puts all of the leverage in Winnipeg’s hand. A too-high asking price may have prevented a move between the two last season.

 

Other teams in the mix could be Edmonton, whose defense is notably weak, resulting in the trade that moved winger Taylor Hall to New Jersey in exchange for defenseman Adam Larsson. Anaheim could also see some cap relief in trading for Trouba, moving a veteran contract in the process.
Trouba tallied 23 goals and 49 assists in 211 games with Winnipeg.

Blues Sign Steen to 4 Year Extension


By Mike Meyer

St. Louis Blues Writer

 

The St. Louis Blues solidified their fourth player until the 2020-2021 season. Joining the players of Jake Allen, Jaden Schwartz, and Vladimir Tarasenko, Alexander Steen has signed a 4-year contract extension worth $23 million.

 

At the start of the St. Louis Blues training camp, Steen and the Blues got the contract extension that they were searching for. A perhaps final contract that will likely see Steen finish his hockey career, at the age of 37, when it ends. Though injuries have prevented Steen from skating a full 82 game season over the last few years, Alexander managed 64 points in 2014-15 over 74 games, and 52 points in 67 throughout the 2015-16 season. On and off the ice, Steen is a core veteran amongst the St. Louis franchise and could very well see Top 5 in All-Time Games Played for the Blues

Nichuskin Heads to Russia


By Mike Meyer

Dallas Stars Writer

 

While it has not been confirmed just yet*, reports are circling around that young Dallas Star, Valeri Nichuskin has signed a 2 year contract to play for the CSKA Moscow. Sources have sited that Nichuskin has had issues playing underneath of Stars Head Coach, Lindy Ruff and does not wish to play in Dallas as long as he is behind the bench.

 

With the Stars adding 32 year old veteran, Jiri Hudler in the offseason, there was always a concern about what this would mean for ice-time and contract negotiations for Valeri. The 21 year old, Right Winger has struggled to prove dividends for the Stars after being drafted 10th overall in 2013. He has managed only 64 points in 166 career NHL games.  Though Nichuskin has struggled and shown flashes of talent, this could be a good time for he and the Stars to part ways.

 

“It would not be the end of the world,” General Manager Jim Nill said.

 

*It has now been confirmed