Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free Press,
Nashville Predators netminder Pekka Rinne has been all-world, especially of late, in leading his squad to the top of the NHL standings.
Ditto for Carey Price and his monumental impact for the Montreal Canadiens.
Chicago's Patrick Kane is often mentioned as is Ryan Getzlaf in Anaheim and Alex Ovechkin of Washington. Sidney Crosby, John Tavares, Rick Nash, Tyler Seguin, Jake Voracek, Shea Weber... all worthy of consideration.
So while we're playing this little game, let's make the case for another possible candidate as part of the discussion:
Dustin Byfuglien of the Winnipeg Jets.
Look, the criteria for the Hart Trophy is very clear. It is awarded annually to the "player judged most valuable to his team."
To that end, what unfolded Wednesday at the MTS Iceplex in the aftermath of the news Mathieu Perreault would likely be lost for the rest of the regular season underscores again how important the big man is to the Jets and their push to a playoff spot.
Byfuglien was back at forward during practice and may be patrolling the wing when the Jets line up against the Capitals tonight in D.C. As always, he'll play the point on the power play and be back there in four-on-four situations.
The Winnipeg Jets lost a key piece to their roster on Wednesday when the team announced forward Mathieu Perreault will be out of the lineup likely until the post-season.
Perreault was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury and the club recalled forward Carl Klingberg from the St. John's IceCaps of the American Hockey League.
Perreault was injured less than five minutes into Monday's game against the Edmonton Oilers after taking a hit along the boards by defenceman Jeff Petry. He had to be helped from the ice by teammates and training staff.
To make matters worse, the Jets lost winger Drew Stafford to an upper-body injury on the same night Perreault was injured.
The Jets didn't have an update on Stafford's status.
from Ted Wyman of the Winnipeg Sun,
For all the excitement the Winnipeg Jets generated over the long weekend with shootout wins over the Detroit Red Wings and Edmonton Oilers, there's still some nagging concern about how such results affect their overall playoff chances.
As former Jets coach Claude Noel used to say, the Jets needed a clean two points, particularly in the home game Monday night against last-place Edmonton.
Shootout wins are entertaining and the two points are meaningful, but they are not as meaningful as regulation and overtime wins, of which the Jets have just two in 11 games since the all-star break.
If you check out the ROW category in the standings on NHL.com, the Jets have just 24 and are tied for 10th in the Western Conference. That is not a good stat at this time of the season, especially considering ROW is used as the first tie-breaker if teams are deadlocked for playoff positions at the end of the regular season.
from Travis Yost of TSN,
I still think that the Jets are acquiring considerable risk in the acquisition of Myers, especially since this is a Winnipeg team that desperately needs talent on the roster now to realize that post-season berth.
One of the biggest red flags surrounding Tyler Myers is that he doesn’t really seem to be able to drive play from a territorial standpoint, which is a dangerous proposition when you’re talking about a twenty-two-minute-per-night defenseman.
To illustrate this, we can peel out his Corsi% numbers over the past four seasons with Buffalo, and can repeat it with ScoringChance% numbers to complement our investigation.
from Sam Page of Sports Illustrated,
Bogosian and Myers were both first-round picks in the 2008 draft, and both have, to put it lightly, underachieved in the NHL. Central Scouting rated them as the fourth and fifth best North American skaters, respectively, in their draft class. They were supposed to become franchise defensemen in a draft that turned out to be full of them: Drew Doughty, Erik Karlsson, Alex Pietrangelo, John Carlson and Roman Josi all went in the first 40 picks.
Myers’ career arc could be described as a fall from grace after a rapid rise. He won the Calder Trophy in 2009–10, when he scored 48 points and was +13. But he has never come close to those numbers in any of the last five seasons (though to be fair, he has played more than 62 games in a season only once since then). Bogosian, by contrast, has a consistently unspectacular track record, never besting the 30 points he put up in ’11–12.
The fancystats for both players provide little clarity. Myers’ Fenwick For percentage (FF%) has taken a nosedive in the last three seasons—from 46.5% to 43.5% to 36.4%—but that trend corresponds to Buffalo’s general decline, as well as with Myers being asked to play in all situations as a big-minute defensive defenseman. Bogosian’s possession stats track more consistently—mostly hovering around 50%—but have, disconcertingly, always lagged behind the team’s number. Myers, for all his disappointments, at least came out positive in terms of FF% relative to his team in three of the five seasons since his breakout rookie campaign.
Tyler Myers barely put some sweat on his new Winnipeg Jets sweater when late in the game, he decided to stand in front of a Shea Weber shot. And why quick to learn why that’s a bad idea.
Below, Myers talks post-game, saying his leg went dead but he is ok. Myers also talked about playing for the Winnipeg Jets.
from Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun,
Acquired from Buffalo in the Evander Kane trade, Wednesday, both sounded fired up about joining a team in a playoff race, as the Jets prepare to play division leader Nashville tonight.
“The pace of play is pretty awesome,” Stafford said after taking Dustin Byfuglien’s spot on the Jets’ second line, with Mark Scheifele and Mathieu Perreault. “It’s incredible to now be in a playoff race because that’s why everyone plays the game.
“Thirtieth-place team, sometimes frustration creeps in ... You can tell this team is extremely well prepared. Even in a morning skate they are on point and there’s a lot of communication and I can only assume in games it’s even more.”
Myers, at 6-foot-8, was easy to spot, taking the place of Zach Bogosian, who was also traded, alongside Toby Enstrom on the blue line.
“It makes things a lot more exciting,” Myers said. “Given the position we’re in right now, it’s going to be tight down the stretch. This is what we play for. It’s exciting for me, definitely, coming from the position we were in.”
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
He welcomes a fresh start after all the drama that fueled his exit from Winnipeg.
But first and foremost, after talking to Sabres general manager Tim Murray, Kane sees the opportunity that lies ahead next season after he recovers from his shoulder surgery.
"Once I talked to Tim and talked to my agent [Craig Oster of Newport Sports], there’s a lot of excitement for the future in Buffalo," said Kane. "Just looking at next year, they’re going to get a top pick and that’s exciting. Just to have one of those two guys maybe to play with next year, plus the other young players on that team. The sense I got from Buffalo is that, yes they’re rebuilding but they’re not going to sit around and wait. They’re looking to do something now. It’s nice to go somewhere where you feel wanted and you feel that they want to put you in a situation to have success."
Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray talks about acquiring Evander Kane from the Winnipeg Jets.
"... One of the most dynamic players in the National Hockey League." That's Tim Murray, GM of the Buffalo Sabres.
Kane deal done
Myers Stafford Armia Lemieux and first for Bogosian and Kane
Jason Kasdorf a goalie from RPI also goes in deal
added 11:48am, from TSN,
The Evander Kane era in Winnipeg has come to an end as part a blockbuster eight-player deal with the Buffalo Sabres.
The Jets traded Kane, Zach Bogosian, and unsigned goaltending prospect Jason Kasdorf to the Sabres on Wednesday in exchange for Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, prospects Brendan Lemieux, Joel Armia and a first-round draft pick.
According to TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger, the first-round pick will be the lowest of the three that Buffalo currently owns.
added 12:46pm, Winnipeg Jets release is below...
added 1:00pm, Bufalo Sabres release now below too...
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org