Kukla's Korner

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Short Shifts From The Week

from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,

1. We’ve seen what a key absence or two can do to the Toronto Maple Leafs’ blue line — expose its lack of depth.

For a club with Stanley Cup aspirations, there should be no question that general manager Kyle Dubas will do his best to bolster his greatest weakness in advance of the March 21 deadline.

Would Dallas trade bait John Klingberg make the Leafs better? Absolutely.

But we're not certain Klingberg is the perfect solution for this roster’s needs — or that Dubas can put together the best package to land him.

There are a handful of cheaper defenders on expiring contracts that check the proper boxes: experience playing against the opposition’s top six; kills penalties; capable of playing the right side; physical; and a cap hit that, with some massaging, could work.

Let’s take an early peek at eight impending UFAs, in descending order, who could be on Dubas’s wish list....

2. Ryan McDonagh was nervous; Victor Hedman was motivated.

“I'm not going to lie. I had trouble napping today because I was pretty excited,” Hedman told reporters.

Two-time defending champions rarely get dealt an extraordinary test in January, one that might hinder a Norris and Conn Smythe trophy winner’s ability to sleep.

But the Tampa Bay Lightning walked into Staples Center Tuesday knowing they only had four defenceman available.

“It’s something new. It’s clearly not ideal,” coach Jon Cooper said postgame. “He was excited for this challenge. There’s guys that rise to the challenge. There’s guys that don’t.”

In case you didn’t already understand which category Hedman falls into, he went out and scored two pretty goals, set up a third with a primary assist and chugged an eye-popping 32:37 in ice time, propelling Tampa and its four defencemen to a 6-4 win in L.A....

more on each of the above topics plus more notes...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink


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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com