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Dallas Stars

Dallas Stars

Monday only, the Dallas Stars are lowering the prices of some single-game tickets to $9 and others to $15.

The team is also offering 20 percent off premium and premium-plus games.

To take advantage of the offer, go to the Stars page here and click on “View Seats.”

From there, it’s not real easy to see at a glance which games have $9 seats — so you’ll have to hit “View Seats” for each matchup.  The lowest price available will then show up on the screen.

For example, the lowest price ticket for the upcoming game against the Blackhawks on Dec. 2 was $25.  But on Dec. 5, when the Stars play the Predators, there were $9 seats available. For the Dec. 9 game against the Golden Knights, there were $15 seats available.

The sale is Monday only — so act fast.

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Jan Rutta might be the most optimistic Bears fan you’ll find.

Since coming from the Czech Republic, the first-year Blackhawks defenseman has adopted the Bears and even attended a game at Soldier Field.

“I’m not an expert, but I think they’ve got a young team and they’re playing pretty good,” Rutta said. “They’re getting better as the season is going, so they lost a couple close ones, so maybe when they’ll be a few years more experienced, they can win those games and be a really good team.”

Rutta, 27, hasn’t yet adopted the jaded pessimism that comes with being a Bears fan in Chicago. However, his transition on the ice has been seamless.

The Hawks weren’t sure what they had when they signed Rutta to a one-year deal, but he is turning into an integral part of their blue line, a group that is still a work in progress more than a quarter of the way through the season.

“He has come in here and given us some important minutes,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We like his quickness into the puck area. We like how he moves. We like how he handles (the puck) and makes plays.”

Rutta, who has three goals and seven assists, said it hasn’t been a huge transition to the smaller rink of the NHL from the Czech League. The only difference he mentioned is that he is put into tight situations with a lot of bodies converging more often during an NHL game than a Czech League game.

“I actually like the smaller rink,” Rutta said. “With my size, I can benefit from it. In the tight areas, you’re put into situations like five times per game, and on the bigger rink you might never be in that situation or it happens one time in the game. But those situations come more frequently.”

That’s where Rutta can still make his biggest improvement as a defenseman, Quenneville said, especially when Rutta is in front of his own net.

“There’s room for growth in his game,” Quenneville said. “But I still think he has all the attributes you look for in today’s type of defenseman — complementary puck movement, supporting of the puck, killing plays with quickness. He’s got all the things that we’re looking for.”

Rutta also discovered he could play on his off side, the left side, if the Hawks need that.

Quenneville especially likes that Rutta is somebody who can help initiate the offense. When the Hawks were struggling in the first month of the season, Quenneville said the disconnect between defense and offense was one reason for the slump. Of late, with the Hawks 4-1-1 in their last six, that is improving.

“I mean, it is 20 games into the season, but it’s only 20 games into the season,” Rutta said. “It’s still a work in progress, but I think the whole defense, we are helping the forwards much more than we did in the first couple games.”

Rutta is feeling more at home in Chicago. He said he likes the steak and sushi options available downtown and he’s used to getting around the city via cab. But on ice is the adjustment that matters most to him, and so far that hasn’t been an issue.

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Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

There are tough decisions that have to be made in life.  However, there is probably no tougher decision than trying to pick just four Boston Bruins players in team history to make up the team’s metaphorical Mount Rushmore.

It’s times like these where writing about the Boston Bruins just isn’t fair.  The Bruins have been around since 1924, meaning there’s 93 years worth of players to comb through.  And I’m supposed to pick just FOUR of them?  Talk about a difficult task.

So, let’s think about this realistically.  Two spots are automatically filled, and I know that if you’re a Bruins fan, you know who those players are.  So that leaves two spots left.  How do we go about choosing those remaining two?

“Duh, look at their goals and assists, dummy!”  Well, career numbers are obviously important, and something that plays into the decision.  But, in a physical game like hockey, sometimes careers are ended short.  In fact, that happened to one of our automatic selections, too.  So that can’t be the be-all-end-all factor.

“Success is all that matters.  Who won more Stanley Cups?”  Yes, that does have some truth to it.  As Ari Gold said in the TV show Entourage, “there’s no asterisks in this world, only scoreboards.”  But hockey is a team sport.  Some of the best players in NHL history never won a Stanley Cup.  So while success is a key component, it can’t be the only part in the decision.

“Who’s name do you associate with the Bruins most?  Who’s had the biggest impact on the organization as a whole?  Who looked best wearing the Spoked-B?”  Geez Louise, all good points…except for maybe that last one.  So, bottom line, there are many factors to be weighed here.

All that being said, and I’ll probably take some grief over these picks, my Bruins Mount Rushmore features:  Ray Bourque, Phil Esposito, Bobby Orr, and Milt Schmidt.
Ray Bourque

Before there was Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson, there was Ray Bourque.  Bourque played 22 seasons in the NHL, and 20 and 3/4 of those were in a Boston Bruins jersey.  In his illustrious career, which spanned 1612 regular season NHL games, Bourque scored 410 goals and tallied 1169 assists for 1579 career points.  Bourque also had a ridiculous +528 plus/minus rating for his career, only having a minus rating 4 times in his NHL tenure.

Bourque was selected as an NHL All-Star 19 times.  He won the Calder Trophy in ’79-’80 as Rookie of the Year and five Norris Trophies (’86-’87, ’87-’88, ’89-’90, ’90-’91, ’93-’94).  He was in the top-5 for Hart Trophy voting five times.

When it came to goal scoring as a defenseman, there were very few who were more consistent than Bourque in the 80’s and 90’s.  In over two decades, Bourque never scored less than double-digit goals in a season, other than his final year, which we Bruins fans choose not to acknowledge because it took place in a Colorado Avalanche sweater.

Unfortunately, Bourque was never able to bring a Stanley Cup to Boston.  However, he did ultimately achieve every hockey player’s dream of lifting the Cup.  In his final season, ’00-’01, playing for the Avalanche at the ripe age of 40, Bourque put up 59 points, and helped the Avalanche win the team’s second Stanley Cup.  There are no players who deserved to win a Championship more than Ray Bourque, so in that regards, we as fans can celebrate that.
Phil Esposito

Phil Esposito is the reason Ray Bourque went from wearing #7 early in his career to number #77.  And why is that?  Because Esposito’s #7 deserved to be hanging in the rafters among the other Bruins legends.

Esposito didn’t start or end his career in a Bruins uniform.  However, the 10 seasons he spent in Boston were without a doubt the best of his 18 year stint in the NHL.  In those 10 seasons, Esposito won FIVE Art Ross Trophies for leading the league in scoring, including 4 in a row (’68-’69, 126 points; ’70-’71, 152 points; ’71-’72, 133 points; ’72-’73, 130 points; ’73-’74, 145 points).

Teamed up with players like Johnny Bucyk, Ken Hodge, and Bobby Orr, Esposito and the Bruins were a dominant force in the early 70’s.  In 1282 career NHL games (625 of which were with the Bruins), Esposito scored 717 goals and 873 assists for 1590 career points, or 1.24 points per game.  Esposito and the boys were able to bring home two Stanley Cups to Boston in ’69-’70 and ’71-’72.  Both Stanley Cup years, Esposito led the league in playoff scoring.

Esposito’s time in Boston ended on November 7, 1975 when he was traded to the New York Rangers.  Esposito may have finished his career in a Rangers jersey, but he will undoubtedly always be known as a Bruins legend.
Bobby Orr

The best Boston Bruins player of all-time, and arguably one of the best NHL players of all time.  Bobby Orr revolutionized the game of hockey and the defenseman position.  There was no one like him in the game before he joined the league, and there’s been no one like him since.  He was a hockey anomaly, a unique specimen of greatness.

Number 4 Bobby Orr only played 9 full seasons in the NHL.  After those 9 seasons, he only played 36 more NHL games across 3 seasons.  One with the Bruins, and two with the Chicago Blackhawks.  Due to injuries to his knees, his tremendous career was cut incredibly short when he retired at age 30 in 1979.

Orr was the epitome of an offensive-defenseman.  His contributions in both ends of the ice were off-the-charts.  Orr lead the league in assists five times in his career as a defenseman.  After winning the Calder Trophy his rookie season in ’66-’67, Orr went on to win the next eight Norris Trophies for best defenseman in the NHL.  Oh, and for good measure, he chipped in two Art Ross Trophies for leading the league in points in ’69-’70 and ’74-’75, and three consecutive Hart Trophies as league MVP (’69-’70, ’70-’71, ’71-’72).

Orr, like Esposito, was a part of the ’69-’70 and ’71-’72 Bruins teams that won Stanley Cups.  Unsurprisingly, Orr was named Conn Smythe winner for Playoff MVP in both Stanley Cup runs.

There’s a reason why a bronze statute of Orr’s famous goal adorns the plaza outside the TD Garden in Boston, MA.  He is, was, and likely always will be, the best of the best in Boston Bruins history.
Milt SchmidtGreatness recognizes greatness.  Bobby Orr has said that the greatest Bruin of all time was Milt Schmidt.  And it’s hard to argue with Orr.  Putting career numbers aside due to circumstances beyond Milty’s control, the impact he had on the organization is what earns him his spot.

In 776 career games spanning 16 seasons, Schmidt amassed 229 goals and 346 assists, for 575 career points.  While those totals may seem low, you have to take into account that NHl seasons were much shorter when Milty played.  Also, three years of his career in his mid-20s were lost due to World War II.

Schmidt, a member of the Bruins “Kraut Line” with Woody Dumont and Bobby Bauer, helped lead the team to two Stanley Cup victories as a player in ’38-’39 and ’40-’41.  Following his retirement after the ’54-’55 season, he was immediately named head coach of the team.

As head coach, Schmidt brought the team to two Stanley Cup Final appearances.  Then, later in his career as the GM for the team, he won two more Cups during the Orr/Esposito era.  Schmidt’s contributions to the Bruins organization, therefore, are more than just on the ice.  When it comes to overall greatness for the Bruins organization, that is where Schmidt shines.
Conclusion

There are so many players would could have made it on the list.  Older players such as Eddie Shore, Johnny Bucyk, and Ken Hodge could have a place.  More modern players like Cam Neely or Adam Oates were great in Black and Gold.  Current players like Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron are making a case to be considered someday.  But to me, the four I have picked mean the most to the Bruins organization as a whole.

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Vegas Golden Knights

Vegas Golden Knights

Jonathan Quick’s teammates expect him to stop just about everything that comes his way, and for the first few weeks of this season he lived up to those expectations as he backstopped the impressive start that lifted the Kings atop the Pacific Division.

But they’ve been allowing too many dangerous shots to come his way the last two weeks, and when he has a less than stellar night, as he did Sunday in a 4-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights in front of a lively sellout crowd at T-Mobile Arena, the result is going to be ugly.

“I think we’ve relied on Quickie a bit too much over the past six games,” left wing Tanner Pearson said after the Kings lost for the fifth time in their last six games. “He’s been doing his part, and we’ve got to step up and do ours and help him out.”

Quick was replaced by Darcy Kuemper after he yielded three goals on nine shots in the teams’ first regular-season meeting, which showed promise of becoming a fierce rivalry.

A defensive breakdown allowed William Karlsson to slip a shot between Quick’s pads 55 seconds into the game, Cody Eakin beat him to the short side to finish off a two on one at 9:21, and a miscommunication between Quick and defenseman Derek Forbort behind the net allowed Reilly Smith to swoop in and set up Karlsson for the third goal, at 11:22.

“The first 10 minutes we were not ready to go,” defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “We put ourselves in a hole, and it’s tough to win games when you’re down 3-0 in the first 10 minutes.”

The Kings got within 3-2 on a second-period goal by Trevor Lewis and a third-period shot from the hash marks by Pearson for his fourth goal this season, but they were down too much too early to pull even in their fifth game in eight days and second game in two days. The Golden Knights, who trail the division-leading Kings by one point and have two games in hand, clinched the victory on an empty-net goal by Alex Tuch with 62 seconds left in the third period, leading Kings defenseman Drew Doughty to smash his stick against the goalpost.

Vegas is smashing the stereotype of the hapless expansion team, compiling an 8-1 record at home and competing hard as a team despite having to go to Plan E in its goaltending strategy book. Maxim Lagace, fourth on the depth chart, stopped 27 shots in front of a crowd that included nearly as many Kings supporters as fans of the Golden Knights.

“They showed why they’re a good team at home,” Pearson said.

The Kings showed they haven’t found the right balance between capitalizing on the offensive freedom that coach John Stevens has given them and consistently maintaining their defensive foundation. They were too defense-oriented in the later stages of Darryl Sutter’s coaching tenure but often have gotten too sloppy defensively in the early days under Stevens.

“I think when we’re playing well we’re checking, and checking leads to offensive chances instead of these turnovers and odd-man rushes going back the other way,” said Lewis, who scored on a backhander at 8:35 of the second period after Alex Iafallo kept the puck in the zone. “I just think we need to get back to more of our structured game. Just regroup and refocus.”

Even when they were winning they were giving up a lot of prime scoring chances but they could rely on Quick to be sharp. He wasn’t sharp Sunday, when his personal losing streak stretched to five. He has an .894 save percentage in that span.

“It’s the obvious. Those are pucks he’d love to have back. But it’s a team game. Johnny’s bailed us out many a nights,” Stevens said of his No 1 goalie. “It’s certainly not the start we wanted. You dig a hole on the road against any team, especially in here, it’s tough to come back, but I thought the guys did. I thought they got going. We climbed back in the game, we had some chances there. … That was probably the worst-case scenario for that start for us because it’s the end of the week, and if we just got through the first 10 minutes, I thought we’d be in pretty good shape.”

Quick said he wasn’t especially angry because the Kings lost to a division rival — he’s angry when he loses, no matter the circumstances.

“We lost a game. We’ve got another one in a couple days and we’ll get ready for that,” he said.

He and the Kings will have to be better prepared for that game, Wednesday at home against Winnipeg, than they were Sunday.

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Jonathan Quick makes the save against Brandon Sutter

Jonathan Quick makes the save against Brandon Sutter

LOS ANGELES — You’re often supposed to be careful what you wish for.

Travis Green knew what awaited his club Tuesday and he sounded part hopeful and part prophet.

“It’s a good challenge, a big challenge and I like it when you face some hard games,” the Vancouver Canucks coach said just before his club met the Los Angeles Kings. “You learn a lot about your team. And there might not be a bigger challenge in our division than coming into L.A.”

Well, he nailed that one.

The Canucks dug a two-goal hole before four minutes elapsed against the National Hockey League’s second-stingiest team and top-ranked penalty kill. They were overmatched and even overwhelmed at the outset and looked like they were going to go quietly into the SoCal night.

Then Derek Dorsett got mad.

Then the Canucks got resilient.

Then they found new power play combinations that actually worked.

It turned the improbable into an impressive 3-2 victory. And it capped a revealing four-game road trip in which the Canucks rode a roller-coaster of indifferent play yet finished 2-2 because they finally found some power play mojo.

Here’s what we learned:
Boeser and the dot

Brock Boeser was feeling it. He not only got to the faceoff dot on a new-look power play to let that heavy wrist shot go, it struck Jonathan Quick on the shoulder and Bo Horvat was there to jam home the rebound.

The goal was encouraging on several fronts.

For starters, there was movement. There was the symmetry of Henrik and Daniel Sedin and the smart cross-ice pass by the captain to find Boeser in his favourite shooting spot.

What took so long?

It was also Henrik’s first power play point of the season and the centre actually started the comeback. His shot off the wall went off the butt of Nick Short and found the short side.

And because you can’t really quibble with the Canucks’ play at even strength, the power play adjustment ended an 0-for-11 funk after being blanked with the man advantage in San Jose and Anaheim.

Green had three different power play alignments in practice Monday and said he had options. And his gut told him to find the right shooter and net-presence guy to complement the Sedins. It not only worked, it’s a bonafide first unit because there’s a passer, shooter and finisher.

If that wasn’t enough man-advantage hope, the game winner started with a sweet cross-ice feed by Thomas Vanek to Sven Baertschi on the second power play unit. He got Quick moving the wrong way and went far side.
Dorsett being Dorsett

Green didn’t expect Derek Dorsett to back down against the Kings, even though the pesky winger and leading goal scorer is skating on thin suspension ice. He has two instigator penalties and a third warrants a two-game suspension.

That didn’t stop Dorsett when he attempted to shift momentum after the Kings needed just 23 seconds to open scoring on Anders Nilsson, who got better as the game progressed. He stopped Tanner Pearson on a short-handed break with the game tied 2-2 early in the third period and then stopped Adrian Kempe with 3:48 left.

Dorsett took on Andy Andreoff but made sure he didn’t start the bout or throw the first punch. After that, he landed several blows.

The Canucks attempted to get Dorsett’s instigator penalty Thursday in Anaheim against Josh Manson rescinded, but the league cited distance travelled and fight initiation in its ruling. So, what do you say to a guy who needs to play on the edge, but not go over it?

“There’s not much to say,” said Green. “He’s an aggressive player and sticks up for his teammates. You never want to take that away from a player. I think both of his instigator calls could have gone either way, to be honest.

“He’s not a guy who goes and instigates a lot fights — he fights straight up his whole career.”
Gaunce versus Virtanen

Green said his rationale for playing Brendan Gaunce with Sutter and Dorsett was based on moving Markus Granlund to the middle between Vanek and Sam Gagner. Gaunce is a big body, but so is Jake Virtanen and there’s the debate.

Both have played 80 NHL games, but Virtanen is a better skater, has more scoring potential and Tuesday was tailor made to bring physicality back to his game. He sat while Gaunce took a bad offensive-zone tripping penalty in the first period that led to an Anze Kopitar goal.

You could argue giving Virtanen more minutes on a shutdown line might be too big an ask, but why not find out? Then again, it was Gaunce’s backhand saucer pass that sprung Sutter and resulted in his failed penalty shot.

OVERTIME: Green said he expects to have Chris Tanev (thumb) back in 1 1/2 weeks. That might make the defenceman eligible to return at some point in the team’s six-game road trip that opens next Tuesday in Philadelphia.

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St. Louis Blues

St. Louis Blues

Before heading off for the airport and a three-game, weeklong trip to western Canada, the Blues held a rare Sunday practice that included some rearranged lines and some new faces.

Jay Bouwmeester and Patrik Berglund both took part in the session, and both will accompany the team on the trip. Part of that is practical; with the team being gone for a week, if they stayed at home they would be skating on their own, and part of it is because both players are apparently getting close to returning.

Coach Mike Yeo said that while neither would play on the trip, which starts in Calgary, then goes to Edmonton and Vancouver, Berglund’s status would be re-assessed when the team got home, and he wouldn’t commit to anything beyond saying he wouldn’t play on this trip. That sounds an awful lot like he could be ready ahead of his originally projected December return.

As for Bouwmeester, he’s further away, but this was the first time he’s skated with his teammates in a practice since taking a puck to his ankle in a scrimmage three days into camp. He took part in some drills, but when the team began doing contact-heavy battle drills, he went off by himself, shooting on one of the goalies. (Berglund, meanwhile, took part in the drills.) Bouwmeester still has a ways to go, but this is the first sign of a light at the end of the tunnel.

“It’s a progression,” Bouwmeester said. “I practiced today. Ideally, if we had ice (separate from the practice), I wouldn’t have practiced. I would have been skating on my own or with other guys. There’s steps you have to take. Morning skates, certain things you can’t do. Hopefully the way things are going, that’s progressing, that will turn pretty quick and I’ll get back out.”

Bouwmeester acknowledged that with the way the team has been playing, there’s not a rush for him to get back out on the ice.

“We’re in a position here, the team’s doing so good, there’s no pressure to force anything,” he said.

More immediately, Yeo did some line rearranging, including breaking up the successful Schenn-Schwartz-Tarasenko line. Beau Bennett was inserted in Tarasenko’s spot, with Tarasenko joining Alexander Steen and Paul Stastny. That dropped Vladimir Sobotka down to the third line, with Oskar Sundqvist and Dmitrij Jaskin, which pushed Magnus Paajarvi to the fourth line.

“Just trying to spark something,” Yeo said. “We’ll think more about it tomorrow. We wanted to give it a look here in practice. It felt like the last couple games things were getting a little stale and so we’ll see what we come up tomorrow.”

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Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers

Sean Couturier is off to a flat-out ridiculous start, but there’s more to it than that as he settles in as the Flyers’ No. 1 center.

Just 24-years-old, the former QMJHL star with the Drummondville Voltigeurs is now in his sixth NHL season and enjoying a breakout performance on the ice—offensively that is.

Since breaking the Flyers’ opening night roster way back in 2011 as a 19-year-old, Couturier has been a rock defensively for the club as evidence by his career 40.9% offensive zone start percentage. He’s finished in the top 10 in Selke Trophy voting—given annually to the forward who demonstrates the most still in the defensive component of the game—twice since entering the league (2013-14, 2015-16).

But though he spent the better part of his first five seasons as a shutdown center for the Flyers, it wasn’t just because Couturier excelled in his own end instinctively, it was also because the Flyers had a glut of centers in the organization that clouded things.

In his rookie year of 2011-12, there was Claude Giroux, Daniel Briere, Maxime Talbot, Brayden Schenn and Couturier all vying for center ice time. Though everyone save for Giroux could split some action on the wing, it wasn’t like the rookie from the QMJHL was going to get top-six minutes and ample offensive opportunities. He finished the year with 27 points (13G, 14A) while starting 60% of his shifts in the defensive zone.

After two years and middling success with young guys like Schenn and Couturier spending time at center, the Flyers went out and signed Vincent Lecavalier to a large deal in free agency to be their No. 2 center behind Giroux, or so they hoped. Instead, the former Tampa Bay star flamed out, scoring just 58 points in 133 games in a Flyers uniform in parts of two seasons.

Perhaps the bigger issue with the failed Lecavalier era was that the veteran stole potentially valuable ice time away from guys like Schenn, Couturier and then Scott Laughton in all situations. The experiment failed and could have delayed the development of those young centers as offensive opportunity went to the veteran over the youngsters.

It’s no surprise that the following year sans Lecavalier showed the beginning of the rise of Couturier.

In 2015-16, Couturier saw his offensive zone starts climb from to 43.4% from 40.1% and post a career-high with a 52.4% Corsi For (about 4% better than his career rate to that point). His possession numbers weren’t a fluke, either, as evidence by his 2.1% Corsi For relative to his teammates. He tied his career-high with 39 points (11G, 28A) and was a plus player for the fourth time in five years.

But with 34 points (14G, 20A) it didn’t turn out that way, not at least in terms of putting up the production of the legitimate #2 center that the Flyers desperately needed.

While he didn’t break the 40-point barrier and venture into that top-six caliber center stage in terms of points last season, Couturier posted a career-high 54.5% Corsi For and nearly doubled his Corsi For% relative. Though the goals and assists weren’t there, the corner was already turned. He just needed more opportunity.

With depth down the middle thanks to No. 2 overall pick Nolan Patrick, Scott Laughton’s strong AHL play a year ago, and the acquisition of veteran Valtteri Filppula, the Flyers suddenly had another glut of centers heading into this season.

That’s when an experiment in camp saw Claude Giroux moved to the wing of…you guessed it: Sean Couturier. Jake Voracek would occupy the other wing to form the Flyers’ new-look top line. Though there were some growing pains in the preseason (Looking at you, G) the trio was dangerous offensively from the get-go and the experiment moved from infancy stages to full-blown reality.

Though 15 games the line has amassed 53 points (20G, 33A) to form one of the NHL’s top scoring lines. Couturier has been the beneficiary of playing with top skilled passers, notching nine goals already, just six away from his career-high of 15. That’s a cool 49-goal pace if you’re scoring at home. He’s also up to a career-best 45.7% offensive zone start percentage and a 53% Corsi For percentage.

Sure his shooting percentage (19.6%) will likely come down, but he’s getting the best chances he’s ever had in his young career playing with a pair of all-stars, and at the end of the day one of them has to shoot the puck right?

Sean Couturier is having a career-year offensively for the Flyers—and while its taken six years—the potential was always there and it’s all happening now right in front of our eyes.

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The New York Islanders have depth on their NHL roster. That is certainly a good problem to have but it has caused some issues regarding getting their young guns into the lineup. The Isles should trade Chimera and call-up Ho-Sang.

The New York Islanders are off to a positive start (7-5-1). Their schedule hasn’t been easy. There are still a number of area’s the Isles need to improve, one of which is secondary scoring.
Secondary Scoring

On most nights scoring goals hasn’t been a problem for the Isles. However, their secondary scoring can greatly improve.

John Tavares (12 Goals) and Anders Lee (8 Goals) are off to sensational starts, but the Isles need more scoring production from the rest of the lineup, specifically the third and fourth lines.

The Isles fourth line of Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck, and Nikolai Kulemin is fine. Like to see that unit return to form where many hockey people called them the best fourth line in hockey.

Jason Chimera finds himself on the Isles third line. It’s been a tough start to the season for the 38-year old winger (0G, 2A, -2 in 13 games).

Last year, Chimera posted 20 goals for the blue and orange. The Isles need that kind of production this season as well.
Ho-Sang

Josh Ho-Sang wasn’t assigned to Bridgeport because of poor play. It was a numbers game that sent Ho-Sang to the Sound Tigers. The 2014 first-round pick did provide some offense for the Isles while he suited up to start the season (4 Points in 6 Games & +1).

Ho-Sang provides a lot of skill, speed, and offense. Let’s remember with just a number of NHL games under his belt, Ho-Sang is still rounding out his game, especially away from the puck.

If the Isles recall Ho-Sang, look for a solid return on that investment after a number of games.

Ho-Sang could force the issue if he continues to play well at Bridgeport (1 Goal & 2 Points in 2 Games).

Making the Call

Not saying Chimera is done but the clock is ticking. The best players should play.

The argument against making such a move now is there will be injuries and the Isles would miss Chimera’s veteran voice in the locker room. However, that doesn’t mean Chimera can continue to play at this level. If things don’t change by Thanksgiving then Garth Snow needs to make this move.

Keep in mind if the Isles move Chimera it’s all about making room for Ho-Sang. Given Chimera’s production, age, cap hit, and the fact he is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, the Isles wouldn’t get more than a fifth or sixth round draft pick in return.