San Jose Sharks
Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon said he’s heard his name in trade deadline talk, albeit from others.
“We don’t have TSN in San Jose,” Dillon told The Athletic before the Sharks played the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place on Thursday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SNW, NHL.TV). “I think I get more of it from my mom and dad or friends back home that are watching on Vancouver news or Facebook or whatever. I’m a Shark right now, hopefully I’m a Shark as long as I can be, and hopefully we can get winning.”
The Sharks (23-27-4) are 2-5-0 in their past seven games and are 10 points behind the Calgary Flames for the second wild card from the West. Dillon, who could become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, has 13 points (one goal, 12 assists) in 54 games for the Sharks. Part of San Jose’s second defense pair with Brent Burns, Dillon is averaging 19:10 of ice time per game, which is fifth on San Jose.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of interest out there. I think everybody would love to have a guy like [Dillon] on their team for the final push and going deep into the playoffs,” Sharks coach Bob Boughner said. “There’s not a day that goes by that he doesn’t give us his all and focus on his job here. So, he’s been real strong at that mentally.”
Toronto Maple Leafs
Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said Toronto will have a better idea of what it could do before the NHL Trade Deadline once defenseman Morgan Rielly has his fractured foot re-evaluated next week.
Rielly injured his foot in an 8-4 loss to the Florida Panthers on Jan. 12 and was expected to miss eight weeks.
“We could add a defenseman but just to say that we did is not something we would do. We would want someone to move the needle for us in the long run, not in the short run, unless it was the perfect deal,” Dubas said Thursday. “But it will all depend on Morgan and as we get more updates on him in terms of how long he’s going to be out, that will dictate how much (NHL salary) cap space we will have going into the deadline.”
Dubas was addressing the media after acquiring goalie Jack Campbell and forward Kyle Clifford in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings for forward Trevor Moore, a third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft and a third-round pick in the 2021 Draft, on Wednesday.
The trade came after Michael Hutchinson, starting in place of injured Frederik Andersen, allowed four goals on 34 shots in a 5-3 loss to the New York Rangers. Andersen, who is 24-9-6, with a 2.87 goals-against average and .910 save percentage, is day to day with a neck injury and is unlikely to play against the Anaheim Ducks at Scotiabank Arena on Friday.
Dubas said the move was made to strengthen their goalie depth. Campbell, who was backup to Jonathan Quick, is 8-10-2 with a 2.85 goals-against average and .900 save percentage for the Kings. He will likely start Friday.
The Maple Leafs (28-19-7) are fourth in the Atlantic Division, one point behind the third-place Florida Panthers and two points behind the Philadelphia Flyers for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Eastern Conference.
Defenseman Mark Giordano will miss at least a week with a hamstring injury that will not require surgery.
“We’ll monitor on a week-to-week basis. I can’t give you a timeline [of his return] but the good news is, this is not as long-term as we initially feared,” general manager Brad Treliving said before the Flames hosted the Nashville Predators at Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday (9 p.m. ET; SN1, FS-TN, NHL.TV). “Certainly, good news from where we were two nights ago thinking this could be something that could keep him out the rest of the year.”
Giordano has 27 points (five goals, 22 assists) and is averaging 23:57 of ice time in 54 games. As for making any moves at the deadline, Treliving said he’ll take his cue from the Flames over the next two-plus weeks.
“Our situation with Mark’s injury, we’re in a different situation than we were 48 hours ago,” Treliving said. “The good news is, we’re in a better situation than we were maybe 24 hours ago, in terms of his timeline. We’ll see, is all I can say. We’ll continue to watch the team, continue to see ways we can improve our team.”
The Flames (27-21-6) hold the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference and are one point behind the Vegas Golden Knights for third place in the Pacific Division.
Ilya Kovalchuk could be a trade chip for the Canadiens, but the forward said he’s focused on helping them get into the playoffs.
“I just want to push, because right now we have so many games against the teams we’re chasing and it’s important to play well,” Kovalchuk said Thursday. “We have to battle through that and that’s all I think about right now.”
Kovalchuk has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in 13 games since signing with the Candiens on Jan. 3. He had nine points (three goals, six assists) in 17 games with Los Angeles Kings before his contract was terminated on Dec. 17.
The Canadiens (25-23-7) entered their game against the Anaheim Ducks at Bell Centre on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; TSN2, RDS, PRIME, NHL.TV) eight points behind the Flyers for the second wild card in the East. Asked if he’d like to remain with the Canadiens past this season, Kovalchuk said, “we’ll see.
“I’m pretty sure we’ll have discussions with the GM and my agent will talk to them, so we’ll see what’s going to happen,” he said. “But like I’ve said a lot of times, I like everything here. We have a special group here. It’d be fun to stay.”
St. Louis Blues
Vladimir Tarasenko skated with the Blues for the first time since having shoulder surgery Oct. 29.
Tarasenko had been skating on his own for a few weeks prior to Thursday, but the forward joined the Blues for their morning skate ahead of their game against the Winnipeg Jets at Enterprise Center on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-MW, TSN3, NHL.TV).
General manager Doug Armstrong said on Jan. 27 that how the Blues approach the trade deadline will depend on the status of Tarasenko, who is likely out until some time in April. If Tarasenko returns in the regular season, the Blues will have to make room under NHL salary cap.
Coach Craig Berube said he’s not sure when Tarasenko will be back, but was encouraged by his practice on Wednesday.
“If he can come out and do a lot of the flow stuff, that would be great,” Berube said. “The team stuff and things like that we do in practice, he probably is not going to be able to do that stuff, but if he can come on for the first part of it, he should. We’ll see how it goes.”
Tarasenko has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 10 games this season for the Blues (32-14-8), who are first in the Central Division, seven points ahead of the second-place Dallas Stars.
Conor Sheary is uncertain how much longer he’ll be with the Sabres, but the forward said he’s trying not to think about it.
“You just try to have a small-picture focus,” Sheary told the Olean Times-Herald on Wednesday. “I think I’m just going to worry about this game and helping this team right now. I don’t want to look too far forward or get too far ahead of myself. I think if you’re not living in the moment, it’s going to be a long year and a long season. I think right now, we’re focused on the next game, and that’s my focus as well.”
Sheary, who can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, has 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 46 games with the Sabres. Buffalo (23-23-7) is 12 points behind the Philadelphia Flyers for the second wild card from the East.
Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the trade market is quiet at the moment, but he expects that to change soon.
“I think the market will open up at some point in the next week or two,” Rutherford said on Wednesday. “Once teams decide which direction they want to go, more players will get into the market. But now it’s a pretty small market.”
The Penguins (33-14-5) are second in the Metropolitan Division, six points behind the first-place Washington Capitals and four points ahead of the third-place Columbus Blue Jackets. Trading for a forward, particularly on the wing, would help the Penguins. Pittsburgh is missing forward Jake Guentzel, who is out for the rest of the regular season after having right shoulder surgery on Dec. 31. At the time of his surgery, he led the Penguins with 43 points (20 goals, 23 assists) in 39 games.
The Penguins would like to do something well before the deadline, but Rutherford said, “only if you’re comfortable with it.”