Quick, he said, write up the preview before one of these teams makes a trade!
The Carolina Hurricanes start a quick spin through the desert tonight as they visit the Vegas Golden Knights. Who will suit up (for either team)? It’s two days before the trade deadline, so your guess is as good as mine.
The newest Hurricane, Jesse Puljujarvi, is unlikely to play tonight owing to visa machinations required to change countries as part of the trade. With the government involved, a timeframe is anyone’s guess, but given that this is a short trip the betting odds seem to favor a debut on Sunday when the Canes return to Raleigh to face the Lightning.
The Golden Knights, meanwhile, seem to be in on every trade rumor, so there’s really no telling who might be in uniform on the home bench tonight. What we know we’ll see is two of the league’s top teams facing off in what could easily pass as a Stanley Cup Final preview.
- The Canes and Knights will meet twice in the next week and a half, with the return visit from Vegas at PNC Arena scheduled for a week from Saturday.
- Both teams should be well rested and cranky: the Canes, obviously, got goalied on Saturday by John Gibson (followed by two days off to stew over it), while Vegas went to Colorado and was shut out by the Avalanche on Monday.
- Tonight will be Dylan Coghlan’s return to Vegas, after his offseason trade with Max Pacioretty for literally nothing. He spent parts of two seasons with the Golden Knights, which will likely merit a cursory recognition on the video board, although I guess they could repurpose what would have been a more significant welcome-home video for Pacioretty that is presumably mothballed.
- The Hurricanes are remarkably good on the road this season: since November 29 they are 12-1-2 away from PNC Arena, and their 42 road points are third-best in the league. And tonight, they will visit an arena where they’ve only lost once, ever. (I know, I know, I’m trying to delete it.)
- Sebastian Aho (nine points in seven games) has feasted on the Knights in their existence, but don’t sleep on noted offensive dynamo...uh...Derek Stepan (!), who is nearly a point per game player himself against Vegas (11 points in 13 games). Only Brent Burns’ 13 in 17 games tops Stepan’s exploits.
- Here’s the TSN trade tracker. No sense in trying to keep this updated, so just go here to see who’s been traded lately. Yesterday’s roster included Mattias Ekholm (to the Oilers), Rasmus Sandin (Capitals), Marcus Johansson (Wild) and, in the worst kept secret in NHL history, Patrick Kane (Rangers).
- Oh, and then a few minutes past midnight, a goalie swap: Joonas Korpisalo (and Vladislav Gavrikov) to the Kings…for Jonathan Quick, who is, shall we say, not thrilled.
To say Jonathan Quick is unhappy with the trade, I'm told, is "an understatement."— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) March 1, 2023
The entire #LAKings team was a bit down after the game, a win, and you could understandably see it in Anze Kopitar's face after a 4-goal night.
Tough deal, Kings trading a franchise legend.
- It’s not the first time the Blue Jackets have made a deal where the main return was rather unhappy.
- If you’re wondering, yes, we will have our annual trade deadline open thread ready to go on Friday morning, but really, there might not be much to talk about with the insane amount of activity so far.
- ***GOODEST BOY ALERT***
- There’s a joke to be made about the Old Gray Lady profiling the world’s oldest professional hockey player, but this NYT profile of Jaromir Jagr is absolutely worth your time. [New York Times ($, maybe)]
- Don Waddell is trying to tamp down expectations after the Puljujarvi deal, but it should surprise no one if something wholly unexpected comes flying out of left field between now and 3:00 Friday. [The Athletic ($)]
- All hail Kyle Dubas, the Leeroy Jenkins of this year’s trade deadline. He’s out of a job if the Leafs don’t win in the postseason, so he’d might as well throw everything at the wall – and that’s exactly what he’s doing. [Sportsnet]