Welcome back to another Wednesday Ramblings! Plenty to sift through from 12 games in the NHL last night, as well as some CHL news and notes.
Zach Werenski continues what I consider to be the most impressive rookie display of this young season. Not to take away from anything that Auston Matthews, William Nylander, Patrik Laine or Jimmy Vesey have done, but for a 19-year-old to step in and play 22 minutes a night on the blueline and produce is quite impressive.
The former Michigan Wolverine racked up two assists last night in a 3-2 overtime win over the Dallas Stars pushing his point total on the season to eight in eight games played. He is currently tied for fourth among rookie scorers, and six among all NHL defensemen in points.
Jimmy Vesey added to his scorching season start with a goal and two assists in a 5-0 thumping of the St. Louis Blue in MSG last night. The Rangers have won five of their last six, and last years Hobey Baker Award winner is a big reason why. In those six games, Vesey has totaled five goals and three assists, while playing significant minutes at even strength and on the power play.
A couple of first NHL goals last night! Congratulations to Denis Malgin of the Florida Panthers and Lawson Crouse of the Arizona Coyotes, who both potted their first of what should be many goals scored at the NHL level. I wouldn't be surprised to see Crouse sent back to Junior, where he would be a major boost to the Kingston Frontenacs push for a playoff spot in the OHL.
Malgin is AHL eligible, and could be bumped down when Florida returns currently injured forwards Jussi Jokinen and Nick Bjugstad to the lineup next week.
Darnell Nurse scored a bullet of a goal last night to tie the Toronto-Edmonton game at two before heading into overtime. He's quietly put together a very solid multi-category season for the Oilers with four points, 16 shots on goal, 25 hits and 11 blocked shots while playing under 18 minutes a night.
If his offense continues to come together, he can really take a step forward as a fantasy asset moving forward. Look how he takes this pass and walks the line to a better shooting position. This is something we wouldn't have seen out of him last season.
Tyler Motte scored on a nice power move to the net in a one-on-one with TJ Brodie last night in Chicago. He has been solid addition to the Blackhawks top-nine playing with Jonathan Toews and Richard Panik with five points early in his rookie season.
Vancouver continues to baffle as they sent Troy Stecher to AHL Utica today. Stecher had steped in the last three games and showed he belonged on an NHL blueline. Likely this isn't for the long-term, unless the Canucks are already tanking ten games into the season for Nolan Patrick.
Thomas Chabot was returned to Saint John of the QMJHL after playing just one game for the Ottawa Senators. There will likely be a handful more prospects who are sent back to Junior within the next week or so. At this point if they aren't playing consistently at the NHL level, young players on entry-level contracts need to be on the ice more regularly.
Each of the following prospects have played nine games and with their next NHL game played, they will burn a year of their entry level contract:
Sebastian Aho, Carolina Hurricanes
Anthony Beauvillier, New York Islanders
Brandon Carlo, Boston Bruins
Matthew Tkachuk, Calgary Flames
Carlo is the only one of that group that is an interesting case, as the other three will likely remain for the full season. The 6'5" defenseman has certainly proven that he is NHL ready in his nine game stint in Boston, as he has been one of the teams best blueliners. However, unless there is a trade coming down the pipe, Boston may be forced to move one of their defensemen when Kevan Miller returns in a few weeks from a broken hand. The B's already have seven defensemen that are on one-way contracts, not including Carlo. Its an option to keep one or both of Joe Morrow and Colin Miller in the press box, but neither would benefit in their development from an extended period of sitting. Time will tell as the Bruins play Thursday night against Tampa.
Your three games tonight are:
Vancouver at Montreal – 7:30pm ET
Detroit at Philadelphia – 8:00pm ET
Pittsburgh at Anaheim – 10:30 ET
Enjoy the hockey!
Give Kevin a follow @kleblanchockey for NHL prospect talk and happenings.