Flyers balked at CRAZY asking price in trade for top winger

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Flyers balked at CRAZY asking price in trade for top winger

According to sources, the Flyers kicked the tires on Ottawa winger Mike Hoffman, with the apparent asking price of defenseman Travis Sanheim and a first-round pick as a starting point. Needless to say, any negotiations or discussions didn’t advance much further than that.

“It’s an emotional time for all of us and you’ve got to really think things through clearly,” Hextall said following Monday’s 3 p.m. deadline. “To do something because someone else did something, that’s not how I operate. We’re going to make well-thought-out decisions.”

Hextall may be willing to part with the pick considering the Flyers could have two first-rounders in the upcoming draft depending on what happens with the St. Louis Blues, but the highly-coveted Sanheim is a deal breaker. 

“We’ve got a lot of good young players and we get asked about them fairly often,” Hextall said.

Hextall, like most general managers, utilizes the days leading up to the trade deadline to gain a barometer on what other GMs are thinking, what prospects teams value and what’s the starting point for any potential deal. It’s all a matter of performing due diligence.    

However, Hoffman is certainly a player that would interest Hextall, who stated he doesn’t believe in overpaying for a rental. Hoffman is under contract for two more years after 2017-18 at a very reasonable cap hit of just over $5 million a season. 

For an organization and a head coach looking to play a more up-tempo pace, Hoffman would be an ideal fit. He has blazing speed with a terrific shot and he’s seven goals shy of his fourth straight 25-goal season. He’s also a natural left winger, the one forward position the Flyers are a little thin at right now. 

Interestingly, the 28-year-old Hoffman came into Flyers' training camp 10 years ago on an amateur tryout. He returned to the QMJHL where the Senators selected him at the age of 19 in the fifth round of the 2009 NHL draft. As a late bloomer, Hoffman wasn’t an NHL regular until the age of 25. 

With Valtteri Filppula in the final year of his contract and the possibility that Jori Lehtera could be bought out of the final year of his contract, the Flyers will have some financial maneuverability to add a veteran forward, if that’s what they elect to do.

If Sanheim is the must-needed piece to broker a deal, then the Flyers could have to involve a third team — much like the Matt Duchene blockbuster trade between the Predators and Avalanche earlier this season.

The small-market Senators are also looking to cut payroll and add prospects as they currently have a shortage of their own draft picks. Until the Derick Brassard trade with Pittsburgh, Ottawa didn’t own a single pick in the first three rounds of this year’s draft. 

While there was very little chance Hoffman was going to be moved at the deadline, discussions could heat up in late June when all 31 teams reconvene at this year’s draft in Dallas.

Why have Penguins dominated Flyers recently?

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Why have Penguins dominated Flyers recently?

VOORHEES, N.J. — The keys to the Keystone State Rivalry are now in the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have been in the driver’s seat recently in their feud with the Flyers.

The Penguins are on the verge of a season sweep for the first time since taking all eight meetings during the Flyers' disastrous 2006-07 season.

It’s a complete turnaround from the Flyers' eight-game winning streak from November 2013 to April 2015. PPG Paints Arena, formerly known as Consol Energy Center, could also be commonly referred to as Wells Fargo Center West.

However, in the Dave Hakstol era, which has also coincided with the Mike Sullivan era in Pittsburgh, the ice has been tilted toward Lake Erie. The Flyers are just 3-7-1 against the Penguins over the past three years.

Over time, that vitriolic and acrimonious attitude seems to be missing from a once-bitter feud and the Flyers seemed to thrive off that animosity.

“There’s not as many fights as we used to and not as many hits,” captain Claude Giroux said. “If you don’t take care of the puck and you don’t play smart out there, it’s going to cost your team.”

Since the third period of their first game in November, there have been costly mistakes and very little pushback from the Flyers. They’ve been outscored 14-4 in their last seven periods and a brief overtime against the Penguins.

“It’s a matter of us going out and being ourselves for a full 60 minutes,” Hakstol said. “We haven’t done that against Pittsburgh and you’ve got to credit them for that. They can push teams off balance.”

And clearly, the Penguins have presented a matchup problem for the Flyers, regardless of which team has owned last change. Sidney Crosby has thrived this season with a plus-6 rating against the Flyers.

With Sean Couturier serving as Evgeni Malkin’s shadow dating back to his rookie season in 2011-12, Giroux had been tasked with matching up with Crosby’s line. Now with Couturier and Giroux paired together, the task of containing Crosby has shifted elsewhere, whether it’s been Valtteri Filppula, Scott Laughton or Nolan Patrick.

The Flyers' 19-year-old rookie center has quickly discovered what works and what doesn’t against arguably the NHL’s best all-around player.

“You have to be a little more defensive-minded when (Crosby) is out there, and even Malkin too,” Patrick said. “Crosby’s not really a guy you can go after and knock the puck off. You just got to try and contain them and have a good stick on him.”

“I don’t think we’ve given them our best effort so far this year,” defenseman Andrew MacDonald said. “We were a little timid last time. We were trying to feel out the game and see what kind of game it was going to be, rather than dictate the play.”

The Flyers haven’t exhibited their best effort against any team recently, and no need to prove a point against the Penguins this late in the season.

The Flyers simply need points and the Penguins just happen to be the next team on the schedule.

Devils' Hall wastes no time in overtime

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Devils' Hall wastes no time in overtime

PITTSBURGH -- Taylor Hall beat Matt Murray on a breakaway 27 seconds into overtime to lift the New Jersey Devils to a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night.

Hall was all alone when Nico Hischier found him with a long lead pass. Hall then slipped the puck between Murray's legs for his 33rd goal of the season as New Jersey picked up two vital points in the race for one of the two wild-card spots in the Eastern Conference.

Hall added two assists for New Jersey. Hischier finished with a goal and an assist, and Blake Coleman and Will Butcher also scored for the Devils. Keith Kincaid made 40 stops for the Devils, who finished a season-high six-game road trip 4-2.

Sidney Crosby scored his 25th of the season for Pittsburgh. Brian Dumolin and Phil Kessel scored in the third period as the Penguins erased a two-goal deficit. Murray finished with 30 saves as the Penguins lost for just the second time in their last 17 home games.

New Jersey's drive to end a six-year playoff drought has stalled since the All-Star break. A lopsided loss in San Jose dropped the Devils to just 13-12 since Jan. 30 and skated onto the ice at PPG Paints Arena with a tenuous grasp on the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference (see full recap).

Bruins win on Pastrnak’s last-second goal
DALLAS -- David Pastrnak broke a tie with 12 seconds left and the Boston Bruins scored three straight goals in the third period to rally past the fading Dallas Stars 3-2 on Friday night.

A scramble followed a faceoff in the Dallas end, and Brad Marchand passed to Pastrnak in front. While falling down, he put the puck past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen.

Tuukka Rask made a season-high 40 saves for the Bruins. Marchand scored Boston's first goal and also assisted on a short-handed goal by Tim Schaller that tied it midway through the third period.

The second-place Bruins won for the first time in three games (1-0-2) to move within four points of Atlantic Division leader Tampa Bay. Boston has already clinched a playoff berth.

The Stars are winless in their last seven games (0-5-2). They remained four points behind Colorado for the second Western Conference wild card (see full recap).

Berglund, Blues push win streak to 4
ST. LOUIS -- Patrik Berglund scored twice and the surging St. Louis Blues beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 on Friday night for their fourth consecutive victory.

Vladimir Tarasenko and Dmitrij Jaskin also scored for St. Louis. Jake Allen made 19 saves in his eighth straight start as the Blues won for the sixth time in seven games.

Sam Gagner scored for Vancouver, which has lost eight of nine. Anders Nilsson stopped 21 shots.

The Blues swept the season series and have won their last five games against the Canucks.

Tarasenko extended the lead to 3-1 just 14 seconds into the third period, slipping Jaden Schwartz's pass between Nilsson's legs. Tarasenko missed the previous two games with an upper-body injury.

Jaskin's sixth goal of the season with 2:29 left sealed it for St. Louis (see full recap).