Flyers

NHL Notes: Blackhawks reacquire Saad for Panarin; Rangers send Stepan to Coyotes for No. 7

NHL Notes: Blackhawks reacquire Saad for Panarin; Rangers send Stepan to Coyotes for No. 7

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks have reacquired forward Brandon Saad in a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets, parting with top young forward Artemi Panarin to complete the blockbuster deal.

The 24-year-old Saad spent his first four seasons with Chicago, helping the Blackhawks win two Stanley Cups. Concerned about their ability to re-sign Saad when he became a restricted free agent in 2015, the Blackhawks traded the rugged winger to the Blue Jackets.

He had 24 goals and 29 assists in 82 games for Columbus last season.

The Blackhawks also received goaltender Anton Forsberg and a 2018 fifth-round draft pick in Friday's trade in exchange for forwards Panarin and Tyler Motte and Chicago's sixth-round selection on Saturday.

The loss of Panarin is a big blow for Chicago. He teamed with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov to form one of the NHL's most potent lines the past couple seasons.

Rangers send Stepan to Coyotes for DeAngelo, No. 7 pick
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Coyotes have acquired center Derek Stepan and goalie Antti Raanta from the New York Rangers for defenseman Anthony DeAngelo and the seventh overall pick in this year's draft.

The Coyotes have made massive changes since Andrew Barroway became sole owner earlier this month, trading away No. 1 goalie Mike Smith, parting ways with coach Dave Tippett and opting not to offer captain Shane Doan a contract. Arizona also acquired defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson from Chicago earlier Friday.

Stepan and Raanta should address two big needs.

The 27-year-old Stepan had 17 goals and 38 assists in 81 games with the Rangers last season. Raanta went 16-8-2 in 30 games, with four shutouts and a 2.26 goals-against average.

DeAngelo had five goals and nine assists in 39 games last season.

Blackhawks ship defenseman Hjalmarsson to Coyotes
CHICAGO -- The Arizona Coyotes have acquired defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks.

The 30-year-old Hjalmarsson had spent his entire 10-year career with Chicago, helping the Blackhawks to three Stanley Cup titles. He had five goals, 13 assists and a team-high 181 blocked shots in 73 games last season.

The Blackhawks received defensemen Connor Murphy and Laurent Dauphin in Friday's trade. The 24-year-old Murphy had two goals and a career-high 15 assists in 77 games with Arizona last season. Dauphin, 22, has appeared in 32 NHL games over the last two seasons.

The trade comes with Arizona in a bit of turmoil. The team announced Thursday on the eve of the NHL draft that coach Dave Tippett was out after eight seasons (see full story).

Kings buy out defeseman Matt Greene
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings have bought out the final year of defenseman Matt Greene's contract.

The Kings announced the move Friday.

Greene has been with the Kings since 2008. He provided steady stay-at-home defense during their Stanley Cup championship runs in 2012 and 2014.

But Greene has played in only 29 games over the past two seasons due to serious injuries, and he has played in more than half of the Kings' games in just one season since 2012. He went on injured reserve Jan. 30 and had back surgery.

Greene had a four-year, $10 million contract extension that began in 2014. The buyout turns his $2.5 million cap hit next season into an $833,333 hit in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Greene has 17 goals and 63 assists in 615 games (see full story).

Best of NHL: Jaden Schwartz hat trick lifts Blues over Blackhawks

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AP Images

Best of NHL: Jaden Schwartz hat trick lifts Blues over Blackhawks

ST. LOUIS -- Jaden Schwartz had his third career hat trick to help the St. Louis Blues beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 on Wednesday night.

Schwartz has four goals and six assists this season and has at least one point in six of the Blues' first seven games. It was his 51st career multi-point game and fourth this season.

Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist, Kyle Brodziak also scored, and Jake Allen made 22 saves. The Blues snapped a two-game losing streak

Duncan Keith and Ryan Hartman had late goals for Blackhawks, and Corey Crawford made 28 saves (see full recap).

Maple Leafs ride big 1st period to win
TORONTO -- Curtis McElhinney made 29 saves in his season debut and the Toronto Maple Leafs scored four times in the first period in a 6-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night.

Starting in place of Frederik Andersen, McElhinney stopped 14 shots in the third period to hold off the Red Wings.

Nazem Kadri, Zach Hyman, Auston Matthews, Connor Brown, Morgan Rielly and William Nylander scored to help Toronto improve to an NHL-best 6-1-0. The Maple Leafs were coming off a 2-0 victory at Washington on Tuesday night.

Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Tatar, Jonathan Ericsson scored for the Red Wings, and Nick Jensen had three assists.

Jimmy Howard gave up three goals on four shots before getting yanked in favor of Petr Mrazek late in the first period (see full recap).

How Michal Neuvirth found fresh inspiration in being a dad

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USA Today Images

How Michal Neuvirth found fresh inspiration in being a dad

For the first time in his nine-year career, Michal Neuvirth knows when he gets home at night after a game, there will be someone waiting for him with a smile.

Win or lose, it doesn’t matter to Neuvirth, or especially to his one-month-old daughter, Emily Gudasová Carolina.

“When you come home, there’s a baby waiting and it's such an amazing feeling that someone is waiting for you at home,” Neuvirth said after Tuesday's 5-1 win over Florida. “Last year, I was mostly here by myself, so I definitely like it better having a family with me now.”

Family now consists of his newborn daughter, his fiancee Karolína Gudasová and uncle Radko Gudas, Gudasová’s older brother and Neuvirth’s Flyers teammate.

To those of us on the outside, the responsibility of fatherhood seemingly has altered Neuvirth’s disposition. He smiles more, cracks a few jokes and elaborates just a little more with his answers to the media. Perhaps, he can tolerate us because there’s a deeper purpose and a sense of providing that comes with fatherhood.  

“It’s an amazing feeling being a dad,” Neuvirth said. “For me, I just have another motivation to play for my family now.”

Of course, it also helps I’ve yet to see Neuvirth yawn or show up to practice with bags under his eyes. He has escaped any late-night drama with an eight-day road trip to start the season, and for now, he apparently has a rare lifetime pass for any early morning feedings.  

“I have an amazing fiancee. She takes care of her (Emily) as much as she needs to,” Neuvirth said. “I usually put her to bed at 10-10:30. During the night, Karolina goes and feeds her in the living room, and I’m a deep sleeper, so she doesn’t wake me up.”

As Gudasová has kept an eye on the cradle, Neuvirth has secured the crease. He’s allowed three goals in his two starts this season with a .956 save percentage, which has initiated the debate for more playing time.

Interestingly, adapting to a new addition is something Neuvirth has also discussed with teammate and fellow netminder, Brian Elliott, who went through a similar set of circumstances with his son, Owen, last season in Calgary. Elliott called that first month with the Flames “a huge adjustment” and his October numbers reflected that.

Six games into the season, Neuvirth apparently has it all figured out. 

Of course, a good night’s sleep has a way of bringing clarity to the situation.