NHL Rink Wrap: DeBrusk asks Bruins for trade; Jets can’t beat Vejmelka
Top players from Monday in the NHL
Karel Vejmelka, Coyotes
You don’t see a goalie steal a game like this every night. Or every week, even.
The Jets fired 46 shots on goal against the Coyotes, while Arizona only managed 15 SOG and one goal in support of Karel Vejmelka.
That was all “Veggie” needed to steal that game.
This marks the first shutout of Karel Vejmelka’s young career. The 25-year-old rookie has been a thankless-workhorse for the (clearly tanking) Coyotes, appearing in 14 games with a 2-9-1 record. After this 46-save shutout (and stopping 37 out of 38 games to beat the Kings in his last start), Karel Vejmelka pushed his save percentage to a respectable .916.
Some quick Karel Vejmelka facts:
- Vejmelka is one of the rare goalies who catches right-handed.
- The Predators selected Vejmelka in the fifth round (145th overall in 2015). Vejmelka didn’t put up great numbers overseas before heading to the NHL this season.
- Delightfully, Vejmelka is known as “Veggie.” That said, Hockey Reference’s lists his pronunciation as: (KAHR-uhl vay-MEHL-kuh).
As a rebuilding team, maybe the Coyotes look at Vejmelka as something of a “sacrificial lamb.” It would be a nice story if he could make a career of this, though. Monday’s NHL action inspires a certain level of hope.
Highlights from four NHL games on Tuesday
With four NHL games on Tuesday. why not just enjoy full highlights?
The Kraken were expected to be defensive stalwarts this season, but games like these show they can light up the scoreboard here and there.
The team that lost its GM (Canadiens) fell to the team whose GM is on a very hot seat (Canucks).
Karel Vejmelka thwarts the Jets’ offense (video version).
Finally, the Flames held off the Penguins after a lengthy shootout.
Tuesday’s NHL takeaways
Canadiens’ GM/president replacement team will face a serious challenge
A day after Marc Bergevin’s firing, Canadiens owner Geoff Molson expanded upon the GM/front office changes ahead. In short, a GM will join Jeff Gorton, who joined the Canadiens as their president of hockey operations.
Obviously, it’s crucial for Montreal to get this search right. Perhaps the Canadiens will learn some lessons from Marc Bergevin’s ups and downs as a GM?
Merely look up and down the Canadiens’ Cap Friendly page, and you’ll probably notice that this won’t be the easiest job. While Bergevin is out as Canadiens GM, some of his fingerprints will be easier to remove than others.
This is a roster brimming with long-term contracts. Even if Shea Weber’s career is over, Gorton and the Canadiens’ next GM won’t exactly have a clean slate. That said, it’s absolutely better to make this move sooner, rather than later. Would you really want a desperate Bergevin trying to save his job with ill-advised 2022 NHL Trade Deadline moves?
Whether the Habs make wise moves or not, it’s definitely a situation to watch.
Marchand suspended three games; DeBrusk asks Bruins for trade
Quite a day for the Boston Bruins.
First, the NHL suspended Brad Marchand three games for slew-footing Oliver Ekman-Larsson. It marks the seventh suspension of Marchand’s career (and the second for slew-footing, alone).
Then, multiple reports indicate that Jake DeBrusk asked the Bruins for a trade.
Spoke with Rick Valette today, agent for Jake DeBrusk, he confirmed he asked for a trade over the weekend. It's felt a change of scenery moving forward would be beneficial. Debrusk will remain with the team while the Bruins try and facilitate the request.— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) November 29, 2021
Year after year, there have been rumours about the Bruins possibly trading DeBrusk. But DeBrusk actually formally asking for one? Quite a development. DeBrusk, 25, has one year remaining on his contract with a $3.675M cap hit. Would a DeBrusk trade involve the Bruins merely getting futures, or would it be a dual “change of scenery?” If the latter, who would make sense for the Bruins’ end of a DeBrusk trade? Maybe the answers will surface soon.
(A trade seems like it would make sense for both the Bruins and DeBrusk, though, right?)
Evander Kane clears waivers
The AHL’s San Jose Barracuda are saying all the right things about Evander Kane possibly joining their team after clearing waivers. If Evander Kane plays in the AHL, the impression is that it will merely be a temporary thing after clearing waivers. We’ll find out (soon/eventually) if an Evander Kane trade happens, or if this situation lingers.
Should Jets be worried about a lack of offense?
When the Jets beat the Flames 4-2 on Saturday, the hope was that Winnipeg worked its way out of a funk. After all, the Jets ended a five-game losing streak, and Kyle Connor scored two goals.
Perhaps it was only a brief reprieve.
Yes, Coyotes rookie Karel Vejmelka stole that one from the Jets. Clearly, Winnipeg carried the play.
This upset loss only stirs more concerns about the Jets’ offense. During Monday’s NHL action, the Jets’ power play went 0-for-6. Despite beating the Flames on Saturday, the Jets’ offense sputtered at times on the PP there, too. They couldn’t score after Milan Lucic was whistled for a major penalty.
In going 0-4-1 during that recent five-game losing streak, the Jets offense really sputtered (five goals). They’ve now gone 1-5-1 in their last seven games.
This game against the Coyotes began a four-game homestand for the Jets, so maybe this is a chance to get back on track. That said, after facing the Devils, the Jets then host the Maple Leafs and Hurricanes.
Overall, it’s fair to wonder if the Jets are as improved as they looked to start the season. The excuses remain a bit lacking.
Paul Maurice chocks Winnipeg's lack of offence tonight despite the shots to fatigue, a lack of speed, net front, and a little bit of squeezing the stick too tight.— Murat Ates (@WPGMurat) November 30, 2021
Said Winnipeg's best chances didn't reach the net.
Flames are really good -- but a lot’s going their way
Whether you prefer standings, analytics, “the eye test,” or some combination, the Calgary Flames look great this season.
That said, it’s only natural to ask: how good are they, really? Don’t forget, this is a team that missed the playoffs in 2020-21.
For the most part, signs point to the Flames being for real. However, there are areas where you should expect the Flames to cool off. Coming into Monday’s NHL games, the Flames easily topped all teams with a 95.04 save percentage at 5-on-5. No other team’s 5-on-5 save percentage was even at 94 (the Maple Leafs rank second at 93.84).
Among other things, you’d expect a Darryl Sutter team to be strong with a lead. That’s an area where the Flames are likely cool off, too.
Including Monday’s game against the Penguins, the Flames scored the first goal an NHL-leading 18 times (in just 22 games).
Before Monday’s NHL games, the Flames had those 17 games where they scored first, compared to second-place Washington (15). Last season, the Avalanche and Golden Knights tied for the most with 36 in 56 games. Since 2015-16, seven teams scored the first goal of a game 50+ times. (The 2016-17 Capitals lead the pack with 58. That’s also the most since the full season lockout.)
While Jacob Markstrom could end the season with a Vezina nomination, he’s unlikely to combine with Dan Vladar for goaltending this great the whole way. And the Flames might give up the first goal more than four out of every 22 games over the long haul.
All of that said, though, the Flames indeed look incendiary so far. They’re also now 13-2-3 when scoring first.
Tuesday’s big story
Hurricanes give the Stars’ surge a real test
Really, Tuesday’s big NHL story (on the ice) probably involves a clash between the Capitals and Panthers. Folks, their last two meetings served as those days’ big stories, though. Let’s mix it up?
(Or consider Panthers - Capitals the big game of Tuesday’s NHL games. That’s cool, too.)
For the sake of variety, an interesting test. For some of this season, things looked dicey for Dallas. Rick Bowness even got coffee and a hat and was a big-eyed dog surrounded by fire for a minute.
Well, maybe things are fine. The Stars enter Tuesday’s test against the Hurricanes on a four-game winning streak. Further, Dallas has also won six of its last seven games. Increasingly, the Stars look like they have a shot at a playoff berth. Beating the Hurricanes would be that much more convincing.
Monday’s NHL scores
Canucks 2, Canadiens 1
Coyotes 1, Jets 0
Kraken 7, Sabres 4
Flames 2, Penguins 1 (SO)