Mikkel Boedker‘s first game for Team Europe will be a big one. Boedker, a healthy scratch throughout the World Cup, will make his European debut on Tuesday, replacing the injured Marian Gaborik (foot) in the first of the best-of-three final. Head coach Ralph Kreuger opted for Boedker rather than dressing Luca Sbisa as a seventh defenseman, and lamented losing Gaborik’s presence in the lineup. “We’re losing some leadership and smarts on the puck that were exemplary,” Krueger said, per the L.A. Times. What the Europeans will gain, however, is speed. Boedker’s one of the fastest skaters in the league and is coming off a good offensive campaign, tying a career-high with 51 points. The 26-year-old
It’s plausible – yet not guaranteed – that Derick Brassard will be better next season than the player he was traded for, Mika Zibanejad. Plenty of New York Rangers fans are justified in being excited about the long-term impact of the move, and not merely because of the second-round pick they received in the swap. Zibanejad is a lot younger than Brassard. Even if Brassard ages well at 29, his Swedish trade counterpart is merely 23. The Rangers, quite reasonably, wonder if Zibanejad’s best days are still ahead of him. “He’s a younger player that our scouting staff and our management all felt he was on the upswing,” Vigneault said to the Rangers’ website. “The speed is there. The skill is there.
There’s a long list of things that have to go right for the Vancouver Canucks if their playoff hopes are to be realized. One of the biggest is for new addition Erik Gudbranson to form a cohesive second pairing with sophomore Ben Hutton. If that happens, and if Alex Edler and Chris Tanev can stay healthy, the Canucks should have a reliable top-four defense, and that’s something they rarely, if ever, had last season. Gudbranson, a big stay-at-home type, and Hutton, a puck-mover, have been skating together at training camp. The Canucks believe the pairing has great potential, with each defenseman’s strengths complementing the other’s. “I want to get his feet moving and hit him in stride and get