Flames fall to the Islanders, plus the latest news on the other Canadian NHL teams.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Recently-acquired Devante Smith-Pelly joins an impressive youth movement with the Montreal Canadiens. “Nathan Beaulieu, Brendan Gallagher, Michael Bournival and newcomer Devante Smith-Pelly…are all 22; Alex Galchenyuk, who is 21; and 19-year-old Jacob De La Rose.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If these kids continue to play up to expectations, the Canadiens could be a dominant team over the remainder of this decade and perhaps into the next.
THE VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks GM Jim Benning isn’t planning any major trades, as sidelined players Alex Edler, Chris Tanev and Brad Richardson should return to the lineup within the next couple of weeks. Benning is unwilling to part with high draft picks or good prospects for quick fixes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It also helps Benning’s cause that his club, despite a rash of recent injuries to key players, remains very much in the thick of the playoff chase in the Western Conference. Several call-ups and young players have stepped up to fill the gaps, providing the Canucks with invaluable depth at a key part of the season.
WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets have transformed into a punishing club to play against.
TORONTO STAR: Dave Nonis’ recent moves implementing his bosses’ “scorched earth” roster policy could ensure his continued employment as Leafs GM beyond this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That quaking in Southern Ontario is the collective shudder of Leafs Nation over the prospect of Nonis remaining as Leafs GM.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: With four straight wins, the Senators are within striking distance of a playoff berth, giving themselves reason to hope.
EDMONTON SUN: The Oilers are entering the home stretch of their schedule.