The Carolina Hurricanes and soon-to-be UFA Eric Staal

Cam Lewis
January 20 2016 10:35AM

All season, the Carolina Hurricanes’ underlying numbers have suggested that they’re a better team than their record indicates. The Hurricanes have spent the majority of the season boasting one of the league’s best Corsi For percentages at even strength, but thanks to an incredibly low PDO, driven by both poor goaltending and a mediocre shooting percentage, they haven’t had the results they probably deserve. 

Over the past few weeks, the Canes have put together a pretty solid run, improving their record to 20-19-8 and pulling themselves right into the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff race. That said, even though their improved record puts them in playoff contention, they still have to make a decision regarding soon-to-be free agent Eric Staal. 

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With Petr Mrazek The Reward Has Been Outweighing The Risk

Dimitri Filipovic
January 18 2016 10:02AM

Coming into the season, the Detroit Red Wings were one of just a handful of teams in the league not to have a clear-cut number one starter locked in for the lion's share of the workload in net. That's not to say that it was necessarily a bad plan by any means, given what we know about how much more efficient rested goaltenders are than their tired counterparts. 

If anything I suspect there's too much stock put into the importance of maintaining the conventional dynamic of having a workhorse starter and his prototypical backup that's only around to spell him on occasion. With how much the position has evolved and the talent pool deepened, there's no excuse for a team not to have two equally reliable options it can alternate to ensure peak performance during the marathon that is an 82-game season. The benefits of having that depth and versatility far exceeds any awkwardness that may arise from the uncertainty of not knowing whose turn it is. It's a good problem to have. 

Which made the Red Wings preseason plan perfectly reasonable, considering they happened to be blessed with two very functional candidates to start on any given night. Even though the writing may have ultimately been on the wall all along given the organization's decision to roll with Mrazek in the playoffs last spring, they still seemed determined to at least give the timeshare experiment a chance by having Mrazek and Howard each start 6 of the team's first 12 games. 

The idea was commendable in principle, though it didn't wind up lasting very long in practice. 

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Anze Kopitar's new contract will be ugly later on, but it's necessary for the Kings right now

Cam Lewis
January 16 2016 01:05PM

The Los Angeles Kings have answered one of their most pressing questions by signing star forward Anze Kopitar to an eight-year extension worth $80 million. Well, I guess that answers one question, which was how they were going to fit Kopitar and his inevitably massive free agent salary into the team’s cap structure, but we’re still left wondering how the Kings are going to make everything work financially moving forward. I mean, having Kopitar locked up is great and all, but there still needs to be a roster around him, something the Kings don’t have much cap space to put together. 

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The Ducks send Carl Hagelin to Pittsburgh for David Perron and Adam Clendening

Cam Lewis
January 16 2016 02:03AM

The Anaheim Ducks and Pittsburgh Penguins decided to wait well into the night to strike a deal, but at 3:00 A.M. Eastern Time, Bob Mackenzie reported that Carl Hagelin was being swapped for David Perron and Adam Clendening. Both Clendening (RFA) and Perron (UFA) are free agents this summer while Hagelin was signed to a four-year, $16 million deal by the Ducks prior to the beginning of the season, so this deal offers the Ducks some long-term salary relief while giving Pittsburgh an intriguing player to help with their offensive woes. 

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The Roundup

Nation World HQ
January 15 2016 06:00AM

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Could oil prices turn the Flames into a budget team, Canucks trade for Etem, clear benches with the Panthers, Jets great goaltending prospect, Connor McDavid's birthday, Lou Lamoriello trade history, Kevin Shattenkirk rumored availability, WingsNation launches, fantasy hockey and more in this week's Nation Roundup brought to you by DraftKings.

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