For any team looking beyond this season, Anaheim’s surplus in net means that Viktor Fasth, signed for one more year at $2.9-million, but injured for a lot of this year, could be an option as well. Fasth had a fabulous start for the Ducks last season – remember all those Quick and Fasth puns whenever Los Angeles and Anaheim met – and he could be a decent player if given the opportunity to start. But Anaheim has two of the best young goaltending prospects in the NHL – Frederik Andersen and John Gibson – in the pipeline, which might make Fasth expendable. And the guy doing the teaching down in Anaheim these days is none other than Roloson, who has a glut of talent to work with.
THE RYAN KESLER WATCH: Way back in the day, the Philadelphia Flyers thought enough of Ryan Kesler’s upside that they signed him to an offer sheet – a rare provocative move in the NHL – in the hopes of poaching him from the Vancouver Canucks long before he ever broke through as a front-line NHL player. So Philadelphia’s interest in Kesler is long-standing and the question that the Flyers need to ask internally is, would they give up one of their two talented kids, either Brayden Schenn or Sean Couturier, as the centrepiece of a possible deal with the Canucks? Sure, Detroit is interested too, and the Kesler-Michigan connection makes it a plausible scenario, but the Flyers have the better assets to offer. Vancouver would likely insist on Schenn and Philadelphia would likely say no – too much upside there. But for Couturier, maybe that’s the bones of a possible deal. From Philly’s perspective, Kesler as a No. 2, with Claude Giroux, Schenn and Vinnie Lecavalier as your other options down the middle makes for an impressive group (although Lecavalier has played a lot of wing for the Flyers this season). The Flyers took a lot of criticism for flipping Mike Richards and Jeff Carter for Schenn and a pick that turned out to be Couturier (they also landed Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds in those deals). Richards has had a tough time of it in L.A. this season; to get Kesler’s experience might help mitigate some of that loss experience, and gird them for a run in this year’s playoffs.
THIS AND THAT: With John Tavares on the shelf for the rest of the season, the Islanders will try to maximize their return on two key assets – Thomas Vanek, who will score goals for someone, and also defenceman Andrew MacDonald, who has burned up a lot of important minutes for them this season and, like Vanek, is also set to become an unrestricted free agent. McDonald would be a good fit in Boston which, in the absence of Dennis Seidenberg, could use one more warm experienced body on the blueline. If the prices get too crazy on MacDonald, Edmonton’s Nick Schultz could be a cheaper, depth option ... The Islanders had 13 picks in the 2006 draft; MacDonald was their 10th selection, 160th overall; the only other player they took that year playing regularly in the NHL is Kyle Okposo, who went seventh overall, although Jesse Joensuu has seen some limited playing time with the Oilers this year ... After the L.A. Kings kicked the tires on Sam Gagner in Edmonton, it appears as if they will be standing pat this year, and came out of the break deciding to play some of their youngsters more – Tyler Toffoli, Linden Vey, Tanner Pearson, all of whom were in the lineup Saturday at the expense of Jordan Nolan and Matt Frattin. Most of the inquiries coming their way in L.A. involved their prospects. The Kings figured they better get some answers on them soon. They are currently on a four-game win streak, heading into Monday’s date with the Montreal Canadiens, although you’ d have to think they, like a lot of teams, will make calls on Vanek and Matt Moulson at the 11th hour to see if the asking prices have dropped.