January 4 — Reviewing Rookies & Blundering for Bedard

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

THIS ONE’S FOR DAMAR: One day after Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during the team’s Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, the crosstown Sabres arrived in Washington sporting “LOVE FOR 3” t-shirts. Following their display of unity, the surging Sabres emerged victorious with a 5-4 overtime victory thanks to a hat trick by Tage Thompson.

VRÁNA ON WAIVERS: Yesterday, the Detroit Red Wings placed forward Jakub Vrana on waivers. Vrána has only appeared in two games with the Wings, as he missed time this season while in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program. Following his reinstatement on Dec. 16, Vrána has been with the Grand Rapid Griffins of the AHL on a conditioning stint. 

A SCHENN-SATIONAL NIGHT: In a game that featured Auston Matthews scoring a goal and an assist to reach 501 points and the Toronto Maple Leafs coming back from four two-goal deficits to earn a point, Brayden Schenn stole the show. Schenn recorded a goal, two helpers, and the shootout winner in the St. Louis Blues’ 6-5 victory. Meanwhile, Brayden’s brother Luke played his 900th NHL game in Vancouver with the New York Islanders in town to take on the Canucks. Luke’s sons wore custom jackets and were equipped with a homemade sign to honor their dad’s milestone. 

THIS ONE ENDS AT 11: For the first time since Dec. 6, the Carolina Hurricanes have lost. Artemi Panarin scored the first of three New York Rangers goals in the third period just 36 seconds into the final stanza, ending the Hurricanes’ winning streak at 11 games. It was also the first time Carolina lost in regulation since Nov. 23, going 15-1-2 in that span.

A CONTINENTAL CONTEST: Czechia looks to avenge its only loss of the 2023 World Junior Championships when it takes on Sweden in the early semifinal this afternoon (2:30 p.m. ET) before Team Canada and Team USA clash at 6:30 p.m. ET. It will be Conor Bedard vs. Trey Augustine in a battle of the 2023 NHL Draft eligibles, with the gold medal game on the line. Bedard is the consensus No. 1 pick, while Augustine is considered a top-five goalie and has committed to Michigan State University next season. 

Who Said It

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1) “It’s funny. Somebody said to me, ‘You’ve got to be the guy with the most games played that’s never had a Winter Classic.’ I’ve got to be up there. I’m really excited about this. Anyone that’s ever played the game, especially in the Northern U.S. or throughout Canada, being outside and playing hockey is any kid’s dream.”

A. Jason Zucker
B. Craig Smith
C. Nick Foligno

2) “We’re pretty excited [about hosting the 2024 Winter Classic]. I think in some regards these things we hoped would happen, these are the things we dreamed would happen. But it’s a great honor that in our third season, we’re going to host, really, an international event.”

A. Seattle Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke
B. Seattle Kraken GM Ron Francis
C. Seattle Kraken Co-Owner Samantha Holloway

3) “[Dad]’s taking pictures of me like there’s not 75 cameras out here. Look at him. Taking pictures still. I wonder what number picture that is. 78?”

A. Ty Smith
B. Jeremy Swayman
C. Taylor Hall

Answers can be found at the bottom of the email

Wacky Wednesday: Rookie Edition

There is never a dull moment in hockey, so we will keep you updated on all the “wacky” stats from around the NHL during the 2022-23 season. This edition of our “Wacky Wednesday” series will focus on the rookies—enjoy!

Matty the Great

With 27 points in 36 games, Matty Beniers leads all NHL rookies in scoring and is second on the Seattle Kraken. He is currently leading the race for the Calder Memorial Trophy and made an impression the moment he made his NHL debut in April. At 19 years old, Beniers became the fourth teenager behind Jonathan Toews, Sidney Crosby, and Joe Sakic to record a point in nine of his first 10 NHL games

Matty Beniers, Seattle Kraken (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

The Pinto Bean Machine

One of the rookies flying under the radar is Ottawa Senators forward Shane Pinto. Pinto is tied for fifth among rookies with 17 points in 38 games and quickly made his mark in Ottawa’s history. He had a five-game goal streak that started on Oct. 15, setting the franchise record for the longest goal streak by a rookie. The previous record was four games that Mark Stone (Vegas Golden Knights), Daniel Alfredsson, and Alexei Yashin achieved with the Sens. 

Tavy is Savvy

Although the Anaheim Ducks are the second-worst team in the NHL, they have some exciting talent to build around, and one of them is Mason McTavish. Tied for third among rookies with 20 points in 38 games, McTavish is also third in scoring for Anaheim. Ducks fans should be excited to hear that the 19-year-old shares a fun feat with young phenom Trevor Zegras. When McTavish recorded his 10th point in his 20th game in November, Anaheim posted that Zegras was the only rookie to reach the milestone in fewer games (15) in the past 10 years for the Ducks. 

Mason McTavish, Anaheim Ducks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Johnston Is a Star

Having one of the best offenses in the league helped the Dallas Stars to the top of the Central Division. One of the main contributors has been Wyatt Johnston. Johnston is tied with Pinto with 17 points in 38 games and finds most of his success on the road. At 19 years old, he became the first teenager in Stars/North Stars history to record a three-game goal streak away from home. The last teenager to accomplish a similar feat across the league was Andrei Svechnikov (Carolina Hurricanes, four games) during the 2019-20 season. 

The Bedard Bonanza

As the NHL season nears its midway point, the distinction between teams targeting a long playoff run and those aiming for better draft lottery odds is becoming more pronounced. For instance, the Chicago Blackhawks won four times in their first six games, then recorded the same amount of wins in the 31 games that followed. In other words, the tank is on in Chicago.

Every division around the league has an upper tier and some bottom feeders, with a glut of mediocre teams somewhere in the middle. In light of the World Junior heroics from 17-year-old Connor Bedard, the presumptive No. 1 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, it’s fair to wonder if some front offices might try to tip things towards the “tank” side of the ledger. After all, even a successful Wild Card chase would likely result in a first-round defeat. Here are some chief candidates for a little standings slippage.

Vancouver Canucks

An under-performing first half is not what Vancouver Canucks fans were hoping for in light of the second-half renaissance that head coach Bruce Boudreau led last season. But you know what would ideally soften the blow of the Canucks’ disappointing 2022-23 campaign to date? The arrival of a possible homegrown franchise player (Bedard is from North Vancouver). Trading Bo Horvat and perhaps even Brock Boeser would strongly signal a move in that direction.

Nashville Predators

Few better understand the pointless futility that can sometimes emerge from a playoff push than the Nashville Predators, who secured a Wild Card spot last season, only to get swept by the eventual champion Colorado Avalanche. Now, Nashville has taken a clear step back. Oh, and who happens to be hosting the draft this year? That’s right, the Preds. Maybe it’s time to try to give the fans in attendance something to get excited about as the season drags along.

Ottawa Senators

The bumpy start to the Ottawa Senators’ season after getting aggressive in the offseason has been well publicized. There have been modest improvements since, but it might already be too late. Now, the top three teams in the Atlantic Division are again pulling away from the pack, and the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Islanders, Detroit Red Wings, and Buffalo Sabres all have a leg up on the Sens in the Wild Card race. Ottawa’s already impressive core would look mighty attractive with Bedard in tow.

Who Said It Answers

  1. Nick Foligno
  2. Seattle Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke
  3. Jeremy Swayman

NHL Standings

NHL’s Leading Scorers

Today’s NHL Schedule