We’ve spent a lot of time around these parts talking about how the Tampa Bay Lightning worked to replace some of the big names they lost over the summer. Filling the skate of Ondrej Palat, Ryan McDonagh, and Jan Rutta is still a work in progress (but it’s getting better!). How about the other side of the equation? How have those players, who will be forever welcome in Tampa for the roles they played in acquiring two Stanley Cups, adjusted to their new homes?
Ondrej Palat - New Jersey Devils
6 games played, 3 goals, 0 assists, iXG 1.04
The loss of Palat probably stung the most for Lightning fans as he was a homegrown kid who came up through the system and was the longest tenured of the players who left. Still, you can’t blame him when New Jersey was willing to pay him $30 million over 5 years.
He got off to a solid start for the Devils, averaging 18:43 of ice time on their top line and providing a veteran presence for the young New Jersey squad. Unfortunately, a lower-body injury has placed him on injured reserve and his timeline for a return is a bit unknown at this point.
#NEWS: We have placed F Ondrej Palat (lower body) on injured reserve, retroactive to October 24.— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) October 29, 2022
After meeting with the doctors, a final determination will be made on Monday as to the next course of action.https://t.co/ACbAPJKpzS
Ryan McDonagh - Nashville Predators
9 games, 0 goals, 3 assists, 0.46 iXG
He’s doing what he does, averaging 20:56 of ice time and blocking shots shorthanded (he has a team-leading 7). His 31:14 of shorthanded ice time is second on the team (just behind Mattias Ekholm). Nashville is currently 6th in the league in killing off penalties while the Lightning are 16th. Coincidence? Possibly.
Jan Rutta - Pittsburgh Penguins
9 games, 2 goals, 1 assist, 0.3 iXG
If you had Jan Rutta as the Penguins defenseman with the most goals on the team through 9 games, well good on you. Rutta is already halfway to the total amount of goals he scored during his 158 games with the Lightning. It’s unlikely he’s going to sustain the scoring rate (he’s shooting 25%) but he’s been a solid addition to Pittsburgh’s defensive corps.
Lightning / NHL News
Hagel finds comfort zone on, off the ice and his game reflects it [Tampa Bay Times]
“(Hagel) has done an exceptional job for us,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said before the team headed out on their three-game, five-day West Coast road trip. “It takes players a little bit of time to find their way with our team, but he has a definitive role. Now he’s stepped into a little bit more of an offensive role.”
“While the vote on Nov. 29 will provide clarity on council’s opinion of the Coyotes’ proposal — on the entitlements and on the general plan amendment — a referendum would be the ultimate vote in determining whether the project begins. That vote would be held in 2023 at a date yet to be determined.”
Seth Jones out with right thumb injury [Second City Hockey]
That trade keeps getting better for the ‘Hawks, doesn’t it? It looks like Seth Jones will be out 3-4 weeks. Their current defense is comprised of Jake McCabe, Connor Murphy, Jack Johnson, Jarred Tinordi, Filip Roos, and Caleb Jones. I hope Connor Bedard likes deep dish pizza.
Bruins off to scorching start, but may not be at 100% yet [Boston Globe]
I said [then] we were probably at about 65 percent,” recalled Montgomery after Friday night’s 4-0 whitewash of the Blue Jackets. “I think we’re about 78 percent now.”
They’re getting there, one vulcanized ounce at a time, thanks in large part to a sizzling David Pastrnak (7-10—17) and a dominating Linus Ullmark (6-0-0, 1.70 goals against average, .945 save percentage).
But what, or where, is that missing 22 percent?
“Just how quickly we move pucks,” noted Montgomery, who began preaching pace, pace, pace from the moment he was announced as Bruce Cassidy’s successor. “I think we are playing fast defensively, but we’re not playing fast enough consistently on offense.”
How safe is D.J. Smith’s job? [Silver Seven Sens]
“Pierre Dorion spent the summer making sure he finally builds the team he can call his legacy and he did quite the job. That being said, he is convinced the rebuild is over and with players like Artem Zub and Alex DeBrincat in contract extension talks, he needs to have the leverage to convince both of them to stay and for a long time.
As fans, we have the luxury to keep rooting for Smith and hope he works out even when he might have been outcoached , but will Pierre Dorion have the same patience as we do considering how much he’s put into this new team he’s built?”