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Eastern Conference

Penguins’ Jim Rutherford Discusses Roster Changes, Daniel Sprong, Offseason

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The Pittsburgh Penguins are still reeling after their elimination from the Stanley Cup playoffs at the hands of the Washington Capitals, and the team faces a big offseason as they hope to recapture the Stanley Cup next year.

Pens’ general manager Jim Rutherford talked about a number of topics as the Penguins approach to offseason, starting off with potential roster changes.

“It’s a little (too) early to tell. It’s obvious that I’m going to keep an open mind to making some changes” Rutherford said, according to NHL.com’s Sam Kasan.

“I will make some changes. I can’t give you a definite answer on who that’s going to be right now and exactly the positions.

“We’re a good team, and we will be a good team going forward. We’ll have a chance to win again. We have the nucleus to do that…We also have the pieces in place that are players that other teams are going to want that we’re going to be able to make those changes. Sometimes you don’t always have those players for cap reasons or for different reasons.

As most teams do, the Penguins will approach this offseason looking to improve and Rutherford says a different team will take the ice next season.

“It’s fair to say that this will be a different looking team by the time we open next season. It doesn’t mean there will be drastic changes or a lot of changes, but there will be changes in the areas that will become necessary…If we can improve at defense or forward and the right deal comes along we’ll do it.”

One change that will be in place is that forward Daniel Sprong will be a regular for the team next season.

“We were very careful with him this year. We develop players in different ways. Certainly he had the ability to come in at certain times and play an offensive role on our team. But he needed to work on his all-around game. He did that.”

Eastern Conference

Lightning Shopping Slater Koekkoek

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The Tampa Bay Lightning are shopping defenseman, and former first round pick, Slater Koekkoek, according to SportsNet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Tampa Bay is now motivated to trade away their once prized prospect, who is currently playing with the Syracuse Crunch on a conditioning stint.

Koekkoek is waiver eligible and will become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights in the summer of 2019.

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Columbus Blue Jackets

Blue Jackets’ Sergei Bobrovsky Will Not Dress Due To Team Incident

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The Columbus Blue Jackets have announced that veteran goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will not dress for tonight’s game against the Nashville Predators due to what is being described as an “incident”.

Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen stated the following:

“There are certain expectations and values that we have established for our players that define our culture. An incident occurred in which Sergei failed to meet those expectations and values, so we made the decision that he would not be with the team for tonight’s game. This is an internal matter and we will have no further comment at this time.”

In corresponding moves, the Blue Jackets has recalled Jean-Francois Berube, and placed both Brandon Dubinsky and Markus Hannikainen on injured reserve.

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Eastern Conference

Leafs’ Frederik Andersen Targeting Saturday Return

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Toronto Maple Leafs’ goaltender Frederik Andersen said that he is eyeing the team’s upcoming game against the Boston Bruins on Saturday to make his return to the ice.

Andersen was placed on injured reserve on January 3rd, retroactive to December 23rd, and hasn’t played since December 22nd.

Despite his goal of a Saturday return, Maple Leafs’ head coach Mike Babcock is looking towards Monday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche as the best time for his return.

Babcock pours a little cold water on Andersen’s reveal, saying it might be Monday vs. Colorado. Hmmm…— luke fox (@lukefoxjukebox) January 9, 2019

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