In this edition of NHL News & Notes, I’ll take a look at some of the things on the table after the rojnd-two, Game 7 victory by the New York Rangers over the Carolina Hurricanes. In that game, a number of things happened of note. Or, in one case, didn’t happen.
What’s Happened of Note During the Postseason?
First, centre Andrew Copp – who was obtained from the Winnipeg Jets by the Rangers at the trade deadline – has has an run during the last part of the regular season and has extended that run into the postseason. That success was costly for the Rangers, they’ll now have to shell out a first-round draft choice instead of a second-rounder. Do they care?
Second, I’ll report the news out of Tampa Bay that Lightning forward Brayden Point might be ready to return at some point in the postseason. Whether that’s just spin by his head coach or whether it’s accurate, we don’t know yet.
Third, and finally, now that the Hurricanes’ season is now over, that brings a couple of questions to light. For example, one thing that didn’t happen for Hurricanes was that defenseman Ethan Bear was a healthy scratch for the entire postseason. What does that mean for his future?
Note One: Are the Rangers Happy that Andrew Copp Is so Costly?
Since the New York Rangers acquired Andrew Copp from the Winnipeg Jets at the trade deadline, he’s been nothing but amazing. In fact, he’s been so good that the Rangers now have to amend their deal with the Jets. Because Copp helped them get into the Eastern Conference finals, the Rangers are now required to give the Jets a first-round pick this season instead of a second-rounder.
Make no mistake, the Rangers have to be happy with both Copp’s performance and the fact that they have to pony up a higher draft pick. It was worth it, as was Copp. He’s simply been worth it since the trade was made. In his 14 postseason games, Copp has scored six goals and added six assists.
In the series-clinching Game 7 on the road in Carolina (neither team had lost a home game until last night), Copp scored a goal and added an assist in the 6-2 win over the Rangers. That postseason success shouldn’t be a surprise to Rangers’ fans. Since he came from the Jets, in 16 regular-season games he scored eight goals and added 10 assists.
Was it worth it to give up the first-rounder instead of the second-rounder? Easy question – it was! Now the question is, can the Rangers re-sign him? You have to know they want to.
Note Two: Is Brayden Point Ready to Return?
Brayden Point’s lower-body injury kept him out of all four games against the Florida Panthers. But that was all it took for his Tampa Bay Lightning team to sweep the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Panthers.
Still, the fact that his team didn’t need him during round two doesn’t mean they’re not thinking about him. Teammate Alex Killorn shared that the team is motivated to keep playing for as long as possible just to give Point a chance to get back into the lineup.
Yesterday, Lightning coach Jon Cooper noted that, although Point hasn’t skated yet, he’s making progress and might be able to return to the playoffs if his team can continue its winning ways during the Eastern Conference finals against the Rangers. Whether that’s an accurate assessment or just encouragement to his team to keep winning, we’ll soon see.
Cooper noted that Point was “progressing. We’ve just got to see.” Point suffered his lower-body injury when his right leg got twisted as he slid into the wall in Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. I suppose there’s at least some truth to what Cooper is saying. The longer Tampe Bay goes into the postseason, the closer Point is to returning.
Note Three: Will the Hurricanes Even Offer Ethan Bear a Contract?
Ethan Bear was scratched again for Game 7 against the Rangers, and he didn’t see a single minute of game action for the Carolina Hurricanes during the postseason. So where does that leave the pending RFA during this offseason?
Bear played in 58 games during the regular season, scoring five goals and nine assists (for 14 points). He did suffer a lower-body injury during the regular season but had recovered in early April. Still no game action.
That means there’ll be speculation about his status. Bear has to be on other team’s radars. He’s a right-shot defenseman, and that’s rare. Might he be attractive to other teams and worthy of an offer sheet? He had a solid season with the Edmonton Oilers a couple of years ago.
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