THE MORNING SKATE — Opening Games Slowly Leaking Out

Kevin Schultz

Last night, reports from various outlets started to outline the possible opening day in the NHL, which would likely be next Saturday, January 19th. The disclaimer here is that none of these games are officially confirmed by the NHL, but they’ve been reported by pretty reputable outlets. So far in the Eastern Conference:

There have also been leaks about Western Conference games, and the coincidence in all of these is that there’s no single outlet reporting all or even two of these dates. They’re being reported individually by local outlets (and one player), so what could be happening is that as teams are finding out about their openers, the news is falling through to the most connected people in that city.

This list leaves out six teams: NYI, NJD, CAR, WSH, TBL, FLA. We should know more today or tomorrow. Both Carolina and New Jersey are likely to be traveling, as their arenas are booked on the 19th.

TSN released their statistical projections for the season and it looks weird seeing the league leader projected for 63 points (Maklin). John Tavares is projected for the 14th most points, going 18-25-43 in 48 imaginary games. He drops to 48th in their Top 300 Fantasy Ranking (lack of +/- and hits likely being the reason). Interesting note is that just squeaking into that Top 300 is Ryan Strome at 295, one spot behind Frans Nielsen.

Visnovsky’s KHL team, HC Slovan, last played on Tuesday on home ice. They’re off until next Tuesday the 15th when they go on the road to play HC Lev Praha. With NHL training camps expected to open on the 13th, that would make this game interesting to watch to see if Visnovsky suits up for them. This could be the first point at which he does, officially, defy the Islanders and the NHL. As it has been all along, it’s still a vague and fluid situation.

The Edmonton Journal caught up with Oil Kings head coach Derek Laxdal, who discussed Griffin Reinhart’s upcoming audition for the Islanders:

“Usually, when you’re that high of a pick, they’re obviously going to want to take a look at you in training camp, and I think it’ll be a great experience for him to get up there just to see where he is at with his game,” said Laxdal…

“I know that they’re pretty thin on the back end, so if he plays well (he could stick around),” Laxdal said. “But when you’re in a 48-game season, you’re in a sprint to the finish, and with eight playoff spots, you want to get out of the gates pretty quick.

In other news, Isles prospect Mitchell Theoret has been traded from Niagara to Barrie. Theoret has played well in the OHL so far this season, with 18 goals and 42 points in 35 games.