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Ovechkin Passes Yzerman, Pageau’s Trade Value, DeMelo’s Free Agency

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Thursday’s Links, News, and Notes

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Nashville Predators v Washington Capitals Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

With the All-Star break firmly behind us, the push towards the play-offs (or the lottery in the Sens’ case) is well and truly underway. Let’s take a spin around the league for some of this week’s interesting stories:

  • Alex Ovechkin continues his march up the list of the NHL all-time leading goal scorers. Last night against Nashville, Ovechkin notched his 35th (!) of the year; the 693rd (!!) of his career. The goal put Ovie ahead of Steve Yzerman for 9th all-time and is just two away from passing Mark Messier for 8th. He’s less than 200 goals behind Gretzky for the all-time title and right now, it doesn’t seem wise to bet against him getting there.
  • The Sens played an awfully impressive game against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday, especially considering it was on the road on the second night of a back-to-back. Perhaps nobody embodied the workmanlike effort more than Mark Borowiecki who potted his 6th goal of the season into the empty net after two critical shot blocks as Buffalo pushed for the equalizer. His teammates were very appreciative of his efforts, with Jean-Gabriel Pageau noting:

“My favourite goal was Boro’s goal,” said Pageau, who hit the 20-goal mark for the first time in his National Hockey League. “He’s the kind of guy who is showing up, day in and day out, being a good pro, always bringing his 100 per cent. Seeing him score that goal after the two blocked shots, I would love to see the camera on our bench. Everyone was just so pumped.”

  • Speaking of the Sabres, goalie Linus Ullmark will miss 3-4 weeks after suffering what appeared to be a serious lower-body injury against the Sens on Tuesday. Ullmark has been one of the few bright spots this year for Buffalo in what could otherwise only be described as a disappointing season.
  • Bruce Garrioch, who’s as plugged in as anyone to the Sens’ front office, put it out there in an article earlier this week that Dylan DeMelo has yet to have any conversations with the Sens about a new contract past this season. DeMelo seems at least interested in staying, and he’s saying all the right things, so I don’t take this lack of negotiations as a bad thing yet but with the trade deadline now less than a month away these things will need to kick into gear sooner than later.
  • Lastly, Pierre LeBrun had a piece over at the Athletic where he dug into how teams were approaching this year’s deadline and spent a good bit of time analyzing potential returns for trading Pageau. It’s worth a read (if you have a subscription) but LeBrun’s principal conclusion is that he would be surprised if the Sens were able to get a 1st round pick without any conditions attached. Up until now, the assumption had been that moving the young Gatineau native would net at least that much. How Pageau’s trade value moves with time will be something to monitor.