It’s possible that the NHL preseason games in China could return next season. The Dallas Morning News’ Matthew DeFranks writes that a source has said that the Dallas Stars are being “highly considered” as a team that would play in China next season and was confirmed by Stars president Brad Alberts.
The big question is whether the NHL will play some preseason games in China this year. In fact, little is clear including who Dallas might play, if they play at all. It would mark the first time the Stars have ever played a game in Asia. The Stars, however, already have a developmental agreement with the Beijing Shougang Hockey Club, which they agreed on in September and makes them a likely candidate to go overseas to start off next season.
After two years of putting exhibitions there in order to grow the game overseas, the NHL played no games in China this season as the country was celebrating the 70th anniversary of its founding last fall, which created major scheduling headaches. The last preseason games in China involved the Boston Bruins and Calgary Flames back in 2018. The Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings played in 2017.
- Mike Chambers of the Denver Post writes that despite the fact that the Colorado Avalanche have the lowest payroll, he believes it’s unlikely the team will be making a major trade at the upcoming trade deadline. The scribe writes that the team lacks openings in the top-six unless injuries develop over the next month. However, Chambers does add the team may look to add some help in goal and add a bottom-six forward with playoff experience. Colorado had been rumored to be a target for players such as Taylor Hall (already traded to Arizona), Chris Kreider and Tyler Toffoli, which no longer seems to be the case.
- The Athletic’s Adam Vingan (subscription required) analyzes the play of Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen through the first half of the season. While the play of many Predators have been down this season, Johansen’s numbers are quite disappointing. He has 10 goals and 27 points and is on pace for a 47-point season, which would be his worst season since his rookie campaign. However, Vingan notes that his shooting has increased and should exceed his expected-goal rate this season. Unfortunately, since Johansen is shooting more, his assists are way down. Throw in the fact that Johansen is always paired up against some of the other teams’ most challenging players, his numbers make more sense and should be able to rebound in the second half of the season.