Hall Faces Oilers, Irwin Extended & More

After being traded to the New Jersey Devils last offseason, Taylor Hall is set to face off against the Edmonton Oilers for the first time in his career. Hall, of course, spent the first six years of his career in Edmonton after being selected with the first overall pick in 2010. As a member of the Oilers, Hall scored 132 goals and 328 points in 381 games.

“Definitely going to be a strange feeling playing the orange and blue,” Hall said Friday.

Hall was traded for Adam Larsson in the offseason with the Oilers looking to bolster their blueline. For Hall, it was clear that he was intent on showing the Oilers that they made a mistake in moving him. Unfortunately, Hall and the Oilers are currently sitting outside of a playoff spot while the Oilers currently occupy one in the Western Conference.

I wanted to prove (Edmonton) wrong in more of a team sense than anything, more of, ‘How much can I do to help my team?’ I’m obviously disappointed in that factor. We’re one game below .500. We’re not in a playoff spot and Edmonton is. I don’t think that falls all on my shoulders, but certainly, I think I have another level to get to and I think I will.

– Taylor Hall

Regardless of the outcome of the game, Hall will definitely do his best to show the Oilers that they traded away one of the league’s best players.

Matt Irwin Extended in Nashville

The Nashville Predators and Matt Irwin have come to terms on a contract extension, the team announced Friday night. The deal will keep Irwin under contract through the 2017-18 season and will pay him $650,000 next season. Irwin joined the Predators last offseason after spending the entire 2015-16 season within the Boston Bruins organization, playing the majority of the season in Providence of the AHL.

The 29-year-old Irwin has played in 32 games for the Predators this season and has scored three goals and eight points. He also leads the team and ranks third among all Western Conference defensemen with a plus-14 rating. With P.K. Subban being lost to injury, Irwin has done a good job providing some defensive depth for a Predators’ team that prides themselves on defensive ability.

Irwin spent the first six seasons of his NHL career in the San Jose Sharks organization. His first two-and-a-half seasons came with the Worcester Sharks of the AHL, and he split the 2012-13 season between Worcester and San Jose. Irwin played with the Sharks until the 2014-15 season before signing with the Boston Bruins ahead of the 2015-16 season. The British Columbia-native played in just two games with the Bruins, posting zero points and a minus-5 rating before the team demoted him to Providence of the AHL. Irwin then played in 64 games with the P-Bruins, scoring five goals and 30 points with a plus-1 rating.

Nick Bjugstad Placed on Injured Reserve

It’s no secret the Florida Panthers have been going through a very trying 2016-17 season. After exceeding expectations and shining in the Atlantic Division last season, Florida has seen a very underwhelming follow-up just one season later. The news continues to get worse for the Panthers, however, as forward Nick Bjugstad was once again placed on the injured reserve and is out for the next two weeks.

For Bjugstad, this isn’t the first time he’s missed time this season. The 24-year-old missed his team’s first 19 games of the season with a fractured hand before finally making his season debut. Bjugstad never scored less than 15 goals or 34 points in a season in his first three full years in the NHL. His best season came in 2014-15 when he scored 24 goals and 43 points in 72 games. After returning to the lineup this season, Bjugstad struggled to contribute offensively, scoring just one goal and two points in 21 games this season.

Odds & Ends

– When the Florida Panthers took on the Nashville Predators on Friday, they did so without goaltender Roberto Luongo. The veteran netminder was hurt in warmups and the Panthers ultimately had to sign Bobby Segin, an account executive for the team, to back up James Reimer in net. Following the game, Panthers’ head coach Tom Rowe announced that Luongo was considered day-to-day with an upper-body injury. It’s unclear how long Luongo will remain out of the lineup for the Panthers, but he probably won’t be ready to go when the Panthers take on the Bruins on Saturday night.