NHL News & Notes: Stastny, Shattenkirk & More

In today’s News & Notes, Paul Stastny will be out for a few games, Kevin Shattenkirk will reportedly be benched and The Islanders are moving on from Jan Kovar.

Stastny out at Least 3 Games

The Golden Knights will be without Stastny for at least their next three games with the team set to re-evaluate him after those three games are done. The news is unfortunate for the Golden Knights who signed Stastny this offseason to play a big role for the team down the middle as their second-line center. Stastny has yet to record a point in a Golden Knights uniform through three games and fans will have to wait a little while longer to see him finally see the score sheet.

Golden Knights center Paul Stastny
Golden Knights center Paul Stastny (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

As Jesse Granger pointed out on Twitter, the injury to Stastny appears to be his right leg as he had his legs taken out from under him inadvertently by Buffalo Sabres’ forward Jack Eichel who made a diving play to try and stop Stastny from burying a puck late in the third period of Monday’s game.

Related: NHL News & Notes: Murray, Hayton, Seattle

In place of Stastny will be Tomas Nosek who will be flanked by Max Pacioretty and Erik Haula. In 67 games with the Golden Knights last season, the undrafted Nosek would score only seven goals and 15 points. He’ll be tasked with playing a significantly bigger role for the team in the short-term, however, and will be looking to make the best of that opportunity.

Shattenkirk to Be Benched by Rangers

The David Quinn era in New York is beginning. With the Rangers looking to turn a new leaf after a disastrous 2017-18 season, the culture is changing in the locker room and on the ice. For players to receive playing time. they have to earn it. That’s true of the young players and skaters on inexpensive deals just as much as it’s true for veterans with big contracts in hand.

New York Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk
New York Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)

Because of this, the Rangers are reportedly going to be scratching Kevin Shattenkirk against the San Jose Sharks in their game Thursday night. This move comes in response to Shattenkirk’s play thus far this season but could also be good for the Rangers through latent functions of this move as well.

Related: NHL News & Notes: Thornton, Murray & Tkachuk

While the message is clear that Shattenkirk must do better, especially with the contract he has, Adam Herman also thinks this is a good way for the Rangers to let a player coming back from major surgery to rest, continue getting better and improving mentally outside of game action. Even more than that, the team also gets a chance to look at some of their other players on their roster like Neal Pionk and Anthony DeAngelo.

Islanders Place Kovar on Unconditional Waivers

The New York Islanders are ending their experiment with Kovar sooner than they would have expected. The team signed the Czech center to a one-year, $2 million contract in the offseason after Kovar elected to join the Islanders as opposed to some other teams who made bids. Unfortunately, Kovar didn’t stand out in training camp and he was cut from the team’s training camp late.

Jan Kovar, Islanders
Czech Republic forward Jan Kovar (David E. Klutho-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders are electing to terminate their contract with Kovar who elected to not report to Bridgeport, the team’s AHL affiliate. As Igor Eronko mentioned earlier in the offseason, it isn’t terribly surprising that Kovar was unable to replicate his success from the KHL in the NHL despite a limited sample size of only the preseason.

As Eronko mentions, Kovar played alongside Sergei Mozyakin and Danis Zaripov in the KHL and had great chemistry with the two in what was one of the league’s best lines. When Zaripov left, Kovar’s production promptly declined. His production could very possibly have been the result of a good situation where things just clicked. This isn’t unusual in sports and coupling that with the fact that Kovar would also have to learn the North American style of hockey on a smaller ice surface, things just weren’t meant to be between him and Islanders.

It’s unclear if Kovar will sign with another NHL team or if he’ll return overseas but if he does plan on playing in North America, he’ll need time in the AHL to flesh out his skill set.