The Nation Notebook: Leafs cap room, Jagr’s milestone, Strome’s ESPN-worthy goal

Updated: January 11, 2018 at 12:50 am by Christian Pagnani


The Nation Network Notebook is a regular feature that rounds up interesting news, stories, and rumours from around the NHL that don’t quite deserve their own article. 

Dylan Strome scored a goal that was interesting enough to get ESPN talking about hockey! On TV, too! Curtis Lazar was healthy scratched again, so we have to talk about the possibility of his days in Ottawa being numbered. Again! And Jaromir Jagr reaches another milestone, becoming the second player in NHL history to record 1900 career points. 


Dylan Strome couldn’t make the Arizona Coyotes’ roster this season, but he did something that’s arguably more impressive: he got ESPN’s Sportscenter Twitter account to mention hockey.

After a London Knights’ defensemen steals his stick, Strome wanders over to the boards and picks up the defenseman’s stick off the ice, then eventually makes his way in front of the net to enact his revenge. Strome raises the stick in celebration, and the two players, surprisingly amicably, return the sticks to their respective owners. The third overall pick in 2015 is probably too good for the OHL, and this perfectly illustrates it. 


Alex Tanguay announced his retirement and will join NHL Network as an on-air analyst. Tanguay retires after a successful 16-year NHL career, scoring 863 points in 1088 games. 

Tanguay was one of the more unique shooters during his NHL career as he boasted a much higher shooting percentage than other players in the league. Tanguay’s career shooting percentage of 18.6 would be almost unheard today, unless you’re Steven Stamkos or Jiri Hudler. The Quebec native’s career high for shots in a season is only 142, back in the 2002-03 season where he scored 26 goals. Tanguay’s low shot totals probably frustrated his coaches but he remained a productive player for a long time. Last year, Tanguay netted 35 points in 70 games between Colorado and Arizona, and recently had a 55-point the season before that one. 

Tanguay couldn’t get another NHL contract, but he managed to turn his PTO for NHL Network into a full-time gig. 


Jaromir Jagr scored his 1900 NHL point on his 45th birthday Wednesday night against the San Jose Sharks. At this point, Jagr is a walking NHL-record waiting to happen. His ability to remain a productive player at 45 is impressive considering there are only two other players over 40 in the NHL, Shane Doan and Matt Cullen. Both players are still respectable depth players, but Jagr is playing on the Florida Panthers’ top line. The return of Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau should boost his scoring totals, but even then, Jagr is still on pace for around 50 points with his linemates absent for a large chunk of the season.

Can Jagr reach 2000? It’s possible. Jagr has produced at a 61-point pace since joining the Panthers right before the trade deadline in 2015, and he’s remained very healthy, only missing a few games in that time. If Jagr can continue to play over 75 games and not show too much of a decline, he might be able to achieve it in 2 years, but definitely in 3. Although, that would take Jagr to age 47, Jagr hasn’t shown much reason to doubt him at this point.  


After being healthy scratched for four consecutive games, Lazar’s situation is coming to a boil in Ottawa. TSN’s Darren Dreger tweeted Tuesday that Lazar’s agent will meet with Senators general manger Pierre Dorion this weekend, and he wouldn’t be surprised if they ask for a trade. 

The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch replied to Dreger and noted that the teams calling about Lazar are told the price is a high draft pick, likely in the first or second-round. The Senators are obviously aiming high, but will find it difficult to yield that much for a struggling Lazar. The former first-round pick is still fairly young at 22, but he’s had a tough time producing at even strength in the NHL coupled with a nightmare season after having mono early this year. Lazar only has one point on the year, and he can’t go to the AHL without requiring waivers so he has to be kept on the roster.

Expansion makes a Lazar trade even riskier as whoever acquires him could see him taken by the Vegas Golden Knights. It’s unlikely there’s a team with an open spot for Lazar, but that’s Ottawa’s best hope if they want to return another something of value or another reclamation project.

A couple of things here that are interesting. First, the Leafs are apparently interested in Landeskog and/or Duchene, and second, they did, in fact, use the LTIR on Lupul, Robidas, and Horton, meaning they have a ridiculous amount of cap room going into the deadline. 

It’s hard to see the Leafs and Avs as potential fits for a trade, though. The Leafs are loaded with talent up front, and have holes on the blue line, and the Avs aren’t much different. Colorado apparently wants a young, NHL ready defenceman, a top prospect, and a first round pick for Duchene, which is similar to the package that they got for Ryan O’Reilly a couple of years ago. If that’s the case, it wouldn’t make much sense for Toronto to pull the trigger on a deal, as those assets could be more beneficial to the team in a move for a top-pairing defenceman. 

But still, even if it isn’t in a deal with Colorado, the Leafs can be aggressive at the deadline and gear themselves up for a playoff run with their abundance of cap room. Or they can do something akin to what they did last year in grabbing a Brooks Laich type contract from a team in need of relief in exchange for an asset.