• Kudos to Blackhawks General Manager Stan Bowman for unloading a pricey contract in a recent trade with the Coyotes. Chicago sent winger Richard Panik to Arizona, along with minor-leaguer Laurent Dauphin, in exchange for winger Anthony Duclair and defenseman Adam Clendening. The deal relieves the Blackhawks of the rest of Panik’s two-year, $5.6 million contract. That payroll flexibility is key, although Duclair could also provide a boost to the Blackhawks. He’s battled inconsistency throughout his NHL career, but perhaps a change of scenery untaps the speed and skill that make him an intriguing player.
• The host Lightning will be well-represented at the All-Star Game later this month. After superstar Steven Stamkos was voted as captain of the Atlantic Division, teammates Nikita Kucherov, Andrei Vasilevskiy and Victor Hedman joined the roster — which coach Jon Cooper will oversee — although Hedman went down with a lower-body injury Thursday that will sideline him three to six weeks. Still, talents such as these are what make the three-on-three, tournament-style competition interesting to watch. The Penguins’ Phil Kessel and Blues star Vladimir Tarasenko were among the most notable names left off the All-Star Game guest list.