But whether or not he cracks a roster that has won five straight games and seven of the past eight remains to be seen. Sutter certainly hinted it wasn’t guaranteed, even though Martinez was one of the six defensemen to play every game of the Kings’ Stanley Cup Championship run last summer.
“He’s not getting in just for what he did,” Sutter said of Martinez, who hasn’t played since Feb. 11 and took part in his first full practice Friday. “He’s got to beat somebody out. So when that happens, if it’s based on other guy’s performance, [it's] not that big a deal.”
VANCOUVER -- Defenseman Kevin Bieksa is a game-time decision for the Vancouver Canucks after missing the past two with a sore groin, but whether he plays or not, they will have to shake up their roster for Saturday night’s game against the streaking Los Angeles Kings.
Ryan Kesler’s fractured right foot, and his attempt to play through the injury for six games, made sure of that. By the time the results of Kesler’s CT scan were known, the Canucks had placed fourth-line wing Aaron Volpatti on waivers a few hours earlier, losing him to a claim by the Washington Capitals.
That combination led to Vancouver claiming 6-foot-5, 228-pound forward Tom Sestito off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers, and the recall and subsequent demotion back to the American Hockey League of journeyman Andrew Ebbett.
It won’t help a Canucks team struggling to find chemistry and coming off consecutive losses, especially with three natural centers among their 12 healthy forwards.
O'Reilly skated with the Avalanche at practice Saturday, two days after the team matched the offer sheet he signed with the Calgary Flames, and the Denver Post reports he will play Sunday at the Columbus Blue Jackets.
"Hopefully I can contribute as best I can," O'Reilly said after practice. "It will probably take a while to get back in the swing of things, just find the chemistry, to catch up to the speed of the game. ...
"I feel good, I'm skating as hard as I can, I feel healthy. I'm just hungry, I can't wait to be playing hockey again."
Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien coached two full seasons and parts of two others with the Pittsburgh Penguins. After being promoted from coach of the team's American Hockey League team in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, he led the Penguins to the 2008 Stanley Cup Final and helped to groom a young core that eventually won it all in 2009 without him.
Facing his former team for the first time Saturday in Montreal, the coach of the first-place Canadiens was able to look back fondly on his time with the Penguins.
"I really enjoyed my time in Pittsburgh," Therrien said following the team's morning skate. "We loved the city and the fans. But we have to move on. I have a new challenge here in Montreal."
After about two weeks of playing without a number of their regulars, the Carolina Hurricanes are welcoming back the majority of their walking wounded.
Two days after activating Tim Gleason and Tim Brent from injured reserve and welcoming back Jeff Skinner, who had been out with a concussion, the team announced that defenseman Joni Pitkanen has been activated from injured reserve.
"Evgeni Malkin has been working out the last two days, not skating, back in Pittsburgh," Bylsma said Saturday before his team played the Montreal Canadiens.
Bylsma said there was no medical reason Malkin did not skate Saturday, that it was an ice-availability issue. He suffered a concussion in a Feb. 22 game against the Florida Panthers and was placed on injured reserve Sunday.
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Paul Martin, who left Thursday night's game against the Carolina Hurricanes with a lower-body injury, will apparently remain out of the lineup Saturday. He did not appear with the Penguins at the team's morning skate ahead of their matchup Saturday night at the Bell Centre against the Montreal Canadiens.
With the Flyers coming off a win against the Washington Capitals in their prior game, it's doubtful they change their lineup. Defenseman Erik Gustafsson, who left that Feb. 27 game against the Capitals with a lower-body injury, said after practice Friday he would be ready to play Saturday.
The Senators, who lost in overtime to the Boston Bruins on Thursday, will make one lineup change, with Ben Bishop to start in goal after Robin Lehner made 44 saves in the overtime loss to the Bruins.
[Stamkos] is a great teammate and a great leader, that's why he's got the 'C'. He brings that tremendous work ethic to the rink and he's one of the top players in the game. I know if I put the passes where they are supposed to be, there's a very good chance he's going to put it in the back of the net.
— Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin
TONIGHT ON NHL NETWORK
5:00 ET: NHL Live Powered by Constellation 7:00 ET: NHL Tonight Eastern Conf. Preview 8:00 ET: NHL Hockey Central Season Preview