Sunday, June 30, 2013

Dave Bolland Traded to Toronto Maple Leafs

Dave Bolland was traded by the Chicago Blackhawks to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for the 51st and 117th picks in this year's draft plus a fourth round pick in next year's draft. The 27 year-old forward has played the past seven NHL seasons with Chicago, notching 70 goals and 98 assists. Bolland had scored the Stanley Cup clinching goal this season for Chicago. He is under contract through next season at an annual salary of $3.375 million according to capgeek.com.

New Jersey Devils Acquire Goalie Cory Schneider in Trade with Vancouver Canucks

New Jersey Devils acquire Cory Schneider from the Vancouver Canucks in return for the ninth overall pick in this year's draft.  It was long rumored that either Roberto Luongo or Cory Schneider would be traded by the Canucks, as both are considered to be number one goaltenders.

The 27 year-old Schneider has a .927 save percentage and 2.20 goals-against-average in five regular seasons and 98 games with the Vancouver Canucks.  He will be the heir apparent to future Hall of Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur.

Schneider is under contract through the 2014-15 season at an annual cap hit of $4 million according to capgeek.com.  

Minnesota Wild Trade Cal Clutterbuck to New York Islanders for Nino Niederreiter

The Minnesota Wild have been active early on in this 2013 NHL draft day.  The Wild have traded Cal Clutterbuck to the New York Islanders in exchange for Nino Niederreiter.  

Wild and Rangers Trade Defenseman for Forward and a Pick

The Minnesota Wild have traded the rights to defenseman Justin Falk to the New York Rangers in exchange for the rights to forward Benn Ferriero and a sixth round pick in the 2014 NHL draft according to nhl.com.

Falk is a 24-year-old blueliner who will become a restricted free agent on July 5.  He played in 36 games for the Wild this past regular season, and picked up three assists.

Ferriero, a 26-year-old forward who played briefly for the Rangers this past season, has also spent time in the NHL with the San Jose Sharks.  He was also working on a one-year deal and will be a restricted free agent.


San Jose Sharks Acquire Tyler Kennedy

The San Jose Sharks have acquired Tyler Kennedy from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for their second round pick (50th overall) according to the NHL network.  Kennedy is a restricted free agent who made $2 million last season.   He has notched 168 points in 372 regular season NHL games.

The Sharks will pick at number 49, just ahead of the Penguins, in a selection that they acquired from the New York Rangers.  

NHL Contract Updates: Smith and Coyotes, Letang and Penguins

Goaltender Mike Smith has a deal in the works to remain with the Phoenix Coyotes.  According to reports, the Coyotes and Smith are working out the details of a six-year $34 million contract extension.  Smith is one of the top goaltenders on this year's unrestricted free agent list.   Smith had a breakout campaign with the Coyotes in 2011-12 when he put up 38 wins in 67 regular season starts, to go with a .930 save percentage.  

It's also being reported that defenseman Kris Letang is close to coming to an extension agreement with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Reports have indicated that the contract is for the maximum length and valued at $58 million.

NHL Draft Day Snapshots: Wild, Jets, Canadiens and Sabres

The Minnesota Wild could part ways with forward Cal Clutterbuck via trade on draft day, according to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune.  The 25-year-old winger is a restricted free agent on July 5.  There is a one-year extension currently on the table, but not agreed upon between Clutterbuck and the Wild.  

The Winnipeg Jets have ten overall draft picks this year, including a first round pick at number 13 overall.  It would be a surprise if they used that first round pick on a goaltender according to Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free Press.  There are some specific areas where the Jets are looking to add however.  As GM Kevin Cheveldayoff stated:
"I do have several No. 1 priorities," said Cheveldayoff. "We're a team that's made it well known that we'd like to find some things on the right side, on the right wing, but we're looking to enhance any position.
As reported in the Montreal Gazette, the Montreal Canadiens could be taking winger Valentin Zykov in the number 25 slot of the first round.  The forward out of Russia is tabbed offensively as "dangerous in close" with a "quick release".  

The Buffalo Sabres are not expected to part ways with either Thomas Vanek or goaltender Ryan Miller in a trade as part of today's draft, reports John Vogl for the Buffalo News.  GM Darcy Regier on Buffalo's stance for their selection spot and current player movement as part of today's draft:
“Right now, I expect that we will pick where we’re picking, and I say that only because there’s nothing that’s imminent or concrete,” Regier said. “But like I said, there are a lot of conversations, and they will continue right until the draft starts and even beyond that.”


NHL Draft Day Snap Shots: Rangers, Flyers, Islanders, Devils

The New York Rangers are unlikely to make any transactions during today's draft, according to Larry Brooks of the New York Post.   The Rangers aren't slated to select until the 65th overall pick today.

The Philadelphia Flyers will be looking to draft a big, physical defenseman reports Sam Carchidi on philly.com.  The Flyers would like to pick Darnell Nurse, but it's thought that he will be off the board by the time they select at 11th overall.   Also on their radar is Rasmus Ristolainen out of Finland.  According to the talent analysis of Ristolainen at Hockey's Future, he looks to fit the Flyers' needs:
Rasmus Ristolainen has the size, skating ability and shooting and stick handling skills that make him an outstanding offensive defenseman prospect.
The New York Islanders will have their first non-lottery draft pick in six years, due to their success in making the playoffs, reports Arthur Staple at newsday.com.  The Islanders may be looking for a goaltender as current netminder Evgeni Nabakov is a free agent and may not be back.  A potential target for the Islanders will be the number one ranked North American goalie in the draft, Zachary Fucale.  

Tom Gulitti writes on his Fire and Ice blog that highly rated defenseman, and nephew of NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb, Darnell Nurse, would like to work with New Jersey Devils' assistant coach Scott Stevens if selected at number nine overall:
“I love the Devils,” he said. “Ever since I was young, they were my favorite team, especially Scott Stevens when they won the Cup. They’ve always been my favorite.” 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Nathan Horton Pursuing Free Agency

It appears that Nathan Horton will no longer be wearing the black and gold for the Boston Bruins.  The 28-year-old winger has reportedly notified the Bruins that he will be exploring free agency.  According to TSN's Bob McKenzie:
Horton had spent the past three seasons with Boston, after starting his NHL career with six seasons as a Florida Panther.  While in Boston he notched 43 regular season points in 169 games.

The unrestricted free agent will look for a change of scenery and most likely a bump in salary.  He had previously been operating under a six-year deal valued at $24 million.  

NHL Snap Shots: Richards, Alfredsson, Weber and Schneider


  • The Columbus Blue Jackets have extended their head coach, Todd Richards, through the 2014-15 NHL season, according to ESPN.  The Columbus coach, and former coach of the Minnesota Wild, increased his points percentage from .463 to .573 in the two years that he has been at the helm of the Blue Jackets.  
  • Daniel Alfredsson will be back with the Ottawa Senators for the 2013-14 NHL season, as reported by foxsports.com.  Number 11 finished up a four year contracts this past season, at a cap hit of $4.875 million according to capgeek.com.  
  • The Buffalo Sabres have signed defenseman Mike Weber to a three-year deal worth a reported $5 million according to the Buffalo News.   The 25 year old Weber's contract will be at a cap hit of $1.67 million over the next three seasons.  
  • As reported by Adam Gretz on cbssports.com, the Vancouver Canucks may be looking to trade goaltender Cory Schneider.  While the expectation was that they would try to trade Roberto Luongo, the Canucks just may have a better chance at making a deal involving the netminder signed through the  2014-15 season at a cap hit of $4 million per season.  



Richards to Remain a Ranger

Brad Richards will remain with the New York Rangers as the team will not be using a compliance buyout on his contract. Richards has played two seasons of a nine season contract valued at $60 million. According to capgeek.com, the contract is front loaded, with a salary of $12 million for the first two seasons, progressively reducing to $1 million for the final three seasons.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Colorado Avalanche and Calgary Flames Trade Forwards and Defensemen

The Colorado Avalanche sent forward David Jones and defenseman Shane O'Brien to the Calgary Flames in exchange for forward Alex Tanguay and defenseman Cory Sarich, according to cbssports.com.  

Tanguay had begun his NHL career with the Colorado Avalanche in 1999-00, after being selected 12th overall by that franchise in the 1998 NHL entry draft.  In his rookie campaign with Colorado, Tanguay had notched 51 points in 76 regular season games.  In his most recent NHL campaign, with the Calgary Flames at the age of 33, he tallied 27 points in 40 regular season games.   He's currently operating under a 5-year contract valued at $17.5 million which expires after the 2015-16 NHL season.  

Sarich has been in the league since 1998-99, and was a member of the 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning Stanley Cup Champion team.  In 915 regular season games with Buffalo, Tampa Bay and Calgary, Sarich has earned 148 points.

David Jones, a winger from Guelph, Ontario, was drafted in 2003 by the Avalanche and has played with that squad for the past six NHL seasons.   He's scored 70 goals to go with 56 assists over those past six regular seasons.  Jones, who will be 29 when next season starts, is under contract through 2015-16 at $4 million per season.

O'Brien, a big defenseman who will turn 30 prior to the upcoming season, is described as "intimidating" and a "physical defenseman".  He has picked up 88 points in 483 regular season games, to go with 853 penalty minutes.   


Thursday, June 27, 2013

2014 NHL Unrestricted Free Agents: Key Forwards and Defensemen

There has been much talk about the 2013 NHL free agent class.  That said, let's take a look at some key forwards and defensemen who will be eligible to sign with another squad after the 2013-14 NHL season as part of the 2014 NHL unrestricted free agent class.

Key Unrestricted Free Agent Forwards
  1. Dany Heatley - The 32-year-old winger is coming off his 11th NHL season.  His season was shortened by a shoulder injury, limiting him to just 36 regular season games.  His offensive performance in those games was strong however, as he tallied 21 points (11 goals and 10 assists).  He'll likely need to take a salary reduction, unless he has a career year in 2013-14 coming off shoulder surgery, as he will make $5 million in 2013-14 matched with a $7.5 million cap hit.   

  2. Joe Thornton - Thornton has proven himself to be an assist machine in his time with the Boston Bruins and particularly the San Jose Sharks over his stellar NHL career.  The Sharks will be in a situation where they'll need to address a few of their key players at the same time.  In addition to Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski and defenseman Dan Boyle will be free agents. 

  3. Thomas Vanek - The Buffalo Sabres forward scored more than a point per game in his 38 regular season contests during the lockout shortened season. He has been above that point per game mark in earlier seasons and when he wasn't, he was within a stones throw. If Buffalo plans to re-sign Vanek, they will also have to plan a supporting cast around him. What the Sabres do during the 2013 free agent season may well play into whether or not Vanek has the propensity to extend his NHL career in western New York.

Key Unrestricted Free Agent Defensemen
  1. Dion Phaneuf - Number 3 on the Toronto Maple Leafs is a big, tough defenseman entering the prime of his career.  In a full slate of the 2012-13 season's regular season games, Phaneuf bagged 28 points with nine goals and 19 assists.  He also logged over 25 minutes of ice time on average, for the fourth consecutive season, proving his durability.  

  2. Kris Letang - UPDATE: Letang signed a maximum 8-year contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins, taking him through the 2021-22 season, worth a total value of $58 million.  Letang, who was in contention for the 2012-13 season's Norris trophy before it was awarded to P.K. Subban was among the finest offensive defensemen in the league in 2012-13.  The regular season saw this blueliner score more than a point per game (1.09 points per game to be exact).  He was not far off that pace in the playoffs either, tallying 16 points, three of them goals, in his 15 playoff appearances.   At 27 years old when he becomes a free agent, if the Penguins don't lock him up first, his services will be in high demand across the league.

  3. Andrei Markov - An assist machine.  That says it all about Montreal Canadiens' defenseman Andrei Markov.  Number 79 has 399 career NHL regular season points, of which 308 are assists.  There may be bigger names out there on the free agent market for 2014, but none better from the point at setting up their teammates to score.  





Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Alfredsson Decision for Next Season

Senators Extra reports that winger Daniel Alfredsson will be making a decision imminently on whether or not he will return to the Ottawa Senators and the NHL. It's thought by general manager Brian Murray that Alfredson will be back and will be signed to a one year contract extension. The 40 year old forward has spent his entire NHL career with the Senators.

Miikka Kiprusoff May Not Be Done With Calgary Flames

According to the Toronto Star the Calgary Flames have indicated that former Vezina trophy winning goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff may not be retiring just yet. Kiprusoff had previously indicated through the Finnish media that he was retiring from the NHL.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Jonathan Bernier Traded to Toronto Maple Leafs

According to TSN, the Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired netminder Jonathan Bernier from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for goalie Ben Scrivens, Matt Frattin and the second round pick of Toronto's in either 2014 or 2015.

Bernier, who becomes a restricted free agent on July 5, put up superb numbers in limited appearances for the Kings this past season.  The Kings' first round pick in 2006 had a miniscule 1.88 goals-against-average and .922 save percentage in 14 regular season appearances.  It's been said by many that Bernier has the stuff to be a number one netminder for a team in need.

Scrivens, who is roughly two years older than Bernier, was also solid in his appearances for Toronto this season.  In 20 regular season games, he had a .915 save percentage and a 2.69 goals-against-average.  He is under contract through the 2013-14 season, when he'll make $625,000, after which he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

Matt Frattin, a 25-year-old winger, played in 25 regular season games for the Maple Leafs in 2012-13, posting a strong 13 points (7 goals and 6 assists), while also tallying 2 assists in the playoffs for the Leafs.

The draft pick, if given up by Toronto in the 2014 NHL entry draft, is not a huge loss, since they may acquire the third round pick of the Phoenix Coyotes that year, if Matthew Lombardi signs with the team for 2013-14.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Important Upcoming NHL Dates

June 24, 2013 - Earliest Date the Stanley Cup Can Be Awarded

June 26, 2013 - Latest Date the Stanley Cup Can Be Awarded

June 30, 2013 - NHL Entry Draft

July 5, 2013 - Start of NHL Free Agency





Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Slava Voynov Agrees to New Deal with Los Angeles Kings

The Los Angeles Kings and Slava Voynov have agreed to a six-year deal as reported by ESPN.  The 23 year-old defenseman was coming off a 3 year entry level deal valued at ~$2.5 million over three seasons.  His new deal with the Kings is expected to be worth $25 million over six years according to ESPN.

The young defenseman scored more than half a point per game in this past regular season.  He was strong in the playoffs as well, notching 13 points in 18 games, six of them being goals.

This past campaign was considered a breakout season for Voynov according to foxsportswest.com.  According to the article:
This, by all accounts, was a breakout season for the 23-year-old Russian, who shouldered increased responsibility because of injuries to defensemen Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene. He had six goals and 25 points, playing in all 48 games of the lockout-shortened season.

Yahoo! Sports also reports that Voynov set a Los Angeles Kings single-season franchise record in the playoffs this year with six playoff goals and four game-winning goals.

The Kings will need to next set their sights on fellow blueliner and upcoming restricted free agent Jake Muzzin.

Bobby Ryan a Philadelphia Flyer?

Ryan Dadoun reports on Pro Hockey Talk that the Philadelphia Flyers are in discussions with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks about the possible movement of Bobby Ryan from Anaheim to Philly.  Bobby Ryan, 26 years-old, is signed by the Ducks through the 2014-15 season at a cap hit of $5.1 million per season.

Tim Panaccio of CSN Philadelphia first broke this news on Twitter earlier today.

Between the 2008-09 and 2011-12 seasons Ryan amassed more than 30 goals in each campaign.

Philadelphia might have added interest in this move due to the fact that Ryan is from nearby New Jersey, which could further boost fan interest.


Pavel Datsyuk Agrees on Contract Extension with Detroit Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings have agreed with center Pavel Datsyuk to a three year contract extension according to foxsports.com.  The contract will be officially signed on or after July 5, when free agency opens this year, per the report.  Datsyuk was entering the final year of his previous contract, which was for seven years at $6.7 million per year according to capgeek.com.  His new contract looks to be a front-loaded deal worth $23 million over three years.

Datsyuk has been a steady presence offensively for the Red Wings, averaging about a point per game during the regular season over the past several years.  The two-time Stanley Cup Champion and three-time Selke Award winner (the best defensive forward), has historically performed well in the playoffs for Detroit as well, with plus-34 in the postseason for his career.

Datsyuk posted the news himself on Twitter this morning:



San Jose Sharks Extend Logan Couture


Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks has signed an extension past his existing contract end date of 2014, according to Pro Hockey Talk.  It's expected that Couture's new deal is for five years, taking him up to the summer of 2019.  The 24-year-old Couture, who wa selected ninth overall in the 2007 NHL draft, was working under a two year deal worth $5.75 million according to capgeek.com. In a full slate of regular season games this year Couture notched an impressive 21 goals and 37 points overall. 


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Ovechkin's Broken Foot Healing Well

Alex Ovechkin, the Hart Memorial Trophy winner this year, is recovering well from a fractured foot, according to ESPN. The injury, suffered while blocking a shot in game six of the playoff series against the New York Rangers, did not prevent Ovechkin from finishing that game or playing in game seven. The three-time most valuable NHL player got off to a slow start in this lockout shortened season, but wound up leading the league in goals with 32, among 56 total points garnered in the regular season.

Colorado Avalanche Offered Trade for First Overall Pick in 2013 NHL Draft

According to cbssports.com, the Colorado Avalanche had received an offer to trade their first overall pick in this year's NHL entry draft.  It was reported that the Calgary Flames offered their three first round picks in the draft, in exchange for Colorado's first overall pick.  The Avalanche are widely expected to take the top defenseman, and by some scouting services the number one overall prospect available in Seth Jones.  Jones, who plyed his trade for the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL this past season, is the son of former NBA player Popeye Jones.  

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Would the New Jersey Devils Acquire Jonathan Bernier?

Would the New Jersey Devils be interested in trading for Jonathan Bernier?  The answer is a qualified yes.  Bernier would be an asset on most teams, but at what cost?  First off, the Devils have Martin Brodeur in net for at least one more season.  Meaning Bernier would ride the pine for a season, or split duties at maximum with Brodeur.  But Brodeur has not been devoid of injury as experienced this past season.  So there is certainly a chance that Bernier could get significant time in net with New Jersey.  And after next season, if Brodeur does not re-up, Bernier could be the team's number one goaltender.  They do have a few good goalies at the minor league level in Jeff Frazee, Keith Kincaid and Scott Wedgewood.  But Bernier is a proven shutdown goaltender that would at a minimum bridge the gap to the Devils next goaltender after Brodeur retires.

The Devils currently have the cap room to take on Bernier, being roughly $26  million under next year's cap. But they will be addressing several free agents shortly, including Patrik Elias and David Clarkson.  Bernier will be a restricted free agent on July 5, so they might be able to add him to their squad without giving up any prospects or players, if they are willing to pay the right price.  

Drew Miller Re-Signed by Detroit Red Wings

As reported recently on ESPN, the Detroit Red Wings have inked forward Drew Miller to a three year contract worth $4.05 million.  The 29-year-old winger from New Jersey was coming off a two year $1.675 million deal with Detroit.  In 44 regular season games with the Wings this season, Miller notched four goals and four assists.   He also had a goal and assist in the playoffs.  

Alain Vigneualt: Head Coach of New York Rangers

Even if New York Rangers fans, and I, feel like Mark Messier would be the best pick as the next head coach of the team, the announcement is forthcoming that Alain Vigneault, formerly of the Vancouver Canucks, will be the next head coach of the New York Rangers.  It seems as if all that needs to be done are to iron out the details of the contract prior to the announcement.  

New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars: The Next Head Coaches

There are three key head coaching positions open in the NHL right now, with several candidates vying for the slots.  As time moves on, the picture gains clarity on just what men will be filling the needs for each of these three NHL teams.  After reading and listening to the pundits, here is my analysis of what coaches will eventually land on each team.

New York Rangers, Candidates:  Mark Messier, Alain Vigneualt, John Stevens, Wayne Gretzky, Lindy Ruff
Head Coach:  Mark Messier
After GM Glen Sather dismissed John Tortorella with one year remaining on his contract, you knew that the Rangers were looking to go in a different direction as far as temperament and motivational techniques.  Both Alain Vigneualt and Mark Messier would fit the bill of a drastic change in coaching philosophy.  But Messier is already employed by the New York Rangers as a special assistant.  He's also a legend in New York hockey history and quite possibly the most loved New York Ranger of all-time.  So if he wants the job, who is Glen Sather to prevent him from taking the gig?  Yes, Messier has extremely limited head coaching experience.  But hasn't he already proven that he is a leader of men?  And hasn't he been involved in the game for long enough to have a very good feel for what would be required? If Messier wants the job, and Sather chooses someone else, to say that there would be a revolt among Rangers fans, not to mention damage to the Sather-Messier relationship, might be putting in mildly.  Messier as the next Edmonton Oilers coach?  Maybe.  I'm betting that Sather gives him the job and that Messier is announced as the next head coach of the New York Rangers.  

Vancouver Canucks, Candidates:  John Tortorella, John Stevens, Lindy Ruff, Jeff Blashill
Head Coach:  Lindy Ruff
The Canucks had high interest in Dallas Eakins as their next head coach, after the dismissal of Alain Vigneault this year.  But Craig MacTavish and the Edmonton Oilers moved too quickly for them.  The Canucks don't want to be caught in that position again.  Now John Stevens seems to be the new "hot" coach now that Eakins is locked up.  But it's been reported that veteran head coaches John Tortorella and Lindy Ruff have both interviewed for the open slot in Vancouver.  And look at the Canucks' roster.  What do they have and what do they need?  They have veteran talent, the likes of Henrik and Daniel Sedin, Roberto Luongo, Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieska.  Looking at that list of players, who would be the best fit for the team?  Probably not John Tortorella.  Maybe John Stevens.  Definitely Lindy Ruff.  

Dallas Stars, Candidates:  Alain Vigneault, John Tortorella, John Stevens, Lindy Ruff
Head Coach:  John Tortorella
It looks like new GM Jim Nill would like to have a head coach in place by the time the NHL entry draft takes place on June 30.  There are two key factors in the Dallas Stars coaching search.  Number one, the Stars are a relatively young team.  With a young team, you sometimes need more of an assertive leadership style behind the bench.  Number two, it is apparent that the new general manager needs to feel a good bond with the to-be head coach.  He seems to have that bond with the former coach of the New York Rangers.  So, while none of the candidates mentioned above would be a poor choice at all, there is one that seems to fit the needs of the team the best.  And that's why I think that John Tortorella will be the next head coach of the Dallas Stars.  


Friday, June 14, 2013

NHL Snap Shots: Messier Confirms, Minor Trade, Arcobello, Staying in the KHL

Greg Wyshynski reports on the Puck Daddy blog that former NHL forward Andrei Kostitsyn will remain in the KHL.  Kostitsyn last saw NHL ice-time with the Nashville Predators during the 2011-12 playoffs.  The former 10th overall draft pick spent most of his NHL career with the Montreal Canadiens, but he is now plying his trade in the Russian league for Traktor Chelyabinsk.   Montreal received the Predators' second pick in this year's draft for Kostitsyn when they traded him to Nashville in early 2012.

According to NHL.com the Edmonton Oilers have signed a one-year deal with forward Mark Arcobello.

The Florida Panthers have made a trade with the Nashville Predators. The Panthers have sent TJ Brennan to Nashville and return for Bobby Butler.  Both players become restricted free agents in July.

Mark Messier has confirmed his interest in the New York Rangers head-coaching position, and the fact that he has interviewed with Rangers' GM Glen Sather on NHL network.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Toronto Maple Leafs Re-Sign Colton Orr

The Toronto Maple Leafs have re-signed NHL enforcer Colton Orr to a two year contract, according to ESPN.  The big winger racked up 155 penalty minutes in 44 regular season games this year.  Orr also contributed offensively when he could, scoring 4 points (3 assists and 1 goal) for the Leafs.  For his NHL regular season career, Orr has 12 goals and 12 assists.  While he was previously a $1 million annual cap hit for the Leafs, it looks like his new contract will cost Toronto just a hair under his previous one, at $925,000 per year.   

Drewiske Re-Signed by Montreal Canadiens

The Hockey News reports that the Montreal Canadiens have signed Davis Drewiske to a two year deal.    The deal is reported to be worth $1.275 million over the two year extension, with $625,000 coming next season and $650,000 in 2014-15.

The defenseman from Wisconsin, who was a member of the Los Angeles Kings in the 2011-12 regular season, when they went on to win the Stanley Cup (although Drewiske did not participate in the playoffs) was traded by that organization to the Canadiens at the trade deadline in 2013.  

In nine games with the Habs in 2013, Drewiske notched 3 points.





NHL Snapshots: Kane Surgery, Horton Injured, Cup Rating High, Coyotes on Hiatus?


  • Tim Campbell of the Winnipeg Free Press reports that Evander Kane underwent surgery on his left foot to repair a nerve issue.  Kane had a strong season with the Winnipeg Jets, while not at full health, garnering 33 points in 48 games.  
  • Boston Bruins' forward Nathan Horton is reportedly day-to-day with an injury suffered in the first overtime of the marathon game one of the Stanley Cup finals against the Chicago Blackhawks.  
  • Apparently, an original six team matchup for the Stanley Cup is good for television ratings.  Last night's first game of the championship was the most watched first game since 1997.  
  • According to Fox Sports, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman did not deny that the Phoenix Coyotes franchise could go on hiatus, among a myriad of options, if the City of Glendale and the ownership group of the Coyotes can't come to an agreement.  

2013 NHL Free Agents: Top Goaltenders

Although this year's unrestricted free agent class is said to be lacking, as you'll see by the profiles below, there are a handful of number one goaltenders who will be available on July 5.  For teams in need of assistance in net, one of the goaltenders below will fit the bill.

1.  Niklas Backstrom, 35 - The Finnish netminder is closing out a 4-year deal worth $6 million per year with the Minnesota Wild.  Backstrom quietly led the NHL in regular season wins this year with 24.  He underwent surgery for a sports hernia and is expected to be ready for the 2013-14 season start.  

2.  Ray Emery, 30 - Yes, he's the Chicago Blackhawks second goaltender. But look at those statistics from the past regular season: .922 save percentage, 17 wins with only one loss and a 1.94 goals against average. He'll be signed and just may become another team's number one goalie next season.

3.  Mike Smith, 31 - The Phoenix Coyotes' netminder proved his value in last season's Stanley Cup playoffs with a 1.99 goals-against-average and .944 save percentage in 16 games.  He had a decent lockout shortened regular season this year, and set himself up to be one of the goaltenders that several teams will give a look this offseason.  The Coyotes have not ruled out re-signing Smith, but a this point, it seems his goaltending skills will go to the highest bidder.  

Evgeni Malkin Extended by Pittsburgh Penguins

NHL.com has reported that the Pittsburgh Penguins have extended Evgeni Malkin for the maximum duration of eight years under the new collective bargaining agreement. The deal is worth a reported $76 million over the life of the contract.

The Russian forward, and one of the best hockey players in the world, led the league in points last season, and fought through injuries this season to average over a point per game.  

The Penguins now have both Malkin and uber-star Sidney Crosby locked up for the foreseeable future with several more unrestricted free agents left to be addressed.



Wednesday, June 12, 2013

KHL and Elitserien Signings

Kyle Wilson, who was acquired by the Anaheim Ducks from the Tampa Bay Lightning earlier this year, has signed to play in the KHL with Dinamo Riga.  The 28-year-old forward has been a journeyman in the AHL and NHL playing with several squads, including the Columbus Blue Jackets, Nashville Predators and Washington Capitals.

Garrett Stafford, who has also been a journeyman in the AHL and NHL, has signed to play with Farjestads BK of the Swedish Elitserien League.  The 33-year-old defenseman played most recently at the NHL level with the Phoenix Coyotes in 2010-11.  He was most recently affiliated with the Edmonton Oilers however.


Minnesota Wild Re-Sign Forward Stephane Veilleux

As reported by Michael Russo at startribune.com, the Minnesota Wild have re-signed 31-year-old forward Stephane Veilleux to a two-year deal worth up to $1.175 million.  Veilleux, who was drafted by Minnesota in 2001, but played briefly for the Tampa Bay Lightning and very briefly for the New Jersey Devils, has spent the vast majority of his career with the Wild.

In 460 regular season games, Veilleux has tallied 101 points.  The native of Quebec is described as energetic, physical, with good speed, who can also be an "agitator".    His best season offensively was while with the Wild in 2008-09, when he notched 23 regular season points.   

McLellan Extended by Sharks

CBS Sports reports that the San Jose Sharks have signed a contract extension with head coach Todd McLellan. Since taking over head coaching duties for the Sharks in the Spring of 2008, McLellan has become the winningest coach in the team's history.

Mark Streit's Rights Traded to Flyers

According to Anthony SanFilippo, the Philadelphia Flyers have traded for Mark Streit from the New York Islanders. Streit, who was set to become the top unrestricted free agent defenseman on July 5, had come to the end of a five year $20.5 million contract with the Islanders. The Flyers sent Shane Harper and a fourth round draft pick in the 2014 draft to New York for, essentially, the exclusive rights to negotiate with Streit until July 5.

Penguins Extend Bylsma

According to NHL.com, the Pittsburgh Penguins have signed head coach Dan Bylsmato a two year extension. Although there was some speculation in the media that the Penguins would part ways with Bylsma, they showed their trust in him through this extension. The Penguins official website stated that the extension runs through 2015-16 as Bylsma had one year remaining on his existing contract. Since taking over the Pittsburgh helm in 2008-09 at 38 years old, Bylsma has established a 201-92-25 record while making the playoffs every year.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tortorella Interviews with Vancouver Canucks

Katie Strang reports for ESPN that the Vancouver Canucks have interviewed former New York Rangers coach John Tortorella. Coincidentally, the New York Rangers were interviewing former Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault on the same day.

Nashville Predators Sign Defenseman Roman Josi

The Nashville Predators have locked up RFA Roman Josi to a seven year deal, according to ESPN.  The deal is reportedly worth $4 million per season.  The Swiss native put up 18 points in the 48 game regular season schedule for 2013.  There is certainly risk in signing a player to a seven year contract, who has played just 100 regular season NHL games.  But Predators GM David Poile, while recognizing that risk, also sees the significant potential upside, as well as the risk of leaving the RFA unsigned through July 5.  

Anaheim Ducks Hire Dwayne Roloson

As reported by ESPN, the Anaheim Ducks have named former NHL netminder Dwayne Roloson as a goaltending consultant.  Over his extensive NHL career in net, Roloson put up a .908 save percentage and a 2.72 goals-against-average in the regular season.   Roloson excelled in the playoffs, improving his marks to a .918 save percentage and 2.54 goals-against-average.

While the NHL was in a lockout, Roloson assisted his alma mater voluntarily on the ice, with all players, not just the goaltenders.

Roloson had also previously established his own goaltending school.

With Roloson's commitment to teaching evident, it won't be long before he is officially coaching at the NHL level.   

New York Rangers Head Coach Search: Update

Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports that the New York Rangers would put Dan Bylsma at the top of their head coach prospect list, if the Pittsburgh Penguins were to part ways with him.  There have been reports in the media that based on the Penguins performance in the playoffs, the unlikely scenario could come to fruition.

Alain Vigneault, previously head coach of the Vancouver Canucks, is expected to have the inside track on the Rangers' head coaching position, but there are other candidates still in the mix, including former New York Ranger Lindy Ruff.  

Dallas Eakins: New Head Coach of the Edmonton Oilers

As reported by cbssports.com, the Edmonton Oilers have signed Dallas Eakins to be their new head coach. Eakins last coached in the AHL for the Toronto Maple Leafs affiliate, the Toronto Marlies.  In the four seasons that Eakins has been at the helm of the Marlies, he has taken them from a .488 winning percentage to a .632 winning percentage for both of the past two seasons.

Eakins will bring a fitness-minded approach to the young Oiler team.  As he was quoted in the Edmonton Journal:
“We’re going to be committed to a high fitness level. We’re going to be committed to the details of tactical hockey. But, foremost, the No. 1 thing we’re going to be committed to is competition. This team is going to compete."
Possibly the most highly sought after head coach candidate this year, Eakins was signed by Oilers' GM Craig MacTavish before the New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks or Dallas Stars could enlist his services.

It will now be Eakins' job to get the Edmonton Oilers back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since the 2005-06 season.


Monday, June 10, 2013

2013 NHL Free Agents - Top Three Defenseman

Even though it's widely thought that this year's free agent crop will not be the deepest in recent history, there are still some high quality players available.  Of the available defensemen, here are your top three:


  1. Update:  Mark Streit signed a four-year deal with the Philadelphia Flyers as of June 18.  Mark Streit, 35 - After not being able to come to terms with the New York Islanders, Mark Streit will hit the free agent market in early July.  The talented defenseman from Switzerland notched 27 points in the lockout shortened season, averaging over a half point per game from the point.  He made $4.1 million per season in his 5 season deal with the Islanders.  He's obviously looking for more money than that per season, and he will most likely get it.  Just not from the New York Islanders.  
  2. Ryan Whitney, 30 - Although he may not have had his best performances in the past two seasons with the Edmonton Oilers, Whitney still has the stuff to significantly contribute on the blue line at the NHL level.  The fifth overall pick in the 2002 NHL draft can score, and will score, at one of the better rates among NHL defenseman.   He may not be looking at a marked pay increase in his next contract, but an NHL team will certainly enlist his services.   
  3. Marek Zidlicky, 36 - Zidlicky was a key piece of the New Jersey Devils defense corps that nearly won the Stanley Cup in 2012.  The native of Czechoslovakia has averaged over a half point per game for his career.  For teams needing more of a scoring presence from their defensemen, Zidlicky can provide a boost from the point.  With a lowered cap for next season, Zidlicky may need to take a bit of a pay cut if he's looking for more than a one or two year contract.  



Sunday, June 9, 2013

Jets Looking to Sign Bogosian

According to the Toronto Sun the Winnipeg Jets have started negotiations with Zach Bogosian and his agent. Bogosian, the third overall selection in the 2008 NHL draft, has played well in his five NHL seasons with the Jets organization. The big defenseman has put up 103 points in 297 regular season games. It's expected that Bogosian will make a significant increase on his $3 million salary from 2012-13.

Ron Hainsey To Test Free Agency in July

Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press reports that Winnipeg Jets defenseman Ron Hainsey, is particularly unlikely to remain a Jet, given his leadership role with the NHLPA, and his upcoming free agency in July.  The 32-year-old Hainsey is coming off a 5 year, $22.5 million contract with the Jets.  Winnipeg is currently projected to be well under next year's lowered cap, but that's without considering the several free agents they will still need to address.  

Oilers Part Ways with Head Coach Krueger

The Edmonton Oilers will be moving in a new direction for their head coaching position, after parting ways with Ralph Krueger after one season.  The decision to make a change arose out of GM Craig MacTavish's search for a new assistant coach, alongside Krueger.  He realized during that process that he was looking for a coach that was more closely aligned with the way he wanted to run the team.

It is thought that Toronto Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins will become the new head coach for the Oilers, if he's not retained by another team looking for a head coach first.  

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Gonchar Signs With Dallas

The Toronto Globe and Mail reports that the Dallas Stars have signed Sergei Gonchar to a two year $10 million deal. Gonchar was recently dealt to Dallas by the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a conditional sixth round draft pick in this year's NHL entry draft. That pick is no longer conditional now that Gonchar has signed with the Stars.

2013 NHL Draft Links of Note


Dallas Stars Will Not Rush Head Coach Decision

According to a recent article in the Toronto Sun, the Dallas Stars' new general manager, Jim Nill, will not be rushing a decision on a new head coach for this team.  He would be okay with going into the June 30 NHL draft in New Jersey without a head coach, if that's the way it played out.  Some of the names in play for the head coach position in Dallas include:  Lindy Ruff, Dallas Eakins, Willie Desjardins, and Alain Vigneault.  

Friday, June 7, 2013

Sergei Gonchar's Rights Traded to Dallas Stars

Sergei Gonchar's NHL rights have been traded from the Ottawa Senators to the Dallas Stars, according to nbcsports.com.  The trade was for a conditional sixth round pick in this year's NHL entry draft.  The condition is that Dallas is able to sign Gonchar.  As mentioned earlier here, Gonchar has reportedly received a very lucrative offer to play in Russia with the KHL. 
 

NHL Notes: Loktionov Signing Imminent, Third Overall Draft Pick

Tom Gulitti reports on the Fire and Ice blog that the New Jersey Devils will have a deal imminently with free agent Andrei Loktionov.  Loktionov came over to New Jersey in a mid-season trade this year with the Los Angeles Kings.  It is suspected that Loktionov's deal is being done earlier than it might have been, based on the decision he has to make on whether to play in Russia or return to the NHL.  The 28-year-old forward had 12 points in 28 games for the Devils this past season.  

The Tampa Bay Lightning will be selecting third overall in the 2013 NHL entry draft.  Although the third overall pick hasn't necessarily panned out perfectly for Tampa Bay, it has historically produced NHL star talent when looked at holistically, according to the team's website.  The third slot has been used to select the following NHL players in recent years:  Alex Galchenyuk (2012), Jonathan Huberdeau (2011), and Matt Duchene (2009).


NHL Links of Note: McDonald, Modano, Streit and Bordeleau


2013 NHL Unrestricted Free Agent Notes: Trades, Bickell and Gonchar

Adam Proteau states in a new article that the 2013 NHL free agent class is lacking in comparison to previous years.  Part of the reason for this is the large contracts given out in recent times, extended over many seasons (think Roberto Luongo, Ilya Kovalchuk and Rick DiPietro).  It's also mentioned by Proteau, that this will lead to a higher rate of trades in the off-season.
Bryan Bickell of the Chicago Blackhawks has played himself into excellent position as an upcoming unrestricted free agent, writes Adam Gretz at cbssports.com.  With eight goals in 16 playoff games, he's nearly matched is 48-game regular season goal total of nine.  Bickell will certainly be a hot commodity in this year's free agent class.  But there is great risk for teams in signing a player who has contributed in the playoffs well above their regular season production rate.

Where will the Ottawa Senators' veteran defenseman, Sergei Gonchar, wind up as an unrestricted free agent this off-season?  Per Bruce Garrioch in an Ottawa Sun article, Gonchar is considering signing with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL for more than $7 million per season.  The 39-year old defender earned $5.5 million per season as part of a three-year deal with Ottawa according to records at capgeek.com.

Monday, June 3, 2013

2013 NHL Free Agents - Top Three Forwards

As the 2013 NHL free agent season anticipation builds, there are some players who fans should be keeping an eye on.  In that vein, here are the top three forwards, who will become unrestricted free agents in July of 2013.

1.  Pascal Dupuis, Right Wing, 34

The leading regular season goal-scorer among 2013 unrestricted free agents, Dupuis continues to produce in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  In 11 games to-date, he has put seven pucks in the net, while assisting on three more goals.  It's no exageration to say that the Pittsburgh Penguins would not be in the position to win the Eastern Conference this season, if it wasn't for the contributions of Dupuis.  

The 34 year-old right-winger is finishing up a 2-year deal, paying him $1.5 million annually, according to capgeek.com.   As Dupuis' offensive output has picked up over the past two seasons, expect his annual salary to follow a similar upward arc.  

2.  Mike Ribeiro, Center, 33

Ribeiro can produce.  No doubt about it.  He was key to the Washington Capitals climbing out of the cellar and into the 2013 NHL playoffs.  Averaging just over a point per game in this shortened season, Ribeiro continued his reputation as a premier set-up man, assisting on 36 scores.  He has 423 assists in 785 regular season games.   

Finishing up a five-year deal worth $25 million according to capgeek.com, Ribeiro may be playing with a different squad for 2013-14.  The Capitals are projected to be a tick over $5 million under next season's reduced cap, and they also need to address defenseman Tom Poti.  Without a drastic pay-cut, it's likely that the Caps won't be able to afford Ribeiro's services.   

3.  David Clarkson, Center, 29

Relatively young, Clarkson has become an offensive force in the NHL at just the right time for his own financial benefit.  Always a physical player, he also became known as a goal scorer over the past two seasons with the New Jersey Devils.  A 30 goal scorer last season, Clarkson was nearly on pace to match that mark this season, tallying 15 pucks in the net, playing in all 48 regular season games. With his combination of physicality and offensive awareness, Clarkson will be a sought after commodity in the free agency season, and certain to make more of a dent in the cap of the team who signs him. 





Saturday, June 1, 2013

Ryan Clowe Wants to Remain a Ranger

Ryan Clowe, traded to the New York Rangers from the San Jose Sharks on April 2, has enjoyed his time with the blueshirts and would like to remain with the team, according to NHL.com.  Clowe played well in his time with the Rangers, notching 8 points in 12 regular season games, before suffering concussion symptoms.  

Clowe had spent his entire NHL career in San Jose prior to the trade, finishing out his contract in New York this season.  He becomes an unrestricted free agent in July.   

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