Wednesday, July 31, 2013

NHL Snap Shots: Avalanche, Sharks, Leafs, Wild, Rangers, Flames and Canucks

Francois Allaire, according to the Denver Post, will be a goaltending coach for the Colorado Avalanche and head coach Patrick Roy this coming season. Roy and fellow goaltender and current member of the Avalanche, Jean-Sebastian Giguere, both highly endorse the skills of Allaire in improving their own games. Look for Allaire to work closely with current Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov over the next season.  In other recent news from around the NHL:

  • ESPN reports that the San Jose Sharks have signed Joe Pavelski to a five-year contract extension. The former seventh-round draft pick of the Sharks in 2003 has now become a cornerstone of their franchise.  He has 336 points in 479 regular season games with San Jose, to go with 50 points in 74 playoff games.
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed defenseman Mark Fraser to a one-year deal according to NHL.com.  The deal is reportedly worth $1.275 million for the blueliner drafted by New Jersey in 2005.  
  • According to Yahoo!, the Minnesota Wild have re-signed defenseman Tyler Cuma to a one-year contract.  The 23 year-old from Toronto was taken in the first round of the 2008 NHL draft by Minnesota.
  • The New York Rangers agreed to terms with forward Mats Zuccarello according to the New York Post.  The Norwegian winger has played parts of three seasons with the Rangers, notching 34 points in 67 regular season games and seven points in 13 playoff games.  
  • The Calgary Flames have signed center Josh Jooris to a two-year entry level contract according to NHL.com.  
  • The Vancouver Canucks have signed forward Ronald Kennins according to NHL.com. 


2014 NHL Free Agents - Henrik Sedin

UPDATE:  Both Henrik and Daniel Sedin signed matching four-year contracts valued at $28 million per NHL.com, on November 1, 2013.  
Henrik Sedin, center for the Vancouver Canucks, will at 33 years of age, become an unrestricted free agent in July of 2014, if not re-signed or traded earlier.  Henrik and his brother Daniel, last signed matching five-year deals with the Canucks back in 2009.  That deal was made just prior to the twins becoming unrestricted free agents.

The former third overall pick in the 1999 NHL draft has proven that he can set the puck up to be put in the net like nobodies business.  Of his 792 career regular season points, 610 of them are assists.

Scoring Stats Goals Ice Time
Season Age Tm GP G A PTS GC +/- PIM EV PP SH GW S S% ATOI
2000-01 20 VAN 82 9 20 29 10 -2 38 7 2 0 1 98 9.2 13:31
2001-02 21 VAN 82 16 20 36 14 9 36 13 3 0 1 78 20.5 12:48
2002-03 22 VAN 78 8 31 39 13 9 38 3 4 1 1 81 9.9 13:58
2003-04 23 VAN 76 11 31 42 14 23 32 9 2 0 2 99 11.1 14:02
2005-06 25 VAN 82 18 57 75 25 11 56 12 5 1 0 113 15.9 16:54
2006-07 26 VAN 82 10 71 81 24 19 66 9 1 0 2 134 7.5 18:26
2007-08 27 VAN 82 15 61 76 25 6 56 10 4 1 2 141 10.6 19:31
2008-09 28 VAN 82 22 60 82 28 22 48 18 4 0 8 143 15.4 19:31
2009-10 29 VAN 82 29 83 112 38 35 48 23 4 2 5 166 17.5 19:41
2010-11 30 VAN 82 19 75 94 30 26 40 11 8 0 4 157 12.1 19:16
2011-12 31 VAN 82 14 67 81 25 23 52 6 8 0 6 113 12.4 19:05
2012-13 32 VAN 48 11 34 45 15 19 24 9 1 1 1 70 15.7 19:21
Career 940 182 610 792 260 200 534 130 46 6 33 1393 13.1 17:08
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/30/2013.

Outlook
Henrik and his brother both came very close to testing the free agent market before a visit from the Canucks' General Manager to their home country of Sweden in 2009.  So, it certainly can't be said that the Sedin brothers aren't interested in free agency.  It's also somewhat unpredictable as to what the Vancouver Canucks will do with their players, as the situation with their goaltenders in 2013 has proven.  Unless they receive an offer they can't refuse from Vancouver management, the Sedin's would likely wait until the 2013-14 season plays out, before signing any extensions.  They want to win a Stanley Cup, just like any other player in the NHL.  If Vancouver doesn't advance past the first round in the 2014 NHL playoffs, look for Henrik and his brother to test free agency.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Zach Bogosian Signs Extension With Winnipeg Jets

It was announced yesterday, and reported by The Hockey News, that Zach Bogosian signed a seven-year deal with the Winnipeg Jets, that will see the defenseman earn $36 million over the life of the contract.  The former third overall draft pick in 2008, Bogosian has proven his skill in setting his teammates up to score, with 69 regular season assists, to go with 34 goals, in his 297 NHL games.

Bogosian, as reported in the Winnipeg Free Press, stated that it was a "no-brainer" for him to want to stay in Winnipeg for a long time.
"I’ve made it clear since my first time being in Winnipeg that it’s a place I’ve wanted to be a for a long time," Bogosian said Monday in a conference call.
After the Jets also recently locked up right-winger Blake Wheeler to a long-term deal, the Winnipeg fans are sensing that team management is committed to making a run at the Stanley Cup.




Monday, July 29, 2013

2014 NHL Free Agents - Phil Kessel

Update:  Phil Kessel was signed to an eight year contract extension worth $64 million, making it the richest contract in Toronto Maple Leafs history according to Sports Illustrated.  

Phil Kessel is set to become an unrestricted free agent in July of 2014.  The young winger for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and former fifth overall pick in the 2006 NHL entry draft by the Boston Bruins, is in the final year of a five-year, $27 million contract.

Kessel, who was dealt to Toronto by Boston in 2009, was seventh overall in NHL points scored for the shortened 2012-13 campaign.  In 504 regular season contests over his career, he has notched 379 points.  In his first playoff series as a member of the Maple Leafs, Kessel contributed six points in seven games.

Outlook
It has been previously indicated by Kessel's agent, Wade Arnott, that he would like to finish his career as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.  There is a long way to go however, as Kessel is just 25 years-old entering the 2013-14 campaign.

The Maple Leafs will have a few free agents to address in 2014, including Kessel's teammate, defenseman Dion Phaneuf.  Even considering that, the Leafs will have the room to sign Kessel.  Much will depend on how his season pans out for 2013-14.  He has led the Leafs in scoring since coming over from Boston, and they appeared in the playoffs, with his contributions, for the first time in a long while.  Assuming his contract requests are in line with comparable players, look for Kessel to remain in Toronto for the foreseeable future.  

2014 NHL Free Agents - Ryan Miller

There has been much rumor and speculation that the Buffalo Sabres have had goaltender Ryan Miller on the trading block.  Whether or not the Sabres are looking to deal their netminder, he is currently set to become an unrestricted free agent in July of 2014.

It seems clear that the Sabres are willing to listen to offers for Miller, as well as upcoming UFA Thomas Vanek, if they are not necessarily actively shopping either star player.  According to the Buffalo Sabres blog at the Buffalo News, regarding comments from General Manager Darcy Regier:
Regier said most conversations he's had with other GMs involve taking in money, a clear reference to the fact the Sabres aren't likely to be able to move the entire contract of either Vanek or Miller in a year the salary cap is shrinking to $64.3 million.
Another comment attributed to Regier in the same blog post indicates that the Sabres aren't averse to negotiating with Miller on a contract extension either:
Regier said there's been no negotiations with Miller, Vanek or fellow 2014 UFA Steve Ott. "Talking to my counterparts around the league, that's not unusual right now," he said. "For whatever reason, there's not a lot of activity on players that are going to become unrestricted in '14."
So Miller remains on track to become an unrestricted free agent, with his current contract and annual salary of $6.25 million expiring during the summer of 2014.

Golie Stats
Season Age Tm GP W L T/O GA SA SV SV% GAA SO MIN GPS
2002-03 22 BUF 15 6 8 1 40 410 370 .902 2.63 1 912 2.2
2003-04 23 BUF 3 0 3 0 15 73 58 .795 5.06 0 178 -0.6
2005-06 25 BUF 48 30 14 3 124 1440 1316 .914 2.60 1 2862 10.6
2006-07 26 BUF 63 40 16 6 168 1886 1718 .911 2.73 2 3692 12.7
2007-08 27 BUF 76 36 27 10 197 2104 1907 .906 2.64 3 4474 12.3
2008-09 28 BUF 59 34 18 6 145 1773 1628 .918 2.53 5 3443 12.5
2009-10 29 BUF 69 41 18 8 150 2098 1948 .929 2.22 5 4047 16.8
2010-11 30 BUF 66 34 22 8 165 1964 1799 .916 2.59 5 3829 12.4
2011-12 31 BUF 61 31 21 7 150 1788 1638 .916 2.55 6 3536 11.4
2012-13 32 BUF 40 17 17 5 108 1270 1162 .915 2.81 0 2302 8.3
Career 500 269 164 54 1262 14806 13544 .915 2.59 28 29275 98.7
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/26/2013.

Outlook
No goaltender faced more shots, or made more saves, in the lockout shortened 2013 regular season than Miller.  He remains one of the best netminders in the league, but salary will be a factor that comes in to play when considering whether the Sabres will re-sign Miller.

At $6.25 million for 2013-14, he is currently the fifth highest paid goalie in the NHL.  At 33 years of age, will Miller be looking for a bump in his annual salary?  If so, that will play into whether the Sabres wind up re-signing him.  They should have ample room under next year's salary cap to sign Miller, but whether they will or not remains very much up in the air.  It does sound like Miller wants to remain in Buffalo, but wherever he winds up, he will make the best of it.

NHL Snap Shots: Grebeshkov, Predators

Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal reports that Edmonton Oilers' General Manager Craig MacTavish is eager to see defenseman Denis Grebeshkov on the ice.  Grebeshkov was signed to a one-year deal by the Oilers after spending time in the Kontinental Hockey League in 2009-10.   Regarding MacTavish's eagerness to see Grebeshkov, he's quoted in the Edmonton Journal article, saying the following about Grebeshkov:
“He’s going to be highly motivated on just a one-year deal and I’m sure he wants to make a career over here. He’ll be a good role model for Yak (Russian forward Nail Yakupov). Denis is a hell of a guy,” MacTavish said.
 Josh Cooper of the Tennessean writes that the Nashville Predators garner above average grades for their off-season moves, becoming a team that should be competitive throughout the season and make the playoffs. In addition to their free agent signings, the Predators drafted the number one ranked North American skater, as determined by NHL Central Scouting.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ottawa Senators Sign Ludwig Karlsson

The Ottawa Senators have signed Ludwig Karlsson, a forward from Sweden, to a two-year entry level contract according to Senators Extra.  Karlsson spent the past two seasons with the Northeastern University hockey team.  Prior to that he was a member of the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers, notching 67 points in 114 games.  It's expected that he will start the 2013-14 campain with the Binghamton Senators of the AHL.


Blake Wheeler Extension With Winnipeg Jets

As reported by the Winnipeg Free Press, the Winnipeg Jets and General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff have agreed to a six-year deal with winger Blake Wheeler.  The deal is worth a reported $33.6 million over the life of the contract.

Wheeler, who will be 27 years-old when the 2013-14 season starts, has 232 points over 372 regular season games.  In last season's lockout shortened schedule, he picked up 41 points (19 goals, 22 assists) in a full 48-game regular season slate.  

Friday, July 26, 2013

Chicago Blackhawks to Extend Head Coach Joel Quenneville

ESPN Chicago reports that the Chicago Blackhawks will announce a contract extension with head coach Joel Quenneville on Friday.  The 54 year-old Quenneville has been at the helm of the Blackhawks ship since the 2008-09 campaign, when he took the team to the Western Conference finals against the Detroit Red Wings.  Just one year later, he was hoisting the Stanley Cup.  Quenneville's existing contract runs through next season.

According to the Chicago Tribune, this extension was something that General Manager Stan Bowman had wanted to address before the Blackhawks' training camp started:
During the Hawks’ Prospect Camp in mid-July, Hawks general manager Stan Bowman indicated he wanted to extend Quenneville’s contract before training camp opened for the 2013-14 season.
Quenneville has also previously coached with the St. Louis Blues and the Colorado Avalanche, compiling a total record of 660 wins, 389 losses, 77 ties and 74 overtime losses.

The Blackhawks regular season points percentage under Quenneville in 2012-13 was an astounding .802. The team's lowest points percentage in the regular season with Quenneville behind the bench has been .591.

Did you know......Joel Quenneville was drafted 21st overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1978?  

Thursday, July 25, 2013

2014 NHL Free Agents - Henrik Lundqvist

UPDATE:  Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers agreed upon a seven-year contract extension, beginning with the 2014-15 season, worth a total of $59.5 million over the life of the deal.  According to the New York Daily News, Lundqvist's annual salary cap hit will be $8.5 million, which is $1.5 million more than the next highest paid NHL goaltenders, Tuukka Rask and Pekka Rinne.

Henrik Lundqvist, the New York Rangers' Vezina trophy winning netminder, will see his contract expire in the summer of 2014, as he becomes an unrestricted free agent.  The Swedish goalie has blocked pucks for the New York Rangers since the 2005-06 season, becoming one of the premier goaltenders in the world.  

Goalie Stats
Season Age Tm GP W L T/O GA SA SV SV% GAA SO MIN GPS
2005-06 23 NYR 53 30 12 9 116 1485 1369 .922 2.24 2 3112 12.2
2006-07 24 NYR 70 37 22 8 160 1927 1767 .917 2.34 5 4109 14.3
2007-08 25 NYR 72 37 24 10 160 1823 1663 .912 2.23 10 4305 11.9
2008-09 26 NYR 70 38 25 7 168 2007 1839 .916 2.43 3 4153 13.7
2009-10 27 NYR 73 35 27 10 167 2109 1942 .921 2.38 4 4204 15.0
2010-11 28 NYR 68 36 27 5 152 1965 1813 .923 2.28 11 4007 14.0
2011-12 29 NYR 62 39 18 5 123 1753 1630 .930 1.97 8 3754 14.1
2012-13 30 NYR 43 24 16 3 88 1190 1102 .926 2.05 2 2575 9.3
Career 511 276 171 57 1134 14259 13125 .920 2.25 45 30219 104.5
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/25/2013.

Lundqvist led the NHL in wins during the lockout shortened season of 2013, with 24 (tied with Niklas Backstrom and Antti Niemi.)  He is also the NHL's active leader in save percentage with a .920 mark.

Talks between Lundqvist's agent and Rangers' GM Glen Sather regarding the netminder's status were planned for the weekend of the 2013 NHL draft.  As of late July, 2014, no extension has been agreed upon.

Outlook

The expectation is that Lundqvist will sign an extension with the New York Rangers, prior to his status changing to an unrestricted free agent in July of 2014.  He will be coming off of a six-year deal with New York at an annual cap hit of $6.875 million.  The Rangers have several players slated to become free agents in 2014, and as such, will have ample room under the salary cap to sign Lundqvist to a very large contract.  Expect him to compete with Rick Nash for the highest annual salary on the team, and to become the highest paid goaltender in the NHL.


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