Ryan Kennedy is the associate senior writer and draft/prospect expert at The Hockey News. He has been with the publication since 2005 and in that span, Don Cherry, Lil Jon and The Rock have all called his house. He lives in Toronto with his wife and kids where he listens to loud music and collects NCAA pennants.
It’s a Tuesday morning in downtown Toronto and New York Islanders captain John Tavares is putting his star power to good use. A son of the city’s suburbs, Tavares is promoting the Canadian Suit Drive, a charity initiative spearheaded by Moores, which aims to provide donated suits and other professional clothing to men and women seeking employment.
“It’s great to be involved and we’re hoping for a strong finish,” Tavares said. “It’s an initiative that helps lot of people get back on their feet and back in the workforce.”
This is the John Tavares of now, the John Tavares who has already been through the wars in the NHL and is still just 24 years old. A phenom who entered the OHL a year early and set the template for exceptional players such as Aaron Ekblad and Connor McDavid (the exemption is colloquially called the ‘John Tavares Rule’), Tavares arrived on Long Island during a time of chaos for the organization and is now the face of a franchise on the rise.
From the outset, St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong maintained that his No. 1 priority this summer was to get right winger Vladimir Tarasenko under contract. That mission has been accomplished thanks to a new eight-year, $60 million pact – and now the next phase begins.
Washington has signed 23-year-old center Evgeny Kuznetsov to a two-year bridge contract, solidifying a key piece for the win-now team, but also giving the player a chance to earn a bigger payday down the road.
The NHL arbitration process is really no fun for anyone involved, since it brings negotiation into a formal setting and forces teams and their players to square off. Teams have to pretend that their own players aren’t really that good and hurt feelings can have long-standing consequences.
Which is why most arbitration cases get settled before the actual hearing. In fact, the Washington Capitals and goaltender Braden Holtby are already saying all the right things and trying to get something done beforehand. So there might not actually be much arbitration to hear about this summer, but there are some interesting scenarios nonetheless. Here’s a look at five high-profile cases:
The Czech Republic came into the 2015 world juniors with high expectations thanks to its deepest lineup in years. But glory wasn’t to be had.
The Czechs struggled throughout their stay in Toronto, and everything ended with a dispirited quarterfinal loss to a much more game underdog squad from Slovakia. One player who didn’t disappoint, however, was David Pastrnak, the Boston Bruins first-rounder who had been playing in the AHL.
Had his team gone further at the world juniors, Pastrnak would have garnered more consideration for the tourney’s all-star team because of his combination of talent and drive. But even in the midst of the event, he knew his time in the AHL had been valuable so far. “It’s definitely different hockey,” he said. “I try to do my best, but sometimes it doesn’t go well and you feel bad. I have to get better with everything. I’m not satisfied right now.” Read more
The contracts came in within minutes of each other and both came with big dollar amounts. Columbus signed new left winger Brandon Saad to a six-year, $36 million contract, while Buffalo extended recently acquired center Ryan O’Reilly for seven years at $7.5 million per season. Let’s walk through the sticker shock.
Jack Eichel may have signed his entry-level contract with Buffalo first, but folks in Edmonton don’t care because Connor McDavid is officially under contract now.
The top pick in the 2015 draft signed his rookie year deal with the Oilers today, getting the maximum amount possible under the collective bargaining agreement: a base salary and signing bonus that added up to $925,000, plus a bunch of bonuses available that could push his total earnings as a rookie into seven figures.
The magnitude and volume of trades during draft weekend and the first few days of free agency has been impressive. Big names such as Phil Kessel, T.J. Oshie and Milan Lucic were all given new addresses and in all three cases, prospects were part of the return.
In fact, many teams acquired future NHL hopefuls recently, so let’s take a look at some of the more prominent kids involved in this summer’s trade crop.