10 RFAs who missed training camp and how their disputes were resolved

Jamie Benn (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Ryan Johansen’s contract negotiations with the Columbus Blue Jackets are…contentious. Yesterday started with Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen drawing a line in the sand by insinuating the start of training camp as a cut off point. Later on, team president John Davidson took aim at Johansen’s agent Kurt Overhardt by saying the numbers he was throwing out made no sense and were embarrassing.

This sounds like it could be one of the bigger RFA battles the NHL has had in recent years, but there’s still a little time before training camps open. And it’s not like it would be the first time a player has missed the start of training camp with a contract dispute.

It actually used to happen a lot more in the NHL. In the 1990s, it was a regular, yearly thing most teams would have to deal with at one point or another. The only great leverage an RFA without arbitration rights has is to stay home and make the team sweat. It maybe doesn’t happen as often as it used to, but the Johansen situation is hardly unique to the NHL today. Heck, Torey Krug, Jaden Schwartz, Reilly Smith, Darcy Kuemper and Cody Eakin are going through their own, less-publicized negotiations right now too.

We take a look at some of the more recent RFAs who missed all or a portion of training camp over a contract dispute and what the outcome was. We didn’t want to look too far back at every situation because market conditions have changed, especially when looking back past the 2004-05 lockout. Anything before then is basically no influence on Johansen’s situation. Just don’t call these guys holdouts.

Derek Stepan, New York Rangers
Prior to last season, Stepan missed 16 days of training camp before settling on a bridge deal with the Rangers. Stepan ended up signing a two-year deal that has a $3.075 million salary cap charge. Read more

Five non-playoff NHL teams that could make it this season

Pekka Rinne (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Five of the the 14 teams that missed the NHL playoffs in 2012-13 (Colorado, Dallas, Columbus, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay) qualified for a playoff berth last season. Here are five teams on the outside looking in during the 2014 playoffs that – in this writer’s opinion – have the best chance at making the post-season this year:

5. Arizona Coyotes. The Yotes missed the playoffs for the second consecutive year last season – the first time that’s happened since 2007-09 – and that organization is famous for making the most out of a budget-conscious blueprint for success. They finished only two points behind the eighth-place Stars, and with new No. 1 center Sam Gagner in town, captain Shane Doan fully healthy and stellar young blueliner Oliver Ekman-Larsson continuing to blossom, they could have just enough in the tank to make it back into the post-season. Read more

THN’s 2014-15 NHL season preview: Arizona Coyotes

The Hockey News
Arizona Coyotes. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

2013-14 record: 37-30-15

Acquisitions: Devan Dubnyk, Alexandre Bolduc, Mike McKenna, Joe Vitale, B.J. Crombeen, Sam Gagner

Departures: Mike Ribeiro, Tim Kennedy, Radim Vrbata, Andy Miele, Thomas Greiss

Top five fantasy players: Keith Yandle, Sam Gagner, Shane Doan, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Mikkel Boedker

Boom, Bust and Bottom Line: The best, worst and most likely scenario
Boom: The Coyotes officially divorced themselves from their checkered past when they rebranded themselves as the Arizona Coyotes for this season. No longer are they an orphan ward of the state with a perilous future. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Sharks & Coyotes trade buzz

Patrick Marleau (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

As the San Jose Sharks prepare for the start of training camp next week, questions hang over the future of several players.

Though Sharks GM Doug Wilson backtracked somewhat from talk of making significant changes to his roster, CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz still believes Wilson is open to moving Patrick Marleau for a deal agreeable to all sides.

Marleau and Joe Thornton are both starting three-year contracts containing full no-movement clauses. So far neither player has shown any indication they want out of San Jose, but the Sharks recently stripped Marleau of his alternate captaincy and Thornton of the captaincy, which generated speculation it was done to force the pair out of San Jose. Coach Todd McLellan, however, insisted it was done merely to start this season with a clean slate.

Kurz also believes Antti Niemi’s stint as the Sharks’ undisputed starting goaltender is over. Kurz expects the 31-year-old netminder will be challenged by backup Alex Stalock. With Niemi eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer, Kurz feels it’s time for the Sharks to “start phasing out” Niemi by shopping him once Stalock proves capable of handling the starter’s job.
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Coyotes to wear throwback jersey in March: Which one should they use?

Rory Boylen
coyotesthrowback

The newly named Arizona Coyotes announced their game night promotions schedule for the coming season and we’ll get a blast from the past in early March.

On March 5, a Thursday game against the Vancouver Canucks, the Coyotes will celebrate “Throwback Night.”

From the Coyotes website:

Celebrate the Coyotes history in the Valley of the Sun and watch the team play in one of the franchise’s original uniforms. The first 5,000 fans in attendance will receive a throwback Jeremy Roenick Bobble Head courtesy of Gila River Casinos.

That’s right – the Coyotes will wear one of the original jerseys they used when the team first moved to the desert from Winnipeg in 1996. We are bigger fans of the current logo and jersey design the team uses (we ranked the Coyotes logo No. 2 in the NHL), but we can’t wait to see these old jerseys back in action – as long as it’s for one night only. Read more

NHL expansion is coming, just don’t hold your breath

GTA Centre Markam

The NHL has gone a full 14 years without adding a single expansion team, which is the longest period without growth since the league ballooned from six to 12 teams in 1967. The business of hockey is stronger than it has ever been and hockey’s global reach has ensured that the league would be less watered down by adding teams than it has in the past.

So, yes, the NHL is ripe for expansion. That’s probably why a published report that the NHL is going to add four teams by 2017 was met with such enthusiasm. To follow some accounts, expansion to Las Vegas is a “done deal” despite the fact there is no ownership group in place yet and the league will have new teams in Las Vegas, Quebec City, Toronto and Seattle by the time it blows out the 100 candles on its birthday cake. Read more

Born in the USA could be theme song of 2016 NHL draft

Ken Campbell
Jakob Chychrun  (Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

The best draft USA has ever had was in 2007 when Patrick Kane went first overall and was immediately followed by James Van Riemsdyk. Two years prior was close, when Bobby Ryan went second overall behind Sidney Crosby and Jack Johnson was taken third overall.

But if current trends continue for the next two seasons, the 2016 draft will put the rest of those in their dust in terms of producing high-end players trained in America. Not only is it a good bet USA will produce its seventh first overall pick – unless Jack Eichel is taken first overall in 2015, in which case it would be USA’s eighth – but there’s a chance the top five could be chock full of American talent. Read more

NHL logo rankings No. 2: Arizona Coyotes

Rory Boylen
coyotesmain

We’re nearing the end of our NHL logo rankings, which are the result of a seven-person THN panel who discussed and debated each logo. Rather than judge by longevity and rank the Original 6 teams 1-6, we tried to look at the designs again for the first time.

Coming in at No. 2: The Arizona Coyotes.

For sure, some people are going to hate this selection. We’ve already seen the comments about the “roadkill” logo, but we couldn’t disagree more.

The Coyotes logo, which is a massive improvement on their original, is a nice-looking canine with a sun-dried color combination you don’t see every day. For me, I like the Coyotes logo for the same reasons I like the UConn Huskies logo: it’s just a good looking animal. The Coyotes design isn’t a cartoon, or one that looks soft and too happy for its own good. The howling Coyote is a sophisticated design that also sits nice on the jersey with smooth colors. Some will wonder how we ranked it No. 2 in the NHL – I’ll wonder how others don’t see the beauty in it. So goes the logo ranking process.

But if you think you can design a better logo for the Coyotes, now is your chance. Send in your design to editorial@thehockeynews.com and we’ll run a collection of our favorite readar redesigns next week. And why not try designing new logos for the other NHL teams we’ve ranked?

Tomorrow we release the NHL logo we ranked No. 1. But you can probably figure out which one it’s going to be.

All logos from Chris Creamer’s website.

HISTORY OF THE COYOTES LOGO
The Coyotes didn’t start in the desert, as the Coyotes, or even in the NHL. This team has its roots in Winnipeg and the WHA.

The Winnipeg Jets were one of the founding franchises in the WHA, a rival upstart to the NHL, and would become a powerhouse in that league. The first big splash the team ever made was signing Bobby Hull away from the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, making him the first player to earn a $1 million contract.

In 1972-73, the first year of the WHA, the Jets lost in the Avco Cup final to the New England Whalers.

The first primary logo ever used by the team isn’t the one we equate to the original Jets, but this design of a red circle with a hockey player and a jet taking off in the distance. The team would continue to use these colors, but this logo stood as the team’s main image for only its first two years of existence.

coyotes1

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