A lack of scoring depth scuttled the Vancouver Canucks playoff hopes this season. Only the New Jersey Devils scored fewer goals . Addressing this should be a priority for GM Jim Benning.
Since March, there’s been talk Benning could pursue Boston Bruins right winger Loui Eriksson via free agency. However, Jeff Paterson of The Province believes the St. Louis Blues’ Troy Brouwer could be a better fit.
Paterson cites the 30-year-old Brouwer’s playoff experience, right-handed shot, versatility, durability, work ethic and leadership as the positive factors he’d bring the Canucks. Coming off a three-year, $11- million deal, he could be an affordable addition on a three- or four-year deal. Read more
Kevan Miller’s first full season as a Boston Bruin wasn’t without its difficulties, but the 28-year-old blueliner has managed to turn his five-goal, 18-point campaign as a second- and third-pairing defenseman into a brand new four-year deal.
The Bruins announced Tuesday that Miller, 28, has signed a four-year, $10-million deal carrying an annual cap hit of $2.5 million. The new deal is a significant raise from the $800,000 he was earning this past season. Miller played 71 games for the Bruins in 2015-16, which was the first time in his career he had played more than 50 games in a campaign in the NHL. Prior to the past season, Miller had appeared in 89 games for the Bruins.
The signing all but ensures Miller will be back in the Bruins lineup next season, and it appears to be one with the hope that Miller is on an upward trajectory. And that will need to be the case if the Bruins hope to improve their defense next season, especially considering Miller is one of only four defensemen the Bruins have locked up for next season along with Adam McQuaid, Dennis Seidenberg and captain Zdeno Chara. Read more
During a recent appearance on Edmonton’s 630 CHED radio, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman created some buzz by suggesting Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie could be in play this summer.
Barrie, 24, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. Coming off two seasons with 53 and 49 points respectively, he’ll want a substantial raise over his current annual average salary of $2.6 million. He could fetch a deal comparable to that of teammate Erik Johnson (seven-years, $42 million), which might not fly with Avs management.
Should Phil Kessel continue his personal assault on the playoffs and be named winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as tournament MVP, fans in Toronto and Boston should feel nothing but happiness for him. Wasting their time and emotional energy lamenting what might have been would be an exercise in futility.
And that’s largely because it never would have been. You see what Kessel is doing in the playoffs with the Pittsburgh Penguins? Never would have happened in either Toronto or Boston. Fans in Boston can be thankful for what they got in return for Kessel – Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton for a while – then Jimmy Hayes and three prospects they got when they dealt the players they got for Kessel. Fans in Toronto can watch as Kasperi Kapanen and Scott Harrington try to win a Calder Trophy for their minor league team and hope the first- and third-round picks turn into something nice.
There’s not yet any official word on whether or not an expansion team will be granted to Quebec City for the 2017-18 season, but NHL hockey will be played at the Videotron Centre as early as next season.
The Montreal Canadiens announced Tuesday that they will head to Quebec City on Oct. 4 for a pre-season game against the Boston Bruins. The contest will mark the second-consecutive season the Habs have hosted an exhibition game at the Quebec City arena, and the seventh such time since the 2009-10 season. It’s become a pre-season tradition for the Canadiens to head to Quebec City for at least one game of their exhibition schedule. However, that tradition could be coming to a close and the October 2016 pre-season contest could potentially be the final time the Canadiens are the home side at a game played in Quebec City.
If the NHL decides to expand to Quebec’s capital, the Videotron Centre will become the home of the new Canadian franchise and a place where the Canadiens are one of the most despised visiting teams. Read more
With the New York Islanders eliminated from the second round of the 2016 playoffs, they head into the offseason facing the possibility of some significant roster changes.
Newsday’s Steve Zipay reports pending unrestricted free agents Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin face uncertain futures with the Isles. Of the trio, the 28-year-old Okposo stands to cash in the most. He’s completing a five-year deal worth an annual cap hit of $2.8 million, though he earned $4.5 million this season in actual salary.
Since last summer, contract talks between Okposo and the Isles have been almost non-existent. It’s assumed he won’t be back, meaning the Isles need a suitable replacement at right wing.
Citing defenseman Travis Hamonic’s request last year to be dealt to a Western-Canadian team, Newsday’s Mark Herrman suggests shipping the 25-year-old blueliner to the Edmonton Oilers for one of their good young wingers. ESPN.com’s Craig Custance recommends acquiring Jordan Eberle to replace Okposo. Read more
The NHL and NHLPA recently agreed upon the rules for a potential expansion draft that could be held following the end of the 2016-17 campaign. Though these rules haven’t been officially released, TSN’s Gary Lawless reported sources claim players carrying no-movement clauses must be protected from the draft, while those with no-trade clauses won’t be exempt and can be exposed.
NBC Sports Ryan Dadoun notes that could create an interesting dilemma for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Should an expansion draft be held, existing NHL teams can only protect one goaltender. With rookie netminder Matt Murray filling in very well for sidelined starter Marc-Andre Fleury in the 2016 playoffs, Penguins management could face a difficult decision over which one to protect.
Boston struggled down the home stretch and fell three points short of landing themselves a post-season berth, but the extended off-season might pay dividends for three key members of their roster. The Bruins announced Tuesday that Torey Krug, David Krejci and Matt Beleskey have all undergone off-season surgeries that will keep them out of action for significant periods of time.
Beleskey, 27, will see the shortest recovery time with only six weeks needed for him to get back to action. He had surgery to repair his left hand in mid-April, and the timeline for recovery will give the first-year Bruin more than enough time to get healthy in time for the regular season. In his first campaign with Boston after signing a five-year, $19-million deal, Beleskey netted 15 goals and 37 points.
The more worrisome injuries, though, are those to Krug and Krejci, who are expected to miss six and five months, respectively. Read more