Before rookie goaltender Matt Murray was backstopping the Pittsburgh Penguins to a Stanley Cup final, there was Cam Ward, the Carolina Hurricanes netminder who stole the starting role from Martin Gerber and has been Carolina’s go-to guy ever since.
But since that Stanley Cup victory, a combination of injury trouble and mediocre play has made Ward’s tenure in Carolina somewhat tumultuous. There were good seasons — his 2010-11 campaign with a .923 save percentage and 37 wins stands out — but there were also some poor ones, like the 2013-14 campaign where Ward went posted a sub-.900 SP and bloated 3.06 GAA in 28 starts.
Now comes the hard part for both Ward and the Hurricanes, though. After 11 seasons, Ward is set to become an unrestricted free agent after finishing up the final season of a six-year, $37.8-million deal. It has seemed at times the Hurricanes would choose to let Ward walk, but after Ward impressed GM Ron Francis in the second-half of the 2015-16 season, Carolina seems to be leaning towards keeping the 31-year-old netminder.
“We’ll make a decision fairly soon (with regard to signing Ward),” Francis said, via the News & Observer, adding he and his staff have been assessing who will be available for goaltending help in the free agent market. And it doesn’t sounds like looking elsewhere sounds as good as some may have believed. Read more
An announcement on expansion is expected in less than two weeks’ time, and it’s expected that the NHL will announce it has granted Las Vegas a new franchise. But in the midst of the expansion process, rumors have surfaced that one potential course of action would see the league decide against expansion and instead move the Carolina Hurricanes, who are struggling to fill their building and rack up wins, to Nevada.
You can rest easy, though, Hurricanes fans, because commissioner Gary Bettman and Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos, Jr., are stomping out those rumors before they spread any further.
Speaking to the News & Observer’s Chip Alexander, Bettman acknowledged that Karmanos is looking to sell the team if he can find “the right people,” but he wanted to make sure to “take down the temperature” on rumors that have been gaining steam as the league inches closer to announcing their plans with regard to expansion.
“I don’t see the Hurricanes relocating, period,” Bettman told Alexander. “I think the Triangle is a terrific market…Peter Karmanos is a terrific owner. This franchise has never missed a beat and he has been there to support it, financially and emotionally. All this speculation is unfair to the franchise and its fans. It’s completely unfounded.” Read more
The cost of running the Carolina Hurricanes has reportedly put owner Peter Karmanos, Jr., into a big-money dispute with his three sons, including Jason Karmanos, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ vice president of hockey operations.
Click On Detroit’s Rod Meloni reported that three of Karmanos’ sons — Jason, Nick and Peter III — are suing their father over more than $105.6 million which is owed to a trust of which the sons own a piece. The fund was created with Compuware stock, the company Karmanos helped found, in 1996. The court filing says Karmanos owns 34 percent of the trust with the three sons each holding an equal share at 21.6 percent.
According to the lawsuit, Karmanos, Jr., borrowed from the trust in part to help fund the Hurricanes. The amount borrowed from the trust exceeds $350 million since 1999, according to the lawsuit, and the documents also state he used the trust as collateral to secure loans to support Carolina’s NHL club. Read more
Given how important the youth have been to Finland this year, it’s probably not a shocker that the final seven roster spots for the nation’s World Cup of Hockey team skew young. But it is nice to see the kids rewarded.
Scott Luce has been either the director of scouting or director of player personnel with the Florida Panthers since 2002. And like literally every other person in the talent evaluation business, he has some home runs and he has some skeletons in his closet.
So when the Panthers said they relieved him of his duties, saying they wanted a new voice when it came to scouting, there’s no reason not to take them for their word. Luce’s recent work has been splendid, but that many years in one position is a long time for anyone in this business.
The Edmonton Oilers need for a top-pairing defenseman remains a hot topic among the media. With their depth in young scoring forwards, it’s assumed one of them will be dealt to address the Oilers’ blueline needs.
Appearing last Friday on 630 CHED radio, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman discussed with host Bob Stauffer what it might take for the Carolina Hurricanes to pry center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins out of Edmonton. Stauffer feels it’ll take more than defenseman Justin Faulk while Friedman countered it could take more than Nugent-Hopkins to land Faulk.
If the Oilers and Hurricanes are discussing Faulk, the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson points out Hurricanes assistant GM Rick Olczyk used to hold a similar position with the Oilers. He could help GM Ron Francis assess Oilers right winger Jordan Eberle or Nugent-Hopkins. Read more
Finland has won gold again – get used to it.
Led by superstar 2016 draft prospect Jesse Puljujarvi, the Finns dusted off archrival Sweden in the final of the World Under-18 Championship in North Dakota on Sunday. Puljujarvi scored a hat trick in the 6-1 demolition, while the home-side Americans earned bronze with a 10-3 walloping of a disorganized Canadian squad.
If it sounds like the Finns have been on the podium a lot lately, it’s because they have. This is the third junior-level gold in three years for Suomi, when the 2016 and 2014 world junior titles are added in. So how are they doing it?
The NHL has yet to make a formal decision on expansion but it seems increasingly likely that if the league does decide to expand, the lone expansion team will be granted to Las Vegas. However, with an NHL-ready building waiting for a big league tenant in Quebec City, rumors have been swirling about the potential for relocation.
One of the most persistent rumors is that the Hurricanes would be on the move, but Carolina’s owner Peter Karmanos made sure to snuff out those talks when speaking with Le Journal de Quebec’s Stephane Cadorette. Karmanos bluntly told Cadorette that, “the Hurricanes will not become the Nordiques.”
“I swear to you that the team is not going to Quebec,” Karmanos told Cadorette. “I’m not saying this because I have anything against Quebec, but because we have commitments that we value (in Carolina). We have an excellent lease, I love (PNC Arena) and I am deeply committed to this market.” Read more