The dog days of the NHL offseason got a nice jolt on Monday when the Senators and Rangers hooked up on a decent-sized trade. The deal sends Derick Brassard and a seventh to Ottawa in exchange for Mika Zibanejad and a second, improving the Senators’ top six while adding some youth to the Rangers and giving them some additional cap room to work with.
The trade also answered one of the offseason’s lingering questions, which was: When are the Rangers going to get around to doing something? We were all told to expect a busy offseason in New York, as GM Jeff Gorton would look to shake up his aging and expensive core. But until this week, not much had happened aside from a few minor free agency signings. Trading Broussard isn’t exactly a blockbuster, but at least now the Rangers are on the board.
But that still leaves a few more stories lingering in the “still waiting” file. Here are five moves everyone went into the offseason expecting to see that still haven’t happened yet. Read more
The Vancouver Canucks made some off-season moves in hopes of increasing their scoring this coming campaign, adding Loui Eriksson to potentially play alongside the Sedin twins and locking up youngsters Markus Granlund, Sven Baertschi and Emerson Etem.
And while the Eriksson signing all but guarantees the Canucks another 20-goal player for the 2016-17 season, there are still some questions about the young contingent of players.
Baertschi, 23, looked to finally hit his stride with a 15-goal campaign and he could have a 20-goal season in him if he catches fire or finds chemistry with his linemates. However, Canucks GM Jim Benning doesn’t seem too keen on simply gambling that Baertschi’s scoring ability will continue to increase. For that reason, he wants to add another scorer.
“We’d like to add a proven scorer who brings some grit to take the pressure off Sven, so he can keep developing at his own pace,” Benning told the Vancouver Sun’s Ben Kuzma. “He took a big step last year and wants to prove to people that he has more to give. But I don’t know where he’s going to end up (next season). At some point, that (second line) is where he’s going to be, but maybe he plays on the third line with the capability of playing on the power play and potentially scoring 15 to 20 goals for us.” Read more
Heading into mid-July, the New York Rangers have yet to make a significant move to shed cap space or shake up their roster. Signing veteran left winger Michael Grabner to a two-year deal ($1.65 million annually) and acquiring defenseman Nick Holden from the Colorado Avalanche were their biggest deals thus far.
The Rangers carry $12.4 million in salary-cap room. With restricted free agents Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller, Kevin Hayes and Dylan McIlrath to re-sign, there’s not enough space to retain those players and bolster the lineup via trades or free agency.
Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports Blueshirts GM Jeff Gorton hasn’t been idle in the trade market, but he’s been unable to find suitable deals. Brooks claims Gorton is reluctant to move center Derek Stepan, won’t trade defenseman Ryan McDonagh, can’t find equal value for left winger Rick Nash and isn’t shopping Kreider.
With Matt Larkin
Why do you wear No. 71?
It was given to me when I first got to camp in Ottawa (as a Senator). The trainers thought it would be funny, because that’s what number my dad (Mike Foligno) wore. I don’t think they realized I was just was just happy to be there, so I didn’t care what number I was going to wear (laughs).
Whom do you model your game after?
I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to model my game after him, but Peter Forsberg, besides my dad, was my idol growing up. He was a guy I was lucky enough to get to know a little bit when my dad was coaching in Colorado, too. He was an outstanding player in terms of how physically he played the game and how good he was, too. He was someone I looked up to big-time.
What was your favorite team growing up?
Usually it was whatever team my dad was playing for or coaching, and it was always the Avalanche after that, because of Peter Forsberg.
Less than 24 hours before the free agency period begins, several NHL teams got to work on some housekeeping Thursday. Six teams placed players on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a buyout. The NHL’s buyout window closes at 5 p.m. ET on Thursday.
There had already been some notable buyouts, including the Canucks’ Chris Higgins, the Wild’s Thomas Vanek, and the Blue Jackets Fedor Tyutin.
The Blue Jackets got back to work on Thursday, buying out the final year of right winger Jared Boll’s contract. Boll, 30, scored one goal in 30 games in 2015-16.
A clear sign we’re scaling the peak of NHL off-season activity? A star player signs a contract, and all we want to talk about is the context, the ripple effect, how it plays into other transactions.
The Columbus Blue Jackets announced Wednesday they’d locked up their franchise defenseman, Seth Jones, on a six-year, $32.4-million contract. It carries a $5.4-million cap hit. Jones was a restricted free agent and hasn’t yet maxed out the mammoth upside that made the Nashville Predators choose him fourth overall in 2013, but it was no surprise to see him bypass a short-term bridge contract. Columbus dealt its top-line center, Ryan Johansen, for Jones in January. Jones is clearly part of the Jackets’ long-term plans. He has tremendous size at 6-foot-4 and 208 pounds. He’s a graceful skater and puck mover. He uses his big reach impeccably on defense, and he can wire a mean slapshot, too. There’s an excellent chance his $5.4-million cap hit looks like a bargain within a season or two. He and Zach Werenski forge a formidable blueline tandem to build around for years to come.
“He’s a guy who’s come in and solidified what our team is going to be about going forward,” said Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno Friday on a phone call with THN. “He’s a great skater, he moves the puck extremely well, and that’s what we want to see out of our back end.
“For how young he is, it’s pretty incredible the way he can command on the ice. That’s the first thing I noticed, his demeanor. His presence on the ice when he’s playing his game is felt. When he brings it, we’re a way better team. It’s exciting to know he’s going to be here for a while, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do now as he grows and becomes more mature and takes on bigger responsibilities. It’s been nothing but plusses having Seth on our team.”
BUFFALO – Night 1 of the 2016 NHL draft gave us a bit of everything, a blend of expectant nods and wide-eyed gasps.
We saw the predictable occur. Auston Matthews went first overall, Patrik Laine second. The Calgary Flames acquired a goaltender in Brian Elliott. The Chicago Blackhawks squeezed another forward out because of their salary-cap crunch in Andrew Shaw, dealt to the Montreal Canadiens. The Detroit Red Wings shipped Pavel Datsyuk’s $7.5-million cap hit to the one team we knew would take it: the Arizona Coyotes, striving for the salary floor.
We saw plenty of shocking moments, too. Pierre-Luc Dubois, the draft’s swing pick, usurped Jesse Puljujarvi, seemingly the consensus No. 3 overall selection. The Wings went off the board on Dennis Cholowski at No. 20 overall. We had him 37th in our 2016 Draft Preview, for what it’s worth.
But plenty of hyped storylines remain unresolved entering Day 2 of the draft. Let’s review a few.
The Columbus Blue Jackets don’t have much cap space, but that won’t matter if they lock up their restricted free agents to sweetheart deals like the one William Karlsson has inked with the club.
It was announced Thursday evening that Karlsson, 23, has signed a two-year contract to remain with the Blue Jackets, and that’s a great contract for Columbus. CapFriendly reported the contract is worth $1 million annually.
Though Karlsson didn’t exactly have the type of season that would lead any to believe he’s an offensive dynamo, he excelled as a depth center. In his first full campaign, he knocked home nine goals, tied for 15th in rookie goal scoring, and 20 points, which tied him for 20th in points for rookies.
“William Karlsson made great strides in his first NHL season and we believe that he is just beginning to come into his own as a player,” Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said in a release. “He is an important part of our young, core group of players and we are pleased that he will continue to grow, develop and contribute to our team as we move forward.” Read more