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.
It will be another two weeks, at the very least, before Pavel Datsyuk has officially made his decision about his future with the Detroit Red Wings. But according to Datsyuk’s agent, the decision won’t come without Datsyuk taking into account what his leaving for the KHL could mean for the Red Wings’ immediate future.
One of the biggest concerns about Datsyuk, 37, leaving for the KHL is what will happen should the Red Wings not find a trade partner to take on his $7.5-million salary for next season.
The contract Datsyuk signed with Detroit in June 2013 came following the star pivot’s 35th birthday, which means that even if Datsyuk were to retire, the cap hit would remain. And though the contract comes off the books before the 2017-18 season, it’s not something the Red Wings can realistically afford heading into the upcoming campaign if the ‘Magic Man’ won’t be in their lineup. Datsyuk, and his agent, Dan Milstein, have acknowledged that.
“He would like to leave, but at the same time, he wants to make sure the Wings have options,” Milstein told the Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James. “He wants to help the team any way he can with the salary cap issue.” Read more
Pavel Datsyuk, his agent and Detroit GM Ken Holland have said on several occasions that Datsyuk won’t be coming to a final decision on his future with the Red Wings until after the World Championship, so imagine the surprise when a report surfaced that he had signed a KHL deal.
According to a report from Russian outlet Sportfakt, Datsyuk has agreed to a two-year deal with the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg without actually signing on the dotted line. Financial terms were not reported, but Sportfakt said the contract would be signed around the time the World Championship came to a close.
However, shortly after the report surfaced, Datsyuk’s agent Dan Milstein told The Detroit News’ Ted Kulfan that the report was “inaccurate,” saying the Russian center hasn’t spoken with any team or media about his contract status. Milstein reiterated that Datsyuk and the Red Wings are slated to meet in mid-June after Datsyuk comes back from the World Championship where he is captaining the Russian squad and has one goal and eight points in nine games. Read more
The Detroit Red Wings only have four players who were NHL regulars hitting unrestricted free agency this off-season, and two have already been told they shouldn’t expect to be coming back.
The Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James reported Thursday that Red Wings GM Ken Holland has told free agents-to-be Brad Richards and Kyle Quincey that he “definitely won’t sign them before July 1, if at all,” which is to say that both Richards and Quincey are almost assuredly heading elsewhere this off-season. As far asthe Red Wings’ two other UFAs, Drew Miller and Darren Helm, Holland said he’s still seeing what the future holds for them.
Detroit saying goodbye to Richards isn’t shocking whatsoever. Brought in during the off-season on a one-year, $3-million deal, Richards was nowhere near as effective as Holland or the Red Wings would have hoped. Read more
The Detroit Red Wings are looking for some added experience behind the bench, and the help the Red Wings are seeking could come courtesy of former divisional opponent the Columbus Blue Jackets.
According to The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline, the Blue Jackets have granted the Red Wings permission to speak with former coach Todd Richards, who was fired by Columbus two weeks into the 2015-16 campaign after the team limped out of the gate to an 0-7 record. Richards was fired following the seventh loss to open the campaign, and was almost immediately replaced by veteran coach John Tortorella.
Portzline reported that Richards, 49, will not interview for the position until after he returns from the World Championships, where he’s currently an assistant for Team USA. Read more
Detroit Red Wings center Riley Sheahan said he was almost more nervous than before a playoff game and all he was about to do was meet one of his biggest fans for a night of dancing.
During the late stages of the season, Sheahan, 24, received a letter from Morgan Behen to be her date to a prom that had been organized by Wish Upon A Teen, a group which helps young people dealing with life-threatening illnesses. Behen, 22, is fighting a brain tumor, which doctors have told her is inoperable. Sheahan accepted Behen’s invite but didn’t tell her that he would be at the event.
As the event approached this past Saturday, Sheahan still hadn’t informed Behen he would be at the prom. Instead, he waited until the day of and surprised her by showing up to be Behen’s date and dance partner for the evening. Brad Galli of ABC’s WXYZ Detroit was at the event: Read more
Before the season began, Mattias Janmark had a pretty heavy choice ahead of him. According to his contract, he could head back to Sweden if the Dallas Stars couldn’t find a roster spot for him. Sure, Janmark was familiar with AHL Texas from a brief visit the previous season, but the ball was in his court and it was either Frolunda or The Show.
Luckily for Dallas, Janmark earned his way into The Show.
As the season begins to wind down, we’re starting to see some hardware handed out in the prospect ranks. Toronto Maple Leafs hopeful Mitch Marner, for example, just won the OHL’s Red Tilson Trophy as the league’s most outstanding player for his work with the London Knights. Another OHL award-winner is featured below in my weekly wrap-up. Elsewhere in the hockey world, the USHL is in the middle of its two-stage draft. During Phase 1 (for 2000 birthdays), Sioux Falls landed competitive center Gavin Hain with the No. 1 pick. Phase 2 (for 1999s and earlier) happened today. And speaking of the USHL, let’s get to this week’s round-up: