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
It’s not even midway through the off-season and the Detroit Red Wings already have a logjam at forward.
Entering this week, the Red Wings had 15 forwards under contract, and things haven’t gotten any less crowded up front. On Wednesday, Detroit inked Teemu Pulkkinen to a one-year, $812,500 deal, and Thursday, the Red Wings announced that Luke Glendening has been brought back on a four-year, $7.2-million deal which will pay him an annual salary of $1.8 million.
With the signings of Pulkkinen and Glendening, the Red Wings have not one, not two, but five spare forwards, which means Detroit GM Ken Holland has some work to do before the campaign begins. Read more
Free agency is well under way but the opportunity to negotiate a new deal has led a number of restricted free agents to salary arbitration.
The NHLPA announced the dates for the 24 arbitration hearings that are slated to take place between July 20 and Aug. 4, though some players have already reached agreements with their respective clubs ahead, helping both sides avoid arbitration.
The most productive player to avoid arbitration thus far is Kyle Palmieri, who posted 30 goals and 57 points in 82 games with the New Jersey Devils in 2015-16. Palmieri had filed to take the Devils to arbitration to hammer out a new deal on July 5, but New Jersey and Palmieri landed on a five-year, $23.25-million deal just two days later. Others who have filed but since settled include Detroit Red Wings minor-league goaltender Jared Coreau and Philadelphia Flyers winger Jordan Weal, both of whom signed deals worth over $600,000.
There are some big names still without contracts for the upcoming campaign, however. Here are five key arbitration hearings that could impact some important players: Read more
The Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons praises the ability of Maple Leafs management to ship out contracts considered untradeable. He observes they’ve shed over $23 million in salary-cap space in the last 18 months by dealing away Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf, David Clarkson and Jonathan Bernier.
That prompted Simmons to speculate their next trick will be making winger Joffrey Lupul’s contract disappear. Lupul, 32, is signed through 2017-18 at an annual average salary of $5.25 million. He also holds a modified no-trade clause listing 14 acceptable trade destinations.
Since joining the Leafs, Lupul’s continually been sidelined by injuries. He missed 31 games in 2015-16 to a sports hernia. As a result, his name is frequently surfacing in trade rumors. Read more
The most notable exclusion from the 24 players who filed for salary arbitration Tuesday was Petr Mrazek, but that doesn’t mean the Detroit Red Wings goaltender won’t be included in the process. Sources have told thn.com that the Red Wings will take Mrazek to arbitration before teams are required to file at 5 p.m. (eastern time) Wednesday.
This is a bit of a chess game here. Had Mrazek filed for arbitration, the Red Wings would have been able to choose either a one- or two-year reward. With the Red Wings filing, Mrazek will now have the choice of a one- or two-year award. Regardless, it means Mrazek is guaranteed to have a deal with the Red Wings for at least one season and will be available to the Red Wings for the start of the season. Mrazek is expected to be the Czech Republic’s No. 1 goaltender for the World Cup of Hockey.
It’s early July, so obviously there’s another important day coming up on the hockey calendar. Coming up next: the deadline for restricted free agents to file for arbitration, which is on the docket for Tuesday.
This will likely be a procedural day for many players because so few actually end up going the full distance in arbitration, but one thing it will do is tell us which players will definitely be in uniform for their teams at the start of training camp in the fall. That’s because arbitration forces a ruling on both sides, meaning the player is under contract for either one or two more seasons.
On the opening day of NHL free agency, 131 players signed contracts worth a combined total of more than $650 million, according to capfriendly.com. While Milan Lucic, Kyle Okposo, David Backes and Andrew Ladd dominated headlines, signing big-money deals as the best players available, most teams were also filling gaps in organizational depth with signings you may not have even heard about.
For Red Wings fans who find themselves wincing right now, let’s put the Thomas Vanek signing in perspective: it’s only one year and it’s only $2.6 million.