If the Colorado Avalanche and defenseman Tyson Barrie don’t come to an agreement on a contract before Sunday 3 p.m., Barrie will represent the only one of 25 players in the arbitration process this summer whose case actually went the distance.
A total of 24 players, including Barrie, filed for arbitration, while the Detroit Red Wings took goalie Petr Mrazek to arbitration. The 24 other cases all ended in a contract resolution, the last of which was Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Martin Marincin, who was scheduled to have his hearing Monday. Marincin, however, signed a two-year deal with the Maple Leafs on Friday worth $1.25 million per season.
Throughout 2015-16, Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was a fixture in the NHL trade rumor mill. Entering this off-season, the 22-year-old was considered the Oiler most likely to be dealt this summer, preumably for a top-four defenseman.
Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli pulled a swerve, however, shipping Taylor Hall in late June to the New Jersey Devils for blueliner Adam Larsson. Since then, the Nugent-Hopkins speculation has cooled.
The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson notes the trade chatter had the young center linked to Colorado Avalanche blueliner Tyson Barrie and Minnesota Wild rearguard Matt Dumba. With the Wild signing free agent Eric Staal, Matheson suggests they’re likely no longer in the hunt for depth at center.
The one-for-one swap that brought Adam Larsson to Edmonton and sent Taylor Hall to New Jersey caught just about everyone off guard, and the reaction among many was that the Devils had gotten the better of the deal.
One reason the general consensus swayed in the favor of New Jersey was that Larsson, 23, had yet to transform into the top-pairing blueliner he was projected to be. But the now-Oilers defenseman has faith in his ability, and he believes he can move into a bigger role in Edmonton, make a bigger impact than he had in New Jersey and make the trade look more even than it was believed to be when the deal was completed.
So after logging 22:30 of ice time per game for the Devils this past season, scoring three goals and 18 points and skating as a top-pairing defenseman at the World Championship for Sweden, Larsson intends to take his game to another level.
“I think I can take an even bigger step,” Larsson told media Monday. “There was a lot of focus on defense last year, and penalty kill, but obviously the next step is more offense and hopefully a little more power play time.” Read more
The best-before date on “crucial season for the Oilers,” expired long ago, but the goal is still the same for 2016-17: get back to the post-season for the first time in, now, more than a decade. Milan Lucic has replaced Taylor Hall as a top-line winger, while Jesse Puljujarvi is the latest lottery pick to bring excellent skill as a potential top-six forward.
But defense is going to be the bellwether.
Throughout last season, Edmonton Oilers right wing Nail Yakupov was frequently mentioned as a potential trade candidate. Entering this off-season, speculation persisted the 2012 first-overall draft pick would be dealt at some point.
Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli was certainly busy in recent weeks, shipping left wing Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils for defenseman Adam Larsson and inking free-agent winger Milan Lucic. As speculation persists over other possible moves by Chiarelli, forwards Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are mentioned as possible trade chips.
Yakupov, however, scarcely received mention until earlier this week. On Tuesday, Sun-Sentinel.com’s Harvey Fialkov took to Twitter to shoot down a rumor claiming the Florida Panthers might deal defenseman Alex Petrovic to the Oilers for the young Russian forward. Read more
After weeks of anticipation, the New York Rangers finally made a significant roster move this summer. On Monday, they dealt center Derick Brassard and a seventh-round pick in 2018 to the Ottawa Senators for center Mika Zibanejad and a 2018 second-round selection.
In shipping out Brassard’s $5-million annual average salary through 2018-19 for Zibanejad’s $2.65 million in 2016-17, Rangers GM Jeff Gorton freed up an additional $2.35 million. He can put that toward re-signing a restricted free agent forward such as Chris Kreider or Kevin Hayes. He could also use it to his roster via trade or free agency.
Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News speculates Gorton could use the savings to acquire St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. He could then re-sign the blueliner, who’s eligible next July for unrestricted free agency, to an extension worth $6-million annually. Leonard also wonders if Kreider could be swapped for Shattenkirk before the winger’s arbitration date on Friday. Read more
There’s still nearly three months until the NHL campaign opens, which will leave the league’s 30 teams with ample time to tune and tweak their rosters as opening night approaches.
However, a few teams have made big splashes this off-season. Some have gotten creative, such as the Arizona Coyotes and Florida Panthers, by trading for a player’s exclusive negotiating rights to ink them to a deal before free agency opened, while others have gone the more traditional route, like the Boston Bruins, who shelled out a five-year, $30-million deal to David Backes.
Meanwhile, some clubs have gone the trade route, with the New Jersey Devils and Edmonton Oilers and the Montreal Canadiens and Nashville Predators linking up to make one-for-one deals that both teams hope will improve their situations going forward.
And though there are still a number of free agents who could sign and make a difference next season, the biggest names are off the market. So here are the five off-season moves that have been made (so far) that will have the biggest impact this coming season: Read more
The Boston Bruins efforts to bolster their defense via the trade market hasn’t panned out so far. The asking prices for available blueliners such as St. Louis’ Kevin Shattenkirk, Minnesota’s Matt Dumba and Anaheim’s Cam Fowler are rumored to be expensive.
It could be time for Bruins GM Don Sweeney to consider his options via free agency. CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty lists Kris Russell, James Wisniewski and Luke Schenn as possible blueline targets.
Russell, 29, is a top-four defenseman and shotblocking specialist. The 33-year-old Wisniewski missed all but one game last season to a knee injury. When healthy, he’s a good puckmoving blueliner. Schenn, 26, has a booming shot and plays a physical style.
This trio won’t address the Bruins long-term defensive needs. However, one of them could be a decent, affordable short-term option while Sweeney awaits for the trade market to improve.