Rumor Roundup: Expansion draft rules could force teams to move goalies

Marc-Andre Fleury (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

The NHL is expected to announce its decision on a possible expansion to Las Vegas by June 22. More details recently emerged regarding the guidelines for an expansion draft that could affect this summer’s trade market .

It was originally believed players with no-movement clause carrying partial no-trade clauses (such as Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury) wouldn’t be protected from the draft. However, that only applies to players whose contracts expire at the end of 2016-17. That also includes those with full no-movement clauses. Those with contracts that run through 2017-18 must be protected.

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Former Bruin Savard dealt again in salary cap move

Marc Savard (Steve Babineau/Getty Images)

Marc Savard has now been traded twice without having played in a single game.

The injured 38-year-old center was dealt Friday – the second time in less than a year – in a move made strictly because of salary cap implications. Savard is now a member of the New Jersey Devils, leaving the Florida Panthers for minor-leaguer Paul Thompson and center Graham Black, a 23-year-old prospect.

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Meet the Finnish coaching phenom who made Joonas Donskoi an NHL player

Lauri Marjamaki (Bili Tygri Liberec/Champions Hockey League via Getty Images)

SAN JOSE – One of the first things Lauri Marjamaki did when he began coaching Joonas Donskoi three years ago was take him to the grocery store. Some kids get it early, others take a little longer. You can put Donskoi firmly in the latter category. At the age of 21, he had no idea what it took to be a professional hockey player.

But Marjamaki, who could have passed for Donskoi’s older brother and not his coach, went to work. And more than anyone aside from Donskoi himself, Marjamaki is responsible for the final product we’re seeing today. The 24-year-old player who saved the San Jose Sharks season – at least until Game 4 Monday night – was the product of a progressive hockey system and a progressive coach in Marjamaki.

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Panthers unveil new logo and jerseys to signal ‘new tradition of winning’

Jared Clinton
Reilly Smith and Aaron Ekblad (via NHL.com)

The Florida Panthers unveiled a brand new look — jerseys, colors and logo — Thursday evening for what the team hopes will be the beginning a brand new era of Panthers hockey, one the franchise hopes can build off of the success of the 2015-16 campaign.

The jersey and logo reveal took place at a special event at Florida’s BB&T Center, with a number of current and former Panthers on hand, including Aaron Ekblad, Vincent Trocheck, Ed Jovanovski and Olli Jokinen.

The new mark features a “stoic panther” inside a shield, with bot the home and away uniforms bearing distinct text. The home jersey boasts a red base with a white bar dividing the upper and lower halves and gold piping along the bar, and the logo reads “Panthers.” The away uniform is the inverse: white base, red bar and the same gold piping, with the in-logo text reading “Florida.”

Both jerseys feature a blue collar, and the lettering and numbering of both uniforms has gold piping. The away jersey numbers and letters are blue, the home jersey’s red. The numbers will rest atop the shoulders of the jerseys rather than on the sleeves.

“I think the logo harkens to the vanguard of courage; the idea that you put a shield on the hockey uniform,” Panthers owner Vincent Viola said of the new logo. “It’s something to protect, but you also protect it. We wanted something that began a new tradition of winning and demonstrated courage and selfless dedication to a team pursuit of victory.” Read more

Erik Gudbranson to Canucks, Jared McCann to Panthers in head-scratcher trade

Matt Larkin
Erik Gudbranson (Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

Who said we had to wait until draft day for major off-season trades to start happening? The Florida Panthers and Vancouver Canucks bamboozled us with a surprise trade Wednesday night, reported by Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.

The Panthers sent defenseman Erik Gudbranson and a 2016 fifth-round pick to the Vancouver Canucks for center Jared McCann, a 2016 second-round pick and a 2016 fourth-round pick. No salary was retained as part of the transaction, Johnston reports.

It’s a curious, interesting trade from each team’s perspective. The Canucks needed veteran defensive help. Dan Hamhuis, Matt Bartkowski and Yannick Weber are unrestricted free agents this summer, and youngsters Andrey Pedan and Nikita Tryamkin aren’t shoo-ins to be full-time NHLers next year. Gudbranson, the third overall pick in 2010, certainly fills that gap. He’ll almost certainly slot into Vancouver’s top four.

At the same time, the Canucks and GM Jim Benning paid a pretty big price. That second-round pick going Florida’s way is 33rd overall, so it’s almost like a late first-rounder. Speaking of first-rounders: so was center McCann, chosen 24th overall in 2014. McCann had an up-and-down rookie season, but he’s only 19, he managed nine goals, and it was his first and only year of professional hockey. He jumped from the OHL to the NHL, with no stop in AHL Utica. He projects as a good two-way NHL pivot. The Canucks do have Henrik Sedin, Bo Horvat and Brandon Sutter up the middle, but Sedin will be 36 when next season starts, so Vancouver isn’t exactly rolling in long-term depth.

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All the latest on Dale Tallon, Pavel Datsyuk and Mike Van Ryn

Dale Tallon (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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.

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Jagr to stay retired from international competition, won’t play for Czechs at World Cup

Jared Clinton
Jaromir Jagr (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)

Fans hoping to get a glimpse of Jaromir Jagr at the World Cup of Hockey this September will be disappointed, as the veteran winger confirmed to Czech Republic GM Martin Rucinsky it’s a no-go for the upcoming tournament.

Rucinsky told Czech publication Denik Sport that Jagr took a week to think about the decision, according to NHL.com. After taking his time to think about it, the 44-year-old winger, who announced his retirement from international competition following the 2015 World Championship, has decided to stay retired and remain off the roster for the tournament.

“We spoke to each other during the weekend and his final decision was he wouldn’t be going,” Rucinsky said, via NHL.com. “It would be too difficult for him to get ready for such an important tournament during the summer. And he said at last year’s World Championship that he was done with the national team. He also will have a lot of work with Kladno [the Czech league team Jagr owns]. He wants to do some work with the team and therefore wouldn’t be able to get ready for the World Cup in time.” Read more

Panthers’ off-season shakeup continues with firing of director of scouting Scott Luce

Jared Clinton
Scott Luce (right) with Aleksander Barkov during the 2013 draft (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Coming off of arguably the most successful season in franchise history, the Florida Panthers surprised some by shuffling the deck in their front office and the changes keep coming.

Last week, the Panthers officially announced they had moved GM Dale Tallon from his position in the front office to an expanded role as the president of hockey operations and had filled Tallon’s former post with Tom Rowe, who had been acting as the team’s associate GM. To replace Rowe, the Panthers then moved Eric Joyce and Steve Werier to assistant GM roles. And though some would have expected that to be the end of the movement for the Panthers, that’s not the case.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Sunday that the Panthers had let go of longtime director of scouting Scott Luce, which was confirmed Monday by the Miami Herald’s George Richards. According to Richards, Rowe said the Panthers “wanted a different voice” as the team’s head of scouting, but that seems bizarre given the crop of current players and prospects Luce has helped build. Read more