Burmistrov set for NHL return, while Lindstrom jets for KHL

Jared Clinton
Alexander Burmistrov

After two seasons in the KHL, Alexander Burmistrov is heading back to the NHL.

Burmistrov, 23, spent the past two seasons with the KHL’s Ak Bars Kazan, but his contract expired at the end of the 2014-15 campaign. Last off-season, in an interview with Prosports.ru, Burmistrov said he would, “almost certainly,” end up back in the NHL, with his hope being he would land in an organization that would give him playing time.

With a change in coaching in Winnipeg — the team that owns the rights to the 23-year-old restricted free agent — it’s possible this opens the door for Burmistrov’s return to Winnipeg. If not, he becomes an interesting trade chip for the Jets that other teams will certainly be calling about. Read more

Can Babcock really be the savior some teams might be seeking?

Mike Babcock (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

Depending upon the whims of the management teams in Boston and St. Louis, we could be in for one of the most fascinating off-season games of coaching musical chairs we’ve seen in years – perhaps even ever.

With the Detroit Red Wings eliminated from the playoffs, the Mike Babcock Sweepstakes™ are about to begin. Todd McLellan is already on the market and Ken Hitchcock’s future is uncertain in St. Louis. Meanwhile, the new GM in Boston will have the opportunity to decide whether or not Claude Julien is going to be his head coach moving forward. Read more

KHL standout Artemi Panarin to sign with Blackhawks, but it’s NHL or bust

Jared Clinton
Artemi Panarin (via KHL/YouTube)

The Blackhawks have yet to make it official, but reports have surfaced that one of the most sought after KHL free agents is on the verge of inking a deal with Chicago. If he fails to make the Blackhawks, though, he’ll be heading right back to Russia.

According to Igor Eronko, a vice-president with SKA St. Petersburg, Panarin’s KHL club, confirmed that the 23-year-old winger has signed a deal that has an out-clause: if Panarin isn’t on Chicago’s roster next season, he is free to return to St. Petersburg. Read more

John Klingberg deal good for the player, potentially better for Dallas Stars

John Klingberg (right) and Tyler Seguin (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s not exactly Evan Longoria-like, but if you can come up with a player with less NHL experience who has ever signed a longer, more lucrative contract than John Klingberg has with the Dallas Stars, let us know.

Because we certainly can’t come up with one. After just 65 games in the best league in the world and only 13 in the American League prior to that, and coming off double hip surgery last summer, Klingberg signed a seven-year deal with the Stars worth $29.75 million. It’s a contract that will take him and the Stars through the 2021-22 season. (Longoria, the superstar third baseman for the Tampa Bay Rays, agreed to a six-year contract extension in 2008 worth $17.5 million just six games into his major league career, a deal that has since been extended.) Read more

Todd McLellan Era in San Jose looks to be over, but roster move of consequence is also necessary

Adam Proteau
Sharks head coach Todd McLellan talks to players including Joe Pavelski and Patrick Marleau. (Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

According to the San Jose Mercury News, the highly rumored split between the Sharks and head coach Todd McLellan may happen as soon as Wednesday, with both sides announcing a “mutual agreement” to sever McLellan’s employment with the franchise and make him one of the most highly sought-after bench bosses on the market this summer.

McLellan – who was announced Tuesday as Team Canada’s head coach at the 2015 IIHF World Championship in the Czech Republic – will be fine. But what about the Sharks? I’ve argued recently San Jose isn’t necessarily destined to continue sliding down the Western Conference standings, but some major roster move is likely – and I’m not just talking about another shocking signing like the Sharks adding one-dimensional John Scott. Read more

Vincent Lecavalier’s washout in Philly should (but won’t) make NHL teams wary of lengthy contracts for thirtysomethings

Adam Proteau
Vincent Lecavalier (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Just two years into a five-year, $22.5-million contract, Vincent Lecavalier’s days with the Flyers appear to be numbered. There may be a chance he’ll stick around if Craig Berube – Philly’s head coach, with whom Lecavalier is at loggerheads with over his role – is shown the door in the off-season, but there’s also a chance both could be gone by the time training camp arrives.

With the 34-year-old Lecavalier struggling to put up points – his offensive production of eight goals and 20 points is down nearly 50 percent from 2013-14, when he posted 20 goals and 37 points – the Flyers will almost certainly find it difficult to trade him this summer and may have no choice but to buy him out of the final three years of the deal. That will leave Philadelphia with a salary cap hit of be $2.889 million in 2015-16 and 2016-17, $2.389 million in 2017-18 and $889,000 each season beginning in the fall of 2018 and running until the summer of 2021. That’s a at least a decent roster player (if not two) every season the franchise will have to do without, because management decided to use a good deal of their cap space on a big name strictly because he was a big name. For a fleeting moment, it boosted the Flyers’ pride to say they outbid everyone else for Lecavalier, but it didn’t take long at all for reality to intrude on them and paint a more stark picture of what they could expect for him.

Lecavalier’s saga in Orange & Black should give all teams pause to think twice about signing veteran NHL stars in their thirties to long-term pacts, but experience tells us it won’t. Read more

Why the Maple Leafs should try to get Mike Futa or Paul Fenton

Mike Futa  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

It has been exactly 25 years and one day since notorious tyrant, skinflint and former Toronto Maple Leafs owner Harold Ballard died. And you could argue that 9,131 days later, the franchise is in even more disastrous shape on the ice than it was a quarter century ago.

Ballard died 11 days after the Leafs posted a record of 38-38-4 and a goal differential of minus-21 and one day before they were knocked out of the playoffs by the St. Louis Blues in five games. This season’s edition of the Leafs just put a bow on a miserable 30-44-8 season with no hope of the post-season and a goal differential of minus-51. Read more

Jaromir Jagr’s not done yet, inks one-year deal with Panthers

Jared Clinton
Jaromir Jagr and Jonathan Huberdeau. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

At this point, it’s going to take an army to keep Jaromir Jagr away from professional hockey.

The Florida Panthers announced Sunday that they have come to terms with the 43-year-old legend on a one-year contract, which will keep Jagr in the Sunshine State for at least one more season. Jagr, who was acquired by Florida from the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 26, has suited up in 20 games since joining the Panthers and notched six goals and 18 points. Read more