This off-season has been a difficult one for free agents, which has led to one of the most impressive crops of players signing professional tryouts in recent memory. Some players who were thought to be possible free agent targets — players like Curtis Glencross and Tomas Fleischmann — have had to settle for coming into camp with the hope of landing a job via training camp.
Players on PTOs will begin their quest for jobs later this week when training camps open league-wide. How many of these players land NHL contracts is yet to be seen, but some teams could end up benefitting big time from an off-season in which free agent contracts were hard to come by.
Here are the players currently on PTOs: Read more
In his second full season in the NHL, Brock Nelson became a 20-goal, 40-point player for the New York Islanders. But Islanders faithful hoping to see what kind of campaign Nelson can follow his sophomore season with might have to cross their fingers that a last-minute deal gets done.
In an interview with Newsday’s Arthur Staple, Nelson’s agent Ron Salcer said he hasn’t spoken with Islanders GM Garth Snow in six weeks.
“Garth and I talked six weeks ago after they made an offer, which was nowhere near commensurate with what players like Brock are making,” Salcer told Staple. “Garth said he’d get back to me and that was it. No negotiations whatsoever.” Read more
Another day, another respectable veteran addition to Toronto’s island of misfit toys.
On Wednesday the Maple Leafs signed left winger Curtis Glencross, 32, to a professional tryout. That comes less than a month after right winger Devin Setoguchi joined the Blue and White on a PTO.
Glencross shouldn’t have much trouble making this team. He’s produced eight straight seasons of double-digit goal scoring. He’s a two-time 20-goal man. He’s an accurate shooter, 12 percent or better in seven of his eight full seasons. Glencross disappointed as Washington Capitals trade deadline acquisition from Calgary this past spring, but a guy who produces 35 points in a down year still has a place on any NHL roster.
Why Toronto, though? Why would a scorched-earth rebuild squad want a veteran top-nine forward? It’s all part of a master plan being confidently executed by the Leafs’ suped up new regime, including Brendan Shanahan, Mike Babcock, Lou Lamoriello, Kyle Dubas and Mark Hunter.
It took more than two months, but Cody Franson has finally found his home for the 2015-16 season.
After publicly stating he was looking for something longer than a one-year deal, Franson, 28, has signed a two-year deal with the Buffalo Sabres. TSN’s Bob McKenzie first reported late Wednesday that Franson was in Buffalo to put the finishing touches on the contract, which has now been signed, according to McKenzie.
Exact terms of the deal have not yet been released, but ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reported the contract would carry an annual cap hit of $3.325-million. At that cap hit, Franson is not earning a massive raise on his previous contract, a one-year, $3.3-million deal he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs in July 2014. Read more
Unless the two sides can hammer out a contract before the season begins, Calgary fan-favorite Micheal Ferland might not be in the Flames lineup on opening night.
Ferland captured the hearts of Flames fans in the post-season with his physical play, but the 23-year-old left winger is still a restricted free agent and, according to Calgary Flames GM Jim Treliving, it doesn’t appear Ferland is any closer to inking a new contract.
The Calgary Sun’s Randy Sportak spoke with Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving, who quipped that the only things keeping the deal from getting finished are, “money and term, that’s all.”
“We’ll bang away,” Treliving told Sportak. “We haven’t been able to find something that both sides nod on yet, but we’ve still got some time.” Read more
Newly acquired Los Angeles Kings left winger Milan Lucic is about to embark on his first professional season outside of a Boston Bruins uniform, but he might already have his sights set on a third professional home come 2016-17.
In a recent interview with TSN 1410, Lucic, a Vancouver native, was asked about whether or not he’d ever come to his hometown to suit up for the Canucks, and Lucic didn’t write off the possibility of him skating alongside some of the same players he watched his then-Bruins defeat in the 2011 Stanley Cup final.
“I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen moving on,” Lucic told TSN 1410. “I mean I have one year left on my contract, and there’s a possibility that I can hit the [unrestricted free agent] market. It’s obviously something that’s been a dream of mine since I’ve been a kid, is to play in your hometown and play for the Canucks, but right now the main focus is going down to L.A. and trying to make the most of that.” Read more
If you’re Steve Yzerman, you should have had Steven Stamkos signed to an eight-year contract extension more than a month ago. Same goes for Dean Lombardi and his dealings with Anze Kopitar. It’s simple really. These guys are franchise players. Sign them at the going rate for the maximum number of years and get rid of the distraction.
After all, that’s what Stan Bowman did last summer and he killed two potential headaches with one Aspirin. Faced with a similar situation with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, the Chicago Blackhawks GM needed exactly eight days to get his two stars signed to identical eight-year deals worth $84 million. Cap hits of $10.5 million per times two represented a bold move, but in reality, the Blackhawks got themselves a deal. Had Toews and Kane played out the final seasons of their contracts and gone on the open market separately, they would have cashed in even more. Read more
The Los Angeles Kings will have to pay big bucks to keep first-line centerman Anze Kopitar out of next summer’s unrestricted free agent market. However, he’s not the King who will prove costly to retain.
Fluto Shinzawa of The Boston Globe speculates left winger Milan Lucic could have a short tenure in Los Angeles. Lucic, 27, was dealt to the Kings in June by the Boston Bruins. Like Kopitar, he’s slated to become a UFA next July. He’s completing a three-year, $18 million contract and it’s expected he’ll seek a significant raise.
The Kings currently have over $49 million invested in 15 players for 2016-17. That’s not including the potential salary-cap recapture penalty for center Mike Richards, whose contract termination is being contested by the NHLPA, or the $4.167-million salary-cap hit of currently-suspended defenseman Slava Voynov. Read more