Four players became first-time captains in the NHL ahead of the 2015-16 season, each to varying degrees of success.
In San Jose, Joe Pavelski took over as captain after years of speculation that he was the next in line to wear the ‘C’ for the Sharks. In his first season, he helped lead the Sharks to the Stanley Cup final with an impressive post-season performance.
Pavelski was joined as a new captain by Max Pacioretty, who donned the ‘C’ for the first time and did so as a member of arguably the most storied organization in the history of the sport, the Montreal Canadiens. Pacioretty’s Canadiens flew out of the gate like an early Cup contender, but an injury to Carey Price derailed Montreal’s season.
Also joining the captains club were Nick Foligno, who was chosen to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets, and Andy Greene, selected by the New Jersey Devils to take the captaincy from the retiring Bryce Salvador. Both teams missed the post-season, but took some strides forward that have both fan bases hopeful for the coming campaign.
While four new captains may seem like a lot, there’s potential for as many as seven first-time captains to take over major leadership roles in 2016-17. Anze Kopitar has already been handed the ‘C’ for the Los Angeles Kings, but that still leaves the St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators, Carolina Hurricanes, Winnipeg Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers without captains. So, will those clubs have a captain this coming season and, if so, who will stitch the ‘C’ to their sweater? Read more
There may never be a clearcut, simple answer as to why the Canadiens felt it best to trade P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators in a blockbuster deal that brought Shea Weber to Montreal, but Subban said he doesn’t believe that it had anything to do with his off-ice relationships.
In the second part of a revealing two-part interview with Sportsnet’s Eric Engels, Subban was asked about his relationships with players in the Canadiens dressing room. There was a perception, Engels told Subban, that at times he didn’t get along with teammates in Montreal. There had been late-season reports of possible tension between Subban and Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty.
“I’d have to disagree with that,” Subban told Engels. “With the guys that I’m with every day — that I travel with, that I play with — we’re all different. But at the end of the day, I’d like to hope these guys respect me. I respect them, and that’s really what it’s been built on.” Read more
It was a trade so unexpected it required a double-take when the news broke, but Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin says he’s ready to move on now that the dust has settled on the deal that sent P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators for Shea Weber.
In speaking with NHL.com’s Dave Stubbs, Bergevin said there was much thought that went into the swap of star defensemen with the Predators, but it didn’t take long for him to be all right with the decision. In fact, Bergevin said it was almost immediate, moving on from the trade as soon as it was agreed upon.
As for why he made the trade in the first place, Bergevin said it had nothing at all to do with Subban’s personality — “I always say, ‘You don’t want 23 robots,’” Bergevin said — but rather with the chance to really improve the Canadiens.
“Everybody’s different, everybody brings different things to the table,” Bergevin told Stubbs. “But at some point I had to make a hard decision where I thought I could make the team better. That’s when we pulled the trigger. And those who insist the trade was made to please [coach] Michel Therrien? That’s [nonsense]. Mike didn’t know anything — anything — about the trade until after it was made.” Read more
According to Mark Divver from the Providence Journal, the Buffalo Sabres sent an armada to Boston in the hopes of convincing left winger Jimmy Vesey to sign with the franchise. Vesey, whose rights were acquired from Nashville in the lead-up to the draft, is skating in his hometown and has a frenzy of activity surrounding his free agency decision.
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.
Less than 24 hours before the free agency period begins, several NHL teams got to work on some housekeeping Thursday. Six teams placed players on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a buyout. The NHL’s buyout window closes at 5 p.m. ET on Thursday.
There had already been some notable buyouts, including the Canucks’ Chris Higgins, the Wild’s Thomas Vanek, and the Blue Jackets Fedor Tyutin.
The Blue Jackets got back to work on Thursday, buying out the final year of right winger Jared Boll’s contract. Boll, 30, scored one goal in 30 games in 2015-16.
During a 2011 NHL playoff game between the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins, iconic ‘Hockey Night in Canada’ play-by-play man Bob Cole exclaimed ‘Everything is happening!” during a frantic series of play.
It has become a go-to saying for hockey fans, especially on Twitter, during periods of excitement or big news. It can definitely be applied to what happened on Wednesday afternoon.
While many fans, pundits, and media sat and waited for big news to start happening on Friday during the official start of free agency, several teams swooped in and made a series of blockbuster moves. Each move on its own could have carried a news cycle for a day, but three came in such rapid succession that it nearly “broke the internet”, as they say.
Here’s a timeline of what went down on Wednesday:
The record will show that P.K. Subban was officially traded by the Montreal Canadiens on June 29, 2016. But in reality, the seeds of it were sown on Feb. 1, 2013 when a GM who used to be a fringe player and a stubborn coach tried to beat the individualism out of their best skater. That’s the day that GM Marc Bergevin and coach Michel Therrien killed the ‘Low 5’ celebration that Subban used to do with goalie Carey Price.
They got past that, but like the couple that we all knew would divorce one day, the split became inevitable. And the Canadiens can spin this any way they’d like, but their decision to move Subban for Shea Weber has the potential for being an absolutely terrible hockey trade, one that could set the franchise back enormously. And it was done because one player brought too much attention to himself and some of the people around him couldn’t stand that.