Arbitration season: Derek Stepan is gonna get paid

Derek Stepan. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

The NHL arbitration process is really no fun for anyone involved, since it brings negotiation into a formal setting and forces teams and their players to square off. Teams have to pretend that their own players aren’t really that good and hurt feelings can have long-standing consequences.

Which is why most arbitration cases get settled before the actual hearing. In fact, the Washington Capitals and goaltender Braden Holtby are already saying all the right things and trying to get something done beforehand. So there might not actually be much arbitration to hear about this summer, but there are some interesting scenarios nonetheless. Here’s a look at five high-profile cases:

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Sheldon Souray, Scott Clemmensen announce retirements

Jared Clinton
Sheldon Souray (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Lost in the hubbub of the free agent frenzy was the news that both Sheldon Souray and Scott Clemmensen have decided to hang up their respective skates.

Souray, 38, was largely forced into retirement due to a wrist injury that has sidelined him for the past two seasons. Known for a booming shot that made him one of the best power play quarterbacks in the NHL for several seasons, Souray officially ends his career as a member of the Anaheim Ducks.

Over the course of his 13-year NHL career, Souray suited up for the Ducks, Dallas Stars, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens and New Jersey Devils. Selected by the Devils in the third round, 71st overall, of the 1994 draft, Souray didn’t make the jump to a full-time NHL career until the 1997-98 campaign and didn’t become a standout blueliner in the league until the 2003-04 season as a member of the Canadiens. Read more

2015 Draft Preview – New Jersey Devils seek a red-hot sniper

Stefan Matteau. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Major domo Lou Lamoriello, who will still have a major say in all things Devils despite handing GM duties to Ray Shero, has always been a big supporter of the college system, which is no surprise given Lamoriello’s Providence Friars roots. The Devils like to give their NCAA kids as much time as they need, and the franchise goes to the well often. The only year New Jersey didn’t have a draft class featuring at least one NCAA-bound player was 1995. Kids from the U.S. NTDP are frequent targets.

PICKS:
Round 1, pick 6
Round 2, picks 36 and 41
Round 3, pick 67
Round 4, pick 97
Round 6, pick 157

SHORT-TERM NEEDS:
The Devils’ offense was a horror show, ranking 28th with 2.15 goals per game, and there are no sure things in the system. Reid Boucher is the best candidate, but he hasn’t found his touch in the NHL and has had only middling production in the AHL. And while players such as Blake Pietila and John Quenneville have potential, their scoring ceilings aren’t high. This must be addressed quickly.

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Team USA summer roster out; look for an experienced world junior squad

Noah Hanifin of Boston College (Tom Sorensen/USA Hockey)

Team USA was almost shockingly young at the world juniors in 2015, so perhaps it wasn’t surprising that the Americans lost to Russia in the quarterfinal, mainly due to a rash of unnecessary penalties. But the wound of that loss could become vital scar tissue for the 2016 squad.

Because USA Hockey just released its preliminary summer camp roster and it is heavy on experience.

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Top 5 NHL stars-turned-coaches

Larry Robinson (Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Members of the NHL’s coaching community come from a wide variety of backgrounds – some, like Canucks coach Willie Desjardins, have degrees in social work; others, like Dallas’ Lindy Ruff, are hockey lifers with a background as a worker bee NHLer – but, for the most part, very few of the game’s elite stars have found success as bench bosses. The reasons for it are complex, but by-and-large, the best of the best usually prefer to spend their time away from the type of high-pressure environment occupied by a coach in hockey’s top league. And that’s why news the Red Wings were close to naming Hockey-Hall-of-Famer Chris Chelios as an assistant to new head coach Jeff Blashill is interesting: you rarely see a former player of his calibre at ice level without his equipment on.

Who are the best modern-era players who have evolved into NHL coaches or assistant coaches? Here are the Top 5:

5. Adam Oates. Like the other players who made this list, Oates is a Hall-of-Famer who amassed 1,420 points in 1,337 regular-season games and is regarded as one of the better playmakers in league history. He began his post-career coaching days as an assistant in Tampa Bay and then New Jersey, before the Capitals made him their head coach in June of 2012. And although he failed to make the playoffs in two years guiding the Capitals before he was fired at the end of the 2013-14 campaign, Oates quickly returned behind the bench with the Devils as a “co-coach” alongside Scott Stevens midway through this past year. He’ll likely get another shot, at least, as an assistant, with another NHL franchise. Read more

Longtime Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador undecided on future

Jared Clinton
Bryce Salvador (Brian Babineau/Getty Images)

Last season, Bryce Salvador, at 38, played only 15 games and registered just two assists before a lower body injury sidelined him for the remainder of the year. It’s likely not the way Salvador, the New Jersey Devils captain last season, saw his career ending, but as a pending unrestricted free agent, he’s uncertain what his future holds.

What kept Salvador out of the lineup last season was a bad back – he suffered from both a bulging disk and nerve damage – but, in speaking with The Record’s Tom Gulitti, it appears Salvador is trying to stay in shape to make one last run at ending his career on his terms.

“I don’t necessarily need a contract to go to training camp,” Salvador told Gulitti. Read more