With another NHL season underway, here’s a look at the NHL players most likely to be dealt by the Feb. 29 trade deadline.
Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes. The 30-year-old Hurricanes is an unrestricted free agent next summer. His production’s declined in recent years and the club is rebuilding. If there’s no progress in either the Hurricanes’ performance or Staal’s contract talks, he could agree to be dealt to a contender at the deadline. Read more
Status: NHL defenseman from 1976-1990 for Detroit, Boston, New York Islanders, Edmonton, Minnesota and Buffalo.
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 195 pounds
DOB: July 30, 1956 In: Minneapolis, Minnesota
First Hockey Memory: “Started outside. When I grew up they had a big park, Sibley Park, with a football field, they would flood the field and make a hockey rink. I remember taking a break and watching the big guys playing, snow falling, standing in the snow bank, watching the guys from Roosevelt High School play. The park was in the city of Minneapolis.” Read more
Every hockey fan worth their salt can name the Original Six, but the seventh team, the one that didn’t quite make the cut, is the answer to one of the most interesting trivia questions in sports. That forgotten franchise, the New York Americans, is getting new life thanks to the New York Islanders’ move to Brooklyn and an exhibit at the Brooklyn Historical Society.
The story of the Americans is so bizarre that even Steve Cohen, the mind behind the exhibit, found it difficult to believe. Cohen was born in Brooklyn but began to play hockey in Illinois, where his father, a Brooklynite, would tell Cohen about the borough’s hockey history.
“There was always reference made to what always seemed to me like it was a mythical team, the Brooklyn Americans,” Cohen explained. “If you think about it from the standpoint of somebody who understands or was brought up in the lore of hockey, all you need to think is the great name is the Montreal Canadiens. Wouldn’t the analog be the New York or Brooklyn Americans?
In addition, the story was that the team had been founded by a bootlegger and had been here, in New York, a year before the Rangers, which seemed inconceivable…In all candor, I wasn’t really sure if it was true.”
But it was. All of it. The Americans were founded by a bootlegger, they were the original tenant at Madison Square Garden and their massive attendance in 1925 was one driving force behind the creation of the Rangers. But even with Cohen’s knowledge of the team, it was a chance encounter with a piece of Americans history that really sealed his obsession. Read more
The New York Islanders made a trade on the opening day of training camp, shipping winger Michael Grabner to the Toronto Maple Leafs for five minor leaguers. An unrestricted free agent next July, Grabner’s slide down the Isles depth chart made him the subject of trade rumors earlier this summer so this move wasn’t surprising.
Grabner isn’t the only Islanders winger to pop up in the off-season rumor mill. Newsday’s Arthur Staple reports right wing Kyle Okposo was “briefly shopped around” by GM Garth Snow before the 2015 NHL Draft. Like Grabner, the 27-year-old is eligible for UFA status in July.
Staple claims contract talks between Snow and Okposo’s agent Pat Brisson were brief and unproductive. Okposo is in the final season of a five-year, $14-million contract. While his annual cap hit is $2.8 million, his actual salary for 2015-16 is $4.5 million. Given his performance over the past couple of years, he will likely seek a significant raise (perhaps over $6 million) on a long-term extension. Read more
Even after dealing Michael Grabner to kick off training camp, New York Islanders GM Garth Snow isn’t done tinkering with his roster.
Friday evening, the Islanders agreed to terms on a one-year with Marek Zidlicky in a move that will further bolster an up-and-coming defense. According to Newsday’s Arthur Staple, the contract is worth $1.5-million. Zidlicky, 38, spent the 2014-15 campaign between the New Jersey Devils and Detroit Red Wings, and, even at his age, still has the offensive ability to be an impact player for the Islanders this campaign. Read more
2014-15 Record: 47-28-7 (101 Pts.)
THN’s Prediction: 2nd, Metropolitan Division
What To Expect: The 2014-15 Islanders were fittingly reminiscent of their ancestors in breaking 100 points for the first time since the franchise’s glory years of the early 1980s. Led by John Tavares and a blossoming cast of potent young forwards, the Islanders were suddenly too skilled to fail. Even with a middle-tier power play, they scored the fourth-most goals in the league.
Understanding that his core players have yet to fully ripen, GM Garth Snow will ice essentially the same roster. Burgeoning Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson are poised to step forward behind captain Tavares, 25, who lost out on the scoring title on the final day of the season. Read more
Welcome back to the Futures mailbag, where prospects and the draft are always in the spotlight. We’re getting into real games these days and the All-American Prospects Game hits Buffalo next Thursday, so we can officially say it’s hockey season. Remember: if you have a question you would like answered, hit up my Twitter page (@THNRyanKennedy) and tag your query with the hashtag #thnfutures. Let’s get to it:
The Toronto Maple Leafs have stockpiled veterans on tryout contracts for the upcoming season, but now you can add another well-known name via trade: Michael Grabner. The New York Islanders unloaded the speedy Austrian on the Leafs in exchange for prospects Matt Finn, Carter Verhaeghe, Chris Gibson, Taylor Beck and Tom Nilsson.
So what’s up with this trade?