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
With the start of NHL training camps fast approaching, the contract statuses of Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos and Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar continue to dominate headlines. Both are unrestricted free agents next summer, and it is expected they’ll receive lucrative long-term deals, either with their current clubs or via next summer’s UFA market.
Whatever Stamkos and Kopitar receive will also significantly impact the UFA value of other top first-line NHL centers in the coming years. ESPN.com’s Craig Custance believes New York Islanders captain John Tavares will be most affected by those new deals.
Tavares, 24, has three seasons left on his current deal until his eligibility for UFA status in 2018. His current annual salary cap hit is $5.5 million, though he’ll earn $6-million annually over the remaining term.
Like Stamkos and Kopitar, contract extension talks for Tavares can begin one year from his UFA eligibility. Islanders management will likely waste little time getting negotiations rolling when that date (July 1, 2017) arrives. It won’t surprise anyone if the Tavares camp cites Stamkos or Kopitar as comparables. Read more
(The AHL has undergone a season of change and one-third of the league has changed locations or logos for the 2015-16 season. Leading up to the new season, The Hockey News will be ranking the logos of the league’s teams and offering a brief look at the history of each franchise. See the rest of the rankings in our AHL feed.)
It has been three seasons without a playoff appearance for the Sound Tigers and after consecutive 64-point seasons, it’s hard to picture the club actually taking a giant leap forward in 2015-16. In fact, it’s possible they could be even worse.
The first problem is finding out where the offense is going to come from in Bridgeport. Of their top-10 scorers in 2014-15, only two remain with the team — Alan Quine and Ryan Pulock. And even Pulock could be up and down between the AHL and NHL. Gone are Dustin Jeffrey, Kael Mouillierat, Aaron Ness, Harry Zolnierczyk, Colin McDonald, CJ Stretch, Cory Conacher and Griffin Reinhart. That’s a significant number of experienced AHL players that have left the Sound Tigers.
The big guns this season will have to be new additions, such as Joe Whitney and Justin Florek. But two players won’t replace the offensive production of eight. That’s not a good spot to be in for the Sound Tigers.
Bridgeport is likely in a transition period: the Islanders have a number of young stars who are ready to make the jump to the professional ranks and they’ll need some AHL seasoning before becoming NHL ready. That could mean 2016-17 is the year when an influx of Islanders prospects suit up in the AHL and that could be when the Sound Tigers’ resurgence happens. Or at least Bridgeport fans should hope so, because all signs point to another tough year in 2015-16. Read more
With plans for the 2016 World Cup well underway, we know how the NHL and NHL Players’ Association are going to grow their revenues. So now we can turn our attention to something that can actually grow worldwide interest in the game, the Winter Olympics.
It’s a tournament that has kind of been lost in the shuffle here, largely because of the ambivalence the league has displayed for future participation and its preparations for the World Cup. At the World Cup kickoff in Toronto Wednesday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman took a not-so-subtle jab at International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel, saying, “We hear rumors that Rene Fasel may be at some point ready to talk to us,” about Olympic participation.
For the past several years, the Philadelphia Flyers could be counted on to swing a major off-season trade. Since 2007, they’ve acquired such notables as Kimmo Timonen, Scott Hartnell, Joffrey Lupul, Chris Pronger, Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn, Luke Schenn and Mark Streit via summer deals.
It’s only natural to assume second-year GM Ron Hextall would continue the trend, especially since he swapped Hartnell for R.J. Umberger in one of last summer’s more puzzling moves. In June, Hextall made a salary-dumping deal, shipping blueliner Nicklas Grossman and the rights to the all-but-retired Pronger’s to Arizona for center Sam Gagner.
Since that move, however, things have been quiet on the Flyers’ trade front. That prompted some internet rumormongers to dream up trade scenarios for Hextall. The most recent claimed he was interested in St. Louis Blues captain David Backes, with the Blues seeking Brayden Schenn in return. Read more
Welcome back to the Futures mailbag. We’re only one week away from real, regular season hockey being played in the Quebec League and other junior circuits will follow after that. In the meantime, here are more prospect and draft questions from you, the readers. If you have a query for me, hit me up on Twitter at @THNRyanKennedy and attach the hashtag #thnfutures to make sure I see it. Let’s get to the questions!
Sorry, Islanders fans: prepare to be underwhelmed.
It was reported yesterday that the New York Islanders would be adopting a black and white alternate jersey for the 2015-16 season and a new leak may offer fans a first glimpse at the new threads. Unfortunately, the jersey isn’t great.
Instead of somehow combining the black and white, the jersey is instead simply giving a few white lines to break up the absence of color. The collar, for instance, has white around the back, the sleeves contain four thin white stripes and the cuffs of the jersey also have white piping. Oh, and the logo is white, with four orange bands on the logo’s stick. Read more
To go with their big move to Brooklyn, the New York Islanders are going to be unveiling a brand new third jersey and the threads might not feature any of the Islanders’ traditional colors.
In keeping with the color scheme of the other tenant of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, the Islanders will be sporting a black and white alternate sweater in 2015-16, doing away with the former silver, blue and orange alternate that was used this past season.
The new sweater is set to be revealed on Sept. 21, according to IslandersPointBlank’s Brian Erni. It will be the third alternate jersey the Islanders have used in the past three seasons. Read more