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:
Aside from being teammates in New York, Mats Zuccarello and Martin St-Louis had one thing in common: their stature. So, to say goodbye to his now-former teammate St-Louis, who retired Thursday, Zuccarello turned to Instagram and a fan-made picture of himself and St-Louis as hobbits from the film Lord of the Rings.
Zuccarello and St-Louis formed quite the diminutive duo on the Rangers over the past two seasons, what with Zuccarello standing 5-foot-7 and St-Louis towering over him at 5-foot-8. Both were stars for the Blueshirts, size be darned, but that didn’t stop Zuccarello from being nicknamed the ‘Norwegian Hobbit.’ The “hobbit” nickname is one that has followed Zuccarello for some time now, but bringing St-Louis into the fold to say goodbye as the veteran winger heads to retirement is equal parts endearing and hilarious. Read more
Martin St-Louis has played his final game in the NHL.
The 40-year-old announced Thursday that 2014-15 was his final season in the NHL and, in a release by the New York Rangers, announced that he is retiring from the game. There’s little doubt St-Louis will be inducted into the Hall of Fame, and he could very well be a first-ballot inductee.
“I have been blessed to play for 16 years in the NHL; it has been an amazing ride,” St. Louis said in statement. “I would like to thank the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers organizations and owners for providing me the opportunity to play the sport I love for so many years. I could have never played for so long or accomplished all that I have without the unwavering love and support from my wife, Heather, our three sons, Ryan, Lucas, and Mason, and my parents.” Read more
After 35 years as a GM in the NHL, Glen Sather could have been excused for going out with a whimper, the way most veterans do. But let the record show that the last trade Sather made as a GM was a substantial one, which actually was far more fitting.
After all, there are few executives in NHL history that enjoyed the horse-trading business more than Sather did. It’s safe to say, too, that nobody in the history of the game made more transactions than Sather did. His last one sent Carl Hagelin and two draft picks to the Anaheim Ducks for Emerson Etem and a second-rounder. Just prior to that, Sather dealt goalie Cam Talbot and a pick to the Edmonton Oilers for second-, third-, and seventh-round picks.
The CHL’s Import Draft was held today, giving every major junior team on the continent a chance to pick up some prime European talent. Franchises are allowed to play two Euros on their roster, but no goaltenders. Teams that have a European player taken in the first round of the NHL can select a third player’s rights as well, in case the first-rounder ends up leaving.
With that out of the way, let’s look at how things went down. Consider this a non-comprehensive list, as I am cobbling together commitments or denials as I receive them from various sources in the industry.
SUNRISE, Fla. – So much for a quiet Day 2 of the NHL draft. Before the second round was completed, five significant trades were completed, four of them involving goaltenders.
And perhaps the most shocking aspect of all of it was two moves by the New York Rangers to trade established players in return for prospects and draft picks. Much of that was necessitated by salary cap concerns, but it does represent something of a reversal for them.
Considering the increased trade speculation entering the 2015 draft, it’s only fitting Boston Bruins left winger Milan Lucic and defenseman Dougie Hamilton should resurface in the rumor mill. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch claims the Bruins are listening to offers for Lucic. The asking price is apparently “big,” though Garrioch didn’t mention specifics.
CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty notes there was talk of the Bruins shipping the 27-year-old Lucic to the New York Rangers for defenseman (and Boston native) Keith Yandle. Another rumor linked the power forward to the Vancouver Canucks for a defenseman. Haggerty claims Canucks blueliner Alex Edler was mentioned in previous Bruins trade rumors. He also wonders if the Bruins could target Kevin Bieksa or Dan Hamhuis.
It’s not that the New York Rangers are bad at drafting. They just don’t do it as often as most other franchises. Thanks to playing in one of the most desirable sports markets in the world and having a splendid core that makes Stanley Cup runs, the Blueshirts have tended to build through trades and free agency lately – and it works. But because of that, New York has picked in the first round just once in the past three drafts (Brady Skjei in 2013) and, barring a trade, it won’t pick in the top 30 this year, either.
Round 2, pick 59
Round 3, pick 89
Round 4, pick 119
Round 6, pick 179
The Rangers aren’t particularly gritty up front, and that’s fine when the speedsters are on their horses, but it wouldn’t hurt to get some rougher, edgier players back in the jersey – think Andrew Shaw in Chicago or Kyle Clifford in Los Angeles.