The most notable exclusion from the 24 players who filed for salary arbitration Tuesday was Petr Mrazek, but that doesn’t mean the Detroit Red Wings goaltender won’t be included in the process. Sources have told thn.com that the Red Wings will take Mrazek to arbitration before teams are required to file at 5 p.m. (eastern time) Wednesday.
This is a bit of a chess game here. Had Mrazek filed for arbitration, the Red Wings would have been able to choose either a one- or two-year reward. With the Red Wings filing, Mrazek will now have the choice of a one- or two-year award. Regardless, it means Mrazek is guaranteed to have a deal with the Red Wings for at least one season and will be available to the Red Wings for the start of the season. Mrazek is expected to be the Czech Republic’s No. 1 goaltender for the World Cup of Hockey.
It’s early July, so obviously there’s another important day coming up on the hockey calendar. Coming up next: the deadline for restricted free agents to file for arbitration, which is on the docket for Tuesday.
This will likely be a procedural day for many players because so few actually end up going the full distance in arbitration, but one thing it will do is tell us which players will definitely be in uniform for their teams at the start of training camp in the fall. That’s because arbitration forces a ruling on both sides, meaning the player is under contract for either one or two more seasons.
BY MURRAY PAM
Fifteen years ago this week Bill Muckalt was on an emotional high. A piece in one of the most lopsided trades in NHL annals, Muckalt was dealt by the Islanders along with Zdeno Chara and the 2001 second-overall draft pick (Jason Spezza) to the Senators for Alexei Yashin.
The former Michigan Wolverine was elated to play for a contender. However, Muckalt’s season didn’t go as anticipated. In limited ice-time, the right winger failed to notch a goal in 70 games. After netting 11 the previous campaign and scoring 105 at Michigan, Muckalt compared his Ottawa experience to “missing the cut at the Masters.”
Inking a deal with the Wild during the summer, he quickly returned to form, scoring five goals in his first five games. Then disaster struck. Muckalt suffered a debilitating shoulder injury, limiting him to only eight more games the remainder of the season including playoffs, which turned out to be his last in the NHL.
BUFFALO – On Day 2 of the draft, team preference plays such a huge role in when kids get picked. But for my money, there were some definite winners by round. In some cases, it was teams that made solid multiple selections. In other cases, it was a matter of the value they got in one player. Here are my winners for Day 2.
Legendary Ottawa Senator Daniel Alfredsson made his triumphant return to the organization ahead of the 2015-16 season, signing on to become the senior advisor of hockey operations. And after his first year in the front office, Alfredsson is coming back for another.
The Senators announced Monday that Alfredsson has signed a contract extension to remain the team’s senior advisor, where he’ll work under GM Pierre Dorion in a variety of roles. Alfredsson said the taste of the role he got last season made him realize he had found exactly what he was looking for.
“I’ve been able to do just about everything I could imagine, from being part of scouting meetings to working one-on-one with the players on the ice,” Alfredsson said in a release. “Coming back to do this just feels right, both personally and professionally and I look forward to helping the front office, coaches and players in any way I can to help us win.” Read more
Here’s a name some will remember and one that some, namely Blue Jackets fans, will have tried to forget: Nikita Filatov.
Filatov, 26, last played in the NHL during the 2011-12 season as a member of the Ottawa Senators when he was a 21-year-old, but his time with the Senators, who acquired him for a third-round pick, was incredibly unsuccessful and largely forgettable.
Early in Filatov’s tenure with the Senators he was demoted to the AHL and spent the next two months of the campaign bouncing between the AHL and NHL before being granted a loan to the KHL’s CSKA Moscow by early December. After only nine games and less than half a season, the once highly touted prospect flamed out of Ottawa quickly.
Filatov hasn’t been back in the NHL or AHL since his time with the Senators, and in an interview with Sport-Express.ru’s Alexei Shevchenko, the former NHLer talked about his disappointing time in the NHL and said financial troubles played a part in him leaving North America. Though Filatov didn’t offer up numbers, he said he couldn’t repay his debts by playing in the AHL. Read more
The NHL has held outdoor games at NCAA, MLB, CFL and NFL stadiums, an MLS pitch will be the site of the Centennial Classic next season and in the pre-Winter Classic era the league has even made an outdoor game work outside of Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Even with all those venues checked off, though, the league is still hoping to make one more location work for an upcoming outdoor tilt: Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
According to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, the NHL is still eying up Parliament Hill for a potential December 2017 outdoor game. However, the logistics of putting an outdoor game in a spot that would require tens of thousands of temporary seats to be put in place could mean the scenic open-air game could be put on the back burner.
“It’s complicated,” commissioner Gary Bettman told Garrioch of hosting the game on Parliament Hill. “We’d have to know more. It’s complicated and expensive. We’ve been exploring it and doing some homework on it.” Read more
In September 2015, it looked as though Mikael Wikstrand’s career was at an impasse. The 22-year-old defender had mysteriously left Ottawa’s training camp, returned to his native Sweden and was told by then-Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray that the only was his career was going to continue was if he was playing defense for a beer league team.
Nine months later, Wikstrand has signed a four-year contract with one of the SHL’s top teams. It was announced Monday that Wikstrand has inked a four-year extension with Farjestad BK which will see the young blueliner continue his career in the SHL for the foreseeable future. The Senators have not commented on the contract as of this writing.
Wikstrand’s extension with Farjestad is another strange twist in a story that caught many by surprise at the beginning of the campaign and remains a head-scratcher, if only in the sense that Wikstrand was in Ottawa one day and gone the next. Read more