Are the Pittsburgh Penguins actually worth $750 million? Well, like most things of this nature, it depends on your perspective.
Suppose you’re a prospective NHL owner in, say, Seattle. The NHL has already set the expansion fee at $500 million and it’s going to cost you probably another $400 million, assuming you don’t get public funding, to build an arena. And what do you get for that? You receive the opportunity to put together a team of has-beens, could-have-beens and youngsters and the privilege of getting your clocked cleaned on a regular basis for a couple of years while you build your brand and your hockey organization into a contender and, hopefully, a money-maker. Read more
If you’re Steve Yzerman, you should have had Steven Stamkos signed to an eight-year contract extension more than a month ago. Same goes for Dean Lombardi and his dealings with Anze Kopitar. It’s simple really. These guys are franchise players. Sign them at the going rate for the maximum number of years and get rid of the distraction.
After all, that’s what Stan Bowman did last summer and he killed two potential headaches with one Aspirin. Faced with a similar situation with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, the Chicago Blackhawks GM needed exactly eight days to get his two stars signed to identical eight-year deals worth $84 million. Cap hits of $10.5 million per times two represented a bold move, but in reality, the Blackhawks got themselves a deal. Had Toews and Kane played out the final seasons of their contracts and gone on the open market separately, they would have cashed in even more. Read more
The Toronto Blue Jays are putting up enough offense to win the Rocket Richard Trophy (they have that in baseball too, right?), so it’s no surprise local boy Steven Stamkos – a two-time winner of that accolade himself – dropped by to shag a few pitches himself the other day.
Stamkos is a well-known baseball fan who plays the game in the summer, despite the fact he’s one of the best hockey players in the world. But he’s not the only elite iceman whose sporting pursuits go beyond the arena. And for young players (and their parents), Stamkos is a great role model.
With less than a month remaining until NHL training camps open, Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos and Los Angeles Kings pivot Anze Kopitar remain unsigned. The duo are eligible for unrestricted free agency next July.
ESPN.com’s Craig Custance reports there’s been only preliminary talks between the Kings and Kopitar, while negotiations have yet to being between Stamkos and the Lightning. Custance notes both players are eligible for big raises, with Chicago Blackhawks forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane (eight-years, $84-million each) likely seen as comparables. He also points out both clubs must carefully consider the impact those new contracts will have upon their respective salary-cap payrolls.
The Tampa Tribune’s Martin Fennelly believes Lightning fans shouldn’t panic over Stamkos’ contract situaiton, but notes his status could become an unwelcome distraction for the club the longer their captain remains unsigned. The same can also be said of Kopitar and the Kings. Read more
When the Montreal Canadiens chased Ben Bishop from the net in the second round of the playoffs, Habs defenseman P.K. Subban couldn’t resist taking a shot at the Tampa Bay Lightning goalie, saying Bishop had been “sitting on a horseshoe” to that point in the series. Subban, of course, meant to imply that said horseshoe was wedged in a certain part of Bishop’s anatomy. Subban is subtle that way.
The implication was Bishop had luck rather than skill to credit for his play in that series. If that’s the case, then perhaps it was a case of karma coming around. Maybe Bishop was finally due for some good luck, because until he joined the Lightning, good fortune wasn’t something in huge supply for him.
By the time Bishop was dealt to Tampa at the trade deadline in 2013, he was a 26-year-old goalie with just 36 NHL appearances and was already in his third organization. His hometown St. Louis Blues had given up on him, trading him for a second-round pick. Then with no room on their depth chart for a goalie who takes up a lot of room in the net, the Ottawa Senators dealt him to Tampa Bay for Cory Conacher and a fourth-rounder, not the kind of bounty that has “future NHL star” written all over it. Read more
In early July, rumors surfaced that Sami Salo had played his final game in the NHL. Now, the 40-year-old defenseman has confirmed those rumors, adding that his nagging wrist injury is what has cost him a final season.
Salo last played in the 2013-14 season with Tampa Bay, but missed the final two games of the regular season with an upper-body injury. He again missed time during the Lightning’s four-game defeat at the hands of the Canadiens that season, missing the final two games of Montreal’s series sweep.
Salo confirmed to Ilta-Sanomat, a Finnish newspaper, that he could no longer play in the NHL. “Hand is what it is,” Salo said. “(I am) no longer able to play. Not hockey, not tennis. At least not as a professional.” Read more
This summer’s pool of unrestricted free agent talent was the shallowest in recent memory, but next summer’s crop promises to be considerably deeper. Here’s a look at several NHL stars who could be available by July 1, 2016.
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning. It’s assumed the Lightning will re-sign Stamkos, but it’s been over a month since his agent, Don Meehan, told TSN talks had yet to commence. Re-signing Stamkos could cost the Bolts over $10-million annually on an eight-year deal. If they can’t or won’t pay top dollar, another club will gladly do so next summer.
Both sides give the appearance a deal can be reached. However, the longer the Lightning captain is unsigned, the more speculation will grow over his future in Tampa Bay. 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.)
This past season, the Syracuse Crunch recovered nicely from what was a down year in 2013-14. After landing an affiliation with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2012-13, Syracuse inherited a squad that was coming off of a Calder Cup championship the year prior as the Norfolk Admirals. The championship experience helped the Crunch get to the Calder Cup final in their first season of affiliation with Tampa Bay, but that success was short lived, as they failed to reach the post-season in Year Two.
As the farm team for the Lightning, there’s a lot to be excited about, however. Tampa Bay’s farm system recently produced one of the best lines in the NHL — the trio of Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov — and they could be on to something again with the likes of Jonathan Marchessault, Vladislav Namestnikov, Joel Vermin and defenseman Slater Koekkoek.
Scouts ranked star AHL netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy as the top goaltending prospect in THN’s 2015 Future Watch edition and goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis cracked the top 10 Lightning prospects. With Vasilevskiy a sure thing to make Tampa Bay’s roster in 2015-16, Gudlevskis will be back in the starting role for the Crunch this coming season. Read more