An NHL offseason can be a funny thing. For some teams, it represents an opportunity to blow everything up real good, hitting the reset button entirely or at the very least radically changing direction. For others, it’s a chance to double down on what’s already working by loading up on the final pieces of a true contender. In either case, blockbuster trades can be made, big-name free agents can be lured, and coaches and GMs can be replaced. Things are happening.
And then there are the teams that decide to skip all of that, and largely sit out the offseason. They tinker a bit, re-signing a guy here and making a minor move there, but for the most part they decide to pass on doing anything especially newsworthy.
And let’s be honest: While that approach may not be all that exciting, sometimes it absolutely turns out to be the right one. Sometimes, it really is better to leave the bat on your shoulder. But only sometimes.
When the preliminary rosters were revealed for the Heritage Classic alumni game on Friday, it seemed like the Edmonton Oilers had the decisive edge over their Winnipeg Jets counterparts.
After all, the Oilers oldies are littered with stars from their 1980s heyday when they won four Stanley Cups in five years – and then added another in 1990.
PLYMOUTH, MICH. – With the Americans down by a goal with more than a minute to play, Erik Foley took to the ice and stayed there until the final buzzer sounded. Ultimately, Team USA couldn’t get the equalizer in a 2-1 world junior camp loss to Finland, but Foley’s usage was notable.
Fans in Winnipeg clamored for True North Sports and Entertainment to bring back their beloved Jets and the ownership came through by naming the league’s newest team after the club that departed Manitoba’s capital in the mid-1990s. But with the Heritage Classic coming to Winnipeg in October 2016, the ownership group has gone one step further by bringing the team back in name and style, at least for the outdoor event.
The Jets and Edmonton Oilers officially unveiled their jerseys for the Heritage Classic at an event held in downtown Winnipeg Friday, and the jerseys for both teams will harken back to the heyday of the rivalry between the Jets and Oilers in the 1980s. Read more
August marks hockey’s “silly season.” Very little happens. And idle hands are the devils’ playthings, right? Countless blog commenters and Twitter trolls dust off the “Slow news day?” insult whenever we find something to talk about. During the month before NHL training camps begin, fan bases twiddle their thumbs. And think. And overthink. And worry.
“Why hasn’t my team DONE anything this off-season?”
You know who you are. You, from that city with the sandwich everyone needs to try. Your team has been uncomfortably quiet this off-season, with nary a big trade or free agent splash. Should you panic over your team’s 2016-17 outlook? Or will you end up patting your favorite GM on the back for staying the course?
Here’s a rundown of the summer’s most tranquil teams – and whether their fan bases should worry.
The Winnipeg Jets haven’t been too busy this off-season, and with RFA defenseman Jacob Trouba still without a contract for the upcoming season, some fans in Winnipeg are starting to worry the summer has been too quiet.
Trouba, 22, is coming off of his third full season with the Jets, and the 2012 ninth-overall selection has become an important — and promising — part of the Jets’ blueline. Over his 211-game career, Trouba has scored 23 goals and 72 points while averaging more than 22 minutes per night, and some believe he could be the face of the Jets defense until long after Dustin Byfuglien moves on, whenever that may be.
So, what’s the issue with getting Trouba under contract? Well, according to TSN’s Gary Lawless, just about everything.
“(The Jets and Trouba are) apart everywhere,” Lawless said on TSN’s That’s Hockey. “They’re apart on money, they’re apart on term and they’re apart on usage. Jacob Trouba doesn’t want to play in the bottom pairing anymore. He wants to play with Dustin Byfuglien or one of the other top four D in Winnipeg. He wants power-play time. He wants to be a big part of what they’re doing in Winnipeg if he’s going to be here for a long time.” Read more
Playoff turnover is a hallmark of the NHL’s salary cap era. It’s rare to see a single franchise entrenched in a contending position for decades at a time. The Detroit Red Wings are the remarkable exception. Typically, we see plenty of playoff squads slide out of the picture from one season to the next, while several also-rans sneak back into the big dance.
Five Canadian teams qualified for the playoffs in 2014-15, and all five missed in 2015-16. The Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators and Winnipeg Jets slipped out, replaced by the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars. The 2015-16 playoff picture consisted of 31.25 percent “new” teams. That’s down from 43.75 percent the year prior but still constitutes significant turnover.
Chances are, it’ll happen again in 2016-17. Which recent qualifiers might slip out of the post-season and which might claw their way back in?
Buffalo Sabres power forward Evander Kane has officially been charged with criminal trespass and up to four counts of non-criminal harassment stemming from an incident at a local nightclub, notes the Buffalo News. In a surreal scene, Kane was even handcuffed when he met with detectives outside of the city’s Central Booking Bureau: