European teams form alliance to get a seat at the table with the big boys

Sebastian Aho (left), Jesse Puljujariv (middle) and Patrik Laine (MARKKU ULANDER/AFP/Getty Images)

When Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi are drafted into the NHL a week from now, their teams in the Finnish Elite League will receive a one-time payment of about $240,000. Assuming each player earns $50 million over the course of his NHL career – which is probably being conservative – the amount their teams receive represents about one-half of one percent of their career earnings.

The teams that choose Laine and Puljujarvi – almost certainly the Winnipeg Jets and Columbus Blue Jackets – stand to make millions in merchandising and ticket sales, particularly if each of them is a central figure in some long playoff runs. Meanwhile, the organizations that have basically developed these players from the time they were children, Tappara and Karpat, are receiving a pittance. That $240,000 is what Karpat will receive for losing Laine’s and Puljujarvi’s World Junior linemate Sebastian Aho to the Carolina Hurricanes earlier this week.

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Jets GM Cheveldayoff ‘not trying to trade’ defenseman Jacob Trouba

Jared Clinton
Jacob Trouba (Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Winnipeg Jets enter the off-season in an interesting place.

After a post-season appearance in 2014-15, the Jets struggled in the tough Central Division in 2015-16 and wound up with the second-overall pick in the upcoming draft. But sometimes lost in the excitement surrounding the possibility of landing fantastic Finn Patrik Laine or Jesse Puljujarvi — or maybe even Auston Matthews if the Toronto Maple Leafs take a gamble with the first-overall pick — is that Winnipeg still has some housekeeping to take care of.

The Jets have a number of interesting restricted free agents to take care of this off-season, chief among which are center Mark Scheifele and defenseman Jacob Trouba. It seems certain that Scheifele will end up landing a significant raise on a longer-term deal, but the same can’t be said for Trouba, which has led to rumors surrounding the 22-year-old blueliner. Trouba is seen as a rearguard who has huge potential that he’s yet to reach, and there has been rumors in the past that he could be looking for a contract that reflects his ceiling.

However, amidst the rumors, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff wants to make one thing clear: he’s not looking to move Trouba out of Winnipeg. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Bruins looking to improve defense through trades

Keith Yandle (Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

With the NHL draft and free agency fast approaching, speculation persists in the Boston media over what Bruins GM Don Sweeney will do to bolster his D-corps.

CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty reports free agency isn’t Sweeney’s preferred route this summer. However, he points out that puck-moving blueliners such as the New York Rangers’ Keith Yandle and Alex Goligoski of the Dallas Stars could be available if the Bruins GM opts to dive into the free-agent pool.

Haggerty also reports of trade rumors suggesting young defenders such as Jacob Trouba of the Winnipeg Jets, Tyson Barrie of the Colorado Avalanche and Hampus Lindholm of the Anaheim Ducks could be available. However, he worries the Bruins could lack the resources to land one of them.

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Jesse Puljujarvi will not be quiet any longer

Finland's Jesse Puljujärvi (Markku Ulander/AFP/Getty Images)

BUFFALO – The main attraction at today’s draft combine access was top-rated Auston Matthews, as it probably should be. But for the few reporters who went to Jesse Puljujarvi first, a new personality could be seen. Puljujarvi, it seems, won’t be taking a back seat to anyone for much longer.

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Jets defenseman Grant Clitsome forced to retire at 31 due to back injury

Jared Clinton
Grant Clitsome (Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

Winnipeg Jets defenseman Grant Clitsome last suited up on Jan. 3, 2015, against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Little did he know it would be the last time ever that he would do so.

Following that contest, a 5-1 Jets victory in which Clitsome would skate 20-plus minutes, he would be forced to go under the knife for back surgery. He missed the final 43 regular season contests, all four playoff games and then was placed on the injured reserve before the 2015-16 season began. Clitsome didn’t play a single game this past season, and Tuesday, the 31-year-old rearguard officially announced his retirement.

“It is with great regret, that today I announce my retirement from hockey due to a back injury,” said Clitsome in a release. “It’s tough when something unexpected, and out of your control, suddenly ends your career. Despite the circumstances, I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to fulfill my childhood dream and play in the NHL. I am also very grateful for all the great people that I have met, and all the friendships that I have made playing hockey.” Read more

Longtime Jets assistant Pascal Vincent named coach of the Manitoba Moose

Jared Clinton
Pascal Vincent (Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

Pascal Vincent has been a mainstay of the Jets since the franchise moved to Winnipeg from Atlanta, and now the 44-year-old Quebec native is turning his assistant coaching gig with the Jets into a spot as the bench boss for the Manitoba Moose.

The Jets announced Friday that Vincent has been named the AHL club’s eighth coach and second since the club returned to Manitoba from Newfoundland.

The position with the Moose opened up following the somewhat surprising release of Keith McCambridge following this past season. McCambridge’s contract was up, and the Jets announced they would not be renewing McCambridge’s contract following the 2015-16 season. Manitoba finished with the third-worst record in the AHL in 2015-16, but also had one of the youngest and most inexperienced rosters in the league. That’s not to mention that McCambridge lost starting goaltender Connor Hellebuyck to the big club early in the campaign. Read more

More Patrik Laine! Finland gives us what we want with World Cup roster

Patrik Laine (Photo by Anna Sergeeva/Getty Images)

Given how important the youth have been to Finland this year, it’s probably not a shocker that the final seven roster spots for the nation’s World Cup of Hockey team skew young. But it is nice to see the kids rewarded.

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Mitch Marner is destroying the Memorial Cup, so what can we expect from him next season?

Mitch Marner (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

The London Knights are steamrolling the competition at the Memorial Cup and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Mitch Marner is leading the way, just as he did in the OHL playoffs. All told, the right winger has 57 points in his past 21 games (13 in three Memorial Cup wins). Add in the 116 points he had during the regular season and you’ve got a weaponized threat on the ice.

The Knights have already clinched a spot in the Memorial Cup final thanks to a 3-0 record (in which they have outscored their opponents 20-5), so with one game left on the docket for the team, it’s hard not to speculate what Marner’s future holds next season.

So let’s speculate, shall we?

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