• Rumor Roundup: Sabres’ Chris Stewart drawing major interest

    Chris Stewart

    Buffalo Sabres right wing Chris Stewart frequently popped up in the rumor mill this week as a possible trade candidate. Stewart, who turns 27 on October 30, is earning $4.2 million this season (with a cap hit of $4.15 million) and becomes eligible for unrestricted free agency in July.

    On Sunday, the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch claimed “lots of teams” are interested to see what Sabres GM Tim Murray will do with Stewart, fellow UFA winger Drew Stafford and defenseman Tyler Myers, who’s under contract through 2018-19 at an annual cap hit of $5.5 million.

    Garrioch noted the Ottawa Senators were interested in Stewart last season, but the Sabres asking price was “Mark Stone or some other high-end prospect.” If that price hasn’t changed, Garrioch doubts the Senators will do it.

    Earlier this week it was suggested in this column Stewart might be a good fit with the Boston Bruins, who are struggling this season to replace Jarome Iginla as their first-line right wing. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports the Bruins are indeed interested in Stewart, though he didn’t indicate if offers had been exchanged.

    Assuming Murray seeks the same return as he reportedly did from the Senators (high-end prospect) for Stewart, he could have interest in center Ryan Spooner, goaltender Malcolm Subban, defenseman Joe Morrow or right wing David Pastrnak. The Bruins, however, currently possess $3.759 million in cap space, meaning the Sabres must either pick up nearly half of Stewart’s remaining salary or take on a salaried roster player in return.

    It’s doubtful Murray will be interested in any of the Bruins potential UFA players. Chris Kelly‘s name has been mentioned as a trade candidate, but he’s a third-line center with a modified no-trade clause signed through 2015-16 at a cap hit of $3 million.

    There’s no need for Murray to rush into trading Stewart, Stafford or Myers. He can simply allow this season to play out in hopes the market value for the trio improves leading up to the March 2 trade deadline.

    FLIGHTLESS FLYERS SEEK BLUELINE HELP

    For the second straight season the Philadelphia Flyers are off to a poor start. With only one victory in their first six games, there’s concern over the state of the Flyers defensive play. They’re 21st in shots-against per game (30.9) and possess the third-most goals-against per game (3.71) and fourth-worst in penalty-kill percentage (73.7).

    Flyers GM Ron Hextall has limited cap space ($1.48 million) to bolster his defense. He’s reportedly seeking a defensive blueliner but the pickings are currently slim. Those mentioned in recent trade rumors – Carolina’s Andrej Sekera, Detroit’s Jakub Kindl and Edmonton’s Jeff Petry – aren’t considered shutdown defensemen.

    It could cost Hextall one of his good young forwards to acquire a skilled stay-at-home blueliner. CSNPhilly.com’s Tim Panaccio claims the price among interested teams is Brayden Schenn, who’s in the first season of a two-year contract at an annual cap hit of $2.5 million.

  • Penguins, Oilers & NHL show support for Ottawa tragedy with singings of ‘O Canada’

    Jeff Jimerson (Vincent Pugliese/ Getty Images)

    In the aftermath of the unspeakable attack Wednesday in Ottawa that killed a Canadian soldier and terrified the federal parliament and the country itself, the NHL responded admirably to show its support for those affected by the tragedy. An example was found in Pittsburgh, when prior to the Penguins/Flyers game, the fans in attendance and singer Jeff Jimerson sang Canada’s national anthem:


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  • Wild sign Charlie Coyle, Jonas Brodin to extensions; Mikael Granlund, you’re next

    Adam Proteau
    Charlie Coyle (Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

    The Minnesota Wild locked up another young talent Wednesday, signing right winger Charlie Coyle to a five-year, $16-million contract extension with an average annual value of $3.2 million. The deal is the second major extension handed out this month by GM Chuck Fletcher to a pending restricted free agent: on Oct. 12, he signed defenseman Jonas Brodin to a six-year, $25-million deal – and that leaves 22-year-old center Mikael Granlund as the organization’s biggest RFA concern this season.

    As is the case with Brodin, Fletcher’s investment in the 22-year-old Coyle, who in his first full NHL season posted 12 goals and 30 points in 70 games, is not outrageous. He has slowly and steadily grown his game, and his 6-foot-3 size, skill and resolve – remember, this is someone who played with two separated shoulders in last year’s post-season – bode well for his employer’s future. A less than maximum-term-length contract also encourages Coyle to be motivated to cash in on another big-bucks pact in his prime. Fletcher has limited his risk with the new deal and put the team in a good position to reap a lot of value out of Coyle if he continues to improve.

    Now comes the biggest challenge of all: signing Granlund, Minnesota’s long-touted Finnish sensation who scored eight goals and 41 points in his sophomore NHL campaign. Read more

  • L.A. district attorneys want “follow-up” from detectives in Slava Voynov domestic violence investigation

    Ken Campbell
    Slava Voynov (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images)

    (NOTE: This post has been updated. See below.)

    A spokesman for the Redondo Beach Police Department refutes the notion that there was no crime committed during the incident allegedly involving Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov Sunday night. He also said Voynov could know his fate as early as Wednesday night.

    Meanwhile, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said it’s not a given that the league will reinstate Voynov in time for him to play with the Los Angeles Kings Thursday night against the Buffalo Sabres even if charges are not filed against Voynov. “No,” Daly wrote in an email to thn.com. “I don’t think that is fair to assume. We are certainly going to want to satisfy ourselves with respect to the facts and circumstances before any thought would be given to lifting the suspension.” Read more

  • Is Barry Trotz a magic man? Early Capitals’ advanced stats say yes

    The Hockey News
    Barry Trotz (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Dom Luszczyszyn

    It’s still too early to make any meaningful judgments, but so far it looks like the Washington Capitals’ biggest problem has been solved.

    The Caps have been a notoriously abysmal defensive team for a while now, and missing the playoffs last season meant changes had to be made to the former powerhouse. The biggest one was bringing in coach Barry Trotz, arguably the most reputable defensive coach in the game.

    While changing the coach isn’t always the right call, it was clear that Adam Oates wasn’t getting the most out of his players, specifically his best one, Alex Ovechkin. The same can be said for Trotz, who was well past his expiration date in Nashville. Washington and Trotz were a perfect fit. Read more

  • AHL keeper misplays shot from center for outrageous goal

    Jared Clinton
    Binghamton Senators' goaltender Andrew Hammond misplays a bouncing puck from center that resulted in a St. John's IceCaps goal. (via YouTube)

    One of the wonderful things about hockey is that the names of players can enter the lexicon of the hockey fan to signify things that are much more than just the players themselves.

    Take, for instance, the Forsberg. The term evokes the image of his one-handed goal that led the Swedish men’s team to a gold medal in 1994’s Olympic games. And how about Gordie Howe Hat Trick? The ferocity of Howe’s play and his absurd amount of talent was enough for the term to be coined and the recognition given to any player who registers a goal, assist, and fight in a game.

    For Maple Leafs fans, there are some terms that hit a bit closer to home. One of which, for all the wrong reasons, is The Toskala. Infamously, former Leafs goaltender Vesa Toskala once allowed a goal to Rob Davison. The catch? The “snipe” came from 197 feet away from Toskala’s goal.

    It took a few funny hops and it’s happened to the best of keepers, but a goal of this ilk has become synonymous with Toskala in hockey circles. Vancouverites may argue otherwise, claiming it to be the mark of Dan Cloutier.

    In any event, Andrew Hammond, an undrafted goaltender who is currently under contract with Ottawa, is going to be hoping that Binghamton Senators fans have shorter memories than most.

    During the first period of Binghamton’s 6-5 loss to the St. John’s IceCaps, the 26-year-old keeper allowed a goal he’d surely like to have back:

    The looping puck from center ice was Jets’ prospect Carl Klingberg’s first of the season, coming just over a minute into the contest. All told, Hammond would allow six goals in what was surely an off night for the goaltender.

    Here’s hoping the young netminder can laugh it off.

  • All eyes on torrid-scoring Connor McDavid tonight in Buffalo

    Ken Campbell
    Connor McDavid (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

    The Buffalo Sabres are bad, epically bad, and they’ll get even worse once they trade away Tyler Myers and Chris Stewart. (To Detroit and Boston, respectively, is our guess.) And while they have a lot of company in the dregs of the NHL standings, their chances of getting one of Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel are looking very, very good.

    (Depending on how the New York Islanders do, there’s a chance the Sabres could get a crack at both. And while the early results don’t favor that possibility, remember, it’s the Islanders we’re talking about here.) Read more