• Petr Mrazek’s arbitration could determine who stays and who goes in Detroit

    Jared Clinton
    Petr Mrazek (Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Come Wednesday, Detroit Red Wings netminder Petr Mrazek is likely to become the first player with a scheduled arbitration hearing to actually head to the hearing to settle on a new deal.

    Mrazek, 24, will enter arbitration as the goaltender of the Red Wings’ future. He’s already been said to be the No. 1 as the season approaches, and this coming from GM Ken Holland before he’s even locked up the Czech netminder to a new deal. The issue, however, will be that the two sides aren’t just a few dollars apart, but rather have a $4 million gap in what they’ve deemed a reasonable salary going forward.

    According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Mrazek’s camp is asking that Detroit pay him like the No. 1 goaltender he projects to be on a two-year, $10-million contract. The Red Wings countered with a two-year deal worth $2.7 million in the first season and $3.15 million the next. The likely scenario is that the arbitrated salary lands somewhere in the middle, but which side of middle it falls on is going to have an impact on the Red Wings roster as the off-season continues. Read more

  • Adam Larsson expects to up production, step into bigger role with Oilers

    Jared Clinton
    Adam Larsson (Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

    The one-for-one swap that brought Adam Larsson to Edmonton and sent Taylor Hall to New Jersey caught just about everyone off guard, and the reaction among many was that the Devils had gotten the better of the deal.

    One reason the general consensus swayed in the favor of New Jersey was that Larsson, 23, had yet to transform into the top-pairing blueliner he was projected to be. But the now-Oilers defenseman has faith in his ability, and he believes he can move into a bigger role in Edmonton, make a bigger impact than he had in New Jersey and make the trade look more even than it was believed to be when the deal was completed.

    So after logging 22:30 of ice time per game for the Devils this past season, scoring three goals and 18 points and skating as a top-pairing defenseman at the World Championship for Sweden, Larsson intends to take his game to another level.

    “I think I can take an even bigger step,” Larsson told media Monday. “There was a lot of focus on defense last year, and penalty kill, but obviously the next step is more offense and hopefully a little more power play time.” Read more

  • Red Wings’ DeKeyser in for even bigger role after signing six-year, $30-million deal

    Jared Clinton
    Danny DeKeyser (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Based on average ice time alone, Danny DeKeyser was already a top-two defenseman in Detroit. The Red Wings rearguard averaged 21:48 of ice time during the 2015-16 campaign, second only to veteran Niklas Kronwall. Come next season, though, expect DeKeyser to top that list.

    Tuesday morning the Red Wings and DeKeyser, 26, agreed to terms on a six-year deal worth a reported $30 million, according to CBC’s Tim Wharnsby. The deal will see him become the second-highest paid blueliner in Detroit with only Mike Green, set to make $12 million over the next two seasons, carrying a higher average salary. And while DeKeyser may not be paid as handsomely as Green, it’s a big contract for the 26-year-old and one that locks up the hometown kid long-term in Detroit.

    The deal sees DeKeyser more than double his salary, but the big raise won’t come without added responsibility. Already relied upon as second on the depth chart to Kronwall in 2015-16, DeKeyser’s no doubt moving into the top spot this coming season. It’s about time for the Red Wings to make that switch, too. Read more

  • Lightning’s Vasilevskiy says he’d rather be NHL backup than KHL starter

    Jared Clinton
    Andrei Vasilevskiy (Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

    Andrei Vasilevskiy is already among the best Russian netminders in the world, and it could be just a few short seasons before the Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender is the best option in goal for the Russian national team.

    And while being a Russian star usually goes hand-in-hand with occasional reports about the consideration of a contract in the KHL, Vasilevskiy has gotten way ahead of those rumors to make sure no one thinks he could be headed back to Russia.

    According to KHL reporter Aivis Kalnins, Vasilevskiy, 22, has said he would “much rather sit on a bench in the NHL than play in (the) KHL.” The Lightning puck stopper added that he didn’t care if contract offers were coming his way now or later, he’d be staying put in the NHL. Not that Lightning fans were worried about Vasilevskiy leaving, but it’s always good to get some reassurance from the team’s future starter. Read more

  • Five NHL jerseys players should have refused to wear

    Todd Bertuzzi. (Getty Images)

    On Saturday, Chicago White Sox all-star pitcher Chris Sale was scratched from his start and sent home because he refused to wear the team’s throwback uniform. It went beyond that, of course. Sale reportedly went into the clubhouse and cut up his own jersey, along with those of his teammates.

    Sale’s gripe? The collar on the jersey was uncomfortable and he was adamant that he would not wear it. Sale was eventually suspended for five games by the team.

    It was a bizarre story, but one that could plausibly play out in any team sport. In the NBA, for instance, many players complained when the new sleeved jerseys were introduced.

    In hockey, the basic design of the jersey has been largely the same for the past 100 years. There isn’t much that can be done that could throw a player into a fit of uncomfortable rage. The aesthetics of hockey jerseys on the other hand, they have at times been a cause for concern.

    Here are five NHL jerseys players should have refused to wear.

    Read more

  • Ben Bishop updates his Tron-style design for awesome Team USA mask

    Jared Clinton
    Ben Bishop's Team USA mask (via Ben Bishop/Twitter)

    Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop’s mask is one of the most unique in the NHL. Using a technology called GLOW Tech FX, Bishop’s mask is as eye-popping as any in the league, lighting up when the arena goes dark and showing off the mask’s design.

    Bishop’s mask was designed by DaveArt’s David Gunnarsson, and the idea behind the original mask was to make the design pop like the neon trail left behind by the motorcycle-style vehicles from the Tron series. The original mask design was a hit and looks absolutely awesome, with the designs looking as good in a bright area as it does in the dark.

    So with the World Cup of Hockey on the horizon, Bishop and Gunnarsson decided to team up again. And using the idea that if a design isn’t broke, there’s no reason to fix it, Gunnarsson produced a Tron-style Team USA mask for Bishop that makes use of GLOW Tech FX to perfection once again. Check it out: Read more

  • Jake Allen has a lot to prove in first season as true No. 1 goaltender

    Jared Clinton
    Jake Allen (Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images)

    St. Louis’ season didn’t end with them hoisting the Stanley Cup, but no one would call it an unsuccessful year. The Blues got over the difficulties they’ve had with the first round of the post-season and broke through to the Western Conference final, where their playoff run ended at the hands of the San Jose Sharks.

    During the Blues’ run, they were backstopped by Brian Elliott, who was arguably the MVP of St. Louis’ season. But an off-season of change saw Elliott shipped to the Calgary Flames, which means the Blues chances of replicating the past season’s success will now be up to Jake Allen.

    And though Allen has spent the past two seasons as a full-time NHL netminder splitting the crease with Elliott, the 25-year-old netminder has got a lot to prove in his first year as a true No. 1 netminder. In all likelihood, Allen’s season will be the most important individual season for anyone on the Blues roster. Read more

  • Rumor Roundup: The latest on the remaining notable UFAs

    Lyle Richardson
    Kris Russell. (Getty Images)

    The number of NHL unrestricted free agent signings slowed to a trickle since the opening-day frenzy on July 1. Over the weekend, defenseman Luke Schenn became the most recent notable player to ink a new contract, reaching an agreement with the Arizona Coyotes on a a two-year, $2.5-million deal.

    Several notable players remain available in the UFA market. Among those yet to land new contracts are defensemen Kris Russell, James Wisniewski and Kyle Quincey and forwards Jiri Hudler, Radim Vrbata, Sam Gagner, Brandon Pirri and Matt Cullen.

    Sportnet’s Luke Fox recently reviewed the status of the top remaining UFAs. He noted Russell, 29, was linked earlier this month to the Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks. However, it’s since been reported the Leafs made no offer to Russell and had no interest in him.

    Read more