• Five players who could replace Jamie Benn at World Cup for Team Canada

    Jared Clinton
    Patrick Sharp (left) and Corey Perry (Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Jamie Benn’s enormous eight-year contract extension with the Stars was the biggest news Friday, but it wasn’t the only news concerning the Dallas captain. Earlier in the day, the Stars announced that Benn had gone under the knife to repair a “core muscle injury” that could see him sidelined from the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.

    With Benn potentially on the shelf for the tournament, Team Canada GM Doug Armstrong will have to get to work on preparing for the worst-case scenario: a Canadian squad that won’t include one of the game’s best scorers.

    Benn, 26, is the second-highest scoring player over the past three seasons, behind only Canadian teammate Sidney Crosby, and without Benn in the lineup Canada is going to have a massive hole to fill on the wing. And though it’s no certainty that Benn will miss the tournament — he’s to be reevaluated in six weeks, at which point the Stars will determine his status for the World Cup — Armstrong’s best bet is to have a list of names prepared should he need to replace Benn on the wing.

    Here are five players Armstrong should consider: Read more

  • Jamie Benn staying a Star on massive eight-year, $76-million deal

    Jared Clinton
    Jamie Benn (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

    Following the Stars’ elimination from the post-season, Jamie Benn said there was no place he’d rather play than Dallas. And Friday, the Stars made sure that their captain wouldn’t have to even consider heading elsewhere.

    Dallas announced Friday evening that Benn, 26, has inked a massive eight-year, $76-million deal which will make the high-scoring winger the fifth-highest paid player in the NHL come 2017-18. Considering few players — in fact, only one, Sidney Crosby — have been able to match Benn’s point total over the past three seasons, it’s no wonder he’ll become the NHL’s newest $9.5-million man.

    “Jamie has evolved into one of the most complete players in the NHL and his ability to lead our team is second-to-none,” Stars GM Jim Nill said in a release. “He impacts the game in so many ways and this signing was extremely important for the direction of the franchise. He’s shown in the playoffs, and at international events like the Olympics and the World Championship, that he is up to any challenge and that his fingerprints will be left on every game. He’s our leader and does things the right way, every day.” Read more

  • Signing of Schwartz to five-year, $26.75-million has the future looking bright for Blues

    Jared Clinton
    Jaden Schwartz (Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Mark Scheifele’s eight-year, $49-million contract was a great deal for the Winnipeg Jets, as they locked up a 23-year-old could-be star to a long-term deal that will pay him $6.125 million per season. It came one season removed from Scheifele nearly cracking the 30-goal mark, too.

    But if that was a great deal for the Jets, then Jaden Schwartz’s new five-year, $26.75-million dollar deal is absolutely awesome for the St. Louis Blues.

    Schwartz is only one year older than Scheifele, 24, and the new contract means he’s inked a deal worth an average of $775,000 less per season. This comes after Schwartz has twice flirted with the 30-goal mark and looks to step into a bigger role with the Blues this upcoming season. And if this deal looks good right now, on the day its signed, it’s going to look even better as Schwartz really starts to hit his stride.

    “He’s part of that core we have moving forward,” Blues GM Doug Armstrong said in a release. “Schwartz and (Vladimir) Tarasenko, Robby Fabbri, Colton Parayko, Alex Pietrangelo, Jake Allen — we’re trying to build around these guys. Having Schwartz wrapped up in that group, we know we now have a core that we can build around and try to win a championship around.” Read more

  • The top five free agents still without deals for the upcoming season

    Jared Clinton
    Jiri Hudler. (Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Two weeks of free agency are officially in the books, and there are still a number of interesting names available.

    The top-tier names have already found homes, but teams looking to bolster their depth can still do so by looking to the crop of free agents. There’s everything from young, project players to veteran scorers looking for one more shot at Stanley Cup glory. There’s a very real chance that some of the players still available could have breakout years — think Lee Stempniak this past season as a New Jersey Devil — if put in the right situation.

    Among the misfit toys, there are five players who stand out. These are the five best free agents still looking for work next season: Read more

  • Which players could take on the six vacant captaincies?

    Connor McDavid (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Four players became first-time captains in the NHL ahead of the 2015-16 season, each to varying degrees of success.

    In San Jose, Joe Pavelski took over as captain after years of speculation that he was the next in line to wear the ‘C’ for the Sharks. In his first season, he helped lead the Sharks to the Stanley Cup final with an impressive post-season performance.

    Pavelski was joined as a new captain by Max Pacioretty, who donned the ‘C’ for the first time and did so as a member of arguably the most storied organization in the history of the sport, the Montreal Canadiens. Pacioretty’s Canadiens flew out of the gate like an early Cup contender, but an injury to Carey Price derailed Montreal’s season.

    Also joining the captains club were Nick Foligno, who was chosen to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets, and Andy Greene, selected by the New Jersey Devils to take the captaincy from the retiring Bryce Salvador. Both teams missed the post-season, but took some strides forward that have both fan bases hopeful for the coming campaign.

    While four new captains may seem like a lot, there’s potential for as many as seven first-time captains to take over major leadership roles in 2016-17. Anze Kopitar has already been handed the ‘C’ for the Los Angeles Kings, but that still leaves the St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators, Carolina Hurricanes, Winnipeg Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers without captains. So, will those clubs have a captain this coming season and, if so, who will stitch the ‘C’ to their sweater? Read more

  • This Week in The Hockey News magazine: August 15, 2016

    The Hockey News

    THN_7002-400In the latest edition of The Hockey News: it’s our Training Issue, with tips and tricks for players of all ages and skill levels. Features include:

    Muscle Men – From fit to freak, these are the 30 NHL teams’ strongest

    Meet The Trainers – How do NHL stars get ready to shine? These six men bring the summer polish

    No Stopping Smith – Most players shut it all down well before 50. Jeff Smith? He runs the world’s hardest race

    Gym? Rats! – These are the brutal exercises players love to hate

    Like A Pro – The knowledge around training is more in-depth than ever, but plenty of myths still exist

    Matthews & Laine – Auston and Patrik will be fan favorites, no doubt, but will the pair be the second coming of ‘Sid’ and ‘Ovie’? The comparison isn’t outlandish. One’s a soft-spoken, motivated-like-crazy jack of all trades; the other’s a larger-than-life, bull-in-a-china-shop super scorer. Let the debate begin.

    Welcome to Vegas – Sin City finally gets its big-time pro team. But questions still abound

    An Expansion Team Like No Other – Matt Larkin explains why Vegas is set up for on-ice success right off the hop

    Down Goes Brown – Five expansion cities that came oh-so close

    Youngblood at 30 – Behind the scenes of the cult classic, three decades after its silver-screen debut

    Brighter Dog Days – The Coyotes have struggled, but hockey’s still taken hold in the desert

    No Olympics, No Problem – So what if the World Cup is a money grab, says Jason Kay

    The New Breed Management – Want to be an NHL coach or GM? Here’s the door

    NHL Summer Roster Wrestling – Who won and who lost

    Prospect Report – Vinny? Jamie? No, No. 3 pick Pierre-Luc Dubois is one of a kind. Plus draft grades for all 30 teams.

    The Last Word – P.K. Subban’s a Predator because of “The Code,” says Ken Campbell

    Pick up a copy at your local newsstand, buy it from the THN store or digitally on your IPad or through Molto, PressReader, Kobo, Google PlayZinio or Nook. You can also subscribe at thehockeynews.com.

  • Subban denies problems with teammates, says memories with Canadiens are all good

    Jared Clinton
    Andrei Markov (left) and P.K. Subban (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

    There may never be a clearcut, simple answer as to why the Canadiens felt it best to trade P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators in a blockbuster deal that brought Shea Weber to Montreal, but Subban said he doesn’t believe that it had anything to do with his off-ice relationships.

    In the second part of a revealing two-part interview with Sportsnet’s Eric Engels, Subban was asked about his relationships with players in the Canadiens dressing room. There was a perception, Engels told Subban, that at times he didn’t get along with teammates in Montreal. There had been late-season reports of possible tension between Subban and Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty.

    “I’d have to disagree with that,” Subban told Engels. “With the guys that I’m with every day — that I travel with, that I play with — we’re all different. But at the end of the day, I’d like to hope these guys respect me. I respect them, and that’s really what it’s been built on.” Read more

  • Jamie Benn could miss World Cup after surgery to repair ‘core muscle injury’

    Jared Clinton
    Jamie Benn (Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Team Canada may be the early favorite to win the World Cup of Hockey, but the Canadian squad may be facing a massive loss before the puck even drops to start the tournament.

    The Dallas Stars announced Friday that Jamie Benn, 26, has been forced to go under the knife to repair a “core muscle injury.” The surgery, which took place Thursday in Philadelphia, comes with a six-week recovery period. That’s good news for the Stars, as they will almost assuredly have their captain and all-star left winger back in the lineup to start the campaign, but it might mean Benn isn’t ready to go in time for the World Cup.

    “Jamie will be re-evaluated after the six-week rehabilitation process,” the Stars said in a release. “At which time, his availability for the World Cup of Hockey will be determined.” Read more