This April 30, 2014 file photo shows Minnesota Wild left wing Dany Heatley during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Colorado Avalanche, in Denver. The Anaheim Ducks have signed left wing Dany Heatley to a one-year deal, returning the 33-year-old unrestricted free agent to the Pacific Division. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Jack Dempsey
Author: The Hockey News
Ducks sign free agent Dany Heatley to 1-year deal, returning veteran to Pacific Division
ANAHEIM, Calif. - The Anaheim Ducks have signed left wing Dany Heatley to a one-year deal, returning the 33-year-old unrestricted free agent to the Pacific Division.
Heatley spent last season with Minnesota. He played for San Jose from 2009-11, compiling 65 goals and 81 assists in 162 games for the Sharks. Heatley also has played for Atlanta and Ottawa in his career, notching 372 goals and 419 assists in 863 career games.
He is a four-time All Star and a two-time 50-goal scorer. Heatley ranks second among NHL players with 143 power-play goals.
Winterhawks center Cody Glass is doing a good job of proving people wrong as he develops into an offensive star in the WHL.
How do you like them apples? Excuse the backwards reference, but Harvard won its first Beanpot title in 24 years Monday night, running over Boston University 6-3 in the classic NCAA showdown. The Crimson are an older bunch, but still had a good dose of NHL talent in their ranks. Elsewhere in the prospect world, the Five Nations tourney in Sweden wrapped up, with Team USA taking first. This was a big win for the National Team Development Program, which had struggled for most of the season beforehand (part of that may have been the high bar set by previous editions led by Clayton Keller, Auston Matthews and Jack Eichel). For a look at some of the players involved in those contests and around the hockey world, let’s dive in to this week’s list.
Cody Glass, C – Portland Winterhawks (WHL): Hot tip for anyone facing Glass in the next decade: don’t take him for granted, because he will burn you. With 79 points through 55 games, he’s one of the highest scorers in the WHL and past slights have spurned him on.
“I use motivation as my key,” Glass said. “I got cut from Team Canada (for the summer Ivan Hlinka tourney) so I used that to push through and prove to people that I should have made it. I just keep trying to prove people wrong, starting as an honorable mention (on NHL Central Scouting’s list) and moving up to eighth.”
It’s impossible to ignore the Winnipeg native now and scouts certainly aren’t underestimating him. They love the kid’s combination of playmaking, hockey sense and hands. Still thin, Glass knows he must get stronger – but his 6-foot-2 frame is very projectable.
Portland is in the thick of the wild card race right now thanks to an 8-2 run in the Hawks’ past 10 games. The team lost a lot of veterans to the pros in the summer, but the return of franchise guru Mike Johnston has helped.
“He’s had a huge response coming back from Pittsburgh, especially him being with Crosby and Malkin,” Glass said. “He brought a lot of good skill development. With his system, with the young guys and speed we have, it helps a lot.”
Glass had just 27 points last season, so his ascent has been meteoric. Based on his skills and potential ceiling, I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes the Mark Scheifele of this draft – a player that goes earlier than expected to a team that really covets him. Funny how the new Scheifele could be a Winnipeg kid who only got to see NHL hockey in town recently with the Jets’ return.
“Everyone was pretty ecstatic when they came back,” Glass said. “Getting to see the NHL back in Winnipeg is awesome.”
And it won’t be long before we see Glass in the NHL, making his point…by piling up points.
In the Pipeline
Alex DeBrincat, RW (Chicago): DeBrincat is wrecking all sorts of Erie Otters records lately, but there’s another milestone coming for the small-but-deadly scorer. DeBrincat is well on pace to hit 50 goals and 100 points in all three of his OHL seasons – quite the rare feat.
Ryan Donato, LW (Boston): The prettiest goal of the Beanpot final came from Donato, who used his slick hands and great elusiveness to bury one for the Crimson. The son of Harvard coach Ted Donato has more than a point per game as a sophomore and the Crimson have won six straight.
Ryan Pulock, D (NY Islanders): The AHL player of the week, Pulock registered six points in four wins – all one-goal games – for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The big blueliner with the rocket shot will almost certainly push for a regular NHL spot in Brooklyn next season.
Brandon Gignac, C (New Jersey): Athletic and skilled, Gignac had the only goal in a great showdown with Halifax on the weekend as his Shawinigan Cataractes maintained their perch atop the QMJHL standings. Gignac has also been great on faceoffs, while tallying 49 points in 45 games.
Steve Michalek, G (Minnesota): Since the calendar flipped over to 2017, Michalek has yet to surrender more than two goals in a game, even in contests where his Iowa Wild were considerably outshot. The rookie AHLer now has one of the highest save percentages in the league at .923.
Josh Norris, C – U.S. NTDP (USHL): The whole NTDP blew the doors off the Five Nations, but Norris definitely led the charge with seven points in four games. That was best among all skaters in the tourney and the University of Michigan commit has been stepping it up lately in general. Norris is a smart, consistent center who skates well and plays in all situations.
Erik Brannstrom, D – HV71 (SHL): The best defenseman at the Five Nations, Brannstrom had four points in four games for the Swedes, creating opportunities nearly every period. Though he’s on the small side, Brannstrom is an incredibly skilled and smart puck-moving defenseman.
Filip Chytil, C – PSG Zlin (Cze.): One of the better Czechs at the Five Nations, Chytil is a strong, two-way center who does all the right things on the ice. That included netting three points in four games for the squad. He plays against men back home right now.
Mick Messner, RW – Madison Capitols (USHL): The USHL’s forward of the week, Messner had four points in three games, scoring or assisting on the overtime winner in all three matches. The University of Wisconsin commit is a smart, hard-working player who beats opponents with his quick hands right now but must iron out his short skating stride at the next level.
2018 Draft Star
Filip Zadina, LW – Dynamo Pardubice (Cze.): Due to his late birthday, the 1999-born Zadina won’t be draft eligible until next season, but he’s showing off incredible skill already. A fast, shifty shooter with a high-end motor, Zadina killed it at the Five Nations, leading the Czechs in scoring with five points and the tournament in goals with four in four games.
Every team in the NHL could use a player of Kevin Shattenkirk's pedigree. But which playoff hopeful team most needs to get the defenseman?
Unless he's already been traded by the time you read this, St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk will be the most sought after commodity on deadline day. He's a legit No. 1 D-man, and an unrestricted free agent come July, so everyone expects him to be on the move. Certainly almost every team in the league could use a player of his caliber, but which playoff hopeful really needs him? Here are some options.
New York Rangers
It's the New York Rangers, without a doubt. We worried before the season started that the Rangers only had so many shots left to win a Stanley Cup before Henrik Lundqvist aged out. And while the Blueshirts have many good young forwards, vets like Rick Nash are exiting their primes, and same goes for D-men like Marc Staal. New York has a good enough team to make a legit run, albeit through a vicious road in the Metro Division. All the more reason to trade for Shattenkirk. He could jumpstart their 17th-ranked power play and help generate more goals for a team that has regressed a lot since a blazing offensive start to the year. Shattenkirk also owns a home in the Hamptons, so he'd be a strong candidate to sign an extension. (Matt Larkin)
St. Louis Blues
No team needs to trade for Kevin Shattenkirk. Check that, the St. Louis needs to trade for him. No, I’m not off my meds here. If Shattenkirk is destined to be a rental to any team aside from say, the New York Rangers, then why would the Blues not treat him that way and keep him on their own roster without having to give up anything? The Blues are a bubble playoff team in the Western Conference, likely destined for one of the two wildcard spots if they make it at all. They need a healthy, productive Shattenkirk in a big way if they have any hope of making any noise in the west. And with Shattenkirk, they do have that hope. So instead of pedaling him off for draft picks and young guys who may never pan out, why not keep him and see if he can be a difference maker in the post-season, then lose him for nothing in the summer. The Blues are loathe to do this, but the fact they got Patrik Berglund under contract for five years will soften the blow this summer. Had both of them left, it would have been a different story. This way, he can still be a rental. He’s just the Blues’ rental. (Ken Campbell)
Finding a way to make the money work would be tricky, but the Bruins could really benefit from adding a puck mover like Shattenkirk to their back end. Boston has gotten good production out of Torey Krug this season. The rest of their blueline, however, hasn’t been all that effective at filling the score sheet. In fact, 39-year-old Zdeno Chara is the second highest scoring rearguard the team has with six goals and 18 points. That’s not enough to compete with the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
Adding Shattenkirk could realistically put the Bruins into the conversation for the Atlantic Division title — they're only four points back of the rival Montreal Canadiens — but getting out of the Atlantic in the post-season isn’t going to be easy if a Metropolitan Division squad crosses over due to the wild card. Competing with the high scoring teams from the Metro is a tall task. That’s where Shattenkirk would come in, though. Acquiring an offensive defenseman of Shattenkirk’s calibre would make the Bruins’ chances that much greater. (Jared Clinton)
The Capitals are tired of playoff disappointments. Already the best team in the league, they decided overkill was the smart strategy. That's why they went out and got the best player on the trade market.
The Washington Capitals haven’t just fooled us once, not even twice, into thinking they’re legitimate alpha-dog Stanley Cup contenders. Since the Alex Ovechkin era started in 2005-06, this team has tantalized us with multiple Presidents’ Trophies, one of the two best players of this generation, some of the most exciting offensive teams of all-time and Vezina Trophy-winning goaltending. And no matter how much buzz the Caps could generate, no matter how much THIS year was the year, it never was. They still haven’t advanced past the second round of the Stanley cup playoffs since 1998, when they reached the final with an underdog group coached by Ron Wilson.
Kudos to GM Brian MacLellan, then, for taking a stand Monday night. He took a team already looking like the NHL’s best on paper, already loaded with talent, already on track for another Presidents’ Trophy, and augmented it with arguably the best player available on the 2016-17 trade market. Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk is now a Capital, acquired from the St. Louis Blues for the very reasonable price of a first-round pick in 2017, a conditional 2018 second-rounder and Zach Sanford, per ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun. The Blues will also retain some salary in the deal, LeBrun reports. At a price that reasonable, renting Shattenkirk, a pending unrestricted free agent, is just fine. Re-signing him in the summer would be gravy (and likely not financially feasible for Washington).
The Caps have a top-three offense in the league. They allow easily the fewest goals per game. They rank second in save percentage. They boast the league’s No. 5 power play and No. 7 penalty kill. They still have Ovechkin playing high-end hockey even if his prime is over. They have arguably the best goaltender in the game right now in Braden Holtby. They call Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Lars Eller their top three centers. Their top five defensemen are John Carlson, Karl Alzner, Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik and Dmitry Orlov
They are S-T-A-C-K-E-D. But MacLellan realized (a) they’ve never been stacked enough over the past decade and (b) that, despite such a talent-rich roster, they did lack mobility and true offensive creativity after Carlson on the back end. Shattenkirk is an absolute luxury, but that’s what the Caps evidently need to get over the playoff choke hump. Doing so, conquering the Pittsburgh Penguins, requires overkill.
Shattenkirk obviously enhances an already deadly power play, can play 20-plus minutes a game and increases the fleet-footedness on Washington’s blueline. But he’s also an underrated defensive player, a driver of possession with a career 5-on-5 Corsi mark of 53.3 percent and an average rating 2.2 percent higher than his teammates. He fits the modern definition of what it means to be effective in your own end. He is the anti Brooks Orpik, really. As a bonus, Shattenkirk blocks the New York Rangers, the Caps’ Metro Division competition, from landing him. The Blueshirts were one of the teams most commonly linked to him.
So will the Caps ultimately make every prognosticator look silly yet again and flop with an early playoff exit? Hey, it’s entirely possible. But they deserve credit for recognizing they’re in an elite contention window and for refusing to stand pat. They’re making the boldest mid-season move they’ve made during the Ovechkin era. The Capitals can also finally say they have good possession numbers, something that correlates directly with the past seven Stanley Cup champions. They rank third in the NHL in 5-on-5 score- zone- and venue-adjusted Corsi. The last five champions have ranked top-five in that category.
The Shattenkirk acquisition solidifies Washington as the NHL’s team to beat right now. No matter how skeptical we may feel about them, no matter how many times this team has fallen short of expectations, they’ve decided to do something different this time. We have to view them through a new lens.
The salary cap system that was supposed to help downtrodden franchises such as the Coyotes has done nothing to help them. It instead forces them to spend to a floor and the exodus of players continues.
It takes an awful lot to piss off Shane Doan. But when he was interviewed between periods Sunday night about his team’s decision to trade center Martin Hanzal, you get the impression that the fact he is a devout Christian and was on live TV were the only things preventing him from cursing a blue streak. Take a look at how red his neck is. That wasn’t only because he had just played a period of hockey.
“You just can’t replace (Hanzal) and the fact that we just continue to, uh, seem to go, I don’t understand,” Doan said. “It’s hard to understand. I mean, you understand people’s hands are tied and you just don’t get it.”
Doan has every right to be upset. So do Coyotes fans and the good people of Glendale, who have backed this complete boondoggle with their hard-earned tax money, only to have the Coyotes probably leave. They have the right to be upset because they’re being sold a bill of goods by an organization that simply can’t afford to pay the freight to be competitive in the best league in the world and a league that is selling them a different bill of goods, one that makes their fans believe that teams like the Coyotes will one day be able to punch above their weight and put together a perennial contender.
On a conference call Sunay night, Coyotes GM John Chayka said the word “miserable” three times and basically summed up the franchise’s annual fire sale by saying he was, “just trying to make the best of a bad situation.” He also talked about “never, ever, having to do this again.”
Good luck with that one, John. More than any other thing, sports teams sell hope and no team has done that better than the Coyotes have over the years. Fulfilling that hope has been another matter entirely. Two years ago, they peddled hopes and dreams in the form of Keith Yandle and Zbynek Michalek. Last year it was Mikkel Boedker and this year it was Michael Stone and Hanzal.
And with the exception of Michalek, all those players who were dealt away were players who were drafted, developed and cultivated by the Coyotes. So the scouts did their jobs and the minor league and NHL coaches did their jobs, but these players who were franchise fixtures were dealt because the organization couldn’t afford to keep them. And here’s where the big ruse comes in. Remember when we all missed a season of NHL hockey in 2004-05 because the NHL was intent on forcing a salary cap on the players? Of course you do. And what was one of the NHL’s primary justifications for ensuring cost certainty? Well, a huge component was that small-market/non-traditional teams such as the Coyotes were supposed to be able to hang onto the talent they had worked so hard to cultivate when it came time for those players to be paid.
What a crock. Instead of helping teams such as the Coyotes, it instead forces them to spend to a floor and the exodus of players continues. Meanwhile, the Coyotes are able to jerrymander the cap by taking on contracts belonging to Chris Pronger, David Bolland and Pavel Datsyuk, the two former of which are largely paid for by insurance and the third one not paid at all because the player is suspended. When you look at the Coyotes’ list of contracts, their salary cap and their depth chart, it is a clear and unadulterated case study on everything that is wrong with the salary cap in the NHL and how miserably it has failed in its primary objective.
So it’s all well and good for Chayka to stand up and proclaim that he’s only doing what’s best for the long-term future of the organization, but all he’s doing is continuing the cycle. It’s not his fault. He probably thinks that the Coyotes will be a powerful team one day. But riddle me this. What happens when these young players such as Max Domi, Dylan Strome, Christian Dvorak, Jakub Chychrun and Clayton Keller are in the same position that players such as Hanzal, Stone, Boedker and Yandle were in before they were traded?
If history is any indication, they’ll be shipped out for more promising young players and draft picks who will be put through the same cycle. The question is, when does it ever end with this franchise, the one that is looking for a new home and has been turned down by the Arizona State University? The salary cap, the one that was supposed to help downtrodden franchises such as the Coyotes, has done nothing to rectify this. And it’s because salary caps can’t prevent greedy owners from building arenas on the wrong side of town and it can’t make people who don’t relate to hockey somehow gravitate to it.
It’s all getting a little old. Just ask the Coyotes. And despite Chayka’s claim that he never wants to be in this position again, just ask them again this time next year. And the year after.