Playoff Photo Gallery - Day 22
Scott Hartnell pins Tomas Plekanec. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Playoff Photo Gallery - Day 22
A selection of the best images from April 30..
Scott Hartnell pins Tomas Plekanec. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
A selection of the best images from April 30..
KHL contract information is generally hard to come by, but a report out of Russia ran down the top 30 earners in the KHL and revealed some interesting details about Montreal Canadiens winger Alexander Radulov.
Unlike the NHL where salary information is often announced by teams and reporters, the KHL has generally kept contract details under wraps. While fans may know the length of a contract or of the inclusion of any out-clauses, it’s been hard to really pin down any salaries. That is until now.
Russian outlet Sportfakt reported the top-30 salaries in the primarily Russian league, and four of the top five earners in the KHL are former NHLers, according to the list. Topped by Ilya Kovalchuk, Pavel Datsyuk, Slava Voynov and Vladimir Sobotka, the salary range of the top 30 spans from $5.5 million to $1.05 million.
While the top earners’ salaries pale in comparison to those of their North American counterparts, it’s worth remembering that these are only base salary figures and don’t include any potential bonuses or endorsements. Here’s the complete list, per Sportfakt:
The list makes it quite easy to tell which teams have the most money to burn, and it’s no surprise to find SKA St. Petersburg atop the KHL’s Western Conference — and the entire league, for that matter — with the money they’ve spent on talent.
Sportfakt outlined some interesting facts about the list, too. According to the outlet, if the same list would have been published five years earlier, it would have featured several members of Salavat Yulaev Ufa topping the ranks, and were this list to have been released during the 2008-09 campaign Jaromir Jagr’s $8 million salary would have been No. 1.
Jagr’s $8 million salary with Avangard Omsk made him the top paid player in KHL history, or it did until the 2013-14 campaign. That season, Alexander Radulov, who recently left the KHL for another chance in the NHL with the Montreal Canadiens, earned $8 million in base salary. As incredible as that may be, it’s not even the most intriguing thing about Radulov that Sportfakt revealed.
In addition to Radulov sharing the league record for salary with Jagr, it was reported that the Canadiens winger would have been atop the 2016-17 salary list had he decided to remain in the KHL instead of leaving for North America. According to Sportfakt, CSKA Moscow was set to pay Radulov $7 million this season — $1.5 million more than the next highest paid player, Kovalchuk — but he decided instead to take a shot at returning to the NHL.
Radulov’s one-year, $5.75-million deal with Montreal is far less than he was set to earn in the KHL, but he has can earn himself a raise if he can translate his KHL performances over the past several seasons to the NHL this season.
There’s no certainty he can do so and it may seem like a big gamble to take, but it’s probably made all the easier for Radulov given he appears to have himself a multi-million dollar backup plan.
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The Detroit Red Wings first-rounder got a taste of the pros last year and now he's diving all the way in. Learn about him and more top players for the future
Another week, another league jumping into the 2016-17 campaign. This time it’s the AHL and as per usual, there is a ton of young talent to watch for in the world’s second-best league. Once again the Toronto Marlies are flying high, with Kasperi Kapanen earning the league’s first player of the week honors, while Utica will be fun to watch thanks to Troy Stecher, Jordan Subban and even coach Travis Green, the most eligible candidate when an NHL bench boss gets the axe. Now let’s get to the players making noise in the prospect world right now.
Evgeny Svechnikov, RW (Detroit): While Svechnikov had two years in the Quebec League with Cape Breton before turning pro, there is a big lifestyle change when a player jumps from junior to the AHL. But the powerful Russian winger did get in two playoff games with Grand Rapids last season and it gave him a nice sneak peek.
“It helped a lot,” Svechnikov said. “You learn how the guys live their life there, how they play, how they behave.”
Now a full-time member of the Griffins, the rookie has contributed right away, scoring his first AHL goal and putting up eight shots through two games. Thanks to his frame and his hands, Svechnikov has Detroit dreaming of their next great net-front presence. And while he still needs to get quicker, there’s a lot of talent to work with there. And as the right winger grows as a player himself, Svechnikov will also lend an ear to his younger brother: Andrei Svechnikov is a rookie with USHL Muskegon, less than an hour across 1-96 from Grand Rapids.
“It’s exciting, absolutely,” Evgeny said. “Another dream; my brother coming over to play and being closer to me. My mother is coming too, so we’ll see each other a lot. It’s a great time.”
While Andrei is already seen as a potential No. 1 pick in 2018, Evgeny didn’t want to feed the hype machine, preferring that his brother just play his game and let the draft chips fall where they may. But perhaps Andrei will get a shot at the world juniors in a year or two. It certainly helped Evgeny, who took home silver with Russia last year in Finland.
“It’s a great experience playing in the final,” he said. “They had great players on that Finland team. I picked up some – I’m not sure how you say – tough (character-building?) moments, when we scored with seven seconds to go. Those moments, you remember for the rest of your life. It was a great time there.”
And it’s only the beginning for Svechnikov. The Red Wings need stars for the future and he’s got the power forward credentials to be up there one day. For now, he’ll put in the work with the Griffins until his NHL chance comes.
In the Pipeline
Joey Daccord, G (Ottawa): Give it up for Daccord and Arizona State, as the Sun Devils got their first win over a ranked opponent since going Division 1. Daccord backstopped the Devils to victory over Air Force on the weekend, getting Arizona State’s first win of the season in the process.
Anders Bjork, LW (Boston): Bjork has been a demon for Notre Dame so far, topping the conference in offense with 10 points through four games. With quick hands and good instincts, the Bruins pick was also solid for Team USA at the world juniors last year.
Oskar Lindblom, LW (Philadelphia): Two-way threat is once again off to a great start back home in Sweden, posting up eight points in eight games. That’s good for top-15 among all SHLers and Lindblom is doing it from Brynas’ third line.
Tyler Benson, C (Edmonton): Benson slid to the second round of the draft this summer after a raft of injuries limited his impact. Plus, some scouts didn’t like his skating. But the kid has puck smarts and he can clearly put up offense in a hurry, as he did by scoring a hat trick for the Vancouver Giants on the weekend. With eight points in four games, Benson earned WHL player of the week honors.
The OHL’s Kitchener Rangers are off to a great start and since coming back from NHL camps, Toronto pick Jeremy Bracco and Florida prospect Adam Mascherin have done some major damage. The two forwards have combined for 35 points in 14 total games, using their hockey IQ and slick puck moves to baffle the enemy.
2017 Draft Stars
Martin Necas, C – Kometo Brno (Cze.): Scouts are already amped about Necas, who helped the Czech Republic win gold at the summer Ivan Hlinka tourney. An incredible skater with high-end skill and the ability to make a lot of plays, Necas has eight points in 13 games for Kometo, playing against men in the nation’s top league.
Mikey Anderson, D – Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL): A two-way defenseman who is dangerous in all situations, Anderson has six points through his first seven games this season, making him one of the top-scoring blueliners in the league. A Minnesota-Duluth commit, he will join older brother Joey Anderson (New Jersey) at the school.
Nikita Popugaev, LW – Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL): The big winger has been awesome for the Warriors, using an array of quick shots and releases to put up offense. Turnovers can be an issue, but when you’re scoring hat tricks, that can be excused a bit.
Nico Hischier, C – Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL): The highly-skilled Swiss national has settled in nicely with The Herd, posting up 11 points in 11 games. That makes him one of the top rookies in the ‘Q’ and Hischier has proven to be deadly in all situations, including shorthanded.
2018 Draft Star
Ryan Merkley, D – Guelph Storm (OHL): Guelph is still in the OHL basement, but at least there’s hope now with No. 1 overall pick Merkley in the lineup. The crafty offensive defenseman has kicked off his junior career in style with eight points in 10 games.
Teams that don't want to lose a goalie for nothing in the expansion draft will try to make some big moves this season.
The NHL expansion draft slated for June 21 is generating speculation over which goaltenders could hit the trade block. As per the draft rules, teams can only protect one goalie. That could prompt some GMs to move a netminder via trade rather than risk losing him for nothing in the draft.
The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch reports some teams are already having discussions among each other about moving goalies. He notes Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins are already considered possible trade candidates. He expects there could be more.
The draft rules also state players carrying no-movement clauses must be protected unless they agree to waive them. Bishop, 29, and Fleury, 31, have those clauses in their respective contracts.
Bishop is also eligible for unrestricted free agency following the expansion draft on July 1. Currently earning $5.95 million this season, the cost of re-signing him could prove too expensive for the Lightning. It's also assumed they prefer to protect promising (and more affordable) Andrei Vasilevskiy, who begins a three-year contract in 2017-18.
Despite Bishop's clause, he could be willing to waive it for the right team. On Sept. 2, he told Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times he thought a trade to the Calgary Flames last June was close, but the Flames opted instead to acquire Brian Elliott from the St. Louis Blues.
After losing the starter's job to Matt Murray in the 2016 playoffs, Fleury was also the subject of trade chatter in June linking him to the Flames. His no-movement clause covers him against demotion to the minors and provides him with expansion draft protection. However, he also carries a modified no-trade clause listing 18 preferred destinations. That could provide the Pens an opportunity to trade him and protect Murray in the expansion draft.
The Detroit Red Wings, Dallas Stars, New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets could also consider trading a goalie before the March 1 trade deadline, or prior to the expansion draft in June.
With Petr Mrazek considered the Wings' starter, veteran Jimmy Howard could be available. His $5.91 million annual cap hit, however, could prove difficult to move. The Stars, meanwhile, could try to move Kari Lehtonen or Antti Niemi.
The Senators could part ways with Craig Anderson or Andrew Hammond. The Flyers must decide between Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth. The Canucks could peddle Ryan Miller if Jacob Markstrom proves ready this season for full-time starter duty.
The Islanders are currently carrying Jaroslav Halak, Tomas Greiss and J-F Berube. The Jets have two promising youngsters between the pipes in Connor Hellebuyck and Michael Hutchinson, plus veteran Ondrej Pavelec is now in the minors.
Some of these clubs could also attempt to swing a deal with Las Vegas to ensure their unprotected goaltenders aren't selected. A trade offering up another player, a prospect or a draft pick could prove enticing to Vegas GM George McPhee.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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Boston Bruins legend Bobby Orr played his first NHL game 50 years ago today and even though expectations were sky high, he exceeded them.
In the grand scheme of things, it turned out to be a nothing game between the two worst teams in the NHL, the first of a mind-numbing 14 games the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings would play against each other that season. The Bruins would go on to win the game 6-2 and it would give them a 1-0-0 record, the only time in the 1966-67 campaign the Bruins would be over .500 en route to a last-place finish in the last year of the six-team NHL. The Red Wings never made it over .500 that season and finished second-last.
It was the first game of a long and painful season for both teams. The Bruins would ultimately finish out of the playoffs for the eighth straight year and the Red Wings would also miss to begin an epic string of futility. They would make the playoffs only twice in the next 17 years and it would be another 21 before they would win a single playoff series.
“I don’t even remember that game, isn’t that a shame?” said Peter Mahovlich, who suited up as a 20-year-old rookie for the Red Wings. “I was probably so excited just to be playing myself.”
But the real excitement on Oct. 19, 1966 was for the NHL debut of Bobby Orr, who earned his first NHL assist 50 years ago tonight and started on his quest to change the game forever. And long before the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Eric Lindros, Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid came along, Orr knew first-hand what it was like to be hyped to biblical proportions. In fact, going into his first game, Boston Globe writer Tom Fitzgerald did his best to put the expectations into perspective, writing: “Boston hockey fans can help a lot if they contain themselves in their appraisal of the lad. They must not expect that Bobby immediately will be a combination of Eddie Shore, Doug Harvey, Jack Stewart and Dit Clapper.”
The funny thing is, Bruins fans had every right to expect that of him because that’s exactly what Orr became. He wasn’t immediately a combination of all those players, but he got off to a pretty good start with 13 goals and 41 points, which was good enough to win him the Calder Trophy. And with 102 penalty minutes, Orr did show a fair bit of Eddie Shore and Jack Stewart, sending a message that he would not be physically abused. Only five players in the league amassed more penalty minutes than Orr did that season. Only seven other 18-year-olds in NHL history have more PIM in their rookie season than Orr did, but Orr was the first to break 100. (In fact, Orr’s toughness and his defensive play in his own end were so overshadowed by his greatness in other areas that they are often overlooked.)
Meanwhile, Orr redefined the defense position and distinguished himself as the best player in the world by a fairly significant margin. In fact, it could probably be argued that at no time in the league’s history was the chasm between the best player and the rest of the league as wide as it was as when Orr was in his prime.
Covering Orr’s first game as a Bruin, Fitzgerald had this to say about the debut: “The high point of the occasion for the house full of fans, and for the other Bruins for that matter, was the calm and really major league job turned in by Orr, placed on as tough a spot as any boy ever to break into the NHL.
“Although he did not score a goal, the lad with the blond whiffle did everything else expected of the best at his position. Bobby demonstrated that the critics who doubted his defensive savvy were dead wrong. He played the position like a veteran; was very tough in dislodging opponents around the net; blocked shots; and made adept plays in moving the puck from his own end.
“It was an individual triumph of a kind that bosses of the Boston team were hoping for, but this long-hailed rookie unquestionably exceeded all of their anticipation.”
And he would go on to do that again and again in his 12-year career, the last three of which were marred by injury and a nasty divorce from the Bruins. But Orr crammed more greatness into those nine years than almost any other player in the history of the game has done throughout his career. Orr is certainly the greatest defenseman of all-time and, depending upon your perspective, the greatest player ever to play the game. He scored one of the game’s most memorable goals and did almost as much for hockey in New England as Gretzky did for the game in California.
And it all started 50 years ago tonight. The Bruins plan to honor Orr at a ceremony at their home opener tomorrow night, not far from where it all began in a nothing game between the NHL’s two worst teams.