NHL News & Notes to 05 Jan 2020

Here are a few news & notes from around the NHL.


  • The 2020 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic, Nashville Predators vs Dallas Stars at Dallas’ Cotton Bowl stadium, was a tremendous success.  With 85,630 fans attending, a reported 20,000 of those traveling from Nashville, it was the second highest attended New Year’s Day Winter Classic since alphabol the league started the tradition back in 2008 (the 2014 game featuring the Leafs vs the Red Wings at Michigan Stadium drew the most fans for a New Year’s Day Outdoor game with 105,491 clenbuterol liquido fans attending). Dallas won this years game 4-2 overcoming first period 2-0 deficit. Stars forward Corey Perry knocked Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis out of the game in the first period with an elbow to the acheter steroides head. Perry was thrown out and subsequently suspended for 5 games. Ellis was placed on the Predators injury reserve list which means he’ll miss at least three games.
  • Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the state of Minnesota, Target Field in boldebolin Minneapolis, will host next years Winter Classic with the Minnesota Wild playing a yet-to-be-named opponent.
  • The league’s 29 outdoor games have drawn an average attendance of 54,431 fans/game so the event has be very successful.
  • The NHL and the Bridgestone tire company have a partnership agreement in place for the Winter Classic that runs until 2021 and there is some talk they may try to extend it. This years game in Dallas was expected to generate about $30 – $35 M in economic impact to the city of Dallas.
  • Unrelated to the Winter Classic, it’s not clear where the New York Islanders will play their home playoff games. During this regular season, they are scheduled to play 20 home games at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and 21 home games at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. Last season, the Islanders split their post season games between Brooklyn and Nassau playing their first round series against the Penguins in Brooklyn and their second round series on Long Island. Bettman recently indicated Nassau Coliseum is not a suitable facility for major league sports events but the Islanders have a loyal fan base on Long Island/Nassau County and it’s where their new arena is being built (in an area called Belmont Park). The new facility is two years away from being ready for games. An announcement on the location of the Islanders post season games for this year should be made soon.
  • The NHL and NHL Players Association had been discussing the possibility of a having a World Cup style tournament next season, tentatively scheduled for February 2021, but the two sides were not able to agree on it plus they felt there was not enough time to get it organized so the idea has been shelved for now. The NHLPA are now looking at having a World Cup type tournament in 2024 and 2028. The league has not been involved in an international event since the 2016 World Cup event that was held in Toronto.
  • The Washington Capitals and owner Ted Leonsis are pushing the league to have a Capitals game in Russia. This could potentially be added as part of the NHL Global Series that has been, so far, held in Europe. NHL players seem to really enjoy having a game or two in their home country and a possible Russia-based game would star Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin plus Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov, defenseman Dmitri Orlov and rookie goaltender Ilya Samsonov. Commissioner Bettman indicated the league has started discussions internally around having a regular season game or two in Russia for either next season or the following one. The NHL already has two games scheduled in Europe for next season as part of the Global Series: the Bruins will play the Predators in the Czech Republic to open the 2020-21 Regular Season and later in the Fall the Blue Jackets will play the Avalanche in Finland.
  • The expansion Seattle team is expected to announce their team name plus logo and colors sometime in late February or early March of 2020. One team name I keep hearing is the Seattle Sockeyes. The OakView Group recently indicated construction on their building, formerly known as KeyArena but will get a new sponsorship name in the near future, is on track.
  • The NHL All-Star game is scheduled for January 25th at Enterprise Center in St. Louis. Players not going to the game will get a mid season one week break. 
    • Team captains, as voted by fans, for the game were recently announced:
      • *Alex Ovechkin (Metropolitan)
      • David Pastrnak (Atlantic)
      • Nathan MacKinnon (Central)
      • Connor McDavid (Pacific).
    • Ovechkin already announced he will skip the game and rest instead which means he has to sit out one game either before or after the All-Star game. No Metropolitan Division replacement has been announced yet.
    • Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was voted as the Pacific Division starting goaltender but also announced he will skip the game. Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom will replace Fleury on the Pacific roster.
  • The All-Star coaches are:
    • Pacific: Gerard Gallant (VGK)
    • Central: Craig Berube (STL)
    • Atlantic: Bruce Cassidy (BOS)
    • Metro: Todd Reirden (WSH)

Team Management News

  • The Dallas Stars (24-14-4) fired their head coach Jim Montgomery and replaced him with assistant coach Rick Bowness. Seems something away from the rink happened with Montgomery and Stars GM Jim Nill did not really want to discuss details to protect those involved. Montgomery announced this past Friday he is undergoing treatment for alcohol issues so hopefully he get can get back on track and healthy. The Stars under Bowness are 7-3-1. Bowness, 64, is a very well respected hockey coach having worked with Winnipeg, Boston, Ottawa, the New York Islanders, Phoenix, Vancouver, Tampa Bay and now the Stars organization in either a head coach or assistant coach. 
  • The Stars recently named Hall of Fame inductee Sergei Zubov as Senior Consultant to their Hockey Operations group. Zubov reports to Stars GM Jim Nill and will be involved in all hockey operation activities including the NHL Stars, the AHL Texas Stars and the organization’s prospects.
  • Chicago Blackhawks (18-18-6) assistant coach Marc Crawford was re-instated on Jan. 2, 2020 after missing a month while the team and league investigated claims by former players that Crawford’s coaching tactics cross the line into abusive behaviors toward players. Crawford acknowledged in the past he did cross the line and he connected with players who spoke out with the hopes of learning to be better going forward. Crawford says he underwent professional counselling to understand why he acted the way he did adding he appreciated players speaking out saying he wants to be part of the solution around the topic of hockey culture. The Blackhawks other coaches and players were reportedly happy to have him back and said he’s been stellar during his time (just this current season) with the ‘Hawks.
  • St. Louis Blues (26-10-7) head coach Craig Berube set a franchise record with 61 coaching wins in his first 100 games coached with the Blues. The Blues have in the past employed coaches such as Scotty Bowman, Ken Hitchcock, Joel Quenneville and none have recorded more wins in their first 100 games coached in St. Louis than Berube.
  • Columbus Blue Jackets (19-15-8) head coach John Torterella was fined $20 K for recently complaining about the refs in a post-game press conference. The league also said he will be fined $25,000 if he publicly complains about officiating within one year, until December 29, 2020. Tortorella has now been fined 9 times and suspended 3 times in his NHL coaching career. He was complaining that the refs screwed up the game clock in overtime which caused a Blue Jackets overtime goal to be disallowed. Blue Jackets starting goaltender, Joonas Korpisalo, was injured (out 4-6 weeks with torn cartilage in his right knee) in the ensuing shootout. Korpisalo was voted an Eastern Conference all-star but will now miss the game. 
  • There have now been 5 head coaching changes this season:
    • Leafs – Sheldon Keefe in and Mike Babcock out (Leafs are 15-4-1 since Keefe took over)
    • Calgary – Geoff Ward in a Bill Peters out (Flames are  10-5-1 since Ward took over)
    • San Jose – Bob Boughner in and Peter DeBoer out (Sharks are 4-5-2 since Boughner took over)
    • New Jersey – Alain Nasreddine in and John Hynes out (Devils are 6-7-2 since Nasreddine took over)
    • Dallas – Rick Bowness in and Jim Montgomery out (Dallas is 7-3-1 under Bowness)
  • Winnipeg Jets (22-15-4) head coach Paul Maurice is apparently in the final year of his contract and recently said he does not want to leave Winnipeg saying it’s home for him and his family. Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, when asked, didn’t really want to comment on a possible contract extension for his coach saying that will wait until the summer.
  • Calgary recently announced assistant general manager Chris Snow has been diagnosed with ALS also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Snow is 38 years old and has started treatment. From what I read, there is no cure for the disease but Snow has entered into a clinical trial program developed at the University of Miami which involves gene therapy treatment.


  • Arizona Coyotes forward Taylor Hall is not expected to sign a contract with the Coyotes until, the earliest, this off-season. The talk is he will wait until July 1 and assess his options. Hall has scored 2 goals and added 6 points in 9 Coyotes games. Coyotes GM John Chayka called the move acquiring Hall a calculated gamble adding they hope once Hall settles in he’ll want to stay longer term.
  • The Winnipeg Jets have not ruled out injured defenseman Dustin Byfuglien returning to the team. Byfuglien is recovering from ankle surgery. The player filed a grievance through the NHLPA because he was suspended without pay for not reporting to Jets training camp but later said he was injured. It’s not clear where the grievance process is at but Jets GM Cheveldayoff recently said his medical care is not under Jets doctors supervision but they’ve not ruled out a return for the player.
  • Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad (11 G & 8 A for 19 points) is apparently available via trade. Saad has one more season remaining on his deal at $6 M /season,
  • The Oilers and the agent for defenseman Darnell Nurse have been in discussions about a contract extension for the player. Nurse is a summertime RFA (2.5 season’s from UFA) who has a $3.2 M cap hit. Nurse has 20 points on 3 goals in 44 Oilers games this season. He is second on the Oilers in ice time with an average of 22.5 mins/game.
  • The Oilers also want to reach an agreement with pending UFA forward Zack Kassian. The player has scored 13 goals and added 15 assists for 28 points. Seems as though he wants to stay with the Oilers if possible as he often plays on the Oilers top line with McDavid. Kassian is making $1.95 M this season. He adds a physical element among the forwards which is valuable.
  • Sabres veteran defenseman Zach Bogosian has asked the organization for a trade as has teammate /forward Evan Rodrigues. Rodrigues has 3 assists in 24 Sabres games played but has recently been a healthy scratch.
  • Canucks forward Sven Baertschi has asked for a trade from Vancouver. GM Jim Benning indicated recently there is not much of a market for the player as he was recently placed on waivers and cleared. He’s now playing with the Canucks AHL team in Utica.
  • Both Chicago goaltenders, Corey Crawford & Robin Lehner, are summertime UFA’s. Reports indicate the ‘Hawks are trying to reach an agreement with Lehner. No terms have been made public. Lehner is 12-7-4 this season with a 2.92 GAA and a .922 SV%. Heard him interviewed recently and he said he believes he has been playing as as well as he ever has in his NHL career.
  • Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom is in contract discussions with the team as he is a UFA this summer. The team wants to re-sign him and Backstrom, 32, wants to stay in Washington but the player wants a 5 year deal while the team only wants to do 3 years.
  • Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau is on pace for a 113 point season and 35 goals. Teammate Alex Barkov set a Panthers franchise record with a 96 point season last season. Huberdeau is an underrated star player. He was drafted 3rd overall in 2011. 
  • Seems the mid-season leading Hart trophy candidates are Sabres Jack Eichel and Avalanche Nathan MacKinnon. Eichel is 7th in the league in points with 26 G & 29 A in 42 games played (a 50 goal/106 point pace). Eichel had a 18 game point streak this season where he recorded 16 goals and 16 assists for 32 points (1.78 PPG) and was plus 19 during the 18 games. Nathan MacKinnon is 3rd in the league in points with 25 goals and 39 assists for 64 points in 42 games or 1.62 PPG. MacKinnon was a Hart finalist last season.
  • Rumors are pointing to the Carolina Hurricanes signing UFA forward Justin Williams. Williams has been skating the past month and it appears he is looking to return to the league. The only caveat is reaching a financial agreement with the player. Williams has won 3 Cups in his career, with LA, Washington & Carolina, plus won one Conn Smythe as playoffs MVP.
  • Experts say with New Jersey trading pending UFA forward Taylor Hall, the Devils are now Nico Hischier team. Hischier, drafted first overall in 2017, is apparently strong both defensively and offensively. This season the player has recorded 9 goals and 15 assists for 24 points in 36 Devils games. He has also had an ‘A’ added to his jersey for assistant captain. Current Devils captain Andy Greene is 37 year old, a off-season UFA and some say Hischier could take over as Devils team captain. Hischier just turned 21 years old.
  • New York Rangers forward prospect Lias Andersson has asked the team for a trade. Drafted 7th overall in the 2017, Andersson has been unable to make the Rangers and was recently playing for the Rangers AHL team in Hartford before he left last week and went home to Sweden.
  • The Capitals appear to have a good goaltender in back-up Russian Ilya Samsonov (drafted 22nd overall in 2015). He has an 11-2-1 record this season with a 2.33 GAA and a .918 SV%. On the road this season, Samsanov has an 8-0-0 record with a 2.18 GAA and a .924 SV%. The goaltender set a NHL record with the 8 roads wins being the only goaltender in NHL history to win his first 8 road starts. With starter Braden Holtby a summer time UFA, it seems as though Samsanov will take over as the Caps #1 next season.
  • The season’s trade deadline day is Monday, February 24th. Some names that are expected to move, all pending unrestricted free agents:
    • Penguins forward Alex Galchenyuk is expected to be dealt. He has not excelled in Pittsburgh after being traded there for Phil Kessel this summer. In 32 games played with the Penguins, Galchenyuk has scored 4 goals and added 5 assists.
    • LA Kings forward Tyler Toffoli (11 G & 13 A). Colorado has been linked to Toffoli.
    • Senators forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Having a career year with 19 goals and 11 assists for 30 points on not a very good Senators team.
    • New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider. Has 12 goals and 14 assists at the mid way point of the season. 
    • Ducks defenseman Michael Zel Zotto is a UFA and could be moved.
    • LA Kings players Kyle Clifford and Trevor Lewis could be moved. Neither player puts up many points but both have each won two Stanley Cups. There is some talk the Kings may try and sign Clifford as they like his toughness.
    • Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug is also a pending UFA and has been in contract discussion with the Bruins. Has 28 points in 35 Bruins games this season. Seems the Bruins will keep him even if they are not close to signing him as he is a strong playoff performer.
    • Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo (35 points in 43 Blues games this season) also UFA and not expected to be traded. It doesn’t sound as though contract discussions with the Blue have progressed very far.
    • Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom is UFA and having a stellar season for the Canucks and the team is trying to reach a contract agreement with him.

Teams News

  • The Capitals are the first team to 60 points this season. They are 17-5-1 on the road this season and have recorded more road wins this season than any other team has at home.
  • Columbus is 8-1-4 in their past 13 games but will be tested with their starting goaltender, Joonas Korpisalo, out for four weeks with a knee injury.
  • The league’s top 5 teams are:
    • Washington
    • St. Louis
    • Boston
    • Pittsburgh
    • Colorado
  • Buffalo will be without forward Jeff Skinner (39 GP 11 G 8 A) for the next 2-3 weeks as he is dealing with a upper body injury. Additionally rookie of the year candidate Victor Olofsson (42 GP 16 G & 19 A) will be out 5-6 weeks with a lower body injury. The Sabres have 3 W 6 L in their past 9 games and sitting 5 points out of a wild card position. The Sabres have a league leading 8 season playoff drought.
  • The Jets are not winning at the same clip that they were earlier in the season. They are 3-5-2 in their past 10 games. Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck is 3-5-2 with a .886 SV% and a 3.85 GAA in his past 10 games.
  • The New York Islanders announced they will retire John Tonelli’s No. 27 on Feb. 21 and Butch Goring’s No. 91 on Feb. 29. 

Player News

  • New York Rangers forward Artemi Panarin is on pace for a career high 44 goals and 110 points. The Rangers haven’t had a 100 point player since Jaromir Jagr back in 2004-05. Panarin was recently voted by fans to go to his first All-Star game.
  • Carolina Hurricanes 19 year old sophomore Andrei Svechnikov is on pace for an 80 point / 34 goal season. The organization has to be ecstatic with the development of the player drafted second overall in 2018. 
  • Predators defenseman Roman Josi is having a career season, on pace for 29 goals and 88 points. Josi leads the Preds in points with 43 in 40 games. Josi also has an active 10 game point streak going which is a Predators record for longest point streak for a defenseman.
  • Though Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl is tied with McDavid for most points in the league, Draisaitl is a -17 on the season and -14 in his past 10 games. As much as Draisaitl is putting up points, defensively he’s on the ice for a lot goals against. McDavid is -7 on the season.
  • Penguins points leader, Jake Guentzal, recently recorded his 200th career point plus his 20th goal of the season. Unfortunately, he crashed into the end boards after scoring his 20th and will miss 4-6 months recovering from shoulder surgery. Guentzal was selected to his first All-Star game but will now miss the game.
  • Habs forward Max Domi has an active nine game point streak (6 G 8 A). Domi is on pace for a 62 point season (he recorded 72 points last season). He’s an RFA this summer.
  • Senators forward Anthony Duclair has set a career high in goals with 21 in 41 Sens games this season. Duclair, 24, will be a summertime RFA.
  • Lightning forward Alex Killorn is on pace for a career high 34 goal, 74 point season. He had 35 points last season on 16 goals.
  • Philadelphia Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom was recently diagnosed with a medical condition called Ewings sarcoma. It’s a form of cancer. He has already started treatment and will miss the rest of the regular season. Flyers captain Claude Giroux said recently the players are dedicating the season to Lindblom.
  • Avalanche second line center Nazem Kadri already has 15 goals on the season. He had 16 all of last season with the Leafs.
  • Montreal signed forward Ilya Kovalchuk to a one year 2 way deal worth $700,000 /season at the NHL level. Apparently the Habs are hoping Kovalchuk can help on the PP which is the 9th rank PP in the league (22.9%). People who watched him in LA this season say he can’t keep up with the fast pace of the games any longer plus he doesn’t buy into a team concept. Hope it works out for him in Montreal. GM Beregvin said Kovalchuk has to buy in to a team concept adding it’s probably his final NHL chance.
  • Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook is out the rest of the season. He needs shoulder surgery plus surgery on both his hips. Sounds insurmountable to me for a player that turns 35 in April and has already lost a step. Fellow Blackhawks defensemn Calvin de Haan also will miss the rest of the season as he needs shoulder surgery.
  • Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon is just the second Avs player in franchise history to reach at least 25 goals at the half way point of the season. GM Joe Sakic had 28 goals at the midway mark in the 1995-96 season.
  • Blackhawks 22 year old forward Alex DeBrincat is on place for 20 goals, half of the 41 he scored last season.
  • New Jersey goaltender Cory Schneider was placed on waivers, went unclaimed and is now playing with the Devils AHL affiliate in Binghamton. In 7 appearances in the AHL so far, Schneider has a 3.15 GAA and a .887 SV%. Schneider is under contract to the Devils for this season and two more at a $6 M cap hit.
  • Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot, 22, is leading the league in time on ice per game with an average of 26:11 minutes. Chabot has recorded 23 points in 39 games this season. His 8 year contract at $8 M/season starts next season.
  • St. Louis Blues forward David Perron has set a Blues franchise record by scoring four overtime goals this season. He’s set the record in just 39 Blues games. In NHL history only Chicago’s Jonathan Toews has also done the same.


  • Montreal traded defenseman Mike Reilly to Ottawa for forward Andrew Sturtz & a 2021 5th round draft pick. Reilly was a healthy scratch most of the season in Montreal and Ottawa has a few injuries on their blueline.
  • Buffalo traded defenseman Marco Scandella to Montreal for 2020 4th round draft pick.
  • Calgary traded pending UFA forward Michael Frolik to Buffalo for a 2020 4th round draft pick. Frolik was overpaid at $4.3 M in the final year of his contract and Calgary was happy to get some needed cap space. Frolik is about a 15 goals /season player who is good on the PK.


  • Leafs have won 9 of their last 10 games and have a 15-4-1 record under new head coach Sheldon Keefe. They are on pace for a 100 point regular season – same total as last season.
  • Keefe is the first Leafs head coach to win 15 of his first 20 games.
  • Players say Keefe has implemented a more puck possession style while also allowing the offensive players to be more creative.
  • The team have outscored teams 28-10 in first periods under Keefe. He recently said that getting a lead is key.
  • Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews have a combined 32 points in the last 9 games.
  • Auston Matthews is the first Leafs player to record 25 goals in each of his first four seasons. He’s on pace for 53 goals and 96 points. Leafs haven’t had a 50 goal scorer since Dave Andreychuk back in 1993-94.
  • Forward William Nylander is playing as well as he ever has as a Toronto Maple Leaf. Since Sheldon Keefe took over, Nylander has recorded 11 goals and 10 assists for 21 points in 20 games. Nylander is on pace to set career high in goals (36) and points (72).
  • Forward Mitch Marner is on pace for 87 points despite missing 11 games with an ankle injury. Marner had 94 points last season.
  • Forth line forward Jason Spezza is on pace for a very respectable 37 points.
  • GM Kyle Dubas signed defenseman Justin Holl to a 3 year deal for $2 M /season. The new contract starts next season. Holl was to be a July 1, 2020 UFA. Holl has scored one goal and added 11 assists in 41 games played this season. He also leads the team in plus/minus with a plus 17.
  • Back-up goaltender Michael Hutchinson is 3-0 in his recent 3 starts with a .945 SV%, a 1.65 GAA and one shutout.
  • Auston Matthews and Frederik Andersen were voted by the fans as NHL All-Stars. Matthews has made the NHL All-Star game in each of his first four seasons in the league. It will be Andersen’s first All-Star game.
  • Andreas Johnsson, injured since December 4th (leg fracture), has started skating and appears to be close to returning to the line-up. Trevor Moore (concussion) has also started skating.
  • Goaltender Frederik Andersen recently reached the 200 win mark. He achieved the milestone in the 5th fewest games in NHL history. Only Ken Dryden (309 games), Braden Holtby (319 games), Jacques Plante (340 games) and Chris Osgood (344 games) reached 200 wins faster.
  • Alex Kerfoot reached the 100 point mark in his career, took him 194 games. He has really fit in well in his first seson in Toronto. He has both skill and speed. He has 17 points in 38 games played as the team’s third line center.
  • Forward Ilya Mikheyev (ligament damage in his wrist) will be out three months. Mikheyev and his agent Dan Milstein were very appreciative of how the Leafs handled Mikheyev’s recent skate laceration injury. The wrist laceration from a New Jersey Devils players skate severed an artery in his wrist. Apparently, the Leafs head trainer and the New Jersey Devils medical staff jumped to get the player immediate medical attention. It could have been a career ending injury not to mention blood was pouring out of the wrist. Leafs GM Kyle Dubas stayed in New Jersey with the player for 2 days and even bought him clothes to wear. Both Mikheyev and his agent said they were very grateful to Dubas. The player hardly speaks any English having come over from Russia last summer. In his first season in the NHL, Mikheyev has recorded 8 goals and 23 points. He expected to be out of game action for the rest of the season.
  • Defenseman Jake Muzzin (broken foot) is week-to-week.
  • The team plays on consecutive nights 14 times this season having already played 10 of them and are, so far, 2-7-2 in the second game.
  • The Marlies have a 20-11-2-1 record and are 15-6 at home which is good since they’ve lost a number of players to the Leafs plus their head coach. Marlies goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo has a 11-4-1 record.
  • Marlies defenseman Rasmus Sandin competed for Team Sweden at the just wrapped up World Juniors and was named the tournament’s top defenseman. Sandin led all defensemen in points with 3 goals and 7 assists in 7 games played. Experts say Sandin could get time with the Maple Leafs in the second half of the season.
  • After playing 8 of their last 13 games on the road, the Leafs play five of their next 6 games at home.
    • Mon, Jan 6 vs Edmonton
    • Wed, Jan 8 vs Winnipeg 
    • Sun, Jan 12 at Florida
    • Tue, Jan 14 vs New Jersey 
    • Thu, Jan 16 vs Calgary
    • Sat, Jan 18 vs Chicago 


  • The Pens are forth in the league in points with 55 (23-11-5 record) and are 15-5-4 since Crosby has been out of the line-up recovering from November 14th sports hernia surgery (skating but still not cleared for practice).
  • Forward Evgeni Malkin has stepped up to lead offensively in Crosby’s absence recording 33 points in 22 games or 1.50 PPG.
  • During the month of December and without Crosby, the team had a 10 win and 2 loss record.
  • Head coach Mike Sullivan is the mid-season leading candidate for the Coach of the Year award. 
  • Forward Bryan Rust is tracking towards a 43 G and 43 A (86 points) season. His career high in goals is 18, assists 25 and points 38. Rust is in the second year of a four year contract that pays him $3.5 M /season.
  • Tristan Jarry, 24, has taken over from Matt Murray as the team’s number one goaltender. In 19 games played this season, Jarry has a 1.94 GAA, a .935 SV% and 3 shutouts. Murray will be a RFA this summer and in the final year of a deal that pays him $3.75 M. 
  • Crosby has started skating but has not been cleared for contact though it seems he will be back playing soon.
  • Defenseman Justin Schultz, a pending UFA, is injured and it’s week to week at this point. In 27 games played his season, Schultz has recorded 8 points on 2 goals.
  • The only Penguins players to play in all of their games this season are:
    • Brandon Tanev
    • Dominik Simon
    • Marcus Pettersson
    • Teddy Bleuger
    • Zach Aston-Reese
  • Head coach Mike Sullivan recently coached his 500th game becoming just the 13th active head coach with at least 500 games coached.


  • Though the Bruins have lost 11 of their past 15 games, they still lead the Atlantic Division by 6 points (over the Leafs). Experts say fatigue from a long post-season run (game 7 of the Cup finals) last season could be a factor in their mid-season struggles.
  • Bruins forward David Pastrnak leads the league with 31 goals and is on pace for a 59 goal season. He also has an active 10 game point streak.
  • Pastrnak and Marchand are the first Bruins teammates to collect at least 60 points prior to the team’s 45th game of the season since Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr back in the 1974-75 season.


  • The Canucks have won 7 straight games for the first time since December 2013 and are 14-5-3 at home this season. They’ve scored first in each of the 7 games and are 16-3-9 when scoring first this season.
  • The team’s top line of Elias Pettersson between JT Miller and Brock Boeser is one of the league’s top lines. Pettersson is tracking towards an 86 point sophomore season (had 66 in his rookie season), Miller is having a career year (on pace for 78 points) and Boeser is on pace for 76 points (career high is 56 points).
  • The team’s record this season when Elias Pettersson scores a goal is 11-2-1.
  • Rookie defenseman Quinn Hughes is on pace for 59 point season and, if he can stay healthy, has a chance to win the organization’s second straight Calder trophy for rookie of the year.  Hughes (41 GP) required the fewest games by a Canucks rookie defenseman to collect his 30th point of a season.
  • The Canucks lead in league in powerplay goals with 40; players from their top line, Miller-Pettersson-Boeser, have accounted for 45% of the team’s PP goals.
  • The organization is trying to reach an agreement with pending UFA goaltender Jacob Markstrom. Markstrom said he considers Vancouver home and wants to re-sign with the Canucks.


  • Lightning captain Steven Stamkos recently recorded his 800th career point. He reached the milestone in 779 games. Only Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier have reached 800 points as Tampa Bay Lightning players.
  • Dallas Stars captain Joe Pavelski recently played in his 1,000 career game. The Stars players bought him a trip for four to Scotland and GM Jim Nill presented Pavelski with a silver stick.
  • San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic recently played in his 1,000 career game. Vlasic has 392 points in his career.
  • Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson recently played in his 700th career game and Taylor Hall played in his 600th.
  • Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury recently won his 455 career game which ranks him 6th all-time.
  • Penguins star Evgeni Malkin became the 8th active player and forth player in Penguins history to reach 400 career goals.
  • Oilers assistant captain Ryan Nugent-Hopkins recently recorded his 400th career point.
  • Jets forward Blake Wheeler recently played in his 900th career game (256 G & 476 A for 732 points or .81 PPG) this past week.
  • San Jose Sharks forward Joe Thornton recently skated in his 1,600 career regular season game. He is the first player drafted first overall to play as many games. Thornton has recorded over 400 goals, 1,000 assists, and 1,400 points in his career. He is 7th all-time in assists with 1,080.
  • Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin recently scored his 256th career power-play goal in the regular season to move past Teemu Selanne (255) for sole possession of third place all-time.
  • Ottawa Senators defenseman Ron Hainsey recently played in his 1,100 career game.

Odds & Ends

  • Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane had the most points in the last decade with 802. Alex Ovechkin scored the most goals, 437, and Nicklas Backstrom recorded the most assists with 512.
  • Team Canada won the Spengler Cup on Dec. 31, 2019. They defeated the Czech team 4-0 in the championship game. Former NHL goaltender and now hockey executive Sean Burke was the team’s General Manager and Shane Doan was AGM. Former player and Oilers executive Craig MacTavish was head coach and former Oiler Paul Coffey was an assistant coach. It was the Canadians forth Spengler Cup win in the past 5 tournaments. There were very few former NHL players on the roster with the team comprised mostly of Canadian players that have played in Europe.
  • Patrick Kane is getting his #88 London Knight jersey retired by the team on Jan. 17th in a pre-game ceremony. Kane played just one season in London, the 2006-07 season. He recorded 62 goals, 145 points in 58 Knights games that season.
  • The Blackhawks have an 518 game (456 regular season games and 64 playoff games) sellout streak going and they lead the NHL in average attendance this season with an avg 21,398 fans / game. 
  • Arizona has had 6 home sellouts already this season (after 22 home games). They had 6 all of last season.

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NHL News & Notes to 08 Dec 2019

Here are some news and notes from around the NHL.


  • The NHL Board of Governors are meeting Monday and Tuesday, December 9 & 10, in Pebble Beach, California. Some of items on the agenda include salary cap projections (it’s $81.5 M this season) for next season, and possibly the 2021-22 season, plus discussion around improving hockey culture which stems from the Bill Peters incidents and related player abuse type incidents reported around the league. The league wants input on how to improve hockey culture in the league and possibly introduce a code of conduct to be followed by all teams. The 200 mg testosterone cypionate per week results side effects league has apparently been proactively talking to teams asking if there have been incidents of abuse by their coaches in the past as they androxine want to get in front of the stories a bit. Former players have taken to social media to speak out about poor treatment from various coaches around the league. Also reported to be on the agenda for the Monday & Tuesday meetings is an update on Seattle’s progression, all indications point to them being on schedule to start their first season not next season but the 2021-22 season.
  • The GM’s will reportedly again debate the skate in the air off-side rule at the March 2020 meetings. Currently a players skate must be on the ice to be considered on-side. Some notes from their GM meetings that were held in November 2019 include the minor penalty for failed coaches challenge has led to 32% decrease in coaches calling a challenge which requires video review and the average time for a game is 148 minutes which is the shortest time since the 2012-13 season. Success rate of coaches challenge is 58% up from 32% last season. There are also fewer stoppages in play and refs have to instructed to get the players to not freeze the puck which slows games down. In the first quarter of the season there were 1956 goals scored in 317 games, the highest number in the past 23 years. 
  • The league also recently announced the the GM of the Year award will be renamed the Jim Gregory Award. Gregory was Maple Leafs GM from 1969-79 and a hockey executive at the league office for 30 years. Gregory was also chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee from 1998-2014.

Team Management

  • The New Jersey Devils dismissed their head coach John Hynes last week. In 4.5 seasons behind the Devils bench, Hynes had a 150-159-45 record and the Devils made the post-season once, losing the first round against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Hynes was first hired by Ray Shero back in 2009 (when Shero was Pens GM) to be assistant coach of the Penguins AHL team under head coach Todd Reiden (current Washington Capitals head coach). Hynes became head coach of the Penguins AHL team in 2010 and was in that position for 5 seasons. One of Hynes assistants, from his time as the Devils head coach and his time in the AHL with the Penguins organization, Alain Nasreddine takes over as interim head coach. Peter Horachek will join the coaching staff (was a Devils pro scout) as an assistant with existing assistants Rick Kowalsky, Mike Grier and goaltending coach Roland Melanson. I read a few quotes from Nasreddine after he was appointed interim coach and he called it “bittersweet” – to get his first chance to coach at the NHL level was exciting adding he has a lot of respect for Hynes. Devils GM Shero said it’s a chance for Nasreddine to show what he can do with the team but the Devils will do a wide search for a permanent head coach. In Nasreddine’s first three games as interim head coach, the Devils are 0-2-1.
  • Leafs Mike Babcock was, of course, fired in Toronto on November 20th. Babcock’s record in Toronto was 173 wins, 133 losses and 45 overtime losses. The Leafs missed the post-season in Babcock’s first season in Toronto, 2015-16, and then had two very successful regular season’s in 2017-18 with 49 regular season wins & 105 points followed by a 46 win & 100 point 2018-19 regular season. They lost three consecutive first round series’ (Washington once and Boston twice) under Babcock. Babcock’s assistant coaches including Paul McFarland, Dave Hakstol and Andrew Brewer all remain as part of Keefe’s staff. MSLE will be paying Babcock until 2023. He gets $5.875 M USD / season up to and including the 2022-23 season. Keefe’s contract was for 3 seasons so he’s being paid for one less season than Babcock.
  • Bill Peters resigned as head coach of the Calgary Flames and assistant coach Geoff Ward was given the Interim Head Coach title. The Flames are 5-0 under Ward. Ray Edwards, the team’s Director of Player Development since 2015, was added as an assistant coach and he will also remain the Director of Player Development. Edwards will view games from the press box and Flames assistant coach Martin Gelinas will stay behind the bench. Ward seems like the odds on favorite to be the Flames permanent head coach but the organization may let this season play out first. Ward was an assistant coach with Boston for 7 seasons, where he won a Cup in 2011, plus three more with New Jersey. He joined the Flames before the start of last season as an assistant coach and he has been in consideration for NHL head coaching positions in the past few seasons. 
  • The Columbus Blue Jackets announced Paul MacLean has joined head coach John Torterella’s staff as an assistant coach. MacLean will reportedly focus on the Blue Jackets PP. MacLean won the Jack Adams award back in 2013 as a member of the Ottawa Senators. Most recently, MacLean was an assistant coach for 2 seasons, 2015-2017, with the Anaheim Ducks.


  • Devils forward Taylor Hall, a pending UFA, is reportedly interested in moving on from New Jersey and GM Ray Shero has started trade discussions with teams. Shero apparently does not have a specific want in terms of a return for Hall instead asking interested teams to pitch their offers. Shero isn’t, however, looking for a one for one player swap, like what brought Hall to New Jersey – Hall for Adam Larsson straight-up, but looking for possibly four or five players in return, some of which could be prospects or draft picks. It’s not clear if part of the deal would include discussions around a new contract for Hall but conditional draft picks could be negotiated to be contingent on Hall re-signing with the eventual team he is traded to. Hall’s agent is known for waiting until the off-season / June with his UFA’s since he believes the player gets the most money that way.
  • New Jersey is currently in 30th place in a 31 team league and I don’t believe it’s what GM Shero had in mind this summer especially since he brought in defenseman PK Subban. It’s a bit of a step back season for the Devils but with the potential return on the Hall trade, a possible top 3 draft pick in 2020 (since the team is near the NHL basement in the standings) plus cornerstone pieces in first overall draft picks, Nico Hischier in 2018 and Jack Hughes in 2019, New Jersey has the players to form the core of a young and talented roster. The two teams most linked to Hall are Colorado and Arizona. The Devils are reportedly interested in Colorado’s prospect and WHL Vancouver Giants defenseman Bowen Byram who went 4th overall last June and has 115 points in 164 WHL games or .70 PPG.
  • The Washington Capitals and forward Nicklas Backstrom have started contract discussions. Backstrom, 32, is in the final season of a 10 year $67 M contract he signed with the Capitals back in May 2010. Backstrom is in his 13th NHL season, all with the Washington Capitals. He is a point a game player – in 918 career games he’s recorded 891 points. The player is acting as his own agent in the negotiations. GM Brian MacLellan said the other day the organization wants to reach an agreement with the player but nothing is close to being signed.
  • Doesn’t seem as though the St. Louis Blues are at all close to signing their captain, defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who will be UFA this summer. I sense that the player wants to stay in St. Louis but he’s said to be seeking a Roman Josi type deal which is $9 M /season for 8 seasons. Similarly, the talk is the Bruins and defenseman Torey Krug are not close in their discussions for a new contract for the pending UFA. Krug has played his entire career with the Bruins and is a .63 points / game regular season player over his NHL career. He’s been strong in the post-season with 46 points in 62 post-season games. Krug has said he wants to re-sign in Boston and is willing to take less. No word on what the term or dollars are in the current contract discussions. It remains to be seen if the two players are moved by the February 24, 2020 trade deadline.
  • Rangers forward Chris Kreider is expected to be traded by the Feb. 24, 2020 trade deadline. Kreider is off to a bit of a slow start with 7 goals and 7 assists after 29 games.
  • Avs star forward Nathan MacKinnon recently told Forbes magazine he’s happy with his contract, signed in the summer of 2016, at $6.3 M /season for 7 seasons. Experts say the Avalanche are getting a deal with a 90-100 point player at that salary number. Teammate Mikko Rantanen signed at the end of September for $9.25 M / season for 6 seasons. MacKinnon says his goal is to win a Stanley Cup in Colorado and, if he has to take less to try and make that happen, he’s willing to.
  • The December deadline for unsigned RFA’s passed without either of Dallas Stars defenseman Julius Honka or Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi signing therefore they are ineligible to play in the league this season. It seems Honka was closer to being moved than Puljujarvi. Oilers GM Ken Holland said teams were calling on Puljujarvi, 21, but none were willing to provide the return value he wanted for a former 4th overall draft pick (2016). The forward has recorded 27 points on 12 goals in 27 games in the Finnish league this season. Puljujarvi was being linked to the New York Rangers.
  • Senators forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau, 27, is a pending UFA that is thought to be coveted by teams. Pageau has 15 goals (a career high after just 29 Senators games) plus 6 assist for 21 points. Pageau was the first Senators player to score 11 goals in the month of November since Daniel Alfredsson scored 13 back in the 2005-06 season.
  • Both Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic and TJ Brodie are UFA’s at the end of this season. The team started discussions with Hamonic on a new deal but they were unable to agree on terms and the player now wants to put off discussions until the off-season. It doesn’t seem as though Brodie will be back in Calgary next season as there have not contract discussions with him. Brodie collapsed at practice about 3 weeks ago but is back playing. He was put through a battery of tests to determine why he may have fainted but no issues were discovered.
  • The NHLPA filed a grievance with the league on behalf of former Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglein who was suspended on September 21, 2019 for not reporting to training camp. The Jets are being quiet on the matter and apparently the NHL is in the middle of discussions with the NHLPA on the issue.

Hot Teams

  • Through 30 games, the Capitals are 21-4-5, setting a franchise record for most points (47) in their first 30 games of the season. The Capitals hold a 14-2-1 record on the road, the most road wins in the NHL.
  • The Bruins lost their first home regulation time game of the season on Saturday against Colorado. Their home record is now 12-1-5. The Bruins have an impressive record of 20-4-6 on the season and are first in the Atlantic Division.
  • Colorado has won 6 straight and are 11-3 in the past 14 games. Experts who watched them this season say they look like a Cup contender.
  • The Flyers are 7-1-1 in this past nine games and only twice in their franchise history have they recorded more points after their first 30 games, 2011-12 (20-7-3) and 2010-11 (18-7-5). The Flyers also led the NHL in points in the month of November with 24 (10-2-4).
  • Even with the Oilers terrific start and 18-10-4 record, Arizona just tied them to the Pacific Division lead (40 points).
  • Minnesota is 10-3-3 in this recent 16 games. Eric Staal and Jason Zucker are tied for the team lead in points with 21 after 30 games. Goaltender Alex Stalock is having a good season for the Wild with a 8-4-2 record with a .906 SV% and a 2.91 GAA. He’s outplayed starter Devan Dubnyk this season.
  • The Penguins are 8-3-3 since Sidney Crosby was sidelined with a sports hernia injury. Malkin has stepped up as first line center and has recorded 6 goals and 16 assists in 14 games.

Players producing

  • Oilers captain Connor McDavid is on pace for 132 points this season while teammate Leon Draisaitl is on pace for 135 points. Draisaitl and McDavid are the first two Oilers to reach the 50 point mark in under 30 games since Gretzky & Kurri back in the 1984-85 season.
  • Bruins forward David Pastrnak has 25 goals in 30 games this season & on pace for a 68 goal season. His career high in goals is 38 which he recorded last season. Pastrnak is one of the most exciting players in the game and is just 23 years old. Only three other players all-time have scored 12+ goals in each of the first two months of the season, as Pastrnak has done. Gretzky did it twice, Mario Lemieux and Mike Bossy both so did so once.
  • Carolina’s young Russian forward Andrei Svechnikov, drafted 2nd overall in 2018, is on pace for a break out second season. He lead the Hurricanes in points with 32 in 30 games and tracking towards an 87 point season. Svechnikov, 19, recorded 32 points in his rookie season.
  • Sabres captain Jack Eichel has an active 13 game point streak going and has recorded 42 points after 31 games.
  • Sabres rookie forward Victor Olofsson is on pace for 32 goals. Olofsson was a 7th round draft pick of the Sabres. He played last season in the AHL where he recorded 30 goals and 33 assists in 66 games.
  • Avalanche forward Joonas Donskoi already has 12 goals and 25 points on the season. His career high in goals is 14 and points 37. Donskoi was a good signing by Avs GM Joe Sakic. The deal was for 4 seasons at $3.9 M /season.
  • Jets young star Patrik Laine already has 20 assists on the season matching his total from all of last season. His career high in assists is 28 back in his rookie season. The Jets wanted him to become more than just goal scorer and it seems he is doing that.
  • NY Rangers forward Ryan Strome is on pace for a 73 point season. His career high is 50 back in 2014-15 season. Last season split between Edmonton and the NY Rangers he had 35 points.
  • Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin became the 5th player in NHL history with 15 consecutive 20-goal season to begin his career, joining Marcel Dionne, Mike Gartner, Jaromir Jagr, Mats Sundin. Ovechkin also  recorded his 24th career hat trick passing Jari Kurri for the 10th most hat tricks in NHL history.
  • Capitals 23 year old Czech forward Jakub Vrana has 15 goals in 31 games this season and on pace for a 40 goal season. His career high in goals is 24 which he recorded last season.
  • Penguins forward Jake Guentzel is on pace for 44 goals and 85 points while missing his injured linemate Sidney Crosby. He leads the Penguins in points with 31 on 16 goals after 31 games. GM Jim Rutherford got Guentzel on a very good contract at $6 M /season for 5 seasons.
  • Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk has rebounded from two trying seasons in New York and being bought out this summer by the Rangers. Shattenkirk is on pace for 64 points; he has 21 points already this season in 27 games played. Shattenkirk had 20 points in his first season with the Rangers and 28 points in his second. The Lightning signed him to a one year deal at $1.75 M before the start of the season. He’ll be a UFA this summer.
  • Flames Czech goaltender David Rittich is having a solid season with a 13-7-0-4 record, a .914 SV% and a 2.69 GAA. Rittich leads the NHL in minutes played, saves made and he has faced the most shots of any NHL goaltender. The Flames signed him to a reasonable contract at $2.75 M/season for two seasons this summer. Fans are hoping Rittich can be the team’s goaltender for many more seasons as, since Miikka Kiprusoff retired in 2013, the Flames haven’t had a solid #1.
  • Canucks forward JT Miller is having career season. He has 13 goals and 18 assists in 30 games. He is tracking at a 85 point season in his first season in Vancouver. His career high in point is 56 back in the 2016-17 season with the New York Rangers.
  • Colorado forward Andre Burakovsky has 12 goals after just 26 Avs game this season which is the same number of goals he recorded in each of his past three seasons with Washington. Avs GM Joe Sakic acquired Burakovsky for a 2020 second and third round draft pick. Burakovsky is on a one year deal at $3.25 M. He’s be an RFA this summer.
  • New Red Wings forward Robby Fabbri is doing well since being acquired from St. Louis on November 6th. In 14 games as a Red Wing Fabbri has recorded 6 goals and 6 assists for 12 points. Fabbri is on a one year deal at $900,000 /season. He will be an RFA this summer.
  • Experts say Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper is the leading candidate for the Vezina after 1/3 of the regular season games played. Kuemper has a 12-6-2 record with a 1.92 GAA. a .937 SV% & 2 shutouts.
  • St. Louis Blues leading scorer, David Perron, is on pace for 77 point season. Doug Armstrong got him on a very reasonable 4 year deal for $4 M / season signed in the summer of 2018 when Perron was UFA.
  • Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau is following up his strong 2018-19 season (92 points) with a strong early 2019-20 season. Through 29 Panthers games this season, Huberdeau has 36 points a 82 game regular season pace of 102 points. Huberdeau was drafted 3rd overall in 2011. Panthers GM Dale Tallan has the player on a good contract also, $5.9 M /season with this season and three more remaining.


  • The team has a 5 W and 3 L record in the 8 games since Sheldon Keefe took over. More importantly, they’ve started games stronger having outscored their opponents 13-2 in the 1st period under Keefe.
  • At the 30 game mark, the team has 13 wins & 32 points whereas last season they had 20 wins & 41 points. The team is currently 5 points out of a playoff position.
  • Keefe changed the defensive pairings to Barrie & Rielly, Muzzin & Holl and Ceci and Dermott. Seems Tyson Barrie has benefited the most from the move to Keefe. Barrie has replaced Morgan Rielly on the Leafs first PP unit and Rielly moves to the second group. Barrie has 5 points in 8 games since the head coaching change,
  • The team put forward Andreas Johnsson (6 goals & 10 assists) on long term injury reserve which means he’ll miss 10 games or 24 days but the team does get some needed cap relief which helped when they re-activated Mitch Marner. The team said Johnsson’s injury will be re-assessed after the Christmas break. The first game Johnsson is eligible to return is December 31st in Minnesota.
  • Swede Pontus Aberg steps onto the top line with Matthews and Nylander to replace Johnsson. Aberg was the Marlies points leader this season with 23 in 22 AHL games. I read where Keefe said he may move players around again onto different lines.
  • Mitch Marner and Matthews are getting more ice time under Keefe. Marner is around 21 minutes /game under Keefe and Matthews is at 20 minutes under the new coach which is up about 2 minutes per game on average. The players say they like the increase.
  • The team has still been unable to solve their games on back to back night’s – they are 0-6 in the second game of back to backs this season. Freddy Andersen played both games in the teams most recent back to back (against the Flyers and Colorado); it was the first time in 3 seasons he played both games on consecutive days. It seems as though they are willing to give goaltender Michael Hutchison another chance as it’s planned he’ll get a start when the team travels to Western Canada this week. Experts are saying if Hutchison can’t make the saves, they may need to move salary/a roster player to get a goaltender who can help Freddy get some rest. The Leafs next back to back is December 20 & 21.
  • Seems new coach Sheldon Keefe was not high on Nick Shore, he played in just one of Keefe’s first 6 games as coach and Frederik Gauthier has been a healthy scratch already in a few games since Keefe took over. Shore was claimed by the Winnipeg Jets after he was placed on waivers last week. He recorded 2 goals and an assists in 21 Leafs games this season.
  • William Nylander is on pace for a 60+ point season again plus he’s tracking towards 29 goals which would be a career high. Nylander already has had two 60+ point seasons in his career. Last season was not good for Nylander but he’s rebounded this season.
  • Center Auston Matthews is on pace for 48 goal / 87 point season and he has not missed a game this season.
  • Forth line forward Jason Spezza has 10 points in his past 12 games.
  • The Marlies announced that Greg Moore has been hired as head coach replacing Keefe. Moore, 35, spent the past two seasons coaching the USHL Chicago Steel. Moore’s coaching record with the Steel was 52-25-5. Moore was a Calgary Flames draft pick, 5th round back in 2003, but played in just 10 NHL games. Moore is spending the next two weeks with Keefe and the Leafs coaching staff to learn about the organization. He officially starts with the Marlies on December 16.
  • The Toronto Marlies have a 16 wins, 4 losses, 2 OTL’s and 1 shootout loss record this season so far. Goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo has a 9 W, 1 L and 1 tie record with a 2.18 GAA and a .925 SV%.
  • The Leafs start a three game Western Canada road trip on Tuesday.
    • Tuesday in Vancouver
    • Thursday in Calgary
    • Saturday in Edmonton


  • Montreal had lost 8 straight games (0-5-3) before winning on the road against the Islanders this past Tuesday. The organization hadn’t lost 8 straight since the 1939-40 season. The team has just 2 wins in their past 11 games. They are tied, though, with Leafs in points (32) with a game in hand. They waived back-up goaltender Keith Kinkaid and he cleared through waivers. He will now play with Montreal’s AHL team, the Laval Rocket. Goaltending prospect Cayden Primeau (7th round draft selection from 2017 and former NHL player Keith Primeau’s son) was called up and started in a game this past week against Colorado, a 3-2 loss where Primeau made 32 saves.
  • The overall goal this season in Montreal is still getting into the post-season since they’ve missed the playoffs the past two seasons. Some of the positives in Montreal have been the play of  forward Tomas Tatar, he leads the team in points with 25 points in 30 games. Captain Shea Weber has also had a strong season with 23 points after 30 games on 9 goals while averaging 24 minutes/game. Max Domi has seen his offensive production drop off after a 72 point season last season, he’s on pace for a 49 point campaign. Domi is a RFA this summer and needs a new contract. Additionally, Carey Price has apparently looked better in recent games but not having one of his better starts to the season, a .889 SV% and a 3.04 GAA. The team needs him to be their top player for them to have a chance at the post-season.

Tampa Bay

  • The Lightning have been unable to find consistency in their game after a 128 point regular season last year and running away with the Presidents trophy. The team had 47 points and 23 wins this time last season and has 31 points on 14 wins this season. The Lighting are not scoring like they were last season with approx 20 less goals after 27 games season over season. Hart trophy winning forward Kucherov is on pace for 97 points whereas last season he recorded 131. Stamkos is on pace for 30 goals – he had 45 last season.
  • Head coach Jon Cooper has to try and right the ship before too much more time passes. I heard where Sportsnet Elliotte Friedman said how with them running away with the Presidents trophy last season, basically the players don’t see the value of regular season as much now as they went out in 4 straight games in last years post season. The coaches have a challenge to try and get them back to near the top of the league. The ‘Bolts are currently sitting out of the post season by 6 points- a lot more was expected.

Player News

  • Former Leafs and Calgary Flames forward Matt Stajan announced his retirement from the NHL. Stajan played 445 games in a Leafs uniform, from 2003 – 2009, and 558 games in a Calgary Flames uniform. Overall, in 1003 career NHL games played, Stajan scored 146 goals and added 267 assists for 413 points. Last season, Stajan played 52 games in the German league. Stajan now makes Calgary his home but I heard him recently interviewed and he said open to career opportunities in the hockey world which could involve a move to a new city.
  • Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu recently played in his 1,000th career game – all as a Wild player. He’s the first Wild player to play 1,000 games as a Minnesota Wild player. Koivu, 36, has recorded 700 points (203 G & 497 A) in the 1,000 games. He was a 6th overall draft pick back in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. Koivu is UFA at season’s end; no indication if he plans to continue this career next season but at $5.5 M for this season, he’d be looking at a considerable cut in pay. He’s on pace for 35 points this season on a projected 6 goals.
  • Flyers first rounder, 2nd overall in 2017, center Nolan Patrick is still unable to play due to a migraine disorder. Patrick has yet to play a game this season. The good news is Patrick has started skating but he’s not participating in team practices. The team has said there is no timetable for Patrick’s return to the line-up.
  • Boston signed pending UFA forward Charlie Coyle to a 6 year deal at an average annual rate of $5.25 M /season. Since being acquired by the Bruins from Minnesota last season, Coyle has recorded 8 goals and 14 assists for 22 points in 49 games.
  • The Bruins also signed forward Chris Wagner to a 3 year deal at an average annual rate of $1.35 M /season. Wagner was to be a UFA at the end of the current season. In 103 games as a Bruin, Wagner has recorded 13 goals and 11 assists for 24 points.
  • Canucks forward Micheal Ferland is expected back in the line-up this week after missing the past 17 games with a concussion after a October 31st fight with LA Kings forward Kyle Clifford. Ferland had one goal and four assists in 12 games before the injury. He said recently he is going to be a lot more selective about getting into fights as he’s had numerous concussions already in his career. Signed as a July 1, 2019 UFA, Ferland is the first season of a 4 year contract that pays him $3.5 M /season. He’s was 40 point player in each of his past two seasons.
  • Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky has not had a strong start in Miami after signing a 7 year contract at $10 M /season on July 1, 2019. Bobrovsky currently has a .893 save percentage and a 3.24 GAA. I would guess it’s been an adjustment moving to a new city and with a new team. The Panthers have used rookie / AHL goaltender Chris Driedger in their recent two games.
  • The Vancouver Canucks added former player Alex Burrows to their Ring of Honour this past week. Burrows signed as a undrafted free agent by the Canucks and recorded 193 goals and 384 points in 822 games in Vancouver. He is 7th in games played with Canucks organization. Burrows joins Kirk McLean, Orland Kurtenbach, Mattias Ohlund, Thomas Gradin, Harold Snepsts and the late Pat Quinn in the Canucks Ring of Honour.
  • LA Kings forward Ilya Kovalchuk has not played since Nov. 9 and there is no indication he’s returning to the line-up soon. The Kings are not really saying what the issue is but head coach Todd McLellan said it’s not about Kovalchuk as a person or player and his work ethic in practices has been good. It’s a bit of a mystery why the Kings are not playing him. He does attend games and travels with the team on the road. McLellan recently said it’s been a tough situation.
  • Vegas acquired center Chandler Stephenson from the Capitals for a 2021 5th round draft pick and he steps into a 4th line center spot for the Golden Knights. In 26 games this season, Stephenson has recorded 4 goals and 1 assist.
  • Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog returned to the Avs line-up after missing 16 games with a lower body injury. The Avs did not disclose much about the injury just saying surgery was not required. Landeskog is a first line forward for Colorado and plays with Rantanen and MacKinnon.


  • Flames forward Sean Monahan (6th overall in 2013) played in his 500th career game recently as did Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly (5th overall in 2012). 
  • Vegas Golden Knights center Paul Statsny reached the 700 point mark recently. Paul is former NHL star Peter Statsny’s son and Peter and Paul are the 3rd father and son duo to have both reached the 700 point milestone. The others include Gordie and Mark Howe and Bobby and Brett Hull.
  • Flyers center Sean Couturier became the youngest Flyer to reach the 600 game milestone. Couturier has again had a strong start for the Flyers with 22 points in 30 Flyers games this season.
  • ‘Hawks forward Patrick Kane reached the 600 assist milestone recently. He’s played in 930 NHL games. With 3 Cups and over a point a game in a 900+ games career, Kane is a surefire Hall of Fame player.
  • Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury became the 7th goaltender all-time to reach the 450 win mark. The only other active goaltender with at least 450 wins is Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist who has 456 career wins. Fleury recently missed a week as he was back in Quebec after the death of his father. He is back with the team since Saturday but has yet to appear in a game.
  • Evgeni Malkin is one goal away from 400 for his career. Malkin will become the 99th player all-time to reach the 400 goal milestone.
  • Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy became the franchise leader wins with 132. Vasilevskiy is just 25 years old and in the first season of an 8 year deal with Tampa so should set more Lightning records in time.

Alexis LaFreniere Derby aka first overall draft pick in June 2020

  • Detroit is 4-20-3 since October 12 and have lost 11 straight. They are in the basement of the league with 17 points in 31 games. Knowledgeable hockey people were expecting it to be a rebuilding year but I don’t think anyone expected they’d be this bad.
  • LA is now 2-12-1 on the road and just opened a stretch of eight of nine games away from Staples Center. The last game they won on the road since October 22, 6 weeks ago. Even the Red Wings have one more road with 3.

World Juniors 2020 in Czech – Dec 26 – Jan. 5, 2020

  • Team Canada for the 2020 World Juniors is holding a selection camp from Monday, December 9 through to Thursday, December 12 in Oakville, Ontario at Sixteen Mile Sports Complex. Thirty one Canadian players have been invited to the selection camp.
  • London Knights head coach Dale Hunter is the head coach of Team Canada and his brother Mark is GM.
  • Some of the supposed locks to make the team at forward include of course LaFreniere, Red Wings Joe Veleno (1st round 30th overall in 2018) who is playing with the Red Wings AHL team in Grand Rapids (9 points in 25 games), Dylan Cozens (7th overall in 2019 to the Sabres) who is playing with Lethbridge of the WHL and has 46 points on 20 goals in 30 games this season. Ty Dellandrea, 13th overall in 2018 to Dallas, who has 33 points in 26 games in the OHL. Adam Foote’s kid Nolan who plays for the WHL Kelowna Rockets and has 33 points in 26 games. Another name at forward is Blue Jackets first rounder from 2018 Liam Foudy, 26 points in 19 games in the OHL this season. Forward Quinton Byfield in draft eligible in June 2020, has 55 points in 29 games for the OHL Sudbury Wolves. Connor McMichael, 25th overall in 2019 to Washington, has 57 points in 26 games for the OHL London Knights.
  • On defense New Jersey Devils first rounder Ty Smith looks to be a lock to make the team. He’s playing with Spokane of the WHL where he has 17 points in 21 games. Colorado first rounder, 4th overall 2019, Bowen Byram is expected to make the team. Jacob Bernard-Docker a late cut from Team Canada last season looks to be in a good position to make the team this year. He has recorded 14 points in 17 games at U of North Dakota. Calen Addison 29 points in 31 WHL games looks to be on the team on defense for the Canadians.
  • In goal, Edmonton 2nd rounder from 2019 Olivier Rodrigue looks to the possible starter. Rodrigue plays for the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL where he has 15-6 record with a 2.79 GAA and a .903 SV%.
  • Flames 2019 first round pick Jakob Pelletier was invited but seems to be a long shot to make the team. Pelletier is captain of the QMJHL Moncton Wildcats and has 49 points (18 goals) in 26 Wildcats games this season.

Odds & Ends

  • The Flames get a 3rd round draft pick in the 2020 entry draft from Edmonton if Oilers forward James Neal reaches 20 goals this season. Neal has 14 goals already after 31 Oilers games.
  • Devils forward Taylor Hall has now had 8 different head coaches in his 10 year NHL career.
  • Two of the top three rookie points leaders are defenseman. Avs Cale Makar first with 28 points & Quinn Hughes third with 23 points (Sabres forward Victor Olofsson has 26 points for 2nd place). There has not been two defenseman finish top two in rookie scoring since the dawn of the NHL’s Original Six teams.
  • Hurricanes forward Erik Haula has been missing time recently with the same knee injury that cost him most of last season. Sounds like it could be a while before Haula is able to return to game action.
  • The Oilers are the only team to have a top 5 PP and a top 5 PK. The team is first the league on the PP at 32.2% and 2nd on the PK at 86.6%.
  • Sabres goaltender Carter Hutton is 0-5-4 in his past 9 games and has allowed 5 or more goals in 4 of his past 6 starts. Seem he’s lost his confidence, hopefully for him he can turn it around but the Sabres have been using Swede Linus Ullmark as their number one.
  • Former NHL goaltender Manon Rheaume, the first woman to play in the NHL – in a Lightning pre-season game, is being honored with a statue in Quebec City at Videotron Centre. It will be a life-size bronze statue that will be in place by the end of September 2020. Rheaume won a silver medal at the 1998 Nagano Olympics for Canada.
Posted in Calgary Flames | Leave a comment

NHL News & Notes to 12 Nov 2019


  • 2019 NHL Global Series – the Tampa Bay Lightning (7-5-2) and Buffalo Sabres (9-5-2) played two sold-out (14,000 fans/ game) matches in Stockholm, Sweden last week. The Lightning won both games, 3-2 on Friday, Nov. 8th and 5-3 on Saturday, November 9th. It was the third straight season – and 8th overall – that the NHL has played a game in Europe. NHL Commissioner Bettman was at both games and announced that Boston Bruins & Nashville Predators will open the 2020-21 regular season with a game in Prague. Additionally, Columbus and Colorado will play two games in Helsinki, Finland in either October or November. The league seems to be focusing on Sweden, Czech Republic and Finland for their games for the Global Series as these countries have a tradition of hockey and it’s where many NHL star players are from. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said it was a “dream come true” to play in his home country last week. Hedman was the only Swede on the Lightning roster but the Sabres have 8 Swedes on their roster including number one overall draft pick from 2018 & last season’s Calder trophy winner Rasmus Dahlin. Some see the Europe experiment as a win win as many players are from there and enjoy going back with their NHL teams & the fans are turning out for the games. The NHL has talked a bit about the possibly of one day having a European league but there’s been no sign this is in the near term. The NFL has also been having regular season games in Europe with success.
  • With the NHL’s deal with NBC TV expiring at the end of next season, a lot of people are looking at what the NHL’s TV rights deal could look like. NBC apparently wants to continue to have the USA national TV rights deal but there are other companies interested as well. ESPN, for example, have said they are interested in doing a USA TV deal with the league. The NHL is also looking at online streaming deals as that has become a lot more popular. Amazon is one company that has expressed interest in doing an NHL games online streaming deal.
  • TSN reported recently that there haven’t been any face-to-face meetings between the NHL and NHLPA in the month of October but the two sides have been meeting by phone. The sense is talks continue in a positive manner. The two sides have an CBA agreement in place until the end of the 2021-22 season but are continuing to discuss extending it further.
  • There is a NHL General Managers meeting Tuesday, November 19th in Toronto. The GM will reconvene again in March 2020. One topic that is believed to be on the agenda for these meetings is video review for off-side after a goal is scored. The NHL believes approximately 50-60 goals / season are called back from the video review of off-side plays and the GM’s are going to discuss basically is that the end result they want. There less goals and the fans seem to enjoy that part of the game the most.
  • The Heritage Classic game in Regina on October 26 was a success. A sold out crowd of 33,518 fans took in the game that saw the Jets defeat the Flames 2-1 in overtime. There have now been 28 NHL outdoor games with 1,492,877 fans attending, an average of 53,317 fans / game.


  • The Seattle franchise is expected to announce their team name around the January 26th NHL All-Star game which is in St. Louis. Some of the names registered by the OakView Group include Rainers, Kraken, Evergreens, Seals, Emeralds, Sea Lions, Sockeyes, Whales, Eagles, Totems, Cougars, Firebirds and Renegades.
  • Alexandra Mandrycky has a new title, Director of Hockey Strategy & Research. She also signed a new contract with the Seattle team.
  • Seattle hired a quantitative analyst named Daniel Chu in their hockey ops group. He starts in January 2020. Chu is a recent graduate of Simon Fraser University with a Masters degree in Statistics.

Team Management

  • The Arizona Coyotes signed their GM John Chayka to a long term contract extension. Terms of the deal were not made public but Chayka, 30, had a year and a half left on his existing contract. Chayka was hired by Arizona back in 2016 when he was just 26 years old. The Coyotes missed the post season by four points last season and have a 9-6-2 record after 17 games this season. Experts say with new owner Alex Meruelo plus steady progression of good results on the ice, the organization wanted stability in their key management people.
  • Islanders head coach, Barry Trotz, became the first Islanders head coach to earn his 60th win prior to his 100th game with the franchise. He’s 60-30-8 in his first 100 Islanders games coached.
  • Former Leafs player Doug Gilmour has left the Kingston Frontenacs organization to take a position as community representative/team ambassador for the Leafs. Darryl Sittler, Wendel Clark, Curtis Joseph and Darcy Tucker currently hold the same position of community rep/ambassador with the Leafs. Gilmour held positions such as head coach, GM and team president of the Frontenacs.
  • Golden Knights VP of Entertainment Jonny Greco is leaving Vegas to work for Madison Square Garden. The Vegas pre-game show is regarded as tops in the league and set a new standard for NHL pre-game entertainment.


  • LA Kings forward Ilya Kovalchuk was a healthy scratch in Tuesday night’s game against Minnesota. On the season, he has 3 goals and and 8 assists for 9 points with a -10 plus/minus. Further, Kovalchuk was reportedly told he will not be playing in Kings games for the foreseeable future though he is welcome to practice with the team. New Kings head coach Todd McLellan has a challenge on his hands to turn the Kings back into a winning team. Their record after 18 games played is 6-11-1, tied with Ottawa for last in the league.
  • With LA in a re-tooling / rebuilding phase defenseman Alex Martinez plus forward Tyler Toffoli are rumored to be available. I heard they plan to keep captain Anze Kopitar and defenseman Drew Doughty, and GM Rob Blake keeps them apprised of the rebuilding plans, but no other player is unavailable. Cal Petersen is the goalie of the future and they need to move veteran Jonathan Quick but it’s not going to be easy to do so (could be a buy out candidate). Quick has 3 more seasons after this one at a cap number of $5.8 M. Forwards Trevor Lewis and Kyle Clifford are both UFA’s this summer and not expected back. Toffoli has been a healthy scratch a few games this season. He has 4 goals and 4 assists in 16 games played.
  • Penguins star Sidney Crosby reportedly has a sports hernia injury and is considering surgery. He has had the problem since training camp but is said to now be considering the surgery option which could mean he’d miss 4-6 weeks. 
  • Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien – this has turned into a complex situation with Byfuglien saying when he injured his ankle last season, there were still problems with it that he did not tell Jets management about and he went and got surgery on it this summer without consulting the Jets. Experts believe the NHLPA may file a grievance on the players behalf as he is owed $8 M this season and $6 M next. He is currently suspended without pay. It’s not clear if the player wants to return to the NHL but he said to need two – three more months to get his ankle back fully functioning. It’s not really clear why the player did not tell the team about the fact he was still having problems with the ankle and the Jets are in a bit of limbo regarding the salary cap as they don’t really know how much cap dollars to allocate to the Byfuglien situation. Some speculate if the player were to try and return to play in the NHL it may not be with the Jets organization.
  • Apparently the agent for Taylor Hall (same agent that represents Leafs Mitch Marner) has been in discussions with the Devils and GM Ray Shero about a new contract for Hall. The player is a UFA after this season. Hall is in a strong position as there is really no urgency to him to sign until he’s happy, there are other NHL teams that would covet the player as a July 1, 2020 UFA. Hall reportedly does enjoy playing in New Jersey but also wants to win. He’s played in just 5 post-season games in his career so he wants to see signs that New Jersey has a chance to be a top level team in the near future.
  • Montreal has reportedly started contract discussions with defenseman Victor Mete (3 G & 3 A in 18 games played). Mete is in the final year of his entry level deal. No word on term or dollars being discussed. Mete averages 17 1/2 minutes / game of ice time.
  • Oilers first rounder Jesse Puljujarvi said the other day he’s happy to spend this season playing in Finland. Puljujarvi has recorded 11 goals and 20 points in 18 games in Finland this season where the game is played on the international size ice surface. One team that expressed interest in acquiring the player indicated they want him playing on an NHL ice surface before going further in trade talks. Doesn’t seem as though that’s the way it’s going to play out as the player will only return to North America is he’s traded from Edmonton. Seems Oilers GM Ken Holland is OK with the player putting up points in Finland as it’s increasing his market value.
  • Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook has been a healthy scratch recently. Seabrook, 34, has 4 more years at $6.875 M/ season left on his contract. He is seen as probably untradeable. Vancouver Canucks forward Loui Eriksson in Vancouver is in a similar situation, two more years after this season at $6 M and can’t get into Vancouver’s line-up. With the Dallas Stars, captain Jamie Benn is in head coach Montgomery’s doghouse and has one goal plus 5 assists in 18 games played. He’s making $9.5 M for this season and for 5 more season after this one.
  • Senators veteran forward Bobby Ryan, the Sens highest paid player, has been a healthy scratch recently. Ryan has one goal and three assists in 13 games played this season. Ryan is under contract for this season and two more at $7.25 M /per.
  • New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal was a healthy scratch a few times already this season. It was the first time in his 13 year NHL career he has been a healthy scratch. He recently suffered an ankle infection injury. Staal has one more season remaining on his contract after this season at a cap number of $5.7 M.
  • St. Louis traded former first rounder Robby Fabbri to the Red Wings for defenseman Jacob De La Rose. Apparently, Fabbri’s agent talked to Blues GM Doug Armstrong and asked if the player could be moved if he was not going to see regular ice time with the Blues.  Fabbri was a highly rated prospect for the Blues but torn the ACL in his right knee in consecutive seasons. Fabbri’s scored 2 goals and added 2 assists in his first 3 games with the Red Wings. Fabbri is a former 1st round draft pick (2014) who has really struggled staying healthy.
  • The Sabres are reportedly looking for a top nine forward as Vladimir Sobotka was injured and it could be a longer term injury. The Sabres started the season with an 8-1-1 record but have lost 5 straight since.
  • The Penguins traded defenseman Erik Gudbranson to Anaheim for F Andreas Martinsen and a seventh-round pick in 2021. NHL experts saw this as the Pens wanting to move Gudbranson’s $4 M salary for this season and next. Anaheim needed a defenseman as Josh Manson is sidelined for 7-10 weeks with an MCL sprain.
  • Winnipeg claimed defenseman Luca Sbisa off waivers from the NY Islanders. Sbisa is reportedly playing in well in Winnipeg. He’s played in 7 games with an average of 16 mins / game of ice time.

Hot Teams

  • The Islanders are 12-3-1 on the season and have not lost in regulation since Oct 11. They’ve allowed just 22 goals in their 12 wins. New York’s next game is Wednesday at Nassau against the Leafs.
  • The Oilers have the forth most points in the league with 26 points after 20 games. Only St. Louis, Washington & Boston have more points than Edmonton. Captain Connor McDavid recently recorded his 400th career point. Only Gretzky, Hawerchuk, Mario Lemieux, Crosby, Bryan Trottier, Steve Yzerman and Pierre Turgeon recorded more points before turning 23 than McDavid. Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl leads the league in points with 36 points in 20 games. Draisaitl has an active 10 game point streak going. I saw both players interviewed before the season started and McDavid said one his goals is to work towards being regarded one of the top players all-time and Draisaitl said his goal was to be considered among the elite players in the game with Crosby, McDavid, Kucherov.
  • The Washington Capitals (13-2-4) posted a point streak of at least 12 games (10-0-2) for the first time since a 14-game run from Dec. 29, 2016 to Jan. 23, 2017 (12-0-2). Second year head coach Todd Reirdon does not get a lot of credit as a good NHL head coach.
  • St. Louis have won 7 straight games and are 9-1-0 in their last 10 games, plus have 5 straight wins on the road. Overall, the Blues are 12-3-3 on the season.
  • The Philadelphia Flyers have won four straight games and they’ve won five of their past six games (5-0-1). A lot of people are crediting new head coach Alain Vigneault for their success so far. A few of their young players are quietly moving to the forefront; players such as Travis Konecny (age 22 and 19 points in 17 games this season), first rounder Joel Farabee (19) and Carter Hart (21). Swede Oskar Lindblom (23) is tied with Konecny for the most goals on the team (8).


  • Nashville signed pending UFA defenseman Roman Josi to a max 8 year deal at a cap number of $9.059 M /season. The deal starts next season when the player will be 30 years old and includes a full no move clause for all 8 seasons. Some people believe the 8 year deals for 30 year old players will not be as prevalent as in a faster and younger league $8 – $9 M per season for 33 and 34 year old players are showing to hamstring (salary cap) teams. 
  • Some speculate the Josi signing should get the market for pending UFA St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. Apparently the players agent did meet with Blues GM Doug Armstrong but that was back a month ago and there has been no dialogue since.
  • The Predators also signed forward Austin Watson to a 3 year, $4.5 M contract. 
  • The defending Cup champs, St. Louis, signed forwards Troy Brouwer and Jamie McGinn to 10 day PTO’s. Brouwer went to the Florida Panthers training camp on a PTO but was cut. Brouwer recorded 12 goals and 9 assists in 75 games for the Panthers last season. McGinn appeared in 2 games for Carolina’s AHL team, the Charlotte Checkers before being released. McGinn, 31, played last season also with the Panthers where he recorded 4 goals and 7 points in 19 games before being sent to the AHL.


  • Bruins captain Zdeno Chara played in his 1,500 NHL game last week. He’s is the 21st player all-time to play in as many games and 6th defenseman.
  • St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester recently played in his 1200 NHL game. He is the 111th player all-time to play as many NHL games. Bouwmeester is only the 5th active player with 1200 games played (Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Zdeno Chara are the others). Bouwmeester said as he gotten older he appreciates the milestones more.
  • Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf recently played in his 1,000 career game- all with the Ducks. He is first player in franchise history reach the 1000 Ducks games played milestone.
  • Canadiens head coach Claude Julien coached in his 1,200 game last week. He is 19th all-time in NHL games coached.
  • Leafs head coach Mike Babcock reached the 700 win mark last week. Only 7 other head coaches all-time have as many wins as Babcock and, of active coaches, he has the 4th most wins (Coach Q has 898, Trotz has 822 and Paul Maurice has 705). Babcock said of his success he’s tried to adapt and re-invent himself ever year as things are changing fast (even in his line of work!). Some of the players said he brings professionalism and energy, always trying to be positive and has top level habits plus he sticks to a daily routine. Leafs defenseman Tyson Barrie said Babcock really is clear with what he is expecting and wants the players to do things a certain way.
  • Chicago defenseman and first rounder (8th overall in 2018), Adam Boqvist, recorded his first NHL goal last week against Anaheim. He is a big part of the future of the ‘Hawks defense group.
  • Vegas forward Max Pacioretty recently reached the 500 point milestone. He has an impressive 250 goals and 250 assists in his career (626 games played). Pacioretty has had a solid NHL career and is still just 30 years old.
  • Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is just the fifth player of Russian nationality in NHL history to appear in at least 1,100 career regular-season games (also Alex Kovalev, Sergei Gonchar, Sergei Fedorov and Vyacheslav Kozlov). Of the 190 players in NHL history to reach 1,100 games, only two scored more than Ovechkin’s 669 goals in their first 1,100 games: Wayne Gretzky (793) and Brett Hull (679)
  • Leading Norris trophy candidate John Carlson played in his 700th career game last week. He’s recorded 432 points or .61 PPG. Carlson set a frachise record for points in a month for a defenseman with 23 points in the recent month of October and the second most for a defenseman in NHL history.
  • Canadiens captain Shea Weber recored his 100th career PP goal on the weekend, He’s the only active defenseman with as many career PP goals. Weber off to a strong offensive start this season with 14 points, 5 goals, after the Habs first 18 games this season. Weber has as many goals as PK Subban has points (5).
  • LA captain Anze Kopitar recently reached the 900 point milestone (317 goals & 587 assists). Kopitar also has his name on the Stanley Cup twice.
  • St. Louis Blues forward David Perron already has 3 OT goals after only 18 Blues games played this season. Perron is the first player to record as many OT goals prior to his teams 20th game of the season. 
  • Sharks forward Patrick Marleau recently played in his 800th consecutive regular season game becoming just the 6th player all-time, and only the second active player, to achieve that. He hasn’t missed a regular season game since the 2008-09 season.


  • The Leafs play at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island on Wednesday and overall play 12 of their next 15 games on the road. Forward Zach Hyman is expected to return for the game which is very positive as he bring a lot- hard work, character player who is physical and battles as hard any anyone for loose pucks. Babcock says Hyman is his the team’s best forechecker. Hyman has been rehabbing the knee for seven months after a knee ACL tear & surgery so it will take him a bit to get back his timing and game conditioning.
  • Forward Mitch Marner was placed on long term injury reserve which means he misses at least 10 games or 24 days. Marner has not missed a game since he was an NHL rookie. The team has said it’s at least a 4 week injury (high ankle sprain). They are definitely going to miss him he is averaging a point a game and the most used forward used on the team’s PK. Marner also leads the team in PP points with 7. Andreas Johnsson, Kapanen and Ilya Mikheyev will have a chance to play more in Marner’s absence.
  • Auston Matthews recorded 10 goals in October for the second straight season. Matthews is 7th overall in the league in points with 13 G & 12 A for 25 points. He looks even better this season that last and when he’s really motivated he’s hard to contain.
  • The Tavares line (Hyman-Tavares-Marner) has yet to play a shift together this season. We will probably see Tavares with Kapanen & Hyman tomorrow. Some of the other lines look like Johnsson-Matthews-Nylander, Mikheyev-Kerfoot-Moore & Petan-Shore-Gauthier. No indication what the team plans are for Jason Spezza.
  • The team seem be playing from behind a lot having given up the first goal of the game in 14 of their 19 games (73.7%) this season.
  • The team has 14 back to back games this season (five between now and the end of December) having already played 5 and have picked up just a single point. Hutchinson had a 0-4 record with a 4.44 GAA and a .879 SV% and of course was placed on waivers and cleared through the league. He was sent to the Marlies on Tuesday. Marlies starter Kasimir Kaskisuo takes over as the Leafs back-up. In 8 games with the Marlies this season, Kaskisuo has a 6-1-1 record with a .928 SV% and a 2.13 GAA. His numbers are good but the NHL is a lot tougher league to have consistent success in. People are expecting Kaskisuo starts on the second night of the Leafs next back to back which is Saturday in Pittsburgh.
  • The Leafs have taken the 3rd most minor penalties in the league at an average of 3.85 / game. Auston Matthews said the other day all the minor penalties take the team out of their regular rhythm of rolling 4 lines.
  • William Nylander has 6 points in his last 4 games after being benched in a game against the Flyers in Philadelphia. Babcock says his battle level has increased resulting in having the puck more and he’s getting more shots on net plus looking a lot more confident on the ice.
  • The team is on pace for 95 points; last season they finished with 100 and in 2017-18 they had 105. Seems what St. Louis and Colorado showed it matters more who is playing well in mid March and into April.
  • After Wednesday at Nassau Coliseum, the team plays:
    • at home vs the Bruins on Friday
    • in Pittsburgh on Saturday
    • in Vegas on Tuesday
    • in Arizona on Thursday 
    • in Colorado on Saturday
  • With the Leafs prospects, Marlies defenseman Rasmus Sandin has recorded 9 points in 8 games while playing on the Marlies top d pairing.
  • Peterborough Petes forward and Leafs second rounder (2019) Nick Robertson has recorded 28 points in 19 games this season on 19 goals. With a 68 game OHL regular season, Robertson is on pace for an incredible 68 goals. Petes teammate Semyon Der-Arguchintsev, a Leafs 3rd rounder from 2017 has 27 points on 4 goals in 17 games played.

Awards & Hockey Hall of Fame

  • Sabres rookie forward Victor Olofsson was named Rookie of the Month for October. He recorded 6 goals, all on the PP, and 4 assists for 10 points in 13 games played. Seems the early race for NHL Calder Trophy is between three young defenseman, Avalanche Cale Makar, Canucks Quinn Hughes and Oilers Ethan Bear. Makar has an incredible 17 points in 17 regular season NHL games played while averaging 19 minutes of ice time per game. Bear leads all rookies with 21 minutes of ice time / game. If I had to bet, I would predict Cale Makar for Calder this season.
  • The Dallas Stars announced that they will retire former Stars defenseman Sergei Zubov’s #56 jersey in a ceremony next season. Zubov leads the Stars franchise in goals, assists, points, power play points for a defenseman. He is entering the Hockey Hall of Fame on November 18th. Zubov joins former Stars players Neal Broten (#7), Bill Goldsworthy (#8), Mike Modano (#9), Bill Masterton (#19) and Jere Lehtinen (#26) in having their number retired by Dallas.
  • Along with Zubov, Guy Carbonneau, Pens GM Jim Rutherford, Hayley Wickenheiser, Russian Vlad Nedomansky, Builder Jerry York also enter this Hockey Hall of Fame on November 18th,

Team Canada

  • TSN reported Tuesday night that Team Canada’s GM for the Spengler Cup, Sean Burke, has asked Wayne Gretzky if he’d consider coaching Canada at the tournament that runs from Thursday, December 26, 2019 to Tuesday, December 31 in Switzerland. Gretzky apparently said he needs a few days to check if can make it work with his busy schedule and will get back to Burke. Would be awesome to see him behind Team Canada’s bench for the tourny.
  • The IIHF World Juniors is in the Czech Republic this year, tournament starts December 26, 2019 and some rumblings are starting so percolate around that event with respect to Team Canada. Center Barrett Hayden (5th overall to Arizona in 2018) is currently with the Coyotes and it’s not clear if he will be made available. Hayden represented Canada last year when the Canadians finished 6th in the tournament, Blackhawks rookie Kirby Dach (3rd overall 2019 to CHI) is playing with the Blackhawks so, similar to Hayden, he may or not be made available by his NHL team but Detroit Red Wings prospect Joe Velano (30th overall in 2018) is expected to be made available. Velano is a 19 year old center from Quebec who is playing with the Red Wings AHL team.
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NHL News & Notes to 22 Oct 2019


  • There are three outdoor games this season with the first one being this Saturday, October 26 at Mosiac field in Regina with the Calgary Flames playing the Winnipeg Jets. It’s being called The Heritage Classic game. The whole NHL outdoor game has been very successful with 70,000 fans attending some of the games. There is a lot of work, mostly at the league-level, that goes into taking an NHL game outside and preparations for Saturday’s game started about 2 weeks ago. I heard the forecasted temperature for Saturday in Regina is approx 10 degrees celsius. Planners don’t expect the sun to be a factor for players and fans as it’s a 7 PM local time start.
  • The two others outdoor games this season are New Years Day 2020 – the Winter Classic – with Nashville playing Dallas at Cotton Bowl stadium in Dallas. On February 15, 2020 LA is playing Colorado at Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs. I read where Commissioner Gary Bettman said the outdoor game is so popular every team in the league wants to participate in one and team’s that already have want to be involved in another.
  • Regarding extending the CBA beyond 2022, it was reported this week the two sides have made progress on the escrow issue plus the cap numbers with the new USA TV deal but they still are not on the same page regarding NHL players participating in the 2022 Winter Olympics that are being held in China. The players generally want to go but the league sees no value to them to closing the league for two weeks mid-season.
  • NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman recently attended a Sports Gaming conference which relates to the sports betting law that changed in the USA in 2018. Basically, as far as the NHL is concerned, betting on games is still in the early stages and the league has taken the approach to partner with gaming companies such as MGM. With the leagues player tracking software that is now scheduled for roll out in the post-season, fans would be able to bet on many different things. Will the team on the PP score a goal, how fast was a shot, etc. Any data element that is tracked could possibly be bet on. https://frntofficesport.com/sports-betting-insight/

Team Management

  • With the New Jersey Devils (2-4-2), AGM Tom Fitzgerald has moved behind the bench to assist head coach John Hynes. Fitzgerald was previously as assistant coach with the Penguins. The Devils are 2-0 since the change was made. I heard where GM Ray Shero said he is not considering removing head coach John Hynes at this time and it’s on the players to turn things around.
  • Jets head coach Paul Maurice won his 700th game on Sunday. He becomes just the 7th head coach to win as many games. Maurice said after the win he still feels young (he’s 52) and hopes there will be many more wins in his future. He added coaching good teams such as the Jets has resulted in him accumulating a lot of coaching wins.
  • Detroit Red Wings Senior VP Jim Devellano underwent successful brain surgery last week for a benign tumor. He expected to fully recover.


  • The Ottawa Senators have put their search for a president of hockey operations on hold. They apparently contacted an existing NHL executive, thought to be Rangers part-time/retired exec Glen Sather, to assist them in their search but it didn’t lead to a hire. Apparently some of the names put forward were not what the Sens were looking for. Other names that were speculated to be contacted last year include former Flyers GM Ron Hextall, current Detroit GM Steve Yzerman, Seattle’s GM Ron Francis, Flyers AGM Dean Lombardi and former Canucks president Trevor Linden. None of those people were apparently interested. 
  • The Minnesota Wild were through Toronto last week and everyone got to see how much they are struggling (2-6-0). New General Manager Bill Guerin was reported to have said he’s not going to be making any panic moves right now but he added everyone is the organization is under evaluation. Head coach Bruce Boudreau is in the final year of his contract. The Wild are said to be older and slower than other teams. Their #1 center is 36 yo captain Mikko Koivu who has 4 assists after 8 games. Some experts question their July 1, 2019 signing of 32 year old forward Mats Zuccarello, 5 years at $6 M /season. They have 35 year old forward Zach Parise under contract for 5 more years, after this one, at $7.5 M so GM Guerin has a lot of tough work ahead of him. Experts say the organization needs a top draft pick or two to start a rebuild but they currently don’t have one. The organization’s home sellout streak recently stopped after 251 games.
  • The OIlers are off to a terrific 7-1-1 start. Head coach Dave Tippett has had remarkable early success with getting the most out of the players. With McDavid and Draisaitl leading the way offensively, they’ve started to play better team defense and are getting very good goaltending. Dave Tippett said they don’t have a #1 goaltender – instead and 1A (Mike Smith) and 1B (Mikko Koskinen). Koskinen is 4-0-0 this season with a 2.21 GAA and a .934 SV%. Smith is 3-1-1 with a 1.98 GAA and a .930 SV%. Rookie defenseman Ethan Bear is playing with veteran Darnell Nurse on the team’s top d pairing. GM Ken Holland has to be very happy with new forward James Neal who has 9 goals, tied for the league lead with Bruins forward David Pastrnak. Neal is shooting 33% after team’s first nine games. Neal had just 7 goals all of last season. The team recalled forward Sam Gagner from the AHL late last week where he had 2 goals and 2 assists in 4 games.
  • The Carolina Hurricanes are reportedly looking for a top nine forward and are interested in trying to acquire one of first rounders Islanders Josh Ho-Sang (28th overall in 2014) or Oilers hold out Jesse Puljujarvi (4th overall in 2016). I’ve heard the Oilers want a top prospect back for Puljujarvi even though he’s struggled at the NHL level (37 points in 137 NHL games). He’s does have 13 points on 7 goals in 13 games this season in the Finnish league.
  • There is another Russian player that is interested in playing in the NHL, his name is Konstantin Okulov, 24, and in his recent 65 KHL games he’s recorded 25 goals and 19 assists. The Leafs and Canadiens are the two teams that have been identified as most interested in signing the forward.
  • The LA Kings have three NHL capable goaltenders – starter Jonathan Quick, Jack Campbell and Cal Petersen – and would like to move starter Quick. Quick, 33, has 3 years, after the current one, remaining on his contract at $5.8 M /season. He’s struggled this season with a 1-3 record, an .828 SV% and a 5.06 GAA. LA’s 3rd goaltender, Cal Petersen, does require waivers next season so the Kings could lose him for nothing if they can’t move Quick. Experts suggest there is not much of a market for Quick given his contract and performance. He does have 2 Stanley Cups to his credit.
  • Sabres Finnish defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen had asked for a trade as recently as last season but said the other day he’s really enjoying playing for Sabres new coach Ralph Krueger. Ristolainen basically said he’s enjoying the early season with the Sabres as much any time he’s played hockey. The Sabres have surprised many people with a 7-1-1 start. Goaltender Carter Hutton has had a terrific start with a 5-0 record and a 1.39 GAA with a .953 SV%. Krueger has been able to get the Sabres player to buy in and, as a group, seem motivated. Krueger had been out of he NHL for the past 6 seasons. He most recently was chairman of a European football team so the early results have to be considered a surprise. The Sabres have the longest playoff drought of any NHL team having not made the post-season since the 2010-11 season.
  • Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson is off to an incredible start with 18 points in 10 games to lead the NHL in points. He’s just the third defenseman to record as many points after his team’s first 10 games (Bobby Orr 18 points in 1969-70 & again in 1973-74 season, and Paul Coffey 20 points in 1988-89). Carlson has already recorded three 3 assist games. Could be his year to win a Norris as the league’s top defenseman.
  • Former Vegas forward Erik Haula is off to a strong start in Carolina with 7 goals and 8 points after 9 games. The Finnish forward played in just 15 games last season after injuring his knee in a game on November 4, 2018. He required knee surgery and Vegas moved him, due to their cap crunch, for a prospect (Nicolas Roy) and a 5th round draft pick.
  • Dallas Stars defenseman Julius Honka signed a contract to play in Finland while he awaits a trade from Dallas. The Stars issued the player a qualifying offer and therefore own his rights but the player did not sign it instead requesting a trade.
  • Sabres rookie forward Victor Olofsson set a record by scoring his first 7 goals on the PP. Drafted by the Sabres in the seventh round (2014), Olofsson attended six Sabres training camps before, this season, finally making the team. He’s got an explosive shot that looks like a Laine or Brett Hull shot. 
  • Apparently former Hurricanes player Justin Williams has not ruled out returning to play for the team this season but it seems he’d be looking at around Christmas time/start of the new year before deciding. Williams is still a good player, he was third in team points last season with 53 plus he was team captain. He also has won 3 Cups.
  • Nashville Predators center Kyle Turris is apparently available and is in the role of 4th line center (#1 Ryan Johansen, #2 Matt Duchene, #3 Nick Bonino) with the Predators. Nashville GM David Polie was trying to trade Turris this summer but Turris has 5 season’s at $6 M /season remaining on his contract. Turris has 3 goals and 3 assists in the Predators first 8 games this season.
  • TSN reported this week there is a growing sense of optimism that Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien will return to the team. He is living in Winnipeg as his kids are in school there. I’ve not heard if he is in decent shape or how much time he would need to prepare to play games. The Jets blueline is fairly inexperienced. Josh Morrissey is their number one defenseman with former Rangers player Neal Pionk their #2. Their #3 defenseman Dimtry Kulikov was just granted a leave of absence from the team which leaves 4 rookies on the Jets blueline.
  • Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon has recorded a point in all 9 of the team’s games this season.
  • Ottawa is in the league basement after their first 8 games (1-6-1) and their powerplay is 1 for 23.


  • New Jersey signed first overall draft pick from 2017, Nico Hischier, to a 7 year, $50.75 M deal or $7.25 M / season starting next season. The deal buys three of Hischier’s UFA season’s.  Hischier has recorded 101 points in 157 games played (.64 PPG) on 37 goals but is noted to be a strong 2-way forward. Devils head coach John Hynes said he expects Hischier to vie to a Selke trophy in the future. For the new contract, both Jets forward Kyle Connor (.70 PPG) and Coyotes forward Clayton Keller (.69 PPG) were seen as comparables for Hischier. Hischier is just 20 years old and is the only Swiss-born player drafted into the NHL first overall. I heard both the player and team wanted a long term deal from the start of their negotiations. The deal was signed almost a full season before his current contract expires, similar to Thomas Chabot (8 seasons at $8 M /season), Alex DeBrincat (3 years at $8.4 M with $9 M in the third year), Clayton Keller ($7.15 M for 8 seasons avg .68 PPG) and Avs defenseman Sam Girard. Some other high profile players in the final year of their entry level contract include Islanders forward Mat Barzal (.88 PPG – he’d be looking at $8.5 – $9.5 M /season as a guess) and Blue Jackets Pierre-Luc Dubois (.65 PPG).
  • San Jose signed forward Patrick Marleau to a one year deal at the league minimum $700,000 / season. Marleau enters his 22nd NHL season. He said recently he was really only interested in returning to the Sharks and wants to retire as a member of the organization. Both Joe Thornton and Marleau say they are going to play as long as possible.
  • Florida signed veteran forward Brian Boyle to a one year contract for $940,000 /season (he’ll actually get paid $849 K since he’s not paid for games missed). Boyle scored 18 goals & 24 points last season while playing in the bottom six group of forwards which was split between New Jersey and Nashville. Boyle adds a lot of experience to the Panthers as he’s played in 766 NHL games over his career.


  • Coyotes forward Phil Kessel played in his 1000 NHL game last week. He is the first player from the 2006 draft (Kessel went 5th overall) and  the 3rd youngest active player to reach the milestone. Kessel has also played in 778 consecutive games with is the seventh longest consecutive games played streak in league history.
  • The Vegas Golden Knights reached the 100 win mark as a franchise last week. They were the second fastest team to reach the milestone (the Senators in 1917-18 were the fastest).
  • Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is now tied with Terry Sawchuk for 7th all-time in wins with 445. Of active goaltenders, only New York Rangers Henrik Lundqvist has more wins (450).
  • Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat became the 4th player from his 2013 draft class to reach 100 career goals (MacKinnon, Barkov and Monahan the others). Horvat was named the Canucks 14th captain in franchise history earlier this season. Defenseman Chris Tanev, Alex Edler and forward Brandon Sutter were named assistant captains.
  • Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg played in his 500th career game (121 G & 138 A for 259 pts) last week. Experts say Silfverberg is the Ducks top 2 way forward. He was named assistant captain at the start of the season with defenseman Josh Manson wearing the other ‘A’. His name was mentioned in trade last season when Anaheim was struggling to win games and Silfverberg was a pending UFA (he’s since signed for 5 season’s at $5.25 M). Ducks are one of the surprise teams this season with a 6-3-0 record under new head coach Dallas Eakins.
  • Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler recently scored his 60th goal as a member of the Ducks. That tied him with Hall of Fame defenseman Scott Niedermayer for most goals from a defenseman in Ducks franchise history. Teammate Ryan Getzlaf recently became the franchise leader in games played (988 games).
  • Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom recently played in his 900th career game (881 pts or .97 PPG)- all with the Capitals organization. Backstrom is a UFA at season’s end. No word on possible contract talks.
  • Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko skated in his 500th career games last week. Only Hall of Famer Brett Hull has scored more goals (359) than Tarasenko (211) with the Blues organization.


  • The Leafs are now 10 games into the new season with a 5-3-2 record. They lead the league in goals for with an average of 3.8 goals/game but defending/keeping the puck out of their net is a bit of an issue. Morgan Rielly and Jake Muzzin are the team’s top two defenseman with Rielly also being 2nd in the league in points (11 after 10 games). The return of forward Zach Hyman next Saturday should help them defend better. Defenseman Justin Holl is getting a chance with Travis Dermott injured and he has performed well.
  • Sounds like Dermott is ready to return but he can’t play in a game until next Saturday, October 26th since there is a rule that players put on Long Term Injury Reserve (LTIR) have to spend at least 24 days on there. The clock on both Dermott’s and Hyman’s stint on LTIR started on October 2nd, the first day of the regular season. Sportsnet was saying on Saturday that when Dermott and Hyman return, the team has to move players out to get under the $81.5 M salary cap limit. Forward Nic Patan has apparently asked to be moved as he wants to play more regularly. Some of the other names that could either be traded to transferred to the AHL include Nick Shore, Jason Spezza, Dmytro Timashov plus defenseman Kevin Gravel, Justin Holl and Martin Marincin. 
  • Auston Matthews now has scored 33 goals in 42 career games in the month of October. Incredible.
  • Disappointing to hear captain John Tavares broke his finger late in last Thursday night’s game against the Capitals. It was a Morgan Rielly shot from the blueline that caught Tavares in the right hand. Tavares said half his hand went numb after. The captain has been incredibly durable in his career and had played 179 straight games with Isles and Leafs since 2017-18 before this finger injury. He was working on the ice with the Leafs skating coach Barb Underhill on Sunday.
  • With Tavares injured, William Nylander moves into his spot in middle of the ice of the team’s first PP. Nylander has a respectable 6 points and 3 goals after 10 games. It took him 26 games to reach 3 goals last season where he missed games before December 1st when he signed his contract.
  • Kasperi Kapanen struggled in his time playing his off (left) wing with Tavares and Marner. He’s looked a lot better since moving onto the right side on the Kerfoot line with Trevor Moore.
  • Babcock talks a lot in his interviews about the importance of winning faceoffs. He believes that’s key in most situations from the PP to being better defensively (winning the draw in the d zone). Forth line center Freddy Gauthier has won 64% of his faceoffs this season to lead all Leafs players (plus he’s 6’5” and 235 pounds). With 2 goals and 3 points and a -1 rating, Gauthier has had a strong start to the season and recently said he’s feeling more confident. The Leafs head coach would like to use Tavares and Matthews for all the offensive zone faceoffs if he can trust the 3rd and 4th line centers, Kerfoot and Gauthier, to win the d zone faceoffs.
  • Some of the reporters were questioning Babcock about his use of goaltenders and why Freddy Andersen started against a weaker Columbus team and back-up Hutchinson starts against the Bruins. Babcock’s reasoning is about getting the most points. The team is more rested in the first game of back to backs so their chances of winning the first game are greater so use your top goaltender to secure 2 points. With a more tired team on the second night, there is less chance of gaining a win.
  • A lot of knowledgeable fans are raving about the play of Jake Muzzin since he arrived in Toronto. The Leafs have 3 of their top 4 defenseman on expiring contracts (Ceci, Barrie and Muzzin are all UFA) but some think if there is one of those players they can try and re-sign it would be Muzzin. There have reportedly been no contract talks between the Leafs and Muzzin though it was said the team needs more time to assess their blue line and haven’t looked how it may look next season.
  • The Leafs have a post game tradition where the player of the game, I believe selected by Mike Babcock, receives the Raptors basketball. The Leafs are integrating the Raptors championship ways more into their team.
  • Defenseman Rasmus Sandin was sent to the Marlies after 6 NHL games. He impressed a lot of people by making the team out of training camp. Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader caught Sandin with an elbow in his last NHL game and Sandin was bloodied. I think it caught the attention of some of the management (he’s a young prospect just finding his way) plus he was getting just 12 minutes a game. With the Marlies he’s on the top d pairing with fellow first rounder (2017) Timothy Liljegren.
  • The Marlies are off to a terrific 6-0 start. They’ve recorded 2 shutouts in the 6 games and have scored 23 goals while allowing just 11. Forward Igor Koshkov has at least one point in every game. Mike Babcock said the other day it’s very positive that their young prospects can be apart of a winning program and learn what that’s like. Leafs AGM Laurence Gilman is General Manager of the Marlies. The undefeated record looks good on both head coach Sheldon Keefe and Gilman. Gilman was AGM in Vancouver before joining the Leafs front office. 
  • The Leafs have 4 games this week –
    • Monday at home against Columbus
    • Tuesday against the Bruins in Boston
    • Friday at home against Patrick Marleau and the San Jose Sharks
    • Saturday night in Montreal


  • Evgeni Malkin suffered a soft tissue inujry to his leg in the Penguins 2nd game of the season and will miss at least a month.
  • One of Arizona’s top defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson suffered a cracked fibula (leg) and will miss 3 months. Hjalmarsson suffered the injury blocking a shot. 

Odds & Ends

  • The Blackhawks have an active home sell out streak of 500 consecutive games. This includes 436 regular season games and 64 playoff games. Chicago leads the NHL in average attendance.
  • Former Oilers executive Craig MacTavish was fired from his KHL coaching position after a 3-5 start. No word if he’ll try to get back in the NHL again.
  • Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle currently has the 5th longest games played streak at 800 games. He needs 31 games to reach 4th (Andrew Cogliano) and 164 more games to tie Doug Jarvis for first all-time.
  • Jets forward Patrik Laine is off to a strong start – tied for the team lead with 12 points in 9 games. Jets captain Blake Wheeler said one of his goals is to help Laine become one of the NHL’s top players. Experts have noticed Laine is a lot more focused, professional in his approach and playing a more complete game so far this season.
  • Habs forward Jonathan Drouin is also off to a strong start, he has 8 points on 3 goals after the team’s first 9 games. Drouin additionally has recorded at least a point in 7 of the team’s first 9 games. Head coach Claude Julien said the other day Drouin is playing as well as he ever has as a Montreal Canadien. Of course, Drouin was acquired from Tampa Bay for defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (9th overall in 2016).
  • First overall draft pick (2019) Jack Hughes has just 2 points after 9 games. He said the players and especially defenseman are a lot bigger and stronger than in leagues he’s played in (he was most recently with the USA National Development Program). The Devils say he will stick with the team all season, they could return him to junior team before his 10th game and not start his entry level contract.
  • There has already been three instances this season where a player had 4 goals in a game, James Neal, David Pastrnak and Anthony Mantha. Last season there were only 4 times all season a player recorded 4 goals in a game.
  • Former Flyers and Islanders defenseman Andrew MacDonald has signed with SC Bern in the Swiss League. MacDonald has played 586 NHL games and attended Calgary Flames training camp on PTO but was cut on the final day of the pre-season.
  • Hockey Hall of Famer Dale Hawerchuk said Monday he’s being diagnosed with stomach cancer. Hawerchuk, 56, is on leave from the OHL Barrie Colts where he is the team’s head coach.

Posted in Calgary Flames | Leave a comment

NHL News & Notes to 06 Oct 2019


  • Deputy Commissioner of the NHL, Bill Daly, spoke about a few topics while in Prague for the Flyers vs Blackhawks season-opening game. He said both the Gel NHLPA and league are in discussions about having another World Cup of Hockey. He added it’s something both parties see value in. Daly said fans could expected a similar type of tournament that was played in 2016 natural boldebolin in Toronto but further details need to be worked out. As for more games and teams heading to Europe for exhibition or regular season games, Daly said they are going to announce teams that will take part for next season soon. The ‘Hawks vs Flyers game had 17,463 fans which was a record for fans watching an NHL at O2 arena in Prague. There’s been some talk the NHL will have a regular season game next year in Russia and Penguins player Evgeni Malkin would be center stage. Seems there’s been no change in the league’s position regarding having their players participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics that will take place in China.
  • The NHLPA and league are still in negotiations about extending the CBA beyond 2022. Experts say possibly something could be announced around the All-Star game that’s in January 2020.
  • The league hired their first China-based employee recently, Sandy Ma Yun, who has an auto racing and marketing background. Her title is Director of International Strategy. The league also opened a Beijing office in the same building as the NBA China office that currently has just the one person (the NBA has 200 people in their China office). Read where Commissioner Bettman said they’ll grow their headcount in Beijing but are taking a slow approach for now. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said the biggest challenge with helping China develop players and league’s is infrastructure – China doesn’t have the rinks plus there is no tradition of hockey in the country. The league has an agreement in place to have an NHL exhibition game in China for four of the next five seasons. The participants for the 2020-21 season are expected to be announced soon, 

Team Management

  • The Calgary Flames signed General Manager Brad Treliving to a multi year extension. Treliving was in the final year of his existing deal. Treliving is entering his 6th season as Flames GM. The Flames were first in the Western Conference last season with 107 points which was the 2nd highest total in franchise history. Since he was appointed GM in 2014, the team’s record is 212-163-35 (a .560 winning percentage). 
  • The Flames also announced Chris Snow has been appointed Assistant General Manager. He had been in the role of Director of Hockey Analytics since 2011. Snow has been working closely with GM Brad Treliving on hockey-related matters providing data to assist in the organization’s decision making process. Snow worked for the Minnesota Wild as Director of Hockey Operations between 2006 and 2010 before joining the Flames. Snow got his start as a hockey journalist writing about sports for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
  • Islanders head coach, Barry Trotz, moved into 3rd place in all-time games coached passing another former Islanders head coach, the late Al Albour. Trotz has coached in 1608 games (Arbour coached 1607). Only Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville (1638) and Scotty Bowman (2141) have coached in more NHL games. Trotz has won the Coach of the Year award twice including last season, his first with the Islanders.
  • Kevyn Adams, who played in 540 NHL games and won a Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006, was named Senior VP of Business Administration for the Buffalo Sabres (it’s not a hockey operations position). Adams has a lengthy association with the owners of the Sabres, Pegula Family, and was named GM of Harbor Center last January.


  • The AHL Board of Governors voted unanimously to approve Seattle’s application for a 32nd AHL franchise to be located in Palm Springs, California. The new team will play at a new $250 M arena on the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation in Palm Springs. The arena is still being built and will be ready for the team’s first season, in the Fall of 2021. The new arena will seat up to 10,000 fans. The Seattle group has yet to announce the team name for their AHL team (or their NHL one). The AHL’s team website is http://www.ahlpalmsprings.com. The AHL will now have 6 California-based AHL teams including the Flames, San Jose and LA’s AHL teams.
  • Seattle hired Stu Barnes, Cammi Granto (Vancouver-based), Dave Hunter (Boston-based), John Goodwin (Toronto-based) and Ulf Samuelsson (San Diego) as pro scouts. Granto is the first female NHL scout but GM Ron Francis said she was hired because she is qualified. Granto has won a gold and silver medal at the Olympics and is in the Hockey Hall of Fame. She said she’s had other opportunities but Seattle was a good fit. She resides in Vancouver, BC with her husband, former NHL player now broadcaster, Ray Ferraro. 
  • Seattle scouts have been seen at NHL games already this season including John Goodwin who was at one of the two Leafs home games.


  • Bo Horvat is expected to be announced as the new Vancouver Canucks captain. The team will announce it at their first home game of the season, Wednesday, October 9 before they play the LA Kings. Some fans expect the previous Canucks captain, now retired Henrik Sedin, to be a part of the ceremony. Horvat has already played 379 NHL games and is just 24 years old. He was acquired from New Jersey with goaltender Cory Schneider going to the Devils. It’s a trade that’s worked out very well for the Canucks.
  • The Oilers announced captain Connor McDavid’s assistants will be forwards Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins plus defenseman Adam Larsson and Darnell Nurse.
  • The Winnipeg Jets put an ‘A’ on defenseman Josh Morrissey’s jersey. Morrissey recently signed an 8 year $50 M contract with the team.
  • Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien is still undecided about resuming his NHL career. The Jets are apparently giving him space to reach a decision.
  • Oilers forward Sam Gagner was assigned to the AHL after he cleared waivers. I heard he may consider retirement if he does not get a recall fairly soon. He has a very young family, including a new born. Read where Oilers head coach Dave Tippett said he wants skill in the top six group of forward and penalty killer types in the bottom six.
  • Islanders forward Josh Ho-Sang has asked for a trade after he didn’t make the Islanders out of training camp. Ho-Sang was drafted 28th overall in 2014. Ho-Sang has not reported to the Islanders AHL team in Bridgeport and it’s not clear if he will while he awaits a possible trade.
  • Nashville Predators GM David Poile is in contract negotiations with the agent for captain Roman Josi who is one season from UFA. Poile said the other day they’ve been talking with Josi’s rep for about a year. Seems it’s a question of when a deal is announced not if. Josi is said to be seeking between $8 M- $9 M/season on an max (8 year) deal. The other high profile defenseman that’s a UFA is St. Louis Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo. The Blues want to re-sign the player but the expected rate would be similar to what Josi is seeking.
  • Many fans were surprised to see former first rounder, 13th overall in 2011, Vancouver Canucks forward Sven Baertschi end up on waivers. Baertschi has played in 285 career games but just 26 last season as he dealt with concussion problems. He will report to the Canucks AHL team in Utica.
  • Penguins defenseman Jack Johnson is on the trade block. The Penguins signed him to a 5 year contract at $3.25 M /season on July 1, 2018.
  • The Bruins have started contract talks with defenseman Torey Krug who is one year from UFA status. Krug has recorded three straight 50 point seasons. Last season, Krug recorded 53 points in 64 games. Reports indicate Krug is looking at the Jared Spurgeon contract, seven years & $53 M or $7.57 M/season, as a comparable. Krug has said he’d be willing to take less to sign with the Bruins.
  • Former Leafs forward Patrick Marleau is still planning to sign with a team this season. Sharks GM Doug Wilson said in early September that the Sharks have no plans to sign Marleau. The player was hoping to return to the Sharks for one more season. Some teams I’ve heard that do have interest are the Oilers and Coyotes. Marleau had 16 goals last season but with no training camp it could be challenging for him.
  • The St. Louis Blues signed #1 center Brayden Schenn to an 8 year deal at $6.5 M /season. Schenn was to become a UFA after this season. Schenn has played in 588 career NHL games and has recorded 372 points. He was drafted 5th overall in 2009 by LA.
  • The Capitals rookie goaltender IIya Samsonov, a 2015 first rounder 22nd overall, picked up his first career win in a 2-1 game against the Islanders. Samsonov made 25 saves on 26 shots. With Brayden Holtby a UFA a season’s end, I would guess the team wants to see what they have in Samsonov. The teams 3rd goaltender Pheonix Copley was waived the other day and will go to the Caps AHL team in Hershey.


  • Jets forward Kyle Connor signed a 7 year $50 M contract. It’s an average annual value of $7.143 M /season. Connor, 22, has recorded 129 points in 181 games with 68 goals over his 3 seasons in Winnipeg. The Jets were reported to have wanted to get Connor on a long term deal from the start of their negotiations. Experts say it’s a good deal for Winnipeg. He’s recorded 31 and 34 goals the past two seasons.  
  • Colorado got one of their stars signed, Mikko Rantanen signed a 6 year deal with an AAV of $9.25 M. The player recorded 84 points two seasons ago and 87 points (31 goals) last season. Rantanen gets $12 M in each of the first two seasons of his deal.
  • The Jets and noted goal scorer Patrik Laine agreed to a 2 year deal for $6.5 M /season. This season Laine will make $6 M and next season his salary is $7.5 M. It seems both sides were preferring short term as Laine wants to play on one of the Jets top 2 lines (he’s been on the third line most of his NHL career). Laine’s agent said they used to negotiation to discuss Laine’s role with the team and both sides “got on the same page”. Jets GM Kevin Chevaldayoff called Laine a unique player; he’s scored 36, 34 and 30 goals / season in three seasons with the Jets (.46 goals/game) and is still just 21 years old.
  • Chicago signed 21 yo forward Alex DeBrincat to a 3 year deal with an AAV of $6.4 M /season. The deal will pay DeBrincat $5.1 M in year one (next season), $5.1 M in year two and $9 M in the third year. The player was signed a year before his current contract expires. The player has an incredible 70 goals in 165 games (.42 goals/game). The ‘Hawks are apparently next going to get forward Dylan Strome’s name on a new deal. Strome, drafted 3rd overall in 2015 by Arizona, recorded 51 points in 58 games after the late November 2018 trade from the Coyotes. The highest profile player that is in the final year of his ELC, like DeBrincat was, is Islanders star forward Mathew Barzal. He is a cornerstone piece of their franchise. I not heard if any contract discussions have started. A final name is first overall draft pick from 2017 Nico Hischier who has recorded 100 points in 153 games to date. Hischier needs a new contract by the start of next season.
  • Dallas defenseman Julius Honka, who Dallas is actively trying to trade, and Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi, who signed in the Finnish league, are the only two remaining unsigned RFA’s.
  • New York Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad has recorded 4 points / game and 4 total goals through the Rangers first two games of the new season. Zibanejad is only the second Rangers player in franchise history to achieve 8 points in the team’s first two games. Zibanejad, who’s father is Iranian and mother Finnish, is playing with Artemi Panarin and Pavel Buchnevich.


  • Of course, Oakville native John Tavares was named the 27th captain in Leafs history. He was introduced before the team’s first home game against Ottawa last week with the ‘C’ on his jersey. GM Kyle Dubas said they wanted to make the announcement in an understated way as that is like Tavares personality. Defenseman Morgan Rielly will wear an ‘A’ all-season while Marner and Matthew will rotate the other ‘A’. Dubas also said Freddy Andersen, Zach Hyman and Jake Muzzin (the only player on the roster with a Cup) are also part of the team’s leadership group.
  • Forward Auston Matthews has 5 goals in 3 games so far and he really been working on his one-timer and it shows. John Tavares said when Matthews get his one time on net, it’s almost unstoppable. He has 5 goals in the team’s three games and  looks stronger and more dominate than ever. He’s been a noted strong starter recording 10 goals in his first six games last season and the year before that he recorded 12 points in the teams first 8 games. The only player that’s recorded more even strength goals since Matthews joined in league is Connor McDavid. Matthews seems a sure bet to get 50 if he can stay healthy. Leafs head coach, Mike Babcock, said the other day it’s his goal to turn Matthews into the league’s top two way center saying that’s how you win championships. Adding when you can defend well, you get the puck back sooner and spend more time in the offensive zone. Matthews seems to have improved his two way play every season in the league.
  • Morgan Rielly has 5 assists after the 3 Leafs games including a 3 assist game against Columbus. It was his 6th three assist game in his career. There are only 3 former Leafs defenseman more 3 assist games- Ian Turnbull had eight, Tomas Kaberle had 12 and Hall of Famer Borje Salming had an incredible 29 three assist games. Rielly skating looks as smooth as ever. I am hoping for a Norris trophy for the 25 year old. He seems to be as respected by his teammates as much as any player on the team.
  • Thought new addition, forward IIya Mikheyev, has looked very good in just his first 3 NHL games. He has a goal and 2 assists and adds some scoring punch to the third line. Trevor Moore looks good and Alex Kerfoot looked terrific on Saturday against Montreal (1 goals and 2 assists).
  • Seems the goal is to keep Freddy Andersen’s game starts to around 60 (he’s started 66,66 and 60 in three seasons with the Leafs). Andersen wants to be rested when the most important games, the playoffs, start.
  • The Leafs are going to be playing 6 pre-season games next season after playing 8 this season and for the past few seasons. The CBA mandates teams play between 6 and 8 preseason games.
  • The team has 3 games this week –
    • Monday vs the Cup champs, St. Louis Blues, in Toronto
    • Thursday against Tampa Bay in Toronto (should be very entertaining with two of the league’s top offensive teams)
    • In Detroit on Saturday night.


  • The Florida Panthers released forward Troy Brouwer from his PTO. Brouwer, 34, would probably be looking to Europe if he wants to keep playing professionally.
  • Russian forward Anton Burdasov was released from his PTO with the Oilers.
  • The Bruins signed defenseman Alex Petrovic to a one year deal at $700,000 after he attended their training camp on a PTO.
  • The Flames released forward Devante Smith-Pelly from his PTO. He’s played in 395 NHL games but there seems to be no interest from NHL teams.
  • Matt Read, who attended Leafs training camp on a PTO, was released from the PTO before the start of the season and signed an AHL-only one year deal with the Toronto Marlies.


  • New Dallas Stars forward Corey Perry is still recovering from suffering a broken bone in his foot in the preseason. Sounds like he’s a week or two away from being ready to play in games.
  • Dallas placed forward Martin Hanzel on Long Term Injury Reserve and it sounds as though his NHL career is over.
  • Recently signed Lightning forward Brayden Point has yet to play this season and will miss at least the next two games. Point had off-season hip surgery on both hips. Point played though the hip injury most of last season so after getting the problem fixed, he could be better once he’s in game shape. Point had 41 goals and 92 points last season.
  • Oilers top 1 or 2 defenseman Adam Larsson broke his ankle blocking a shot in the team’s first game against Vancouver. Larsson will miss 6-8 weeks and the team recalled first rounder defenseman Evan Bouchard from the AHL.
  • Flyers center Nolan Patrick has been diagnosed with a migraine disorder and will miss two to three weeks. He did not accompany the team to Europe to start the season.

Player Transactions

  • Carolina moved pending UFA defenseman Justin Faulk to St. Louis for another pending UFA defenseman Joel Edmundson. Also going to Carolina was a Czech prospect named Dominik Bokk plus a 2020 7th round draft pick. Faulk then signed a 7 years deal with St. Louis at $6.5 M /season.
  • The Coyotes sign goaltender Darcy Kuemper two a 2 year deal at $4.5 M /season. Kuemper played in 55 games last season and had a 2.33 GAA with a .925 SV%.


  • Lee Stempniak announced his retirement after 13 NHL seasons. Stempniak played for 10 NHL teams and in over 900 NHL games. 

Odds & Ends

  • Carolina named forward Jordan Staal captain with forwards Jordan Martinook and defenseman Jaccob Slavin assistants. Staal is entering his 14th NHL season and 7th with the Hurricanes. He was co-captain of the Hurricanes in the 2017-18 season. His brother, Eric, was Hurricanes captain from the 2009-10 season through to the 2015-16 season.
  • The New York Rangers are going with four alternate captains this season. They are defenseman Marc Staal and forwards Chris Keider, Mika Zibanejad and Jesper Fast.
  • The Ottawa Senators announced they will retire former player Chris Phillips #4 jersey before their game on February 18th, 2020 against the Buffalo Sabres. Phillips joins Daniel Alfredsson #11 in having his jersey retired by the organization.
  • Flames first rounder (2019) Jakob Pelletier was named captain of his junior team, the Moncton Wildcats. The Flames recently signed him to his 3 year entry level contract.
  • The QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic had a ceremony last weekend where they retired Sidney Crosby’s #87 jersey. The QMJHL also retired Crosby’s #87 number league-wide. Rimouski forward Alexis Lafreniere scored the OT winning goal on Crosby jersey retirement night. Lafreniere is the leading candidate to go first overall in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
  • The new rules around coaches challenge – starting this season, the first unsuccessful coaches challenge results in a 2 minute penalty – has the coaches being more selective about asking for a video review. Last season, the first unsuccessful challenge meant the team lost their timeout. This season, after the first unsuccessful challenge, subsequent challenges will cost a team a double minor. Flames head coach Bill Peters says if the opposition team has a strong PP he’s not going to challenge as often this season adding the risk is not as great at the reward.
  • The Canadiens announced hockey legend Guy Lafleur had successful quadruple bypass heart surgery. A full recovery is expected after several months of rest.
  • First overall (2019) draft pick Jack Hughes is living with NHL veteran Cory Schneider. Hughes still doesn’t have a car and travels with Schneider to practices and home games. 
  • NY Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist recorded career win 450 last week which places him 6th in all-time wins. Seems as though the Rangers are going to use both Lundqvist and Alex Georgiev this season.
  • Forward Cody Glass, the first ever draft pick of the Vegas Golden Knight organization (6th overall in 2017), has made the Golden Knights. He recorded a goal in his first game. Glass was an offensive star with the WHL Portland Winterhawks.
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NHL News & Notes to 22 Sep 2019. Regular season starts on Wed. October 2nd.


  • The NHLPA announced on Monday that they were declining their option to re-open the CBA while the NHL announced at the end of August that they were also not going re-open the agreement. This means labor peace for three more seasons – until the end of the 2021-22 season. There was a Board of Governors meeting on Tues. Sept. 17th, the day after the NHLPA voted to not re-open the agreement, and the general comments from that meeting were about how revenues are growing and Seattle is joining the NHL and this benefits both owners and players. For the NHLPA leeforce 100, there were a number of players, particularly at the NHLPA’s executive leadership level, that wanted to re-open the agreement which would mean no CBA past the end of the 2019-20 season, but the oral tren players union voted and there was not enough support to re-open. The CBA agreement now runs until the end of the 2021-22 season which is the first season of the new expansion Seattle team. There is also the US TV deal which is set to expire in 2 years (end of 2020-21 season) and a new deal is expected to be as much as 3-5 times the value of the current one. This will increase what the league calls hockey related revenue (HRR) – revenue from games – that the players and owners split 50/50. As HRR grows, the salary cap goes up which makes the players happy. There is some talk of the NHLPA and NHL extending the CBA expiry date from the end of the 2021-22 season to 2025 or 2026 and the two sides are going to keep discussing and negotiating on that. I heard an estimate that by the late January All-Star break, an announcement could be made that sees the players and league extend their CBA agreement beyond the currently agreed three more seasons.
  • As part of the NHL Global Series, the Flyers and Blackhawks are completing their training camps in Switzerland and Germany respectively. The ‘Hawks will will play an exhibition game against a Berlin-based team on Sept. 29th. The Flyers will travel to Switzerland and play an exhibition game against Lausanne HC in Lausanne on Sept. 30th. The Flyers and ‘Hawks will play their first regular season game against each other on Fri. October 4th in Prague.
  • The NHL apparently signed a 4 year deal with their on ice officials on Saturday, Sept. 21 though it’s not been officially announced by the league. Apparently their prior contract expired on Aug. 31.
  • As it’s now the second and final week of preseason, roster cuts will happen and more regular NHL players will start playing in exhibition games. The regular season starts a week from this Wednesday, on October 2nd.

Team Management

  • The Bruins signed their head coach, Bruce Cassidy, to a three year deal at a reported $3 M /season. Cassidy has 117 wins in 191 Bruins games coached and is said to be a good teacher who develops players well plus took the Bruins team within one win of a Stanley Cup last season.
  • The LA Kings have added former Flyers GM Ron Hextall as a part-time adviser to the Hockey Ops group. Hextall will be in LA for a few games per month and will watch all the Kings games on video. Hextall apparently had a few different opportunities but has familiarity of the LA organization having been their assistant GM from 2006-13. He will also consult with Kings GM Rob Blake. Hextall interviewed for the Minnesota Wild GM opening which went to Bill Guerin.
  • The New Jersey Devils named Jake Reynolds as their new President. Reynolds was formerly Chief Revenue Officer at the organization that owns the Devils – Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment. Announcement here. Not sure how this move directly affect the Devils but the team has had a lot of positive things happen this summer – from landing defenseman PK Subban to getting the number one overall draft pick and selecting Jack Hughes. The organization has started contract discussion with forward Taylor Hall as he becomes unrestricted after the 2019-20 season. Hall, 27, has been clear that his main goal at this point in his career is to win. He’s played in just 5 playoff games in his nine year NHL career.
  • Martin St. Louis, who was acting as a consultant for the Blue Jackets in the second half of last season, announced on the weekend he won’t be back for the 2019-20 season saying he wants to focus on his family.
  • The Capitals announced two time Cup winner Brooks Orpik has been appointed as a player development consultant with the team. In the role, Orpik will mostly work with the ‘Caps AHL defenseman in Hershey. Orpik played in the NHL for 15 seasons playing with both the Penguins and Capitals.
  • Former Avalanche defenseman Curtis Leschyshyn has been hired by the Avs as a pro scout.


  • The gutting and interior rebuilt of Seattle’s KeyArena is progressing on schedule with the cost still at the $930 M number and the arena construction to be completed by the summer of 2021. Seattle would start the first NHL season in the fall of 2021.


  • The remaining restricted free agents are:
    • Lightning center Brayden Point. 41 G & 51 A for 92 points in 79 games. 1.16 PPG.
    • Avs winger Mikko Rantanen. 31 G & 56 A 87 points in 74 games. 1.17 PPG.
    • Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk. 34 G & 43 A for 77 points in 80 games. .96 PPG.
    • Jets winger Kyle Conner. 34 G & 32 A for 66 points in 82 games.
    • Jets winger Patrik Laine. 30 G & 20 A for 50 points in 82 games.
  • It does not seem as though any of these five RFA’s are close to an agreement with their teams. Brayden Point’s agent, Gerry Johannson, was interviewed recently and said talks with the Lightning are ongoing and cordial but they are not close at all to an agreement. The contract that’s been offered to Point by Tampa Bay is 3 years at $5.7 M/season. Point produced two less points – and 15 more goals – than Marner who just got $10.893 M /season. Agent Mike Luit represents both RFA’s Patrik Laine and Mikko Rantanen and, in both situations, a deal is not close there either. Rantanen camp is using the Marner comparable while the Avs are using a Leon Draisaitl / Sebastian Aho comparible, $8.5 M /season.
  • The Winnipeg Jets are the team with the most uncertainty and news swirling around them right now. From defenseman Dustin Byfugien not reporting to training camp and being suspended without pay to unsigned RFA forward Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine. They are now without four of their top six defenseman – Jacob Trouba went to the Rangers, Tyler Myers signed as a UFA with Vancouver, defenseman Ben Chiarot went to Montreal as a UFA signing and Byfuglien is considering retirement. Patrik Laine made some recent comments to a Finnish newspaper where he said he should be on the Jets top line and on any other NHL team he would be. Laine is spending his contract standoff in Switzerland skating (not playing in games just practicing) with SC Bern of the Swiss league. As far as the Laine contract discussion, the player has recorded the 5th most goals in his first three NHL seasons of any player but there is some talk he doesn’t feel valued by the organization like an elite goal scorer should be. The Byfuglien situation will affect the Jets cap and what they can pay Laine and Connor. If Byfugien retires, there will be more cap dollars for these two RFA’s. Byfuglien is still owed $14 M dollars by the Jets -paid only if he continues playing.
  • I see the Matthew Tkachuk situation similar to Point and Rantanen in that the Flames have a pay structure that rewards their top players – Gaudreau at $6.75 M and Mark Giordano at the same number – and management does not want to drastically change what they are compensating players relative to others (Tkachuk is apparently seeking $8 M /season). They are not interested in the Marner comparable. They have a roster of players that all need to be paid and once you wildly go outside that, it become challenging to keep others happy.
  • The Hurricanes are looking to move defenseman Justin Faulk who is one year from UFA. The Hurricanes had a deal in place with Anaheim but it was contingent on Faulk being able to sign an extension with the Ducks and the two sides were unable to reach an agreement. Faulk recorded 35 points last season making $4.83 M but was said to be seeking $6.5 M on the Anaheim possible contract.
  • Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen is also available but the Sabres have set the price high as the player is just 24 years old and had 43 points last season.
  • Oilers GM Ken Holland said recently it’s still not certain Connor McDavid gets into a preseason game or is even ready for the start of the season. McDavid’s knee is still healing from an injury he sustained in the team’s final regular season game last season. McDavid is hoping to play at least one preseason game but it’s apparently up to the doctors to confirm he’s is ready.
  • The Ottawa Senators signed defenseman Thomas Chabot, drafted 18th overall in 2015, to an 8 year deal at $8 M /season that takes effect in the 2020-21 season (Chabot has one season remaining in his entry level deal). It’s the most dollars ever given to a defenseman in their second contract. Chabot has recorded 80 points in 134 career NHL games (.60 PPG as a defenseman). Experts see Chabot as the Senators future #1 defenseman and a possible Norris trophy winner. Sens fans generally applauded the signing as they believe it shows that the team wants to be competitive and are willing to spend on good players. Like the Arizona Clayton Keller contract ($7.15 M/season for 8 seasons), it’s a situation where a team signs a core young player to a long term deal before they are out of their entry level contract (ELC). Some high profile names that are currently in the last year of their ELC include Isles center Mat Barzal, ‘Hawks forward Alex DeBrincat, Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois and first overall draft pick in 2017, Devils Nico Hischier. Some see the escalating cost of contracts with the current class of RFA’s (Marner, Tkachuk, Aho, Point, etc), as a driver of team’s being more proactive about signing players a season before their current deal expires.
  • Sharks forward Logan Couture was named team captain replacing Joe Pavelski who signed as a UFA with Dallas. Tomas Hertl, Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson and Joe Thornton will rotate the A’s for the Sharks assistant captain. Head coach Peter DeBoer selected Couture as captain calling him a player that steps up at the crucial points in games. There are currently seven NHL teams without a captain – Carolina, Detroit, NY Rangers, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Vegas. Vegas has already said they won’t name one for this season. The Red Wings decided to go with four assistant captains – Dylan Larkin, Justin Abdelkader, Frans Nielson & Luke Glendening.
  • Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo is one year from UFA and GM Doug Armstrong said the team wants to re-sign him. Similarly, center Brayden Schenn is also one year from UFA and the Blues want to reach an agreement on an extension. Both players said they are open to contract discussions but will not be talking about their contracts this season because they want the focus to be on the team.
  • Montreal has started contract discussions with forward Max Domi who will be a RFA after the 2019-20 season. Last season, Domi, 24, recorded career highs in goals and points with 28 G and 44 assists for 72 points in 82 games. Domi was drafted 12th overall in 2013 by Arizona and was traded to the Canadiens in June 2018 for forward Alex Galchenyuk.
  • Dallas Stars defenseman Julius Honka has requested a trade. Teams reported to have interest in the player include Montreal, Carolina and a third Eastern conference team. Carolina need defense help after discovering Trevor van Riemsdyk’s shoulder is not quite healed from off-season surgery.
  • Former Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner reportedly turned down a more lucrative offer from Montreal in early July to sign in Carolina. Montreal offered three years and $15.75 M ($5.25 M/season) and Gardiner ended up signing in Carolina for four seasons at $16.2 M ($4.05 M /season). The player is said to have preferred being more anonymous in a place like Carolina.


  • The Canucks were able to reach a 3 year contract agreement with forward Brock Boeser. The average annual value is $5.875 M /season. The three year term will still leave Boeser an RFA with arbitation rights at contract’s end. They were discussing a longer term but could not agree on dollars. Boeser said he considers Vancouver home and would like to play his whole career with the Canucks. Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat and Boeser are the young Canucks core players.
  • The Blue Jackets reached a three year, $5 M AAV contract agreement with defenseman Zach Werenski. The deal is structured as $4 M in year one, $4 M in year two and $7 M in year three. Werenski, 22, will still be an RFA at contract’s end but RFA’s must be qualified at 105% of the previous season’s salary so his next contract would start around the $7.35 M / season mark.
  • The Bruins reached a three year, $4.9 AAV contract agreement with defenseman Charlie McAvoy which was announced soon after the Werenski deal. Seems Werenski set the market rate for RFA defenseman just out of their entry level contract. McAvoy’s salary structure for the 3 year deal is $3.7 M in year one, $3.7 M in year two and $7.3 M in the final, 3rd, season.
  • The Flyers signed both their remaining RFA’s: defenseman Ivan Provorov and forward Travis Konecny. Provorov was 6 years at $6.75 M / season and Konecny was 6 seasons at $5.5 M/season. Provorov’s agent said their negotiation with the Flyers went back a year to when Ron Hextall was GM. His agent called it a hard fought negotiation but when Werenski and McAvoy signed that set the market rate.
  • Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo signed a 2 year deal with an AAV of $2.85 M. Bruins forward Sean Kuraly said McAvoy and Carlo represent the next wave of Bruins leaders, after veterans Chara, Bergeron and Marchand, and it was good to see them back.
  • The Minnesota Wild signed forward Kevin Fiala to a two year deal for $6 M. The contract pays Fiala $2.5 M this season and $3.5 M next season. Fiala will still be an RFA when the deal expires. Fiala recorded 39 points last season (13 goals) which was split between Nashville and Minnesota. He was drafted 11th overall in 2014.
  • New Jersey signed RFA forward Pavel Zacha to a three year deal worth $2.25 M /season. Zacha, 22, recorded a career high 13 goals in 61 games in the 2019-20 season. The Czech forward was drafted 6th overall in 2015.
  • Former Canucks defenseman Ben Hutton was signed by the LA Kings. The deal is one year at $1.5 M. Hutton, 26, was an RFA who did not receive a qualifying offer from the Canucks. He said he was caught off guard when he was not qualified by Vancouver. He said he’s looking at the LA opportunity as a chance to again prove he’s a good NHL defenseman. LA needed some defenseman after learning Paul LaDue and Derek Forbort have injuries that may keep them out for a while. The Jets were another team said to have interest in Hutton.
  • The New York Rangers signed forward Brendan Lemieux to a one year deal at $925,000. Lemieux is former NHL player Claude Lemieux’s kid. Lemieux was part of the Jacob Trouba deal this summer. In 63 games last season split between Winnipeg and the Rangers, Lemieux had 12 goals and 5 assists.

Training camp news

  • Tampa Bay placed back-up goaltender Louis Domingue on waivers and he was not claimed. He’s been re-assigned to the ‘Bolts AHL in Syracuse. Domingue had an impressive 21-5 record last season with Tampa but the Lightning brought in Curtis McElhinney on July 1 to back-up starter Andrei Vasilevskiy. Both the team and player hope once training camps conclude and the regular season starts, Domingue will get an NHL opportunity. He carries a modest $1.15 M cap hit.
  • Islanders 19 year old defenseman prospect Noah Dobson has reportedly impressed at training camp. Drafted 12th overall in 2018, Dobson is playing 20+ mins a game in preseason games and looks very steady for the Isles. Dobson is team captain of his QMJHL team and has won two Memorial Cups. He projects to be a top NHL defenseman for many years.
  • At Chicago’s training camp, Swede Adam Boqvist, drafted 8th overall in 2018, has stood out. Boqvist, 19, is going to be a star for many seasons on defense for the Blackhawks. Last season with the London Knights of the OHL, Boqvist recorded 20 goals and 40 assists in 54 games. It’s not clear at this point if the ‘Hawks will develop the player at the NHL level or have him play 20+ minutes a game in the AHL with Chicago’s AHL affiliate in Rockford.
  • The Canucks assigned defenseman Olli Juolevi to their AHL team in Utica. The organization still has high hopes for the player drafted 5th overall in 2016 but he suffered a season-ending knee injury last season in December that he is still recovering from.
  • The Oilers signed Russian forward Anton Burdasov to a PTO. The player was seeking a one year deal but didn’t get it and settled for the PTO. Burdasov is 28 years old, 6-2, 227 lbs and scored 19 G and 12 A in 50 KHL games last season.
  • Vancouver release forward Landon Ferraro from his PTO. Doesn’t seem as though there’s a spot for him with the AHL team in Utica either.
  • The Flames released defenseman Eric Gryba from his PTO. Gryba then announced his retirement from the NHL.
  • The Dallas Stars released forward Scott Upshall from his PTO. Upshall, 35, might be close to retirement as well.
  • Former Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf is a UFA and is not attending a training camp though he’s not announced he’s retiring. Similar situation for former Sabres forward Jason Pominville.


  • It was good to see the team reach a 6 year contract agreement with forward Mitch Marner ($10.893 M /season AAV). Marner is now the second highest paid winger behind NY Rangers Artemi Panarin ($11.64 M/ season) but the Leafs bought two season’s of Marner’s UFA years. Marner’s agent said they received two offer sheets, speculated to be Columbus and Minnesota, before agreeing to the new deal. Marner said the other day his goal was always to remain a Leaf adding he did not want to miss training camp. He contacted Kyle Dubas last week to expedite contract talks.
  • The team is expected to announce their captain just prior to their October 2nd season opening game against Ottawa. Seems as though Auston Matthews is the leading candidate. Morgan Rielly and John Tavares would get A’s plus possibly a third assistant. Coach Babcock says he sees the Leafs captain in the mold of former Raptors star Kawhi Leonard – let’s his play do the talking, clutch and wins championships.
  • The team has played four of eight preseason games and I heard where Babcock said he’s going to step up the intensity of practices and get more of the regulars involved. I also expect roster cuts as soon as Monday. Their remaining four preseason games are:
    • At Montreal on Monday, Sept. 23
    • Vs Montreal at home on Wed. Sept. 25
    • At Detroit on Friday, Sept 27
    • Vs Detroit at home on Sat. Sept 28
  • Kasperi Kapanen has switched from RW to LW on the John Tavares and Mitch Marner line and it seems it’s been a bit of an adjustment for him. He said particularly accepting passes from defenseman in the the neutral zone on his backhand.
  • Looks as though defenseman Tyson Barrie will take over from Jake Gardiner as the QB on the team’s second PP group. Morgan Rielly will continue to QB the Leafs first PP group.
  • First rounder (2018) Rasmus Sandin has impressed so far in the preseason. Babcock says he chooses the smart, simple play and has high hockey IQ. Seems he has a chance to make the opening night roster. Even getting a few NHL regular season games would benefit a 19 year old player who should be a future full time NHL defenseman.
  • Seems as though the team’s forth line will consist of Freddy Gauthier at center with wingers Jason Spezza and Trevor Moore. Spezza is a center but Babcock is seems to prefer Gauthier there while still trying to find a spot for the 36 year old Spezza. Marner said the other day, Spezza is a bit like Patrick Marleau – a lot of NHL experience and a team-first player willing to play anywhere.
  • The position of back-up goaltender to Freddy Andersen is an open competition between Michael Hutchinson and Michal Neuvirth, who is on a PTO. Hutchinson is on a one year deal at a league minimum $700,000. Neuvirth has had a number of injuries the past few seasons and struggles to stay healthy but recently said part of the reason he chose to take a chance on a PTO with the Leafs is their top level medical people that could help him stay healthy. Andersen has started 66, 66 and 60 games in his three seasons in Toronto. He said recently he’s looking at starting approx 55 games this season.
  • Babcock said the other day both forward Zach Hyman (knee/ACL surgery) and defenseman Travis Dermott (shoulder) are expected to miss 14-15 games to start the season.
  • The team signed their second round draft pick (53rd overall) from the 2019 Entry Draft, forward Nick Robertson, to his 3 year entry level contract this past week. Robertson is playing with the Peterborough Petes in the OHL where last season he recorded 27 goals and 28 assists for 55 points in 54 games.
  • Forward Matt Read is still in Leafs camp on a PTO. Saw him interviewed and he said at age 33 and playing in the AHL most of last season, he believes this could be his final chance for an NHL opportunity. Read has played in 449 career NHL games recording 88 goals and 100 assists.
  • Former Leafs goaltender Garret Sparks was placed on waivers by Las Vegas and was subsequently assigned to the AHL. Vegas is going with Malcolm Subban as their back-up.


  • Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi announced his retirement after 13 NHL seasons. Girardi was signed in 2006 by the New York Rangers as an undrafted player and went on to play in 927 NHL games.

Odds & Ends

  • Some owners want the Dec. 1 deadline to sign an RFA (otherwise they can’t play that season), moved up earlier. Fan lose out when the player doesn’t play and the player can’t get up to game speed having missed half the season. Plus it’s a distraction to the team when a players holdout drags on.
  • Flames captain Mark Giordano is again the fittest Flames player. The players were tested on the first day of training camp. Giordano will turn 36 years old on October 2nd and won the Norris trophy as the league’s top defenseman last season.
  • With the Anaheim Ducks, both Ryan Kesler and Patrick Eaves will not play in the 2019-20 season. Kesler is recovering from hip surgery and Eaves has missed the last year and a half with some type of virus that has apparently re-occurred. It’s doubtful either player will resume their NHL playing careers.
  • Former Senators defenseman Marc Methot is considering retirement. He missed all but 9 games last season while a member of Dallas Stars and required knee surgery. Method was a terrific d partner for Erik Karlsson when they both played with the Senators.
  • Alex Ovechkin will receive the Wayne Gretzky International Award as part of the US Hockey Hall of Fame Induction celebration on December 12, 2019 in Washington, DC. The award was established in 1999 and honors international individuals who have made a major contribution to the growth of hockey in the United States. Ovechkin recently turned 34 years old and is entering his 15th NHL season, all with the Capitals. He is recognized all over the world and was in China this summer promoting the NHL.
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NHL News & Notes to 08 Sep 2019. Training camps open Thursday.


  • CBA negotiations – the league and NHLPA have a 10 year CBA agreement in place that was signed in January 2013 but both sides have a September 2019 opt out clause. The NHL could of opted out on September 1 and the NHLPA’s deadline for opting out is September 15th. At the end of August (2019), the NHL said they would not be opting out and now the it’s up to the players to decide by the 15th of September if they want to. If they choose to, the current CBA will expire September 15, 2020. The two sides are meeting New York City on Monday, September 9th to continue negotiations. From where can i buy arimidex all indications, the players major gripe is the escrow and, secondarily, the players generally want to play in Winter Olympics but the owners don’t want to close the league mid-season. There was some mention of the NHLPA possibly asking for an extension to the September 15th opt out deadline but nothing official has been announced.
  • The league’s plan to roll out player and puck tracking has been delayed until the 2019-20 post season. The league had an agreement with a company called Jogmo for the technology but have since dropped them and have signed a company called SMT who are based of out North Carolina. The whole area of data collection in NHL games ties into the league’s plans to offer gambling on games in the future. Article about the change of technology partners is here.
  • Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs has signed over ownership of the Bruins to his 6 children. Jacobs is one of the more influential owners in the league; he’s owned the Bruins for the past 44 years having bought the team back in 1975 for $10 M. Jacobs recently turned 80 years old. The plan is for the Jacobs family to continue to own the Bruins.

Team Management

  • New Jersey – Tom Fitzgerald was promoted to Executive Vice President & AGM and Dan MacKinnon was promoted to Senior Vice President & AGM. Fitzgerald acts as General Manager of the Devils AHLteam – the Binghamton Devils – plus he’s involved in contract negotiations, player transactions and working with the Devils development staff. MacKinnon, for the past 3 years, was Senior Director of Player Personnel but will now take over all aspects of the Devils scouting. MacKinnon will be key in the Devils entry draft preparation plus he’s going to oversee the Devils analytics efforts.
  • Seattle – The Seattle team announced they’ve hired Ricky Olczyk as Assistant General Manger to GM Ron Francis. Olczyk, 49, was a Carolina Hurricanes AGM under Francis for 4 years. Olczyk will be responsible for the team’s salary cap which includes deciding who to draft in the June 2021 expansion draft. Olczyk is also apparently an expert on the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Olczyk has a law degree from Cornell University and has done legal work for the NHLPA. He started his career working in law firms in Chicago and Phoenix. He also worked as an AGM for seven seasons with the Edmonton Oilers (6 of those as AGM). Last season he was employed by the Leafs as a pro scout. His brother is former NHL’er, now broadcaster, Eddie Olczyk .
  • With the Red Wings, recently retired defenseman Niklas Kronwall has been hired an an adviser to GM Steve Yzerman.
  • The San Jose Sharks hired former LA Dodgers (MLB) GM Ned Colletti as a pro scout. Colletti grew up in Chicago and is an avid Blackhawks fan having been to many ‘Hawks games. He will evaluate hockey talent at both the NHL and AHL levels. Colletti, 65, spent 40 years working in team management of major league baseball.


  • There is still not much change on the unsigned star RFA’s – Marner, Laine, Boeser, Matthew Tkachuk, Brayden Point, etc. Some say when one signs that will set the market for the others but that hasn’t really materialized. Sebastian Aho signed for 5 years at $8.45 M / season and Sharks forward Timo Meier signed for 4 years @ $6 M /season, but other RFA’s haven’t followed suit. Leafs GM Kyle Dubas talked last week about how they are still trying to reach an agreement with Mitch Marner and the organization currently has no intention of looking to trade the player. Marner’s side has been quiet. The Flames Matthew Tkachuk is reportedly seeking $8 M /season on a new deal. The player’s agent and Flames GM Brad Treliving have been negotiating since June. Some say term is a sticking point with some of the RFA’s, they want 4 or 5 year deals where they reach UFA status free to sign with any team. Based on lack of progress so far, seems to me these young RFA’s are going to miss regular season games.
  • Oilers captain Connor McDavid is still recovering from his knee injury suffered in the team’s final regular season game of last season. He’s apparently spent a lot of the summer getting the knee back into top form. It’s not certain McDavid will be a full participant when the Oilers start on ice work for training camp on Fri. Sept. 13.
  • Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson said recently his groin injury that hampered him most of last season is 100%. With the surgery procedure he had on the injury this off-season, Karlsson said he does not expect the same injury to be an issue again. Karlsson is entering season one of his 8 year contract at $11.5 M /season.
  • Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom is one year from UFA and would like to sign an extension with the Canucks. GM Jim Benning indicated they’ll see how the season goes and talk to Markstrom’s agent but it’s not a top priority right now.
  • Bruins captain Zdeno Chara may not be ready for the start of this season on October 3rd as his broken jaw suffered in last season’s Cup final is still healing.
  • San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson recently said Patrick Marleau will not return to the Sharks. The team wants to get a bit younger overall. Marleau is a UFA but has yet to sign with a team. His preference is to be close to his San Jose home as he has four young children. Arizona was one team I heard had interested in Marleau.
  • Senators young defenseman Thomas Chabot is in negotiations with the team on a long term deal. Chabot, 22, has just two years of NHL experience but has an amazing 80 points in 134 games. He will be a restricted free agent at the end of the 2019-20 season.
  • The Winnipeg Jets have started long term contract discussions with defenseman Josh Morrissey. He recorded 31 points in 59 games in 2018-19 season (was dealing with some injuries during the season and missed games) while averaging over 22 mins/game. With Tyler Myers leaving as a UFA to Vancouver, Jacob Trouba being moved to the New York Rangers and Dustin Byfuglien at age 34, the 24 year old Morrissey is expected to become a key defenseman for the Jets. Morrissey was a first round pick of the Jets, 13th overall, in 2013.
  • Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi is hoping to sign a new deal with the Preds. Josi is one season from UFA. Josi’s agent and the Predators have started initial discussions on a new deal. Josi signed a 7 year deal, $28 M contract with the Predators back before the 2013-14 season. He will get a significant raise from the $4 M /season he currently makes.
  • Bruins defenseman Torey Krug is one year from UFA and there have been no talks about a new deal with the Bruins. Krug said recently his hope is to remain a Bruin and recently said he is willing to take less financially to re-sign in Boston. Krug is an underrated player; he recorded 53 points in 64 regular season games in the 2018-19 season plus 16 points in 24 Bruins post-season games. The Bruins are dealing with numerous contract discussions currently including with their head coach, Bruce Cassidy (in the final year of his deal), plus two RFA defenseman, Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo.
  • Former Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov is wanting to resume his NHL playing career. Markov, 40, has spent the past 2 seasons in the KHL. This past season he recorded 2 goals and 14 points for Kazan (KHL). Markov’s agent, Allan Walsh, said his client’s preference is to return to Montreal but Canadians GM Marc Bergevin said Sunday, the player does not fit into their plans adding they’ve started to build a young team in Montreal. Markov is 10 games from the 1,000 games milestone (all played with Montreal).


  • Former Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner signed a 4 year deal with Carolina at $4.05 M /season. Gardiner has recently been working out in Vail, Colorado with fellow NHL players (the players like training at the high altitude in Colorado to get their conditioning in top shape). Gardiner recently said he’s 100% healthy. He was hoping to sign a long term, high priced contract in July 1, as a UFA, but it did not materialize. He says he believes he back injuries, his age (29) plus a lot of teams are up against the cap – and the cap did not go up as much as people thought it would – were factors in the offers he received.
  • Phoenix signed 21 year old forward Clayton Keller to an 8 year contract at an AAV of $7.15 M. Keller was to be an RFA after the 2019-20 season. Keller has recorded 114 points in 167 games (.68 PPG) over two NHL seasons. He was drafted by the Coyotes 7th overall in the 2016 entry draft. The contract seems to a bit of a gamble but the Coyotes could be betting on Keller getting more points with Kessel on his wing and if they waited until after the 2019-20, the deal could of cost them more. I heard where Coyotes GM John Chayka said they expect with the new USA TV being negotiated in 2 years, they expect the cap to go up. Canucks unsigned RFA Brock Boeser is seeking $7 M / season on a new deal and he has recorded 116 points in 140 games (.82 PPG).
  • The Oilers signed UFA forward Riley Sheahan to a one year deal at $900,000. Sheahan, 27, has played 447 NHL games recording 58 goals and 91 assists for 149 points. New Oilers GM Ken Holland drafted Sheahan when Holland was Red Wings GM and Sheahan played with the Wings for 5 years. Sheahan could be the Oilers 3rd line center behind McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Sheahan is strong on the PK.
  • The Los Angeles Kings signed goaltender Jack Campbell to a two year contract extension that carries an average annual value of $1.65 M. Campbell was one year from UFA status.
  • Winnipeg signed goaltender Eric Comrie to a two year deal with $700,000 K / year. The first year is two way and the second year is one way.
  • The Chicago Blackhawks have signed forward Brendan Perlini to a one year contract at $875,000. He recorded 13 goals and 3 assists in 46 Blackhawks games last season after the trade from Arizona.
  • Sharks 40 year old forward Joe Thornton signed a one year deal for $2 M. It will be Thornton’s 22 year in the NHL. He is 22 points from 1,500 for his career. Only 13 players all-time have reached 1,500 career points.
  • St. Louis Blues forward Ivan Barbashev agreed to a two year deal at $1.475 M /season. Barbashev was an RFA. He recorded 14 goals and 12 assists last season.
  • The Canucks signed forward Nikolay Goldobin to a one year deal at $900,00.
  • Disgruntled 21 year old Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi has signed a one year deal to play in Finland. His deal includes a December 1 opt out clause in the event he is traded from the Oilers.
  • Islanders forward Anthony Beauvillier signed a two-year deal with an AAV of $2.1 million: $1.8 million in 2019-20 and $2.4 million in 2020-21. The 22-year-old forward, who was a restricted free agent, had 28 points (18 goals, 10 assists) in 81 regular-season games last season.
  • Former NHL forward Oscar Lindberg has signed in Switzerland. Lindberg was a UFA who apparently didn’t get any NHL interest.


  • Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall announced his retirement after 15 NHL seasons. Saw a clip of him interviewed and he said he was very grateful to former Red Wings GM Ken Holland as Holland asked him last season (when Nik was UFA) if he was OK with a trade and Kronwall said he wanted to retire a Red Wing and Holland made it happen. Kronwall said he is proud to have played his entire NHL career with the Red Wings. His family is settled and happy living in the Detroit area.
  • Hurricanes captain Justin Williams also announced he will not start the year with the team. He did not officially say retirement and there is a chance he could join the team mid-season. Williams will be missed as he had 23 goals and 53 points as the team’s captain last season. Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour said recently they are not in a rush to name a new captain.
  • Goaltender Cam Ward recently announced his retirement from the NHL. Ward played all but one season of his career with the Carolina Hurricanes where he was drafted 25th overall in 2002 NHL Entry Draft. Ward signed a one day contract with the Hurricanes last week so he could retire a Hurricane. Ward won the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe as a member of the 2006 Hurricanes. He is only one of four rookies to win the Conn Smythe in his rookie season (Ken Dryden, Patrick Roy & Ron Hextall the others).
  • Former Devils, Penguins, Ducks and Stars defenseman Ben Lovejoy announced his retirement from the NHL. Lovejoy played in 544 regular season games plus 76 more in the post season. He won the Cup with the Penguins in 2016.

Ten Day Professional Try Out’s (PTO)

  • Landon Ferraro, 28, will attend Vancouver Canucks training camp on a PTO. Ferraro was injured most of last season (knee). He could be a possibly as fill in for Brandon Sutter who is recovering from back (hernia) surgery.
  • Los Angeles signed former Flames and Blackhawks forward Lance Bouma to a PTO. Bouma spent last season in the Swiss league.

Odds & Ends

  • Kendall Coyne Schofield, American Gold Medal winning women’s hockey player, will join the San Jose Sharks TV broadcast team as a color analyst for select games this season.
  • The USA Hockey Hall of Fame announced their inductees for 2019. Included are Commissioner Gary Bettman, former Canadian captain Brian Gionta, Neal Henderson (82 year old coach and co-founder of the Fort Dupont Cannons, the oldest minority hockey club is the USA), former Bruins goaltender and Stanley Cup champion Tim Thomas and Krissy Wendell (hockey player). In induction ceremony is December 12, 2019.
  • The QMJHL Rimoski Oceanic are retiring Sidney Crosby’s #87 jersey on September 27th. It’s the team’s home opener and the franchise’s 25 season in the Q.  Crosby recorded 303 points in 121 games with the Oceanic.
  • The OHL London Knights are retiring Patrick Kane’s #88 jersey even though he played just one season with the team, back in the 2006-07 season. In that season, he recorded 145 points (62 G & 83 A) and was runner up to John Tavares for OHL MVP. The jersey retirement ceremony will take place on January 17, 2020. 
  • Russian forward Anton Burdasov, 28, is apparently in talks with as many as three NHL teams about signing a contract. He’s spent the past 10 seasons in the KHL. Burdasov is 6’3, 200 pounds and last season in the KHL he recorded 19 goals and 12 assists for 31 points in 50 games.  He is represented by Edmonton-based agent Ritch Winter. The Oilers are apparently one of the teams interested in signing the player. Burdasov is reportedly seeking a one year deal.
  • Sabres defenseman Matt Hunwick will miss the entire 2019-20 season due to a neck condition. Hunwick missed half of last season with the injury.
  • Seems a lot of veteran players worked on trying to get faster in off-season training. I’ve heard Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovchekin & Flames forward Sean Monahan all say recently that getting faster was a major off-season training goal. Leafs forward Auston Matthews said he focused a lot on flexibility as he does not want to lose time again this season to shoulder-related injuries.
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NHL News & Notes to 25 Aug 2019. Training camps open in less than three weeks.


  • The New York Islanders Belmont Park Arena in Elmont, New York, on Long Island, recently received it’s final approval and construction is starting. The cost is $1.3 B and and the development will be a multi-purpose arena and entertainment complex. The building will be ready for NHL hockey by the start of the 2021-22 season. Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello recently said without the new building, the Islanders franchise wouldn’t be viable. For the new season and until the Isles new arena is ready, the team will split home games between Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center and Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. It’s been about 5 years to the day since the late Charles Wang sold the franchise to Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky and, with this announcement of the new building plus bringing in a two time Coach of the Year award winner in Barry Trotz plus a Hall of Fame GM in Lamoriello, the franchise is finally on very solid ground.
  • Most teams open training camp around the 12th of September. Usually the first day is just fitness testing and then 2-3 days of on ice work. The league’s first preseason game is Sunday, September 15th with Arizona at Las Vegas. Some teams are having rookie tournaments around the 7th of September.


  • The Seattle franchise said recently they plan to announce a team name around the All-Star game which is scheduled for January 26, 2020 in St. Louis. Seattle’s CEO Tod Leiweke said they are listening to fans about the team name but fans will not have the final say – the Seattle hockey organization will choose the name. Leiweke said they looked at a Seattle Times poll where 140,00 fans voted on a team name and are considering some of the suggested names. In the poll, the name “Sockeyes” defeated the “Totems” as the top team name. Some of the other popular suggestions were Metropolitans (the league said that sounded too much like the Metropolitan Division), the Steelheads, Kraken, Sasquatch and others. I like Sockeyes because the city already has their NFL team name start with an ‘S’ – the Seahawks – and their MLS team is the Seattle Sounders.
  • Leiweke also recently said the Seattle franchise plans to wait until the summer before their inaugural season, 2021-22, before appointing a head coach.
  • The Seattle Expansion draft is scheduled for June 2021 and teams have already started to prepare for it.

Team Management

  • The Minnesota Wild announced last week that former player and AGM with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Bill Guerin, has been hired as the team’s new General Manager. Guerin becomes the forth GM in Wild franchise history. Some of the names that were interviewed included Habs AGM Scott Mellanby, Avalanche AGM Chris MacFarland, former Flyers GM Ron Hextall, former Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli. The Wild were declined when they asked the New York Rangers for permission to speak with their AGM Chris Drury. Similarly, Columbus didn’t allow the Wild to speak with their AGM Bill Zito (Zito interviewed for the Wild GM position when Fenton was hired) and New Jersey declined when asked if AGM Tom Fitzgerald could be interviewed. Apparently Guerin was interviewed by the Wild last year and lost out to Fenton. I saw some of the Wild players and Executive Adviser Mike Modano interviewed after the hiring was made official and there seems to be a lot of excitement from both the players and management. Guerin is a former player so it seems the Wild players were excited about that. Modano said after the first round of interviews, it was clear who was going to he hired. Guerin called being the Wild GM a “dream job” adding Minnesota is a terrific hockey state with enthusiastic fans that know the game well. Guerin said he going to try and raise the standards & wants the team to be the most competitive team in the league. He added head coach Bruce Boudreau job is safe saying Bruce knows the league and is a good coach (Boudreau has just one year left on his contract with the Wild). Guerin has won four Stanley Cups, as player twice (1995 New Jersey and 2009 Penguins), and two as an AGM (with the Penguins in 2016 & 2017). He played with Mike Modano for three seasons, when both were with the Dallas Stars. I heard where Guerin said he got involved in the NHLPA when he was playing and was in some of the negotiations during lockouts and that spurred his interest in getting involved in the business side of the game. The Penguins organization – management and players – all spoke very highly of Guerin as he was the AGM for four seasons in Pittsburgh.
  • The Carolina Hurricanes announced they’ve signed their President and GM, Don Waddell, to three year contract extension. Waddell interviewed with the Wild for the GM position as his previous contract expired July 30th and he was still acting as President and GM with no contract in place. Owner Tom Dundon said he doesn’t run things the same was other team’s do and pays what he believe people are worth to him and not what other teams pay for similar positions. After Waddell interviewed with the Wild, Dundon stepped up with the new three year deal for Waddell adding he trusts Don and wanted to keep him.
  • The Canucks signed their GM Jim Benning to a three year deal that starts in the 2020-21 season. Benning was entering the 2019-20 season in the final year of his contract. There seemed to be some surprise from those who cover the team about the timing of the extension as in why now as the Canucks have missed the post-season the past four seasons. Some expected that Benning needed to deliver a post-season spot to be even considered for an extension but ownership appears to feel comfortable with their working relationship with him. The Canucks added defenseman Tyler Myers, Jordie Benn and Oscar Fantenberg as well as forwards JT Miller and Micheal Ferland in the off-season. Going to be challenging to explain to the team’s fans why they gave Benning three more years if they don’t get a post-season spot in the upcoming season.
  • The New York Rangers announced former players Tanner Glass & Tuomo Ruutu have been appointed Assistant Directors of Player Development. Additionally, Chris Morehouse (Rangers Pres John Davidson’s brother in law) was named the Rangers Director of North American Scouting, Marshall Davidson (JD’s brother) and Derek Ginnell have been named Amateur Scouts. Former player Steve Konowalchuk will move from the Rangers amateur scouting group to the team’s professional scouting group. Glass and Ruutu will working the Rangers Director of Player Development, Jed Ortmeyer, to develop the organization’s prospects. Glass will focus on prospects in North America while Ruutu will focus on Europe-based prospects.
  • The Bruins have started contract discussions with their head coach, Bruce Cassidy, as he is entering the final year of his current deal. Cassidy has a 117-52-22 record in 2.5 season’s behind the Bruins bench. Cassidy has reached the 100 win mark in 166 Bruins games which makes him the second fastest Bruins coach all-time to 100 wins. Cassidy reached the 2nd round of the post-season in the 2017-18 season and was one win from Stanley Cup championship last season. I’ve not heard numbers as far as what Cassidy would be paid.
  • The Detroit Red Wings announced a few hockey ops appointments including the appointment of Kris Draper to Director of Amateur Scouting. Ryan Rezmierski, formerly of the Nashville Predators, and Jesse Willin, formerly of the St. Louis Blues, are the Wings new Chief Scouts. The organization also added Mike Barwis as Director of Sports Science and Human Performance. Former Red Wings player Dan Cleary was promoted from player development assistant to assistant director of player development. Shawn Horcoff had assistant director of player personnel added to his director of player development title.


  • Blue Jackets RFA defenseman Zach Werenski indicated recently he’s hoping to be at Blue Jackets training camp, which starts on Sept 13, with a new contract. The talk is the player and team will reach an agreement on a 3 year deal in the $5 M – $5.5 M /season range. Werenski leads the RFA class for points for a defenseman in the 2018-19 season with 44. A Werenski signing could affect Flyers Ivan Provorov (26 points) and Bruins Charlie McAvoy (7 G & 21 A for 28 Pts)- both under 23 yo RFA’s with comparable stats. Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekelanein recently said Werenski is a core part of their team and has grown into a leader among the players and the organization has every intention of getting him re-signed.
  • With Avs RFA Mikko Rantanen (22 years old with 87 points), both sides want to reach a long term deal but the player’s agent Mike Luit is waiting for the RFA market to set. Avs GM Joe Sakic indicated recently their goal is to have the player at training camp which opens mid September.
  • Winnipeg Jets RFA forward Kyle Connor (34 G & 32 A) recently said he’s hoping to reach a long term deal with the Jets. Teammate Patrik Laine says he likes being a Jets player but no contract talks have been initiated by either side. There seems to be some uncertainty around Laine and his future with the Jets. I think he expects to be treated and compensated like an elite goal scorer but the organization seems to want him to be more dedicated to being a better all around player. They’ve clearly not make getting him re-signed a priority and may even value Kyle Connor more.
  • With Flames RFA forward Matthew Tkachuk (34 G & 43 A for 77 points), the player’s agent said their side was proactive and presented contract terms to the Flames in early June. The two sides have been negotiating since. Flames GM Brad Treliving recently said their goal is to have the player signed by training camp that opens mid September. Numbers I’m hearing for Tkachuk are 5 years at $8 M /season.
  • Two Bruins defenseman that are restricted free agents and needing a new deal are Charlie McAvoy (7 G & 21 A) and Brandon Carlo (2 G & 8 A). Bruins GM Don Sweeney said the other day progress towards new contract for each player has been slow and there could be regular season games missed. Sweeney said the team is basically planning around them both not being at training camp.
  • Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen has reportedly asked to be traded. Ristolainen, 24, was drafted 8th overall in 2013. He’s about a .50 PPG defenseman in his 5 seasons with the Sabres. I’ve heard the Sabres are willing to trade him but they’ve set a high asking price that, so far, no team has been willing to meet. Ristolainen has three more seasons left on his deal at $5.4 M /season. His +/- rating is -41, an NHL worst, so it seems as though he’s more focused on offense.
  • Washington has two key veteran players one year from UFA, star forward Nicklas Backstrom and goaltender Braden Holtby. Backstrom’s deal, signed back in 2010, was a 10 year (before max contract lengths were changed) $67 M deal and Holtby’s was a 5 year $30.5 M deal. Holtby has the most wins, 197, of any NHL goaltender in the past 5 years. Caps GM Brian MacLellan said he intends to touch base with the agents for both players when he’s back in Washington in early Sept adding he wants to hear what each player thoughts are about the end of their deals and see if they can possibly discuss extensions. Both players have played their entire NHL careers with Washington.
  • New Ottawa Senators head coach DJ Smith recently said the team will not name a captain for the new season. Smith said they have many young players and none are ready to front the criticism the team could face when they lose a few games in a row. Smith said he’ll be the one to deal with the criticism. Smith added summertime UFA signing 38 yo defenseman Ron Hainsey will play a leadership role on the team. The Senators core group is 22 year old defenseman Thomas Chabot, recently signed 22 yo forward Colin White and 20 year old forward Brady Tkachuk.
  • LA Kings defenseman Drew Doughty recently said the Kings players are committed to getting better results in the new, 2019-20, season. Doughty said finishing the regular season 30th in a 31 team league was an embarrassment and added the players felt they let the whole organization down. With former Oilers head coach Todd McLellan taking over behind the bench, one should expect better results in the new season. McLellan recently said he’s going to meet face to face with Russian forward Ilya Kovalchuk when Kovalchuk returns to LA. Kovy had a challenging relationship with Kings head coach Willie Dejardins last season. McLellan wants Kovalchuk understanding he starts the new season with a clean slate. Kovalchuk has two seasons at $6.25 M /season remaining on his contract. He recorded 34 points in the 2018-19 season but was often a healthy scratch due to differences with Desjardins.
  • The NY Rangers have been without a captain since Ryan McDonough was traded to Tampa Bay and recent reports indicate the team may be leaning towards naming someone. Current leaders on the team include Marc Staal, Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider and Jesper Fast. Head coach David Quinn recently indicated the team will wait to see how training camp goes but since Staal is 32 and in the latter part of his career and Kreider will likely be moved, Zibanejad or UFA signing Artemi Panarin could be the team’s new captain with defenseman Jacob Trouba an assistant.
  • All indications are that San Jose plans to sign UFA forward Joe Thornton but no deal so far has been reached. Thornton recorded 51 points in the 2019-20 season as a forty year old forward. It doesn’t seem as though Patrick Marleau will be back in San Jose. Arizona had interest in Marleau but it seems as though the player wants to be close to his home in the San Jose area.


  • RFA’s
    • Senators forward Colin White signed a 6 year deal at a average annual value of $4.75 M. White was drafted in the first round, 21st overall, in 2015 and has recorded 47 points on 16 goals in 94 career NHL games. The Sens see the player as a core young piece for them.
    • New Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin signed RFA forward Joel Erikkson-Ek to a 2 year contract. The deal will pay Erikkson-Ek $1.45 M in the 2019-20 season and $1.525 M in the 2020-21 season. Erikkson-Ek was a first round (20th overall in 2015) of the Wild. He’s recorded 37 points in 148 Wild games in his career. The Wild still have to get RFA forward Kevin Fiala signed.
    • The Islanders signed RFA forward Josh Ho-Sang to a two way $874 K/$70 K one year deal and 23 year old forward Michael Dal Colle (5th overall in 2014) to a $700 K one way deal.
  • UFA’s
    • The Colorado Avalanche signed former Dallas Stars first rounder Val Nichushkin to a one year deal at $850 K. Nichushkin, 24, become a UFA after the Stars bought him out this off-season. He recorded 10 points, 0 goals, in 57 games played last season. The player will be a RFA next summer.
    • Forward Derick Brassard signed a one year deal with the NY Islanders for $1.2 M. Brassard, 31, started last season with the Penguins and was moved to Florida mid-season and finished the season as a member of the Colorado Avalanche. In the 70 games he played last season, he recorded 14 goals and 23 points. He was making $5 M /season last season so has taken a pay cut with the Islanders. Brassard, after signing with the Islanders, said the 2018-19 season was trying – being moved twice and he hoping to reignite his career with the Islanders. Experts see him as the Isles 3rd line center behind Mat Barzal and Brock Nelson.
    • The Lightning signed 31 yo forward Patrick Maroon to a one year deal for $900,000. In 74 games played last season, Maroon recorded 10 goals and 28 points. At 6’3” and 225 pounds, Maroon will add some size of the ‘Bolts forward group that is a bit undersized. He also helps replace the loss of forward JT Miller who was traded to the Canucks. Maroon has 34 points in 73 post-season games on 16 goals.
  • UFA’s still unsigned:
    • Defenseman – Jake Gardiner, Dion Phaneuf, Ben Hutton, Nick Kronwall (could retire)
    • Forwards – Brian Boyle, Jason Pominville, Riley Sheahan, Oscar Lindberg, Justin Williams, Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Thomas Vanek, Joe Morrow.


  • Leafs opening training camp September 12 in St. John’s, Newfoundland and play their first pre-season game at Mile One Centre in St. John’s on Tuesday, September 17th against Ottawa. I imagine the city of St. John’s will be thrilled to welcome one of the NHL’s top team’s to town.
  • The Leafs prospects are going to be competing in the 2019 Traverse City Prospects Tournament from Friday, September 6th to Tuesday, September 10th in Traverse City, Michigan. It’s the Leafs first year competing in the tournament and teams included in the event include the Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings, NY Rangers & St. Louis Blues. Leafs second rounder from 2019, Nick Robertson, is participating and will be a player to keep tabs on. Also, Leafs goalie of the future, Ian Scott, is taking part. Scott will play with the AHL Marlies in the upcoming season.
  • William Nylander has talked recently about wanting to be a dominant player this season. He was not happy with last season, struggling to get on track after signing on December 1st. With Kadri being moved to Colorado, it’s not clear if Nylander will play more center this season. A lot of fans hope Nylander gets more time with Auston Matthews as the two have excellent chemistry together. Nylander just turned 23 years old and already has two 60+ point seasons to his credit.
  • Leafs center Auston Matthews has been skating in Arizona with some Coyotes players getting ready for the season. He said recently he’d be honored to be named Leafs captain. The team has not had a captain since Dion Phaneuf was traded in 2016. Matthews said he’s been working a lot this off-season on flexibility as he usually starts the season strong but has gotten injured (shoulder injuries) after the first 6 or so weeks of the season. Matthews is entering his 4th season in Toronto. He turns 22 years old in September.
  • Center John Tavares spent half the summer rehabbing his oblique injury that he suffered in the first practice for Team Canada at the World Hockey Championships. He says he’s fully recovered and ready for the season.
  • Unsigned RFA Mitch Marner – there is not a lot of public information about where things stand between the Leafs and Marner. Last I heard the agent and Leafs met, talks were cordial but no progress was made. Marner wants max flexibility in that he does not want to sign long term and be under contract when he becomes UFA and the team does not want to walk him to UFA with a 4 year deal. Could end up at a 2-3 year deal at around $10 M – $12 M. Marner’s agent is using the Matthew’s contract as a comparable, 5 years at $11.6 M, and he’s walked straight to UFA. This past week there was discussion around the fact Marner’s people have contacted the Zurich Lions in the Swiss league, and where Auston Matthews played before being drafted first overall in 2016. Seems Leafs management really wants to get Marner signed and not have another Nylander situation this season but they are not willing to go with a deal similar to Matthew’s. Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston said the other day that the terms being discussed are 3, 6 or 7 years at $10 M /season but there’s been not much movement on either side of late. Marner did say during the summer he does not want to miss training camp. Matthews and Nylander both see their deals expire in 5 more seasons (making them both UFA) and management does not want a possible Marner deal to as well.


  • The Canucks are celebrating their 50th season in the NHL in the 2019-20 season.
  • GM Benning said recently head coach Travis Green prefers to have a captain and all indications seem to point to forward Bo Horvat being named before the regular season starts. Horvat is just 24 years old with already 377 NHL games played.
  • The Canucks and the agent for forward Brock Boeser are hoping to find common ground on terms of a new contract for the RFA. Canucks GM Jim Benning said he hopes they can reach a deal before the start of the team’s training camp on September 13th. The deal Boeser is apparently looking for is 4 years at $7 M /season. Boeser recorded 26 goals and 30 assists in 69 games last season.
  • The Canucks signed their 6th round pick from 2019, goaltender Arturs Silovs. Silvos is 6’4” and 203 pounds. He was born in Latvia and played in a Latvia league last season posting a .914 SV%. Silvos was recently drafted in the CHL Import Draft and will be playing for the OHL Barrie Colts in the 2019-20 season.
  • Doesn’t sound as though there is a trade partner for the Canucks with disgruntled forward Loui Eriksson. GM Benning recently said the team talked to a few teams but there’s no deal out there right now. Benning added Loui will be at Canucks training camp and the organization still values his two way playing style plus he’s good on the PK.
  • Benning recently said there will be no players attending Canucks training camp on PTO’s saying they have a number of prospects they want to focus on instead.
  • Fifth overall pick from 2016, defenseman Olli Juolevi, has apparently rehabbed his knee to the point where he’s going to be at the Canucks AHL team, the Utica Comets, training camp. The Canucks hope with good performance at the AHL level, he’ll see NHL games in the 2019-20 season.

Odds & Ends

  • Hurricanes captain Justin Williams is nearing a decision on if he’ll play in the 2019-20 season. Apparently Williams, 37, has been talking to many former players about when is the right time to retire. The Hurricanes will need to appoint a team captain if Williams does choose retirement. Williams has won 3 Stanley Cups in his career -with the Hurricanes in 2006 and two with the LA Kings (2012 & 2014).
  • There’s talk Michigan native Dylan Larkin could soon be named Red Wings team captain but nothing official has been confirmed by the team.
  • Former NHL goaltender Eddie Lack has accepted a position as Goalie Coach at Arizona State University. Lack has battled numerous injuries in the past few season (more recently with his hips) and says he still hoping to play the NHL again.
  • Former NHL player Andrei Markov has made it known he’d like to return to the NHL for the 2019-20 season and play with Montreal. Markov, 40, has spent the past two seasons in the KHL. No word if the Habs would consider signing him. Markov is 10 games from the 1,000 career NHL games mark.
  • The Florida Panthers recently announced retired goaltender Roberto Luongo will become the first player in franchise history to have his jersey retired by the Panthers. The ceremony will take place March 7, 2020 before the Panthers game against Luongo’s hometown team, the Montreal Canadiens. Luongo is 3rd all-time in wins with 489 and 2nd all-time in games played for a goaltender (1,044). He holds all the Panthers franchise records for a goaltender including games played, wins, saves, shutouts.
  • Rangers forward Chris Kreider enters the 2019-20 season one season from UFA status. Kreider was second on the Rangers in points (52) and goals (28) last season. The Rangers are in a cap crunch, they’ve already allocated $80.5 M of a $81.5 M cap, as they added forward Artemi Pararin ($11.6 M/season) and defenseman Jacob Trouba ($8 M/season) in the off-season. Doesn’t seem likely the team can re-sign Kreider.
  • Training camp PTO’s:
    • The Bruins and defenseman Alex Petrovic
    • The Flames and former Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald. MacDonald has played over 600 NHL games and has a chance to make the team as Flames young first rounder, defenseman Juuso Valimaki, tore the ACL in his knee in summer training and will miss 6 months.
    • Former Blues forward Scott Upshall with the Dallas Stars. Upshall, 35, missed all of last season after requiring knee surgery.
  • The Calgary Flames are celebrating their 40th anniversary in the NHL in the 2019-20 season and the Buffalo Sabres are entering their 50th NHL season.

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NHL News & Notes to 05 Aug 2019

Some news & notes from around the league. Training camps are scheduled to start mid Sept.


  • The league is apparently very happy that the City of Calgary finally approved a plan to develop a new arena for the Flames. The deal agreed to is actually between the City of Calgary, Calgary Sports & Entertainment Corp (CSEC -the owners of the Flames) and Calgary Exhibition and Stampede Ltd (the group that runs the annual Calgary Stampede). NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was in Calgary numerous times in the past trying to get the City of Calgary to discuss the need for Calgary to have a new arena for the Flames but Calgary’s mayor was not onside on any possible deal involving city funds. The more recent negotiations have been occurring for about a year and were kept private but, this time, the city and the Flames used Ernst & Young consultants that worked with all parties to get the financial details agreeable for all sides. Doesn’t seem as though the league was involved much at all. Under terms of the new deal, the City owns the new arena and the Flames will have a 35 year lease on the building. The city and CSEC will split the $550 M building construction cost 50/50. The team is responsible for operating the building, including upkeep / repairs, while the Flames have agreed to not relocate for a minimum of 35 years. The new building will seat 19,000 fans. As a final step, Calgary city council voted on the deal and it was approved with 11 votes for and 4 against. Construction of the new building is expected to start in 2021 with it being game ready by the 2024-25 NHL season.
  • The Arizona Coyotes introduced their new owner, Alex Murelo, to the media this week. Murelo is 55 years old and was born to Cuban parents who fled their country for a better life in the USA. Alex was born in Brooklyn, NY and started investing in real estate in his 20’s. He apparently likes to take struggling businesses, turn them around and is now worth a reported $2 B US. He owns casino’s, restaurants and real estate in the Southwest USA. He speaks fluent Spanish and spoke during parts his Coyotes introductory press conference in Spanish. Murelo is the first and only Hispanic NHL owner in league history and fans of the league are hoping he can draw the Hispanic demographic to the Coyotes and NHL (some estimates say Arizona is comprised of 40% Hispanic citizens). Previous Coyotes owner Anthony Barroway retains a 5% ownership position and the Coyotes Alternate Governor.
  • I’ve not heard much on CBA negotiations. The league can opt out of the current CBA on September 1, 2019 (effective September 1, 2020) while the players can do the same on September 19, 2019. Some of the major topics that are usually in the discussions is hockey related revenue (HRR) which is currently 50/50 -players get 50% of revenue and owners get 50%. I’d be very surprised if this split changes. The max contract length, currently 8 years for a UFA that signs with the same team or 7 years for a UFA that goes to a different team, could also be on the table for discussion. One of the other key issue is escrow and not holding back 10-12% of player salaries. The players position is basically find another way other than touching players pay. Some other topics could include the idea of signing bonuses where players are paid up to 90% of their annual cap number as a bonus, usually paid on July 1. Toronto leads the league in paying signing bonus while other, less cash laden teams, can’t pay out millions of dollars of salary on July 1. The fixed cap, currently $81.5 M, is suppose to create league parity among teams but bonuses skew things. Teams such as Ottawa struggle to have their player combined salaries reach the cap floor, $60.2 M, and they take on a retired player contracts to bump up their combined player contracts total. Some say what the Leafs did recently acquiring retired player David Clarkson contract to exploit a loophole in the CBA could be addressed in the CBA discussions. This whole issue of the  CBA negotiations and re-opener clause in September is going to start to become news as the new 2019-20 season nears. Both the NHLPA and NHL seem to agree that labor problems hurt the game so hopefully both sides can work through their differences.

Team Management

  • The Minnesota Wild fired their GM Paul Fenton on Tuesday. Fenton was hired by the Wild in May of 2018 from the Nashville Predators organization where he was AGM to GM David Poile. Wild owner Craig Leipold basically said it was on him as, after Fenton’s fourteen months in the GM role, it was clear to Leipold that Fenton was not a good fit with the culture of the Wild organization. Leipold said there was not one thing that led to the decision but more a way for doing things that was not working well. Some of the names getting interviewed to replace Fenton include former Flyers GM Ron Hextall, former Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli, Montreal Canadiens AGM Scott Mellanby and Penguins AGM Bill Guerin. Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau has now survived two GM firings in his three seasons as head coach. Bourdreau, 64, enters the 2019-20 season in the final year of his contract. Owner Craig Leipold said new Wild Senior Advisor Mike Modano will be involved in all parts of the new GM hire. The three key people that will do the hire is Modano, owner Leipold and Wild President & Alternate Governor Matt Majka. All signs seem to point to a hire being done fairly soon.
  • The Oilers added Brian Wiseman as an assistant coach on head coach Dave Tippett’s staff. Wiseman, 48, spent the last seven seasons as an assistant coach for the University of Michigan Wolverines and had worked in the Dallas Stars organization as a video analyst in the past (where Dave Tippett first met him). Wiseman had a successful career in the IHL & AHL. In the 1998-99 season, he was the IHL leading scorer & MVP and led his team, the Houston Aeros, to the Turner Cup. He was also a team captain with the Aeros. Heard where Tippett said he wanted someone he was familiar with so there was less time required getting to know each other, etc. Tip said the whole organization sees the upcoming season as very important. Sounds like Wiseman will be the Oilers coach acting as the “eye in the sky” – watching games from the pressbox. Oilers assistant coach Glen Gulutzan is responsible for the forwards and Jim Playfair the defense.
  • Former Bruins/Flames player Marc Savard is joining the St. Louis Blues as an assistant coach on head coach Craig Berube’s staff. Berube was a teammate of Savard’s in the NHL and values his offensive understanding of the game and the organization hopes he can pass his knowledge onto the Blues players. Savard recorded 706 points in 807 NHL games in his career.
  • Former NHL player Alex Tanguay is leaving the NHL Network to take a position as an assistant coach with the AHL Iowa Wild (farm team of the Minnesota Wild) under head coach Tim Army.
  • Boston Bruins President Cam Neely says he expects the organization and their head coach Bruce Cassidy to soon reach an agreement on a contract extension. Cassidy enters the 2019-20 with just one year remaining on his contract. In three seasons so far under Cassidy, the Bruins have reached the 100 point mark twice.
  • Recently retired Penguins forward Matt Cullen has moved into a player development position with the team. GM Jim Rutherford said Cullen’s valuable knowledge of the game plus his knowledge of the Penguins organization made the decision to hire him an easy one. Cullen won three Stanley Cups in his 21 year NHL playing career.
  • Another player who just recently retired, Chicago Blackhawks forward Chris Kunitz, has also accepted as Player Development Adviser position with the ‘Hawks organization (in their Hockey Ops Dept). Kunitz will also advise the ‘Hawks coaching staff and well as work with the organization’s AHL prospects in Rockford. Kunitz won four Cups as a player, three with the Penguins and one with the Anaheim Ducks.
  • Former Islanders forward Stephen Gionta has joined the Tampa Bay Lightning organization as a pro scout. Gionta, 35, was a UFA but did not get any contract offers. He played with the Islanders AHL affiliate in Bridgeport most of last season.


  • Oilers 21 yo forward Jesse Puljujarvi (4th overall 2016) said recently he will not be returning to North America to play hockey until the Oilers trade him. Puljujarvi is spending the off-season back home in Finland. Heard Oilers GM Ken Holland interviewed and he said he’s been trying to trade the player and will soon make an extra push to get something done before training camp. The Oilers have added former Canucks forward Markus Granlund, James Neal, and goaltender Mike Smith while moving out Lucic, Ty Rattie and Tobias Reider. Holland said recently he’s expects Neal to play in the Oilers top 6 forward group.
  • Lightning GM Julien BriseBois said recently he expects to reach a contract agreement with 23 yo RFA Brayden Point before training camp. Point had a career high 92 points on 41 goals in the recent season. Some experts are saying their is a bit of a log jam with the RFA’s as these young stars are waiting for the market to set – including the Marner contract that doesn’t seem close to a conclusion. From reviewing some of BriseBois comments, it does seem as though the Point contract will be a shorter term deal as he said that’s the way these star 22/23 year old RFA contracts seem to be trending. Some people expect the salary cap to jump from the current $81.5 M when the league signs a new USA TV deal (the current deal expires after the next two seasons).
  • Flames GM Brad Treliving said he expects to sign RFA forward Matthew Tkachuk before the start of training camp. The Flames have $7.75 M in cap space available and just recently bought out defenseman Michael Stone to create cap room. Experts are saying it will take about $8 M /season to get Tkachuk’s name on a new deal. The player recorded 77 points in 80 games on 34 goals in the 2018-19 regular season.
  • The Ottawa Senators are working towards getting 22 yo RFA forward Colin While signed to a new contract. Sens GM Dorian said recently the goal is to get White signed by the start of training camp on September 12. Since being drafted 21st overall in 2015, White has recorded 47 points, 16 goals, in 94 career NHL games.
  • There been some talk that the Senators have started negotiations with defenseman Thomas Chabot on a long term deal. Chabot is one season from being a 23 yo RFA but he’s a key player for the Senators. Chabot recorded 55 points in 70 games in the 2018-19 regular season.
  • Tampa Bay back-up goaltender Louis Domingue is being shopped to teams. The Lightning signed Curtis McElhinney to a two year contract this summer at $1.3 M /season to back-up starter Andrei Vasilevskiy which made Domingue, last years back-up in Tampa, expendable. Domingue, 27, has just the 2019-20 season left on his contract and then will be UFA. Domingue went 21-5 with a .908 SV% and a 2.88 GAA in 2018-19.
  • The agent for former Canucks defenseman Ben Hutton said the other day Hutton will sign somewhere before the start of training camp adding there have been offers but so far none the player wanted to agree to. Hutton had 20 points in 69 games with the Canucks in 2018-19. Hutton, 26, became a UFA after the Canucks did not make him an RFA qualifying offer.

Unsigned RFA’s

  • Experts are saying the market is still being set for the 22/23 star RFA group. Signings could be delayed to the start of training camp in mid Sept. The key names that are still unsigned include:
    • Mitch Marner (TOR)
    • Brayden Point (TB)
    • Mikko Rantanen (AVS)
    • Matthew Tkachuk (CGY)
    • Kyle Connor (WPG)
    • Patrik Laine (WPG)
    • Brock Boeser (VAN)
    • Charlie McAvoy (BOS)
    • Zach Werenski (CBJ)
    • Ivan Provorov (PHI)
    • Travis Konecny (PHI)
    • Kevin Fiala (MIN)

Hockey Canada

  • The World Junior Summer Showcase recently wrapped up in Plymouth, Michigan. Teams in the four day tournament included Canada, USA, Sweden and Finland. This is just a warm up for the 2020 World Junior Tournament. Team Canada’s head coach is Dale Hunter with assistants Mitch Love (HC of the WHL Saskatoon Blades) and Andre Tourigny (HC of the OHL Ottawa 67’s). The projected 1st overall draft selection in 2020, Alexis Lafreniere, is expected to lead the Canadians in the 2020 World Junior Tournament (under 20 yo’s) that gets started December 26, 2019 in the Czech Republic. Some of other key players on the World Junior team are expected to be:
    • Liam Foudy (18th overall 2018 CBJ)
    • Joe Veleno (30th overall 2018 DET)
    • Barrett Hayton (5th overall 2018 ARI)
    • Ty Dellandrea (13th overall 2018 DAL)
    • Kirby Dach (3rd overall 2019 CHI)
    • Defenseman
      • Bo Byram (4th overall 2019 COL)
      • Noah Dobson (12th overall 2018 NYI)
      • Jacob Bernard-Docker (26th overall 2018 OTT)
      • Ty Smith (17th overall 2018 NJD)
      • Jared McIsaac (2nd round 2018 DET)
    • Goalies
      • Olivier Rodrigue (2nd round 2019 EDM)
      • Colten Ellis (3rd round 2019 STL)
  • Some of these players could make the NHL before the World Junior tournament starts.
  • The 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup will take place in Breclav, Czech Republic and Piestany, Slovakia from August 5th to 10th, 2019. These are under 18 year old players. Team Canada’s roster includes 22 players; 9 from the WHL, 8 from the OHL and 5 from the QMJHL.


  • The Tampa Bay Lightning signed Vezina trophy winner (2019) Andrei Vasilevskiy to a 8 year contract at $9.5 M /season. The new deal starts in the 2020-21 season.
  • New Jersey acquired Vegas forward Nikita Gusev, 27, and signed him to a two year deal that will pay him $5 M in the first season and $4 M in the second season. Both the Devils and Columbus were teams that expressed the most interest in acquiring the player from Vegas. Vegas thought they could sign Gusev for about $2 M / season and it doesn’t seem as though they ever were close in terms of reaching an agreement. There is a bit of hype around Gusev as he was a star in the KHL. He had 82 points on 17 goals in 62 KHL games in 2018-19. Due to his age, Gusev is ineligible for the Calder trophy for the league’s top rookie.
  • The Devils reached an agreement with defenseman Will Butcher, 3 years at $3.73 M/season. Butcher is 24 years old and had 30 points in 78 games in the 2018-19 regular season.
  • Vegas signed (UFA) defenseman Deryk Engelland to a one year deal for with a base of (league min) $700,000 plus performance bonuses that could make the contract worth as much as $1.5 M.
  • Nashville agreed to terms with forward Colton Sissons on the 7 year deal for $20 M. The two sides agreed a day before their arbitration hearing was scheduled. Sissons recorded career highs in goals (15) and points (30) in the 2018-19 season. GM David Poile said Sissons can play on the PP or PK plus has grown into a leader on the team.
  • The Winnipeg Jets and forward Andrew Copp reached an agreement on a 2 year deal for $2.28 M avoiding their scheduled arbitration hearing. Copp recorded 11 goals and 25 points in the 2018-19 season.
  • Buffalo signed their back-up goaltender, Linus Ullmark, to a one year, $1.325 M contract. The two sides reached an agreement one day after Ullmark had his salary arbitration hearing. The Sabres also signed defenseman Jake McCabe to a 2 year deal with a cap hit of $2.85 M.
  • The Avalanche signed defenseman Sam Girard to a seven year, $35 M contract. In the recent regular season, Girard, 21, recorded 4 goals and 27 assists in 82 games while averaging 19:53 minutes of ice time. Girard was originally drafted by Nashville, 2nd round/47th overall, in 2016 and was of the Duchene trade.
  • The Flames and goaltender David Rittich reached a 2 year contract agreement before their arbitration hearing. It’s two years at $2.75 M. It’s the same cap number as the Flames new alternate goalie Cam Talbot will make. Fans are expecting a season long competition between the two goalies for the number one position. Seems GM Treliving got good value to sign two good goaltenders for a combined total of $5.5 M.
  • The Flames also reached a two year contract agreement, $2.55 M /season, with forward Sam Bennett. Bennett, a former 4th overall draft pick of the Flames back in 2014, had 27 points in 71 games in the 2018-19 season. He’s not panned out like a forth overall draft pick but has turned into a character bottom 6 forward. He says his goal is still to be a top 6 forward at the NHL level. He’s 23 years old with four full NHL season’s of experience.


  • MLSE is reportedly investing millions of dollars upgrading and improving Scotiabank Arena both inside and the areas close to the building. MSLE is not disclosing how much the reno’s are costing but the overall goal is to make the MSLE team’s and fan experience world class. Seems with the Raptors championship MSLE got a taste of how exciting winning can be for a city and organization.
  • Last seasons back-up goaltender, Garret Sparks, was dealt to Vegas for a 4th round draft pick in 2020 plus retired player David Clarkson’s contract. Apparently adding Clarkson’s contract, $5.2 M for one more season, has to do with LTIR (long term injury reserve) and saving cap dollars. It’s a bit of a loophole in the CBA that seems to confuse fans (why trade for the contract of Clarkson who is retired?). There is some part in the CBA to do with cap accrual that I haven’t got totally understood. Experts said with this Clarkson move, seems to be an indication the Leafs are preparing for the chance Marner doesn’t sign by game one of the regular season on October 2.
  • The Leafs also recently signed the following players:
    • Pontus Aberg (1 yr 700k)
    • Kenny Agostino (2 yr $737.5k)
    • Tyler Gaudet (1 yr 2-way $700k)
    • Kalle Kossila (2 yr 2-way $700k)
    • Nick Shore (1 yr $750k)
    • Garrett Wilson (1 yr $725k)
    • Kevin Gravel (1 yr $700k)
  • Aberg recorded 25 points in 59 NHL games between Anaheim & Minnesota in the 2018-19 season so he could be a possible part time Leafs forward but the rest of the signings look to be AHL players.
  • At the recent World Junior Summer Shawcase tournament in Plymouth, Michigan, Leafs second rounder Nick Robertson reportedly exceeded expectations. Leafs GM Kyle Dubas and head coach Mike Babcock both attended the tournament and Dubas was quoted as saying they were very happy with the player adding he’s very focused and determined. Robertson represented Team USA. Apparently there were enough players at the event for two USA teams and after the first two days, the Americans cut their roster down to one team and Robertson made the top 6 group forwards on final team.
  • Team Sweden’s head coach at the World Juniors Summer Showcase, Tomas Monten, said he hopes Leafs first rounder Rasmus Sandin is available for the 2020 World Juniors on December 26, 2019. Does not seem likely Sandin, 19, will be playing in the NHL in the 2019-20 season as consensus seems to be both he and 20 year old Swede Timothy Liljegren need one more year in the AHL.
  • The team signed former Flyers goaltender Michal Neuvirth to a training camp professional try out (PTO). They also signed former Wild/Flyers forward Matt Read to a training camp PTO. Read spent last season with the Wild’s AHL team in Iowa and played 12 games with the Wild. He has played in 449 NHL games, mostly with the Flyers. I don’t expect he’ll make the Leafs.
  • Not sure what the Leafs are planning for their back-up goaltender position. Names in consideration for the position include:
    • Michael Hutchison
    • Michal Neuvirth
    • Kasimir Kaskisuo
  • The team needs a decent back-up as Andersen can get worn down when he plays too much. Of these three goaltenders, Neuvirth seems to have an edge. The Leafs don’t have a lot of cap room to spend.
  • The team’s goalie of the future is clearly Ian Scott (4th rounder from 2017) who won the Canadian Hockey League (WHL, OHL & QMJHL) goaltender of the year in 2019. He’ll play with the Marlies in 2019-20.
  • With the addition of defenseman Jordan Schmaltz from St. Louis for Andreas Borgman, the team now has the follow right shot defenseman:
    • Tyson Barrie
    • Cody Ceci
    • Schmaltz
    • Justin Holl
    • Timothy Liljegren
  • Schmaltz, 25, was drafted in the first round, 25th overall in 2012, but has just 42 games (zero goals and 5 assists) of NHL experience. I expect he’ll need time in the AHL before being given a look with the Leafs. His younger brother is Nick Schmaltz of the Arizona Coyotes.
  • I’ve heard nothing on Jake Gardiner and can just assume the offers so far are not what he was expecting. The back problem he struggled with last season has really affected his market value. Some people are suggesting he’ll sign a one or two year deal to re-establish his value but it’s not clear which teams may have interest. Anaheim, Colorado, Arizona were some of the teams interested in Shattenkirk after he was bought out so I assume there would be interest in Gardiner from some these teams. Some people still link Gardiner to the Leafs but they can’t afford him if they reach and an agreement with Marner.


  • The Flames bought out the final year of defenseman Michael Stone’s contract which is $3.5 M. The buyout gets the team $2.33 M of cap space that they need to get RFA forward Matthew Tkachuk signed. Michael Stone is Mark Stone’s brother and he struggled with injuries (blood clots) all of last season. He recently turned 29 so still has some hockey left it would seem. He cleared through waivers so may have to look to Europe or sign a training camp PTO with an NHL team.
  • The Rangers bought out the final 2 years of defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk’s contract. In 119 Rangers games over two season’s, Shattenkirk recorded 7 goals and 44 assists for 51 points with a -29 plus/minus. He was due to make $6.65 M in each of the remaining two years so he now gets two thirds of that over four seasons.
  • Shattenkirk signed a one year, $1.75 M, contract with Tampa Bay on Monday. The deal include a “no trade” clause. Other teams that were reportedly interested in signing him include the Leafs, Coyotes, Anaheim, Colorado and Winnipeg. Shatttenkirk was not happy being bought out and says he’ll be a motivated player in the new, 2019-20 season.

Odds & Ends

  • Ottawa Senators Chief Marketing Officer, Aimee Deziel, has reportedly left the organization after about one year in the role. Dezial’s responsibilities included communicating the organization’s plans to the media plus reaching out and connecting with fans. It’s not clear why she left but it’s just another executive that has been unable to make much progress in the Senators organization.
  • Seattle GM Ron Francis said the other day expect a Seattle team name to be announced in the first part of 2020. Team colors will be announced around the same time. I’ve seen a lot of red associated with the Seattle team.
  • Oilers assistant captain Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is going into his ninth NHL season, all with Edmonton, and over that time has had 7 different head coaches and 5 different GM’s.
  • Former Leafs forward Dominic Moore has a yearly summer charity ping pong tournament that was recently, in it’s 8th consecutive year running, held in Toronto called Smashfest that recently went over the $1 M mark of cash raised to fund concussion and cancer research. Twenty NHL players showed up to play in this year’s event including Freddy Andersen and Mark Scheifele. Moore lost his wife to a rare form of liver cancer in 2013. A million dollars raised is an amazing milestone for something that was informally started by a player who took action towards helping others.
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