Posted on: August 13, 2011 4:34 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 1:54 pm
By: Adam Gretz
Veteran defenseman Scott Hannan has finally found a team after nearly a month-and-a-half on the free agent market, signing a one-year deal with the Calgary Flames on Saturday.
The deal is worth $1 million, and helps add some physicallity to the Flames blue line that lost Robyn Regehr earlier this summer in a trade with Buffalo, and is currently made up of Jay Bouwmeester, Mark Giordano, Cory Sarich, Chris Butler and Anton Babchuk.
In 78 games last season with the Avalanche and Capitals, when he made $4.5 million, he finished with a goal and 10 assists. He was acquired by the Capitals mid-season to help solidify their blue line for a playoff run.
In a statement released by the team Hannan said he wanted to find a team that was committed to winning and could go deep into the playoffs, while general manager Jay Feaster was pleased to get him for such a reasonable salary cap number. Said Feaster, "He has demonstrated his commitment to our organization and his desire to be a part of our team by agreeing to a contract that enables us to fit him under the salary cap. We are very pleased to add him to the Flames family, and we look forward to his contributions to our success both on and off the ice."
Hannan, 32, isn't quite the player he was a few years ago with San Jose and Colorado when he regurlaly logged between 22 and 24 minutes per game, but he's still a steady player defensively and should be some solid depth for a Flames team that's trying to return to the postseason for the first time since the 2008-09 season. Along with missing the postseason two years in a row, missing last season by just a single point in the tight Western Conference, the Flames haven't advanced beyond the first round since they lost the Stanley Cup Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning back in 2003-04.
In 830 career games Hannan has scored 31 goals to go with 154 assists.
For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: August 10, 2011 10:24 am
Edited on: August 10, 2011 10:25 am
TAKING THE Islanders TASK: Since the arena vote was shot down, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano has asked for privately funded proposals for the land to be submitted by Labor Day. Thanks to Randi F. Marshall at Newsday we know of at least one group that is putting together a plan to submit that will include an idea for the coliseum and the Islanders. Interestingly, former Isles star Bob Nystrom is on the task force with the plan, although Nystrom says he doesn't speak with the team. "My goal here is to figure out a way that we keep the Islanders here and to improve that building if we possibly can, but I agree we need development there, too," Nystrom said.
GETTING BACK TO IT: Martin Erat finished tied with Sergei Kostitsyn as the Predators' leading scorer last season despite missing 18 games with a nagging back problem. But now Erat is feeling better (The Tennesseean) after taking it easy over the summer and is expecting to be 100 percent when the season begins in October. The Preds certainly hope so as Erat's presence is key as Nashville would love to convince the trio of Pekka Rinne, Shea Weber and Ryan Suter to stick around beyond next year.
CAPITAL VOICE: The Washington Capitals are welcoming a new play-by-play voice for their radio coverage, saying goodbye to former announcer Steve Kolbe and, just like they would on the ice, bringing up a replacement from the Hershey Bears, the team's AHL affiliate. Capcentre.net has a fond farewell to Kolbe.
DRINK UP: The Bruins' Patrice Bergeron recently had his turn with the Stanley Cup, and he took it to breakfast with him. Naturally, you can see where this is going. Bergeron and his guests were thirsty, so they found the biggest cup they could find ... Lord Stanley. I'm not a germophobe by any stretch of the imagination and I know it's common practice to drink out of the Cup, but I'd have to say I'd rather just have a glass.
Posted on: August 5, 2011 10:37 am
NOT OSGOOD ENOUGH: The debate will go on as long as we don't have anything more meaningful to discuss. (OK, that's a lie, we've had much more meaningful things, but we digress.) Is Chris Osgood worthy of a place in the Hall of Fame? Here's a submission from a Red Wings fan arguing why Osgood should NOT be inducted. I always like seeing a fan trying his/her best to be impartial and arguing against their team. In this case, Osgood is truly as close to a tossup as you will find and you can make the argument either way.
ISLES THIRD JERSEY?: The blog over at Puck Daddy got wind yesterday of a possible third jersey for next season for the New York Islanders. As you might have noticed, alternates have become all the rage, a nice way for teams to sell additional jerseys. The sweater features a lot of black with blue and orange piping. The team later said that the mockup was one of the versions being considered but no final decision was made. I am clearly in the minority based on the onslaught of bad reactions the team received for it, but I don't mind them.
BOLTS PROSPECT HURT: Perhaps the Lightning's top prospect, Brett Connolly was hurt in a game on Thursday, having to be helped off the ice according to TSN's Ryan Rishaug, who says that it looked like a leg injury, and not a very good one.
OVIE DITCHES CCM: Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin made an off-ice move this week, changing his apparel company from CCM to Bauer. Too bad, I guess it means the end of the crazy Ovechkin commercials that CCM was running like this one.
Posted on: August 3, 2011 10:24 am
NOT KEEN ON KEENAN: Last week we told you that former NHL coach Mike Keenan was one of two finalists for head coach of Team Latvia. Turns out he was No. 2. Latvia announced Wednesday that it is hiring another Canadian and former NHL coach, tabbing ex-Sabres and Islanders boss Ted Nolan to lead the team.
NIKKI SKIPS: Earlier this week, colleague Adam Gretz addressed the issue of where would Nikolay Zherdev play next season, speculating it could be Winnipeg or possibly a jump to the KHL. Turns out it's the latter. The former Flyers forward will play next season with Atlant Mytishchi of the KHL, joining Alexei Kovalev on the team.
TOUGH WEEK: It hasn't been a kind few days to the Islanders. The future of the franchise was made cloudy with the resounding no vote on a new arena for the team. So when the team announced very early Wednesday morning they had re-signed forward Jon Sim, it shouldn't be bad, right? Not until the Isles tweet this a short while later: "Jon Sim has not been resigned. A glitch in Bridgeport's email sent a press release from last summer. We apologize for any confusion." Oops.
PERRON STILL OUT: From the department of news you never want to see, Blues forward David Perron isn't going to start training camp with his teammates as he is still dealing with concussion symptoms. He is expected to play at some point next season, Andy Strickland says the two sides just agreed Perron needs more time.
NUMBERS GAME: It's a very awkward situation with the Jets as far as the history of the franchise ... is the team playing under Thrashers history or Jets, who are now the Coyotes? Evander Kane already asked Bobby Hull about wearing his retired No. 9 Jets jersey and Bryan Little has run into the same issue with Dale Hawerchuk's No. 10. But instead of asking to wear it (Hawerchuk said it was no big deal) Little is just going to change numbers himself. (Via Puck Daddy)
PITTSBURGH SIGNS TOP PICK: The Penguins took care of some house cleaning by getting their top pick in this year's draft in the fold, signing defenseman Joseph Morrow to a three-year entry-level contract.
Avalanche OF CONFIDENCE: Erik Johnson is expecting a big season in Colorado (Via Denver Post). The defenseman is changing up his workout, trying to prepare for a great year. And he's talking the talk about it too, sending a message to Capitals fans. "It's not going to be a [high] pick [to the Caps in exchange for Semyon Varlamov]. It's going to end up being a great trade for us. People are saying we got the short end of the trade and they're happy because they think we're going to finish at the bottom of the league -- and we're not going to do that this year."
Tags: Alexei Kovalev, Brian Stubits, Bryan Little, Buffalo Sabres, Colorado Avalance, Daily Skate, David Perron, Erik Johnson, Evander Kane, Jon Sim, Joseph Morrow, Mike Keenan, New York Islanders, Nikolay Zherdev, Pittsburgh Penguins, Semyon Varlamov, St. Louis Blues, Ted Nolan, Washington Capitals, Winnipeg Jets
Posted on: August 1, 2011 11:07 am
Edited on: August 1, 2011 1:21 pm
By: Adam Gretz
If the NHL salary cap has done anything during its existence it's forced teams to identify a core of players to build around. With a limit on spending teams aren't going to be able to keep every single player they want, or build a completely well-rounded team without flaws. Eventually tough decisions will have to be made on who to keep and who to let go.
In the cap era teams that make deep runs into the postseason have been pretty consistent with the structure of having nearly 50 percent of their league-allotted cap space tied up in a core of just five players. But in recent years, specifically the past two, the salary cap has increased rather significantly, all the way to the point where the salary floor for the 2011-12 season is higher than the actual cap was back in 2005-06.
Will that change the structure of teams from having a core of just five players, to perhaps a core of six or seven?
Let's take a look at last year's 16 playoff teams and how their top-five salaries fit under the 2011-12 cap of $64.3 million…
*Nashville's number will surely increase once Shea Weber's contract is settled this week, and the same thing goes for Los Angeles whenever Drew Doughty signs a new contract.
I spoke with one NHL executive a couple of weeks ago on the subject and he agreed that most teams, if not every team, see the current NHL structure as having to invest a significant portion of their resources into a core group of players, but that there are still several key factors that go into the roster construction.
For one, you have to have the players worthy of that sort of investment. Throwing large money at mediocrity isn't going to win anything.
The other factor at work is that some of these teams, like Phoenix and Nashville for example, aren't concerned with the league-wide cap and are instead working against their own financial restrictions, which can put them at a sizable disadvantage, not all that different from the ones these teams faced prior to the salary caps existence. The Predators, who are set to go to arbitration with one of their best players, Shea Weber, on Tuesday, have an easily identifiable core of Weber, Ryan Suter and Pekka Rinne. There's already been concern about their ability to keep them together for the long haul. So even with the cap there's still teams that struggle to keep their home-grown Stars.
But for the teams that have the funds at their disposal, the latest cap increase has made it easier to not only keep their best, core players under contract, but to also increase that "core" (at least until -- or if -- the cap goes down at some point) and potentially keep even more players that they may have otherwise had to part ways with in recent years due to cap restrictions.
Look at it this way: Last season the top-four playoff seeds in each conference (including both Stanley Cup final teams) had at least 50 percent of the $59.4 million cap invested in just five players, while four of them had as much as 55 percent invested in their top-five cap hits. As you can see in the table above, only one team at this point in the offseason -- Washington -- hits that mark, which is an example as to how much the cap has increased, and how much additional room the deep pocketed teams with talent have to work with.
All salary cap figures via CapGeek
Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: July 25, 2011 10:32 am
Edited on: July 25, 2011 3:13 pm
CO-PILOTS: When the Winnipeg Jets released their long-awaited new logo, it was met with plenty of mixed reactions with a lot of people pointing out how similar the design is to the Canadian Air Force's design. Turns out, that was part of the plan. The CBC shared that the Jets and the Air Force struck a partnership in which the Jets will donate $1 million over 10 years to Air Force family charities.
JUST CALL HIM SIR: Zdeno Chara got not one, but two days with the Stanley Cup when his turn came. Spending the weekend back in his home country of Slovakia, Chara was very busy signing autographs, snapping photos, arm wrestling (where he lies down) and even being knighted. What I want to know is if they could find armor big enough for him to fit in. After visiting the Czech Republic (Thomas Kaberle and David Krejci) Slovakia and Finland (with Tuukka Rask), the Cup comes back to North America for some visits in Ontario.
OH, OVIE: Alex Ovechkin didn't exactly get knighted in his recent trip back to Russia, he was awarded in another way. The Russian Machine Never Breaks has photos of Ovechkin being feted at halftime of a soccer match where he was bestowed with the traditional Dagestani burka and papakha, which is a wool hat. Just take a look at the pictures. Ovechkin looks more like Cher from the 70s than anything else. Nonetheless, it's an honor for the Capitals star.
GETTING OUT THE VOTE: As we have shared, August 1 will be a monumental day in New York Islanders history as that's when the proposal for a new arena goes to the public for vote. If the vote passes, the team will stick on Long Island, if it fails then the relocation talk will get real. Chris Botta of Islanders Point Blank shares what some displaced Islanders fans are doing to contribute to the effort, starting chain emails encouraging people to go out and vote yes.
Posted on: July 21, 2011 8:45 am
Edited on: July 21, 2011 11:25 am
By Adam Gretz
CAMPOLI BECOMES UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENT: Defenseman Chris Campoli was originally scheduled for an arbitration hearing Aug. 3, but the Chicago Blackhawks decided to walk away from him Wednesday and allow him to become an unrestricted free agent. According to James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail, because the two sides had already agreed to part ways his arbitration hearing was moved up and he was "awarded" $2.5 million, which Chicago then walked away from. The Blackhawks had recently signed defenseman Sami Lepisto.
CAN 'PREDATOR HOCKEY' WIN THE CUP? Dirk Hoag of On The Forecheck takes an interesting look at whether or not "Predator Hockey" (defensive, low-scoring, not a lot of offense) can win the Stanley Cup, and whether or not it's a recipe that's worked for teams recently in the NHL.
CAPS WAIVE FORMER FIRST-ROUND PICK: The Washington Capitals reportedly placed former first-round pick Anton Gustafsson, the 21st overall selection in 2008, on waivers Wednesday. His career to this point has been filled with injuries, and included him taking a brief break from hockey. According to Katie Carrera of the Washington Post, if he goes unclaimed on waivers, it would allow the Capitals to terminate his contract.
Islanders WORKING ON A MOVE? In recent weeks we've talked about how much work remains for the Islanders to reach the salary-cap floor, and Katie Strang of Newsday argues that right now is the perfect time for general manager Garth Snow to make a move, and perhaps a big move.
Posted on: July 19, 2011 10:13 am
MARCH-ING TOWARD A DEAL? Brad Marchand really endeared himself to the folks in Boston with his excellent play as a rookie, in particular his stellar postseason performance. But as of now, he still doesn't have a contract inked for next season as the 11-goal playoffs probably have impacted the negotiations. Marchand isn't worried about it, saying at a premier of the team's championship DVD that "It's been a very busy time for everyone with the Cup and everything. Even though we know we have all summer, we're both confident something's going to get done here soon. I don't think either of us are worried. We know something's going to get done. They know I want to be here. I know they want me here."
OLIE THE GOALIE COACH: Former fan favorite Olaf (Olie) Kolzig is back in Washington to help with the goaltending situation for the Capitals, but as a coach. In a recent interview with D.C. 101 radio, Kolzig goes into depth about the layout of the netminders in Washington from Tomas Vokoun to what Braden Holtby faces in his tough position. Russian Machine Never Breaks (great blog name, guys) has the full transcript.
ROYAL TWINS: Daniel and Henrik Sedin took a call in the middle of the Stanley Cup Final with the Canucks from the royal family in Sweden. What was the occasion? The two were informed they were up for the honor as the nation's top athlete, an award that is handed out every year as part of Crown Princess Victoria's birthday celebration. The last time a hockey player won the award was in 1994 when Peter Forsberg was honored.
LET IT SNOW: It's hard to believe, but this week marks Garth Snow's fifth anniversary of taking over as the Islanders general manager. In that time the Isles snuck into the playoffs once, have gone into rebuilding hibernation since and Snow handed out maybe the most infamous contract in hockey today (15 years, $67.5 million to Rick DiPietro). The GM sat down with NHL.com to talk about his time in the position and brings with him a message to the fans: Stay patient. I think that's something the Islanders fans learned to be a long time ago.
Photo: Getty Images