Posted on: July 11, 2011 10:05 am
Edited on: July 11, 2011 3:42 pm
By: Adam Gretz
HANSON SIGNS WITH WASHINGTON: Christian Hanson, the son of Slap Shot's Dave Hanson, signed with the Washington Capitals over the weekend and is expected to compete for a roster spot with their minor league affiliate, the Hershey Bears, according to Katie Carrera of the Washington Post. The 25-year-old Hanson spent parts of the last three seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs and scored three goals in 42 career games. He appeared in six games last season and did not record a single point. He played most of the season with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL and scored 12 goals.
STALBERG RE-SIGNS WITH CHICAGO: The Chicago Blackhawks and restricted free agent Viktor Stalberg reached a two-year agreement over the weekend for a reported salary of $875,000 per year, according to the Chicago Sun Times. He has great speed and recorded 24 points (12 goals, 12 assists) with the Blackhawks a year ago.
MORE ON RICHARDS DEAL: Larry Brooks of the New York Post has some thoughts on the Brad Richards signing with the Rangers (Brooks likes it) and also believes the NHL anticipated more deals like this (a front-loaded, nine-year contract) even after last year's saga with Ilya Kovalchuk and the New Jersey Devils.
HOWSON TALKS JACKETS: It's been an exciting offseason for the Columbus Blue Jackets as they've added a top goal-scorer, Jeff Carter, to go with Rick Nash, and they made a huge investment in defenseman James Wisniewski. General manager Scott Howson spoke with Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch about the team's record payroll and what, if any, additional moves could be made.
Posted on: July 7, 2011 5:16 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2011 6:06 pm
By: Adam Gretz
Wayne Simmonds was one of the key pieces acquired by the Philadelphia Flyers during their massive -- and surprising -- roster overhaul last month. He joined the team as part of the trade that sent former captain Mike Richards to Los Angeles and landed the Flyers Simmonds, top prospect Brayden Schenn and a 2012 second-round draft pick.
Eligible for restricted free agency, the Flyers still needed to work out a deal with the 22-year-old forward. They managed to do just that on Thursday afternoon by signing him to a two-year contract that carries an average annual salary of $1.75 million, according to Tim Panaccio of CSN Philadelphia.
In 80 games with Los Angeles last season, Simmonds scored 14 goals to go with 16 assists. He's scored 39 goals in 240 career games.
Simmonds is a nice young player, but he, along with Schenn and Jakub Voracek (acquired as part of the Jeff Carter trade), has some large skates to fill this season. The Flyers offseason has essentially seen them lose Richards, Carter and Ville Leino (three of their top-five scorers from a year ago and their best two-way player), as well as role players like Darroll Powe, Daniel Carcillo and Sean O'Donnell. The club is replacing them with nine years of Ilya Bryzgalov, a 39-year-old Jaromir Jagr, Max Talbot, Andreas Lilja and a collection of young players with talent and upside, but it's far from a guarantee that these players will ever reach the level of the players they're replacing.
That's a sizable risk both in the short-term and the long-term.
Posted on: June 27, 2011 10:52 am
Edited on: June 27, 2011 11:20 am
PUT ON YOUR JACKET:: Since Columbus went out and landed Jeff Carter from Philadelphia to finally get itself a top-line center, the All-Star has been quiet and seemingly avoiding his new home. At this point, he is yet to speak to GM Scott Howson, team officials or the media. Because of all that, fans are starting to worry that it could be another situation of a prized player coming to town and wanting out before he ever gets in. Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch stresses the importance for the franchise and its fans that Carter get on board the C-bus.
Penguins POWER: One of the factors that brought down the Pittsburgh Penguins last season -- besides the injuries to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin -- was an abysmal power play. In the first-round playoff exit to Tampa Bay, for example, the Pens were just 1 of 35 with the man advantage. You don't need me to tell you that's beyond dreadful. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writer Dejan Kovacevic says Dan Bylsma knows as much, too, and he is already planning on multiple looks to find success. Kovacevic offers some of his own ideas, including a four-forward umbrella look.
WHO WANTS THE Coyotes?: The Coyotes, the city of Glendale, Ariz., and the NHL are still looking for a buyer to keep the team in the desert, but they have had more problems selling than Wile E. had chasing the Roadrunner. Matthew Hulsizer was close to acquiring the team in the past, and he's still in the mix. And, according to the Phoenix Business Journal so are Jerry Reinsdorf (who had seemingly withdrawn from the process) and an unknown third party. The two-year sales saga is far from over.
TWO FOR ONE: Hot on the heels of the NHL returning to Winnipeg, there is already talk of another team coming to town. The Calgary Sun suggests the idea of adding a Western Hockey League team to Winnipeg makes a lot of sense, noting that the WHL has long wanted to get back into the 'Peg and the two-team look has worked very well in Calgary and Edmonton.
WELCOME BACK: Ryan Smyth is now officially back with the Oilers and while he doesn't have his position on the team defined yet -- second or third line? right wing or left? -- GM Steve Tambellini knows what role Smyth will fill. Edmonton is expecting Smyth to come in and play the mentor role, teaching and leading by example, something Tambellini wanted to find for his young team. "I can't see any reason why Ryan won’t be a huge part of that. He's experienced. He understands this community. He understands where we are as an organization right now," Tambellini said.
SAND STAR: Tim Thomas has reached icon status in New England to the point people are making sculptures out of the guy ... in sand, that is. Check out this photo from the Master Sand Sculpting Competition of Thomas protecting the cage. It's no wonder he was almost unbeatable all year, look how big he is in the net.
-- Brian Stubits
Posted on: June 23, 2011 4:14 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 5:42 pm
The Philadelphia Flyers afternoon of blockbuster moves has concluded. Maybe.
The Flyers made three massive moves in as many hours on Thursday, signing Ilya Bryzgalov for nine years, $51 million after trading captain Mike Richards to the L.A. Kings for Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds and Jeff Carter to the Blue Jackets.
Before it could sign goaltender Bryzgalov to a new contract, the Flyers had to release some salary. Just nobody expected them to release THIS much salary.
The moves started when Philly sent Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Jake Voracek, the No. 8 pick in Friday's draft and a third-round selection as well.
The Carter deal itself wasn't surprising. A few weeks ago we noted a report that the Flyers had been discussing trading Carter with the Blue Jackets, but the biggest obstacle was Carter's massive contract, both in length (through 2020-21) and in dollar figures ($5.272 million per season). But if they were to sign Bryzgalov, who's rights they obtained from Phoenix earlier this month, they would have to clear space to get under the salary cap.
The Blue Jackets are clearly pleased with landing a scorer like Carter. “The Columbus Blue Jackets are very pleased and excited to acquire Jeff Carter,” GM Scott Howson said. “Jeff is a proven number one center in the National Hockey League and we look forward to him having many productive seasons as a Blue Jacket.”
Rick Nash in Columbus is the biggest beneficiary, and is understandably excited, telling Aaron Portzline at the Columbus Dispatch "We needed a guy like this. [Opponents] can't just key on one guy. The best teams have two guys. This is a huge help, not just for me but for the whole team." That is a line now that could realistically provide 75-85 goals next season for the Jackets.
It was the second move that came as a surprise and left people wondering what was GM Paul Holmgren's plan. Richards isn't known for being the most captain-like guy in the NHL and has another hefty contract ($5.75 million until 2019-20), but it seemed like the Flyers could sign Bryzgalov in clearing just one player, specifically Carter.
But this was a team that seemed like it was just a goaltender away, so getting rid of two offensive standouts begs the question if they aren't swinging too far in the other direction. Only time will tell, but it sure is hard for me to see the Flyers improved today. They are certainly still a favorite to make it into the playoffs, but did they chances at winning the Stanley Cup go up? I'm not sold the answer is yes.
"I just got home and I was surprised. You wouldn't think that those two guys would be leaving any time soon," Flyers forward Claude Giroux told Frank Saravali of the Philadelphia Daily News. "But I guess it's just part of the business. It's going to be a fresh start for both of those guys. For the rest of us, it's going to be a challenge. We still have a lot of veterans but different young guys are going to need to step up now."
The Kings, however, just got a lot tougher in the already competitive Pacific Division.
“We felt at this stage of the franchise it was time to make a significant move for an impact player," Kings GM Dean Lombardi said. Mike Richards is not only one of the top players in the league, he’s also universally recognized as one of the finer leaders in the game and one of its elite competitors. Additionally, given that he’s only 26-years-old and he’s on a long-term contract, he fits our plan now and for the long-term future.”
Bryzgalov will make an average of $5.67 million per season (the presumably front-loaded salary will pay as much as a reported $10 million) over the length of the contract, but at this point it's unsure how much room the Flyers will have under the cap to find some help to fill the offensive void left by Carter and Richards.
Betwen Carter and Richards, the Flyers are losing a combined 59 goals (36 for Carter last season, 23 for Richards) and 73 assists (30, 43 respectively). However, in return they get Voracek (14 goals, 32 assists) from Columbus and then Schenn (young center with just nine career games) and Simmonds (14/16 for the Kings last season).
-- Brian Stubits (A.J. Perez contributed to this report)
Posted on: June 9, 2011 3:16 pm
Edited on: June 9, 2011 3:30 pm
To make way for Ilya Bryzgalov and to help shore up their goaltending problems, the Flyers will have to clear space on the roster. That's a given. According to the Columbus Dispatch, the Blue Jackets could be willing to help Philly shed some salary by chasing Jeff Carter.
While the Flyers are still under the cap at this point, if they are to sign Bryzgalov to a deal he's looking for -- in the $6 million-per-year range -- they will need to do some trimming. Carter becomes an obvious target. The first reason being he has an annual salary of $5.27 million. Secondly, they are tied down to Carter for a long time as his contract doesn't run out until 2020-21. Third, he doesn't have the no-trade clause that would hamper a deal. Add in the fact he has plenty of ability (see his team-leading 36 goals this season) to intrigue teams despite his massive deal, you can understand why Carter is the target to ship. While Philadelphia probably isn't keen on shipping one of its best players, it's a move they need to make and Carter is the most logical.
The deal from Columbus' end is a bit of a risk, tying your organization to one player for so long. But it's a franchise in need of a jolt. Bringing a player like Carter, who is just 26, and pairing him with Rick Nash could help attract attention to a team that has made the postseason only once in 10 seasons. The nature of the game forces the hands of teams like Columbus to have to go for the bold move to make it. Sometimes it pans out, sometimes it doesn't. Adding a consistent 30-plus goal scorer in his prime, the chances of it panning out are pretty good.
Carter, while he has been outstanding in Philadelphia, has been a bit maligned by the team's faithful for his lackluster postseason showings. In the playoffs he has 21 points in 47 career games and a minus-14.
It has also been suggested by USA Today's Kevin Allen that Florida could be a place for the Flyers to look to shed salary. The Panthers are well below the salary floor at this point and will have to spend just to get there.
-- Brian Stubits