NHL September Story Lines

We are closing in on NHL Training camps opening up. I believe there are a number of September story lines to watch in the NHL.

Teams with Salary Cap Issues:

There are 4 teams over the cap and have some work to do to get under the cap. They are the Flyers, Blackhawks, Lightning and the Bruins. Also the Kings, Maple Leafs, Penguins, Capitals and NY Rangers are barely under the cap. This opens the door for some trades. Do the Flyers move Lecavalier? The Hawks have been rumored to moving one of Sharp, Leddy or Oduya all summer. Do the Bruins move Boychuk and do the Leafs move Phaneuf? Also does these team cap issues open the door for a couple of major trades where deals get expanded. I expect a couple of deals in September and I keep an eye out for teams like the Islanders and Oilers who have cap room to make a move.

Bobby Ryan and other Players 1 Year from UFA Status:

Sounds like this month is a big one for the Senators and Bobby Ryan to nail down a contract extension. Ryan is an unrestricted free agent after the season and if he can produce like he did last year Ryan will get rewarded with a monster contract this off season. Keep in mind Ryan is only 27 and the Senators gave up a lot to get him from Anaheim in June of 2013. Continue reading

F David Krejci

Bruins Sign F David Krejci to 6-year Deal.

The Boston Bruins have announced a contract extension with top-line center David Krejci worth $43.5 million (USD) over 6 years.

The 28 year old was already under contract for the 2014-15 season for $5.25 million, but was set become an unrestricted free agent. Rather than testing the free agency market like many thought he would, Krejci is now responsible for a $7.25 million cap hit starting in the 2015-16 season.

The cap hit makes David Krejci the highest paid Bruin, surpassing the likes of goaltender Tuukka Rask, ($7 million) defenseman Zdeno Chara, ($6.916 million) and fellow center Patrice Bergeron. ($6.5 million.)

A big part of not signing Jerome Iginla this offseason was reserving the money for vital players such as Krejci, and with salary cap set to rise, Krejci was expecting a huge increase in his pay. He got that. Continue reading

Minnesota Wild

Season Preview : Minnesota Wild

A year ago there was a newfound sense of excitement in Minnesota as the Wild signed not one, but two superstars : Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. This year the team welcomes former University of Minnesota star Thomas Vanek. Last season’s team advanced to Round 2 in the Western Conference, something the franchise has only done twice in its history.

Offense : Zach Parise is an elite scorer and all-around player. The Wild count on him for offensive production and leadership. Mikko Koivu is another leader as well as a reliable producer. Expect to see the two paired up on the team’s top unit. Vanek is a goal scorer, but he’s known to set up his linemates too, Charlie Coyle or Nino Niederreiter would each be a good fit on his far wing with Mikael Granlund at center. Jason Zucker is a good young player with a lot of potential, he won’t be a star, but he’s a skilled bottom 6 forward who hustles every night. The Wild have a good group of young forwards to complement their older stars, two of them are former Minnesota NCAA stars : Justin Fontaine (Minnesota-Duluth) and Erik Haula (Minnesota). The two players are similar, each brings decent size and lots of speed. The Wild let Dany Heatley go to San Jose and it’s unlikely he will be missed much. Continue reading


NHL Expansion on the Horizon?

As we close in on the start of NHL training camps there has been a lot of talk recently about the possibility of NHL expansion. Various sites have a strong possibility of the NHL expanding by 2 teams over the next 5 years. That would give the NHL 32 teams and 16 teams per conference. There are a lot of markets who want an NHL teams that could be a success. Let’s take a look at a few cities that have been bantered about.

Kansas City:
A major sports market that the NHL has not cashed into and could help grow the sport in the middle of the country. A big plus is Kansas City has a bring new state of the art building already in place that opened in 2007 in downtown Kansas City.

Las Vegas:
Apparently according to the rumor mill Vegas has a lot of legs for a new NHL team. I think there are 2 issues here one being the obviously of having a professional sports team in a city that is the mecca of gambling in the United States (none of the 4 major sports has a team in Vegas). The other being will the lack of success the Coyotes had in that part of country the NHL powers that be have to ask can an NHL team work in the sun belt part of the states? Although didn’t they say the same thing about California at one time and hockey is thriving there. Continue reading


Better Late Then Never….. Try Telling That to Backstrom

Six months ago, Washington Capitals centre Nicklas Backstrom was in Sochi, getting ready for what he dubbed the biggest game of his career.

Hours before the puck was dropped, the International Olympic Committee delivered some devastating news: Backstrom had been deemed ineligible to play in the gold medal game.

Speaking of the decision, Backstrom stated:

“I have nothing to hide,” said Backstrom. “I’m going to speak from the heart. The last two weeks have been some of the best in my life. I was getting ready to play the biggest game of my career and two-and-a-half hours before I was pulled aside. That’s sad.”

The IOC had decided that because the 26-year-old had tested positive for pseudoephedrine in a drug test he took after Sweden’s win over Solvenia, he would not be joining his teammates on the ice at the Bolshoy Ice Dome against Team Canada that afternoon. The positive is believed to have been a result of allergy medication Backstrom had been taking for many years and been prescribed by team doctors. Continue reading