Matt Duchene signed a five year extension worth $30 million yesterday. He had/has one year left on his current contract.
Duchene will be a $6 million player very soon (if he isn't already). I wouldn't be surprised to see him score 40+ this year playing alongside Parenteau. It will be interesting to see how Patrick Roy utilizes his forwards - lots of talent.
The defense still needs some work, though. There is a lot of pressure on Tyson Barrie/Stefan Elliott to produce, as the Avs don't have any other offensive guys on the back end.
Edmonton brought Denis Grebeshkov back from the KHL yesterday. He's a strong two-way defenseman with decent offensive abilities, and he will definitely be an upgrade on the back end for the Oilers.
Grebeshkov very likely bumps Philip Larsen and Corey Potter out of the lineup (with the other five starting defensemen being Schultz 1 and 2, Ference, Smid, and Petry).
DobberHockey is looking for a few new columnists. A great opportunity to get your writing in front of thousands – info here.
Latest Canucks post – does Jannik Hansen have top-six ability? The answer may surprise you (it surprised me after doing some research).
To me, the key to the Canucks forward group is Zack Kassian. If he can perform over 82 games (or even 50 games) as well as he did over the first 10-15 games of 2013, the Canucks could really ice three strong units up front:
Kesler with Burrows and Hansen
And Booth with Higgins and Schroeder (or another center – Richardson, potentially).
Scott Wedgewood (Devils goalie prospect) doesn’t believe that the Schneider acquisition hurts his long term future in the organization at all. I’m sure he is just speaking from a politically correct standpoint, but I’d say Schneider 100% hurts his long term future with the Devils. Schneider is now their goaltender of the future.
Have the Stepan-Rangers contract negotiations hit a… snag?
There is no progress regarding talks with Derek Stepan, sources report. Stepan, the club's first-line center, is a Group II free agent without arbitration rights. Absent pressure points (or an unexpected offer sheet), negotiations with Stepan could well go into September and perhaps bleed into training camp.
This is classic Glen Sather. He has made a habit of overpaying for UFAs and nickel-and-diming his RFAs. I wouldn’t worry unless this dragged on into September. I realize that is a long time to wait… welcome to the dog days of summer!
A look at Detroit’s top OHL prospects, from Brock Otten.
Brock on Ryan Sproul:
I'm a big fan of his, but there's no denying that he'll have some areas to work on at the pro level next season. He'll have to be more cautious on his pinches to prevent himself from getting trapped and his defensive game (particularly below the hash marks) will need to continue to improve. But the potential is massive. I'm really hoping he has a huge year in the AHL, but I could see him struggling initially.
Playing every day and amassing 25-30 points would be a great goal.
Nathan Horton had surgery earlier this week. And it was… drum roll please… a success!
According to Dale Tallon, the Panthers are going young this season. Great news for Huberdeau/Shore/Bjugstad owners (among others).
“We’re going to go with our young guys,” Tallon told NHL.com. “That’s been the plan all along and that’s the way we’re going to go.”
Don’t forget about Vincent Trocheck, either. There is so much young talent in Florida right now.
Let’s look at some potential line combos:
Huberdeau-Barkov-Shore (Shore is a natural center, he will take the draws, but there is no room as a center for him right now)
Florida is going to have one of those “good” problems in a few years. Shore, Bjugstad, Trocheck, and Barkov all project as top six centers (again, all are unproven, and perhaps one or two of them emerge as good wingers). But Goc and Matthias will be so important to this team in terms of playing the tough defensive/two-way minutes… there is only so much ice time to go around.
Don’t forget about defenseman Alex Petrovic, either. I am hoping to find a keeper spot for him in my H2H multi-category league. He has a ton of upside.
“He got a little taste last year. He’s a big lanky guy who can really skate and move the puck, it’s rare.” said Panthers’ Manager of Player Development, Bryan McCabe, when asked about Petrovic. “He’s got a little edge to him, plays with a little grit as you guys saw at the end of the year in Tampa. He’s really coming into his own here, becoming more of a leader.”
Mark Barberio wants to earn a spot in Tampa this season.
Tampa Bay has been quiet on the defensemen acquisition front via free agency and the draft this off-season. Part of that inactivity can be seen as a strong vote of confidence for Crunch up-and-comers like Radko Gudas and Barberio.
The Lightning has already inked Gudas to a one-way deal. Barberio, the AHL's defenseman of the year two seasons ago and a second team all-star last year, seems to be next in line to take a job in Tampa Bay.
Barberio will be a good NHL defenseman and a solid offensive contributor. He just needs an opportunity to show it.
Speaking of defensemen wanting to make the NHL… Ryan Murphy has his eyes on a roster spot with the Hurricanes. And the McBain/Corvo moves have freed up at least one opening for an offensive right-shooting defenseman.
Getting stronger physically is going to be a key. Murphy is 5-foot-11 and was 165 pounds when he was drafted. He's up to 185, though he'll probably have to add some more muscle before he can earn a full-time spot on the blue line.
The greatest heel turns in NHL history – another great Down Goes Brown post (same author, on Grantland this time).
Hope everyone has a great weekend. The dog days of the hockey season are upon us, but that means more time to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. I can't remember a better summer Vancouver... I don't think it has rained since late June (trust me, that is a big deal in these parts).
One of the most underrated players of all-time - check out the slick dangle at the 0:40 mark. Ronny Franchise: