The Calgary Flames were in the news quite a bit last week for a number of different reasons. The most prominent being the hiring of the walking sound bite himself, Brian Burke. The Flames named Burke their new President of Hockey Operations in what should make for an interesting season with Calgary in rebuild mode.

 

What does this move say about Jay Feaster and his future with the organization? Burke has always been one to have his hands on the roster and something tells me it won’t be long before he follows suit in Calgary. The two are reportedly friends and have a relationship that goes back a while, but unless Feaster can make some magic happen with moves this season, his days could be numbered in Calgary.

 

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The other news from Calgary this week was the absence of a couple of their prospects at training camp. Ryan Howse was suspended for not reporting to camp and Morgan Klimchuk is out with an abdominal injury. Klimchuk’s injury is minor, but it will force him to miss the team’s prospect camp and ultimately hurt his slim chances of cracking the roster.

 

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Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros still hasn’t been medically cleared to play after getting his shoulder surgically repaired. Meszaros is a solid player, but the Flyers are unlikely to panic with a deep blueline at the moment that also boasts Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Nicklas Grossman, Luke Schenn, Mark Streit, and Erik Gustafsson. If Meszaros isn’t ready to start the season the person who could benefit most is Gustafsson. Thanks to injuries last year the Swede got more than 22 minutes of ice in each of his final eight games.

 

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Another young defenseman hoping to make an impact this season is Carolina’s Ryan Murphy. Much like Gustafsson, Murphy could benefit from injuries on the Hurricanes blueline and make the team. Joni Pitkanen might miss the start of the campaign with a broken heel and that would open the door for a youngster to step up. Murphy has posted 220 points and a plus-47 rating in 228 career games with the Ontario Hockey League’s Kitchener Rangers.

 

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New York Islanders forward John Tavares will be named captain of the team on Monday, according to reports. Tavares was a finalist for the Hart Trophy last season and is arguably signed to one of the best contracts out there right now with a cap hit of just $5.5M through the 2017-18. It may sound ridiculous to say “just $5.5M”, but with what some other guys are making compared to Tavares’ skill set, believe me it’s a bargain.

 

This is the decision many teams face with their young stars when their entry-level deals expire. Go with a bridge deal to save money, but potentially have to dish out more in the long run, or try and meet somewhere in the middle with a longer term. The Islanders went with option two and gambled correctly where Tavares is concerned.

 

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Some of Tavares’ work in 2013.

 

 

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Cool piece here highlighting how the game of hockey has grown in California with the help of the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks help fund a high school hockey league that has doubled in size this year to 28 teams. Since Wayne Gretzky was dealt to Los Angeles, combined with the success of the State’s three teams, the game has really taken off in California. It’s unfortunate the same results don’t seem to be happening in places like Florida and of course Atlanta.

 

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George McPhee and Adam Oates put to rest any thoughts that Alexander Ovechkin is considering jumping ship to the KHL. Ever since Ilya Kovalchuk made the move recently I’m sure teams with big name Russian players are feeling a little antsy. Some organizations over there can afford to pay players with lucrative contracts, and the idea of returning home to play hockey for a lot of money must be appealing.

 

The Caps said, however, Ovechkin has always wanted to play in the NHL and is driven to win a Stanley Cup, so they are not worried about him leaving. Not only does he possess tremendous talent on the ice, but he is one of the NHL’s most marketable stars as well, and one the league would surely be devastated to lose.

 

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Sticking with Washington, the team re-signed Marcus Johansson on Saturday to a new two-year $4M deal. Johansson should be a good grab this year and figures to play alongside Mikhail Grabovski on the second unit, but could even see time on the top line with Ovechkin and Backstrom. He should be good for 50-60 points with the potential to hit even higher totals. As some of you may have seen on Twitter from Dobber yesterday, Johansson had 20 points in his final 22 games in 2013.

 

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The Coyotes signed Mikkel Boedker to a two-year contract on Saturday as well. Boedker has talent but hasn’t hit 30 points in a season yet, even though he was well on his way last year with 26 in 48 games. This could be the campaign he breaks out playing with Mike Ribeiro and Radim Vrbata on the top line. Over the last two seasons he has played the majority of time with an aging Daymond Langkow and Antoine Vermette at center, so Ribeiro will be a nice step up for both Boedker and Vrbata.

 

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Ryan Whitney has been invited to St. Louis Blues camp for a tryout. It’s hard to believe how far a guy who once had 59 points from the blueline has fallen. Whitney will be in tough to make the team, but if he does, Ken Hitchcock’s system is great for hiding defensive inconsistencies.

 

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I really enjoyed Terry Campkin’s column this week looking at good players on bad teams. Thinking outside the box in your drafts is key and this piece gives you some valuable advice on a way to do just that.  

 

 

 

Michael Amato is an Associate Editor for DobberHockey and a News Editor for theScore. You can follow him on Twitter at @amato_mike


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Comments (4)add comment

Dakkster said:

Dakkster
... Yeah... I'm not the one writing or publishing articles here. Also, if you really wanted to be a proper grammar police, you should have pointed out that sentences shouldn't start with "so". Better luck next time!
September 09, 2013
Votes: +0

Grammar police watch said:

gfunkb7
Ellipsis marks vs commas http://www.grammarbook.com/pun...lipses.asp
Use ellipsis marks when omitting a word, phrase, line, paragraph, or more from a quoted passage.
http://www.grammarbook.com/punctuation/commas.asp
Rule 19: Use a comma when beginning sentences with introductory words such as well, now, or yes.

"So yeah... Meszaros is ready to play and Johansson is tabbed to start with Backstrom and Ovechkin."

should in fact be

"So yeah, Meszaros is ready to play and Johansson is tabbed to start with Backstrom and Ovechkin."
September 09, 2013
Votes: +0

Rollie1967 said:

Rollie1967
... Hal Gill will also be in the Flyers training camp on a PTO. A long shot,but could stick as a 7th dman at or near the league minimum once they put Pronger on the LITR and have that cap space available.
September 08, 2013
Votes: +0

Dakkster said:

Dakkster
... From Fantrax:

"Andrej Meszaros gets medical clearanceSep. 5, 2013
Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros received medical clearance to play on Thursday. Meszaros is getting over a shoulder injury that required surgery and limited him to just 11 games played in 2013. His $4 million salary cap hit expires after 2013-14, so getting the most of him - whether for Philly or via trade - is the ideal for a Flyers team in a desperate situation."

From Capitals Insider @ Washington Post:

“The way the agreements are worked now, kind of the second contract for the most part, there’s certain parameters set by it and he kind of falls into that category,” Coach Adam Oates said. “He’s got a great opportunity to start with two great hockey players [Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom] in a good situation where the coaches like him, the GM likes him and he’s got an opportunity for the next couple years to prove he can be a dominant player in this league and then you get rewarded if you succeed.”

So yeah... Meszaros is ready to play and Johansson is tabbed to start with Backstrom and Ovechkin.
September 08, 2013
Votes: +2
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