Carey Price tops list of NHL award winners, opening dates for next season revealed, the league will explore expansion and more.
NHL.COM: Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price topped the list of winners at the 2015 NHL Awards, taking home the Hart, Vezina, Lindsay and Jennings trophies. Other notables included Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson winning his second Norris Trophy, Boston’s Patrice Bergeron winning his third Selke Trophy and Florida’s Aaron Ekblad winning the Calder as rookie of the year.
Price was also named to this season’s First All-Star team, joining teammate P.K. Subban, Karlsson, Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin, Philadelphia’s Jakub Voracek and New York Islanders center John Tavares.
The league also unveiled its full list of home-opening games for all thirty NHL teams next season.
SPORTSNET: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced it will soon be entertaining bids for expansion franchise. The minimum cost for a franchise is a staggering $500 million. Las Vegas appears the clear front runner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There will be an NHL team in Las Vegas, via expansion or relocation, before the end of this decade.
CBS SPORTS: The NHL Board of Governors has approved the move toward three-on-three regular-season overtime and a coach’s challenge on goalie interference starting in 2015-16.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning captain Steven Stamkos remains confident he’ll have a new contract in place with his club. Stamkos is eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency.
TSN: Boston University center Jack Eichel said he’ll return to the NCAA next season if he isn’t assured of a spot on an NHL team. It’s expected Eichel will be selected by the Buffalo Sabres with the second-overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. “If I’m signing, it’s not to leave school and go play major junior,” Eichel said Wednesday. “If I sign, it’s to play in the NHL the whole year. That’s the only way I’ll sign. And Buffalo has already explained to me that that would be the case.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some might see that as arrogance on Eichel’s part, but the kid is within his rights to make that decision. Why waste time in major junior when he’s already dominated in the NCAA? He proved at the recent World Championships he can play well alongside and against established professional talent. Skating in major junior would be a waste of his time and development.
NBC SPORTS: The Los Angeles Kings have moved to suspend defenseman Slava Voynov for injuring his Achilles tendon during his current NHL suspension. The move appears to be motivated by cost certainty, as it would provide the Kings with some additional salary-cap space.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Voynov is currently suspended pending his upcoming domestic violence trial. When (or maybe if?) he returns, the Kings must ensure they have sufficient cap space to absorb his $4.2 million cap hit for next season.
NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets re-signed backup goalie Curtis McElhinney to a two-year contract. He was eligible for UFA status on July 1.