Updates on Bryan Bickell, Sergei Gonchar, Eddie Lack, Lee Stempniak, Raffi Torres and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
SPORTSNET: San Jose Sharks winger Raffi Torres faces a suspension following a brutal head shot on Anaheim Ducks winger Jakob Silfverberg in preseason action on Saturday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Torres has a lengthy suspension history, including one for 21 games for a head shot on Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa in the 2012 playoffs. He’s a reckless, dirty player who has no intention of changing his style. There’s no place in the NHL for a player like that. It’ll be interesting to see what the league does. As for Silfverberg, he was not seriously hurt, which could factor into how long Torres is suspended.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The ‘Hawks have been shopping Bickell and his $4 million cap hit for months. If he fails to step up they’ll continue their efforts to move him.
TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins have released defenseman Sergei Gonchar from his professional tryout offer, and demoted blueliner Derrick Pouliot to their AHL farm team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: And with that, Gonchar’s long and successful NHL career comes to a close. Remains to be seen if he’ll move on to play in Europe or retire. As for Pouliot, he was expected to be a key part of the Penguins blueline this season. Perhaps he can regain his confidence with their farm club.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes re-signed goaltender Eddie Lack to a two-year, $5.5 million contract extension beginning in 2016-17. Lack will receive $2.5 million in 2016-17 and $3 million in 2017-18.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes obviously saw enough of Lack in preseason to determine he’s worth retaining beyond this season. He is seen as Cam Ward’s heir apparent. His new deal is very affordable and could prove a bargain if Lack takes over as their starter.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils signed winger Lee Stempniak to a one-year, $850 K contract.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild are waiting for young center Mikael Granlund to reach his full potential.
THE TENNESSEAN: After struggling last season with the Buffalo Sabres, forward Cody Hodgson hopes for a fresh start with the Nashville Predators.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: The Red Wings are debating what to do with promising young center Dylan Larkin, who has been impressive in training camp and preseason action.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings have a crowded roster. As Larkin doesn’t have to pass through waivers to be demoted, the Wings could go that route rather than risk exposing another player to the waiver wire.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The pressure is on Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards to guide his team to the next level.